Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meeting my favourite CHEF!

Last Wednesday I met my favourite Food Network Chef!!..

Not only he is one of the best Canadian Chefs, but he is also one of the tallest guys I've ever met!!.. I have to say he has inspired me to become a better cook!..

Now I have his new book specially autographed and I can't wait to start cooking, all recipes look so yummy !!..

One of the things I loved about the book is that he gives freestyle variations in every recipe, and that is a great way to start getting creative!

And as he said in his interview at Indigo last week, "It doesn't really matter what you end up with, when you've decided to cook, you've done it, you've succeeded! Cheers!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving my Way!

It's the second year we welcome the thanksgiving festivity in our Mexican home!.. But as Thanksgiving means lots of food and basically enjoyment.. it really doesn't matter what you have for dinner as long as you fully enjoy it. My thinking is, if you are thankful it should be because you are having a hell of a dinner... am I right?? .. Turkey for my isn't that important, what's important for me is to prepare what my audience is asking for.. and in this case the ask was for some Homemade Pizza and Apple Pie.

I suppose this time is all about sharing so .. here it goes ..
Salmon Pizza
Pizza Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour, more if needed
2 cups milk
1 x bay leaf
1 piece of onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tin crab, about 4-1/2 ounces, drained
1 cup goat cheese
6 ounces hot-smoked salmon, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
2 x slices cold-smoked salmon (optional)
About 5 green onions, chopped

For the Pizza Dough
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water in a large bowl and let sit 10 minutes. Add the oil, salt, and half the flour. Beat smooth. Knead in the remaining flour, more as needed, to create a soft dough that doesn’t stick to the hands. Cover in a bowl and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough and stretch it out to fit on a pizza sheet.
While the dough is rising, make the béchamel: Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan with the bay leaf and onion. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave to infuse 15 minutes. Melt the butter in another saucepan, then whisk in the flour, and keep whisking on the heat for a full minute to cook out the flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk, until smooth, and cook, stirring until thick, 3 minutes. Stir in the crab, and half the goat cheese.
Heat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Distribute pieces of hot-smoked salmon over the pizza crust. Spoon the sauce over top (this will protect it from overcooking). Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the chopped white part of the green onions, reserving the chopped green for garnish later. Bake 25 minutes until the crust is crisp. Scatter the green of the onions over. To finish it, lay on a few slivers of cold-smoked salmon for extra colour and extra flavour.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Canadians + Pozole = Amazing birthday celebration!

I can't believe I'm 25 already!.. It hit me when I was answering a survey yesterday and had to choose my age range... it wasn't in the (18-24 range) anymore.
Let me tell you that back in Mexico I often had crappy birthdays, mainly because it is on the same weekend as our Independence celebration and obviously the main focus is around that and the fact that we get a day off. This means less people in the city and fewer friends to party with .... luckily these Canadians aren't that familiar with our Mexican celebrations.
So, on that weekend, I decided to invite my great Canadian friends to taste a very Mexican dish, "Pozole", and celebrate my birthday.
I started cooking early Saturday and by mid day it was all done!.. People started arriving and they even brought me gifts!! A colourful sombrero piñata full of zombie eyeballs and skull shaped rings (I am pretty sure candy was recycled from last year's halloween) was the first one to arrived followed by a beautiful orchid which is staring at me right now from the heights.

We had an amazing time.. we started with the Guacamole, later on, to my surprise, everyone seemed to enjoyed the Pozole.. even Hailey!!!.. and for dessert, Ms. Chow brought Baklavas .... I ate 4!!!.. I am such a Pig!.. Allison was in charge of the mojitos!!!.. which were specially made with sparkling wine!.. and a couple of yummy salads were also part of the menu!..
I really enjoyed cooking for my friends!!.. and just because one of them asked for the recipe.. here it is!!..


2 tbsp canola oil
500 g shredded chicken
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder (I use a brand called Tajin you can find it in Kensington Market).
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cups of chicken stock
1 can (around 450g) of tomatoes
1 can (around 450g) of hominy (you can find it in Loblaws).
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and diced (In case you like it hot).
Salt & pepper
Avocado slices
Green onions
For more garnish you can add a tsp of sour cream.


In a soup pot heat the oil, working in batches to avoid crowding, brown the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and sauté for 3-5 mins. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir to blend the spices evenly. Add the stock, tomatoes, hominy, jalapeño and browned chicken with any juices. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and cover. Check the chicken is fully cooked and everything is warm and nice.

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish with the avocado slices, green onions and cream.