Yum, yum: Churros

We’re nearly a month into 2013 and all of our healthy eating resolutions are beginning to feel a bit… boring. After weeks of sugary treats and cheese platters galore, the focus on veggies and whole grains was a welcome (and oh so necessary) change of pace. Now that our jeans no longer feel like they’re cutting off the circulation in our thighs, we’re ready to return to a more balanced lifestyle. Basically, this means we’re craving butter and sugar, and will punch someone if we’re offered another piece of kale. 




With the cold weather officially here, we’re a lot more likely to want to spend some time around a hot stove and a pot of bubbling oil. Don’t worry, the end result is a lot less Game of Thrones’ battle of Blackwater and a whole lot of delicious. Yes, we are talking about churros! The crispy, deep-fried dough is a favourite in Spain and Mexico. We highly recommend serving them with a rich hot cocoa. If you’re feeling especially loco, why not dip your churro in the cocoa?

Churros (recipe via Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
vegetable oil (for frying)
confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon or a cinnamon-sugar combo (for dusting)

Tools of the trade. 

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, combine one cup water, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and sift in flour, stirring for one minute.

Sift that flour, baby. Sift it good.
2. Transfer flour mixture to bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition; spoon mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip.

All ready to be fried!
3. Heat 4 to 5 inches oil in a large Dutch-oven until it registers 325 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer (note: we used a candy thermometer, which worked out excellently!). Holding pastry bag a few inches above the oil, squeeze out batter, snipping off 4-inch lengths with a knife or kitchen shears. Fry, flipping once, until deep golden brown all over, about four minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer churros to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.

Squeeze that dough. 
Fry that dough. 
4. Roll churros in topping of your choice. Serve immediately!

Ta da! Try not to eat them all at once. 

*Special thanks goes out to Trish Petozzi for teaching us how to fry churros like a pro. Trish works at Cake & Loaf Bakery and has the best sister in the world. 

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Yum Yum: Gwyneth Paltrow’s "My Father’s Daughter"

We’re always on the lookout for cookbooks that offer healthy fare that don’t skimp on flavour – not always an easy task. When we heard Gwyneth Paltrow was releasing a cookbook we were a bit skeptical. Actors aren’t necessarily known for their chops in the kitchen, after all.

After hearing some great buzz about GOOPy’s book, we decided to give it a whirl and oh boy – are we glad we did. Recipes run the culinary gamut, from salad dressings to fried oyster po’boys to vegetarian paellas, and most have a “make vegetarian/vegan” suggestion. If you’re looking for red meat or pork, you’re in the wrong book. If you’re a seafood or poultry lover then we highly suggest picking My Father’s Daughter up.  

Here are two of the recipes we tried the other night. Gwyneth suggested serving these together, so we did. Enjoy.

Best Stir-Fried Chicken
serves four

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp cornstarch
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup peeled and minced garlic
1/4 cup peeled and minced ginger
1/2 cup minced green scallions (white & green parts)
Pinch red chili flakes (optional)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Toss the chicken with cornstarch, a large pinch of salt and quite a bit of pepper.  

Heat oil in large, non-stick wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions and chile flakes (if using) and cook, stirring, for one minute.  

Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. 

Add the vinegar, sugar, and five or six grinds of black pepper. 

Boil on high for three minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized and the whole mixture is dark brown and sticky and lovely. 

Add the soy sauce, and cook for another 30 seconds. Serve immediately over fried rice (recipe below), sprinkled with cilantro. 

Photo via GOOP herself.

Fried Rice with Kale and Scallions
serves four

1/2 pound kale, stems discarded
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
3 large scallions, cut into 1/8-inch diagonal slices
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce

Cut the kale leaves in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into very thin ribbons (chiffonade). Steam the kale for 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. 

Add the garlic and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly, being careful not to brown the garlic. 

Raise the heat to medium and add the steamed kale and scallions. 

Cook for two minutes and then add the rice and cook for another two minutes, stirring. 

Add the soy sauce and cook for 30 seconds more.

Health in a bowl.
Photo via Milk & Mode