Friday, January 27, 2012

Weekend Cookin'

I believe that on the weekends everything you make can be made a lil extra special. You have more time, and in my case, usually nothing else to do. Scrambled eggs can be stepped up a notch cooked super slow over low heat (making them really creamy) and chopped chives or parsley can be mixed in at the very end for that nice weekend charm. It adds a certain… je ne sais quoi!

Maybe one day when I’m unemployed I can cook like it’s the weekend all the time. Well, if I can still afford any ingredients that is…

This past weekend I spent Sunday afternoon leisurely cooking while also watching football (*a new pastime of mine if you haven’t heard!), and what came out at dinner time would definitely fall under the weekend only, special food, made with love, umbrella.

The star of the meal- Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs- was from a recipe found in Good food to Share by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan. This was the first time I've used the slow cooker, and DAMN was I impressed. The ribs cooked for 4 hours and turned out so tender and flavourful, they simply fell off the bone! I paired the ribs with garlic and lemon roasted kale, Jamie Oliver’s parsley garlic bread and a roasted beet, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and arugula salad. I will officially say this meal was a truly beautiful thing, to be dreamed about for days after (still dreaming about it in case you were wondering…).

Everything for the Balsamic Braised Short ribs going in the slow cooker on low for 4 hours.

The Meal is finally ready to DEVOUR

My favorite: Garlic and Lemon oven roasted Kale

Such amazing ribs, they tasted similar to Beef Brisket. The nice thing was that the sauce wasn't too sweet and was a nice change from the regular BBQ sauce that you find with many slow cooked meats.

Fall off the bone, JUICY.

Garlic Parsley Bread.....YUM
I used a great technique for the garlic parsley bread that I learned from Mr. Oliver himself (yes he’s taught me privately on many occasions): wet a piece of wax or parchment paper, scrunch it up to get some water off it and then use it to wrap the bread. Now pop the whole thing in the oven! This keeps the bread from getting too hard and crunchy when baked. AHHH-mazing. For the bread I made, I stuffed it with chopped parsley and garlic then topped it with some olive oil and sea salt. I baked it in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

Go ahead- get lost in its goey center

The meal was finished off with a lovely roasted beet, goat cheese, toasted walnut and arugula salad.

The recipe for the Blasamic Braised Beef Short Ribs can be found here. Happy Slow Cookin'!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kale “Chips” with Tzatziki

I’ve found my new obsession. It is in the form of a leafy green… things are looking up. And not only is it the easiest thing ever… but it only takes 15 minutes to cook. This means that almost as soon as I want it, I can have it. 

I was inspired after reading my friend Taylor’s blog about how she found a surprising new “love” when she sampled some bites of Kale Chips that our friend Lo had made. Since I always (…well not always) trust her taste in food, I had to try it out myself. 

Now, I can’t get enough! I want to make more and more batches! And, I will. As Taylor described its health benefits to me, “it’s like spinach on steroids”. SOLD.

And, you know what goes perfectly with chips? Dip. And these Kale chips were no exception. I made a delightful Tzatziki sauce that was a perfect accompaniment to these crispy and lemony chips.

Kale “Chips” with Tzatziki 

Kale Chips
1 bunch of Kale (or 2…the size decreases by more than ½ once cooked)
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
Garlic, minced (I prefer the already chopped garlic in oil for this, since it isn’t as strong)
Sea Salt

Greek Yogurt
½ cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bunch of mint leaves, chopped
Juice and Zest of ½ a lemon
Salt and Pepper
Splash of olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Remove stems from kale and tear leaves into medium sized chunks.  Place on cookie sheet and toss with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and sea salt.
Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Kale will burn fast, so be extremely careful!
Mix all ingredients for Tzatziki and taste for seasoning (I suggest making the Tzatiki in advance and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours…the flavours will combine beautifully!).

Toss the kale with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. Roast it in a 350 oven for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve with Tzatziki. It's also so good eaten alone.

Everything for Tzatiki minus the Greek Yogurt!

There's the goooood stuff.