Sunday, August 2, 2009

How this site came to be...

Well... This idea came up over breakfast in Sharbot Lake with my son and his girlfriend who were visiting from Newmarket. For those of you who don’t know, Sharbot Lake is in eastern Ontario, north east of Kingston and southwest of Ottawa.

Cooking has always been a hobby of mine and friends and family members are always asking me how I do the things that I do in the kitchen. You could say, cooking is my passion. Entertaining friends and family, with a delicious and well planned gourmet dinner, filled with multiple courses, may be terrifying for some people, but I love it. The most daunting part of that kind of enteraining for most people(I believe) is coming up with the ideas and or doing the research required to pull it off. I always put a lot of research into the dishes I make, and also do my best to ensure that I never serve the same thing twice, that is, except for the house shrimp, You'll have to come back to visit me here more often to find out about that! Before you close me off and move on, its not all about gourmet. Many of the things that are going to appear on this site are not always about gourmet dining. The recipes, presentations and uses for herbs and spices, can just as easy be applied to a casual dinner for you and your partner. Sometimes the hardest things to decide, is what do I serve my family for dinner tonight – besides Kraft dinner.

So never fear, I am here to save the day. As I was saying, all of this research is documented, just not online. I'm not very familiar with how all this works, however I am willing to give it a go and start sharing my adventures in the kitchen online with you.

Stay tuned as I have tons of ideas, and there will be many many updates to this site. If you enjoy good food, entertaining, and creative ideas in the kitchen, I think you'll enjoy living vicariously through my adventures in my lakeside country kitchen.

It was a beautiful week end, lots of sun and hot weather, a rarity for this summer. As a result, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen…. Why waste the good ole’ outdoors! Sharbot Lake was beautiful, the boat was calling and the beer was cold.

Dinner was simple and tasty on the barbecue. There were 4 of us. We had strip loin steaks, baby potatoes, green beans with hoisin sauce and a salad with oregano vinaigrette. One key ingredient is the “barbequer” – that’s Frank my husband. His most endearing quality is that he follows instructions without complaining. If the instructions aren’t clear - HE ASKS!

The strip loins (1 ½ inches thick) were marinated in

- generous amounts of freshly minced garlic

- generous shakes of Worcestershire sauce

- and a little shake of Montreal steak spice and salt and pepper to taste

Let the steaks sit quietly on your counter till room temperature, cook on a hot barbecue for about 5 minutes a side for rare beef.. Tent loosely with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes…..Succulent if I do say so myself!

Timing is everything! The potatoes were started on the barbecue half an hour before the steaks… Barbeque temperature about 400 degrees Fahrenheit - Start them low on direct heat for 20 minutes, then put them up on the rack for the remaining time. Turn them often.

Baby potatoes were seasoned as follows

-~30 baby potatoes (appetite dependent)!

-2 cloves freshly minced garlic

-a trip to my herb garden and a few sprigs of chopped rosemary were added

-just for fun I sprinkled a little “garlic plus” for good measure

-sprinkle with olive oil and mix it all up in a foil pie plate and barbecue for ~40 minutes (I don’t like a lot of clean up so I line my plate with tin foil, that way you get to use the plate over and over again)

The oregano vinaigrette can be made ahead and refrigerated. Put all of your ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup.

-extra virgin olive oil

-red wine vinegar

- a clove of garlic

-a squeeze of honey

-1 tsp of Dijon mustard

-salt and pepper

-another trip to my herb garden for a small handful of fresh oregano leaves, wash and dry

Now, depending on how large your salad is, will dictate how much oil and vinegar to add. I always use 2:1 ratio oil to vinegar. In this case I think I used ~1/3 olive oil. I like my dressings more on the tart side. Use a hand blender and swizzle the dressing it should thicken nicely.

Toss with an assortment of romaine, mescaline mix, (combined, 6-8 cups), a few chopped baby carrots, diced cucumber and a tomato for colour. You can use radishes if you like; I just didn’t have any in my fridge!

Now the green beans were cooked inside just as the steaks were about to be turned over on the barbecue.

-Use ~3 hands full of green beans

-in a bowl, add 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tsp freshly ground ginger, ~a tbsp. of rice wine vinegar, a few drops of sesame oil and ~a tbsp. of hoisin sauce. Combine.

In a large frying pan, medium high heat, add a few drizzles of olive oil and sauté the beans until they are tender crisp and little browned. Add your sauce and mix with tongs and empty into a heated plate.

Dinner is served, hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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