Potato and Black Bean Tacos

I have to say, I was against the idea of a potato taco in the beginning – kind of like I was against the idea of a potato pizza – but in both instances I was proven wrong. The creamy potato and black bean filling in these tacos, paired with this fire-roasted salsa, makes them a pretty awesome treat!

It’s pretty simple really, just cook some potatoes (I used a purple one because I had fresh ones from the garden), open a can of black beans (or make your own from dried beans). Smash them together with some spices, add a little cheese, throw it into a frying pan in a tortilla, and you’re done.

Here’s a breakdown of what you need to feed two people, and the process:

  • 1 medium sized potato
  • cumin
  • chili powder (I used Ancho)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 2 tablespoons milk or non-dairy alternative
  • 1/2 can black beans (or less)
  • canola oil or butter for cooking
  • soft tortillas
  • cheddar or cheese of choice
  • yogurt or sour cream (optional side sauce)
  • your favourite salsa (this one!!!)

What you do:

  1. Boil the potato until soft, then drain and sprinkle in a little cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Add the milk or substitute and give it a few squishes with a potato masher.
  2. Add the beans to the potatoes and give it all a few more squishes, until it is pretty much combined. Taste and add more seasonings if it needs it.
  3. Grate the cheese.
  4. Now you can heat a large frying pan and add a drizzle of oil or a bit of butter, just enough to coat the pan so the tortilla doesn’t stick.
  5. Place a tortilla in the pan, lifting half of it up so you can fit another tortilla in the other half, both of them open.
  6. Spoon some potato/bean mixture into each tortilla half and spread it out so it reaches the sides.
  7. Add some cheese, then fold the top down.
  8. Cook on the first side until it has lightly browned, then turn it over and do the same thing on the other side.
  9. Serve with your favourite salsa, and a side of yogurt or sour cream.
  10. Enjoy!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Plate with three blueberry muffins

Imagine you walk into a kitchen and you catch a waft of lemon, butter and blueberries emanating from the oven – heaven, right? That’s what these are.

It’s pretty rare that I post almost the same recipe within a few months, but these are so good that I had to make them again, with a very slight change – even more lemon!

They are really light and fluffy, packed with blueberries, a nice hit of lemon, and a crunchy cap.

The last time I made these, I made a few minor changes to this recipe. I used the zest of a whole lemon instead of half, and I added the baking powder and baking soda a bit later in the process to avoid over-mixing it. For the Turbinado sugar topping I used a bit less than the suggested 3 tablespoons, and it still had a nice crunchy top. This time around I used some lemon juice in the batter to amp up that flavour, and to balance the sweetness of the muffin. I also rubbed the lemon zest into the sugar to release more of the oils, bringing out the flavour.

I also made a mistake with these! I used half a cup of butter instead of 5 tablespoons – oops. But the flavour was awesome!

If you are using frozen blueberries you should leave them in the freezer until you are ready to add them.

The trick to successful muffins is not over-mixing the batter, which will cause you to have a dense muffin. Another trick – bake them as soon as the batter is in the muffin tins so they don’t lose any of their leavening.

Makes 9-11 muffins. They are the very best the day they come out of the oven, but warmed up with a bit of butter in the next few days they were quite good too.

What you need:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest from a whole lemon (finely grated, only the yellow outer peel)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/4 to 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado (sugar in the raw) sugar

What you do:

  1. Prepare your muffin tins by lining 9 of them with paper liners, and then spray the liners with baking spray. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, and work the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the oils.
  3. Melt the butter, then whisk it into the sugar and zest. Whisk in the yogurt and egg until smooth.
  4. Add one cup of the flour to the sugar mixture and stir it in until there are still some clumps. Now combine the remaining half cup of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Very lightly fold this mixture into the batter, until it it is mostly mixed, with a few lumps.
  5. Fold in the berries until they are just combined. You should now have a very thick batter, especially if you just added frozen berries.
  6. Divide the batter between the 9 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of Turbinado sugar. 
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Test them by inserting a toothpick in the middle; if there is any batter sticking to the toothpick let them bake a few minutes longer. If you hit a blueberry, you might want to poke the toothpick into another spot to see if they are done.
  8. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.
  9. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Barley Soup

Perfect for a Fall day, this soup is warming and hearty, but not heavy. Served with a beautiful baguette from Beyond Bread, this made a delicious dinner for two with plenty of leftovers.

You can make this as a vegan soup, or use chicken or beef broth. The soup consists of some veggies, both dried and fresh mushrooms, a splash of sherry, tomato paste, and broth. A good quality broth is important here, so homemade or a better quality like Pacific would make a tasty soup.

The recipe comes from the Yvette van Boven’s ‘Home Made Winter’ cookbook. Her recipe calls for spelt, but gives the option of barley, which I used because that was what I had in my cupboard. I added a few extra carrots, less oil, and a dab of butter at the end. I used chicken broth because I had it on hand, but look forward to trying it with mushroom broth. I changed the order of when to add the salt and pepper, adding it at the end so it doesn’t get over-salted, and so the salt doesn’t make the veggies mushy. As well, adding pepper too soon can make it the soup taste bitter. My scale is broken right now, so I guessed that 25 grams of dried mushrooms is about 1/2 cup, and that tasted great. For the fresh mushrooms I used a combination of Button and Cremini, the white and brown ones you find easily in the grocery store. If you substitute for more interesting mushrooms, please let me know in the comments below what you used and how you enjoyed it!

What you need:

  • 25 grams dried mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 500 grams (about 1 lb) fresh mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 100 grams (about 1/2 cup) barley or spelt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • a splash or two of dry sherry
  • 1 litre (4 cups) mushroom, vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon butter (optional)

What you do:

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour hot or boiling water over them, just enough to cover. Let that sit for about 20 minutes while you get started with chopping.
  2. Once the onions, carrots and celery have been chopped, heat the olive oil on medium heat, in a large pot. Sauté the vegetables until the onions begin to soften.
  3. Stir in the garlic, then add the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms until they begin to release their juices, about 10 minutes.
  4. Raise the heat and stir in the barley or spelt, allowing it to absorb the mushroom juices.
  5. Add the mushroom soaking water and the tomato paste, cooking until you smell a sweet aroma, and then add the splash of sherry.
  6. Add the broth and the soaked mushrooms (I chopped mine first), then bring it to a simmer. Leave it simmering on low heat until the barley/spelt is cooked to an al dente texture. I checked mine after 30 minutes and it was almost done.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, and add a dab of butter if you wish.
  8. Serve with some gorgeous bread and enjoy!

Orange Olive Oil Cake

For my 500th blog post I give you this simple Orange Olive Oil Cake. So easy to make, but a big flavour bomb! I have barely turned my oven on all summer, but this one called out to me, and I had to try it. And . . . rave reviews! If cake at breakfast is your thing, then this is the one for you, but it’s good anytime. It’s so easy – combine the liquids, add to the dry, bake. Eat. Yum. (You will need some kind of device to zest the orange – a microplaner, part of your grater, or an official zester; I prefer the microplaner.)

This cake is super moist, and super flavourful thanks to all the lemon zest. And the olive oil seems to pair really well with the citrus.

My oven is a gong show, and I never know when it’s going to heat up or cool down, so I do my best to guess (one of the reasons I haven’t been baking much lately). For me this was done almost 15 minutes before the suggested bake time because my oven was so hot – and it still turned out great! So if you are a newer baker, or have a really unpredictable oven like mine, this recipe seems to be a no-fail one.

I ate and gave away a lot of this cake, and then I froze a portion. It’s so nice to have something in the freezer that you can pull out when you need it!

I found the recipe on this website (thank you), based on a recipe that originates with Jim Lahey. I use his amazing pizza dough recipe, and my bread recipe also comes from him.

What you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 2 navel oranges (I used very large oranges)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2/3 cup whole or homogenized milk
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 & 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (about 155 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt or 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

What you do:

  1. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan by cutting a round piece of parchment paper to place in the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Place the rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, then mix it together.
  3. In another bowl combine the sugar, zest (I use a microplaner to do this), eggs, orange juice, milk and olive oil.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined, scraping the bottom and sides to make sure all the flour is incorporated; it might seem a bit weird, but it’s okay to have some lumps.
  5. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, at which time the top should be browned and a cake tester should come out mostly clean. (Note – I put the cake pan on a baking sheet because I thought it might spill over – it didn’t though! Whew.)
  6. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and then turn the cake onto a cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy!

Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

This flame-roasted tomato salsa is excellent any time of year, even in the cooler seasons when it is challenging to access super tasty tomatoes. It’s really easy to whip up, but you do need to plan ahead so that you will have some roasted garlic on hand. I’ve started roasting a bunch of garlic bulbs and freezing them so I can make this awesome salsa anytime I want. I have served it with tortilla chips, but my favourite way to eat it is on beans and rice.

Recently I’ve been buying a lot of the Las Margaritas fresh salsa – it is just so good! But I can only find it in one store, and it is often sold out. So the difficulty finding it, combined with the nearly $8.00 price tag, made me start looking for a way to make it at home.

And . . . I found it! In the Thug Kitchen Cookbook! Yay!

I only made one change to the recipe, and it was a tiny one. I used sweet onions, and typically use them in all my recipes that call for onion because they don’t make me cry as much, plus I think they taste better. The most recent time I made this salsa I didn’t have any green onions, and it was still really good without them.

If you are looking for a fresh tomato salsa you can find one here, and this is a link to a creamy avocado salsa called gaucamolata. This roasted tomatillo salsa is also really flavourful.

What you need:

  • 1 can (398mL / 14.5 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-3 Serrano peppers, minced (depending on how much heat you like)
  • a whole head of roasted garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt to taste

What you do:

  1. Chop the onion, green onions, cilantro and Serrano pepper.
  2. Put all the ingredients (except for the salt) in a blender, or use an immersion blender to whiz everything up. Leave it a little bit chunky.
  3. Add salt to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Avocado and Salsa Toast

Friends have been encouraging me to share some of my simple, go-to recipes. I often don’t think of them as a recipe, because it’s something I throw together based on what I happen to find in the fridge.

Today I had some leftover avocado, leftovers of a gorgeous fire-roasted tomato salsa (recipe to come soon!), and some sourdough bread. Although the rest of the continent seems to have eaten a lot of avocado toast, I had not until today!

The hardest part of this recipe is buying the perfectly ripe avocado.

I also made a sunny-side-up egg so I could dip the toast in the egg yolks – mmm good!

What you need:

  • a slice of bread – I used sourdough
  • half an avocado
  • your favourite salsa
  • hot sauce (optional)

What you do:

  1. Mash the avocado up with a fork. Add a bit of salsa and mix it in.
  2. Toast the bread. Top it with the avocado and hot sauce.
  3. Enjoy!

Mushroom Pâté (Instant Pot Version)

This week I bought an Instant Pot, so I’m now busy trying recipes to get a sense of how it works. I’ve tried out a few recipes, and I’m learning how to tweak them in ways that I enjoy. You can totally make this in a pot on your stove too!

This one is a delicious winner! It has a nice creamy texture and lovely flavours of mushroom, white wine, butter and olive oil. So nice on a piece of toasted bread or crostini! It satisfies those umami cravings. For me this was a part of a picnic spread of cheese, mushroom pate, bean salad, and some veggies.

I made a few changes to the original recipe: In my instructions I have clarified a few details that were not well-described in the Instant Pot Recipe Booklet, and some that were omitted. I used a combination of dried mushrooms instead of just porcini. I also cooked off some of the moisture after pressure cooking because it seemed to liquidy. I added pepper at the end instead of before cooking (I think cooked pepper tastes more butter), and I topped up the liquid in the dried mushrooms with white wine instead of water – yum! I transferred my mushroom mixture to a food processor instead of using an immersion blender because I wanted to make sure I had a really creamy paté; I’m sure the immersion blender does a nice job too – and who doesn’t love fewer dishes!!! I also used a high quality olive oil to add in the last stage. I might also drizzle some on the top in the future!

Next time I will add a sprig of rosemary to the pot before it cooks – doesn’t that sound delicious?

The recipe serves 4-6 people. Or two. If you are self-isolating or just selfish.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup dried mushrooms, rinsed
  • boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon butter (use olive oil for vegan recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 500 grams (1 lb) cremini or white button mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (plus a little more)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons good quality Parmesan cheese, finely grated (use vegan Parmesan for vegan recipe)

What you do:

  1. Place the dry mushrooms in a measuring cup. Pour boiling water over them until it reaches just over 3/4 cup. Push the mushrooms down, then put a tight lid or plastic wrap over the measuring cup.
  2. Slice the shallots and mushrooms.
  3. Add the olive oil and butter to the Instant Pot, then sauté the shallots for a minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they are golden brown (mine didn’t get golden, and it was awesome anyways).
  4. Pour the 1/4 cup wine in and allow to evaporate.
  5. Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, along with an extra splash of wine. Add the salt and bay leaf.
  6. Close and lock the lid, and then set the Pressure Cooker to 12 minutes. When the time is up, use the Quick Pressure Release.
  7. At this point I sautéd off a bit of the liquid – you can decide if you think this is necessary. Discard the bay leaf.
  8. Once slightly cooled, add the cracked pepper and Parmesan cheese. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
  9. Enjoy on crostini or whatever form you choose!

The Best Blueberry Muffins

blueberry muffins - trustinkim.com

“These are the best muffins I have ever had,” is how my guy responded to these blueberry muffins. They might not look like the best blueberry muffins, but they are! They are really light and fluffy, with a hit of lemon and a crunchy cap. The trick to successful muffins is not over-mixing the batter, which will cause you to have a dense muffin. Another trick – bake them as soon as the batter is in the muffin tins so they don’t lose any of their leavening.

I made a few minor changes to this recipe: I used the zest of a whole lemon instead of half, and I added the baking powder and baking soda a bit later in the process to avoid over-mixing it. For the Turbinado sugar topping I used a bit less than the suggested 3 tablespoons, and it still gave a nice crunch.

If you are using frozen blueberries you should leave them in the freezer until you are ready to add them.

Makes 9 muffins. They are the very best the day they come out of the oven, but warmed up with a bit of butter in the next few days they were quite good too.

What you need:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest from 1/2 a lemon (finely grated, only the yellow outer peel)
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/4 to 1 & 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen 
  • 3 tablespoons Turbinado (sugar in the raw) sugar

What you do:

  1. Prepare your muffin tins by lining 9 of them with paper liners, and then spray them with baking spray. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Melt the butter then pour it into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, lemon zest, yogurt and egg until smooth.
  3. My method of adding the dry ingredients goes like this: add one cup of the flour and stir it in until there are still some clumps. Now combine the remaining half cup of flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Very lightly fold this mixture into the batter, until it it is mostly mixed, with a few lumps.
  4. Fold the berries as little as possible. You should now have a very thick batter, especially if you just added frozen berries.
  5. Divide the better between the 9 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of Turbinado sugar. 
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. I started watching mine after 20 minutes (my oven is a little wacky, and it is difficult to keep a steady temperature.) The muffins will look golden when they are done. Test them by inserting a toothpick in the middle; if there is any batter sticking to the toothpick let them bake a few minutes longer.
  7. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack.

Fig & Anise Bread

fig and anise bread - trustinkim.com

The other day my sister was lamenting the fact that Terra breads had closed during the pandemic because she was craving their fig and anise bread. So I said, “Why not bake it yourself?” 

My sister wasn’t really into that idea, so I decided to give it a whirl, and it ended up being quite awesome!

I used my super easy no-knead bread recipe, and added figs and aniseeds to it. It was really delicious, and I only made one modification to my first try – more aniseeds. I thought that one tablespoon would have been more than enough, but it was actually quite a mild flavour. So I upped the amount in the next batch.

After I made the bread, my guy was quite jealous that it was going to my sister, so I ended up cutting off a portion for him – gotta try to please everybody! I have more friends who are fanatics about this bread, so I look forward to making more loaves to share with them.

If you give this recipe a try, please do let me know in the comments if you enjoyed it! The comments let me know if there’s anybody out there who is interested in my recipes.

This bread is lovely with a little bit of butter, cream cheese or goat’s cheese. 

If you have a hard time finding anise seeds, you can buy them in store in Vancouver or online at Gourmet Warehouse.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup dark rye flour (or whole wheat, or only white flour if that’s what you have)
  • 2 & 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons whole aniseed
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1 & 1/2 cups room temperature water

What you do:

  1. Combine the flours, salt, yeast and aniseeds in a large bowl and mix them together.  Add the water and mix it in with a spoon, adding the figs part way through the mixing. You will end up with a shaggy, sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should about double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cooler side you will likely need the longer rising time. 
  3. Cut a large piece of parchment paper and place it on a countertop where it can sit undisturbed. Coat the parchment paper with a bit of oil using your hands, then turn the dough out onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Cover the dough loosely with some plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
  4. About 1/2 an hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475°F  and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475°F, remove the pot from the oven. Pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough (still on the parchment paper) into the pot. I cut away any really long bits of parchment that are sticking out of the pot.
  5. Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more.  The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow.  Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place the loaf on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
  6. Enjoy!

fig and anise dough rising -trustinkim.com
dough after the first 12-18 hours

fig and anise dough - trustinkim.com
dough after second rising

fig and anise loaf - trustinkim.com
the loaf, fresh out of the oven

 

Rye Bread, like Oma made

Rye Bread - trustinkim.com

My Oma made the best bread. Nobody that I know of in my family ever learned quite how to make her bread the way she did. I’ve tried a number of times to recreate it, including baking it in a brick oven once like she did sometimes. This is the closest I’ve ever gotten to making bread that tastes like hers, and I think the potato water is a big part of that. Also the method of baking it in a lidded dish helps to create that nice dark crust.

This is a version of the popular no-knead bread making method. I added the potato water to make it more like Oma’s bread. No-knead bread is super easy to make, and so delicious. Now that my favourite local bread bakery (Terra Breads) has closed due to the pandemic, I’m making this bread regularly.

The potato water adds some flavour and gives the bread a nice texture. To make potato water you can boil some potatoes ahead of time for another meal, then save the cooking water in the fridge until you want to make this bread. Just bring the potato water to room temperature before mixing the dough.

I used a lidded baking dish for this, my le Creuset French oven. At other times I’ve used a Romertopf baker. I imagine a casserole dish with a lid could work too. You could bake it without a lid too, which I haven’t done with this recipe yet.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup dark rye flour
  • 2 & 1/4 cups white flour
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 & 1/2 cups room temperature potato water

What you do:

  1. Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the potato water and mix it up. You will end up with a shaggy, sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should about double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cool side you will likely need the longer rising time. 
  3. Cut a large piece of parchment paper and place it on a countertop. Coat the parchment paper with a bit of oil using your hands, then turn the dough out onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Cover the dough loosely with some plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
  4. About 1/2 an hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475°F  and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475°F, remove the pot from the oven. Pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough (still on the parchment paper) into the pot. I cut away any really long bits of parchment that are sticking out of the pot.
  5. Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more.  The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow.  Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place it on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
  6. This bread has no preservatives, so if you don’t use it up by the second day, it should be refrigerated frozen.