Monthly Archives: June 2013

pasta carbonara with freshly shelled peas


It was a Throwback Thursday of sorts. I decided to re-use this pasta carbonara recipe I posted last year only modify it to use fresh green peas instead of asparagus.  SO good! Is there anything better than freshly shelled peas? They’re an awesome snack! The boys and I ate about half of the haul as we were shelling all of them.  They also took to flinging a few at each other (and eating them off the floor…Oh well. Good times were had!)

I made a few modifications to the recipe, so I’ll repost it here.

Pasta Carbonara with Freshly Shelled Peas
500g spaghetti noodles
8 slices of bacon, diced small
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cream (I used 10% as it’s what I had on hand)
1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to directions. In the last 30 seconds or so of cooking, throw in the peas to blanch them.

While noodles are cooking, heat oil and cook bacon until crisp. Drain some of the excess fat and add garlic. Sauté until aromatic.

Whisk together eggs, cheese and cream.

When the pasta is cooked, reserve the pasta water, then drain. Make sure to keep the pasta hot (this is key and is what will cook your egg mixture!), slowly pour in your egg mixture, stirring and tossing your pasta. The sauce will thicken and coat the pasta. If it becomes too thick, add some pasta water. Now add your bacon and garlic mixture. Stir until everything is combined.

Crack a boatload of freshly ground pepper on top (this is my favourite part!), serve immediately with extra Parmesan. Enjoy!

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salmon burgers with cilantro mayo


I’ve had this recipe pinned for ages and finally decided to whip it up! It’s from Annie’s eats site and I’m happy I finally got around to cooking it. We have salmon cakes somewhat regularly but I was intrigued by the cilantro mayo. It was a great touch. I’m glad I decided to make it!

I didn’t make too many changes to the recipe but did substitute salmon filets with canned boneless, skinless salmon. Because it was packed in water, I think the overall mixture was a bit too wet and I had a hard time forming patties. I added about 2 tbsp more Panko than the recipe calls for and that seemed to solve my patty-problems. I think I’ll toss in some more green onions and perhaps some diced celery to the mix next time, otherwise, this was a great dinner! I served it with a variation of Pioneer Woman’s cilantro coleslaw and some oven fries.

Salmon Burgers with Cilantro Mayo
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
8 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cans water-packed salmon
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp canola oil

Cilantro mayo:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup cilantro
Cayenne pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Combine the pepper, panko, garlic and salmon in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the egg white, soy sauce, lemon juice and salt. Add the liquid mixture to the salmon mixture and mix until well incorporated. Your hands make the best tools! Form into 4-6 equal patties.

Make the mayo by combining all the ingredients in your food processor. Pulse until the mixture is smooth.

Pour canola oil into a frying pan over medium-high heat. Heat until the oil is hot. Cook the patties, about 3-4 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serve on buns (we used mini ciabatta buns!) and top with a generous portion of mayo, some lettuce, tomato and onion.

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stir fry udon noodles with beef


I was craving noodles this week and decided to add this delight to our meal plan. We had some fresh beef delivered this weekend and our freezer is now well-stocked for most of the year.  I decided to use up some flank steak first!  The meal was fairly simple to pull together and basically resembled most of my beef and broccoli stir fries only it was served with noodles instead of rice! Sadly, neither of the boys were fans of the Udon noodles. Oh well. More leftovers for me!

Stir Fry Udon Noodles with Beef
2 7 oz packages of Udon noodles
10 oz flank steak, cut into strips
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 sweet onion, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups of shredded cabbage (I used some bagged coleslaw mix I had)
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tbsp canola oil

Sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
1 tsp Brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly minced ginger

Cook the noodles as per the instructions. Toss with a little sesame oil to prevent them from sticking, set aside and keep warm.

In a blazing hot wok, head 1 tbsp of oil. Add your meat and cook until just browned. Remove from heat.

While your meat cooks, mix together your sauce using all the ingredients.

Reheat the wok and add remaining oil, add the onion and garlic. Cook for approximate 1 minute or so until the garlic is aromatic. Add peppers and broccoli, cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir and cook for another minute. Add your noodles and the sauce and fry for 2 minutes, until heated through.

Remove from heat and serve.

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Cakes and cupcakes galore!


Cakes galore!

I lovingly crafted these cupcakes and this cake for my nephew’s 6 birthday. It’s easy to guess the theme of the party; my sister-in-law threw a little boy’s dream party complete with Padawan costumes, a Darth Vader visit, Jedi training and many treats! I was thrilled when she asked me to make the cake.

I used these brilliant William Sonoma cookie cutters to cut the shapes out of fondant.

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I free-handed the letters using a template I printed out on the computer using a Star Wars font I found and handcrafted the light sabres out of fondant.
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I added some gum paste to the Yoda heads so they would withstand the heat of an outdoor party and not wilt and sag.  I also tried making some Swiss meringue buttercream for the cupcakes. It tasted amazing!

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I’m really thrilled with how they all turned out!

 

 

 

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thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach


I haven’t blogged in a very, very long time. As much as I tried to stay on top of the blog, life got in the way.

In fact, life got in the way of life.

Late nights at work, crazy weeks of almost nightly extracurriculars, sickness and travel basically meant that I barely had time to cook decent meals, let alone have anything to blog about! I resorted to many picnic style meals and raiding my freezer stash of meals. Hey… I guess that’s what it was there for!

Things have finally started to settle down and I’ve managed to pull together some half-decent meals I’ve not yet shared here.

Last night, with the help of my three-year old, I whipped together this delicious Thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach. I’m thrilled that asparagus is in season – it’s fresh, delicious, crispy and more importantly, cheap! I was able to snag 2 bunches for $3 this weekend! I suspect it will be a staple in our meals for a while… Or at least until the price starts going up again!

Thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach
1 tsp canola oil
1 onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
10-12 medium asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp brown sugar
1 lime, juiced
2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 oz baby spinach leaves (about 4 cups)
6-8 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped – I used regular basil but Thai basil would be divine!

In sauce pan, frying pan or Dutch oven, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and the onion. Sauté until the chicken begins to brown. Add the asparagus and cook for another minute or so.

Add the curry paste and stir. Allow to cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add the coconut milk and stir until the curry paste has completely dissolved. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

While the curry is simmering, combine the brown sugar, lime juice and soy sauce. Add to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and basil. Stir and cook until the spinach is just wilted.

Remove from heat and serve over rice.

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