Category Archives: cooking

A favourite pattern for babies + a cake

I made this little cardigan for a sweet, sweet baby who is beyond adorable. And she also happens to be named after me! The Entrechat was a perfect baby gift pattern.  The pattern is quick and easy but the final result looks like more went into it.  I made this in green as it was a spring wear, and I had this shade in a great baby merino yarn left over. Just looking at it makes me want to make another one. Make sure you check out the Ravelry link so you can see what everyone else has done with the colour scheme. So many cute variations.

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I also made a baby poncho for this gift… but word is out on how successful this project was… Maybe a matter of taste?

What was successful was this German Apple Cake I made with gluten free flour last week. The flour contains buckwheat, so the cake is much more dense than regular wheat flour.  The buckwheat adds a bit of heartiness to the cake, but it works with the cinnamon and apples very well. It was very moist from all those apples. I loved it! And I wanted to share this particular recipe because it is so easy to make. If you are going to try this yourself (and you should! So easy!), listen to the comments (under the recipe linked) and use a bit less sugar than the recipe calls for. It was fine on the sweeter side, but I would have preferred it with a 1/2 cup less sugar.

Due to rigeurous testing I can tell you it’s better than apple pie with ice cream.   

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Peanut Cilantro Sauce on Everything

I have another recipe for you that uses peanuts. I have made it three times in as many weeks, and we put it on things like rice and noodle bowls and salads,  and for the first time it was salad rolls. A recipe my friend gave me was inspiration, but I really wanted to make it as low calorie as possible. As a result I opted to make something with less sugar in it, and add lots of cilantro.

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I’ve tried to recreate the magic from the first time I threw the ingredients together, and to be honest, it has been slightly different each time I make it.  Try as I might, I loathe to follow a recipe – even my own. I am most happiest in the kitchen when I am just using what is on hand, adding what inspires me, and crossing my fingers it all goes well.  Sometimes it doesn’t,  but some times it really does.  When it doesn’t, I keep adjusting things until I like it, and this is the way I have taught myself how to cook.

After I made this sauce I realized I had tasted something very similar a long time ago that was included in a cold noodle thai salad. I called the person who made it for me, and she is sending me the recipe. I want to know how closely what I made matches this recipe from the past.  It’s amazing how taste and smell can take you back.

Trying to find the right balance of sweet, sour and spicy can be a challenge sometimes.  I love Thai food, and dishes like Pad Thai are an example of how that balance can be interpreted differently from cook to cook.  It’s something that tastes differently depending on the cook who made it or the restaurant you ordered it (Although, let me recommend the Pad Thai from Mango Thai on Davie Street in Vancouver).  The ingredients you use to get that balance can vary greatly as well.  We once purchased tamarind fruit to make our own tamarind sauce, which is an ingredient I prefer to use in Pad Thai that has a great tartness, but it’s also found in Worcestershire and HP sauce. Barbecue sauce is another example of finding the sweet spot with sour, sweet, and spicy.

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I hope that you are able to find the sweet spot with this recipe.  It’s meant to be a  thin sauce, with a great amount of tart that brings out the cilantro. The peanut butter has sweetness, but you still need to add a little sugar to keep the tart from overwhelming.

Peanut Cilantro Dipping Sauce.

1/2 tsp- 1tsp Chilli Garlic sauce (Asian hot sauce) + 1/4 tsp chilli flakes (depend on how spicy you like it)
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder, or one minced clove of garlic
1 TBS gluten free soy sauce
2 TBS rice vinegar
Juice of one juicy lime
3/4 cup of water
3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
1.5 tsp sugar (brown sugar and maple syrop work well too)
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
Notes:
-Blend all ingredients in a blender, with 1/2 cup of the water, reserving 1/4 cup. I’ve made this recipe a few times, and what always turns it from “not quite there” to “that’s good sauce” is the right amount of water.
-The sweetness will depend on your Peanut Butter. Also, if you use a sweetened hot sauce that might affect the balance as well
-The lime needs to be juicey. If you are using dry tired limes you won’t have enough tart to balance the sauce.
– So taste it, and try adding more of the water to take down some of the acidity if needed.
-I have only created this using Tamari’s gluten free soy sauce, which can taste quite different that other brands, like China Lily for example.
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Have fun!

Variety

I had a 2 hour phone call with one of my best friends yesterday. I think that might be a record for me. I’m not a good phone chatter. Who wants to hear about my list of daily errands and the random thoughts my reading list evokes? A good friend feigns interest, but a great friend gets excited about such things. My friend that I was chatting with is also the most enthusiastic about my blog. She pointed out that my posts don’t always have to be about knitting. I think when I first discussed a blog she imagined I would be posting the kind of stories I tell at parties (I have many tales that end with me embarrassing myself, and these go over well when people are in the mood to laugh) or writing long pieces about my social views, which is something else I tend to not shut up about too. Little did she know that she’d be subjected to post after post of baby sweater crafts, and knitted bags.

The same day we chatted I had had 3 cups of coffee, and skipped lunch by accident. It was 3:00pm when the coffee shakes hit, and I needed to make something quickly. I also didn’t want to turn on the stove because we were in the middle of a heat wave, and I didn’t want to be roasted to death in my own home. What I made is something that I now consider comfort food, and is my gluten-free home-cooked equivalent of fast food: something that takes no time, and is mostly carbs. The same good friend makes a rice noodle and peanut sauce dish that is divine. This lunch is not divine, but it’s really good for the 5 minutes it takes to make.

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I added some rice noodles to a noodle bowl, and covered them with boiling water, which I poured from my electric kettle. The rest of the ingredients I added required no cooking. Of course more could be added to make a really great noodle dish, but this is a bare minimum recipe you can add to, and once again did not require an oven or stovetop.

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Once the noodles were cooked and drained (4 minutes later) I added:
1/8 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 Tbs chili infused oil
a few drops of sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp sugar
generous pinch of salt – unless you used salted peanuts.
1/2 lime, juice of

You can tweak the sweet, salty, and tart ratios to suit your tastes, and every ingredient in the list can be substituted. I sometimes just use sesame oil with a tsp of chili garlic sauce, and if I didn’t have peanuts I would have added a tablespoon of chunky peanut butter to the lime juice and infused oil. Also, soy sauce would be a key component to this mix, but as some one who avoids gluten I tend to sometimes leave it out, even when my gluten free soy sauce is on hand, just out of habit. If you add a tsp or so of soy sauce, omit the pinch of salt. I had prepared all the ingredients before the 4 minute waiting time for the noodles was up, so I added some chopped jalapeño as well.

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And, there you have it, the fastest peanut noodle dish you’ll ever make.