Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Thai Chicken Slow Cooker Soup

I found my new favourite Thai Chicken soup via a beautiful hand-written/illustrated cookbook titled:  Sing For Your Supper.  This book is a musically inspired creation from the fellows in Blue Rodeo and their chef Kate Boothman.  The recipes were born while the band was recording the album "In Their Nature", and instead of take-out and junk food galore (like most bands I know would be consuming), they were nourished by these wholesome recipes.  The band themselves even contributed to what ended up being this wonderful 80 page book, which I borrowed from my library (duh!), although you can also find it for sale on the Blue Rodeo website.

What drew me to this book, was the hippy trippy handwritten style and layout  - a total throwback for me to all the cookbooks, and even recipes my mom would write out when I was growing up.

Even though this Thai Chicken Soup recipe does come together quite quickly, I chose to adapt for my slow cooker, you could always cook this on the stove top if you would prefer.   I also reduced it's serving size, as the original recipe was designed to serve like twelve people!
For my family there are always those nights we need something ready as we walk through the door, and this slow cooker method turns out a flavourful feast, perfect for a hectic week night.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup
Recipe adapted from: Sing for your Supper

1 Tablespoon coconut oil
3 Tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced, root to tip
one small nub (1-2 Tablespoons) of ginger, grated (or peeled & Minced)
2 stalks of lemon grass, bruised and hopped into 1" sections
2 Kefir lime leaves
1 can of coconut milk
4-6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
large handful of cilantro, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3-4 potatoes, or 1 small sweet potato, chopped small
2 heads, baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 small can of water chestnuts, drained and chopped (or whole!)
small bunch of fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (optional!)

Pull out your slow cooker and set it aside.  Using a medium pan, over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil, and then add the green chili paste, stirring so it get fragrant, but take care not to burn.  Add the onions, and ginger, and sate for a couple of minutes, until almost translucent and coated in the green chili paste.  Add to the slow cooker.  Add to the pan, half of the stock, and scrape up all the browned bits, and then add the peppers, mushrooms, and bok choy, cook just for a minute or two and then add to the slow cooker.  Add the rest of the stock, along with the coconut milk, lemon grass, lime leaves, potatoes, water chestnuts, and chicken directly into the slow cooker, and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Before serving, remove the lemon grass stalks, and lime leaves, and stir in the chopped fresh basil, and cilantro.  Serve over top of basmati rice, for a more filling meal.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brown Butter Peach Cobbler Muffins

I don't know about you, but after that horrid blast of winter (in September!), I am in the mood for pumpkins, and sweaters, and cute boots, and the cinnamony scent of autumn baking.  Oh, you didn't hear about the freak storm that hit Calgary last week?  We received a surprising summer snow storm that lasted over three days, and left the whole city, or at least the trees, in shambles.  

Everybody in Calgary has at least one broken tree to deal with.  We have one tree in the front yard that has broken branch about 20 feet up, and I'm too scared to climb it myself.  Our second casualty is the highlight of our backyard, a beautiful, and massive Mayday.  It split right down the middle of the trunk.  *Sobs*   I'm hoping an arborist will be able to help us save this tree, so it won't have to be cut down completely.  
Considering, that some people were out power for days, and many probably had trees fall on their cars, or maybe even their homes, we didn't fair to badly.  And for that, I am thankful! 

This meme gives me a giggle:

giving oprah - You get a broken tree! Everyone gets a broken tree!

Even though the snow has all melted, and we are back to blue skies and seasonal temperatures, that taste of cold chilly weather has left me craving belly filling soups, stews, and cozy fall baking.  
These muffins retain a taste of summer, using up the last of my peaches, but would also work well with any number of fruits...apples? blueberries? plums?  Mmmmm!

Let's try this again, Mother Nature.  This time let us ease into fall; enjoying falling leaves, instead of falling branches, and pumpkins, and apples and the awesomeness of autumn.  Plus, I have some really cute jackets I want to wear;)

Brown Butter Peach Cobbler Muffins
Recipe Adapted from:Joy the Baker Cookbook

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 Tablespoons (close to ½ cup) butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup diced peaches, washed & de-fuzzed, skin left on or peeled.

Streusel :
3 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners (or grease tin) and set aside.
Using a small saucepan, brown the butter over medium-high heat.   Remove from heat and let cool.
While brown butter is cooling, use medium bowl and whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and set aside.
And make your streusal: combine butter, flour, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl and mash, using a fork, until it is crumbly, and also set aside.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract.  While whisking, slowly add the cooled brown butter (this is important or your eggs will scramble!) to the wet ingredients and whisk until well incorporated.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix, and mix until just combined.  Gently fold in the diced peaches until they are distributed evenly.  Divide batter into the prepared muffin tin, and spoon the prepared streusel over the top of each muffin.
Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cocoa Berry Overnight Oats

Ohmygoodness, I know the kids are back to school, which means the end of summer is nigh.  But doesn't it just feel Fallish out there?!  It's sooo cold in the mornings already, and I've worn boots twice(!) in the last week.  If that's not a sign that fall is on it's way, I don't know what is.

Not sure why I took so long to get on board with the overnight oat trend that's been happening over the last couple years...but now I get what all the fuss is about.  Overnight Oats are the bomb, guys!  They take like 5 minutes to throw together, and when you wake up, they're ready! No muss, no fuss!

I'm not at all a wake up and eat kinda girl, I usually like to drink all the coffee, and then have a sweat sesh first.  Which also means, I am always in a rush, cramming too many tasks in too short of a morning.  But with these overnight oats ready to go, I can grab the jar as we fly out the door, and nosh en route to school/work.  It's a stick-to-yer-ribs brekkie, perfect for fall; keeping you warm, and full 'til lunch.

If you too, have been putting off trying overnight oats, you've got to give them a taste.  Seriously.

Cocoa Berry Overnight Oats

1/2 cup steel cut oats
3/4 cup almond milk (or fave dairy, or nut milk)
1 Tablespoon Chia seeds
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1-2 Tablespoon(s) maple syrup
1/4 cup dried berries (I used PC Brand Berry Blend)

Use a medium sized jar or tight sealing container.  Add the oats, chia seeds, cocoa powder, dried berries, and stir to combine.  Next add the maple syrup, and almond milk, and stir again, until well mixed.  Place in the fridge 4-6 hours, or, as the name implies: overnight!  Stir once more in the morning, as the oats settle to the bottom.  Fill your belly, and have a great day!