Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BBQ Chicken on Spanish Rice

I have no idea what is really in Spanish Rice so I use the term loosely. More properly this was cleaning out the fridge and am I glad I did, it tasted fantastic! I picked up a breast from Mitchell's and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.  At the last minute I decided BBQ sauce and tomato rice of some sort. Plan in hand, off to the kitchen.

BBQ Sauce

2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp   prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp blue agave syrup (sugar)
fresh ground mixed pepper

Roll the chicken in it and put on the BBQ on low for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Spanish Rice

1/3 cup Basmati Rice
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp  salt
1 tsp    olive oil


Stir in Fern's home made salsa, or any good salsa will do. Put it in the oven to warm while the beans cook. I wasn't sure how salsa rice would come out but it worked perfectly.

I boiled the fresh local beans and finished them in butter and black pepper.

The rice was surprisingly good. The beans were like from heaven and the chicken was so good it ate itself. If I'd known I could make BBQ sauce that tasted this good, I would have been making it all the time. I didn't even taste it before I used it, so this was a special surprise. My plating is even starting to look like the chef isn't a Neanderthal!

Home Made Red Wine Vinegar

Have you ever noticed that good red wine vinegar actually costs a fair amount? I have. It costs me about $9Cdn for a decent half litre. My U-brew wine costs about $3 for that much so it's worth doing. All you need is 'mother'. Mother is the yeast that turns alcohol into vinegar. You probably can't buy it locally so you have to develop your own which is quite easy. Buy a bottle of unpasturized apple cider vinegar. It has live yeast culture. 

Turn the bottle of cider upside down and let the particulate settle into the neck. Then holding it upside down open the top and let 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cider vinegar and particulate out into a bowl or wide mouth glass container like I have there. Add half a bottle of red wine to the cider vinegar. Cover with cheese cloth to keep flies out and put in a dark cupboard. In 4 to 6 weeks, give it a smell, it should smell like vinegar. Give it a taste to see how far along it is. When it's ready just bottle and use it as is. Use this first batch as the 'mother' for your next batch.

Mine still continued to work after I bottled it so a bit of gas popped out when I opened it. I make sure to open the bottle every day so the pressure doesn't build up and explode the bottle. I started with a wonderful tasting wine and the vinegar is better than anything I've tried from the store, at any price.

Pork Souvlaki

Pork Souvlakis from Mitchell's are really good and cost less than $4 each. I brush them with oil and BBQ them.  The rice is basmati cooked with salt, olive oil and a few drops of home made red wine vinegar. (lemon juice works too, or any vinegar. Food has better flavour when it is slightly acidic.)

Fresh green beans were steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil and salt. The beans at Save On look awful sad so I bought these at Mitchell's. They are organic, local, fresh and are the best tasting beans I've ever had. 

The salad looks pretty tired. The lettuce has been in the bin a day too long. I mixed olive and canola oil, salt, black pepper, red wine vinegar and at the last second I squeezed 2 teaspoons of tomato ketchup. Half the ketchup would have been better but the dressing was good anyway. It's a nice change from plain vinaigrette.

A very nice meal. I didn't season the meat myself but today I removed a couple of pounds of fur from the dog in a major grooming. I vacuumed the house and washed the floors and a few other chores so I did enough today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Salisbury Steak

I didn't want to buy another rib steak so I went for ground beef and ground pork, 2 to 1. I added bread crumbs, salt, black pepper and an egg to the meat. I should have used 1/3 of an egg so it had too much but it didn't ruin the flavour. I fried the meat patties on the stove and added the mushrooms to the pan when the meat was done.  I seared the mushrooms and added a packet of Bovril beef stock, few drops Worcestershire Sauce and half a cup of water.  That made a nice thin gravy so I added about 1/2 a teaspoon of tapioca flour to thicken it. After I put it in I remembered it was very sweet so I hoped that didn't ruin a beef dish. It didn't, the gravy was perfect consistency and the flavour was terrific. Next time I'll use a less sweet thickener just in case. I didn't use flour because I didn't want that pasty taste.

Under all those mushrooms there is a meat patti and a pile of mashed potatoes. Nice fresh broccoli on the side with butter, salt and pepper and it's a complete meal. It was really good. Lean ground meat from Mitchell's is competitively priced and tastes like it should have cost more. I'll make this again but with half the mushrooms and maybe a little garlic, mustard powder and ketchup in the meat.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Breaded Pork Cutlet on Polenta

I wanted to try something new and Fern doesn't like trying new food unless it tastes phenomenal. That's nearly impossible on the first attempt so I wait till he's away. The pork cutlet is from Save On Foods.  Their breading lends a better taste to the meat than the better quality meat from Mitchell's. I used to shop for price. Now I shop for taste, but I try to buy specials when available.

Polenta is boiled corn grit porridge, yum. I cooked it with salted water but should have used stock. Once cooked I added butter and milk to thin it out. I tasted it and it was bland, boring and not better than potatoes. I grated some parmesan cheese and that picked it up. It was better than potatoes, just barely. Next time I'll use stock and less cheese to hopefully get a tasty treat from this simple ingredient. 

Regular store bought apple sauce on the cutlet. The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil and salt. I'll definitely have polenta again, it's easy and tasty.

Another Rib Steak

I never got nice grill marks like that with the old Grill Chef BBQ. It had 3/8in thick grill bars that didn't seem to get hot enough to sear the meat much. Anyway, the usual 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes, turn over, 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes and it's done gives beautiful grill marks on both sides and it's perfectly medium rare. I turned the heat down from high as well, which I couldn't do with the old BBQ, it wouldn't get hot enough. The new BBQ is a Char Broil brand and it's the best BBQ I've had so far. This is my 5th propane BBQ.

The steak is really large so instead of potatoes I made vegetables on cream corn I had left. Salt, black pepper on the steak and butter, salt and pepper on the veggies. Despite looking a bit like something's missing, it filled me up and tasted great.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wannabe Crab Quiche

I had far too many eggs in the fridge so I decided to make a quiche.  I picked up some imitation crab because it tastes plausibly crab like and it's cheap.  I had whipping cream and cream cheese in the fridge.

Pie Crust

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 tbsp corn flour - to lower gluten level
1/3 cup butter
1 egg - beaten +
few drops rice vinegar and cold water to make one cup

Put flour, corn flower and salt in Food Processor.  Cut butter into small pieces and put in processor. Process just long enough for the butter to be broken into small pieces like course oatmeal. Over processing makes the crust tough. Cool the dough then roll out and put in pie plate. Puncture with fork and if you have some put parchment and beans or rice to press the pie crust flat while it cooks.  Cook till it starts to brown. I didn't weight my crust with beans so it flaked up when it cooked.  

4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/3 lb cream cheese
200 gm imitation crab
1/4 tsp thyme

Put crab in cooked shell. Add beaten eggs and cream and drop cream cheese pieces into eggs. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or till the center is cooked. 

I forgot to season the quiche with thyme and pepper so don't forget them! I'm going to heat some up for lunch right now!