Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

April 17, 2011 by

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Cari and I had set our hearts on making steak burgers using our new KitchenAid meat grinder attachment, but when the skies opened and the rain poured down for most of the day, we decided something that didn’t involve the barbecue would make a lot more sense.

We had remembered the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit and five indulgent recipes for baked pasta dishes.  After perusing them, we decided on the Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch.  Roast vegetables in the oven, toss them with cooked pasta and a tomato-cream sauce, sprinkle with a dry pesto crumble and a ton of mozzarella, throw it in the oven for half an hour and you are in for a serious treat of a dish. Read the rest of this entry »

Four-Grain Flapjacks

March 20, 2011 by

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While our appreciation for food hasn’t wavered since the birth of our daughter, Violet, we have noticed that our choices about what we cook have become much different.  Unless Violet is asleep, one of us generally has to be holding her, which makes recipes that involve rigid timing hard to follow.  Elaborate breakfasts at home are another story altogether.  So often we find ourselves rushing out the door and unable to have a slow, relaxing morning.

Then it happened.  Sunday, March 20.  Violet slept for a huge chunk of the morning, and as a result so did Cari!  We celebrated with one of Dan & Liana’s favourite recipes from The Joy of Cooking.  They actually had us send them this recipe last night, so it was fresh in our minds and was something we already had the ingredients for.

There’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes, but when you feel like something a bit richer in nutrients, this is a delicious and wholesome alternative.  We were surprised just how pronounced the flavours of oatmeal and cornmeal were in the finished product. Read the rest of this entry »

Sesame Chicken

February 11, 2011 by

Sesame Chicken

I’m not sure if it was the recent passing of Chinese New Year or the prevalence of Chinese food on some of the movies and television shows I’ve been watching recently, but a craving for Chinese food and wanting to get back into the kitchen after the arrival of our daughter Violet led me scour the Internet for the perfect chicken dish.

Tyler Florence’s recipe for Sesame Chicken on the Food Network website seemed to have everything I was looking for, and besides the chicken the majority of the ingredients were already on hand in our pantry and refrigerator.

The best part of this dish is the sauce: a thick, sweet-and-sour sauce that coated the crunchy pieces of chicken and added a ton of flavour.  The only part of the dish that disappointed was that a few of the early pieces of chicken got too dark on the outside… probably because I had no handle on the temperature of the oil I was frying the chicken pieces in.  Eventually I cut down the cook time which seemed to remedy the last few batches.

Sesame Chicken (courtesy of Tyler Florence, adapted from Food Network)

Ingredients:

3 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

and for the marinade/batter:

6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce (recipe called for paste, but couldn’t find it at the grocery store)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

peanut oil, for deep-frying (we used canola oil)
salt
plenty of toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions

1. Wash the chicken under cold running water, pat dry and trim off excess fat.  Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and put into a large mixing bowl.

2. Add marinade/batter ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.  Let this sit and marinate while you get to the sauce.

3. Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan over low heat, adding ginger and garlic to fry gently until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.

4. Mix remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir well so that the cornstarch dissolves.  Gently pour this mixture into the sauce pan with the fried garlic and ginger.  Make sure you stir.  Cook until thickened and then keep warm over low heat.

5. Fill another pan with enough oil to immerse chicken chunks.  Fry the chicken in batches so that the pieces don’t stick together.  At first I abided by the recipe’s 5-6 minutes, but because I think my oil may have been too hot, I ended up cutting that down to 4 toward the end.  Pieces should be golden and crispy when they come out.  I’d use a wire mesh strainer to get them out if you’ve got one.

6. Season with a little salt, and then add enough of the sauce to coat the chicken pieces.  Serve over rice with plenty of sesame seeds sprinkled on top.  Yum!

Amazingly Fudgy Brownies

February 8, 2011 by

For Violet’s 2 week birthday, Adam and I were feeling ready to get back into the kitchen. The February issue of Bon Appétit had arrived just in time, and included a number of recipes to get us inspired.

Adam wanted to make chili for the Superbowl, and decided on the veggie version – a Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash. Unfortunately that didn’t fare so well… it ended up extremely spicy – and not all that interesting. So if you also get Bon Appétit, I’d give that recipe a miss.

These brownies, however… make them. Make them NOW. They weren’t kidding about them being the best ever – they are so fudgy and decadent. A great way to get back into baking. MmmMm.

Full recipe:

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Announcing Violet August Miller!

January 24, 2011 by

Born at 6:35am on January 23rd in a surprisingly fast and unexpected home delivery.

Asparagus & Pesto Lasagna

January 22, 2011 by

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Back in Cari’s vegetarian days and before our Life at No. 71 (more like Life on Bay Street?) began, we subscribed to Vegetarian Times. One of the first memorable recipes we came across was this Asparagus & Pesto Lasagna from the April 2006 issue.  It’s weird to think that this delicious, simple pasta dish has been a part of our cooking repertoire for almost five years.

Despite the fact that it tastes indulgent, thanks to its bechamel-like sauce and pesto base, this is actually a lighter recipe.  Just be aware of the fact that it uses a LOT of milk.

Asparagus & Pesto Lasagna Read the rest of this entry »

Chili-Bean Quesadillas

January 17, 2011 by

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Cari and I cook a lot with tortillas.  They’re cheap, satisfying and versatile.  They’re also our go-to “I don’t know what to cook” meal.  Just load ’em up with whatever you’ve got in the fridge and you’re in business.

Trouble is, after a while the whole idea of putting whatever in a tortilla and baking it gets kind of boring.  That’s why we were very happy to find this Mark Bittman recipe that is also very simple but different enough that it satisfies our cravings for something a little different.

This is also the recipe that made us fall in love with poblano peppers.  While not as hot as some other peppers out there, be careful while you’re slicing them… I’ve had to avoid wearing my contact lenses the following day because some of the juice got absorbed into my fingertips.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

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Italian Meatballs

January 16, 2011 by

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We first tried these meatballs at an Italian food themed New Year’s Eve party a few years ago.  They were a big hit, and we’ve made it once or twice since then.  It seemed like a good recipe to increase in size and make for the sake of freezing.  Only this time instead of cooking our meatballs in a slow cooker, we did it in our beautiful Le Creuset Dutch Oven.

The combination of meats, cheeses and herbs make these meatballs some of the most delicious we’ve ever had.  They’re great tossed with pasta or served on a nice crusty Italian bread.

Here’s the recipe:

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Black Bean Soup

January 2, 2011 by

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There are a few recipes that Adam and I make pretty regularly. For most of these, we actually consult our blog for the recipe rather than trying to remember where we originally found the recipe and pulling it from there. Maybe we’re just lazy that way, but hey – that’s the main reason we started this blog to begin with: To remember the awesome dishes we love so we can revisit them easier later.

This recipe is one that we just assumed we’d blogged about, but when we went to find it we were pretty surprised to find it wasn’t there! So, here it is. One of our favourite winter soups – a black bean soup. This recipe was inspired by Panera’s black bean soup, and is one that never ceases to satisfy.

Full recipe:

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2010 Food-In-Review

January 1, 2011 by

2010 was a great year for food, beginning with indulgences carried over from our New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day continuing with great meal experiences at home and abroad, and it closed with some of the best things we and our friends have ever eaten.

A few highlights from 2010: Read the rest of this entry »