Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Vegetarian Lentil Curry

A couple of weeks ago I went to a vegan restaurant on Saint-Laurent called Aux Vivres. (Among other places.) I had an amazing dinner there and after I stuffed my face I didn't feel bloated and heavy. It was great! And it got me thinking: maybe I should try to make something vegetarian sometimes to get a break from the meat. Maybe that would help me feel better. And if there's any culture in the world who knows how to cook good vegetarian food, it's the Indians and their multitude of spices and curries. So this weekend I decided to prepare a vegetarian lentil curry with basmati rice. I had a few hiccups while doing this recipe, such as the lentils becoming too soft and turning to mush, but I will still tell you how I did it and tell you afterwards how it can be improved after my experience.

On a side-note, a lot of people have told me about saffron and how it's so expensive for just a few strands and how hard it is to find. I really don't know what's the big deal. I have a huge container full of the stuff that I bought for $2.59 in a Lebanese grocery store. See? This is great in basmati rice and I always use it when I make some.


  • 4 small ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large regular onion, or 1/2 a Spanish onion
  • 2 small sweet potatoes or regular potatoes
  • 1 bag of frozen cauliflower, thawed.
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed/olive/vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp curry paste (I used leftover Thai curry paste in a jar that I had)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • a pinch of safran
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 6  cups of water


First off, wash, peel and cut the potatoes into tiny cubes about 2 cm wide (~2/3 of an inch). They have to be small in order to cook faster.

Next, peel and chop the onion. Man up and stop crying, you wuss!

Next, mince the garlic.

Then cut the tomatoes in small quarters. Don't need to chop them up too small, we're going to put them  in a food processor to turn them into a purée. Try to keep the juices in as much as possible.

I got this for cheap at Walmart. It's small, but it does the job.

Before cooking the lentils, it is very important that you wash them in cold water and make sure to check for small stones. Wash the lentils in a large bowl by soaking them and whisking them with a whisk. When the water is all dirty, use a strainer to drain the water and start all over again and repeat until the water is clean. If  you don't do that, your broth is going to turn all scummy and gross and it's going to taste bad.

What you need to wash the lentils.
Keep them close for later when you need to drain the rice.

Now here's where I start cooking the lentils. This was my first mistake. I started cooking the lentils before I started on the vegetables. And when I was supposed to add the lentils to the curry, it was too late. They had been sitting in their hot broth for far too long and turned mushy. So from my experience, do this step later while your vegetables are cooking and add them when the lentils are almost done. To check if lentils are ready, you do like you do with rice: you taste them. If they are tender but still whole, they are ready to eat! So we want to cook them until they start getting soft, which isn't very long, trust me. It's just a few minutes. So if you want to do this right, you may skip ahead to the curry preparation part.

To cook the lentils, bring 4 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. The way I did it is I boiled 4 cups of water with 1 tbsp of margarine and added vegetable broth powder as instructed on the package.

Once the broth is boiling, add the 2 cups of red lentils.

For the rice, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 tbsp of margarine and a pinch of saffron and mix until margarine has all melted. Then add the rice and cook until the rice is tender, then drain and set aside.

To prepare the curry, first combine and mix the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili, salt, sugar and grated ginger into a bowl until uniform an set aside.

In a large pot, heat up the oil on medium heat and brown the onions and the garlic until the onions start getting transparent.

Then add the mix of spices and toast the spices for about a minute. This will help bring out the flavours a lot more. Then add the tomato purée and mix well.

Bring to a simmer and then add to potatoes, mix and cover, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Let the potatoes cook until they start becoming tender, but are still a bit hard. (That's when you should start cooking the lentils.) Then add the cauliflower, mix, cover and let it cook until they start getting tender too.

When the lentils are just about done, transfer them with the vegetables, mix well and cover a little while longer. When the sweet potatoes, the cauliflower and the lentils are all tender, remove from the heat and let cool.

Dinner is done and is ready to eat. Just scoop some basmati rice in a place and cover with the lentil curry and enjoy!

Hopefully, if you follow my advice, yours should end up better than mine. It's a good think I documented this so that next time I want to do this recipe, I'll remind myself of the right way to do it!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Chunky double chocolate cookies

The other day, out of nowhere, my new neighbours gave me a giant piece of lemon pie that they made. It was absolutely delicious. Lemon pie is my favourite!!! They handed it to me in a plastic Tupperware container. But, I couldn't give them their container back empty! I do have manners, after all! So, I decided to make them some cookies and they were going to be in for a treat.

I think I may have made my best cookie recipe yet. Double motherfuckin' chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips and walnuts.

Good God! Hit me! I must be dreamin'!
Double chocolate? HEEEY!!!

I had a couple after they were done, and if awesome had a taste, that's what it would taste like. Jesus, Lord almighty! They are some fine cookies, I tell ya! But, instead of just bragging about how god damn delicious they are, how about you make a batch for yourself? Here's what you need.


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cups of cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup softened butter (just take 2 sticks, or half a pound and leave it out for a while)
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of crushed walnuts


First, set up the over at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While it heats up, start mixing the ingredients.

In a medium bowl, first combine the dry ingredients such as the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Just use a whisk and mix them all together and set aside.

In a larger bowl, combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract together and start pounding them together until it starts to get smooth. I use a potato masher at first. Also, my brown sugar turned to super rock hard clumps, so I had to break it up.

When it's starting to mix pretty well into a soft paste, use an electric mixed and mix well until it becomes creamy.

Add one egg at a time and mix. It should get nice and soft.

When the eggs are mixed in, gradually pour the dry ingredients and mix until you get a thick doughy texture. If need be, use your hands and sort of knead the dough to get all the dry ingredients mixed well in there. In my case, they had a tendency to stay at the bottom and create a powdery layer. I had to mix them in by hand then use the electric mixed to thoroughly mix it all into the dough.

Finally, add your chocolate chips and your nuts and mix one last time to really get those chunky pieces all in that business.

You should end up with a really nice heavy chunky dough that's ready to bake! At that point it already smells super chocolatey and sweet! I couldn't wait to see what it tastes like once baked. I even ate a small chunk of raw dough and it was delicious! (Though not recommended due to the raw eggs in there. So, don't try this at home like me, folks!)

Get a baking sheet and grease it up slightly. Or use aluminum paper to cover it like I do so you don't have to wash it. I also used PAM for baking and spread it on there with a paper towel. Then make some small golf-ball sized balls of dough and flatten between your palms and put on the cookie sheet. When you have a batch ready, put it in the oven.

Let them bake for about 12 - 15 minutes or until they crack up at the top. Then take them out of the oven and set on a cooling rack for a couple minutes. Keep doing that with the rest of the dough until you're done.

They were so delicious. I swear, if you haven't done them yet,
you don't know what you're missing.

I poured myself a tall glass of milk and enjoyed a couple of those decadent cookies. It's a miracle I could stop myself from eating the whole batch!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Another luxurious ramen bowl

I'm at it again! Another ramen bowl. And every time I add more and more stuff. Eventually, I will make the perfect ramen dinner and then I will be complete and one with the universe! It's not my fault. I was hungry. I wanted a quick meal. And what's easier and faster to make than some motherfucking ramen? I mean, if it were any easier it would come pre-cooked and pre-chewed.

Anyway, I'm going to show you how I made this latest one. I promise it's a lot better than my last one and it looks even more amazing. So, let me get to it!


  • 1 pack of instant ramen. Preferably Sapporo Ichiban pork flavoured or Shio flavoured
  • 1 egg
  • A small pack of thinly sliced frozen pork. (In my case it's that big ass bag of pork butt I bought at the Korean-Japanese grocery store. Not the best cut of meat, I gotta say. I just thought it'd be funny since I could finally say that I was literally getting a piece of ass - for dinner.)
  • 1/2 a cup of frozen corn
  • A few slices of narutomaki.
  • 1 or 2 leaves of dried seaweed. (You know, the kind they use for sushi.)
  • 1/2 cup of Kobe bbq sauce. (I usedthe PC brand Memories of Kobe.
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 stalk of green onions, chopped. (I didn't have any here, but they're always nice to have on ramen)


The first thing to do is to take out the frozen pork, grab as many pieces as you think you're gonna need and marinate them in the Kobe sauce for about an hour or two. Just grab some of that ass and put it in a ziplock, add the sauce and throw it in the fridge.

While that's marinating, prepare the narutomaki. I keep mine in the freezer, so I cut it up and let it thaw along with the corn while the meat marinates.

When the meat is ready, start by making yourself a hard-boiled egg. That should be simple enough. Just put an egg in a sauce pan and fill it with water until you have about an inch of water above the egg. Bring to a boil on high heat and when the water starts to really boil, turn off the heat and let the egg cook for 10 minutes exactly. After 10 minutes, empty the hot water from the saucepan and fill with cold water to cool down the egg a little. Then take it out, peel it and set aside.

Start cooking the meat. Put a skillet or a frying pan on medium heat and add a small teaspoon of sesame oil. Add the meat and cook it until it's done. It shouldn't take too long.

While it cooks, fill up a small sauce pan with about 2 cups of water and set to high. When the water starts boiling, add the ramen noodles and cook as directed on the package. When the noodles are almost done, add the corn and let it cook a little while longer. Then turn off the heat for the soup and check if the meat is done. If it's cooked, turn off the heat and start preparing your bowl of soup.

Once you transferred the ramen to a bowl, cut the hard-boiled egg in half and place it on the soup. Also put the narutomaki slices and the pork, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and add the toasted seaweed for decoration. Add the chopped green onions before the sesame seeds if you have some.

And there you have it. A delicious bowl of awesome.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Shake it baby!

This week I was craving another one of my old favourites from my mom's home cooking. Breaded pork chops in Shake n Bake.

Ok, it's chicken and not pork.
But their southern accent is simply adorable.

I don't know why, but I never really cook pork. Even though I love it. Especially breaded. My mom used to do breaded pork chops sometimes for dinner with Shake n Bake. As a side she would either make some quick Alfredo noodles or vegetables au gratin and mashed potatoes. Since I don't eat enough vegetables, I decided to do the latter.

This is a pretty simple meal to make, but it takes a long time to prepare of you don't have proper tools. For example, I have a small kitchen with small pots. So, I had to cook my vegetables and potatoes in two batches because I could only fit half of them at a time. Also, if you want to save time, buy the frozen vegetables California mix which has cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. You can also use instant mashed potatoes, but I always prefer the real thing. (Instant mashed potatoes feel like it sticks in my guts like plaster.) This is also a great complete dinner if you want to feel a family and a couple of guests. You should have enough food for everyone.

So here's how I did it.


  • 1 kg (~2.lbs) of pork chops
  • 1 envelope of Shake n Bake mix for pork
  • 1 bag of California mix frozen vegetables
  • 1 envelope of Bechamel sauce mix
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bag of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt + pepper


The first thing I always start with is to wash and prepare the vegetables. In this case, I just need to wash the potatoes.

Of course, I wouldn't be able to do it without good ol' Spudmeister here.

Then peel and cut them into large cubes. This will make them easier to boil.

Put the diced potatoes in a large pot and fill with water until you get about an inch of water above the potatoes. Turn on the heat to high and boil them until they start to become soft.

On the side, steam your veggies until half cooked. They should still be a little hard when you poke them with a fork when they're done.

When your potatoes are done, drain the water and set them aside in a large bowl. Add the butter, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Then start mashing!

For the vegetables, put them in a Corningware or glass baking dish.

Now make that Bechamel sauce as indicated on the envelope. All you should have to do is heat up the milk in a saucepan and add the mix and whisk it until it becomes thick and creamy.

When the sauce is ready, pour it on the veggies. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix.

Finally, cover the whole thing with the cheese.

Heat up your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and stick it in there and let it bake until the cheese starts to turn golden on the top. Then take it out and set aside to cool down a bit.

Now for the pork. Cover a large metal baking sheet with aluminum paper and grease it up a little with some cooking spray or a bit of oil, margarine or butter. Next, open up that package of pork and sort of clean up the pork chop with some cold water. To do this, don't rinse the meat under the water. Instead, simply pass your hand in running water and wipe it all over the meat. This should remove any pieces of bone stuck on the meat and also help the Shake n Bake stick better.

Pour the breading mix in one of those little plastic bags it comes in, then put a pork chop in there and shake.

Champion Jack Dupree says "Shake baby shake!"

Do this for every pork chop and you should have just enough for 6 chops or about 1kg or 2lbs. Then lay those chops on the baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit  for exactly 20 minutes.

When the timer's up, take them out and let them cool down a bit and you should be ready to serve.

Since I make that food for my lunches at work, I managed to take a picture of my lunch in all it's glory in the fanciest workplace china money can buy!

My coworkers are so jealous of my food.
They see me eatin', they hatin'.

This made quite a hearty meal, and it made a lot of food too! I should have enough to last me all week and then some. I'll probably have to invite a friend over for dinner to be able to get rid of it all. Who's hungry?

When I made this I was so out of it. I was very distraught and so many things went wrong. First, when I was making the Béchamel sauce, I wasn't paying attention and the milk burnt at the bottom of the saucepan. It took me forever to scrub that out later. Then, when I was putting all the ingredients in the dish, I put the cheese over before adding the spices. So I had to remove all the cheese which, by the time I realize my mistake, had started to melt over the hot vegetables and sauce. And when I finally added the spices, I unscrewed the cap on the nutmeg container instead of just lifting the little plastic flap to use it as a shaker and when I turned it over, almost half the nutmeg fell in the vegetables. I had to scoop it all out and there was still a lot left. So, it ended up tasting a bit more nutmeggish than anticipated. It was still good though. The rest turned out fine. I mean, it's pretty hard to screw up mashed potatoes or shaking meat in a bag. This just goes to show that things don't always go well when I cook. In fact I can be a little clumsy. I also have a hard time doing multiple things at the same time. Anyway, I'm really glad this is over with and that I finally have food for my lunches!