Apple Crisp

apples - trust in kim

Recently I baked a whole lot of apple crisp with my grade 5/6 students. They each got to peel, core and chop an apple, and then they got to eat their first apple crisp – and loved it! A little bit of vanilla ice cream on top made it a perfect treat.

I found the recipe on ricardocuisine.com. Usually I just make up the crumble recipe, but I wanted to follow an actual recipe so I could pass it along to my students. I only altered the amount of sugar added to the apples. I don’t usually add any sugar to the apples, and in the future I would probably omit it. I prefer to have a bit of a tart taste in my apples, and leave the sweetness to the crumble.

For the apples it’s fine to use whatever kind you happen to have, but I have included Ricardo’s apple choices. I think I used pink lady apples.

What you need for the apples:

  • 1 & 1/4 cups quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup  unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

What you need for the crumble:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cortland apples

  • 3 McIntosh apples 

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

For serving:

  • Vanilla ice cream (I used Chapman’s)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Core, peel and chop the apples. Put them into a 20 cm (8 inch) square baking pan. Combine with the rest of the apple ingredients.
  3. Combine all the crumble ingredients in a bowl and mix in the butter; I like to do this with my hands, and then I spread the mixture over the apples with my hands.
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes.
  5. This is best served while it’s still warm, with a little vanilla ice cream on the side.

Armenian Roasted Vegetables

Armenian Roasted Vegetables - trust in kim

These roasted vegetables make a great side dish. I had never eaten roasted cabbage before, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It’s super easy to make; just a bunch of chopping, and then roasting.

This recipe continues my love affair with the Mamushka cookbook by Olia Hercules. She recommends trying it sprinkled with feta. I ate it without the feta, and served it with chicken. Yum!

What you need:

  • 155 grams, about 1/4 of a large cabbage, sliced with the core intact
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, thickly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 250 grams cauliflower stalks and florets chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, thickly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place all the vegetables except the tomatoes on the roasting pan or pans.
  2. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables, and then salt and pepper them. Mix with your hands to coat all the vegetables.
  3. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables begin to char.
  4. Arrange the tomatoes on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with the chopped dill before serving.

 

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken noodle soup - trust in kim

This is the perfect recipe to make after you’ve roasted a chicken. Whether you’re feeling under the weather, or you’re perfectly healthy, a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup is sure to make you feel even better.

After the roasted chicken has been consumed you can cook up the broth, let it cool over night, and then it’s ready to make into this soup the next day. I often freeze the broth for later use, so all my soups can have that homemade goodness in them.

If you haven’t just roasted a chicken and you want to make a broth, there’s a recipe for you here.

What you need for the broth:

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 small onion
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few peppercorns
  • a chunk of fresh ginger
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot

What you need for the chicken noodle soup:

  • a stalk or two of celery, sliced
  • 1 carrot or two, sliced
  • optional: frozen peas
  • wide egg noodles
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Remove any leftover meat from the chicken carcass and refrigerate for use in the soup later.
  2. Place all the chicken broth ingredients in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat, so just a few little bubbles are coming to the surface. Leave on this very low simmer for 2-4 hours.
  3. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve; you can line the sieve with cheesecloth if you want a really clear broth. Discard the solids. Allow to cool, then refrigerate over night.
  4. By the time you make the soup the next day the fat should have hardened on the top of the broth. Scrape the fat off and pour the broth into a large pot on medium high heat.
  5. Add the leftover chicken meat, chopped, along with the celery and carrot, and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add a few handfuls of the egg noodles and cook them according to the package instructions. By this time the carrot should be softer, but not mushy. Add the optional frozen peas and cook for just long enough to heat them through.
  7. Taste and season with salt and pepper. I like to add only a little salt, and then people can add more if they need to – too much salt ruins a perfect chicken noodle soup.

Beet and Gherkin Salad

Beet and Gherkin Salad - trust in kim

This beautiful salad comes to us from my new favourite cookbook, Mamushka: A Cookbook by Olia Hercules. The book is a beautiful and delicious-looking collection of recipes from Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The author has a great love for vegetables, so there are many recipes where you can get your fill of them, along with lots of meaty recipes.

This salad is very popular in Russia, although typically made with boiled vegetables rather than roasted. I love roasted vegetables, so a salad made with them was a must-try for me. It is simple, with just some salt, pepper and unrefined sunflower oil for added flavour. I was able to find a bottle of unrefined sunflower oil at Whole Foods; it has a nice nutty flavour. If you can’t find it, or don’t like it, you can substitute with canola oil.

The only change I will made to this recipe is the amount of red onion. Because I found the onion had too strong a bite, I will only add a few tablespoons when I make this again. If you find a milder and sweeter tasting red onion, feel free to add half of it.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons refined sunflower oil
  • 1 lb beets, peeled and diced into 6mm cubes (I used mostly golden beets, and a few red ones)
  • 315 grams Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 6mm cubes
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 tablespoons red onion
  • 1 large dill pickle (gherkin) diced
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined sunflower oil

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the beets and potatoes with the refined sunflower oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast until they start to caramelize, about 40 minutes.
  3. Allow the beets and potatoes to cool.
  4. Blanch the peas in salted boiling water for about a minute, then drain them.
  5. Combine all the ingredients, and then taste to adjust seasonings.
  6. Serve at room temperature.

Mexican Brown Rice & Beans with Squash and Chorizo

Beans, Rice, Chorizo & Squash

This meal is awesome! So flavourful – a little bit spicy, or a lot if you prefer. But it’s not just spicy – I love the beans in this recipe, prepared like I would a soup stock, with garlic, onion and other ingredients to make them irresistible. The rice, as well, has onion, garlic, hot peppers and flame-roasted tomatoes to boost the flavour. And the Mexican chorizo and cotija cheese add some salty goodness. Add a salsa of your choice, and you’ve got a feast!

I’m not going to lie to you – there are a lot of steps here. Each of the parts of the recipe can be made to use in other meals; the beans and rice would be great on their own, and the rice, squash and chorizo would be great together. On another occasion I made the beans and rice with a beautiful pulled beef dish (recipe to come…). Use a vegetable broth and omit the chorizo for a vegetarian meal.

The beans can be made ahead of time and reheated; they take the longest amount of time. The timeline looks like this:

  • soak the beans the night before
  • make the beans ahead of time OR give them 1 & 1/2 hours or more to cook
  • bake the rice
  • if you are making your own salsa, do that (salsa fresca, salsa verde asado)
  • roast the squash
  • prepare the Mexican sausage
  • put it all together and top with Mexican cotija cheese, Mexican sausage, cilantro, and a wedge of lime

I cobbled this recipe together from a variety of sites, making a bunch of changes that are too numerous to list. The butternut squash is taken from a taco recipe, the beans are adapted from a Saveur recipe, and the rice is a combination of a Rick Bayless recipe and a  Whole Foods recipe.

What you need for the beans:

  • 2 cups dried pinto beans
  • about 8 cups chicken stock, or water and chicken bouillon cube
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 whole jalapeño
  • 12 small sweet onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you need for the rice:

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 1 & 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried ancho pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water (with chicken boullion added)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt

What you need for the squash:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 dried ancho pepper, snipped into small pieces with kitchen shears
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/5 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

What you need for the Mexican Sausage:

  • 2-3 cured Mexican sausages (in Vancouver Armando’s Meats at Granville Island has excellent sausages)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • olive oil

Other things you need:

  • Mexican cotija cheese (salty and crumbly – yum!)
  • lime wedges
  • cilantro
  • salsa of your choice (homemade or store-bought)
  • your favourite hot sauce that people can add as they see fit – some of us like it hot!

What you do for the beans:

  1. Soak the beans in a large pot of water the night before you plan to cook them.
  2. Drain the beans and add the 8 cups of chicken broth or water and chicken bouillon. Add the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, jalapeño and a bit of salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the beans are soft. Add a little boiling water if they start looking too dry.
  3. At this point I decided to cook off a lot of the liquid by raising the heat and stirring. This way I kept a ton of flavour in the beans. Alternatively, you could drain the liquid and reserve it for making soup.
  4. Discard the vegetable pieces and bay leaves.

What you do for the rice:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Use an oven-proof pot with a lid or a dutch oven for the rice. Add the olive oil to the pot on medium-high. When it is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  3.  Add the jalapeño pepper, rice, and the whole dried ancho pepper. Stir to combine, then add the tomatoes, broth or water and chicken bouillon, and the salt. Bring to a boil then cover with a lid and bake for one hour.
  4. Remove the rice from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes, or until the rest of the meal is prepared.
  5. Fluff the rice with a fork and cover until ready to serve.

What you do for the squash:

  1. While the rice is cooking, begin to prepare the squash. Turn the oven heat to 400F when the rice is done; if you have room in the oven you could cook the squash with the rice, letting it bake a little longer than suggested here.
  2. Peel and dice the squash. Place it in a large bowl. Drizzle it with olive oil, then add the garlic, ancho pepper, oregano, salt, and cumin seeds. Toss to combine.
  3. Arrange the squash in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until it begins to get a little browned.

What you do for the sausage:

  1. Heat a frying pan to medium-high and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion and fry until it begins to brown. In the meantime, crumble the sausage into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Add the sausage to the onions and cook until lightly browned. Keep hot until serving.

You can either serve family style, letting everyone put their plates together as they wish, or dish it up: rice and beans side by side, some squash and chorizo on top, sprinkled with a little cheese. Top with cilantro and place a wedge of lime on it for people to squeeze over the whole thing. Serve the salsa on the side, so people can add as much as they wish.

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Belgian Brownies

P1060043

Rich, chocolately, filled with peanut butter – these brownies are perfect. I made them into two-bite brownies (or three or four, depending on the size of your bite). I found the Belgian brownie recipe on Smitten Kitchen, and then added the peanut butter cups.

The recipe is very easy to make; you simply melt the chocolate and butter, and just stir in the rest of the ingredients. The hardest part is waiting for them to bake and cool down enough to remove from the pan.

What you need:

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70 or 72%), roughly chopped
  • 7 ounces (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • enough mini peanut butter cups to put one in each brownie (I made a dozen, then used the rest of the batter to make a brownie in a bread pan)

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin well with non-stick spray.
  3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring.
  4. Remove the butter and chocolate from the heat and stir in the sugar.
  5. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the salt and flour.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for 1/2 hour at room temperature.
  7. Fill each muffin tin with batter, then place a peanut butter cup on top, pressing it in only a little. It will sink in on its own.
  8. You can either make another pan of peanut butter brownies, or you can spray a loaf pan and bake the rest in that.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes, then test by inserting a toothpick into the brownie part, and the toothpick should come out with some crumbs clinging to it. If you’ve made a pan of brownies it needs more like 40 minutes.
  10. Allow the brownies to cool for about half an hour before removing from the pan.

Allow the brownies to cool completely, then they can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for a few months.

Savoury Italian Cake

savoury italian cake - trust in kim

photo by sarah scott

This salty and cheesy savoury cake is something I baked to serve along with a friend’s chili at a Superbowl party. It is quite easy to make, and really tasty, flavoured with bacon, cheddar and parmesan cheeses, and arugula. So good.

I found the recipe in Ilona Chovancova’s cookbook Cakes and Loaves: 110 Recipes you can Make at Home. The main things I changed from the original recipe were some parts of the method of preparation. The author didn’t specify to cook the bacon, so I fried it to get a lot of the fat out of it, but didn’t make it crispy. The other part that confused me was the addition of baking powder: the author says to fold it in at the end, after everything else has been mixed. But this worried me – how would it be possible to mix it in completely without over-mixing? So I solved that problem by adding the flour in two portions, one at the end with the baking powder in it, and that way the baking powder would be distributed better. That would also avoid adding the baking powder with the rest of the flour, which could cause over mixing, resulting in a tough cake. Problem solved.

The only ingredient change I made was to use olive oil instead of vegetable oil.

What you need:

  • a generous handful of arugula
  • 150 grams bacon (or pancetta)
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 & 1/4 cups white aged cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup aged Parmesan, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

What you do:

  1. Chop the bacon and fry it until most of the fat is removed, but don’t let it get crispy. Place the fried bacon on paper towels to absorb the fat. Let it cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
  3. Chop the arugula coarsely.
  4. Combine the eggs, milk and oil in a large bowl and beat with a fork. Add 1 cup of the flour along with the cheeses, arugula, bacon, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Mix the baking powder into the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Fold the flour and baking powder into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for about 50 minutes. The top of the loaf should become browned, and a toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

This was delicious served cold, but if you can time it right, it would probably be awesome to eat it while it’s still a little warm.

 

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