kalua pork in an instant pot

hawaiian kalua pork (in an instant pot)

We got an Instant Pot some months back and have to say, we are loving it! Especially now with both a toddler and a newborn, I don’t really have much time (or sanity!) to spend a lot of time cooking.  My latest Instant Pot experiment is this kalua pork recipe which is something I decided to try solely because I have some Hawaiian alaea sea salt that I picked up last summer when we were in Honolulu.  To be perfectly honest, probably the last time I had kalua pork was on family vacation as a kid at one of those tourist luaus so I can’t say how authentic this tastes.  And while I’m fairly certain that an entire pig super slow cooked underground in a pit would be way more amazing, this turned out pretty damn good.

So I read through a bunch of recipes for kalua pork and in the end I accidentally combined a few recipes together.  Only realized it after I had all my ingredients thrown into the pot. Oops!  I also did things as lazily as possible.  But it turned out really yummy so no complaints here.  Rock’s already decided we’ll be making this again.  If you don’t have alaea sea salt, I’m sure any coarse sea salt will be fine and I found liquid smoke at just my local supermarket.

~ 5 lb pork butt/shoulder, cut into 2 or 3 chunks (I had 2 roughly 2 lb cuts)  /  3 slices of bacon  /  1 and 1/2 tbsp coarse alaea sea salt /  1 tbsp liquid smoke (I used hickory)  /  1 cup water


Set your Instant Pot on sauté and cook the bacon for a few minutes and then press ‘cancel.’  Leaving the bacon in the bottom, toss in the pork butt and sprinkle over the sea salt.  Then pour in the water and add the liquid smoke.


Lock the lid on, set the vent to sealed and press the ‘manual’ button and set to 90 minutes.  And that’s it!  When it’s done, release the steam and the pork should be fork tender and practically falling apart.


Take the pork out and shred with a couple of forks and you can mix in some of the cooking liquid (and delicious fat!)  We ate this with some soft dinner rolls and salad and then had leftovers to boot.

kalua pork in an instant pot

hashed beef rice (hayashi rice)

hashed beef rice (hayashi rice)

My sister’s visiting and had us watching this quirky Japanese show on netflix last night called Samurai Gourmet.  The show is full of slowly panning close up shots of food (basically food porn) and made me want to go back to Japan sooo bad.  And it made Rock want to eat everything sooo bad.  Anyway, hashed beef rice was featured in one of the episodes and Rock and my sister immediately said they wanted to eat that.  So of course, we decided we’d have to do so.  Since none of us had even heard of this dish, let alone eaten it, I had to do a bit of research.  What it is is a popular western-style Japanese dish that’s basically a beef stew that’s served with rice.  This recipe I adapted from one I found on norecipes.com and it turned out delicious! We had no idea how it would taste but it was really, really good.  Will definitely be making this again!

Serves 4 to 5.

~ 750 grams beef chuck or roast (I used a bottom round roast)  /  3 yellow onions  /  4 cloves garlic  /  3 handfuls of cremini mushrooms  /  2 cups red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)  /  2 cups beef stock  /  4 tbsp tomato paste  /  ~ 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or your choice of cooking oil)  /  1 tbsp worcestershire sauce  /  1/2 tbsp soy sauce  /  1 tbsp sweet paprika  /  2 bay leaves  /  2 whole cloves  /  4 tbsp butter  /  1/3 cup all-purpose flour  /  salt and pepper

First, for the prep.  Mince the garlic. Halve and then very thinly slice your onions into thin half-moons.  Next, cut up your beef into roughly 3/4 inch cubes and season with salt and pepper.  In a dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat up your cooking oil over medium-high heat.  In batches, sear off the beef on all sides until browned.  Scoop the seared beef out and into a bowl to set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium.  Now add the onions, garlic and 1 tbsp of butter to the dutch oven.  Lightly season with some salt.  Give it a bit of a stir and then slap the lid on for about 10 minutes.  Take off the lid and slowly caramelize the onions, stirring often.  The recipe I was referring to said to cook the onions for an hour but I was too impatient for that and gave it maybe about 20 minutes.

Next, turn the heat down to low and add back in the beef and the rest of the ingredients except for the butter and flour.

Now to let everything simmer away for 2 hours.  I know it’s a long time, but you want the meat to get nice and tender.  Partially cover with the lid but if you notice that the liquid has cooked down quite a bit, pop the lid back on.  I put the lid back on mine after about an hour and a half.  When the stew is almost ready, make a simple roux.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and then stir in the flour.  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in the roux, a spoonful at a time so you can thicken it to your liking.  I didn’t use up all the roux.  And then you’re done!  We had it served with some sushi rice.

Chinese steamed fish with black bean and garlic

chinese steamed fish with black bean and garlic

One of my favourite foods growing up was Chinese steamed fish smothered in fermented black beans and garlic.  I know fermented black beans doesn’t sound like the most appetizing thing but they are sooooo delicious and even if you don’t think you’ll like them, you’ve probably had them in some Chinese dishes.  You can find these beans at any Asian grocery store.  Anyway, I just started cooking with fermented black beans for the first time a few weeks ago so I thought I’d try and make this fish dish.  I haven’t had it in many many years and I don’t even remember if it’s something that my family made or we had when we ate out at restaurants but I remember loving it.  From some lazy googling, it seems like there’s countless variations on how to make it so I decided to adapt my usual Chinese steamed fish recipe and it turned out great!

It would be ideal to use a fresh whole-head-and-tail on firm, white-fleshed fish such as cod but that’s not always possible so then you can go with some nice fillets.  Cod is my favourite but it was sold out at my nearest supermarket today so I picked up some haddock fillets instead and it still turned out good.

1 whole white-fleshed fish or roughly 500 grams of fillets, ideally cod  /  1 bunch of green onions  /  1 medium sized piece of ginger  /  4 tbsp of fermented black beans  /  4 cloves of garlic  /  3 tbsp seasoned seafood soy sauce (or regular soy sauce mixed with about t 1 tsp of sugar)  /  1 and 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil or other flavourless cooking oil you have on hand


Put the black beans in a small bowl and rinse with water a couple of times and drain.  Mince the garlic or if you’re lazy like me, grate it on a microplane.  Toss the black beans, the garlic and 2 tbsp of the soy sauce in a mortar and pestle and just give it a quick little mash or if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just mash everything together a bit with the back of a wooden spoon.  You don’t wanna pulverize everything as you still want some of the beans intact.


Fill a wok with water and place over high heat to bring the water to a boil. Cut the white parts of the green onions off and scatter in a pie plate.  Slice up the ginger and toss a few pieces in with the green onions and then lay the fish or fish fillets over top.  Tuck in a few more pieces of ginger just for kicks. Then using a spoon, spread the black bean and garlic mixture over the tops of the fish.


Now you’re ready to steam the fish!  Place your steaming rack on the wok and slide the pie plate.  Cover with the lid and steam the fish until cooked through which will take, depending on the fish you use, somewhere between 10 to 15 minutes approximately. Best to test for doneness by using a fork to check that the fish is cooked through and flaking.  Just before the fish is done cooking or right after, thinly snip up the green parts of the green onions, about 2 tbsp or so.  Also, in a small saucepan, heat up the oil over medium to medium high heat until the oil is very hot. When the fish is done cooking, you can either carefully remove the cooking liquid from the pie plate or use a spatula and take the fish out and place on another plate.  Scatter the green onion over the fish and drizzle the hot oil over the green onion.  Finish off with your remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce and serve with steamed white rice.


paprika chicken and rice bake

The local organic foods market here posted an interesting looking recipe from Buzzfeed on Facebook today and I figured I’d try it out!  I love absentmindedly browsing Buzzfeed but have never tried one of their recipes before.  Wasn’t particularly feeling confident it would work… but it turned out great!  I used mostly the same ingredients but changed all of their measurements.

The original recipe said 5 thighs feeds 5 people but pretty sure I would still be hungry after that!  I’ll say this would feed 2-4.

6-8 skin on, bone in chicken thighs  /  2 tbsp paprika (preferably a good Hungarian paprika!)  /  1 tbsp dried parsley /  1 and 1/2 tsp salt  /  1 and 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper  /  ~ 1 tbsp olive oil  /  1/2 yellow onion  /  4 cloves garlic  /  1 cup rice (right now we really like this sprouted rice & quinoa blend that you can pick up from Costco)  /  1 and 3/4 cup low-sodium / no salt added chicken broth (you’ll need to adjust the amount of broth depending on what kind of rice you are using! just use however much liquid the package says to for 1 cup)  /  optional extra pinch or two of salt for the rice


Preheat the oven to 400 and in a large mixing bowl, toss the chicken together with the paprika, parsley, salt and pepper.


Set a dutch oven or other oven-proof pot on the stove at medium to medium-high heat.  Add the olive oil and when that’s heated up, place the chicken thighs in skin side down and let them brown up for about 5 minutes.  In the meantime, dice up your onion and mince the garlic.  Flip the thighs over and let the other sides cook for another 5 minutes and then remove from the dutch oven.  Add the onion and garlic to the dutch oven and cook until the onions have softened up a bit.


Stir in the rice, chicken broth and if you want, extra salt, to the onions and garlic and let it come to a boil. Then place the chicken thighs back in on top of the rice, pop the lid on and slide the whole thing into the oven.


Now you just have to be patient and let it bake away for about 35 minutes.  Then dig in!


Texas-style chili (instant pot recipe)

my first texas-style chili (instant pot recipe)

Pretty sure the only chili I’ve ever had was from the fast food chain Wendy’s and even then was used merely to dip my french fries in.  I sort of hate beans so chili has never appealed to me but apparently Texas style chili is bean-less so, perfect!  I’ve been wanting to use my Instant Pot more so I decided to try and make chili for the first time in it. This is very loosely based on a recipe I found online from a cookbook called Down South Paleo.  I don’t know how legit this recipe is and I’m obviously no chili expert but I think this turned out really tasty!  (Like, does chili ever have bacon in it?  ‘Cus it does now!)  It was even better as leftovers the next day. Oh and of course you don’t need an Instant Pot to make this but it just speeds up the whole process. You could alternatively just let it simmer away on the stove for a few hours.

500 grams lean ground beef  /  4 slices of bacon  /  1 green pepper  /  1 medium yellow onion /  2-3 carrots  /  2 ribs of celery  /  3 cloves of garlic  /  1 tin (28 oz) diced tomatoes  /  1 tbsp worcestershire sauce /  1 tsp hot chili powder  /  1 tsp paprika  /  1 tsp salt  /  1/2 tsp ground black pepper  /  1/2 tsp cumin


First, for your prep.  Mince the garlic and dice up your carrots, celery, green pepper, and onion.  Next, chop up the bacon.  Using the Instant Pot, set it to ‘sauté’ and toss in the bacon and ground beef, cooking until the beef is completely browned.  Then add in all the other ingredients and simply stir together.


Lock on the lid with the steam valve closed and press the ‘cancel’ button to stop the sautéing function and then press the ‘meat/stew’ button.  I think it automatically set itself for 35 minutes and then just let it pressure cook away!  Release the pressure and you are all done.  Sorry the photo isn’t particularly amazing, I was really hungry and wanted to eat!


At first I was concerned that the chili had quite a bit of liquid in it (though I don’t even know what consistency chili is supposed to have really).  But apparently if you want a thickened chili you could add in a roux or whatever.  Last night we had it with baked potatoes and today for lunch I had it with crunched up saltine crackers and some shredded aged cheddar over top.  Really good!

barbacoa beef (in an instant pot)

It seems like everyone’s raving about the Instant Pot lately (well, my 2 friends that have one and…the internet) but I needed a new rice cooker anyway so we decided to try out the Instant Pot instead.  So far we’ve only made a few things in it including well, rice, and this dish, but we really like it.  This recipe is adapted from the combo of 2 copycat Chipotle barbacoa beef recipes that I found online. (I couldn’t decide which recipe I liked better!) It’s shredded beef that’s been braised in a sauce of chipotle peppers and various spices and it’s really yummy!  We’ve only eaten at Chipotle a handful of times but I remember liking their beef so I thought this would be a good place to start.  So we made this in the Instant Pot but you could instead cook it in a dutch oven on the stove on low heat; it would just take probably at least 8 hours instead of 1!

2-3 lb beef roast  /  1 tbsp grape seed oil (or other cooking oil of your choice)  /  4 cloves of garlic /  2 chipotles in adobe sauce /  juice of 1 lime  /  1 tsp ground cumin  /  1 tsp oregano /  1/2 tsp ground cloves  /  1 tsp onion powder  /  1 cup water  /  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar  /  2 tsp salt (or to taste)  /  1 tsp freshly ground black pepper  /  1 tbsp tomato paste  /   3 bay leaves


Using a hand blender or a regular blend, puree the garlic, chipotles, lime juice, cumin, oregano, cloves, onion powder, water, vinegar, salt, pepper and tomato paste until you get a smooth sauce.  Cut up your roast into roughly 3 inch cubes.  With the Instant Pot, set it to ‘Saute’ and add the grape seed oil when hot and sautee the beef until browned on all sides.


Add the pureed sauce and the bay leaves and then clamp the lid on.  Set the Instant Pot to ‘Manual’ and choose ‘high pressure’ and let it cook away for 55 minutes.  Apparently you can release the pressure in the Instant Pot either manually or you can let it do it by itself slowly but I was impatient so we did it manually.


Take the beef out and using 2 forks, simply shred it and then add back in some of the sauce. This was my first time cooking with a pressure cooker and I was pretty impressed; it’s cool to be able to cook something that usually takes many hours in a fraction of the time.


Anyway, the beef turned out great and really tender.  We slapped together some quesadillas with the beef and monterey jack cheese and served it with a quick guacamole, some greek yogurt and cilantro and since then, Rock’s polished off the leftovers. So, success!



armadillo cheesy garlic bread

armadillo cheesy garlic bread

Maybe right after everyone makes their new year’s resolution to eat healthy is not the ideal time to post this recipe but it’s just sooo good.  Plus I haven’t blogged since October…but to be fair we moved from Moose Jaw to Comox, BC for Rock’s work in November and then it was the holidays.  And so yes, technically we’re not Eating in Moose Jaw anymore, but I can’t change the name of the blog so the name is staying!

Anyway, I had been wanting to make this recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings book ever since I got it many months ago but it’s so excessive that even I couldn’t justify making it for just us. So my family’s Christmas Eve dinner was the perfect time and I made two loaves of these bad boys!  The recipe says one loaf serves 8 and I actually agree with this ‘cus while you could definitely split one between a few people (‘cus it’s so delicious that you just wanna scarf all of it), you would probably hate yourselves for the rest of the day.

1 x 1-lb round loaf French bread (we used a sourdough)  /  3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese  /  1 and 1/2 cups finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  /  3/4 cup butter, room temperature  /  1/2 cup mayonnaise  /  4 cloves garlic, finely minced  /  1 tsp red pepper flakes (which I skipped just ‘cus I didn’t have any on hand)  /  1 tsp salt  /  1 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400F and in a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the bread. With a serrated knife, cut the bread in a crosshatch pattern with the cuts about 2 inches apart and without cutting through the bottom of the loaf.


Spread a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and put the bread in the middle.  Stuff the cheese-garlic mixture into all the cracks of the bread and spread any remaining mixture on top. Doesn’t this look AMAZING?!


Take another sheet of aluminum foil and lay it over top of the bread, crimping the edges with the bottom sheet of foil to seal in the bread. (The recipe says to spray the top sheet of foil with cooking spray but I guess I simply didn’t read that part ‘cus I was too excited… anyway it didn’t stick so you can skip this step if you want.)  Bake for 20 minutes and then turn down the heat to 375F and take off the top sheet of foil.  Bake for another 15 minutes or so.  Then dig in!  The diet can start tomorrow.

armadillo cheesy garlic bread

Pesto chicken bagel melt

pesto chicken bagel melt

I know i’ve been terrible at blogging but Rocks’s been away for work so I’m not that motivated to cook for just me and my increasingly picky toddler. This recipe is barely a recipe really but it’s what I’ve been craving to eat lately. I had something similar to this at a local cafe months ago but it’s off the menu now so I can’t look up what’s exactly in it. Which is ok though cus this bagel is just as good. I’ve tried using cream cheese instead of mayonnaise but I prefer it with mayo. You can use whichever you like though; it’ll still turn out!

for 1:

1 everything bagel  /  ~ 1/3 cup shredded cooked chicken  /  ~1 tbsp fresh pesto  /  ~1 tbsp mayonnaise  /  2 slices of whatever cheese you’ve got on hand which for me right now is havarti


Slice and toast your bagel.  In a small bowl, mix together the chicken, mayo and pesto. Turn your broiler on high and when your bagel is done toasting, place the halves on a baking sheet. Spread the pesto chicken mixture evenly on the bagel halves and then slap a slice of cheese over each. Broil until the cheese is all melted and voila!  I dunno if it’s my pregnancy hormones but I am obsessed.

Pesto chicken bagel melt


my go-to baked salmon

I haven’t blogged in months!  But to be fair, we’ve hardly spent any time at home in months (not that I’m complaining).  Last night I whipped up some baked salmon the same way I’ve been making it for as long as I can remember.  It’s honestly too easy and you only need 4 ingredients.  It does involve a healthy/not so healthy dose of mayonnaise but don’t let that deter you. I looooove mayo, but Rock, not so much. The first time I made this for him he was visibly grossed out like the hater that he is but that was before he actually tasted it!  Just try it; it’s so good.

for 4 servings:

4 salmon fillet portions (since we’re in MJ far away from any oceans, I like to use the wild BC sockeye fillets that come frozen from Costco)  /  4 heaping tbsp of Hellman’s mayonnaise (you can use more or less it’s up to you. I really have to restrain myself from piling on a mountain of mayo)  /  salt and pepper



Preheat the oven to 400F and spread a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and then spread a heaping tbsp of mayo on top of each fillet. It’s not the prettiest thing right now, but it’ll get better!


Bake for About 12 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.  Then switch on the broiler just to brown the tops a bit, making sure to keep an eye on things so you don’t end up with a burnt dinner. And voila!



rock’s post: sunday’s pancakes

The morning when your better half asks you american pancake instead of your ancestral french crepe…

about 3-4 servings

2 cups of all purpose flour  /  2 tsp baking powder  /  1/4 tsp of salt  /  1 tbsp sugar (optional)  /  2 eggs  /  1.5 to 2 cups of milk  /  2 tbsp melted butter


Topping:  butter /  very nice quantity of Canadian Maple sirup

Mix all the dry ingredients together; if you want it a little sweet, add the optional sugar.  Beat the eggs into 1.5 cup of milk, stir the 2 tbsp melted butter.  Gently stir this mixture into the dry ingredients; mixing only enough to moisten flour.  Don’t worry about few lumps.  The batter should be thick but if you think it too thick add a little more milk.


Warm up a skillet to medium heat.  When the skillet gets hotter, I personally reduce the heat.  Melt some butter in the skillet to make sure the pancakes won’t stick.  I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to measure out the same amount of batter for each pancake.


This is the tip you will make the pancakes perfect:  when the pancakes bubble, it is time to flip them.  You will get the nice golden colour you are looking for.

Serve with a little of butter and a ton a maple sirup !!