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.