Monday, December 30, 2013

FOOD: Taco Tuesday

Due to the food sensitivities at home, I do an awful lot of cooking.  It's taken a LONG time to develop tasty recipes because my son is allergic to tree nuts, and my wife is allergic to onions AND garlic.

So how on earth do you cook anything with flavour?  Spices, spices, spices!

And as many of my recipes are still in the experimental stages, exacting amounts will be hard to nail down.  But I'll do my best, but don't hold me accountable if you try it and exactly follow the recipie...  I never measure anything when I'm trying to make non-bakery type things.  Additionally, you are more then welcome to substitute and add/remove ingredients as you see fit to adjust to your needs/desires.


454 g (1lb) of extra lean ground beef (ground lamb or veal would work nicely too)
100g smokey bacon lardons (4-6 chopped up bacon strips)
1 colourful bell pepper (chopped somewhat finely)
100g graded cheddar cheese

1/2tsp course sea-salt
2tbsp SMOKED paprika
4tbsp cumin seeds
1 dash of ground smoked chipotle pepper

1 340g package of 7" flat-breads.  (10 or so)
1-2 chopped tomatoes
1 coarsely mashed avocado
bunch of FRESH cilantro
dollops of crème fraîche or sour creme


1. Grind salt and cumin in a mortar and pestle, then add the paprika and chipotle...  Keep grinding until it's well blended and mostly powder.  You can use a spice grinder.
2. brown the bacon in a cast-iron skillet or other suitably heavy saucepan or casserole pan
3. toss in the peppers when the bacon hasn't started browning
4. toss in the beef just as the bacon starts to show hints of browness
5. Just as the beef is almost all brown add the spice mix and stir stir stir!
6. put tortillias on a cookie/baking sheet and warm gently in a 350F/180C oven for 5-8 minutes.
7. when the tortillas are warmed they might get a little crispy and by this time the beef mixture should be completely done.

8. heat off, oven off, remove everything from heat sources


1. Fill tortilla with about 3-4 tbsp of beef mixture
2. cover with a sprinkle of cheese
3. tomatoes
4. avocado
5. Crème fraîche/sour creme
6. Cilantro to taste


If you give it a try, do let me know what you think!

Friday, December 13, 2013

FOOD: the best chocolate chip cookies ever

This recipe is NOT for any of you who want low fat.  If you think you're saving yourself by eating such rubbish then good on you.  I think you're nuts because you wind up eating the whole package then feeling much more guilty (and eating more sugar and thus more calories) then if you had eaten on one or two of these magnificent morsels.

What makes this recipe stand out?  Try them for yourself and see.


1.5C AP flour (organic, unbleached)
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch sea-salt (as finely ground as possible)
2 tbsp coco powder
1/2C Cultured salted butter (regular butter makes less interesting cookies)
1C Demerara  sugar (dark brown works too, but don't waste your time with golden or white)
1-2 tbsp corn syrup
1 large egg (or extra large)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1C chocolate chips.  (Don't cheap out!  The tastiest ones you can find)


1. Heat oven to 375F
2. sift flower, baking powder and coco into a large bowl and set aside
3. cream the demerara sugar and butter until fluffy (pastry knife/fork/stand-mixer)
4. add corn syrup, vanilla, and egg to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until well combined
5. gently add the dry ingredients into the wet trying not to over-mix
6. ever so gently fold in the chocolate chips.
7. form into balls using your hands no bigger than a golf-ball and chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.  They work very well as mini-cookies if you roll them into the size of a large marble.
8. using greased cookie sheets or silicone mats (lots of space to spread) for 13-15 minutes.  There will be just a faint caramelized crunchy brown edge to the cookie when done.  (11-14 minutes for small cookies)
9. remove from oven, let sit on the sheet for 3-4 minutes then remove and place on a cooling rack.
10. wait 5-10 minutes to cool and then try to not cram them all in your mouth.


NB:  The dough freezes very well and you don't need to let it defrost complete as the dough handles MUCH more easily when it's thoroughly chilled.

My $0.02: the cultured butter, demerara sugar, corn syrup, and chocolate chips make these cookies pure awesomeness.