Category Archives: lunch

Pork Chile Verde and Cauli-Rice Bowl

It’s cold and gray and I’m bored so I made one of the easiest lunches or dinners that I’ve had in ages using leftover chile verde (green) enchilada sauce and cubed pork tenderloin.

Pork Chile Verde – serves 3-4

500 gm pork tenderloin, cubed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chile verde enchilada sauce
1 cup water, plus more as needed
salt and pepper, as needed

Garnish with grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, sliced green onion tops and diced avocado.

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the pork cubes and saute until lightly browned. Push the cubed pork to one side and add 1/2 cup of water to the saute pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the enchilada sauce and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture just barely simmers and cover tightly with a lid.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and breaks up into shreds when a fork is used. Check the pot every 15-20 minutes, scraping the bottom to make sure that the meat mixture doesn’t stick. Add more water as needed.

Serve over rice or cauli-flower rice. Additional sides include refried beans and flour tortillas.

Cauliflower Rice – 2 1/2 cups of frozen cauli-rice microwaved, squeezed dry in a towel and sauteed with 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter until lightly browned. I added about 1/4 cup of frozen green onion tops to the pan and sauteed it for about one minute before adding the cauli-rice.

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Bierocks/Runzas … First Attempt

I finally got a chance to make a batch of these sweet dough bread pockets using the recipe posted on The Frugal Hausfraus blog. Besides using leftover shredded sauerbraten instead of ground beef and adding about half a cup of grated old cheddar cheese to the filling once it was cooled, I also tried an alternative shaping method. It didn’t make the assembly much faster although the seams didn’t open up as often.

Square runzas – half the dough rolled out about 1/4 inch thick, 10 inches by 15 inches in size, squared off and cut into six 5 inch by 5 inch squares
Round runzas – 85 gms of dough patted out to a circle that was about 4 inches in diameter


Review: The recipe estimated being able to make a dozen runzas but I ended up with fourteen, and still had filling left over, so I’d cut back on the amount of cabbage used from about four cups to 2 1/2-3 cups in the future. Making the filling the day before, so that it has a chance to cool, is also advised. On the whole though, the dough was simple to make and the results were quite tasty. My shaping, especially on the square runzas, needs work.

ETA (01/02/2019): If you don’t want to use ground beef, try ground chicken or turkey. Or even pork.

Sushi at Home – Purple Sushi Rice

Even if the only sushi fillings you have in your fridge are cream cheese (home made Boursin) and smoked salmon, you can turn your boring old Philadelphia roll into a dramatic visual by colouring your sushi rice and then using it to make an inside out roll.

The ingredient responsible for that change … red cabbage. Grate a fist sized wedge finely on your microplane zester, drain off the liquid, add a bit of lemon juice to the liquid to make the colour ‘pop’ and stir it into your cooked sushi rice. Easy peasy. (NOTE: My method involved adding 2 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar to a generous handful of finely shredded red cabbage, pureeing it and then straining the resulting liquid into a cup or two of hot, freshly cooked sushi rice.)

Inside out Purple Philadelphia Roll

Onigirazu (sushi rice sandwich) with cream cheese, smoked salmon and red cabbage. Sliced avocado may also be added.

Colouring the Sushi Rice

Making the Inside Out Roll

Making the Onigirazu

Sauerbraten, Potato and Red Cabbage Knish

You may recall that in my second knish trial I ran out of filling, so I wrapped up and froze the extra dough.

Before going to bed on Christmas day, I placed the dough into the fridge to defrost and, on Boxing Day, I attempted a filling that was inspired by the brisket and sauerkraut knish fillings that I had seen while surfing the net. The proportions of the three ingredients; shredded sauerbraten, red cabbage and riced (or leftover mashed) potatoes, may be adjusted according to your preference, or the amounts of each that you have leftover from the day before.

Knish … delicious with a spicy Dijon mustard

Sauerbraten, Potato Knish and Red Cabbage – makes 9 knish

Half batch of potato knish dough, (see Potato-Leek Knish post link above)

Filling

1/2 cup shredded sauerbraten
1/2 cup riced potatoes
1/4 cup braised red cabbage
salt and pepper to taste

Egg wash

1 large egg
1 tsp cold water
pinch of salt

In a small bowl, add the egg and beat well with a fork. Ad the water and salt and beat again to mix.

* * *

To make the filling, combine the potatoes, cabbage and shredded sauerbraten. Taste and season as needed. Set aside

Preheat the oven to 400 deg Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/8th inch thick. Cut into 3-4 inch squares. (NOTE: I rolled my dough out into a 10-12 inch square and cut it into nice equal sized squares.)

Spoon about 2 tbsp of the filling into the palm of your hand and squeeze gently to form a firm ball, about 1-1 1/2 inch in diameter. Place each ball of filling in the middle of one of the squares. Be careful not to overfill so that you can seal up the knish. Pull up the dough into the middle, around the filling, and pinch the four seams well to seal.

Brush some egg wash on top of each knish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Rotate the tray half way through so that the knish will bake evenly.

Let cool briefly before serving. The knish are also tasty at room temperature.

You may refrigerate the knish for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month.

Potato and Leek Knish (Trial #2)

Leftover leeks in the fridge, potatoes sprouting in the basement and a four day stretch at home recovering from a cold, meant I had the ingredients and all the time needed to try a second knish recipe.

I started with Chef Bryan’s recipe on the Klondike Potato website but had to make some changes. Mostly to reflect the shaping technique I used.

I had some concerns about the amount of salt called for in the dough, as well as the filling, and it turned out that my fears were warranted, as the filling was saltier than I would have liked. When cooking potatoes for mashing, I usually throw two generous teaspoons (using a disposable plastic spoon not a measuring one) of salt into the boiling water, which may have contributed to the excess salt taste. And, rather than sauteeing the leeks and the onions in butter (unsalted, though the recipe didn’t say), I used margarine. If I had been thinking, I would have added more mashed potato to the filling I was making to dilute the salt but, obviously, I was NOT thinking. In my defense, I was also trying a new meatloaf recipe at the same time so I was distracted.

Rather than making individual square knishes, I tried to replicate the beef filled version my mom used to bring home from the deli where she worked for twenty years. They made two/two and a half inch wide meat filled logs which were baked and then cut to size for serving. It turned out that I had too much dough (or conversely, not enough filling) as a result of changing the shaping method. In the recipe below, I’ve doubled the filling ingredients to accommodate this.

Aside: About half an hour after my knish roll came out of the oven, I had the curious thought that I may not have measured out three cups of flour for the dough, but only TWO.

Potato and Leek Knish

Chef Bryan’s Potato Knish – makes 16-20 pieces, serves 8-10

Dough

Dry Ingredients
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Wet Ingredients
1 cup mashed or riced potatoes
1 tsp salt (reduce to 1/2 tsp next time)
1/2 tsp pepper (reduce to 1/8 tsp next time)
1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup cold water

Filling

2 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil, divided in half
2 medium onions (2 cups), finely diced and sauteed in half the butter above
1 stalk of leeks (3 cups cleaned leeks), chopped into 1/2 inch squares and sauteed in half the butter above
2 cups mashed or riced potatoes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Egg Wash

1 egg and 1 tsp cold water, whisked together

Prepare a half baking sheet by lining with a sheet of parchment paper.

Making the dough:

Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine 1 cup of mashed potatoes, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and mix well until nice and creamy and the potatoes come together.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mash together. It won’t come together yet. Add the water to pull it into a dough by creating a well in the middle and adding the water. Mix together until it comes together into a soft dough.

Cover the bowl with a cloth or sheet of plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

Make the filling during this resting period.

Making the filling:

In a large saute pan, fry the onions with some (1 tbsp) of the unsalted butter until softened, but not caramelized. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and set aside. In the same saute pan, fry the leeks with the rest (1 tbsp) of the unsalted butter, until just softened. Add the leeks to the onions sauteed previously.

Add one cup of mashed potatoes to the onions and leeks, as well as the salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 deg Fahrenheit.

Lightly flour a clean work area. Take your dough ball and cut it in two equal halves. Roll out each portion into a rectangle that’s 1/4 inch thick and about 4 inches wide x 14 inches long.

Spoon half the filling into the center of one of the rectangles.

Brush some of the egg wash along one of the long edges of the dough and fold other end of the dough over the filling onto the egg washed edge. Press the dough down to seal the filling into the roll. Turn the roll over, so the seam is on the bottom and transfer the knish log onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush some of the egg wash over the top.  Repeat the assembly process with the rest of the dough and filling.

Place the half sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Let the knish cool until it’s barely warm, then cut the knish rolls into 2 inch bars.

Serve warm or room temperature with ketchup or spicy mustard.

I served my knishes with a couple of slices of meat loaf and found that the sweet, tang of the ketchup-mustard glaze paired well with the heaviness of the knish.

Chicken Knish (Trial #1)

I’ve been meaning to make a batch of  knish for some time … years actually. But something always got in my way. I’m home sick today so I pulled a half pound of raw, cubed, chicken breasts out of the freezer, thawed it enough so I could mince/grind it up in my food processor and made what was the easiest dough/filling recipe that I found in my internet searches.

I should have had my suspicions when there were no reviews posted.

Oh, well. You live and learn.

The recipe wasn’t a complete FAIL and the knishes tasted alright, but there were some issues.

The dough – Very soft and wet. I kneaded in some more flour before oiling the plastic wrap, wrapping the dough up in it, and then refrigerating the dough while I made the filling.

The filling – I eyeballed a ‘cup’ of chopped chicken breast to equal about 1/2 lb/227 gm and froze it away a couple of days ago. However, the directions (1 tbsp of filling) seemed … off. And it was. A cup comes out to about SIXTEEN tablespoons, even if you ignore the contribution from the small grated carrot and chopped onion.

So, did that mean I was to roll out sixteen circles and fill them? The problem was that I didn’t have a HOPE of rolling out that miniscule amount of dough thin enough in order to do so. I rolled out the dough about 1/8th of an inch thick and was able to cut out four (3 3/4 inch) circles. I divided the filling into four portions and shaped them into balls which I placed on top of each of the circles of dough. Picking the knishes UP was another problem. And the dough was SO soft and sticky that wrapping it around the giant ball of filling was almost impossible as it kept tearing. I was determined to succeed however. Because I’m FRUGAL and didn’t intend to discard the trimmings from the dough, I gathered them up and roughly shaped and rolled them out into a FIFTH circle of dough. Then, I re-portioned the chicken filling so I could fill all five of the knishes.

I floured my hands and shaped the knishes as best as I could. The last knish was shaped a bit differently as I wrapped the dough completely around the meat filling.

The baking temperature – I did a fast conversion of the baking temperature (180 deg C /~350 deg F) but realized that the dough wasn’t getting as brown as I wanted in the time suggested, so I increased the temperature to 375 deg F, for the last 15 minutes. And then I baked the knishes for another 10 minutes. I even turned on the broiler for a few minutes but they were still pale.

The knishes were baked on a dark metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper and the bottom was lovely and brown. It was also HARD. The sides though were nice and tender, even if pale. The filling was moist and bouncy, so it was not over-baked. Even without any dipping sauce (Dijon mustard or ketchup), the knish I ate was very tasty.

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Sweet Japanese Thin Omelettes

I found the recipe for these omelettes on the “Just Hungry” blog as well as some interesting ways of using them. I’ve rewritten the recipe posted below to reflect the number of omelettes I made

Inari Sushi Topped with Thin Omelette

Sweet Japanese Thin Omelette (Usuyaki Tamago)

Sweet Japanese Thin Omelettes (Usuyaki Tamago) – makes 4  9-inch omelettes

3 large eggs
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1/8th tsp salt
1 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tbsp water (optional)*
vegetable oil to oil the pan

* The cornstarch adds extra body to the omelette so that it can be used as a wrap for beggar’s purses and shell-shaped sushi.

Beat eggs and water together in a small bowl. Add the sugar and salt and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to the egg mixture and beat together to combine. If you want an extra smooth omelette batter, you can sieve your mixture before making your omelettes

Place a cast iron or non-stick frying pan over medium-low heat and when heated, wipe the surface with a paper towel that has been dipped into a bit of vegetable oil. Add about 1/4 cup of the egg mixture and swirl to evenly cover the surface of the frying pan. When the edges of the omelette are dry and start to curl just a bit and the surface of the omelette is still a bit shiny, free the edges and flip the omelette out onto a large plate. Swipe the frying pan surface with the oiled paper towel and repeat until you’ve used up all the egg mixture.

NOTE: Your pan may gradually get hotter so watch that the bottom of the omelette doesn’t brown for a professional omelette quality. Remove the pan from the heat briefly to cool it down if you’re making a lot of omelettes at a time. If you don’t care that the omelette gets a bit brown, it won’t BURN, don’t stress. Expert omelette makers may be able to use only about 3 tbsp per omelette for a truly THIN omelette but, as with crepes, I find that 1/4 cup of the mixture is perfect for my pan and I don’t rip the omelette when removing it from the pan.

Sauteed Kale and Cheese Omelette

A bundle of fresh kale is quite versatile … use it to make a pot of Zuppa Toscana soup, a topping for a meatless pizza AND as a filling for this delicious three egg omelette.

Kale and Cheese Omelette

Kale and Cheese Omelette – serves 2

5-6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, finely minced
2 cups kale, cleaned, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
pinch of salt and black pepper
4-6 tbsp grated or crumbled cheese of choice (ie. old cheddar, feta)

Garnish – 1 ripe avocado, cubed, hot sauce or salsa

Add the oil to a 9 inch non-stick pan, over medium heat, and saute the onion, just until lightly golden. Add the kale, tossing gently to coat the kale with the oil and mix with the sauteed onion. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top. Cover with a lid and let steam for 3-4 minutes until the kale is wilted. Transfer kale and the onions into a small bowl and set aside

Return the pan to the heat and add half the beaten egg egg mixture. When almost set, scatter half the sauteed kale and cheese over the top of the omelette.

Fold over and continue cooking until the egg is set.

Repeat with the remaining half of the egg mixture.

Serve with the garnish of your choice. In this case, I topped each omelette with half the diced avocado and a couple of tablespoons of spicy salsa.

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Kale Pizza …. with or without hot Italian sausage – saute two cups of sliced kale, a pinch or two of salt and a pinch of black pepper and a quarter cup of finely diced onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. Let cool and top pizza.

Bake for 15-18 min at 425 deg F in a preheated oven.

It’s Baaaaaaack … Sourdough Starter

I had a recent conversation with a work colleague and the topic of sourdough came up. (See, it’s not MY fault.) Anyway, I offered him a sample of my dried starter so he could try to bake some. When I got home, I had a moment, or three, of insecurity, and decided to rehydrate a sample, to make sure that it was still viable after twenty-two months spent at room temperature in my pantry. The house is relatively cold (70 deg F) and it took three days to get a nice bubbly starter. And then, I had to figure out something to do with that starter.

As a consequence of the romaine lettuce recall, I’ve switched to raw vegetables and coleslaw as veggie sides. Coleslaw is relatively perishable so I planned on making my usual coleslaw staple … okonomiyaki. However, I decided to substitute the flour and water (and baking powder) in the recipe with sourdough starter. I did two, poorly planned trials, as I started by using active starter (plus half the baking powder from the original recipe). The resulting pancake was a bit loose to start with but did firm up. In the second trial, I used discard starter, cut back on the water (and NO baking powder) and was much happier with the results so that’s the recipe I’m including below, along with the accompaniments.

Sourdough Starter Okonomiyaki – savoury cabbage pancake served with smoked cheese sausage

Sourdough Starter Okonomiyaki – makes 1 pancake

Pancake base

60 gm sourdough starter, active or discard
1 whole egg
1/8 tsp salt

Fillings

3/4 cup cabbage, shredded (or bagged coleslaw mix)
2 tbsp sliced green onion tops

Optional Vegetable Add-ins – use a couple of your favourites

grated seasonal vegetables such as carrots, daikon radish, sweet potatoes and squash
grated firm fruits such as pears and apples

Optional Protein Stir-ins/Add-ins – pick one

2-3 slices cooked bacon
1/4 cup diced surimi (fake crab legs)
2-3 chopped poached large shrimp
1/4 cup diced Chinese bbq pork
a few slices of leftover pork roast, julienned

Okonomiyaki Toppings

1 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise (or western mayonnaise diluted with 1 tbsp milk to make it easier to pipe)
A few pinches of aonori (ground dried green seaweed) or a couple of tbsp of shredded nori
Dried bonito shavings or flakes (to taste)

Making the pancake

In a small bowl, stir together the starter, egg and the salt. Add the shredded cabbage and green onion and mix together thoroughly. If adding other vegetables, fruits and proteins, do so at this point.

Heat the griddle (or frying pan) over medium heat and with a paper towel, dipped in a bit of vegetable oil, season the pan. Spoon the okonomiyaki mixture onto the griddle and spread it into a round shape about 1/2-3/4 an inch (1.2 – 2 cm) thick.

When the edges of the pancake lose their shine (look dry, about 2-3 minutes), lay the cooked bacon pieces on top, turn the pancake over with a spatula and fry while pressing down on the pancake slightly until the middle is cooked through and set (a couple of minutes should be enough).

This pancake was topped with crispy bacon and diced avocado

Home-made Okonomiyaki Sauce – mix the following together

3 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce

NOTE: Tonkatsu Sauce may be used instead of the Okonomiyaki sauce

Transfer the pancake to a serving dish, bacon side up. Spread the okonomiyaki sauce over the top, drizzle the top with mayonnaise in an attractive pattern. Sprinkle the seaweed over the top and the dried bonito flakes.

Dig in.

Cross-section of the pancakes

Carole’s No Knead Sourdough Loaf – cottage cheese (1/3 cup), crispy fried onion (1 tbsp), dill seed (1/2 tbsp) and dill weed (1/2 tbsp)

The shaped sourdough loaf was allowed to proof in a towel lined, rice flour coated, colander. To turn out into the preheated dutch oven, a parchment paper lined baking sheet was placed over the dough, FLIPPED over, and the towel removed. The loaf was scored and transferred, using the parchment paper as a sling, into the dutch oven before being baked.

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki

I was reminded of this elaborate variation of okonomiyaki today while playing with a sourdough adaptation of the basic recipe and decided to share the LJ post from four years ago.  It’s a lot more work than I normally have the energy for these days so I’m unlikely to cook it again in the near future.

It’s been a while since I made this tasty Japanese pancake so I decided to take it to the next level with a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.

It’s a bit labour intensive because you have to do a lot of prepping of the ingredients, but the actual execution is a breeze. So, once you have everything in its own bowl, you can crank out 1 or 2, or 4 okonomiyaki in a row and everyone can have their own flavour combinations.

Overview of the Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki

1 portion of yakisoba noodles
1 egg, fried sunny side up and yolk still runny
1 okonomiyaki with desired garnishes

Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki

1. Make the Yakisoba noodles

Yakisoba Noodles – you can divide this batch of noodles in half to serve as the base of 2 portions if you wish.

1 bundle of Y&Y brand 3 minute chow mein noodles (from a 1 pound package)
1 recipe of yakisoba sauce
1-2 tsp vegetable oil

In a medium saucepan boil 4-5 cups of water. Add the bundle of chow mein noodles and gently tease apart. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain well. If using immediately, heat a large non stick frying pan to medium and add vegetable oil. Add noodles and fry for a few minutes until the noodles start getting some colour. Pour the yakisoba sauce over the noodles and stir through.

If making ahead, drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water. Drain again and store in a plastic wrap covered bowl so they don’t dry out. When frying make sure the noodles warm through before adding the yakisoba sauce.

Yakisoba Sauce

2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sake/mirin/water
1-2 tsp soy sauce
1/4-1/2 tsp wasabi paste (add more if you like it hotter)

Stir together in a small bowl and pour over the noodles as required.

2. Fry the egg

3. Make the Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki – makes one pancake

2-3 strips bacon, cooked, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup shredded cabbage (or bagged coleslaw mix)
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp (1/4 cup) all purpose flour
pinch or two of salt
3 tbsp water or dashi soup
1 egg
1/4 cup chopped green onion (optional)

Other meat choices
– a few cooked shrimp, shredded surimi, 3-4 pieces thinly sliced pork

Okonomiyaki Sauce – mix the following together

3 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Okonomiyaki Toppings

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (diluted with 1 tbsp milk to make it easier to pipe)
Aonori (ground dried green seaweed) or shredded nori and dried bonito shavings (to taste)

Mise en place – From left to right. Top row: yakisoba sauce, cooked yakisoba noodles, shredded coleslaw/carrot mix, 2nd row: shaved bonito flakes, egg, 2 stalks of sliced green onion, okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise in squeeze bottle, bottom row: sliced surimi, fried bacon cut into 1 inch pieces

Making the Okonomiyaki batter

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Gently mix in the water and egg. A whisk will assist with this. Next, add all the remaining ingredients and mix them together thoroughly with a large spoon.

Okonomiyaki batter and surimi

Heat the griddle (or frying pan) to medium or medium-high and lightly oil. Spoon the okonomiyaki mixture onto the griddle and spread it into a round shape about 1/2 an inch (1.2 to 1.5 cm) thick.

When air bubbles start to rise in the middle of the okonomiyaki, lay the cooked bacon pieces on top, turn the pancake over with a spatula and fry while pressing down on the pancake slightly until done.

Bacon and Okonomiyaki – before turning over to cook the top of okonomiyaki

Underside of okonomiyaki

Transfer to a serving dish, bacon side up.

Yakisoba noodles and fried egg – waiting for their okonomiyaki top

Okonomiyaki (top side up) on top of noodles and egg and ready to be garnished

Spread the okonomiyaki sauce over the pancake, top with mayonnaise in a pretty pattern.

Sprinkle on the aonori and dried bonito flakes, if using, as well as any other garnishes. The okonomiyaki is now ready to eat.

ETA: Version #2 with avocado garnish and green onion mixed into batter. Bean sprouts are good inside the batter as well.

Playing with the toppings … and what is inside the pancake as well

Closeup with oozing egg – I’m still working on cooking the yolk less.