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
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


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


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


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
1/4 cup butter
Cut in with pastry cutter or two knives till texture like oatmeal.
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grated cheddar
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.