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Chicago Style Hot Dog & Home-made Coleslaw

5 Sep

So it may not be a poppy seed bun, and it may not have the sport peppers, but here’s my take on a Chicago Style Hot Dog, complimented with some easy to make home-made cole slaw. For this dish you’ll need:

Hot Dogs/Smokies

Buns

White onion (diced)

Red onion (diced)

Green onion (chopped)

Sweet Peppers

Dill Pickles (Sliced)

Tomato (Sliced)

Red Cabbage

White Cabbage

Eggs

Celery Seed

Paprika

Vinegar

Best to start off making your coleslaw first, as this will need to cool in the fridge for some time. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, paprika, celery seed, ground mustard or a heavy spoonful of real mustard in a sauce pan. Separate a few egg yolks and add them in as well, pour a little water in and let the mixture simmer as you mix or whisk it all together. While that’s happening time for the main component in any cole slaw; cabbage. You can now chop up your cabbage, or use a grater and shred it depending on how you like it, I used red and white cabbage, but your free to use what you like. Once ready, you can add your sauce you just made and mix it all together, this is where I added in some green onion as well. And your done, easy right? Make sure to get the coleslaw in the fridge to let it chill.

Now everyone knows how to make a hot dog, but here’s a few key ingredients to get that Chicago style taste. Slice up dill pickles, tomato’s, and prepare your onions as well. Grill the hot dogs on the BBQ, and prepare your buns. If you have poppy seed buns great, if not I used large sesame seed buns. Garnish your bun with sweet peppers, tomato, red and green onion, relish, and the king of all condiments; mustard, and please, refrain from using ketchup! Finish with a small pinch of celery salt and your ready to chow down.

Coupled with your home-made coleslaw, some chips, and a beer, you’ve got a fantastic meal that is sure to please everyone. Enjoy!

BBQ Corn? Of Course!

5 Jun

If you are thinking of what to make for lunch or supper, why not pick up some corn husks and fire up the BBQ? These are some great summer idea’s that can easily all be done on the BBQ.

For a delicious meal of sweet chili corn, BBQ chicken, and oregano lime seasoned sweet potato grilled fries, try getting these items together:

Corn in the Husk

Chicken

Sweet Potatoes

Butter

Sweet Chili Sauce

Lime Juice

Olive Oil

Oregano

Curry Paste

Mayonaise

The key to using the BBQ to cook your corn is to let the husks soak in cool water well in advance of putting them on the grill. This will prevent dried out corn and husks that instantly go up in flames, so get that corn in the sink with some water right off the bat (preferably hours before you plan to start cooking).

Next prepare the sweet potatoes, start off by setting a large pot on the stove and begin boiling water. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut the pointy ends off, and begin to cut them into wedges or slices, the size will affect the cooking time, but don’t be afraid to cut them a little big.

While you wait for your water to boil you can prepare the seasoning. Mix oil, lime juice, and oregano in a small bowl and mix it. This will be the basting sauce when they are on the BBQ. Once your water is boiling you can toss your sweet potato slices in the water and let them cook for about 10 minutes. The goal here is to get them partially cooked before going on the BBQ, so get them soft, but not too soft that they fall apart.

Now to make some sidekicks that will really set this meal off, start by making a dip for those sweet potato fries. Please leave the ketchup in the fridge, in Europe mayonnaise is the french fries compliment of choice and we’re gonna build of that. Dish some mayo in a mixing bowl, and add lime juice from 1 lime, or squirt in some from the bottle, don’t be shy with this. Next add about a teaspoon of curry paste, this you can be shy with as it really has some kick. Mix together and add more mayo or curry paste to taste. Keep mixing until you get a well blended mixture with nice color.

Next scoop some butter in another mixing dish, now you can make your own chili addition, but I find that sweet chili sauce is just as good. Pour in the sweet chili and really mix it in well with the butter, give it a taste to check the amounts, and keep mixing until you get a whipped butter texture.

You can now place those corn husks on the BBQ, pull the sweet potatoes out of the water and get them on the grill as well. These items will take longer to cook so get them on while you get your chicken ready. You can begin brushing the basting sauce on your fries continually as they cook (Tip: You can lather the fries in egg to ensure they are crispy). Turn the corn a few times, as well. For this dish, the features were the corn and the fries, so just simple boned chicken on the grill with some BBQ sauce was an easy addition to round out the meal.

Pull everything off the grill, pull the husks off the corn, and start eating! Make sure your friends get some mayonnaise mix for their fries, and lather that corn on the cob with your sweet chili butter. Yum!

Milk Tea

29 May

If you havent had the chance to taste this refreshing and delicious drink, you have definetly been missing out. Milk Tea dates back to the british colonial days in Hong Kong, where afternoon tea was modified into the present day beverage. Milk Tea, and its Iced Milk Tea sister are widely popular through-out asia, but have yet to grab hold in western culture. As such, I have always had trouble finding it whenever I returned home, which brings me to today’s blog entry, ‘How to Make Milk Tea!’. I had some much needed help from my friend Joey in HK when first making it, so much props go out to her!

Luckily Milk Tea is really easy to make, and needs only a few ingredients.  There are two items you need to pick up from the grocery store, the first is Liptions Yellow Label Black Tea, I find this tea gives me the best taste that reminds me of Hong Kong, although you can use any black tea. The second ingredient is either condensed milk, or evaporated milk, you can find these in the baking section usually.

Making it is easy, start out by putting a pot of water on the stove, then add at least 2 tea bags, and let the water boil. You need the tea to be strong, so leave the bags in for a long time, getting a rich tea smell.

Once the tea is ready, I use condensed milk, and add a few spoonfuls to the pot, slowly stirring it up until its a light creamy color. Condesnsed milk is sweet already, but if your using evaporated milk you will need to add sugar. I add a little sugar to mine regardless.

You have now just made hot milk tea, you could pour yourself a cup, but I prefer iced milk tea, so you have a couple options, you can fill a glass with ice, and pour the tea into the glass, or you can chill the entire pot of tea. I usually chose to chill it all, as icecubes tend to dilute the flavour.

Once cold, pour yourself a smooth creamy glass of iced milk tea, and enjoy!

Stir Fry!

1 May

That age old classic; Stir Fry is still a popular dish to make. Why? Its easy to make, healthy, and delicious! Last night I made a quick stirfry so I thought I’d share it with you. I had some pointers from my friend Ling in Australia with this one so credit goes out to her as well. Ok listen up!

Ingredients? For me I used beef, fresh ginger root, bok choy, red onions, bean sprouts, garlic black bean paste, also corn starch and various spices. But this is stirfry, you can use any variety of vegetables and meat, use what you have!

For starters, get your wok or frying pan warmed up with a little oil in there. Take your ginger, and thinly slice up some of that carefully. You can toss that in the pan first thing,  keep your heat medium to low for this whole process.

For beef, I use cheaper cuts of beef that I buy in bulk from the store, you dont need to use the most expensive steak for stir frys, all though you can if you like! I had taken my beef out the night before, I precut beef slices in 1 or 2 person portions in ziplocs before I freeze them, this makes it really easy and fast to make dishes such as stir fry on the go. Think about it! So with my sliced up beef in the ziploc bag, I threw in some corn starch, and shook the bag up to lightly coat the pieces of beef, you can do this in a bowl as well. The corn starch coating will help lock in the juices and help the beef stay tender when cooking, so dont miss this step!

As soon as you can smell that tangy ginger cooking in the pan, its time to throw in the beef. The beef wont take long to cook, so you can either quickly chop up your vegetables, or have this already done if you had time. Im pretty fast so I quickly washed and chopped up my bok choy and red onion, and got my sprouts ready. When your beef is nearly cooked, you can throw in all your veggies, mixing it all up in the pan.

Now theres a million different things you can do for sauces, but this time I used garlic black bean sauce. You can find this in most grocery stores, maybe in the ethnic food aisle. I like Lee Kum Kee brand, its quite good. You can pour some in the pan, careful not to use too much as it can be quite salty. You can add sugar to the pan to help sweeten the taste as well.

Your stirfry should almost be done by the time you get the sauce in, mix it all up well, make sure the beef is cooked but not overdone, and your done! Some steamed rice in a bowl, dish your stirfry on top, serve with an ice cold glass of milk tea, and you’ve got a delicous meal. Enjoy!

Spring BBQ Time

26 Apr

So with winter in full decline, and the smells of spring in the air. What better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than with some culinary fun. A friend and I cooked up some marinated pork chops, asparagus, and baby potatoes last night, all done on the trusty BBQ. So if you’re looking for a meal idea, consider this option, its easy!

For the marinade, mix up some olive oil and soy sauce, add ample amounts of brown sugar, and spice things up with rosemary, pepper, parsley, and some minced garlic or garlic salt. Stir that bad boy up until its fairly consistant. Take your pork chops and place them in your marinade, this can be in a bowl, or in a ziplock bag, just make sure they are fully coated. For best results let the pork marinate for 6-12 hours of possible, if your pushed for time, an hour or so will do.

Wrap asparagus in tinfoil with some salt, butter, and fresh lemon juice squeezed in. Do the same with halved baby potatoes, with some diced pepper and onion added if you have them.

All of these items can now be cooked on your BBQ, put the potatoes on first, then the asparagus, and finally the pork chops, you can continue to baste them with your marinade as you cook them. Be mindful not to overcook the pork, that way it’ll be nice and tender. When its all done, start dishing out from the tinfoil, and chow down with a side of apple sauce. Delicious!

Cooking doesn’t have to be difficult, there are no rules, your tastebuds are the only judge, so get creative!

Smooth Perfection

5 Apr

Sometimes you forget about things for a while. Things like smoothies. After years of not making a smoothie, I recently rediscovered this delicious blended treat. So give it a try, make a smoothie again for old times sake, make some for your friends and family! If you dont know how to make one, theres a million ways, but here is a recipe for one I made today:

Fresh Bananas+Fresh Strawberries+Strawberry Yoghurt+Vanilla Ice Cream+Splash of Orange Juice+Ice+Dash of Sugar= Smooth Perfection

Quick & Easy Meal: Honey-Soy Pine Nut Pork

12 Dec

Love to cook or maybe you hate to cook, doesnt matter today it’s a cooking blog entry!  If your a busy person its nice to be able to make a meal thats delicious, healthy and fast. Heres a dish that I just made this evening that really is very quick to make and really only required a few ingredients. Ive included some photos I took during the process as well just to help with the visual aspect.

First, what you’ll need. Please note I never use actual measurement when I cook, so Im not about to list them in a recipe, haha!

Boneless Pork

Nuts or Seeds (I used Pine Nuts I had left over from a previous dish, you can use sesame seeds or any type of nut)

Honey

Vegetable Oil

Soy Sauce

Green Beans (Or any vegetable, be creative, that’s what cooking is about!)

Rice or Noodles

First, you’ll need to take the nuts that you have chosen, in my case the pine nuts, and crush them into a coarse consistency. If you have a mortar and pestle, this could be a great time to actually use it, or just use the back end of a spoon, crushing the nuts in a medium sized bowl. If your using something small like sesame seeds, skip this step, just put them directly into the bowl.

Once you’ve got that finished, go ahead and pour equal amounts of dark soy sauce, oil, and honey into a mixing bowl. If you only have creamed honey, just heat some up in the microwave to liquify it. Stir that concoction up well, getting it to a nice consistancy and then set that bowl aside, after a quick taste of course, go ahead, its good.

Now hopefully you have thawed your pork, or if you always buy your meat fresh, your good to go. Slice that pork up into fairly small pieces, something a bite or two in size. As soon as you are finished, go ahead and toss all the pork into your bowl of oil-soy-honey marinade. Stir that up, making sure all the pieces of pork are completely coated. Let that sit for a minute and absorb the flavor.

Now is a good time to get some rice or noodles cooking, I also cooked up the green beans at this time. Turn your stovetop on medium heat, and get your skillet or frying pan ready. Pour some oil in there and set it on the burner. Have your bowl of marinated pork ready to go, along with your bowl of crushed nuts or seeds. Now here comes the fun part, pull out the peices of pork one by one and lay them flat in the crushed nuts, flip it over to cover both sides, this coating is going to give the pork a tasty crunch. Repeat this process with each piece of pork, laying them in the pan ensuring not to splash hot oil on yourself.

With all your pork in the pan, let it cook for a good few minutes, turning the pieces over so they are cooked and browning on both sides. You don’t want to overcook your pork, it will give it a tough texture, a common mistake by many.

Your almost done! Prepare a bed of the rice or noodles in a bowl, and once your pork is cooked, start laying some pieces ontop of the bed of rice or noodles.

From here I quickly sauteed my green beans in the same pan that I cooked the pork in, making good use of the rest of that flavor. I then scooped some beans ontop of the pork and rice.

And that’s it, your done! Garnesh that dish with some fresh herbs if you’ve got them, some coriander would go well. Grab your chopsticks, or fork if your chopstick inept, and dig in. Its a healthy and tasty meal that should only take you 15 minutes to make. Be sure to cook up a little extra for tomorrow incase you don’t have time to cook!