Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pork Schnitzel


I'm sure glad I discovered Fern likes these seasoned pork cutlets! I don't know what Save On Foods seasons them with but they taste great and cook up beautifully. I succeeded marginally with tenderized cutlets but we both prefer these.  They are plated with mashed potatoes and asparagus.  I sprinkled lemon juice over the asparagus and butter.  The mashed potatoes had just salt, butter and milk.  Fern's tomato/pear ketchup is the condiment. The salad has the usual vinaigrette on it. It took less than 30 minutes to prepare this meal and it could easily fit on a restaurant menu. Fern did say he would have liked Hollandaise on the asparagus. Next time.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ham and Cauliflower in Cheese Sauce


I forgot to take a picture before I started eating last night so, for now, I've used a previous photo of the dish. I'll put up a new one after I eat more. 

This cheese sauce is the best I've ever made. I'll detail it last. I first diced an onion and sweated it till golden in an 8x12 pan (or lasagne pan). Then put a layer of thinly sliced ham on the bottom, about a pound or 450gm. Spread the onions over that then put a layer of thinly sliced potato over top. I used 5 small potatoes but any amount is fine. Finally, put a layer of cauliflower over everything.

Cheese Sauce

1/4 cup beef stock
1/4 cup white wine - I had Chardonnay open
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups grated cheddar cheese - fresh grated tastes best

Melt the butter and flour together and cook the flour taste off for a minute or two on medium+ heat. Don't brown it. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in stock and wine. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Add most of the grated cheddar and stir it in. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the cauliflower and pour the cheese sauce over everything.  Put in the oven at 350ºF for at least an hour and a half. The potatoes take forever to cook this way. I've tried par boiling them but they turn to mush spreading in the pan. Just keep an eye on it and if it's starting to over brown, turn the heat down to 250ºF.

The beef stock and white wine are the secret ingredients here. I usually don't have beef stock available so I use chicken stock but that is clearly a mistake. Cheddar and beef stock are perfect together. Campbell's has a new no salt added stock which is what I used. It's wonderful. The white wine is also a star here. It gave that hint of acidity usually missing in a cheese sauce. Together they sang.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spaghetti


I'm 59 and I've been making spaghetti sauce since I was a teenager. I just found a new way. As usual I sweated a diced onion, 3 cloves garlic and a carrot. Then browned the ground beef and mild Italian sausage.  At this point I would add a can of tomato sauce, costing more than $2. Instead I added a can of tomato paste, costing less than $1. I've tried that before but I added water and chicken stock. I make great chicken stock, but it doesn't make good tomato sauce. (a classic case of 'You can't get there from here.') Water alone just makes it anaemic so I tried beef stock. 

I had opened a litre the other day so the cost was spreading out. About a cup of stock and about a cup of water. I'm trying Campbell's new no salt added stock and I like it. I was buying the expensive brand because it had a lot less salt. Thank You Campbell's. This turned out a really great tomato sauce. Fern said it was good, he never guessed there wasn't tomato sauce in it. So it was a success. If I can spread the cost of the beef stock across several meals then it's cost conscious too.

This sauce also has a can of Aylmer Tomato Soup. It has a unique flavour that cannot be substituted. Any other brand will taste terrible. Aylmer or nothing. Once the sauce was cooking again I added the green peppers and sliced mushrooms. They would have benefited from sweating but I was in a hurry so they went in now, like I used to do before I learned what good food tastes like.

Served with fresh grated parmesan on top and a salad.

Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive oil 
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
mixed pepper
dot of Dijon mustard

This was as good as usual or maybe even better.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Garlic and Oregano


We seem to have replaced beef with fish because we haven't been eating more pork or chicken. It was a conscious decision to buy less beef but there was no plan for replacement. There are usually two or three types of fresh fish at the supermarket so, with more choice, I usually buy fish instead of chicken or pork. This time however, I felt like fatty, juicy, tasty pork. I picked a small tenderloin and cut it into large bite size pieces.  

Greeky Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 oz white wine
1/2 tsp salt
mixed pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

The vegetables were green pepper, mushrooms, onion and frozen peas. I didn't make a salad so I made extra vegetables. Served on plain rice.

I sweated the onion and garlic first, then added the pork. I had the pan hot to try to sear the meat on the outside. A losing battle but I managed to prevent it turning rubbery. The mushrooms went in after the meat and finally the green pepper and peas.

It was very simple but very good. Fern ate his whole plate without stopping. That means it's really delicious.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cajun Cod


Cod was on special so I bought two nice thick pieces.  I pulled the bones out with my fish pliers and seasoned the fillets with salt and my Cajun spice. Then I coated it in flour.  Fry in plenty of olive oil till flaky.  I steamed the vegetables then finished them in olive oil.  Plain old mashed potatoes, salt, butter and milk.

Cajun Rub

2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp paprika 
1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp freshly ground white pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground mustard

1/8 tsp ground cloves

Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Dot of Dijon mustard

Whisk and toss the salad in it.

It's a bit spicy but quite good. Southwest rub might be better next time.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Breaded Pork Culet


I decided on another Save On Foods pork cutlet for dinner.  Their seasoning is better than mine and the meat isn't pre chewed. I made mashed potatoes and broccoli steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. That leaves only the salad for creativity.  I decided to try some tomato paste in the salad dressing for a slightly different taste.  Fern saw the salad and asked if there was tomato paste in it.  He refused to eat or even taste the salad. I liked it so I don't think it's the food at fault.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Paprika Cod with Lemon White Wine Sauce


I was going to buy halibut at Save On Foods but after waiting several minutes for someone to attend the meat counter, I finally gave up and went to Safeway. There I bought cod instead. Save On butchers and packages their meat somewhere on the prairies and trucks it out. Doesn't sound like fresh meat to me. Usually their fish is better because it doesn't have to come from Manitoba. Unfortunately, the lack of need for local butchers leads to no need to man the meat counter. Anyone not wanting large pre-packaged meat is out of luck at Save On. Safeway always has at least two people working in the meat department so that's where I buy mine, usually.

:end rant.

Since I've been making a salad every night I started making only one vegetable with the entrée which makes plating much simpler.  Here I put my cod on saffron rice beside asparagus with lemon sauce over all. 

Saffron Rice

1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup rice
1 cup of water
2 tsp olive oil
6-10 saffron stigmas

Combine in a Pyrex bowl and put it in the microwave. I broke the ends off the asparagus and put it in the steamer basket. I  have an asparagus pot which is tall and narrow. At first I thought I had to fill it with water but quickly figured out I only need and inch or so of water in the bottom so  the asparagus can steam.

I seasoned the cod with salt, paprika and then coated with flour. The flour will brown where the herbs would scorch. It fried in olive oil till the fish started to flake. It was cooked through and not dry so that seems to be a good indicator with thick cod.

Lemon Sauce

1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 oz lemon juice
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white wine
salt

Melt the butter and mix with flour. Cook the flour taste off then remove pan from heat. Whisk in chicken stock, lemon juice, white wine, salt. Add water slowly till the sauce is a bit thinner than desired and put back on medium heat. Bring to simmer, turn down and add water as needed to keep the sauce the right consistency.

Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
dot dijon mustard
1 tsp ketchup - or 1/4 tsp tomato paste

Whisk and toss the salad in the dressing. Fern pointed out that ketchup is full of sugar so next time I'll use tomato paste.

The rice, cod, asparagus and lemon sauce all swam happily together on the plate. If I'd had a little fresh green garnish it could have been an expensive restaurant meal. The salad was nice, I like putting a bit of tomato in the dressing. This meal is what I mean by Eat Out In Every Night.