I’ve Moved

8 07 2012

Head on over to http://thecomplicatedchef.tumblr.com/ to continue following my wild antics!


A spread for your bread.

23 09 2010

Because it’s Wednesday. And because it’s a night out at the movies with the girls. And because I’m planning on stuffing my face with buttery popcorn. Let’s keep it light, shall we?

What’s lighter than carbs and meat? Maybe water. But who eats water? So I’m making carbs and meat. More like I’m shuffling them together in a wonderful curry spread suitable for any lunch box or pre-popcorn filled stomach.

Curry is dee-licious. But I never thought curry + walnuts + apple + chicken would mesh. Truffles Bistro in Saskatoon showed me the yellowly light one lunch outing and I’ve never doubted curry’s flexibility since.

This recipe is an adaption from what I had at Truffles, so don’t expect fireworks people. I played with ingredients to get the flavour I wanted and you will too. You’ll laugh at the simplicity of it and wonder why you haven’t been eating Curried Chicken Spread for Bread every day.

So let’s get down to the basics. Grab a bowl. Every spread seems to have  mayo or miracle whip – your choice, though it’s true; the flavours are different. Then you need another white-coloured mass for more base (my choice is light sour cream, but you may want heavy cream or yogurt). Throw in some lemon for zing. Mix, mix.

Now comes the most crucial ingredient. Cumin. It seems like people leave this out. I never leave cumin out of anything. Oh yes and you need curry. Throw in a few tablespoons or more – taste, taste. Mix, mix.

Onto the chunks of deliciousness! Chop up about a handful of red onion and throw ‘er in. Cut up half an apple – in she goes. I like to use leftover rotisserie chicken for ease. And add a handful of walnuts. Or sunflower seeds. Definitely need a nutty flavour though. Mix, mix, mix some more.

Add salt. Taste it. Add sugar if needed. Taste it. It’s all about finding the taste you like. Once you’ve almost devoured the entire thing tasting it, take what’s left and spread it on bread from your local bakery. They’ll appreciate your new addiction.

Curried Chicken Spread for Your Bread

2/3 c. mayo

1/2 c. light sour cream

1/8 c. lemon

4 tbs. curry

2 tbs. cumin

Pinch or two of salt

Pinch or two of sugar

1 c. cooked, shredded chicken

1/2 c. apple

1/2 c. walnuts

Combine all ingredients. Taste. Adjust. Spread on bread. Put in mouth.

There’s a taco in my oven.

21 07 2010

There’s a taco in my oven in a casserole dish.

“How the hell did that get there?” you may ask.

Well, it certainly didn’t get there own its own. With a little help from arriba, I took what could’ve been a taco – possibly taco soup and potentially chili – and made an “everything but the kitchen sink” taco casserole.

I’ve been noticing my freezer is empty. These warm (and very rainy days) have kept me away from the kitchen. Though I do have the most wonderful fruit sitting on my counter… and the fruit flies are in heaven. Over the course of the spring, I ate all my hearty, wintery casseroles and soups – and my work lunches have been suffering.

So, even though it’s above 20 C outside and my apartment is sweltering from the heat, I decided to bring a bit of Mexico to 5th Ave.

Taco casserole is easy. And delicious. Brown ground beef with mushrooms, onions, and jalapeno (arriba!). You can either use the store bought Taco seasoning or make your own or both! All are equally delicious and I won’t look if you find yourself in the “Mexican” aisle at Safeway with a taco packet in hand. It’s all in the way you shake it out anyway. Throw in a jar of salsa, some fresh, diced tomatoes, sour cream, corn, and black beans. Cook a heaping amount of pasta to mix in.

Get out your most “fiesta-looking” pan and ra-cha-cha those ingredients in. Stir in a healthy (meaning over the top) assortment of cheese. And top it off with crushed tortilla chips. The lime flavoured ones add a nice kick.

Bake. Eat. Viva la Mexico!

There’s A Taco in My Oven

1 pd ground extra lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic

A helping of S&P, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin and chili powder. Dash of hot sauce while you’re at it.

1 packet taco seasoning (for the cheaters)

1/2 c. each of onion and mushrooms

1 jalapeno (seeds in means aaaaahhh in your mouth)

Mix, mix, mix.


1 jar of salsa

1 c. of diced tomatoes

1 c. black beans

1 c. corn

Favourite type of pasta

Once in the pan, mix in…

2 c. of grated jack and cheddar

1 little tub of sour cream

Crush some delicious, salty tortilla chips on top.

Cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top has browned.

Now where did I put my fork…

The perfect summer salad.

8 06 2010

Okay. I tricked you. There is no perfect summer salad. The combinations of fruit, veggies, and dairy are almost endless. Especially this time of year. And that’s the beauty of salad. Watermelon with mint, pear with blue cheese…

*Wipes drool off keyboard*

I’m bad at making salads. Wait – no, I’m bad at making a variety of salads. I tend to just get hooked on certain ingredients and that’s all I’ll eat for months. So this month I’m going to share the salad I’m currently “leafy” over. It’s delicious. And summer-ish. And has my favourite ingredient in it – goat cheese! Can you picture goats tramping around my salad eating all my red leaf lettuce? I just did. That would be awkward. Not to mention messy. I love goat cheese. My mom recently found a wheel of goat cheese that looks and feels exactly like brie. It’s OMG. Big time. I don’t know what it’s called but she got it from Safeways. So go forth and plunder those wheels of goat’s cheese.

The second crucial, but potentially unobtainable ingredient for those outside of Saskatchewan, is the delectable, truly irresistible Saskatoon Berry Salad Dressing made by Riverbend Plantation.  Here’s a direct link to buy this incredible dressing: Yum on Salad. If you’re really anti-internet purchasing, but dying to try it and you’re on my “good list” – meaning you’ve fed me in the past and are willing to feed me in the future. I can likely hook you up with a bottle or two. But you have to invite me over for dinner. Did I mention the “feed me” part?

Saskatoon Berry Salad Dressing

Saskatoon Berry Salad Dressing

All right. So now you have two ingredients and you’re feeling good about it. At least I am. Because it’s going to be delicious! Think of this salad as a meal. Like an entire meal. Sans meat. Or you can make a mini version of it, but then you’ll miss out on really loading it up with fruit, veggies, and dairy. So hold the meat n’ potaters!

Third ingredient: walnuts. I once received a giant box as a Christmas gift from a publication (long story). It was filled with about 5 pounds of salted walnuts. At first I scoffed and wondered why they didn’t just send chocolate. They sat in my fridge for months. Quietly waiting for me to devour them. And one day I decided I needed more room and I took these nuts out. And I put a handful on my salad and SNAP! Salted nuts on salad with my sweet, tangy Saskatoon berry dressing. You could really add any kind of nut you want. Or even pumpkin seeds if you’re allergic!

Lastly, chop up some green onion and strawberries (or nectarines/pears) and throw them on top of a messy bed of butter leaf or red lead lettuce. Layer on the dressing. Watch out first time users. Like its predecessor, the squeeze bottle, sometime the dressing gets clumped together and comes out all at once. I call it goodness. You might say, “Easy does it!”

Guess what I’m having for dinner tonight.

The Perfect Summer Salad

5 strawberries

Handful of salted walnuts (or whatever you have available)

2 green onions, chopped (or scallions – that sounds like a pirate word. “Aarr.. mateys. Tie the scallions and trim the masts!)

1/4 cup of goat cheese crumbled or sliced

2 tbsp Riverbend Plantation Saskatoon Berry Dressing (or a sweet vinaigrette)

So you like avocado.

28 04 2010

I like avocado too.

I just can’t eat it. Not because of it’s squishiness or appearance. I think it has something to do with its fattiness – although I hear the avocado’s fat is “good”. My stomach won’t accept its deliciousness.

But where is Mexican food with the avocado? It’s like Thai without fish sauce. Nearly impossible to find a replacement that will hold up the flavour as that single ingredient will.

So I faced a dilemma tonight when I decided to replicate Earls Restaurant’s Los Cabos Chicken Tacos. A favourite of my partner and I. But what to do without avocado? I stood there in the Safeway (or “Safeways” as many grandparents like to say) contemplating whether or not a night of raging stomach hurts was worth the buttery delicious of the avocado. I faced a serious problem. What could possibly hold a pit to avocado? “The injustice of it all!” my cilantro screamed.

And then I stumbled upon my answer. It came to me like a gift from Heaven’s Kitchen. Sour Cream.

And what is an essential ingredient in a good taco? Sour cream.

What can even come close to the texture of avocado? Sour cream. (Some of you might be yelling Greek yogurt or 3% yogurt, which are definitely good subs).

So, with a tub of sour cream, a bag of cilantro and three limes… I proceeded to make my very own chicken tacos.

Avocanono Chicken Taco

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (just pull apart with fingers or use forks to pull meat apart)

1 pkg small corn tortillas (absolutely do NOT use flour – you lose the ico in Mexico)

1 tomato

Shredded lettuce with a handful of chopped cilantro. Drizzle lime over this fresh mixture.

Optional: Frank’s and cheese

Avocanono Sauce (estimates here – taste as you go!)

Mix together 3/4 c. sour cream, 1/4 c. chopped onion, 2 tsp paprika, less than half a lime (by taste), pinch or two of sugar, dash of cayenne, 2 tsp taco seasoning, 2 tsp cumin, salt & pepper. You can put in a bit of cilantro here too. And that’s it. As close to guac as you can get without the avocado.

Directions: There really aren’t any with this one. Bake your corn tortillas at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (flip ’em over after 5 min.). Spread the sauce, add the fresh mixture, tomatoes, chicken and cheese is optional. Drizzle with Frank’s hot sauce. Serve with your fave Spanish rice (not with the grossest rice you can make and have to throw out, like I did – hey, can’t win every time!).

Holy Mole.

Store-bought just ain’t the same.

20 04 2010

After some serious debate as to whether we’d dine on sausages and perogies or sausages and sweet potato fries, we decided to choose the fries. I’m never a fan of the sogginess of sweet potatoes, but I’ve found that turning the oven to 475 degrees C makes them crispy-ish. What I don’t understand is how unevenly they seem to cook. Maybe it’s my $4 pan from Superstore…

I found a recipe for dipping sauce and tweaked it to our taste buds. Here is the outcome.

That’s the Sauce

1 cup mayo

1 tbs curry

1 tbs cumin

2 tsp pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp mustard

Dash of sugar

Dash of your favourite smoky spice (ours is Smoky Peri Peri – a gift from my mom)

Mix all these delicious ingredients together and you’ll see what I mean. Add/subtract to meet the demands of your own tastebuds!

And really… store-bought farmer’s sausage can’t hold a plate to homemade farmer’s sausage. Fortunately, I have an “in” and though the meat is pricey, it’s the driest, most deliciously smoked sausage on earth. Worth every dollar.

You need to find an “in”.

I love food.

15 04 2010

In the kitchen. I am free. I am alive.

And according to my partner, I am messy. The “messy cook” gene comes from my mom. Our cookie baking days bring back memories of me chasing her around the kitchen – tiny apron wrapped around me – putting away spices, containers, butter, etc… I never understood why she couldn’t just put things away as she cooked.

I’ve developed the “messy cook” syndrome. Too busy cooking and worried about getting all the ingredients ready before the pot boils over. Before the roast is done while the potatoes still need to cook. While the guests are arriving and I’m frantically still trying to get dinner ready.

I like being a messy cook. It’s carefree. Spontaneous. Enlightening.

I recently cooked for my Manitoba-living partner and made an absolute mess of his kitchen. He was too busy eating to notice for once.

This amazing recipe is courtesy of a favourite magazine of mine: Fine Cooking. Great website as well.

Chinese Egg Noodles with Five-Spice Pork (Courtesy of Fine Cooking, March 2010)

Recipe Suggestions: I would avoid using the oil – the bacon fat does the trick. I like sauce, so I doubled all the saucy ingredients. Don’t omit the Chinese 5-Spice. Go out and buy it! It’s now a staple in my cupboard. Oh and add broccoli and a ton of peanuts.