Farro and Lentil Hash

I haven’t been experimenting with too many new recipes lately. My little one keeps me super busy from the moment daddy leaves for work in the morning, until we both fall to bed exhausted at night. With that in mind, I’ve had to go through some old photos to try and see if there are any outstanding recipes that I’ve been meaning to post. Lucky for me, I forgot all about this beauty from back in June!

DSCN1345Justin’s been on a lentils kick lately. He’s been harping about how they are a good source of protein, without being too expensive. I totally agree. That’s why I decided to come up with this beauty. First things first, soak your lentils overnight. Then cook them together with the farro. I got both from Gold Forest Grains.

DSCN1346In a large frying pan, caramelize some onions.

DSCN1351For this recipe, I used hickory smoke flavour, garlic powder, seasoning salt and smoky asado seasoning. Delicious combination!

DSCN1348Once caramelized, add the other veggies (I added bell peppers and mushrooms.)

DSCN1349Since it was June, I had fresh chives and mint growing in the garden. There is nothing quite like fresh herbs in a recipe.

DSCN1350Here they are, all diced up for the recipe!

DSCN1352Here are the lentils and farro, all cooked up!

DSCN1354I combined the lentils, farro, veggies and herbs all together in the large frying pan and mixed it all up to meld the flavours.

DSCN1355Et voila! A hearty, tasty mix of ancient grains, pulses and veggies for your dinning pleasure.

Lentil and Farro Hash

You will need:

1 cup farro

1 cup red lentils (soaked overnight)

4 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 large onion

2 sweet bell peppers, chopped

8 mushrooms, chopped

1 tsp hickory smoke seasoning

1 tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoky asado seasoning

Fresh chives and mint

Begin by soaking your lentils overnight. When ready to prepare, bring farro, lentils and chicken stock to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 mins, until farro is tender and begins to split open. Meanwhile, dice and caramelize your onions with a little butter in a large frying pan. Add your peppers and mushrooms, spices and seasoning and cook until tender. Once your farro and lentils are cooked, add to the large frying pan and stir to combine all flavours. Stir in fresh chives and mint at the last minute and serve.

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Crockpot Pulled Pork

Who doesn’t love pulled pork? It’s saucy, tangy and so easy to make. As I said in my previous post, my crockpot is the new love of my life. When I don’t have dinner simmering away in there, we don’t eat (or we eat leftovers from the last crockpot meal!) This recipe is no exception to the awesome slow cooking stint I am on. DSC_0690

I diced up some onions and peppers to add a little bit of veggies to the pork. DSC_0692

Pulled pork recipes usually call for pork butt or pork shoulder. I had my big pork loin left over from last week’s Pork Chopped competition, so I decided to use that. In the future, I would use a pork shoulder, as it creates larger porky strands and is fattier, but this loin worked just fine!DSC_0693

I made a tasty rub for the pork.DSC_0695

Here is the loin, all ready to be rubbed. DSC_0696

And here it is, covered in the rub. DSC_0697

Into the crockpot it goes. DSC_0698

Here it is, all slow cooked and ready to be pulled. DSC_0699

You can use two forks to pull the meat, but I use my meat puller from pampered chef. DSC_0703Serve on a bun, topped with cheese and a bit of BBQ sauce, for added sauciness.

Crockpot Pulled Pork

You will need:

5 lb pork shoulder

1/4 cup paprika

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp white sugar

2 tbsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup apple cider vinegar

Buns, cheese and BBQ sauce, to serve

Begin by putting together your spice rub by combining all of the dry ingredients. Dice your onion and pepper and add to the crockpot. Add your vinegar. Rub the spice blend all over the pork shoulder and transfer to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hrs. Pull pork and transfer back to slow cooker to absorb some liquid. Serve on toasted buns, topped with cheese and BBQ sauce, for added kick. Enjoy!


Korean Bison Short Ribs

I love my crockpot!! I’ll sing it from the heavens: I LOVE MY CROCKPOT!! Recently, if there isn’t any food to pop in the oven or shove in the crockpot, we are not going to have dinner, lest we order in. It’s been so crazy with our baby girl only napping for 45 minute stretches at a time during the day.

DSC_0679This recipe was so good, I think I’m going to add it to my repertoire. It was extremely easy too! Go Michael Smith!

DSC_0675 (1)First things first, make your braising liquid.

DSC_0677 (1)Here it is, all ready to be poured into the crockpot the next morning.

DSC_0683In order to make sure the flavours hold and to give it that extra oomph, I browned the meat the day before and stored it in the fridge overnight.

DSC_0684In the morning, I popped everything into the crockpot and set on low for 8 hrs.

DSC_0685The house smells intoxicatingly delicious all day long!

DSC_0686I transferred the ribs to a baking dish, along with some of the braising liquid and the onions.

DSC_0687Then I broiled it on high for 3 minutes on each side, to give the ribs a nice crisp.

DSC_0689Serve on top of a bed of Jasmine rice, with a nice side salad, and revel in the joys that is crockpot cooking!

Korean Bison Short Ribs (Courtesy of Chef Michael Smith’s Fast Flavours Cookbook)

You will need:

5 lbs of Bison short ribs

1 large onion, diced

5 garlic cloves, crushed

4 cups low-sodium beef broth

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

Jasmine rice, to serve

Begin by assembling your sauce by combining the broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil,  diced onion and crushed garlic. In a large skillet, heat a small amount of oil and brown the short ribs on each side. Transfer to a plate, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, throw short ribs and sauce into the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hrs. Start your rice. Before serving, broil ribs for 3 mins, turning to get both sides crispy. Serve on top of rice, topped with sesame seeds. Enjoy profusely!


Pork Chopped 2015: Sweet and Savoury Flatbread with Maple Bacon and Cinnamon Apples

Guys! How cool is this? I got to participate in my first ever cooking competition!! I entered a contest on twitter to cook a dish in a Chopped-style competition and I was selected! #PorkChopped15 happened last weekend, and while I didn’t win, I had a BLAST!

I was competing against Russell Bird, a home chef who also took part in the Canadian Food Championships over the summer at Taste of Edmonton, and qualified for the World Food Championships coming up shortly. He was such a gracious competitor, who was really not out to “take me down”, which was nice, considering I was super nervous to begin with!

DSC_0618The way that the competition worked was that we would not be told the cut of pork we would be cooking ahead of time; rather, we would only find out once we got there. That made it especially challenging for me, since I do not cook a lot of pork at home. We would only be given 45 minutes to make and plate our dishes, so I picked up some cuts of pork from Irvings at the market that you could cook in 45 mins to practice.

DSC_0594First one I practiced was the one that I ended up making for the competition: a sweet and savoury flatbread with maple bacon and cinnamon apples and onions. Deeeeeelicious! (Recipe below).

DSC_0598The next recipe I practiced was a fig balsamic pork tenderloin with apples and onions. (Can you see a theme here?)

DSC_0612Next, I made a pan-fried pork chop with a fresh apple salsa. This one was a huge hit in our house, with the salsa disappearing within a day from the fridge. It was quite the struggle at the competition to decide whether to make this dish or the flatbread.

DSC_0629Once they presented the ingredients, the choice was clear: Flatbread it was. Russell and I were both given a large pork loin and a pack of Irvings’ delicious thick cut hickory-smoked bacon. After conferring with Russell, we both decided that we would only use the bacon for our recipe. I was so thankful, because wow, that pork loin was HUGE and I was not looking forward to trying to cut it up on stage.

DSC_0630I was super nervous when the competition started. I am so use to being alone in the kitchen, cooking for my biggest fan, Hubby Justin. Here, I feared that my every move was going to be questioned and scrutinized. I’m so happy that it wasn’t; however, MCs Phil Wilson from BaconHound and Courtney Theriault from Dinner TV would periodically shove the microphone in our faces, asking us about our dishes.

DSC_0639

After the first few minutes, I relaxed. There wasn’t too much pressure to get it right, and there wasn’t a huge and vocal countdown. Also, I had my own cheering section!

DSC_0630Craziest part of the whole thing? When the oven stopped working right in the middle of the event, leaving me to pan-fry my flatbreads instead of broiling them in the oven, like I had planned to do.

DSC_0666In the end, I had them platted and presented to the judges on time. I was so honoured when they each went for a second piece of the flatbread each.

image1(3)In the end, Russell won. And rightfully so! He made homemade Asian deep-fired dumplings, which were incredible. The judges said it came down to the use of the pork in the dish, and I found Russell’s bacon to be so flavourful and pronounced that he so deserved to win! Congratulations!

I had a blast competing in #PorkChopped15. It was a wonderful way of challenging myself to try new recipes while cooking quickly and under pressure. (A handy tool I am quickly putting into practice in my daily life. Anna doesn’t like to let me cook much during the week…)

So! Here’s my recipe!

Sweet and Savoury Flatbread with Maple Bacon and Cinnamon Apples

You will need:

4 fresh-baked na’an breads

1 cup flavoured goat cheese (I used pumpkin spice, but any sweet-flavoured goat cheese will do!)

1 pound bacon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tart apple

1 red onion

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp honey

1/2 cup sharp aged cheese, like Gouda or aged cheddar

Begin by cutting up the bacon into small, bite-sized pieces. Toss them into a pan and cook until the bacon is soft but crispy. Drain the grease from the pan, and then throw in the maple syrup. Cook on low for a few more minutes, until the syrup begins to thicken. While you’re cooking your bacon, thinly slice your apples and onion and toss them into a pan. Cook on low until soft, but still firm. Add the honey and cinnamon and cook a little more. Turn the broiler on high. Begin assembling the flatbreads by spreading the goat cheese on the na’an breads, then add your maple bacon and apples and onions. Top with the sharp, aged cheese and pop onto a greased cookie sheet and broil on high for 5 mins. Garnish with fresh chopped basil. Enjoy!