Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Extra Mint? Homemade Mint Ginger Tea!

I got up the other day with a raging headache that made me feel faint and nauseated. Turns out that I had a lingering cold for a while that had been laying dormant for the last week or so and then decided to wake up with a vengeance and turn into a full blown sinus infection. Needless to say I cancelled all plans and spent the rest of the day on the couch, sipping soup and tea and taking acidophilus. Although I'm feeling much better today I've been weary and been trying to keep everything healthy.

While sick, I was served a packet of ramen noodles, my guilty favorite. The ramen chicken flavoring was ditched and replaced with a homemade vegetable broth that I made last week with a pinch of spices and garam masala to clear out the sinuses.

Looking into the fridge today, I found that there's a whole bunch of mint leaves that are yet to be used. The answer? This lovely homemade ginger tea!

And it's just the thing I need for this pesky cold!

Courtesy of Eating Pleasure: Little Inbox Recipe

2 liter water
30 mint leaves
2 thumb sized slices of root ginger, peeled

Bring the water to boil. Add the mint leaves and ginger on a simmer for half hour. Serve warm with brown sugar for sweetening.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Classic Italian Dinner at Home

Much like the cooking challenges that Sophia and I used to subject ourselves to, I have begun to take culinary requests from friends and family. Typically these meals are made as a reward to a lucky person who wins a bet. Instead of betting money, we bet, what we call, fantasy meals. This laborious but incredible meal was inspired by a fantasy meal where meatballs were requested. The recipe I created myself with a little help.

A few nights prior to cooking the fantasy meal, I had made patatas bravas, a Spanish appetizer of crispy cut potatoes with a spicy roasted pepper dipping sauce. I used the remaining sauce as a paste and a base for the spicy tomato sauce.

Pork and Veal Meatballs with a Homemade Spicy Tomato Sauce

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb ground veal
1 chopped onion

After mixing the ground meat with the chopped onion, I rolled the meat into balls and then swished them in an egg wash before coating them in breadcrumbs. A friend had recommended that I wet the breadcrumbs beforehand in a little splash of milk before using to coat the meatballs. The idea was to then fry the meatballs with this coating in order to yield a nice crispy outside layer. However, I then transferred the meatballs to the homemade simmering tomato sauce to add flavor and to cook the middle of the meatball. Thus I would recommend to forego the egg wash and bread crumb coating altogether.

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 can of Pastene peeled and boiled tomatoes

Empty can of tomatoes to a pot and simmer on medium heat.

I adapted a recipe from Cooking Light for a sauce to accompany potatoes and I used this as a paste for the spicy tomato sauce. Here's a rough draft version of the sauce.

diced onion
roasted red pepper*
chili pepper
roasted garlic*
8 ounce of marinara or tomato sauce

*I roasted the garlic and the red pepper myself in the oven.
You may add as much of the spices as you see fit. I prefer the sauce to be extra spicy so I was not shy in the amount. I blended these ingredients together to create a paste and then it was added to the simmering tomatoes to create a rich sauce. The meatballs are to be fried in a bit of oil in a pan over medium low heat. Then once they take on a crispy brown coating they are to stew in the tomato sauce until cooked through. These meatballs were incredibly tender and made the sauce very flavorful.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Piled High Apple Pie

It's been a while, my dears, and I'm sorry. Getting settled in a new town takes a lot of time, in my defense.

On the other hand, I found the time to make lots of pie! I was most excited about a chocolate pecan pie I made, but unfortunately I didn't take a single picture. I'll just have to make it again :)

But don't fear! I made the extra-special Aunt Marie's Apple Pie! I've never met Marie, and I'm not even sure she's an aunt, but she makes a mean pie.

I, unfortunately, went a little overboard.

It takes about five or six cortland apples, which work really well, but the store was out of them so I used something that looked similar. The flavour had a lot more apple to it, but mostly I noticed that the apples themselves seemed to pile a lot higher than the cortlands. So basically, you want to core and peel five cups worth of good pie-apples.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees,then mix together:
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash gound nutmeg

and mix with the apples until coated.

Fill the pie dish (which I assume you've already lined with half of your regular pie pastry recipe) with the mixture, and dot with:

2 tbsp butter.

Cover with the other half of your regular pie pastry recipe, and bake for 50 minutes or until done.

You probably want to put some aluminum foil on the bottom of your oven before you do this, as the pie will overflow quite a bit.

I hear through the grapevine that Marie had a special recipe for dough as well, but that it fell behind her stove. But still, this pie is magically more delicious than any other apple pie I've had, even though it might not look like it from the recipe. I think it's the nutmeg that really makes it.

I was short on dough, as I used one recipe to make this pie AND another single crust pie, so it's stretched a little thin. But I made it!

The order of this recipe is terrible. Just terrible.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mango Lassi

I have also moved into a new town and home over the last several weeks. Sophia and I must reconsider the name of our blog as we no longer reside in Quinn Street Attic.

After working in the yard and tidying up the overgrown bushes around my new home, I decided to cool off with a mango lassi, something like a cross between a smoothie and a milkshake with coconut milk and mangos.

The results were decadent though it was more like a mango pudding than either of the above. I loved the fragrant taste of the extra cardamom.

Mango Lassi
Courtesy of Chez Us

2 mangos, peeled, and sliced
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons simple syrup
1 teaspoon cardamon

Blend into a puree.

I used 4 cardamom pods and a rose water lime simple syrup.