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Monday, November 9, 2015

james ' coconut curry soup

James is the absolute best human being. He also happens to be my husband. There are massive seasons of our life where the situation looks like this...
which is amazing... and he gets to help bless a lot of people. But it also means a whole lot of catering. Catering is awesome, but let's be honest... a warm, home- cooked meal is way better. SO, when I get to have him home for dinner and he can request anything, this dish is usually top on his list. And I love making it because its SO FREAKIN GOOD and REALLY, really simple to throw together. Win win all around.
Alright! Let's get you to it!
You'll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced thin
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut cream or milk... i prefer cream because, duh...cream.
  • peanut butter
  • red pepper flakes
  • brown sugar
  • white sugar
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • curry powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • dried cilantro
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • peas
  • haricot verts, chopped (optional)
  • fish sauce
  • sweet chili sauce
  • oyster sauce
  • juice of 1 & 1/2 limes
  • 1 cup cooked rice
yes yes,  i realize that list looks daunting but MOST of it is stuff you'll find in your pantry and or the untouched shelf of asian goods in your fridge.. i know you've all got a few of those things. ;)


Get out a saucepan big enough to hold your soup when it's all said and done.. a deep saucepan. Saute over medium-low heat some sesame oil, a hearty pinch or two of salt, 1 TBSP curry, 3 tsp brown sugar, garlic powder and onion powder... go about 8 shakes each, some black pepper, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 3 big pinches dried cilantro, the celery, peas and haricot verts, 2 TBSP fish sauce, 1/2 TBSP sweet chili sauce, 1 TBSP oyster sauce and the lime juice.

get it all smelling really great and stir it around until the celery is starting to look like its cooking, about 6-8 minutes. Then add in the chicken stock and bring it all to a boil. Once its boiling, add in your sliced chicken! it will cook in all those amazing juices and only take a few minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, turn the heat back to medium and add in the coconut cream, 1 TBSP peanut butter and a pinch of white sugar. Stir until well mixed.. make sure to press out all that peanut butter with the back of your mixing spoon so you don't bite into a peanut butter glob. :) Dash in a little red pepper flake and stir in the cooked rice. Gradually turn the heat back every few minutes until all the flavors are happily mixed together, about another 6 minutes or so.

SERVE AND ENJOY! 
I hope this recipe keeps you toasty and well fed all winter long!

XOXOXOXO


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Best & Easiest Bread . . . but really

Well... it's been a long, challenging and eventful year. But after some time away from the blog and from a lot of things, I'm pulling up my boot straps, giving it another go and I firmly believe we'll be better than ever this go around! So praise the Lord, let's eat some bread!
In all seriousness, this is the easiest bread you will ever, ever, ever make. It's by far the most forgiving and somehow magically the best we've ever tasted over here at the Cardinal Cottage. AND what's really fun about it is that you can mix and match your add-in ingredients however you please, really. Meaning, you can make the basic version and then just stir in whatever the heck you want and it'll taste great. The one pictured is our Rosemary Sea Salt version and it's our favorite yet... although the cinnamon raisin loaf was pretty amazing, too. :) Did I mention it only rises for 15 minutes and bakes for 15 minutes? Win and win.



Ingredients:
-1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose OR whole wheat flour (your preference)
-1 & 3/4 cups bread flour
-1 & 1/2 cups warm water
-1 TBSP honey
-1 & 1/2 tsp salt
-1 & 1/2 TBSP yeast
-mix-ins... rosemary, sea salt, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, cranberries, nuts, etc etc etc! 
**the possibilities are ENDLESS**

In a large bowl, dissolve the honey and salt in the warm water. Once combined, stir in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy. Pre-heat your oven to 450 and put the oven rack in the middle of your oven. Stir in both flours with a wooden spoon until well combined. If you need to do a quick knead with your hands to make sure it's all well mixed, do that but make sure it's not too sticky for your hands. If it is, add in 1 TBSP of flour at a time just until it's not super sticky. Be careful not to make it dry though. ;) I never add any extra flour in, it just takes a little patience stirring is all. IF YOU'RE MAKING A PLAIN LOAF, your mixture is done here. IF YOU'RE MAKING A FUN LOAF, here's how i measure out the add-ins:

Dried Fruit or vegetables such as sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cranberries, raisins, etc:
-1/4 cup (heaping)

Nuts and other grain add-ins:
-1/4 cup

Spices and herbs such as rosemary, sea salt, cinnamon, basil, dill, etc:
-1 TBSP each and go heavier from there if you prefer.....
-2 tsp sea salt... adjust to taste after you've tried it from there
Once your flour is stirred in, add the mix-ins and stir with the wooden spoon or just use your own magical hands at that point. Gather the dough into a ball and roll it into a log 12-15 inches long. Rest it diagonally on a lightly greased cookie sheet and let it rise for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, score the log diagonally top to bottom with a knife, about 1/2 inch deep and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. Eat it like a baguette, slice it for sandwiches, tear it off and dip it in gobs of olive oil, whatever your fancy. ENJOY!!

LOTS and lots and lots of love from my kitchen to yours!
cheers


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Plated . . .

So my beautiful sister, Jordan, sent me one of those crazy Plated boxes of food... you know, that business you saw a few months back on Shark Tank. Essentially you get on their site, choose the meals you want and they send you fresh boxes full of just the ingredients you'll need to make 2 meals, 4 meals, etc. Even the meat comes in perfectly frozen packs to make sure it's fresh.

I think the concept is awesome and the actual produce really was delicious. The meal was really great and fed me and James plenty... but the instructions weren't the easiest to follow for someone who doesn't regularly cook. And I would imagine that's the clientele that's probably flocking to their site.

There were little things that would throw someone, I think. For example, in the prep of the marinade, they had you use the zest of the lemon, but for someone who has never zested a lemon, they wouldn't know how to or even how much zest to use. Also, the red onion, shallots and garlic were all combined in one little plastic bag and I would bet that not everyone knows the difference between garlic and shallots. So having said that, overall, it was awesome and I would gift somebody (maybe slightly skilled in the kitchen) with a bunch of different boxes from Plated. The variety of meals they ship you is fantastic and I like to support new, well-run businesses, don't you?

Here's a look at our Greek Chicken Pita.

STEP 1: prep the ingredients. chop. grate. mix. marinate.
 STEP 2: combine, dress and toss.
STEP 3: mix tzatziki (cucumber sauce) and cook chicken.
 STEP 4: assemble and enjoy!
Happy weekending to all of you... send somebody a box of Plated goodness!
xoxo

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vinnie Louise

My nearest and dearest friend, Ginny, has launched a beautiful, inspiring, online boutique called Vinnie Louise.
SHE is beautiful and inspiring and the heart and soul that she has poured into this business is EVIDENT in the way she treats her customers and curates her collection. She supports independent designers who are pouring THEIR heart and soul into each and every one of their pieces and that just makes me want to SHOP! Isn't that just a better experience? Knowing that you're helping to grow someone else's dream into reality? Yes. It is better. And yes, this is a shameless plug for my sweet friend because she deserves it and YOU'RE going to love it (and love me for it).

James and I hosted a little launch party for Vinnie Louise with some of our closest friends and flipping through these photos just made me realize ALL over again how much I LOVE the way food brings people together. Around a table, around a pile of jewelry, around a fire... food is that beautiful staple that binds all kinds of situations and people together... turning mundane life into EVENTS and friends into family.
So, in honor of spring/ almost summer, here are our go-to, 'throw together'
meals we share on a really regular basis with our friends and family that just pop over or when we host a shin-dig:

EASY EASY EASY avocado on toast and our classic grilled chicken over kale salad.
 Cut thin slices of your favorite loaf, preferably sourdough, but anything works... toast it 'til crunchy! While it's toasting, mash the avocado flesh until pasty and salt and pepper it. Cut skinny slices of tomato and a few pieces of cheese... we always use white cheddar because we literally cannot survive without it. When the toast is done, quickly pop it in the oven on light broil (or microwave) with the cheese on top until it's just melted. Pull it out, pile on the tomatoes and avocado, squeeze fresh lemon juice all over it and add more salt and pepper. TA DA! Watch out, you'll go for like, 10 of these not realizing.
Next, grilled chicken... fire up your grill and heavily salt and pepper a cutting board. Olive oil your chicken breasts and press both sides of the breasts into the salt and pepper. Nothing else. Really, nothing else. Grill it to perfection. While those are grilling up nicely.... FINELY chop a big old pile of kale. For those of you that shop religiously at Trader Joe's like we do, we usually use one bag of their kale for a party of four. 
The KEY to a great kale salad is the chop... just go to town and chop it to death until it's almost like confetti. Trust me, it's just better. Then chop up 2 or 3 stalks of celery and toss it in. Next, mash up an avocado, just like you did for the avocado toast and mix it around with salt and pepper and the juice from 1 lime. Add it into the bowl. If you've made a batch of fresh hummus recently, add in a big dollop of that.. if not, that's alright, add in a big dollop of greek or plain yogurt. Toss in 2 handfuls of craisins and shred in some white cheddar, and don't be shy with it. Then get out a jar and fill it with 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 heaping Tablespoon stone ground dijon mustard and a lot of salt and pepper and shake it around... there's you're dressing, I'd use most of it but that's personal preference, just remember that there's already a few other "wet" ingredients in the salad and if you don't want to drown your kale, dress it after you've tossed it, then toss again.

Pop that beautiful chicken breast on top of a mound of salad and dinner is served. It's fresh and easy and people love it... delicious and simple, perfect for lunch or dinner gatherings. And then after you've rewarded yourself in your head for eating a salad for dinner... treat yourself to a top and a dress from Vinnie Louise... after all, you're OBVIOUSLY getting back that summer, girlish figure by eating salads for dinner, right?!
Right. :)
Here's some inspiration for you.

LOTS OF LOVE and happy Memorial Day weekend to you! Go reward yourself with a new, fun top for the weekend festivities!
and by the way... accessories are 20% today with code: jewelme

FOLLOW @vinnielouise on instagram for news on great pieces and discounts!

so proud of you ginny girl.
XOXOXOXOXO

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Breakfast Cookies


So these have become my new "go-to" recipe.. for when I have unexpected guests, when I'm popping over to someone's unexpectedly or when I just want them because they're amazing. They're called Breakfast Cookies because they're totally acceptable at 9 am... and at noon, at at 11pm. ;) ALSO THEY ARE GLUTEN- FREE, FRIENDS! How good is that for those of you who have asked me about that?! It's ridiculous how fast and easy they are to make and for me, they consist of 'on-hand' pantry items so, I hope you love them and make them as often as I do. Recipe from 'Bread & Wine.'

  • 3 bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats... Trader Joe's has the cheapest, best, giant bag of these
  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 shredded coconut
  • 1/2 chopped nuts ... i usually use pecans but walnuts and almonds work well, too
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (180 celsius for my family in Oz) and grease or line a cookie sheet. Mash the bananas until they're mush. Toss them in a small bowl with the oil and the vanilla extract and stir until mixed. In a larger bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix them around, then add in your banana mush mixture and stir until combined and mixed evenly.

Because there's no flour in these babies, you'll have to sort of really press them between your palms when you're forming them into balls. I like to make them a little bit big, so the mixture makes about 14 cookies... but I've made them small as well and just used a medium cookie scoop which gives you about 2 dozen. You can place the cookies pretty close together as they don't expand much, and pat the tops down gently so they're more like hockey puck shape than round balls. Bake for 15 minutes and ENJOY!
This one's for you Jodie!
LOTS OF LOVE MY FOODIE FRIENDS! Now let's get baking!
xoxoxo