Monday, December 28, 2015

Leftover Turkey!


I was far too over whelmed producing Christmas dinner to take a photo but next day I managed. The turkey was great, maybe a little over cooked, maybe not. I made gravy with some Bovril chicken stock and some turkey fat. It was really good, which surprised me. Fern's stuffing could have had a bit more herbs and spices but it was light years better than my last attempt. Steamed broccoli cooled and reheated in olive oil. Regular mashed potatoes.

Christmas can so easily be a disaster but not this time. Everyone enjoyed themselves and ate well.

Twas the night before Christmas


Spaghetti on Christmas Eve? It was easy, fast, filling and just what we needed. Regular tomato sauce with ground beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, celery, bay leaf and a carrot. I forgot the mushrooms. The salad was just iceberg lettuce and a tomato with red wine vinaigrette.

1 tbsp oil   Olive with a little canola
2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt
black pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder or a little prepared mustard

Whisk, toss and serve.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Roast Beast!


A lovely roast beef from Mitchell's.  I salted, peppered and cooked it at 300F for an hour and a half. New potatoes with butter, salt and gravy. The veggies were steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. A little salt and pepper to finish.  

I put the roasting pan on a burner and added a teaspoon of flour, 2 tablespoons of butter and melted that together. I didn't cook it much but scraped the pan a lot to get the flour out. I whisked nearly a cup of milk into it and brought that to a simmer.  I added a little bovril beef stock powder and a little black pepper. Tasted it. Heaven!

The gravy was such a treat, it made the whole meal. That roast didn't hurt either though.


Chicken Stir Fry


Back to basics. I diced up the chicken, coated it in flour and fried it till browned. Then I added sliced mushrooms and gave them a sear.  I nuked the carrots to par cook them then put everything in together. Green pepper, diced onion and celery stick. 

While it was cooking I added a few drops of sesame oil and a little soy sauce. Plate over rice and dig in.

Sweet and Sour Breaded Pork Cutlet


I forgot to buy apple sauce when I picked up the cutlets and I didn't want to use Gala apples for a sauce so I searched the fridge for alternatives. I had tomato sauce and pineapple chunks, together, sweet and sour sauce. I added a bit of juice from pineapple, salt and pepper and probably a little dried basil. Tasted it, good! 

I steamed the veggies, cooled and reheated in olive oil.  Plain old mashed potatoes with salt, butter and milk. 

Fern said he'd eat it again so it was good.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Caesar Salad, Breaded Chicken Breast with Honey, Mustard, Lemon Sauce and a Cheese Scone!


It started out as a light meal. I fried up the croutons in some olive oil so they had a nice sear on them. I salted the chicken and shook it in a bag of bread crumbs with poultry seasoning and a bit of pepper. I put the chicken on a small baking sheet at 325F for about 25 minutes. 

Honey Mustard Sauce

1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
a few drops of lemon juice.
(a pinch of salt might have helped too but I didn't think of it)

I had to put  it in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften the honey and mix it up. Usually Fern doesn't like sweet stuff on the plate so it was risky but he liked this one.

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 egg yolk
1/3 - 1/2 cup olive/canola oil - mixing another oil reduces the bitter taste in olive oil.
Slowly whisk the oil into the egg yolk.

1 clove garlic - crushed and chopped
few drops of Worcestershire Sauce
up to juice of half a lemon
1 anchovy fillet - I usually don't have one
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk up the dressing and add a head of Romaine cut into bite size pieces. Toss and add the croutons. Toss and add 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Toss and serve on a big plate.

Cheese Scones - makes six

These are the easier than the dressing. 

1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix

1/4 cup butter
Cut into flour mixture with two knives or a pastry cutter to oatmeal consistency.
2 tbsp sugar

Mix

1/2 cup grated X old cheddar cheese - Armstrong is good, Balderson is better

Mix

1/3 cup milk

Use a fork to keep lifting the dough into the milk till it's fairly uniformly moistened. If it's too dry to form a ball, use a few drops more milk. Press together into a ball and place on counter. Carefully press it to a disc 1 to 2 inches thick, pressing crumbled sides back in as you go. Slice the disc 3 times to make six pieces, place separately on parchment covered cookie sheet and bake at 425F for 13 minutes in my oven. They burn on the bottom first so watch the bottom edge after 10 minutes.

Don't make these too far ahead, you'll eat them all. Leave the cheese out and make them plain or add chopped dates or raisins or currants. Or chocolate chips!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Salisbury Steak


Fern was asking for beef, which is unusual, so I bought 500gm of ground beef. When his new teeth grow in I'll get him a fillet. A tray of mushrooms was on clearance for .99 so I picked that up. I had potatoes, carrots, broccoli and celery at home.

I added a teaspoon of salt, some black pepper and the last of the bread crumbs, maybe a tablespoon, to the beef and mixed it by hand. Then formed two nice steaks and put them in the frying pan.  I got a good sear on both sides then put them on a small baking sheet and popped them in the oven @ 375F for 10 minutes more or about 20 minutes total cooking time. I stuck a thermometer in one then gave them 3 more minutes and they were perfect. Cooked but still juicy.

Mashed potatoes - peel, chop, salt, boil, drain, mash, butter, milk and don't over work them.

Sliced carrot went in the steamer while I cut up the broccoli, then the broccoli went in.  After about 3 or 4 minutes the broccoli was just softening so I ran it all under cold water to stop cooking. Drain. 5 minutes before serving put them in the dry pot with olive oil and salt and keep tossing them with the lid on till they warm up and finish cooking, med-low heat.

In the meat frying pan, sear the mushrooms with plenty of oil then get the celery diced in there. Add two tablespoons of butter a heaping teaspoon of flour over the whole mess and stir it in. This cooks off the flour taste. Then slowly add a cup of water, stirring, and a teaspoon of beef stock powder. (or use a cup of beef stock) Add a few drops of red wine vinegar, acid brings out the flavour in foods. Let it simmer and reduce while you finish everything and start plating. I slathered gravy all over my potatoes and meat. It was wonderful.  Even Fern said it was really good. The key here was keeping it simple and bringing out the inherent flavours instead of adding them.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Beef Eye of Round Roast


A large roast is significantly cheaper than the same amount of ground beef. So I bought a big eye of round to cook up for the dog and give us a good feed too. Notice how there is no fat in the meat? If it's not cooked right it will be dry and tough. To cook it right it has to be slow cooked under low heat. Normally I would put it in a 220F oven for several hours but it was already 3:30pm so I set the oven to 275F and hoped for the best. 

The roast was ready almost exactly when I wanted it and it was perfectly cooked and juicy. I set it on the counter under foil to cool while everything else finished cooking. It leaked juice all over the counter and I spilled a bunch on the floor so it got all sticky. I had to wash the floor this morning but it was worth it. The meal was fantastic.  I had seared the roast in a frying pan first then put the whole thing in the oven.  

Lots of pan drippings left so I made that wonderful gravy with butter, flour and milk. Sprinkle flour over the dripping on medium heat and cook the flour taste off. You need about a heaping teaspoon of flour per cup of milk. I used about a quarter cup butter, 1 cup milk and I also put a few drops of rice vinegar. (food tastes better with a little acid)

It was great and Fern loved a roast for  change. We haven't had one for ages, I'll have to change than.

Mitchell's Fresh Made Dinner Sausage


Mitchell's store made dinner sausages are very good. Here I caramelized two onions and a carrot before adding the sausages to the pan. I drizzled a little maple syrup over mine on the plate, yum! Fresh green beans, boiled, buttered, salted and black peppered. New potatoes, boiled and finished with butter and a pinch of salt. Really simple and really good.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Pork Souvlaki


Pork souvlaki from Mitchell's. It's fast and easy to make on the BBQ. Just to see how it would turn out I put some Cajun spice into the rice before cooking it.  Along with some salt and olive oil it tasted pretty good. Fern still prefers plain white rice but it was a nice change even for him.

The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil.

It was fast, easy and tasty.

Liver and Onions


I always loved liver, even as a child. I've always had ketchup on it and still love it that way. The onions were slowly caramelized in the pan before adding the floured liver slices. I kept adding oil to the pan so it wouldn't dry out and scorch the meat. This time I managed to turn it over and remove from the pan while the centre was still a bit pink. Perfect!

Mashed potatoes with butter and salt and steamed broccoli finished with salt and olive oil. A wonderful winter meal.

Roast Pork With Roasted Apple


This was a roast pork which I tried to cook slower so it would still be moist but it had been frozen so it was dry anyway. The meat and potatoes didn't brown enough in the low heat. It all tasted acceptable but didn't look particularly enticing. The apple was roasted with a little brown sugar. The corn was frozen, nuked and finished with butter and salt. The salad was ice berg lettuce and whatever else I could find. White wine vinegar and olive oil to dress it.

Overall, don't freeze meat. Freezing expels water from the cells and it can't be replaced. The meat is dry.

Easy Cheese Scones


Scones tend to be a bit dry so I make small batches that are eaten while still fresh. Barely cool enough to touch and already 1/3 gone! Preheat oven to 425F. Lay parchment on a cookie sheet or just use a bare cookie sheet if it's all you've got. 

1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
mix
1/4 cup butter
Cut in with pastry cutter or two knives till texture like oatmeal.
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grated cheddar
mix
1/3 cup milk
Mix in with a fork. Don't work the dough just press it into a ball. Flatten the ball into 1-2 inch disk and cut into 6 wedges. Place on parchment and bake 13 minutes.

If you work the dough at all the scones will be tough, hard to chew. I've made tough bread and it's amazing how leathery baked flour can become.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cajun Chicken, Broccoli and New Potatoes


It was a busy day so at the end I didn't want complicated. Season a breast, brush with oil and put on the BBQ, medium high heat for 20 minutes. New potatoes boiled and finished with butter and salt. Broccoli steamed and finished in butter and black pepper. On the plate I drizzled fresh lemon juice over the chicken and broccoli. 

The lemon tied it all together so despite the suburban plating it tasted like a bistro meal. 

Nothing here foreshadowed the clove tarts lurking on the side table, ready to strike.

Mitchell's Clove Tarts


I know, the label says butter tarts but trust me, these are clove tarts. Lots and lots of clove. These are from Mitchell's and they are the worst tasting pastry I've ever encountered. By far! These are so bad I had to write about them so you can buy some for someone you don't like. There's nothing better than giving some smart ass a mouthful of yyyyyuuuuuck!

Revenge Clove Tarts disguised as butter tarts. What an evil plan and it wasn't even my idea!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cajun Chicken with Caesar Salad


We had roast pork last night, nothing new, I simply forgot to take a picture so I didn't right it up. Tonight Fern asked for Cajun Chicken with Caesar Salad which sounded good to me! I salted and seasoned the breasts with Cajun spice mix, brushed them with oil and BBQ'd them for 25 minutes.

I cut the romaine into pieces and put it in the sink full of water to wash. I got two very small eggs and separated the yolks, washing away the whites down the sink. I poured just under 1/3 cup of olive oil and added canola oil so I had less than half a cup of oil. I find pure olive oil too strong a flavour in the salad so canola tempers it's flavour a bit. Slowly, a teaspoon at a time, whisk the oil into the egg yolk. When all the yolk is taken up, add 1/2 tsp salt, plenty of black pepper, juice from half a lemon, few drops of Worcestershire Sauce and a clove of garlic finely diced. Whisk and taste. I needed more lemon so I juiced the other half of the lemon and added half that juice. It was perfect.

I had croutons from alpine bread that I fried in olive oil to give a nice sear. Half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese ready and I used a salad spinner to get the water off the Romaine. First I tossed the salad in the dressing then added the croutons and slowly while tossing, the Parmesan. I plated the chicken separately and put dabs of mayonnaise beside it. It was a very nice meal.

Chicken Stir Fry


Fern wanted something with lots of vegetables so I decided on a stir fry. I picked up mushrooms, green pepper, bean sprouts and a piece of ginger. I sliced up a carrot, stick of celery, an onion and the other veggies. I cut the chicken into bite size pieces and coated it flour. I tried to peel the ginger with a spoon. The spoon worked, for the most part, but the piece I had chosen was very fibrous. I was sure if I cut it up small and put it in the pan, we would both be picking woody ginger from our mouths. So I left it in six large lumps, hoping to take them out when the meal was cooked. 

I had rice cooking in the microwave while I got the frying pan hot. I put the mushrooms in first the get a bit of a sear, then added the meat. When the chicken had colour all around the rest of the vegetables went in the pan. When everything was cooked, the ginger looked just like the chicken so there was no way to pick it all out. I served it and warned Fern about large lumps of ginger. He got most of them, I don't know why that happens.

It was a good meal, simple but satisfying.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meat Loaf with Cheddar Scone


It used to take me all afternoon to make a batch of cookies and I'd think that's a pretty productive day. This afternoon, without really thinking about it, I made a batch of Oatmeal Cinnamon Date cookies, a batch of Cheddar Scones and a meatloaf. Potatoes and Brussels sprouts too of course and all without breaking a sweat. I finally conquered my kitchen. 

This scone recipe is really easy, fast and versatile. Simply substitute dates or raisins or currants or whatever you like for cheddar and create a completely new taste. It makes six portions so they are always fresh because they aren't around long.

Scones - Cheddar - Preheat oven to 425F

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
mix
1/4 cup butter
Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture till it is oatmeal texture.
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/3 cup milk
Use a fork to mix the milk into a dough, break up big lumps. Get the milk as evenly mixed as possible. Don't work the dough or it will become tough. Instead, gather and press into a ball. Keep pressing till all the mixture is taken up. As you press, the milk will permeate the dough. You can add a teaspoon extra milk if needed but don't make the dough wet. Press the ball into a disc about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, cut into 6 wedges. Bake in oven centre 12-14 minutes. Wetter take longer. 

Meatloaf - Not my best one - oven to 325F

700gm gr. beef
1 breakfast sausage - this was a mistake
1 tsp ground garlic
1 tbsp onion flakes
1 tsp salt
peppper
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Break up the sausage into small pieces and work it into the beef as evenly as possible. Make sure all ingredients are well mixed. Form into a loaf and put a sprig of rosemary on top. Insert a meat thermometer into the centre about 2/3 from the bottom. Bake till centre is 160F.

The potatoes were boiled and finished with salt and butter. The sprouts were steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil.

The breakfast sausage didn't break down into the beef it stayed in small lumps. Not at all delicious. I think that ruined everything else the loaf could have been. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. The rest of the plate made up for it. The cheese scone tasted great with the rest of the plate and finished off the meal wonderfully.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Breaded Pork Cutlet with New Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables


I still had a slight fever today, didn't feel too bad just not ebullient. It's pretty basic, Mitchell's cutlet all ready for the pan. Boil the potatoes and finish with butter and salt. I caramelized a diced onion and pre cooked the carrots in the microwave with 1/4 cup water. I sprinkled a little vegetable stock powder over the onions and a light dusting of flour. I tossed the pan to cook the flour a bit then added the carrots, water and all. In went the peas, bring to rapid boil and cook off most of the water. Serve.

Apple sauce for a condiment. Fern really enjoyed the vegetables. It was a really nice meal.

Colon Clearing Oatmeal Cinnamon Date Cookies


Fern remarked yesterday that these cookies really help keep things moving. My medication causes the opposite problem but the cookies help moderate that too.  The recipe is Quick Oatmeal Cookies from Joy of Cooking with the addition of 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 a cup of chopped pitted dates. Here it is for those that don't have a Joy of Cooking yet.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Date Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats 
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

Cream butter then cream brown and white sugar into the butter. Add the egg, vanilla and milk, mix. Add flour, salt, soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix. Add oats, mix. Add dates and mix. Spoon blobs onto parchment covered cookie sheet. Makes two dozen cookies. Bake 12 minutes or till golden and crisp. I use ceramic cookie sheets that take more like 17 minutes to cook but they cook more evenly. To cook both sheets evenly, during the last few minutes I switch cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back. Three is all that's left of two dozen cookies in only 36 hours.

Cajun Chicken, Rice and Mixed Vegetables


Still sick with the flu. My temperature is over 101F but I managed to put out a not too shabby looking plate. I should have taken the picture before I put the mayonnaise on, or make it more aesthetically pleasing. I'm sick, the food just has to taste good so I can get it down.

My microwave has a moisture sensor in it so it can cook rice perfectly every time, white rice only. I use Basmati rice because it has a pleasant taste. I cook 1/2 cup rice with a teaspoon or two of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar.

The vegetables were simple. I microwaved the carrots to par cook them first then finished them in a frying pan. A little salt and a little flour sprinkled over top of the vegetables then toss them to cook the flour taste off for a minute.  Add half a packet of beef stock and a half cup water. Toss and cook the water off. When the vegetables are done, add a  few drops of Chinese fish sauce, toss and serve.

The Cajun Chicken was salted, seasoned with Cajun, brushed with olive oil and BBQ'd for twenty minutes just below high heat. Turning every few minutes so one side doesn't dry out.

I put soy sauce on my rice, Fern likes his plain. It was a really good meal. I could taste it myself but I felt so crappy I couldn't enjoy it. Fern did, which helped a bit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Salisbury Steak with Kale and Mashed Potatoes


400gm ground beef
1 fresh made pork dinner sausage from Mitchell's
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Peel the skin off the sausage and mix the meat into the beef and all the other ingredients.  Form into 3 patties, two big and one small for the dog. Brush with oil on both sides and BBQ till done through. About 15 minutes on high, keep turning them.

Mashed potatoes had only salt, butter and milk added. Kale was julienned then boiled for a few minutes. Drained, salt and butter added along wtih a few drops of white wine vinegar.

6 mushrooms sliced and fried in olive oil and butter. Flour sprinkled over top and let cook a minute. 1 1 packet beef stock powder and 3/4 cup water. Mix it up, get it simmering. Add a bit of flour if needed to thicken it. Let it cook a minute after adding flour to cook off the raw flour taste. Spoon over meat and potatoes.

I wasn't thrilled with the kale but Fern ate his without complaint and I left 1/4 of mine on the plate and the dog ate it with the piece of meat and gravy I left. The dog is so fussy I'm really surprised he liked kale!

Quick Cheese Scones


Half gone already, they're barely cool. These look and taste amazing. 

Scones 

1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
mix
1/4 cup butter
cut in with pastry cutter till oatmeal size
2 tbsp sugar
mix
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar
use a fork to mix into dough. As you press the ball together the moisture slowly migrates throughout, so it can be a bit dry to start. Adding too much milk will ruin the texture. Form a ball, then press into about 1.5 inch disk. With a carving knife cut 3 lines to get 6 segments. Place on parchment covered cookie sheet, top with more grated cheddar and bake at 425F for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven. Higher in the oven scorches them. 

Use currants instead of cheese for a dessert biscuit. This is a really flexible recipe.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Boston Clam Chowder


I was sitting here with Fern watching tv, trying to feel better and asked "Would you like some Boston Clam Chowder" "Yes." So up to the kitchen I went. I got 4 medium potatoes and 1 carrot, peeled, pared to 1/4 inch cubes and boiled in salted water. While that was cooking I finely diced my last 2 strips of bacon, an onion, a stick of celery and 4 cloves of garlic. I opened an 8 oz. can of clams, reserved the liquid and chopped up the clams. When I had the prep work done, the potatoes were par cooked so I drained them, put them aside and put the pot back on the stove. Some olive oil, a little canola and the 2 strips of bacon. I fried them crispy then added the onion. I caramelized the onion before added the garlic and finally the celery. I gave it a minute to cook and added 2 tsp dried thyme. Add the clams and 2 bay leaves. I cooked that for another minute then removed it from the heat.

I took 2 heaping teaspoons of flour and 1/4 cup butter and melt it. I slowly worked the butter into the flour and whisked it smooth.  I slowly added 2 cups of milk, whisking to avoid lumps. I added this to the pot and turned up the heat. I added the potatoes and carrots. I added more milk and a splash of whipping cream to fill the pot, not sure how much but it was a 4 qt pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Taste for salt. I had to add at least a teaspoon. I also added a little mixed ground pepper. While the chowder was finishing I toasted some alpine bread and buttered it. That was lunch, it was delicious and I feel immensely better!

Breaded Chicken Breast


I have a terrible cold with fever over a hundred but managed to put this together for our dinner.  Fern is sick too, not quite as bad. I put alpine bread crumbs in a plastic bag and added poultry seasoning and mixed ground pepper. I salted each breast first then shook it in the bag to coat.  I forgot to do this but rubbing a little butter on top will brown it better. I put it on a baking sheet and put it in a 375F oven for 30 minutes. The BBQ is faster but harder to get a nice colour on the breading, other than black.

The rice was done in the microwave with salt, olive oil and a few drops of vinegar. Vegetable medley was a caramelized diced onion, 5 mushrooms sliced and seared, a green pepper diced and frozen peas mostly cooked in the microwave, cooled quickly so they finish cooking in the pan. They go in just before serving. To the cooked vegetables I dusted flour over the pan, toss to coat evenly. Cook the flour taste off for a minute then add chicken stock. This is where I realized the stock I just bought at Walmart was tampered with. So I used a packet of chicken stock and about 3/4 cup water. I reduced the stock to a nice gravy. Added the peas. Added some pepper and a few drops of Chinese Fish Sauce. Stir it in and serve. The Fish Sauce leaves an incredible flavour but it cooks off fast in a cloud that smells like dirty socks. So add it, toss and plate.

I squeezed out some mayonnaise onto the chicken. If I'd thought about it I could have made the mayo point the other way so it would harmonize with the shape of the breast. That alpine bread really tastes good as breading or as croutons. The vegetables were the star on this plate, every bite was delicious. That's what the fish sauce does. It took me about 35 minutes to make this. I could have done it in 25 if I'd been feeling better.






Friday, October 30, 2015

Meat Loaf


So far I've turned out one terrific meatloaf in about 10 tries. This one tastes ok, maybe even good, but not memorable.  I don't do scalloped potatoes well either. Anyway, it's simple enough. I caramelized a diced onion and a few cloves of garlic. When cool I added it to 700gm ground beef, 400gm ground pork, half a cup alpine bread crumbs, not enough salt and one or two teaspoons of celery seed. Fern likes celery so I try to get it on every plate. The seeds are for when I forget to buy fresh. They didn't impart the desired flavour in this dish.

I laid a bead of ketchup on the bottom of a bread pan and put the meat on it.  More ketchup on top and I laid two strips of bacon across the top. They were unnecessary because I already had pork in it and I couldn't taste the bacon anyway.

The German Butter potatoes were boiled, buttered, salted and served. They were the highlight of the meal. 

The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. I got them perfect this time and they still didn't taste great. Probably needed more salt.

The bright spot is that the leftover meat loaf is to feed the dog for the weekend, lucky dog.



Breaded Pork Cutlet


Again this took me 30 minutes to prepare. I scrubbed the potatoes and got them boiling. Peeled and diced a carrot and put it in the steamer to get started. Next I diced up the broccoli and put it in the steamer.  I kept a close eye on the steamer so the broccoli didn't over cook. Just before it was perfect I rapidly cooled it under water and set to drain. I fried the cutlet in just enough olive and canola oil to keep the pan moist. When I turned it over I put the veggies back on medium low heat with olive oil and a little salt. Ordinary apple sauce for the condiment. I never seem to get tired of this meal.

Cajun Chicken


A quick meal tonight, salt and Cajun spice rub on the breast then BBQ for 20 minutes. German butter potatoes boiled and finished with salt and butter. A bag of Snow Peas was on clearance so I cooked them up with some diced onion, sliced carrot and diced celery. Dicing up the vegetables was the most difficult part of this meal, it took me 30 minutes to put on the table. The chicken was moist and delicious.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pork Chop


My phone had no power left for the flash so it's a bit fuzzy. Boiled German butter potatoes, steamed carrot and broccoli, fried chop with apple sauce. The chop was seasoned with salt, pepper, ground garlic and mustard powder then fried in olive oil. The veggies were cooled and reheated in olive oil.  I didn't cook them quite enough so they were real crunchy.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Penne for your Prawns!


Fern just limped back from Vancouver and only wanted a light meal. Frozen prawns thawed, peeled, fried in a  little olive oil and garlic, then removed from the pan. Add a can of tomato sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the sauce while the pasta cooks and grate some parmesan cheese. Chop up some fresh basil. When the pasta is almost done add the prawns, basil and a tablespoon of butter to the tomato sauce.  Drain the prawns and add them to the sauce. Toss and serve topped with parmesan.

The salad was leaf lettuce torn up and drizzled with olive, canola oils and white wine vinegar. A pinch of salt and some mixed pepper. Toss and munch.

30 minutes freezer to table, but I wasn't rushing. The latest processed meat findings aren't surprising. Fresh food is better for you. Frozen, processed food isn't healthy. I use frozen prawns but that is all that's available year round and everything else on the plate is fresh. I also use frozen peas and frozen corn but not all the time. Fern loves celery and it's cheap all year so a stick of celery freshens up frozen vegetables surprisingly well. Where food comes from has a big influence on it's nutritional value. Fresh food from a local farmer usually costs a little more but the nutritional value is several times greater than food from a supermarket. 

Dinner For One


The blog has been interrupted by a bear eating my chickens and a neighbour's rabbits and more chickens at the farm up the street with two goats for dessert. Then Fern drove someone to Vancouver for a heart procedure and someone in the hotel threw a wine bottle out the window and it smashed the sun roof in his car, stranding them there for an extra day. So that's why dinner for one. In the face of adversity, eat well anyway!

It looks like a lot of work went into this meal but in fact it was all pretty simple. The potato I simply scrubbed, pierced with a fork, microwaved and served with salt and two dollops of sour cream. The Breaded Pork Cutlet from Mitchell's merely has to be fried in enough oil to keep the pan wet. The condiment is apple sauce from a jar. The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil with a pinch of salt. Twenty minutes fridge to table for less than $5.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pork Loin Chop


I salted then coated the pork with a mixture of mustard powder and ground garlic. I fried it in oil and finished them in the oven. The German Butter Potatoes were boiled, salted and buttered. I thought I had broccoli in the fridge but found only carrots and celery.  I started the carrots boiling and frozen corn after a few minutes. When the corn was almost done I drained it all and added olive oil and celery  and fried that for a bit.  Some salt and a little pepper and it was done.

That combination of vegetables was really nice so it's a good way to sneak frozen vegetables into our diet. Ordinary apple sauce for condiment. If you want to impress friends mix a little dijon mustard into the apple sauce. A little horseradish works well too so there are lots of ways to put a new spin on pork chops. When trying new combinations, start with small amounts till you work out what tastes best.



Friday, October 16, 2015

Pineapple Coconut Cashew Chicken Curry


My time has been taken up dealing with a marauding bear so I slapped this together as quickly as I could. I sweated a diced onion, sliced carrot and diced celery first while I diced, salted and floured the chicken. The meat went in the pan immediately and I gave it a light sear all around. Next sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons curry powder over all and give it a stir. Add a can of coconut milk and stir it in while the solids melt. Turn the heat down to medium and boil the coconut milk down to thicken it. This turns the chicken to rubber so cut it small or take more time and remove the chicken from the pan till the coconut milk is reduced. To the reduction add diced peppers, I used the last from the garden including a dried seeded chili. A half cup of cashews to give it crunch. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Serve over basmati rice.

Delicious!

Breaded Pork Cutlet


Breaded pork cutlets from Mitchell's taste good and are really easy to prepare. To top it off, apple sauce by itself makes a wonderful condiment! If you want to show off your culinary skills, try a little prepared Dijon mustard in the apple sauce. What a revelation it was to discover that a home cook can in fact mix prepared sauces right there in their own kitchen.

Boiled German Butter Potatoes, yellow flesh, very tasty. Pinch of salt and pad of butter. Wonderful! Frozen peas with fresh carrots. I did them in the microwave, finished with butter, salt and a bit of pepper. The cutlet was fried in olive/canola oil. Just pour a little of each. The canola has a higher smoke point so it prevents the olive oil from burning. Get the pan hot first and keep adding a little oil to keep the pan from drying out. Ideally, the pan should not have a pool of oil when tilted after cooking. Using just enough oil is cheaper and produces a better result but you do have to attend to it more. 

Good quality fresh food always tastes good. I find peas and corn freeze well enough that they provide a break from broccoli in winter when fresh is dear. 

Home Alone, Pork Fat For Company


This is a dish I used to make before I learned how to cook. Simply put Kraft Original BBQ sauce in bottom of roasting pan. Put pork on top. Cover with more BBQ sauce and put in the oven at 325F for 45 minutes to an hour till the meat is definitely cooked. Serve with rice and frozen corn. A salad might have been nice but I was alone so didn't bother.

Pork is a sweet meat with wonderful tasting fat. Corn is also sweet so it goes well with pork, as do frozen peas. 

Now that I know how to cook I would salt the meat first, just a little. Then I'd roast it at 250F for 2 or 3 hours so it would come out falling apart tender. If I had guests, I'd serve a small salad and a whole grain bun for some fibre. As it was, I thoroughly enjoyed this time travelling meal.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chicken Cordon Swisse au Mars


The odd reflection on the plate is the bulb in the dining room light. The red glow is why it's from Mars. The chicken is actually from Mitchell's, hand made by the kitchen elves. It's quite good. I just roasted them for about 25 minutes at 325F till the cheese leaked out a bit.

Easy Hollandaise

1 egg yolk
1/2 lemon
1 tsp water
1/3 cup butter
salt

Melt the butter but don't get it hot. Slowly, a teaspoon at a time, whisk the butter into the egg yolk. If you add too much butter at once, it will break and the butter will separate. When all the butter is taken up, add a pinch of salt, the water and some lemon juice. Taste the sauce and add more lemon as needed. Cook over boiling water till it thickens or use the microwave 10 seconds at a time, whisking in between. If it gets too thick it can be thinned with water and lemon, keep the balance. If you over cook the sauce into scrambled eggs, well, enjoy your eggs. 

I steamed the Brussels sprouts halfway then finished them in olive oil with bacon bits and celery.

The scalloped potatoes were thinly sliced potatoes par boiled. Onions and celery sweated and added to a thick cheese sauce. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or till it gets brown on top.

A bit complicated but well worth the effort.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Easy Delicious Cheese Scones


These take less than 30 minutes start to finish. Preheat oven to 425F.

Scones

1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
mix
cut in 1/4 cup butter with pastry cutter
2 tbsp sugar
mix 
1/3 cup milk

Use a fork to mix milk into dough.

1/4 cup grated cheddar

Oddly, less cheese tastes better than more because more cheese has more water and the cheese steams instead of dry roasting. Gather the dough into a ball. Don't kneed it like bread or it will become tough. Just keep pressing it into a ball till the moisture has permeated all the flour and it holds together. Press it into a disk an inch or so thick and about 6 inches across. Cut into six wedges and place onto a parchment covered baking sheet, bake 12 minutes.


Simple White Cake with Caramel Sauce


This little cake is so easy it can be whipped up any time in no time! Preheat oven to 325F.

White Cake

1/2 cup butter creamed
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt

Line with parchment or grease and flour a 9x9 pan.  Cream sugar into butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder, mix. Stir in milk till smooth. Bake 30-40 minutes. If you
are using all purpose flour you can get a softer textured cake by substituting a tbsp of corn flour for wheat flour. It lowers the gluten content, making the cake softer.

Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cream or milk

Caramel sauce is a little more daunting but not difficult to make.  Small amounts are easier to work with at first. Put sugar in frying pan and turn heat to just below medium. The pan needs to be hot enough to melt the sugar but not enough to scorch the caramel. When the sugar has melted, stir in the butter. Add the cream (I used milk, it's not quite as rich but it works.)

When you add the cream bring the whole pan to a rapid boil to melt any lumps of sugar. The more you cook it the thicker it will become. so a couple of minutes should be enough. That's it! Pour sauce over cake and enjoy.  

The best thing about home baking is it has ingredients that satisfy. Commercial foods have ingredients that don't satisfy so you'll keep eating. So if you keep fresh baking available, you'll find it easier to control your weight.