Recipes

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Recipe: Thai Curry
Ingredients for Thai Curry - TheMessyBaker.com Today I'm on CTV News at Noon. It's my 7th appearance and I've decided it's time I actually cooked something. Oh, I've diced apples, sliced peaches, mixed salad dressing, stuffed peppers, roasted an array of vegetables and even pulverized chickpeas in the name of hummus, but I've never actually cooked anything. So today, I'm making Thai Curry. Live. Can't you just feel the tension? I can't tell you more than that since my host, Kyle, will be making decisions as we go. Will he pick red curry paste or green? Chicken or beef? And just which vegetable will he toss into the mix? Tune in to find out. For those who can't catch the show, I'll post a link to the clip later. In the meantime, here's the basic recipe we'll be making. It's quick, easy and should be ready to eat by the time you've cooked the rice. Got a favourite Thai dish? Or questions about Thai cuisine? Drop by the comments section. It's always open. In the meantime, here's the basic recipe we'll be using.
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Giveaway: National Toast Day
As a child, cinnamon toast was the litmus test of illness. If you could choke down a few bites with flat ginger ale or weak tea, then you knew you were going to live. If you couldn't stomach the toast -- or even the thought of food -- you were ill indeed and packed off to the doctor. Although I usually ate cinnamon toast only when ill, today it is a comfort food I turn to on occasion when nothing else appeals. Perhaps it's the small of toasting bread or the intoxicating mix of melted butter and crunchy cinnamon-laced sugar? Either way, I have a soft spot for cinnamon toast. Today is National Toast Day and in a valiant attempt to stamp out toast brutality, a sin for which I am guilty, Gay Lea is hosting a giveaway worth $200 giveaway. The basket includes:
  • A year's supply of Spreadables butter coupons
  • A breakfast cookbook
  • Toast necessities – spreading knives, toast tongs, toast cutter, egg cups, napkins
  • A gift card to Cora’s Restaurant
For the skeptics, Spreadables is not hydrogenated fake food. It's all natural creamery butter with unsaturated canola oil added to make the it spreadable -- hence the name. The giveaway is open to Ontario residents. To enter,
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Recipe: Spicy Green Beans
You know you're getting old when St. Patrick's Day arrives and instead of wondering where you put your green belt and shamrock earrings, you make a mental note not to drive anywhere after 6 PM and place bets on how many drunks are going to stagger by at 3 AM singing Danny Boy at the top of their lungs. Whether you find this video achingly sentimental or innocently humorous will depend on how many green beers and whiskey shots you've had. Since I'm stone cold sober, I think it's pretty funny. But then again, they had me the moment the Swedish Chef bobbed on stage. In honour of St Patrick's day, I'm not wearing shamrocks, downing Guinness or posting a recipe for artificially green food. Instead, I'm typing with a delightful lilt and sharing a recipe for a food that's naturally emerald green and close to my heart. Beans. Gotta love 'em no matter what the calendar says.
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Recipe: Chicken in Samfaina Sauce
The last few days I've felt like a cast member of Glee. No, I haven't been dancing about the living room singing mash ups. I've  just gone quietly about my own business only to get a great, big slushie thrown in my face. While these icy facials came from above, not eye-level, they were just as jolting. After enduring a couple of sneak attacks, I'm beginning to think Old Man Winter is a bully with a very bad attitude. What's he plotting next? A cosmic wedgie? So, to avoid the next inevitable ambush of winter, I ran to the library like a good little student and hid behind a book. In the process, I warmed my ice-splashed face with the sun of Spain. Through the gorgeous images in The Food of Spain: A Journey for Food Lovers, I basked in a recipe for Basque Baked Tuna, dipped my toe in the Cantabrian Sea and gorged virtually on figs loaded with honey, almonds, chocolate and cream. I sailed away from my troubles on a fishing boat, disembarking only to wander the markets or stroll through an olive grove. I lingered so long I'm surprised I didn't get sunburned.
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Orange and Carrot Salad
Winter has returned with a vengeance, Dumping great soggy clumps of slush on our heads. In the face of this penetrating cold, I don't want hot soup. I don't want great steaming mounds of comfort food. I want warm temperatures and sunshine. And I want it now. So I'm pretending they dishwater gray sky is brilliant blue and eating something that tastes like summer. Oranges. While I love oranges, I hate peeling them. Not only does it hurt my wonky thumb, somehow I always manage to squirt juice all over myself or anyone unlucky enough to be within spraying range. Sure, I can tackle tiny, loose-skinned clementines, but when faced with large navel oranges that might as well be bound in duct tape, I haul out the chef's knife and cut them into wedges. So, what do I do when faced with a fruit salad?
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Recipe: Zucchini Fritters with Dill Tzatziki
It's not unusual for me to get excited over a cookbook. But every once in a while one resonates with me on so many levels that I just want to curl up on the couch, cradle it in my arms and stroke its pages. And The Kitchen Garden Cookbook is my latest crush. It's as if they made it just for me and my garden-loving, sun-deprived soul. The premise is simple. Develope seasonal recipes around the bounty you grow in your vegetable patch (and I swear, this year I'm planting one since my sister won't be setting up another wedding marquis that usurps the entire side yard). While the photos are enticing, and each recipes has handy quick tips on when to pick and how to eat, store, preserve or freeze, I  just love the way they think -- like a gardener. The recipes are organized by seasonal bounty, not by courses.
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Recipe: Ginger and Coconut Chicken
Ginger Coconut Chicken I'm not sure whether I should hug Bal Arneson or smack her with a cookbook. Her No Butter Chicken from Everyday Indian is my husband's favourite chicken dish. He loves it so much that while he was holed up in the living room recovering from knee surgery, with nothing but 4 walls, 21 surgical staples and 2 cats for company, he must have requested it for dinner at least once, if not twice -- a week.
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Recipe: Surreal Chocolate Wontons
This is Bob Blumer, aka the Surreal Gourmet. I had the pleasure of meeting him and tasting his fun food at The Drake in Toronto recently. If he looks a bit blurry it's because he moves too quickly for my camera. He thinks quickly too. As he sat and chatted with the group, Blumer created cocktail ideas on the spot based on a recipe one of the guests pulled at random from his newest book, Glutton for Pleasure. Despite his tendency towards avocado-shaped guitars, sponge cake fries and meat cupcakes, Blumer is surpringly down to earth. He hates wasting ingredients and is a strong supporter of Second Harvest. He believes anyone can cook, and because of what he readily admits is "a short attention span", designs dishes to be on the table in the time it takes to listen to an album. He's also modest. With five cookbooks and a Foodnetwork show, Blumer claims his only advantage over Anthony Bourdain, (is it just me or could Blumer be cast as a younger Bourdain?) is that his surreal adventures are so crazy he needs only 1/10 the talent. To showcase his unique approach to food, Blumer made three dishes. The first was Chicken Popsicles, which are incredibly addictive but somewhat recalcitrant. One bite in and mine hurled itself to the floor. I decided not to apply the 5-second rule given I was in public. At home? I'd have dived to the ground and finished it off before standing up again.
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Recipe: Moroccan Roast Chicken
Yesterday was Family Day here in Ontario when everyone gets the day off to hang out with their loved ones. With yet another forecast snow storm threatening to turn what should be a laid back provincial holiday into a muscle-abusing Shovel Day, I decided to have family time Sunday night instead. Being the ever-considerate charm that I am, I chose a dish that would please everyone. My father likes Moroccan food, my mother enjoys any meal she doesn't have to cook, Andrew's all about the meat and I wanted something I could shove in the oven while I dashed to the gym. As luck would have it, a copy of Weeknight Fresh + Fast: Simple, Healthy Meals for Every Night of the Week by Kristine Kidd arrived just last week. I've never used a Williams-Sonoma cookbook before and wasn't sure if we'd agree on the definition of "fresh + fast." After all, when I go to one of their stores the kid in me wants three of everything and the adult in me wonders where I would store a bulky castle-shaped bundt cakes and even bulkier  $400 cake decorating machine. But the book delivers a wide range of practical recipes using items from any well-stocked grocery store. Sure, Kid Charmian whines about the tofu, but Adult Charmian points out that only 3 recipes in the entire book use this ingredient and if there are any more complaints there'll be no Castle Cake for dessert.
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Recipe: Potato and Cauliflower Curry (Aloo Gobi)
If you look at my recipes index it's hard to believe I used to do a lot of health writing. While I was supposed to be promoting a healthy lifestyle in others, opposing stats and studies nearly made me sick. One day I'd file an article declaring 7 cups of black coffee a day would ward off Type 2 diabetes, and wouldn't you know it? The next morning a press release landed in my inbox railing against the evils of caffeine. Does cinnamon really help you lose weight or is it just rat poison with a nice smell? The contradictions were endless. Black coffee, green tea, white vegetables. Everyone had a theory and it was making me crazy. Being somewhat gun shy, I hesitated to review Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease, by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD with Debora Yost. I wasn't sure I wanted to get back to the kind of thinking that vilified or canonized a particular ingredient. But being a Gemini, and just as contradictory as the studies I dreaded, the first thing I did was look up cocoa so I could write a long persuasive post justifying all the dessert recipes I create (and gobble). I wanted to convince you that, despite the whipped cream and butter, chocolate mousse wasn't just delicious, is was downright healthy. After all, according to studies, flavanol-loaded cocoa will:

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