Chefs Salad (a.k.a. Operation Use Up Leftover Ham) with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Chef's Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 cups arugula
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cute shredded cheese (Red Leicester)
  • 1 cup ham, cut small
  • 2/3 cups walnut halved, roasted
  • 3 eggs, soft-boiled
  • 4 Tbsps sour cream
  • 2 Tbsps mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 clove garlic, shredded
  • 1 tsp chipotle chilli oil (Huipi Chil Mango Chipotle)
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced

Directions


Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, dill, garlic, chilli oil and lemon juice. Arrange the other ingredients on a plate. Drizzle with the dressing. Serve.

And now for the details…

Yep, it’s another fairly simple recipe I’m putting forward today. But I couldn’t help it; we had so much ham leftover after our New Years Eve party that I needed to find a number of uses for it. This recipe actually only put a small dent in the leftovers. I am making this ham and bean soup tonight in an effort to use up even more. And we still have some left. Seriously. That’s too many hams. Although it does remind me of Robert Kelly’s (ew, no, not THAT Robert Kelly, I’m talking comedian Robert Kelly) skit about his love of food… “ham, just give me ham” (the whole thing is hilarious, but skip ahead to 4:40 for the quote).

I got a bit liberal with the different ingredients in this salad. Feel free to mix and match the toppings depending on what you have on hand. I did really enjoy the texture combination I had here, but it’s not prescriptive. Typical chef’s salad has some combination of meat, cheese, egg and veggie assortment.

Start with roasting the walnuts so you have them mostly cooled and ready for the last step. Place the walnuts on a small pan and spread them out so they are in a single layer. Place in a 350ºF/175ºC oven for 5-8 minutes until they smell toasty. Let them sit to cool once done.

Next up: the dressing. I made a chipotle ranch-style dressing. Again… because, well, these were the ingredients I happened to have on hand. A good ol’ “let’s clean out the refrigerator” kind of recipe.

Mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, salt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, and chilli oil. I used Huipi Chil mango-chipotle salsa for my chilli flavour, but if you want the same flavour and don’t have a chipotle chilli oil available, use 1/2 tsp of dried chipotle powder instead. If you prefer a less viscous dressing, you could use buttermilk instead of sour cream.

Next, we need to cook the eggs. I prefer a soft boiled egg, but the traditional chefs salad seems to be a hard boiled egg. Go with you preference. I went into detail on how to do a soft boiled egg in my Rainbow Vegetable Bowl recipe, but long story short: boil water, add eggs, simmer 6-7 minutes, ice bath, peel.

Finally, we assemble the salad. Arrange the rest of the ingredients on a large plate, with the arugula serving as your base.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and gently crumble the walnuts with your hands over the salad. The walnuts are serving as the crunch for this salad, eliminating the need for croutons, while giving us an added bite and richness.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Happy eating.

Pork Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)

Kimchi Jjigae

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 700g (1.5 lbs) pork belly, cut in slices
  • 300g (2/3 lbs) kimchi, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, shredded
  • 2 Tbsps soy sauce (dark)
  • 1 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang
  • 3 cups chicken or pork broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch green onion, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 package shimeji mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1/2 pkg (170g) medium tofu, sliced
  • butter

Directions

Sauté the pork on medium-high heat until browned. Add the chopped kimchi, reserving the kimchi liquid, and stir regularly until kimchi is heated fully. Add the water and broth. Add the soy sauce, mirin, gochujang, and kimchi liquid. Stir and cook until the stew starts to simmer. Stir in the shredded garlic. Add the mushroom and the green onions, stirring to mix. Lay the tofu across the top of the stew, spooning some of the stew over the tofu to coat. Cover the soup and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the mushrooms and tofu are cooked through. Spoon the stew into bowls and drop about 1 tsp of butter on the top of each bowl. Serve with a bowl of white rice.

And now for the details…

I know what you must be thinking… ummm… Emily, I didn’t realize you were Korean…? No, no I am not. And what do I know about authentic Korean cooking? Not much at all, except that what Korean food I have eaten is delicious and I will do what I can to recreate it. Particularly this stew. This stew was love at first bite when I tried it at Ogam Chicken. It has all the things you could hope for in a stew. The flavour is a mouth-watering combination of salty, umami-rich, spicy, and tangy. With the little chunks of pork, kimchi, and tofu, this stew is also quite hearty. Pair it with a bowl of white rice and it is pure magic.

Eating kimchi jjigae in restaurants, you often get it served in a hot stone bowl called a dolsot. I do have a dolsot that I received as a gift. But alas, I still have not used it, as it does not work so well (i.e. at all) on an induction stove. I will need to get myself a hot plate to resolve this issue! Until then, a heavy bottomed pot will need to do the job.

Cooking with new ingredients is always both scary and exciting. There were a number of ingredients in this recipe that I had never used for cooking until I made this stew the first time.

Gochujang, which is a chilli paste, was a brand new ingredient for me the first time I made jjigae. I find it more earthy than spicy, although it definitely does provide some heat. It’s a deep, rich red and has an almost smoky yet sweet quality to it that really deepens the flavour of the dish.

Kimchi itself was something I had eaten on a number occasions, but had never cooked with at home. My favourite is baechu kimchi, which is made from the whole Napa cabbage. Luckily, it is usually the easiest to find in stores as well. Kimchi can be quite different brand-to-brand, and the store I get my ingredients from also does some fresh house-made kimchi as well. They will vary in the level of tartness, saltiness, and spiciness, which will change the way the stew ultimately tastes. Play around with the different kinds to find one you enjoy.

Let’s get to cooking.

Start by preparing your ingredients. Cut the green onions into 1″ pieces and set them aside. Take the kimchi out of its liquid, allowing most of the liquid to drain back into its container (set the liquid aside, we will be using that!), and chop the kimchi roughly to get some bite-sized pieced. Set the kimchi aside. Trim the mushrooms and set them aside. I use shimeji mushrooms because I enjoy them so much, but if you prefer white or brown button mushrooms, simply cut them into quarters or halves, depending on the size of the mushrooms (cut them into 1/8th’s if they are really big). Slice the tofu into 5-6mm (~1/4″) slices and set aside. Lastly, cut the pork belly into small, bite-sized slices.

We start by cooking the pork belly. Many recipes will call to add the pork belly to the broth once it is prepared, but I like cooking the pork first, getting a nice build up of the pork fat as it renders, and caramelizing the meat slightly. Add the pork belly to your pot with the heat set at medium-high. Sauté until the meat has cooked through almost completely and has started to brown. Stir this regularly, as I find the pork belly will try to stick to the bottom of the pot. If there is an large amount of fat pooling in the bottom of the pot, drain some, but keep the majority of the fat in the pot.

Once the pork belly is cooked through, add the kimchi to the pot, stirring regularly until any liquid that remained with the kimchi has cooked off and the kimchi is heated all the way through.

Next we start to add our liquid. Add the broth and the water, stirring while paying particular attention to the bottom of the pot to help stir in any of the caramelized pork that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot. Then, add the soy sauce, mirin and gochujang. Add a tablespoon or two of the kimchi liquid into the pot and allow everything to heat up until the stew starts to simmer.

Taste test the broth at this point to see if it is meeting your taste preference. Add more kimchi liquid if you want to increase the spiciness, saltiness and tartness of the broth. Now is also the point when you will add the shredded garlic to the stew. Lower the temperature to about medium or medium-low.

Next, add your mushrooms and green onions, and stir them into the broth. Then lay the tofu across the top, and spoon some of the broth over the tofu to coat it. I forgot to buy tofu the first time I made this for photos, so please excuse the, er, temporary costume (i.e. pot) change in this next photo.

Cover the pot an allow the stew to… well… stew… for about 8-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the tofu is heated through completely and everything is a nice, bubbly container of deliciousness.

Finally, we eat. Spoon the stew out into bowls, top with about 1 tsp of butter per bowl, and serve on its own or with a small bowl of cooked white rice.

Happy eating.

Homemade Holiday Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: very easy
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Ingredients

  • 680g (24 oz) fresh cranberries
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground cloves

Directions

Add cranberries, juice and zest to a saucepan. Stir well and place on medium-low heat. Add sugar and spices and cook until cranberries have popped and sauce has thickened to desired consistency.

And now for the details…

Long time no post, and this one is so easy, it seems like a good one to come back with. Timely, too, since Christmas is tomorrow and turkey needs it’s cranberry sidekick!

Need help with the rest of turkey dinner? Fret not! Remember Mo’s the Turkey’s Grand Adventure? It can provide you with step by step instructions for a tasty turkey, starting with the brining of said turkey this evening!

Homemade cranberry sauce is super simple. Maybe not as simple as opening a can, but then again maybe it is, since you don’t have to attack it with a spoon to try and smoosh it down from a cylinder to try and make it look like something resembling sauce…

To start, simply toss the cranberries into a large-ish saucepan and place on the stove at medium-low heat.

Next, zest two oranges into the pot, then juice those same two oranges and add both zest and juice to the pot.

Stir in the sugar and spices, and let the sauce cook away, letting the cranberries cook and break down.

The great thing about cooking this sauce is that you do not need to keep constant watch. Let it simmer away, stirring occasionally, but it will cook for about 15-25 minutes as it slowly turns into a nice, thick sauce. As it cooks, the natural pectin in the cranberries will thicken up the sauce. If you want to cook it for longer but it is becoming too thick, add a little bit of water and let ‘er go.

In the end, you will have a nice thick sauce to have with delicious turkey!

Happy eating.