Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wannabe Crab Quiche

I had far too many eggs in the fridge so I decided to make a quiche.  I picked up some imitation crab because it tastes plausibly crab like and it's cheap.  I had whipping cream and cream cheese in the fridge.

Pie Crust

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 tbsp corn flour - to lower gluten level
1/3 cup butter
1 egg - beaten +
few drops rice vinegar and cold water to make one cup

Put flour, corn flower and salt in Food Processor.  Cut butter into small pieces and put in processor. Process just long enough for the butter to be broken into small pieces like course oatmeal. Over processing makes the crust tough. Cool the dough then roll out and put in pie plate. Puncture with fork and if you have some put parchment and beans or rice to press the pie crust flat while it cooks.  Cook till it starts to brown. I didn't weight my crust with beans so it flaked up when it cooked.  

4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/3 lb cream cheese
200 gm imitation crab
1/4 tsp thyme

Put crab in cooked shell. Add beaten eggs and cream and drop cream cheese pieces into eggs. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or till the center is cooked. 

I forgot to season the quiche with thyme and pepper so don't forget them! I'm going to heat some up for lunch right now!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Rib Steak on New BBQ

The new BBQ. Those grey streaks are unfortunate reflections of the overhead beams. It actually looks quite pretty. I spent the day assembling it. Only one bandaged finger!

I did a nice rib steak from Mitchell's. Their meat sure tastes better. Baked potato done in the microwave. Slathered with sour cream because I thought no one was looking. I had to use up the broccoli so I made it all and scrapped salad. I made a nice Hollandaise to go on it. Salt and black pepper on the steak. I made a pork chop for the dog. It cooked up nicely on the grill too. It's good to be back BBQing.

Hollandaise is described a couple of days ago. It's super easy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cajun Chicken

Busy day today so I didn't spend a lot of time on dinner. I salted and seasoned the breast with Cajun spice. Seared one side in a frying pan, turned it over and put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 325F. The rice was microwaved with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Putting a little acid in rice makes it taste great! The asparagus was steamed. 

See previous post for Hollandaise recipe.

I could eat rice and hollandaise all day. I made dinner yesterday but fell asleep before dinner and again after so I never took photos. I can barely remember what I had. Don't know why I was so tired.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Home Alone Rib Steak

Fern is off to Hawaii so the first thing I do is treat myself to a nice rib steak. Asparagus was on special and so was sour cream so I bought both.  I fried the steak, steamed the asparagus and microwaved the potatoes. 

Super Quick Hollandaise

1 egg yolk in small sauce pot
1/8 cup butter - 1/4 inch slice from brick - melted but not hot
1 oz water
lemon juice

Add lemon juice to water till it has a nice balance. Slowly add melted butter to egg yolk, whisking it in as you go. Add some water mixture and put pot on burner. Heat the sauce till it starts to thicken, add more water mixture to thin as needed. Plate. It takes less than two minutes with my induction burner. A pot of boiling water works just as well.

Plain old artery clogging sour cream on the potatoes. The meat is from Mitchell's and the flavour can't be beat. Getting tasty meat with the fat trimmed off makes the higher price worth every penny. I ate all I could and the dog finished  it, licking the plate clean. We both enjoyed this meal.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cajun Chicken on Pineapple Sauce

Cajun chicken is no stranger to my stove but this time I finally made a sauce for it. I had pineapple pieces left over in the fridge and nothing to use them in.  Dinner was under control so I decided to try a sweet and sour sauce.  I put a slice of butter in a small sauce pan with a tablespoon of tapioca flour. If that sounds like too much, it was, but I'd never used the stuff so I went by feel. Wish I'd felt less. Anyway, I melted the butter and cooked the flour a minute then turned off the heat and started adding water, lemon juice and pineapple juice. I could have thinned it out to a quart or two of sauce. I turned the heat on to finish cooking it. It was too thick but didn't have the pasty taste of wheat flour in this kind of sauce. Fern ate it and the dog licked the plates so I guess it was good.

I simply salted and sprinkled cajun spice on the chicken. Browned it in a pan, turned it over and put the pan in the oven at 325F for 25 minutes. Basmati rice with salt and oil underneath and broccoli steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil on the side.


2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

Whisk, toss and serve.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rib Steak

How can you tell I'm home alone? Rib Steak! I got a beautiful dark red steak from Mitchell's and paired it with baked potato done in the microwave.  Broccoli steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil.  The mushrooms I fried in the steak pan first, took them out and cooked the steak then returned them to the pan in the final moments to reheat. The steak was seasoned with salt and black pepper and fried on the stove. 

I used the last of some Kraft dressing on the salad just to get it out of the fridge. Next time I get a free bottle of salad dressing, I'm leaving it in the store.

It was all really delicious!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Chinatown Pork Tenderloin

Kevin brought us this pork tenderloin from Vancouver's China Town. Someone's grandmother's favourite Chinatown butcher BBQ's it and it is spectacular! No idea what shop it's from but it's worth trying them all till you find it. All I did was reheat it in foil and serve with St. Hubert Beef Gravy. Steamed broccoli finished in olive oil and Green Giant Peaches & Cream Corn (which Kevin said was delicious). I almost forgot the mashed potatoes under the gravy. Mashed and finished with butter, salt and milk.


1 tbsp olive oil 
2 tsp canola or corn oil
2 tsp red Balsamic vinegar (made from grapes gathered by virgins at dawn on the east facing slope of consecrated ground)
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp dijon mustard

I keep a bin of iceberg lettuce with celery and cucumber sliced into it. Tear it all up so it doesn't go brown. If you cut it with a knife it will turn brown where the knife touched it. So I just grap a handful of salad for each person and toss it all. Add fresh chopped tomatoes and finish tossing.

This was a terrific meal, Fern and Kevin are scheming out how to make it at home. We'll see.......

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mitchell's Marinated Chicken Breast

I'm beginning to think Brian, meat manager at Mitchell's, has a chef's background. His souvlakis are wonderful and this marinated breast was fantastic! I like to season my own meat but when someone else does such a good job, I don't mind the help. Fern said he tasted sage in it. It was wonderful, I was too busy enjoying it to worry about what was in it. When I let someone else season my meat, I'm in a hurry and probably haven't eaten all day.

I did make the potatoes with butter, salt and milk.  The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil.


2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp dijon mustard

Toss with iceberg lettuce, half a stick of celery, quarter of an english cucumber and a diced tomato.

The chicken was the star but the rest was pretty good too.

Mitchell's Pork Cutlet

Now that I know why meat at Mitchell's tastes better, I'm more inclined to buy it over cheaper meat from Save On Foods. Chain stores buy bulk factory farm meat that is raised as cheaply as possible. That means no exercise and no exercise means no flavour. It's most noticeable with chicken. If you start with product that tastes great on it's own, it's a lot easier to make a fantastic meal.

Rice was cooked in the microwave with salt, lemon juice and olive oil. The broccoli was steamed then cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil and salt. The cutlet was breaded by Mitchell's and fried in olive oil. It didn't brown as nicely as the Save On cutlets but the flavour should be better so not to worry.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
black pepper
dot of hot dog mustard

Whisk, toss the salad and serve.

It was great but the cutlet didn't have the impressive flavour I was hoping for. I think that's because of my cooking so I'll try them again.  The condiment on the meat is plain apple sauce.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Coconut Chicken Curry

Too bad the flavour doesn't come through the photo because this tasted amazing! I started with breasts from Mitchell's. I figured out why their chicken tastes good and Save On Foods or Safeway chicken doesn't. Muscles working is what gives meat it's flavour. Animals kept tightly penned and unable to get exercise produce meat with almost no flavour. Free range and free run animals will have flavour that factory farm animals don't get a chance to produce.

I diced up the chicken into bite size pieces, salted and coated it with flour. I also diced an onion, celery stick and orange bell pepper. First I sweated the onion till it started to take on colour then added the chicken and got a sear all around it. Then I removed the chicken from the pan to a bowl. I added the celery and pepper to the pan and put a few drops of Chinese fish sauce in it. That dirty sock smell rose from the pan telling me it is leaving behind delicious flavour. I sprinkled one to two teaspoons curry powder over all. Then I added a can of coconut milk, bring to a boil and start reducing the liquid. I bought sugar snap peas and podded them all so I had just the sweet green peas bubbling in the sauce. 

When the sauce has thickened I put the chicken back in to finish cooking. This way the chicken doesn't get rubbery. Serve over Basmati rice. We both pretty much inhaled this meal. Oddly, Storm didn't like the curry but he's a dog so more for me!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Salisbury Steak

Fern said we can have ground beef from Mitchell's occasionally and I felt like it today.  I went to Mitchell's and bought fresh ground beef and pork, about four times more beef than pork. I forgot to buy potatoes so I made rice instead.  The meat was seasoned with salt and pepper. The vegetables were a fresh carrot and frozen peas cooked in the microwave.  

That leaves the sauce. I sweated a diced onion till it started to turn golden, then added a few drops of fish sauce and let the dirty sock smell cook off. Next I added a couple cloves of fresh garlic, smashed and diced. About a teaspoon of dried dill went in with salt and pepper. I added a half teaspoon of flour over all and cooked off the flour taste for a minute. Then I added a packet of Bovril Beef Stock and half a cup of water. I stirred it all in and reduced the water a bit. I had to add water before serving because it got a bit too think. I also added a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce before plating.

We both enjoyed the meal. It has been a long time since we had beef in something other than spaghetti sauce, so it was a treat for me. The photo doesn't do it justice. The meat was really good as was the sauce.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mustard Caramelized Pork Chop

I went to Save On to buy the broccoli and lettuce but I bought the pork, potatoes and tomatoes at Mitchell's.  They are a fully independent grocer and their butcher brings in the best meat. His beef is outstanding, pork is better than most and his chicken has flavour I didn't know chicken could have! I'll get his name next time I see him, he deserves credit for the excellent job he does. Anyway, any good butcher should be able to sell you better quality meat than supermarkets and at competitive prices. It's worth the extra effort to shop every day to get fresh top quality product. You will discover flavours you didn't know ordinary meats could have. 

That is a pork chop properly trimmed. No huge lumps of fat, mostly lean meat. That's not what you get at Save On or Safeway. Not only is the trim better but the meat has flavour because the animals are allowed to move around. Muscles working is what gives meat flavour so the supermarket meats that are raised in total confinement have no flavour at all.

I mixed 1/4 tsp mustard powder (use 1/2 tsp), 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh ground mixed pepper with olive oil to coat all three chops. Then I rolled the chops in it and let them sit till I cook them.  The broccoli was steamed, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil and salt. The potatoes were boiled in salted water and finished with butter and milk. 


2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1\2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/8 tsp dijon mustard - just a dot

Whisk, toss and serve.

The mustard powder caramelizes and gives the meat a flavour you just won't believe. If the broccoli isn't over cooked it will also be amazing. It's hard to screw up mashed potatoes but you can do it by using an immersion blender on them. It turns them into a thick unpalatable paste. An excellent thing to serve relatives you don't want to see too often!

A simple fresh made vinaigrette tastes better than any bottled salad dressing and it costs far less. I keep a bin of iceberg lettuce, celery and cucumber in the fridge so I only have to do is whisk a vinaigrette, chop a tomato and add a couple of handfuls of salad mix. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cajun Chicken under Chardonnay Mushroom Sauce with Pepper Medley

I was building another cabinet today so I didn't want a demanding meal.  I had a bag of peppers in the fridge that needed to be used up and I wanted chicken today. I breezed by the fish and considered Sole for half a  minute but quickly firmed up the choice of chicken. I picked up some salad fixings and I had mushrooms in the fridge.

First I turned the oven to 325F then prepped and chopped all the vegetables. Next I salted and seasoned both sides of the breasts with Cajun spice mix. I put the breasts tops down in a frying pan of hot olive oil and gave them a nice sear then turned them over and put the pan in the oven for 30 minutes total cooking time.

The vegetable medley was half an onion chopped large and sweated with a stick of celery.  A few drops of fish sauce in the pan and I got that dirty sock smell  which turns into an amazing flavour on the food.  An orange and yellow pepper diced up went in the pan and I kept it on high so it didn't get watery.  A few drops of sesame oil but I kept the soy sauce out of it.

The other half of the onion I caramelized in a sauce pan and then seared the mushrooms in it. I sprinkled a teaspoon of flour over all and stirred it in and cooked off some of the flour taste. I took the pan off the heat and stirred in 1/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup white wine. Pan back on the heat and bring to a bubble then turn down and add more wine to thin the sauce. It should lose moisture while everything else finishes. The wine should be mixed in slowly so it doesn't curdle the milk.

All that was cooking away and I was standing with nothing to do. So I pulled the head of lettuce out and tore it up into a big bin. I had no cucumber so I diced two sticks of celery. I had one tomato that I also chopped up. Two teaspoons olive oil, one teaspoon canola oil, two teaspoons white wine vinegar, half a teaspoon of salt, black pepper and whisk it all together. Drop in the salad mix and tomatoes, toss and plate.

I served the chicken on basmati rice cooked with 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp olive oil and a few drops lemon juice. That little bit of acid really brings out the flavour. Don't use enough to taste the lemon.

Fern said it was all good. The Cajun chicken with white wine mushroom sauce was delicious and the pepper medley was also quite wonderful. Unfortunately they didn't make sense together. The plate actually looks like the two components don't belong together and the taste bears that out. The salad was good but really it's just to keep our middle age digestion moving along, if it tastes good too, that's a bonus.

If I had used broccoli it would have been a terrific meal but remember I had to use up the peppers. So I should have looked for a way to temper the sweetness of the peppers. Don't know what that might be at this point.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pork Cutlet in disguise

Fern suggested cutlets the other day then we ended up ordering a pizza anyway. Too busy rebuilding the kitchen to cook in it! I also had bunched beets so we would have Borscht and beet greens for the vegetable.

Borscht - This batch wasn't particularly good - beef stock was in the fridge a day too long.

1 carrot diced
1 onion diced
3 beets diced
2 cups beef stock
1/2 tsp salt
mixed pepper

I sweated the onion till some were turning golden. Then added the carrots and finally the beets. I added the beef stock and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Served with a dollop of sour cream. It was forgettable.

Breaded pork cutlet from Save On Foods fried in olive/canola oil. Mashed potatoes with salt, butter and milk. Beet greens. This time I left the stems on because they aren't bitter. They aren't particularly nice to eat either so next time I'll remove them.

Tomato mushroom sauce was simple. I fried the mushrooms in olive oil. Then added garlic and sweated that.  Then tomato sauce and dried basil were added. Dried basil is never great but I think it really didn't like the mushrooms. The sauce was just not there.

The grated parmesan on top was too much too late. I just tallied it up. Only the potatoes and pork cutlet were properly prepped and cooked and I didn't bread the cutlet. Fortunately even great chef's occasionally fail so I won't beat myself up too much.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pork and Cashew Stir Fry

The best leftover's ever! The pork I roasted a couple of days ago but forgot to write up.  It was a loin roast, brined for 4 hours and cooked with bay leaves on top.  The brine had a tablespoon of salt, 2 teaspoon molasses, 1 teaspoon sugar. Then roasted in the oven for an hour and a half till the thermometer was happy with the internal temperature.

I started by prepping everything. Nothing ruins a stir fry faster than trying to dice peppers while the mushrooms turn to carbon. First, I fried the mushrooms, followed by the onions and a few moments later, celery. I microwaved the carrots first to soften them and added them next.  Then the peppers and finally the bok choy. I should have used only half the bok choy, it kind of overwhelmed everything else. 

Thinly sliced pork went in next and I cleared a space in the centre of the pan. I added sesame oil and several drops of fish sauce.  I thought  I over did the fish sauce because it was very fragrant when I put in the pan.  I let it all cook for a few minutes and added some soy sauce. Not too much because Fern likes only a little, but I can almost drink the stuff.

I served it over basmati rice cooked with a pinch of salt, teaspoon oil and two drops rice vinegar. I didn't taste it before serving so I was a little worried it would taste of dirty socks from the fish sauce. I shouldn't have worried. The sauce cooked into a wonderful flavour I'd never produced before. I had to take several bites to confirm what I was experiencing, amazingly good food! That fish sauce is a secret weapon of flavour! I'm using Thai Kitchen in case it matters.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Salisbury Steak with Onion Mushroom Sauce

Fern indicated that ground beef from Mitchell's would be an acceptable meal. He won't eat much beef since his bypass so it's been mostly in spaghetti sauce. I had onions and mushrooms in the fridge so I decided to try Salisbury Steak. I got 3/4 lb of lean ground beef from Mitchell's. I added half a teaspoon of salt, black pepper, finely diced garlic, diced onion, chopped fresh basil and several tablespoons of tomato sauce. I worked that into the meat evenly then fried them in olive oil. 

The potatoes were mashed with butter, salt and milk. The broccoli was steamed, cooled under cold water then finished in olive oil and salt. The sauce was caramelized onions and mushrooms in beef stock. I added Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Before adding the stock I sprinkled flour over onions and mushrooms and cooked that in a minute, then added the stock and cooked the flour taste off.

I cooked the meat till it was well done, a bit over done probably, but it was tasty. The sauce was a nice treat too. Considering I was building the kitchen immediately prior to cooking dinner, it's a pretty good meal. Now I have to go finish installing the range hood.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Chicken Tomato Curry

This is the first time I've made chicken curry with meat bought at Mitchell's. I was hoping it would be fantastic but it was only really good. To start I put some rice in the microwave to cook. I ad only a teaspoon or two of olive oil, some salt and a few drops of lemon juice to the rice. I finely diced an onion, two cloves garlic, celery stick and green pepper. I diced up the chicken, salted it and shook it in a bag of flour to coat it. I got my pan good and hot and sweated the onion, then the celery and lastly the green pepper and garlic.  Once that had all softened I added the meat. Flour on the meat soaks up lots of oil so it may need more. I got a sear all around the chicken then added the curry powder. I stirred it around and let it cook for a minute then added one to two cups tomato sauce.

That was all there was to it. I kept the tomato sauce bubbling till the chicken was cooked through and plated it. It was delicious, even the dog liked it!