Sunday, August 4, 2013

Thyme Keeps on Slippin'

     Look at me, posting 2 days in a row. Yesterday, after eating so much bread and cheese, I felt like something really basic. Chicken soup~ So, because I've spent a lot more time than you searching up soup recipes and making over a thousand litres of soup (literally), I know more or less how to make a good soup.
     But today I thought I'm gonna take some time out to give you a tutorial on how to chop an onion efficiently, because a good soup has onions, whether you like it or not.
Step by step instructions look better:
  1. Cut the top and bottom off your onion, then cut it in half. That makes it easier to peel it. 
  2. Take one half of the onion and cut lengthwise, dragging your (sharp!!!!!!!!) knife across the top and just kind of letting the knife do the work for you. Cut your onion into strips that way, but don't cut all the way through. Instead leave a little bit on the end of the onion closest to the tip of the knife intact. 
  3. Flip your onion the other way now, and start cutting perpendicular to your lengthwise cuts. Once you get about halfway, flip your onion on it's side (with the side most recently cut in the cutting board) and continue cutting until you can't really cut anymore.
  4. Take your last slice of onion (which is still intact because you didn't slice all the way through) and chop it up so the size of those diced onions matches the size of your other ones. 
Onion success!!! So, maybe it wasn't beautiful on your first try, but it'll get there. Practice. Nobody's wonderful at this the first time they try. Maybe your onion didn't chop correctly?

Here are some reasons why:
  • You started chopping the wrong way. If you start chopping against the grain of the onion it's going to fall apart before you cut it across your other cuts. 
  • You suck at cutting things. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. Go get your knife sharpened. I guarantee that a sharp knife will make any chopping you do about 3000X easier. 
  • You don't have a proper knife. Go get one! It doesn't have to be a great knife, you aren't using it all day every day. You just need one to make some food with sometimes. Everyone likes a different knife, so go to a store and pick one out. There are so many different kind of knives, for all the budgets.... but you get what you pay for.
 Chicken Soup Recipe:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 or 2 stalks of celery
  • a bunch of garlic
  •  250g chicken
  • some corn
  • some peas
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • One chicken bullion cube
  • oil 
  • cooking wine (optional)
  • Some kind of starch. I used potato starch because that's what I had kicking around.

 Fun soup time!
Notice the bear claw! It'll save your fingers
  • Chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. That's called a mirepoix (Meer-pwah) and it's used a lot in French cooking. I use it in almost every soup I make. Heat up a large soup pot with some oil. Once your pot is nice and hot, throw in your mirepoix. 
  • While you're sweating out your veg (that means letting your mirepoix get nice and soft. The purpose is to coax more flavour from the veg. For instance, celery by itself is a bad idea, but celery in soup is great.) chop up your chicken. You can just add in your little chicken chunks whenever there cut. After the veg is soft and a bit is sticking to the bottom of the pot, deglaze with white wine. If you don't have cooking wine, you can just skip that part. The wine brings out more flavour from your food, as well as helping get the caramelization from the bottom of the pot. Caramelization is just another word for deliciousness. 
  • Umm, so just put a bunch of water in your pot... I never measure, but just fill it until it covers the ingredients plus some. 
  • Now you can add S+P, chicken bullion cube, rosemary, and thyme. Taste it as you go so that you are happy with the end result. Bring your soup to a boil then turn it down. 
  • While your soup is coming to a boil, pour some cold water in a bowl then add, bit by bit, a bunch of starch. You want this mixture to be pretty thick, but not so thick you can't stir it.
  • Add your peas and corn, then whisk in, tiny bit by tiny bit, your starch roux. (Pronounced roo) 
  • It's done. Then end. Soup now. 
 Enjoy your soup!
Later days,

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Belgium: Land of the Frites and Home of the Beer!

     Okay, we probably need to get something straight: if you haven't been to Belgium yet, you're a sucker. Belgium is legit. If you don't even know where it is, google that shit and memorize it. Then go there.

As a Canadian, I'm not used to being able to sit in a park and drink a beer in the shade (legally), so to be able to do that with some of the best beer in the world was awesome. Also it was cheap.

So yeah, I cheated and had literally everything I shoudn't eat (in excess) the entire time I was in Brussels, but I couldn't help myself! Haha~ You understand.

I did, however, learn about some great gluten and dairy free foods while I was there. One of them is probably the coolest snack ever. So delicious, salty, sweet, colourful, and easy to prepare. It's beautiful. It's tuna and peaches. You read that right. If you don't believe me I'll type it again: tuna and peaches. Tuna and peaches.  I mean, look at that picture. Glorious. It's such a cheap, easy and healthy dish, too. I think I am maybe not stressing enough about how fucking great this food is.

 Another awesome thing I learned about is Americain (pronounced like "American" with a very French accent). It's a great sandwich spread and I absolutely adore it. The thing that makes Americain hardcore is that it's raw~ GUYS! It's like sushi for your sandwich! How exciting is that? It's basically steak tartare for Belgian people. Actually from what I gathered on the ingredients label (because my French skills are somewhat lacking) is that you go to make a mixture between potato salad and tartar sauce, but instead of adding mayo or potatoes, you just add meat. Raw. Sounds so easy to make, but also easy to get sick. I better be careful when I make it... and free for a few days after, just in case.

I also learned how to make Onion Pie, but I'm gonna fiddle with that recipe to make it gluten and dairy free first, but like, to give you an idea of how great it is: caramelized onions, bacon, cheese.

I did other things besides eating in Belgium, but to be fair I did A LOT of it, like most of the time we went hunting for more food. Belgian chocolate, fries, waffles, some awesome kind of donut you can buy at the fair. All of them were so good it was unreal. Umm... but yes, confession time: I didn't actually eat moules (mussels) while I was there, I guess I just never got around to it. I don't like mussels that much normally, so I guess I kept putting it off until it was too late. Oops. Don't judge me. There's only so much a girl can eat in 5 days.
Belgium was awesome. I had a lot of fun.

Tuna and Peaches Recipe
What you need:
  • Can of peaches is what is normally used, but I'm gonna try fresh ones because it's summer and I can do that. But if you use a fresh peach, maybe sprinkle some sugar over top of it.
  • Can of tuna
  • Mayo
  • Salt and pepper
Mix the mayo, salt, pepper and tuna. Take your peaches out of the can. Scoop tuna mix onto a peach. Eat. I'm going to try it out with some brunoise (a cutting term for a really really tiny dice) red onions and see how that goes.

Stay tuned for a marvellous chicken soup recipe and a tutorial on how to cut onions.

Later days,