Monday, July 28, 2014

Lemon Chicken, Saffron Rice, Broccoli and Greek Salad

I picked up chicken at Mitchell's when I bought buns for lunch. Mid afternoon I put it in the marinator.

Lemon Marinade

Rind a lemon
juice the lemon.
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
white pepper
few drops Tabasco

I should have pierced the meat with a fork to get the flavour right into it. It was good but the lemon could have been more prominent. Kevin phoned to ask to come over and Fern took pity on him. I suggested if Kevin wanted to stay for dinner Fern should pick up another chicken breast on the way home. I simply put it in the marinator with everything else. Then I cooked it on the BBQ. 2 minutes over the flame then 28 minutes roasting off the heat.

The broccoli was steamed and finished in olive oil.  The rice had salt, olive oil, lemon juice and saffron. 

Greek Salad

2/3 cucumber
3 tomatoes
slice of red onion
handful ripe olives
chunk of feta cheese, crumbled

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Toss and serve. Kevin loved everything.

Shake'n Bake Chicken Thighs, Asparagus with Beurre Blanc

I went shopping late so I pulled this meal together in record time. I got the chicken in the oven first, it would take 45 minutes to cook through to the bone. I followed the directions on the Shake'n Bake. The potatoes were boiled in salted water then finished with butter and milk.  I steamed the carrots and broccoli together, which worked fine. 

In a small sauce pan I boiled 1-2 oz. of white wine till it was reduced by half then let it cool a bit. I whisked the melted butter in and to my amazement the emulsion held together. I heated it up and drizzled it over the asparagus. It was a really nice change from lemon juice.

Breaded Pork Cutlet

Save On had pork cutlets again. Apparently they get them at the whim of some faceless manager on the prairies. The breading they use is really good so it overcomes the fact that the meat was cut and packaged on the prairies last week and trucked here, priced and put out for sale. Steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. No salad because we had a late lunch.

I simply fried the cutlet in olive oil. That is Fern's home made apple sauce condiment. The broccoli was steamed to half cooked then cooled under running water and finished in olive oil.  The potatoes were boiled in salted water, mashed and hand whipped with butter and milk. I've seen people use an immersion blender to process potatoes and it turns them into a thick, unpalatable paste, but it's how their mother made them!

No doubt I could find a better way to arrange the plate, but Fern always complains that the broccoli is cold so I plate and serve as fast as possible. Broccoli has tremendous surface area to lose heat from  so that is why it gets cold so fast. There is a smear of fat on the plate I didn't clean up. My bad. 

The food was really good, better than it looks in the photo. I manage to get flavour out of each component now so I guess it's time to start working on the look of the plate. I know the secret is to plan the whole plate so every component makes sense together. Maybe at this point looking through cook books would give me some ideas.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prawns and Pasta with Greek Salad

I was busy all day so it wasn't till around 5pm I started thinking about dinner. With time short I decided to go with prawns and pasta. I only need to pick up some prawns and tomato sauce. Fern asked for sauce I didn't make from tomato paste. I guess I'm not doing it right yet.

Save On has a new brand of tomato sauce, Antonellas's, which comes in a box with a capped spout, a slightly larger size and half the price of Mezzeta's Bistro sauces. If it's good it's a bargain. To me, it had a slightly tomato soupy kind of flavour but Fern liked it and the customer is always right. It's convenient to have a bit left in the fridge too, so I can experiment with it. 

Jumbo prawns were on sale so I bought a bag of those. Larger prawns = fewer prawns = less work. I just found that out. I used the sauce right out of the box. Barilla pasta, boiled in salted water. Wow it's almost like real cooking! The pasta was on sale and all the penne was gone so I bought Farfalle. Fresh grated parmesan on top. I used to buy Canadian made grated parmesan until I tasted the real thing. 

Greek Salad

2 tomatoes diced
1/2 small English cucumber diced
1 slice white onion finely chopped
black olives - I buy pitted kalamata
feta cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp lime juice - ran out of lemon
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 small clove garlic

Mash the garlic with the salt. Put oil and lime in salad bowl and whisk. Add garlic and onion, whisk. Add tomatoes, cucumber, black olives and toss. Add feta cheese, toss lightly and plate.

I finely chopped the remaining onion and put it in my sauce pan with some olive oil. I sweated it and added the prawns after removing the shell and tails. Once they had colour on one side I turned them over. I don't want them fully cooked because they will finish in the sauce. I removed them from the pan and added the sauce. Just before the pasta was ready I put the prawns in the sauce to finish cooking. When the pasta was ready I drained it and added it to the sauce. I plated everything and topped with fresh grated parmesan.

Easy, fast, delicious. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chicken Curry with Asparagus Greek Salad

I had two onion chicken breasts left over from the other night and Fern suggested I curry them. So I picked up a can of coconut milk and got to work. The half cup of rice had just salt, a few drops of lemon juice and two teaspoons of olive oil. I diced an onion and sweated it then added a green pepper from the garden and a little salt. Next I sprinkled a tablespoon of curry powder over all and heated it up then added some beef stock. Next about 2/3 of a can of coconut milk. I cooked down the curry to thicken it and about 3 minutes before serving I added the diced chicken. It was already cooked so I held it back so it didn't become rubbery.

I bought the asparagus a few days ago on sale and haven't made a meal I could serve it with. I thought about how I could prepare it so it would go with the curry. Nothing came to mind. I looked at the cutting board. I had a bunch of asparagus and a couple of tomatoes out. Then I remembered a woman at Save On buying the same asparagus saying she was going to blanch it and use it in salads. That's what I'll  do.

I put the asparagus in the steamer basket and set it in the pot with a bit of boiling water at the bottom. I cooked it just till a fork pierced it then ran it under cold water to stock cooking. I cut each stalk into 3 pieces and added to the diced tomato. I also broke a piece of feta cheese into it and added some pitted Kalamata olives and a slice of onion finely diced. I made the salad in reverse order because I wasn't sure at the start where it was going. Now I had all the ingredients in I put a teaspoon of olive oil in a separate bowl.  To that I added a teaspoon of canola oil and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. 1/2 teaspoon of salt and fresh ground black pepper. Whisk that up and pour over the salad, then toss it together.

The curry was very good, nothing special, but it was nice. The salad was the star. The asparagus lifted that salad up to heights I didn't know a salad could go. Asparagus Greek salad with Coconut Chicken Curry on basmati rice. It just doesn't sound like a meal from my kitchen, but it sure was good! A meal like this really makes me feel a bit more like a chef.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Tacos is a way I can sneak beef into Fern's diet. In a bow to middle age digestion, I used whole wheat soft tacos. This time I got two parts ground beef to one part ground pork for extra flavour. I browned the meat with salt then added one tablespoon of taco seasoning and half a cup of beef stock. I sprinkled a little bit of flour over the meat so some of the moisture would stick to it. Stir it up and simmer.

I warmed the taco shell and put meat and grated cheddar in and rolled it up. On top I put a stripe of Guacamole, then sour cream and finally fresh salsa. The Guacamole was store bought but I made the salsa.


1 tomato diced
1 slice white or red onion finely diced
1 jalapeño seeded and diced
1 tsp chopped cilantro or 2 tsp chopped parsley
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
2 tsp olive oil

I was going to leave it at that but the plate would look like I didn't care. I forgot to get refried beans, so I opened a can of pinto beans into a small pot and put it on a burner. I added a tablespoon of tomato ketchup, salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning, a few drops Tabasco sauce, stirred and heated  it up. Much to my surprise it tasted good! I plated that with a little grated cheddar over top.

Fern remarked twice during the meal that it was really good. That is remarkable because he usually doesn't like sour cream and he had plenty on his plate. Neither of us could clean our plates so the dogs got lucky tonight! Fern almost didn't have to wash the dishes when they were finished!

Chicken Breast with Apple Caesar

This onion chicken has become a favourite. Salt the chicken breasts then coat it in an equal mixture of onion powder and flour. Brush with olive oil, make sure all surfaces are covered with oil and put over the heat on the BBQ for 2 minutes.  Then turn the breasts over off the heat and let them roast for a total cooking time of 30 minutes.

1 head romaine
1 apple
1 clove garlic crushed chopped
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup olive/canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
few drops fish sauce
1-2 tsp lemon juice
Black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Put yolk in salad bowl and slowly whisk in oil to make mayonnaise. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, fish and Worcestershire sauces and whisk.  Taste and add lemon or water to adjust the dressing. Add a thinly sliced apple and toss. Toss the lettuce and add the parmesan cheese and toss till everything is evenly coated.

The chicken can be served as is or with a sauce or mayonnaise or salsa. It will go with almost anything. I really like the sweet crunch of the apple instead of croutons in this salad.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spaghetti and Greek Salad

I had spaghetti sauce in the freezer so all I had to do was defrost, heat and serve. The pasta required cooking of course but I can boil water easily enough. The Greek salad was very basic.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk the dressing and immediately add the tomato, cucumber, onion, black olive and feta cheese. Toss and serve.

Cucumber is from the garden, soon we'll be getting tomatoes too!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Souvlaki with Crimini Mushrooms and Greek Salad

I'm shopping at Mitchell's more often and one of their best values is the souvlaki. It tastes great and is easy to BBQ.  I made saffron rice with salt, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of saffron. To accompany the meal a Greek salad.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Dice some cucumber and tomatoes. I finely chopped a slice of onion and broke a piece of feta cheese into the bowl. A handful of black olives and toss. 

The pork kebabs were BBQ'd over medium heat for 15 minutes. I couldn't find a decent green vegetable so I bought some crimini mushrooms. While I was making dinner I thought to put green peas in with the mushrooms. Normally Fern doesn't like frozen vegetables in summer. This time he commented on how good the mushrooms and peas were. 

I used Western Family Black Pitted Olives and unfortunately they tasted cheap. They had crunch and looked good but when I bit into one I got a mouthful of ... nothing. They had no flavour. The meal would have been perfect if I had spent another dollar on the olives.

Onion Chicken with Asparagus and Garden Salad

I shared this recipe with Dave, the chef owner of the Laughing Oyster. It's deceptively simple, just equal parts flour and onion powder.  Salt the chicken breast then shake it in a bag with the flour and onion mix. Brush the breast with olive oil and place over the heat on the BBQ. Cook for two minutes then turn over and place off the heat to roast. Twenty five to thirty minutes total cooking time. The oil cooks the onion powder giving the meat a wonderful caramelized onion flavour. It can be paired with almost any sauce from mayonnaise to salsa. I didn't use a sauce tonight because Fern likes this just as it comes off the grill, no sauce needed. 

I steamed the asparagus, ordinary mashed potatoes. I made a lemon beurre blanc which if I understand correctly is white wine with butter emulsified in it. I used white wine and a little lemon juice with a tablespoon of barely melted butter. I don't think I achieved an emulsion but it tasted good.


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp red balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Cucumber and lettuce from the garden with fresh local tomatoes. Fresh from the garden really does taste better than fresh from the store.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I headed to the store with fish in mind and the halibut caught my eye. Usually it's too expensive but today I decided to splurge. The fillet had skin on it which I left on to see if I could cook it properly. Nope. I screwed it up.

I put rice on with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Set the broccoli and carrots in the steamer and the frying pan heating up. I seasoned the fish and set it in the pan skin side down. I was planning to let it cook from the bottom up and get crispy skin. That didn't happen. It didn't seem to be cooking on the top half so I put a lid on the pan to cook the top.  This kept the steam in and basically poached the fish. No crunchy skin. It tasted ok but not the $13 worth the fish cost. It was entirely my fault because I should have had the oven hot so I could put pan in there to cook the top once the skin is crunchy. I think this is about the third time in my life I've cooked halibut so I won't beat myself up too much over it.

The sauce is just mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish mixed 50/50. The vegetables were steamed and finished in olive oil.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Burger and Fries with a Greek Salad

I had a pound of extra lean ground beef and half a pound of ground pork. I put some diced red onion, 1/2 tsp salt, pepper in the bowl and mixed it up. I made four pattie's out of it. Mitchell's Kaiser Rolls are better, these were from Save On. The fries were regular russet potatoes.

Greek Salad

1 tomato
1/3 english cucumber
slice of red onion diced
1/2 cup feta - broken up
black olives
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar

This is the first red meat I've bought in months besides spaghetti sauce ingredients. The burger was wonderful and my fries are hard to beat. Greek salad rounded out the meal.

Pork Souvlaki, my own recipe this time

I bought pork chops this time and cut them into bite size pieces for Souvlaki.  


2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves crushed and diced
1 tablespoon of fresh oregano.
1/2 tsp salt

The meat soaked for a few hours which was enough to take up plenty of flavour. 

Saffron Rice

1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
pinch saffron (6-10 stamens)

My saffron rice has always been disappointing, till now. It's the acid in the lemon juice that brings out the flavour in the saffron. This batch was absolutely delicious. The meat was done on the BBQ and turned out great. Fern said it was better than Mitchell's pork souvlaki but I'm not convinced of that, but it sure was good!

Apple Caesar Salad

1 egg yolk
1/3 cup olive/canola oil
1/2 tsp salt
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
few drops fish sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 apple, thinly sliced

See previous posts on how to make Caesar dressing. This version is really good with the apple.

It's been a while since every component in a meal tasted great on it's own, but I did it with this meal! It took me a bit over an hour to put this on the table.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

BBQ Roasted Onion Chicken on Apple Caesar

I asked Fern what he'd like for dinner.  "Salad."
"Chicken on a Caesar?"

Chicken Rub

1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp flour

I knew from the start that I didn't have croutons but I was going to use something else, didn't know what yet. I salted and peppered (or paprika)  the chicken all around then put it in a plastic bag with the rub and shook to coat.

Without the flour the herbs scorch. I brushed both sides with oil before putting the breasts on the BBQ. I put them over medium heat for two minutes, turned them over for 2 more minutes, then put them off the heat in the centre to roast. My BBQ has 3 burners and I leave the centre one off so I can roast meat there. Roast for 30 minutes total cooking time. Let it rest, then slice and plate it with the salad. I put a little salsa beside mine to spice it up, Fern had no salsa.

Apple Caesar

1 egg yolk
1/3 cup oil 
1 clove garlic crushed, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
few drops Asian Fish Sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan
black pepper
1 head Romaine
1 apple diced just before adding - so it won't go brown - I used a Royal Gala

Wash and break the Romaine into bite size pieces. In the salad bowl put the yolk, then while whisking slowly add the oil one teaspoon at a time. If the oil is added too fast the sauce will break. When all the oil is taken up, add the remaining ingredients and whisk. Add the romaine and toss. Lastly, dice and add the apple. Plate the chicken on or beside the salad. Optional salsa beside the chicken for a little more kick.

Fern had no salsa and said "The chicken is delicious!"
Then, "The salad is delicious too!"
Yippee! A home run! 
I really enjoyed the apple in the salad. Some walnuts might be nice too. I guess that would be a Waldorf Caesar.
The onion powder on the chicken cooks up with that caramelized onion flavour, mouth watering. I think the salsa was a great addition but Fern thoroughly enjoyed his chicken without.

Broken Aioli Rescue

If you break a mayonnaise, like this, or a Hollandaise, get another yolk and slowly add the broken sauce to the yolk until it's all taken up.

Maple Cashew Coffee Cake

I've always liked coffee cake, don't know why I've never made one. I got out my trusty Joy of Cooking and turned to the basic coffee cake recipe.

Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter. Cream sugar into butter. Add egg and milk, mix. Add flour, salt and baking powder, mix. Pour into greased or better parchment lined 9x9 pan. 

Honey Bee Glaze - 1/8 cup is about 2 tablespoons

1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup milk
1/8 cup butter
1/8 cup honey
1/4 cup nuts - cashews are great!

Stir and heat to boiling over low heat. Pour over coffee cake batter and put in a 375ºF oven for 25 minutes.

I, being the most talented and organized chef on the planet, made the recipe straight from the Joy of Cooking, which made enough for two cakes. I also didn't cook it first. Then to top it all off, I didn't have any honey! What to do? I had real maple syrup in the fridge, so I substituted maple syrup for honey. I poured a small lake on top of the coffee cake batter and put it in the oven at 350º. Yup, I got the temperature wrong too. The cake just took longer to bake. 

Despite all the mistakes I made, it tasted great! Fern's first piece had too much Bee Glaze but he had a second piece that was perfect and he loved it. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


When I picked up lunch at Mitchell's I also bought pork souvlaki for dinner. I had to go back later for tomatoes and feta. The basmati rice had salt, olive oil and lemon juice. The pork was done on the BBQ.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Whisk and add diced tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Crumble some feta into the salad and add a handful of black olives. Toss.

The salad was really good. I'm getting better at vinaigrettes and picking quality products. Premium feta cheese and black olives add so much flavour it doesn't pay not to buy them. The pork was wonderful. I don't know what they use in their marinade but it is tasty.


I went off to the store intending to get cod or halibut. When I got there I had a choice of snapper. So I got a 300gm fillet, some new potatoes and fresh green beans. In my mortar I put two teaspoons onion powder and a quarter teaspoon cumin, crush. Add two teaspoons  of flour and mix. I salt the meat first then apply the seasoning. I fried the fish in plenty of hot oil. I cut the ends off the beans and put them in the steamer. The potatoes just have to be boiled in salted water to soft, drain and melt butter on them.

Russian Vinaigrette

1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1 tsp tomato ketchup

I liked the dressing, Fern wasn't impressed. We both loved the snapper.  The cumin didn't help it a lot but the onion powder on it works really well. Next time I'm going to focus on the onion flavour.  The beans were a wonderful change from broccoli and the nugget potatoes are always a treat. 

Seasoned Chicken Breast

It was late so I decided to try Safeway's store marinated chicken breasts. I did them on the BBQ, a few minutes each side over the heat then move off heat and keep BBQ lid closed. Thirty minutes total cooking time. The rice had salt and lemon juice. Salad was the usual vinaigrette with lettuce from the garden.  Broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil.

Fern took one bite of the chicken and said, "I like yours a lot better." 

Monday, July 7, 2014


Fern asked for spaghetti so I didn't have to plan too much.  I picked up some ground beef and I had a chorizo sausage in the fridge for spice. I sweated a diced onion, carrot, stick of celery and clove of garlic. Next I added the beef to brown while I chopped up the chorizo then put it in the pot. I added a can of Aylmer tomato soup, small can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato paste. Half a cup of beef stock and half a cup of water and start simmering the sauce.  I sliced some mushrooms and diced up a green pepper.  I should have sweated them first but forgot. Into the sauce they went. I added some salt and a tablespoon of paprika and a teaspoon of dried basil. Let it simmer 45 minutes, adding water as needed and serve on pasta. Fresh grated parmesan on top.

If you can't find Aylmer Tomato Soup, then leave the soup out.

Breaded Pork Cutlet

Save On had a pack of two cutlets just the right size, they must be having an off day. So I picked them up and headed for the veggies.  Fern is tired of broccoli so I'm trying bok choy instead. I put potatoes on first then peeled and sliced up a couple of carrots. I put the carrots in olive oil in a large pan, added some beef stock and let the carrots cook. Potatoes were boiling away for mashed. That leaves only the meat which is seasoned and ready to cook. When the carrots were almost cooked I took them off the heat and put the cutlets on in plenty of oil. I turned the heat down a bit towards the end of cooking so the cutlets wouldn't scorch.

The potatoes were mashed with butter and milk, there was enough salt from the water. I added bok choy to the carrots with some soy sauce while the cutlets were finishing. I plated the cutlet with home made apple sauce. 

The bok choy tasted really good and had a satisfying crunch too. The cutlet was good as usual. I don't know what's in their breading but it sure tastes good. The potatoes were....potatoes. It's a confused plate, all over the place, but it tasted good together. That, after all, is what's most important. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Prawns and Pasta and a Caesar Salad

Fern asked for prawns and pasta with Caesar salad for dinner and I have everything so I didn't need to go to the store. To start, put the croutons in a frying pan with olive oil and brown some flavour into them. Wash and spin dry a head of romaine lettuce. 

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 egg yolk
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic crushed chopped
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1 anchovy fillet or a couple of drops Fish Sauce
black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan
splash of water

Whisk the yolk and add the oil one teaspoon at a time, whisking in before adding more. This emulsifies the oil and makes mayonnaise. Whisk in all the other ingredients and if it's too thick add a little water. Toss the lettuce and croutons in the dressing and plate.

Tomato Basil Sauce

1 clove garlic - I used tomato paste with garlic so I didn't add this
1 onion diced
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup beef stock
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp basil 

Put two cups penne pasta in boiling water for about 12 minutes, drain. Dice an onion and caramelize it in a wide sauce pan. Add the prawns and cook both sides but not all the way through. Remove the prawns from the pan, they'll finish cooking in the sauce. Add one can tomato paste and half a cup of beef stock. I also added a splash of water so the stock didn't overpower the sauce. Add two teaspoons dried basil or fresh if it's available. Add the salt and taste.  Add water and/or salt to balance the sauce. Add the prawns back in and finish cooking for a minute or two. Add the pasta to the sauce then plate it all.

I haven't made Caesar for a while so it slowed me down but I still had the meal on the table in under an hour and it tasted like I spent longer.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pork Souvlaki

I went to Mitchell's to pick up a couple of buns to make tuna sandwiches. When I got home I realized I didn't have any tuna left. So back to Mitchell's for a tin of tuna. I decided to do dinner shopping too so I bought tomatoes and pork souvlaki also. The tuna sandwiches were quite good but I don't think I need to write about buttering bread.

I like Mitchell's souvlaki marinade, no idea what's in it, but it tastes good and at this point I haven't done better. I cooked it on the BBQ over medium high heat for about 12 minutes. The rice was done in the microwave with salt, a teaspoon of lemon juice and two teaspoons olive oil. The corn was frozen, cooked in the microwave and finished with salt and butter. 


1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt 
black pepper
1/4 tsp creamed horseradish

I diced up two tomatoes, a third of an English cucumber, romaine leaves, slice of red onion, feta cheese and black olives all tossed together in the dressing. Chopped fresh parsley over the rice and dive in.

The pork from Mitchell's is always good. The rice is great on it's own. Who knew adding a little lemon juice would make bland rice delicious. The corn goes well with the pork but Fern doesn't like frozen vegetables so they are there mostly for their fibre. The salad was interesting. I think a little tomato with the horseradish would be better but it was good the way it was.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Chicken Cordon Swisse

The hottest day so far, 25ºC. For Powell River, that's a hot day. I had asparagus in the fridge so I wanted something that would go with it. I went to Mitchell's and decided on their store made Chicken Cordon Swisse, I picked up two and headed home.  I popped the chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 350ºF and got potatoes going for mashed. I snapped the ends off the asparagus and put it in the steamer basket. That was the prep work, what an easy meal!

Hollandaise Sauce

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

The important thing is to emulsify the butter without cooking the egg. Melt the butter but don't get it hot. If it's hot, put the container in cold water to cool it down.  Drizzle half a teaspoon butter into the yolk and whisk till incorporated. Add more butter, a tiny bit at a time, until it's all taken up in the yolk. The yolk should get stiffer as more butter is added. Adding too much butter at once will break the sauce and it will separate. Slowly emulsify broken sauce into another egg yolk to rescue it.

Once all the butter is taken up, add the lemon, water and salt.  Taste to make sure it's balanced. To cook, put in microwave on high for 15-20 seconds. Whisk. Microwave 10 seconds, whisk. Continue cooking ten seconds at a time till it's desired consistency. Add more water if it gets too thick. Plate the sauce over the chicken and asparagus. 

The chicken was a little dry so we both would have liked a bit more sauce. Otherwise, it was just as good as it looks. I think I'll make my own chicken next time, unless I'm pressed for time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tacos with Greek Salad

I bought a 2kg roll of lean ground beef to make dog food. I was going to get pork tenderloin for dinner but I decided to buy ground pork instead.  When I got home I took half the pork and replaced it with beef, that was dinner and the rest was dog food. 

Dog Food

I cut up a carrot, celery stick and onion and broke a bay leaf into the pan.  Break meat up into  a layer an inch or so thick, then add salt.  Put in 325ºF oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through. I cook up a cup of rice and mix it with the meat when it's cooked. If you make this once, the dogs won't eat dog food again so don't make it unless you're prepared to keep making it.

Tacos are easy.  Brown the ground beef and pork adding salt and a tablespoon taco seasoning. When the meat has browned, add the beef stock. I sprinkled a little flour over the meat so the stock would cling to the meat a bit. Warm the plates and tacos in the oven and put a line of filling on the tacos. Spread grated cheddar over the meat and roll up the taco. Put salsa on the tacos and sour cream on the side. 

I didn't have refried beans so I opened a can of baked beans. I added a teaspoon of taco seasoning to the beans and they were pretty good. Refried beans would be better, but in a pinch, this worked. Fresh chopped parsley to garnish. I'd use cilantro but Fern doesn't like it.

Greek Salad


1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano


1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup black olives
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/8 cup diced red onion or other onion

Whisk the vinaigrette and add the diced tomatoes and cucumber.  I didn't have red onion so I used chives. I cut pitted black olives in half and added them. Buying premium olives pays off with much better flavour. I broke a chunk of feta cheese up into the bowl and tossed it all together.

Fern cleaned his plate up fairly quickly, which means he really liked it. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I didn't think I'd eat the salad but once I got started, it was so good I just kept eating.

Chicken Breast with Asparagus and Quick Hollandaise Sauce

"Want anything from the store?" I called to Fern.
"No Broccoli!"
Too much of a good thing I guess. Fortunately, asparagus was on special so that's what I bought.  I've been buying boneless skinless chicken breasts lately because I've been using beef stock instead of chicken for my sauces. This meal was quite simple and quick.

I salted the breasts then rolled them in a mixture of a tablespoon of flour and a teaspoon of onion powder. I knew I would have Hollandaise Sauce so I sprinkled only paprika over the breast to keep the flavours mild. Paprika went on a bit splotchy but tasted fine. I sprayed both breasts with oil and put them in a 350ºF oven for thirty minutes.

I snapped the bottoms off the asparagus and steamed it till a fork just pierces the stem. The rice was basmati with salt, lemon juice and olive oil. 

Unbelievably Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Separate an egg.  I usually cook the whites in the microwave and give it to the dogs unless I want to make a meringue.  Put the yolk in a four cup glass bowl. In another glass vessel melt a bit less than a quarter cup butter. It needs to be melted but not hot. While whisking the yolk, slowly add the melted butter half a teaspoon at a time. Too much butter at once will break the sauce. When all the butter is taken up the yolk should be getting a bit stiffer, like mayonnaise. Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon lemon juice and one of cold water. Whisk and taste. It should be lemony but not sour.  Add more lemon and/or water and/or salt to balance the sauce. It's still raw so don't add too much of anything yet but it should be thin at this point. 

When everything else is ready put the sauce in the microwave on high for twenty seconds. Take out and whisk.  Put back in microwave for ten seconds and whisk again.  It should be thickening, keep giving it ten seconds at a time till it's the desired consistency. If it gets too thick add a little cold water. Plate the rice, asparagus and chicken then pour Hollandaise generously over the asparagus and hit the chicken with a little too.

Fern's plate looked a little better with the chicken, then asparagus and finally rice, but I'm set up to photograph my plate. No matter how it looked, the chicken was wonderful.  A light onion flavour with a little spice from the paprika, tempered with lemony, buttery sauce.