Food Hero

Happy Hour – Lime Daiquiri by Katy K
August 30, 2008, 2:33 am
Filed under: cocktails, happy hour, Katy K, Uncategorized
I heard that the daiquiri was Hemingway’s favourite drink.  I like a simple old-fashioned shaken lime daiquiri served up or on a few rocks. Recently, my friend has been ordering daiquiris around town and he has received this answer more than once – “we don’t have a blender” – really!?!
The daiquiri is in that category of drinks I love so well – mix your favourite liquor with some lime, shake, and enjoy. Cocktails can be a good source of vitamin C (gotta keep that scurvy at bay).

Fresh Daiquiri and my Simple Syrup Teddy

Fresh Daiquiri and my Simple Syrup Teddy

Ingredients (per drink)
1.5 oz Rum (10 Cane – yummy!)
Juice of 1/4 to 1/2 a lime
1 tsp of sugar or simple syrup.

Muddle limes and sugar, add ice, pour in rum and shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a martini glass.  Sometimes I add a few ice cubes if the day is warm.

Chronic Chronicling: The Inspiration for my Simple Syrup Teddy: I used to work with this beautiful, funny, energetic woman. One day I was with her watching a bike race in Vancouver on a rainy day – I thought it might be interesting.  Bikes were skidding and wiping out all over the place and you don’t really see who wins – you have to wait for the news to spread through the crowd – it was uninteresting. She livened up the whole spectator situation when she pulled her Tequila Teddy out of her purse. That’s what she called her honey bear that she had refilled with tequila and I thought she was hilarious.  Her boyfriend was a cyclist so she came prepared.


Salad – Bulgur with Grapes and Goat Cheese by Katy K
August 30, 2008, 1:03 am
Filed under: Katy K, Salads
This salad has unusual ingredients, but every time I make it for a party or potluck I get a lot of compliments. I love it too. The grapes, green onion, mint, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar go together so well.  It’s healthy and refreshing and fills me up enough for a light lunch.  I found this recipe in Shape magazine (May 2006). It was with a group of recipes for salads that have whole grains in them.  The dressing is made up of equal parts maple syrup and balsamic vinegar and has no oil.  A friend who tasted it thought that the dressing was great and was going to use it for other dishes.  She pointed out that balsamic vinegar doesn’t cling to food very well and that mixing it with the maple syrup tastes good and it improves the texture of the balsamic vinegar as a dressing.  I thought this was a very good point and I’m going to try using this dressing for other balsamic vinegar applications very soon.

Ingredients (serves about 4)

1 Cup       Bulgur
1.5 Cups  boiling water
1.5 Cups  red grapes, halved
3              green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup   chopped fresh mint
2 oz         goat cheese (crumbled or chunked with a fork)
3 Tblsp    balsamic vinegar
3 Tblsp    maple syrup

Put bulgur in a heat-proof bowl, pour boiling water over it, mix a little, cover with a heat-proof plate, and allow to sit for a 1/2 hour.  Remove lid and fluff bulgur with a fork and allow to cool completely.  I use a bread knife to halve the grapes.  Add grapes, onion, mint, and goat cheese and mix together.  Combine balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, pour over the salad and toss a little with a fork.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and enjoy!

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto by Rachelle
August 28, 2008, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, Medium Fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , ,

Submitted by: Rachelle

Risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods, and it’s surprisingly easy to make. The key to successful risotto is to keep the broth warm in a saucepan over low heat next to the skillet you are cooking the rice in. While making risotto you do have to stir it regularly, but you don’t have to beat it like a maniac. Just stay attentive so it doesn’t scorch. Be sure to let all the liquid absorb before pour adding more.

The first time I made this it turned out much too salty, even with unsalted butter and no-salt broth. So start with a little bit of salt and adjust towards the end, after you’ve put in the parmesan cheese (which is quite salty in itself.) This calls for lots of unsalted butter – 12 T total. Sticks of butter are a different size in DK than in the USA, so I’m not sure how many sticks this is for all you Yanks. It’s two big sticks of Dansk smør. This easily serves 6-8 as a main dish.

Shopping List
8-10 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
8 T unsalted butter
2 medium yellow onions, minced
coarse salt and black pepper
2 c Arborio rice (don’t use other kinds of rice!)
1 cup dry white wine (chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, or chablis will all work)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 T unsalted butter
1 lb quartered mushrooms
2 2inch sprigs of fresh rosemary, stripped off woody stems and lightly chopped
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced

In a large skilled or wide saucepan, heat 4 T of butter over medium heat. Add onion, a little salt, and a good deal of fresh ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and slightly translucent. Add the rice and cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring until absorbed.

Add two cups (about two soup ladle’s full) and continue to stir the rice so it doesn’t scorch. Keep stirring until it’s almost completely absorbed. This will take about 10 minutes of medium heat. Then keep adding the broth one cup (one ladle) at a time and repeat. Make sure you scrape around the edges of the pan so all the rice gets some attention.

This is the time to start your mushrooms. In another skillet, melt 4 T of butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, add the diced chicken and rosemary. Stir from time to time and cook another 5 minutes or so.

Keep adding the broth one cup at a time to the rice, allowing the rice to absorb most of the liquid before adding the next batch. You may not need all the broth. If you run out and the rice still is not creamy and tender, it’s okay to add a few ladles of hot water.

When the rice is at the desired consistency, add the mushroom mixture from the other pan. Heat another 3-5 minutes to blend the flavors. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining 4 T of butter and the parmesan cheese. Adjust the salt and pepper and have yum!

NB: This was originally “Simple Risotto” from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, but I’ve changed it significantly.

‘Doctored’ Bolognese Sauce by Rachelle
August 25, 2008, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Italian, Main Dish, quick fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , ,

Created by: Rachelle

One of my favorite instances of cooking alchemy is when I make something from whatever I have on hand and it actually turns out delicious. This week we got a little magic in the kitchen by doing what my mother calls ‘doctoring up’ a couple jars of red sauce. Viola! Rich, satisfying Bolognese sauce. The classic red sauce base made it a hit with the kids, and the savory olives, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of white-pepper-kick made it a win for the grownups as well. I thought we would be disappointed with just hamburger instead of Italian sausage, but the ground beef actually gave it a satisfying meaty flavor. (So much for being food snobs!) You can whip this up for dinner in about 30 minutes. It serves at least 6.

Shopping List
olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 -1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
coarse salt to taste
2-3 tsp white pepper (white pepper is key in Italian cooking)
2 jars of good quality pasta sauce (I like Seeds of Change or Amy’s Organic)
2 2-3 inch springs of fresh rosemary, stripped off the woody stems and chopped slightly
1 dozen kalamata olives (we can only find the un-pitted variety in CPH, but people just throw them in the sauce whole and let the dinner guest deal with the pits)
3 glugs of balsamic vinegar
one handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced

cooked pasta (mini penne, or fusilli works well) and cheese as desired.

How to Doctor the Sauce:
In a large skillet sauté ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil until browned. Break up ground beef with a spoon as needed. (If you can’t get lean ground beef, you’ll need to drain off the excess fat after this step.)

Add prepared pasta sauce and rosemary; allow to simmer about ten minutes to meld flavors.

Add olives. Simmer some more. Just before serving add balsamic vinegar and basil leaves.

Serve over pasta, top with cheese, and have yum!

Tutorial for Newbie Cooks: How to Chop Basil

Okay, now the basil. Don’t be scared! Pinch the leaves off the stems. It’s a little like plucking a daisy. (”She loves me. She loves me not.”) You only want the leaves. Wash the basil leaves and dry them in a salad spinner. If you dont’ have a spinner, pat them dry between two paper towels, or just shake them off over a sinke and call it done. Stack the leaves on top of each other on a cutting board. There now, isn’t that nice and orderly? Roll ‘em up into a little bundle, and slice lengthwise into thin shreds. Aren’t you the cooking pro? Into the bowl they go. Good job!

Lazy Gourmet: Oven Pancakes by Rachelle

photo by Katy, recipe by Rachelle

Paul learned how to make these from his college roommate and now he makes them on-demand for our kids. Cut them in quarters and pour on the syrup for a simple, sweet weekend treat — or serve them whole on a pretty platter heaped with fruit, drizzled with creame fraiche, and sprinkled with brown sugar for a more elegant brunch.

Shopping List
(makes one pie-plate sized pancake)

2T butter
1/2c milk
1/2c flour
2 eggs

Heat oven to 450. Melt butter in pie pan (glass works best). Whisk together milk, flour, and eggs. Pour into pie plat and bake 5-8 minutes until the pancake puffs and the edges brown slightly. These will ‘fall’ when you pull them out of the oven, they’re supposed to, don’t worry. Top with berries, bananas, or just plain old maple syrup (the real stuff please). Have yum!

What yummy concoction did you put on your oven pancakes? Do tell in the comments or link us to your recipe!

Happy Hour – Cosmopolitan by Katy K
August 20, 2008, 11:45 am
Filed under: cocktails, happy hour, Katy K | Tags: , ,

Posted by: Katy K
My absolute favourite cocktail is a Cosmopolitan. It is both delicious and beautiful. People think it isn’t a “real” cocktail – just some girl’s drink whose main feature is the color.

A good Cosmopolitan is not very sweet and made with fresh lime.  It is not so different from other “real” cocktails such as the margarita or the daiquiri (the original daiquiri).  The pink color comes from a dash of cranberry juice, a completely respectable ingredient for a drink.  The men don’t know what they are missing.

Shopping List

Vodka (Ketel One is good)
fresh limes
sugar (or sugar syrup: how to make simple syrup)
unsweetened organic cranberry juice

Per drink:

-Muddle 1/4 or 1/2 of a lime with 1 tsp of sugar (or simple syrup) in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. (How to muddle skip forward to 2:30 to save blah blah blah.)
-Add ice
-Pour 1.5 oz of vodka, 1/2 oz of Cointreau and approximately 1/2 of a teaspoon of cranberry juice over the ice.
-Shake vimfully until cold and a little water from the ice has opened up the flavors of the drink.
-Strain into a stemmed martini glass. You may garnish with a slice of lime if you wish. 

I think that muddling whole slices of lime is important because I believe that the oil in the rind adds to the flavor. 
I use “Baker’s Sugar” which is finer than regular sugar to make my drinks and my simple syrup because it dissolves more easily in liquid.  Actually I use baker’s sugar for everything now.  It comes in an easy-to-use milk carton-type container.
I also freeze cranberry juice in an ice cube tray and store the ice cubes in a ziploc bag in the freezer.  Then I can melt a cranberry cube and have some juice for a few cocktails any time I want. 
I like to use a pint glass with my cocktail shaker – the way the bartenders do.  I have old-fashioned ice-cube-tray ice.  It is big and I can’t crush it with a muddler.  When I shake it in the extended cocktail shaker volume, made by inverting a pint glass into the shaker, my cubed ice is broken down. This cools off my drink and releases water more effectively than the cocktail shaker alone.

I love this Cosmo but, other than this one, the best one I’ve found in Seattle is served up by the bartender at Bick’s Broadview Grill on Greenwood Ave (where I did hear a man order a Grey Goose Cosmo just the other day).

About Katy K! by Rachelle
August 20, 2008, 6:48 am
Filed under: Katy K

My partner-in-crime has her intro up on our about page…but here it is, just in case you missed it. 🙂

Actually, the first time I met Rachelle, I talked to her because she has beautiful red hair (I LOVE red hair). She was writing Scottish Blessings in colored chalk on the sidewalk in front of her house. She was actually very coy. The next time I remember is when she invited the neighbourhood to her house for chili (food!). I went to the party because I wanted to get to know her. The third time I remember was election night. My nearest neighbour invited me to go with them to Rachelle’s because they were unsure of what to expect. I went with them and when I walked in, Paul offered me a cocktail (drinks!)and that was it. I really wanted to get to know these people better. He made me an Old Fashioned, or was it a Sidecar? It was delicious and served in a cool glass.

Since those fateful days, Rachelle noticed me cooking for myself and carrying my bag full of lunch and snacks past her front door every morning. I eat in restaurants with various foodie friends several times a week. I mix up cocktails for anyone who will take one. I like to post pictures of food that I cook, or that someone else cooks and I eat, online. I am obsessed. Rachelle pointed out the obvious – that I would enjoy hosting a food blog. I think it is time that I enter the fray and stake out some territory on the world wide web. I hope you enjoy Food Hero too.