Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rib Steak, Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce and Baked Potato with Sour Cream

A year ago I would never have considered making Hollandaise for one. It's simply too much work. Not! This method is fast and easy even for one serving. Fern is away overnight again so I'm home alone, that always means rib steak for me. The asparagus was on special so I bought a bunch thinking maybe I can make Hollandaise happen. Baked potato with sour cream really makes this a high fat, high fat meal.

The potato I did in the microwave then wrapped in foil with butter, salt and chives and put it on the BBQ off the heat.  The steak went on the BBQ over high heat for 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides.

Hollandaise for One

1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter, melted but not hot
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp cold water

The secret is not to add too much butter at one time.  In a 4 cup Pyrex measure drizzle a little butter into the egg yolk and whisk it in. Keeping adding small amounts till all the butter is emulsified. Then add a dash of salt, tsp lemon juice and one tsp water.  Taste, add lemon or salt or water as needed.  More water can be added if it thickens too much. To cook, put in microwave for 20 seconds, whisk. Put back in for 10 seconds, whisk. If it isn't thick enough keep putting it in for 10 seconds at a time till it's perfect. It takes less than two minutes to make the sauce once you get the hang of it. 

To make more just double or triple the recipe.

I put the whites in a small bowl and microwave them for the dogs.

My steak didn't really need Hollandaise on it, but it sure tasted good with it!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pork Souvlaki

I wasn't sure what I would get for dinner, but it was late, so when I spotted a package of cubed sirloin on special, I snapped it up.  It would get less than 30 minutes in the marinade so I'll get to see if that vacuum marinator actually helps. I put two tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tsp lemon juice, two crushed cloves fresh garlic, one tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, 1 tsp fresh chives, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika. Added the meat, mixed it up and sucked the air out.

I got rice going with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. The broccoli was cut up ready for the steamer. The salad was fresh lettuce from the garden with tomato and apple.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk and toss the salad in it.

The meat marinated for maybe 30 minutes at most. I let air into the marinator slowly so the marinade would be forced into the meat by the rising pressure. Then I took it out and put it in a hot frying pan to get a nice sear all around. When the centres were cooked I served the pork on the rice.  I put the broccoli in the steamer when the meat when in the pan. It softened a little then I cooled it and reheated in olive oil. 

I surprised myself with how good this was. I think Mitchell's marinade is a bit better but this was very good for it's simplicity. I think the vacuum marinator did improve the flavour because just sitting the pork in the marinade probably wouldn't have imparted as much flavour. It doesn't speed up softening the meat, that takes time, but it's definitely good when time is short.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cashew Chicken Fried Rice

I already ate a third of the plate when I realized I hadn't photographed it. Still looks good. When I headed out to the store Fern asked for something light, "A stir fry?" I asked. 
So I put rice on to cook and off I went to get mushrooms, green pepper and chicken breasts.  I stopped at Mitchell's to check the price of chicken then continued on to Save On.  As usual, Save On has only large packages of meat suitable for a family of six.  Apparently I'm the only Save On customer shopping for fresh food for two. They do have individual breasts for sale, for double the price. I bought mushrooms and a green pepper and headed to Safeway.

I looked at the bone in, skin on breasts. Then the boned and skinned breasts. They were cheaper than Mitchell's but I wondered if Mitchell's quality could bridge that difference. I decided to try. So I bought some olive oil and headed for Mitchell's to buy chicken, then home.

I diced half an onion and chunked the other half.  I mostly caramelized the diced onion before putting the cubed, salted and floured chicken in the pan.  Plenty of oil and a small drizzle of sesame oil. When the meat was almost done I took it out of the pan and set it aside.  I fried the mushrooms next then added the carrot, then the celery and finally the green pepper. I added a tablespoon of oyster sauce and two tablespoons of soy sauce. Add the meat and a handful of cashews then toss. Break the rice up in the pan and toss to coat.  Serve on warmed plates.

It's hard to screw this up, but starting with frozen pre cut vegetables would be a good way.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Liver with Bacon and Onions

I wasn't sure what I was looking for when I approached the meat counter. We had cod last night so not fish. Nothing interesting in pork. Fern doesn't want beef. What's that? Beef liver! We both like that. We haven't had it in a while so I picked up just over $2 worth for both of us. I had plenty of onions but no bacon. Oddly, the premium most expensive bacon was also the best value. It was on sale $3 off and it's a 1 kg package so that made it cheaper per kilogram than anything else. I also needed potatoes and broccoli so I got those and headed home.

I started by harvesting a bin of lettuce, washing, spinning and putting it in the bin. I cut up a tomato and a section of cucumber and kept it aside. For the entree I sliced up two onions and broke down a broccoli crown. I also put potatoes on. The liver is thin sliced but too long for any pan so I cut it all up into manageable pieces.

The potatoes were on boiling away as was the broccoli pot. I put the broccoli on to steam then I put the bacon in the liver pan first. I cooked four strips to crispy and removed them from the pan. The broccoli was half cooked so I ran it under cold water and set it aside to drain. Next I caramelized the onions and removed them from the pan. 

The potatoes were done so I drained, mashed, added butter and milk and whipped them up. They had enough salt from the water.  The salad dressing was a quarter cup mayonnaise, lemon juice to taste, salt, black pepper and a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce. Whip it up and toss the salad, then plate it.

I dredged each piece of liver in flour first then laid them all in the pan at once. I sprinkled some salt over them all and I also put the broccoli on to reheat in olive oil. Turn the liver over and get ready to plate. I broke the bacon into the onions and put that in the centre of the pan to warm up. Then I plated the onions first. Then I laid the liver over top. Potatoes and broccoli on the side and a salad to keep our digestion working.

Everything was perfect. Despite being very thin, I managed not to dry out the liver. The broccoli was just right with a tiny bit of crunch left. Usually I over do it. The potatoes were also uncharacteristically good for both of us. Usually they are either too dry for me or too wet for Fern.

The salad dressing was a disappointment, It was good but not as good as I was hoping. Ready-made mayo doesn't work nearly as well as fresh made. I imagine if I really worked at it I could find a way to make ready-made work well, but fresh is less work. So next time I won't be lazy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lemon and Thyme Marinated Cod

We had a late lunch so we didn't have dinner till 10pm. I tried to keep it light so just rice with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. The vegetable is bok choy fried with a few drops sesame oil, beef stock, soy sauce, fish sauce and a light sprinkle of flour over top to thicken the pan drippings. The fish I put in the marinator earlier. 


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried thyme (didn't have fresh)
2 tsp fresh chives
1/2 tsp salt

I marinated the fish for about 2-3 hours then fried it in plenty of oil. I think I overcooked Fern's piece because it was thick and I wanted to make sure it was cooked through. I forgot to take a picture before starting to eat so there is a bite out of the fish. That bite was so good I had to take a picture so I could write up the recipe. This was really good, I'll definitely make it again. Fern liked the bok choy so that adds a new fresh vegetable too!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shake'n Bake Chicken

I was working around the house and yard all day and didn't get a chance to go shopping till after 5pm. As we occasionally do in this situation, I went to Safeway to buy a roasted chicken with potato salad, coleslaw and the worst buns imaginable. Unfortunately they seem to no longer stock devilled egg potato salad, only 'classic' which even the dogs don't like. I don't like coleslaw and I wanted more than just chicken for dinner so I decided to get a couple of tenderloin steaks to BBQ, that's fast and easy. Nope, the shelf space was empty. Safeway really doesn't want to sell me anything today! So I went to Save On and all I could find was a pack of chicken thighs, so I thought "I could buy Shake'n Bake so it would be fast to prepare." So that's what I did.

I also picked up some new potatoes, boiled them in salted water then coated with butter and chives. I put a dollop of sour cream on mine with a few chives on top. The broccoli was steamed, run under cold water and reheated in olive oil. It took 45 minutes for the bone in chicken to cook but I had dinner plated before 7:15pm so it wasn't too late.

The sour cream was overkill on the potatoes, they lost their delicate flavour to the overwhelming dairy mass. The broccoli was perfect, for a change. The chicken was surprisingly good.  I can make a breaded breast that tastes as good but not substantially better so this is a good option for days that I'm tired and need to cut some corners. The dogs don't like it because they don't get crispy chicken skins. They did get the extra thigh, boned of course, which they both ate with gusto. Shake'n Bake costs over $1.50/meal compared to probably ten cents if I made the breading myself so it is dear for what it is but as a substitute for ready to eat, it's a good option. This is original extra crispy flavour.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dijon Mustard and Lemon Marinated Pork Chop

I had to go to Save On for dog food and while there was tempted by a pack of chops for $4. I perused the vegetables but didn't see anything good on special.  I've got frozen peas I could doll up a bit. So that's what I did.

I put about a tablespoon of Dijon mustard in the marinator then added about the same of olive oil. Two teaspoons of lemon juice, salt, pepper and some ground garlic. Whisk it up, coat both sides of all chops, put the lid on and suck the air out. It would be interesting to do a control test to see if the vacuum effect improves the efficiency of the marinade, or is the marinator just a gimmick. It's a great marinating dish either way.

The potatoes were simply boiled in salted water, drained, mashed, buttered and a little milk to smooth them out. To doll up the frozen peas I diced an onion and a celery stick.  I sweated the onion, then added the celery, peas and a good dash of beef stock and a splash of white wine. Before the peas were fully cooked I added a sprinkle flour over them to sauce up the remaining moisture. The chops I fried on olive oil.

Neighbour Jill came over to buy the lawn mower while the chops were cooking. "Wow, smells really good! What ya making?" she asked coming up the stairs. 
"Pork Chops." I replied thinking, isn't she vegetarian?
Fern walked through and also remarked on how good it smelled so I was confident I had a winning plate here. 

There isn't much to say about mashed potatoes but the frozen peas didn't taste anything like frozen peas! Fern wants onions paper thin and raw or caramelized. He didn't like them in this dish at all. I thought they were great and the white wine leant a lovely fruity flavour to the vegetables. The chops were delicious but they always are when fried with mustard.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


This is the first time I've made tacos for a while.  I started with small flour tortillas and heated them in the oven.  The filling was a bit over half a pound of lean ground beef and the meat from a breakfast sausage. I put the meat in a hot pan, salted it a bit cooked the meat all the way through before adding 2 tsp taco seasoning and half a cup of beef stock. I cooked the stock down for a bit then sprinkled a little flour over the meat to thicken the last bit of moisture.

I grated a cup of extra old cheddar, just under a cup would have been enough, I had a little too much. I put taco filling on the tortilla, covered with grated cheese and rolled up. A line of sour cream between the tacos and some of Fern's home made salsa. If you don't have any salsa here is a simple fresh one:

Quick Fresh Salsa

2 ripe tomatoes diced
1 jalapeno (with as many hot seeds as you can stand, I use none)
1 slice white or red onion diced
tablespoon chopped cilantro
juice from a lime

Usually I would put undressed tomato and lettuce under the tacos but this time I made a dressing.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
fresh parsley or cilantro

Toss tomatoes and lettuce and plate beside the tacos.

I'm not sure how it looks in the photo but it tasted great.  Definitely the best pseudo Mexican meal I've ever put out. Took less than an hour to make too, so fairly fast. Fern didn't like the lime in the salad, he would have preferred wine vinegar. I probably could have gotten away with lemon juice. He's so fussy sometimes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cashew Chicken with Fried Rice

It's been a while since we've had a stir fry, they used to be a regular meal. I cooked the rice in the early afternoon and put it in the fridge so it would be cold when I started frying.  Rice likes to be kept in the fridge for a bit before being fried. I picked up a green pepper and some mushrooms at Save On then went to Safeway to buy the chicken. I didn't get started cooking till just after 6pm and Fern had to leave before 8pm so I was cutting it close. It wasn't that long ago it would take me two hours to make this. I called Fern to pick up his plate at 7:01pm, not bad, but I'd be Chopped first at that speed!

I started by cutting up all my vegetables, defrosting, par cooking and draining the peas and corn, boning and cubing chicken, salting and flouring it. I put canola oil and a few drops of sesame oil in my large frying pan and the same in my smaller one. In the large pan I browned my chicken all around but didn't cook it through and removed it from the pan.  More oil as needed with the carrot, followed by onion, celery and mushrooms. Once the mushrooms had a sear I added the green pepper and chicken. While it's cooking I added 1/2 cup unsalted cashews, 1 tsp oyster sauce and 2 tsp soy sauce. A splash of beef stock to moisten it all and keep tossing it. The largest pieces of chicken have to cook to the centre and the peppers have to soften a little.

At the same time in the other pan I sweated the onions, carrots and celery, then seared the mushrooms. Finally adding the rice with 1 tsp fish sauce, 2 tsp soy sauce and more oil as needed. When the other pan was almost ready I added the peas and corn to the rice. Plating was simple. There's so much going on in the food, a garnish would get lost.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cumin Snapper

Snapper is Fern's favourite every day fish. The challenge is getting all the bones out and giving it a good but different flavour each time. Tonight I used 

1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp flour

I cut my two fillets into four pieces to make them easier to turn in the pan, a large piece invariably breaks. I salted and coated both sides with onion, cumin mixture and dusted flour over top so it would brown. I got oil hot in my pan before putting the fish in. 

The broccoli was steamed then run under cold water to stop cooking and finally reheated in olive oil. The rice had 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp olive oil, a pinch of saffron and several drops of lemon juice. It was cooked in the microwave.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oyster sauce
3 drops Worcestershire Sauce

Whisk and toss the salad in it. 

Fern really liked the fish. I liked it but I would like it better made a little differently. Oregano maybe. The salad was nice, surprisingly since I wasn't sure the oyster sauce was such a good idea. It tasted better on the salad than in the bowl. The rice was nice again. I was hoping the lemon would bring out the saffron a little and it did seem to, it was better than the last time I made saffron rice.

Spaghetti Pie

No it's not a pie! Fern was sitting behind me when I inserted the photo and asked, "What kind of pie is that?" 
I guess the salad, from a distance, looks like a grey dot because the green and red cancel each other out. 

Particle Physics Vinaigrette

15ml (1 tbsp) Olive Oil
5-10ml (1-2 tsp) red wine vinegar
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) salt
dot of Dijon mustard

Whisk and toss the salad. 

Thaw out frozen spaghetti sauce and heat in a pot. Get large pot of salted water boiling and add pasta. Cook pasta about 12 minutes. (I've met people who need instructions)

Traditionally the pasta is tossed with the sauce before being plated but I never have the right amount of spaghetti for the sauce so, for me, this works better.

Garnish with fresh grated parmesan.

Unsurprisingly, it tasted a lot like it did last week when I made it, good. The salad was empirical.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Breaded Pork Chop

I didn't feel like fish tonight so pork was the other choice.  I bought a small pack of chops and headed home.  I wanted to see if I could make tasty breaded chops as good as the store made cutlets. I didn't want to try to duplicate the stores effort, I wanted something of my own. I mixed up 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp ground garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper, 1 tsp dried basil and 3/4 cup bread crumbs. I also whisked up an egg with salt.  I forgot to flour the chops first so I merely dipped them in egg then rolled them in breading. It seemed to stick so into the pan with plenty of olive oil.

I also had potatoes going for mashed potatoes.  I steamed fresh broccoli, ran it under cold water to stop cooking then finished it in olive oil. 


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
dot of dijon mustard
drop of oyster sauce

The salad dressing was good, but Fern doesn't like something in it. He says something bitter and awful he doesn't like in it. It's probably the mustard he insists must be in the dressing.

The chops were wonderful, juicy and tender. The breading stayed on and was extra crispy. There was lots of flavour and it was new and different. I served mine with mayonnaise, Fern had nothing. The chops really didn't need any help, they were terrific!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

White Wine Chicken with Asparagus and Microwave Hollandaise Sauce

I wanted chicken but not the spice rub we've had lately. I got out my trusty marinator and boned the breasts into that. I drizzled olive oil over them, then white wine, salt, paprika and chives. I then put the top on, sucked the air out and shook the marinator to fully coat the breasts. I shook it again each time I moved past it. I like the marinator because it doesn't leak. I'm not convinced the vacuum effect actually helps but the marinator is definitely better than a bowl and plastic wrap.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 drops Worcestershire Sauce
3 drops oyster sauce

I was experimenting here. The combination tasted good off the spoon but fell a little on the salad. It has promise so tonight I'll leave out the Worcestershire and see how that tastes.

I finally figured out how to make rice that tastes good on it's own, no soy sauce needed. 

Rice for two

1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup water
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon juice

The acid in the lemon juice brings out the natural flavour of the rice. It is so simple and yet it took me years to figure out.

Easy Hollandaise

1 egg yolk
less than 1/4 cup butter, melted but not hot
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp water

In a 4 cup measure whisk the egg yolk. Slowly whisk in the butter to fully emulsify it. Add it too fast and the sauce will break. Once all the butter is absorbed add the other ingredients. During the last two minutes of the asparagus steaming put the sauce in the microwave on high for 20 seconds. Take it out and stir it then put it back in for 10 seconds. Take it out and stir. Repeat till it's the desired consistency. The asparagus was steamed for about 5 minutes then served immediately with Hollandaise spooned over top.

The marinade worked great with the Hollandaise which worked well with the rice. The whole plate was harmonious.

Prawns and Pasta

I couldn't find black tiger prawns anywhere and the white prawns are a bit feeble tasting.  So I went to the Butcher Block and bought their two pound bag of prawns. They were good, not freezer burned and they tasted great even though they were white prawns. Just goes to show, where you shop matters.

I started by putting seven prawns each in cold water to defrost. While they were swimming I broke up the lettuce and cut up a quarter of a cucumber into the salad bin. I also put strips of red pepper in the salad for a little extra colour and crunch. It would just go to waste sitting in the fridge. I diced up a tomato for the salad. 


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Whisk and toss the salad.

I no longer buy tomato sauce because the cans usually list the contents as : tomato paste, stock, water. I can do that myself and save $1.50. I tried using chicken stock but it really doesn't tomato very well. Beef stock works much better. A little beef stock ramps up and enhances the tomato flavour. Campbell's has come out with a no salt added beef stock which is very good, the regular stock has far too much salt.

Salt some water and get the pasta boiling.

Start by sweating an onion. then adding garlic. I take the tails off my prawns and make sure the poop is actually cleaned out. Add the prawns to the onion and garlic with some salt and as soon as they have colour, turn them over. Let the other side get a little colour then add 1/4 cup beef stock and 1/4 cup water. Then add half a can of tomato paste and stir it in. Add more stock and water till the sauce is the right consistency and more importantly, tastes good. When you have the sauce right, add fresh or dried basil. When the pasta is ready, drain it and stir it into the sauce. Plate the pasta and sauce and top with fresh grated parmesan.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookies

I love peanut butter cookies. This recipe is from Joy of Cooking. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup flour

Cream the butter then slowly beat in the brown sugar followed by the white sugar.  Beat the egg and add it. (I never beat egg first unless I'm making something light and fluffy, so far it doesn't seem to matter) Add the soda, salt and beat it in with the vanilla. Beat in the peanut butter and finally the flour. Make two dozen balls of dough on two cookie sheets and flatten them with a fork. Bake 12 minutes or until golden.

They're half gone already and there's no kids in the house!

Pork Souvlaki with Greek Salad

I was building a new enclosure for the pool pump so didn't have time to make a big production for dinner. I picked up pork souvlakis from Mitchell's because they are really good and I haven't found a better recipe yet. The rice was done in the microwave with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.  A little acid really picks up the rice flavour.

For the salad I diced up half an English cucumber, two tomatoes, one slice red onion. Next some pitted black olives and feta cheese crumbled on top.  Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil over the salad, one or two teaspoons lemon juice, big pinch of salt and some black pepper. Whisk and serve.

I cooked the souvlakis on the BBQ for about 10 minutes altogether. When the large pieces are firm, it's cooked. I also made a batch of peanut butter cookies and got them in the oven before starting on dinner so it doesn't look like it but I was working hard!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cumin Cod with Potatoes au Gratin and Broccoli

I wanted snapper but Save On didn't have a package with two fillets roughly the same size. They were all a great white and a minnow. So I bought cod. Last week I overcooked the cod so this time I wanted to watch the fish more carefully. The problem with cod is it can be quite thick and take a while to cook to the centre. I started the potatoes first.

I peeled four small potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced. An onion diced and sweated to golden in an 8x8 square pan. In a small pot a roux of a tablespoon of olive oil and a heaping teaspoon of flour.  I cooked the flour taste off and removed from heat. Then I whisked in 1/4 cup chicken stock. (I intended to use beef but the beef stock is in a box and the chicken stock I make myself and is in a glass pitcher, so anyone could confuse them!) Anyway, beef would have tasted better than chicken but no one complained. I quickly added half a cup of milk and whisked it in, then added more and put the pot back on medium heat.  Cheese sauce has to be whisked to keep it from burning on the bottom. (or heat it slower at lower temperature) If it thickens too much add a little more milk. Add one cup grated cheddar. Armstrong Extra Old is a nice one. It pays to buy quality cheese for sauce because the whole meal hangs on the flavour of the sauce. Kraft isn't good enough. Once the sauce is ready add the onions to it, mix and cover the bottom of the square pan with sauce. Add half the potatoes spread out and half remaining sauce. Add remaining potatoes and sauce. Put in 350ºF oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave as long as possible to cook the potatoes.

The broccoli was steamed then run under cold water to stop cooking and reheated in olive oil. The cod was salted and dusted with onion powder and a little cumin. I got plenty of oil hot in a large pan and added Fern's big fat piece first. I only waited about half a minute before adding my smaller piece. I should have waited a full minute as it turns out. Fern's piece was a little under done in the centre and he wasn't convinced I had created a new dish of sushi stuffed fried cod.

Otherwise it was a wonderful meal. I have failed to make good scalloped potatoes on several occasions so it was reassuring to turn out good potatoes au gratin.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chicken and Asparagus with Hollandaise and a Green Papaya Salad

I boned the breasts and put the skins in a pan to crisp up for the dogs. The meat I seasoned with salt, onion powder and poultry seasoning, sprayed with olive oil and put it on the BBQ. I wanted the BBQ on high for the first couple of minutes but forgot to turn it down so the seasoning on the outside tended to scorch. It tasted good but would have been better cooked slower. The rice was done in the microwave with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Not enough lemon to taste, just a little acid to heighten the flavour. Done this way the rice tastes good on it's own, it doesn't need soy sauce to bring it to life.

I steamed the asparagus and served with:

Quick Easy Microwave Hollandaise Sauce

1 egg yolk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp water
1/4 cup butter

Melt the butter but don't get it hot. If the butter is hot it will cook the egg and you'll get scrambled eggs. In a glass bowl slowly whisk the melted butter into the yolk just like making mayonnaise. Also, just like mayonnaise, if butter is added too much at a time, the sauce will break. When all the butter is taken up whisk in some lemon juice, water and salt. At this point it should be thin so it can thicken as it cooks. Warm it up on high in the microwave for 20 seconds till it starts to thicken. Have a taste. It probably needs more lemon and will take more water in minute. Keep putting it back in the microwave for ten seconds at a time, taking it out to whisk then back in and repeat till it's cooked. It takes about two minutes over all.

Green Papaya Salad

1/3 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts or cashews (I used cashews)
1/2 cup chopped coriander (cilantro) or mint (I used chocolate mint) 
1 green papaya
3 green onions or 1/2 a red onion
3 or 4 green beans ( I used four)
1 cup glass noodles - left out
1 choko (a type of squash) - left out
jicama - left out


2 tbsp lime juice
4 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp hot sauce or fresh jalapeno (I used jalapeno)

The chicken was a bit scorched but still juicy inside and tasted good. The rice is wonderful with a hint of acid from the lemon. The Hollandaise was perfect. The asparagus was almost overcooked but I got it just in time. 

The green papaya salad was good but not terrific. Patty Bowes, chef Dave's wife from the Laughing Oyster, brought me this recipe from their recent trip through Vietnam. I'll bet the version they tasted was a lot better than mine. That's why I don't try recipes for foods I'm unfamiliar with, I haven't got a clue what it SHOULD taste like, so I don't know what to do to improve the flavour. 

Fern's Back Spaghetti

Fern is back from Vancouver so I made spaghetti because it can be kept hot and finished quickly when he gets home. I sweated an onion, carrot and celery stick. Fern had sweated some mixed peppers for me and I had some mushrooms. When all the vegetable ingredients were started I removed everything from the pan and put the ground beef in, about 500gm or a bit more than a pound. While that was browning I chopped up a small chorizo sausage for a little spice. This one was from Save On Foods, cost about $3.50 which put me off but hopefully it will be better than the much cheaper one I tried several years ago.

Once the meat was browned I added a cup of beef stock and two cans of tomato paste and a can of Aylmer tomato soup. A smashed and diced garlic clove followed by some water to thin it out. Add salt, pepper and plenty of basil. Taste it to see where it is then add more beef stock or water as needed. Simmer it slowly for a couple of hours and it's done.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh oregano
dot of mustard

Whisk the dressing and add tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and half an apple diced. Toss and serve. The spaghetti has fresh grated parmesan on top.

It was very good. I think I'm going in the right direction with tomato paste instead of buying tomato sauce. A can of tomato sauce has tomato paste, beef stock, water and salt so why not mix that up myself and save a few bucks?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Home Alone Rib Steak

Fern had to go to town overnight so I had a nice rib steak for dinner. Asparagus was on sale so I picked that up.  I planned to make hollandaise sauce for it.  A baked potato with sour cream and a few prawns in the hollandaise rounded out the plate.

I seasoned the steak with salt and black pepper then did it on the BBQ in 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides. Baked potato was done in the microwave, the asparagus was steamed. 

The hollandaise sauce was made in the microwave from fresh ingredients. I needed sauce for one so I used only one egg yolk and put all the sauce on the plate. That is how much hollandaise that can be made from one egg yolk.

Microwave Hollandaise Sauce

1 egg yolk
1/4 cup melted butter (NOT HOT - hot butter will cook the egg)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp water

Whisk the butter into the egg a little at a time till it is all emulsified, like mayonnaise. Whisk in lemon juice and a little water, pinch of salt and put on low heat. The emulsion will melt first then thicken as it heats and cooks. If it thickens too much add a little water.

I used frozen cooked prawns that I took the tails off. When the hollandaise was ready I added the prawns to the hollandaise to warm up while everything else was plated. 

This meal was delicious from every angle and it is absolutely worth while making all this for one person, me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rosemary Chicken

I marinated the chicken in olive oil, lemon juice, white wine, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and paprika. Only for about half an hour but it was enough to pump the flavour up. I steamed the vegetables and finished them in olive oil.  The potatoes had butter, salt and milk. The salad had iceberg lettuce, English cucumber, tomato, apple and pine nuts.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh oregano

I'm amazed at how good fresh golden oregano is on chicken, pork and even in salad.

Pork Schnitzel

These schnitzels from Save On Foods taste great and are super easy to prepare (assuming all stores have the same seasoning). They are seasoned at the store and the seasoning tastes great, it even has enough salt. All I have to do is make sure the oil is hot. If the oil isn't hot enough, the breading sinks through the thin layer of oil and cooks onto the pan. Hot oil cooks the breading before it can stick to the pan.

The rice is basmati with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Not enough lemon juice to taste it, but enough to make the rice a bit acidic and bring out it's flavour. Done this way it doesn't need anything else to flavour it.

The salad was iceberg lettuce, English cucumber, tomato, black olives, chives, fresh golden oregano and feta cheese. 


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk, toss and plate.

The condiment with the pork is Fern's ketchup of onions, tomato and pear. 

The meal was wonderful. The only flaw was the bland, flavourless black olives. I tried a can of Lindsay olives, I think it has a red label. The salad would have been better without them.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pork Souvlaki

It was time for pork and it was late in the day so I went to Mitchell's and picked up a couple of pork souvlaki skewers. I did them on the BBQ and the rice was done in the microwave.  The rice had salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. I'm amazed that a little lemon can perk up a starch the way it does. Done this way I don't need soy sauce to make the rice palatable. 

The salad was lettuce, tomato, cucumber, apple, walnut and chive.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 tbsp fresh chopped oregano

Whisk, toss everything together and serve.

Mitchell's uses a really good marinade for the their souvlaki so the pork was predictably delicious.  As I said the rice was good on it's own and the salad stood out for it's fresh crunch. For a quick, last minute meal, this one takes the cake.