Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pork Souvlaki

Pork Souvlaki from Mitchell's grilled on the BBQ, Basmati rice, Brussel's Sprouts and coleslaw. I think I screwed up the rice by putting too much rice in so it came out under cooked. The coleslaw was equally unimpressive. I didn't cut the cabbage thin enough. I don't really like red cabbage. I didn't make enough dressing. Over all, I probably should have ordered a pizza.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Easy Moist Tasty Scones

I tried another recipe that didn't add any fat so they were dry dry dry. This time I looked for something with a little fat and sugar. I cut the recipe in half so this makes six little bisuits.  Preheat oven to 425F.


1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cool butter
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup milk

Mix flour, salt and baking powder. Cut butter into mixture until course grained. Add sugar and mix. Add milk a 1/3 at a time mixing in between with a fork. When all the milk is in continue mixing with a fork till it's starting to clump. If there are wet lumps keep breaking them up with your hands till you have a uniform dough then gather it into a ball. It will seem too dry at first but just keep pressing it together and the milk will work it's way through and moisten it all. When you have a nice ball, press it flat till it's a 6 to 8 inch disk. Cut it into 6 pieces and place on parchment covered cookie sheet. I put a small pile of grated cheddar on each one going into the oven.  Bake 12 minutes. 

Snapper with Vegetable Medley

Fresh fish from Mitchell's on Friday. Snapper again. Good thing we like it! I pulled the  bones out of the fillet, salted, peppered and coated it in bread crumbs. Yellow flesh potatoes boiled up skins on, finished with butter and salt. The vegetable medley was carrot, celery, onion and peppers. I put beef stock in the pan with the carrots and brought that to a boil. I added oil as the water cooked off and started adding the onion, celery and peppers. I forgot to add the few drops of fish sauce so it tasted good but not incredible. I fried the fish in a bit of oil and it came out perfect. I laid thyme and rosemary over it in the pan. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Liver, Bacon and Onions

I always loved liver, even as a child. I always had it with plenty of ketchup and still like it that way today. I boiled the yellow flesh potatoes and finished them with salt and butter.  The broccoli and carrots were steamed, cooled in cold water then reheated in olive oil. 

The bacon, cut into bite size pieces, went in the frying pan first. When the bacon was almost done I added to onions. It probably took 10 minutes to get the onions heavily caramelized, that's how Fern likes them. When they were done I took them out of the pan but kept them warm.  

The liver I salted and coated with flour then fried in a hot pan.  I had to keep adding a few drops of oil as the pan dried. The liver was done quickly so it didn't take much. I plated the liver, then onions and bacon with ketchup on top. It looks a bit messy but it's all loaded with flavour!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry with sweet quick pickle garnish

I hadn't made a stir fry in a while so this was almost a treat.  I made rice in the microwave with salt, oil and a few drops vinegar. First I made the pickle garnish by grating 1/3 of a carrot, 1/3 stick celery and an equal amount of grated english cucumber.  I mixed up half a cup of water, teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of vinegar and poured it over the grated vegetables and let it work.

I cooked the carrots a bit first with a packet of chicken stock and half a cup of water.  When the water was boiled off I added oil and the onions and celery. The chicken was cut up into bite size pieces then salted and floured. I added it to the pan next and got a little sear on in all around. Then the mushrooms went in and got a little sear on them. Finally the peppers and cashews were added.  A splash of soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, toss and a few drops of Chinese fish sauce, toss and serve.

It was delicious and so was the quick pickle garnish.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pork Cutlet, Yellow otatoes with Corn on the Cob

We went to the Laughing Oyster last night, Dave's food is always good. Tonight it's pork cutlet from Mitchell's. Yellow potatoes with frozen peas and corn on the cob. I boiled the corn for 20 minutes. Potatoes the same. Peas were done in the microwave. I fried the cutlets for about 15 minutes just above medium. It couldn't get much easier. 

Simple, hearty and tasty. Just what I needed after a day spent putting storm vinyl on the BBQ shelter.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Easy Tasty Pineapple Banana Bread

This is a great way to use up the half can of pineapple chunks  leftover from the Pineapple Coconut Curry

Pineapple Banana Bread - preheat oven to 350F

4 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 cup soft or melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp pineapple juice

Mix and beat a bit then add

1 cup sugar


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


1/2 can pineapple chunks

Mix and pour into a parchment lined bread pan. Bake one hour. I forgot this one in the oven so it baked an extra hour. I expected it to be like Banana Biscotti but it was fine. So I'd say this is a very forgiving recipe on top of being easy and super tasty.

Cajun Chicken on Vegetables with Rice

I swear the plate looked better than that last night! I salted the chicken, coated it with Cajun spice mix, brushed it with oil and BBQ'd it for 25 minutes over medium heat. Rice was done in the microwave with salt, oil and a few drops of lime juice. (I had half a lime in the fridge and only use enough to give a tangy taste, not a lime taste.)

The vegetables were a stick of celery, onion and several kinds of peppers from the garden. I sweated the veggies first then sprinkled a little flour over the pan. I cooked the flour taste off then added half a cup of chicken stock. I reduced the stock by half, added a few drops of Chinese fish sauce and plated it all.

The chicken was good but the vegetables were the star.

Basil Prawns on Penne Pasta

So much flavour in such a simple dish. I put two cups of penne pasta on to cook, diced up an onion, stick of celery and couple of cloves of garlic. I sweated the onions, then added celery and finally garlic.  Then I browned the prawns on both sides and removed them from the pan. Add a 16 oz can of tomato sauce to the pan, bring to a boil and cook half the moisture off. A few minutes before it's done, add a big tablespoon of butter to the pan. Drain cooked pasta and stir it into pan. Just before removing the pan from heat stir in 1 cup chopped fresh basil. Serve and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

This is so easy and so good it's hard not to make it every other day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cajun Chicken with Vegetable Roll

We had a late large lunch so dinner had to be simpler.  The rice was done in the microwave with salt, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Halfway through cooking I added some frozen peas to the rice. I put soy sauce on my rice, Fern likes his plain. The chicken was salted and seasoned with Cajun Spice mix, brushed with oil and BBQ'd.  The salad roll came from the Vietnamese Restaurant and had a peanut sauce.

It was really good. I should make those rolls myself, it's supposed to be easy. Altogether, despite not much effort, this was a really good meal.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

All the peppers in this dish are from the garden. I used two types of green, one yellow and two red chilis, all seeds removed. First I cubed the chicken, salted it lightly, coated in flour and browned in a 10 inch walled pan. It was removed to a bowl and the onion, celery and peppers went in with enough time between to sweat. I sprinkled a teaspoon of vegetable stock powder over the vegetables followed by a tablespoon of curry powder. Cook for a minute then add one can of coconut milk.

Out of the can, coconut milk is a thin watery liquid with a big white lump of solids. The lump melts as soon as you start to heat it. The coconut milk will have to be reduced by about half or you'll have soup. So turn the heat up and get it boiling hard. Keep stirring it so it doesn't burn. If you have to do something else, turn the heat down a bit so forgetting to stir won't burn it. Once it has reduced, turn the heat down and add the chicken. Wait a few minutes for it to cook through then add half a can of pineapple chunks plus a tablespoon of juice from the can.  Diners seem to like pineapple chunks more than tidbits. If your curry powder has a bitter after taste, add a little more pineapple juice to sweeten it out. If it's too watery, reduce it a bit more.

When everything is hot, serve over basmati rice. Most of the ingredients are on the sweeter side so it's hard to fail with this dish.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ham and Cauliflower with Cheddar Cheese

This dish is from Fern's childhood, except for the carrots. He said, "It tastes good, but shouldn't have carrots" He also didn't like the cubed ham, slices are better apparently. I par cooked the potatoes but it's the cauliflower than needs it. I should have par boiled the potatoes in the bottom of the pot while above steams the cauliflower. Next time.

1 head cauliflower cut into florets
2 onions
500 gms ham
2 carrots diced
1 stick celery diced
5 potatoes thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic finely diced

Sweat the vegetables in a pot. Layer sliced ham in baking pan, cover with sweated vegetables. Layer sliced potatoes over vegetables. Layer cauliflower over potatoes.

Cheese Sauce

1 tsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar

Melt butter in a small pot, add flour. Let it cook a little bit. The more the flour is cooked before adding milk, the less milk it will thicken. Slowly whisk in milk. If it's added quickly the flour will lump. Add salt, slowly combine grated cheddar. If it's too thick add a little more milk. Pour cheese sauce over baking pan and put pan in oven at 350ºF for an hour if the potatoes and cauliflower are precooked, up to 2 hours if not.

This is actually the reheated next day dish but it was still delicious!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Pork Cutlet with Jill's Jalapeno Jelly

Mitchell's pork cutlets again. Carrots boiled in the bottom of the steamer while the broccoli steamed above. That worked great. Mashed potatoes with butter, salt and milk.

Jill's home grown jalapeno jelly was nice, not too hot. Fern thinks it's too sweet for the pork but tastes good with the carrots.

I enjoyed it all.

Basil Blast Penne Prawns

This is my usual prawns and pasta dish but this time pumped up a bit, by happy accident. I didn't have any onions so I only sweated one clove of garlic, then got colour on both sides of prawns, but left them raw in the centre. Removed prawns from pan. I got two cups of pasta going and whisked up a little vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette for two or three salads

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola or other oil
2 tsp vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil has a bitter after taste so I dilute it with another oil. The salt wipes out the remaining bitterness. The vinegar can be lemon juice or anything sour. The vinaigrette should have the sharpness of the acid without being sour. Types of vinegars can be changed, different oils used to achieve whatever tastes you can imagine. Flavours like mustard, horseradish, tomato, garlic and basil can be added alone or in combination. The end flavour is what matters, not the recipe, so experiment and don't be afraid to start again.

I have a big patch of basil that will die on the first chilly night so I harvested a big handful. All chopped up it was at least a cup. The pan was back on the burner, hot again, and I added a finely diced fresh red chili, sweated it a moment then added a 16oz - 473ml can of tomato sauce. I brought that to a simmer for a minute or two then added the prawns and less than 1/4 cup of butter. Bring back to a simmer and if the prawns are cooked add the basil and turn off the heat. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss it all to mix thoroughly and serve. Fresh grated parmesan on top. 

I tossed a bag of salad in the vinaigrette and sat down to eat. The prawns were perfect, not rubbery, and the sauce was in your face basil. I could still taste the prawns and garlic so it was a real treat. I had to ask Fern, "is it too BASIL?" But it's so good! I wolfed mine down. "No, it's really good!" 

The salad was a good source of fibre and roughage, unfortunately not a star on the flavour side. It was good but not my best. The pasta was my best so far. I would have to make the tomato sauce from scratch to do better and probably make fresh pasta too.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Faux Fajitas

I call it faux because I haven't a clue what goes in a fajita so I'm just winging it. I put lime juice and a bit of grated cheddar in the refried beans. I always buy Old El Paso because nothing else comes close to the flavour they have. 

The guacamole is a nice ripe avocado mashed with lime juice, salt and sour cream, about 1/3 as much sour cream as mashed avocado. 

The chicken breasts I seasoned with salt and Cajun spice mix, brushed with oil and put on the BBQ for twenty minutes. For larger breasts 25-30 minutes on the grill. I cut an onion and several peppers into strips and put them in the frying pan with a bit of olive oil. Sweat them a bit then sprinkle a packet of beef stock over them, 2-3 teaspoons taco seasoning, half a teaspoon of flour. Toss and add half a cup of water. Reduce the water to a glistening sauce.

Get 4 nice ripe tomatoes, dice and put in a small sauce pot.  Bring them to a simmer and add a pinch of cumin, ground garlic, salt and black pepper. When the tomatoes have broken down add a tablespoon of fresh chives and turn off the heat. 

Slice the breasts lengthwise, fill the centre of a taco shell with fajita mix and lay the chicken on top.  Sprinkle grated cheddar over all and roll up the fajita. Sprinkle grated cheddar over top and spread the tomato compote over top.

Plate the beans and guacamole beside the fajita and serve.

It was really good!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cajun Chicken

Fern commandeered the kitchen for a couple of days so dinner has to be simple. This is Basmati rice done in the microwave with olive oil, salt and a few drops rice wine vinegar. A boneless chicken breast, salted, coated with Cajun spice mix, brushed with olive oil and BBQ'd for twenty minutes. 

In a big bowl whisk 

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper

Tear up a few leaves of lettuce and the same amount of spinach, toss.

I put soy sauce on my rice and that was it. Simple but tasty and at $3 per plate, a lot cheaper than pizza!

Meat Loaf

I bought a large chunk of ground beef at Mitchell's so I could make a big meatloaf for the dog. To the 700gm (close to two pounds) of beef I added 1/4 cup bred crumbs, salt, mixed pepper, fresh garlic chopped, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, a sprig of rosemary. In a bread pan I laid a stripe of tomato ketchup along the bottom, placed the loaf on top and spread dijon mustard liberally over the load. Then more ketchup on top.  Into the oven at 350F for 1.25 hours.

Fresh carrot with frozen peas for the vegetable and mashed potato for the starch. A humble meal but it tasted good. The dog loved the meat loaf better than ground beef with salt. He's a fussy eater so this surprised me. Fern had a sandwich of meatloaf next day for lunch so I think that says enough about it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Liver and Onions

We both like liver and Mitchell's has nice product fairly often. The potatoes were boiled, mashed and finished with butter, milk and salt.

The vegetables were steamed, cooled in running water and reheated in olive oil.

I cut two onions in half and then into slices. I fried them to caramelized.  The liver was salted, coated with flour and fried in the onion pan. The onions can come out of the pan and go in again just at the end so they don't get dried out. Fry the liver so it's just pink in the middle. I usually over cook it a bit but it's thinly sliced so it doesn't turn into hard lumps.

I serve mine with ketchup. Fern likes his plain. It's all good!

Split Pea Soup, Cajun Chicken with Garden Veggies

I had tired bacon in the fridge and two cups of yellow split peas in the cupboard, so soup was a natural. Fern and I both love pea soup. We tried the Habitant brand a few weeks back and it has been watered down from what it used to be. We were quite disappointed. This pot restored our relish for pea soup.

I diced an onion, a couple of carrots, a stick of celery and the left over bacon. I fried the bacon till crisp, then sweated the vegetables with the bacon.  Two cups of split peas to ten cups of water. A teaspoon of salt, a couple of bay leaves. Bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer for a couple or three hours. If it's till wet, remove the lid and let the soup reduce an hour or till thickened.

Cajun Chicken is just salted and seasoned with Cajun spice mix, brushed with oil and BBQ'd for 20 minutes at medium high heat. The vegetable medley was tasty too. I cut the onion, peppers and celery into larger chunks then lightly sweated them in the pan. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of flour and a packet of beef stock over the pan and toss for a minute.  Add half a cup of water and when the water has reduced leaving the veggies glistening, add a few drops of Chinese fish sauce. Toss and plate. The fish sauce smells like dirty socks but leaves behind incredible flavour.

The soup and veggies were fantastic. The chicken was as good as ever.

Breaded Snapper

Friday is fresh fish day at Mitchell's and it's usually local snapper. It has a nice light flavour and firm texture. It also has a few large bones that require fish pliers to pull out. I originally bought an ordinary pair of pliers for this but my partner didn't like workbench tools in the kitchen. Fortunately Amazon.ca sells fish bone pullers and Fish Tweezers. I bought pliers but these tweezers should work just as well and they're easier to clean!

The potatoes were boiled in salted water then drained, mashed, buttered and a little milk whipped in with a fork. Salt to taste.

The veggies were steamed, cooled in running water and reheated in olive oil with a little salt.

The fish was boned, salted and coated in a mixture of:

1/4 cup bread crumbs - with crust, not panko
1/2 tsp dried thyme - or fresh if available
mixed ground pepper

Then fried in olive and canola oil. Just cover the bottom of the pan with oil and add a few more drops while it cooks if needed. Too much oil makes the bread crumbs oily. They should be crisp and dry.

I put a lemon twist on top of the fish and a wedge beside. The fish was phenomenal! Everything else was petty good too.

Pork Souvlaki and Greek Salad

Mitchell's pork souvlaki with basmati rice done in the microwave with salt, olive oil, a few drops of lemon juice and some fresh chives. The souvlaki was done on the BBQ in about 10-15 minutes just below high heat.

Greek Salad

3 roma tomatoes chopped
4 inches English cucumber diced
2 tbsp fresh chives chopped
1 stick celery chopped - Fern loves celery, normally not in Gr. salad
black olives - as many or few as you like
feta cheese - a chunk broken up
black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon juiced

Toss and serve. I probably worked all day so simple as this was it tasted good and filled me up.

Cajun Chicken

My plating is changing, not sure I like this look. At least I now have time to spend plating. The days of get-it-on-the-plate-while-it's-hot are waning. This was a chicken breast sprinkled with salt, Cajun spice and brushed with oil then BBQ'd. The rice was done in the microwave and I put soy on my plate because Fern likes his plain. The broccoli and carrots were steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil.

Not imaginative, but good!

Chicken Stir Fry

I spilled a glass of water on my keyboard so I was unable to post till a new one arrived. At this point I can't remember what exactly I put in this but I salted and floured the chicken then fried it but didn't cook it through. Remove from pan and put the veggies in.  Sprinkle 1/2 tsp flour over pan. Sprinkle packet of beef stock (or chicken, I didn't have any) over the pan.  Add 1/2 cup water, stir and reduce. When the veggies were glistening, I added the chicken. Keep tossing the pan till the chicken is cooked through. In the last minute sprinkle a few drops of Chinese Fish Sauce over the pan. Toss and turn off the heat. The fish sauce smells like dirty socks but it leaves behind a wonderful flavour you just won't believe.

It was really good.