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.


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

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.


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

Cajun Snapper with Vegetable Stir Fry

Kevin caught a big snapper and shared it with us. It was almost too much. I pulled all the bones out and salted and seasoned it with Cajun spice mix. Fry it in olive oil. The rice was just done in the microwave with salt, olive oil and lemon juice. The stir fry was simply cut up vegetables, beef stock, salt, pepper, a dusting of flour and a few drops of Chinese Fish Sauce just before removing it from the pan. Delicious! 

Cajun Chicken on Caesar Salad

I salted and seasoned chicken breasts with Cajun Spice Mix.  Brush them with oil and put them on the BBQ over medium high heat. After a few minutes on each side turn the heat down to medium and cook about twenty minutes over all. The juices run clear when chicken is done. Also, the meat becomes firm. If it's still squishy, it's still raw in the middle.

Caesar Salad

1 cup croutons - I make mine from alpine bread and fry them in olive oil before using.
1 egg yolk
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive/canola oil
finely diced clove garlic
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup grated parmesan
black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce

Slowly whisk the oil into the egg yolk, a teaspoon at a time. If you add too much oil at once, the mayonnaise will break. Whisk broken yolk into fresh yolk to rescue it. When all the oil is taken up, you have mayonnaise. Add juice from half a lemon, a good pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper, the garlic, Worcestershire sauce. Toss and add croutons. Toss and add parmesan. Toss and plate.

A dated presentation but it's easy and tastes great!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pork Cutlet

Mitchell's breaded pork cutlet with apple sauce. All you have to do is fry it in a hot pan with a little oil. If the pan isn't hot when the meat goes in, the breading will stick to the pan. If there is too much oil, it comes out greasy. The pan needs to be hot and the bottom covered with oil but not more than a tablespoon of oil pooled in the bottom when the pan is tipped. Keep adding small amounts of oil if the pan dries out.

The vegetables were steamed, dunked in cold water and reheated in olive oil.  Apple sauce straight from the jar for a condiment. Overall, a good meal.

Not Quite Honey Garlic Chicken

I wanted to have something other than Cajun chicken for a change. I had half a lemon in the fridge so I squeezed the juice out into a bowl and took curls of rind off and put them in the juice.  I added enough salt for both chicken breasts to the juice, double the olive oil than juice and a tablespoon of honey. A bit of pepper and some ground ginger. It all sounded so good.  I brushed it over the meat and put it on the BBQ.

The glaze run off the meat into the bottom of the BBQ. The flavour went with it. I managed to not overcook the broccoli so it was perfect. The potatoes were wonderful with a bit of butter and salt. The chicken just didn't take on any of the flavour I was trying for. It barely had enough salt.  Clearly I'm not good at this dish, I need to research and try again. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't great.