Tag Archives: Red Pepper

Drunken Soba Noodles

Waaaaay back in December I tried the Drunken Soba Noodles from Sidedoor restaurant and they definitely left a lasting impression.  I loved everything about this dish; the perfectly cooked steak, the balance between the cool noodles and the heat from the sauce, the crunchy fried shallots and the flavourful herbs.  So when I picked up an issue of McLean’s magazine one day that featured “Canada’s Top 50 Restaurants”, imagine my delight when not only was Sidedoor one of them, but they published their recipe for Drunken Soba Noodles!  Rejoice!  I wasted no time in trying to recreate this for myself – take a look 🙂

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

At the restaurant they use steak, but since I didn’t have any on hand I sautéed up a nice chicken breast instead.  No complaints about how this turned out!

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Sautéed chicken

Boil the soba noodles for about 4 or 5 minutes and allow them to cool.  Then pile them in a bowl and top with veggies.

Noodles and Veggies

Noodles and Veggies

Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil) and toss with the noodle/veggie mixture.  Then just top with chicken or steak!  And some black sesame seeds for visual interest.

Drunken Soba Noodles

Drunken Soba Noodles

Then all you have to do is work your way through this flavour heaven of a dish.  Enjoy the journey!

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Drunken Soba Noodles – Halfway through

Drunken Soba Noodles Recipe

 1 3/4 lb (340 g) package buckwheat noodles
Canola oil
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
3/4 lb. strip loin or rib-eye steak
Salt and pepper1 cup julienned cucumber
1 cup julienned bell pepper
1 cup julienned napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Fried shallots, to taste
Thai basil, to taste

  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook soba noodles according to package directions, about four to five minutes.  Drain and transfer to iced water.  Drain once chilled.
  3. Toss noodles very lightly with canola oil in a large bowl to prevent sticking.  Reserve.
  4. Whisk soy sauce with rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Preheat grill to medium high.
  6. Season steak lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill steaks to medium rare.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  7. Divide the noodles between four bowls.  Arrange the cucumbers, peppers and cabbage on top of the noodles in separate piles.  Top with a small mound each of green onion and fried shallots.
  8. Slice steak thinly and add to bowls.  Top with a sprig of Thai basil.
  9. Divide the sauce into four small ramekins and serve with the bowl.  Let guests pour the sauce on top of the noodles and mix with chopsticks.
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July 24, 2013 · 11:55 PM

Cuban Black Bean and Rice soup

Inspired by the marvelous soup from Havana Café, I attempted my own version of their black bean and rice soup.  What made the Havana soup so noticeably delicious was how the fresh lime tied everything toegther perfectly.  The soup was a bit thick because of the rice and bean base, and the lime just freshened everything up.  It was hearty but not heavy.  Everything you could want in a soup!

It turns out that my Cuban soup making skills need some work.  This soup isn’t exactly what I had imagined, but as I was perusing recipes, I was drawn to the idea of making a marinated rice and then adding the broth right before serving,  in order to avoid sometimes over soaked and mushy rice you find in soup.  As a result, this soup wasn’t all that thick, but it ended up being spicy, a bit zesty, and of course fresh because of the lime and cilantro garnishes.  I was very happy with it!

Line up your ingredients to get started:


I tried soaking dry beans this time because I’ve heard it’s better for you health-wise, aaaaand (mostly) because the grocery store didn’t have cans.  Anyways, I loved the soaked beans!  I’m going to make a real effort to plan ahead and soak them from now on.  They just taste so much more beany.

Soaked and Rinsed Black Beans

After you soak them, you have to boil them for a few hours too…

While the beans are boiling, start cooking up the broth.  Sautée the onions, garlic and peppers for a few minutes, then stir in the cumin and oregano.

Add some broth and the beans to the pepper mixture and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Then, add a few scoops of the marinated rice mixture (a bit of olive oil, green onion, diced tomatoes and rice vinegar, by the way) to your soup bowl.  Zesty!

Marinated rice soup base

Pour a few scoops of the simmering broth over the rice and top with cilantro, a dollop of sour cream and of course fresh lime.

Cuban Black Bean and Rice Soup

Cuban Black Bean and Rice Soup Recipe

5 green onions, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked brown rice ( from 1 cup dry)
1 1/2 tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar ( or white wine vinegar)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large red onions, diced
2 jalapenos, with seeds, minced
2 red bell peppers, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 quart chicken broth or 1 quart vegetable broth
1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ( or white wine vinegar)
cayenne pepper
cilantro
nonfat plain yogurt (optional) or sour cream (optional)
cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Prepare marinated rice by mixing cooked rice with green onion, diced tomatoes, olive oil and cider vinegar. Let the mixture marinate at room temperature, if making soup right away. Otherwise, cover, refrigerate, and marinate up to 1 day. Let rice come to room temperature before serving.
  2. Rinse beans in a strainer until canning juices run clear, or soak and boil dry beans if you prefer.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium high, and add onions. Saute for a few minutes.
  4. Add jalapenos, bell peppers and garlic; cook until softened.
  5. Stir in spices.
  6. Add broth, vinegar and beans.
  7. Cover and simmer 30 minutes (or longer, if desired), stirring occasionally.
  8. Taste for salt and spiciness. Add cayenne pepper, if more heat is desired.
  9. Serve soup in bowls over a scoop of rice. Top with cilantro and yogurt, if desired.
  10. Store left-over rice separately from soup, so liquid will not all be absorbed.

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Filed under Soups & Stews, Vegan, Vegetarian

Honey Pancetta Pizza

“It was leftover pasta”, my coworker said about his lunch and immediately had my attention. “In a fig and honey reduction.”  I was instantly drooling.  I had to have something fig and honey related for dinner, and decided a pizza might work out deliciously.  (I may also have had pasta for dinner the previous two nights in a row…..)  A distinct lack of figs at my local grocery store forced me to adapt my plans and go with Italian smoked bacon as a replacement.  Not a horrible compromise.  I then added a bunch of other delicious toppings and drizzled with honey.  This hint of sweetness really put this pizza over the top.  A  most excellent addition 🙂

I started by frying up some red onion, red pepper and the bacon, and let it get nice and browned.

Sautéed red peppet, onion and pancetta

Then I created a solid pizza base out of a large pita, tomato sauce and grated old cheddar.  Simple and delicious.

Pita, tomato sauce and cheese base

Then I threw on the aforementioned pepper mixture…

Onion, pepper and pancetta topping

And added some ricotta.

Ricottoa topping

Then it went in the oven until appropriately toasty.

Honey Pancetta Pizza

Fresh basil and a drizzle of honey finished it off.   TO DIE FOR.

Honey Pancetta Pizza Close-up

Honey Pancetta Pizza Recipe

1 tbsp olive oil
1 Large pita
1/2 cup Tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated old cheddar
1/4 sliced red onion
1/2 sliced red pepper
1/4 cup pancetta
1/4 cup fresh ricotta
1 tbps fresh basil
1-2 tsp honey, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat frying pan on high heat and add olive oil.  Once oil is heated, add onion, peppers and pancetta.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until softened and browned.
  3. Spread tomato sauce on one side of the pita and top with grated cheddar.  Top with pepper mixture and ricotta.
  4. Bake in oven until cheddar cheese is melted, then turn on the broiler for a few minutes to brown the crust.
  5. Top with basil and drizzle of honey.  Serve and enjoy!

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Filed under Main Courses, Pizza

Crepe-omelette

I had one of those days recently where I just felt like a hearty and indulgent brunch, but I couldn’t decide wether I wanted an omelette or crepes….so I decided to stick an omelette inside of a crepe.  Why not just have both?

I started by digging out some veggies and cheese from my fridge to make up the omelette…

…then I sautéed some leeks…

Sautéed Leeks

and poured a few whisked eggs on top…

Red Pepper and Leek Omelette

While that mixture simmers away….whip up a bit of crepe batter!

Crepe Batter

Then fry up some of that batter in a bit of butter….mmmmmhhmmm

Cooking Crepe

Allow it to get golden brown.

Crepe

When it’s good and golden, sprinkle with a bit of old cheddar…

Cheesy Crepe

…then that omelette thing we were working on earlier.  Oh, and crumbled bacon.

Crepe, Red Pepper and Leek Omelette and Bacon

Then comes a bit more cheese and another crepe.  The cheese acts as glue here, so don’t be shy with it.  Not that any person with taste buds would ever go light on the cheese.

Omelette Stuffed Crepe

Cut up into four sections, and serve!

Crepe-Omelette

Omelette Recipe

3 Large eggs
1 Leek, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup grated asiago
salt and pepper
2 strips bacon, crumbled or finely chopped
Grated cheddar cheese

Crepe Recipe

Equal parts milk and flour
1 Egg
Butter for frying

  1. Chop up some veggies, (leeks and red pepper for example), then sauté them in a bit of butter.  Whisk 3 eggs together and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour egg mixture over veggies into hot pan.  Turn heat to medium and allow eggs to bake into solid omelette form.  Tilt pan from side to side to drain uncooked eggs to the edges, if necessary.
  3. Mix 2 cups each milk and flour with and add egg.  Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. Melt a bit of butter into a frying pan and add a laddle full of the crepe batter. Tilt from side to side to spread the batter out evenly, and cook until golden brown.  Flip and repeat.
  5. Top a crepe with grated cheddar, and slide the omelette on top of the crepe.  Add crumbled bacon and more cheddar, then top with another crepe.
  6. Cut into quarters and eat!

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Filed under Breakfast

Panzanella Salad

To Italians, this constitutes a salad….lololol!  Just replace the lettuce or anything green with a baguette, and voila! A Salad in Italy! I’m not making fun either, this is truly my idea of a salad. A variety of great, rich flavours mixed with buttery carbs; you really can’t go wrong.  Only one question remains….Why don’t I live in Italy?

This recipe is from a cooking class I did in the fall, and I couldn’t wait to make it again.  It did not disappoint the second time around.  Start with the carbs!  Cut a baguette up into chunks and prep your dressing. (Rosemary, garlic, olive oil, butter, etc.)

Panzanella Croutons

Add a generous heap of fresh Parmesan to the baguette cubes.

Panzanella Parmesean Croutons

Mix in the dressing and stir until evenly combined.  Bake @ 350 until golden and crusty.

Golden Panzanella Croutons

Mix the veggies, cheese and croutons together in a bowl, and then whip up the salad dressing.

Panzanella Prep

Add the dressing right before serving to make sure the croutons don’t get soggy.  The only thing missing from this “salad” that I would add next time would be artichokes.

Panzanella Salad

Panzanella Salad Recipe

1 batch freshly baked croutons (Recipe below)
4 red peppers (roasted if you like!)
8 vine ripened tomatoes, cubed
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 large balls fresh buffalo mozzarella torn into small bite size pieces
1 red onion sliced finely
1 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts

Dressing

1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 lemon zest

1.    Combine the prepared vegetables together (peppers, tomatoes, onions, basil and artichokes) in a large mixing bowl.
2.    Combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and lemon zest.  Whisk to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
3.    Place croutons (still warm if possible!) in the bowl with the vegetables and cheese, and lightly toss with dressing.  Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Croutons Recipe

1-2 good quality baguettes
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup butter
4 sticks fresh thyme or rosemary
Salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

1.    Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.    Cut the baguette into large cubes and toss with salt and pepper, crushed whole garlic cloves, picked thyme/rosemary, butter and olive oil.
3.    Place the croutons in oven until they become golden but are still soft in the middle.

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Filed under Salads, Vegetarian