Padron Peppers – Spanish Tapas Style

 

padron peppers - trust in kim

When I visited Spain a few years ago, this Padron Pepper dish was my absolute favourite tapas. It’s a simple dish, just quickly fried and topped with salt, but so delicious. Also, there’s a little surprise sometimes, as some are hot and some are not. Most of the peppers are mild tasting, but once in a while you get the surprise of a very hot pepper –  I always hope I’m going to be the lucky one who gets the hot one!

This dish is really simple to prepare, but there is a difficult part, and that is finding Padron peppers in Vancouver. The other day I was out with a friend, and as we parted ways she pulled a bag of Padron peppers out to give to me. I was so excited by this gift, and soon fried them up to enjoy with a friend.

What you need:

  • padron peppers
  • good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt or fleur de sel

What you do:

  1. Wash and dry the peppers.
  2. Heat a frying pan to medium high heat and pour in a glug of olive oil.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the peppers, allowing them to blister but not blacken, on each side. This should only take a moment or two.
  4. Crack salt over the peppers while they are still in the pan if you are serving them in the frying pan, or place them on a plate before salting.
  5. Enjoy!
eating padron peppers - trust in kim
Here I am, eating a Padron pepper in Spain

No-Bake Rocky Road Bars

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Mmm, chocolate and peanut butter – Love!

Easy recipe – Love!

Beware, though, they are addictive!

These can me whipped up in a few minutes. I made the recipe up myself – three yummy ingredients, so hard to go wrong! Plus it only uses one bowl, one pan, and one spatula – so easy cleanup! I kept them in the fridge so the chocolate would be firm, and because I think the marshmallows taste good when they are a bit chewier.

What you need:

  • 1 cups dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli brand)
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not the natural kind)
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows

What you do:

  1. Prepare a 9 by 9 inch baking pan by coating it with butter.
  2. Melt the chocolate and peanut butter in the top of a double boiler.
  3. Put the marshmallows into the prepared pan. Pour the chocolate mixture on top and stir until the marshmallows are evenly distributed.
  4. Refrigerate until set, then slice and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Savoury Marinated Peaches

 

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This chicken and peaches dish makes really a delicious summer meal, and feels a little bit decadent. I love the balance between the sweetness of the peaches, and the salty goodness of the prosciutto and capers. The peaches are marinated before adding them to the chicken, which makes them just a little less sweet. Normally I remove the skin from chicken thighs, just so they are a little healthier, but on this one it’s really necessary to leave the skin on so it can get nice and crispy.

I served this with a baguette and salad. Delicious!

This recipe comes from “Fine Cooking” magazine no.136.

What you need for the marinated peaches:

  • 3 medium ripe peaches
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 & 1/2 tablespoons spiced dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of sugar

What you need for the chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • about 30 grams thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 3 pounds / 1.4 kg chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped

What you do:

  1. To marinate the peaches, begin by slicing them into wedges about 2 cm thick.
  2. Combine the rest of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and gently coat the peaches with it. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  4. On medium heat, pour a little olive oil into a large dutch oven or frying pan that can go in the oven. Slice the prosciutto and cook it until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add a little more oil to the pan. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper on all sides. Brown the chicken on both sides in several batches, about 12 minutes each batch. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
  6. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook the leek and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until they begin to soften.
  7. Add the flour to the pot and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Pour the peach marinade in and cook until the liquid thickens, scraping the browned parts from the bottom of the pan. This should take about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the broth and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken back in the pot with the skin facing up, and bring the liquid to a boil again. Place the pot in the oven with the lid off and braise for about 25 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through.
  9. Remove the pot from the oven and turn the broiler on high. Put the chicken skin-side up onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Broil for about 3 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
  10. While the chicken is crisping up, continue to watch it carefully, and place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Stir the sauce occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. (Of course part-way through your chicken will be crisped up, so you can just switch the oven off, and maybe keep it slightly ajar so the chicken doesn’t burn).
  11. When the sauce has thickened, add the capers and peaches, stirring with a gentle touch until the peaches have warmed. Stir in the butter and 1 tablespoon of tarragon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Place the chicken on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over it. Garnish with the prosciutto and remaining tarragon.

Enjoy!

All the ingredients for this recipe were purchased at Vancouver’s famous Granville Island Market, which happens to be a short walk from my home. The amazing chicken was from Jackson’s Poultry. The prosciutto, plus a delicious Manchego cheese as part of an appetizer, came from Oyama Sausage. A Bread Affair makes my favourite baguette in the city. The organic Okanagan peaches were also purchased from one of the day vendors at Granville Island. I love shopping for everything in one market, and knowing that it will all be of the best quality.

 

The Browniest Cookies

 

brownie cookies - trustinkim

Alert to chocolate lovers: I think you’re gonna like these! Three kinds of chocolate make these a dream come true: bittersweet chocolate is melted with the butter, then cocoa is added, and of course a healthy amount of dark chocolate chips. You can bake them so they are completely cooked through, or you can remove them from the oven a little bit earlier for a fudgier centre. I think my oven bakes a little fast, so I had them in the oven for 11 minutes and they were baked all the way through; next time I would pull them out a little earlier so they are still soft in the middle. I love a fudgey brownie cookie!

The recipe is from smittenkitchen.com. The only thing I changed was to add sea salt to the top, and my testers (otherwise known as friends I was having a beach barbecue with) commented on how the salt really made it a special cookie. Er, brownie.

It’s a really simple and quick recipe, starting with melting the butter and chocolate, then mixing everything else in. But notice that the batter needs to sit in the fridge for half an hour before scooping and baking.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup dark or light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli brand) (more than 2/3 cup is even better!!)
  • sea salt for sprinkling on top

What you do:

  1. Melt the butter and the unsweetened chocolate together in a double-boiler until the chocolate is almost melted. Take it off the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate has melted.
  2. Whisk the sugars into the melted butter and chocolate. Now whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.
  3. Sift the cocoa baking soda, and flour into the bowl with, then add the salt; stir these together until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or up to a few days. If you only refrigerate for  30 minutes you can bake them right away. If the batter is in the fridge longer than 30 minutes it becomes difficult to scoop, so you can let it warm up a little before you start scooping.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F and line baking pans with parchment paper. Scoop the batter into 2 tablespoon-sized mounds – I use an ice-cream scoop for perfect mounds. Place them on the baking sheets, leaving a bit of room for them to spread.
  6. Bake for about 11 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for a few minutes after removing from the oven so they don’t fall apart. I recommend eating at least one while they are still warm!

 

 

Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

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Gazpacho is what I like to make in the summer, when I’ve got ripe tomatoes in my garden, especially when I want to eat something delicious and healthy. After overindulging on my recent trip to Italy, I came home and made a batch of this. It did the trick; I feel healthier after eating this for a few days.

Normally I add a little more olive oil, but because I was trying to lighten things up a lot, I only added a drizzle. Adding more olive oil would make it creamier, and it is a healthy oil, so add what you like. I’ve made this many times before with red tomatoes, but this time I happened to have a lot of yellow cherry tomatoes, so I used other light coloured vegetables to make it pretty.

Healthy, delicious, super easy, and great for leftovers – this one is definitely a winner!

What you need:

  • 1 small cucumber, peel removed
  • 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes
  • a few tablespoons medium sweet onion
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large sweet yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • a drizzle of good quality extra-virgin olive oil (or a few tablespoons)
  • 1 slice of white bread (I used a whole wheat French bread)
  • salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Soak the bread in water for a few minutes, then squeeze the water out.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add whatever you think you need to balance the flavours.
  3. Refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.
  4. Serve topped with some chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Beet, Jicama and Pepita Salad

Beet, Jicama and Pepita Salad - trustinkim

The sweetness of beets combined with the crispness of the jicama, tossed in a simple lime dressing, come together to create a delicious and refreshing salad. Jicama is a mild, crunchy, and slightly sweet-tasting root vegetable that has a lot of healthy properties. If you’ve never tried it before, I recommend giving it a try; it’s pretty easy to like. Read here for more info about nutritional properties of jicama.

 

I found the recipe in a Rick Bayless cookbook, and just made a few changes. Because I had these salad greens in my garden, I substituted the radicchio that the recipe called for. I also substituted toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for the peanuts.

What you need:

  • 1 pound beets (about 4 medium beets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or unrefined peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice plus a little zest
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 pound (about 1/2 medium) jicama, peeled and cut into 3/4 cm thick batons
  • salt to taste
  • salad greens
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, toasted and cooled

What you do:

  1. Cook the beets in boiling water until they are soft all the way through. When cooled, peel and cut into 3/4 cm thick batons.
  2. Whisk the oil, lime juice, lime zest and agave nectar together.
  3. Combine the beets, jicama, and dressing. Salt to taste.
  4. Serve the beets and jicama on top of the greens. Sprinkle with the pepitas to serve.

 

Hazelnut, White Chocolate and Sour Cherry Biscotti

hazelnut white chocolate sour cherry biscotti - trust in kim

These biscotti are a variant of my usual recipe, which is awesome, but it’s always fun to try something new. These are not the kind of biscotti that you have to dip in coffee to make them edible; they taste great on their own, and you can bite into them easily without moistening them first.

Biscotti are just cookies that have been baked twice – the dough is formed into logs and baked, then sliced and baked again. Simple enough. They keep for a long time, which was why they were invented. But they are so good they don’t usually last very long…

Read about biscotti/biscotto grammar here!

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon anise liquor OR 1 teaspoon anise extract
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons white flour
  • 1  & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon anise seeds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries, chopped

What to do:

1. Toast the anise seeds in a frying pan or in the oven, then crush them with a mortar and pestle or in an electric spice grinder.

2. Toast the hazelnuts until slightly browned, then allow them to cool before chopping them.  They burn easily, so watch them carefully and toss often.

3. Cream the butter, then add the sugar and cream it further. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and anise liquor or extract.

4. Combine  the dry ingredients and mix in with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  Add the white chocolate, nuts and sour cherries and stir until just combined.

5. Divide the dough into two pieces.  With floured hands form into two logs on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325 F for 25-30 minutes.

6. Allow to cool until you can handle them, and then slice the baked rolls diagonally about 2 cm thick and place on the baking sheet with one of the cut sides facing up.  Lower the oven to 300F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until slightly browned.  Turn each biscotto over and bake for another 10-15, until that side is also slightly browned.

7. Place the baked biscotti on cooling racks, and allow to cool completely before packing. Store in an airtight container for up to a few weeks.

biscotti on the pan

cutting th biscotti