Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pork Cutlet - yes I'll eventually get tired of these but it hasn't happened yet.


This meal almost feels like cheating because I don't have to season and coat the cutlet. I put the potatoes on to boil first then set the carrots and broccoli in the steamer.  I cooled the veggies under running water when they were almost done so I could put finish them in olive oil, salt and pepper. The mashed potatoes were finished with salt, butter and light cream.  Plain old apple sauce is the condiment. A quick salad on the side.

Vinaigrette

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
few drops Worcestershire Sauce

This slightly more complicated vinaigrette was a nice change, I'll make it again.

Everything was perfect for a change, creamy potatoes, crisp vegetables and tasty pork. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Marinated Pork Stir Fry


We had tiger prawns on penne pasta yesterday so I looked for pork cutlets at Save On again but no luck. I picked up a pound of pork stir fry pieces instead. When I got home I took a cue from Mitchell's meat counter and made souvlaki. This was my best marinade yet! I've been buying breaded pork cutlets because I couldn't do better yet. This is better. A lot better.

Pork Marinade

3 cloves garlic
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp lemon juice

I think they marinated for 2 or 3 hours. I fried them in a large pan, making sure the thick pieces were cooked all the way through. Served with mashed potatoes and steamed carrot and broccoli that were finished in olive oil and salt. Just before plating I threw the green onions into the pork. Then plated everything. No salad so there's a heap of vegetables. 

The meat was absolutely wonderful. The caramelized  mustard pushed it up a notch or two.



Monday, December 22, 2014

Breaded Pork Cutlet


I'm getting really good at cooking these things. All the breading stays on both sides, amazing what a little practice can do. I think the plating is on the bus heading for downtown now. I tried something new with the rice.  I put half a cup of rice, cup of water and packet of Bovril Chicken Stock. Then when it was ready I folded in some fresh green onions. The carrots and frozen peas were cooked together in the microwave and finished with butter and salt. The condiment is apple sauce from a jar. The simple salad is from a bag and I made a simple dressing.

Vinaigrette

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp raspberry vinegar
big pinch salt

The rice was such a nice change that the frozen peas managed slide past without being noticed. A really nice easy meal.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Snapper With Carrot Salad


I went to the store intending to buy sole fillets only to find that sole was dear and snapper was on special. So of course I bought snapper! I checked the dates on the package and pressed the fish with a finger. Fresh fish will spring back when you press it. Rotting fish will retain the finger depression. If you buy the rotting fish it will taste unpleasantly fishy no matter how well it's prepared. These fillets had not even a hint of fishy taste. I seasoned them with salt, mixed pepper and dried thyme and fried them in plenty of oil.

I boiled the potatoes and steamed the broccoli. When the broccoli started to soften I ran it under cold water to stop cooking then when the fish went in the pan the broccoli went back in the pot with olive oil to reheat. 

The carrot salad was simply a carrot shredded, 1/2 cup dried apricots diced small, 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted. A sprig of parsley diced finely. Fern doesn't like sweet dishes unless they are dessert so I had to be careful with the vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp rice wine vinegar
salt

Balance the sweetness of the carrots with the vinegar and it will all taste wonderful. Fern even said he would like that salad again and he doesn't usually like carrot salads. This fish was perfectly delicious.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Turkey Roll


Why turkey just before Christmas? It was on special and I needed dog food. Lucky dog. I seasoned it with salt, mixed pepper and poultry seasoning and brushed it with oil. I put bay leaves and some rosemary springs on top and put it in a 350º oven for 2 1/4 hours. 

I also diced up a turnip and carrot and boiled them for an hour then mashed with butter. Frozen peas done in the microwave. Uncle Ben's traditional stuffing mix instead of potatoes. A small side salad.

Vinaigrette

1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp raspberry vinegar
salt
mixed pepper

Whisk and toss the salad in it and plate.

It was delicious and the dog is ecstatic.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Breaded Pork Cutlet


I'm getting pretty good at this meal, Save On Foods breaded pork cutlet. I managed to keep the breading on the meat on both sides. Those nugget potatoes are a really nice change from mashed. Brussel's Sprouts were steamed, cooled under cold water and reheated in olive oil with a pinch of salt. Plain old apple sauce for condiment. The secret to frying is to get the pan hot before food goes in it. The bottom should be covered with oil and 1-3 teaspoons should collect on the edge when the pan is tilted.

Vinaigrette

2 tsp olive/canola oil
1 tsp raspberry vinegar (or any vinegar or lemon juice)
pinch salt
mixed ground pepper

Whisk, drop in salad fixing, toss and serve. 

The cutlet was crunchy, potatoes buttery, sprouts firm and tasty and the salad was from a bag so I can't expect too much from it.  Even so, it's great to finish a meal with a small salad. My middle age digestive tract loves it. 

I had this ready in twenty minutes but had to hold off finishing because Fern was taking a nap. That is almost as fast as fast-food! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry


Lots of vegetables, that is what we both need at this time of year. A stir fry is one of the easiest ways to get lots of vegetables into one meal. I finely diced half a small onion and started sweating it.  I diced the chicken breasts, other half onion, a stick of celery, a carrot, green pepper, 6 mushrooms and baby bok choy. I put a heaping teaspoon of flour on the chicken pieces and toss them around in it to coat them. 

First I sweated and slightly browned the finely diced onion.  Then I added the floured meat. When the meat had a light sear all around I took it from the pan. Next I seared the mushrooms and cooked the carrot in the microwave when the rice was done. I slowly added all the ingredients and kept tossing them. I added a few drops of fish sauce and some sesame oil. When the green pepper was softening I added the meat back in.  A handful of cashews. and finally some soy sauce to season the whole thing.  
This was a great meal and we'll finish it off for lunch. It works well with leftover turkey as well!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pork Cutlet


This time of year I can forgive myself for not spending a lot of time cooking dinner. This is about the fastest large meal I can make.  The potatoes go in water and boil for 20 minutes then put salt and butter on them. The fresh carrots and frozen peas are done in the microwave. The cutlet was seasoned by Save On Foods so all I had to do was fry it. The salad is from a bag of Fresh Express Garden Mix. For $1.67 I get enough to make 4 salads so all I have to do is whip up a ...

Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp raspberry (or other) vinegar - to make put fresh raspberries in white vinegar for a few months
salt
mix pepper

Whisk and toss. 

The secret to frying is start with a hot pan and enough oil. I use a 12" All Clad pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and canola oil so the bottom is oiled and there is a teaspoon reserve. I get the pan hot but not smoking. A drop of water should bounce around. When the pan is hot, tip it to coat the bottom with oil and lay the cutlets in pan. Watch the edge of the cutlet, when it is brown, turn them over. If the pan dries out add a little more oil. Too much oil makes the cutlet greasy. Not enough and the breading sticks to the pan. It takes about 6 minutes one side and 4 minutes the other, but it entirely depends on the particular cutlets you are cooking. So don't time them, watch them.

Plain old store bought apple sauce is the condiment.  This meal practically makes itself in less than half an hour and it tastes light years better than a tv dinner.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ham and Cauliflower with Cheddar Cheese Sauce


Ham and cheddar were on special over the last week, too bad cauliflower wasn't, but two out of three ain't bad. All I did here was thinly slice the potatoes and par cook them. The cauliflower I steamed till it softened a bit.  Ham all thinly sliced. Potatoes on the bottom, then a layer of ham and the cauliflower on top.  Cheese sauce over top and cover with grated cheddar.

Cheese Sauce

2 tsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar
3 cloves garlic finely diced

Melt the butter into the flour, add the garlic and let it bubble for a minute to cook the flour taste off.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the milk.  Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Add 1/3 of grated cheese and melt into sauce.  Add another 1/3 of cheddar, mix it in.  The cheese sauce should be too thick because it will thin from water in the dish components. Pour the sauce over all and top with grated cheddar.  

Bake at 325ºF for up to an hour. Once the cheddar has a little colour it's done enough.

This is a dish from Fern's childhood, it's simple but tasty and filling for cold winter days.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cajun Snapper


The last time we had snapper I didn't check the freshness and it tasted fishy. Not encouraging. This time I checked the dates, this was the freshest. Then I pressed it with a finger. It sprang back. If it's been sitting there for two days it won't spring back. Don't buy it if it doesn't spring back. Besides making sure it's fresh, the bones have to come out. There are usually 3, but I've come across 6. I bought pliers to pull the bones but Fern didn't think they belonged in the kitchen.  Eventually I found fish pliers on Amazon.com (Canadian site didn't have any) so I ordered them. They took a couple weeks extra getting through customs but they got here eventually. The proper tool makes prepping fish a breeze.

I seasoned only one side lightly with Cajun Seasoning but salted both sides.  Yellow flesh potatoes were boiled then mashed with salt, butter and milk.  The broccoli was steamed and finished in olive oil.  I turned over the fish to brown it and plated with some lemon juice over top.  

The salad was a simple vinaigrette of olive/canola oil, raspberry vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk, toss and serve. 

The fish was wonderful. No fishy taste at all. The light Cajun seasoning was perfect. Now I know I usually use too much.

Mince Meat Tarts


I have never liked mince meat. Some years I might try one tart but only if the pastry looks good. I've never found one I like. Fern, however, loves mince meat so when I saw it on special at Mitchell's I bought a tub.  It's bulk, I'm not sure if they make it themselves, but it tastes like it.

I put a little under 2 cups flour and 2 tablespoons corn flower in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix.  I added 1/3 of a brick of lard. Cut the lard into the flour until it is like coarse oatmeal. Beat an egg, add a tablespoon of vinegar and fill with cold water to 1 cup. It should take about a third of the cup to wet the dough. Gather the dough into a ball, cover with clean dish towel and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes. When the dough is holding together, dispose of the remaining egg, vinegar, water mixture.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Flour a large counter space and roll the dough out to less than 1/4 inch thick uniformly. Cut out 4 inch circles, I use a 500ml yogurt container for this.  Press the circles into the muffin or tart pan and fill with mince meat.  Put in hot oven for 20 minutes then check for brownness. When the pastry has good colour, take the tarts out to cool.

I wasn't expecting anything but I tried a tart just to test the pastry. A touch short of lard in the pastry but the taste was good.  The mince meat made me stop. It tasted wonderful! I've never tasted mince meat I like and this stuff is delicious! I couldn't wait for Fern to try one. He loved them. I bought more mince meat for two more dozen.


Pork Cutlet


Again I got started late but pulled it together at the end.  Yellow flesh potatoes, mashed with salt, milk and butter. Frozen peas with fresh carrots cooked together in the microwave with olive oil and a Save On Foods breaded pork cutlet fried. Straight apple sauce is the condiment.

The salad was the last bit of a bag of salad greens. This time of year it's more cost effective to buy bags of pre cut salad mix than buy all the fixing and have them quickly wilt in the fridge. Olive/Canola oil, salt, pepper and raspberry vinegar are the salad dressing.  

Still a great meal in under an hour.

Chicken with Hollandaise


I started late so this was supposed to be just rice, broccoli and chicken. I put the rice on and salted the chicken breast.  Then I coated the breast in 50/50 flour/onion powder.  Lay it in hot oil and brown the first side.  Turn it over and put in a 325ºF oven for 30 minutes total cooking time.  Press on the breast and it will spring back when it's cooked. If you still aren't sure, stick a fork in it. If the juices run clear, it's done.

I took the cooked rice out of the microwave, the broccoli was steamed and ready to reheat and the breast was in the oven so I stood there with nothing to do. I can make hollandaise! I separated an egg yolk and melted a 1/2 inch slice of butter, melted but not hot.  Slowly whisk small amounts of butter into the yolk until all butter has been taken up.  Mix 2 teaspoons lemon juice with 1/4 cup cold water. Add a pinch of salt to the yolk and half the lemon/water mixture.  It will thicken when it's heated. Once the breast was cooked I took it from the oven and put the broccoli in olive oil to reheat and started heating the Hollandaise.  The sauce got a little too thick so I added a little of the lemon/water to thin it. Once the broccoli was ready I plated everything.  

I love Hollandaise so I covered everything. It does look like a drive by saucing, but it tasted great.  It has taken me all this time to get to the point that I could decide to make Hollandaise at the last minute and pull it off. It was wonderful.

Pork Cutlet


I'm still buying Save On Foods breaded pork cutlets because they taste better than my own. In my defence, why struggle to outdo someone when the price is right and the taste is better? So heat up a pan with olive/canola oil and lay the cutlet in it.  The potatoes were yellow flesh. I usually buy russet but these were on sale so I bought them.  They are a bit rich for Fern's taste but nice for a change. The broccoli was again steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil.

Canned apple sauce for condiment and serve the meal. I really like this meal so of course I gobbled it up. It took Fern a little longer but he cleaned his plate too.

Rib Steak


Fern is away so steak comes into play. A nice rib steak with baked potato.  I had bacon in the fridge so I cooked some and broke it over the sour cream on the potato. I seasoned with salt and pepper then fried the steak. I steamed the broccoli then finished it in olive oil.  It was a simple delicious meal for one.

Chicken Breast


The chicken breast was salted then coated with 50/50 flour/onion powder.  I seared both sides in a frying pan then put the pan in the oven for 30 minutes total cooking time. Paired with mashed potatoes made with butter and milk and broccoli which was steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil. Fern wanted a light meal and this was fairly light but still full of flavour.

Chicken Chop Suey


A stir fry has enough vegetable that no salad is required and it cooks in one pan so I like them a lot. I put rice on to cook and coated the cubed chicken with flour.  I browned the chicken first and removed it from the pan. Next I seared the mushrooms, then I sweated the onion, carrot, celery, green pepper and finally the bean sprouts. I had added sesame oil to the pan right at the start and now I added several drops fish sauce. Next some soy sauce and add the cashews and the chicken.  Toss till it's all cooked through and serve next to white rice.

It was delicious.

Pork Chop


Boneless chops were on special.  I had yellow peppers to use up so I picked up a small sprig of broccoli and a bunch of green onions. I fried the chop and mised up a teaspoon of dijon mustard and a teaspoon of honey.  When the chop was almost cooked I coated both sides with the sauce and seared it onto the chops.

Mashed potatoes were boiled, mashed and finished with butter and milk. I steamed the broccoli then ran it under cold water to stop cooking.  The diced pepper went into the pot with olive oil.  Once the pepper had softened a bit I added the broccoli.  When the broccoli was warmed up I added the diced onion and gave it a toss. 

Fern was sceptical about the sauce, he doesn't like sweet main meals. When he tasted it he was convinced. The chops were absolutely delicious. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dog Food Chili


Fern made the mistake of cleaning out the freezer onto the dogs plates. Now they won't eat anything we didn't make. So, I cooked up a 2kg roll of lean ground beef for dog food.  I put some bay leaves in it so it would taste better. Also it had a carrot, onion and stick of celery.  It smelled wonderful, to me. Storm wouldn't touch it. He doesn't like the bay leaf smell. I cooked up some more ground beef without bay leaf. He gobbled it up. So, what to do with 2kg of tasty dog food? I made chili.

I soaked a bunch of beans for a couple of hours then sweated some green peppers from the garden. I added the greens, beans, a jar of Fern's tomato sauce and a can of store bought tomato sauce. 1 tbsp of chilli powder, 1/2 tsp cumin. Salt, black pepper. And water, I kept adding water as the beans cooked and absorbed it. It simmered for about 7 hours which you'd think would cook all the beans but a good portion were still firm. So I left it cooking for the evening. Put it on the BBQ outside for the night. Put it back on the stove this morning and hopefully the beans will cook over the day. The taste was great, it's just the firm beans that need fixing.

I also made bread, fairly well this time, but it didn't brown enough. I used 

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 tbsp wheat gluten
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup water. 

I mixed water in with a fork, then started kneading the dough. It was a little too dry so I added more water and kneaded it in.  Between 5-10 minutes of kneading and the dough felt soft and pliable. I put it in the oven with just the oven light on. It rose to double it's size in about and hour.  I preheated the oven to 450F, put bread in and turned down to 400F for 35 minutes. Unfortunately I used a bread pan and the sides prevented the bread from browning. So it was pale bread, but good!

Fresh grated cheddar on top. Overall, not a bad meal for dog food.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chicken Souvlaki


This is the first time I've tried the chicken souvlaki from Mitchell's. I cooked them on the BBQ for about 12 minutes over high heat and some of the larger pieces were a bit underdone.  I don't think there was any danger but if I cook them again I'll make sure the larger pieces are firmer. The rice was cooked with olive oil, salt, 2 tsp lemon juice and 1/2 tsp dried dill. I was looking for the liquorice flavour from the dill but it didn't come through. Try more or fresh next time.

The carrots were boiled and finished in butter and salt. A simple salad of iceberg, cucumber, celery and tomato.

Vinaigrette

2 tsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp raspberry vinegar - This batch isn't strong so it needs extra
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

Whisk and toss. 

The chicken was good but I prefer the pork souvlaki. I'm still using a head of iceberg lettuce I tore up several days ago.  Fern is right, it doesn't go brown if you don't use a steel knife on it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Pork Cutlet with Broccoli and Hollandaise


I'm still buying Save On Foods breaded pork cutlets. They taste great and it's really nice to just drop them in the frying pan, no coating mess. The mashed potatoes were boiled in salted water then drained and mashed with butter and milk.  I cut the broccoli up, steamed and drenched it. All I had to do was put it back in the pot with olive oil and some salt.

So I was standing there looking at everything cooking with nothing to do. It's taken me 760 meals to get to this point. I have time to make Hollandaise! I separated an egg yolk into a small pot. Melted a 5mm slice from a pound of butter, melted not hot. Slowly whisk the butter into the egg yolk. In a glass mix 1/4 cup water and a few squirts lemon juice. It should be nice and tart because the butter will temper the acid. Add enough water/lemon to thin the sauce but don't make it watery. Put it on the heat and bring it up to temperature. If it thickens too much, add more water/lemon. If it's too thin, you ruined your sauce. (if a sauce is ruined, throw it out and don't mention it)

The condiment is Fern's home made ketchup. 

The pork - condiment went really well with the broccoli - Hollandaise and the potatoes held up the middle. It was no trouble at all to whip up the Hollandaise. I'm starting to feel confident in the kitchen. It feels good.


Cajun Snapper Over Lemon Dill Sauce


We had a late lunch so we both wanted a lighter meal, that usually means fish. I guess it's the smaller portions and less fat that makes it seem lighter.  Anyway, I chose the fish by price. There was a perfect fillet for us to share so I picked it up.  I should have checked the date. I should have pressed the centre. Fish is not fresh if it's been on the shelf for three days. Fish is not fresh if you press the centre and it does not spring back. The snapper tasted fishy so I think it would have failed both tests. My bad. I think we need a fish monger in town.

Anyway, I salted and seasoned the fish with Save On Foods bulk Cajun seasoning. It was good, I'll use it more. I fried the fish in olive/canola oil. 

The broccoli was steamed till it started to soften, then drench cooled and reheated in olive oil. It's easy to put the broccoli on to reheat 5 minutes before everything else is ready. Don't forget to salt it. Black pepper goes well too.

The potatoes were boiled in salted water then mashed with butter and milk.

Lemon Dill Sauce

I put a teaspoon of olive oil and one of butter in a small sauce pan.  To that I added one teaspoon of flour. Cook off the flour taste, remove from heat.  In a cup mix 1/4 cup water and a couple squirts of lemon juice. Taste. It should be heavily lemony but not unpleasantly sour. Slowly whisk half this mixture into the cooked flour and oil. Add more until the sauce is thin but still has a little body.  It will thicken as soon as it's heated so keep the liquid nearby. When the sauce is made and the acid is balanced add 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill or a tablespoon of fresh chopped. Any herb with liquorice like flavour will work. Whisk it in.

Plate the sauce, put the fish on top, add potatoes, broccoli and serve.

It was pretty good. Fresh dill would have been better but dried certainly worked. The sauce moderated the fishy taste so it was still pleasant to eat, but it was clearly fish. The ready made Cajun seasoning is good so it will be easier to use in pinch. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Black Tiger Prawns with Penne Pasta and Celery Tomato Sauce


I found some frozen black tiger prawns at Mitchell's that were almost as cheap as the big bag of prawns from the Butcher's Block. They were frozen in a small block of ice but the package claimed 250gm of prawns which should be enough for two. (100gm meat/person) I set them in the sink to thaw but after a couple of hours they were no closer to free from their frozen prison. Held under cold running water the ice quickly melted away, releasing the prawns.  They had shells so I peeled them back held the top of a knife blade across the prawn just above the tail. Pull the two apart and the digestive tract comes out with the tail, no need to clean them further.

I diced an onion, 3 cloves of garlic and a stick of celery. I sweated the onion, then the garlic and celery.  Add the prawns and turn them over as soon as they have colour. Once the prawns have pink both sides, add a 16oz can of tomato sauce. It will probably be too thin so let it simmer and reduce a bit. 

When the pasta was done I added it to the sauce and tossed to coat.  Then plated and served with fresh grated parmesan. Fern loves celery so this celery tomato sauce was a big hit with him. I liked it too. 

Vinaigrette

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp raspberry vinegar
Salt
Black Pepper

Whisk, toss a handful of salad in and serve. The salad is in the background. 


Sole with Slivered Almond White Wine Sauce


I was in the mood for fish but not anything fishy.  Fresh sole achieves that. I peeled potatoes and put in salted water on high heat. It takes about twenty minutes for potatoes to cook.  Sliced up a fresh carrot and put in ceramic bowl with frozen peas, put in microwave ready to cook. I broke up the head of lettuce, washed and spun it dry then put it all in big plastic bin.  An english cucumber sliced up was mixed into the lettuce. To make a salad all I have to do is whisk up a vinaigrette, add a handful of salad mix and toss.

I put two teaspoons of butter in my sauce pot and added a tablespoon of slivered almonds. Sprinkle a teaspoon of flour over all and whisk till it bubbles and cooks off the flour taste.  Remove from heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup milk and half as much white wine and a splash of beef stock. Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce if necessary. Since it is a small amount of sauce it can be made first then reheated just before serving.

Start the peas and carrots first then I salted the fish well on one side, it's thin so one side should be enough. Then dredged it in flour. I set it in a large frying pan in hot olive oil.  It should brown quickly at the edges, then turn it over. Remove from pan as soon as it's done, it overcooks in a heartbeat. Drain, mash and add salt, butter and milk to the potatoes. Add butter, salt and black pepper to the peas and carrots.  Put sauce over or under the fish, depending how good the fish looks.

Vinaigrette

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp raspberry vinegar
salt
pepper

Whisk, add salad mix. I also had mixed sweet peppers diced in the fridge so I threw them in the salad. I chopped up some fresh parsley and added that.  Toss everything and serve.

It seems to be important to serve the salad with the main course. If it's served after, it isn't eaten. I can't eat salad first because it will charge unobstructed through my digestive tract. So serving main course with salad seems to encourage consuming the whole meal. 

Pork Tenderloin with Honey Mustard Sauce


I wanted a small pork loin roast but tenderloin was all they had, poor me.  At least it was On Sale, I bought a pack of two. I marinated the tenderloins in a brine of salt, sugar and molasses. Use more salt for shorter brining time. This time I used one tablespoon in a litre/4 cups of water. (Hint: microwave 1/2 cup water to dissolve salt then pour into 3 1/2 cups cold water.) The sugar counteracts the bitter taste in the molasses so not much is required. It brined for a few hours.

I got the potatoes on first, then turned on the BBQ and set the steamer on the burner. I find if I do all the prep work before starting cooking then I maintain control and take less time over all. The pork went on the BBQ straight from the brine. I forgot to oil it but the tenderloin was whole so it didn't stick much anyway. The potatoes were simply boiled in salt water and mashed with butter, salt and a little milk.  The carrots and broccoli were steamed then cooled quickly and reheated in olive oil. 

Honey Mustard Sauce

1/2 tsp flour
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup milk
1/2 oz white wine
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp honey
1 pinch salt
mixed pepper

Melt the butter with the flour and cook the flour taste off, remove from heat. Whisking in a little at a time add the milk, then the white wine. Back on the burner and heat to bubbling. Add the mustard, honey, salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thin, increase heat and boil off the excess liquid. If it's about right, just keep the sauce warm, maybe with a lid.

I plated the sauce over the meat but placing the meat in the sauce might look better, I'll try it next time. When I made up the sauce it only took a minute or two, so I was quite surprised when I listed so many ingredients. Still, it is an easy sauce to make and it made the pork stand up and be counted!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Chicken with Coconut Celery Sauce


I put far too much Italian sausage meat in the spaghetti sauce so tonight's dinner had to be chicken, again.  I put a teaspoon of flour in a plastic bag and reached for my trusty jar of onion powder. It's empty! I used it all last time! So I quickly grabbed the poultry seasoning and added half a teaspoon of that to the bag.  I salted the chicken first then shook it in the bag.  I brushed olive oil over all before putting smooth side down over high heat on the BBQ. I grilled them for two minutes then turned them over off the heat to roast for 25 minute total cooking time.

The potatoes were boiled and mashed with salt, butter and milk.  The broccoli was steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil. I have noticed lately that I have everything going and I'm standing with nothing to do. So I decided to try to use up the coconut milk in a sauce. Fern likes celery so it was my challenge to make a coconut celery sauce. It sure sounds weird.

I sweated two chopped garlic cloves and a stick of celery.  Then I added the coconut milk, 2 drops of fish sauce and started reducing it. It reduced to almost nothing so I added a little milk to fill it out.  I cut up a small green pepper from the garden and added that too. I probably should have used a little flour in the sauce to give it body and hold some liquid. The chicken was done so I plated it all.  

I put too much poultry seasoning in the flour mixture so when the flour cooked into a reddish brown, the green seasoning produced an unpalatable muddy colour. The too thin sauce didn't help the appearance much. Surprisingly the sauce was good, it was better before I added the green pepper, but it was still good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Curry Coconut Cashew Chicken


A third and final meal from that chicken I broke down the other day. It made hearty soup for dinner, then lunch next day. This was the legs and wings plus a piece of chicken breast that was in the fridge. I sweated a diced onion, carrot, celery stick and 3 different peppers. Next I sprinkled a tablespoon of curry powder over the vegetables and tossed them.  I added a few drops of Thai Fish Sauce which gave a distinct odour of dirty socks. That's a little scary, but not all ingredients are in and flavour can change as it cooks.  So I continued with a splash of white wine, half a can of coconut milk and a handful of cashews.  The milk was too watery so the sauce needed to be reduced. 

Once the curry had boiled down enough I plated it over basmati rice cooked with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Fern loved it, I practically inhaled mine. Storm wouldn't try mine but Fern got him to eat a piece of curry chicken. He didn't like the smell but he loved the taste. He licked our plates clean and stared at me, licking his lips for more!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quick Leftover Lunch


I had enough alfredo sauce for one portion of pasta, not quite enough for Fern and I. I suggested filling it out with tomato sauce to make rosé sauce.  Fern said add ham and cheese too! I got the pasta going and looked at the ham. It was from last week but should still be good. It had white spots on it that didn't look like congealed fat. So I threw it out and substituted bacon. I cut the bacon into 1/2 inch pieces and fried them up.  I grated half a cup of cheddar cheese. I added the bacon and cheese to the hot sauce and stirred. It took a minute for the cheese to melt, then I added some chopped parsley, stirred in the pasta and served it.

It was better than the alfredo sauce alone! The bacon worked really well, it was a delicious lunch.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Chicken on Curry Cous Cous with Mushroom White Wine Cream Sauce



I was feeling particularly creative today and wanted to try something completely different. I bought chicken earlier in the day so it was only a matter deciding how to put it on the plate. I found cous cous in the cupboard and looked up hot cous cous recipes. Curry stood out and that's what I went with. I shook about 1/4-1/2 tsp curry powder into 1/2 cup chicken stock/water. Curry likes a sweet something to take the bitter edge off, raisins work but I wanted more savoury, so I used frozen corn. Added it to the water with a splash of olive oil and some salt. I brought that to a boil for a minute to cook the corn then threw in the cous cous and set it aside for 5 minutes. That was easy.

The chicken I salted and rolled in a 50/50 mixture of flour and onion powder. Then brush oil over it on both sides and put it on the BBQ over the heat for 2 minutes. Then move it off the heat so it roasts for 30 minutes total cooking time. That gets grill marks on both sides, which looks nice.

The vegetables were just snow peas, celery and spring onions fried up in olive oil. Simple, but Fern loves celery so he loved it. It was surprisingly good.

Six mushrooms sliced up frying in butter, when they had a nice sear I sprinkled instant blending flour over all. Pinch of Salt. About 1/2 to 1 tsp flour to go with the 1 cup total liquid I planned to use. I cooked off the flour taste then slowly added milk and a splash of chicken stock. A tablespoon of cream for body. A tablespoon or two of white wine. I cut up 3 slices of dried tomatoes from the gardens and added them to the sauce. Then I turned up the heat and reduced the milk to a nice saucy consistency. 

I plated the chicken on the cous cous and put the sauce over both because they were meant to eat together. The curry, onion on chicken and white wine creamy mushrooms were phenomenal together.

Fern loved the vegetables too so it was a gold star dinner.


Venison Liver


Kevin, our intrepid gardener, shot a deer on his hunting trip. He offered us the liver and we gladly accepted.  I let Fern cook it because he says I overcook liver. He caramelized 3 onions in the fat of some bacon.  The he floured and salted the liver and set it in the hot oil. It was just pink in the middle.  He made mashed potatoes, carrots and broccoli to fill the plate. 

Venison liver is sweet and tender with no gamy taste at all. I love ketchup with my liver and I dove into this plate as soon as I put the camera down. It was absolutely phenomenal. 

Thank You Kevin!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pork Cutlet


Haven't blogged for a few days. We've eaten out, ordered in, had spaghetti and generally been too busy or had nothing to write about. Back on track, I felt like pork tonight.  That is a cutlet from Save On Foods.  I fried it in olive and canola oil. The condiment is Fern's ketchup.  The potatoes were mashed, buttered, salted and a splash of milk. The broccoli was steamed, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil.

The salad was olive/canola oil, raspberry vinegar, salt and mixed pepper. It was a bag of Fresh Express iceberg mix.  I should go back to making a bin of salad so it's always available and hasn't been on the store shelf for a week. It's cheaper too.

Despite looking like an ordinary plate this food was exceptionally good.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chicken with Celery, Cheddar and White Wine Sauce


Fern is home from Vancouver and it is time for chicken! I wanted to keep it simple, tasty and high fibre if possible. I settled for the first two. I put rice on to cook with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. The broccoli went in the steamer and the BBQ was warmed up.  I first salted then coated the chicken with a mixture of:

2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp flour
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp paprika

Brush the breasts with olive oil and put over the flame on BBQ for two minutes.  Then turn the breasts over and place off the heat so they cook gently. Roast for 25-30 minutes total cooking time. Bone in will take 45 minutes. The broccoli was steamed, cooled in running water and finished in olive oil.  

Once I had everything going I was standing with nothing to do so I thought, a celery sauce for that chicken would be nice.  Fern loves celery.  I put a teaspoon of flour in a pot and added two teaspoon of butter. I cooked that for a minute then added the chopped half stick of celery to sweat.  Next I added 1/2 cup milk and 2 teaspoon whipping cream and a pinch of salt. I tasted it. Pasty, fatty, not a good mouth feel and the taste was ugh! How about some cheddar cheese? I added the rest of the grated cheddar left over in the fridge. Half a cup at most. Now I had a pasty, cheesy ugh sauce. Maybe a little acid will fix it. Lemon juice would curdle the milk, as would wine vinegar, but I have white wine open in the fridge.  Two teaspoons of white wine and the flavour popped out of the sauce and it tasted wonderful. Oh the power of the humble grape.

If you like cheese sauce and celery you'll love this, so try it! Less than an hour to prepare.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Angus Strip Loin Steak


This time I decided to splurge on Angus beef. The strip loin was on sale and was much less fatty than the rib steak.  I bought mushrooms to go with the steak.  I nuked the potato, steamed and finished in olive oil the broccoli. The mushrooms were fried in olive oil and the steak was done on the BBQ in 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides. Sour cream on the potato. It was all really good.

Home Alone Rib Steak


Fern had to go to Vancouver for a few days so I was left to fend for myself.  The first night I bought a Save On Foods rib steak, acorn squash, baked potato, sour cream and broccoli. The squash I buttered, salted and put in the oven for 1 hour at 325F.  I nuked the baked potato and steamed the broccoli. The steak was cooked on the BBQ for 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides. I didn't want to go out in the biblical deluge to get fresh chives from the garden so I used a green onion instead. The broccoli was finished in olive oil and sour cream graces the potato. Salt and black pepper season the steak.

It tasted every bit as good as it looks. I ate it all too!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Turkey a la King with fresh bread


I had to use up the turkey or lose it so I made a la King on egg noodles.  To go with the meal I also made a baguette. It was all awfully simple. I started with the bread.  1 cup flour, 1 tbsp wheat gluten, 1/2 tsp yeast, pinch of salt, 1/4 cup water.

Sift the dry ingredients then slowly add some water and mix with a fork. Only add enough water for the dough to start clinging together with a little flour loose in the bowl. It will look like it needs more water but it doesn't.  Start kneading the dough. Push, stretch, fold, turn, repeat. Work the dough until it softens. If the dough is tough the bread will be tough. I let the dough rise for an hour or so and put it in a 450F oven turned down to 400F for 30 minutes. 

I sliced up several mushrooms and gave them a sear. Then I added a diced onion, celery, 2 small green peppers from the garden and a red pepper I bought. I sliced and microwaved a carrot and added that in. Once the vegetables were softened I added the turkey cubed up. A dash of chicken stock and white wine, a teaspoon or two of salt, 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning, pinch of nutmeg, mixed pepper corns freshly ground. Milk to cover the bottom and some cream to give it richness. The amounts depend on how much food is in the pot. Don't cover the food with milk and cream because it will never cook down and thicken. I probably used a cup of milk and half a cup of cream to give an idea.

I sprinkled a little Instant Blending Flour over the pot and stirred it in. I cooked down and added more flour till I had a nice thick sauce. The flour had to be cooked for about 10 minutes, so don't add it just before serving. Raw flour is really awful. There is no liquid pooling on the plate so the sauce is quite thick. Plate over egg noodles with a piece of bread.  

Fern loved this and he doesn't like cream sauces. 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pork Loin Roast


Save On Foods had pork loin ends on special and I had been watching them for a few days. They were roughly 1.5kg bags of pork loin for $3 per pound or about $7 per kilo. I picked one up and headed home.  It was late in the day so I didn't have time to brine the meat. Instead I put lots of salt on the outside, sprinkled dried thyme all over and laid bay leaves on the roast. In went the meat thermometer and into the oven at 325F for about two and half hours. I diced potatoes and carrots up, coated in olive oil and put them in the bottom of the roasting pan, they didn't brown nicely but they did taste amazing. That is pear sauce for condiment. 

The turnip was cooked for an hour and carrots were added for the last half hour then all was mashed with salt and butter. The greens were fresh snow peas, frozen peas and green onion. I par cooked the frozen peas in the microwave and cooked the snow peas with a little water in a frying pan.  When the snow peas were almost ready I added the frozen peas and shortly after that, the green onions. My plating is still firmly entrenched in the suburbs but the flavour packed into this meal carries me right down town.

Later today I'll cook rice, carrot, celery and onion and add that to the ground roast pork. At $3/lb this meat is as cheap as dog food, so to the dogs it goes!