Chili Lime Pork Bowls with Cauliflower “Rice”

IMG_4725

A Sunday indecision turned delicious low carb dinner, this slow cooker chili lime pork was the perfect solution to an intense craving for Mexican inspired food, and our “we need to cook this pork shoulder already” dilemma.

I’ve used this recipe to marinate chicken for the barbecue many times as well as for tacos and every time I’m left drooling over how fantastic it turns out. If you’re not into lime or chili, don’t let this stop you from trying it out, as long as you don’t go overboard on the lime it ends up mostly just accentuating the tenderness and flavour of the meat with a slight hint of spice. I figured since pork also works in tacos, this marinade would work on pork and a meal was born!

Slow Cooker Chili Lime Pork

1 1/2 lb Pork shoulder roast
2-3 limes
2-3 garlic cloves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp chili powder
2 bay leaves
Drizzle olive oil
Salt&pepper

•Mix dry spices together in a small bowl. Pat dry the pork shoulder with a paper towel and rub the spice mixture covering the whole shoulder.

•Place the meat in the slow cooker and drizzle with olive oil, and lime juice. Throw in the bay leaves and let cook on Low for 7 hours or High for 4 hours.

•In the last hour of cooking remove the meat from the pot and shred it. Place it back into the slow cooker, add garlic and adjust the seasonings if needed.

——————————————————

Next step was to figure out a side…Since I am the self-dubbed queen of cauliflower (I’m sure this title would be supported by my cousin Sean after our whiskey fuelled discussion over this veggie corsage and how I need to be making them for celebrities — that was a great St.Pattys day!)

IMG_4884

I decided to try my hand at cauliflower “rice”. I’ve been following a low carb/keto eating plan since last spring and have had great success with it. Cauliflower is a versatile staple in the low carb world, there is a plethora of recipes where it is used to substitute everything from pizza crust to mashed potatoes. I honestly do love the taste of mashed cauliflower but I’m not going to kid anyone and say it doesn’t taste like cauliflower, because it totally does. The same goes for this “rice”, but it will take on a similar texture of whatever you’re trying to make it be, and with the right flavouring it makes a pretty decent substitute.

I found this recipe from Fork and Beans for this fantastic spanish cauliflower rice and it turned out perfectly! This was my first time successfully ricing cauliflower and will definitely continue this method for future recipes.

Cauliflower Spanish “Rice”

By Cara at Fork and Beans

½ head of cauliflower, pulsed in a food processor until rice-like
1 large tomato, diced (do not drain the juice)
½ onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ jalapeno, deseeded and minced (optional)
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
dash of cayenne pepper
¼ c. cilantro, chopped

•In a skillet over medium heat, saute onions, garlic, and jalapeno with 1-2 tsp. olive oil for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
•Add cauliflower until slightly browned. Add tomatoes and spices. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Fold in cilantro. Season with sea salt according to preference if needed.

IMG_4706

IMG_4851                                                                     About this consistency was perfect! IMG_4847

Top the cauli-rice with the pork and serve with some sautéed veggies. I also served a simple oil vinegar coleslaw just for a little crunch to go along with it.

IMG_4707

Seriously delicious.

IMG_4891

Don’t forget to stop and enjoy these beauties while they’re still out. Good vibes and happy cooking everyone<3

Advertisements

The season of foraging is upon us

I apologize for the long break in posting. It’s been quite an eventful few months of actual and emotional events, some very good, some very bad and some just… ugly (That’s the only way you can really describe the behind the scenes of a flower shop at Mother’s Day).

2015/05/img_4508.jpg

The leaves are out, the buds are in bloom and the ones that haven’t yet are just about to. It’s may long weekend and I’m ready to plant the pallet of plants and seeds I’ve hoarded for a few weeks now in waiting, heeding the warning of “No planing till after May-Long!!”

Unfortunately the weather is still uncooperative, but another very fruitful trip out to Headingley yesterday led me to procure even more little plant buddies.

 You can bet that there were audible gasps and a “holy @#$%!” when I came across these beauties.

2015/05/img_4569.jpg

2015/05/img_4562.jpg

2015/05/img_4566.jpg

2015/05/img_4561.jpg

While I wait patiently for the weather to turn around for planting, the season of foraging is finally upon us! Apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, lilacs, and forsythia, all ripe for the picking.

While driving through Charleswood on the way to my parents house yesterday morning I scouted out a tree that I just couldn’t stop thinking about. I’m sure my flower friends and I all share that feeling, that little rush, you know it’s the only opportunity you’ll have so you just have to go for it.

On our way back from Shelmerdine’s, with my poor mom waiting in the car as a partner in crime, I was able to snag some beautiful pink Apple blossoms.

2015/05/img_4582.jpg

I took advantage while the weather was good to play with my gatherings and leftover roses from work, and to have an impromptu photo shoot in my backyard.

 

2015/05/img_4571.jpg

2015/05/img_4573.jpg

 

2015/05/img_4574.jpg

2015/05/img_4575.jpg

2015/05/img_4577.jpg

2015/05/img_4576.jpg

2015/05/img_4578.jpg

2015/05/img_4579.jpg

2015/05/img_4580.jpg

 

2015/05/img_4588.jpg

2015/05/img_4592.jpg

 

These bronze vessels and urns have been sitting on the shelf screaming to be used for way too long, and I’m still swooning over the white lilacs discovered on the side of our house!

 

 

 

2015/05/img_4594.jpg

 

2015/05/img_4598.jpg

2015/05/img_4595.jpg

2015/05/img_4602.jpg

2015/05/img_4601.jpg

2015/05/img_4599.jpg

2015/05/img_4605.jpg

2015/05/img_4613.jpg

2015/05/img_4629.jpg

2015/05/img_4637.jpg

 

I hope everyone else was able to enjoy the day yesterday, these guys are just going to chill in here for now.

2015/05/img_4639.jpg

Happy May-Long friends ❤

2015/05/img_4641.jpg

 

 

 

Valentine review

This weekend was a whirlwind of excitement & exhaustion and has left me with not only thorns in my hands & a sugar hangover (also a real hangover) but an overwhelming love and appreciation for everyone in my life. Not to get too sappy here, but after being showered with adorable Valentine’s from my flower family, a sweet date the boy, drinks and a terrible movie with my ladies, and long overdue catching up with some old friends, I can’t help but stop and remind myself how lucky I am.

I’m sure by now everyone is sick of Valentine’s Day though so I’ll keep this little update brief:

2015/02/img_1228.png

This year at the shop we exchanged valentines, complete with individually styled mailboxes and special greetings that could have warmed even the blackest of hearts.

2015/02/img_1152.jpg

Our annual petal toss was also a great success. In the middle of all the craziness, it brought us child like joy and got us outside to at least see the sun for a few minutes before receding back down to the basement sweatshop workshop studio.

2015/02/img_1154.jpg

2015/02/img_1167.jpg

2015/02/img_1164.jpg

2015/02/img_1229.png

2015/02/img_1157.jpg

Thousands of red roses later, and I was able to spend time with my sweetie. Part of my valentine gift to him included one of his all time favourite desserts; Sex in a pan (or the G rated version “handshake in a pan”, as Kyla informed me earlier.) Whatever you call it, its layers of pistachio deliciousness.

2015/02/img_1190.jpg

  I used a recipe I’d been harboring on Pinterest since we first started dating, and you check it out here. I’d never attempted it before and it would have been relatively quick and easy had I not taken on the challenge of lining 10 flimsy dollar store heart shaped tins with a shortbread crust. It was Valentine’s Day though, dammit, and these things were going to be adorable if it killed me.

2015/02/img_1196.jpg

2015/02/img_1206.jpg

Of course I couldn’t forget my furry valentine who got to nibble a heart shaped strawberry.

2015/02/img_1173.jpg

The rest of the weekend was spent with some fantastic friends, and a bit of Netflix in between, as I attempted to recover my sanity. While It may have been a step backward mentally to sit through 50 shades of garbage, the Caesars at the VIP Theatre, and the infectious laughing fits that ensued were totally worth it!

2015/02/img_1226.jpg

Whether it be with your friends, your family, or that special someone, I hope everyone found a way to give and receive love this past weekend.

2015/02/img_1104.jpg

Baked Eggs with Mint and Coriander green Chutney

2015/02/img_1130-1.jpg

This past week we’ve been gearing up for the upcoming rush of Valentine’s Day. Working in a busy flower shop means that there isn’t much time for anything else, let alone being able to put together a simple breakfast. I try my best but I usually end up surviving on bulletproof coffee most days, so when I do have the time to prepare a meal, I make it count. This usually only happens on the weekend.

Weekend breakfasts are especially cherished. Waking up slow, sipping on a cup of one of my favourite coffees while catching up on the beautiful photos from my favourite floral and foodie friends on Instagram. I revel in the tranquility, knowing that I have the entire day to do as much or as little as I want. Being able to completely treat myself to a fantastic, well crafted, delicious meal makes all the little stresses of the past week melt away into nothing.

Last week with my abundance of fresh herbs from the bouquet garnis, I had made a batch of Mint and Coriander Chutney. I also purchased my first cast iron pan and couldn’t wait to break it in. The need to test out all the wares, i.e. Something that I could simmer or sauté, then toss into the oven to conclusion, brought me to the decision of baked eggs and the only logical thing was to put these two together for an Indian inspired dish.

Chutneys come in all varieties and can be used as a dip, marinade or sauce to accompany a multitude of dishes.
This one is simple and delicious for the cilantro lovers out there, the mint adds a burst of freshness and green chilis give it the perfect amount of kick. {for someone who usually puts a ton of hot sauce on their eggs, I love it}

I would totally use this chutney with chicken, kebabs, veggies, samosas, or, like my co-worker who first introduced me to coriander chutney, on cheese sandwiches!

2015/02/img_0946-0.jpg

I found a basic recipe for chutney that included these ingredients and just figured the ratios as per my own taste.

2015/02/img_1143.jpg

Mint and Coriander (Green) Chutney:
2 cups Fresh Coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/2 cup fresh Mint Leaves
3 cloves garlic
1″ piece of ginger
3 green chilis, seeded
1/4 small white onion
A pinch of cumin
A squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Water; optional if your chutney seems too thick.

2015/02/img_1084.jpg

2015/02/img_1085.jpg

Whip it together in a food processor (adding a tiny amount of water if it seems like its not moving) until it gains a thick but viscous consistency.

For the baked eggs I chose to accompany them with mushrooms for the pure fact that they are delicious and I would use them in literally everything if I could, so I began with sauteing mushrooms in the cast iron pan with butter and some garlic olive oil for flavour

2015/02/img_1114.jpg

2015/02/img_1117.jpg

Add a little salt and pepper.

2015/02/img_1119-0.jpg

2015/02/img_1120.jpg

When the mushrooms were perfectly browned I cracked a couple eggs on top with some crumbled goat cheese and a dash of turmeric (not pictured). Then popped them in the oven at 400C for about 7 minutes ***disclaimer to follow.

A topping of chutney afterwards and breakfast was served.

2015/02/img_1125.jpg

2015/02/img_1129.jpg

2015/02/img_1130.jpg

2015/02/img_1134.jpg

2015/02/img_1135-0.jpg

2015/02/img_1133.jpg

***I’ll be honest here though, they were delicious, but it took me 3 tries to get it how I wanted it. I’ve run into this problem before when baking eggs as they had the tendency to become very rubbery and get a tough outer shell. The first batch I over did them. Like burnt to a crisp. I was following a suggestion to cook them for 17 minutes at 400C which in my oven was WAY too much. Second batch was a little better but still over done at 10 minutes (These were fed to my good sport boyfriend). I just watched them like a hawk on the third batch and they turned out great. Further research and attempts will have to be made to perfect them.

 Even when recipes don’t work out how I’d like them to though, all creative efforts, successful or not, are never wasted. And today with a full belly and those sunshiny tulips on my table, I’m more than content.

To my florist friends, I hope you’ve taken it easy this weekend as well, and wish you luck with the busy week ahead!

cooking class & family gathering

2015/02/img_0721.jpg

These past few years my Aunt and Uncle have started a new kind of tradition.

Rather than giving material goods they began giving gifts for activities that we could do together as a family. The first year they handed gift bags to each of us containing a clue as to what that activity would be. The tiny folded sheets tucked inside revealed that in the summer we would all attend a Goldeyes game together. It was great! As it always is when my Dad’s side gets together, it doesn’t happen very often aside from holidays so for them to bring us together and host a day out was really special.

Last year, being the fine foodies they are, we were hosted to one of De Luca’s famous cooking classes. For those that don’t know, De Luca’s is an Italian restaurant, and specialty grocer in Winnipeg. They also provide catering, and host events, such as the cooking classes, in their on site cooking studio.

The class consists of a wine tasting, a five course meal and a demonstration of all the courses; an appetizer, a pasta dish, an entree, a side and dessert. Along with the demonstration all the guests are given a copy of the recipes for the meal complete with ingredients (all conveniently available upstairs in the grocery mart) and full instructions.

An evening of amazing Italian food, copious amounts of wine and great company. What more could you ask for?! It was raved about for months and at every family gathering since.

So this year when we opened our envelopes at Christmas to reveal that we were going to attend another cooking class, we were more than thrilled! The date was set and we waited in anticipation for our night out, which finally came last Thursday evening.

2015/01/img_0705.jpg

Upon entering the studio we were given our pamphlets revealing what the evenings gastronomical delights would be. We tasted some wines, had a bite of cheese and made our way to our seats to investigate the menu.

While I trusted in full that anything our instructor Chef Anna was preparing for us would be completely fantastic, I was slightly wary about the first course, an appetizer of Eggplant Meatballs. My past experiences with eggplant were unfavourable, but further inspection of the recipe and a few sips of wine my worries were eased.

2015/01/img_0703.jpg

A blend of Fontina, Pecorino and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses. A touch of nutmeg, The drizzle of balsamic glaze. They all come together perfectly, turning my once most hated vegetable foe into an acquaintance I’d love to get to know better!

Instead of of dry bread crumbs being used as a binder like in traditional “meat” balls, day old bread was used that had been soaked and drained of excess moisture. This was done in order to hold well and create a consistent texture, making the inside soft but with substance. They were also given a coating of dry breadcrumbs for crispness just before they hit the frying pan.

Muffled mouth fulls of approval were shared across the room between more sips of wine, and once we finished we patiently awaited our second course.

Gnocchi with Pancetta Cherry Tomato Sauce. 

2015/02/img_0707.jpg

These tiny potato dumplings can cause powerful, overwhelming feelings of elation and joy to anyone who has ever had the pleasure of consuming them. To top them with a sauce of cherry tomatoes AND pancetta was pure bliss.

I was surprised to learn that canned cherry tomatoes even existed, never mind that we were using them. They were incorporated through a food mill along with regular canned tomatoes to give both a dimension of flavour, and a fine textured sauce.

It was fantastic. Each bite embodied the fluffy chewy texture of the gnocchi with a burst of salty pancetta, tangy cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, white wine and parmigiano. A beautiful marriage of flavours.

As tempted as I was to oblige in the seconds we were offered, we still had our main course in front of us.

Chicken stuffed with Capicoli & Caciocavallo and a side of Potato and Cauliflower au Gratin

2015/01/img_0709.jpg

Last year’s class included a stuffed chicken breast as well, so now after viewing a second demonstration I’m fairly confident it’s a skill that I’m now a master black belt in. The meat is first butterflied and then pounded flat to achieve a consistent width throughout. This helps not only in sealing the filling but also to ensure that its cooked evenly.

The Caciocavallo cheese, Hot Capicolli, some parm and a whole clove of garlic are pulsed in a food processor, and along with some fresh parsley, are used for the filling. Once assembled and sealed, these artfully procured little bundles were given a quick pat of flour and transferred to a hot frying pan.

With the addition of sage, some more garlic, a little chicken stock, and white wine in the pan while cooking, a simply acquired, but so, so deliciously complex and flavourful sauce was created.

It’s smooth, slightly tangy flavour melded so well with the chicken and spilled over as you cut in to expose the bold flavours awaiting inside. While our side dish of Potato and Cauliflower au Gratin was totally able to stand on its own, it quickly became a portal for the magnificent gravy of garlic and wine.

2015/02/img_0714.jpg

We had a good amount of time to mingle, converse and have more ‘samples’ of wine.

2015/01/img_0718.jpg

2015/01/img_0716.jpg

The direct result of our ambitious sampling was:

1. An unnecessary amount of selfies.

2. Inability to take a photo of dessert.

I can guarantee though, a Chocolate Nutella Lava Cake can speak for itself.

Afterwards we were welcomed to explore the grocery shelves upstairs and purchase all the necessary items to create these fine dishes for ourselves at home, which I look forward to attempt in the near future.

2015/01/img_0715.jpg

Mostly though, I’m looking forward to more culinary ventures with the family.

Salute! 

an introduction

This is new territory, and I’ll admit I’m a little nervous. Writing has never been my strong point but this is something I’ve wanted to explore for a long time and I’m anxious but very excited!

Welcome to The Garnished Bouquet.

My goal with this blog is to share my passions and bring them together in one place:

Flowers + Food

I love cooking, I love trying new recipes, I love learning different techniques, and experimenting with different palates and world cuisines. I want to be Anthony Bourdain when I grow up and sometimes I like to pretend I’m an even more badass female version of him.

Sometimes.

The rest of the time I’m just thinking about the awesome things I’d like to attempt making. One day I would love to explore culinary arts as a career choice, but right now I am completely consumed in the world of florals.

         

I’ve always had an affinity for flowers and in art school they were always a popular subject for me. I’d never considered the possibility of a career in floral design though, until on a whim I answered an ad on kijiji. One little interview sitting in the parking lot of a strip mall and four years later and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Nothing can really excite me quite as a fully as an open garden rose in all it’s glory, when the squiggly arm of a ranunculus greets you in the morning, or when a giant fluffy bunch of peonies are sitting there just begging to be cuddled.

 

Give me a bundle of mixed eucalyptus and magnolia and I’ll love you forever!

 
 As so eloquently defined in this excerpt from the glossary in Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook;
A Bouquet Garni is, in French cooking, traditionally composed of a sprig of flat parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf.
To me though, it is the perfect representation of both my loves, equal parts aesthetic and flavour.
So as my introductory entry I would like you to enjoy these tiny adorable bouquets of herbs:
2015/01/img_0895.jpg

2015/01/img_0905.jpg

 2015/01/img_0832.jpg

2015/01/img_0850.jpg

2015/01/img_0904.jpg

 2015/01/img_0901.jpg

2015/01/img_0906.jpg

2015/01/img_0903.jpg

2015/01/img_0859.jpg

I don’t have an exact direction I’d like to follow on this blog. I know that there will be recipes, experiments, temptatious food documentation and beautiful flowers. A complete mixture and gathering of everything I enjoy and hopefully what other crafty, foodie, florists would enjoy too.

2015/01/img_0907.jpg