Saturday, May 29, 2010

Easy Chicken Teriyaki

I have a number of dishes that I classify as my go-to dishes in various situations. Spaghetti and store bought sauce is my "I'm hungry and have no time" dinner. Store bought soup is the standby for the kids when I prepare very spicy food or shellfish, which James has a sensitivity toward ie. he throws up uncontrollably for hours afterward. When I have veggies in the fridge that need to get used up before they spoil, I do a stir-fry and if I have chicken in the freezer, I turn that stir-fry into Chicken Teriyaki.

The Teriyaki part is complements of Epicure Selection's Teriyaki Seasoning. I adore Epicure's products!! No I am not a consultant, but a friend of mine in Quebec was and I attended a number of tasting parties and hosted a few as well. I now buy the products from a local consultant and keep the catalogue and monthly specials handy. The products are of great quality and don't have all the excess salt and preservatives sometimes found in other spice mixes. They also have good kitchen and cleaning products. They're a Canadian company and you can buy through a local consultant or order online. Enough of'll see me use many more of their products along the way. Back to the recipe.

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken cut into 1 inch cubes
assorted veggies sliced or diced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp VE Teriyaki seasoning or another brand
2 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix seasoning with soy sauce and sugar. Marinade chicken in mixture in fridge or if pressed for time just add the teriyaki sauce mixture straight to the cooked chicken.
Cook chicken in preheated oil until cooked through. Set aside. Stir-fry vegetables in same pan and cook till done. Combine with cooked chicken, heat through and serve with rice.

In the photo above, I used carrot, onion and zucchini. I have onion, red & yellow peppers and mushroom in the fridge now so that will probably be used tonight. I sometimes also add garlic and fresh ginger, although I think they are already in the seasoning. This meal is healthy, easy and my family loves it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 12

I spent my long weekend trying to recover from a throat infection, so I was in no mood for major cooking, but I did cuddle up with my little boys and watch some Food Network, which I haven't done in months. That is, both watching Food Network and actually get to watch something of mine with my sons in the same room. They usually moan too much about wanting to watch their shows that it's pretty pointless attempting to watch anything myself. But this weekend was different, I had one with his head on my lap and the other snuggled against my side and they watched in silence, I wished I'd gotten a photo, a rare peaceful moment!!!

So anyways...I saw an episode of Bob Blumer's Glutton for Punishment and he was learning to make dim sum dumplings from the masters and it seemed really difficult. So I thought I'd prepare some Shu Mai Dumplings while fresh with the tips I picked up from the show.

Shu Mai Dumplings

As it turned out, Shu Mai dumplings are open ended and are not as difficult to construct as those I saw on the show. I also found that there are ready-made dumpling wrappers, so I didn't need to make the pastry.

I used this recipe from It was pretty simple, with standard (for me) ingredients. When I went to the oriental food market, the guy there was very uncertain about me making my own dumplings and kept on trying to sell me the prepared frozen ones, but since I bought the dumpling wrappers and a bamboo steamer and new chopsticks, I think he made a better sale.

I think they turned out pretty okay looking, not perfect, but none fell apart and they were easy to eat. They tasted absolutely FAN-frikken-TASTIC, I'm still salivating about that meal 24 hours later. I think the ginger and green onion were the essentials for the taste. These dumplings had pork and shrimp, but I saw different recipes with just pork, just shrimp and some with mushroom and other veggies too. I even saw tofu and eggplant versions.

I was really intimidated at first, but I'm really glad I discovered this dish...this recipe is definitely a keeper and will be made again and again.

New Cafe World dish

Another favourite has been added earlier in the week: Philly Cheesesteak
Late last night I came across two new ones, Angel Fruit Cake and Spicy Devil Eggs. I wish they'd introduced this last week, so I could have included the Devilled Eggs I made then, oh well it's very easy and I'll do them again soon.

Progress: 27/65

Next Up: If I can find some, I'll get some Lobster.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 11

Another two dishes are done. But as usual another dish has been added to the Cafe World repertoire, so will I ever reach that halfway mark? Oh well...its fun anyway and I've left some interesting stuff to still cook in the second half, whenever that happens.

Caramel Apples

The kids had a blast with this one. I found many "easy" recipes that just involved melting down caramel candies, easy yes, but I usually don't prefer the taste of commercial caramels, so I found another Canadian Living recipe. This recipe has some really cool ideas for adding nuts and chocolate too, but I just wanted my apples plain.

I only made three apples, because I knew the novelty would wear off quickly with the kids. The recipe makes a bigger batch of caramel, so I greased a baking pan and poured in the caramel and put it in the fridge and voila yummy caramel candies for mom.

Dino Drumstick

There's not much to say about this one. I used those large turkey drumsticks and just broiled them in the oven. Nothing special, just another meal to cross off the list.

New Cookbook addition

Cafe World has introduced another classic and a favourite of mine, Clubhouse Sandwich.

Progress: 26/62

Next Up: No idea, wait and see.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

SWAP 2010 is Done...but not mine.

The final SWAP Collections are up and the winners have been announced.3rd Prize: Yorkshire Lass' Black Rainbow SWAP, 2nd Prize: Kbenco's First Rung SWAP and Grand Prize: Carolyn's Midnight Blue SWAP. Well done ladies, your collections are fantastic and voting wasn't easy. I loved the different interpretations of the rules. As you can see mine isn't there. I didn't get finished, but loved the process. I will still sew up the dresses I planned as they are all in various stages of completion.

My finished garments included:
1. Red polka dot dress
2. Red silk top
3. Peachy/pink mandarin collar blouse
4. Black tank with lace
5. Black long skirt
6. Purple satin skirt
7. Knitted boat neck sweater (not finished before deadline)

I get lots of wear out of the red dot dress and the black tank and I've worn the long black skirt once. I think the red silk top must have gotten hidden in the closet as there is no reason for me not to wear it. I've put the mandarin collar blouse on a few times but I've found something else that worked better on each occasion. I'm sure it'll be worn soon. As for that purple skirt, I feel inclined to give it away, although I could keep it for costume parties.

As you can see from the list, I finished the sweater earlier in the week. I think it took me 4 months almost to the day, which may seem really long for some of you power knitters out there, but I don't think I've ever finished a knitting project in under a year. So I am HAPPY!!! And I can wear it, it fits. I've given away my last few projects as they were too tight or short.

The pattern used came from the Canadian Living website, I chose it because it seemed really easy for the SWAP time frame. I used an acrylic yarn, TLC Essentials in Harvest. I didn't want to use costlier yarn with my track record. Since the pattern doesn't have ribbing at the edges, the sleeves, bottom and neckline roll over. I actually like this. I also love the colours in the yarn.

I also sewed up another long black skirt for one of the formal dinners. I used McCalls 3436, View F, the A line skirt. I've had this pattern for a while and thought it would sew up really quickly, which it did. I used black crepe and produced a simple long skirt that is very handy for all my events. I can just switch around tops for different looks.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 10

I made my crab bisque as planned, didn't get to the caramel apples I planned, but made one of my two usual quiche recipes and only realised I could include it in the challenge when it was in the oven. So another two dishes done.

King Crab Bisque

I love making soups and will usually make a chowder if I'm using seafood. I googled that the difference between the two is supposed to be the texture. Bisque is smooth and creamy, whereas chowder is chunky. The Cafe World recipe also has potato which reminds me more of chowder, so I decided I'd use my regular chowder recipe and just give it a good whizz to make it smooth. After this experiment, I admit I prefer it chunky like chowder. Reflecting afterwards I also thought that perhaps the colour wasn't right either, aren't bisque's usually redder. With the herbs liquidized in the otherwise white soup, it had a green tint. Well whatever, it tasted okay.

I also did a cheat for this and instead of using fresh crab, I used good quality canned chunk crab. I really didn't need the extra work!!!

Just a note too on the other ingredients and quantities. I change this recipe every time I use it. I usually use haddock or some other fish and usually use leeks. My area seems to have a leek shortage right now, there were none at the 2 store I checked, so I used 1 onion and the 4 spring onions I had left in the fridge. I also sometimes add carrot to my leek, it just depends on what I have on hand. In other words, use what you have or like, that simple!!!


1/2 stick butter (50g)
4 leeks washed and thinly sliced or 1 onion and 4 green/spring onions.
4 cloves garlic chopped
pinch nutmeg
5 cups milk
two cans crab meat or other fish
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 large potatoes mashed

Heat the butter in a saucepan and gently cook the leeks and garlic till soft, add the nutmeg. If using the fish, I usually poach it in the milk and then add the leek mixture. If using canned crab, add crab and milk, season with pepper and stir in parsley and mashed potato. Cook until heated through. If you want it smooth like a bisque, use a hand blender or let cool a bit and use a blender.

Impossible Quiche

I was browsing through my recipe scrapbook and my eyes fell on my much used quiche recipe and the decision was instantaneous. This, in my opinion is ultimate comfort food, especially since it has that evil little ingredient....BACON. This quiche is NOT figure friendly, it has butter and cheddar cheese and cream (sometimes), but mushroom is a vegetable right? Since this quiche is pretty rich, you can only eat a little at a time, so I usually serve it with a light salad for dinner and then eat the rest for breakfast or brunch. This would make a great addition to a brunch table. The pastry is rich, so I've made a lighter version before using a store bought pie shell.

Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

250ml (1cup) cake flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 stick butter

1/2 a package bacon (250 g)chopped
250 g white mushrooms sliced
3 eggs
375ml (1 1/2 cups) milk or cream (I like 1 cup milk & 1/2 cup cream)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup grated cheddar cheese or 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 ml mustard powder
3 ml salt
ground pepper to taste
1 tsp fresh herbs or 1/2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Pastry: Mix all ingredients in a food processor, press into base and sides of a 24 cm quiche dish
Filling: Fry bacon until crisp. Remove and keep aside. Saute mushrooms in bacon grease. Spoon Bacon and mushrooms onto base.
Beat eggs, milk/cream and lemon juice. Add cheese and seasoning and pour onto base.
Bake in a preheated oven at 160C/320F oven for 1 hour.

Progress: 24/61

Next up: My little guy is home sick, so I promised I'd make Caramel Apples, actually he's more interested in the Caramel sweets I make with the leftover caramel.
I might also see if I can find those monster drumsticks and make a Dino Drumstick???

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bread and Books

This post is basically a summary of my Mothers Day on Sunday.

I've had a bread recipe out for about 2 weeks, but just haven't had the time to make it. So I figured on Mothers Day my hubbie could take care of the kiddies for a while and I made bread. I used another Canadian Living magazine recipe (Oct '09) for Multigrain Loaves. It uses a mix of multigrain and white bread flours, molasses and sunflower seeds (both inside and a topping). It is delicious. There's something relaxing, at least for me, about kneading bread dough for a good 15 minutes. It forces me to stay in one place and I build up a nice rhythm.

My husband doesn't usually remember to do gift shopping ahead of time, but it is kind of nice, because he usually takes the boys to the bookstore for a few hours and I get an added gift of some peace and quiet. So he took the boys out and I made bread, actually got to have an extended, uninterrupted shower and knitted.

I was quite impressed with my Mothers Day gifts, so I thought I'd share:

Three Cups of Tea, One man's mission to promote Peace one school at a time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. (Top Left)

I read both of Khaled Hosseini's books The Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns while my husband was in Afghanistan and have wanted to read more books based in Afghanistan. I had heard good reviews of this book and it was on my "To Read list", although I don't remember sharing this with hubbie. He is too clever, isn't he?

Next up are three cookbooks, can I ever have too many??

Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf(Top Right) is a chef's journey through Lebanon and Syria. This cookbook has beautiful photography and has great dishes as well as stories of the author's culinary adventures through their travels. I love cuisine from this part of the world and it is the only book I now have dedicated to it.

Curry by Jody Vassallo and awesome photography by Deidre Rooney (Bottom left). The photos in this book are modern and really show off the spicy colour of the food. I love curry and this book incorporates curry recipes from around the world.

The last book, Easy Everyday Indian by Das Sreedharan (bottom right) is another Indian cookbook for my collection. It has some different recipes to my other books and has a lovely little section on ingredients. I'm quite familiar with the ingredients in Indian recipes, but it can be quite intimidating if you're not used to cooking this cuisine.

So I hope to be cooking and sharing from these books soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 9

It has been nine weeks already and I'm about a third the way through the Cafe World Cookbook. I've realised that some weeks are really slow, like this one, with only one dish completed and other weeks I'm able to do more cooking. I try to do at least one of the dishes early in the week, usually on a Sunday, so that I can show some progress by Friday. This week has been particularly difficult as I've simply not been eating at home.

My husband is the Commanding Officer of the Naval unit in the city and this week was the 100th anniversary of our Canadian Navy, so we have been VERY busy. We usually attend about 2 formal dinners a month and have a few other events scattered in between. But this last week has been CRAZY. We've attended three formal dinners this week and have another next week and we've also had the naval parades during the day. Not that I'm complaining, it sure is fun getting dressed up and having delicious dinners served to you and meeting very interesting people, but this girl really needs a little downtime and little boys don't let mamma sleep in. So here's to hoping that Mamma gets some rest on Mothers Day and I can get back to making more of the Cafe World Meals.

Although I had a hectic week I did manage to make one Indian inspired dish.

Tikka Masala Kabobs

By far my favourite cuisine is Indian and I make Indian food quite often. I don't think this dish is very authentic, but it has the flavours I love.


2 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
1 each red and green peppers cut into 1 inch squares
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp chili powder
6 skewers

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for a few hours to prevent them getting too charred.
Mix all ingredients, except the chicken and peppers, together and pour over chicken in a shallow dish. Coat chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
Thread chicken and peppers alternatively onto skewers.
Grill for about 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

New Cafe World dishes

Stuffed Mushrooms have been added. I haven't made the game dish yet, so I'm not sure what the CW version is stuffed with, but these are always yummy.

Progress: 22/61

Next up: I'll attempt King Crab Bisque, might be a little less Kingly (is that a word?) and a little more homestyle. I've also been looking for a Basic Sushi making class, as I'd rather not buy all the ingredients for the Sushi Spread myself. It would be easier and more fun for me to prepare this in a class setting. The earliest class I've found is only in July, but I'll keep looking.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.