BC Spot Prawns

Spot prawns are in season and I’ve never tasted them before. I was ready to blow my mind of shrimp awesomeness. Instead I had a panic attack and almost cried in a corner. It seems I’m a lover and not a fighter.

I bought some extremely fresh (and kicking) BC spot prawns from some Granville island fisherman for 12 dollars a pound. They seem to be doing brisk business with a bit of a small line up forming. They are oceanwise and sea choice approved. What does that actually mean? During this short time period (between May – June) spot prawns are in season. I can’t seem to find a source on what that means. Anyways eating them is better for the earth than gourging on AYCE sashimi.

What’s also interesting is that they go from male to female in their last two years of their 4 year lifespan!!! Someone needs to write a witty comment for that.

Also slighty interesting was that Japan suposively takes 90% of the season’s catch. Yah that’s all my random spot prawn trivia for this post.

The problem that cause aformentioned panic attack? I named this one Jumpy. Look at him all cute and vunlerable on a cutting board. Look at my omnious shadow.

I couldn’t find any how to guides on butchering shrimp but I did read that the best way to freeze spot prawns is to chop off its head and freeze the tails.

So I cut off the tails of two prawns. They moved violently and then not at all, so I thought I had killed poor Jumpy. My heart sank when I realized that Jumpy and another of his friends that I just decapiated are actually still alive. I quickly turned on my kettle and poured hot water over them. I needed to do much more research on how to cook these creatures.

For the rest of the prawns I used the boiled hot water trick, and let them sit in hot water for 5 minutes. Afterwards we chowed down. They were sweet and oh so tender. Although I was scarred from being a horrible butcherer, the cooked prawns were such a delight.

Anyways I froze the rest of the prawns for curry later and started a soup with the heads.

Shrimp head soup anyone? Actually it was fantastic broth!  I just boiled the heads for a couple of hours. I think I only did two because I wanted to let it cool before I stuck it in the fridge.

Afterwards I turned it into a curry based soup with tumeric, onions, garlic, ginger,salt, a couple of bay leaves and some thyme. I loaded on some carrots, celery, potatoes, green onions and cilantro. I was sort of sick so I don’t remember the measurements but there should be dozens of soup recipes via google.

Even after my tramatic experience, I am actually looking forward to my next encounter with these lovely delicious spot prawns. If you are in BC, you still have time! The season will probably end late June.

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Look grandma, no packets! chocolate cake edition

This series Look Grandma, no packets! Will be easy and dead simple recipes that substitute the boxed equivalent.With each recipe, I will ask myself if this is easier, faster, healthier and cheaper than the packaged alternative.

So I will start series with a simple recipe for chocolate cake! I’ve modified (by accident) Pioneer women’s excellent chocolate sheet cake. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix one cup flour, one cup sugar and a pinch of salt (1/8 of a teaspoon if you want to be exact)

Melt butter and add in two heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add in 1/2 cup of boiling water and let cool.

Mix chocolate liquid with flour.

Take 1/4 cup of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and let it stand for a couple of minutes. Or use 1/4 cup of buttermilk. I never have buttermilk so I usually do the milk and vinegar shortcut. However I did not have vinegar so I skipped this step. I would not recommend it though! It should make the cake more fluffy.

Add one egg and beat slightly, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Mix the milk egg mixture into the chocolate and pour into a pan. I used an 8×8 pan. I probably should of used a larger pan but I wanted to make a 4×4 cake.

It sort of scared me how liquidly the cake was but it all came out a-okay!

Here’s a close up look at the cake. I admit that the addition of two eggs made this cake sponge like, Sort of like a light brownie.

Not that theres anything wrong with brownies 🙂

My cake decorating and icing skills can be critised in another post. On to the review out of 5! 5 being the best.

Easy 4
Theres a lot of small steps, like melting butter and boiling water. And I had to wash a saucepan and a bowl, the horror! Steps could be simplified.

Cheap 5
There are no additional ingredents that need a degree to understand (im looking at you xanun gum) and this recipe is very pantry friendly.

Healthy3
There is no oil added and you can reduce the sugar. I definately would if you are using icing. However by the scary nutritional factors that I found from here. You are still eating cake!

Time 4

20 prep 20 cooking, it is on par with box

Recipe modified from Pinoeer Women

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of buttermilk or milk with a touch of vingar
  • 1 egg (not two!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix one cup flour, one cup sugar and a pinch of salt (1/8 of a teaspoon if you want to be exact)
  2. Melt butter and add in two heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add in 1/2 cup of boiling water and let cool
  3. Mix chocolate liquid with flour.
  4. Take 1/4 cup of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and let it stand for a couple of minutes. Or use 1/4 cup of buttermilk.
  5. Add one egg and beat slightly, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  6. Mix the milk egg mixture into the chocolate and pour into a pan. I used an 8×8 pan. I probably should of used a larger pan but I wanted to make a 4×4 cake.
  7. Bake the cake fro 20 minutes in a 350 oven or until cake is set

Nutella Peanut Butter Bar/Fudge or I dream of nutella

What do you do when you realize you have guest coming over and JUST enough food to feed everyone? In my family… you make much more food.

So I frantically searched online for something that was easy to do, with ingredients in the pantry, and a potential crowd pleaser. I found these from Fresh and Foodie which I then changed it up a bit to reflect what I had in the kitchen. Please check out the original recipe to see their verison.

This is a no bake recipe, one pot and pan. Cleanup is minimal if you line your pan with parchment paper. Sounds easy right?

Grab some peanut butter, melted butter, icing sugar, graeme crackers, dump and mix. I used smooth peanut butter, but I would be tempted to use a nutty verision to give the bottom layer a bit more bite.

Next layer the peanut butter mixture in your lined pan. I used a square pan. Not the most attractive, I know! But next comes the nutella chocolate!

Melt the chocolate chips with the nutella until it is slightly melted. Try not to make it boiling hot or it may be hot for the bottom layer to handle.

Now spread the chocolate on top, trying to neat, balanced and all that jazz.

If you are like me and smear chocolate everywhere except on top the peanut butter its okay! You’re just going to cut it up and make it look pretty anyways.

See? All better 😀 happy eating

No bake nutella and peanut bars

Modified from this verison

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup  melted butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup  peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella

Instructions

  1. Grab some peanut butter, melted butter, icing sugar, graeme crackers, dump and mix.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips with the nutella until it is slightly melted. Try not to make it boiling hot or it may be hot for the bottom layer to handle.
  3. Now spread the chocolate on top, trying to neat, balanced and all that jazz.
  4. Place bars in fridge to chill and harden before serving. Best served cold



Easy Pop Tarts! Without the food colour additives!

POP TARTS! Who doesn’t remember and love pop tarts? I was looking for a new breakfast item. And I was inspired by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody to make a pop tart!

Please note I’ve modified her recipe because I didn’t have cream cheese in the fridge. Other great filling ideas would be any type of jam, nutella (If you used it in this recipe let me know! I hunger…), nuts, or fruit.  Just make sure they are in bite sized pieces. Unfortunately you need to be selective and not over stuff them or else the pastry won’t close and filling runs out everywhere. It’s messy, believe me. Scrubbing things suck.

Make sure that the puff pastry is defrosted, plyable and cut it up into poptart shapes (about 3 x 10). I eyeball everything so that means I had one huge poptart and two small ones.  If your puff pastry does not come wrapped up in waxed paper/you were awesome and made it by scratch, you should coat your work surface with a bit of oil so that your awesome creations make it to the oven and not glued forever on the counter.

Smear some jam, slap on some cut up, washed fruit, and cover. Super easy!

One last step before the baking is to get a fork and press down all around the edges so that nothing delicious escapes.

 

Then pop them in the oven/toaster oven and let them bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Here’s a photo with bad lighting of the delicious poptart. Relive your childhood without the food colour additives!

PUFF POP TARTS

Puff Pastry

Filling (Jam, Nutella, spreadable goodness)

Bite Sized Edibles  (Chocolate chips, fruit, etc)

1. Cut up puff pastry into poptart shapes (about 3×10 rectangles)

2. Smear on your spreadable goodness

3. throw in your bite sized edibles

4. Seal all edges with a fork

5. Throw in an oven and toast until brown. 350 in a toaster oven for about 10 mins, 15-20 mins in a conventional oven

Alternatively I think you can use pie crust instead of puff pastry. What delicious concoctions have you made?


Black Forest Restaurant, Harrison Hot Springs, BC

GERMAN SCHIZEL! This was very good vacation food.

After looking at the Copper Room Restaurant and its lack luster reviews, we decided to do something different and go to the Black Forest Restaurant for German food!

Sorry for the “artistic” candle light shot. The restaurant was very darkly lit and I find flash to be offensive in such a dark environment. I had the Gourmet Schmizel which included a pork schziel topped with mushrooms, ham and bechamel sauce (mmm butter).  The schizel was crispy and the components (firm mushrooms, shredded black forest ham) and sauce were good together. The portion was HUGE. I only ate the schizel and I was full. The sauce was very rich and combined with the pan fried schizel, it was oil with butter on top.  For some this would be too much but I never back down from an early heart attack.

There were a couple of side dishes: carrots, pan fried potatoes, purple cabbage.  I am not a huge fan of the sides. In fact I only really ate a quarter of the potatoes because I love potatoes. They were oily and not crispy. The carrots were too sweet for me as it was steamed or boiled then doused in a sauce that made this side dish almost like dessert. The purple cabbage is probably a German dish as I’ve never tasted something like this before. It was sour, sort of like saurket but  mushy. I only picked at them as I already gourged myself on the schizel

My dinning companion had the bratwerst which came with two sausages, the same carrot and potato sides, and saurkraut. I didn’t try his dish but it looked tasty. The portion was too much for him as well.

They also had a nice selection of wine and beer. Some of their beer was German. This one was very light and very good.

Overall the price was reasonable for the portions and for Harrison Hot Springs.

Summary

  • Huge portions
  • I don’t know how to spell schizel

Black Forest Restaurant on Urbanspoon


The Epic Fail of Oven Fried Chicken

I had a craving for crispy oven fried chicken so after some googling, I thought I would give this recipe a try. Please note that I’ve adapted and changed some ingredients around as that is what I had on my shelves. I’m not too sure if the substitution made it not so great or if its because the oven was too cold. Anyways I’m going to really modify this recipe

I buy my chicken cheap. That means I butcher them into individual pieces. This pack should be 3 meals + stock for 2 people. Would anyone else be interested in a breakdown? I love showing off how cheap I am!

Anyways get some chicken and drege them in flour.  I chilled mine afterward as I read somewhere that it helps the crispiness. [Okay so its the airing process that helps but only with baking powder and at least overnight. :(] I mixed my chicken with a dash of cayenne pepper but that had no effect what so ever on the final product.

At this time you should have a system set up. Pull out your bowls!  Dose them in egg whites and coat them in Panko bread crumbs for extra crispyness. Flavour with paprika.

After all that work and tons of bowls to wash, you end up with a not so happy looking chickens. For some reason they don’t brown well. I think its because I undercooked them. Maybe its because I forgot to add the oil to the bottom of the pan. Maybe I should stick to marinating meat before cooking them.

I served them with gravy for taste but then they lost their crispiness! NOOOOO

This one is an epic fail 😦

Adapted from Allrecipes.com: Oven Fried Chicken II

Serves 2-3. Original Recipe Yield 10 servings and thus scaled to size

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken legs
  • Leftover Egg whites (6 were used, this was two too many)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (totally forgot about this)

Directions

This recipe’s Ingredients were scaled to yield a new amount. The directions below still refer to the original recipe yield of 10 servings.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place flour in a shallow plate or bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Put the bread crumbs in another shallow plate or bowl and beat the eggs in another bowl.
  3. Dredge the chicken piece by piece in the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs, until all pieces are coated. Pour the oil into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Add the chicken to the dish and sprinkle with paprika to taste. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then turn pieces over and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels. Enjoy!

Lazy Hollandaise Sauce (or I make Julia Child Cry Tears of Butter)

So I tried to make hollandaise sauce cause I didn’t have an easy packet of it around. I used Julia Child’s Hollandaise sauce as a template.  Due to me being lazy, I heavily modified it until it had no semblance to the original recipe. Yes I didn’t use butter even when I had it on hand as I deem the butter cookie worthy rather than sauce worthy. Serves2-3 portions.

2 egg yolks

1 cup of margarine

half a lemon, juice only

Dash of Cayenne Pepper

(I forgot the white pepper)

1. Melt Margarine/butter on medium/low heat in small sauce pan. Take the pot off heat and whisk the egg yolks and lemon into the mixture Quick! (We don’t want the egg yolks to cook and I don’t want to wash another bowl)

2. Baby the sauce on low heat until it thickens. This really only takes a couple of minutes but it feels like forever because you need to constantly stir unless you want globs of egg yolk. (This happened to me the first time and globs are not your friend).  I used omega 3 eggs so that’s why the sauce is a weird orange yellow rather than the traditional pale yellow.

3. Serve to your hungry, asparagus loving, loved ones.

NOTES: This recipe is easy but you need to adjust to taste. I think half a lemon of juice is too much and I will try a quarter. Also this was too much sauce for two people so I’ll adjust that as well. I’m going to try real butter next time and maybe stick to Julia Child original recipe as it’s only 4 more steps…