Friday, July 29, 2016

Snapper on Lemon Rice with Corn on the Cob

We helped Julie move to her new place today. From Westview to Townsite. She's half way to Cranberry! To celebrate I invited her for dinner saying it's fresh fish day at Mitchell's. She accepted, so knowing I had to cook for three and I'm already tired I wanted it simple. But Fern wanted a salad.

The rice had salt and olive oil to cook. When it was done I stirred in juice from half a lemon. The corn on the cob was absolutely the best corn I've ever tasted. All I did was add 1/4 cup milk to the pot it was boiling in which was nice but didn't produce this heavenly flavour. It's over $1/ear at Mitchell's and it's worth it. I served it with butter, forgot the salt but the milk/water had just enough. 

The snapper was fairly fresh, I pulled the bones out, salted and sprinkled with Cajun spice mix and put it in a hot frying pan. I use the Cajun spice in the bulk bin at Save On. (I also use their bulk Taco seasoning.) I watch the side of the fish turn opaque white from the bottom up as it cooks. When it gets to the middle, turn it over. I drizzled more lemon juice over the fish on the rice so fish juice flavoured the rice. Now I wish I'd done a more decorative lemon slice because we didn't really need a wedge. It was delicious.

I foraged in the garden for Fern's Salad. I found spinach two feet tall! and baby romaine lettuce. Cherry tomatoes. There was fresh basil and Julie arrived with fresh arugula which went right in too. I also sliced up a stick of celery because Fern loves it.


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp mustard powder
mixed pepper

Whisk, toss and serve.

It was a pretty good meal for a tired old queen.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chicken Fajitas

Fajita means cut in strips but this time I sliced the chicken lengthwise. It was a bad idea. I cut the celery and red pepper long as well which made the fajita extra difficult to assemble. On top of that I forgot to buy onions so I had no base for the filling, just chicken, red pepper, celery and sugar snap peas. I use what I have. While it all tasted pretty good it wasn't quite as good as usual.  I won't spend the time detailing what I did here. If you want to make fajitas follow my directions from the last time I made them, a few days ago.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Salisbury Steak with Crimini Mushroom Gravy

A sirloin steak can be a tasty but tough chew for aging teeth, tenderloin is too expensive for everyday, so I usually buy ground beef. A nice gravy can elevate ground meat so flavour overwhelms texture and it's relatively easy to make. Start with the patty. 

1 lb ground beef
3/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground garlic
1 tbsp bread crumbs

Mix that up and form two or three patties. Brush with olive oil and BBQ for 8 minutes over high heat turning 3 times. If it's a black carbon ball it's probably over cooked!

Mashed potatoes are simple. Peel and boil potatoes in salted water till soft. Drain, mash, add butter and a splash of milk. Whip with a fork. Never use an electric appliance on potatoes, it turns them into glue.

Broccoli should be steamed for two to three minutes, cooled in cold water while it's still crisp and reheated in olive oil just before plating. This makes broccoli that still has a little crunch and tastes great. It sounds complicated but the steaming can be done while prep work is being completed so reheating is a simple last step.

The gravy was an onion sliced and caramelized followed by 5 crimini mushrooms sliced and seared. A teaspoon of flour sprinkled over all with half a teaspoon of beef stock powder. I stir and cook the flour taste off for a minute before adding 3/4 cup water. Reduce the water by half, add a dash of Worcestershire Sauce and just before serving add a pad of butter. Stir in the butter and plate over the beef patty and mashed potatoes.

Greek salad is tomatoes diced, cucumber sliced, red onion finely diced, pitted black olives (don't buy the cheap ones!), feta cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Toss and serve.

The gravy and meat patty were really good, I gobbled mine up.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

BBQ Pork Loin with Blackberry Sauce and Iceberg Basil Salad

I needed a big piece of meat for the dog and this huge pork loin roast was on special so I picked it up. Also a young woman brought us some blackberries she had picked. It was already late afternoon so I salted, peppered and brushed the whole roast with olive oil. I put it on the BBQ off the burners so it would roast not sear. I put bay leaves and sprigs of rosemary and thyme on it. My BBQ has 4 burners so I can put the end ones on and roast in the middle. It works great and I'd buy another 4 burner BBQ just for that reason. The roast was just under 2kg so it took just over two hours for the thermometer to reach 170F internal temperature.

Boiled new potatoes with salt and butter. The peas I blanched for one minute then cooled under running water. Emptied the water, added oil and started caramelizing a finely sliced onion. When the roast came off the BBQ I put it under foil to rest and put the peas in with the onions to finish cooking.

The blackberries I ran through the juicer to get the seeds out. I took about half a cup of juice, 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. I reduced this to a thick sauce and tasted it. Tart but tasty. I put it on my pork instead of apple sauce. Fern wouldn't try the blackberry sauce. He missed out, it was fantastic! 

I tore up iceberg lettuce and chopped up a couple of tomatoes and two inches of cucumber. I took too much basil off the top of a plant and chopped that up. I put too much in the salad and it was a bit over powering. Olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp honey whisked up for dressing.

It was so hot the salad was limping out by the time I ate it but it was good. The roast was fantastic with the blackberry sauce. The peas were really good done that way too.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Garlic Chicken with Broccoli

The days of the everything in stir fry seem to be behind me. This time broccoli was on sale and I thought garlic, chicken and broccoli in a sauce on rice would make a nice summer dinner. I started by cutting an onion and dicing one half. I caramelized the diced onion while I cut the chicken into pieces and coated them in corn starch. I put them in the pan with plenty of oil and got a bit of a sear on them all around. I had the broccoli florets steamed and cooled, ready to go in the pan. I also cut up the rest of the onion into large chunks and a stick of celery into bite size pieces. A large clove of garlic finely diced went in the pan followed by the onion and celery. Half a teaspoon of chicken stock powder, few drops of sesame oil, few drops of Chinese fish sauce and 2/3 cup of water. The water reduced quickly in the hot pan leaving a nice sauce to toss the broccoli in. When the broccoli was heated through I plated the whole thing on rice and served.

It was absolutely delicious! Less work than a stir fry too!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Chicken Fajitas Again!

Fajitas are becoming a go to summer dish. Soon as Fern's tomatoes are ready we'll be having even more. This is the first image with my new phone. Looks like it needs cropping. This plating seems to work well. Less sour cream in everything.

Old El Paso Refried beans have just a pinch of cumin, salt and a few drops of lime juice. The Salsa is tomatoes, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, salt, black pepper, lime juice. The guacamole is a ripe avocado mashed with lime juice, salt, cilantro, few drops tabasco and a teaspoon of sour cream.

Fajita means 'cut in strips' so the breasts, celery and onion were cut in strips. First I diced and caramelized half an onion. Dusted the chicken strips with flour and seared them slightly. Added the vegetables and sweated them a minute. Sprinkled a teaspoon of chicken stock over the pan and added a tablespoon of taco seasoning to that. 3/4 cup water and quickly reduce to a nice thick sauce. Roll up in a taco shell and slop everything else on top. 

It looks pretty good, tastes really fresh. If only I knew how to make good refried beans from scratch....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chicken Fajita

A pretty plate but it does look a little like a race track. I caramelized half an onion then sweated the other half with a red pepper and stick of celery. The chicken was cut into strips, coated in a bit of flour and added next. I got a little brown on the outside then added a teaspoon of chicken stock powder, 2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning and half a cup of water. When the water is reduced to a nice glaze the filling is ready.


1 avocado
1/2 lime juiced
1 tsp sour cream
pinch salt
pinch cumin
fresh chopped cilantro

Mash the avocado with the lime juice, stir in the rest. 


3 roma tomatoes
3 inches cucumber
1/2 lime juiced
1 tsp olive oil
1 jalapeno 
1 thin slice red onion diced
cilantro finely diced

Slice the cucumber, dice the tomatoes and jalapeno. Mix it all together.

Refried beans are Old El Paso straight from the can with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Fill the taco, dress it up and serve. 

Even Fern likes this summer fare.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Lamb Chops and Ratatouie

Lamb chops are one of the easiest meats to BBQ. Sprinkle salt and pepper on them, brush them with olive oil and put them over high heat for 2 minutes. Turn over and slide the back ones to the front so all cook evenly. Cook 2 minutes. Turn and slide again rotating them a little so they get crossed grill marks. Cook 2 minutes. Turn and slide a last time and cook 2 minutes. Serve.

Mint grows like a weed so never buy mint sauce. Grab a handful of mint leaves, chop them up and soak them in 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tbsp vinegar. 

The new potatoes were boiled and finished with butter and salt. I steamed the cauliflower with a carrot while I caramelised an onion. Next I sweated another onion with celery and a roma tomato. I microwaved some frozen peas, which was probably a mistake. Everything went in the onion pan with some leftover garlic basil tomato sauce. Heat it up and serve.

It took less than an hour to put together this meal but it tasted like a lot more.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chicken Parmesan more or less

I had bread crumbs out so I clearly wanted something breaded. I bought chicken breasts and a cooked ham for the dog. I took a slice of the ham and got out two slices of XO cheddar (Armstrong). I put the breast in a plastic bag and hammered it flat. Took it out and sliced a pocket into it so I could slip the ham and cheese inside. It was easier than it sounds. Then I coated it in flour, dipped it in egg white and rolled it in bread crumbs. I baked it in the oven at 325F for 20 minutes then turned the heat up to 400F to brown it. When the cheese leaked out it was done.

Two teaspoons of olive oil and a diced clove of garlic, cook. Add can of Hunt's tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. When almost ready to serve, add 3 tbsp butter and a handful of chopped fresh basil.

Plate the rice then a strip of tomato sauce beside it. Lay the chicken in the sauce and put another stripe across it's centre. Top with grated parmesan. 

Broccoli was steamed, cooled under running water and reheated in olive oil.

This was outstanding and only took an hour start to finish.

Bottom Round Roast Beef

It was early in the afternoon so I had hours to slow roast this thing and hopefully get it tender. I salted, peppered and brushed it with oil then put it in the oven at 225F for 2-3 hours till it was 150F in the centre. New potatoes boiled and finished with salt and butter. Horse Radish Sauce beside the roast. 

Onions and carrots caramelised then celery sweated and finally steamed cauliflower tossed and reheated with the lot. This is a great way to serve cauliflower without cheese.

Martin was over and even he ate his onions, carrots and celery. He doesn't like cauliflower, or vegetables so when I get him to eat a few, it's a victory. He loved the roast and potatoes.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Chicken Cordon Suisse

It's cool and rainy so a heavy comfort meal is welcome. Mitchell's made chicken is easy, just bake at 325F for 25 minutes till the cheese starts to leak out. New potatoes boiled and finished with salt and butter. Steamed broccoli with hollandaise.


1 egg yolk
1/3-1/2 cup melted, not hot, butter
juice 1/2 lemon

Slowly whisk butter into egg. Add lemon and salt. Heat to thicken. If it's too thick add a teaspoon of water. It really is this simple, I would never again buy a Hollandaise mix.


Onion, garlic and celery caramelized then ground beef browned with them. Splash of beef stock and tablespoon of taco seasoning added, reduce till just moist. Lay grated cheddar on taco, lay beef mixture on top and roll up. 


lime juice
black pepper


lime juice
sour cream

Refried Beans

can of Old El Paso with a few drops of lime juice.

Last bit of grated cheddar over all. That's a sundried tomato whatever taco shell. It was all good.

Honey Mustard Chicken

I tried to make a sauce out of honey, garlic, chicken stock and lemon but it tasted horrible. Not sure if lemon didn't go with garlic or chicken stock or if it was the whole thing or maybe just too much lemon.  I poured it out and mixed up some honey and dijon mustard and brushed it on the chicken. It was good.  The corn I tried to caramelize on onion and mix it with the corn to lift it up. Didn't work particularly well. Soy sauce on the rice worked great!

Salt and pepper on the chicken then brush with oil and BBQ. If I'd left off the sauce and caramelized onion it would have pretty much been a tv dinner.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Chiffon Cake - my own recipe

I didn't have a recipe that made the right amount of batter for my two 8" cake pans so I decided to create my own recipe to fit the bill. This is my first cake recipe that I created from knowledge and experience. Preheat oven to 350F and cut two rounds of parchment for the bottom of the cake pans. Butter or oil the sides of the pans and dust with flour so the cake will release from the pan.

Chiffon Cake 

2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs - yolks and whites separated
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar

First, I let all the ingredients warm to room temperature.  Then I creamed the butter and slowly added the sugar, creaming as it went. Beat in salt, egg yolks, vanilla. Add the flour and milk alternately mixing each in. 

The egg whites I whipped up but found they quickly fell to liquid again. A bit of Cream of Tartar sprinkled over top and whip them up again. This time they held their loft and I could fold them into the batter with the baking powder. Pour into two 8 inch round cake pans.

Bake 30 minutes. 

I cut the top off the bottom layer to make it flat so it was a little shorter. Also the blueberry filling seems to have flattened it a little. The blueberries were mixed with sugar and some icing to hold it together. I could have used a little pre-cooked corn starch to hold the juices but didn't think of it at the time. The butter cream icing was 3/4 cup butter creamed with 2 cups icing sugar, teaspoon vanilla, few drops almond oil and a couple of teaspoons of milk to smooth it out. The raspberries were mixed with icing sugar and a few drops of milk to make a glaze. The glaze running down the side of the cake wasn't planned, next time some starch to hold the liquid and its flavour should prevent running.

The cake was wonderful. Lighter than a pound cake but richer than angel food cake. It will probably be eaten up today which is great because it's still fresh. I'm quite proud of my new recipe.

Pork Souvlaki with Cauliflower Medley

Pork Souvlaki from Mitchell's was BBQ'd over medium high heat for 15 minutes. Rice was done in the microwave and served plain. I put soy sauce on mine which goes surprisingly well with this meal. The vegetables were the star here. I caramelized a diced onion and carrot and added garlic when they had gained a bit of colour. I steamed the cauliflower and added it to the frying pan before it was completely done. It finished cooking in the frying pan. 

Fern said this is the first time he's ever had cauliflower without cheese sauce and liked it. The vegetables were really good, made the whole plate.

Cajun Chicken on Caesar Salad

Just a chicken breast, salted, seasoned with Cajun rub, brushed with oil and BBQ'd for twenty five minutes over medium high heat.

The salad was made with lettuce from the garden which was heavier and denser than store bought romaine. Even though it was a small salad it was enough of a meal. Especially after that poutine burger for lunch.

Croutons were multigrain bread fried in olive oil. 

Caesar Salad Dressing

1 egg yolk
1/3-1/2 cup olive/canola oil
black pepper
Worcestershire Sauce
anchovy if you have it, I didn't
grated parmesan

Slowly whisk the oil into the egg yolk till it's all incorporated. If you did it slowly you'll have mayonnaise. If you added too much oil at once you'll have broken oily sauce. Add the dressing to the salad first and toss then add the croutons and parmesan and toss again.

I'd forgotten how good this salad really is.

Magpies Poutine Burger

I haven't had a heart attack yet so this burger sounded like a good idea. 

Magpies is our little breakfast and lunch diner in Cranberry. If you haven't been, you're missing a good breakfast. I wasn't sure if they were going to put fries and gravy on a burger and bun but that is what I got. Generally the food is quite good at Magpies so the meat, fries and bun were all very good. The gravy is acceptable but I think they could do better. The cheese curds don't squeak when you eat them like those fresh from Montreal but they aren't bad. If you really feel like fries and gravy, this will hit the spot.


Fresh snapper, pull the few big bones out, salt, pepper, dried thyme and basil and fry in hot oil. Boiled new potatoes finished with salt and butter. Caramelized onion with carrot, celery and sugar snap peas. The vegetables took the most time here but cooking down the onions to sweet deliciousness really brings out the flavour in the rest. Fresh lemon juice on the fish. Simple but really good.