Chicken Mole

I have always been intrigued by the idea of a mole sauce because I simply love chocolate, and adore chili. To combine these two amazing ingredients into the same dish is genius. I had to test the concept and I absolutely loved the result. 

Begin by cutting up two chicken breasts into strips (cross grain) and tossing with 1 tsp -1 Tbsp of cayenne powder in a stainless or glass bowl, depending on taste. Stir fry chicken on high heat in oil just until cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan add another 1 – 2 Tbps of olive oil and stir in with a spatula the following combination of spices:

  • 2 Tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A few shakes of cayenne pepper if desired

Stir spices until blackened and smoking.

Now for the chocolate. I do not keep bakers chocolate in the kitchen but I always have cocoa. To substitute solid chocolate for cocoa replace 1 ounce of chocolate with 3 Tbsp of cocoa and 1 Tbsp of butter. Reduce heat to low and stir butter and cocoa into smoking spice mixture until combined then add one 796 ml can of stewed tomatoes (I prefer low sodium, diced), return heat to medium and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
Fold in cooked chicken to Tomato mixture and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with sea salt to taste.

I served this delicious dish with Tomato Quinoa. To prepare this simple side replace the water requirement 1:1 with tomato juice, strained from a can of low sodium stewed tomatoes. Cook quinoa according to product instructions. With 5 minutes remaining cooking time top the steaming quinoa with one sliced jalapeno pepper then cover and continue cooking. Once cooked, toss with a fork and serve. Try it!


Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

I took a crack at turning my tried & true pizza dough recipe into a gluten-free variety with only a few minor tweaks and was pleasantly surprised at the result. I do plan to play with the ingredients to see how I can make this recipe ever better and closer to the original with practice but since this was so close on the first attempt I had to share.

To Make this rustic thin crust pizza dough blend 1 & 1/2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Baking Flour (Gluten Free) with 3 tsp Xanthan Gum, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 packet of quick rise yeast. Add warm water and 1 tbsp EVOO until dry ingredients are combined. In a mixer, or by hand, continue kneading until mixture has a tacky texture but is not sticky. To achieve this I continued to add flour or water as needed. Knead for  5-10 minutes. Form into a ball, coat bottom of bowl with more flour and cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside for 1 hour. Knead again for a few minutes on a floured surface and set aside for 15 minutes. Heat oven to 550 degrees. 
Roll dough on a floured surface with a rolling pin. This dough has a cookie dough texture and therefore traditional pizza dough preparation (twirling overhear) is not an option, at least with the recipe as is. Transfer onto parchment paper and top with preferred toppings. Bake in heated oven on pizza stone for 7-8 minutes. Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic & Shrimp Pizza

This Wolfgang Puck inspired pie was so delicious I can hardly wait to whip it up again. Who knew shrimp could be such a great pizza topping? W.P. did.

Make a pizza dough and set aside (See Pizza Dough recipe is archives for a no-fail option). Saute tiger shrimp in hot EVOO with dried oregano & basil for only a minute, just to sear. Brush pizza dough with EVOO and spread shredded mozzarella cheese over flat surface. Top with 2″ pieces of fresh asparagus, halved grape tomatoes, whole roasted garlic cloves (roasted garlic recipe below) and tiger shrimp. Sprinkle with a few granules of course sea salt and bake on pizza stone in 550 degree oven for 7-8 minutes. Remove when edges are golden brown. Sprinkle fresh Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil leaves over the hot pizza.
Roasted Garlic
Slice the very top off a garlic bulb to expose tops of cloves and set bottom side down in a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with EVOO and completely wrap in foil. Bake in 350 degree oven (I prefer my toaster oven for such a small job) for 45 minutes until garlic is golden and cloves are soft when squeezed. To remove garlic simply squeeze the bulb from the bottom. Cloves will squish out fairly well in tact.

Pasta in Tomato Sauce

Homemade pasta has to be one of my favourite meals to share with friends, especially when the making of the pasta is part of the event. This tried & true recipe is sure to please those involved in the making and the eating alike as it is both simple to prepare and perfectly delicious.

Pasta (recipe makes 6-8 servings)
Begin by sifting 4 cups of flour onto a bread working surface. Sprinkle 1 tsp of sea salt over the flour and toss with a fork. Make a well in the centre and drop in 5 eggs and 1 tbsp of olive oil then begin stirring flour into the liquid, stirring more dry with the wet as you go. Once the flour and eggs are combined begin kneading. Knead for 5 minutes adding lukewarm water or flour as needed. Form into a log, wrap with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for approximately an hour

I have done nothing to alter this “Lexicon of Pasta” recipe other than switching up the flour with a 50/50 split of all-purpose and whole wheat.

Using a hand crank pasta maker, or a mixer attachment, begin preparing the pasta shapes. One trick I have discovered while processing the dough is to ensure the long flat pasta is lightly dusted with flour to prevent the strands from sticking together while drying. I allow the pasta to dry for 30 minutes before dropping into a large pot of softly boiling, salted water. Allow to cook for 3 minutes before scooping out and plating.

Unused pasta can be formed into nests, placed into a air tight rigid container and stored in the freezer for several months. Separate layers with waxed paper. (Tip: If you plan to store some of the pasta be sure to make the nests before drying, otherwise it will become to brittle to work with.)

Pasta is versatile and always satisfying. It can simply be tossed with a drizzle of garlic oil, or blended with a rich and creamy Alfredo. Although aglio olio tends to be my go-to topping I love a fiery tomato sauce just as much.

Tomato Sauce
In a large sauce pan saute 1 chopped white onion with 1-2 crushed garlic cloves until onion is translucent. Stir in 1 large can of tomatoes (I finely chop whole tomato variety in a food processor) and 1/4 cup tomato paste, and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp of nutmeg, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp crushed chilies (adjust to taste), 1 tsp Sucanat, and sea salt to taste. Reduce to a thick sauce.

Toss pasta with tomato sauce in pasta bowls and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Quinoa

I have heard that quinoa is one of the most versatile side dishes there are to work with and tonight I may have proved that sentiment. Taking a few odd ingredients that you have kicking around you can turn this healthy grain into a pretty exciting compliment to any meal. And I have PLENTY of pumpkin on hand.

I simply replaced the water requirement for 1/2 cup of quinoa with freshly squeezed pumpkin juice (excess juice produced from roasted pumpkin for puree extracted to avoid watery filling) then added a half cup of 1 inch cubed raw pumpkin. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and
simmer for 15 minutes(or cook according to the directions on the bag). Before serving tos in a 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy!