Chicken stew is one of the heartiest, most comforting meals. My kids have always loved it, and these days they frequently ask for it so they can take the leftovers in a thermos for lunch. Unlike beef, chicken does not need a long, slow braise to be nice and tender, which is why you can actually prepare this dish in 30 minutes. And here’s a tip: you can even make this in 20 minutes if you brown the chicken and chop the vegetables ahead of time; just grab them from the fridge at mealtime and you’ll be dishing up dinner in less time than it takes to have pizza delivered.
Cut the chicken into two inch pieces.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add olive oil.
Put flour and a little salt and pepper in a small plastic bag. Add the chicken about four pieces at a time, twist the bag closed and shake so that the chicken is lightly coated with flour.
Add the coated chicken pieces to the pot, being sure not to overcrowd them as they won’t brown.
Brown them for about 4 minutes in total, turning once or twice. Remove browned chicken to a clean dish if you need to make room for more pieces.
While chicken browns, chop vegetables.
Return chicken to pot (if necessary) once all has been browned.
Add onion to the pot and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
Add chicken stock, thyme and potatoes to pot. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Add carrots, zucchini and beans to pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Drizzle into pot and stir gently to combine well. Let mixture cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes until slightly thickened.
Serve in broad bowls with spoons or crusty bread so no gravy gets left behind.
Makes 4 – 6 servings.
My family prefers gelato because they find it's usually a little less sweet than ice cream. I love it because it's full of flavour, yet typically lower in fat. Vanilla is our go-to choice, but only because we love to drizzle homemade chocolate or caramel sauce over top. I thought I knew all I needed to know about making great gelato at home but I was wrong - I read about a nifty little trick - adding a few tablespoons of top quality extra-virgin olive oil - to the mixture. Guess what? It's awesome! The best gelato ever. Really. It's so good I might even consider skipping the caramel sauce from now on.
Combine milk, cream and sugar in large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often.
While the above mixture is heating, whisk egg yolks and salt together in medium size heat proof bowl.
Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the warm milk mixture into eggs, and then return egg and milk mixture back to the pot and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, until custard reaches 185°F.
Immediately strain custard through a fine strainer into a heatproof bowl. Add vanilla paste or extract.
Place the bowl inside a larger bowl that has been partially filled with ice water. Stir the mixture every 10 minutes or so until it is colder than room temperature.
Stir in olive oil and transfer the mixture to a smaller container. Cover and refrigerate until very cold (at least 6 hours; overnight is ideal).
Freeze gelato in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Pack into a freezable container and freeze at least 1 hour before serving.
Serve as is, or drizzled with salted caramel sauce.
Makes a little more than 1 litre.
Put sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Melt sugar over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally so sugar heats evenly.
As the sugar begins to turn amber, swirl more often and pay close attention to the pan so it does not burn – the goal is a dark amber colour and just ever-so-slightly scorched aroma. If you burn it, start over, as burnt sugar is not the taste you want here.
When the melted sugar is dark amber, add the cream. Be careful as the mixture will bubble and spatter. The caramel may also seize (harden slightly) but it will remelt as you cook in the cream.
Over medium heat, cook the caramel sauce, stirring often, until it is smooth and any hard bits have melted. Remove from heat and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Let cool; pour into a clean glass jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.
Reheat gently in the microwave.
Makes about one cup of sauce
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Grilling is not only a great way to cook corn when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen; it also enhances its natural sweetness. This simple, make-ahead salad blends three popular vegetables with a spicy lime dressing; you can easily adjust the heat up or down to suit your family’s preference. A delicious accompaniment to grilled meats or fish, this vegan-friendly, gluten-free dish would also be a great element in a summery brunch buffet. As an added bonus, if you have kids with braces, this is a whole lot easier for them to eat than corn on the cob. If you make this dish, be forewarned: you might not have any leftovers – it’s that tasty.
Preheat barbeque to medium-hot (about 375 – 400F if your grill’s thermometer works)
Shuck corn and remove as much silk as possible.
Cut zucchini and carrots lengthwise and brush both sides with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When barbeque is hot, place corn cobs directly on the grill and cook for about 20 minutes, turning often. The goal is to have tender kernels with only a few grill marks.
While corn is cooking, place zucchini and corn halves directly on the grill. For zucchini, grill about 5 minutes on each side, until it is tender and has nice grill marks. Do the same for the carrots (they may need a few extra minutes).
Remove all vegetables when cooked and let cool.
Slice each half-circle shaped strip of cooked zucchini lengthwise down the middle, creating two long quarter-circle shaped lengths. Chop cooled zucchini and carrots into 1/2 inch slices pieces.
Use a sharp knife (or a corn stripper) to remove kernels from cobs.
Mix all vegetables in a medium bowl.
For the dressing, combine lime zest and juice, vinegar, chili powder and 1/4 cup olive oil in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until well blended. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to combine.
Taste salad and add salt and pepper as needed. Add cilantro at serving time and toss salad once more.
Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate salad until chilled.
Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish
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