Category Archives: Food

Chef’s Plate experience

A few weeks ago, we decided to give Chef’s Plate a try.  As the primary cook for the household, I found it tiring trying to come up with ideas of what to make for dinner, and also the challenge of trying to get the appropriate groceries for the week.  As a result, we fell back on take out, and also found ourselves throwing out a lot of food gone bad.

After the initial trial period where you get a bunch of meals for really low prices, we get a two 4 serving meals a week.  Sometimes we just go with what they offer, other times we go into their website and pick our meals.

The quality of the ingredients has been great.  I find their meat quality to be better than anything I can get from our local grocery stores.

A couple times we ran into issues – one week they didn’t deliver until a couple days later, and another time they had omitted the primary ingredient (no salmon for a salmon chowder).  Both times their customer service was very responsive and resolved the issues to our satisfaction.

The box of 2 four serving meals costs around $70 – so each serving is around $9.  About half of what we would spend when ordering out.  The preparation times on the meal cards are reasonably accurate – and are usually around 30 minutes – so not far off from a typical wait time for a DoorDash order.

The meals come with a letter sized card that details what ingredients the meal includes (and qty), and step by step instructions for the preparation.  The cards are great – we save them (and save the repeats for family and friends).  I find them useful for meal ideas without a kit.  The one thing that can be a challenge is finding the appropriate spice blends they use in most of their meals.  These are often the ‘magic’ that makes their meals.  The do provide ingredient lists and recipes for many of their blends (but not all) over on their Facebook page.

The meals are packed in a medium sized  box with each meal individually packed in it’s own recyclable or biodegradable bag.  A third insulated bag contains a well sealed ice block along with any perishable ingredients from either of the meals.

I have a hard time throwing out the boxes – it doesn’t feel right.  Instead, we’ve been saving them.  Having a bunch of uniformly sized boxes is helpful to get things organized.

On a mission to make the best apple cake I can!

While spending time in Victoria, I discovered a delicious apple cake at a coffee shop called the Nest. Now that I’m home, I’m trying to find a recipe that comes close.

This one turned out very good – and is a little lighter than the Nest cake which is not a bad thing! I also had some zucchini that I wanted to use up. Next time I make this, I think I will use a full teaspoon of cloves, and maybe add a half teaspoon of ground ginger.

Zucchini Apple Spice Cake

Course Dessert
Keyword baking, cake, zucchini
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 2 c zucchini peeled and grated (I used one large zucchini)
  • 2 c Granny Smith apple peeled and grated (I used 2 apples)
  • 2 c light brown sugar
  • 2 each large eggs
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c walnuts toasted and coarsely crushed
  • 1 each Macintosh apple (optional) peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into wedges

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Lightly oil and flour baking dish.

  3. Peel, core and grate Granny Smith apples, and also peel and grate zucchini. Should have 2 cups of each.

  4. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until smooth.

  5. Slowly add oil to sugar and egg mixture while mixing thoroughly.

  6. Add remaining dry ingredients (spices, salt, baking soda and flour).

  7. Mix grated apple and zucchini into mixture.

  8. Add nuts and mix into batter.

  9. Pour batter into baking dish. Gently evenly spread batter.

  10. Arrange apple slices as desired onto top of batter.

  11. Bake for 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

  12. Server warm or cooled, and enjoy!

Tasty Fruit and Butter Scones

This is a recipe from a friends mother – it’s pretty flexible and easy to make. So far I’ve used it to make Saskatoon Berry Scones as well as Blueberry Scones.

Blueberry Scones

Course Breakfast
Keyword baking, blueberry, scones
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 scones

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter cold, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups berries
  • 1 cup milk add extra if necessary
  • 2 each eggs beaten, can reserve one yolk to wash tops if you like

Instructions

  1. Mix all dry ingredients, and then cut in butter with pastry cutter

  2. Wash and dry berries, then toss gently to get evenly distribute throughout mixture

  3. Add eggs and milk, and mix to combine and wet all of the flour/butter/berry mixture. Don't over mix or knead.

  4. Roll into a cylinder, approx. 3-4" in diameter. Can either cut discs approx 1.5 – 2" thick, or gently flatten cylinder and then cut triangles.

  5. Place pieces onto parchment lined baking sheet, keep pieces at least 1" apart.

  6. If desired, brush tops with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes @ 425 degrees Farenheit, or until golden brown on top.

    Saskatoon scones

Recipe Notes

First time making this recipe I made the scones with Saskatoon berries.  I over mixed these a little – making them a bit dense.  The Blueberry scones I worked much less, and the result was much nicer 🙂

Sourdough Waffles

Since almost the beginning of the COVID lockdowns last year, I had started maintaining a sourdough starter as yeast was not to be found in the grocery stores. Needed a way to use the starter discard as it was starting to take up too much space in our refrigerator, and waffles were the answer!

I use a Cuisinart Griddler – to which I added a set of Cuisinart Griddler Waffle Plates.

Overnight Sourdough Discard Waffles

Course Breakfast
Servings 3 large waffles

Ingredients

  • 240 g sourdough starter discard
  • 136 g flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Next morning

  • 1/4 cup butter melted and cooled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions

Night before

  1. In a large bowl, mix sourdough starter, flour, sugar, milk and vinegar together.

  2. Set aside, covered loosely with plastic wrap

Next morning

  1. Preheat waffle iron

  2. In a small bowl, mix beat egg, butter and vanilla together

  3. Pour mixture into large bowl of starter batter, and mix well

  4. Sprinkle baking soda and baking powder over batter and mix well

  5. Add batter to waffle iron – I use a ladle that holds approx. 1/3 cup.  One ladle scoop for ½ the waffle ironplate.  Close lid and set a timer for 5minutes and 30 seconds. (That’s what I use, and find it’s perfect for my waffle iron – adjust time or waffle iron temp to suit your own preferences)

Braised Cauliflower in the Instant Pot

I came across a recipe in the “Mediterranean Instant Pot” cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. The recipe looked pretty good, and used a spice blend I hadn’t heard of before called ras el hanout. I changed the recipe a little due to my own preferences and the unavailability of one ingredient.

The result was delicious, and I’ll definitely be making this again!

Braised Cauliflower with North African Spices

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 head Cauliflower trim leaves and stem, keep whole
  • 1 can Whole San Marzano tomatoes drain (keep liquid), and coarsely chop
  • 2 tsp Ras el hanout
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup kalmata olives pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Turn on Instant Pot to Saute, high setting, and add olive oil, garlic, and ras el hanout

  2. Saute for about 2-3 minutes, until spices become really fragrant, then turn Instant Pot off

  3. Add the reserved tomato juice and chopped tomatoes to Instant Pot, stir well, and then reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture

  4. Insert trivet then steaming basket into Instant Pot

  5. Complete preparation of the head of cauliflower by making a deep criss-cross slice into stem, then place head into steaming basket, stem side down.

  6. Pour reserved tomato/spice mixture over top of cauliflower.

  7. Cook in Instant Pot using high pressure, for 3 minutes, doing a quick release when cook time has completed.

  8. Set cauliflower head aside in serving dish, and cover with foil

  9. Set Instant Pot to Saute, add olives and golden raisins to tomato mixture. Cook this down to thicken a bit. You can salt & pepper this if you like (I didn't)

  10. Cut the head of cauliflower into quarters, then eights. Spoon more of the tomato mixture over top, and then sprinkle cilantro over when serving. Provide the rest of the tomato/spice mixture alongside so people can add more as they wish.

Recipe Notes

The original recipe called for green olives, anchovies, and pine nuts (which I couldn’t find at our grocery store).  Omitted the anchovies to make the dish vegan, and I prefer black olives over green 🙂