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!