chicken phyllo cups with spicy roasted tomato sauce: be merry and eat savory morsels.


I love playing around with recipes. These cups were originally supposed to be wraps, however I thought they would look better in circular form, able to hold sauce rather than drizzling it over the side.
The snowflakes hanging in my window inspired others to make their own. 
Kat's was gorgeous.
Brendan's was done, well, blindfolded.
There were several steps in the process of making these. However, the end result was perfect for serving guests.
While everyone feasted, I gobbled mine down and worked on a fresh wreath (from boughs that I had sneakily picked from a tree down the street - yes I'm a child who picks other).
Dinner was followed by Scrabble. The course of events during the evening was a mix of crafty, savory and relaxing - just the way I like it.
Chicken Phyllo Cups with Spicy Roasted Tomato Sauce

3 c. chicken broth
3 skinless boneless whole chicken breasts
1 large onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. oregano
1 tbs. sweet basil
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 fresh lime, juiced and halved
1 c. nonfat sour cream
1 bunch scallions, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 package thawed phyllo pastry
1/4 c. olive oil  

Spicy Tomato Sauce

1/3 c. finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 fresh jalapeño chili, seeded and minced 
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of ground cloves
1 tbs. olive oil
2  tbs. cider vinegar
1 can whole tomatoes in juice, diced
2 tbs. light brown sugar

 1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine the first seven ingredients and 1/2 of of the lime juice in a deep skillet. Let the chicken poach on the stove at medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, or until barely cooked through. 
2.  Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan on the stove. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes and then blend it. 

3. Chop up the chicken into little chunks and combine it with the rest of the lime juice, sour cream, and cumin. 

4. Take one square of pastry and fold it in half. Brush on olive oil and fold it in half again. Place it in a muffin tin and fold in all the corners. Repeat this with all muffin tins. Spoon in the chicken mixture. 

5. Bake the chicken cups for 15-20 minutes or until browned. 

6. Spoon the spicy tomato sauce over the chicken cups when serving.

7. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Make a wreath or a snowflake and think of Christmas when you hang it.

chicken breast simmered in red wine and tomatoes: roommate bonding fills the air.

Last night was a mellow evening, filled with smells of simmering concoctions and laughter due to an old Steve Martin movie - The Jerk.
Nights where both Jacqui and I are home are a precious treat, and one that should not be easily discarded. If my lovely roomie is home, I try my hardest to be around.
I used the leftovers in our freezer to whip up a hearty and rich meal.
T'was delightful. And filling (we both had foodbabies we had to comfort afterward). And just what we needed to combat the chilling evening.
Chicken Breasts Simmered in Red Wine and Tomatoes

2 bone-in chicken breasts, with legs attached 
salt, to taste   
ground pepper to taste
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
1 c. red wine - I used a Merlot
4 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 tbs. dried oregano
1 tbs. dried sweet basil 
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. feta

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Combine all ingredients except for the chicken in a large bowl. Place the breasts in a deep skillet. Pour the sauce all over the chicken, making sure to thoroughly cover them.

2. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven for 45 minutes.

3. Crumble feta all over the top and leave uncovered to cook in the oven for another 15 minutes. Eat with whole wheat pasta (like Jacqs did) or basmati rice (like I did).

4. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Watch a movie from the 70s and realize that no matter which way our lives go, we will always have humor to buoy us.

curry cook-off: thai curry for the community.

 Sundays really are a blessed day.

I was able to wake up, go for coffee with my friend and their mom, hear a great message at church (and consequently get a worship song stuck in my head for the rest of the day), play random games while eating Christmas oranges, and finally have a curry cook off with Adrian. I literally could not be more blessed.
 One of the loveliest parts of my day was watching the baptism of Sarah. The air was crisp, there was clear, warm lighting on the mountain in the background and the water lapped on the beach as she was dunked in the water. With friends and family watching. Lovely.
 She was given a bible in return for the icy cold dunk.
 We then ate Christmas oranges and drank copious amounts of tea to dissuade the cold from seeping in to our bones.
 A physical game of . . . I-don't-even-know-what-it-is-called helped warm our chilled bodies.
Adrian ferociously stirred and I furtively chopped as we each created our own interpretation of a spicy Indian treat. I enlisted help with the chicken - Jordan and Meghan, I will always appreciate you combating chicken bones and flesh with enthusiasm and dull knives. I made a green curry (the recipe of which can be found here) and a yellow one with mango chutney on the side while Adrian concocted well, a, hm, red one? 
 At last it was done, much to the appreciation of a hungry crowd and exhausted cooks.
 Another Sunday well done. With friends, God, and some delightful food. Adrian, touche on adding chorizo to curry. I was watching with wide-eyed skepticism when you poured it in, but honestly, you make a worthy foe.
Thai Yellow Curry

1 red birds-eye chilies
1 large onion
1 tbs. ginger, fresh, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
3 tbsp. fish sauce 
1 tsp. dried turmeric
1 tbs. curry powder
1 tbsp. brown sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves, cut into strips
1 can coconut milk
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbsp. tomato paste 
1 tsp. sugar
2 stalks lemongrass, with the white part minced while the other pieces are left long and simmered in the sauce

2 chicken breasts, chopped into pieces
1 stalk lemon grass (for more information, see below)
2 potatoes, chopped into wedges or small chunks
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1-2 additional kaffir lime leaves, left whole
1/2 cup fresh coriander 
1/2 cup fresh basil

1. Mix the first 17 ingredients together in a large wok or frying pan. Simmer for about twenty minutes.

2. Add the potatoes, red pepper, lime leaves, coriander, and basil. Simmer for five minutes.

3. Serve with rice and/or naan.

4. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Show your love for God, and His love for you.

ethiopian wat: cold snowflakes combined with hot african food.

It has been too long since I had a culinary gathering. So, we rallied the Powell River troops on Friday to come over and transport their mouths to Ethiopia.
I was planning on making injira (the traditional Ethiopian sourdough flatbread) to go with the wat, as it is usually served in that manner. However, I would have had to provide several more hours of crafts in order to have contented Powell River-ians in my apartment – so that idea was scrapped. 

As I stirred and poured, I kept them distracted from the delicious and stomach-growl-inducing smells through crafts. The season is now upon us, and decorations are in order for my apartment. I wished to create a winter wonderland in my apartment, without the blistering cold. I laid out paper, scissors, and challenged everyone to create the most beautiful snowflakes.
Gord’s was the prettiest by far.
Brendan’s was the most accomplished through his use of a knife to cut the paper rather than a double bladed instrument.

We then Hoover-ed the meal, with our mouths acting as vacuums.
All in all, a good night with an odd mix of creating snowflakes and eating Ethiopian. Lovely.
Ethiopian Wat

Berbere Paste
2 tsp. Whole cumin 
2 tsp. Red pepper flakes 
1 tsp. Cardamom seeds 
1 tsp. Fenugreek seeds 
8 Whole peppercorns 
6 Allspice berries 
4 Whole cloves 
4 New Mexico dried chilies 
1 Onion, chopped 
3 cloves Garlic, crushed 
1 tbs. Paprika 
1 tbs. Salt 
1 tsp. Ginger, ground 
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 c. Oil 
1/4 c. Water or red wine 


2 lbs. Chicken legs and thighs, skinless 
1 Lemon, juiced
2 tsp. Salt 
2 Onions, chopped 
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tbs. Gingerroot, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup oil
2 tbs. Paprika 
1/2 c. Berberé paste 
3/4 c. Water or stock 
1/2 c. Red wine 
1 tsp. Cayenne pepper 
Salt and pepper

1. Combine all the paste ingredients together in a blender, and make a paste. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium flame. Add the whole spices and toast, stirring for about 2-3 minutes until they give off their aroma. Do not burn. Remove from heat.

2. Over an open flame, lightly toast the New Mexico chilies, turning quickly from side to side until they soften and become flexible. Do not burn. Remove the stems and seeds and roughly chop.

3. Put the spices and dried peppers into a spice or coffee grinder and grind to a powder.

4. Put the ground toasted spices into a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

5. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze portions for later use.

6. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Combine the cold with the hot.

san francisco clam chowder: tasty memories of a lovely road trip.

Have you ever wanted to travel, to get away, to just keep driving? Have you ever talked about such things, such feelings, such ideas, and never acted on them? I know I have. Until this past weekend.
17 hours of driving. 3400 kilometers. Several mishaps. Growing girth the further South we went.

This past weekend, I drove to San Francisco.
The photos speak for themselves.
 I read the New York Times throughout (to feel more American). 
 San Francisco Clam Chowder

3 tbs. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
5/6 new potatoes, chopped with skin
1 tbs. fresh oregano, minced
6 bay leaves
1 lb. clams, and juice
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups cream
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste

large sourdough bun

1. Saute onions, garlic and celery in the butter, in a large soup pot, until caramalized.

2. Add the potatoes and cook for several more minutes.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Let simmer for twenty minutes.

4. Serve in a hollowed out bread bun.

5. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Road trip and be blessed with the ethereal beauty of your surroundings.