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Kongnamul Bap (Korean Beansprout Rice Bowl)

Kongnamul Bap (Korean Beansprout Rice Bowl)

After making the sweet chili chicken rice bowl I have been thinking about rice bowls a lot and I remembered another rice bowl that was on my to-try list, kongnamul bap, a Korean beansprout rice bowl. I really enjoy beansprouts but I do not seem to use them all that often and when I do the recipes often call for a small amount and the rest of the large bag goes to waste so I liked that this recipe call for a whole bag. Another thing that I like about this recipe is the interesting way that it is cooked in that the beansprouts and beef are placed on top of the rice and water in the pot that it is cooked in. Although you do not have to, I cooked the beef in a pan before adding it to the pot with the rice and I seasoned the beef with some soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil first.

Whenever I think about Korean cuisine I think about kimchi and it has to be one of my favourite foods so I could not resist sauteing some up along with the beef and then adding it to the pot with the rice. You may notice that the amount of water in this recipe is about half of what it normally is when cooking rice and that is because the beansprouts will release enough liquid to finish of the rice perfectly. The final component of this rice bowl is that it is topped with a tasty sauce that has salty aspects, sweet aspects and plenty of chilly heat along with the intoxifyingly aromatic sesame oil.

I had a feeling that this rice bowl was going to be good but I did not know just how good! It is just packed with some of my favourite flavours and every bite had me going back for another! This is definitely hearty enough to make a meal out of and an extremely satisfying one at that!

Sweet Chili Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Sweet Chili Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

April is grilled cheese month and I wanted to squeeze in at least one more grilled cheese sandwich. I am sure that a lot of you saw this coming but I had some of the amazingly good, sweet and spicy salsa naranja or orange salsa left and I pretty sure that it would make a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich! I have tried and enjoyed sweet grilled cheese sandwiches like the mango jam grilled cheese and I have tried and enjoyed spicy grilled cheese sandwiches like the buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich so I excited to try combining them in a sweet chili chicken grilled cheese! I started out with some of the leftover orange chicken bulgogi along with the orange salsa and the cheese and I added some extra fresh herbs in the form of basil and cilantro to keep with the Asian themes. I was not quite sure what to expect with this one but the results blew my mind; it was beyond all expectation! The Sweet and spicy orange salsa went so well with the plentiful mouth pleasing ooey gooey melted cheese and since the salsa is just packed with flavour so was the sandwich! The fresh herbs also worked really well in the grilled cheese and I will have to experiment with using them some more.

Blackened Catfish Tacos

Blackened Catfish Tacos

I have had tacos on the brain a lot these days and I had another idea that I just could not contain; blackened catfish tacos with remoulade sauce. I was thinking about southern flavours like blackend fish and po'boys along with tacos and combining the three of them to create something new and wonderful. To cook fish blackened style, you rub it with spices, commonly a cajun/creole spice blend, and then sear it briefly at high heat until the outside just starts to char and blacken giving it a slight crispness while the inside is still perfectly moist and tender. I was taken by blackened fish the first time that I had it and I was thinking that it would be perfect in some fish tacos! Instead of using a salsa I figured that a remoulade sauce would keep the theme going nicely and since I most commonly have remoulade sauce in po'boy's and po'boys are commonly filled with lettuce and tomatoes so I filled the tacos out with lettuce and a quick pico de gallo. Heat is an essential component to tacos and without the salsa they needed some so I provided it with plenty of dashes of hot sauce to finish the tacos off!

Sweet Chili Chicken Rice Bowl

Sweet Chili Chicken Rice Bowl

When I found the recipe for the salsa naranja it was a part of a recipe for a sweet chili chicken rice bowl and given my mild obsession with rice bowls it was next on my list to make. The basic idea behind a rice bowl is that is is a complete meal in a bowl with a base of rice and from there you can go pretty much anywhere you want. Two of my favoutrite examples of rice bowls are bibimbap and the burrito bowl and I always like to experiment with new ones. I started the rice bowl with the chicken which I decided to do bulgogi style and I went with my usual chicken bulgogi recipe but I removed the chili paste since it was going to be served with the salsa naranja and given that we already had an orange theme going I added some orange juice to the marinade. I then turned the rice bowl into a complete meal by adding a fried egg, steamed spinach and plenty of tasty garnishes like fresh cilantro and basil, sliced chilies and fried shallots in addition to the tasty orange salsa.

Calamari Tacos with Salsa Naranja

Calamari Tacos

Now that I had a fresh batch of the salsa naranja or orange salsa it was time to use it in something and first up was some calamari tacos inspired by Kogi BBQ. Up until I heard about these tacos, I had never even thought about using calamari in tacos and I was immediately enchanted by the idea! The calamari is marinated in a citrus, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili powder marinade before being quickly seared at high heat to cook them without turning them rubbery. The tacos are then assembled in corn tortillas with an onion and cilantro relish, a healthy helping of the sweet and spicy orange salsa along with some more sesame seeds and cilantro for garnish. I was a bit surprised by how well the calamari worked in these fresh and tasty tacos and I can easily see them quickly becoming a summer favourite!

Salsa Naranja (Orange Salsa)

Salsa Naranja

I came across the idea of a salsa naranja, an orange salsa, on Kogi BBQ a while ago and it sounded really good! More recently I came across a recipe for the salsa naranja on Chow while searching for something else and decided that I would have to try it! In addition to the Mexican influences this salsa also has Korean and Thai aspects that really make it shine! The salsa naranja starts out with a base of sweet chili sauce and orange juice and builds up the flavour base with garlic, ginger, plenty of fresh herbs, chilies is several different forms and it is finishes off with sesame seeds. Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you as once you have them all assembled all you need to do is puree them in a food processor and it is well worth making. I have to say that this is one amazing salsa! It is sweet and spicy, full of flavour and all of the herbs give it a fatastic freshness that will have you eating it by the spoonful.

Thai Style Black Quinoa Salad

Thai Style Black Quinoa Salad

Normally when I go to pick up quinoa they only have the white and red varieties but I recently came across black quinoa which I immediately picked up and I have been just itching to use it ever since. After thinking about it for a while I decided that the black quinoa would go well in a bright Thai inspired salad where it would nicely offset all of the colours. Sweet and juicy yellow mangoes seemed like a great place to start with the colours in the salad quickly followed by some red bell peppers and then some green onions, fresh mint and cilantro. One of the things that I like about Asian and Thai cuisines is that they often balance the sweet, salty, tart and spicy aspects of a dish with wonderful results so I tried to do that here making the dressing with salty fish sauce, sweet sugar, tart lime juice and spicy sriracha along whit a birds eye chili for heat. I finished the salad off with some chopped peanuts and some toasted coconut flakes.

Peameal Bacon and Roasted Tomato Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese and Grainy Honey Mustard

Peameal Bacon and Roasted Tomato Sandwich with Cheddar Cheese and Grainy Honey Mustard

As some of you know, I am a big fan of peameal bacon and in particular I enjoy using it in sandwiches! Peameal bacon is made with the pork loin which is leaner than the belly and it is cured or pickled in a brine before being rolled in peameal or cornmeal. I have had this particular peameal bacon sandwich on my mind for a few weeks now and I could not hold off on making it any longer. The idea behind this sandwich was pretty simple, containing the peameal bacon, roasted tomatoes cheddar cheese and a sweet and tangy honey grainy mustard. I had intended on waiting for the tastier field tomatoes to start showing up but I figured that roasting the tomatoes would be concentrating their flavour anyways so I gave into temptation and made them now. It is hard to go wrong combining bacon and roasted tomatoes and this sandwich surely is a juicy, messy and tasty treat! (If you cannot get your hands on some peameal these sandwiches would also be good with regular bacon or even Canadian bacon.)

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Lately I have been craving for some Tex-Mex flavours and in particular for something with plenty of ooey gooey melted cheese! Quesadillas fit the bill and I was thinking about chicken fajita style quesadillas filled with grilled chicken along with sauteed onions and peppers. These quesadillas would be a great way to use up some leftover chicken fajitas but it is definitely worth it to whip up a batch just to make them! This recipe takes a bit of time if you are making the chicken fajitas from scratch but it is pretty straight forward and easy. When I make quesadillas I like to go with either 2 medium sized tortillas placed on top of each other or one larger tortilla that gets folded over and this time I went with the larger tortillas. I often serve my quesadillas along with a salsa or sauce for dipping but you cannot go wrong with adding a bit of it right inside the quesadilla to hit it up with even more flavour.

Taco Salad

Taco Salad

The taco salad has to be one of my favourtite salads and yesterday it found a new rival in the form of the bacon double cheese burger salad which was an instant hit! Since the bacon double cheese burger salad only used half of the one pound package of ground beef it was time for the taco salad to strike back at the new challenger! This salad starts out with a tasty taco seasoned ground beef with some onions and garlic thrown in for good measure. You could easy make this salad with leftover meat from taco night but it is definitely worth making some from scratch to enjoy the salad whenever you get the craving for it. Once you have the seasoned ground beef you pretty much just need to make a salad with some of your favourite taco condiments. I usually start out with a bed of lettuce and tomatoes which I top with the beef followed by some black beans, salsa, diced red onions, sliced black olives, creamy avocado, cheddar cheese and sour cream. The final component of any taco salad is a few crumbled tortilla chips to give it the crunchy finish. This certainly is one tasty taco salad and it truly is the salad that eats like a meal!

Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad

Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad

Not too long ago I came across a recipe for a cheeseburger salad on The Pioneer Woman which reminded me of one of my favourite salads, the taco salad, and since I also enjoy a good burger, I was immediately taken in by the idea. The plan was to make a salad with all of the flavours of my favourite burger all the way from the ground beef to the condiments and even the bun. When I think of burgers, I go straight to bacon cheese burgers so I knew that I would have to start my salad off with bacon! For the beef patties I was planning on cooking some ground beef and then seasoning it with things that I would use in a burger patty including onions, garlic, ketchup, mustard and worcestershire sauce. After cooking the beef I used some vinegar to deglaze the pan and then made a simple pan sauce with some of the bacon grease to use as a dressing. Up next were the buns which I used to make croutons to go on the salad and instead of using oil on the diced buns I used the remaining bacon grease before baking then until golden brown and crispy. I pulled the salad together with a base of lettuce, tomatoes, the dressing, beef, bacon, two kinds of cheese, the croutons and even some diced dill pickles.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Buffalo Chicken Chili
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I am always on the lookout for new ways to enjoy the totally addictive buffalo chicken flavours and so when I came across the idea for a buffalo chicken chili on Blog is the New Black I pinned it immediately! I could not resist the idea of a using the buffalo chicken flavours in a bowl of chili and it was sounding like pure comfort food in a bowl! This buffalo chicken chili starts out with a base of onions and plenty of carrots and celery which is appropriate given that buffalo wing are often served with carrot and celery sticks. From there the chili is seasoned with garlic, cumin, paprika and of course plenty of your favourite hot sauce. I chose to go with beer for the liquid and then I bulked the chili up with some tomatoes and white beans. I have to say that this chili is good and you will definitely find yourself going back for seconds which is ok as it is fairly healthy! I server the chili topped with crumbled blue cheese with a side of corn chips, carrots and celery sticks along with a blue cheese sauce for dipping.

Caramelized Pear, Chocolate and Goat Cheese Smoothie

Caramelized Pear, Chocolate and Goat Cheese Smoothie

I am not really all that big on smoothies but when I came across the idea of using a creamy and tangy goat cheese in one, I was definitely intrigued! The recipe that I came across was one for a caramelized pear, chocolate and goat cheese smoothie on The healthy Foodie and the combination of flavours in the smoothie sounded out of this world! You start out by roasting some pears in the oven to caramelize them which concentrates their flavour. The roasted pears are then pureed into the base of the smoothie, some milk and Greek yogurt along with the goat cheese, some cocoa powder and cardamom. I also wanted to sweeten things up a bit so I added a touch of honey to the mix. I have to say that the goat cheese worked really well in the smoothie and the flavours played well with the sweet roasted pears and the chocolate. As I was enjoying the smoothie I could not help but think about how much I like the pear and blue cheese combo and I think I might try the blue cheese the next time that I make this smoothie just to see how it works.

Gyro Grilled Cheese Sandwich (aka Gyro Melt)

Gyro Grilled Cheese Sandwich (aka Gyro Melt)

April is national grilled cheese month and grilled cheese sandwiches have been on my mind a lot so it is no surprise that when I was thinking about what to do with the roast lamb leftovers, a grilled cheese sandwich came to mind. Before I knew it I was thinking about a lamb gyro grilled cheese sandwich filled with all of my favourite gyro fillings including tzatziki, feta, toamtoes and onions. With all of the ingredients pretty much decided the only real question was what cheese was I going to use and a Greek melty cheese like kasseri was definitely the way to go. I was a little concerned that with the tzatziki in the sandwich it might come out a little soggy so I used a nice thick Greek style yogurt, squeezed the excess liquid from the cucumber and used day old bread for the grilled cheese to make sure that everything turned out right and it did. These gyro grilled cheese sandwiches turned out pretty big with all of the fillings but they were oh so good! You can just imagine combining two already great things, gyros and grilled cheese sandwiches and you get something even better!

Lamb Exohiko (Lamb, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Phyllo Parcels)

Lamb Exohiko (Lamb Stuffed Phyllo Parcels)

When I made the roast lamb leg on the weekend I chose a piece of meat that was larger than I needed to ensure lots of leftovers and after making some quicky roast lamb gyros I was ready to to something more interesting. Up first on my list was this recipe for a lamb exohiko, once again from Kalofagas, which is a dish where the lamb along with other ingredients are wrapped up in phyllo and baked until it is golden brown. I really like the idea of baking things in phyllo like this! Whereas smaller phyllo pies are great for snacks and light meals and larger phyllo pies like spanakopita make many servings, these phyllo parcels contain an entire meal in single serving size! The possibilities for fillings for these are near endless and this time I went with the roast lamb, spinach, onions and peppers, tomatoes and cheese!

Greek Style Roast Leg of Lamb with Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Greek Style Roast Leg of Lamb with Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Easter is right around the corner and this last weekend I took the opportunity to test out a new recipe. When I think of Easter dinner I almost always gravitate towards lamb which reminds me of spring and I have had this recipe for a Greek style roast leg of lamb from Kalofagas bookmarked for a while now, just waiting for a special occasion. One of the things that I really like about Greek cuisine is the heavy use of fresh herbs and this roast lamb is marinated in a mixture of rosemary, thyme and oregano in addition to lemon juice, mustard, paprika and of course a generous amount of salt and pepper. After marinating the lamb is roasted until it is moist and falling apart tender and then potato wedges are tossed in the drippings along with more lemon juice and some oregano before being roasted until nice and crispy! What a meal!

The Kimchi Rachel Sandwich (aka Roast Turkey Reuben Sandwich with Kimchi)

The Kimchi Rachel Sandwich (aka Roast Turkey Reuben Sandwich with Kimchi)

A couple of weeks ago I used some leftover corned beef to make reuben sandwiches and they reminded me of the rachel sandwich, which is essentially a reuben sandwich that uses turkey rather than corned beef. Last week when I roasted a turkey breast to make the roast turkey sandwich with artichoke tapenade, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers I made sure to save some to make a few rachel sandwiches and to try something new, adding kimchi! Kimchi is a spicy Korean fermented cabbage and it seems only natural to combine it with the sauerkraut since it is also a fermented cabbage. One issue with adding the kimchi is that kimchi can have a bit of liquid on it and since you don't want a soggy sandwich it is a good idea to saute it a bit before adding it to the sandwich. I have to say that this is one tasty sandwich and with it we are off to a great start to April, the national grilled cheese month! I served the kimchi rachel sandwiches with some sweet potato chips which pair well with the spicy kimchi.