Tag Archives: Recipe

The Vitamix 7500 is GLORIOUS + That Thai Soup Recipe from the Vitamix Demonstration

7 Nov

You might recall that I wanted one of these back in Australia. At the time they were charging $895 for the 5200 model but here in the US it’s $529 (plus tax) for the newer 7500 model. Which admittedly is still crazy expensive for a blender but I’ve wanted one of these for aaaages.

The 7500 model is a little quieter than the 5200, supposedly more powerful, but the main reason I wanted it was because it’s shorter and fits under the kitchen cabinets.

Image from Vitamix

Every recipe that I’ve tried from the Vitamix cookbook has been crap. Admittedly it’s only been 3 recipes but when I’m 0 for 3 it doesn’t really make me inclined to try again. It really does just destroy everything I put in there though – I think even James was impressed. The recipe I really wanted though, was one they didn’t include – the Thai soup that they made at the demonstration.

I scoured the internet and found a bunch of people lamenting that they also wanted the Thai soup recipe and eventually saw that Vitamix UK had posted it on their facebook page.

Ingredient:

  • 500 ml water
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 stalk celery
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper with stem and seeds
  • 1/4 zucchini
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 slice cabbage
  • 1/4 apple
  • 1/3 clove garlic
  • 1 small slice chili pepper
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 1 1/2cm ginger*
  • 1 handful coriander*
  • 2 handfuls unsalted cashew nuts*
  • less than 1cm slice of lemon with skin*
  • 1 1/2 vegetable stock cubes*
  • 1/4 zucchini, reserved

* items which affect the flavour of the soup. If any ratios need to be adjusted it’s most likely with these ingredients

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients, except 1/4 courgette, in Vitamix container in order listed. Secure 2-part lid.
  2. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn machine ON and quickly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 6 minutes or until steam escapes through the lid plug opening.
  3. Reduce to VARIABLE, speed #2. Remove lid plug and add the reserved 1/4 courgette through the lid opening and run for an additional 5 seconds. This will add texture to the soup.

I actually round up a lot of the ingredients – I use 1 stalk of celery, 1/2 a bell pepper, the whole zucchini (omitting the zucchini step at the end cos I thought it was fiddly and didn’t add much), 1/2 apple and 1 clove of garlic.

It looks like this before blending (after blending it is basically green soup). Sooo many vegies!
I made this soup for my parents when they were over and my dad freaking loved it. He was so impressed at how it cooked in the blender and said it was really delicious. He referred to it as “that tasty soup” and kept asking me to make it for him to the point where I think mum was quite sick of it. And when he and mum went back to Australia they bought a Vitamix (also a Roomba lol).

It’s probably not a MUST buy like the Roomba but I like having it around for making smoothies and soups and it gets a minimum of 2 uses a week. I’ve also been using it to chop cabbage and carrot for coleslaw. In the past I considered getting one of those premix coleslaw bags but when I picked up the bag in the supermarket and saw how little cabbage and carrot you got in there for the price I couldn’t bring myself to buy it (and yes I realise how stupid that sounds after having spent $550+ for a blender).

Thomas Keller’s Fried Chicken (AKA I Am So Full of Chicken Right Now)

5 Mar

I’ve been obsessed with deep fried chicken lately. It started with ordering it at Cal’s American Diner a couple of days ago:

It was OK but the saucy stuff at the bottom made the underside of the chicken unpleasantly soft. Plus it was $21 which seemed a bit overpriced. So I decided to make Thomas Keller’s deep fried chicken, which I’ve had in my recipe folder for ages but could never be bothered to make.

I was actually going to make it last week – I’d bought everything except the chicken – but James invited Luke and Madeline around for dinner. (He’s normally quite good about not springing surprise guests on me but he said that Luke invited us around to their place when they’d had us over just last week, so he told them to come round to our place instead). I figured I’d take a gamble and make it for guests, and worst case scenario we could just order some pizza.

And then the next day James came home (looking really guilty) and told me that he’d invited two more guests. James!!! Why do you do this to me?? So the fried chicken plans got scrapped and I made some lasagna instead.

But anyway today I finally got around to making the chicken.

Ingredients

Brine

  • 1 gallon water (a little under 4 litres)
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP honey
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup garlic cloves, skin left on, smashed
  • 2 TBSP black peppercorns
  • 3 large rosemary sprigs
  • 1 large bunch thyme sprigs
  • 1 large bunch flat leaf parsley sprigs
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons

Batter

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP onion powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Also

  • 5 lbs chicken drumsticks (the original recipe says two 2 1/2 lb chickens that you cut up prior to frying but I was like pft)
  • 1 quart (liter) buttermilk
  • 10 cups peanut oil
  • Kosher salt

Method

  1. Combine brine ingredients in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely before using.
  2. Place the chickens in the cold brine and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
  3. Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry, removing any herbs sticking to the skin. 
  4. Mix the batter ingredients together in a bowl and place the buttermilk in a second container.
  5. Bring the peanut oil to 330F/165C. Dip each piece of chicken into the coating, shaking off the excess, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a tray lined with baking paper.
  6. When the oil has reached the proper temperature carefully lower the drumsticks into the oil. The oil temperature will decrease so adjust the heat as necessary to bring it back to 330F.
  7. Fry around 13 minutes to a deep golden brown. Remove to a tray lined with paper towels. Let the chicken rest a few minutes to cool slightly.

So this was my brine the night before.

Then this morning I soaked the chicken. When James got home from work (at like 7pm – boo Amazon!) I heated the oil and battered my chicken.

Oilstravaganza!

Also I made a mistake with the frying. I put all of the chicken in at once, which dropped the oil temperature way low and it never really got back to 330F. So I just cooked the chicken a little longer (maybe 5 minutes more? I was kind of winging it). I don’t think it really affected the chicken but if I did it again I’d cook the drumsticks in 2 batches.

But anyway, tada!

It was super tasty! The overcooking didn’t make the meat tough but it did make the batter extra crispy – which is how James likes it, so yay! We both agreed that it was better than the Cal’s chicken. I loved the flavour in the batter but was less of a fan of the brine. It was very fragrant and you could definitely taste it in the chicken – I think it dominated a little bit (possibly because the drumsticks soaked up more brine than the whole chicken would have?). I’ll experiment with a different brine next time to let the batter shine through.

Also I don’t know if it’s the double coating of batter or what, but the texture was amazing! Kind of like a crispier KFC chicken. It really did taste pro and I was patting myself on the back. I ate a lot though and now I’m super full.

I don’t know how many it’s supposed to feed but I’d estimate maybe 5? 5 if you eat like me and 3 if you eat like Greedy Guts James.

Also the leftover peanut oil smells really good. Like … well, like awesome fried chicken. I was so sad getting rid of it. (James helped me pour it into a jumbo ziploc bag and I put it in the freezer. Then when it’s frozen I’ll double bag it and throw it out. Efficient!)

After this successful experiment I am one step closer to making my own chicken and waffles. I think I’d use boneless chicken thighs for that and scale the recipe way down because really, who can eat 14 chicken thighs in the morning? (The answer is James. James can eat 14 chicken thighs in the morning).

Lamb Vindaloo for Valentine’s

21 Feb

For Valentine’s Day James and I had lunch at Middle Fish (watch for a blog post about that soon!) and for dinner I made one of his favourite meals, lamb vindaloo.

We bought some Jansz sparkling rosé (I can’t remember the price but it was in the low to mid $20s) which was very average. And by average I mean it was really crap and tasted like cheap passion pop. For a similar price we could have gotten the Brown Brothers pinot meunier, which is a much more refined sparkling wine. Oh well, lesson learned.

James: Noo you have to crop the shot or else they will see that we are drinking it out of wine glasses!

We bought the garlic naan but I made the lamb vindaloo myself from a recipe I found online – I think it’s a Madhur Jaffrey recipe but I’m not sure. It looks like vomit in the above shot but it was amazing. I honestly would not have been disappointed to have bought that curry – the only problem was that it took so long to make and I had to buy so many of the ingredients that it would have been cheaper just to buy the vindaloos. But we did get much bigger portions, and the lamb was free range, so I can’t complain too much. =)

Plus I can use up all those excess ingredients making another lamb curry! Only next time I think I’ll add extra dried chillis because James likes his vindaloos super hot.

The recipe was supposed to serve 6 but James and I ate it all by ourselves. With 3 pieces of garlic naan each. I couldn’t finish my vindaloo so James ate it even though he was full. He does this a lot – he keeps eating just because he likes the taste. =)

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 3 hot, dried red chilli peppers (I will try 6 next time though)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds (seeds removed from pods)
  • 3 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp whole black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
  • 5 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 1.5-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 10 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into fine half-rings
  • 1 1/3 cups water or stock
  • 900g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small, whole head of garlic, with all the cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 TBSP ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Method
  1. Grind cumin seeds, red chillies, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds in a coffee grinder or other spice grinder (I didn’t have either so used a pestle and mortar). Put the ground spices in a bowl. Add the vinegar, salt and sugar. Mix and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium flame. Put in the onions. Fry, stirring frequently, until the onions turn brown and crisp. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon (leave the oil) and put them into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 2-3 TBSP of water to the blender and puree the onions. Add the puree to the ground spices in the bowl. This is the vindaloo paste; it may be made ahead of time and frozen.
  3. Put the ginger and garlic into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 2-3 TBSP of water and blend until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Heat the oil in the pot once again over a medium high flame. When hot, brown the lamb cubes in batches then set aside.
  5. Fry the ginger-garlic paste. Turn the heat down to medium and stir. Add the coriander and turmeric and stir for another few seconds. Add the meat, the vindaloo paste and 1 cup of water or stock.
  6. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for an hour or until meat is tender (I think I went 1.5-2 hours).
Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 James-sized serve: (this is a little bit skewed because there was some leftover oil that I didn’t use) 1503 calories,  78% fat, 22% protein, 0% carbs

Muesli Bars

15 Jul

I baked these muesli bars for a quick energy and carb hit for James this weekend. He’s doing a the Run Melbourne 10km race – it’s his first fun run, so he’s quite excited about it. I wanted to make a supportive banner, but then he threatened to show up at my BJJ comps with banners, so that idea was nixed.

The recipe is from Allrecipes, which is usually trustworthy for this sort of thing. I adapted it based on a couple of comments, reducing the sugar and increasing the cinnamon. Muesli is always super easy to customise, so I added a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and some dried cranberries. I cut it into 12 slices.

I used a different sized tin than the recipe called for, so my muesli bars were thicker – more like a slice than a muesli bar. They were supposed to end up crunchy, but mine were more chewy due to the extra thickness.

It’s a good, basic muesli bar recipe though, and I think I’ll experiment a bit with it. Next time I’m at the supermarket I’ll have a look to see what muesli bar flavours there are, to get some ideas. I won’t be able to make these very often though, since they’re not healthy enough for me to be eating weekly. Maybe for comps and future distance runs.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (I had an 8×8 inch tin so my bars ended up significantly thicker)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the syrup, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges.
  4. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide: 1 serve: 291 calories, 36% fat, 7% protein, 57% carbs

The Best Beef Stock

29 May

This is beef stock so rich and beefy it’s almost like a beef soup.

I never made as much beef stock as chicken stock, because I thought the flavour was always too vegetabley – even though I tried various recipes and always roasted my beef bones. It turns out the secret is to use more beef. Lots more beef. So much beef that you can use the leftovers to make enough chilli for a week.

Whenever I freeze a batch of stock I get this very satisfied nesting feeling (I also get that feeling after a big grocery shop). It’s like … if there were a zombie apocalypse, we would last a few days longer than we otherwise would, and that makes me happy.

Oh. Oh. That reminds me! A couple of years ago, James told me he’d had a dream that there had been a zombie attack, and he said by the time he was able to make it back to the apartment I had been killed and Kyoto was patrolling the boundary. And he said he’d been sad, but not really surprised that I had perished and Kyoto had survived. I was so offended. The cat is tougher than me??

But anyway, here is the stock bubbling away. That’s the largest Le Creuset dutch oven you can buy, and you can see that the meat was stacked all the way to the top to get that beefy flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1-2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 3kg beef shanks (which the butcher told me was the same as beef osso bucco), meat cut from the bones in large chunks
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 litres boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  1. Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the meat, bones and onion halves on all sides in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, and adding additional oil if necessary.
  2. Remove the contents and set aside. Add the red wine to the empty pot and cook until reduced to a syrup, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Return the bones, meat and onion to the pot. Reduce the heat to low then cover and sweat the meat and onion until they have released about 3/4 cup dark, very intensely flavoured liquid, about 20 minutes.
  4. Increase the heat to medium high and add the water and salt. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to very low, partially cover, and barely simmer until the meat is tender, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  5. Strain the stock into a container, discard the bones and onion, and set the meat aside for another use. Let the stock stand until fat rises to the top, then skim the fat and discard.

The result is the darkest, beefiest stock you’ve ever had. I had this simmering on a freezing Autumn day, and it warmed the apartment and made it smell fantastic and homey. It’s certainly more expensive than making chicken stock, but since you can use the osso bucco afterwards it’s not so bad. Just don’t be like me – I only had a pricey bottle of red wine available and couldn’t be bothered going out to buy more, which resulted in fancy beef stock.

Spicy Hoisin-Garlic Sauce

18 May

On a whim I decided to make some Vietnamese salad rolls. I stuff them with butter lettuce, noodles (though my last couple of batches I’ve just subbed extra lettuce), carrot, cucumber, bean sprouts, Vietnamese mint, coriander, and garlic chives. They are a bitch to wrap – I still don’t really have the hang of it, and my rolls tend to collapse as soon as I take a bite out of them. Since I bought the extra big packet of rice paper rolls (curse my stinginess – there are like … hundreds in there!) I have a lot of opportunity to practice I guess.

I remember the first time I ever had a salad roll was at some sort of function, and I didn’t realise I had to dip it in the sauce, and it was so bland and crap that I stayed away for a long time. So when I made my own rolls I was conscious that the dipping sauce would really make it. So I went to my trusty Into the Vietnamese Kitchen from Andrea Nguyen, which had a simple enough recipe for hoisin garlic sauce.

It makes about 1 1/2 cups. Her version requires chicken livers but I couldn’t be bothered mincing livers so I went with the vegetarian version with peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP creamy salted peanut butter
  • 2 TBSP plus 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP canola or another neutral oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 6-8 TBSP hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional, though highly recommended)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 tsp water
  • 2 TBSP unsalted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Method

  1. Whisk together the peanut butter and the 2 TBSP water.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the oil, garlic and chile flakes over medium-low heat. When the oil is sizzling and pale yellow, add the tomato paste, breaking it up with a fork. When the oil is bright yellow-orange, pour in the 1 cup of water to stop the cooking.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the peanut butter mixture.
  4. When the sauce begins to boil, whisk in 6 TBSP hoisin sauce. Let the sauce cook for 1 minute and taste, adding more hoisin if necessary.
  5. Add the fish sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer, whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and then cook for 30 seconds or until thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool, uncovered, to concentrate the flavours and thicken further.
  7. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and sprinkle the peanuts and sesame seeds on top. (I forgot this step)

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 1/2 cups sauce: 637 calories, 58% fat, 9% protein, 33% carbs 

Simple Beef and Kidney Bean Chilli

16 May

I made some beef stock which required 3 kilos of beef osso bucco, and needed a recipe to use up the leftover meat. Since I used my The New Best Recipe book from America’s Test Kitchen (a 2009 Christmas gift from Kyoto) to make the stock I figured I’d stick with the same book and make up a bit pot of chilli.

Unfortunately I think I used the wrong kind of chilli powder – mine says “hot chilli powder”, and holy crap was it hot. James liked it (though I heard him blowing his nose heaps) but it was nearly inedible for me, even though I dumped a lot of Greek yoghurt in to cool it down. Aside from the taste, the main problem was when I first started frying the spices.

It was alright at the start – some sneezing, and a bit of coughing here and there. But it gradually built up so James and I were both coughing – this dry, really unpleasant hacking cough.

And then the cats started coughing.

I felt so bad! I kept wailing “I’m so sorry!!” but they seemed to take little comfort in that. All I could do was pat them on the back as they did their adorable little kitten coughs. Then afterwards I saw them desperately drinking from the water bowl.

Curse you chilli! You were not nearly tasty enough to justify the chemical warfare involved in your preparation! Ignoring the crazy spiciness, it did turn out beautifully thick and tender, so I will use this method again (though re-adjusting the chilli powder). It made enough for 6.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 medium red capsicum, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chilli powder (NOT hot chilli powder or you will regret it)
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 kg 85% lean ground beef (I used about 2kg of osso bucco cut into big chunks and leftover from making beef stock)
  • 2 cans dark red kidney beans (I used regular ones), drained and rinsed
  • 800g can diced tomatoes
  • 800g can tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, capsicum, garlic and spices and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown.
  2. Increase the heat to medium high and add the beef. Cook until no longer pink.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato puree and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for an hour.
  4. Remove the lid and simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and the chilli is dark, rich and slightly thickened. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt.
  5. If possible, make it a day in advance and reheat before serving.
Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serving: 601 calories, 52% fat, 29% protein, 19% carbs
(using 1kg beef mince like the recipe indicates, instead of my version. 52% fat seems high? I don’t know if that’s right!)