Category Archives: Dinner Gobbler

Seafood Squash Pasta

IMG_20141017_143125

It’s autumn! The season of scarves, beautiful leaves, and harvest! I thought a recipe that incorporates some fall ingredients is appropriate right about now. I was grocery shopping and came across these awesome squashes (that sounds pretty funny when you say it out loud) on sale. Spaghetti squash, butternut squash…they look so pretty piled together! I picked a small acorn squash just because it looked adorable.

Fun fact: acorn squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds. A diet with a high intake of the nutrients provided by acorn squash may decrease the risk of a number of serious medical conditions.

Processed with VSCOcam

Getting chopped!

I was very excited going into creating this pasta dish. I had the idea in my head and it turned out as well as I expected! The union of seafood, squash, cheese and coconut flavors was delicious. It makes for a great hearty dinner and I hope you try it out!

As a fair warning, this dish is relatively more laborious than the recipes that I normally share, mostly because cooking the squash takes quite awhile. However, if you are up to a challenge, you shall be rewarded! With yumminess.

Ingredients: (for baking the squash)

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients: (for the dish in general):

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta
  • 1 cup of seafood mix. (I happened to have shrimps, scallops and smoked salmon in my freezer but you can easily buy a bag of frozen seafood mix. Or even better, use fresh!)
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • handful of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 ¼ inch (3 cm) piece of ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Processed with VSCOcam

Some of the ingredients

Directions:

The first thing you want to do is to cook the squash. Roasting it in the oven is the best way to go. I looked around online for an easy recipe and ended up using this one from Chow. It is super straight forward. However, the one tip that I will add is that before putting on the seasoning, score the insides of the acorn squash halves with a knife, in a crisscross pattern. This way, the squash will cook faster. The whole process will take about an hour and a half (cooking time plus cooling time). It just takes patience.

While your squash is cooking, get your prep work done!

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Drain pasta and let it cool.
  3. Before cooking your seafood, first dice them in to bite size pieces if they are too big.
  4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.
  6. Place your seafood pieces in the pan in an uncrowded layer.
  7. Depending on what seafood you have, cooking time will be different. The general guideline is to let one side sear undisturbed until it is browned and crisp, turn it around and sear the other side the same way. Shrimps and scallops should take around 2 to 4 minutes.
  8. Place the cooked seafood in a plate on stand by.

When your squash is finally cooked,

  1. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for 5-10 minutes
  2. Scoop the flesh of the squash out of its skin and dice it into chunks, about 1cm cubes.

Now all the ingredients are ready! The rest will be easy peasy.

  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep pan over high heat.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic and tomato. Stir and cook until they are fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  3. Turn the heat to medium-high and pour in the coconut milk.
  4. Add in the squash chunks, seafood and pasta, let them baste in the coconut milk.
  5. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Last, add in shredded parmesan cheese and chopped coriander leaves for garnish.
  8. Serve immediately.

Not going to lie, by the time I finished making this dish, I was ravenous! BUT, that made the very first bite taste just even better. Cheesy, coconutty, squashy, seafoody…Okay, some of those weren’t words, but you get what I’m trying to say. So much flavor! If you are up for an adventure, give this recipe a go. Just as a last note, you don’t have to use acorn squash for this recipe. Feel free to use other types of squash or pumpkin! Explore, eat, discover!

Advertisements

Peanut Butter & Siracha Tofu

Processed with VSCOcam

My friend and I originally discovered the recipe in the Buzzfeed post, “30 Delicious Vegan Meals You Can Make Under 30 Minutes”. We tried it and in my friend Vita’s words, the taste “is to dieee for!” (Thank you Buzzfeed!) I have made some modifications to the original version, namely adding in some veggies for extra flavor and a more colorful presentation. In addition to being vegan, this dish is gluten-free. Try it out for the next Meatless Monday!

Ingredients:

  • 14-16 oz. firm or extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoon canola/olive oil (I use these two oils the most often as they are arguably healthier among different types of cooking oils)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large ginger root, sliced
  • 1 half red bell pepper
  • 1 half green bell pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoon chopped green onions (for garnish)

 

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce (reduced sodium is fine)
  • 2 tablespoon smooth natural peanut butter (the ones with low sugar are best)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tablespoon Siracha Sauce (more or less to taste)

*The original version called for vinegar, but I found that I didn’t like the sour taste so much for this dish, so I left it out.

Processed with VSCOcam

 

Directions

  1. Drain the tofu and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Cut the tofu into strips. You want the strips to be relatively thick so the tofu doesn’t crumble when you try to flip it.
  3. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Slice the garlic, ginger and green onions.
  5. Slice the red and green bell peppers into strips.
  6. Heat the wok/pan over high heat until it’s hot. 
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat about 30 seconds more. 
  8. Add the chopped bell pepper and stir. When the pieces have softened, remove and set them aside.
  9. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the wok
  10. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until they are fragrant (about 30 seconds); then remove and discard. 
  11. Add tofu pieces, lower heat to medium high and cook until the tofu is nicely browned on both sides (about 7-8 minutes).
  12. When the tofu pieces are browned, add the sauce, turn heat to low. Cook for a minute, or just until the sauce thickens slightly and coats the tofu. 
  13. Add your bell pepper back into the wok and let it be coated in the sauce along with the tofu.
  14. Turn off the heat and remove the wok from the stove.
  15. Plate the dish, pour sauce over and garnish with green onion slices.

 

Having this fresh out of the wok with some rice = heaven…

 

*Credits to Kalyn’s Kitchen for the wonderful recipe.

Sesame Soba Noodles

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Growing up, my mom often made noodles for dinner on days that she did not have a lot of time to cook. I am not complaining because I loved her noodles. She always put a lot of different ingredients and spices into the base, which makes the noodles oh so flavourful! After years, I have finally mastered my mom’s way of making noodles and realized that it is not as complicated as I once thought. Don’t tell her this but…I think I have even made it better…

Ingredients:

  • 100 g soba noodles
  • 2 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame paste
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoon minced meat sauce (optional)
  • 1 handful leafy vegetables (I used arugula, but you can use bak choy, spinach, etc)

 Processed with VSCOcam

The version that I had growing up were actually made with regular wheat noodles. However, I’ve made the switch to Soba a couple years ago. Soba is made with buckwheat and has more of a nutty flavor. It is a great option if you follow a gluten-free and/or a calorie-conscious diet.

Another thing worth mentioning is the minced meat sauce. The one I use is homemade. Again it is mom’s wonderful recipe, which I will share another time. You can also use other meat/non-meat. I.e. left over chicken, eggplant, tofu…the options are endless!

Directions:

  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions.
  2. Put all other ingredients and spices into a bowl.
  3. Drain the noodles and place in the bowl.
  4. Mix well.

Ya I’m not kidding you…four steps to make this. I supposed getting all the ingredients is the most difficult part. I know from my student days that I often found it frustrating that I am just missing one ingredient for a certain recipe. In this case, I think that all of the ingredients listed are worthy investments. I for one use sesame oil quite often. If you really don’t want to buy an ingredient, get creative and find a replacement! Ie. Hot sauce/Siracha if you don’t have chili flakes.

Ok enough talking. My noodles are getting cold! Hope you try this out and let me know how it goes.

Mama’s Chinese BBQ Ribs

 IMG_20140824_191524

Since graduating from McGill, I have moved back to my parents’ house in Toronto (yep new grads I hear ya). One of the best things about living at home is my mom’s kitchen. When I left for university, I was still a kid who couldn’t even boil an egg. BUT now that I’m back and grown, I have realized that mom’s kitchen is a place where magic can happen. Every time that I discover in a cupboard a fancy ingredient that I was always too cheap to buy during my student life, I get all giddy and excited.

This dinner for the carnivores was a fun collaboration between mama and I. Cooking together was a great bonding experience for us. This ribs recipe is slightly different from most of the BBQ ribs recipe that you would find online because it has more of an asian flavour. This dish requires slightly more ingredients and time to make than the dishes that I typically share, but the final product is juicy, meaty, delish and so worth it I promise!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-3 lb) rack of ribs 
    1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic/garlic powder
  • 1/4 chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoon black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Lee Kum Kee Chinese BBQ Sauce

lee-kum-kee-chinese-109972

The last ingredient may seem foreign to a lot of people. You can find the Lee Kum Kee Chinese Barbecue Sauce (otherwise known as Char Siu Sauce) in any chinese supermarket. 

Directions:

  1. Prepare your ribs by removing the filmy membrane on the bone side of the rack. 
  2. Make your dry rub. Combine all the ingredients, other than the BBQ sauce, in a bowl.
  3. Rub the spices into ribs. Rub it real good!
  4. Cover the ribs and let them sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours (or overnight to get that extra extra flavour!)
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Coat a baking pan in some cooking oil and spread the ribs out evenly on the pan.
  7. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for approximately 2 hours, until 1 in. of bone is showing.
  8. Take the pan out and cover the ribs with Chinese Barbecue Sauce.
  9. Put it back in the oven for another 1/2 hour.
  10. Take the ribs out and let it cool for 10 minutes.

The meat should fall right off the bone as you eat it. Hmmm so good…