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".