madeweekly

I was kind of thinking of this as a twist on cacio e pepe, the simple Italian pasta with pepper and cheese. But then I thought, what about carbonara? With that egg swirled in? Instead of making the egg part of the sauce, I decided to poach it instead, because I’m a sucker for a poached egg on top of stuff. 

You could increase the veggie quotient with some wilted spinach or arugula, but I love how simple this dish is, and how much it puts the focus on that delicious garlic flavor.

With all the hundreds of fabulous recipe blogs out there, almost none of them have a stated animal welfare policy or suggestions for shoppers. I get that bloggers try to keep recipes approachable and financially accessible. They also don’t want to be endorsing products, and nobody wants their 30-minute pot roast flavored with ethical superiority. But as influencers they have an opportunity to note that any-old-chicken will not be as good as one that was raised outdoors, could support its own weight, ate a decent diet and didn’t die in severe stress. Not just because it’s “right” but because it tastes better, and that’s going to make their recipes more reliable. SO i’ll be asking a bunch of my favorite bloggers where they stand on the issue and publishing their responses with permission.

Made Weekly is a gorgeous blog that focuses on one ingredient each week, highlighting five recipes with that ingredient that never require more than a few steps. Everything i’ve made has turned out beautifully and i love the idea of delving into an ingredient both because it’s educational and because i always end up with extra of an ingredient- so it just makes sense to do a few things in a row.

While it’s not a vegan or vegetarian blog, Rachel, the blogger, happens to utilize about the proportion of animal products i do in my cooking- a sparing amount- and she also integrates meat and dairy substitutes so seamlessly you can’t imagine the recipe any other way.

Above you’ll see Rachel’s great response to my question. Head over to Made Weekly to find her White Bean, Bok Choi and Sausage Soup recipe that looks like what i’ll be having for dinner.

Making ravioli with wonton wrappers is incredibly easy and a totally fun group project. I cheated and cut my wontons into circles using a cookie cutter – you could just fold them into triangles or use 2 squares to avoid scraps. I plan on frying the scraps and eating them with powdered sugar, though, so there’s always that.

You really only need a teaspoon or two of filling for each ravioli. Don’t overstuff or they’ll break open, and be sure to push out any air when you seal them. After cooking, drizzle with oil to avoid sticking. 

For the cream sauce, I used 2 T. butter, 1 c. cream, 1 t. chopped rosemary, and a small chunk of blue cheese. 

Since wonton wrappers come in such big packages, you can always make way more ravioli than you need and freeze the extras in a single layer on a baking sheet until frozen. Then transfer them to a ziplock bag and just pop them in boiling water whenever you need to! 

Ready, Steady, Cook

Because I’ve come to accept it with self-deprecating acquiescence, none of my friends in Canada think I can cook.

To be honest, I couldn’t cook. Since coming to Canada, being spoilt all summer with three meals a day plus staff snack at camp, and then having been looked after regally at Michael’s house, I’d seemingly lost any culinary ability I’d possessed at home in England. When I moved into my various sublets, I’d eat at a restaurant, or eat noodles, or occasionally conjure an omelette. I was a gastronomic dunce.

Fast forward to last night’s dinner party with Zannah, Preet and Sheena. On the menu (mainly gathered from recipes on madeweekly.tumblr.com);

Sautéed cauliflower with capers

Cumin roasted carrots and chestnuts

Posh macaroni cheese with spinach and tomatoes

Quinoa with kale and beets in a balsamic dressing

I was pretty pleased with myself. Sure, the day before I’d spent half an hour peeling an avocado for a salad, only for it to be so under ripe I couldn’t even chew it. Sure, I didn’t prepare the quinoa properly and I’ve had crippling stomach pains for the last 12 hours. As far as I’m aware, everyone else is OK, and we all make mistakes. Right?

The point is, I’m cooking again, and enjoying it, and getting creative in the kitchen. A skill I thought had left me when I moved here is beginning come back, and that’s a pretty delicious prospect. 

So I made this awesome dish from Madeweekly. I just tweaked it a little. I had this yummy bacon leftover from breakfast for supper yesterday, and I was like “self what goes well with bacon?” The answer is everything. So I cooked the bacon and sautéed the cauliflower and etc in the bacon grease. And added smoked paprika (I don’t have dried red pepper), plus everything else on the recipe. This was SO GOOD. And super filling. I am a stuffed mushroom.

I love a good corn muffin, or cornbread. You can add shredded cheddar to these to make them extra indulgent, and I ate them with Mike’s Hot Honey, this totally awesome spicy honey my friend gifted me recently. 

I didn’t want to be eating muffins for days so I just made 6, but this is easily doubled to make a full batch of 12. My cornmeal was white cornmeal, giving these less of the classic yellow cornbread color, but they taste just as good! 

This is a take on the classic cauliflower and cheese sauce that I grew up eating, but baked for a nice crunchy topping. I threw in some kale so I could feel a little better about it, but make no mistake, this is a rich dish! 

Here’s a nice tutorial on making béchamel from The Kitchn, if you’re not sure of the process. For a whole head of cauliflower you might need 1/3 - ½ of the amount this recipe calls for, but it’s all based on proportions so it’s easy to modify! I used 1T. butter and 1T. flour with about 1 cup of milk for half a head of cauliflower…it’s pretty forgiving though. 

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My entry into the Great Tumblr Book Search, sponsored by Chronicle! To demonstrate my concept, I’m recapping Grapefruit Week in one gallery. 

Synopsis
Ingredient by ingredient, season by season, teaching the art of home cooking through simple, visual recipes. Instead of prescribing every spice down to the quarter teaspoon, these recipes encourage readers to experiment and taste as they go – the best way for any cook to learn. And with basic preparation notes for each featured ingredient, home cooks should have all they need to experiment with new dishes, make the most of what they find in the fridge, and learn to love the kitchen. 

Tarts and quiches are another great way to feature vegetables, or to clean out your fridge. I had a handful of minced chives left over from an event, so I decided they’d make a nice mild oniony complement to the chard and goat cheese. 

I made a cornmeal shortbread crust, which means you can just press the crust into your tart pan instead of rolling it out. Since I’m a bit messy, this is a big plus to avoid flour on all surfaces of my kitchen. Here’s the recipe for the crust. 

Cornmeal Crust

½ c. white or yellow cornmeal (fine ground, not polenta)
¾ c. all-purpose flour
¾ t. salt
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into ¼ - inch cubes and frozen for several minutes (the colder the better)
4 - 5 tablespoons ice water

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, and salt. Add butter and incorporate with a pastry cutter or by hand, until the butter is in very small pieces. (note: I used to do this in a food processor, but found my butter always ended up too finely incorporated, making my dough tough.) Add ice water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough is no longer dry (it should hold together if you pinch it). Press evenly into a 9 - 10" tart pan with removable bottom, and par-bake for 15 minutes at 375 before adding the filling. 

 

I almost never eat sweet breakfasts. Eggs win every time, especially when I’m eating out. But every once in awhile I can get behind a good pancake. These are lightly sweetened, and slightly less guilt-inducing with the addition of the carrots. This recipe makes about 12 pancakes (they are smallish but that amount will feed 4 people easily). 

This recipe inspired me, but I wanted to simplify the spices and go with maple-pecan flavoring on top instead of cream cheese. Although obviously both would be delicious! 

The trick to crepes is making them aggressively thin (it only takes a few tablespoons of batter, and swirl that pan!) and using a non-stick or very well-seasoned pan so sticking is not an option. They only take about 30 seconds to cook on the first side and then flip for another 15 seconds or so. Just like pancakes, the first one will probably be messed up but that’s just your sacrificial crepe (it still tastes good). I forgot how easy they are, and how yummy some creamy, garlicky mushrooms are spooned on top. 

This amount of crepe batter will make about 8 crepes, depending on the size of your pan. You could easily double it and refrigerate your leftover crepes. They warm up in seconds in a dry pan and then you can have crepes for breakfast AND dinner! 

Herb oils are a cinch to make, and are a wonderful finishing element to have on hand. 

Cilantro oil is awesome drizzled over soups (like gazpacho!), on top of scrambled eggs, or whisked with lemon juice or vinegar to make a vinaigrette. You shouldn’t cook with herb oil because heat will affect the flavor, but think of it as the finishing touch. 

Cover and keep in the refrigerator. It’s best if you use herb oil within a day, or it will lose its potency and within a few days it will go bad.