Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

Finally, no more ham! I avoided pork entirely at the grocery store. I really felt like chicken and I had pineapple tidbits in the fridge so a curry was screaming to be made. Peas always go great with curry but frozen peas while nice, aren't as good as fresh. So I bought a pack of snow peas as well. I had 3/4 of a red pepper in the fridge so I didn't need anything else.  

I wanted to see if I could put this on the table in under an hour.  First I put the rice on to cook and washed the pepper and peas. Then boned the breasts and put the skins on to fry crispy for the dogs. I cut the meat into cubes, salted it and sprinkled flour over all.  I tossed the chicken pieces in the flour to coat them evenly.  I cut up a shallot, took the tips off the peas, julienned the pepper and everything was ready to go.  

I put the shallot in the pan first and sweated it to translucent, then I added the peas and pepper. I added a splash of chicken stock to steam them briefly then removed all from the pan.  More oil and in went the chicken.  I kept adding oil as the pan dried out so it didn't scorch. The chicken needs to be seared on all sides to seal it. When the sear was done I added a tablespoon of curry powder and rolled the meat around in it. Next a half can of coconut milk went in and the heat brought up to a serious boil.  The coconut milk needs to reduce a bit or the dish will be curry soup.

When the curry has thickened add the vegetables back in, add some pineapple pieces and a teaspoon or two of oyster (or fish) sauce. I bring this umami ingredient into the dish to broaden the flavour base. Serve the curry over the rice and take a bow. It took a couple of minutes less than an hour to go from opening the fridge to serving the meal.

This was one of my best curries.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hawaiian Pizza

I finally used up the last of the ham in this pizza.  (Actually I couldn't get all the ham on the pizza so the dogs finished the very last scraps. Just so I don't have a Mayor Ford sometime in the future.) The cheese is fresh made mozzarella and I made the crust as well. The cheese was my first batch with the microbial rennet and I didn't get it quite right because the taste was good but the texture was not quite right. So I won't document the cheese yet. The pizza crust was wonderful though. 

Pizza Dough

1 1/4 cup flour (I use all-purpose with 1/8th cup exchanged for wheat gluten)
1/2 cup water - luke warm
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast

Mix together salt and flour. Combine water, honey and yeast, let stand a few minutes. Pour liquid into flour and mix with dough hook or a fork. If it's sticky add flour, if it's too dry add a teaspoon of water. Form into a ball and kneed for what seems like 5 minutes. Swab the inside of a bowl with olive oil and put the dough in it.  Place in a warm spot for an hour or until the dough doubles in size.

I had limited success tossing and spinning the dough but pulling and stretching it by hand worked just fine. Once it's pulled into shape brush the inside with olive oil.  Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the olive oil.  Spread thinly sliced ham around and a layer of pineapple bits (from a can, fresh is too acidic). Finally, generously spread grated mozzarella over everything. Bake at 400ºF for twenty minutes or until the cheese is browned. 450ºF might be better if the cheese texture is correct. I'm still experimenting. Fern bought me a pizza stone from All-Clad and a wooden pizza paddle. The two tools together make baking pizza a lot easier.

The pizza was terrific.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Prawns and Pasta with Secret Sauce (Mezzetta Tomato Basil)

I must admit this photo is not last night's dinner, it is the last time I took a photo of this dish. I don't make the sauce so I don't always photograph it. I decided to write about it since it is becoming a regular. All I have to do is thaw out a few frozen raw prawns, fry them in butter and garlic, add a jar of Mezzetta Napa Bistro Tomato Basil Sauce.  When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and add to the sauce. Toss and serve grated parmesan on top. Pretty much anyone can put this together and wow their guests. I make it when I'm home late, it's fast and delicious.

To thaw out prawns just soak in cold water. Running water speeds it up a bit but may wash away flavour. Buy black prawns, they have better flavour. I get a kilo bag of the same prawns the restaurants use from the butcher. We don't have a fish monger in town.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ham and Corn Chowder with Beef Tenderloin

One would think beef tenderloin would be the star of any meal including it but here it is out shone by leftovers. I'm still using up the leftover ham and tonight's dish is Ham Corn Chowder. Since there is potato in the chowder I decided to forego a starch on the plate. Good thing too as when I ate this I was quite full, otherwise I would have had another bowl of chowder. 

I decided to make chowder first then I decided what to have with it, so this is possibly the first meal where I've chosen each component to go with all the others. I went shopping knowing I was making chowder and needed beef to go with it, only the cut was left to decide. Tenderloin turned out to be the best value today. I wanted broccoli with the beef and I always seem to manage to get carrots on the plate too. The corn chowder is sweet and so are the carrots so care had to be taken not to end up with a savoury dessert! The tenderloin was done on the BBQ in 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides. It was seasoned with salt and black pepper. The vegetables were steamed and finished in olive oil. I didn't over cook them this time so I'm quite proud of myself!

The chowder recipe is from TheDancingCook web site and I added red pepper for colour, chicken stock to broaden the flavour profile and white wine for a little acid.

Ham Corn Chowder

2 celery stalks diced
1/4 cup onion diced - I used one shallot
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 oz chicken stock
3 cups milk
2 cups cooked ham diced
2 cups diced potatoes - par boiled
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 can creamed corn
2 oz white wine
1/4 of a red pepper diced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp salt

Par boil the potatoes for a few minutes then drain. Sweat the onion in the butter, then add the celery and red pepper. Add the flour and cook it slightly then add the chicken stock and part of the milk and stir the lumps out.  Add the remaining milk and all the other ingredients.  Bring to a boil then simmer for at least twenty minutes.  I sprinkled more flour over top to thicken it. I used 1% milk for this and no cream so it's fairly lean too.

I was blown away by how good this is, I can't wait till lunch so I can have some more. The steak and vegetables were perfect but even so they paled next to the chowder.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


We haven't had our old standby for a while.  An onion, few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf and a carrot sweated in the pot then ground beef and two mild Italian sausages  browned.  A can of Hunt's tomato sauce and a can of Aylmer tomato soup.  If you can't find Aylmer tomato soup then use nothing or tomato paste. A different brand of soup will not work.

I sliced up some mushrooms and added them to the pot. It simmered for a couple of hours at least.  Rod the Yeti dropped in for a visit and stayed for dinner.  He thought the sauce was terrific. I guess I'm getting jaded because to me, it's just spaghetti.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicken Cordon Cheddar

I needed more chicken stock and we hadn't had chicken in a while so I picked up a couple of breasts.  I boned the breasts for stock and put the skins in the frying pan to crisp up for dog treats. I pounded the meat fairly flat and spread some leftover ground ham on it. Then I laid a small brick of Baldersons Extra Old cheddar. There is no point in doing all this work then putting no-name bargain bin cheese in it. Use your favourite. I rolled up the chicken and covered the outside with corn flour, forgetting that corn flour doesn't brown like wheat flour. I should have added white flour and pan seared the meat before putting it in the oven. Live and learn, again.

Fern isn't big on rich sauces so I left out the hollandaise and served with sweet vegetables instead. Fern also likes plain white rice but since I wasn't using a sauce I felt I needed to flavour the rice. I added 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning to the rice and put it on to cook.  When the rice was done I tasted it and the seasoning was front and centre with no supporting background, not particularly good. Also a bit dull, it needed some acid. I had some white wine in the fridge so I put about an ounce in the rice, mixed it and left it on the warm stove to hopefully infuse the rice. It's not always successful to put uncooked wine on cooked food so I kept my fingers crossed.

Fern tasted the rice first and said it's really good! Whew! I pulled that one out of the fire.  He liked the chicken too except he would have preferred some of the Brie instead of cheddar. He didn't mention the vegetables, but that's better than a negative comment!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ham and Parmesan Ravioli with Avocado and Crab Salad

I've been waiting for something good to make raviolis with and the ham was a great candidate.  I ground the ham up, a bit over half a cup.  I grated 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and mixed it into the ground ham.  

Fresh Pasta 

1 small egg
2/3 cup flour

Use a fork to mix the egg into the flour. When it can be made into a ball take it out and kneed it till it's mostly smooth. It should be very firm and not sticky.  If it's sticky, add flour.  Put in the fridge for half an hour at least. As the pasta is rolled out it gets sticky so small amounts of flour must be dusted on it as it's rolled. I roll mine to the second last stop on the machine. The last stop is so thin it's impossible to work with (or was when I was a newby).  I lay a piece over the mould, drop meat mixture into each pocket then lay another piece of pasta on top.  Gently press down the pasta to get the air out then use the roller to seal and make the edges. If you don't have a ravioli tray then simply put a teaspoon of meat on a piece of pasta, put pasta on top, press the air out and seal with your fingers.  Cut the raviolis out of the strip.

The sauce was simply Mezzetta Napa Valley Tomato Basil sauce. I can only make better sauce in late summer when the tomatoes are at their best. Just opening a jar of sauce does seem like cheating so I sliced up cremini mushrooms, fried them in butter and added them to the sauce. That was it for the pasta. The sauce always seems to let go of it's water on the plate but it sops up while it's being eaten.

The salad started out as crab, avocado and alfalfa but my sprouts were 2 days too late so I used a stick of celery instead.  An avocado, stick of celery, tablespoon of chopped fresh chives, olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and a can of crab all went into the salad. I tossed it up and served. I put a dollop of sour cream on mine just to see if it worked. Fern loved his salad as it was. I liked both, with and without sour cream.  Fern doesn't like creamy stuff too much so I wouldn't serve him the sour cream version. 

Fern said several times through the meal how good it was. He particularly liked the crab salad, which really surprised me. He said the raviolis were perfect and tasted wonderful. Never before have a I tried two new dishes in one meal and had them both succeed. It feels good to see that.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Honey Garlic Chicken with Ham Fried Rice

I have to keep finding new ways to use up that ham Fern bought. I found a recipe using ham in fried rice so I decided to try it. I cut up a slice of ham, stick of celery, shallot and several mushrooms.  To go with it I decided to make honey garlic chicken.  I bought skinless boneless chicken thighs because they were the best deal and the meat is the best tasting on the bird. I cut up the meat, salted and coated it with a little flour, ready to go in the pan.

I started by sweating the vegetables for the fried rice in rice oil and a little sesame oil and browning the chicken in it's pan. I added the ham to the vegetables and tossed them together.  I kept turning the chicken so it didn't burn. Once the chicken was browned all over I added a clove of smashed garlic and the rice in the other pan.  Add soy sauce to the rice while tossing.  Add a splash of stock, teaspoon of lemon juice and tablespoon of honey to the chicken. When the honey has reduced to a thick sauce serve beside the fried rice.

We have a very good Vietnamese Restaurant in town and the distinguishing characteristic of it's food is that each dish tastes different. That is what I achieved here without really trying.  It was definitely ham fried rice, no mistaking that flavour.  The honey garlic chicken was good, not too sweet and tasted completely different from the rice. The only criticism I have is the chicken should have had a little cayenne for a bit of heat, then it would have been perfect.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ham, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Onions Baked in a Cheese Sauce

Fern bought a ham yesterday, 2kg for $10, a really good deal! I bought a cauliflower and I already had shallots and Balderson's Extra Old Cheddar and of course, potatoes. I thinly sliced the potatoes and laid them on the bottom of 9x13 pan. I laid 2 shallots diced over them and mixed them in a bit.  Then I covered the potatoes with a layer of thin sliced ham.  Over that was a layer of cauliflower and then I poured cheese sauce over everything. I covered it with foil and put it in a 375º oven for half an hour then took the foil off for another 45 minutes.

Cheese Sauce

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup chicken stock
1-2 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter and flour together and cook for a few moments. Remove from heat and add stock, whisk. Add milk, whisk, add salt, whisk. Back on the burner and when it's hot add the cheese.  When the cheese is all melted pour over the cauliflower, cover with foil and put in the oven.

This is comfort food so it doesn't have to be pretty. It does look a bit anaemic on the plate. I suppose a little parsley sprinkled over the top would have prettied it up a lot. A few green peas on the side would have looked nice too. By itself it tastes great and I just get lost eating it and forget the lack of colour.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cajun Chicken on Beet Green and Rice

I boned the two chicken breasts and made stock.  The skins I cooked to crispy for the dogs.  I salted then seasoned the breasts with Cajun rub. I had beet greens left over from the borscht.  Frozen corn. The rice I did in the microwave with salt and olive oil. The beet greens I steamed in a bit of chicken stock then sauteed with olive oil.  Butter and salt went on the corn when it was done.  The chicken I did on the BBQ for 25 minutes total cooking time.

The olive oil in the rice and beet greens brought them together and the cajun spice on the chicken brought it all into focus.  Fern and I both said several times while we were eating how good it was, I sucked mine up in no time.

This was really easy to make and it tasted great.

Cajun Spice 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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Borscht and Ginger Beef with Broccoli

Good thing I wasn't creating a menu to impress someone, borscht and stir fry? Well, Fern came home from the farmers market with a bunch of beets.  I don't like beets as a vegetable but I love borscht so it was almost pre ordained. I was planning on some kind of beef stew but when I got to the store the best value was some stir fry beef shavings.  Beef, ginger and broccoli is a favourite we haven't had for a while so I picked up some bean sprouts (Fern likes them), broccoli, mushrooms and ginger as well. I put some sour cream in my basket and headed out with not a single thought to the menu I planned.

When I got home I realized I was pairing Ukrainian and Asian dishes. I thought about the two flavour profiles and decided if I used only sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger in the beef the flavours wouldn't clash. So that's what I did. I sweated a shallot and a clove of garlic then added salt, paprika and the cubed beets and covered them with beef stock. I let that simmer for an hour then serve it with a dollop of sour cream. Simple and satisfying.

Next I sweated a shallot and two cloves of garlic. Then I seared the sliced mushrooms followed by the beef.  I had the broccoli steaming so it could be added at the last minute and rice cooking in the microwave. I put the bean sprouts in with the beef and tossed it together. I sprinkled half a teaspoon of flour over the pan to thicken it a bit. I added soy sauce and grated ginger to the pan and finally the broccoli.  I served over the rice. It was very good. I wouldn't say it was a harmonious pairing but it wasn't obnoxious either and we both finished full. The dogs loved both the food and the more food.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last of the Summer Tomatoes with Prawns

There was a platter of tomatoes left over from Fern's canning spree and clearly we wouldn't eat them all before they rot. So I did something I've never done before.  I spent an hour and a half scalding tomatoes and removing the skins and seeds.  I sweated a shallot, carrot and couple of smashed garlic cloves then cooked the tomatoes for a while on lowish heat to soften them up then I used the immersion blender to liquefy them. I had close to three hours to simmer the sauce so I kept the heat low and lid on till I was ready to boil off the excess water.

The only things added to the sauce were salt, black pepper and a tablespoon of dried basil.  Fresh would have been better but frost has killed it. I could have boiled off more water but I notice water on the plate when I used the commercial sauce so I think the pasta strains it out.

After all the work the sauce wasn't as good as Mezzetta Napa Bistro because the tomatoes just didn't have the punch of vine ripened late summer ones. Fresh basil would have helped also but I had what I had. I fried the prawns in butter and garlic then added them to the sauce to finish. The prawns had good flavour but over all the sauce was a bit anaemic.  I'll have to try this with beautiful fresh summer tomatoes and see if I can outdo Mezzetta. I'll boil more liquid off too.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pork Tenderloin Souvlaki-ish

I forgot to photograph the plate before I started eating but it was so good I had to capture and write about it. Fern was coming home from a trip to Vancouver so I had to have something flexible in timing. I was thinking of chicken, maybe a curry, till I saw the pork tenderloin and decided on souvlaki.  When I got home I cut the tenderloin into large pieces, chopped up two tablespoons fresh oregano and 3 cloves garlic and combined that with a tablespoon oil and 2 or 3 ounces white wine to make a marinade.  I salted and peppered the pork then put it in the marinade. A little extra salt in the marinade and put it in the fridge till dinner time.  

Plain white rice is fairly flexible about being served and so is salad.  I put rice in the microwave and cut up a handful of cherry tomatoes.  I peeled, sliced and quartered a small cucumber and chopped some chives.  All that into a large bowl with feta cheese, black olives, a dash of olive oil, rice oil and lemon juice. Add salt, black pepper and toss. I usually put soy sauce on my rice but this time I left it plain to see how the meat flavoured the rice. Glad I did, it was wonderful!

Three times during the meal Fern said it was really good, I usually only get one 'it's good'! I'm fairly certain it was my Chardonnay that leant this dish it's spectacular flavour. It costs me about $5 per bottle at the U-Vin shop with Wine Expert kits. All I had to do was add the yeast at the beginning and bottle it at the end, they do all the rest. The quality is outstanding, far better than I expected. I'm so glad I gave them a try! This meal justifies the investment.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rib Steak for One

Fern is away for a couple of nights so rib steak was mandated. This time, my steak was over 550gm. A pound is only 454gm.  So, in a totally uncharacteristic move, I cut the steak in half.  There was still more than enough on each plate.  This is the second half.  Last night I had the first piece with potatoes, squash and corn. I left the potato off tonight to try to save my waistline.

The steak was BBQ'd in my usual 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks. The broccoli was microwaved and squash roasted with olive oil. I did get the wonderful taste of cooked olive oil on the acorn squash but the flavour didn't go as well as butter. It seemed like the squash was too sweet against the olive oil. Next time I'll use butter.

I managed to get the broccoli perfect, right out of the microwave. Usually it's a bit mushy. The steak, with salt and black pepper, was perfect. I didn't miss the starch at all.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mustard Pork Chop

I originally planned a souvlaki type dinner but I was busy late in the afternoon so I never got to it. Instead I seasoned the chops with salt, paprika and mustard powder.  Just a light dusting, then into a well oiled pan.  The rice was plain and done in the microwave. Carrots and frozen peas round out the plate.  I did them in the microwave too, but I added olive oil and chicken stock so they had some real flavour.

I fried the chops till they had a good sear on both sides but were still 5 minutes from being done.  Then I coated them in prepared mustard (French's in my case but any hotdog mustard will do) and cooked that into both sides.  I did turn the heat down a little when the mustard went on so it browned but didn't burn. I served my chops over rice.  Finally, a plate that isn't arranged like a tv dinner!

I always enjoy this simple meal.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Dinner Party!

My next door neighbours came over for dinner last night.  They supplied the lamb leg and I supplied the wine.  This is my Valpolicella from Westview U Brew U vin. I hoped it would be good for cooking so I wasn't expecting much in the quality department. I used to make my own wine and my last batch of Valpolicella was phenomenal after ageing 3 years. This batch was supposed to rest another week or two but I needed some red for the lamb.  So I opened it early and added it to my recipe. I didn't taste it till my guests arrived. When I poured it into a glass and took a sip I was astonished at how good it was! It was easily as good as that last batch and will be far better when it's aged a little. I was hoping to get $12 per bottle wine quality and it is easily $20 wine or better. It cost $5 per bottle to make so now I can afford to cook with good wine every day if I want to. Time will tell.

Roast Lamb 

1/4 cup lemon juice
8 cloves garlic minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 lamb leg or leg roast

Wet the roast with lemon juice then salt it all over.  Coat the entire roast in the garlic/rosemary mash then sprinkle the pepper evenly all around. Put the roast on a rack in a pan, the lemon juice poured in the pan as well.  I always use a meat thermometer so I inserted that and put the roast in a 400ºF oven for 30 minutes, then turn it down to 325ºF for about an hour. I cooked it to 155ºF.  When it's done let it rest with foil over top till time to carve. If you don't let a roast cool down, all the moisture will escape as steam when it's carved, making the meat dry and tasteless. 


1 cup chopped fresh rosemary, parsley and chives
2 cups diced onion
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine

Put these ingredients into the roasting pan with the lamb juices and put it on high heat to reduce to a sauce. Spoon a little sauce over the lamb on the plate and serve.  

The plate was completed with mashed potato and carrots and broccoli done in the steamer.  I finished the vegetables in the pot with olive oil but I put them in too early and they were over done.

I haven't had great luck with lamb so far so I chose a simple but good sounding recipe. Fern gave me a bunch of advice about how his mother used to make hers and he was a little pinched I didn't do it that way. Timing was the key thing here and I got it wrong.  I had my broccoli and carrots in the pot with olive oil too early so by the time I served, they were over done.  They tasted great with the cooked olive oil flavour, just a bit mushy.  The lamb was perfect. Fern said it was better than his mothers too! My neighbours were pleased I did their lamb justice. Overall, it was a successful dinner party and I'll have another one sometime sooner or later.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Tomato Chicken Curry

I originally planned to BBQ the chicken breasts but when it got near dinner time I started to think a nice curry would suit the rainy evening better. I didn't have any coconut milk so my usual curry wasn't possible.  I do have lots of tomato paste though, so an Indian Butter Chicken style curry was certainly doable. 

I started by dicing everything up.  Trying to cut ingredients up while cooking other ingredients leads straight to failure.  Have everything ready to go and everything will go far more smoothly. The onions went in first, finely diced carrots were next. Salted and floured cubed chicken with plenty of oil next. When it had a nice sear all around I added the remaining vegetables and a tablespoon of curry powder. Stir it all around for a minute then add chicken stock and half a can of tomato paste.  (I used a whole can and it was too acid) 

Keep adding chicken stock till the sauce thins out.  When it's bubbling add a small hand full of pineapple pieces (leave out for more pungent curry) and some frozen peas.  When the peas are done it should be ready. Serve over basmati rice. I use basmati for everything, it has a slight floral note which is very appealing.

This was really good, I'll definitely make it again! It would have been even better with half the tomato paste. Raisins or a chutney can be used instead of pineapple pieces too. Curry tends to be a little bitter so a little sweetness usually improves the flavour.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beef Tenderloin

I was going to get chicken but Fern wanted two batches of ice cream made for a birthday meeting tonight so I wisely grabbed steaks instead.  I would usually have gotten something a little less prime but time was short and tenderloin looked like the best value. So I blew the budget on them and picked up mushrooms to go with them.  I fried the mushrooms in oil and butter. The vegetables were steamed till half done, then run under cold water to stop cooking.  

When the steaks went on the BBQ I put the vegetables on medium low heat with olive oil, salt and black pepper and regularly shook the pot so they reheated and cooked the oil evenly. Bario extra virgin olive oil has a bitter after taste that cooks off and leaves an amazing flavour behind. I just noticed that there is a bitter smell in the pot till it is cooked out of the oil. If extra virgin olive oil is over heated it becomes really bitter so, be careful. (that's why you don't fry with it!) 

The mushrooms were fried in rice oil and butter. The oil prevents the butter from burning. The steaks were seasoned with salt and black pepper, then barbecued over high heat for 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes, turn over, 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes and they're done with crossed grill marks. A watch with a timer function is really helpful here.

Here's my BBQ shelter, it's right out the kitchen door. In spring I open it a few panels at a time as it warms up outside. Over the winter the storm vinyl covers the whole thing.   It has withstood hurricane force wind gusts and provides a warm wind proof shelter all winter long.  The forth enclosing side is visible on the right edge of the photo. Even though it has no door it is tens of degrees warmer in the shelter than outside it. It costs $30 to cover it in vinyl each fall. The vinyl is held in place with 1x2 's screwed down on top. It cost about $600 in materials to build the 5x8ft shelter. It keeps parsley, chives, oregano, thyme and rosemary growing slowly all winter and provides a comfortable place to sit in any weather.

That isn't this steak in the photo. Today's steak was wonderful as were the vegetables. I frequently over cook the vegetables but doing them the 'professional way' of stopping cooking with cold water then reheating in oil works perfectly every time. If the veggies are over cooked it's because I said to myself, "sure, I can time everything exactly so the veggies will be perfect at the exact moment I need to plate them!" and then failed to achieve that goal.