Tag Archives: main dish

Spicy Taco Salad

I made tacos last weekend, using a boxed kit. It was all very tasty, but those taco shells are so tiny. So confining. I kept breaking them with my overly ambitious and optimistic attempts to fill them. I eventually gave up and just made piles of the filling.

Today, I used up the leftovers in this delicious salad. I had about a cup each of spiced refried beans and cumin spiced beef. I heated them in the microwave, and then dressed the plate, first with beans and then with the meat. I topped all of that with cheese (a mozzarella-cheddar blend). I microwaved that gently to melt the cheese. Then, I placed freshly chopped romaine lettuce around the edge of the plate. I topped the cheese with a generous helping of pickled jalapeno slices and dollops of sour cream. I slathered everything with green tomatillo salsa and then sprinkled chopped green onions over it all. Finally, I sprinkled two broken up taco shells across the top.

This was so delicious. There was lots of crunch from the lettuce and the taco bits. And the temperature contrast between the hot beans, beef and cheese and the cold lettuce and sour cream was great, too.

I think next time, I won’t bother buying taco shells. I’ll just use nacho chips. I used the packaged spice mix, but I can replicate that quite easily too. I also think chopped cilantro would be a fantastic addition on top.

I highly recommend this approach to tacos if you too are finding yourself hemmed in by very tiny hard shells.

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Fondue on Demand

I have a weakness for the cheese sections of food stores. I find myself gravitating towards them, whether I need cheese or not. I’m currently not allowing myself to buy any more cheese until I work through some of what I have in my fridge.

With that goal in mind, I made a batch of this fondue recipe. Of course, I didn’t use beer because most beer contains gluten. I had some leftover prosecco in the freezer, so I used that instead. I have also made it using dry apple cider, which gives it a fantastic flavour.

When I make this recipe, I like to double the quantity of caraway seeds and leave them whole. I am also more generous with the onions and garlic but tend to skip the sherry completely. For this batch, I used Etorki and Gruyère, plus some mozzarella for meltability. A blend of old Cheddar and Emmental is also fantastic.

I like to pour my finished fondue into a pan and then let it solidify in the fridge. Then, I freeze it in small ziploc bags so that I can easily thaw some out whenever I want to. I took some for lunch one day last week, along with some bread cubes I’d made by cutting up a store bought gluten-free bread roll. At the office, all I had to do was to remelt the fondue in the microwave and voilà, I had an instant gourmet meal.

Reheated fondue can be used anywhere a cheese sauce is called for. I had some over reheated roasted potatoes and it was fantastic. I am thinking of having some more with roasted potatoes and dill pickles, and later using it as a topping for eggs on English muffins instead of Hollandaise sauce. Another option, of course, is simply eating it straight from a bowl with a spoon.

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Roast Duck with Spicy Marmalade Sauce

There are certain activities that help keep me sane—such as walking, reading, taking photos, writing—and during the pandemic, I have been trying to make them a priority. One of these activities has always been creative cooking—me, in the kitchen, experimenting away. This blog was born purely so I could blend cooking, photography and writing all together.

I feel freest when I know I have the kitchen to myself for several hours and am free to make a complete mess as I create. Because of the lack of other spaces and places for everyone to be right now, it’s been harder to get a block of time in the kitchen lately. Well, yesterday, I finally had energy, time and a free kitchen. So this is what I made.

I have been wanting to roast a duck for a while now, so when I saw them on sale (and knew I would have the kitchen to myself), I had to buy one. I used this high-heat roasting method, rubbing the outside with just salt and pepper. While the duck was cooking, I made the sides. I made jasmine rice, adding chopped garlic to the cooking water. I made two sauces to go with the duck—a cream sauce with black pepper and caramelized onions and a marmalade sauce spiked with chili flakes and ground sichuan pepper. To round out the plate, I made my current favourite vegetable, whole green onions pan-fried in butter.

The meal was fabulous. The marmalade sauce was as good as I imagined it would be when I first thought of it a couple of months ago, and it went beautifully with the duck. The onion cream sauce was addictive (I only made it because I had leftover heavy cream to use up rather than because I thought it would go, but it was indeed a happy result).

Now my fridge is full of neatly stacked containers of leftovers for me to work my way through. And, most importantly, I got to play in the kitchen.

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Kofta Kebabs

Another delicious meal! I made kofta kebabs earlier this week and they tasted amazing. Here they are paired with Greek potatoes (cooked slowly in a bath of broth, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano) and store-bought dips—tzatziki and baba ganoush. What a feast!

The kebabs were easy to make. I used half ground beef and half ground lamb, plus salt and pepper. I added some finely chopped parsley and finely chopped onion. The onion was supposed to be grated, but I wasn’t in my own kitchen and had no grater, so I just chopped it as finely as I could. I think grated onion would give a better texture, but the flavour was still fantastic. I kept the flavourings simple this time–many kebab recipes also include cumin, coriander and other spices in addition to the black pepper. And instead of bread crumbs, I added a bunch of potato starch to help bind the meat mixture together.

We cooked them on skewers on a barbecue and had enough leftovers for a few more meals. They were pretty fast to put together, and I imagine they would still be pretty delicious cooked in the oven.

There are still a few left in the fridge. Maybe that’s what I’ll have for breakfast today…

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Hashbrowns with Kimchi, Onions, Cheese and Eggs

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I had an amazing meal today. My goal was to finish up the last bit of kimchi in the fridge.

I sliced up some onions and fried them in a pan until they were soft. Then I added the kimchi and a little bit of water that I used to get out all of the deliciousness in the kimchi container.

I let the kimchi topping simmer while I fried up some hashbrowns in another pan and melted some butter for eggs in yet another pan. I also grated some sharp cheddar and chopped up some green onions.

When the hashbrowns were getting golden, I cracked two eggs into the pan with butter and quickly fried them sunny-side up, keeping the yolks runny. When they were ready, I put down the hashbrowns in a layer, topped them with a generous layer of the kimchi and onions, added a layer of cheese, slid on the eggs and then scattered green onions on top.

The result was fantastic. Very savoury and filling, but special enough that it would make a lovely brunch dish. It was a three-pan meal, but it was definitely worth all the dishes.

 

 

 

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Sweet Potatoes and Cheese

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Lunches are a challenge if you are avoiding gluten. Packing a lunch that’s nutritious, got protein, and is affordable, filling, tasty AND fast to pull together is no small feat.

Here’s one of my go-to lunches—roasted sweet potatoes with melted cheese. It’s a good way to use leftovers, but also simple to make from scratch.

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Curry and Chips

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This tasty dinner reminds me of the best of British pub food. Yesterday, I made a rich curry with beef, onions, tomatoes, cabbage and coconut milk. Today when I got home, I threw some fries in the oven. When they were almost done, I heated up a portion of curry in the microwave. I made a bed of the fries and spooned the curry over top. Each bite had all the spicy flavour of the curry and the crispness of fries. So fast and so good.

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Breakfast Nachos!

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I had a hectic schedule this week, where food was often a necessary afterthought. It was a pleasure to finally have a little time to think up a delicious breakfast. This is nachos with old cheddar, baked in the oven until crispy, doused generously with tomatillo salsa and dotted with sour cream.

Some people have a bowl of cereal topped with fruit to start the day. How is this that different? Corn, dairy and fruit… It’s practically the same thing.

While that may be debatable, what is definitely true is that this was a tasty treat and a very welcome meal.

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Spicy Nachos

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I just made this outrageously delicious version of nachos.

I picked up a jar of Huy Fong chili garlic sauce this morning and was mulling over how to use it. Then, a craving for nachos struck. The answer seemed obvious.

I used one can of refried beans, and mixed in a couple of spoons of the chili garlic sauce and one bunch of chopped green onions. I used the cheese I had, which was extra old cheddar.

The chili sauce gave the beans a nice kick and the green onions added a nice freshness. The extra old cheddar went really well with the spiciness, too. And, luckily, I had some sour cream on hand to help tone down the spice a bit. (Full disclosure: I always have sour cream on hand.)

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It was a great combo. I am looking forward to eating the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow, and I will definitely be making these again.

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Biriyani Redux

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There is an amazing array of lunch options near my work. One of my favourites is chicken biriyani. It makes a filling lunch, but luckily, also provides fantastic leftovers. This is my favourite way to have leftover biriyani. I fry an egg or two in butter, reheat the biriyani slightly in the microwave, place the eggs on top of the rice and drizzle any remaining butter over the eggs and rice. Amazing, and fast.

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