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!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turkey with Stuffing, Turnip and Broccoli

I was going to get chicken breasts but some other chicken part was on special and there weren't any chicken breasts. So I bought a 1.25kg turkey roll. It took 2 hours at 325F to cook the roll.  I got the turnip on next so it had nearly an hour to cook. It takes at least 45 minutes. The stuffing is Uncle Ben's Traditional Sage. It isn't as good as home made, but I didn't have to stuff a turkey and cook it all day! I wish I'd remembered cranberries! The meat wasn't dry but it needed something, turkey always seems to. If I'd thought to make gravy it would have saved the day. Oh well, turkey is all about the leftovers.

Pork Cutlet

A simple meal, mostly good. Pork cutlets from Save On Foods again. Mashed potatoes with butter, milk and salt. Pear sauce for a condiment and peas.  I fried the cutlet in olive oil and nuked the frozen peas to half done.  When the cutlet was almost done I put the snow peas and par cooked frozen peas in a frying pan with a little olive oil and salt.  To bump up the flavour a little I added some chives and capers to the vegetables.  I knew capers would make it a bit bitter so I added a few drops of lemon juice to brighten it up.  Either the lemon juice or capers bleached the colour out of the peas. If I had made a caper lemon sauce it would have been successful.  This way almost got there but not quite.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chicken Cordon Swisse With Hollandaise, Cauliflower and Peas

Mitchell's makes their own chicken roll up so they don't all look identical, a good sign. I put it straight in a 375F oven for 30 minutes on a small tray. When the cheese leaks out a bit, it's done. I steamed the cauliflower and finished it in olive oil. The potatoes were mashed with butter, salt and milk.  The peas were frozen and cooked in the microwave, then buttered.


2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp water

Melt the butter but don't get it hot.  Whisk the yolks and add a little melted butter. Whisk it in then add more.  Don't add too much at once or you'll break the sauce. Once all the butter is emulsified, add the lemon juice and water. It will curdle but this will melt out. When ready to use it, put over simmering water till it thickens, a minute or two.

If it's your first time, keep one yolk in reserve. If you break the sauce, slowly whisk the broken sauce into the second yolk and continue. Add the second yolk at the end.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Honey Lemon Chicken

Rice had a pinch of saffron and a few drops of lemon, salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. I steamed the carrots then  added peas and ran under cold water just before done.  When the chicken was done I put the vegetables back in the pan with olive oil and salt over medium low heat to finish cooking. The chicken was seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary then put in a hot BBQ. Halfway through cooking I started brushing the meat with honey, lemon and a little salt mixture. It was too watery, I should have used straight honey over lemon slices to caramelize properly. As it was it tasted nice but didn't have the punch I was hoping for.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Outstanding Chili

Fern said this is the best chili he's ever tasted, which isn't all that many. He was a waiter in an upscale restaurant and he does know good food when he tastes it, so his opinion counts. Cheese bread from Mitchell's which I tried to reheat in foil. I had the oven not warm enough and not long enough so all I got was the butter melted, but it turned out to be enough. The chili was served with grated cheddar on top which I already mixed in before the photo. 


2 onions diced
2 carrots diced
1 celery stick diced
1 jalapeño seeded diced
1 green pepper seeded diced - I used two small of different types from the garden
 3 cloves garlic - crushed diced
500gm Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage meat
1 kg lean ground beef
3 cups pinto, white and red kidney beans - pinto beans are really good!
1 tsp salt at least - add more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 tsp ground savoury
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 400ml can Hunt's Tomato Sauce
1 500ml can homemade stewed tomatoes
2 150ml can tomato paste
1/4 cup frozen corn
water to cover the beans

Rinse beans and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer 1.5 hours. Adding water to keep the beans just covered. Add 1/2 tsp salt and simmer 1.5 hours more. Drain beans and reserve liquid. If good quality beans were used the liquid will taste good. Sweat all the vegetables, then salt and brown the meat. Add all the ingredients, which will make it very thick so add some bean liquid but don't make it watery. Add more liquid as needed. Fern's first comment when he looked in the pot was "How did you get it so thick?"
That's how.

It simmered for half an hour before we ate. It was really good chili and it turns out there is a pot luck dinner next door tonight that I forgot about.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pork Cutlet

Save On Foods pork cutlet fried in olive oil and a bit of canola, served with pear sauce made by Fern. I steamed the sprouts, finished them in olive oil and microwaved the frozen corn. Fresh is better but not so much as to justify the huge price out of season. Butter and salt on the corn. Mashed potatoes have butter, salt and splash of milk. It was all very good.

I always have to buy a pack of three cutlets so the dogs always get to share the smallest one. They love pork cutlet day!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pork Souvlaki

Another fairly light meal.  Basmati rice cooked with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Souvlaki from Mitchell's, I still haven't figured out what they put in their marinade that tastes so good. A Greek salad without the Greek. I was putting the salad together and realized I didn't have black olives or feta cheese. So I used stuffed green olive and grated cheddar cheese.  Salt, olive oil and lemon juice to dress. I thought it tasted ok but Fern didn't like it at all. I won't try that again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Roast Chicken

It was Thanksgiving so some kind of stuffing was called for. We had our turkey dinner at the Laughing Oyster so this was just a seasonal meal. Not that long ago I would have fussed at roasting a chicken half the day. This time I seasoned with:

mixed pepper
ground garlic

I sprinkled it on then rubbed it all over.  I brushed olive oil on the top of the bird then turned it over and did the bottom. I roasted it in a rack with the bottom up for the first half hour. Then turn it over till done. Crispy skin all around. Roasted at 350F for 1.5 hrs. I stuck a fork in the breast and judged the liquid coming out. It should be clear. I put it back in for 10 minutes.

I steamed the cauliflower and sprouts, ran under cold water then reheated in olive oil. I threw in the last of the bacon crisped up and broken. I don't like that thick cut bacon. It's like eating leather.

Potatoes were new nuggets, boiled and served with salt, butter and chives.

The stuffing was Uncle Ben's Traditional stove top stuffing mix. No doubt I could make a better one myself, but not nearly as easily.

It was all really good, I'll do this more often.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Don't Try This At Home!

My efforts to achieve a stir fry without any soy sauce were a great success so I wanted to try it on something a little different. Fern wanted a light dinner so I bought some lobster flavoured pollock. Beef stock and oyster sauce had worked great on the vegetables earlier and beef goes with lobster fairly well. It should work.

But it didn't. The lobster just didn't taste better in the beef stock. The oyster sauce didn't go at all. Fern wanted a light meal and it was. Easier to digest than it was to eat.

Prawns and Pasta

Fern wanted dinner on time so I made prawns and pasta, I can get it on the table in much less than an hour. This time I dolled it up with fresh peppers from the garden and a stick of celery. All I did here was sweat some garlic with the peppers and celery. Pre cook the prawns then remove from the pan. Add a can of tomato sauce and cook a little water off.  Add the prawns, add the pasta when it's cooked and serve with fresh grated parmesan on top.

I'm fairly certain I can make this over a camp fire now.

Friday, October 10, 2014

BBQ Chicken Caesar

Chicken Rub

2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground savoury
1 tsp flour
pinch of cayenne
mixed ground pepper

Put in a plastic bag, add a breast and shake to coat. Leave first one in and add the second, then shake. The third and shake. That's all I had and it worked great for me, everything was evenly coated. I found if I put all three in the bag at once they don't coat evenly. Brush with oil and put on the BBQ over heat for two minutes. Then turn them over off the heat and let them roast for 25-30 minutes total cooking time. My BBQ reads about 450F when I'm doing chicken.

 Caesar Dressing

1 egg yolk
1/3 cup oil half olive/half canola

Add the oil to the egg yolk 1 teaspoon at a time, emulsifying it as you go. That way you're sure not to break it by adding too much oil.

1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash Worcestershire Sauce
few drops fish sauce or an anchovy if you have one
2 tbsp lemon juice - add half then taste
1 cup croutons - alpine bread makes terrific croutons for this salad - toast and fry in olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan - never buy the grated stuff

Add enough lemon juice to give it a nice tang but don't make it sour! Toss the lettuce in the dressing then add the parmesan to the salad and toss. Finally, add the croutons and toss. 

The chicken was delicious and the salad was top notch. I'm finally getting the right amount of salt in things.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pork Tenderloin

I had nothing in mind when I went to the store so it was by chance that pork tenderloin was on special. I don't usually buy it at Save On because they package two tenderloins together which is twice what I need. Time was short so I bought the larger package and headed home.  

Pork Marinade - I should have doubled the herbs

fresh fennel 1 tbsp
fresh oregano 1 tbsp
fresh garlic  3 cloves
olive oil 2 tbsp
lemon juice 1 tbsp
salt 1/2 tsp
mixed pepper

I gathered enough fresh herbs for one tenderloin and proceeded to make the marinade for two. I didn't have enough herb in the marinade so the meat didn't get that hint of licorice I was looking for. It tasted terrific, but not quite as good as I had hoped. If I had marinated it longer or used double the herbs it probably would have met my expectations. It was really good, but could be better.

Fern made the vegetable kebabs and simply brushed them with olive oil.  The onions didn't cook enough for Fern but I thought they were sweet and crunchy.

The rice had the usual salt, olive oil and lemon juice. 

Maybe I'll heat up some of the second loin for lunch!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Snapper with Garden Vegetables

Snapper is a nice sustainable local fish and it was on sale!  It's only draw back are the large bones. Amazon sells stainless fish pliers that make removing bones much easier. Once the bones were pulled I salted, peppered and seasoned with a little ground savoury. The vegetables were mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and celery from the store.  Green and red peppers from the garden. The nugget potatoes were boiled and served with butter and salt.

The vegetables were the star on the plate. I wanted to do a stir fry but I did not want to use soy sauce. I first fried the mushrooms in olive oil and sprinkled some instant blending flour over them. Then added the celery and peppers. I added salt, an ounce of beef stock and two teaspoons of Oyster Sauce to the pan. I pre cooked the sprouts in the microwave then cooled and drained them.  Shortly before plating I put the sprouts into the pan with the vegetables to finish cooking. I forgot to add the green onion before plating so I added them on top. That seemed to work fine because they don't cook all that well anyway.

Fern said these are the best tasting vegetables I've ever turned out. The hearty beef flavour with the delicate oyster in the background was a phenomenal departure from salt, pepper and olive oil. Even the fussy dog ate all the leftover vegetables. They were good! The fish was fine, it just didn't sing like the veggies.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pork Schnitzel

Save On's pork schnitzel was on special so I picked up the smallest pack.  One of our gardeners gave us a patty pan squash, that's on the right.  I made rice at the last minute because Fern gave away my nugget potatoes without mentioning it. Frozen peas done in the microwave and a fresh from the garden tomato with salt, black pepper and parmesan cheese cooked in the toaster oven. I served the pork with pear sauce sauce Fern made.

I didn't know what a patty pan squash was so I looked it up.  It's a summer squash like zucchini, with a soft edible skin. Steaming was one recommended cooking method and since I didn't know what it was like I did that.  Steaming worked but didn't enhance the flavour at all. I didn't finish all of mine, but it was such a big plate of food that's not surprising.  Pan frying the squash would have produced a much better result. Next time.

The tomatoes were a real treat. Off the vine and into the oven. I don't know if Fern ever tried grilled tomatoes before but he likes them now! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Turkey Cashew Stir Fry

I forgot to photograph the plate so I have recycled a photo from the last time I did a turkey cashew stir fry. It has all the same ingredients but Fern said at least three times how good this was last night so it's worth describing. I put about a teaspoon of sesame oil in the pan with the one or two tablespoons of canola oil. I put the carrots in the pan first then shortly afterwards added the onion. When onion began to sweat I added mushrooms. Once they were softening I added the cooked turkey. Next the celery, a few pine nuts I found and the cashews. Finally the peppers.  I added a tablespoon of oyster sauce and one of soy sauce and kept tossing.

I had rice with oil, salt and a splash of lemon juice cooked up and I served the stir fry next to that.  I always add soy sauce to my rice but Fern likes his neat.

I think the heavier use of sesame oil and particularly Oyster Sauce gave this dish it's amazing flavour. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Turkey with Stuffing and Pear Sauce

It was time for some kind of white meat. Thanksgiving is coming so I decided to try one of the turkey breast roasts from Save On.  They are 1.2kg breast meat in a net for $15. Since I don't have a bird to stuff I bought Uncle Ben's Traditional Sage Stuffing. I have yet to make stuffing that tastes better although I probably haven't tried very hard.

I salted, peppered and sprinkled poultry seasoning over all the roast, then brushed it with olive oil. I put it in a rack in a roasting pan in a  275ºF oven. I had more than 3 hours before dinner so I hoped it would be enough.  During the last 45 minutes I turned the oven up to 350ºF so it would finish on time. 

I steamed the broccoli, cooled it and reheated it in olive oil.  The potatoes were boiled and served with butter and fresh chives. Fern made the pear sauce from fruit in the yard. It was surprisingly good with the turkey.

Slow roasting the meat really paid off, the turkey was moist and delicious. It's still my usual suburban plating but everything tasted good with everything else.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pork Souvlaki

I picked up dinner when I bought buns for lunch. Souvlaki is easy because it is simply brushed with oil and put over medium high heat on the BBQ for 15 minutes. Turning it so it doesn't scorch.

I also made rice and a Greek Salad. The rice had water, few drops lemon juice, olive oil and salt. 

Greek Salad

tomatoes chunked
cucumber sliced
green onions diced
pitted black olives
feta cheese

About the same amount of tomato and cucumber, then add only enough onion, olives and cheese to make it look good. Dress with olive oil, canola oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.

I still don't know what Mitchell's uses to season their pork souvlaki but it is so easy to throw dinner together using them I buy them as a time saver.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Snapper in a bag

Fern asked for snapper last night, we haven't had it for a while so I picked up a couple of nice fillets, a couple of leeks and a bunch of green onions. There wasn't a single bone in the snapper, made it easy to prep! Last time Fern said the restaurant made a flour and butter roux for the white wine sauce so that's what I did this time. Fern said at first it was perfect but then pointed out that the roux should have been cooked to almost to brown before adding the wine. That would improve the flavour and mouth feel of the sauce, so I'll try it next time.

I cut a carrot into strips, halved the leeks, cleaned the green onions, trimmed some celery and cut a pepper into strips. I put the vegetables on the bottom. I put salt, pepper and thyme on the fish then laid it on the veggies.  A sprig of fennel on top of the fish. Pour the sauce into the bag and roll the top over twice and fold the corners down. It stays closed. I boiled the potatoes and finished them in butter, salt and chives. The fish went in the 350ºF oven for twenty minutes. Lay the bag in a deep dish. Open the folded end and but the top open. Hold the food in place with a knife or server and slide the bag out from under it. Lay the potatoes on the plate and it's done.

Sole tasted better this way but this was certainly a nice change from dry rub preparations I've done in the past. The plating could be better too. Most important, it tasted great.