Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Asparagus is Back!

Asparagus is back and I'm having it every day it's on special! Cajun chicken breast was seasoned, brushed with oil and cooked on the BBQ for twenty minutes. Rice was done in the microwave with water, salt, oil and a few drops of lemon juice. The asparagus was steamed for about 4 minutes.

Easy Hollandaise

1/4 cup butter, melted not hot
1 egg yolk
pinch salt
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp cold water if needed

Whisk butter into egg yolk one teaspoon at a time so it doesn't break. Add lemon and salt. Set over boiling water or on induction element and heat to bubbling. Remove from heat and serve. If it's too thick add a teaspoon of water.

The chicken was good but the lemon, butter and asparagus definitely stole the show.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dijon Mustard Pork Chop with Rice Pilaf, Carrots and Beans

I marinated the chops in dijon mustard for an hour or so before brushing them with oil and BBQing them. I cooked them on medium high heat for 4x4x4x4 minutes to get crossed grill marks. I didn't get them perfect but there are grill marks. The chops were perfect, moist and tender.

The rice was just basmati rice with a teaspoon of beef stock powder in it. A tiny pinch of salt, pepper, oil and a little thyme. I put that in the microwave and pushed the rice button. Perfect rice every time.

I boiled the carrots a few minutes first before putting the beans in the pot. When the beans were done I drained it all and added salt, black pepper, pinch brown sugar and butter to the pot. Shake it up over medium low heat and plate.

The chops were perfect and delicious. The rice was really good, I'll do that again! The veggies were really good too.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Liver, Onions, Home Fries with Broccoli and Carrots

I love ketchup straight out of the bottle on liver and fried potatoes. For this meal I cut the  potatoes (skin on) in half and boiled them till just softened. Then cooled them and sliced them up. I fried them in a pan with plenty of oil till they were crispy.  The onions I fried on medium heat and lower till they were beautifully caramelized. Then removed them from the pan. I salted and floured the liver then laid it in hot oil in the pan. A couple of minutes each side is all it needs. Then the onions were put back in and bacon bits added as well. Toss and heat it all up together.

The broccoli was steamed and cooled and the carrots done in the microwave. Then I put the carrots and broccoli back in the pot with olive oil, salt and pepper to reheat. 

It was every bit as good as it looks. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Polenta, Cauliflower, Cheddar Cheese Sauce with Peas, Cajun Chicken Under Grated Cheddar

It looks a bit complicated but it's really an easy meal to make. The polenta I made with half chicken stock, half milk for the liquid and a little thyme to flavour it. Butter to finish it. The cauliflower was steamed and cooled. The chicken was fried in the pan first then removed and the meal built in the pan. 

Cheese Sauce

1/2 tsp flour
1 oz butter (1/8 cup)
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup grated cheddar

Melt the butter and flour and cook the flour taste off for a minute or two. Remove pan from heat, whisk in liquid. Return to heat, bring to bubbling and add peas. Cook for a minute and add remaining ingredients.

Layer the polenta in the bottom of the pan. Lay the steamed cauliflower over all. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and polenta. Lay half cooked chicken on cauliflower and spread grated cheddar over all. Place in 325F oven for 10-15 minutes till chicken is cooked.

I wasn't sure how to plate this. If I had baked it in a serving dish it would have been perfect. As it was I managed to slide it mostly intact onto the plate. It was really good and made a great comfort meal without being super heavy.

Rib Steak with Broccoli

I had noodles for lunch so I left the starch off the plate. I'm also buying the smallest but best marbled steak. Quality over quantity. I salted, peppered and brushed the steak with oil. On the BBQ for 2x2x2x2 minutes for perfect crossed grill marks. The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil with a little salt and black pepper. I sprinkled a little grated parmesan over the broccoli on the plate and that gave it a really nice note to finish on.

Wheat Free Date Scone

My neighbour Jill is allergic to wheat so I thought I'd try making a wheat free batch.

Wheat Flour Substitute - for recipes using up to 2 cups flour

1 lb rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour


1 1/4 cup flour or substitute
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp sugar
1/2-1 cup chopped dates, or cheese or raisins etc.
1/3-1/2 cup milk

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Use pastry cutter to cut butter into mixture until oatmeal consistency. Mix in sugar and dates. Use a fork to mix milk into dough. Form into ball. Flatten to a disk, cut into six wedges and place on parchment paper on baking sheet. Bake at 425F for 13 minutes. Keep an eye on them, they scorch quickly at the end.

I thought the tapioca flour gave them an odd taste but Jill liked them so judge for yourself. They were more crumbly than flour based but they held together. Overall, I'm glad I'm not wheat intolerant.

Rib Steak, Baked Potato and Corn

Rib steak seasoned with salt and black pepper, done on the BBQ for 2x2x2x2 minutes on high heat to get crossed grill marks on both sides. A watch with a timer function helps immeasurably with this. The potato was done in the microwave and a little butter put on top then slathered in sour cream. The frozen corn was microwaved and served with butter and salt. 

Some fresh chives, parsley and a few drops of lemon juice would have lifted the plate up a bit, but I was alone and it ate just fine where it was. This may be the last evening meal where I have a starch. Lately I've been having a starchy lunch and forgoing it in the evening to keep weight off. Eating less over all. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

New York Strip with Garlic Butter Mushrooms and Broccoli

I salted, peppered and olive oiled the steak then put it on the BBQ for 2x2x2x2 minutes over high heat to get perfect crossed grill marks on both sides. The mushrooms were sliced and fried in olive oil, butter, a pinch of salt and ground garlic. The broccoli was steamed for 4 minutes, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil with a bit of salt. That's all that was on the plate and it was plenty for me! I don't always need a potato, clearly. Delicious and completely satisfying.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Beef Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine

I've never made or had short ribs before. I've seen photos and seen articles raving about them. They were even featured on an episode of Hell's Kitchen which is probably what piqued my interest as a humble meat that had been elevated. I don't like to experiment when Fern is home so this is a perfect opportunity to try them out.

I was tempted to use the pressure cooker but I haven't used it much so I oven braised them instead. I diced a strip of bacon and fried it in a roaster. Next I caramelized a diced onion. Sweated a couple cloves of diced garlic and finally a stick of celery. I would have added a carrot if I had one. Next I added half a bottle of red wine, about a cup and a half. I reduced it for a few minutes then added a cup of water and teaspoon of beef stock powder. I added the meat, a couple of bay leaves, sprig of thyme and one of rosemary, black pepper.

From the back of the fridge I found 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, I think it was left over from the pizza, it smelled fine and had no mould so I use it all. If I had had a can of whole tomatoes I would have used that. Into the oven at 250F for 3 hours.

When it was done the smell was fantastic. I boiled some perogies and steamed some broccoli. The broccoli was cooled and reheated in olive oil. The perogies had just pan juices spooned over them. The meat fell off the bones and was tender and delicious.  Why did I wait so long to try them? Don't make the same mistake, try beef short ribs tonight!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Chicken, Polenta and Asparagus with Hollandaise

The Hollandaise didn't go with the polenta like I'd hoped. I've hardly tried polenta so I'm not used to it's flavour. 


1/4 cup polenta
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1/2 tsp ground garlic
pinch onion flakes - I used 2 pinches which was too much

Boil liquid, add dry ingredients and stir over low heat till liquid is absorbed. 10-20 minutes. If I'd left it like this it would have been fine but I put Hollandaise on it which didn't help at all.

The chicken breast was coated with tapioca starch, salt, pepper and oatmeal and roasted at 375F for 25 minutes. This didn't work at all. It tasted fine but nothing I did improved the flavour. If I had just salted it and put it in the oven it would have been better. There's that less is more rule again. Well if you don't experiment you won't find new combinations that do work. But I could be a lot better at imagining what to try.

Overall it was a tasty meal, still a bit confused. I'm getting much better at managing several things cooking together at different rates, so it's a matter of time for me to start choosing ingredients that do got together on the plate.

Liver, Onions, Perogies, Asparagus and Hollandaise

Hollandaise did not belong on this plate, but asparagus was on sale and so was liver so what is one to do? Maybe having the asparagus after the main course as sort of a salad course would have made more sense. Probably a different protein was the best choice but I love liver, onions and perogies so to me, it was a plate from a slightly confused heaven.

To put it all together I caramelized the onion on medium low heat for about 20 minutes to really develop the flavour then removed them from the pan. I salted and floured the liver and laid it in plenty of oil in the hot pan. Liver should be pink in the middle or it's a bit dry. 1-2 minutes each side is usually enough. Once both sides were done I removed the liver and put the perogies and onions in. A quick toss to warm up and spread the flavour over the perogies is all it takes. Plate with a blob of tomato ketchup on the side. For me ketchup and liver belong together.

The perogies were frozen, boiled till they float, drained and tossed with the onions. Asparagus was steamed. 


1 egg yolk - I've finally gotten used to flushing the white down the drain and using only the yolk!
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 tsp water
pinch salt
1/3 cup butter melted, not hot

Whisk melted butter into egg yolk slowly till it's all incorporated. Add water, lemon and salt and whisk. If it curdles it's ok, the curds will melt when it heats up. Put on double boiler or induction element for a minute or two till it bubbles and thickens. Pour over asparagus. It takes me about two minutes to put Hollandaise together now, it really is easy. I made this meal just for me, Fern is still in Hawaii. It is worth the effort making a wonderful meal just for yourself. You don't need company to enjoy good food and you deserve it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Prawns and Penne Pasta in Tomato Basil Sauce

I diced an onion and caramelized it a bit before adding some ground garlic and the prawns. I got just a little colour on each side of the prawns then took them from the pan.  In went a can of tomato sauce which I reduced a little before turning off the heat and adding a pinch of salt, a pad of butter and the chopped basil. Next I stirred in the cooked penne pasta and plated. Topped with grated parmesan. 

It was wonderful!

Chicken Cordon Suisse with Hollandaise, Scalloped Potatoes and Asparagus

Chicken Cordon Suisse from Mitchell's. Made fresh in store, it's good! Scalloped potatoes I caramelized the onion, thinly sliced the potatoes and made a little gravy like sauce with chicken stock powder and milk. I baked that for an hour uncovered at about 375F. 

I steamed the asparagus and served it under the: 


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

Whisk the melted butter into the egg yolk a teaspoon at a time till it's all taken up. Add the lemon, salt and water, whisk. Over a double boiler or induction burner slowly heat the Hollandaise while whisking till it bubbles lightly. Remove from heat, whisk and serve.

The chicken spray or brush with a little oil or butter for better browning. Bake at 375F until the cheese leaks out, about 25 minutes.

This was as good as it looks. The onion in the scalloped made them sweet and delicious!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Rib Steak

Rib steak from Mitchell's. Cooked on the BBQ over high heat in 2x2x2x2 minutes to get crossed grill marks on both sides. Baked potato was done in the microwave. Pierce with a fork so it doesn't explode. Sour cream on top and a little melted butter on it.  The broccoli was steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil with a pinch of salt. My neighbour Martin was over for dinner. He had peas instead of broccoli but absolutely loved the meal. 

If I was alone this is what my plate would look like. Even for just myself it's worth taking the few minutes to put together a delicious meal. I deserve it, so do you.

Pork Souvlaki with Greek Salad

Pork Souvlaki from Mitchell's, done on the BBQ. I brush them with oil and put them on the grill on medium high heat. They take about 10-15 minutes to cook.  The rice was just basmati with a little lemon juice in it. Sour Cream for a garnish/sauce on the plate.  I also made Greek Salad with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, black olives and feta cheese, dressed with olive/canola oil and lemon juice. A simple but tasty meal.