Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Escargots third course for New Years

First make the garlic butter...

This recipe makes 6 appetizers...

Grate 1 tbsp celery, mince 2 tbsp shallots, mince 3 garlic cloves, chop 2 tbsp parsley and add to 3/4 cup of butter. Add a small amount of the seasoned butter into the escargot dishes. Drain the escargots and add one to each space. Top with remaining butter. When ready to serve, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and serve with a couple of slices of a baguette.

New Years continued

This salad is from a new cook book my son gave me for Christmas... Gordon Ramsays's MAZE.

Celery and Apple Salad

Trim, peel and julienne 3 stalks of celery and cut into 1 and 1 half inch pieces.
Thinly slice 1 granny smith apple, stack the pieces and slice into thin match stick pieces...squeeze a little lemon on the apple to keep from browning.
Separate the leaves from 1 chicory bulb and add to the above. Add the leaves of 1 Boston lettuce, toss altogether.
Toast a handful of walnuts to garnish the salad. Assemble the greens on 6 plates.

Add 3 tbsp boiling water to 3 ounces of Roquefort cheese... blend until smooth. Add half a cup of mayonnaise and blend...Place a dollop of dressing on the side of the plate and grate a couple of pecans over the greens and the dollop of dressing. That's the second course. Very rich but a small portion.

Assemble the salad on plates

Getting ready for New Years

The soup for the dinner was a real does putting an X in 3 pounds of chestnuts sound? It sounds like a swollen forefinger with a blister!! Man that soup wasn't that simple. OK enough complaining.... Here goes:

Chestnut Soup with crisp prosciutto...

Cover 3 lbs of chestnuts with hot water for 30 minutes...drain and dry, then score an X into the flat side of each chestnut. Put them flat side down on a cooking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Peel while still warm, roughly chop and set aside... now you have the blister and sore forefinger we can proceed!!

You will need:
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1and one half chopped fresh thyme and a little more for garnish
  • 10 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 oz sliced prosciutto cut into thin strips

In a large pot melt butter and oil and cook over medium low heat for approximately 8 minutes. Add the chestnuts and 1 tbsp thyme ,cook until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the broth and half tsp salt, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender and strain through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Season to taste.

In 10 inch frying pan, heat the prosciutto in a tsp of oil and add the remaining thyme. Garnish the soup with a little prosciutto and thyme and serve.

Now I know I did a little whining about preparing this dish... BUT... It was worth the effort. The soup was so delicious and different...a great change for new years dinner.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My chicken piccata,basmatti rice with roasted green beans topped with garlic and corriander

Yes, we've been away on vacation... every now and then we take a vacation from our holidays. Just returned form a glorious cruise on the "Liberty of the Seas". Marvelous ship, the company we met on board made up for the 3 days of rain we had.... Nevertheless, it was hot and that's what we were looking for!

So now it's back to my blog... I've been a little truant these past few weeks so I'll try and make up for the lack of entries over the next little while.

This is the first meal I've cooked in 10 days... hope you like it as much as we did.

Start with 2 chicken breasts...slice them almost in half. Cover with wax paper and flatten the breast. Dredge the breasts in 1/4 cup of flour which has been seasoned with salt pepper and a half tsp. of thyme.

Next prepare the following ingredients:

  • 2 small shallots finely minced

  • 2 cloves of garlic finely minced

  • 2 tbsp capers chopped coarsely

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • 1/4 cup whip cream

  • a little squeeze of lemon

  • 1 tsp of olive oil and a tbsp of butter

  • 2 tsp of butter

Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken breasts and turn when lightly browned. Cook the other side until lightly browned. Remove and put in a warm oven while the sauce is being prepared.

Reduce heat to medium and add remaining butter. Saute the shallots, garlic and capers for ~a minute. Add the wine, cream and a little lemon. Cook the sauce for a couple of minutes until it thickens slightly. Add the chicken to the sauce and heat through. It's delicious!

Meanwhile cook 3/4 cup basmatti rice in 1 -1/2 cups chicken broth for 10 minutes. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to low for the 10 minutes. When it is cooked, I add the zest of 1 lemon, 1/2 cup minced parsley, 2 small minced garlic cloves and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Just as you start the rice, put enough green beans for 2 on a cookie sheet (lined with foil of course). Drizzle a little olive oil and salt and pepper, toss. Roast at 450 F for 15 minutes.

The sauce for this is a simple one... just add 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to a little frying pan and add 3 coarsely chopped cloves of garlic. Just cook over medium heat until lightly browned and then add 2 tsp of dried coriander. Spoon a little of this sauce over the roasted beans. It's awesome and makes enough to use at least twice.

I served the dinner with salad and balsamic dressing. It was all very tasty... ENJOY!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

And a good time was had by all...

Alright friends... The Japanese Shrimp recipe by popular demand.

I buy my shrimp at Costco 21-25 per pound frozen, cleaned uncooked and tail on.

Prepare a large pot of boiling water and add a couple of tsp of salt, 2 bay leaves and a tsp of "old bay seasoning". Add shrimp and as soon as they are opaque drain and put them into an ice bath (it only takes a minute or two so don't multi-task when you cook them)! You can do this in the morning and refrigerate until you're ready to sauce them.


  • 2 tbsp light soya sauce

  • 2 tbsp lime juice

  • juice from 1 tangerine (or small orange)

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp of Asian chili sauce (oops I forgot that ingredient this time around)!

  • 1 tbsp minced ginger

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 1 small bunch of basil

Combine all the ingredients except the basil and refrigerate until ready to eat. Chop and add the basil just before serving... Your guests will love it... mine did!

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's time for tortieres

This recipe was given to me many years ago by George Chauvais who at the time was the President of the Federation of Chef's du Cuisine in Canada. It is a traditional French Canadian version of these wonderful pies and the nice feature is, they can be prepared in advance, cooked and frozen... All you have to do is thaw, and pop them in the oven to reheat.
Make enough crust for 4 tortieres. I use my standard recipe posted earlier and make the adjustment for 4 cups of flour.
The filling is as follows...
  • 4 pounds lean ground pork
  • 6 ounces of finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounces grated potato
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan or dutch oven, add 1 large tbsp of butter and cook onions stirring constantly until they are transparent.

Add pork at high temperature, stir constantly for 5-7 minutes, add garlic. Add water when pork turns grey not brown.

Add grated potato and salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cinnamon. It takes ~ 5 minutes for the potatoes to work in.

Cool the filling.

Prepare crusts, fill the unbaked pie shell with pork mixture. Add top crust, brush with a little egg wash and bake at 350 F for ~50 minutes or until the crust is golden.

I serve this with my sister Marcie's home made beans... mmm mmmm good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quick and easy chicken dinner for two

All you need is 2 chicken breasts 2 red potatoes quartered and 1 onion coarsely chopped.

Mix together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 3 tbsp of Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, freshly ground pepper and 1/2 tsp salt. Put the chicken potatoes and onions in a foil lined pan (you know I hate big clean up jobs)! Mix with the sauce and bake at 350 F for 50 minutes.

I sliced a small pepper squash in half, scooped out the seeds and added 1 tsp of butter and 1 tsp of brown sugar to each half and put it in the oven with the chicken.

It all cooks at the same time...

Serve with a tossed salad ... like I told you... quick and easy but pretty tasty!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mini eggrolls...another munchie - and the leftovers was supper!

Many years ago when I was living in Ottawa, I took Chinese cooking lessons from Eliza Ko...Twenty years later I still pull out those original faded 8 by 12 inch sheets of recipes and cook up a Chinese storm!! This time it's just one item though..

Egg Rolls

You will need:
  • 1 cup of shredded cabbage and 1 cup shredded celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded bamboo shoots
  • 5 mushrooms shredded
  • 8 medium sized shrimps chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 lb minced pork (now I know why I had leftovers, I used 1 lb...duh)!!

Marinate for pork

  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp light soya sauce
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

Mix well and add to pork.


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok over high heat, add garlic for a few seconds then add the pork stirring until meat has nearly all changed colour. Add the wine and shrimp and cook until shrimp is just pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok over high heat and add celery and cabbage. Stir fry for 3 minutes, add bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Mix thoroughly. Return pork and shrimp mix to the pan and stir until well combined. Strain excessive liquid.
  3. To assemble, put 1 tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper. Bring one side over the other and seal with water, then press the ends together sealing with alittle more water.
  4. Deep fry quickly in hot oil until lightly browned and drain on a paper towels.
  5. The recipe makes 20 egg rolls.

HOWEVER...I used wonton wrappers (way more work) but it makes ~60 mini egg rolls, great for a party. I freeze them, reheat in a 325 F oven for 5 minutes and serve hot with your favourite plum sauce!

Now dinner?? Because I had leftover pork mix(and shouldn't have), I added more mushrooms, cabbage, the leftover bamboo shoots, sliced a carrot and put it back on the stove. I added some more soya sauce, a good squirt of hoisin sauce and added a little pepper sauce too... Cooked up some basmatti rice, green beans with lemon and butter and presto... dinner. Good thing, I cooked all day and had nothing left for making dinner. It wasn't fancy but the leftovers didn't go in the garbage can either!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More hors d'oeuvres

Sun dried tomato purses in phyllo pastry and mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes in puff pastry.
For the mushroom hors d'oeuvres...
Roll 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry to 10 by 15 inches rectangle. Cut lengthwise in 4 equal pieces. Then cut width wise into 6 even slices so you have ~ 2 1/2 inch squares.
Prepare the filling...
1 shallot
10 oz button mushrooms
Pulse in food processor, do not puree!
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and fry mushrooms and shallots until dry ~6-7 minutes. Add a little salt, and a dash of hot pepper sauce and 2 tbsp of minced sun dried tomatoes and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Cool filling.
Place 1 tsp filling in centre of pastry. Beat 1 egg and dot the edges of the pastry with the egg. Pinch the corners together. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the pastry with remaining egg wash and bake in a 425 F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. I freeze them and reheat for 6 minutes in a 350 F oven.

Chinese cooking...curry chicken

This dinner cooks up quite quickly and is very tasty...

You will need

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast cut into thin slices

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes in 2 tsp soya sauce, 1 tsp wine (I use vermouth if there is not any leftover wine sitting around), 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp cornstarch .

Next you will need

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 slices minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/ medium onion sliced into 2 inch strips1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bell pepper cut into 1 inch thin strips
  • cauliflower florets (enough for 2)
  • sugar snap peas (enough for 2)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

Heat wok or frying pan with oil, ginger, crushed red pepper, garlic and onion over high heat for 1 minute. Add chicken and stir fry for 1 1/2 minute. Add bell pepper and soup stock and cook for a minute then thicken with the cornstarch solution. Serve over rice with a salad. Quick dinner!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A quick casserole

We were out for dinner last night and were lucky to come home with some leftover roast venison .

I decided to chop the sliced venison and add it to my casserole dish.

Cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni for 10 minutes and drain. Add 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and mix well.

In a skillet, saute 1 lb of ground meat with 1 chopped onion and 1 cup sliced mushrooms. Add 8 oz tomato sauce, 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1 tsp of sugar, a shake of Worcestershire sauce and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in leftover venison and 1 cup of sour cream. In a casserole dish, add 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the meat mixture and repeat. Top with grated cheddar if you like. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for ~45 minutes.

I served this with a tossed salad with a vinaigrette sauce and sauteed green beans with garlic, grated ginger and touch of maple syrup.

It tasted pretty good! Not as boring as a usual casserole.

Buttery almond cookies and lemon squares

The almond cookies reminded Brian of his mom's Christmas baking...
This recipe is from the Taste of Home Dec. Jan. 09/10 issue "Cookies and Bars"
Just a little note...the almond cookies don't seem like they are going to stay together because the dough is so fragile...but, don't despair ...they do!

They make ~ 4 dozen (you should see my freezer)!
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar divided
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds

Cream the butter and 1/2 cup icing sugar, add flour and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the almonds and shape into 1 inch balls.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 F for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are a light golden brown. Cool for a few minutes and roll them in remaining icing sugar... Enjoy!

Lemon coconut squares

This recipe makes and another 4 dozen.

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut

Combine flour and icing sugar;cut in butter until crumbly. Press into 13 by 9 baking dish and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Beat eggs, sugar, lemon juice and and baking powder until combined. Pour over crust and sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into squares... Nummy little bites!!

Tiny tortieres

These are a little picky to make, but, most people enjoy the flavour.

In a large saucepan add the following ingredients:

1 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork
1 finely chopped small onion

salt and pepper

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 minced clove of garlic
3/4 cup water

Simmer for~ 15 minutes.

Use my previous peach pie crust and prepare recipe for 2 cups of flour. Roll dough and cut 2 1/2 inch circles for mini muffin tins. spoon in meat mixture to fill. Cut small circle of dough to top tortieres. Bake at 400 degrees for ~ 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Freeze. Reheat in a 325 degree F oven for ~10 minutes.

hors d'oeuvres time again Christmas is just around the corner!

I make my selection of tasty morsels from several sources but the one I defer to most frequently is Jean Pare's "Company's Coming" It's the pink book entitled, "Appetizers".

These Cheese Nut Pinwheels freeze beautifully and are quick to reheat right from the freezer...

The filling is:

  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I add a mixture if I have something special on hand)

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp minced onion

  • a dash of Worcestershire sauce

Mix together and set aside.

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix together in a bowl

  • Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to 1/4 cup of water and add to the dry ingredients. Add a little more water if needed to make a soft dough. Roll into a 9 by 12 inch rectangle. Spread filling evenly. Roll up from long end to form a log. Pinch to seal. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour. Slice 1/4 inch thick pieces and bake on parchment paper at 400 F for 10 minutes until golden brown. Freeze. Reheat for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Quick dinner tonight!

We were out most of the day so dinner was a bit of a hurry-up affair!
The potatoes...
Use 3 medium potatoes (I still had some from the market)... quarter and season with a drizzle of olive oil , salt and pepper and garlic plus. Add a quartered red onion to the mix. Bake at 375 degrees F for 3/4 of an hour.
The chops...
Season 2 - 1 inch pork chops with salt and pepper and saute quickly in a hot frying pan. Put the chops in an 8 by 8 pan and season with 2 cloves of minced garlic, 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce and 1 tsp of oyster sauce. Add to the oven for the last 1/2 hr of cooking time.
Then the sweet and sour cabbage on the stove top!
  • thinly slice 1/2 a small cabbage
  • chop 1 onion
  • dice 4 slices of bacon

Fry bacon until crisp. Save 1 tbsp of the fat in the pan and discard the rest. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the sliced cabbage and 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp of caraway. Mix well and let simmer until the rest of your dinner is ready.

And now the green beans...

  • Use 1 tbsp of olive oil in a hot frying pan and saute enough green beans for 2 . Season with salt and pepper. When the beans are lightly charred, squeeze 1/2 a lemon, 1 clove of minced garlic and a drizzle of maple syrup over the beans and serve with the above menu.

Dinner in 3/4 of an hour!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving dinner

We had our great friends and my son Tyler and his girlfriend Cristina to celebrate with us. After some crab bouchees and smoked salmon on kettle chips, we enjoyed a feast!!

  • brined turkey

  • sausage and maple bread stuffing

  • sweet potato gratin with caramelized onions

  • broccoli and lemony Parmesan breadcrumbs

  • baby red potatoes roasted in rosemary and garlic

  • green beans roasted with a caramelized shallot butter

  • mixture of carrots and turnips

Dessert was pumpkin pie and apple pie with ice cream...We were "stuffed" and content!

Sweet potato gratin with caramalized onions

This dish serves 12 or a family of four, several times! This is part of the Thanksgiving dinner from Fine Cooking magazine... continued...

It's Thanksgiving so nobody ordered diet food!

You will need:

4 Tbsp unsalted butter
6 cups sliced onions
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups whipping cream (told you it wasn't diet food)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest from 1 orange
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
5 medium sweet potatoes sliced 1/8 inch

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the butter until foaming and add onions. Cook over medium low for ~40 minutes until they are nicely browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and allow to cool.

Heat the cream, thyme, orange zest and cayenne in a saucepan... boil, remove from heat and steep for 15 minutes.

Butter a 9 by 13 baking pan. Arrange overlapping layers of potatoes. Add half the onions, season with salt and pepper and drizzle 1/3 cream mixture over top. Repeat with potatoes, onions, salt, pepper and cream. Top with remaining 1/3 of potatoes and pour remaining 1/3 of cream on top.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 F for and hour. Remove foil and bake another 40 minutes until top is lightly browned and bubbly. Add pecan mixture and bake another 10 minutes. You can prepare this ahead. Refrigerate after first hour of baking. Finish the final baking without the foil cover the day of your Thanksgiving meal.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sausage maple turkey stuffing

If you're going to brine the turkey... you have to make this amazing stuffing! Yes, it takes a bit of time but, it's worth every minute of preparation. The good thing is you can prepare it a day or two in advance and refrigerate until you are 1/2 an hour away from eating!

You will need 1 1/2 lbs of dense bread cut into 1 inch pieces. Dry them on a baking sheet over a couple of days.

In a large dutch oven or a big stock pot, melt 10 tbsp of unsalted butter over medium heat and stir in 1/3 cup of thyme, 1/3 cup chopped fresh sage and 3/4 tsp of poultry seasoning.

Cook for a minute and add 3 cups diced onions and 3 cups diced celery. Cook for ~ 15 minutes until softened and fragrant.

Add 7 cups of low sodium chicken broth, 2 bay leaves and a smoked ham hock (~1 lb). Simmer until reduced by 1/3 (~ half an hour).

Meanwhile bake 1 lb of bulk sausage in a 350 F oven. Drain on paper towels and break into small pieces...add the sausage to the broth and simmer a couple of minutes to blend the flavours.

Remove the ham hock and bay leaves. When cool, trim the meat from the bone.

Stir the bread into the broth and add 1/3 cup of maple syrup. Add the pieces from the ham hock, season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer stuffing to a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes if freshly made or 30 minutes if you make it ahead. The top should be crisp.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The turkey brine....then the turkey

I tried this recipe from Fine Cooking a few years ago and now I can't make a turkey dinner without it! That's what my family tells me anyway!

You will need a big pot... I use my canning pot and it is perfect. The brine is for ~ a 12-14 lb turkey. I like to buy a grain fed fresh bird for the best results.

In your pot add:

  • 1 cup maple syrup

  • 24 bay leaves

  • 24 cloves garlic peeled

  • 1 small bunch sage (the herb garden)!

  • 2 small bunches flat leaf parsley (yay the herb garden)!!

  • 1 small bunch thyme(guess where from)?

  • 1 small bunch sage (yup, you guessed it)!

  • 6 sprigs rosemary... I had to buy this one

  • zest from 4 lemons peeled in long strips and squeeze juice in pot

  • 1 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 gallons water

Boil for 5 minutes. Cool overnight and brine turkey for 24 hours. Rinse well and dry.

Make an herb butter with 1 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley1/4 cup thyme and 1/4 cup chopped sage.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet and add the shallots for ~2-3 minutes, add wine and boil until evaporated then add the rest of the herbs and cook until fragrant... Refrigerate.

When chilled, add to the remaining butter and mix well preferably in a food processor.

Place on a piece of plastic wrap and form a log. Refrigerate until you are ready to prepare the turkey for roasting.

Place 1/4 inch slices of the chilled butter under the skin, breast and legs, massage to spread the butter under the skin.

Sprinkle the bird lightly with salt and pepper, brush with melted butter and cover with foil. Point the legs towards the back of the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for the first 2 hours. Remove foil and roast for another hour until the temperature of the bird reaches 170-175 degrees. Cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. This is by far the tastiest turkey you will ever eat!!

Thanksgiving pumpkin pie

"Fine Cooking" magazine (number 101) has a new recipe for a Jamaican spiced pumpkin pie which sounded so good I thought I'd give it a try! I made the butter crust from a previous blog (crab quiche) and just added the filling and baked!

The filling is:

  • 1-15 oz can of pure pumpkin

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk

  • 3/4 cups packed brown sugar

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • freshly grated nutmeg .. a few grinds

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 tbsp spiced rum

Whisk together the first 7 items until smooth... Add eggs and rum, mix well. Pour into the pie shell. I made some little cutouts for the top... It's actually a holly cutout but I tried to make it look like a stalk of wheat! Oh well, at least I tried!

Bake at 425 F for 10 minute and reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for ~45 minutes until the pie no longer wobbles in the center. Cool on a rack.

I put the pie in the freezer for later use... Sunday! My friend Barbara freezes her cooked pies all the time and tells me just to remove the plastic and let it thaw for the day... I'm sure it'll be awesome!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A quick fish dinner/a little salmon and a little tilapia

I didn't have enough of either fish to make a meal so I made both...different preparations. The stove was busy with saute pans!

I first put the multigrain rice to boil 3/4 cup with 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 tbsp of butter and a sprinkle of salt. Boil and reduce to low for ~45 minutes until moisture is absorbed. Squeeze 1/2 a lemon and keep on a warming element until dinner is ready.

OK , now you need to juggle 3 pans on the stove simultaneously...

While the rice is cooking..Season salmon with salt and pepper. Heat frying pan add a drizzle of olive oil and a tbsp of butter...add 1 sliced shallot and 2 garlic cloves cut in half. Fry for a minute... add the salmon and cook at medium high heat for 2 minutes per side. Place salmon in a warm oven. Add 1/2 cup of vermouth and 1/2 a squeezed lemon ... scrape up bits from the pan... add 1/4 cup of cream and reduce until it has thickened a bit....~2 minutes. Return salmon to pan just before serving to heat through.

At the same time season a couple of tbsp of flour with salt, pepper and some dried thyme. Dredge the tilapia in the flour mixture then dip into a beaten egg. Coat with some Italian bread crumbs and saute in a skillet with a tbsp of butter and a drizzle of olive oil at medium high heat for ~3 minutes per side.

The veggies are green beans and carrots enough for 2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan on high heat...Add the veggies and turn them frequently as they start to brown add 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 tsp of freshly minced ginger and a tbsp of maple syrup.

Toss to coat...that's dinner tonight!

Now you have a big mess to clean up!


Here we go again... more to put away for the winter... the perfect day to get it done. This recipe is from "The Best of Bridge". It is simple but very time consuming! You have to hand chop all of the ingredients and you should chop everything before you start!! The outcome is so good and it makes a lot... 13 -2 cup jars... awesome. You always have hors-d'oeuvres on hand for unexpected company... It only becomes a problem when you entertain the same people over and over!!

Here goes:

In a very large pot cook and stir constantly for 10 minutes...

  • 1 very large cauliflower cut into bite sized chunks

  • 2 tins of chopped ripe olives chopped

  • 1 -16 oz tin green olives chopped (I couldn't find tins so used 3 bottles of sliced green)

  • 2- 12 oz jars of pickled onions chopped

  • 8 oz olive oil

Then add;

  • 2 -10 oz cans of mushroom stems and pieces

  • 2 large green peppers chopped

  • 2-4 oz tins pimento chopped

  • 75 oz of Heinz ketchup

  • 1 tsp of hot pepper sauce

  • 1 -48 oz jar of mixed sweet pickles chopped

Simmer 10 minutes stirring often

Drain and pour boiling water over the fish ingredients

  • 2 tins anchovies chopped

  • 3 - 7 oz tins solid tuna chopped

  • 3-tins small shrimp

Add fish to mixture, stir well and place in sterilized jars. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes. You can also freeze it.

Serve with crackers (the home made ones on a previous blog are pretty yummy)!


OK, now I'm tired and I have to cook dinner...

Chili Sauce!

More things to do with all those wonderful fresh vegetables that are available! It was a lousy day today weather wise so that means a good preserving day instead!

This takes a bit of time to make but worth every minute.
I used:
  • 9 cups of peeled chopped tomatoes (I squeeze some of the seeds out)
  • 1 large green pepper chopped
  • 3 medium onions chopped
  • 2 large red peppers chopped
  • 3 celery stocks chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeno pepper minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 3/4 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/3 tsp of ground ginger and black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Put all ingredients in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer until thickened (~1 hour)...stir frequently as it bubbles away.

Fill 8 -1 cup sterilized preserving jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Cover with hot lids and place in a hot water bath or canner for 20 minutes. Delicious!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Skewered chicken with cucumber yogurt sauce

Just before we left for golf this afternoon, I put 2 chicken breasts in a plastic zip lock bag and added 3 cloves of minced garlic, a handful of fresh minced oregano leaves, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp of olive oil and the juice of 1 lime. It marinated all afternoon in the fridge.

Then I cut the chicken into even ~1 inch pieces and placed on to wooden skewers which had been soaked in water for 30 minutes.

Frank barbecued the chicken for ~20 minutes on a medium heat.

While the chicken is cooking, I boiled 3/4 cup of basmati rice in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 1 tbsp of butter and a sprinkle of salt. Boil and reduce temperature to low for 10 minutes. Stir and add 1/3 cup minced parsley, 2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme and juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon.

The yogurt sauce was 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1/2 cup freshly grated cucumber which has been squeezed in a paper towel to remove the excess moisture, 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 squeezed lemon. Mix and refrigerate until serving.

We enjoyed boiled market fresh carrots seasoned with lemon thyme and lemon juice.

Left over peach pie finished the meal!

Apple stuffed pork loin

The main course was a wonderful stuffed pork loin... simple and very tasty and it looks very pretty a well...No, the picture does not do it justice!
You will need a 4-5 lb center cut pork loin roast. I cut through the roast in the center all the way through but leave about 1/2 inch on either side so you don't cut it in half! This way you have a nice opening to stuff the pork. You can butterfly the pork but I find the stuffing doesn't fall out when you just slice into the center of the roast and leave the side intact.
Combine 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tsp of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary, 1 tbsp fresh thyme and set aside in a small bowl. Rub half the the garlic mixture on the cut sides of pork.
Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium high heat and add 2 thinly sliced granny smith apples and 1 thinly sliced medium onion. Cook until soft ~5-10 minutes. Add 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard and stir until well blended. Cool the mixture and stuff into the cavity of the pork roast. Pour 1 cup of apple juice over the roast, and season with remaining garlic mixture. Place roast on a rack in a 325 degree oven and roast for ~2 hours or until meat reaches 155 degrees. As the roast cooks, I baste it and add more apple juice as needed. When you slice the roast, pour remaining jus over the slices.
I served this with quartered red potatoes which were roasted in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes and seasoned with fresh lemon thyme, parsley, fresh rosemary and salt and pepper. The herb garden was a busy place!
Earlier in the day I roasted broccoli and cauliflower (cut in~2 inch pieces roughly the same size)seasoned with olive oil and fresh pepper and kosher salt for 1o minutes at 450 degrees. Then I gave the veggies a stir and added quartered red, orange, green peppers (1 each) and quartered mushrooms and baked for another 10 minutes. Just before serving I reheated it in the microwave for 3 minutes and squeezed 1/2 a fresh lemon over the veggies. One less item to worry about at the last minute!
Dessert was from the freezer... peach pie and ice cream!

Carrot and dill soup

I haven't seen Maureen and Don for 7 years... until Friday night!! They were going to visit family close by and found us on the map! Dinner and a visit it was!
We started with carrot and dill soup. I have my friend Wendy to thank for this one...

Heat 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat and cook 4 stalks of chopped celery 2 large chopped onions and 3 large cloves of minced garlic until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 lbs of chopped carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add 2 litres chicken stock and 1/2 cup of freshly chopped dill weed and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1/2 an hour. Use an imersion blender to puree. Heat and serve or freeze for a later date.
When I serve it I always add a little garnish from the herb garden... this time it was a sprig of lemon thyme.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Turkey breast cutlets with sundried tomatoes

Use 2 turkey breast cutlets...This recipe serves 2 and you have a little leftover for a sandwich tomorrow!
Finely chop 5-6 oil packed sun dried tomatoes. Mince 3 cloves of garlic and chop 1 green onion. Make some slices in the turkey breast and insert the sun dried tomatoes in several areas. Rub with the garlic and green onions and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle a tsp of the sun dried tomato oil on top of the cutlets. Put the turkey in a foil lined 9 by 13 pan (much easier clean up)! Cut 4 medium red potatoes into quarters... Add 2 tbsp olive oil, "garlic plus" seasoning, a shake of Montreal steak spice and salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the potatoes to the same dish and roast in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn the potatoes every 15 minutes for even browning. Let the turkey cutlets rest covered with foil for 5 minutes. Slice and pour the pan juices over the cutlets and the potatoes. I served this dinner with fresh green beans drizzled with lemon juice and a touch of butter. A tossed green salad with a vinaigrette topped off the meal and we shared an oatmeal cookie for dessert.
Tasty if I do say so myself!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Preserving the harvest... Dill Pickles

Sunday was the weekly trek to the Ottawa market.... All that wonderful produce...I can't resist making dill pickles. It seems to me I give away more bottles of pickles than we ever eat. Most people as far as I know enjoy the tasty treat...I know my nieces and nephews do!

You will need 11 quarts of small pickling cucumbers, 2 heads of dill per quart and 2 cloves of garlic peeled and lightly smashed. This recipe yields 12 quart jars.

Place the heads of dill and 2 cloves of garlic in hot sterilized jars. Fill with cucumbers... you will need 1 inch head space.

Make a brine with

-4 cups white pickling vinegar

-28 cups of water

-2 cups coarse pickling salt

-2 tbsp pickling spice wrapped in double cheese cloth.

Combine in a large pot and boil for 5 minutes. Discard pickling spice. Pour boiling mixture into jars leaving 1/2 inch at the top and then immediately cover with lids that have been boiled for 5 minutes.

Place jars in a canner 1/2 filled with warm water (120-140 degrees). Fill with enough hot water to cover lid 1 inch above jars. Heat water high enough to maintain a temperature of ~180 degrees. Higher temperatures can cause softening of the pickles.

Place the processed jars in a cool dry cupboard for 6 weeks. It's worth the wait!

The recipe above is a combination of 2 different ones from Jean Pares book entitled "Preserves". If you're looking to preserve the harvest, it's one of my favourite resources!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Home made crackers

When I told my sisters I made crackers, they told me I needed to get a job! My friend Margot gave me this recipe and I must say, it is really impressive! You can serve the crackers with cheese, antipasto or even hummus.

In a bowl whisk together 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp packed brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir in 2 tbsp melted butter and 2 tbsp honey and 1 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add 1 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries and 1/4 cup flax seeds. Stir until combined.

Scrape into a greased 9" by 5" loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool for 5 minutes, turn out onto a rack and finish cooling. Slice in half lengthwise, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 2 hours. I used my meat slicer to slice into 1/8 inch slices. The recipe makes ~ 72 pieces so I only finished cooking one piece of the loaf and saved the remaining piece in the freezer for another time. Place slices on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, turn slices and bake for another 15 minutes.

Keep in an airtight container and they will stay fresh for a week!

Pork Tenderloin with Barbecued Peaches

We were playing 9 holes of golf with Laurine, Rolly, Barb and Eric and coming back here for a 9 and dine barbecue. Pork tenderloin is an easy dish to prepare in advance and throw on the barbecue after a drink and an hor's d'oeuvre's or two.

I prepared the 3 pork tenderloins in the morning by trimming the silver skin, rubbing the pork with olive oil and seasoning with salt, pepper. Keep them refrigerated until 1/2 hour before going on the grill. In the mean time, I made a sauce of Heather's "inferno red pepper jelly" . I used 1/3 cup, 2 tsp of orange zest and 1/4 cup of orange juice and 2 tbsp of Sambooka. Additionally I halved 3 peaches for the barbecue.

After we had some home made crackers with home made antipasto and cheese wafers, Frank fired up the barbecue.

The pork was cooked on medium heat and glazed with the pepper jelly 2-3 times as they were turned. I saved ~1/8 of a cup to heat in the microwave and pour over the sliced finished product . The pork took ~ 20 minutes and the peaches were brushed with the pepper jelly and also barbecued for ~7 minutes.
Additionally I had prepared some fresh vegies, sliced zucchini, mushrooms, red peppers and green beans seasoned with salt, pepper, oil and balsamic vinegar for the barbecue. Fortunately we have 2 barbecues ...I gave Frank a little stress because there were so many items to mind! He as usual did an outstanding job.

I served the pork with a basmati rice seasoned with the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 4 sliced green onions and a tossed salad ...

Since peaches were the theme this evening, the salad was made with mixed salad greens (enough for 6), 2 diced peaches and 1/3 cup of dried cranberries. It was served with a poppy seed dressing which is an adaptation of a recipe from Best of Bridge.
In a 2 cup pyrex measuuring cup add 1/3 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice. Heat to a boil in the microwave...remove and add 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp poppy seed, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp dijon mustard. Stir until dissolved. Add 3/4 cup of salad oil and 1 slice of onion and mix with an immersion blender until thickened. It's great served over fruit as well.
The meal finished with peach pie and ice cream for dessert... I made Eric's day, the peach pie drought is over!

Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies are a nice touch to a little lunch such as the crab quiche or just a snack in the afternoon or even at the ninth hole of the golf course!

The recipe for these awesome cookies is from "Cooks Illustrated" magazine number 74. The recipe makes 16 very large but delicious cookies, no one will ask for seconds.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together 1 1/4 cups unbleached flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. In another bowl stir together 1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup coarsely chopped dried sour cherries, 1 cup chopped pecans and 4 oz bittersweet chocolate cut into the size of chocolate chips.

In a mix master beat 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (softened but still cool) with 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar until no lumps remain. Add 1 large egg and 1 tsp of vanilla, beat on low until it is just incorporated. With mixer running, add flour mixture and then nut and cherry mixture until just incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter into 16 portions each about 1/4 cup. Place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper and press down to 1 inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, rotate pans and continue to bake for 8 minutes longer, the cookies will appear a bit raw but it is important to not over bake these little gems.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Apple pie.. 'tis the season

In preparation for Laurine and Rolly's visit, I opted to make an apple pie for the freezer.

The pie crust is the same as the one I used for the previously posted peach pie.

  • peel and slice 6 medium cooking apples into 1/2 inch pieces

Add apples to a large bowl. In a 2 cup measuring cup, add 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of freshly ground nutmeg. Mix well, add to the apples and combine well and add 2 tsp of lemon juice. Pour into the pie shell, dot with butter top the pie crust and crimp edges decoratively. Make sure to mark it with and "A". Brush crust top with and egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 40 minutes.

Ready for visitors!

Pork Chop dinner on the barbecue

The 3 chops are centre loin and 3/4 of and inch.
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper

Mix spices together and coat the chops. Barbecue on medium high 5 minutes aside and move to a side of the barbecue where the burner is turned off. Barbecue for 15 minutes longer. Tent for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with:

New potatoes

  • cut 2 potatoes into 1 inch pieces
  • coarsely chop 1/2 an onion
  • mince 2 cloves of garlic

Line a tin foil pie plate with tin foil... add potatoes and onion, toss with garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste and a shake of Montreal steak spice. Barbecue on medium high for 45 minutes. Frank always starts the potatoes well in advance of the meat and then they "finish" together.

Mushrooms and butternut squash

  • enough squash for 2, cut into small pieces
  • ~6 medium mushroom caps, cleaned and cut in half

Line a pie plate again with tin foil, add squash and mushrooms. Sprinkle with olive oil and add ~2-3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Toss well until well blended. This dish takes ~20 minutes on the barbecue... It can go on at the same time as the chops.

Green beans

  • 1 handful of green beans trimmed

Season lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper. Add directly to the barbecue for~5 minutes...Remove to plate and squeeze half a lime and top with sliced green onions.

Minimal prep time and an easy barbecue... for Frank , that is!


Crab Quiche with a butter crust

Next week we will be having my sister-in-law and brother-in-law come to visit from North Bay. They should be arriving early afternoon so we'll be having a little munch when they arrive. I have decided to make a crab quiche...the recipe is from search "crab quiche" and it will pop up.

The crust can be a bit finicky so I made it today and put it in the freezer for the morning they arrive. The easy part is preparing the filling, then all you have to do is just pour the filling into the shell and bake in time for shortly after their arrival. I alter this recipe just slightly...I use imitation crab (it tastes just as good)...and if I don't have fresh cilantro on hand, I use a tsp of dried. This will be served with a romaine lettuce salad with diced peaches and cranberries and a poppy seed dressing. The dessert is an oatmeal cookie which is a recipe I'll share with you later. It is in one of my other favourite magazines "Cooks Illustrated".

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Barbecued Vegies

Prepare the vegetables in advance and refrigerate until ready to cook.

-2 red peppers cleaned and quartered

-2 small zucchinis cut on and angle 3/4 inch wide

-1/2 a butternut squash cut into 1 inch pieces 1/4 inch thick

-1/2 pound asparagus spears

-8 medium quartered button mushrooms

Use a zip lock bag and add ~1/4 cup olive oil, a little less balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and mix the liquid in the bag. Add vegies and mix very well. The vegies should be refrigerated in the liquid at least 24 hours. Barbecue an medium heat for ~ 15 minutes...Frank knows when they're done!


Mexican Rice

This is a recipe from "Cooks Illustrated" which I have modified somewhat. It has a little zing to it and goes well with the chicken and ribs!

  • 2 cups long grain white rice

  • 4 medium plum tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise

  • 1 chopped medium onion

  • 2 seeded jalapeno peppers

  • 1/ cup olive oil

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 4 cloves minced garlic

Grill the tomatoes and peppers on the barbecue so they are a little blackened. In a food processor process the onion and tomatoes until pureed, set aside. You should have 2 cups. Process the peppers and the garlic and set aside. In a sieve, rinse the rice under cold running water until the water clears. Shake out as much moisture as you can. In a dutch oven heat the oil, add the rice and cook until it is transparent and golden, usually about 5 minutes. Add the pepper and garlic mixture, combine and add the reserved tomato mixture. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, stirring once. When ready to serve add lime wedges and a squeeze of 1/2 a fresh lime. This can be prepared in advance and reheated in the microwave just before serving.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs

This recipe is from one of my favourite magazines... "Fine Cooking" Sept 2007 variation. I prepare this chicken in advance and freeze it until the day I need it. I have even frozen the thighs on the skewers!

Clean and trim 14 chicken thighs. Cut them in half, as evenly as possible for the skewers. Use a zip lock freezer bag and add 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp dark brown sugar, 1tbsp minced rosemary, 1 tsp freshly grated black pepper and 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Add the thighs and mix evenly. You can marinate them for a few hours or freeze and thaw when you're ready to use. Thread the thighs on wooden skewers when you are ready to use them and grill on medium heat for ~15-20 minutes. Move thighs to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Heat 1 cup orange marmalade, 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar and 1 tsp of minced rosemary. Sweet and sour dipping sauce should be heated and served in individual bowls. I like to drizzle a little sauce on the skewers first before serving.

Informal barbecue dinner

Saturday we're having friends for a boat ride and an informal barbecued dinner. We're hoping the weather cooperates... oh well, my motto is, you make your plans and the weather comes along for the ride! It's now Thursday and it's time to get some advance prep done. I still believe summer is not over and have planned cold hor's doeuvres.

The menu is as follows:

Hummus on cucumber slices topped with yogurt
Smoked salmon on kettle chips
Crab bites (frozen and leftover from the last get together)

Shrimp salad

Rosemary barbecued chicken thighs
Fall off the bone ribs
Grill roasted vegies
Mexican rice

Peach pie and ice cream

I like my hummus very lemony and not as "tahiniy".
In a food processor mince 1-19 ounce can of drained chick peas (reserve a couple of Tbsp of the liquid), 4 garlic cloves, zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons, 1 tsp of cumin, 2 Tbsp of tahini, 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the reserved chick pea liquid if mixture is too thick. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice cucumbers thick enough that it will hold the hummus. Use a melon baller and put a dollop on each slice, top with a little yogurt and a tiny piece of dill. I serve mine on a bed of fresh chives (the herb garden plays a role again)!

Smoked salmon on kettle chips

This recipe is on the cover of "Food and Drink" Summer 2009 issue. It's simple and very tasty! The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until serving on the chips.

-1/2 cup softened cream cheese
-1 Tbsp horseradish
-1 Tbsp minced shallots
-2 tsp minced capers
-1 tsp lemon rind
-1 small minced clove of garlic
-1 bag of kettle chips
-1 small package of smoked salmon
-2 tbsp chopped chives

Mix first 6 ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate until serving.
When ready to serve, top each kettle chip with a dollop of cream cheese mixture. Slice salmon and place decoratively on the cream cheese and sprinkle with chives.
Shrimp salad
I used 2 leaves of romaine lettuce to try create a "boat" and filled it with chopped romaine, a few slices of cucumber and small pieces of chopped seeded tomato. The dressing is 3 tbsp of rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 4 tsp of fish sauce and 5 tsp of sugar. Dissolve in the microwave, cool and add a small minced clove of garlic and 1/4 tsp of Dijon mustard. You can assemble the "shrimp boats" ahead of time, wrap with saran and refrigerate. Drizzle the sauce over the salad just before serving. The pictures I take are pretty bad... I have to assure you, the product looks much better in real life!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back ribs for dinner

These fall off the bone ribs can be prepared in advance and "sauced" on the barbecue just before serving. I usually prepare 2 racks at a time, one for the freezer one to be sauced and eaten at a later date.

Cut each rack of ribs in half and place meaty side up on a double layer of tin foil.

Chop an onion and distribute between the 2 racks. Sprinkle with chili powder, a couple of tbsp of brown sugar per rack, a drizzle of red wine vinegar and a generous shake of Worcestershire sauce. Seal in foil and place on indirect heat on the barbecue at 350 degrees F . Bake undisturbed for 2 hours .

In the mean time prepare the glaze... The cheater sauce is as follows: I use a chicken and rib sauce and a spicy piquant prepared sauce, equal parts of each (half a cup of each works)! Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 quarter cup of maple syrup and a quarter tsp of hot pepper sauce. After 2 hours remove ribs from foil and place on hot side of barbecue. Glaze each side a few times with cheater sauce. Frank says the messier the barbecue , the taster the meat!!

I serve this dish with a Canadian version of fried rice.

And now the rice:

  • microwave 3 quarters cup of long grain white rice and 1 and 1 half cups of water in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and set asidec

  • slice4 slices of bacon in quarter inch pieces

  • dice 2 stalks of celery

  • dice 1 small onion (4 green onions I just ran out)

  • dice a small piece of cauliflower and broccoli

  • chop fresh asparagus into half inch pieces

  • dice 1 carrot

  • dark soya sauce to taste and colour

In a large frying pan, cook bacon on medium high heat until almost crisp (my sister Marcie would argue that the bacon has to be crisp)! Add all the vegies and stir fry for a minute. Add a little bit of water, cover with a lid for a minute. Add rice mix and sprinkle with dark soya sauce (I prefer the mushroom soy). The bacon and the soya sauce are salty so no need to add any. Heat through and serve.

Because there are so many vegies in this dish, I only serve the ribs and rice with a tossed salad.

Peach Pie.. 'tis the season

Every year at this time, I tend to go a little overboard making peach pies for the freezer! As a matter of fact I was teased so much about the 13 pies I usually made that for the last 2 years I haven't made any... that is until today!

Here is my peach pie for the freezer recipe:

One basket of peaches made 2 pies. I like to freeze them uncooked and cook them the morning I plan to serve.

The pie crust is a recipe my friend Margot gave to me many years ago. I used to be intimidated making pie crust until this recipe came along.

Crust for 1 -8 inch pie (can be doubled)

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/3 plus 1 tbsp of shortening

  • ice water

Use a pastry blender to mix flour and shortening until the size of small peas. Add the water a few tbsp at a time and mix with a fork. Don't handle the dough excessively or it will become tough. As soon as you have just enough water to hold the crust together form into a ball with your hands and split into 2. Roll thinly and line your pie plate. Roll second ball for the top and cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.

Pie filling

  • Blanch 6-7 peaches in hot water for ~60 seconds, peel and slice into 1/2 inch slices, set aside in a medium bowl

  • In a 2 cup measuring cup add 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 tsp Cinnamon and a few grinds of freshly grated nutmeg. Use a fork to combine

  • Add mixture to peaches and mix with a spoon

  • Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over mixture and pour mixture into the pie shell

  • Dot lightly with ~a tbsp of butter and add top of pie shell

  • Crimp and mark with a "P" vent the rest of the pie, wrap well and freeze

  • To cook frozen pie, brush with and egg yolk, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for ~40 minutes or until golden brown

  • To cook immediately, follow same instructions and bake for 15 minutes in a 435 oven, reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook fro ~35 minutes or until nicely browned and peach juice bubbles through the top

  • Serve with ice cream... delicious

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barbecued pork chop for 2 with -leftover cream sauce

You may remember the cream sauce I served with the beef tenderloin for Barbara's birthday? Well, there was a lot of sauce left over and I didn't want to waste it, so I decided to season the pork chops similarly to the beef marinade and use the tasty sauce as a gravy... It was awesome!
Fresh corn on the cob, red bliss potatoes and green beans made the dinner complete.

I seasoned 2-1/2 inch chops with 2 cloves of minced garlic and a tsp. of minced ginger and salt and pepper.

I made the nightly trip to the herb garden for some lemon thyme...lots of it! In a foil lined pie plate add fresh red bliss potatoes cut into ~ 1 inch peices and season with the lemon thyme, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Montreal steak spice and salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh corn on the cob was husked and seasoned with oil and chopped oregano from the herb garden (I added the bits of left over lemon thyme) and salt and pepper.

Freshly picked beans (not from my garden, I grow herbs, they're like weeds you know!), wrapped in foil seasoned with a little butter, salt and pepper...(when finished squeeze with juice of a lime).
Frank's turn now to the barbecue...

Start the potatoes on a medium high barbecue... fresh potatoes take much longer to cook even though they are cut up. ..Be sure to turn them frequently. After 40 minutes add the corn, beans and the chops to the grill . Turn the corn frequently as it caramelizes. The rest of the dinner should take~ 15 minutes on a medium high heat. The meal comes off the grill at the same time! Roll the corn in the left over herb mix before you serve... Heat the leftover creamy parsley "whiskied" sauce in the microwave and sauce the chops. Sueeze a fresh lime over the green beans and serve with a tossed salad with Italian dressing... hmm hmmm good!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sausage Tortellini

This is a great dinner which you can prepare in advance and makes full use of my herb garden! My sister Marcie passed this one on to me quite some time ago. I think it has a little variation since I first tried it.

Sausage Tortellini

  • 1 small package of 3 cheese tortellini

  • 2 medium zuchinis, 1 green, 1 yellow

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 4 browned hot (or mild) Italian sauage cut in 1 inch pieces

  • a handful of freshly chopped oregano leaves

  • a handful of freshly choppedItalian parsley

  • 3 tbsp chopped basil

  • 1 -28 oz can of diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

  • salt and pepper and a dash of hot chili peppers

In a skillet on medium heat, saute onions, garlic and zuchini and until soft. Add herbs, salt, pepper and hot chilis. Cook a couple of minutes for flavours to blend. Add tomatoes with sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Spread the uncooked tortellini in the bottom of a pyrex dish 8 by 11 by 2 inches, distribute the sausage amongst the pasta. add the tomato sauce, cover with grated cheese and cover tightly with aluminum foil which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes and serve hot with a salad and garlic bread.

The house shrimp!

It seems to me I spoke about the house shrimp when I entered my very first posting. The dish is simple to prepare, very tasty and can be partially prepared in advance for those of you who don't like hanging around the kitchen when everyone else is having a good time!
Typically I only serve 6 per person but this night was and exception.

The House Shrimp

-1-1/2 pounds tail on large frozen uncooked shrimp (I use Costco's 20-25 per bag, peeled, tail on)
-1 small finely chopped shallot
-1 minced clove of garlic
-1/4 cup butter
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
-1 oz hot cognac (it's easier to flame when it's hot)!
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 cup whipping cream

Thaw shrimp in cold water, remove tails and pat dry with paper towel.
Saute the shallots in the butter on a medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute only. Remove from heat, heat cognac and light. Add to shrimp toss shrimp in flames. Shrimp must be undercooked at this point!!
Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Return skillet to medium high heat, add wine, lemon juice and cream. Reduce to 1/3 quantity. Add shrimp and heat through (~ 2 minutes). Serve immediately garnish with dill or parsley zest of a lemon or anything you have which will add some colour.

If you prepare this dish in advance. After you toss the shrimp in the cognac and remove them from the pan, refrigerate the shrimp. You can reduce the sauce and refrigerate the reduced sauce until serving time. Bring the shrimp to room temperature, reheat sauce and add shrimp to hot sauce for 2 minutes and serve!