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Easy Half-Pop Shrimp

Sometimes I'm in the mood for something special, but I don't have a lot of time, ingredients, or energy. Usually this is because I've left dinner too late, and am so hungry I don't feel like cooking. On nights like these, I tend to throw together things in my cupboard and hope for the best. Tonight? Success!

These shrimp take all of 15-20 minutes (but, only 5 of which that you will spend actually doing anything) and are super tasty and flexible. I ate mine off the baking sheet, but they could definitely be dressed up, drizzled, or served on something green. They'd be nice and punchy on a salad, or would make a nice crunchy-chewy topping to a simple pasta.

You'll need:

Panko crumbs
Shrimp, tails removed (this is most of your 5 minutes). I did 30 medium sized.
1/2 - 1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp whole wheat flower
A few good cracks of black pepper
1-2 tsp minced garlic
(chili flakes or other seasonings optional)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Put shrimp in a bowl big enough to do some moderate mixing in.
Drizzle with olive oil. Stir in garlic and distribute as evenly as possible.
Sprinkle mix with flour and stir
Crack your pepper over the mix. If you want chili flakes or other seasonings for extra kick, go for it now.
Toss in enough Panko crumbs to more or less coat your shrimp to your liking (this works best if you use less rather than more - enough for a little crunch here and there).
Shake out onto a cookie or baking sheet.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking periodically to make sure they're the way you want. They should smell delicious.
Eat and enjoy!!


Pairing A Sauvignon Blanc For Your Next Party

This past Thursday night we revisited our earlier experimentation with wine pairing. On the menu? My favorite 10$ or less brand of choice, Barefoot, in a bright green Sauvignon Blanc. These days it really feels like summer is upon us, and bright, crisp wines like a Sauvignon Blanc are just right for cutting through the heat. This one is very fruity, but not too sweet. It smells quite strong (too strong, I'd say) but doesn't deliver any kind of offensive flavors - rather, it's a little melon, a little pear, a little zest, and a little sparkle. Online wine reviews like to pooh-pooh some of these "beginner wines", but there is certainly also a market for people learning to drink and enjoy wines with their food, and Barefoot seems to specialize in these immediately drinkable wines. We matched this wine with guacamole and tortilla scoops. It certainly was an excellent pairing, and might improve this wine for those who aren't usually drinkers of white. Though this Sauvignon wouldn't be my first choice for a wine to drink on its own, it makes an excellent choice for pairing with the right foods (I can't recommend the guac pairing enough; it was really delicious, and party-ready) when you're kicking off a fun spring or summer evening.

9.94$ at your local LCBO!


Easy Escargot Appetizer

Last week, A and I had our monthly date night. With a lot of different occasions coming up, we decided to have a romantic dinner at home, where we cooked together and enjoyed a nice bottle of wine. To start up the dinner, we put together a very easy escargot appetizer that will truly make you feel like you can open your own restaurant. Here we go:

Ingredients (for two large portions - this could easily have been 4 portions):

  • 2 tbsp garlic butter (the green package at the market, or you could make your own)
  • 2 cans of escargot
  • shredded mozarella cheese (you can ultimately use whatever cheese you want)
  1. In a non-stick frying pan, melt the butter on medium-low heat 
  2. Add the escargot and mix well until they are coated with the butter. Keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Set in plates and sprinkle some shredded cheese. Add as much cheese as you'd like. 
That's it! It was absolutely fantastic! 
You could even up it up a notch and cover them with cheese and broil them in the oven for a few minutes. You can serve these with some scoop tortilla chips (yes, yes, trust me on this one) at a potluck, your guests will love you forever! 

Caramelized Tofu with Brussels Sprouts

C is not a big fan of tofu. But seeing that we're both following a strict vegetarian diet (for another 3 weeks), I thought I would try to prepare a recipe that might make her appreciate tofu when it's cooked to her taste. 101 Cookbooks offered a great recipe that we both came to enjoy (with minor alterations)! :)

  • 1 package of firm tofu, cut into cubes 
  • 1.5 tbsp of olive oil 
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts 
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp of dry coriander 
  • 6-7 brussels sprouts, washed and cut into wide ribbons salt to taste 
  1. Cook the tofu strips in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and half your olive oil. Saute until slightly golden, about 4 minutes.  
  2. Add the garlic and  walnuts, and cook for another minute.  
  3. Stir in sugar. Cook for another couple of minutes.  
  4. Remove from heat and stir in coriander.  
  5. Scrape the tofu out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts. 
  6. In the same pan (no need to wash), add the other half of your oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high.  
  7. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring a couple times until they start to get golden - you don't want to burn them! 
I served it with some pasta (mixed the brussels sprouts with the tofu and topped it on the pasta and mixed). If you think it's too dry, you can add some Soy sauce.

Next time, I would probably add some nice goat's cheese :)


Springy fig salad

I don't have pictures of my salad on hand, so here are some pictures of the spring flowers I do!
This Ottawa March weather seems to be alternating between salad and soup worthy (a bit like us!) so here's a bright tasting salad, replete with all sorts of chewiness and crunchiness to complement these new sunny days. Though you may have to invest in a package of figs (unless you're making a large number of salad servings), it will last you forever, and because the figs are dried, it will keep a really long time too!

To serve four:

Soak 5-6 dried figs in warm water for 10 minutes, in a small bowl.


Chop up 6-7 large leaves of washed romaine lettuce
Grate two large carrots
Slice up two mini cucumbers
Slice two-three hand fulls of fresh red grapes in half

Remove the figs from the water and dry them. Then, chop each fig into little wedges.

Mix your veggies, distributing them amongst your  4 plates or bowls, and combine your grapes with the figs.

Distribute the fruit evenly on the salad.

Dress with your favorite vinaigrette (I recommend Renee's Pear and Blue Cheese vinaigrette if you can get it! Most grocery stores carry this brand).


Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Sweet and Sour sauces are always so delicious. I always wondered how to make a really good one to use on pork chops, chicken wings or anything else that I fancy! So after a good long while of studying various recipes on the Interwebs, I whipped up this amazing sweet and sour sauce that I used on pork chops in my crockpot!

Ingredients (covers 5 medium sized pork chops):
  • 1/3 cup of reduced sodium soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp of cider vinegar (if you don't have cider vinegar, you can use pure apple juice)
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch (more if you'd like your sauce to be thicker)
Simply mix all your ingredients together. Put the pork chops in your crockpot and pour the sauce over it. Set your crockpot on high for 3-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

That's it! Deliciousness! :) I bet this would be amazing to marinate chicken wings in for game night!

- CK

Potato, Asparagus and Beans Creamy Soup

Asparagus is in season and they've got deals all over town! So, for Meatless Monday this week, I wanted to prepare a creamy asparagus soup but wanted to make sure to incorporate some proteins - enter the beans. Those of you who've been reading the blog will know that I'm not a big fan of beans. So while I was a little reluctant to incorporate the beans into this soup, I still took the chance - and it turned out great!

This soup is great to use as an appetizer or even for a main course!

Ingredients (yielding 4 large portions):

  • 6 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 16 stalks of asparagus (or about half a bunch), chopped
  • 1 large can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp of dry thyme
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (I know, I know...I just didn't have vegetable broth. Feel free to substitute)
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2/3 cups of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil your potatoes, asparagus and beans into your broth and water over high heat until the potatoes are tender and ready (about 20 minutes or so)
  2. About midway through the boiling process, add your thyme and ginger
  3. Remove your pot from heat and blend your veggies and beans mixture. (I used my magic bullet, so I had to do it in several portions)
  4. Once your mixture is all blended, pour back into your pot on low heat and add the milk, salt and pepper. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Voila! :) I must admit it turned out a little more bean-y than expected. Perhaps I would only put either half or 3/4 of the can next time, but that's just my personal  taste.


- CK

100 calorie Sweet Potato and Zuke Latkes

3 100-cal latkes with astro biobest plain yogurt!

I love love love latkes and regularly order them when I'm out for brunch, but I know they're not the healthiest way to eat a potato. Some experimenting with different grate-ables led me to this combo, which significantly improves the nutrition factor, and minimizes the caloric intake. Plus, this is a great way to use zucchini (I'm always wondering what the heck to do when I'm not making it into a risotto or my mom's curry-zucchini soup (coming soon!).

You'll need:

1 medium zucchini (funny ends sliced off)
1 big sweet potato (peeled)
1/4 cup onion (chopped as finely as possible, unless you really love onion and want longer strings in your latkes)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

optional: plain yogurt (instead of sour cream) or your favorite applesauce (if you're that kind of latke person...I've never understood the applesauce thing)

Do: (do these things in order - you want to prepare the batter RIGHT before cooking to keep things from getting soggy, and while cooking, pour off any excess liquid for the same reason)

Slice your zuke lengthwise and remove its seeds.
Grate your potato and zucchini (coarsely) either in a food processor (preferred) or by hand on a grater.
In a big bowl, mix your egg, onion, salt and pepper: stir in your grated veggies.
Heat half the oil in a large skillet (med-hi, but more med than high).
You're going to do this the same way you do pancakes: add a heaping tablespoon of the mixed ingredients to the skillet, flattening down a touch with your spoon (don't overdo this - let the latke be once it's frying).
When the edges start to lightly brown, flip the lakte, and cook the other side for about a minute or two - depending on your oven, the first side can take from 2-4 minutes (mine is slow).
Remove and rest on paper towels to absorb excess liquid.
Repeat until your batter is used up (if you need, use the remaining 1.5 tbsp of oil to refresh your skillet).

Should make about 24 latkes. If you want to reheat them later, bake them at 375 on a cookie sheet for about 5 minutes.

Serve hot and enjoy guilt-free.