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...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

the complicated backstory of steel cut oats REVEALED!


Perhaps you too have woken up in the morning and shoveled spoonfuls of instant oats past your morning teeth and caught yourself wishing for the weekend luxury of half-hour steel cut oats. Pine no more! It has taken years, but I've finally absorbed all my father's steel cut secrets.


  • 1:4 oatmeal to water (cups, grams, ounces, gallons...)
  • salt
  • toppings of your choice 
    • (I suggest dried dates, apricots, diced apple, and a cinnamon stick)

The complicated backstory:

Place water and oatmeal in a pot (I haven't decided if it is better to add the toppings at this stage or later) and bring to a boil. Cover and turn off the burner. Caution your dish-doing roommate to leave the oatmeal pot alone. Go to bed. Seriously, this is it. Go to bed.

Your steel cut oats are cooked. No joke. An overnight miracle. Turn the burner on again, or reheat using your preferred method, add your toppings if you didn't add them the night before, and eat.

What kind of week isn't better after miracle oats?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chocolate and Cream Cheese Cupcakes

I baked these for my coworkers last week and they were a big hit. c/o the Joy
Makes 24.

8 oz cream cheese
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cupcake tin or use paper liners. Beat cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar and the egg until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Stir. Fill cupcake moulds halfway. Drop in a big dollop of the cream cheese mixture to each. Bake for 20-ish minutes. Eat as soon as possible.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Polenta lasagna with swiss chard and mushrooms

Last night I made a lasagna for a gluten-free friend, so used rounds of polenta instead of regular lasagna noodles. I adapted elements of this recipe for the fillings. These quantities made a moderately generous four servings for hungry people.

Polenta Lasagna with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms

500 gr tube of polenta (or make your own, let it set), sliced thinly
Jar of tomato sauce (or make your own)
2/3 cup finely chopped onions
2 minced cloves of garlic, separated
8 oz of cremini mushrooms
2 bunches of swiss chard, stemmed and cored
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1/4 tsp nutmet
olive oil
8 oz ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.

Blanche swiss chard in boiling water for one minute. Drain and squeeze out all the liquid, then chop up. Sauté onions, one minced clove of garlic, and chilli peppers in olive oil until soft. Add swiss chard, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat up more oil in a heavy pan, add mushrooms and last clove of garlic. Sauté for about 10 minutes, or until mushrooms have browned, dried up, released, and reabsorbed their liquids. Season with a dash of nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In a casserole dish, put down a slop of tomato sauce, then put down a layer of polenta. Put in half the mushrooms, half the swiss chard, a few dollops of ricotta, a sprinkling of parmesan, and tomato sauce. Repeat. Put on a final layer of polenta, top with tomato sauce, ricotta, and parmesan.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes with tinfoil covering it. Take off the tinfoil and bake for another ten minutes.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Scones for dinner

Today was a blah day. The first bright spot came at 5PM when I went to queer salsa class at U of T. I'm learning to lead! No more getting thrown around by oafish dudes! Or, as one of the salsa class coordinators said today when I tried to explain my reasons for wanting to lead: "yeah! you gotta control your girls!" We'll see.

The second bright spot came at 8PM when I decided to make tea and scones for dinner. Not savoury scones. Sweet scones with jam. And now I share them with you, my loves. xox

Sweet and speedy scones

2 cups (9 oz) all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten gently
1 tsp vanilla
sugar for sprinkling

Heat oven to 400F. Mix dry ingredients and the butter to a coarse meal (with two knives, a food processor, whatever). Stir in wet ingredients - it will be a pretty wet dough. Divide in 4. Roll each ball on a floured surface and flatten to 3/4'' circles. The centre should be slightly higher than the rim. Cut into quarters and transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes.

Infinite variations are possible! Just add whatever's in your fridge to the completed dough. My coworker made jalapeno-cheddar, tomato-goat cheese-herb, white chocolate-something, and a chocolately one last week and they were all delicious. If you're going savoury, I would add a bit less sugar to the dough.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Black Bean Brownies

from Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Every Day by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan

I have no idea if the black beans do anything or just make you think what you're eating is healthy, but in any case, these are the best brownies I've ever had.

Also, I suggest sifting the flour. I learned this from Beareen and it makes such a difference.

1 cup cooked black beans (dry them off if wet)
1 1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup butter
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup chocolate chips OR 100 g of bittersweet or semi-sweet dark chocolate

Preheat to 350F. Toast nuts until fragrant and very lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate, taking care not to let the mixture scorch. Whisk to combine, then remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

Place beans and the butter/chocolate mixture in bowl and process until very smooth. Add eggs, sugar, and vanilla; process until combined. Scrape the mixture into the flour mixture and fold gently, leaving streaks of flour still visible. Add the nuts and chocolate chips and fold until just combined.

Pour the batter into a lightly buttered 8'' square pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the batter doesn't jiggle but any toothpick inserted would still be chocolatey.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the best thing i've made in awhile?

oh, hello you. i'd like to share an excellent winter invention. a delightful treat. comfort food at its very best. it's bit haphazard and wild, but the good news is that there is tons of flexibility in terms of what you have on hand. i hope that everyone makes this because really, since i finished up all the leftovers, i've been dreaming of having more of it.

buttercup squash mac & cheese

you need:
1 bag (regular size?) of any kind of pasta that you like (i mixed farro spirals and regular old elbow mac)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 medium sized buttercup squash
3 cups grated cheese (i used smoked cheddar, gouda, and regular cheddar)
milk of choice
spoon of butter

1. slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. roast it in the oven on an oiled pan, face down, at 375 until quite soft (30 minutes, ish). OR you could roast this (as i did) in cubes (peeled, etc) with some sea salt and either sage or thyme. YUM.

2. while the squash is roasting, grate up all of your cheese and boil whatever pasta you've selected. cook til nearly your desired softness, but NOT QUITE! since you will be putting it back in the oven in a little bit. when the pasta is cooked enough, strain and run cold water so that the cooking process is paused.

3. when the squash is done, scoop out the gooey insides into a pot (maybe even the pasta pot that you were using but strained the pasta out of). with an immersion blender, turn the squash into a silky sauce by also adding some of the vegetable broth (saving about a cup for later) and the butter. when this gets a bit silky, add the cooked pasta, and the grated cheese (saving about half a cup of the cheese). add the rest of the broth, and milk. add as much as you need to loosen up the sauce a little, as it will be quite thick because of the squash. i probably added about a cup.

4. when all is combined, scoop out your delicious mixture into a large pyrex. top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

5. bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. then stick your broiler on so that the top gets browned, but watch closely so that it doesn't burn.

Enjoy this with a side of sauteed collards with garlic, and a bit of hot sauce.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gourmet Dabblings during Retirement

Dear Friends,

While I have been profoundly absent from cisforkitchen, it is not for lack of cooking.

Here are four delicious, time consuming, and at times decadent recipes I've made in the past few months that I think you would all be the happier for (cooking and) eating.

Wintery Spring Rolls (from 101 Cookbooks) take far longer than 30 minutes allotted in the recipe but well worth it nonetheless.  Mostly I've made them to bring for flights or lunches on roadtrips, and they've been great for that. These are not that decadent, but they make up for that in tastiness. (Also this is vegan and gluten free)

Summer Lasagna was probably the most delicious way I've ever eaten fresh tomatoes and basil. For something so decadent and delicious it's also quite light and not too expensive, unless you splurge on buffalo mozarella. This recipe tells you to make the lasagna noodles by using a pasta machine (which I did) but if you don't have one you could probably just as successfully roll it out by hand.

Sweetcorn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce is a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi that was blogged about on Food 52. Basically you make polenta out of fresh corn (which is sweet and savoury and perfect in an unreal way) and top it with an eggplant sauce made with tomatoes, oregano, and more. I found the eggplant sauce was tastier with a bit of lemon juice which isn't in the recipe. Also, this meal goes well with a simple salad to balance the ecstasies of butter and oil that go into the other parts of the meal.  (And Gluten Free!)

Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil was a relatively straightforward recipe with the interesting twist of olive oil instead of butter which made it more savoury, which I liked. The dough is a bit hard to work with because it gets soft really easily, but if you read the reviews there are tips that are useful - like putting the tart pan in the freezer before putting the dough in, and treating the dough as a paste you spread out rather than like a traditional dough that is firmer.