Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pork Chow Mein

An easy stir fry. I finely diced and caramelized half an onion together with the mushrooms and carrots. Then the remaining onion, diced large together with the green pepper and celery were added and sweated. A few drops of sesame oil, then the cubed pork left from the roast was added with the sugar snap peas. I sprinkled a teaspoon of beef stock powder over the pan and half a teaspoon of flour. I cooked the flour taste off for a minute, tossing the pan. Then added 1/4 cup water and toss to coat. A dash of soy sauce to season. 

Drop the chow mein noodles in a pot of boiling water and immediately turn it down as it will boil over. Boil the noodles for a couple of minutes till softened. They can be plated directly and topped with the main dish or they can be fried with soy sauce for more flavour. They can also be put directly into the pan with the rest and served as one dish.

I haven't done a stir fry for a while and I really enjoyed it.

Roast Pork with Turnip and Mushroom Gravy

A lovely pork loin from Mitchell's, brined in salt water and molasses for a hour or so then roasted at 325F.  Turnip simmered for an hour and finished with butter, salt and pepper. The potatoes were mashed and finished with salt, butter and milk. The peas were frozen and microwaved then finished with butter, salt and pepper.

When the roast was done I took it out of the pan and set it on the cutting board under aluminum foil for twenty minutes. If you don't let a roast rest out of the oven all the moisture in the meat will escape as steam when you carve it. The meat will be dry and flavourless. If you let it rest it will be moist and delicious.

In the roasting pan I seared the mushrooms and added a teaspoon of flour. I cooked the flour taste off then added a teaspoon of beef stock powder, a tablespoon of milk and half a cup of water. Cook it down into a nice consistency, incorporating the pan drippings. Add pepper and maybe a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce if you like. A few drops of Tabasco can perk it up too. Mostly it's the fat from the pork that makes the gravy taste good.

A really good cold weather meal.

Chicken Curry

This is the second half of Garden Gate Spices chicken curry package. This time I caramelized the onion and generally went a little beyond the basic instructions to get the most out of my ingredients. Also I used a whole can of coconut milk and reduced it rather than use half a can. The extra creaminess was a nice improvement. 

This makes a slightly better tasting curry than the Madras Curry I usually use. I'm not sure it's worth the extra money unless it's only an occasional meal. I'll use both again in future.

Breaded Pork Cutlet

Breaded pork cutlet from Mitchell's. I like them. Fern finds them a little dry, a gravy or condiment solves that problem. In this case I'm using Fern's home made tomato ketchup. It's like a tomato chutney and wonderful on less expensive cuts of pork. All you have to do is get an oiled frying pan hot and fry till nicely browned.

Mashed potatoes which are boiled, drained, mashed, buttered, salted, milked and whipped with a fork.

Brussel's Sprouts were steamed, cooled quickly in cold water and reheated in olive oil and salt.

A nice simple meal. Probably would be better in front of a fireplace.

Shake'n Bake Chicken with Instant Everything

I wanted to see if I could put together a decent meal with packaged foods. This is a skinless chicken breast coated with Shake'n Bake. Uncle Ben's traditional sage stuffing mix and Idahoan potatoes au gratin. The Greek Salad was all the regular fresh ingredients.

The chicken breast was a bit dry and tasteless. Shake'n Bake definitely relies on the fat in the skin to help with the flavour. The skinless breast didn't produce the usual flavour so it was a bit insipid. Don't use Shake'n Bake on skinless chicken. 

The stuffing mix is almost impossible to screw up. It tastes ok and is a nice change from or addition to potatoes or rice.

The Idahoan potatoes tasted like aerosol cheese and not a premium brand. I wouldn't buy Idahoan Scalloped or Potatoes au Gratin again, they just aren't good enough to bother eating.

Greek salad was tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, black olives, cow feta and parsley with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to dress. It was good. Next to the potatoes it was heavenly.


We used to have spaghetti twice a week because it was one of the 5 meals I could make. Now it's when we feel like it. The sauce has ground beef, onion, carrot, celery, green pepper, mushrooms, green stuffed olives, a can of tomato sauce and a can of tomato paste. 2 cans of water for the paste and a couple of bay leaves.

Caramelize the onion. Sear the mushrooms. Brown the meat. Sweat the vegetables. Add the tomato sauce, paste and water. Simmer for an hour.

Fresh grated Italian parmesan on top, it makes a difference. Don't use domestic parmesan, you're cheating yourself if you do.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chicken Provencal

This is the second half of the Garden Gate Chicken Provencal spice mix I used the other day. There is a coating mix to shake the chicken in then fry it. Once the outside is crispy, add a 28oz can of tomatoes, cut up, and the second herb packet contents. Simmer for 30 minutes and serve with rice. I also steamed broccoli, cooled and reheated it in olive oil with some salt. For such a delicious meal it takes almost no effort.

Deer Liver with Bacon and Onion

Kevin shot a deer on his latest hunting trip and he brought us the liver. Fresh liver from a young deer is sweet and tender without a hint of gaminess. I tried to cut the veins out first without much success. Slicing it up and then cutting out the veins was more successful. Then I soaked the slices in salted milk for 30 minutes or so while I was getting everything else ready. I cooked up some bacon ends and caramelized an onion then removed them from the pan. I let the liver drain for a few seconds before dropping in the flour. Coated it and laid it on the counter. When the pan was hot I laid it all in the pans at once. It took two pans. 

The potatoes were boiled in salted water, drained and buttered. The peas were frozen, cooked in the microwave and finished with salt and pepper. Ordinary tomato ketchup is the condiment. 

It was really good. If you get a chance to try a fresh deer liver, take it.

Roast Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

A nice roast pork. It's day 2 after the operation on my hand so I couldn't do a lot. No brining. I just salted it and slow cooked it at 300F for 2 hours. I had to up to the temperature to 325F for the last 20 minutes to get it to finish on time. It worked, it was cooked through and juicy as can be. The potatoes and carrots browned nicely too. I all I did was toss the potatoes in olive oil and salt first then add the salted roast to the pan and put it in the oven. The corn was frozen and done in the microwave. The condiment is Fern's home made ketchup. It's sort of a tomato chutney but really good.

If I had suckered Fern into peeling the potatoes it would have been no work at all! It was as delicious as it looks.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fruit Curry - Garden Gate Spices

Garden Gate Fruit Curry

A nice curry, easy to make. 

Pork Cutlet

Breaded pork cutlet from Mitchell's.  Apple sauce is my own home made. Mashed potatoes had salt, butter, sour cream and milk. Frozen peas with butter and black pepper. Simple but really good.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pecan and Cashew Crusted Dijon Halibut

Kevin brought the halibut. I had to take the skin off, fortunately it was easy. Mashed potatoes with butter, salt and whipping cream. Broccoli steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. Under the fish is a simple sauce of 1/2 dijon mustard to 1 whipping cream with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and thicken. The fish is first dredged in flour, salt and pepper. An egg and a teaspoon of dijon mustard whipped up. Dip the floured fish in it and toss it in the coating

1/2 pecan
1/2 cashews
1 bread crumbs

Place in hot frying pan for 2 minutes each side then put in a 350F oven for 10 minutes.

I also made quick pickle carrots for Martin.

2 parts water
1 part vinegar
brown sugar

Dissolve the salt and sugar. Soak carrot sticks in pickling liquid. He liked them.

I also made fresh egg custard ice cream and meringues for dessert but didn't photo it. Everyone loves meringues it seems. Here are the first four plates on our new dining room table. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Garden Gate Spices Chicken Provencal

A video report this time. Made with my cell phone so several mistakes but it's fun!

The spice kit is easy to make and delicious.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cajun Chicken on Guacamole

I wanted the simplest meal I could come up with so rice in the microwave works great. Steamed broccoli is pretty easy. Steam for 4 minutes, quickly cool in cold water then just before plating reheat in olive oil. It gives broccoli with just a bit of crunch and great flavour.

The chicken I salted, seasoned with Cajun spice and brushed with olive oil. Then I roasted it for 25 minutes at 325F. While I was waiting for that to come together I decided I should use up that avocado in the fridge. I mashed it, added a pinch of salt, a few drops of lemon juice and a tablespoon of sour cream. Then to get creative I added far too many drops of Tabasco Sauce to spice it up. It was far too hot by itself but I  plated the chicken on top of it and it turned out great. The chicken tempered the spice in the guacamole and they tasted great together. Fern said I could have put the guacamole in the rice too. That's odd because he usually likes plain white rice. Definitely a recipe to make again.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Pork Souvlaki with Yellow Tomato Ketchup and Greek Salad

This meal took less than 30 minutes to prepare. First, put the rice on with salt and olive oil. Just before plating I stirred chopped parsley into the cooked rice. Pork souvlaki from Mitchell's just needs to be brushed with oil and BBQ'd for 3x3x3x3 minutes and medium high heat. 

Greek salad was tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, black olives, cow feta, parsley, salt, black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.

When I was plating I realized I forgot to buy sour cream for the souvlaki so decided to try Fern's spicy homemade ketchup. The sweetness was a bit odd at first but the heat helped and it tasted really good together with the souvlaki.

Salisbury Steak with Fries

Salisbury steak in a mushroom gravy. I seasoned the ground beef with garlic, salt and black pepper, brushed the patties with olive oil and BBQ'd them. The gravy was a diced onion caramelized with crimini mushrooms in a frying pan. A teaspoon of flour and teaspoon of beef stock powder and cook the raw flour taste off, add some butter to cook the flour if needed. Then add a cup of water and bring up to a simmer. The wide pan lets it reduce and thicken quickly. Just before plating turn off heat and add a pad of butter to the gravy and stir in while it melts.

The fries were fresh cut russet potatoes deep fried to golden crispiness. The beans were boiled and finished with butter, salt and black pepper. 

This was really good.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Lamb Chops with Brussels Sprouts

Lamb chops salted and brushed with oil then BBQ'd on high for 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks. I think I got the marks unidirectional by mistake but they tasted the same. 

Mashed potatoes: peel, boil, mash, salt, butter, milk whip with a fork. If you over process potatoes you turn them into a thick gluey unpalatable paste.

Brussels sprouts were steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. I would have added a little lemon juice but I mixed some fresh mint, salt, sugar, water and vinegar for the lamb and let the acid in that perk up the sprouts.

Really easy, really good meal. And the dog loves the bones!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pork Cutlet with Cabbage and Homemade Ketchup

Mitchell's pork cutlets again. They're good, inexpensive and easy. All I have to do is get a frying pan oily and hot and fry them till crispy. The cabbage was steamed then fried in olive oil and a little white wine vinegar, a few leaves of spinach thrown in the clean the fridge.

Mashed potatoes were peeled, salted, boiled, drained, mashed, buttered, milked and whipped with a fork.

Fern's ketchup was wonderful with the pork and the cabbage. 

Breaded Chicken with Scalloped Potatoes

Chicken thighs are surprisingly inexpensive and really quite tasty. I left the coating a bit too thick in spots so they're a bit blotchy but they tasted great! To coat  them I mixed up a tablespoon of flour, teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons paprika, fresh ground pepper and one teaspoon of poultry seasoning. I shook the thighs in a bag of that, dipped them in milk and rolled them in bread crumbs. Roasted them at 400F for 40 minutes. They could have used a bit more salt. 

Scalloped potatoes were thinly sliced and layered with flour, ground garlic, onion flakes and chicken stock powder. I filled the dish with milk just to the top of the potatoes and put it in a 400F oven for over an hour. It was just enough.

Frozen peas cooked in the microwave and served with salt, butter and black pepper.

We both really enjoyed this.

Pork Chow Mein

Leftover pork roast from the other night. Onion, celery, mushrooms, bean sprouts and red peppers sweated with a bit of flour and beef stock. An ounce of water to wet the pan and make it a little saucy. I boiled some chow mein noodles for a couple of minutes, drained and added them with soy sauce and oil. Toss and serve. 


Cajun Chicken and Cauliflower with Asiago Cheese Sauce

Dave had a nice breaded chicken breast with a delightful asiago cheese sauce on the buffet last time at the Laughing Oyster. Fern loved it so I wanted to try to make something similar. I caramelized a diced onion and added a diced clove of garlic. Chicken stock powder and a teaspoon of flour. A quarter cup of butter to cook the flour in. Slowly whisk in a cup of milk to make a nice sauce. Add up to a cup of grated asiago cheese. Add a pinch of salt and taste. Mine was a bit too much asiago cheese and little too pasty. Next time I'll use less cheese and maybe some stock and white wine.

The cauliflower I steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. I never had good results with cauliflower till I started doing it this way. Now it comes out cooked with just a little crunch. Perfect. Basmati rice on the side smothered with sauce.

The salad is just spinach and mushroom with a white wine vinaigrette and grated asiago cheese. Asiago is a bit poopy tasting so parmesan would have been better.

Good for a first try with a new cheese.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Roast Pork Loin with Broccoli and Beure Blanc

Sunday dinner so Martin usually comes over and lately Julie has been dropping by so I usually include her if I can stretch things. This time I hadn't shopped yet so I went shopping for a roast pork for four but all Mitchell's had left was for an army of twelve. I bought it anyway. It'll make good sandwiches and a stir fry. The problem is that a large roast takes considerably longer to cook than a smaller one and I didn't think of that. I have no experience with big meat. tehe.

I peeled all my potatoes and three carrots and diced them all up. I tossed them in olive oil in a medium size roasting pan so they were all coated. Salted everything including the roast. I laid the roast, fat side up, on a rack in the roasting pan and stuck a thermometer in the center. I put five bay leaves on top of the fat and put it in a 350F oven at 4:00. It was ready by 7:15 so it wasn't so bad. The potatoes were nicely browned after so long in the oven so it was kind of a blessing.

The broccoli I just steamed, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil with a bit of salt. I promised Julie a beure blanc on it so I heated some butter and tried to whip some white wine vinegar into it with a pinch of salt. As a beure blanc it was probably a failure but as butter and acid on broccoli it was pretty good.

The condiment is Fern's home made ketchup. Made with garden fresh red and yellow tomatoes, how could it not be wonderful? Everyone loved the meal.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chicken Cordon Suisse with Easy Hollandaise

Chicken cordon suisse from Mitchell's. They make them fresh and they are excellent. Your local butcher probably makes something similar. Just pop them in a 400F oven for about 25-30 minutes. They're done when the cheese center squirts out a bit of moisture. With that I have rice and broccoli. The rice was done in the microwave with just salt and olive oil. The broccoli was steamed, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil.

Easy Hollandaise

1 egg yolk
1/3-1/2 cup butter, melted not hot
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tsp water

Slowly whisk the butter, a teaspoon at a time for beginners,  into the yolk till it's all emulsified. Whisk in the other ingredients and cook till it bubbles then turn heat to low or off. When everything is plated pour sauce over all. 

I love this meal. 

Stuffed Green Pepper

I bought just under 400gms ( bit less than a pound ) ground beef. I cooked up 1/3 cup rice. Time was short so I wanted to fully cook the filling so only the pepper needed to roast in the oven. I caramelized a diced onion and added a diced garlic clove near the end. The ground beef was added to pan and browned. I sprinkled half a teaspoon of flour over the beef and cooked the flour taste off. Add some cooked rice to the meat to fill it out and absorb water. I used about 2/3 of what I cooked.

2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp beef stock powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water 

Cook most of the water off so the meat mixture is just glistening. Remove the seeds etc. from the pepper and stuff it with meat mixture. Place remaining mixture around pepper in pan. Bake at 400F for 20-30 minutes till pepper is softened. 

The tomato sauce is left over spaghetti sauce, that's why there isn't a lot. I guess tomato ketchup would work fine too. 

Boiled new potatoes served with butter and salt. 

The peas were blanched, drained and fried in the pan with a stick of celery.

The meat filling was really good, I'll definitely do this again.

Liver, Bacon and Onions

First I cooked the bacon till crisp then removed from the pan. Then I caramelized two thinly sliced onions and removed them from the pan. The liver was soaking in milk for a couple of hours. I drained it, dredged in flour and fried in the pan with a bit of salt. When the liver was done the bacon was chopped and went back in the pan with the onion to reheat. 

Mashed potatoes were peeled, boiled, drained, mashed, buttered, milked, salted and whipped with a fork. Over working potatoes turns them into a thick unpalatable paste.

Broccoli was steamed, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil with a pinch of salt.

French's Tomato Ketchup is the condiment. It's every bit as good as Heinz and uses Canadian tomatoes. I have loved liver with ketchup since I was a small child. I know, it's weird, maybe that's why I'm gay.

Soaking liver in milk does improve the flavour but I'm not sure it actually removes excess iron. Did you know after eating liver your blood will show signs of iron toxicity so don't eat a lot of it or too often. I serve about 150gms (5oz) each and I try to not have it more than once a month. 

Despite the mild ferrous poisoning it was a delicious meal.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Pecan Date Oatmeal Cookies

Pecans are magical. They taste fantastic and really bring these cookies to life. I use the recipe from Joy of Cooking for quick oatmeal cookies. I added about half a cup of chopped pecans and half a cup of chopped dates. I have two ceramic cookie sheets that bake the cookies crispy without burning the bottom. I got them at the thrift store at different times for $5 each. I highly recommend them.

If you haven't yet bought a Joy of Cooking here is the recipe.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla 
1 tbsp milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dates

Cream the butter, then cream the brown and white sugar into it. Add vanilla, milk and egg. Beat. Add dry ingredients and mix. Drop onto cookie sheet, makes two dozen cookies. Bake at 350F for 12-22 minutes. 12 minutes on metal cookie sheets, 22 minutes on ceramic. Remove from oven before the bottom burns and they should be nice and crispy. Soft gooey cookies are a marketing gimmick for children. 

Pork Butt Roast with Pan Gravy

Pork butt is the cheapest cut of meat at Mitchell's so I buy it for the dog but often we have it too because it cooks up so delicious! I just salt it, put a couple of bay leaves on top and put it in the oven at 325F.  Here it's paired with rice and steamed broccoli. It's served under home made apple sauce and pan gravy.

The rice was microwaved and the broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. When the roast is done, remove from pan and put on cutting board under foil. It rested 20 minutes before carving. If roasted meat doesn't rest out of the oven, all the moisture escapes as steam and the meat dries out. The gravy was a diced onion caramelized in the roasting pan. A teaspoon of flour sprinkled over top and the flour taste cooked off, add a bit of butter if there isn't enough pork drippings for the flour. A teaspoon of beef stock powder and a cup of milk slowly stirred in. Cook to thicken and serve.

Definitely a comfort meal.

Pork Cutlet with Home Made Apple Sauce

A pork cutlet from Mitchell's. All I have to do is fry them so that simplifies choices greatly. Home made apple sauce, quite tart so it's really good as a condiment. Ratatouille is onion, celery, cauliflower, beans and tomatoes. It was delicious! New potatoes boiled, salted and buttered.

To add cauliflower to anything, I've found it must be steamed first. Just till a fork starts to penetrate it, then run it under cold water to stop cooking. It will finish cooking in the ratatouille. Likewise, beans need to be blanched before adding to a dish. Without it they don't cook up nicely. The beans can be blanched in the water steaming the cauliflower so you don't need an extra pot.

Caramelize a diced onion and sweat diced celery in it. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of flour over the pan, add a pad of butter and cook the flour taste off for a couple of minutes. Add half a teaspoon of beef or vegetable stock powder and a quarter cup of water. Add the blanched cauliflower and beans. Add diced tomatoes and stir or toss together. Add salt and pepper. Cook excess moisture off and serve.

A wonderful meal, particularly on a cool wet day.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cajun Chicken with Garden Tomato Basil Ratatouille

What to do with all those cherry tomatoes ripening all at once? Salt and season a chicken breast with Cajun spice then BBQ it for 25 minutes till cooked through (or roast @325F 25-30 minutes). Caramelize a diced onion. Add a diced clove of garlic, diced stick celery, sweat. Sprinkle a quarter teaspoon of flour over all and add a bit of butter if the pan dries out. Add 1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder. Cook the flour taste off for a minute. Add lots of diced red and yellow cherry tomatoes, yellow by themselves are a bit too sweet. The pan should be hot so the tomato juice reduces a little and the flour thickens it a little. When it's not watery, add the cooked pasta. Season with black pepper. Stir in chopped fresh basil. Plate and top with sliced chicken breast and fresh grated parmesan.

This was really good.

Pork Cutlet with Cauliflower and Homemade Apple Sauce

Breaded cutlets are available from Mitchell's again. They taste good and they're really easy, just fry them. Add to that new potatoes which are also easy and cauliflower with cheese sauce doesn't seem daunting. I picked the eyes from the potatoes and boiled them with a little salt. The cauliflower was steamed, cooled quickly and reheated in olive oil. 

Cheese Sauce

1 stick celery
1 onion
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp flour
1 tsp beef stock powder
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar

The trick with cheese sauce is to use just enough flour to thicken it without giving it a pasty gluey mouth feel. Dice the onion and celery. Caramelize the onion then sweat the celery. Add the butter, melt. Add flour. Cook flour taste off for a minute or two. Slowly stir in milk. Add stock powder. When the milk is hot add cheddar. Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth it can be served or for added richness, turn off the heat and add a pad of butter to the pot. Melt and stir it in with the residual heat. Serve over cauliflower and potatoes if you like.

A comfortable plate.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Pork Souvlaki

Mitchell's (or your local butcher probably) also make pork souvlaki fresh right at the meat counter. Brush with oil and BBQ on medium high for 12 minutes turning several times so they are evenly cooked. Here they are paired with rice and peas and carrots. Sour cream as a condiment on the pork is really good I've discovered. The Greeks would probably use yogurt. It's the acid in both that improve the flavour. 

I microwaved the rice with salt and oil. I used frozen peas this time because it was late. I microwaved the peas and carrots together and finished them with butter, salt and black pepper. That's it. I was just thinking there must be more to this plate but, no, that's all it took.

It tasted really good too.

Chicken Cordon Suisse with Hollandaise

Mitchell's makes really good Chicken Cordon Suisse. Fresh chicken, ham and cheese rolled up and breaded.  60 Minutes expose not withstanding, if you happen to be there when they are making them you can see all the fresh ingredients. Bake them at 425F for about 25 minutes till the liquid/cheese squirts out from the center. Cooking meat does not get easier than that.

Rice was done in the microwave with olive oil and salt. The broccoli was steamed 3 minutes, cooled and reheated in olive oil.

Easy Hollandaise Sauce

1 egg yolk
1/3-1/2 cup butter melted, not hot
1/2 lemon juiced
2 tsp water

Slowly, a teaspoon at a time if it's your first time, whisk the butter into the egg yolk until it's all incorporated. The yolk will become stiff like mayonnaise. Whisk in the lemon, water and salt. It may break a bit watery at this point but don't worry, when it's cooked it will smooth out.

When ready to plate turn the heat up under the sauce to medium and heat while whisking till it smooths out, thins out then thickens when it cooks. It takes about 2 minutes on an induction burner. Don't let it boil or turn it to scrambled eggs. Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli and it goes great on the rice too. Absolutely delicious!

Either wash the egg whites raw down the drain with plenty of water if you don't want to use them. Or save up two or three and make meringues which are easy and delicious.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Roast Pork Loin

Roast pork loin with roasted potatoes and carrots. I salted, peppered and oiled the roast then put it in the oven @ 325F for nearly two hours. I oiled and salted the potatoes and carrots and put them in oven with the roast an hour before it was ready. They weren't quite done when the roast was so I put the roast under foil to rest while I upped the heat in the oven to 425F and gave the potatoes another 15 minutes. That finished cooking them but didn't caramelize the carrots.

The condiment is apple sauce made the other day. Just apples, no sugar. It's tart but goes great on the meat. The yellow tomato salad is 

tomatoes diced
red onion finely diced
parsley diced
olive oil
lemon juice

Fern picked more raspberries from the second crop. I ran them through the juicer and made a raspberry vinaigrette with 

olive oil
raspberry juice

which I tossed with leaf lettuce, red onion and celery. Martin was over for dinner and he ate this salad! (he doesn't usually like vegetables owing to childhood pressure cooker vegetable trauma)

Martin, who is straight, has become a good friend, which earned him the nickname Doug's new boyfriend. Being a good sport, when someone asks him if he's gay he says, "No, but my boyfriend is."

Cajun Chicken on Caesar Salad

We wanted a lighter dinner so chicken and a salad worked well. I salted and seasoned chicken breasts with Cajun spice, brushed with oil and BBQ'd them. Salad croutons were seared in olive oil to get some brown on them. 

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 egg yolk
1/3-1/2 cup oil - olive with a little canola
1/2 lemon juiced
black pepper
2 cloves garlic finely diced
few drops Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
anchovy filet if you have one, I didn't

Slowly whisk the oil into the egg yolk till it's all incorporated. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Toss head of romaine lettuce in dressing. Serve chicken over salad.

Easy, fast, delicious and not terribly fattening.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Corn on the cob was on special so I bought that instead of refried beans. The filling was caramelized onion, crimini mushrooms, beef stock and taco seasoning. The guacamole had avocado, lime juice, diced jalapeno, diced red onion, salt and pepper. The salsa was tomato, lime juice, red onion, jalapeno, chopped parsley, salt and black pepper. The last of the sour cream to garnish.

It was delicious!

Prawn Stir Fry

I haven't done a stir fry for a while so it was nice to have one, I like the flavour. This time I bought black tiger prawns, a red pepper and a few spears of asparagus. I peeled the prawns and put the shells in a pot with a cup of water and a teaspoon of vegetable stock. I boiled them up for half an hour and strained the shells out giving me a nice prawn stock. I caramelized half an onion and a carrot then the mushrooms. The prawns were seared on both sides and removed from the pan. The remaining vegetables were added and softened before the prawns were returned to the pan. Some sesame oil and soy sauce in the pan for colour and flavour. A quarter cup of prawn stock. Cook most of the liquid off and serve on basmati rice.

It was great!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Breaded Chicken Breast with Mushroom Sauce

Fern had a chicken breast at The Laughing Oyster which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was pounded, breaded and served with wild mushroom sauce. I didn't taste the sauce so I couldn't reproduce it but I simply made my own. 

I put the breasts in a plastic bag and pounded them flat to about double their size. Then I coated them in:

1 tbsp flour
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground garlic
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp salt

I added 1/4 cup milk to the remaining flour mixture to turn it into a batter and dipped the floured chicken in it. Then coated it in bread crumbs and put on a baking sheet. Bake at 400F for 25 minutes.

New potatoes were boiled and served with salt and butter.

I caramelized a diced onion then added a couple of diced garlic cloves and browned it a bit. The sliced mushrooms went in and got a good sear. I sprinkled a teaspoon of chicken stock powder and a teaspoon of flour over all and cooked the flour taste off. Then I added a cup of milk to the pan and stirred it into a nice sauce. A few drops of lemon juice to give it a little tang. White wine would have been better but I was too lazy to go to the wine cellar to get a bottle.

The corn was boiled in water with a bit of milk and salt for about 20 minutes. The salad was iceberg lettuce with arugula, tomatoes and cucumber. I dressed it with a bit of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

The Laughing Oysters chicken was slightly better but this wasn't too bad!

Breaded Chicken Thighs

Another attempt at crispy chicken thighs. This time I had to cook a pork cutlet for the dog with the chicken so I put it in the same pan hoping the pork fat would raise the flavour of the crispy coating. It did, but it made the bottom soggy so it was a Pyrrhic victory. The new potatoes boiled and served with salt and butter were wonderful. Ordinary Greek salad. It was good but not outstanding.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cajun Chicken Greek Salad and Borscht

We had a big lunch so I couldn't eat a huge meal at dinner, hence mostly veggies and no starch. I salted and seasoned the chicken with Cajun spice, brushed it with oil and BBQ'd it for 25 minutes. I sliced the meat before plating and sprinkled fresh lemon juice over it on the plate. Fern really liked this little change. "What did you do to the chicken, it's delicious!"

Greek salad had 

red onion
black olives
cow feta
black pepper

Topped with a little olive oil and lemon juice, fresh and delicious.

Borscht was made the other day and heated up. A dollop of sour cream on top when served.

A bit untraditional but this made a really nice light meal and cleaned out the fridge!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Faux Shake'n Bake

At 5:10 I was watching the early news and Fern asked if we could eat at 6pm? I'll try! I had bone in, skin on chicken thighs that I wanted to bread and bake, hopefully making them taste better than a commercial coating mix. They would take 40 minutes to cook. Working fast as I could I mixed 

2 tsp flour
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

coat the chicken in the seasoning mixture and set aside. I had 4 thighs. I added 1/4 cup milk to the leftover seasoning mix and dipped the coated pieces in it then rolled them in panko type bread crumbs. Place on oiled sheet and bake at 375-400F for 40 minutes.

Rice, salt, olive oil and water and into the microwave. The stir fry vegetables were simple. I boiled the carrots in the frying pan for a few minutes till they started to soften then added the frozen peas. The peas cooked for about 2 minutes then I drained and cooled the lot under running water.  Olive and sesame oil in the pan then a diced onion and stick of celery. Sweat them then add the carrot and peas back in. A small dash of soy sauce and toss till everything is heated through. Serve over the rice.

The chicken was delicious and Fern asked me to make it again, soon. He got the Shake'n Bake connection but said it tasted much better. 

Finally I beat Shake'n Bake. Took long enough. @ 5:50 Fern asked if he had 15 minutes to run to the drug store. Yup, that will help! so dinner was served at 6:15, a few minutes late but Fern was ready to go out at 7pm as he wanted.