Thursday, September 10, 2015

Mushroom risotto

I had the most amazing mushroom risotto recently, which immediately went home and copied. It went something like:

regular mushrooms, cut into bite-size but chunky pieces
fresh shitakes, take off the hard part of the stem and cut to same size
fry with butter until yummy

in a separate pan...
fry onion in butter
add arborio
add white wine
then add chicken stock one ladle at a time, waiting until, as tamar adler describes, when you push the rice aside, liquid does not immediate fill the hole
at some point add finely chopped woodier herbs like rosemary
then later add finer herbs like thyme
when it's done, add parm and a squeeze of lemon, and salt and pepper to taste

THEN! make this amazing thing called gremolata by chopping together on a cutting board a clove of garlic, some lemon peel, and parsley. spinkle over each individual serving.

I love you all!
xox Squarechess

Monday, February 16, 2015

aubergine daal

hello! this is fancypants' sister, doorpants.

last night i made a delicious DAAL with my roommates for our weekly documentary sunday. we watched 20 feet from stardom which is about some ballin' and enthrallin' back-up singers (mostly women) in the music biz. i wish i could sing.

the daal recipe is courtesy of one mr. jamie oliver and fancypants recommended i share it here. you can do it on the cheap and it is very warming and hearty. perfect for cold, wintry nights. i subbed cauliflower and zucchini for eggplant because that's what was in my fridge - i'm sure it'd be delicious either way. also didn't have some ingredients to make the chapatis or the crispy topping but if you want to you can find the instructions in the original version of the recipe.

- 1 large aubergine or 1 head of cauliflower and 1 zucchini
- 1.5 red onions
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
- 5 tb curry paste
- vegetable oil
- 500 grams yellow split peas
- 1 veg or chicken stock cube
- basmati or brown rice

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cut up your eggplant/cauliflower into chunks, peel and slice the onions and garlic, peel and finely grate the ginger
- Put this all into a large roasting tray with the curry paste and a lug of oil, toss until well coated, then roast for 20-25 minutes or until sticky and caramelized (takes longer with cauliflower then eggplant I believe)
- Chop up the zucchini and set aside
- Remove 3/4 of the roasted veg and put in a pot to start your daal, return the remaining veggies to the oven to keep warm (turn off the oven so that they don't dry out)
- Place the pot on a low heat and stir in the split peas, crumble in the stock cube, toss in the zucchini, and add 2 litres of boiling water
- Simmer for around 1hr30mins with the lid on, or until the daal has really thickened, stirring occasionally and especially during the end so it don't stick to da bottom of da pot
- Add splashes of water to loosen if needed
- While the daal is cooking, put 1 mug of rice and 2 mugs of water into a pot and cook dat shiettt up
- When everything is finished, load up your plate with some rice, some daal, and garnish with the remaining roasted veggies from the oven
- Top with greek yogurt, hot sauce, cilantro, etc.

Original recipe:


Tuesday, January 6, 2015


hello bbs!

it is winter, and i have decided to finally try making this tea recipe a berlin freundin recommended to me ages ago. but first, i shall post it here!


Homemade Mugicha (Japanese Roasted Barley Tea)
Makes 8 cups

1/3 cup uncooked pearl barley

8 cups water

1. Put the barley in a large dry skillet and toast over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring the grains and shaking the skillet occasionally so that they toast evenly, until the grains have turned a dark rich brown color.  Remove from the heat and pour out into a bowl or a paper towel to cool.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a pot, add the cooled toasted barley, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let the barley continue to steep as the mugicha cools, for about 5 minutes.

3. Strain out the barley, pour the mugicha into a pitcher and chill.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Break free from the dressing doldrums

I always make the same salad dressing:

2 parts oil
1 part vinegar
Dijon mustard
Maple syrup
Salt and pepper

Don't get me wrong - it's a good backpocket option, but I think I'm guilty of overuse. Which is why it was so exciting when this very different dressing popped up on my radar. It's originally intended for fattoush salad, but I think you could put it on anything you want.

2 teaspoons paprika (or sumac if you can get it - I couldn't)
2 teaspoons warm water
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fattoush also involves chopping ingredients into tiny pieces and adding fried pita pieces, which really, are both great ideas pretty much all the time.

-Recipe courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chickpea stew with couscous, for camping or otherwise

So on the expert and helpful advice of M. Cohen, I planned a few meals for an early fall camping trip (more collected camping recipes and suggestions from M. Cohen forthcoming, ideally in cute zine form). This meal was in the plan, though I believe what actually happened was a huddled dinner of sandwiches and then a quick retreat to the tent to get out of the rain and wind. Fall. It's not like summer. BUT this recipe was just as good cooked in my temperature controlled kitchen the next evening.

Date and Chickpea Stew with Couscous

What you'll need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup pitted dates, sliced
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup couscous
1/2 teaspoon salt

The stew:
1. Heat the olive in a pot or large cast iron pan and saute the onion until browned (7-10 minutes).
2. Add the spices and garlic and cook briefly (30 seconds). Then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and 1/4 of water. Cover and simmer (10 minutes).
3. Add the dates and lemon juice, continue to simmer to taste.

The couscous:
1. Boil 1.5 cups of salted water (you can add stock or bouillon for more flavor).
2. Stir in the couscous, remove the pot from the heat source, and cover.
3. The best part.... fluffing! Use a fork to ruffle the couscous just before you're ready to eat.

Place couscous in bowls and top with the stew and some chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

-Recipe courtesy of Dirty Gourmet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Louis Drummond's Avocado Margaritas

Hey y'all!

A guest post from none other than Gail!

Louis Drumond's Avocado Margaritas

1oz tequila

1/2 oz triple sec

1oz fresh lime juice

1oz simple syrup

1/4 ripe avocado

Leaf or three cilantro

Blend with equivalent of a 14oz glass worth of ice cubes

Gail says: "Story is, invited Derek and his 4 boys to Prouts Cocktails and a quick-snap e-convo ensured over the course of the week.

Louis + his wife Vickki run a resto in the interior of BC.

Shake + Smile"

Saturday, April 26, 2014

anti-oppression margaritas

After extensive testing, I decided there are many many ways to make a drinkable margarita, but if a person wants to keep one's friends as friends, it might be a good idea to invest in some sort of juicing apparatus that isn't giving your friend a fork and a bag of limes. Disclaimer aside, here is one of my favorites. For best results, drink on my porch.

A few preliminary thoughts:

Tequila is magical. Also sort of like a drug. There are loosely three kinds but anything you buy should be 100% agave. Blanco is clear - just distilled agave. Resposado is aged in oak barrels for up to 1 year, and anejo between 1-3 years. Or to put it another way: blanco $, reposado $$, anejo $$$.
Conveniently, blanco is great for margaritas.

Simple syrup is a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar. Heating the water helps the sugar completely dissolve, so maybe make this ahead of time and store it in a jar in your fridge so it's cold when you feel like a drink. I don't think it ever goes bad. I may or may not still be using a jar of ss that I made last summer and that may have traveled to the Gaspe and back. I promise not to serve you a drink with the 2013 vintage. I will make a new batch for this summer.

Also ratios instead of measurements - infinitely preferable and great for growth potential. Not like unsustainable inequitable capitalist growth, like more friends on your porch growth.

The breakdown:

1 part tequila
1 part simple syrup
1 part lime juice (fresh is best)
a squeeze of orange juice in every glass
chunky salt for the rims (si quieres)
lime slices for the rims

Tips for the salt: slice a lime into smiley sections and make perpendicular cut across the centers of the sections. Use this cut in the lime to wet the rim of the glass and then twist gently in a pile of salt (the tops of yogurt containers are great salt-holders). Return the lime slice to the rim of the glass as a garnish. Probably wash the lime before you do any of this.

Por arriba
Por abajo
Al centro
Y al dentro

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Buckwheat pancakes

My favourite brunches are usually savoury but the past two weekends's I've found myself cooking these buckwheat pancakes - easy to make with ingredients you may have around - and been very pleased. I find they are a bit more savoury and flavourful than your average pancake, and that they lend themselves to many delicious toppings. The recipe is from the Rebar cookbook.

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or DIY by putting 1 1/2 tbsps vinegar in a bowl and pouring 1 1/2 cups milk on top, letting it sit for 5 - 10 minutes to curdle)
2 tbsp molasses
butter for cooking
1 cup hazlenuts for topping 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

1. Mix together flours, baking soda and baking powder and salt. In another bowl whisk eggs then add buttermilk and mollases. Mix. Combine wet and dry ingredients, not stirring too much.

2. Cook on a medium-hot buttered pan. I use a cast-iron pan, and if I ladle in a 1/3 of a cup batter they usually cook with a couple of minutes on the first side and a bit less on the second. I flip once the pancakes have a few bubbles.

Put the finished pancakes into the warmed oven to hang out while you make the rest.

I particularly love these pancakes with berries and toasted hazelnuts and maple syrup. I chop about a cup of hazlenuts and toast them while I'm cooking the pancakes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Lamb-tastic Chops with Rosemary and Garlic

Hey boos!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted too. F-bomb, thanks for your philosophical musings. It sounds very smart aside from the fact that anchovies are mega gross.

I had my friend June over for dinner last night, who is currently on a food cleanse to try and figure out what's irritating her stomach. In any case, I had to meal plan around an extensive one-page document of do's and don'ts, which lead me to just say eff-it, I'll cook meat, even though I'm mildly terrified of doing so given that I've cooked vegetarian all my life. A trip to Blah-blahs (Loblaws) later, I found this recipe, and it was sooooo good. I might have to do it again tonight. I was cooking on the fly so didn't have time to marinate at all, and compensated by just making hella marinade. It worked out just fine. My sides were quinoa, shitake mushrooms, and asparagus salad.

The things:

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 18 small lamb rib chop
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

The actions:

Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Rub about 1/4 teaspoon mixture over each side of each chop. Sprinkle chops with salt; place on plate. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. 

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add 9 chops to skillet; cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to platter; cover with foil. Repeat with remaining oil and chops. Garnish platter with rosemary sprigs, if desired.

Courtesy of Epicurious

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Hi loves! I miss you.

I have not been posting here recently because I have hardly used a recipe in months. I have hardly used a recipe and I think I am finally learning how to cook. I have been inspired by my various roommates over the last year who have come home many nights and whipped up a meal for one with whatever's in the fridge. By contrast, the contents of the fridge would stare out at me blankly and I felt overwhelmed and left them be, preferring a couple of slices of bread from the freezer toasted.

My roommates were the inspiration, but a particular book has been the tool that helped me overcome my reliance on recipes and the belief that everything worth making takes at least one hour. The book is called An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. It's prose but not one of those cooking memoirs, it's very much about how to cook.

She writes, for example:
 "If we were taught to cook as we are taught to walk, encouraged first to feel for pebbles with our toes, then to wobble forward and fall, then had our hands firmly tugged on so we would try again, we woul learn that being good at it relies on something deeply rooted, akin to walking, to get good at which we need only guidance, sense, and a little faith."

The book is about taking small experimental steps in cooking and learning from each one. She has basically a whole chapter on boiling water. She has another chapter on anchovies. She starts by talking about how to find good anchovies and then provides some areas for exploration. Try them fresh, packed in oil, packed in salt. Try them plain. Learn their flavour. Then mash them with plenty of garlic, olive oil and butter and try this sauce on a variety of boring kitchen standards: boiled potatoes, wedges of raw cabbage, soft-boiled egg, lightly boiled celery, or endive. Experience their flavour in combination with other simple flavours. I think through this constant experimentation you develop instincts about cooking that allow for greater complexity down the line.

I tend to only peruse the book while standing in the kitchen waiting for my oatmeal to finish so I haven't read it all, but the overwhelming message appears to be to taste everything you do, at each stage. I'm getting pretty good at this. And I have never enjoyed cooking like I do now.

Kisses to all...