Friday, April 18, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 73 - Fun Stuff from Capital Iron

Happy Good Friday Everyone!

I would normally be coloring Easter eggs today but we decided to do it last Sunday. My in house taste tester wanted potato salad for supper and I figured since I need hard boiled eggs for that we should just color early. I am glad we did, because I have had great lunches this week, egg salad sandwiches, Cobb salad and these amazing Muffin Melts!


Yesterday I discovered a new store, it is called Capital Iron. It is a Victoria based store and has been here since 1934. They only had one location downtown until last week when they opened a huge store right near my house.

it is amazing! They have everything from kitchen stuff, to garden things and camping gear plus a huge clothing section. Oh and, hot tubs, BBQ's and tons of outdoor furniture.

I found a few amazing things, of course!


1. 4 mini trifle bowls, I am so making something amazing in them for Easter dessert!

2. Classic Popsicle molds, I have been searching everywhere for these!

3. Two super cute bamboo bowls, aren't the colors great!

4. A cute stir stick that is silicon, but it looks like a paint stir stick. Plus this great scoop, I think it will be very handy.


I hope you the Easter bunny brings you all lots of chocolate.
Hoppy Easter!

Jen






Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Super Awesome Brownies

I have never been a huge brownie girl, or at least I wasn’t until I made and ate these brownies.



I found this recipe on Cookies and Cups; she calls them her kid’s favourite brownies. I don’t have kids but I can say with certainty that they are my favourite brownies‼

They are super quick to make, which could be dangerous if you have no self-control.
The secret is in the icing; you pour it onto the brownies while they are still warm.  What you get is a fudgy yet slightly cakey, super chocolaty,  but not to sweet, perfect friggin brownie!



What you need,

For the brownies,
1 cup butter, melted (I used salted butter, as usual)
½ cup cocoa powder
4 eggs
1½ tbsp. vanilla
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the icing,
¼ cup butter at room temperature
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup milk (you may need a little more I used 2 extra tablespoons)
2½ cups icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with tin foil. Spray it well with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the melted butter and cocoa powder until smooth and fully combined. I used an electric hand mixer it worked great.
Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined, about 1 minute.
Stir in the sugar and then the flour until just combined.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the center is just set. Mine took about 18 minutes, don’t over bake them!

While the brownies bake make the icing. Beat the butter and cocoa powder together. Add the milk and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in any extra milk a teaspoon at a time until you get a smooth fairly thick icing.

Let the brownies cool in the pan for 10 minutes then pour the icing over the warm brownies. Use an offset spatula to spread the icing into an even layer. The icing will melt into the brownie a bit, you want this to happen, that is where the magic is‼

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, before cutting into squares.

Store the brownies in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Good luck you are so eating all of these before the day is done.



I think I ate 3 before I had to walk away. They are so so so good. I am now officially a brownie girl! Thank you Cookies and Cups, you ROCK‼

Enjoy!

Jen

Recipe from Cookies and Cups


Monday, April 14, 2014

Thai Chicken and Soba Noodle Salad

And my obsession with Thai food continues…

This salad, oh this wonderful, lovely, tasty salad. It really made my heart sing.



I could seriously eat this every single day. My mouth is so happy right now, I can’t tell you.



What you need,

For the marinade,
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ lime, juiced
¼ tsp. salt and fresh cracked black pepper
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the salad,
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
½ head savoy cabbage, chopped (you could use Napa cabbage also)
1 large cucumber, peeled, and sliced thinly
2 carrots, thinly sliced (I used a vegetable peeler)
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
5 green onions, chopped
½ bunch of parsley, chopped (if you like cilantro you could use that)
1 cup roasted salted peanuts

For the dressing,
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup Thai sweet red chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp. sugar
Salt/Pepper to taste

For the peanut sauce,
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. Thai sweet red chili sauce
1-2 tsp. sriracha sauce
2 tbsp. water

1 pkg. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions

In a large zip lock bag combine the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, parsley, lime, salt and pepper. Add the chicken and stash it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight would be better.  You can cook the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or you can grill it if you like.
Let the chicken cool a bit then slice on a diagonal into thin slices.


To make the dressing whisk together the rice wine vinegar, sweet red chili sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl make the peanut sauce. Stir together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine, vinegar, sweet red chili sauce, sriracha and water until smooth. You can use a little more water if you need to thin the sauce a bit.

In a very large bowl combine the romaine lettuce, savoy cabbage, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, onion and parsley.
Dress the salad with about ¾ of the dressing and toss well to coat.

When the noodles are cooked, run under cold water and drain well. Toss the noodles with the remaining dressing.

To assemble the salad but a pile of noodles on a large plate, top with the dressed salad. Top with some of the sliced chicken. Drizzle on the peanut sauce and sprinkle on some of the roasted salted peanuts.



Stuff this salad in your face! I really can’t express how happy this dinner made me. Just make it and then you will understand the pure joy!

Enjoy!

Jen


Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Short Rib Ragu over Tagliatelle Pasta

For weeks I had been craving short ribs, which is weird because I think I have only eaten them twice in my whole life.  I really wanted a rich meaty sauce over noodles. Short ribs seemed like the perfect thing.



These short ribs take some time but they are totally worth it! They were rich and creamy and wonderful.



What you need,

4 large short ribs, try to choose really meaty ones
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup boiling water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. anchovy paste
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce (I used Hunt’s onion, herb and spices)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional but it’s awesome, do it!)
3-4 cups low sodium beef stock
Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by placing the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and covering them with the boiling water. Let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large Dutch oven pot heat the oil over medium high heat.
Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
Brown the short ribs on each side until a nice dark crust forms, 3-4 minutes.
Remove the ribs from the pan and place on a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan, and reduce the heat to medium.

 Add the onions, celery and carrot to the pan and sauté until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Add the garlic and anchovy paste to the pan and stir around for 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the red wine to the pan and scrape up any brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Add a little salt and pepper at this point, about ½ teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

To the pan add the mushrooms and their liquid, beef stock, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, parsley and Parmesan rind. Stir well to combine. Add the ribs back to the pan and nestle them down in the sauce until they are covered.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the pan and place it in the oven to cook for 3 to 3½ hours or until the meat starts to fall of the bone and is perfectly tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the ribs to a plate. They should be falling apart, this is a good thing!

Let the ribs cool for a few minutes while you fish the bay leaves and the Parmesan rind out of the sauce.

Pull the meat off the slightly cooled ribs and place in a bowl.

Put the whole bowl of rib meat and the whole pan of sauce in the fridge overnight.

Remove the sauce from the fridge and reheat over medium low heat for 1 hour or until it is warm and bubbling. Using an immersion blender puree the sauce until smooth. Add the rib meat back to the sauce and continue to heat for another 30 minutes. Season the salt with additional salt and pepper if needed. Toss in a handful of chopped fresh parsley right before serving.
While the sauce is simmering cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Serve the ragu over a pile of Tagliatelle pasta; grate some Parmesan cheese over the top.



I can’t even tell you how amazing this was. So hearty and rich, just what I had been craving.

Worth every bit of cooking time‼

Enjoy!

Jen


Recipe slightly adapted from Closet Cooking

Friday, April 11, 2014

Favourite Things Friday Vol 72 – Reese’s Easter Treats

I can’t believe that Easter is only a week away! Wasn’t it just Christmas?? We are gearing up to color some eggs and eat some ham and scalloped potatoes and of course stuff a ton of chocolate into our faces!



I thought I would share with you my Easter weakness... Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, in any form!
The mini eggs are great, the mini cups are awesome but the big eggs are the BEST‼


I am always looking for the perfect peanut butter to chocolate ratio and these eggs are perfection.



Let’s be real I will eat any kind of Easter chocolate but Reese is my all-time fav!

Happy weekend everyone!


Jen