Super Simple Black Beans and Ham

When Genesis and I first started dating he actually cooked for me quite often, mostly because we spent most of our time at his apartment. His fare is nothing fancy, but it is usually delicious. One thing he often made for me was lentil soup. It was literally just lentils, water, and salt. And it was surprisingly delicious. It wasn’t until we were living together that he made me his black beans and ham. Again, super simple for something outrageously delicious. He’s tried to change it over the years but I still love the original, with a little spice added.

Simple Black Beans and Ham

Ingredients (by Gen’s best estimate. These take about an hour to cook but you need to soak the beans overnight)

  • 4-5 cups of dry black beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp of red chili flakes
  • 3 cups of cubed ham (not honey ham)
  • optional: 4 cloves of garlic
  • water
  • plain greek yogurt or sour cream

Directions

  1. THE NIGHT BEFORE! Rinse beans thoroughly. Place in a large pot (the one you will cook them in the next day) and fill the pot with water. Soak beans overnight.
  2. The night you want to eat! Add the salt, ham, pepper, chili flakes, and garlic (if using) to the pot and add enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches.
  3. Cook covered over medium-low heat for about 1 hour until the beans are soft but not mushy. *Gen would like to interject that HE likes the beans softer than I do so feel free to cook longer, to taste.
  4. Top with a dollop of yogurt, salt and pepper to taste. Eat.

Ready to eat!

Coconut Hot Grains with Toasted Walnuts

Coconut for breakfast again! This time, its a hardy breakfast of hot grains (Red River Cereal) and quinoa. I topped this breakfast off with toasted walnuts, some skim milk and a drizzle of honey… ok I topped mine with a sprinkle of sugar but only because I have a terrible cough right now and was up at 4am nursing it with some milk and honey and I didn’t want to have another dose, I was honeyed-out. Anyway, this is a rich and extremely filling breakfast. This recipe makes quite a bit, but it refrigerates well, so have some tomorrow too!

Coconut Hot Grains with Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Red River Cereal (or your favourite hot grain cereal)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 cans coconut milk (recommend one full-fat can and one light)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup shelled walnuts
  • skim milk to drizzle
  • honey, brown sugar, white sugar, etc. to top

Directions

  1. Combine cereal, quinoa, salt, and coconut milk in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Turn heat to medium-low, let the cereal cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cover and remove from heat, allow to sit while you toast the walnuts.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add walnuts to the hot, dry pan and toast, watching constantly and stirring frequently, until walnuts start to brown and they smell toasted, about 5 minutes. You can also lay the walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in an oven at 375°F for 5-10 minutes until they smell toasted.
  4. Scoop some cereal in a bowl, top with walnuts, milk, and honey. Gobble!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was inspired to create these cookies one afternoon when thinking back to when I worked at the Hi Country RV Park at home in the Yukon. My wonderful boss brought down a plate of similar cookies that I practically gorged on until customers started coming in. A few years back I was thinking of these delicious cookies and became determined to create my own.

 

These are fluffy and moist like cake, full of spice and chocolate. They are amazing. I remember telling my mom, and later my friend Caelin about them, both wrinkled their noses with “pumpkin AND chocolate… I don’t know” type sentiments. My mom still hasn’t had the chance to try them but Caelin was sold on first bite, stealing a second before I could tell her that I just brought enough for one for everyone (thankfully not everyone showed up to that morning’s class). These are the best straight out of the oven (in my opinion that’s how all baking should be eaten) but they are wonderful when kept in a not-totally sealed container (like muffins, they sweat) or are good even after they’ve been frozen and then thawed. Make them. Love them. Eat them until you pop, I know I will.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I use canned, but if you are industrious, make your own)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (or lightly spray with non-stick spray).
  2. Beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.

    Pumpkin added.

  3. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture in thirds.
  5. Stir in the chips. The cookie dough is thick and gooey, gloppy even.
  6. Plop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges and spongy to the touch.

Plopped and ready for the heat.

7.  Cool cookies on a rack when able to remove from the pan (2-3 minutes cooling on the pan). These can sit out for a couple days without issue (they are super moist) but are best stored in a tupperware that is left open on one side.

8. Pour a glass of milk, coffee, soy milk, etc. and eat.

Extra delicious closeup.

Spicy Pepperoni Cheesesticks

By request from my brother-in-law, my sister and I set about making spicy pepperoni cheesesticks to rival the ones he loved as a kid (or teen, or recently, I can’t remember). I knew we had a lot to live up to, so we made sure we were doing this right. I had been eyeing this recipe for a couple days, knowing that these jalapeño sticks would be the perfect prototype for what were trying to create. Reading the recipe I determined that pizza dough was the answer. So we used my regular pizza dough recipe, got some Tex Mex shredded cheese, some very spicy pepperoni sticks, and set about making these delicious treats. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. These came together like gangbusters, they were tasty and satisfied my brother-in-laws cravings. Success!

Spicy Pepperoni Cheesesticks

Ingredients

Pizza Dough
  • 1  package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsps white sugar
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or Tex Mex)
The Rest
  • 1 package of spicy pepperoni sticks
  • shredded cheddar or Tex Mex cheese (jalapeño, cheddar, mozza, etc.)
  • chili powder for dusting

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oregano, chili powder, cheese, salt, and white sugar. Stir well.
  3. Add in the olive oil and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine.

    Kel stirs as I pour.

  4. Mix well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out in a rectangle (if possible) to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  6. Slice strips of dough 2 1/4 inches wide.
  7. Place a pepperoni stick in the middle of the strips, place some cheese along side the pepperoni, and pull the dough around and pinch to seal all the way along the stick. Fold the ends over (cut off excess dough and reserve for more sticks) and pinch to seal.
  8. Place sealed sticks on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with more cheese and some chili powder.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes, the sticks will be golden brown and the cheese will have melted. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before eating.

Heading into the oven.

Tasty.

Chewy, Fudgy Brownies with Almonds and Coconut

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to my sister’s house for about a week. This trip, paired with my being incredibly sick (still) has lead to a bit of a dead zone on the blog here. In any case, I did some brief training with Kel, and she is getting excited about posting. We made a couple new recipes while I was there and she is looking forward to posting some of her own in the future. I, of course, made some beer bread while I was there and Kel made me an awesome breakfast of beer bread, ham, cheese, and a poached egg, that I highly recommend for anyone. I will update that post with the picture of this treat.

We also made some delicious brownies! Kel was game for making the brown butter blondies I posted earlier but I wanted to try something new and had been eyeing this recipe for sometime. We made some adjustments for ingredients and preferences and they turned out delicious. We happened to undercook them slightly which was tasty but I think they would’ve been perfect had they been given their extra few minutes. These brownies are truly fudgy, chewy, and delicious. I am going to make them again this week, if only to eat the batter.

Chewy Brownies with Almonds and Coconut

Adapted from here.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8 inch square pan with parchment paper (or spray).
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium, microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments, being careful not to scorch the chocolate. Stir until well combined and smooth.
  3. Combine the eggs and the sugar, mix until light, about 3 minutes.
  4. Mix in vanilla and salt.
  5. Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture, mix well.
  6. Add the flour, almonds, and coconut. Stir until incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

A couple days off then back at it with a vengeance!

Image

Who am I kidding, it'll be gone before Friday.

I had my final exam of my Masters yesterday and then a very brief visit with my parents who were down to get an MRI. Tomorrow I fly out to Fort McMurray to visit with my sister, her husband, and my adorable and squeezable nieces. I am going to spend the weekend teaching my sister, Kellie, how to taking pictures while cooking, how to do  my rudimentary food styling and writing, and how to post to WordPress. Soon, both sisters will be active here and twice the recipes will be pouring in! We will be back to our regularly scheduled programming by next week! (This programming being recipes every two days with the likelyhood of extras on weekends)

In the meantime, enjoy this extra picture of that delicious beer bread… which I am making again tonight… because it is so tasty and I know my dude will appreciate having it to munch on while I’m away.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

I was going to a party at a friend’s and wanted to bring some baking. I have been hankering to try out an icing technique on cake but didn’t want to have to haul a big cake 1.5 hours on transit. Instead I decided that some blondies with brown butter and chocolate would be the tasty answer! These are a mouthful, both in name and in flavour. Let’s call them BBCCBs. They are tasty, nutty, fudgy but not too sweet. These are an awesome way to use brown butter!

The recipe is simple and is adaptable. I thought about adding some coconut and cardamom to add some more depth of flavour but wanted to try them on their own first, worth it.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Adapted from Martha’s.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter , swirling, until it turns golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool (this will take some time, I poured it into a bowl and let it cool in the fridge to be a bit faster, but don’t let it harden).
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan; line with parchment paper; grease parchment. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, stir brown butter and both sugars until combined. Beat in eggs until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until thoroughly combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  6. Cut, eat, swoon.

Coconut French Toast

My dad has always loved honey buns from Chinatown in Victoria and often, when we came down south we got some. Needless to say, the love for these subtle coconuty buns rubbed off on me. I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately and decided to make my semi-failed (ugly) Easter Bread into a true treat. So Coconut French Toast was born out of sheer hunger and momentary genius. This stuff is tasty, it’s hard to go wrong here.

Coconut French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 slices of Easter Bread
  • 3 tbsp butter

Directions

1. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, milk, coconut, and sugar. Pour mixture into a long (if using a long bread…) and shallow dish. Soak slices of Easter Bread in the mixture for 2 minutes a side, until thoroughly spongy. The bread should have a nice coating of coconut (if not, spread some on once you put it in the pan).

2. Brown the butter in a pan and place slices of soaked bread in the midst of the buttery goodness.

3. Cook french toast for 2-4 minutes per side, until browned. Sprinkle with a little extra powdered sugar if needed, and enjoy.

Quote from Genesis, “Whoa this is amazing, it’s too delicious.” From the man who doesn’t love sweets. Success.

French toasted.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

These are just tasty. I used the filling from these in my Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes as the Peanut Butter Surprize. The original cookies are kind of like crinkle cookies, it’s all good and rich and delicious. Made on request for my friend Rebecca. Also inspired by my friend Gabby being able to eat sugar again, huzzah!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Recipe from Wonderland Kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Filling

  • 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • pinch salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Measure flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter until smooth. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and continue mixing until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Cover two baking sheet with parchment.

In a medium bowl or stand mixer, mix powdered sugar, peanut butter, and salt until smooth.

Roll a bunch of nickel-sized balls of the filling. Flatten each chocolate ball in the palm of your hand and top with a piece of the peanut butter filling. Fold chocolate dough as evenly as possible around the peanut butter and shape back into a ball before placing it on the baking sheet again.

My cookies are pretty big... it's a family thing.

Lightly flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar. You might need to get it a little greasy first to get the sugar to stick.

Bake cookies one sheet at a time until the surface of the cookies begins to crack slightly, about 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.

Filling and ready cookies.

Delicious!

Green Curry Bowls

This was the curry that I made all the time before I discovered my Amazing Curry. Gen used to demand I make it whenever guests came over. It started with chicken, then tofu, then beef. It is adjustable, simple, and easy. It starts with a protein, coconut milk, and green curry paste (I use Cock Brand…). It is so simple and can have any veggies added to it. I typically add broccoli, green beans, red and/or yellow peppers, and a squirt of lime. But I’ve definitely tried brussels sprouts, potatoes, green peppers, carrots, cabbage, asparagus, etc. It is versatile.

Green curry delight.

I am going to give you the base for this curry and you should feel free to adjust as desired. It is an awesome, easy recipe.

Green Curry

Ingredients

  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 2 chicken breasts cubed /or/ 1.5 lbs cubed beef /or/ 1 block of firm tofu cubed
  • 1-2 tbsp green curry paste (Cock Brand or whatever you prefer)
  • 2 heads of broccoli chopped
  • 1 large pepper chopped
  • 1 large leek, white part only, sliced
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lime
  • quinoa

Directions

Getting ready to cook. That's the good curry paste there. Leeks for life!

  1. Cube your protein, brown in a large pot with some coconut oil or other favourite oil. Add a tbsp of curry paste to start.
  2. Pour in your two cans of coconut milk.
  3. Chop your veggies, rinse the leek clean.

Ready for the pot!

4. Add the leeks and broccoli to the meat and coconut milk. These two take the longest to cook. (If you are using other veggies, make a call on how quickly they will cook through and time them accordingly) ALSO: At this point taste the curry to see if you need to add another spoon or two of curry paste. We worked ourselves up from 1 tbsp to almost 3 over the years.

First round of veggies.

5. Cook for about 5 minutes, until broccoli is tender-crisp. Add basil and peppers and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.

6. Serve over quinoa, rice, steamed veggies, etc. with a squeeze of lime.

Yummy.