Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cajun Chicken, Broccoli and New Potatoes

It was a busy day so at the end I didn't want complicated. Season a breast, brush with oil and put on the BBQ, medium high heat for 20 minutes. New potatoes boiled and finished with butter and salt. Broccoli steamed and finished in butter and black pepper. On the plate I drizzled fresh lemon juice over the chicken and broccoli. 

The lemon tied it all together so despite the suburban plating it tasted like a bistro meal. 

Nothing here foreshadowed the clove tarts lurking on the side table, ready to strike.

Mitchell's Clove Tarts

I know, the label says butter tarts but trust me, these are clove tarts. Lots and lots of clove. These are from Mitchell's and they are the worst tasting pastry I've ever encountered. By far! These are so bad I had to write about them so you can buy some for someone you don't like. There's nothing better than giving some smart ass a mouthful of yyyyyuuuuuck!

Revenge Clove Tarts disguised as butter tarts. What an evil plan and it wasn't even my idea!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cajun Chicken with Caesar Salad

We had roast pork last night, nothing new, I simply forgot to take a picture so I didn't right it up. Tonight Fern asked for Cajun Chicken with Caesar Salad which sounded good to me! I salted and seasoned the breasts with Cajun spice mix, brushed them with oil and BBQ'd them for 25 minutes.

I cut the romaine into pieces and put it in the sink full of water to wash. I got two very small eggs and separated the yolks, washing away the whites down the sink. I poured just under 1/3 cup of olive oil and added canola oil so I had less than half a cup of oil. I find pure olive oil too strong a flavour in the salad so canola tempers it's flavour a bit. Slowly, a teaspoon at a time, whisk the oil into the egg yolk. When all the yolk is taken up, add 1/2 tsp salt, plenty of black pepper, juice from half a lemon, few drops of Worcestershire Sauce and a clove of garlic finely diced. Whisk and taste. I needed more lemon so I juiced the other half of the lemon and added half that juice. It was perfect.

I had croutons from alpine bread that I fried in olive oil to give a nice sear. Half a cup of grated Parmesan cheese ready and I used a salad spinner to get the water off the Romaine. First I tossed the salad in the dressing then added the croutons and slowly while tossing, the Parmesan. I plated the chicken separately and put dabs of mayonnaise beside it. It was a very nice meal.

Chicken Stir Fry

Fern wanted something with lots of vegetables so I decided on a stir fry. I picked up mushrooms, green pepper, bean sprouts and a piece of ginger. I sliced up a carrot, stick of celery, an onion and the other veggies. I cut the chicken into bite size pieces and coated it flour. I tried to peel the ginger with a spoon. The spoon worked, for the most part, but the piece I had chosen was very fibrous. I was sure if I cut it up small and put it in the pan, we would both be picking woody ginger from our mouths. So I left it in six large lumps, hoping to take them out when the meal was cooked. 

I had rice cooking in the microwave while I got the frying pan hot. I put the mushrooms in first the get a bit of a sear, then added the meat. When the chicken had colour all around the rest of the vegetables went in the pan. When everything was cooked, the ginger looked just like the chicken so there was no way to pick it all out. I served it and warned Fern about large lumps of ginger. He got most of them, I don't know why that happens.

It was a good meal, simple but satisfying.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meat Loaf with Cheddar Scone

It used to take me all afternoon to make a batch of cookies and I'd think that's a pretty productive day. This afternoon, without really thinking about it, I made a batch of Oatmeal Cinnamon Date cookies, a batch of Cheddar Scones and a meatloaf. Potatoes and Brussels sprouts too of course and all without breaking a sweat. I finally conquered my kitchen. 

This scone recipe is really easy, fast and versatile. Simply substitute dates or raisins or currants or whatever you like for cheddar and create a completely new taste. It makes six portions so they are always fresh because they aren't around long.

Scones - Cheddar - Preheat oven to 425F

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture till it is oatmeal texture.
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1/3 cup milk
Use a fork to mix the milk into a dough, break up big lumps. Get the milk as evenly mixed as possible. Don't work the dough or it will become tough. Instead, gather and press into a ball. Keep pressing till all the mixture is taken up. As you press, the milk will permeate the dough. You can add a teaspoon extra milk if needed but don't make the dough wet. Press the ball into a disc about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, cut into 6 wedges. Bake in oven centre 12-14 minutes. Wetter take longer. 

Meatloaf - Not my best one - oven to 325F

700gm gr. beef
1 breakfast sausage - this was a mistake
1 tsp ground garlic
1 tbsp onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Break up the sausage into small pieces and work it into the beef as evenly as possible. Make sure all ingredients are well mixed. Form into a loaf and put a sprig of rosemary on top. Insert a meat thermometer into the centre about 2/3 from the bottom. Bake till centre is 160F.

The potatoes were boiled and finished with salt and butter. The sprouts were steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil.

The breakfast sausage didn't break down into the beef it stayed in small lumps. Not at all delicious. I think that ruined everything else the loaf could have been. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. The rest of the plate made up for it. The cheese scone tasted great with the rest of the plate and finished off the meal wonderfully.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Breaded Pork Cutlet with New Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables

I still had a slight fever today, didn't feel too bad just not ebullient. It's pretty basic, Mitchell's cutlet all ready for the pan. Boil the potatoes and finish with butter and salt. I caramelized a diced onion and pre cooked the carrots in the microwave with 1/4 cup water. I sprinkled a little vegetable stock powder over the onions and a light dusting of flour. I tossed the pan to cook the flour a bit then added the carrots, water and all. In went the peas, bring to rapid boil and cook off most of the water. Serve.

Apple sauce for a condiment. Fern really enjoyed the vegetables. It was a really nice meal.

Colon Clearing Oatmeal Cinnamon Date Cookies

Fern remarked yesterday that these cookies really help keep things moving. My medication causes the opposite problem but the cookies help moderate that too.  The recipe is Quick Oatmeal Cookies from Joy of Cooking with the addition of 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 a cup of chopped pitted dates. Here it is for those that don't have a Joy of Cooking yet.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Date Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats 
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

Cream butter then cream brown and white sugar into the butter. Add the egg, vanilla and milk, mix. Add flour, salt, soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix. Add oats, mix. Add dates and mix. Spoon blobs onto parchment covered cookie sheet. Makes two dozen cookies. Bake 12 minutes or till golden and crisp. I use ceramic cookie sheets that take more like 17 minutes to cook but they cook more evenly. To cook both sheets evenly, during the last few minutes I switch cookie sheets top to bottom and front to back. Three is all that's left of two dozen cookies in only 36 hours.

Cajun Chicken, Rice and Mixed Vegetables

Still sick with the flu. My temperature is over 101F but I managed to put out a not too shabby looking plate. I should have taken the picture before I put the mayonnaise on, or make it more aesthetically pleasing. I'm sick, the food just has to taste good so I can get it down.

My microwave has a moisture sensor in it so it can cook rice perfectly every time, white rice only. I use Basmati rice because it has a pleasant taste. I cook 1/2 cup rice with a teaspoon or two of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar.

The vegetables were simple. I microwaved the carrots to par cook them first then finished them in a frying pan. A little salt and a little flour sprinkled over top of the vegetables then toss them to cook the flour taste off for a minute.  Add half a packet of beef stock and a half cup water. Toss and cook the water off. When the vegetables are done, add a  few drops of Chinese fish sauce, toss and serve.

The Cajun Chicken was salted, seasoned with Cajun, brushed with olive oil and BBQ'd for twenty minutes just below high heat. Turning every few minutes so one side doesn't dry out.

I put soy sauce on my rice, Fern likes his plain. It was a really good meal. I could taste it myself but I felt so crappy I couldn't enjoy it. Fern did, which helped a bit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Salisbury Steak with Kale and Mashed Potatoes

400gm ground beef
1 fresh made pork dinner sausage from Mitchell's
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme

Peel the skin off the sausage and mix the meat into the beef and all the other ingredients.  Form into 3 patties, two big and one small for the dog. Brush with oil on both sides and BBQ till done through. About 15 minutes on high, keep turning them.

Mashed potatoes had only salt, butter and milk added. Kale was julienned then boiled for a few minutes. Drained, salt and butter added along wtih a few drops of white wine vinegar.

6 mushrooms sliced and fried in olive oil and butter. Flour sprinkled over top and let cook a minute. 1 1 packet beef stock powder and 3/4 cup water. Mix it up, get it simmering. Add a bit of flour if needed to thicken it. Let it cook a minute after adding flour to cook off the raw flour taste. Spoon over meat and potatoes.

I wasn't thrilled with the kale but Fern ate his without complaint and I left 1/4 of mine on the plate and the dog ate it with the piece of meat and gravy I left. The dog is so fussy I'm really surprised he liked kale!

Quick Cheese Scones

Half gone already, they're barely cool. These look and taste amazing. 


1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
cut in with pastry cutter till oatmeal size
2 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar
use a fork to mix into dough. As you press the ball together the moisture slowly migrates throughout, so it can be a bit dry to start. Adding too much milk will ruin the texture. Form a ball, then press into about 1.5 inch disk. With a carving knife cut 3 lines to get 6 segments. Place on parchment covered cookie sheet, top with more grated cheddar and bake at 425F for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven. Higher in the oven scorches them. 

Use currants instead of cheese for a dessert biscuit. This is a really flexible recipe.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Boston Clam Chowder

I was sitting here with Fern watching tv, trying to feel better and asked "Would you like some Boston Clam Chowder" "Yes." So up to the kitchen I went. I got 4 medium potatoes and 1 carrot, peeled, pared to 1/4 inch cubes and boiled in salted water. While that was cooking I finely diced my last 2 strips of bacon, an onion, a stick of celery and 4 cloves of garlic. I opened an 8 oz. can of clams, reserved the liquid and chopped up the clams. When I had the prep work done, the potatoes were par cooked so I drained them, put them aside and put the pot back on the stove. Some olive oil, a little canola and the 2 strips of bacon. I fried them crispy then added the onion. I caramelized the onion before added the garlic and finally the celery. I gave it a minute to cook and added 2 tsp dried thyme. Add the clams and 2 bay leaves. I cooked that for another minute then removed it from the heat.

I took 2 heaping teaspoons of flour and 1/4 cup butter and melt it. I slowly worked the butter into the flour and whisked it smooth.  I slowly added 2 cups of milk, whisking to avoid lumps. I added this to the pot and turned up the heat. I added the potatoes and carrots. I added more milk and a splash of whipping cream to fill the pot, not sure how much but it was a 4 qt pot. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Taste for salt. I had to add at least a teaspoon. I also added a little mixed ground pepper. While the chowder was finishing I toasted some alpine bread and buttered it. That was lunch, it was delicious and I feel immensely better!

Breaded Chicken Breast

I have a terrible cold with fever over a hundred but managed to put this together for our dinner.  Fern is sick too, not quite as bad. I put alpine bread crumbs in a plastic bag and added poultry seasoning and mixed ground pepper. I salted each breast first then shook it in the bag to coat.  I forgot to do this but rubbing a little butter on top will brown it better. I put it on a baking sheet and put it in a 375F oven for 30 minutes. The BBQ is faster but harder to get a nice colour on the breading, other than black.

The rice was done in the microwave with salt, olive oil and a few drops of vinegar. Vegetable medley was a caramelized diced onion, 5 mushrooms sliced and seared, a green pepper diced and frozen peas mostly cooked in the microwave, cooled quickly so they finish cooking in the pan. They go in just before serving. To the cooked vegetables I dusted flour over the pan, toss to coat evenly. Cook the flour taste off for a minute then add chicken stock. This is where I realized the stock I just bought at Walmart was tampered with. So I used a packet of chicken stock and about 3/4 cup water. I reduced the stock to a nice gravy. Added the peas. Added some pepper and a few drops of Chinese Fish Sauce. Stir it in and serve. The Fish Sauce leaves an incredible flavour but it cooks off fast in a cloud that smells like dirty socks. So add it, toss and plate.

I squeezed out some mayonnaise onto the chicken. If I'd thought about it I could have made the mayo point the other way so it would harmonize with the shape of the breast. That alpine bread really tastes good as breading or as croutons. The vegetables were the star on this plate, every bite was delicious. That's what the fish sauce does. It took me about 35 minutes to make this. I could have done it in 25 if I'd been feeling better.