Friday, December 21, 2012

homemade flour wraps

chewy and thin, perfect for wrapping anything
These homemade wraps are super easy to make and can be used in a variety of ways.  In Taiwan they are called "juan bing" and they are usually filled with lots of bean sprouts, scallions, shredded carrots/cabbage, ground meat, and sugary crushed peanuts.  They are thin but strong and can hold up with lots of filling, whatever you choose to fill them with!  Use them for fajitas, soft tacos, burritos, breakfast... we made them to wrap pulled pork and it was absolutely delicious.  Next time you are at the grocery store at the tortilla / pita aisle, try making these instead:)

Leftovers are easily stored in a ziplock bag in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer.

what you need:
*makes 20 large wraps

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot boiled water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil (any kind)
what to do:
  1. Place flour and salt in a large bowl and pour boiled water in.  Stir with chopsticks or the end of a wooden spoon, mixing until water and flour begin to come together.  
  2. Lightly flour work surface, dump flour mixture on it and begin kneading (be careful it may be hot).  Knead until dough becomes smooth, about 5 minutes.  Put it back into the bowl and cover with tea towel and allow it to rest for 15-30 minutes (allows the gluten to relax for easier rolling).
  3. Roughly divide dough into 20 balls (about the size of a golf ball) - flatten dough balls into a disc shape with your palm, dip one side of it in oil, then put another disc on top and press down again with your palm.  With a rolling pin, roll the two flattened together until about 1/4" thick, and you can a relatively circular shape.  Repeat until all dough balls are rolled out.
  4. In a large non stick pan on medium heat, place the wrap down (no oil needed).  Flip it once it starts to bubble up a bit, about 40 secs.  Once the other side bubbles as well, take it off the heat and set it on a cookie sheet.  When it's cool enough to handle but still warm to touch, gently separate the two wraps (this is why dipping it in oil is important so they come apart easily!) - keep it under a tea towel until time to serve.  Enjoy!
pulled pork, banh mi salad, and avocado
in the homemade flour wrap

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

carrot & cucumber salad - banh mi style

enjoy as a side or use it on top of a
burger or sandwich for a fresh crunch
Our friends Peter and Marina were finally able to visit us this weekend so we made them pulled pork (which they missed out on last time!) - and decided to put another asian twist on it (last time we paired it with kimchi) - banh mi style carrot & cucumber slaw.  I call it banh mi style because when Peter ate it he said it reminded him of a vietnamese style sandwich, which typically has some crunchy pickled veggies on it with lots of cilantro.  I have to credit Ryan for his knife skills - I asked for matchstick sized carrots and cucumbers and he really delivered!  It was the perfect addition to our pulled pork wraps (next post) - the spicy crunch of the salad really complimented the sweet, soft and tender pork.

what you need:
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 big handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp ponzu
  • 2 tsp naturally brewed soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oil (canola or olive oil)
  • 1 red thai chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1-2 tsp brown sugar
what to do:
  1. In a large salad bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.  Set aside
  2. Wash vegetables thoroughly and peel carrots.  Cut carrots and cucumber into match stick sizes.  Slice green onion on a sharp angle to get long blades, similar in size to the carrots.  Roughly chop cilantro.  
  3. Toss vegetables with dressing and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes in the fridge before serving.  Serve as a side salad, or put in into a burger or sandwich.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2012

calabrese roasted asparagus

quick & easy side dish
If you ever need an easy side dish...this is it!  There's minimal effort but lots of flavour, and it can go with a lot of different things - maybe a side to fish, steak, chicken...tofu even.  You could curl them up and spear them with a toothpick as an appetizer too.  The oven roasting gives the asparagus a lovely nutty flavour and the calabrese becomes crispy and spicier.  

what you need:
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • a few slices of calabrese 
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
what to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum for easy clean up.
  2. Wash and pat dry asparagus.  Trim off tough ends.  Toss asparagus with olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cut calabrese strips in half.  Wrap them around the bottoms of the asparagus.  Spread asparagus on baking sheet, don't let them overlap.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until calabrese is slightly crispy and the asparagus tips look lightly charred and softened.
  4. Serve immediately or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

veggie chili

warm and hearty
Chili, especially on a cold day, is one of my favourite go to's.  I always make a huge pot and freeze any leftovers, which makes for an easy meal later on.  This one is vegetarian with a spicy kick.  Use any beans you have on hand!  The important parts are the aromatics and spices.

what you need:
*makes a big pot
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cans of beans (I used chick peas, black beans, and white kidney beans)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional! for those who love spiciness)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large can of crushed tomatoes (796 mL)
  • cooking oil ~2 tbsp
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh cilantro and green onions for garnish
what to do:
  1. Prepare all your vegetables by washing them thoroughly then dicing them all to about the same size (about the size of your beans).  Keep carrots, celery, and sweet potato separate.
  2. On medium heat in a large pot, heat up oil.  Add onions and jalapenos, stir occasionally.  Once the onions are slightly translucent and lightly golden brown, add garlic.  Stir for a minute then add the rest of the veggies.  Continue sauteing veggies for another few minutes -  then add the spices and stir to coat everything.  Once the spices are lightly toasted (you'll smell them ~ 2 minutes), add the can of tomatoes.
  3. Drain and rinse the canned beans.  Add to pot and stir, nestling the bay leaves into the liquid.  If it seems dry, add 1/2 cup of water. then cover and bring to a boil.  Once it boils, lower heat and allow to simmer for 1 hour.  Stir occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn't burn.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve hot garnished with freshly chopped cilantro and green onions.  Best accompanied by corn bread! :)  Enjoy!