RSS

Better late than never, Year of the RAM

Menu: Lettuce wraps w/chicken filling; pork dumplings; steamed rice; vegetable chop suey

photo

Only a week or so after we were supposed to have welcomed in the year of the Ram, the MND crowd got together with Guest Chef to have Chinese food style dinner.

Over the last few months, we have found great success in having meals prepared for us by Guest Chef on non-MND nights. I (freefoodbaby) managed to sous chef for the night. This means I now have some idea how to make a few of these dishes.

Our group was expanded to 7 members for the evening and we all proved how delicious our food was by going back for 3rd helpings.

We may be losing Guest Chef to the British Isles in the not terribly distant future so we might end up with these recipes written down.  At the moment though, these recipes seem to be made with a dash of this and a splash of that from family memory.

I also learned a similar lesson to what we found out in “White guy no fusion” Mirren may be the best secret ingredient for stir fry. The flavour that you miss in homemade Chinese food is rose wine. A Chinese cooking wine, available in most grocery stores, we used it in the clear broth sauce of our chop suey. Also I’m pretty sure it was in the lettuce wrap filling as well.

Quite selfishly, I’m hoping we get Guest Chef for a few more dinners.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 4, 2015 in Dinner by FreeFoodBaby

 

Stuff in Bowl, on a plate

This weeks MND is brought to you by myself, Glutenfr33k, and a new member of the MND club BFacci. We initially planned on making a play on lasagna using zucchini in place of noodles and everything from scratch, but a delayed dentist appointment put that plan on hold as the timing wasn’t quite right.  Therefore, a backup plan was created based on a Pintrest post on my MND board for “Roasted Harvest Veggie, Curried Avocado + Coconut Rice Bowls”.

The recipe can be found HERE. We made some changes to the recipe in that we didn’t use the butternut squash (ours had gone off, oops), and we did add a meat portion to the meal (we’re all omnivores). We picked up about 1lb of meat total, it was a combination of local free range (antibiotic/hormone free) chicken and pork. We sauteed up the ground meat up in a frying pan, with about 1 tablespoon of panang curry paste, 1-2 teaspoons of madras curry powder, 1-2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper to taste.

So essentially we roasted the sweet potatoes, and brussels sprouts in the fantastic sauce recipe provided in the above linked recipe. It makes for a nice and spicy,but not crazy spicy roasted veg.  The rice is fantastic, with coconut milk, unsweetened coconut, and a wee bit of coconut oil. It was pure joy to eat. The original recipe calls for making it on the stove, we made it in a rice cooker just fine. Although, we did double the recipe (we are firm believers in rice is nice).  The guacamole is made in a curry way vs a Mexican way, but this was a really nice variation on the theme.  We left it a bit chunky, for easy combining with all the other foods in the “bowls”.  We couldn’t decide between feta or mild blue cheese crumbled over top so we used both.

There was much fun to be had by all who attempted to eat their “Bowls” of food arranged on plates (BFacci and I were not certain that with the addition of meat all the bits would fit in the bowls) of course BFacci had to be different and have a bowl of food to prove the theory wrong.

photo

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Actual Recipe Involved – Bacon and Egg Lasagne

be lasagne originalIngredients (total for shopping):

Tomato sauce (ours was homemade to avoid mushrooms, gluten)
Gluten Free Lasagna noodles (Pasta Joy rice noodles)
2 lbs bacon, cooked to crispy
500 g Cotija cheese crumbled
18 eggs
3 med sweet potatoes (white), shredded
1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 cup finely diced leek
2 boxes frozen spinach
1 500 ml container ricotta cheese
8-10 med sized tomatoes
1 med sized zucchini
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup shredded cheese

To break up the pain of all this cooking we made the Simple Tomato Sauce and Mousaka layer ingredients the day before.

be lasagna prep

Mousaka layer:
8-10 med sized tomatoes
1 med sized zucchini
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp grape seed oil

This one takes some extra prep time. This layer actually doesn’t really resemble mousaka at all. I am now thinking my next lasagne will have a bechemel top layer though. Anyway, early in the day or even the night before cut the tomatoes into at least eight pieces. Also cut the zucchini into bite size pieces, place tomatoes and zucchini evenly on 1-2 cookie sheets. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with oregano and “roast” in the oven at 250/121 degrees for at least 1 hour. This sweetens the veg with a nice roasted flavour.

Egg Layer:
15 eggs
3 medium sweet potatoes (white), shredded
1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup finely diced leek, we used the milder green parts
1 tsp bacon fat
250 g Cotija mexican cheese, crumbled

In a frying pan heat the tsp of bacon fat, add the diced leek to soften, caramelize. Leave on med heat.
In a bowl crack 15 eggs, add milk and whisk with a fork. Add sriracha sauce, mustard, pepper and crumbled cheese. Stir until mixed and add to frying pan. Add grated sweet potato and keep on heat until mostly cooked. I looked for scrambled egg texture, but runnier that you see at the restaurant buffet cart. Put aside until your other layers are ready.

Spinach layer:
2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed
1 500 ml container ricotta
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 egg

Squeeze the excess moisture out of the frozen spinach and place in a bowl, add the egg, grated cheddar bacon bits and ricotta, stir and set aside until construction.

While it’s a bit of a pain, we pre-cooked the lasagna noodles. Follow the directions on the box and be sure to rinse in cold water. We learned on the 2nd attempt it really is helpful with the GF noodles to pre-cook them.

CONSTRUCTION:

be lasagna construction

Spray oil on a 9x 13 glass dish (we had enough for an extra 8×8 casserole)
Spread a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish.
Place a single layer of noodles.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, then spread an even layer
using all of the egg layer (this is why we had an extra one)
Place a single layer of bacon
Spread an even layer using all of the Spinach mixture (don’t forget your spare)
Place a single layer of noodles
Spread in even layer using all of the “Mousaka” (don’t forget your spare)
Fill the spaces around your roasted veg with tomato sauce
Place any remaining noodles
Spread out the rest of your tomato sauce on top (don’t forget your spare)
Evenly spread the remaining crumbled Cotija cheese and place in a 350F/175 C oven for 35 minutes

At 35 minutes add your over easy fried egg and smile bacon for garnished, smiling lasagna and back in the oven for 15 more minutes.

On our second attempt we didn’t pre-cook the rice pasta noodles and paid for this with at least twice the cooking time

be lasagna wrappedThis recipe also made a few extra smaller ones for our communal freezer.

be lasagna extrasAt some point in your cooking you actually get to eat some of this tasty creation.

be lasagna slice

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

These Tomatoes got “Saucey”

So, there is a series going on here about Bacon and Egg Lasagne. It turns out making the food while creating a recipe is easy. Writing out the recipe is difficult. The first MND bacon and egg lasagne actually happened in June 2013. It was delicious and I created a draft of the recipe right away, but it needed editing on the directions and quantities that I just wasn’t sure about. GF reviewed it a couple times, but was also unsure of the quantities we used at the time so we’re making it again. This time, we will post the recipe.

It came as a big surprise to our Monday Night Dinner (MND) crowd that I, Freefoodbaby, had never made a tomato sauce from scratch. Our family dinners growing up always used the cans of prepared pasta sauce and built on that with fresh veggies, meat etc. We even have family tricks to combat that acid tomato taste that you sometimes get with the no name brand cans of sauce.

Of course if you’re making a fancy lasagne, you must use from scratch tomato sauce. Originally we made tomato sauce from scratch to ensure it was mushroom and gluten free. This time we aren’t so worried about the mushroom allergy.

photo credit: GlutenFr33k

photo credit: GlutenFr33k

If you’ve never made lasagne you don’t know how time consuming the process can be. Creating all the parts before you build the actual casserole can make lasagne feel like an all day affair. So, GF and I got together the day before MND to make the tomato sauce and prepare some of the veggies. As chef’s privilege, we had a lovely pasta supper with a the simple tomato sauce. This sauce is going to be extra good because it simmered for 4 hours and aged overnight for all the flavours to blend, before making our lasagne.

simple tomato sauce

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Inspired by the written word

Date: June 2013

Menu: Bacon and Egg Lasagna; Watermelon Salad; Gluten Free Focacia; Dairy free coconut milk frozen dessert w/mead, strawberry rhubarb compote. Also bubbly water with a variety of iced tea and fruit infusions for bevvies.

Creators of deliciousness: FFB & GF

This was technically GF’s turn. We were discussing menu options and decided that the fictional Bacon and Egg Lasagna was something that needed to happen in real life. Our friend is the Author of a great book that features a fictional BC town. This town has an annual contest for its residents to make foods featuring odd combinations. Bacon and egg lasagna was a fictional winner that made us readers think it could be pretty tasty.

My imagination’s first idea of what this would look like, included lasagna noodles, bacon subbed for some noodle layers and a layer of fried eggs. However, I’m very picky about how my eggs are cooked, from any visit to the local greasy spoon, we can infer that most people have a preferred type of fried egg. So my brain pondered it and decided the egg layer would need some scramble and something to hold it together, enter the shredded sweet potato. GF was the one who insisted proper lasagna tomato sauce should be used. We both agreed that the traditional spinach and cheese layer should be included. Realizing how high in protein and carbs this was becoming the “mousaka” layer became part of our plan, this was roasted tomatoes and zucchini.

Armed with our plan and a rather large shopping list we hit the stores the day before. One issue we noted with trying to create a recipe is you aren’t always sure of your quantities before you’ve tried it. We invited the Author to join us for dinner and with the Hosts both being in town we were cooking for 7 ppl. This isn’t that unusual but I think we got a bit carried away. I’m not complaining though, the leftover ingredients will make many good meals as will the leftover dinner.

be lasagne original

With our additional guests it should be noted we added to our food restrictions, already working with Gluten Free, no onions, no alcohol, we added no mushrooms and, it turns out, a strong dislike of cilantro. That last one by happy accident we worked into the meal since we had forgotten cilantro for the salad and had CTG pick it up for us at the last minute. We had already put aside an onion free serving of salad for NP, so an additional bowl was served for the Author before the cilantro got mixed in.

Starting servings of the lasagna were quite small but we all managed to grab a second helping. We had taste approval from the Author and may even have our recipe become the “official” version for her novel. The Hosts noted this may become the lasagna they create for the freezer and I will definitely make it again. We even have a small version in the freezer for a lazy dinner sometime soon.

All in all a resounding success and a good thing we had so many guests for the washing up. Their shoes were filled with leftovers so escape was much more difficult.

photo credit: GlutenFr33k

photo credit: GlutenFr33k

Author’s note: This post was written wayyyyy back in June 2013 but writing out the recipe in an easy to follow way took a lot of time. We are beta testing it this week and stocking our freezers with more deliciousness for future.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Prime rib, soooooo good

Date: 15-Dec-2013

Dinner missed…CTG fed us all a lovely roasted supper with chicken and Stove-top brand stuffing last week.

Menu: Rotisserie Prime Rib; steamed asparagus; slow cooker sweet mashed yams; gf Yorkshire Puddings

Our last get together before the Christmas rush brought NP to the sale flyer and Prime Rib to our bellies. I can say that NP has mastered the art of rotisserie cooking.

GF brought us gluten free Yorkshire Puddings. They arrived in mix form and became fresh from the oven tasties.

photo credit glutenfr33k

photo credit glutenfr33k

We had a guest to dinner, Northern Mum was down, she also has a wheat allergy so the gluten free yorkshire was an extra treat. I think she even got to take a couple home with her.

We made packet gravy because with a rotisserie there are no “drippings”. I can’t remember whether it was “Club House” or “Knorr” but it was delicious. I did see a “Knorr” gravy packet at the store the other day advertised as “gluten free”, but I’m not sure if that’s the one we made.

NP had a plan when carving that since there were 5 of us and we like our roast beef, she would carve thick slices and then we would have 1, instead of the 2-3 we normally eat. Instead, we all ate 2-3 large slices because it was soooooo good.

The asparagus, was steamed in veggie steamer to perfect crunchy tenderness.

The mashed sweet potatoes were done in the slow cooker, so this meal had a lot of pre-planning and used many kitchen gadgets.

GF yorkies

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

What happens when someone who’s never had fish cakes, makes fish cakes?

Date: 1-Nov-2013

Menu: Not your Mama’s fish cakes; steamed green beans; easy fried rice

Dinner by: NP (New Person) with an assist from FFB (FreeFoodBaby)

With a busy summer and fall not seeming to lighten up, we sorted out a new schedule of ‘turns’ for cooking. Of course this immediately ran into schedule conflicts. It started with Thanksgiving. It fell on CTG’s “turn”, we had a pot luck feast with Turkey and potatoes provided by CTG and FFB. Then, I (FFB) was busy and left a recipe, money and grocery list for CTG stuck to her fridge. My MND was actually cooked by CTG. With company in town and evening plans the following MND we pulled together a menu of pre-made food and dessert from the freezer with awesome additional side by GF.

To round out the menu/cooking swaps when it was NP’s turn to host FFB did the cooking. Initially the recipe was for crab cakes an FFB specialty. However there were shellfish concerns for our dietary guidelines so we bought salmon. The cilantro really made these taste quite fresh and the toasted coconut added a sweetness that was really quite nice.

Yes, there is toasted coconut

Yes, there is toasted coconut

The actual recipe is being drafted and I will include the Pampered Chef recipe I adapted it from.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 4, 2014 in Dinner by NewPerson

 

Tags: