Monday, March 30, 2015

Salisbury Steak on a World Tour

A couple of days off due to forgetting to photograph the meals, both were good and I'll make again. Tonight I'm trying lean ground beef with some 5 spice powder give Salisbury Steak a little more flavour. 

Salisbury Steak and then some

400 gm lean gr. beef - almost a pound
1/2 small onion diced
2 tbsp bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp 5 spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
dash Worcestershire Sauce
several drops Tabasco Sauce
black pepper

Sweat the onion and garlic in a sauce pan and add to the meat with the other ingredients. Mix well. Make into two patties squeezed thinner in the centre, coat with olive oil and put on a hot BBQ on high heat. 2 fminutes in, rotate the meat so grill marks cross. Wait a few more minutes and turn them over. A ew minutes later turn the heat down and roast the patties to cook through at about 350ºF. Mine were on the grill for 15 minutes altogether so they were well done.

Yellow flesh potatoes were cut up and boiled. When soft they were salted and buttered.

Green beans were boiled in a little water for 3 minutes then drained and finished with diced red onion, butter, salt and black pepper.

Red Wine Reduction

3/4 cup red wine - more or less
6 crimini mushrooms sliced
1 cup hot water
1 packet beef bouillon

Dissolve bouillon in water. In the pan used to sweat the onions sear the mushrooms. Then add the red wine and boil it down. Add salt, pepper and bouillon. Cook it down a bit then sprinkle a little instant blending flour over reduction and stir it in. Flour needs to cook a bit so let it boil and thicken. Too much flour makes it pasty. 

Plate the beef patty and pour sauce over top. Add potatoes and green beans and dive in. It's wonderful.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Prawns and Pasta with Greek Salad

I finely diced a clove of garlic, a small onion and a stick of celery and put them in the pan to sweat. Shortly after the prawns went in and I sprinkled a teaspoon of dried basil over the pan. The prawns were turned over and removed from the pan before they were fully cooked. If they stay in the pan they will turn to rubber. The penne pasta was boiling away in salted water. I poured one to two cups tomato sauce into the sauce pan. When the sauce has thickened enough add the prawns back in to cook for two or three minutes. Add the drained pasta and plate with grated parmesan on top.

Greek Salad

1/3 English cucumber, diced (skins aren't bitter)
2 tomatoes
2 green onions
handful black pitted olives
chunk of cow feta broken over top
1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

It took an hour to put together but it was sure worth it!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chicken Cashew Stir Fry

I planned on chicken stir fry so I was really happy to see snow peas on clearance at Mitchell's. A stick of celery, green pepper, few mushrooms, handful cashews and an onion made the balance of the plate. I salted, floured and seared the chicken first, then removed it from the pan.  Next I sweated the onion and celery followed by the mushrooms. Once they had a sear all the vegetables, nuts and chicken were put back in.  I added a few drops of sesame oil and fish sauce to the plate and finally soy sauce.

I plated it on basmati rice. It tasted wonderful.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pork Souvlaki, new potatoes and Greeky Salad

I was rebuilding the chicken run most of the day and I had a late lunch, Fern too. So we had a light meal for dinner. The pork souvlaki is from Mitchell's, as are the new potatoes and salad ingredients. I BBQ'd the souvlaki while I mixed up the salad.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
1 small onion finely diced
few sprigs fresh oregano, minced
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
black olives - pitted are easier on the teeth
cow feta cheese

diced tomatoes
diced cucumber
torn lettuce

Toss and enjoy. Fern finished his plate before me, that's a first.

Cajun Chicken on Lemon Rice with Asparagus and Fresh Hollandaise

Despite Lake Hollandaise, it was a simple meal to put together. The rice had salt, olive oil, pinch of dried dill and lemon juice to heighten it's flavour. The chicken I salted, coated with Cajun Spice Rub and brushed with olive oil before putting on the BBQ.  I put skin side down first for a few minutes to give grill marks on that side, then turn them over for a total cooking time of 30 minutes.

The asparagus I snapped the stems off and steamed in an asparagus steamer. Any kind of steamer will do. Someone gave me one so I use it. When a fork pierces the stem, they're done.

Easy Hollandaise

2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter - melted, not hot
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cold water

Slowly whisk melted butter into egg yolks until it's all taken up.  Mix lemon juice and water and whisk into yolks and butter. It must thin out so it can thicken when it cooks, either on induction burner or over a pot of boiling water.  I add more lemon and water as it cooks, keeping acid balance correct.  I want it thick but runny.  Finally add salt and taste. Adjust lemon juice and salt as needed to achieve a rich lemony flavour. 

Fern had less Hollandaise but he commented that the chicken is hard to get at. I should have put the Asparagus and Chicken side by side with rice at the top. I guess so, next time. He also remarked repeatedly how good it was.

That free run chicken from Mitchell's has so much flavour it doesn't matter what I do to it, it's wonderful. If I remember to bring a plastic container, I don't have to deal with all the paper the meat would be wrapped in. Saves the store money too.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Exotic Ground Beef Burger

I know it sounds corny but that is the word that came to mind when I tasted it. Fern will eat beef in ground form because the fat comes off during cooking. Mitchell's didn't have any ground pork left so I used pure ground beef. It will be a bit drier, so will need a sauce of some kind, soy sauce something might work. I had new potatoes, broccoli and carrots to complete the plate. Fern might not be home for dinner so I didn't make a salad.

Exotic Beef Burger

400 gm lean ground beef (nearly a pound) 
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/4 tsp 5 spice powder
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1 tablespoon of bread crumbs. 

I mixed that up rather well since it had warmed up to room temperature, it was much easier to work. I'll remember that for next time. I made two concave patties of it so when it cooks and rises it will end up flat.

Exotic Burger Sauce

1-2 tbsp soy sauce
few drops sesame oil
3 shakes Tabasco Sauce

I was tempted to keep going with the sauce but thought, 'I've got enough going on already.' Good choice. I put sauce on the plate, set the burger in it and brushed more sauce over top. The potatoes were boiled and finished with butter and salt. The vegetables were steamed, cooled under running water and reheated with olive oil, salt and black pepper.

Yum. It hit every note I like on my plate. Have yet to get Fern's vote but he'll probably at least eat it.

Chicken Curry

Very simple meal.  I diced an onion and half a stick of celery and sweated that. Then I cubed the chicken and coated it with salt and flour before tossing in the pan to brown.  I got a little sear on the meat all around but didn't cook it through. Then removed the meat from the pan. I should have sprinkled the curry powder over the onion but forgot and added the coconut milk next instead. I set it to reducing. 

The rice was basmati done with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. When the coconut milk had thickened a bit I added the green pepper,  celery, curry powder and meat. I kept it boiling to thicken more and finish cooking everything.  When the chicken is firm place on the rice.

It was excellent.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cajun Chicken on the BBQ

Another light meal, if you're a giant. This was painfully simple. I salted and seasoned with plenty of Save-On-Foods bulk Cajun seasoning the Mitchell's chicken breasts. Then brushed them with olive oil and put them on the BBQ for 4 minutes then turned them over and had those lovely grill marks. Twenty five minutes later they were done. 

The peas were frozen but the carrots were fresh, both done in the microwave and finished with salt, pepper and butter.

The potatoes were boiled and finished with butter, salt and parsley. Tasted great.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
several drops Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp ketchup
few grains sugar to take the edge off the bitterness

Fern tasted the salad and said it was really good. Then when he sat to eat it and realized it had some ingredients he didn't like, suddenly he didn't like it. He liked the chicken. 

Oddly Battered Sole

We had a later lunch at Magpie's Diner so we didn't feel like a heavy meal. At least, I wasn't planning a heavy meal, it just came out that way. I bought fresh sole at Save On Foods and also picked up asparagus which was on sale. I originally planned on rice but Fern wanted the baby potatoes. So it gets heavier.  I wanted hollandaise sauce on the asparagus and knew it would go with the fish and rice. It kind of looks foreign to the potatoes but that's what the customer wanted. 

I never know what to do with leftover egg whites. A Pavlova eating contest maybe? So I decided to try using them in a batter for the fish. Tempura style, whatever that is. Basic Tempura is flour, salt, baking soda and water. I found a more complicated recipe that included egg so I thought, close enough. I added enough flour for two egg whites and some water. I just added a bit and said,
"that looks good!"
A bit of baking soda and at least as much cold water as egg whites seemed like good proportions. As you can see I made it too thick so they came out a little cakie. The batter and fish were cooked so they weren't bad together. The batter took the Hollandaise well so it worked despite it's shortcomings.

The potatoes were boiled and served with salt and butter. 

The asparagus was steamed in an asparagus steamer once I broke the ends off. (hold tip of asparagus root end. Bend flower end down till stalk snaps. The root end is tough and fibrous. Add to stock pot or compost.

Quick Hollandaise

1/3 cup butter
1-2 egg yolks
tablespoon lemon juice
tablespoon water

Melt butter in microwave but don't get it hot. Slowly whisk butter into egg yolks. Add salt. Add water to lemon juice and whisk into sauce. Taste. Add lemon till it tastes tangy. Add water till it thins. It will thicken as it cooks. Put on medium low heat, whisk till it steams. If it's too thick, thin with water and serve.

If the batter had been crispy it would have been right on target. I'm not sure anything could have made the potatoes happy to be there. The asparagus was perfect and the Hollandaise mouthwatering. It was much too heavy after the lunch we had.  Over eating, even good food, doesn't make me feel better, but I do it occasionally anyway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Breaded Pork Cutlet

Breaded pork cutlets from Mitchell's again. If I cook them correctly they taste better than Save On Foods cutlets, my previous favourite. I forgot to buy potatoes so Fern went back and surprised me with baby new potatoes. They are just boiled, salted and buttered. The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. The cutlet is plated on Jill's home made sauerkraut with store sourced apple sauce.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
1/8 tsp mustard powder
few drops Worcestershire Sauce

Whisk, toss the salad and serve.

I did sprinkle a little parsley over top. It sort of looks like green dandruff. The meal was great anyway.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cajun Chicken, Fries and Salad

I got a late start on dinner but I still turned out a tasty meal.  I peeled the potatoes and ran them through the fry cutter. They were fried in 325F oil for 3 minutes and 375F oil for 4 minutes. The chicken was from Mitchell's and I seasoned it with salt, pepper and cajun spice mix. I've been using the bulk bin cajun at Save On Foods and it's perfectly good. I brushed the breasts with olive oil and grilled them on the BBQ for 25 minutes. Served with a dollop of mayonnaise.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
clove garlic diced

Whisk and toss. It could have used 1/8th tsp mustard powder too. Next time.

The fries were so good we hardly noticed the chicken, although it was really good too.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


I diced and sweated two onions, two carrots, three cloves garlic and one stick of celery. Then seared the mushrooms and finally removed it all from the pan.  I put 3/4 ground beef and 1/4 ground pork in the pan and cooked it to crumbles then added the vegetables back in. Add 2, 3 or 4 bay leaves and two 398ml cans of tomato sauce. (I prefer Hunt's) Simmer for as long as you can.


1 tbsp olive/vegetable oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
black peper

Whisk, toss the lettuce in it.  Add the cucumber and tomato, toss and serve.

I use Barilla Plus pasta. The extra fibre really helps and it tastes better than the other brands. Grated Parmesan on the sauce.

I forgot green pepper and green olives. Oops. Also I can't get Aylmer tomato soup anywhere. That was one of Fern's major ingredients for his sauce.

Anyway, it was easy and good.

Friday, March 13, 2015

BBQ Chicken

Chicken from Mitchell's again. This time I seasoned it with salt, ground garlic, poultry seasoning and flour on top to brown. Then I brushed both sides with olive oil and put them in the 350F BBQ. Mashed potatoes were boiled and finished with salt, butter and milk. The carrots and beans were done in water in a pot.  The beans come out better this way than steaming them. The beans and carrots were finished with salt, black pepper and salt.

It was good, not spectacular, but good.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Breaded Pork Cutlet on Sauerkraut with Apple Sauce

Is that plating starting to look a little better? I chose small carrots whole but didn't decide how to plate them till the time came. The sauerkraut and apple sauce are intended to be eaten together with the pork so their plating was obvious. Fern is correct, the broccoli all pointing the same direction does look better. 

The cutlet is from Mitchell's, their breading. The carrots and broccoli were steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil.  The potatoes had butter, salt and milk. 

It's hard to believe such a delicious plate was so easy to put together. The sauerkraut played against the sweetness in the apple sauce exactly as I'd hoped. They were really good together.

Jill next door made the sauerkraut. Outside of a hogdog I have never used it before, but I will continue now I know how to use it. Thank you Jill!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

BBQ Chicken Still Delicious

Sometimes my best meals are flukes that I can't repeat. That hasn't happened in a while but I don't often want to repeat an exact recipe so I don't test it much either. The BBQ sauce I came up with the other day was something I wanted to make again.  So I went back to the blog post to check that I had the recipe correct in my mind, I did.

BBQ Sauce

2 tbsp tomato ketchup 
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp blue agave syrup - it's sweet works really well here. I hope sugar is a good sub. when I run out
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper

I rolled the breasts in it and put them on the grill, skin side down for about 5 minutes. Then I turned them over and brushed the tops with more BBQ Sauce. They cooked for 25 minutes total cooking time.

Plain basmati rice with salt, olive oil and a few drops lemon juice. The beans were steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil. I over cooked them a bit this way and they weren't as good as they could have been. Boiling them in a little water and finishing them with salt, butter and pepper worked far better.

I wanted something different for the salad so I came up with ...

Caper Salad Dressing

2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp capers - it needed more, use at least 2 tsp

The dressing was nice, a little work and it might be terrific.

The chicken was phenomenal again. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Simple Stroganoff Rib Steak

My last night alone so big red meat is the order of the day.  To top it off with something else Fern isn't keen on, Stroganoff on home made fettuccine. He's not big on cream sauce.

Egg Noodles

2/3 cup flour
1 egg

Make a well in the flour and break the egg into it.  Move the tines of  a fork in circular motions in the egg, picking up more flour as you go.  Form into a ball, it should rest for 30 minutes but I didn't have time so I started rolling it out.  It should not be sticky. If it is dust more flour over it and kneed it a little. Get it rolled out and cut either with a pasta roller or rolling pin and knife.

Boil for 3-5 minutes, strain and put in the sauce.

Stroganoff Sauce

2 tsp butter
1 clove garlic diced
black pepper
1 tsp rice flour - just seeing if it thickens without pastiness on the tongue - seems to
2/3 cup whipping cream (cleaning out the fridge again)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
handful chopped fresh basil

Cook the garlic in the butter and add the salt, pepper and flour. Slowly add the cream and bring to a boil. Boil off some of the liquid to thicken the cream a bit. Add the parmesan and basil. Add the pasta, toss and serve. 

The broccoli was done in the microwave and finished with salt, black pepper and butter.

Garlic, cream, fresh basil and rib steak. It's almost impossible to go wrong with those ingredients. It was rich and tasty. Just what I hoped for.  Fern might even like this!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Custard Ice Cream

I had too many eggs thanks to my prolific backyard chickens so I decided to try custard based ice cream. Usually I make it with milk and cream so this will be interesting.  It took 6 egg yolks to make the custard. Cracking the eggs without breaking the yolk was the hardest part. I whisked 3/4 cup sugar into the yolks. The vanilla bean, milk and whipping cream went on the stove simmering for 15 minutes. Then slowly add a cup of hot milk/cream to the yolks and finally, add the yolks to the hot milk. Bring temperature up to 160F then strain the custard, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the mixture. Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt stir, cover and put in the fridge for a minimum 8 hours.

The finished ice cream was much smoother and richer than the usual. It was almost a bit too rich for my tastes, but I forced a second helping down anyway. The lemon cake was made at Mitchell's, they have pretty good desserts there on top of the best meat in town.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Rib Steak

Another steak from Mitchell's. They buy their meat from free range farms so the animals have a chance to wander around. Meat from muscles that have worked has taste. Confined animals meat has no flavour. That is why free range everything tastes better, it costs a little more but excess fat is trimmed off the meat so the value might actually be higher.

I did the steak, seasoned with salt and black pepper, on the BBQ. My new Char-Broil propane BBQ is really nice. The heat is even so the steak was grilled between two burners. The old BBQ couldn't do that. The new one leaves much nicer grill marks on the meat too.

The potato was done in the microwave, finished with salt and sour cream. The broccoli was steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil.


2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
black pepper
1 tsp tomato sauce - left over from pasta the other night - ketchup might be too sweet
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 tsp prepared horseradish

Whisk, toss lettuce in it and plate. I put fresh tomato on top and I should have tossed them in, it would have tasted better.

Everything tasted great even if it looks a bit pedestrian.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

BBQ Chicken on Spanish Rice

I have no idea what is really in Spanish Rice so I use the term loosely. More properly this was cleaning out the fridge and am I glad I did, it tasted fantastic! I picked up a breast from Mitchell's and wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.  At the last minute I decided BBQ sauce and tomato rice of some sort. Plan in hand, off to the kitchen.

BBQ Sauce

2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp   prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp blue agave syrup (sugar)
fresh ground mixed pepper

Roll the chicken in it and put on the BBQ on low for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Spanish Rice

1/3 cup Basmati Rice
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp  salt
1 tsp    olive oil


Stir in Fern's home made salsa, or any good salsa will do. Put it in the oven to warm while the beans cook. I wasn't sure how salsa rice would come out but it worked perfectly.

I boiled the fresh local beans and finished them in butter and black pepper.

The rice was surprisingly good. The beans were like from heaven and the chicken was so good it ate itself. If I'd known I could make BBQ sauce that tasted this good, I would have been making it all the time. I didn't even taste it before I used it, so this was a special surprise. My plating is even starting to look like the chef isn't a Neanderthal!

Home Made Red Wine Vinegar

Have you ever noticed that good red wine vinegar actually costs a fair amount? I have. It costs me about $9Cdn for a decent half litre. My U-brew wine costs about $3 for that much so it's worth doing. All you need is 'mother'. Mother is the yeast that turns alcohol into vinegar. You probably can't buy it locally so you have to develop your own which is quite easy. Buy a bottle of unpasturized apple cider vinegar. It has live yeast culture. 

Turn the bottle of cider upside down and let the particulate settle into the neck. Then holding it upside down open the top and let 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cider vinegar and particulate out into a bowl or wide mouth glass container like I have there. Add half a bottle of red wine to the cider vinegar. Cover with cheese cloth to keep flies out and put in a dark cupboard. In 4 to 6 weeks, give it a smell, it should smell like vinegar. Give it a taste to see how far along it is. When it's ready just bottle and use it as is. Use this first batch as the 'mother' for your next batch.

Mine still continued to work after I bottled it so a bit of gas popped out when I opened it. I make sure to open the bottle every day so the pressure doesn't build up and explode the bottle. I started with a wonderful tasting wine and the vinegar is better than anything I've tried from the store, at any price.

Pork Souvlaki

Pork Souvlakis from Mitchell's are really good and cost less than $4 each. I brush them with oil and BBQ them.  The rice is basmati cooked with salt, olive oil and a few drops of home made red wine vinegar. (lemon juice works too, or any vinegar. Food has better flavour when it is slightly acidic.)

Fresh green beans were steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil and salt. The beans at Save On look awful sad so I bought these at Mitchell's. They are organic, local, fresh and are the best tasting beans I've ever had. 

The salad looks pretty tired. The lettuce has been in the bin a day too long. I mixed olive and canola oil, salt, black pepper, red wine vinegar and at the last second I squeezed 2 teaspoons of tomato ketchup. Half the ketchup would have been better but the dressing was good anyway. It's a nice change from plain vinaigrette.

A very nice meal. I didn't season the meat myself but today I removed a couple of pounds of fur from the dog in a major grooming. I vacuumed the house and washed the floors and a few other chores so I did enough today.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Salisbury Steak

I didn't want to buy another rib steak so I went for ground beef and ground pork, 2 to 1. I added bread crumbs, salt, black pepper and an egg to the meat. I should have used 1/3 of an egg so it had too much but it didn't ruin the flavour. I fried the meat patties on the stove and added the mushrooms to the pan when the meat was done.  I seared the mushrooms and added a packet of Bovril beef stock, few drops Worcestershire Sauce and half a cup of water.  That made a nice thin gravy so I added about 1/2 a teaspoon of tapioca flour to thicken it. After I put it in I remembered it was very sweet so I hoped that didn't ruin a beef dish. It didn't, the gravy was perfect consistency and the flavour was terrific. Next time I'll use a less sweet thickener just in case. I didn't use flour because I didn't want that pasty taste.

Under all those mushrooms there is a meat patti and a pile of mashed potatoes. Nice fresh broccoli on the side with butter, salt and pepper and it's a complete meal. It was really good. Lean ground meat from Mitchell's is competitively priced and tastes like it should have cost more. I'll make this again but with half the mushrooms and maybe a little garlic, mustard powder and ketchup in the meat.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Breaded Pork Cutlet on Polenta

I wanted to try something new and Fern doesn't like trying new food unless it tastes phenomenal. That's nearly impossible on the first attempt so I wait till he's away. The pork cutlet is from Save On Foods.  Their breading lends a better taste to the meat than the better quality meat from Mitchell's. I used to shop for price. Now I shop for taste, but I try to buy specials when available.

Polenta is boiled corn grit porridge, yum. I cooked it with salted water but should have used stock. Once cooked I added butter and milk to thin it out. I tasted it and it was bland, boring and not better than potatoes. I grated some parmesan cheese and that picked it up. It was better than potatoes, just barely. Next time I'll use stock and less cheese to hopefully get a tasty treat from this simple ingredient. 

Regular store bought apple sauce on the cutlet. The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil and salt. I'll definitely have polenta again, it's easy and tasty.

Another Rib Steak

I never got nice grill marks like that with the old Grill Chef BBQ. It had 3/8in thick grill bars that didn't seem to get hot enough to sear the meat much. Anyway, the usual 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes, turn over, 2 minutes, rotate, 2 minutes and it's done gives beautiful grill marks on both sides and it's perfectly medium rare. I turned the heat down from high as well, which I couldn't do with the old BBQ, it wouldn't get hot enough. The new BBQ is a Char Broil brand and it's the best BBQ I've had so far. This is my 5th propane BBQ.

The steak is really large so instead of potatoes I made vegetables on cream corn I had left. Salt, black pepper on the steak and butter, salt and pepper on the veggies. Despite looking a bit like something's missing, it filled me up and tasted great.