Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pork Chow Mein

An easy stir fry. I finely diced and caramelized half an onion together with the mushrooms and carrots. Then the remaining onion, diced large together with the green pepper and celery were added and sweated. A few drops of sesame oil, then the cubed pork left from the roast was added with the sugar snap peas. I sprinkled a teaspoon of beef stock powder over the pan and half a teaspoon of flour. I cooked the flour taste off for a minute, tossing the pan. Then added 1/4 cup water and toss to coat. A dash of soy sauce to season. 

Drop the chow mein noodles in a pot of boiling water and immediately turn it down as it will boil over. Boil the noodles for a couple of minutes till softened. They can be plated directly and topped with the main dish or they can be fried with soy sauce for more flavour. They can also be put directly into the pan with the rest and served as one dish.

I haven't done a stir fry for a while and I really enjoyed it.

Roast Pork with Turnip and Mushroom Gravy

A lovely pork loin from Mitchell's, brined in salt water and molasses for a hour or so then roasted at 325F.  Turnip simmered for an hour and finished with butter, salt and pepper. The potatoes were mashed and finished with salt, butter and milk. The peas were frozen and microwaved then finished with butter, salt and pepper.

When the roast was done I took it out of the pan and set it on the cutting board under aluminum foil for twenty minutes. If you don't let a roast rest out of the oven all the moisture in the meat will escape as steam when you carve it. The meat will be dry and flavourless. If you let it rest it will be moist and delicious.

In the roasting pan I seared the mushrooms and added a teaspoon of flour. I cooked the flour taste off then added a teaspoon of beef stock powder, a tablespoon of milk and half a cup of water. Cook it down into a nice consistency, incorporating the pan drippings. Add pepper and maybe a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce if you like. A few drops of Tabasco can perk it up too. Mostly it's the fat from the pork that makes the gravy taste good.

A really good cold weather meal.

Chicken Curry

This is the second half of Garden Gate Spices chicken curry package. This time I caramelized the onion and generally went a little beyond the basic instructions to get the most out of my ingredients. Also I used a whole can of coconut milk and reduced it rather than use half a can. The extra creaminess was a nice improvement. 

This makes a slightly better tasting curry than the Madras Curry I usually use. I'm not sure it's worth the extra money unless it's only an occasional meal. I'll use both again in future.

Breaded Pork Cutlet

Breaded pork cutlet from Mitchell's. I like them. Fern finds them a little dry, a gravy or condiment solves that problem. In this case I'm using Fern's home made tomato ketchup. It's like a tomato chutney and wonderful on less expensive cuts of pork. All you have to do is get an oiled frying pan hot and fry till nicely browned.

Mashed potatoes which are boiled, drained, mashed, buttered, salted, milked and whipped with a fork.

Brussel's Sprouts were steamed, cooled quickly in cold water and reheated in olive oil and salt.

A nice simple meal. Probably would be better in front of a fireplace.

Shake'n Bake Chicken with Instant Everything

I wanted to see if I could put together a decent meal with packaged foods. This is a skinless chicken breast coated with Shake'n Bake. Uncle Ben's traditional sage stuffing mix and Idahoan potatoes au gratin. The Greek Salad was all the regular fresh ingredients.

The chicken breast was a bit dry and tasteless. Shake'n Bake definitely relies on the fat in the skin to help with the flavour. The skinless breast didn't produce the usual flavour so it was a bit insipid. Don't use Shake'n Bake on skinless chicken. 

The stuffing mix is almost impossible to screw up. It tastes ok and is a nice change from or addition to potatoes or rice.

The Idahoan potatoes tasted like aerosol cheese and not a premium brand. I wouldn't buy Idahoan Scalloped or Potatoes au Gratin again, they just aren't good enough to bother eating.

Greek salad was tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, black olives, cow feta and parsley with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to dress. It was good. Next to the potatoes it was heavenly.


We used to have spaghetti twice a week because it was one of the 5 meals I could make. Now it's when we feel like it. The sauce has ground beef, onion, carrot, celery, green pepper, mushrooms, green stuffed olives, a can of tomato sauce and a can of tomato paste. 2 cans of water for the paste and a couple of bay leaves.

Caramelize the onion. Sear the mushrooms. Brown the meat. Sweat the vegetables. Add the tomato sauce, paste and water. Simmer for an hour.

Fresh grated Italian parmesan on top, it makes a difference. Don't use domestic parmesan, you're cheating yourself if you do.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chicken Provencal

This is the second half of the Garden Gate Chicken Provencal spice mix I used the other day. There is a coating mix to shake the chicken in then fry it. Once the outside is crispy, add a 28oz can of tomatoes, cut up, and the second herb packet contents. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve with rice. I also steamed broccoli, cooled and reheated it in olive oil with some salt. For such a delicious meal it takes almost no effort.