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The whole point of take-out is to not cook at home, but Andrea Buckett promises her version of take out is better than the real deal. It’s also easier than you think.

smash-burger-feat.jpg

Smash Burgers

Makes 4 single burgers

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 lb medium ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 white buns

Searing good Canadian ground beef until beautifully caramelized on the outside is one of the great pleasures in life. The smash burger is an easy burger to pull off on your own, as long as you follow a couple of guidelines.

  1. Use medium ground beef. It can be difficult to find in the grocery store so have your local butcher grind some fresh.
  2. Use 4 oz (114 g) of ground beef per burger. For a double burger, use 3 oz of beef per patty. Shape it loosely into a ball.
  3. Preheat a cast iron skillet or flat griddle over medium-high heat.
  4. Place the beef on the hot pan and press down firmly using a spatula, smashing the burger into 1/4-in. thick patty.  Maintain pressure for 10 sec before lifting the spatula.
  5. Season only with salt and pepper.
  6. Flip the burger (top with cheese now, if desired) and cook for an additional min or so.
  7. Garnish as desired and enjoy immediately.

Possible garnishes: cheese, cooked bacon, pickles, fried onions, mustard, ketchup, relish, mayonnaise and anything else you like

Tip: Be forewarned, this process gets messy (as in greasy!).  Be prepared to wipe the stove down after.

 

 

kung-pao-chicken-feat.jpg

Kung Pao Chicken

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Chinese rice wine (or sherry)
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch

 

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a large bowl mix soy sauce, Chinese rice wine and cornstarch together until cornstarch is dissolved. Add chicken and mix well to coat, let stand for 10 min.

 

For the sauce

  • 3 tbsp black vinegar (Chinkiang) or balsamic
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the sauce and set-aside until ready to use. Be sure to stir the sauce before you pour it into the pan, as the cornstarch tends to settle in the bottom of the bowl.

 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 12 dried red chilies
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper OR ½  tsp ground coriander and ½ tsp ground pepper
  • ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 6 green onions cut into ½” pieces

 

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the canola oil until shimmering. Add chilies and cook, stirring often for 1 min.  
  2. Add the chicken and cook for 3 min undisturbed on one side so the chicken browns. Stir and cook for another 3 min undisturbed.   Continue until chicken is completely browned and cooked through.
  3. Add garlic and ginger and Sichuan pepper cook for 1 min.
  4. Pour the sauce into the skillet and stir to coat the chicken evenly. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened.
  5. Stir in the peanuts and green onions, remove from heat and serve.