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Word Play

When it comes to food, the term “blackened” is not a descriptor you would typically want to use to describe your dish.  To us, anyways, the word blackened is kind of synonymous with other words like “burnt” or “charred”- doesn’t exactly get your mouth watering, does it?  No, it sort of just leads us to think of another word… “inedible”.

Think about it- blackened cookies, blackened toast, blackened pizza… suddenly you don’t feel well and you’re (cough, cough) “not hungry”, right?

In fact, the term blackened is right up there with words like “wilted”, “fermented” and “sapid” (who knew that word means something tastes good?!?)

Yes, for the most part if your dish is blackened, you probably burnt it and it probably isn’t going to be very, well… sapid.  (There.  We tried using it and we were right- it just sounds weird.)  But there is a time when the term blackened is a good thing.

A very good thing.

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If you hear the word blackened in front of the word salmon, you can forget all of your preconceived notions of what you thought the word meant, erase the images swirling in your mind of charred, dried-out fish, and dive in fork-first!

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Because this salmon is slammin’! (Sorry- we couldn’t resist!)

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But in all seriousness, we may never eat salmon any other way ever again- it was that good.

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There are 2 simple steps to creating this mouth-watering dish, and only about 25 minutes until it is on your plate! The secret to perfectly-done blackened salmon (aka-not burnt) is to sear it in the pan and then finish it off in the oven!  That way you get a crispy outer-layer, but a flaky, succulent inside.

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Succulent. Now there’s a word we want to hear more of!  Or how about delectable, exquisite, or tantalizing? 

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Actually, if there was a word that combines all of those we’d have a dead-ringer!

Delecquitalizing? Tantaquitable? Hmm… maybe we’ll just let the pictures do the talking 😉

Blackened Salmon

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1 lb. salmon (you can also use fillets)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt (or garlic powder + a dash of salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

In a small dish, combine all the spices.  Generously coat both sides of the salmon with the spices and gently rub into the flesh.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, place the salmon in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spices are blackened, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes to blacken the other side.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and move fish from the pan onto the baking sheet.  Bake in the centre of the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the salmon is no longer dark pink in the middle and flakes easily with a fork.  Serve with avocado-corn salsa (recipe below).

Avocado-Corn Salsa

Prep: 10 minutes
Makes: ~1 cup

Ingredients:

1/2 a large avocado
3/4 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion, diced
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a small dish and serve.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever had anything that’s been “blackened”? What are your favourite food-descriptor words? (We’re always looking to expand our repertoire ;))

Lessons in Curry

A couple of months back, Linsday from Pinch of Yum posted about her favourite lentil recipes, which were all curry (or curry-esque) recipes. We love curry and lentils, so we thought that we would give one of her recipes a try. The problem is, we couldn’t decide which of the 6 recipes we wanted to make, so naturally, we made them all!

Every Monday for 6 weeks we made one of her lentil recipes when we got home from practice, a day we dubbed to be “Curry Monday”. Of course, eventually we had made them all, so what were we to do?

Make our own curry, obviously!

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We’ve made curry plenty of times before, and they we always good, but we found that there was something missing… they didn’t send us to our foodie happy place, nothing so special that we would write down the recipe so we could make it again. Until now!

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So what was it that we did differently? Well, there were a  few things, each that made a big difference:

1. Curry Paste – we currently have a jar of yellow (though it looks red to us!) curry paste, and we’re telling you this stuff is curry-making magic! It may seem expensive, but all you need is a small amount to really take your curry to a new level.

2. We added less spices. I know it seems weird – less spices to a curry dish? But they are supposed to be super-duper spice-filled! We know, that’s what we thought too, but the thing is, curry spices are very strong, and so if you add too many, you just end up with a slightly bitter bowl of curry. Yuck!

3. Added the spices sooner. In the past, we’ve always added the spices much later in the cooking process for fear of the spices losing their flavour. However, while that may be the case with more delicate herbs, not so much with these spices! This time, we added them right off the bat when we were cooking the onions. Cooking or “toasting” your curry spices doesn’t cook off flavour, but more the bitter compounds and flavours that these spices have in their raw state.

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This particular curry also has a special ingredient, one we don’t normally have in the fridge but just happened to be on sale this week.

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Mangoes! 🙂

We don’t know if it’s mango season somewhere, but if it is,  we are very glad it is.

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A full-flavoured, sweet potato and lentil curry with hints of sweetness from the chunks of mango: Dinner time done right!

Sweet Potato and Mango Lentil Curry

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 30min
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

1/2 c. green lentils
1 c. water

1 c. sweet potato, cubed

1/2 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil
1/2 c. white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. bell peppers, chopped
1/2 28oz can of No Salt Added diced tomatoes
1/2 mango, chopped
1 c. spinach
1/3 c. coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp EACH curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg
1/2 tbsp yellow curry paste (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put lentils and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25min.
Cook sweet potato in the microwave until soft, about 5 min.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add onions, garam masala, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, nutmeg and curry paste, and cook until translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and peppers and cook for another 2-3min. Stir in tomatoes, mango, cooked sweet potato and spinach  and cook for another 2-3min, until spinach has wilted.
Turn off the heat and stir in coconut milk and cooked lentils and mix until fully combined.
Add salt and pepper and serve over rice of your choice.

~twosaucysisters

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks for when they make curry?

Granola Two Ways

So we have had this check-list going of things we have to do, and it was growing and growing but none of it was actually getting accomplished! It looked a little like this:

Book hair appointments (neither of us has gotten a trim since…. Decemeber :S )

Book massage appointments (and we don’t mean nice, relaxing massages, we mean the painful, physio kind that was loooong over due!)

Book a spa day/movie night with our cousin – our Mom bought the 3 of us one of those deal-find things for manicures, pedicures, facials and eye-brow waxes for our cousin Ali’s grade 8 grad back in June, and we still hadn’t done it yet!

Buy new running shoes (3 months overdue!)

Get our G licence (for those of you who aren’t from Ontario, that means our full licence. We now don’t have to take another driving test until we’re 80!)

Buy a new watch for Julie and sunglasses for Brittany (ya… that’s still on there!)

Make granola.

Well, we checked off the first 5 items, so other than the watch and sunglasses, the only other item left was the granola!

Our last batch of granola ran out months ago, and we honestly don’t know why it took us so long to get around to replenishing it! It turned into one of those “We should make granola soon!” “Ya, we really should!” but it never moves anywhere beyond that. Procrastination station!

Everytime we thought about it, we were “too tired” or “didn’t feel like it” or the sun was shining and we simply wanted to be outside, not waiting around for granola to bake. But FINALLY we can check this item off the list!

We’ve been wanting to make chocolate granola for a long time now, but we also love a good ol’ fruit-and-nut type thing, so instead of choosing between the two, naturally we just made both!

Chocolate Granola.

And Spiced Fruit and Nut Granola!

Both of these granolas have a few different grains in them to give a more interesting texture (think puffed amaranth and buckwheat groats!) and quinoa flakes for a little added protein.

Double the flavours, double the fun. 🙂

Chocolate Granola

Prep time: 10 min

Bake Time: 25 min

Ingredients

1.5 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. puffed amaranth (for directions on popping amaranth, go here.)
1/4 c. quinoa flakes
2 tbsp buckwheat groats
2 tbsp unsweetened flaked coconut
pinch of coffee grounds
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tbsp whole flax seeds
2 tbsp walnut pieces
1/4 c. almonds, roughly chopped
2.5 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tbsp almond butter
1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
2 tbsp water
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325C

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Ina separate bowl combine wet ingredients.  Add wet to dry and stir until dry mixture is evenly coated.  Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until slightly crispy (it’ll get crispier as it cools).

Spiced Fruit-and-Nut Granola

Prep time: 10 min

Bake time: 25-30 min

Ingredients:

1.5 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. puffed amaranth (for directions on popping amaranth, go here.)
1/4 c. quinoa flakes
2 tbsp buckwheat groats
2 tbsp unsweetened flaked coconut
pinch of coffee grounds
pinch sea salt
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tbsp whole flax seeds
2 tbsp walnut pieces
1/4 c. almonds, roughly chopped
1/2-1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp orange juice
1/4 c. honey
1 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Same as above! 🙂

~twosaucysisters

Do you like granola?  Do you ever find yourself with a huge list of things to do, and then finally one day you just champ it out and get them all done?