How to: Recipe Makeover – Mushroom Pho

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For years, I’ve had a major crush on Pho.

When I first moved to the big smoke, it was one of the first ‘international’ foods that I sampled (along with butter chicken and pad thai. Ya, I’m old).

Now it’s so familiar I regularly crave it as comfort food.

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Making traditional Vietnamese pho is an art.  I’m not about to pretend this recipe is any where near traditional.  But what it most definitely is, is achievable at home.  On a weeknight.

So there.

PS. It’s also vegan if that’s your thing.

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Using chinese five spice is a genius little quickie trick.  I won’t take credit for it. I found it on the interweb.

The secret is that three of the five spices (star anise, cinnamon and clove) are the predominant spice profile in traditional pho.

Totally fools me, and they’re all in one jar. Jackpot.

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Try to use a variety of mushrooms if at all possible.  This will help to maximize flavour complexity in the broth.  Oh and don’t leave out the shitakes.  They are so worth it.

That goes for the various garnishes too.

Happy slurping!

Erin

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Mushroom Pho

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (whites and green separated)
  • 2 teaspoons chinese five spice powder
  • 1.5lb mushrooms (a combination of cremini, shitake and white)
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 1 package rice noodles
  • 3 cups leafy green of choice (spinach, chinese greens)
  • fresh basil leaves
  • lime wedges
  • sriracha and hoisin sauce (to taste)

Directions

1. Clean and slice mushrooms. When using shitake, remove and discard the woody stem.
2. Heat canola oil over medium heat. Add white portion of green onions, ginger and five spice powder. Sauté for one minute. Add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften. Add stock and simmer, uncovered for at least 15 minutes until slightly reduced and really 'mushroomy' tasting.
3. Meanwhile, cook rice noodle as per package direction and set aside. Toss the noodles with a tsp of canola oil to keep them from sticking together.
4. Add spinach to soup and remove from heat, allowing the greens to wilt for a minute or two. Heartier chinese greens can be sautéed or steamed separately and added at the end.
5. To serve, place 1 cup of noodles in a bowl, top with soup. Add basil, remaining green onions and lime garnishes. Add sriracha chill sauce and hoisin sauce to taste.

How To: Make Your Own Bread – Aged Cheddar and Greek Yogurt Cornbread

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I think this is one of the fastest kitchen to blog posts I have ever shared. But I just couldn’t wait another single second. After just one bite, I can say with utter certainty that this is by far and away the best darn cornbread I’ve ever made.

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What makes this bread so special? Well, just like our jalepeno variety, it has a good amount of shredded aged cheddar cheese. And that spicy pepper filled version is still delicious – but I think what takes this bread over the top is the addition of Greek yogurt, corn, and good old fashioned butter…..mmmm!

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The Greek yogurt keeps it moist while also keeping the butter to a minimum – but life without butter would just not be worth living. So just a 1/4 cup gives it a nice rich flavour. And biting into a whole corn kernel leads to corn bread texture heaven.

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Eat it with a bowl of soup, dipped into chill, or just straight up. I think it would also make a darn good grilled cheese sandwich. And on that note….

Dara

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Aged Cheddar and Greek Yogurt Cornbread

Serves 8
Meal type Bread
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Daily Garnish

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus a pinch)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned corn (drained)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cups aged cheddar cheese (shredded)

Note

This cornbread is great warm fresh out of the oven, but can also be made in advance. Serve with your favourite soup, stew, or chili.

Directions

1. In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, corn, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a medium bowl combine eggs, yogurt, milk, and butter.
2. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese.
3. Spread batter into an 8 x 8 pyrex dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and a pinch of kosher salt. Bake in a 400 degree for about 26 minutes until browned on top and around the edges.

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How To: Snack Healthy – Pumpkin Banana Bread

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I fear that by the end of fall, I may have an orange tint to my skin.

I think this is a legitimate fear given all the winter squash I have been devouring. They are just so delicious this season I can’t help myself. I think it is an unwritten rule that they absolutely must be worked into every dish you cook this fall season.

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So then, making a banana bread? Why not throw in some squash. In this case I took a short cut and used already pureed canned pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling). If you are feeling adventurous, by all means roast and puree your own. But this quickie banana bread will be delicious either route you choose.

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It also freezes fantastically – I sliced mine up and then packaged them individually in the freezer so they are easy to pop in the toaster or microwave for a quick snack or breakfast. A shmear of cream cheese after warming turns it into a decadent treat. And if you just happen to need to finish off a bag of chocolate chips….this bread wouldn’t object.

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So who cares if you need to use some extra cover up this fall season? I say embrace the orange glow!

Dara

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Pumpkin Banana Bread

Serves 1 loaf
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Snack
Website Adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar

Note

This is one of the easiest quick breads I've ever made and it practically screams fall! It tastes great plain, crumbled into yogurt, or topped with cream cheese. It also keeps well wrapped tightly in the freezer.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl whisk together mashed bananas, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient and mix until combined. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour, until top is brown and loaf is cooked through.

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How to: Seasonal Cooking – Parsnip and Apple Soup

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I trust you’ve enjoyed your Thanksgiving gluttony as much I as I have?

Number one holiday in my books.

I love the crisp fall weather, the variety of fresh local produce still available, the fact that there are no presents (gift holidays – I’m looking at you birthdays and Christmas – stress me out), and last but far from least, it’s a pie holiday.

For me, it’s pie over cake any day of the week.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’d choose almost any single flavour of pie over almost every single variety of cake.

Unless we’re talkin’ Baskin Robbin’s chocolate peanut butter ice cream cake – my achilles heel. Which I would chose over my husband.

Joking, joking. (ish).

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K, I digress.

Let’s talk getting back in to the post-Thanksgiving swing of things with a super awesome soup.

You may even have most of these ingredients hanging around as holiday leftovers.

I love the almost spicy bite parsnip lends to this soup.  It pairs perfectly with the sweet acidity of the apples.

Using evaporated milk will keep this soup on the lighter side, but cream would be freaking awesome too. Fat = flavour.

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Once peeled and prepped, these ingredients are just pretty as a picture don’tcha think?

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Once simmered and soft, a quick zip with an immersion blender is all it takes to bring ‘er home.

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This year, I’m going to add this soup to my (very long) list of things to be thankful for.

Enjoy,

Erin

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Parsnip and Apple Soup

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 parsnips (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 small apples (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 medium white or yellow potato (peeled and chopped)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • salt (to taste)

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large sauce over medium heat. Sauté onions for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
2. Add parsnip, apples and potato and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, until all the potatoes and parsnips are soft.
3. Blend with an immersion blender or countertop blender until smooth.
4. Add evaporated milk and season with salt to taste.

How To: Make Your Own – Chicken Burgers

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This recipe just screams “winner winner, chicken dinner!”

Okay, maybe I just wanted to use that line somewhere and couldn’t think of how. So I thought, perfect post opener, right?

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Can we also talk about how it’s pretty impossible to make raw chicken look good? But I tell you, these burgers are GOOD! So good, they will have you bypass the frozen prepared patty section of your supermarket forever. And I know, a grilling recipe just when fall weather is upon us? I have professed my love of the indoor grill pan before and I’m telling you about it all over again. But fear not, if your kitchen is lacking in this area then you should first of all, run out right now and by one. Or, you could simply use a non stick skillet and pan sear these juicy babies.

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And speaking of babies…

These burgers are also child friendly. My little one literally gobbled (gobbled, get it?) up this burger at dinner. And on that note, turkey is a mighty fine substitute for ground chicken.

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I served my burgers with the classic side of sweet potato fries – a recipe I think we owe you in the near future.

So go get your grill on! These burgers will definitely have you singing “I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight!” (you know I had to get that on in too!)

Dara

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Chicken Burgers

Serves 4
Meal type Main Dish
Website Annie's Eats

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound ground white meat chicken
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

Note

Feel free to substitute ground turkey for the chicken in this perfect homemade burger. You can wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for a quick weeknight meal.

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes, or until onions and garlic are softened. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
2. Once the onion mixture has cooled, add the ground chicken and remaining ingredients and mix well until combined. Shape mixture into four patties.
3. Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook burgers about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Serve on buns or on a salad with the toppings of your choice.