Thursday, June 30, 2016

BBQ Pork Roast

I bought a small pork loin roast so I could feed a guest and have some left for the dog. It was hot and I didn't want to start the oven so I fired up the BBQ. Mine has 4 burners so I turned on the two end ones and brought the temperature up to 400F. 

BBQ Sauce

2 tsp salt
2 tbsp molasses 
2 tsp dijon mustard
olive oil

I actually put the salt directly on the meat then brushed the sauce on and then remembered it needed olive oil so I brushed olive oil over the sauce. The molasses mustard mix was thick enough that it worked doing this. The outside was coated with oil so it wouldn't stick to the BBQ. It didn't.

I put it in the centre of the BBQ, stuck a meat probe in it and closed the lid. I turned it every 20 minutes and it was done in an hour and a half. I took it off the grill, wrapped it in foil and let it rest.

New potatoes with butter and salt. Nothing difficult there.

Cauliflower with lemon butter and fennel. I chopped up the fennel about 15 minutes before using it and I couldn't taste it. I haven't had a lot of luck with fennel and it's been growing wild all over the neighbourhood. I got this from one that's blocking the back gate beside the garage.

I steamed the cauliflower, cooled it under cold water, then drained it. A slab of butter in the pot and back on the heat to melt. Heat it up and put the cauliflower back in. Reheat the cauliflower in the butter with some salt. Just before serving add fresh lemon juice. Top with fresh chopped fennel and serve.

The pork was absolutely amazing. The potatoes and cauliflower were good. I like the anise flavour in fennel but it doesn't seem to last.

Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

I seasoned the breasts with salt, poultry seasoning and ground garlic, brushed them with oil and BBQ'd them. Plain old basmati rice made with salt and olive oil. The sugar snap peas I cut the tips off both ends and blanched them and cooled under running water. I cut a stick of celery into similar size pieces. Next I diced half a small onion and caramelized it. I added the celery and peas and heated it all through. A little salt and pepper and that was it.

Honey Mustard Sauce

How do you make a sauce without a recipe? Taste it. This is about the easiest sauce to experiment with and get a decent result. I needed about half a teaspoon of sauce for each breast so I started with one teaspoon of honey. To that I added a 1/4 tsp of dijon mustard. Taste. Another 1/4 tsp mustard. Taste. Another little dab of mustard and I left it at that. Fern would have liked a little more mustard to temper the sweetness but he liked it anyway.

I over cooked the chicken slightly but it was still really good.  Fern really liked the peas.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pork Souvlaki with Greek Salad

This morning I installed electric fence around the back yard which required much pruning of shrubbery. It was hard work but hopefully will keep the bears and deer out. This afternoon I built a sun deck by the pool for Daffny the Duck so she can get off of ours. It's across the pool and sloped into the garden to dispose of her poop. I hope she figures it out soon.

Consequently I didn't have the energy to make a big effort at dinner. Fortunately Mitchell's makes wonderful pork souvlaki skewers that taste great so I bought those and  had everything else I needed. All I did was brush them with oil and put them on the BBQ over medium high heat for 15 minutes, turning every few minutes. With that I made rice with salt and olive oil. I put a little soy sauce on my rice, it goes with practically anything and rice. 

On the side was a Greek salad consisting of 3 roma tomatoes diced, 3 inches English cucumber sliced, thin slice of onion diced, chunk feta cheese crumbled, black olives, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.  Toss and serve.

Sloppy plate but it tasted great. Fern loved the salad too.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Milk Soaked Liver, Onions and Bacon

This is the first time having liver since I learned about soaking it in milk to remove the excess iron taste. Also I recently learned that liver causes signs of iron toxicity in the blood within an hour of eating it. So soaking it makes sense and eating it no more than once per month makes more sense. I put the liver in a container, covered it with milk and put it in the fridge for a couple of hours. 

I fried a couple of strips of bacon till crisp and removed them from the pan. Then I fried two thinly sliced onions till caramelized and removed them from the pan. I drained the liver, dredged it in flour and fried it in plenty of oil. Sprinkled a bit of salt over it while it cooked.

The new potatoes were boiled and finished with salt and butter. The vegetables were frozen peas microwaved, cooled under running water and drained then reheated in olive oil with diced red pepper and pearl onions. Tomato ketchup on the liver. The onions and bacon are plated under the liver.

The milk soak definitely made a difference. The liver had great flavour without the excess iron taste I can now recognize. The peas were really good this way too. Overall a great meal.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cheddar Scone

So good I ate two before I stopped myself and took a picture. These are super easy and fast to make. 

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 knives to texture of coarse oatmeal
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cup grated Armstrong Extra Old Cheddar Cheese - Baldersons is better, Kraft is not
1/3 cup milk
Add half the milk, mix with a fork. Add more milk till all flour taken up into dough. Add the cheese.  Form into a ball. If it's too dry add a little milk. Flatten into a 6" disk and cut into 6 wedges. Bake at 435-450F 13 minutes. The  surface cheese needs to be caramelized to produce the flavour which requires hot oven.

Bet ya can't eat just one!

Salisbury Steak

That gravy sure looks like a pile of doodoo on the plate but when I plated it I could only see the caramelized onion, bacon, celery and mushrooms that gave it flavour. The meat you can't see was 200gm of ground beef with ground garlic, salt, black pepper and 1/4 cup bread crumbs. Make into a patty and BBQ. I boiled the new potatoes and finished them with butter and salt. The peas were frozen and microwaved, finished with butter and salt.

For the gravy I seared the mushrooms and remove them from the pan then caramelized an onion with two strips of bacon cut into small pieces. I sweated the celery and added a tsp of flour and one of beef stock powder and the mushrooms. When the flour taste was cooked off I stirred in a cup of water. When it's finished add a pad of butter and stir it in while it melts. If I had strained the gravy and added the mushrooms in I would have had a nice smooth 'pretty' gravy but I kind of like the rustic look, maybe 'cause it's easier.

It tasted great and at the end of the day, that's what matters.

Breaded Chicken Breast with Risotto

An easy meal tonight. I mixed 2 tsp flour with poultry seasoning, salt and mixed pepper and coated the chicken in that. Then I dipped it in milk and rolled it in bread crumbs. Unfortunately the milk washed off a considerable amount of the flour mixture so I would combine the flour and milk next time. It worked well enough though so I roasted the breasts at 325F for 25 minutes. That's a blob of plain mayonnaise straight from the bottle. 

Risotto was simple as well. I put half the water in the pot with the rice and simmered it till almost dry then add more water, 1 tsp chicken stock powder and stir frequently till water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Add 3/4 cup grated parmesan and a pad of butter. It should have had a caramelized onion and some white wine but it was late, I was tired and it was enough.

Balsamic vinaigrette was 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper. Whisk, toss and serve. Clearly I didn't strain myself tonight, but it tasted good. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fennel Roasted Salmon

Kevin caught a nice salmon or 2 and gave a lovely 3 pounder to us. I stuffed the cavity with sliced garlic, lemon, parsley, chives and plenty of fennel. Plenty of salt all over and drizzle olive oil over top. Bake at 325F for 60 minutes. The fennel and salmon smell filled the kitchen while it was cooking making my mouth water the whole time. It tasted as good as it sounds. 

The rice just had soy sauce in it and the salad was fresh greens with a vinaigrette of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt.

Simple but you can't beat fresh caught salmon.

Beef Taco!

This time I caramelized an onion, carrot and couple of cloves of garlic then sweated a stick of celery before browning the beef. When the beef was mostly cooked I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon of beef stock, 1 1/2 tablespoon of taco seasoning and a dusting of flour. I cooked the flour taste off and added a tablespoon of water and 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. I added a few seeds from chili peppers for heat and let it simmer for a minute.


1 avocado
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp sour cream
pinch salt
1 tsp cilantro chopped


2 tomatoes diced
2 pearl onions diced
1 tsp cilantro
black pepper
lime juice
1 tsp olive oil

Refried beans

1 can Old El Paso Refried Beans
1 tsp sour cream
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp jalapeno
1 tsp lime juice

Heat the taco shell, fill and roll to centre of plate. Plate everything else around it. I could have grated cheddar cheese and added it to the taco and the beans but thought I had enough food as it was. The guacamole was really good. A little cilantro went a long way. I raided my neighbours garden for the cilantro. It needed topping so he thanked me, I'll help him out that way again!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Mustard Marinated Pork Chop with Ratatouille and New Potatoes

I actually shopped before noon so had time to properly marinate pork chops! I got out my vacuum marinator. I'm not convinced the vacuum has much effect on taste but the device is the ideal marinator so I like to use it. I put 2 tablespoons of mustard powder in the marinator with 2 tbsp of olive oil. 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and 2 cloves garlic finely diced. 2 good pinches of salt and some pepper, mix. Dredge the chops in the marinade on both sides, put the lid on and suck the air out. Put in fridge till bbq time. 

BBQ on medium high heat for 15 minutes turning several times.

The potatoes were the easy part. Cut them up, boil them, add salt and plenty of butter. 

Vegetable medley was onion, carrot, celery, orange pepper, green bean and cherry tomatoes. First I blanched the beans and carrots. Next I caramelized the onion,  then sweated the celery and pepper. I added in the carrot and beans. I sprinkled a little beef stock powder over it and a dusting of flour. Then I cooked the flour taste off before adding a splash of water and the cherry tomatoes. Toss the vegetables in the thin gravy to make them glisten. 

The pork chop was magical. The vegetables were amazingly delicious but couldn't compare to the chops. The potatoes were great salty, buttery filler.

Spaghetti with Roasted Parmesan Rinds

Onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms and garlic sweated then the meat browned with them. Add tomato sauce, sliced stuffed olives and a bay leaf. Salt, pepper, simmer for an hour and serve over pasta. Grate parmesan cheese over top. 

Slice up parmesan rind and roast in oven at 325F for 20 minutes or till they become crunchy. It's these you remember.

Cajun Chicken with Greek Salad

I was tired at the end of the day and didn't feel like working all that hard in the kitchen.  So I salted and Cajun seasoned the chicken breast, brushed it with olive oil and BBQ'd it for 20 minutes. The had salt and oil and soy sauce on the plate. Greek salad was cucumber, tomato, chives, black olives, feta cheese, salt and black pepper. A little olive oil and vinegar to liven it up. I was out of lemons.

It was good, nothing spectacular but far better than a tv dinner!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Meat Loaf

I caramelized an onion and sweated a couple of cloves of garlic then added that to 700gm of ground beef. A quarter cup of bread crumbs, salt, black pepper. Mix it up and form into a loaf. I put a stripe of tomato ketchup on the bottom of the pan and laid the meat in it. A strip of bacon over top, two bay leaves, a sprig of rosemary and some fresh thyme. Into the oven at 325F for an hour and a quarter.

New potatoes boiled and finished with butter and salt. Frozen peas microwaved and finished with butter and salt. Roma tomatoes topped with grated parmesan and roasted for 5-10 minutes, they could have gone a little longer.

The pan I used to caramelize the onions I fried the sliced mushrooms in then removed them from the pan. A quarter cup of butter and a heaping teaspoon of flour into the pan and on the heat to cook the flour taste off. When the flour has cooked up a bit remove from heat and slowly whisk in a cup of water and a teaspoon of beef stock powder. Add some pepper and the fried mushrooms back in, simmer till ready to plate.

It was good, not remarkable. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chicken Cordon Swisse

I broke up the remainder of the old bathtub and took it to the recyclers this afternoon so I wasn't up for a marathon in the kitchen. Mitchell's make chicken cordon swisse that are as good as I could make and much easier than doing it myself. I sprayed them with oil and put them in a 350F oven for 25 minutes, when they leak they're done. The rice was done in the microwave with salt and olive oil. The beans were blanched, drained and finished in butter with pearl onions. The onions are left over from Coq au Vin and I really like them to perk up an otherwise ordinary side dish. They are only warmed inside, not really cooked but that tasted great to me. Fern seemed to want them more cooked but I'm afraid they'd disintegrate. One day I'll try cooking them more and see what happens. 

Hollandaise - it really is easy

1 egg yolk
1/3-1/2 cup melted butter - melted but not hot
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tsp water

Hollandaise is simple and easy. Slowly whisk the melted butter, a teaspoon at a time, into the yolk until it's all taken up. The yolk should have the consistency of mayonnaise at this point. Too much butter at once will break it. Whisk in the lemon juice, salt and water. This will make it look awful but the magic happens when you cook it. A minute or two before you want to plate it put the sauce on the heat (boiling water or induction element). Whisk briskly, it will smooth out to a beautiful sauce as it cooks. Plate sauce over chicken and rice.

I'd be happy with Hollandaise on an old shoe so I thoroughly enjoyed this meal.

Cajun Snapper with Peppers and Sugar Snap Peas

Fern bought a bag of sweet peppers, he only needed one so I don't know why he buys a whole bag, but I have to find ways to use them up. To that end, this worked really well. Fresh lemon on the fish flavoured the rice under it. The sweetness in the peppers tempered the heat in the Cajun spice on the snapper. It was all very simple to make. I did the rice in the microwave with salt, water and olive oil. The snapper was salted, coated with Cajun spice and fried. The carrots were microwaved partially to soften them then the vegetables were sweated. I sprinkled a little chicken stock powder over all and added a splash of water to make a thin gravy. That was it. Fresh lemon squeezed onto the fish on the plate and into the rice. It was really good.

Friday, June 10, 2016


Ever wonder what to do with the egg whites left over from a batch of 4 yolk ice milk? Meringue is easier than you think. The secret is cleanliness. Even the fat in the oils on your skin are enough to sabotage meringue so even a tiny bit of yolk in the whites must be expunged! So I inspected everything for grease and dirt, carefully separated the whites and started the mixer at medium high speed. I sprinkled a slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar into the whipping whites. After a couple of minutes I had stiff peaks that didn't curl. I slowly added 3/4 cup sugar. It won't dissolve if it's added too fast and will make the meringue grainy. Fold in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and pipe onto parchment using a wide tip. Bake 1 to 1.5 hours at 225F. Cool in the oven so they don't absorb moisture from the air. They're like a crunchy marshmallow for adults.

If you don't have a proper piping bag and cake decorating tips then spoon a blob onto the parchment and it will work just fine. 

4 Yolk Ice Milk

I wanted to try making ice cream with 4 egg yolks instead of 6 to see if the texture would remain soft. So I separated my yolks and started beating them. I slowly added 3/4 cup sugar to the yolks. While that was whipping I heated up 2 cups of milk and one cup of whipping cream with a vanilla beans insides. I was short a cup of whipping cream, no idea where it went, so I used more milk, hence ice milk. I simmered the milk mixture for a few minutes then removed from heat and slowly added a cup of it to the whipping yolks. With the yolks tempered, I added them to the hot milk and returned it to the heat to thicken. Don't let it boil or it will cook the egg into lumps. A minute or so did mine. It needs to cool.

I thought about cooling it in the fridge but thought, the ice cream maker has a freezer unit so put the hot mixture in and hope it doesn't over churn. It worked. I had to give the timer some extra but the texture was fine. I would still recommend cooling it in the freezer first if you have time.

The taste was rich from egg yolk, the extra eggs weren't missed. The missing cream produced a lighter product that was quite delightful.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lamb Chops

I wasn't sure what to get for dinner so at the meat counter when I saw the lamb chops I immediately decided on them. I salted, peppered, brushed with oil and BBQ'd them in 2x2x2x2 minutes over high heat to get crossed grill marks and perfect medium rare. I cut a sprig of mint in the garden and chopped up the leaves. I mixed them up with 2 teaspoons of vinegar, a pinch of salt and a bigger pinch of sugar. That made a surprisingly good sauce for one. Fern doesn't like mint on lamb.

New potatoes boiled and finished with butter and salt. The sugar snap peas I blanched first then fried in olive oil with strips of green pepper. Pearl onions were tossed in to heat up before removing from heat and adding pad of butter. Stir the melting butter into the peas and plate.

The lamb was wonderful and two chops were enough, just. Usually I buy 3 each but that's pricey for an every day meal. The pearl onions were a real treat, I'm going to use more of them. Stretching out the peas with half a green pepper worked well too. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sweet Pepper Chicken Fajita mostly

I demolished the first half of a cast iron bathtub with a sledgehammer today, that's how you get built in ones out. Between cuts, blisters and sore muscles I could barely hold the knife to prepare this meal. One day I hope I learn I'm actually 20 years older than the last birthday I remember.

Basically the plate has four components, salsa, refried beans, guacamole and taco. I didn't have cilantro or parsley and didn't care a whole lot so the salsa only had tomato, chives, jalapeño, lime juice, salt and black pepper . I finely diced one seeded jalapeño and used a third of it in each of the salsa, guacamole and refried beans. Using rubber gloves to process the pepper made my eyes much happier later. I used only one lime and divvied it up among the components. 

The guacamole was mashed avocado with lime juice, jalapeño, sour cream and salt. Not too much sour cream because I'm going to plate with it.

Refried beans are Old El Paso brand refried beans. Nothing else I've tried so far tastes as good as these to start, including making my own beans. To that I add jalapeño, lime juice, a little sour cream and salt. Warm them up and they're good to go.

Taco was a caramelized onion and yellow pepper cut into strips then sweated and taken from the pan. Sliced mushrooms seared nicely and removed then two chicken breasts cut into strips, coated in flour and seared in the pan. Add 1 tsp chicken stock powder, salt, mixed pepper, 1/4 cup water, all ingredients back in and then reduce to a thick sauce.  Plate onto a flour tortilla, roll it up and over into the centre of the plate. Extra filling I put along the taco under the refried beans. Salsa on the other side and guacamole and sour cream dolloped on top.

When I started eating it tasted great but I realized I forgot to add the taco seasoning to the chicken. It was still great but it was wide of Mexican. Fern said it was delicious anyway and if I hadn't mentioned it he never would have noticed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Salisbury Steak with Vegetable Kebab

I'm ripping the old tub out of the bathroom and I got a muscle spasm in my back before dinner which made it very uncomfortable to cook and even worse to eat. The pain made me feel nauseous so I couldn't finish my plate and didn't enjoy what I did manage to eat. Fern felt fine and absolutely loved this meal. When he was finishing his plate he remarked that every meal lately has been a flavour sensation. Well I'm glad the pain didn't produce a standout meal!

I sprinkled ground beef with ground garlic, salt and black pepper and formed it into two patties. These were BBQ'd. The vegetable skewers were orange and green pepper, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. I brushed them with oil and BBQ'd them beside the meat. The rice was basmati with olive oil and salt. 

The gravy was a small onion lightly caramelized, remaining pepper pieces diced and sweated and the mushrooms with a good sear. Then remove the veggies from the pan and put one teaspoon flour in pan and add olive oil, a teaspoon or two. Cook the flour taste off, remove from heat and slowly whisk in one cup beef stock. When it's smooth put back on heat and reduce to thicken. Add the mushrooms, onion and peppers back in, add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco and let simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and add a slab of butter, stir it in while it melts. Serve.

Like I said, it tasted great, I just couldn't enjoy it. Fern loved it. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Honey Mustard Chicken with Risotto

I mixed mustard powder with olive oil and brushed that over the breasts then BBQ'd them for 20 minutes. During the last 10 minutes I basted them with honey and lemon juice. The risotto was arborio rice par boiled in water then finished in beef stock, because I had some open. When the rice was softened up I added a cup of grated parmesan and off the heat, 1/4 cup butter. Fern put the grapes on the plate for garnish. Greek salad was tomato, cucumber, red onion, black olive and goat feta with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Toss and gobble.

The risotto with beef stock was good but not as good as chicken stock would have been. Risotto is no longer scary, it's actually easy to make and always tastes great.

Breaded Pork Cutlet with Jalapeno Jelly

I really wasn't sure what I felt like for dinner, but I didn't feel like doing a lot of work, so when I got the meat counter, the ease of cutlets caught my eye. All I had to do to make this meal was slice up some new potatoes and boil them then finish them with salt and butter. Fry the cutlet in oil. Microwave some frozen corn and finish with butter and salt. Jill next door made the Jalapeno Jelly which is surprisingly useful. It was great!

Chicken Breast with Caramelized Onion Potato Salad

It was supposed to be crab cakes by the pool with friends but that was rained out so at the last minute Fern and I had chicken, dinner by the pool will happen tomorrow. I don't remember now what I did to that breast but it looks like it was basted with something sugary. Maybe honey mustard sauce. Anyway, it was good, it was chicken. The real star here was the potato salad. Fern had challenged me to make a really good potato salad and I managed to not disappoint. I peeled, salted and boiled the potatoes then let them cool. I also boiled an egg and let that cool. I diced two onions and caramelized them to golden sweetness. I diced a carrot, stick of celery, slice of red onion, tablespoon of roasted red pepper. I sliced up the boiled egg. 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, salt, mixed pepper and some paprika. I think that was everything but the onion made it different and delicious. 

In the background was a Greek Salad. Tomato, red onion, English cucumber because the skin isn't bitter, goat feta, black olive, salt, black pepper. Olive oil and lemon juice. Toss and serve.

For a twenty five minute meal, this was pretty good.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Salmon from Kevin

Kevin went fishing again and gifted us a beautiful steelhead salmon. I salted and peppered it, put thyme, rosemary and bay leaves in the cavity, drizzled a little olive oil over it and wrapped it in foil. On the BBQ over medium heat for 25 minutes. Rice on the side with lemon juice over all. Simple but very tasty.

Greek Salad

3 tomatoes diced
4 inches english cucumber sliced
1 thin slice red onion diced
black olives
goat feta
olive oil
lemon juice

First time I tried goat feta. It's more expensive and I was afraid it had a stronger taste but it doesn't. It's sweet and richer than cow feta. It didn't really add anything new to the salad so for the extra price I'll probably stick with cow feta from now on.