Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry


Ever wonder how to make Chinese vegetables? Look no further. This recipe produces tasty tender crisp vegetables just like you get from your favourite Chinese food restaurant.  I like to make Chinese food at home but like to make as much as I can ahead of time so it doesn't seem like such a big job. What is nice about this recipe is that you can blanch and shock the vegetables the day before and then stir fry the vegetables right before serving without compromising texture or taste. 

Blanching and shocking vegetables prior to stir frying allows the vegetables to retain their vibrant colour and remain crisp. The vegetables are placed into a boiling pot of water for a short time and then immersed into a ice water bath to immediately stop the cooking process. 

Ingredients: (vegetables)

300 g broccoli florets (about 4 cups)

300 g cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)

300 g carrots, sliced ( 2-3 large carrots)

300g snow peas

300 g red peppers, chopped into approximately 1 inch pieces (2-3 red peppers)

Ingredients (stir fry sauce)

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

3 teaspoons sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons water

3 tablespoon chopped garlic

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions for Blanching Vegetables:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. The amount of water has to be at least three times the volume of the vegetables.

When the water is boiling , place the carrot wedges into the water. Let them cook for three minutes.

Then add cauliflower and broccoli florets into the water. Keep the water at a consistent boil for two minutes.

Add the snow peas and boil for one minute.

Lastly, add the red peppers and just let it heat up in the water for fifteen to 30 seconds.

Drain with a wire mesh strainer or colander.

Shocking Vegetables:

Shocking means to throw the vegetables into an ice bath to immediately halt the cooking process. This method allows the vegetables to retain their bright vibrant colour.

Prepare an ice bath (place cold water and ice cubes in a large bowl).

Drain the vegetables after blanching. Pour the vegetables into the ice bath immediately. Stir to allow the heat to dissipate from the vegetables.

Let the vegetables cool down for a few minutes in the ice bath, to let the inner part cool completely.

Drain and stir fry vegetables immediately or store blanched vegetables in the refrigerator until ready to stir fry.

Stir Fry Vegetables in Sauce:

In a small bowl combine water and cornstarch, stir. Add salt, sugar, pepper and oyster sauce to the water/cornstarch mixture. Stir well to combine. Set aside.

Heat up vegetable oil in the wok (or large frypan) over medium heat.

Add chopped garlic and saute until it turns aromatic. Add stir fry sauce. Cook for one minute. The sauce should turn translucent and thicken. Add all the drained vegetables to the wok. Stir and serve.

Print Recipe:

Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry

Clean and cut up all the vegetables.

Boil a large pot of water.

Add carrots to the water and boil for three minutes. Then add the broccoli and cauliflower and boil for two minutes. Then add the snow peas and boil for one minute. Then add the red peppers and boil for 30 seconds. Strain vegetables into a colander and immerse into ice water bath. I obviously forgot to take pictures of all the vegetables. In the picture I am blanching orange and white carrots. 

Ice water bath. Use a large bowl.

Here are all the blanched vegetables. They are all so bright and vibrant.
At this point you can stir fry the vegetables or place them into the fridge until you are ready to stir fry and serve.

When you are ready to stir fry. Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a wok or large fry pan. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant. 

Add stir fry sauce. Cook for about a minute until sauce thickens and is translucent.

Add the vegetables. Stir to combine and allow enough time to heat the vegetables.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Deluxe Eggnog


The original recipe can be found in the iconic "Joy of Cooking" recipe book but I found it last year in the Edmonton Journal. The eggnog is flavoured with rum, cognac and Grand Marnier. I added 2 cups of 1% milk to thin it out. Apparently this eggnog lasts quite a while in the fridge due to the alcohol contact and gets better with time. 

Deluxe Eggnog

Serves approximately 15

6 large egg yolks

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup light rum

1 litre heavy cream

2 cups 1% milk

1 cup cognac

1/2 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with a whisk until light in color. Gradually whisk in the confectioners’ sugar and then the rum. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and let it rest there, uncovered, for 1 hour to dispel the eggy taste.
Whisking constantly, add the heavy cream or half-and-half, cognac and orange liqueur. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours. Serve, garnishing each cup with freshly grated nutmeg.

VARIATION: To make cooked eggnog, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl. In a large saucepan, heat 2 cups of the heavy cream over medium-low until steaming. While whisking, slowly add about half of the hot cream to the egg yolks. Then slowly pour the mixture back into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens a little and reaches a temperature of 175 degrees. Do not overheat or the mixture will curdle. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream. Strain, cool completely and chill until cold. Stir in the rum, cognac and orange liqueur. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Print Recipe:Deluxe Eggnog

Separate 6 egg yolks. 

Beat the yolks until they are light in colour.

Gradually add the confectioners sugar. 

Stir in the rum. Place in fridge uncovered for one hour. 

After one hour remove from fridge. Add the cream and milk, stir.

Stir in the cognac.

Stir in the Grand Marnier. 

Grate some nutmeg into the mixture, stir. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. 

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Butter Tarts

 These tarts take time to make but are definitely worth the effort. I found the recipe on a great website a few years back called "Canadian Foodie". I make them in mini tart pans as I think it is the perfect portion for this rich Christmas treat. This recipe makes about 10 dozen tarts. To speed up the process, having 2 or 3 (36) count mini tart pans will make the process quicker as you won't have to wash the pan so many times in-between batches. 

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Easy French Bread


This is my go to French bread recipe. It takes about two hours from start to finish. 

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Creamy Carrot Soup


 The first time we ate carrot soup was at a winery in Okanagan Falls, B.C. called Liquidity.  We would like to thank Adrian for ordering this soup as we would of never known that the humble carrot could make such an amazing soup. We wanted to recreate the soup at home so we contacted the chef  and happily we were given the soup ingredients and after several attempts we have come up with our version.  The soup is luxuriously creamy even though there is only one cup of cream in it. Roasting the carrots is definitely the secret, so do not skip this step. We like to serve this soup with fresh bread and a simple charcuterie board.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Tater Tot Casserole

This is a very easy and delicious breakfast casserole. The recipe originates with the "Pioneer Woman". I have made it many times and it is a real "crowd pleaser". You can assemble it the night before and bake it in the morning but I have baked it immediately after assembling it and it worked out well. I have also baked it and froze it and then thawed and reheated it without a problem. I usually buy the spicy breakfast sausage to add a little spice. I have also made two smaller portions, one to eat and one in the freezer. Try this casserole, you won't be disappointed!