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Dangerous Mousse

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I call this Dangerous Mousse because it’s so easy to make, you’ll make it over and over and over again until you’re lying on your couch groaning from stomach ache. That happened to my friend.

This is where I got the recipe but I changed it, obviously, because I have problems with every recipe I come across. I can’t follow them, for some reason – it’s always a mess when I do. The first time I made this off the recipe, the mousse was just frothy chocolate milk. Maybe I didn’t beat it enough. Either way, here’s my take.

4 parts chocolate chips – I used milk chocolate & semi-sweet mixed

A little less than 3 parts water

Ice

Melt the chocolate in the water in a pan – I used a double boiler even though the recipe didn’t ask for it. Stir it with a whisk so it’s nice and smooth. Once the chocolate is all melted, take it off the heat.

Place the pot or the bowl you heated the chocolate in, over a bowl or container of ice. With an electric mixer or, if you are experienced, beat the shit out of that chocolate-water mixture till it thickens to a mousse. It’ll take like, 10 minutes or so, but I promise you it will thicken. Spoon it into bowls and enjoy. You can stick it in the fridge for a thicker, creamier texture.

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Chicken & Waffles with Maple Gravy

To be completely honest, I wasn’t expecting this meal to be as delicious as it was. I was pretty sure I would forget something and ruin it by adding my own spin, which is something I can’t not do when I cook.

It’s a little bit time-consuming, but trust me, it’s worth it. Definitely a weekend dinner than a weeknight dinner. I don’t remember where I got the chicken recipe from, but the maple gravy is Rachael Ray’s baby, I changed it a wee bit to suit my tastes.

Also, I made chicken strips, because I’m not sure about cooking times for bone-in chicken. It doesn’t really make a difference unless you’re a particular fan of bones in your meat.

I don’t have a special recipe for waffles, we just made them from an Aunt Jemima mix WHICH, let me tell you, is so delicious it should be gourmet. Anyway.

This recipe makes about 2-3 servings. It made 2 for me, because I am a pig.

Fried Chicken Strips

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into 4-5 strips each 
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of All Bran Flakes, crushed
  • seasoning – I used garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika, but you can add whatever you like (parsley, dill, parmesan, etc.)
  • 1 whole egg

Combine 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of crushed All Bran Flakes and seasoning of your choice. Make sure the bran flakes are coated in flour. Place the mixture on a plate.

On another plate, spread half a cup of plain flour. Beat the egg in a bowl.

Create an assembly line so it goes like this:

Step 1: Plain flour

Step 2: Egg

Step 3: Bran flakes/flour/seasoning mixture.

Coat each chicken strip in flour, dip it in the egg and then coat it with the Bran Flake mixture. Place these on a greased baking tray. Bake them for aout 15 minutes or until golden brown on each side.

Maple Gravy

  • 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced 
  • 2 green onions
  • mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, ideally minced or crushed

I kept switching between medium-high heat, I had the high heat on when I put the stock in, just so it would simmer quickly, but was on the medium for the rest of it.

The original Rachael Ray recipe called for butter, not olive oil and just rosemary and no onions or anything. But I like flavour in my gravy so I just adapted it to my tastes. And since the waffles were fatty anyway I decided to use olive oil.

Fry your garlic and onion in the olive oil till it’s soft. Then pour your chicken stock in along with the rosemary. Turn the heat to high, and when it starts to simmer, Whisk in the flour. Whisk, not stir, because I stirred and had to do so for 20 minutes to get the lumps out.

Add your parsley and mushrooms at this point and let the gravy thicken. When it’s thick enough to your liking, add the maple syrup and take it off the heat. Your gravy should be lovely and glossy.

You can either run this through a sieve (pick out the mushroom and plop them back in if you used them) and use just the liquid or eat it as is. We ate it as is because we didn’t have a sieve.

The maple syrup gives the gravy a delicious smokey-sweet flavour that contrasts nicely to the spicy-ness of the rosemary.

To assemble, put your waffles on a plate, place the chicken strips on top and drizzle with your gravy. Super, super delicious.

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Dorm Cooking 101: Frittata

A frittata is a blessing to a dorm dweller. You can put anything you find into it and I usually make them with four to five eggs so I have some for brunch the next day. It’s a great meal for breakfast, lunch, brunch and even a light dinner. You can eat it with either rice or whole grain toast and it makes for a very healthy, protein rich meal. It’s super quick to make and you don’t really need any special kitchen skills to make it. If you can fry an egg, you can make a frittata.

Essentially, frittatas consist of quickly sauteed veggies and maybe bacon topped with a mixture of eggs and milk. You stick it in the oven so the top cooks and voila. You brunch/lunch/breakfast/dinner is ready! You can either get a pan with no plastic on it so you can stick the entire pan in the oven– a cast iron pan is ideal. I don’t own a cast iron pan cause I move my stuff around about three times a year and I don’t want to lug around a heavy pan. You can make it the way I made it, by starting it off in a pan and reassembling it in a baking tray.

Ingredients:
Four to five eggs
1/3 cup of milk
Salt & pepper to taste
Any herbs you might have–I used basil & cilantro. Thyme doesn’t go very well with eggs but dill, sage is fine. You can do without herbs too.
Vegetables– I used potatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, onions and green onions.
Meat– I used turkey bacon because its leaner but you can use real bacon, shredded chicken/turkey/steak any meat you have in your fridge.

Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces and quickly fry them in the pan. Add the meat and fry till well done. I like to put vegetables like green peppers and broccoli at the end so they have a slight bite to them. If you’re going to add fresh herbs, add them at the end, if you’re using dry herbs, add them in the beginning. Spread the veggie mixture over the pan. Beat the eggs with the milk and add salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the veggies. Let it cook for a few minutes. If you are using a cast iron pan, go ahead and stick the entire thing in the oven till the top of the frittata is cooked. Sprinkle with mozzarella or Parmesan cheese. If you’re not using a cast iron pan and your pan has some plastic on it, I suggest you do what I did. Let the frittata cook in the pan for a little bit until it is solid enough to handle. With the help of a spatula carefully transfer the frittata into a baking tray. I used a circular one, but you can use a flat cookie tray too. Don’t worry if it breaks, simply reassemble it in your baking tray. The uncooked egg with act as glue in the oven and your frittata will come out in one piece.

I ate it with two slices of whole grain bread with cream cheese on it, but you can pair it with rice or even mac and cheese!

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Dorm Cooking 101: Breakfast for Two

University dorm food is supposed to  be Mr. Noodles, eggs and cereal. I like to do things differently– especially because I have a tendency to get bored easily. I also detest fast food in North America (hence the need to cook rather than eat at readily available Wendy’s and Popeye’s). Having a mini-kitchen in my suite (a word used to refer to smaller dorms that include about 2-4 single rooms, a kitchen and a bathroom) definitely helps. It has allowed me to experiment with food and although I’m not quite sure whether I like cooking, I’ve come up with some pretty darn delicious dishes– a lot of which are not as visually appealing as this one.

Summer has begun and I now have more time for each of my meals than I did during the school year. No longer do I have to run out in the mornings with a toaster strudel dripping painfully hot filling on my fingers and no longer do I have to grab Jamaican patties on the go. I can actually cook. Too bad I’m moody with cooking. There are times when I abhor it and times when I adore it. I guess the morning I made french toast was an ‘adore’ day.

French toast as always been “slumber party breakfast”, a meal that us giggling girls would make, huddled around the stove, the morning after a night of make up, movies and boy-talk. The ‘many’ steps involved in making french toast, made it feel like a cooking adventure.

I’ve always made french toast with only milk and eggs. I don’t know where I got that recipe from, but that’s how I made it and I guess, that’s why I was never a fan. I read somewhere that making french toast involves vanilla and sugar. The last time I made it, about a week ago, this is what I did. One egg, about half a cup of milk, a tablespoon of sugar, a few drops of vanilla. Dip, fry, dip, fry and repeat. It’s so quick and easy, I think it should be considered “dorm food”. The only extra ingredient you would have to buy is vanilla essence. French toast made like this tastes almost like a cake or pancake. It’s soft, fluffy and has a slight crunch from the sugar caramelizing. I topped it with whipped cream and strawberries, but I’ve since discovered that whipped cream cheese, honey and almonds are an exotic, delicious topping.

You can even modify it to make it healthy– use skimmed milk, go easy on the sugar (or use Splenda), use whole grain or brown bread and top with honey or light whipped cream cheese.
Watch this space for more food– and my attempts at food photography.

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