Don's Famous Recipes

Nov 17, 2017

 

Pea and Leek Soup

Yellow split pea soup made with a smoked hock or ham bone has been a favourite comfort food of mine for a long time. The last time I made a batch I had some leeks on hand, so they went into the pot as well. It turned out great; but unfortunately I did not measure my ingredients; I was just adlibbing it. This week I made it again and measured things for you.

If you are using bulk peas it would be about 5 cups Even with measured amounts there will be variances on how salty you like and how thick you like. Salt varies with the saltiness of the hock or ham and consistency depends on how dry the peas are.

When you are trimming the leeks leave quite a lot of the green part; it will cook down in the soup and add some extra flavour. The leaves you trim off could go into the stock.

If you are making extra, as I usually do, for freezing, you need to note that it thickens a lot in the freezer. So you can thin it out with a little chicken stock, ginger ale or water.

Pea and Leek Soup

Yield 18 Cups

Qty. Ingredients

For Stock

  • 1 Smoked hock or meaty ham bone.
  • 1 Med. onion quartered
  • 1 Carrot, cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 12 cups Water

For Soup

  • 12 cups Stock (from above)
  • 2 lbs Yellow split peas,
  • 2 Lg. Leeks, cleaned and diced use as much tender green as possible,
  • 2 cups Carrots diced 1/4”
  • 2 cups Reserved ham diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Stock

Simmer bone or hock with water, onion, carrot, bay leaves, and ginger ale for several hours until meat falls from bone. Strain stock, reduce or top up to 12 cups Set hock aside to cool., then remove meat and dice.

Soup

Put stock on to simmer with 2 lbs of peas. Sauté leeks and add to soup. Simmer for an hour, add carrots and reserved meat.. Simmer until peas are soft. Taste soup and adjust seasoning by adding salt, pepper, lemon juice and herbs de Provence as needed. P.S. celery salt is a nice spice to add as well.


Oct 14, 2017

 

Honeycrisp and Pecan Upside Down

I recently took a drive east on the old Hwy #2 towards Brighton; a road I call "produce alley". Naturally I stopped at my favourite apple guy, Deleeuw's Orchard and picked a half bushel of Honeycrisp apples; now I am in Honeycrisp heaven.

There are many many things you can do and cook with Honeycrisp apples. This week I am combining the flavour of honey crisps with pecans and a caramel topping in an upside down cake. By using a low oven temperature, it should prevent the cake from doming. It also helps to diminish doming if you use an aluminium pan as opposed to a darker coloured metal pan. The sides should be about 2”.

The next note is if an upside-down cake is turned out of the pan too quickly, the bottom (which is now the top!) of the cake steams and turns gummy; on the other hand, if the cake cools completely in the pan, the fruit will stick. Our approach is to line the pan with parchment paper, which ensures that the fruit releases cleanly; let the cake rest in the pan for just 15 minutes before turning it out onto a rack.

The ground pecan flour could make the cake heavy; but, the eggs and oil lighten it up.

Honeycrisp and Pecan Upside Down Cake

Yield

Ingredients

Topping

  • 4 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp Corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 lbs Honeycrisp apples

Cake Batter

  • 1 cup Pecans toasted
  • 1/2 cup A.P. flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking poweder
  • 3 lg. Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil

Method

Topping

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Pour melted butter over bottom of pan and swirl to evenly coat. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in small bowl and sprinkle evenly over melted butter.

2. Peel, halve, and slice apples into wedges. Arrange apples wedges in circular pattern around cake pan.

Cake Batter

3. Pulse pecans, flour, salt, baking powder, in food processor until pecans are finely ground, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer pecan mixture to bowl.

4. Process eggs and sugar in now-empty processor until very pale yellow, about 2 minutes. With processor running, add melted butter and oil in steady stream until incorporated. Add pecan mixture and pulse to combine, 4 to 5 pulses. Pour batter evenly over apples (some apple may show through; cake will bake up over fruit).

5. Bake until center of cake is set and bounces back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1-1/4 hours, rotating pan after 40 minutes.

6. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

7. Carefully run paring knife or offset spatula around sides of pan. Invert cake onto wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet; discard parchment. Let cake cool for about 2 hours. Transfer to serving platter, cut into wedges, and serve with whipped cream.


Oct 06, 2017

 

Cabbage Roll In A Bowl

This recipe is inspired by the availability of local fresh cabbage and my great fresh ground Black Angus beef.

If you were to double the recipe you could use 1 lb beef and 1 lb ground pork. Of course for the brave of heart or the recipe tamperors you can change the meat and the spices; but you have to have the cabbage!

[Note: Last week's recipe for mashed potato in the local paper had an error/omission for the second type of mashed-creamy. The complete recipe is in the following section below.]

Cabbage Roll In A Bowl

Yield 4

Ingredients
  • 1 lb Black Angus ground beef
  • 1 Clove Garlic, pressed or fine dice
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 Small Cabbage head chopped
  • 2-1/2 cups Chicken or beef stock.
  • 2/3 cup uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce.
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Dried basil (1 Tbs fresh).
  • 1 Can Crushed tomatoes (28 oz can)
  • 1-2 tbsp Tomato paste as needed

Method

In a non stick Dutch oven stir fry beef with pepper, salt and garlic until beef is no longer pink. Drain off any excess fat.

Add next 6 ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer covered until rice is tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and bring all back to a simmer. If the dish seems too watery add tomato paste to thicken.

Taste and adjust seasonings with lemon juice, more salt and celery seed or celery salt.

Serve in bowls with crusty bread.


Oct 03, 2017

 

Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Almost every menu for Thanksgiving seems to start with Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Now since you are not going to read this until a few days before Thanksgiving, I have to assume you know what you are doing with the turkey. Now, you would think anybody could make mashed potatoes and gravy. Right? Wrong. I have tasted some pretty awful mashed potatoes and gravy that tasted like dishwater. So, old hand or not, you might learn something here.

Mashed Potatoes

The first thing to know is that not all potatoes are equal. Russets are # 1 for a dry fluffy mashed. Kenebecs are a close second. Yukon Golds are not quite as dry but their yellow flesh and unique taste make them a good choice. The other thing to know is how much. Allow a ½ lb per person. If you want leftovers make more. I am going to add a little spice to the mashed; but if you are shy of the spice leave it out and simply follow the basic directions.

So I am going to use about 5 lbs of peeled Russets. Cut the potatoes into equal sized pieces about the size of an egg. Put the potatoes in a large pot of water and bring them to a boil. Add 3-4 sprigs of thyme or Tarragon to the pot at the beginning. Boil about 30 minutes and then check to see if they are cooked. They should be tender all the way through to a skewer.

Turn off the heat, remove the thyme and drain the potatoes. Now most people would be happy with that and start mashing; but the important thing to do is put the pot back on the burner on low heat, lid off or cocked and allow the potatoes to steam and dry out for about five minutes.

Next is two ways: for a dry mashed, just add about a half cup of butter and mash with an old fashion wire loop masher. Mash until they are no lumps. Don't over mash. They will hold in pot on the back of the stove.

The second method for a wetter creamier mashed. Add about ¾ cup of warm milk or 10% cream and the butter and mash to a creamy texture.

I like the first drier method as they tend to hold more gravy.

Gravy

Turkeys usually come with giblets -- neck, heart, gizzard and liver. To these add the wing tips and any extra skin you are trimming off. Season these with salt and pepper, break the neck into a couple of pieces. Brown the lot in a large skillet. When they are nicely browned remove them to a stock pot.

Cut a couple of onions in quarters and brown those in the same skillet; when browned add to stock pot. Deglaze the skillet with white wine, apple juice or water -- about a half cup.  Add all to stock pot. Add cold water to cover giblets by an inch or two and put it on to simmer. Keep an eye on it and add water as needed to keep it just covered.

After a couple of hours you will have sucked most of the flavour out. Strain and reserve the liquid. Set aside until turkey is cooked.

When the turkey is cooked remove it from the roaster and add the strained liquid to your gravy starter. Deglaze the roasting pan and add liquid to gravy pot. Now you have to taste it, season it, and thicken it. So warm it up and taste it. It will probably need a little salt and pepper. If it is quite bland add a little chicken soup base. Taste again; it may need a little lemon juice or butter. Spices can be added judiciously -- add a bit and taste. A little spice will make your gravy unique; but the spice should not overpower the gravy. It should be just a hint and keep your guests guessing what your secret is. If it has more than a skim of fat, remove fat by skimming or with an ice cube in cheesecloth.

Now, to thicken. My wife uses chicken Bisto to thicken and it does a good job -- just follow the package directions. I like to use a blonde roux. Roux is a combination of equal parts flour and butter by weight that has been combined and cooked in a small skillet until it is dry and cakey. Crumble small amounts and whisk into the hot gravy until you have the desired consistency. Don't get it too thick. Roux thickened sauces have a velvety feel on the tongue.

And that my friends, ends the lesson on Roast Turkey with Mashed Potato and Gravy.

May you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

don


Sep 25, 2017

 

Bacon and Pecan Stuffed Mushroom Caps

This is an easy to make recipe for an appetiser or an addition to a full entrée or a Brunch banquet table.

You could also use smaller Portabella mushrooms for this recipe; just remove some of the gills as well as the stem. If you are fortunate enough to find wild Morels they could be split and used. If you find too many wild Morels, I will barter with bacon.

I chose the Black pepper rind bacon for this recipe to give it a bit of a bite. You could use any of my fine bacons: maple smoked, double smoked, Montreal smoked, Apple cinnamon, peameal, turkey back bacon, or Canadian Bacon.

They could be prepped ahead and heated as needed at time of service.

Bacon and Pecan Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Yield

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp Butter, divided 2/2
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil
  • 12 Lg. White mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Finely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup Soft breadcrumbs
  • 6 Strips Black pepper rind bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Pecans
  • 2 tbsp Beef broth or Madeira
  • 2 tbsp Sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Freshly chopped chives

Method

In a large skillet, heat butter and oil to medium heat. Lightly salt mushroom caps and fry 2 minutes per side. Set aside on paper towels stem side down.

Add the remaining butter to the skillet and heat pan to med, high and stir fry onions until soft. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Pack mixture into mushroom caps. Place stuffed caps onto cookie sheet lined with silicon paper and broil about 6' from heat for 3-4 minutes and filling is browned on top.

Note: to make soft bread crumbs,pulse 2 slices fresh bread in a food processer and pulse until crumbs are formed.


Sep 09, 2017

 

Corn Fritters

Breakfast/brunch or Appetizers

Corn has been with us for a long time; the Natives roasted it and we boiled it. Yet, I don't why we call boiling corn a corn roast. The quality of sweet corn has improved dramatically in my life time. The new varieties especially the new all yellow are much sweeter and have a longer shelf life after picking. It should be noted that most sweet corn is non-GMO.

America's Test kitchen does an amazing amount of recipe testing and food science testing; they found that the best cooked temperature for corn on the cob is 170 F. They also found that the best way to reach that temperature precisely is to bring 4 litres of water to a boil; add 4 cobs of corn that fit the pot; put a lid on and turn off the burner. Set a timer for 10 minutes and you have perfectly cooked corn on the cob. You can adjust the amount of water for larger amounts; but the time remains the same.

This week's recipe is pretty simple if you want to try something different with some fresh corn. As noted the fritters make a nice base for last week's ""pork rillettes"" recipe.

Corn Fritters

Breakfast/brunch or Appetizers

Yield

Ingredients
  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Beer
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Ears Sweet corn, husked and kernels cut off (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup Canola oil

Method

Put the flour, half the beer, and the salt in a bowl and mix with a whisk until smooth. Add the rest of the beer and the corn kernels and mix well.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. When it is hot, use a 1/4-cup measuring cup to make 4 small or two medium fritters. Cook for about 4 minutes, then flip over with a spatula and cook for 4 minutes on the other side, or until cooked through. Transfer the fritters to a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining oil and fritter batter.

The medium sized fritters are great as a pancake with maple syrup. The smaller size can be crisped in the oven and used as crackers for hors d'oeuvres such as the pork rillettes from last week.


Sep 05, 2017

 

Pork and Cranberry Rillettes

And Red Onion Pickle

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought I would get ahead with a few recipes suitable for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This meat spread is great to have on hand for impromptu hors d'oeuvre. Both the meats and the spices can be changed to suit your tastes; but for best results it must be cooked in the 'Confit') method and don't be shy with the salt.

Rillettes is a French potted meat used mainly as a bread spread. The most common types of meat going into a rillettes are goose, duck, and pork. Back in the old days, before there was electricity or refrigeration, this was one of the best ways to preserve meat without altering its texture or adding a lot of preservatives. Some people call it the peasant's pâté or Country Pate.

It is still very popular in Quebec, New Brunswick and other Canadian areas with a degree of Francophone culture. Cooking the meat in fat is known as "confit" cooking. It requires long slow cooking and preserves the meat flavours better than broth cooking.

To make rillettes, raw meat is salted and simmered with some herbs at low temperatures in lard (from the same animal) for a long time. Some recipes call for braising in stock instead of lard, but those are not the real deal. As the meat falls apart, the bones are removed. When the cooking is done the meat is strained, raked with a fork to shred it, then allowed to cool.

After the strained liquid is cooled, any congealed gelatine is mixed back into the meat with some of the lard. Each jar is then topped off with a thin layer of lard to the brim and sealed by placing a piece of wax paper on the lard. The meat is ready for consumption after aging for a few days in the fridge.

The final product is a meat spread which contains very tender meat suspended in a matrix of lard and other natural juices. After you open a jar, you can keep it in the fridge for about a week before it goes off.

It is often served with a pickled topping. I chose pickled red onion.

Pork and Cranberry Rillettes and Red Onion Pickle

Yield 8 X 2 Cup Ctns.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt/sea salt
  • 3 lbs Trimmed pork butt, cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 tbsp Fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed or pressed
  • 1 litre Rendered pork fat, melted (natural lard, available @ Houston's)
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 Baguette Toasted and pickled red onions for serving

Method

Finely chop the cranberries, place in a small bowl and stir in Maple syrup. Set aside.

Put pork cubes in a large bowl and knead in spices, garlic, and cranberry mixture blend until coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the pork and spice mixture to room temperature.

Place in bowl of slow cooker; melt the pork fat over low heat and add 1 cup of melted fat to slow cooker with the pork and seasonings. Cover and cook over high heat until the meat is very tender, 4-5 hours. (If you want to use low setting on slow cooker allow 10 hours).

Let cool slightly, then, using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and garlic to a large bowl. Reserve fat and liquid in slow cooker. Mash the pork, discarding any gristle. You can also use the paddle attachment in a stand mixer to shred pork.

Return the reserved juices and fat from cooking vessel to the meat mixture a few tablespoons at a time until meat mixture is creamy. Season with additional salt and a little lemon juice to taste. Pack the meat into a ceramic bowl or individual crocks. (I use 2 cup ramekins) Reheat the fat to barely luke warm and ladle a ½ inch-thick layer on top of the pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Discard the remaining fat or save it for another use.

Note: The rillettes can be refrigerated for up to 1 month and it freezes well. Keep the meat covered with a layer of fat

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 large Red onion (3/4 pound)
  • 3 tbsp Vinegar (cider, red or white wine)
  • 1-2 tsp Light-coloured honey or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Method

Put on a kettle of water to boil. Cut the onion into very thin slices using a mandolin. Cut slices in 1/4's then place colander in the sink.

In a bowl large enough to comfortably fit all the onion, combine the vinegar, sweetener, and salt and whisk until blended. Pour the boiling water over the onion and shake to drain. (It's fine if a little water still clings). Add the onion to the vinegar solution and stir to coat. Let it sit for at least an hour or up to several days, covered and refrigerated, occasionally stirring and/or shaking to allow maximum exposure to the liquid. Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator.

Serve rilletes on crackers or toasted baguette slices topped with pickled red onion.


Aug 31, 2017

 

Tomato and Peach Salad

Well we are approaching the last long weekend of Summer 2017, and I expect there will be lots of BBQs and smokers cooking up some festive fare. In keeping with the local produce available and your busy schedules here is a simple salad that is sure to please.

My peaches are just finishing their season and tomatoes are in prime time. I have local wild flower honey and buckwheat honey. I much prefer buckwheat honey; but it is a bit of an acquired taste. If you were comparing honey to rum, then buckwheat would be the dark full bodied rum like Pussers.

A chiffonade is made by rolling the herb leaves like a cigar, them slicing it into thin slices so you end up with fine ribbons of your herbs.

Sometimes, no, quite often, simple recipes are the ones that make the big hit. This one should fit that truth. Have a great long weekend!

Tomato and Peach Salad

Yield

Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp Local unpasteurized honey (wild flowers)
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Lg. Ont. peaches, cut in cubes (3-4 small)
  • 4-5 Med. Heirloom tomatoes ( use at least 2 colours), cut in cubes
  • 2-3 . Basil leaves, cut to chiffonade
  • 2 oz feta cheese, broken up

Method

Whisk together the honey and balsamic to make the dressing.

Combine the peaches, tomatoes and basil in a large serving bowl. Drizzle the dressing over salad. Top with Feta cheese .


Aug 21, 2017

 

Meat Sauce for Pasta

The joy of writing recipes and cooking this time of year is the abundance of local produce available. This week's inspiration is the arrival of local tomatoes. Hence I have written a recipe for pasta sauce. It is basically a spin on traditional Bolognese meat sauce.

The classic recipe would call for a combination of ground beef, veal, and pork. Herbs will vary with the Chef, location and availability. Contrary to popular conception pasta sauces do not need to cook for many hours, nor should they be as thick as glue, particularly if you are going to finish cooking your pasta in the sauce.

Italian style plum tomatoes are fleshier and thicken quicker than beefsteak field tomatoes; but the beefsteaks (or any heritage variety you may have) all contribute their own distinct flavour.

Enjoy the season and start to squirrel things away for the winter ahead.

Meat Sauce for Pasta

Yield

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cups Diced onions, (1/2-inch)
  • 1 cup Diced carrots, (1/2-inch)
  • 1 cup Diced celery, strings removed,
  • 4 Tbls. Crushed garlic to taste
  • 1 lb Mild or Hot Italian sausage
  • 1 lb Black Angus ground beef
  • 2 1/2 cups Homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 lbs Fresh tomatoes
  • 10 oz Rosé or white wine
  • 4 Tbls. Tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp Tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp Salt

Method

Prepare the tomatoes: Place a large pot of water on stove to boil; add tomatoes in batches for about one minute; remove tomatoes to an ice water bath; repeat for rest of tomatoes. Remove core and peel from tomatoes; cut in half crossways and squeeze halves to expel seeds. Process tomatoes in a food processer until smooth or cut into 1/4"" dice. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the sausage and ground beef in a bowl, add 1-1/2 cups of the stock, and crush the meat with your hands to separate and smooth it.

Add the meat and stock mixture to the saucepan, along with the reserved tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, including the remaining stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook gently for 1-1/2 hours. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Sauce should not be pasty thick. If it thickens too much it can be thinned with some of the cooking water from the pasta.

Note 1. By putting the meat with the chicken stock and squeezing it until smooth, you eliminate lumps of meat.

Note: For the herbs, you can roll them into a short cigar shape and then slice thinly. (This is called a chiffonade.)


Aug 14, 2017

 

Peach Upside Down Cake

As I mentioned last week, I have lots of peaches on my two trees, so I am a little peach crazy right now. I will be selling peaches from my trees this week. All natural -- no sprays.

This recipe is quick and easy. If you are using a large peach, you may need to quarter them. Halves work well for early Niagara and Camborne peaches. I did not add any rum to the recipe; but you can, or serve with rum infused whipped cream.

I have provided a basic cake recipe but you can use a cake mix as well.

Peach Upside Down Cake

Yield 8 X 8 Pan

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 6 Peaches (depending on size) peeled, pitted and cut in half

Cake Batter

  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Fresh egg
  • 1-1/4 cup Flour A.P.
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Milk

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Melt 1/4 cup butter in an 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nutmeg. Arrange peach halves, cut side down, in pan.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

Spread batter over peaches.

Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned on top, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove cake from oven, and let stand in pan for 5 minutes; invert onto serving platter.


Aug 8, 2017

 

Peaches and Honey

This time of year is enough to drive a recipe writer crazy; there are so many fresh local items coming into season it is difficult to keep up writing recipes to embrace them all. To try to write a list would be pointless as there are just too many and I might miss your favourite.

The one fruit that is dominating my mind right now is the peach; I have two peach trees that are loaded with fruit -- not quite ripe yet, but soon. This is the first year in three that my trees have fruit. Cold winters and ice storms took their toll in the previous years. The only threats I have left are hail storms and racoons.

So, here is an easy recipe for a nice simple peach dessert. All recipes are made to be customized, so you could substitute Maple Syrup for the honey or brown sugar with a little lemon juice etc.

Now I like the rum infused whipped cream but sometimes I just pour a shot of straight rum over the ice cream and peaches. When it comes to rum, buy the best. Pusser's is a good choice and my wife buys me another that costs about $55.00 but is well worth the money. High quality rum is like a liqueur to me, easy sipping or great cooking.

Peaches and Honey

Yield

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Local unpasteurized wildflower honey
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 6 Ontario peaches, peeled, quartered, pits removed

Method

Cover the bottom of a 14-inch skillet with honey and butter. Warm the honey/butter over medium heat and add the peaches with one of the cut sides down.

Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the peaches for 5 to 7 minutes without turning them. The cooked side should be slightly browned when you turn them. Turn each slice onto the other cut side and continue cooking for about another 4 minutes.

Serve the warm peaches with cold ice cream or rum infused whipped cream.

If you want to flambé this dish add a 1/4 cup warm rum and ignite it. You can do this in the skillet or transfer warm peaches to an oven proof serving dish, add rum and ignite.


Aug 3, 2017b

 

Perch Beignets

With Beer Batter

I am writing this recipe with the expectation of having fresh Ontario yellow perch on hand by Friday (Aug 4/17). If I don't have them, then it is off to Rice Lake for you!

Note there is a big difference between yellow perch and white perch.

Many moons ago I had a cottage on Rice Lake adjacent to my father's. I have many fond memories of perch/panfish breakfasts from that time. My mother-in-law was an avid fisherwoman and she was an early riser spending her time on the dock fishing. My father was excellent at filleting and skinning fish and he was a master at pan frying perch filets. The filets were fried fresh in butter with pepper and salt -- hard to beat; but I have dressed up the perch filets with a beer batter and a fresh salsa.

Note: Brining the cucumber and onion in the salt for a half hour makes the cucumber crunchy like a pickle and it will hold the crunch for several days. It will also take a bit of the bite out of the onion. If you can't catch perch, then panfish, bass and pickerel will work.

Perch Beignets

With Beer Batter

Yield 4

Ingredients

Batter

  • 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 large Egg yolk
  • 1 cup Beer or soda water
  • 2 tbsp Minced fresh chives
  • 2/3 cup Canola oil
  • 1 lb Yellow Ontario Perch

Sauce

  • 1 Lg. English cucumber
  • 1 cup Diced mild onion (Vidalia)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Fine chopped Dill
  • 1/2 cup Salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
  • Tabasco to taste (a couple of drops)

Method

Batter

Put the flour, baking powder, egg yolk, and half the beer in a bowl and mix until smooth with a whisk. Add the rest of the beer and the chives and mix well. (The batter can be made up to a few hours ahead and refrigerated.)

Sauce

Peel the cucumber and cut it lengthwise in half. Using the tip of a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut the flesh into fine (1/8") dice. (You should have about 2-1/2 cups.)

Combine the cucumber and diced onion in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and mix well. Let cure for 30 minutes.

Rinse and drain the cucumber mixture in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. Combine with dill and Mayonaise. Set aside chilled until service.

Beignets

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Heat half the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, until hot. Dip 4 pieces of the fish into the batter until coated on all sides and place in the hot oil. Cook for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining fish, adding more oil to the skillet as needed. Serve with the sauce.


Jul 23, 2017

 

The Great Canadian Burger

Smokey, Salty and Sweet

Around July 1st, I read several articles about Canadian cuisine written by amateurs who were trying to isolate Canadian Cuisine and find some iconic dishes. They failed primarily because they did not recognize that Canada is huge geographically and very diverse in terms of settlement and culture. I could give you lists of food items that are uniquely Canadian, but they are also quite often very regional. The one item the writers did pick up on was Maple Syrup.

So, I decided to do a great Canadian Burger. Note that the salt, syrup honey glaze gives you a nice crusty burger that is moist inside.

Last week (see next recipe below) I gave you a recipe for buns, so, here we go.

For the beef I used Black Angus dry aged beef with a fat content of 30%; the added Bison leans it up but retains enough fat to keep it moist. The Bison also enhances the flavour.. Aberdeen Angus is the oldest beef registry in Canada; and Bison has been around as long as humans in Canada. The smoke in the meat mixture and the BBQ sauce compound butter gives you a campfire hint. The added Cheddar cheese is Canada's iconic cheese and peameal bacon is virtually unknown outside of Canada; combined with the Maple flavour makes this burger uniquely Canadian.

The Great Canadian Burger

Smokey, Salty and Sweet

Yield 8 X 6 Oz

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Ground Black Angus beef (70/30)
  • 1 lb Ground Bison
  • 2 Farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp Onion powder
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Celery salt
  • One drop Liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed chili peppers to taste
  • 1/2 tsp is medium heat.

Glaze/rub

  • 1/8 cup Sea salt
  • 1/8 cup Honey, local unpasteurized
  • 1/8 cup Maple syrup
  • Mix salt, maple syrup and honey together

Buns

  • 12 Buns to fit burgers ― see last weeks recipe
  • SMOKEY APPLE BUTTER BBQ SAUCE COMPOUND BUTTER (to spread on toasted buns)
  • Mix 4 oz soft butter with 2 oz Smokey Apple Butter BBQ sauce; then chill.

Condiments

  • 8 Cheddar cheese slices
  • Fresh sliced tomato,
  • Freshly cooked sliced peameal bacon (8 strips, about a lb.)
  • Thinly sliced red onion, Legendary Oktoberfest Mustard.
  • Dill pickle relish

Method

If you have time, mix the ingredients several hours ahead and let them fuse the flavours in a covered refrigerated bowl. Overnight is great as well. So mix the meats and all the other ingredients, then refrigerate.

Next cover a rimmed baking sheeet with silicone paper or foil. Spread the meat onto the bake sheet and pack it to 1/2” thick. You will need a cutter that will yield a six oz patty. Look at an empty 48 oz can; I used the can from a canned ham; it gives you a nice flattened pear shape. There are also oval cutters on the market. Ball up trimmings and repack to finish balance of ground meat. You should make the burgers ahead and hold them refrigerated. An hour before cooking spread a tsp of the honey salt Maple syrup mixture on each side of all the patties.

Cover on a tray with plastic wrap and rest for an hour. Just before cooking, spread another tsp of the honey glaze over patties. Grill the patties on a med. hot gas grill with lid down for about 5 minutes per side (internal temp. of 170F). During the last minute of cooking add a slice of cheddar cheese to each patty (cheese is optional). Keep patties warm while you set up your buns and condiments and fast fry the peameal slices.

Assembly

Toast the buns on the grill then butter with the compound butter. On bottom of bun place onion and tomato; add salt and pepper to tomato slices. Next add the sliced peameal, then the beef patty. Top dress the top of patty with mustard and dill pickle relish


Jul 17, 2017

 

Burger Buns

This bread recipe is actually a baguette dough recipe that I have modified for buns. This recipe is a prequel to next week's recipe which is the Great Canadian Burger; I wanted a good bun to go with the burger; so, here it is.

For my burger I am using a special cutter which is sort of pear shaped. I am using the container from a small canned ham. The trick with the buns and the burgers is to get the bun size to match the burger size. Bread dough will spread a bit and get bigger; burger patties will shrink a bit. By keeping the buns spaced fairly close it will stop the spread and send the bun up.

So, practice your bun making and watch for my great Canadian Burger recipe next week.

Burger Buns

Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 cups Bread flour, preferably unbleached, plus 2 1/2 tbsp for sprinkling
  • 1 envelope Active dry (instant) yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Cool water (70 degrees)
  • 2 tbsp Cornmeal

Method

Note: I am using the type of yeast that does not need proofing. If you have the older style yeast, proof it with some of the water and a little sugar.

Put the 4 1/2 cups flour, the yeast, salt, and water in a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until a smooth elastic dough forms. Alternatively, process the ingredients in a large food processor for 45 seconds.

Transfer the dough to a plastic bucket or a large deep ceramic or stainless steel bowl. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place (about 70 degrees F.) for at least 4 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Note: we are looking for a long ferment so a little cooler is better than too warm.

Break down the dough by bringing the outer edges into the center of the bowl and pressing down to release the air inside. Sprinkle the work surface with 2 tablespoons of the remaining flour; place the dough on top, and press down to form it into a rough rectangular shape about 1" thick. Cut out circles or ovals to approx the size of patty you plan to use.. Form the dough into a ball/boule tucking the edges under and stretching the dough to form tension on the top. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with silicone paper and sprinkling the cornmeal onto it. Place buns on sheet and hand press them back to about 1" thick; keep them two fingers apart. Let the buns rise, covered with an upside-down roasting pan or a foil tent, in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Sprinkle the tops of the risen buns with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon flour and place in the oven. Using a spray bottle filled with tap water, mist the inside of the oven to create steam, and immediately close the door. Bake the buns for 35 minutes, or until brown and crusty.

Cool the buns a rack for at least 45 minutes before use.


Jul 10, 2017

 

Legendary Octoberfest Mustard

The mustard recipe is real; the story surrounding it is a legend. Legends may be true; they may be false or they may be exaggerations of a event or story that has become modified over time by repeated telling in an oral tradition. To my knowledge this story has not been written down before.

I will point out that the trade name "Schneiders" comes up in this legend and I have no prejudice against the Scheider's trade name or products. So, the story unfolds without prejudice.

So, back in the day there was a lady named Norma Mc.; Norma lived on a main thoroughfare in Kitchener. The thoroughfare was always the route of the major civic parades in Kitchener, Santa Claus parade, Easter parade, July 1st parade and the Oktoberfest parade. On these festive occasions, Norma would invite her friends and family to her house to a potluck dinner to enable viewing the parade. Norma always made her famous hot mustard. On one such occasion Norma's nephew, who worked as a salesman for Schneiders, attended. He was very impressed with Norma's mustard and asked if he could have the recipe. Norma was always generous with her recipes and gladly obliged her nephew.

A few months passed and then some friends told Norma that Scheidners were bottling and selling Oktoberfest mustard the tasted just like hers. Norma asked her nephew if he had given the recipe to his employer and he said he had. Norma told her nephew she did not want any compensation for her recipe; but, she thought it would be nice if she was given some recognition, perhaps on the label. The nephew spoke to management but he and Norma were stonewalled. They said they had modified the recipe by adding a stabilizer and cooking the product, so, the recipe was n o longer the same. They also stated that to give Norma recognition would open them up to other requests and possible legal action.

Irish Revenge.

Norma realized there was no sense battling the "big boys" so, she told her story and gave everyone the recipe and she asked all her friends and all she met to tell the story and spread the recipe.

One of her friends was the mother of the gentleman (Al Miller) who told me the story and gave me the recipe. He say's he is not sure if the legend is true; but does know it is damn fine mustard!

Legendary Octoberfest Mustard

Ingredients
  • 2 Heaping tbsp Keene's hot dry mustard powder*
  • 4 Heaping tbsp Flour, all purpose
  • 2 Heaping tbsp White sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • Vinegar as needed

Method

Blend all dry ingredients in a small bowl, and then add vinegar slowly to the desired consistency. Some like it thin, some like it thick. Let it stand in the refrigerator for at least a day to blend. If it starts to separate just whisk it again.

*note: It Must Be Keene's Hot Dry Mustard Powder.


July 08, 2017

 

Lemon Chicken

Hard to believe, but not everyday is a sunny BBQ day; so, on those rainy days I have a recipe for lemon flavoured chicken that uses skillet browning and oven braising in the same skillet. You can use the tried and true cast iron skillet or one of the new non stick pans that is oven proof.

I used a combination of bone in skin on breasts and leg quarters; but three lbs of bone-in skin on thighs would work well here. You could also switch the recipe to lime, grapefruit or a citrus blend. I did not use any alcohol in the recipe but a shot of white wine would be good in the sauce.

With a little imagination you could convert this to the BBQ or to a slow cooker. Remember the cook is more important than the recipe and quality ingredients are most important. Cooking is like computer programming -- garbage in = garbage out.

Lemon Chicken

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Salt (not iodized)
  • 3 lbs Bone-in chicken
  • I used 2 bone-in breasts and 2 leg quarters;
  • I cut thigh and drum apart on quarters
  • 1 tsp Canola oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Lg. Shallot, minced (sub a small onion or leek)
  • 1 Clove Garlic minced or pressed.
  • 4 tsp Flour
  • 1 cup Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 4 tsp Lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp Fresh Oregano, chopped

Method

Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine and pat very dry with paper towels.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat the oil in oven safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Place all chicken skin side down in skillet and cook until skin is well browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer breasts to large plate. Flip thighs and legs and continue to cook until browned on second side, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer thighs and legs to plate with breasts. You may have to brown in batches

Pour off fat in skillet. Return skillet to medium heat; add butter, shallot, and garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Sprinkle flour evenly over shallot-garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in broth and lemon juice, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon zest and remove skillet from heat. Return chicken, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and any accumulated juices to skillet and transfer to oven. Cook, uncovered @ 375 F., until meat registers 175 degrees F. next t o bone, about 15-20 minutes.

While chicken cooks, chop parsley, oregano, and remaining 1 teaspoon zest together until finely minced and well combined. Remove skillet from oven and let chicken stand for 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to serving platter. Whisk sauce, incorporating any browned bits from sides of pan, until smooth and homogeneous, about 30 seconds. Whisk half of herb-zest mixture into sauce and sprinkle remaining half over chicken. Pour some sauce around chicken. Serve extra sauce separately.


Jun 26, 2017

 

Strawberry and Cheese Bread Pudding

I thought for a July 1st recipe I would do a dessert; I concluded that many would be BBQing and I don't need to tell you again how to grill a steak or flip a burger.

So, dessert it is.

Now, this time of year it would be almost unCanadian not to include strawberries. I remember going to Strawberry dinners in church basements; after the main meal, large bowls of luscious berries were set on the tables along with pitchers of cream and bowls of sugar. That was plain and simple and really good.

A few years ago I did a recipe for strawberry shortcake using a biscuit; another cook took it up and won a prize at a country fair. On father's day my wife surprised me with a strawberry cheesecake that was, well, damned good.

So, with all those ideas running through my head it was difficult to come up with a plan, but I wanted something that would be over the top tasty, yet simple and quick to make. (I know how busy you are) So, here it is -- Strawberry and cheese bread pudding, very Canadian and very much traditional comfort food.

As in all recipes you could change it a bit. You could use honey or maple syrup for the sweetener. I did not put any liquor/liqueur/wine in the recipe; but alcohol is a taste catalyst and could be used. I think a little white wine, some Madeira, a jigger of orange liqueur or shot of Baileys would perk up the flavour. Choose just one, not all of them.

Whatever you decide, have some great local strawberries and have a great Canada Day. Note: I have seen half of our 150 Canada days

Strawberry and Cheese Bread Pudding

Yield

Ingredients
  • 8 oz Cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 large Fresh eggs
  • 2 cups Whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Cream, 35%
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 10 cups White bread cubed about 1”
  • 2 cups Fresh strawberries, quartered

Garnish

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • Whipped cream

Method

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, mixing at medium speed until very smooth, then slowly blend in milk, cream and vanilla extract.

Dump all bread cubes and strawberries into the bowl and turn gently with a spatula to allow the bread to soak up the liquid. Pour into prepared pan and gently smooth into an even layer. If strawberries come out in a bunch, you can simply relocate them by pressing them into other areas of the pudding.

Bake for 35- 40 minutes, until pudding springs back slightly when you touch the top and the top begins to turn golden.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Garnish with sliced berries and whipped cream.

Note: You could also use individual 1 cup ramekins.


Jun 20, 2017

 

Pulled Beef On A Bun

Summertime is not only a time for the BBQ; but more importantly cooking in a manner to keep the heat out of the kitchen. So I have written this for a slow cooker. Slow cookers are a great boon for keeping the house cool and cooking hearty portions. It could be converted to a Dutch Oven or a tight lidded roasting pan in your stove or on a BBQ.

The meat needs to be braised until it is very tender and falling apart. As noted in the recipe, any type of pot roast will work; pot roasts are also known as braising cuts (use a pork butt roast for pulled pork). This group of roasts, while a little tougher than prime rib or sirloin, has greater depth of flavour and a smaller price tag = "great taste and great value."

Pulled Beef On A Bun

Yield 8

Qty. Ingredients
  • 3 lbs Blade roast, chuck, or inside rouund
  • 1 Bulb Garlic
  • Pepper, salt for rub
  • 1 Med. Onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Beer or ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup Packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbls. Spicy mustard or Dijon
  • 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Liquid smoke flavouring or more to taste

Method

Bring roast to room temperature. Peel and sliver garlic cloves. Cut slits into roast and insert garlic slivers into meat -- the more the merrier.

Cut the roast into 2 or 3 slices about 2” thick. The thickness of the slices determines how long the shreds will be in your sandwich. Obviously you don't want 6” shreds on a sandwich. You can cut it after you cook it but slicing first will speed up cooking time.

Rub the meat with salt and pepper; let it rest for 10 minutes. Then, brown meat in a hot skillet with a little oil.

Cover bottom of slow cooker with chopped onion; then place browned meat on top of onions. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over roast. Cover and slow cook on low or high depending on your time-line: at least 6 hours on high or 12 on low.

After cooking remove roast from cooker, Allow it to rest at least 15 minutes tented with foil on a plate. Skim fat from sauce while waiting; if sauce needs to be thickened keep crock pot on high; otherwise turn onto high and reduce liquid. Shred meat; then return meat to crock-pot and stir to coat.

Meat can be piled onto buns to serve now, or you can cool and reheat.

Assembly

Prepare 6 burger buns, pile meat on the bottom of bun using tongs. Add toppings or more sauce as desired then add top of bun and munch. These go well with hot German potato salad. Toppings could include bacon, caramelised onions, chopped tomato, salsa or chili sauce.


Jun 12, 2017

 

Warm Tomato and Potato Salad

A Nice Side for Father's Day BBQ

I might be pushing the season a little with this recipe; but quality local hydroponic tomatoes (Casteele's) are available and imported new yellow flesh potatoes are also available.

The potatoes do not need to be yellow flesh; I just like the colour contrast. The choice of greens is optional; if you do not have any in your garden you can purchase mixed Spring greens. Because of a rabbit problem, we planted several varieties of lettuce in a patio pot and that is working well for us. Some freshly fried and chopped pepper rind bacon would make a nice garnish for the salad.

The term "Tomatoes Concasse" is the French culinary term for blanching, peeling, de-seeding and chopping tomatoes.

I expect many Father's Day feasts will be roasts, steaks or beef patties on the BBQ this weekend and this salad will compliment them all.

The recipe is easily doubled or tripled for larger groups.

Warm Tomato and Potato Salad

Yield 4-6

Ingredients
  • 1 lb New Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 lbs Fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp Fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp Salt

Dressing

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Reserved tomato squeezings plus water if needed to make 2 tbsp of liquid
  • 4 Fresh green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Quality olive oil

Greens

  • 3 cups Fresh spring greens

Method

Scrub potatoes and put on stove in salted water; boil about 35 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse add oatmeal and chives and set aside to cool. While potatoes are cooking, prepare dressing and tomatoes.

Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 15-20 seconds so that skin peels off easily. Peel and core blanched tomatoes, cut them in half crossways and press out the seeds and juice over a sieve set on a bowl. Reserve liquid and discard seeds.

Dice tomato into 3/4” cubes and hold in a bowl.

Dressing: mix all dressing items together and whisk to combine.

If you wish, the potatoes can be peeled or left skin on if you prefer; cut them into 3/4" dice.

Assembly

Fold dressing into potatoes and then strain tomatoes discarding extra juice. Fold in tomatoes.

Prepare individual plates or bowls by placing 1/2 cup greens as a base and adding tomato/potato mixture on top. Chill the greens; but serve the potato/tomatoes at room temperature or warmer.


Jun 3, 2017

 

Quick and Easy Honey Glazed Chicken Wings

Quite often in our collective busy lives we need a recipe we can pull off in 30 minutes. You should be able to do that here.

There are options to add or delete. The hot sauce is always tricky -- for my wife, I would leave it out; for my son-in-law I would need half a bottle. He likes it so hot, smoke and fire are coming out his ears. If you are cooking for a crowd you don't know, keep it light and put a bottle of Tabasco on the table.

Honey isn't always honey; check the label and check the source. Our honey is from local Hamilton Twp. Farms. We have wildflower and buckwheat. Buckwheat is my preference; it is darker and more robust than wildflowers; but it is an acquired taste; you might want to try some on toast before jumping into the wings with both feet.

The traditional sides with wings are celery and carrot sticks; but you could have a salad, a cold potato salad, a hot German potato salad or French fries. A nice garnish for the plates is orange wedges; squeeze a little orange juice onto your wings -- over the top!

The important thing is to have fun cooking and enjoy your meal with friends and family; you should have time to snap a cap of beer while cooking or enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

Quick and Easy Honey Glazed Chicken Wings

Yield: Serves 6 (1/2 Lb Portion)

Ingredients
  • 3 lbs Chicken wings, tips removed and cut in two pieces or pre-cut wings.
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to season

Sauce

  • 1 cup BBQ sauce* for chicken
  • 1/2 cup Honey**
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil -- optional
  • 1Tsp. Hot sauce to taste

Garnish

  • 1/2 cup Sesame seeds, toasted

Method

Mix together the BBQ sauce, honey, oil and hot sauce in a small saucepan and heat and stir to combine; set aside and keep warm.

Season the chicken wings with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then grill them on medium heat until the skins are browned and they are almost cooked. (7-8 minutes per side depending on size of wings)

At that point, turn the heat down to about medium low and begin to brush on the honey barbeque glaze, continuously turning the wings and building layers of sticky sweet sauce. I usually coat them at least 3 times with the sauce while they are on the grill. Remove from heat to a baking sheet and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

*We have Smokey Apple Butter BBQ sauce and Stemmler's Smoking Good BBQ sauce.

**We have Emily Rose's local unpasteurized honey, wild flower and buckwheat.


May 30, 2017

 

Honey Rhubarb Crisp

As the song says ”Here are two of my favourite things”: rhubarb and honey. Rhubarb is in season now; the early rhubarb is more tender and succulent than the later pickings. So now is the best time for eating rhubarb!

Lately I have been crowing about my honey supply. Late last year I started selling honey from Emily Rose Apiaries and my repeat business and positive comments have gone exponential. She has hives on several Hamilton Townshp farms. So, now I am giving you a recipe combining honey and rhubarb.

Note: If you have some honey that has crystallized, this is a good place to use it up, especially in the topping.

It is Spock logic that you would serve this with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy

Honey Rhubarb Crisp

Yield 4-6

Ingredients
  • 5 cups Chopped local Rhubarb (1/2” pieces)
  • 1/2 cup Local Honey (Emily Rose Apiaries @ Houstons)
  • 1 tbsp Corn starch
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 tbsp Butter in small pieces

Topping:

  • 1-1/2 cups Rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Local Honey
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F

In medium mixing bowl, stir together rhubarb, honey, starch, cinnamon and ginger (if using) until well combined. (Add starch and cinnamon to rhubarb first and toss, then add honey.)

Spoon into greased 8-cup (2 L) baking dish. Sprinkle butter over rhubarb.

For The Topping

In same mixing bowl, stir together oats, sugar, honey, butter, and cinnamon.

Sprinkle evenly over rhubarb.

Bake in oven 40 to 45 minutes or until fruit is tender and topping is browned.


May 14, 2017

 

Rhubarb Ginger Muffins

It is nice to be able to start writing recipes using fresh local produce again! I am not sure if asparagus will be ready this week or not so I chose rhubarb. Rhubarb is actually a vegetable but we use it as a fruit. Although not indigenous to Canada, rhubarb thrives in our temperate climate.

There are more recipes for preparing rhubarb than hairs on my dogs' backs. I hope you like this one.

Enjoy the first fruits of Spring (and check the end for some extra zip)!

Rhubarb Ginger Muffins

Yield: Depends On Pan Size; 12 Small, 8 Large...

Ingredients
  • 3 cups A.P. flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Brown sugar divided 1-1/2c :1/2c
  • 1/2 A lemon
  • 1 cup Milk, whole
  • 1 Orange , zest only
  • 2 tbsp Fresh ginger , finely chopped divided 1:1
  • 1 large Fresh egg
  • 1/4 cup Butter , melted : reserve 1 Tbsp.
  • 12 oz Fresh Rhubarb, finely chopped

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line a muffin tray with muffin cases.

In a large mixing bowl place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1-1/2 cups of the brown sugar. Mix, then make a well in the centre.

Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the milk and set aside for a couple of minutes to sour. Place the orange zest, half the stem ginger, the egg, all but 1 tbsp of melted butter and the milk mixture into the bowl and beat thoroughly. Fold in the chopped rhubarb. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling each one to the top.

In a small bowl place the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar, the extra tablespoon of melted butter, a little orange zest and the rest of the fresh ginger. Mix until it looks like a crumble topping, then sprinkle over the muffins. Add a bit of flour as needed

Bake for 25 minutes so the sugar turns golden and crispy and the muffins are cooked through. (a steel pin should come out clean after being inserted into muffin)

Try this: if you want an extra little bit of zip, drizzle a teaspoon of Grand Marnier over the top of each muffin when they come out of he oven.


May 09, 2017

 

Country Fried Steak

With White Gravy

As I mentioned last week I had a vacation in the south; one menu item that seems popular or is at least on all the menus is "Country fried steak", sometimes called chicken fried steak. Basically it is a piece of delectated steak or a patty of ground beef floured and deep fried. It is usually served with white or milk gravy. I tried it and it is tasty although it does not have good eye appeal to me: white on light golden brown.

The recipe is basic so you can spice it up as you wish. One feature that makes it tasty is to make sausage gravy. Basically after you have fried the steak, remove the extra oil then stir fry about 1/4 lb of garlic sausage meat then proceed to thicken with roux and thin with milk.

I used ground brisket as it has more flavour than regular ground beef.

Until you try it you never know. Bacon gravy might be good as well.

Country Fried Steak

Yield 3 Steaks

Ingredients
  • 1 Large fresh egg
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 3/4 cup Flour, use leftover seasoned flour for the gravy
  • 1 tsp Seasoning salt (Montreal steak spice)
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1lb. Ground Brisket (subground beef)
  • Oil (for frying)

 

Gravy

  • 3 tbsp Seasoned flour from above
  • 3 tbsp Drippings from pan
  • 1 cup Milk

 

Method

In a shallow dish beat together egg and 1/2 cup milk, set aside.

In another shallow dish or on a plate mix together 3/4 cup of flour, seasoned salt, pepper,and garlic powder.

Shape ground brisket into three equal sized oval ""steaks"" and flatten into 1/4 inch thickness.

Add each "steak" one at a time to egg mixture, coating both sides well.

Then add each "steak" to seasoned flour,making sure to cover each side.

Heat oil over medium heat in skillet large enough to hold all the ""steaks"". Or cook in batches.

Add "steaks" to hot but not smoking oil, cook until both sides are golden brown.

Remove ""steaks"" and keep warm.

To make gravy, drain all but 3 Tablespoons oil, add flour and stir into oil until a paste-like texture is reached.

Cook this mixture (roux) for about 5 minutes on medium heat to eliminate the raw flour taste, then add milk to roux.

Stir in milk a little at a time until desired thickness is reached; if you want it a little thinner add a bit of water.

At this point, taste and add more seasoning if desired.

Pour gravy over ""steaks"" and mashed potatoes.


May 1, 2017

 

The Decadent Duo

Candied Bacon and Caramel, Pecan, Peach Pancakes

The last time I vacationed in the Carolinas I came back with a recipe for chocolate coated bacon that I named Carolina Crispies. I tried several bacon flavours but decided that the ""Black Pepper Rind"" best suited the chocolate.

This year on my southern sojourn I noted the popularity of candied bacon on restaurant menus and the many variations of double stack pancakes being offered as a breakfast appetizer. I had the peach, pecan caramel variation and think it would make a great dessert.

For the bacon I used Stemmler's double smoked and it worked well; but I prefer the chocolate coated bacon for my sweet toothache.

Now the panckes with peaches, pecans and caramel sauce works great. If you were going to serve this at a brunch starting after 12:00 noon I would suggest adding a dollup of dark rum to the sauce. The reason it must be past noon is because I never consume alcohol before noon unless I am alone or with somebody.

The Decadent Duo

Candied Bacon and Caramel, Pecan, Peach Pancakes

Candied Bacon

Yield 4 Servings

Ingredients
  • 1 lb Double smoked bacon (12 slices/lb)
  • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the brown sugar into a shallow long pan. Pour the maple sugar into another shallow long pan. Take each strip of bacon and dunk it into the maple syrup, then the brown sugar. Place each strip on the cookie sheets. Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. Check the bacon and if it's how you like it remove from the oven. If you like yours a bit crispier you can add 5 minutes or so. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Pull each piece off the parchment paper and place on a wire rack to cool.

Serve as hand food appetizers out of a mason jar: great on a buffet brunch.

Butter Milk Pancakes with Peaches, Pecans and Caramel Sauce.
  • 2 Large egg beaten
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 cups Buttermilk (or soured milk)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Butter melted (or oil)
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
Caramel Sauce
  • I cup Granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp Water
  • 3/4 cup Maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup 35% Cream
  • 1/4 cup Cold cubed butter
Toppings
  • 1/2 cup Toasted Pecan pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups Sliced peaches warmed in skillet (canned, frozen or fresh)

 

Method

Pancakes

Beat egg, blend in rest of ingredients. Thin batter will yield thin pancakes, the thicker the batter the thicker the pancake. If too stiff add more milk. Pour by ladle onto hot greased fry pan; when top is covered with bubbles, flip. Then brown bottom.

Sauce

Stir sugar with water in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Place over medium-high heat and let caramelize, without stirring, until sugar turns a deep golden brown, about 10 min. Gradually whisk in maple syrup and cream, being careful to avoid splatters. Boil, until mixture is smooth. Whisk in butter, and then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

Assembly

Prepare the sauce, and toppings; hold warm. Prepare pancakes in batches; allow two per person.

Place two pancakes approximately 6” in diameter on to suitable plate (8"). Add some butter to top, then a sprinkle of nuts allowing some to fall over edge of pancakes. Next add peach slices allowing some to fall onto plate. Finally ladle some warm caramel sauce over butter, pecans and peaches.

Decidedly decadent.


March 26, 2017

 

Maple Glazed Beef Short Ribs

Slow Cooker

Well, the Maple syrup season will soon be drawing to a close and I hope there was enough production to last all year as this recipe is good any time of year and can be adjusted to the BBQ.

With regard to sides, French fries and veggie sticks with dip rounds out the meal. I like mashed potatoes Irish style—a ring of potatoes around your plate and the meat and sauce piled in the middle and some braised leeks on the side.

Maple Glazed Beef Short Ribs

Slow Cooker

Yield

Ingredients
  • 3-4 lbs Black Angus short ribs
  • Pepper salt, garlic powder
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 Med Onions thick slice
  • 1 cup Wine, white or Rose
  • 3-4 cups Beef stock
  • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh thyme
  • 1/2 Lemon, sliced

 

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Ginger Ale
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice.

 

Method

Rinse and dry shortribs; dust with pepper, salt and garlic powder. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and brown the ribs in batches. Cover the bottom of the slow cooker with onions; then add the browned ribs.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine and add pan drippings to slow cooker. Pour in Maple syrup and enough stock to just cover meat. Add Worcestershire sauce thyme and lemons; spread rest of onions over meat.

Cook for 5-6 hours on high.

Glaze

Whisk all ingredients together and reduce by 25% over low heat; hold warm.

Remove ribs from slow cooker to a parchment paper lined baking sheet; brush ribs liberally on all sides with glazing sauce. Put under broiler for 7-8 minutes, turn ribs over and broil for about 5 minutes until sauce is starting to caramelise.

The cooking liquid can be strained and reduced for an au jus.

Serve with mashed or fries and veggies of choice.


Mar 21, 2017

 

Maple Caramel Cake

Although the weather has not been perfect for Maple Syrup production, the work of collecting the sap and evaporating it down to syrup is underway. There are several commercial operations in Northumberland and more smaller family type operations.

We were driving home from Brighton the other day and I noticed a smaller operation on the north side of the road. It was a postcard setting. There was a level plain from the road to the face of a steep hill; the hill was studded with mature maples stretching a half mile in breadth. Smack dab in the middle was a small weathered wooden shack with the smoke just rolling out of a chimney. It was a little too far off the road for a good visual; but it was a pleasant reminder of days gone by.

The recipe is straight forward; you could use a cake mix if you choose; but there is no substitute for Maple caramel and real whipped cream.

Maple Caramel Cake

Yield

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups sour cream
  • 2 apples, such as Honeycrisp, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

 

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup 35% cream
  • ¼ cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

 

Topping

  • ¾ cup 35% cream
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp sour cream

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Butter and flour a 9-inch square pan.

Whisk flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine butter with eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat mixture until smooth. Stir in half the flour mixture, then half the sour cream. Repeat additions. Stir until well mixed. Fold in apples, then scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth top.

Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 min. Remove from oven and let cool completely, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Caramel Sauce

Stir sugar with water in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Place over medium-high heat and let caramelize, without stirring, until sugar turns a deep golden brown, about 10 min. Gradually whisk in maple syrup and cream, being careful to avoid splatters. Boil, until mixture is smooth. Whisk in butter, and then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

Topping

Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream until firm peaks form, 2 to 3 min. Whisk in sour cream, then maple syrup.

Using the sanitized handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in cake, staggering each about 1/2-in apart. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of caramel over top of cake, smoothing with a spatula and filling the poked holes. Top with whip cream mixture, then drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel.


March 12, 2017

 

Irish Potato Crusted Cod

This is my recipe for St. Patrick's Day; it is a look into modern Irish cooking and since I am catering to the day-workers who have to come home after work and get a meal on the table, hence a recipe you could do quickly on a Friday after work. Both traditional Irish cooking and modern Irish cooking feature a lot of seafood as it is readily available fresh. Cod and Haddock are both caught off the coasts of Ireland (Eire)1

This recipe was inspired from watching a TV show featuring Chef Pepin. He is a great Chef and a great entertainer; but he goes too fast to capture the ingredient list and detailed method; so, I have worked through it and listed the ingredients and method to the best of my ability.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Irish Potato Crusted Cod

Yield 4

Ingredients

2 Fillets Fresh Cod or Haddock ― 1.5 -2 lbs.

Seasonings of choice for fish—see Method

1 Leek.

2 -3 Lg. Russet potatoes

Pepper and Salt

2 tbsp Butter divided 1:1

2 tbsp Olive oil divided 1:1

Garnish

2 tbsp Freshly chopped parsley.

Method

Because you will need to work quickly with the potato so that it does not turn brown, it is important to have all your utensils gathered and your prep done. You will need your Chef knife, a potato peeler, a box grater. a 10" non-stick skillet, and a cutting board, Have your salt, pepper, butter, olive oil and spices close at hand.

Prep

Chop your parsley and set aside. Prepare the leek by removing the outer green leaves; you only need the white and pale green potions. (the darker leaves can be saved for soups and stock) Clean the leek of sand and slice thinly in rings or shreds. Set aside.

Prepare the fish; trim off thin belly bits and an inch or two of tail. Cut rest into 4 equal portions. They should be about 4" x 4" (freeze and reserve the trim for soup or stock). Pat fillets dry with paper towel and season to taste. You can use a prepared rub or use your own mix from a long list of ingredients, some of them are: pepper, salt, paprika, cayenne, dill, lemon zest etc. Limit you selection to 2-3 plus salt and pepper. Set the fish aside loosely covered with plastic wrap.

Turn your skillet on low with 1/2 the olive oil. Now for the potato, wash and peel the potato then grate on the large holes in a box grater so you have long strips of potato. Next squeeze as much water out of the potato as you can; if you do not have a strong grip put handfuls of the potato in a linen teacloth and twist it tighter and tighter. Work potato in batches.

Add the leek to the potatoes with a little pepper and salt then make 8 equal portions of potato into a small mound. Now turn up heat on skillet to med-high; place 4 portions of potato in skillet evenly spaced; put a filet of fish on top of each potato pile and firmly press down to flatten potato. Take the other four portions of potato and press onto top of the fish. Add 1 tbsp butter to skillet, lower heat to medium and allow cook 7 minutes.

Check to see if potato is nicely browned; flip if browned. Add more butter and oil to pan if needed. Cook an additional 6 minutes and remove from pan to platter. Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and they are ready to serve.

Serving Suggestions:

The fillets can be served on toasted buns or as an entrée topped with a dollup of tarter sauce or remoulade sauce. To round out the meal you don't need potato so some veggies or a salad would make a meal.


March 5, 2017

 

Irish Pub Style Beef Stew

With Guinness

With St Patrick'€™s Day just down the road a bit, I thought a nice Irish stew might be a good menu choice. Traditional Irish stew was more often than not made from lamb; so you can substitute lamb for beef in this recipe. Modern Irish cooking and Pub Grub leans more to beef and Guinness for stew. If you don'€™t have Guinness, many other beers would do.

Once again I have catered this recipe to the busy working Mom or Dad who works all day and needs an easy meal to come home to. The whole thing could be done the evening before and held in the refrigerator over night or you could do it in the morning before work. In either case you would have a hot meal ready to go at suppertime.

Irish Pub Style Beef Stew (With Guinness)

Yield: 6 - 8 Servings

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Stewing beef
  • 1/2 cup A.P. flour plus salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil or butter for browning beef11
  • 3 - 4 oz Guinness to deglaze skillet
  • 2 Lg. Carrots, peeled and sliced into dollar size
  • 6 stalks Celery cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 Med. Onions cut into large dice
  • 8 oz Sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves Garlic pressed
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.

Herb Bouquet

  • 1 Bunch Rosemary
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bunch Fresh parsley
  • 8 cups Beef stock (enough to cover)
  • Rest of Guinness
  • 1/2 cup Steel-cut oats -- sub barley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Frozen peas
  • Roux to thicken

Garnish

  • Fresh Parsley

Method

I have geared this recipe to a slow cooker; it could be done in a Dutch oven or roasting pan in the oven by adjusting cooking time.

Dredge the beef in the flour/pepper and salt; add to preheated skillet with oil and brown in batches. Add each batch to slow cooker.

Deglaze the pan with some Guinness and add liquid and scrapings to slow cooker.

Add the carrots, celery, onions, Worcestershire sauce, steel cut oats and mushrooms to the slow cooker.

Bundle the herbs together and tie them with some butcher twine. Leave a long piece of twine on the end to make it easy to remove bundle. If you do not have fresh herbs, substitute dried about 1 tsp of each or 2 of Herbs de Provence. Nestle the herb bundle in the center bottom of the cooker.

Next add beef stock to cover all the ingredients.

Turn the cooker on low for 10-12 hours or on high for 5-6 hours. After the allotted time add frozen peas and cover for 10-15 minutes.

The oats should act as a thickener; however; if the stew needs to be thickened use some Beef Bisto or make a roux.

Check taste and adjust seasonings; remove herb bundle.

In this recipe I did not add potatoes; but you could if you wish. I prefer my potatoes mashed with butter in the Irish style. So for service put a couple of scoops of mashed on a plate then with the back of a spoon push the potatoes into a ring around the outer rim of the plate; next ladle the stew into the center of the plate. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and dig in.


February 26, 2017

 

Cajun Gater and Game Jambalya

Slow Cooker

Mardi Gras is about to begin in New Orleans, so I am prompted to give you a Louisiana recipe.

Louisiana is home to similar but distinct cuisines: Creole and Cajun. In simple terms Cajun is Country cooking and Creole is City cooking centred in New Orleans.

Traditional Cajun cooking does not use tomatoes but Creole does. Historically they both have roots in French cooking; Cajun cuisine evolved from the Acadians who were forcibly removed from Nova Scotia to Louisiana; Creole cooking evolved from French and Spanish second generation settlers and from African slaves and domestics. Creole is the word used to indicate French or Spanish blood but born in America. Many of the French and Spanish gentry kept African mistresses and their children blended into the Creole culture. Creole is generally a bit spicier than Cajun and neither need be heavily spiced with hot peppers.

I have taken the liberty of using game meats and wild rice in this recipe, no doubt the early Cajuns used a lot of game including Gater in their cooking. If you want to be more authentic, you can sub chicken for duck, shrimp for Gater, spicey sausage for Bison Smokies and brown rice for wild rice. If you throw in a can of tomatoes it would be Creole Jambalaya.

This might be a good meal choice for Pancake Tuesday (Feb 28th -- the day before Lent and Mardi Gras begins)

Cajun Gater and Game Jambalya, Slow Cooker

Yield: 8 - 10 Portions

Ingredients
  • 1 lb Smoked Bison sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 lb Alligator fillet
  • 1 10 oz Duck breast
  •   Cooking oil
  •   Wine or beer to deglaze skillet
  • 1 cup Diced celery
  • 1 cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Red or green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Clove Garlic, pressed
  • 1-2 tbsp Creole spice (see recipe at bottom or purchase)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp Fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh Oregano
  • 2 tsp Hot sauce (Tobasco or Texas Pete) to taste
  • Pinch Ground allspice optional
  • 1 cup Uncooked wild rice

Garnish

  • Sprigs fresh parsley or watercress

Cajun Spice

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper or fine ground black
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper if you want the heat

Method

Do all of your prep and set out spice portions etc.

Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat then add sausage, celery, onion, bell pepper, garlic and Cajun spice. Cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently. Transfer to slow cooker.

Cut duck breast into cubes and brown in skillet. Transfer to slow cooker.

Deglaze pan and add juices to slow cooker.

Cut alligator meat into 1" x 2" strips; cut each strip into 2 triangles; round off corners from wide end and trim to make a mini alligator shape. Add all including trim to slow cooker.

Stir in broth, hot sauce, oregano, thyme, allspice and wild rice.

Turn cooker to high and cook 5 hours or use low for 8-10 hours.

It can be thickened at end with roux or tomato paste if needed; thin with chicken stock.

Garnish each serving bowl with parsley or watercress.

Both parsley and watercress give off a delectable aroma when heated by the Jambalaya.

A salad and crusty bread makes this a wonderful meal.


February 18, 2017

 

Baked Apples In Lemon Sauce

(Honeycrisp Of Course)

After several rather long recipes I thought a simple quick dessert might be in order.

When it comes to apples my top choices are: Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Red Prince. We are very fortunate living in Northumberland, as there are three year round orchards close by. They have specialized storage that delivers a fresh picked freshness.

The recipe is simple, quick to prepare and lends itself to preparing ahead and reheating. It would certainly fall into the category of a Canadian recipe to celebrate our 150th Anniversary.

Bon appétit!

Baked Apples In Lemon Sauce (Honeycrisp Of Course)

Yield: 4

  • 2 Large Honeycrisp apples (sub firm apple of choice)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp Apricot preserves (sub other preserves available)
  • 2 Ounces White wine (sub Apple juice, water or ginger ale)
  • 2 tbsp Butter, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/4 cup Dried cranberries

Garnish

  • Whipped Cream or Ice Cream
  • Lemon zest

 

Method

Wash apples thoroughly; then split lengthways; partially peel apple leaving a band at the top and a bit on the bottom. Remove core and seeds.

Place apples in a buttered baking dish cut side up so they are tightly packed. Mix the lemon juice and wine and pour over apples. Put the butter cubes into the seed cavities of the apples. Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar then sprinkle over the butter. Sprinkle the cranberries over and around the apples.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 45-50 minutes. The apples should be tender and slightly browned.

Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. As an added touch you can add a little lemon zest on top.

These can also be baked in individual ramekins.


February 11, 2017

 

Bison and Bacon Cottage Pie

With Sweet Potato Top

Many of you would think of this as a Shepherd's Pie recipe; but in strict culinary terms a Shepherd's Pie was made from lamb. In Scotland (home of Shepherd's Pie) they use the term Cottage Pie for similar recipes using beef. My effort this week is to support the trend towards using more Game meat. Needless to say bacon makes everything better, so, Bison and Bacon will make a great recipe. The bacon also adds a little fat to the mix. Bison is inherently lean.

Normally a Shepherds or Cottage pie would have a mashed potato topping; I used sweet potatoes or yams which gives it a little different flavour and more colour. When it is garnished with the fresh parsley the green/orange effect has some eye appeal. In our area, yam and sweet potato is the same thing. Technically the yams we use are a variety of sweet potato. In Africa there is a large vegetable that is a yam. You are highly unlikely to encounter them in Canada.

This recipe converts well to ground beef.

Bison and Bacon Cottage Pie with Sweet Potato Top

Yield: 6 - 8 Portions

Ingredients
  • 1/4 lb Smoked pork jowl bacon or side bacon
  • 1 lb Ground bison
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Med. Onion, peeled and chopped 1/4" dice
  • 1 Stalk Celery, finely chopped (about 50g)
  • 1 Med. Carrot, peeled, and shredded
  • 8 oz Fresh mushroom finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 2 tbsp All purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Tomato puree
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 10 oz Hot beef stock
  • Salt to taste; depends on beef stock salt content
  • 1 tbsp Fresh thyme, finely chopped (or ½ tsp dried thyme)
  • 2 cups Frozen mixed vegatables

Topping

  • 4 Med-Lg. Yams (sweet potatoes), peeled and cubed (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 3 oz Sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Garnish

  • Freshly chopped parsley (dried will work)

Method

Dice bacon to ¼" dice; mix with Bison meat; add the oil to a frying pan on a medium heat and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the onion, celery, mushrooms and carrot. Fry for 5 minutes until meat is browned.

Stir in the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the meat, stir and fry for a minute before adding beef stock. Stir well; then add the thyme and salt to taste and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer to greased casserole dish approximately 13" x 9" x 2"

Blanch the frozen vegetables for 2 minutes, drain and spread over meat mixture.

TOPPING and ASSEMBLY

To make the topping, boil the sweet potatoes until tender then mash with the butter, milk and cheese until smooth.

Spoon the mashed yams over the top of the pie and bake in a preheated oven at 375 F. for 30-35 minutes. Allow to temper 15 minutes before service.

GARNISH

Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over casserole just before service.


February 7, 2017

 

Valentine Special

Each year I try to produce a Valentines recipe suitable for a romantic meal for two or a small party. This recipe does not fall into the genre of a quick dinner; although it is not difficult; nor does it have a lot of exotic items. I chose Sockeye salmon; but Atlantic salmon or Arctic Char would work just as well. Instead of split larger shrimp a couple of tablespoons of salad size shrimp per serving would also work. The diced sundried tomato is for colour and you could substitute pimento.The sides are of course also optional and you can choose your favourites.

The main thing is to enjoy your dinner and your sweethearts company.

Valentine Special

Wild Sockeye, Wild Shrimp, with Lemon Butter

Yield: 4

Ingredients

Lemon Butter Sauce:

  • 2 cups Quality chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Pressed sweet onion
  • 1 tsp Butter, room temp.
  • 1 tsp A.P. flour
  • Dash White pepper
  • Dash Sea salt
  • Juice from fresh lemon, to taste; start with 1/2 and add to taste
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream (35%)
  • 2 oz Cold butter
  • 2 tbsp Diced sundried tomato in oil.
  • 4 Raw wild shrimp 21-25 count. Tail off; split shrimp lengthways.

Salmon

  • 2 Tbs. Butter
  • 4 filets Sockeye salmon fillet skin off 5-6 oz each
  • 1 tsp Dry rub for fish '€“salt, pepper, garlic pwdr., and chopped dill
  • (or rub of choice)
  • 1/2 Lemon for squeezing

Garnish

  • Watercress and lemon wedges

Method

Lemon Butter Sauce

Combine chicken stock and pressed onion, bring to a boil on med. heat uncovered. (Pressed onion- place chopped onion in garlic press).

Meanwhile combine butter and flour and mix till it becomes a paste. Whisk butter/flour mixture into stock. Skim off the scum that forms on top. Reduce to a third. Remember, do all this uncovered. Stock should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add white pepper, salt, chopped sundried tomato, and lemon juice (Do not add too much of lemon juice all at once. Squeeze in 1/2 a teaspoon first and taste test.) What you are after is a subtle tartness.

Stir in heavy cream, then the thawed rinsed shrimp. Allow shrimp to heat through '€“2-3 minutes Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Keep warm and set aside.

To Cook Salmon

Heat up sauté pan to medium and melt butter.

Lightly season skinless side of fish with the rub/seasoning. Gently place fish in pan, seasoning side down. Cook till seasoning side is brown.(about 4 minutes)

Turn over and squeeze a little juice from a lemon over fish and cover pan. Steam for approximately 3 min. The steam will cook the fish.

Assembly

Place salmon on heated platter or individual plates. Remove shrimp from sauce and place two halves on top of salmon to form a heart shape. Spoon on some Lemon Butter Sauce mixture. Place watercress and lemon wedges around fillet.

Serve with seasoned rice pilaf and green beans or asparagus.


January 7, 2017

 

Slow Cooker Chili

When the weather turns cold my mind wanders to hot '€œComfort Food'€. This week I craved a steaming bowl of hot chili. (This is my wife'€™s recipe and she is cooking it as I write)

At the end of 2016 I was writing recipes that might help the harried cook get meals on the table a little quicker. Although this is a long slow cook recipe, the slow cooker makes it work. You can do all your prep the evening before, refrigerate the whole lot then turn the cooker on in the morning and away you go. Large batches also leave leftovers for another meal.

The origin of Chili goes back to the Aztecs; it gained further popularity on the cattle drives of the American West. Today there are many many recipes and numerous Chili cook off contests. Winter is the time to hone your skills to win the Main street cook off next summer. This recipe is a basic starting point for your Chili Challenge.

Slow Cooker Chili

Yield

Ingredients
  • 1 lb gr sausage -- hot Italian or garlic dinner
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 med onion
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 cup beef stock as needed
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 3 tbsp Chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1-2 tbsp crushed Chili peppers

 

Method

Fry meat and onion then pour into slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients'€”cook 5 hours on high or 10-12 hours on low..

Serve with Cornbread or Garlic bread.


Jan 2, 2017

 

Leftovers and Cream

This is my first recipe of 2017 and it serves to get several things out of my head and into print. About 8-10 years ago I had a customer tell me that his family had a tradition of baking mashed turnip with cream. That was all the detail I had; but I always wanted to try it; so this year with some turnip left over I made the dish and it was very good.

The next item rolling around upstairs was a telephone call I received just before Christmas. A customer was having trouble with a recipe and wanted a substitute for heavy cream. After talking for a few minutes I realized they did not know that heavy cream and whipping cream are the same thing'€”problem solved; but I know cream terminology can be confusing so I have set out a list of creams and nomenclature.

Cream is of course separated from whole milk. It is regulated by defining the amount of butter fat in the product by per cent.

Half and Half

The lightest cream has 10% butter fat (B.F.); this is often labelled as Half and Half and commonly used as coffee cream.

Table Cream

Next is 18% cream, called table cream or single cream in the U.K. Tim Hortons use 18% cream in their coffee adding to the richness in flavour.

Whipping Cream

Next is 35% cream commonly called whipping cream or heavy cream It is called double cream in the U.K. This cream will not separate or curdle when used in cooking; it is best for cream soups and cream sauces and of course whipping.

Sour Cream

Sour cream is a dairy product obtained by fermenting regular cream with certain kinds of lactic acid bacteria. The bacterial culture, which is introduced either deliberately or naturally, sours and thickens the cream. The fat content will vary based on the fat content of the original cream. It has many cooking uses including cheesecake, soups, salad dressings etc.

Crème fraîche

Crème fraîche is a soured cream containing 10-45% butter fat and having a pH of around 4.5. It is soured with bacterial culture, but is less sour than U.S.-style sour cream, and has a lower viscosity and a higher fat content. European labelling regulation disallows any ingredients other than cream and bacterial culture. It is used as a substitute for whipped cream and a less sour '€œsour cream'€. It is not produced in great quantities in North America.

DIY Crème fraîche

You can make Crème fraîche at home with heavy cream and cultured buttermilk: mix 2 cups of heavy cream with 2 Tablespoons of cultured buttermilk. Let them stand at room temperature in a glass jar with a double cheesecloth lid for 12-24 hours. The longer it stands the thicker it gets. Refrigeration stops the bacterial action. So refrigerate at the desired thickness.

 

Leftovers and Cream

Yield 8

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 4 cups Cooked mashed turnip
  • 1 cup Heavy cream (35% B.F.) divided 6 oz: 2 oz.
  • 1/4 cup Cranberry sauce ( jelly)
  • 2-3 tbsps. Bread crumbs

 

Method

Grease a 6 qt. casserole dish with butter. Mix the mashed turnip with 6 oz. of the heavy cream and spoon into the casserole smoothing the top.

Next spread the cranberry sauce over the turnip; then spread the last 2 oz. of cream over the cranberries and finally dust the top with bread crumbs.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until heated through and crumb top is golden.


December 21, 2016

 

Pusser's Painkiller Reg'd

Yield 1 Tot

  • 6 Ice cubes
  • 1 oz Coconut cream (Canned coconut milk)
  • 1 oz Orange juice
  • 4 oz Pineapple juice
  • 2-4 oz Pusser'€™s Rum (# of ounces depends on severity of pain)
  • Pinch Freshly ground Nutmeg

Method

Place ice in tall glass, add coc0nut milk, then orange juice, pineapple juice and the chosen amount of rum. Empty contents into a cocktail shaker and shake to the rhythm of a Caribbean beat. Return contents to glass and garnish with freshly ground Nutmeg.

Relax and enjoy.

Note Pussers Painkiller Is A Reg'd Trademark Of Pussers.

December 12, 2016

 

Wild Rice and Bacon Appetizer

It is party time and that calls for appetisers or cocktail treats. Nothing beats bacon these days, and wild rice will provide a little different venue. The recipe is easy; so, the only tip I can provide is to make sure the rice is well cooked. The grains of rice should split open and be tender to chew.

There are a couple of variations; instead of the onion and parsley substitute chopped dried cranberry and chopped chives or green onion. Another choice would be blue cheese and sautéed mushrooms diced. The list could be endless, so, design your own.

Cheers

Wild Rice and Bacon Appetiser

Yield 16

Ingredients
  • 1 cup Cooked wild rice (1/3 cup uncooked)
  • 2 strips Smoked pepper rind bacon ( cooked and crumbled)
  • 4 oz Herbed cream cheese (or plain with a tsp of Italian spice mix)
  • 2 tbsp Fine diced sweet red onion
  • 2 tbsp Chopped parsley
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce

 

Garnish

  • Chopped pecans, peanuts, walnuts, toasted sesame seeds or a blend of all.

 

Method

Blend cooked wild rice into the cream cheese along with the onion, parsley, bacon, and Worcestershire sauce.

Shape into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in chopped nuts, or sesame seeds, or use some of each.

Chill until firm.

Cover with plastic wrap to hold.


Dec 05, 2016

 

Parisian Potage

(Potato and Leek Soup)

So, last week I gave you '€œthe'€ recipe for chicken stock, so it follows that this week should be a chicken soup, right? Chicken noodle soup is often referred to as Jewish penicillin; so it follows that this soup could be French penicillin. It is a French staple served in Parisian cafes and bistros, humble homes, country restaurants and high end housing. Obviously with that many French cooks there will be many variations; but they all stay true to the golden triumvirate, leek, potato and chicken stock. Leeks have a delicate flavour that can be overpowered by excessive spicing.

The soup is very enjoyable without a garnish; but a little grated Gruyere or a dollop of herbed butter or clotted cream rounds it out. A couple of tbsp per bowl of heavy cream converts it to a creamy version. Of course you need a crusty baguette to compliment your lunch.

I Canadianised the recipe a little bit by using Yukon Gold potatoes, which are relatively new on the culinary scene compared to Classic Parisian Potage. Voila another '€œQuick Meals Don'€™s way'€

Parisian Potage

(Potato and Leek Soup)

Yield 6 Cups

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3 cups Fresh leeks, white and green
  • 1 tbsp Freshly chopped Thyme leaves
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup White wine
  • 1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, small dice or slivers
  • 4 1/2 cups Home-made chicken stock or low sodium stock

 

Garnish

  • Garnishes are optional, anything goes. Popular garnishes are shredded Gruyere cheese, dollop of sour cream or Crème Fraiche, or clotted cream, herb butters, etc.

 

Method

First you need to prepare the leeks; cut off the outer two coarse leaves and trim the rest of the greens back by about 1/3. Next hold the leek by the white part with the leaves pointing down. Insert a paring knife through the mid point of the white part with the blade facing down. Slice through the white and greens, Turn the leek 90 degrees and slice again. Now take leek to sink and rinse thoroughly to remove any sand. Return leek to cutting board and chop into 1/2'€ bits. Measure three cups and set aside. Next peel the potatoes and hold in cold water. After the potatoes have been cut do not put in water; if you do you will lose some of the starch which is what gives the soup the smoothness.

OK, heat up your heavy bottomed soup pot and add the butter and oil. Add the leeks, thyme, pepper and salt. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the leeks are starting to wilt, then add the potatoes, stir fry the potatoes 2-3 minutes, then add the wine. Finally add the chicken stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Ladle into warm bowls and add garnish of choice.


Nov 21, 2016

 

Meat Sauce For Pasta

Voila, Another '€œquick Meal The Houston Way'€

Spaghetti A La Bolognese

This recipe is a variation of the classic French Bolognese sauce; the classic recipe would have used all ground beef and added a hot pepper. By using the hot Italian sausage I added the heat and a balance of spices. I used the slow cooker method to help those very busy cooks who have to come home from work and get a home-made nutritious meal on the table pronto. The recipe also fits into the category of having some basics on hand like the beef stock, caramelized onions and brown butter I did a few weeks ago. The extra stock can be frozen for later use; or make a double batch and have a good universal meat sauce on hand.

One foodie trick in this recipe is crushing the meat in the stock; if you don'€™t do it the meat will ball up which gives you a lumpier sauce'€”if you like lumpy just stir it in. If you want a smoother sauce you can use an immersion blender to puree the sauce when it is cooked.. As always you can vary the recipe to your own taste.

The meal plan here is to prep your sauce the night before and store in the fridge over night in the slow cooker insert. In the morning put the insert back into the slow cooker and turn it on low, when you get home you have hot sauce ready; all you need to do is boil the pasta and prep a salad. Serve with crusty bread or garlic toast.

Voila another '€œQuick meal the Houston way'€

Meat Sauce For Pasta

Spaghetti A La Bolognese

Yield 9 cups Sauce

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 cups Diced onions
  • 1 cup Grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup Fine diced celery
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, pressed or fine dice
  • 12 oz Hot Italian sausage meat'€”sub mild Italian saus. to taste
  • 12 oz Lean Black Angus ground beef (single source)
  • 2 cups Beef stock home-made or low sodium
  • 1 Can Italian plum tomatoes (28 oz. can) crush by hand
  • 1 cup White wine
  • 1/4 cup Tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence '€“sub fresh herb bouquet in season

 

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the sausage and ground beef in a bowl, add 1 cup of the stock, and crush the meat with your hands to separate it. Put the tomatoes in another bowl and crush them with your hands.

Add the meat and stock mixture to the slow cooker, along with the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, including the remaining cup of stock. Depending on your schedule you can cook in the slow cooker 4 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. Ensure temperature has reached 180 F


November 28, 2016

 

Grey cup Food

Each year I try to write a recipe for Grey cup party food; sometimes I forget and sometimes it is a little late. Let'€™s hope this year I am timely.

When pondering what recipe idea I should present I came up with too many options; so, I thought the best solution is to ask you to plan ahead keeping in mind that the cook should be able to watch the game and enjoy the party without being enslaved to the kitchen.

So my solution is a small rotating buffet with items that you have prepped/made ahead.

For the first half, the buffet would have light appetisers -- veggies and dip, shrimp ring, devilled eggs, salsa and chips etc.

For the half-time break you could bring out some heavier items like chilli and corn bread, shaved beef on a bun, pulled pork, sausage or meatballs in a wrap etc.

For the game end, set out a dessert selection: fruit bowl and cookies, apple crisp and ice cream, butter tarts etc.

Keep each set simple with about three items per set.

I am providing one recipe. If you check out the latest GO magazine there are some viable recipes in it. Copies are available around town and at my store. In addition to these recipes on this website, if you have an idea and need a recipe I have about 500 on my computer -- ask and I will look.

Grey cup Shaved Beef On A Bun

This recipe is for the boys since they may have a little trouble with timing. I have made it easy.

It also promotes some of the less expensive roasts which are considered tougher but more flavourful. This cooking method will give you melt-in-your-mouth beef with a full flavour punch to the taste buds.

One note of caution, I used dry aged beef; if you don't have a local meat shop selling dry aged beef, leave your supermarket roast uncovered in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. This will help to age it but dry aged is the best.

The choice of bread has options; if you don't like the ""chew"" of Ciabatta you can use softer buns and grill them in garlic butter or choose a bread to make sliders.

Yet another aspect of this style of cooking is energy savings. Cooked traditionally this roast would cook @300F. for 2.5 to 3 hours. I will let the rocket scientists do the calculations; but my guess is a 60% savings in energy use.

Shaved Beef On A Bun

Yield 6-8

Qty. Ingredients
  • 3 lb. Eye of Round roast [sub Inside round, rump, or sirloin tip]
  • Sea salt, pepper garlic powder
  • Bread
  • Sandwich Fixings
  • Spring greens, shaved red onion, blue cheese dressings
  • Horseradish, ground pepper and sea salt.

Method

Determine serving time and go back 3 hours and 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Roast should be at room temperature. Rub roast with salt, pepper and garlic. Let it rest 10 minutes so the salt can do its thing.

Put on a rack over small roasting pan. Place in oven; turn heat down to 450 F. Cook at high heat seven minutes per lb. (aprox. 21 miuntes). When 20+ minutes has passed, turn oven off and leave roast in oven for 2-1/2 hours.

Roast will be uniformly pink. Let it rest about 10 minutes then shave with very sharp knife or electric meat slicer. Note if roast is too rare, reheat 10-15 minutes @350.F.

Assembly

Toss greens and onion in small amount of blue cheese dressing -- just needs a hint of the dressing.

Slice bread lengthways, butter both sides. Spread a layer of tossed greens on bottom half of loaf; top with shaved beef; add pepper, salt and a bit of horseradish. Put top of loaf over meat; then slice on a diagonal into 2" slices.

Serve on a platter with mixed pickles, dill pickle and olives.

Since this is a Grey cup recipe a little beer would be good about now.


Nov 16, 2016

 

Grandma'€™s Satin Smooth Chicken Stock

(for Soup)

Making stock for soup and making bone broth are both in vogue. The difference is in how long the broth is simmered. Bone broth is usually made from beef bones and they are simmered 36 hours or more until the bones are soft. The idea is to dissolve all the nutrients from the bones including calcium and use it as medicinal beverage. Soup stock is made for flavour in soups and stews and only simmers 6-8 hours. It is also a very enjoyable beverage on a cold day. It seems to warm you to the core better than tea or coffee.

There are many recipes for stock using chicken feet alone and there are recipes for making chicken stock from the carcass with vegetables. I have combined the recipes into one. The chicken feet are very gelatinous and add the satin smoothness to the stock. We can hark back to the day when Grandma had a large stock pot sitting on the back corner of the woodstove simmering away all day. Now we have a couple of appliances that Grandma did not have that allows us to do almost the same thing. First is the slow cooker; you can turn it on and forget it or put a timed shut off on it. Next is a freezer; so when you have trimmings that Grandma would have added to the stock you simply put them in a suitable container in the freezer'€”large zip lock bag?. So, you just keep adding to the bag until stock day and you empty it in the slow cooker or stock pot with your bones etc. Voila, Grandma'€™s chicken stock feet and all!

Grandma'€™s Satin Smooth Chicken Stock (for Soup)

Yield

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Chicken feet
  • 1 Uncooked chicken carcass (with neck)
  • 2 Med. Cooking onions, quartered
  • 2 Celery stalks, cut into 2'€ pieces
  • 2 Carrots cut into 2'€ pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Trimmings as available
  • Salt and pepper, herbs and spices to taste.
  • White wine to deglaze pan

 

Method

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil; blanch the chicken feet 3-4 minutes; then cool. Some say to remove the claw as it allows more of the gelatinous liquid out. The alternate technique is to make some small slits through the skin. Set the feet aside while you prepare the carcass.

Break the carcass into pieces and place the pieces and the vegetables into a shallow roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper and add spices and herbs of your choice. Keep in mind this is a basic stock so you don'€™t need to go overboard with spices.

Roast bones for 35 to 40 minutes in a preheated 375 F oven util the vegetables show a little char and the meat on the bones is browned.

Deglaze the pan with a cup of wine; then add wine, bones, vegetables and chicken feet to slow cooker, stockpot or roasting pan depending on how you plan to simmer the stock. Cover bones etc. with spring water -- approx. 4 litres.

Simmer stock 5-6 hours skimming any froth that comes to the top.

Next remove from heat and lift out large pieces of bone, feet and vegetables with a slotted spoon; then strain stock through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

Finally return stock to a stove top pot and taste for strength and seasonings. If stock is weak in flavour, reduce until you have the desired taste you want.

The stock will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days or you can freeze it for later use.


October 14, 2016

 

Velvety Beef Stock

(part 1 Of 3 Parts)

It may not seem like Fall now, but it is just around the next corner. So it is time to do some Fall type recipes. To start I am going to do a series of basics you should have on hand as winter approaches. These recipe items can be canned or frozen. The recipe for basic beef stock is almost the same as this only you use 4-5 lbs of marrow bones. Beef Bone broth is different; for bone broth you cook the recipe as below with a little vinegar for about 36 hours to leach out nutrients from the bones.

This velvety recipe is the top drawer stuff for Onion Soup and other beef soups, stews or pot roasts. The extra glycerine in the ox-tail is the key ingredient. The feel in your mouth is much smoother and softer -- Mmm so good.

Velvety Beef Stock for Onion Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Oxtail, cut in sections
  • 2 lbs. Beef shank slices, lean is good.
  • Pepper, salt and garlic powder
  • 1 Large Carrot cut in chunks
  • 2 Stalks Celery incl. leaves
  • 1 Large Onion, quartered
  • 1 Small Parsnip, cut in chunks
  • Wine as desired
  • 6 litres Fresh water

Method

Dust the shanks and ox tail with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Arrange the bones/meat and the chopped vegetables on a baking sheet or shallow roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 375 f oven for approx. 20 minutes; turn them over and cook for another 10-15 minutes. The meat on the bones should be browned and the vegetables should have a little char.

You can use a stock pot on the stove, a large roasting pan or a slow cooker. Place bones and vegetables in selected cooking pot; add water to cover and bring to a simmer. Skim froth from top of pot several times as needed. Add a cup of wine and simmer for 4-6 hours on stove top or oven; allow 6-8 hours in slow cooker. The meat on the oxtails should be falling off the bones.

Remove from heat and remove vegetables and bones with a slotted spoon. Strain stock with a fine sieve and return to heat. Simmer uncovered to reduce by about 1/3. Taste the stock and adjust the seasonings. If you want a stronger broth continue to reduce it.


October 15, 2016

 

Carmalized Onions and Brown Butter

(part 2 Of 3 Parts)

Last week I gave you a recipe for superior beef stock for soup. An item you make in larger quantities and store canned or frozen to use as you need it. This week follows the same pattern with two items to make and store. Eventually this will end in a recipe for French onion soup.

Previously I had made caramelized onions in a skillet. It takes about 30 minutes; but you need to be constantly stirring and being careful not to burn. I was talking to a customer about a great bowl of onion soup I had on vacation and divulged my plan to make some. She told me about making caramelized onions in a slow cooker. The results are amazing. No stirring, no danger of burning. I am going to try to make some brown butter in a slow cooker but I have not got there yet. For the caramelized onions you can use Vidalia or sweet Spanish but regular cooking onions are fine. For larger onions I cut the slices in half moons about 1/4'€ thick. Smaller ones can be full slice. The onions reduce by a factor of 4:1 Using the brown butter will give you a little more colour and flavour. The French call brown butter '€œBuerre Noisette'€ Literally '€œHazelnut butter.'€

Once you start to use brown butter you will get hooked; so beware!

Carmalized Onions

Ingredients
  • 16 cups Sliced onions
  • 1/4 cup Brown Butter
  • 1 tsp Sea salt

Method

Place onions in slow cooker '€“it will need to be 2/3 full; pour melted butter and salt over onions, then toss. Cook for approx 8-10 hours on low. You should have approx 4 cups of caramelized onions and some liquid. Save the liquid for adding to stocks etc. The onions can be held in a refrigerator for several days or you can divide them into useable portions and freeze in airtight bags for soups, stews etc.

Brown Butter

Ingredients
  • 1-2 lbs. Unsalted butter

Method

Use a heavy bottom pot that is shiny or has white enamel interior; you need to be able to see the butter turning colour. Cut butter into 1 '€œ chunks and heat on Med-low for about 5 minutes. The butter should start to foam. From this point on you need to be constantly stirring, watching the colour change and noting the aroma. When the colour is golden brown and has the aroma of hazelnuts, decant it into a heat proof bowl leaving the browned bits in the pot. After it has cooled a bit you can strain it into moulds or storage containers. It will set like uncooked butter.

As you improve your cooking techniques you can try for darker brown butter; but beware the difference between brown and burnt is a few seconds.

Brown butter adds extra flavour to sauces and baking.


October 19, 2016

 

French Onion Soup

(part 3 Of 3 Parts)

This recipe could be used as a freestanding recipe; but I wrote it as Part 3 of a three part recipe. The first part was French Soup Stock, followed by Caramelised Onions and this offering.

Quality beef stock and caramelised onions are pretty much the same for most French Onion Soup recipes, the difference shows up in how you apply the bread and cheese. The common restaurant variation is to use a smaller straight sided soup bowl and cut the bread to fit the top. This recipe would work that way, it is just a matter of using a larger slice of toast and fitting it to seal the top. Another variation is to use cheese covered croutons.

One of the cardinal rules of cooking is to taste as you go; so even if you are using your own soup broth it is still important to taste it and customize it for each recipe. In this case you might want a little Sherry, a little tobasco, lemon juice etc. A word of caution would be not to over spice; you want to emphasize the beef and onion flavours. Salt, alcohol and lemon juice are items that act as a catalyst to enhance flavours.

I discovered years ago while making a Croque Monsieur that Swiss Cheese and heavy cream have a magic infinity under the broiler. I don'€™t know the food science, but the result is outstanding. Don'€™t ignore that step.

French Onion Soup

Yield: 4 X 12oz.

Ingredients
  • 6 cups Best velvety beef stock
  • 3 cups Caramelized onions
  • 12 Slices Baguette 1'€ thick
  • 6 Slices Thinly sliced Emmental Swiss cheese
  • 2 tbsp Grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp Heavy cream

Method

Put the beef stock in a pot and bring to a simmer '€” adjust taste and seasonings. Add the caramelized onions and hold just below simmer. For this recipe use wide shallow soup bowls that will hold 2-3 slices of your baguette. Slice baguette and toast the slices.

Cut the sliced Swiss cheese to cover the top. Put one slice of Swiss on each piece of toast; brush with heavy cream; sprinkle with Parmesan; then add another slice of Swiss on top of Parmesan; brush top slice with heavy cream.

Repeat with the rest of toast; ladle soup into bowls and float 2-3 slices of toast in each bowl.

Place bowls on a baking sheet and place in middle of 400 degree F.oven for 10-12 minutes. The cheese should be bubbly and browning. Allow to cool slightly and serve.


October 9, 2016

 

Go Magazine Fall 2016

Once again I have been asked by GO Magazine to entertain you with a medley of recipes for the Fall/Winter season.

Following my usual pattern, I will try to feature products from Northumberland County; but this time I am going to put a little more emphasis on the special occasions that occur in the Fall.

My short list is: Octoberfest, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Remembrance, and the Grey Cup.


October 9, 2016

 

Octoberfest

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

Oktoberfest is decidedly a German celebration; it is huge celebration in the Kitchener/Waterloo area. I was surprised when I went to work in Kitchener how much German is still spoken. Cobourg was renamed Coburg in 1818, in recognition of the marriage of Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The spelling got changed over time to Cobourg; Cobourg ON is twinned with Coburg in Germany. A few decades ago there were visitor exchanges.

So, I am going to give you a little twist on a hot German potato salad.

Warm Honeycrisp Salad

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

The key ingredient in warm German potato salad is the potato; however for this recipe I switched the potato for my favourite apple'€”Honeycrisp. The Honeycrisp apple is considered a relatively new strain of apple; it is widely grown in Northumberland County and readily available at road side produce stands. Quality bacon is available at several locations including mine.

By switching the chicken stock for apple cider you will have a more robust apple flavour and you may need to cut back on the sugar a little.

Warm Honeycrisp Salad

Yield 6

Ingredients
  • 6 rashers Smoked Pepper rind bacon
  • 1/2 cup Chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp A.P. flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Weak hot chicken stock or hot apple cider.
  • 1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 6 cups Sliced Honeycrisp apples, 1/2'€ slice

 

Method

Cook the bacon in a large skillet to not quite crisp; cut into 1/2'€ strips and set aside. Sauté the onions in 2 tbsp of the bacon fat until soft. Add the flour and salt to the pan. Whisk into onions and fat, then add chicken stock, whisk to combine and stir out any lumps. Add vinegar and sugar and whisk to combine. Add the apples and bacon to pan and simmer stirring until apples are slightly caramelized'€”10-12 minutes. Check seasoning and sweet/sour taste. Adjust as needed. Serve warm; it will hold warm well.


October 9, 2016

 

Thanksgiving

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

Thanksgiving in North America is a decidedly Christian celebration based on the Pilgrims sharing a harvest feast with the Native Americans; no doubt the Natives supplied the meat. But Christians do not have the sole ownership of Thanksgiving. Civilizations great and small have celebrated the summer harvest and Autumn Solstice from time immemorial. Of course only North Americans had turkey to feast on until the mid 1500'€™s when the Spanish introduced them to Europe from the Aztec Empire.

Capons (a neutered male chicken) on the other hand have been gracing festive tables dating back to China 1500 B.C. There is an interesting anecdote in Roman history; there was a drought and grain was scarce; so, it was decreed that grain could be no longer fed to the hens to fatten them. So, the wily farmers fenced their Capons and gave them what grain they could spare. Capons fatten much quicker than the busy hens who were running loose chasing grasshoppers. The law was bent a little because capons are chickens but not hens.

Thanksgiving Roaster

Choosing a heavy roaster or Capon has become a popular substitute for the traditional turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. You will not find these heavy birds in Supermarkets. You will need to search out farm gate sales or specialty meat shops. Heavy roasters and Capons will range in weight from 6 to 10 lbs. The hen birds will run from 6-8 lbs and the males and capons will range up to 10 lbs and occasionally a bit larger. I used to cook these birds in a covered roasting pan and then uncover the pan for the last 25 to 30 minutes to brown the skin. Lately I have been cooking the birds open on a rack at 400 degrees F for 2 hours or 20 minutes per lb. with excellent results. You can expect a six lb. bird to feed six hungry people or allow a lb. per person.

Wild rice was once a staple of the Natives living near Rice Lake. The causes of the demise of the rice beds are several, including the invasive specie Carp, motor boat wakes and the damming at the northern end of the lake. I believe there is still a small stand near Hiawatha and there has been some talk of trying to establish a bed near Bewdly. The natives would start new beds or reinforce old beds by imbedding dried seeds, husk on, into balls of clay; then they would drop the seed balls where they wanted. The clay would sink to the bottom and hold the seed for germination in the spring.

Thanksgiving Roaster And Wild Rice Stuffing

Yield Allow 1 lb Per Person

Ingredients
  • One Heavy roasting chicken 6-8lbs
  • Dry rub'€”salt pepper and garlic powder

 

Method

Rinse bird well inside and out; set giblets aside for making gravy. Pat dry; stuff cavity and neck, if using stuffing. Rub the skin with a dry rub of choice; I use salt pepper and garlic powder. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.. Line a baking sheet with silicone paper and set bird on sheet. Quarter a couple of onions and set around bird. Bake for 2 hours or 20 minutes/lb. If bird is browning too much it can be tented loosely with foil. Brushing the bird with oil also slows down browning. The bird should reach an internal temperature of 175 '€“ 180 F. The bird also needs to rest tented at least 30 minutes before carving. Remove the stuffing as soon as possible and before resting period. Leaving the stuffing in the bird slows down the cooling process.

Wild Rice Stuffing

Qty. Ingredients
  • 6 cups Stale bread torn in pieces
  • 1 cup Cooked wild rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Celery chopped 1/2 '€œ dice
  • 1 1/2 cups Sliced mushrooms
  • 1 oz. Canola oil
  • 1 tbsp Mixed spices (poultry spice mix or sage and spices of choice)
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh pepper.

 

Method

Combine bread and wild rice in large bowl. Sauté onions, celery and mushrooms in oil, combine with bread, add spices and mix well. Allow to cool then stuff cavity of fowl. If to be used for stuffing in a pan add 1/2 cup chicken stock to moisten.


October 9, 2016

 

Appple Cranberry Pie With Pleated Top

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

Every Thanksgiving dinner needs a pie; either apple or pumpkin. This year I chose apple but I added some cranberries to the filling. The two fruits blend well. It is from an old Scottish cook book; so we would have to imagine some pioneer brought the recipe with her. The beauty of this pie is the beauty of the pleated top. We all know that appearance is a great part of the joy of dining and this pleated top cooked to golden brown will have all of us salivating in anticipation

Yield 1- 10'€ Pie

Qty. Ingredients

Pastry

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 cup Pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 lb. Butter (Stirling Whey butter), well chilled
  • 4 oz. Ice water as needed

 

Filling

  • 3-4 cups Sliced apples -- Honey crisp is my very favourite
  • 1 oz Lemon juice
  • 1 cup Cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon --optional
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg --optional
  • 3 oz Butter

 

Method

Pastry

Blend all dry ingredients, cut 1/2 lb butter into 1/2'€ cubes; cut into flour with a pastry cutter or pulse in a food processer until butter is the size of split peas. Slowly add ice water cutting it in or pulsing in food processer until mixture starts to cling together. Divide dough in half and form into two discs; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Peel and slice apples, combine brown sugar, spice and starch. Mix cranberries, apples and brown sugar/starch. Hold in bowl while rolling out pastry.

Assembly

Roll one disc of pastry into 10+'€ circle; lay over pie pan, trim to 1/2'€ extra over rim. Add filling to pie shell; cut the remaining butter into cubes and sprinkle over filling. Roll remaining pastry disc into a 10'€ x 12 '€œ rectangle. Cut into 1/2'€ by 12'€ strips. Braid three strips at a time making 5-6 braids. Brush the edge of pastry in pie shell with water; then lay braids over filling to cover top of pie. Thumb press the pastry edges and trim. Garnish braids with course sugar sprinkled over top. Bake in 375 F. oven until pastry is golden and filling is soft '€“35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack. While it is tempting to eat a slice as soon as cooled to touch, the filling will set better if it is completely cooled. Reheat pie briefly in low oven to serve warm.

One of my favourite breakfasts is apple pie and old cheddar cheese.


October 9, 2016

 

Halloween

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

Halloween is derived from All Hallow'€™s Eve, which is the night before All Saints Day. (Hallow is a synonym for Saint) It was believed that on that night the spirits were able to cross back into our world. Hence there were offerings of food to please them and many superstitions to avoid the evil ones. Many or most of the Halloween traditions predate Christianity and are rooted in Celtic and Druid lore.

So, if you are going to send your cherished ones out on such an enchanted night, you should give their tummy'€™s a good dose of comfort food. Nothing says comfort food like grilled cheese and tomato soup. So, I would suggest grilled cheese with pepper rind bacon and a bowl of Bloody Caesar soup. The pepper rind bacon will keep them warmed through and the Bloody Caesar will make them dragon slayers.

Bloody Caesar Soup

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

Yield 10 X12 oz Portions

Ingredients
  • 6 Cups. Motts Clamato juice
  • 6 cups Chicken stock
  • 1 Can Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Diced onions
  • 2 cups Diced celery
  • 1 lb. Raw salad shrimp or diced shrimp.
  • 2 tsp. Celery salt
  • 1 tsp Ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed chilli peppers '€“optional.

 

Garnish

  • Sour cream

 

Assembly

Ladle soup into bowls then using a small piping tip, pipe sour cream into three concentric circles about an inch apart. Using a table knife draw a line through the cream from inner ring to outer ring; repeat until you have a spider web pattern.


October 9, 2016

 

Witches Brew Crumble

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

After your warriors have returned from dodging demons and receiving token gifts of candy to placate the spirits, you may want to treat them to a warm dessert. The ingredients may look like a witches brew, but the taste is heavenly. The adult version benefits from the rum and will fortify them to defend your castle from Pirates and Privateers.

Witches Brew Crumble

Yield 6

Qty. Ingredients
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream
  • 2 cups Cooked, mashed Acorn squash
  • 1/3 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup W.W. Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 2-3 Honeycrisp apples 3/8'€ dice (3 cups)
  • 1 Medium carrot finely grated
  • 1/2 cup Raisins (sub dried cranberries or blueberries or mixture of all)
  • 2 oz. Pusser'€™s rum, optional'€”but good.

 

Topping

  • 3/ 4 cup Rolled oats (quick cook)
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

 

Method

Batter

Whip or beat eggs and cream until frothy; add squash, sugar, flour, baking pwdr. and spices. Whip or beat until smooth. Fold in apples, carrot, and raisins. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan.

Topping

Fold all ingredients until crumbly and sprinkle over top of squash mixture. Bake for 35- 40 minutes in preheated 350 degree F. oven until top is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream.


Oct 9, 2016

 

Remembrance

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

When I started writing this piece I had thoughts of doing a couple of recipes from items my father was served during WW2, that he hated: powdered scrambled eggs and macaroni and cheese. The Mess Hall versions were pretty bad he said.

I had thoughts of good versions. However, in the interim there has been a devastating earthquake in Italy and the small village of Amatrice is all but destroyed with many persons killed and more injured.

Amatrice has a niche in Italian cooking with its signature dish Spaghetti All'Amatriciana. To honour the lives lost and the ancient architecture destroyed and to offer condolences to the injured and mourners I am writing the recipe that originated in Amatrice. The Village council strives to keep the classic recipe. Recently a Chef in Rome wrote in a recipe column that he thought the garlic was a key ingredient. He was politely reminded of the original 8 ingredients which do not include garlic.

I have tried to give you a recipe as close as possible to the classic using available food items in our region. The original recipe calls for guanciale, which is the jowl or cheek from a pig that has been brined and air dry cured. Many modern recipes suggest using pancetta as a substitute; however I am going to use smoked pork jowl as it is much closer to the original and is available in my store and other Mennonite style Delis. Pancetta is made from the belly of the pork and does not have the unique sweet taste of the jowl.

Bucatini is a pasta like spaghetti except it has a hole through it. It is now more popular than spaghetti in Rome; but Spaghetti is the original..

The original tomato is San Marzano; Italian Roma tomatoes are a variant from the Heritage San Marzano and will work just fine.

The original method called for a hot chilli pepper to be chopped and added to the sauce. I used dried chilli pepper flakes for more control of the heat.

Wine was not in the Classic recipe; but most Italians would not be able to resist the temptation of adding a splash.

So here goes!

Spaghetti All'amatriciana

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. Smoked jowl cut into batons 1/4'€ x 1/4'€ x 2'€
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Diced onion
  • 1 28-oz. can San Marzano tomatoes or Italian whole Roma tomatoes with juices, crushed by hand.
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 12 oz. Dried spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup Finely grated Pecorino (about 1 oz.)

 

Method

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pork jowl batons and sauté until beginning to crisp. about 4-5 minutes. Add pepper flakes and black pepper; stir for 10 seconds. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 15-20 minutes. Although not in the original recipe a splash of white or rose wine goes well here.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 2 minutes before al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

Add drained pasta to sauce in skillet and toss vigorously with tongs to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. (Add a little pasta water if sauce is too dry.) Stir in cheese and transfer pasta to warmed bowls.

NOTE: to determine when pasta is cooked, cut a strand of spaghetti in half. There will be a small white core that is not cooked. For 2 minutes before el dente the core should be the thickness of a heavy thread. No white core equals cooked.


October 9, 2016

 

Lord Greys Cup

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

The grey cup is now the symbol of supremacy for the Canadian Football Leaque (CFL); however it was not always that way. In the beginning amateur teams played for the Cup. One year Queen'€™s University'€™s team won the Cup. Foot ball was also a part of Cobourg'€™s sport history. From the late 40'€™s to mid 50'€™s Cobourg had a team in the Lakeshore Football league. The team, the Galloping Ghosts were always contenders and won the League on at least one occasion.

As a Tweenie I remember watching a game on a muddy field. It was a raw Fall day and men in the stands had bottles in brown paper bags they passed amongst themselves'€”no doubt it warded off the cold.

So it seems almost essential that Grey cup watchers should eat heart warming chilli. My version for this year combines Wild Boar and Bison for a bit of a gamey flair.

Grey cup '€œgame'€ Chili

Yield 12 Cups

Qty. Ingredients
  • 1 lbs Lean ground Bison
  • 1 lb Lean ground Wild Boar
  • 2 Med. green Peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Med. red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Med. cooking onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Crushed garlic
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 Can Diced tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • Sub 2 lbs fire charred tomatoes if in season.
  • 2 tbsp Parsley
  • 2 tbsp Chili powder (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp Crushed chilli peppers (to taste)
  • Or other sources of heat---Tobasco, or fresh hot chilli peppers
  • 1 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Celery salt
  • 2 tbsp Smokey BBQ sauce.
  • 2 Cans Red kidney beans (14 oz.)
  • 2 cups Home-made beans or can (140z.) of baked beans.

 

Method

Brown meat with onions in batches, remove to roasting pan or Dutch oven, keep warm. Sauté peppers and celery, add to meat. Preheat tomatoes and add to meat. Add spices and baked beans, drain and rinse kidney beans. Bake in oven 35- 40 minutes at 350- 375 F.

Adjust seasonings to taste and liquid to desired consistency. (thin with beef stock, thicken with roux or tomato paste.) Serve with garlic bread, corn bread or hot biscuits.


October 9, 2016

 

The Rum Downer

(GO Magazine, Fall 2016)

I like to end my little recipe round-up with a Sun Downer; not to be mistaken for third down and one to go.

Ingredients
  • Clear Ice
  • 2 oz Pussers Dark Rum
  • 1/2 oz Amaretto
  • 1/2 Coffee Liquer or 1 oz. strong coffee
  • 1/2 oz Maple Syrup
  • Ginger Ale
  • A little juice from a charred lime
  • Twist of charred lime on side of glass.

 

Method

Fill a tall highball glass with ice.

Pour in dark rum, amaretto, coffee, and maple syrup

A squeeze of charred lime

Fill up with Ginger Ale.

Garnish with charred lime.


October 3, 2016

 

Western In The Rough

Eggs Baked In Pepper Shells

I really had a difficult time deciding on a recipe for Thanksgiving since you will read the recipe the Thursday before. You should have both your entrée and your dessert well in hand before Thursday.

Then like the bolt from the blue '€“ breakfast and brunch! Now, I have been thinking about a western omelette or western sandwich for some time, so here I have the ingredients for a good western but I put it in a pepper shell and baked it. I chose three different colours of peppers for display appeal'€”a single colour would be fine. You could also sub. bacon or sausage for the ham. You will need medium to small peppers or use double the recipe for large ones. The large could be cut in half after they are cooked.

So, if you are having a thanksgiving breakfast or brunch gives these '€œ Westerns in the rough'€ a try.

Western In The Rough

Eggs Baked In Pepper Shells

Yield 6

Ingredients
  • 3 Bell peppers, sliced in half, core and seeds removed
  • One green, one yellow and one red
  • 6 Farm fresh eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Bunch Green onion, diced
  • 2 cups Baby spinach
  • 1 cup Cherry or grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup Diced ham
  • 1 tbsp Cooking oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded Mozzarella cheese

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Melt some cooking oil in a skillet placed over a medium-heat.

Saute the onion until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and ham, cook until spinach wilts, about 1 or 2 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Divide the vegetable/ham mixture equally among the bell pepper halves to approx half full

Top off each bell pepper half with some of the beaten eggs.

Using a fork lift and stir egg into mixture

Add a 1/4 cup of mozzarella to each pepper half.

Place the stuffed peppers in the oven, on a baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes.


Aug 31, 2016

 

Charred Tomato And Corn Soup

A few months ago a customer asked me what I knew about '€œfire roasted (charred) tomatoes'€. The short answer was -- nothing. So, after some reading and testing, I am now in love with charred tomatoes. For this recipe I listed six tomatoes; but I would recommend doing a large amount of tomatoes now as they are in season; they can be canned or frozen for winter soups and casseroles.

This recipe is all about fresh in season vegetables. Local garlic this time of year is way superior to the imported stuff. If I had a kohlrabi I would add it to this soup as well. Feel free to ad as you like; just keep the basic charred tomatoes for a unique flavour.

Charred Tomato And Corn Soup

Yield

Ingredients

  • 4 Cobs Fresh sweet corn
  • Butter for brushing
  • 6 Lg. Garden fresh tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh ground pepper and sea salt
  • 1 lg. Sweet onion
  • 2 Lg. Garlic cloves
  • 6 Slices of Double smoked bacon
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Celery salt
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash White wine
Garnish
  • Freshly cut parsley
Method

Prepare gas grill, clean and oil grates, preheat to med.-high. Cut tomatoes in half cross ways; over a bowl gently squeeze tomato halves to expel seeds. Sprinke cut side with pepper and salt; then place tomatoes cut side on grill. Set mental timer for 10 minutes. Add corn to grill and brush with butter; roll corn over every two-three minutes. Slice onion into thick slices and place on grill; allow 4-5 minutes per side. Peel garlic cloves and add to grill; they will take 3-4 minutes per side. Remove garlic and onion to a bowl. Flip tomatoes over for 5 more minutes of cooking. Corn should show a little char and be uniformly browned; remove from grill to cool. Remove charred tomatoes to a bowl and loosely tent with foil.

While tomatoes are cooling, fry bacon to crisp, set aside to cool.

As soon as tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off skin; cut into chunks and put into large soup pot. Bring mixture to simmer and add 4 cups of chicken stock. Chop onion and garlic and add to soup pot. Cut corn from cob and add to soup pot. Crumble bacon and add to soup pot.

Add seasonings to taste including wine if using. Allow to simmer 20-30 minutes until thickened a bit. If it is too thick add more chicken stock. Thickness will vary depending on tomato type.

Garnish
  • Freshly cut parsley

 


June 1, 2016

 

Camp Fire Dinner On The BBQ

I wrote and cooked this recipe during the May 30th heat wave. My wife was reading a cooking magazine that had an article about campfire cooking; since she was thinking about not cooking and keeping the house cool, she suggested I try the plan on the BBQ. I modified a few things, mostly cooking the chicken open because I like crisp chicken skin. Everything turned out great; the asparagus was much better than boiled.

The best part about this recipe is that you can change the vegetables with the season and you can change the meat to: roast beef, pork, lamb, turkey or sausages. If the heat waves continue, this will be a favourite cooking method here.

Next week I am thinking pork rib roast.

Camp Fire Dinner On the BBQ

Yield - 4

Ingredients

  • One Small chicken 3-4 lbs
  • Pepper, salt garlic powder to taste
  • BBQ Sauce '€“Smokey Apple Butter
  • 2 lbs Potatoes
  • Pepper, salt and butter
  • 1 lb Asparagus
  • 1 lb Carrots
  • Olive oil and Italian seasoning or
  • Pepper, salt and butter
  • Heavy duty foil.
Method

This recipe is all done on a BBQ and is about timing. The chicken will take 1-1/2 hours, the potatoes 45 minutes and the vegetables will take 30 minutes. BBQ'€™s may vary a bit in cooking time; my BBQ runs hot.

Prep your chicken and all vegetables first.

Wash chicken and truss with string or skewers. Use a shallow aluminum pan; put a piece of silicon paper in bottom of pan then add the chicken that has been dusted with pepper, salt and garlic (or rub of your choice). Set aside.

Peel or wash potatoes then cut into egg size pieces. Lay out a double layer of foil large enough t o hold potatoes flat plus extra to fold into an envelope. Add butter and pepper/salt. Fold foil over potatoes to make a tightly sealed package.

Repeat packaging process for vegetables; if carrots are large cut into strips 3/8'€ thick.

Preheat BBQ to 500 degrees F. Place chicken on back rack or in center of BBQ if it is a three burner unit. (Leave middle burner off.)

After 45 minutes has elapsed brush chicken with BBQ sauce and place potato package on direct heat. After an additional 15 minutes has passed add vegetable package to BBQ on direct heat.

After an additional 30 minutes ( 1-1/2 hours from start) check internal temperature of chicken with a probe thermometer. It should be 180F. Check the potatoes with a skewer. Items that are cooked can be placed on hold if another item needs a bit more time.

Deliver cooked chicken etc to the household kitchen. As BBQ Master your job is done. The Sous Chef takes over at this point to plate and serve..


May 16, 2016

 

Shrimp Bisque

This could fall into my catalogue of 'Rainy day recipes', recipes that start out one way but get adjusted to what you have on hand. So, I was recently on vacation and had a really good bowl of Lobster Bisque. That started the wheels rolling inside my head. I had two trains of thought: one was remembering good times with a friend who often made lobster bisque and the other line of thought was how do I make Lobster Bisque.

Many years ago my friend Verne Doncaster used to make a pretty good Lobster Bisque. I know he used Campbell's Tomato bisque as a base; however I have not been able to find any Campbell's tomato bisque anywhere. It is still listed in Campbell's product line but it must be a regional seller. So, with that I started looking at Lobster bisque recipes in old books and online. All that I found did not have a tomato base. Hmm, Verne's had a tomato base and the one I had on vacation seemed to have a tomato base; so next I looked at tomato bisque.. I also took a look at an old old recipe for red pepper bisque'€”but I didn't think I could go that much red pepper. The next problem was I did not have any lobster on hand; but I do have Wild Red Argentine shrimp that tastes a bit like lobster. So, that is how we got to Shrimp Bisque with a tomato base. I threw in a roasted red pepper in deference to the red pepper bisque.

I used garlic flowers in the recipe; it is a product available in Quebec. Whenever I vacation there I stock up; it is a nice mild garlic, reportably burp less.

With regard to the optional garnish or spice I have a product that combines Sherry and hot peppers. It is made in Bermuda and is not readily available; however if you are in Bermuda buy some Outerbridges Sherry Pepper Sauce'€”it is great.

Shrimp Bisque

Yield - 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Med. Red Pepper, roasted and diced
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Med. Sweet onion, diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, diced
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic flowers or pressed garlic
  • 2 cups Chicken broth
  • 2 cups Seafood stock
  • 1/4 Cup. White rice
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes (28 oz. can)
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1 Pinch Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 3/4 lb Wild raw Red Argentine shrimp, cut to 1/2'€ bits
  • 1/2 cup Whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish
  • 2 tbsp Thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 2 tbsp Sour cream, heavy cream or crème fraiche
  • Optional garnishes: Madeira one tsp per bowl'€”Tabasco sauce a couple of drops per bowl.
Method

Wash red pepper then slice in half lengthways, then place on a cookie sheet cut side down. Preheat oven on grill to 375F. Grill peppers until blackened. Put pepper into a brown paper bag to cool. When cool, charred skin will be easily removed. Dice pepper and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook and stir onion and celery with a pinch of salt until onion is translucent, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour chicken and seafood broth, tomatoes and diced red pepper into onion mixture. Bring to a simmer and season with paprika, black pepper and herbs de Provence. Turn heat to low and stir rice into soup; skim foam occasionally and simmer until rice and vegetables are very tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

Blend soup with an immersion blender in the pot until smooth. (or use food processer) Add diced shrimp. Simmer for about 2 minutes and then whisk 1/2 cup cream into soup and adjust levels of seasonings. If soup is too thick, add more broth; if soup is too thin, cook, stirring often, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 5 - 10 minutes. Ladle into warmed bowls; garnish each bowl with a drizzle of sour cream and top with about 1 teaspoon chopped basil.

Optional garnishes as desired.


May 2, 2016

 

Wild Shrimp Salad

With BBQ season comes salad season; this cool colourful salad could serve as a luncheon entrée, a dinner side or as an appetizer. It is easily adapted to other seafood like Atlantic salmon or Digby scallops. You could also switch to other pasta shapes and sizes. It is simple, fast, tasty and colourful' -- what more can I say?

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups Bowtie pasta
  • 3 stalks Celery, sliced 1/4'€ thick
  • 3/4 lb Wild Argentine shrimp, chopped to mini bites
  • (Note Argentine wild shrimp cook twice as fast as regular shrimp)
  • 3/4 cup Red pepper diced
  • 3/4 cup Frozen peas, thawed and blanched
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 cup Renee'€™s Caesar Salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice to taste
  • 3 tbsp Fresh dill, chopped
Garnish
  • Paprika and parsley sprig.
Method

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions (el dente)

Combine pasta with celery, shrimp, red pepper, peas, mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill; season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate to chill.

Service

Place a mound of salad on individual plates and garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and a sprig of parsley.


April 9, 2016

 

Original Buffalo Wings

Ingredients
  • 2 ½ lbs Fresh chicken wings (jointed)
  • cup Franks Original Hot Cayenne Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • Celery sticks and Blue Cheese dressing

 

Method

If wings are not jointed, remove tips and cut wings into drums and banjos. Rinse in cold water and pat dry. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with silicone paper or foil. Spray sheet with non stick vegetable oil spray. Preheat oven to 375 F. Place wings on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes; flip wings and bake for ten more minutes.

While the wings are baking heat sauce on low heat and melt butter into sauce. Whisk and keep warm.

Remove cooked wings to a large bowl and pour one half of sauce over wings. Toss to coat well. At this point you can refrigerate wings for later use or proceed to next step.

Preheat broiler on oven to high. Spread wings out on baking sheet prepared as before. Brush with reserved hot sauce and broil for five minutes then flip brush with sauce again and broil for five more minutes, a little charring is desired.

Serve with celery sticks and Blue Cheese dip.

NOTE: In the original method the wings were deep fried first instead of baking; then proceed


Sept 14, 2015

 

Wild Sockeye, Wild Shrimp, With Lemon Butter

If you are a salmon enthusiast, you are probably aware that fresh Sockeye are a seasonal item as they are always wild and not farmed. I prefer them to Atlantic salmon. They are now in season and available. I used a whole skin-on fillet for this recipe although it might be a bit easier if you used pre-cut fillets or cut your fillet into serving size portions.

The best shrimp for the job are wild Northern (Cold-water) Canadian precooked shrimp. Unfortunately they are hard to find. Alaskan shrimp make a good substitution and finally shrimp from a shrimp ring.

The lemon butter sauce is not difficult; the trick is to get the right amount of lemon for your taste buds.

I used pressed onion; you could also use onion juice from shredded strained onion. It keeps the onion taste a bit lighter and you don'€™t have any chewy bits to get caught in your teeth.

With regard to the dry rub, I choose to go lightly although many recipes tend to go heavy. I like the spice to accent the fish but let the delicate taste of the fish come through. It is all a matter of taste. This recipe also works well with Canadian Atlantic salmon.

Wild Sockeye, Wild Shrimp, With Lemon Butter

Yield 4

Lemon Butter Sauce:
  • 2 cups Quality chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Pressed sweet onion
  • 1 tsp Unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 tsp A. P, flour
  • Dash White pepper
  • Dash Sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Finely chopped sun-dried tomato sub pimento
  • Juice from fresh lemon, to taste'€”start with 1/2 and add to taste
  • 1/2 cup Heavy cream (35%)
  • 2 oz Cold butter
  • 2 cups Cooked Canadian Cold water shrimp'€”sub wild Alaskan
  • or small shrimp from a shrimp ring'€”tails snipped off.
Salmon
  • 2 Tbs. Clarified butter
  • 1 whole Sockeye salmon fillet skin on (or 2- 4 ounce pcs)
  • 1/2 tsp '€œFire in the Kitchen'€ Ocean Rub or your choice dry rub for fish
  • 1/2 Lemon for sqeezing
Garnish
  • Watercress and lemon wedges
Method

Lemon Butter Sauce: Combine chicken stock and pressed onion, bring to a boil on med. heat uncovered. (Pressed onion- place chopped onion in garlic press). Meanwhile combine butter and flour and mix till it becomes a paste. Whisk butter/flour mixture into stock. Strain off the scum that forms on top. Reduce to a third. Remember, do all this uncovered. Stock should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add white pepper, salt, sun-dried tomato and lemon (Do not add too much of lemon juice all at once. Squeeze in 1/2 a teaspoon first and taste test. What you are after is a subtle tartness). Stir in heavy cream, then the thawed rinsed shrimp. Allow shrimp to heat through (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Keep warm and set aside.

To cook Salmon: Heat up sauté pan to medium and melt clarified butter.

Lightly season skinless side of fish with the Rub/seasoning. Gently place fish in pan, seasoning side down. Cook till seasoning side is brown (about 4 minutes). Turn over and squeeze a little juice from a lemon over fish and cover pan. Steam for approximately 3 min. The steam will cook the fish.

Assembly

Place salmon on heated platter. Spoon on the shrimp and Lemon Butter Sauce mixture. Place watercress and lemon wedges around fillet. To serve score salmon to skin and lift a piece of salmon and sauce with a flat egg lifter onto serving plates. Ladle extra sauce onto salmon.


Sept 16, 2015

 

Wild Boar And Veal Burgers

With Caramelized Onions And Apples

For this week'€™s recipe I was thinking of something fallish, like pickles or preserves, but I got an email from my Scot'€™s recipe club saying summer is not over yet!. They were featuring BBQ burgers. It is interesting that in Scotland they differentiate between minced beef and ground beef. Minced is a finer grind and they use ground for burgers.

I bought some ground wild boar a few weeks ago and I have been pondering how to prepare it. So in the spirit of '€œsummer'€™s not over'€ I decided on a wild boar burger. I felt like it needed to be mixed with another meat. My first thought was ground brisket, but then I thought the brisket might overpower the wild pork. I considered Ontario lamb and think it would be OK if it were lean enough (mine is). In the end I chose veal. It€™s mild flavour and leaner consistency should compliment the stronger flavoured wild pork.

Next, you have to think of a suitable topping for the burger. One aroma I will never forget is the frying onions on the Midway of the C.N.E. So, I combined the onions with a little apple (Honey Crisp of course) because pork and apples belong together.

Voici, my late summer super burger, with a sensational fall topping.

NOTE: Wild pork is more susceptible to trichinoses than domestic pork so be sure patties are cooked to 180 degrees F. internally.

.

Wild Boar And Veal Burgers

With Caramelized Onions And Apples

Yield 6-8

Burgers
  • 1/4 cup Bread crumbs
  • 1 oz. White wine '€“ apple juice or cider
  • 1 tsp Lime juice
  • 1 lb. Wild boar ground
  • 1 lb. Ground veal '€“sub lamb
  • 1 Fresh egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp Fresh pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp '€œFire in the Kitchen'€ T-bone smoke eater steak spice
Onions And Apples
  • 2 Large fresh sweet onions
  • 3 Med. Crisp apples
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup
Garnish
  • Spring greens --bottom
  • Sliced tomato '€“bottom '€“pepper and salt
  • Prepared country style mustard '€“ top
  • Caramelised onions and apples -- top

 

Method
Burgers Part One

Combine wine breadcrumbs and lime juice together in a small bowl. Set aside. Gently mix the two meats with the egg, and spices. Next work in the wine-soaked bread-crumbs. Next divide the meat into 6 or 8 portions and form them into balls (8 = 4 oz patties 7 = 5 oz patties, 6 = 6 oz. patties). Form each ball into a 4" disc and press the centre with your fingertips to make a slight hollow on both sides; then using your thumb push the edge up to make a nice neat vertical side. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to rest.

Onions And Apples

Peel and slice onions into 1/4" rings, set aside. Peel and core apples and cut into wedges with a 1/2" thick side. Hold the apples in water with a little lime juice so they don'€™t brown on you.

Heat a skillet on med. heat, add half the butter and the sliced onions. Sauté, stirring for 5-6 minutes then add rest of the butter, maple syrup and apples. Continue cooking and stirring until the onions are uniformly caramelised, about 10-12 minutes more. Set aside and hold warm.

Burgers Part Two

Clean and lightly oil your grill plates then heat on high for 5-10 minutes. Place burgers on grill, on high. Grill for 3-4 minutes lid down then turn patties a quarter turn and grill for 2-3 minutes more. Flip patties, reduce heat to medium and cook bottom side as you did for top side. Allow patties to rest for 4-5 minutes before assembly.

Assembly

Toast buns on grill if desired. On bottom of bun add some spring greens with a dab of mayo. Then a slice of tomato. Salt and pepper tomato if desired. (My wife says I don'€™t need salt, but I add it anyway).  Next add patty to lower half of bun. Top patty with a dab of mustard and then top with steaming apple and onions.

Note: Wild pork is more susceptible to trichinoses than domestic pork so be sure patties are cooked to 180 degrees F. internally.

Sept 18, 2015

 

Bacon, Tomato And Cheese Omelette

Do you ever have those days when you look at your spouse and say; '€œWhat do you want for dinner?'€ The reply is, "I don't know; what do you want?". And the next reply is "I don't know; what do you want?". We had one of those days this week; but I replied; "How about breakfast? Maybe a B.L.T.".€ So that is why my wife made a bacon, tomato, and cheese omelette. Two parts out of three isn'€™t too bad. Now, my wife is very stingy with her recipes, so this is my interpretation of what went down. We had some home-fries on the side as well.

There are a few tricks for keeping omelettes light and fluffy. First whip a little milk into the eggs; second eggs do not like high heat, cook on med-low; it takes a bit longer, but it is worth while. Third, the little bit of steaming at the end does the trick.

We used the grape tomatoes from the garden, but chopped regular would work as well. Although all things are 'bedder with cheddar', other cheeses also work.

If you want to double the recipe use a skillet with a 12" bottom, or a tabletop grill that holds two or cook one and hold while you do the second. Hold it so it can breathe or it will get soggy.

NOTE: If you flip before you fold you are making a frittata.

Bacon, Tomato And Cheese Omelette

Yield 1

  • 2-3 Lg. Fresh eggs
  • 1 tbsp Light cream or milk
  • Dash Freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 rashers Double smoked side bacon
  • 1 cup Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Shredded cheddar
  • Butter or bacon fat for frying
  • Hot water

 

Method

Use a 10" skillet (8" bottom); fry bacon until almost crisp. Remove from pan and set aside to cool. Split tomatoes and fry on flesh side 4-5 minutes; set aside and hold warm.

Chop bacon into 1/4" dice and set aside. Strain bacon fat and set aside. Wipe skillet clean and return to burner on low heat, adding bacon fat or butter.

Whisk egg, cream and pepper in a small bowl. Increase heat on skillet to medium-low -- eggs don't like high heat. Pour egg mixture into skillet; as soon as outer edges start to firm lift edges up with a silicone spatula and push towards centre.

Sprinkle bacon and tomatoes over surface of egg mixture; lift edges all way around again. When all but the centre 3" of egg mixture is dry, add cheese then fold omelette half over itself to make a semi-circle. Allow omelette to rest; cook 30 seconds then flip. Add a teaspoon of hot water to edge of skillet then cover. Allow to steam for 30-45 seconds; then remove from skillet and serve or hold warm, covered with paper towel or linen towel.


Aug 18, 2015

 

Peach Scones

I think I like peaches better than my all-time fav., Honey Crisp Apples. Although I am no green thumb, I am having better luck growing peaches than I am apples. My peach crop is small this year because of the past two hard winters; however the taste of a ripe peach picked fresh from the tree is amazing.

Peaches originated in China and were cultivated there for the past 3000 years. Peach tree cultivation spread westward and probably came to North America with the Spanish settlement of Florida at St. Augustine in the mid 1500'€™s, and by French settlers on the Gulf coast about the same time. The Natives quickly adopted the tree as they realized it would provide fruit 2-3 years after planting. Through their trading networks the peach tree spread inland quickly. Post 1600 many new explorers presumed peach and plum trees were native species as they found many stands of them growing unattended.

The major rain and thunderstorm we had last week reminded me of rainy days at a cottage and made me think of cooking some type of sweet snack. With peaches hanging around, peach scones got the nod over peach muffins or peach upside-down cake; although I must have a peach upside-down cake before the peach season ends.

This recipe is a good breakfast or brunch item. So give it a try.

Peach Scones

Yield 8

  • 4 oz Unsalted butter, frozen or very cold
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 2 oz. Maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups Peeled and diced peaches, 3 / 8'€ dice
  • 6 oz Buttermilk; sub soured milk or cream (10%)
  • 1 large Egg

 

Topping
  • 1 tbsp Maple sugar sub Turbinado or Demerara sugar

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Dice chilled butter into 1/2 inch pieces; sprinkle over flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut in evenly until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Place peaches between layers of paper towels and press gently to remove moisture; add to flour mixture, folding in gently.

Whisk together buttermilk, egg, and maple syrup in a small bowl; add to flour mixture and fold in until just moist.

Use a floured bench scraper to scrape dough out onto prepared baking sheet; generously flour hands and pat dough into 2 six-inch circles.

Score into 6 wedges each with floured bench scraper; sprinkle dough with maple sugar. Rest dough 5-10 minutes.

Bake 20 minutes or until golden and toothpick comes out clean. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer to wire rack to cool before slicing into wedges. Serve warm with butter.


Aug 8, 2015

 

Smoked Street Dog In A Wrap

Sometimes recipes evolve because you can't get exactly what you want so you compromise. This is the case in point. We have a new smoked sausage that we are going to feature. We will be BBQing and serving them on our "DAWG DAZE"€celebration on Aug 22nd. The sausage is excellent and the boss and I were experimenting with buns to match the sausage. I don't like a bun that has too much bread and I don't like a bun that gets soggy quickly from the tomatoes and sauces; my wife says I am a fuss-ass.

Maybe so, in any case I thought why not try a wrap -- so here it is "Street Dog in a Wrap"€

I am still looking for the perfect bun -- or I might have to make my own recipe -- we'll see.

Smoked Street Dog In A Wrap

Yield 4

  • 4 Houston'€™s smoked street dogs (smoked sausage)
  • 4 6'€ Tortilla wraps, fresh
  • Houston'€™s Smokey apple Butter BBQ sauce
  • Mustard and Dill pickle relish
  • Diced onion
  • Diced tomato

 

Method

Cut "X" marks from tip to tip on one face of sausage; grill on BBQ or roast in an oven until browned and heated through. Internal temperature of 180F. this takes about 35 minutes.

When sausages are heated, set aside and warm tortillas in oven or on a flat grill plate until warm and soft -- about 7 minutes.

Assembly

Lay a tortilla out in front of you on a board; lay a streak of mustard and relish in a centred strip from left to right stay in an inch inside of tortilla. Set sausage on relish x marks up; fill the cracks created by x marks with BBQ sauce. Next surround the sausage with chopped onion and tomato -- salt and pepper as desired. Fold right side of tortilla inward using about an inch and a half to cover bottom of sausage; then roll the near edge to you up and over sausage; then roll that edge over and under the top edge. Hold with the closed end of the wrap down and gently move the open end of sausage into your mouth biting off pieces and chewing as you go.

If you need to take a break to breathe, be very careful of strangers lurking near by as they will try to steal your street dog!


Aug 2, 2015

 

Peaches And Pork Chops

The complaint I here most about pork is that it is too dry -- not like it used to be! Well, about 4 or 5 decades ago consumers told farmers they wanted leaner pork. So, you got what was asked for. Unfortunately pork lost some of its juicy flavour. So what can you do? Hint, hint, there is better pork available or you can brine it to add moisture and flavour to the meat.

Peaches are in season now and they are very complimentary to pork. For the brine you want peaches that are fully ripened and juicy; for the candied peaches you need a firm peach that will not mush out when you are cooking it.

The candied peaches make an excellent quick dessert or breakfast served with whipped cream. or ice cream and a tot of Pussers Navy Rum. I should rename that Blackbeards breakfast and patent it!!

Peaches And Pork Chops

Yield 4

Ingredients

Brine

  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 cup Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 2-3 Ripe peaches peeled, pitted, and pureed
  • 1/2 cup White wine (peach wine if you have it)
  • cup Ice water

 

Meat

  • 4 Bone-in Rib or Loin chops 3 / 4 to 1” thick
  • Pepper and garlic powder.

 

Garnish -- Candied Peaches

  • 3-4 Peaches pitted and cut into wedges. Peeling is optional
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Each of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • A shot of Pussers rum --optional but my choice.

 

Method

Brine

In a small saucepan, stir 2 cups water with salt, brown sugar and pureed peaches, heat until salt dissolves and water is hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Add ice water, then add wine and any other spices you like to create the brine. Chill brine to room temperature before adding chops.

Put chops in a self-sealing plastic bag, pour in brine, and seal bag. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, no longer.

Prepare a grill to medium-high heat (about 450 degrees F.). Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chops with pepper and powdered garlic and grill chops over direct heat until the internal temperature reaches between 160 degrees F. . (medium), on a meat thermometer, 7 to 8 minutes per side. Remove chops from the grill and let rest for 7-8 minutes tented with foil

Garnish

Candied peaches: Melt butter, sugar and spices in a skillet on med. heat; when bubbling add peach slices and stir and flip until peaches are well coated and warmed through—about seven minutes. Add rum near end of cooking and stir in allowing alcohol to evaporate.

This can be done ahead of grilling and kept warm, or if you have your prep done you can make this while the chops rest.

NOTE The candied peaches make an excellent quick dessert or breakfast served with whipped cream.


July 26, 2015

 

BBQ Peach, Pineapple, Ginger Sauce (salsa)

For BBQ Pork And Chicken

My peach trees have suffered greatly during the past two winters and I doubt I will have any more than enough to do this recipe; especially as the chipmunks seem to want a larger share this year. However Niagara peaches are on the shelves now and I found a produce stand on Wooler Rd. South that has their own peaches.

This recipe is a nice side for BBQ-grilled pork or chicken. The molasses and the Pusser'€™s rum both have hearty flavours so you may want to soften them a bit by adding half then tasting. Used full strength with a glass of Pusser’s Pain Killer* in hand, it would not be hard to believe you have been transported to the Caribbean. If you want to add a little heat to the mix, try “Fire In The kitchen’s’ Three Alarm spice/rub a teaspoon at a time.

The recipe will yield 4 cups; but it will keep refrigerated for a couple of weeks. I think you could also preserve this sauce by using standard canning methods.

*Pusser's Pain Killer is reg'd to Pussers; I printed the recipe and it is available on request. Pusser's is stocked at the Bewdly liquor store

BBQ Peach, Pineapple, Ginger Sauce (salsa)

For BBQ Pork And Chicken

Yield 4 Cups

  • 2 lbs. Fresh peaches
  • 1-1/2 lbs Fresh pineapple
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Finely minced shallots or white part of green onions
  • 2 tbsp Finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Cloves Fresh garlic, pressed—2 tsp.
  • 5 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Molasses
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Yellow mustard powder or 1 tsp. prepared mustard (Dijon)
  • 1 oz Pusser’s dark rum to taste
  • Sea salt to taste

 

Method

Bring a medium saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. Blanch peaches in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove, let sit until cool enough to handle, then peel, pit, and cut into halves.

Slice pineapple 1/4"€ thick slices.

Clean BBQ grates, lightly oil grates, bring heat to med.-high and grill peach halves and pineapple rings on both sides creating char marks. Remove fruit from grill, when it is cool enough, coarsely chop and place in heavy bottom saucepan.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add shallots and cook, stirring frequently until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Scrape pan into fruit mixture and turn burner to medium-low. Add brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, and mustard powder and continue to cook on low heat until peaches have softened and released their juices, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir sauce frequently as it tends to burn easily.

Stir in rum, cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt to taste and serve.


July 18, 2015

 

Cream Cheese, Smoked Trout Appetizer

This is a very simple recipe for a refreshing appetizer or brunch table item. You need to be sure to get hot smoked trout -- not like the wet style Scottish smoked salmon. I featured the Ocean rub from “Fire in the Kitchen” as I am carrying their spice line. €œFire in the Kitchen -- originated with firemen experimenting with spices and rubs in the kitchens of Fire-halls. Some firemen are noted for their culinary skills developed while on 24 hour shifts; this one went commercial.

I used basil in the mix; but chives, dill, thyme, oregano, etc would also work. If you can’t make the trip to Houston’s in Cambourne you could substitute other rubs developed for fish—no guarantee on the results.

P.S. 1: The spread could also be used as a dip.

P.S. 2: Just for fun, we have added scenic drive routes to our store on the contact page of this website.

Cream Cheese, Smoked Trout Appetizer

Yield 2 Cups

Ingredients

 

Spread
  • 1 Fillet Smoked trout (hard or hot smoked)
  • 1/2 cup Mayo or salad dressing (Miracle Whip)
  • 1/2 cup Sour cream
  • 1 cup Cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Fresh basil, chopped or shredded
  • 2 tsp. Fire in the Kitchen brand Ocean Rub
  • Sub Cajun fish spice rub
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon juice

 

Base
  • English cucumber

 

Garnish
  • Pimento stuffed olives
  • Or shredded red and green pepper

 

Method

Remove the smoked trout from the skin by sliding a knife gently under the meat from tail to top; crumble the smoked trout.

For spread: Lightly whip the cheese with electric beaters then fold in the trout, sour cream, mayo, Ocean rub, basil and lemon juice mixing well. Set aside in the refrigerator to cool.

Peel the cucumber by taking off a strip of peel the full length, then leave a strip of peel intact the same width as the piece you removed. Continue the process so that the cucumber has alternate stripes of peel and un-peeled.

Now cut the cucumber into slices about 3 / 16” thick on the diagonal.

Assembly And Garnish.

Spread the trout and cheese mixture on cucumber slices, decorate with sliced pimento olives or shredded red and green peppers.

If you are feeling artistic, cut a triangular shaped wedge from the right end of cucumber slice; then, cut another wedge about 1/2€ from first cut on upper edge, repeat on lower edge. Your slice will now resemble a fish. Use the olive slice for the eye; make a small incision for the mouth and you are good to go.


June 27, 2015

 

Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake

Pelee Island 2nd Best

I printed this recipe several years ago and one of my regular readers grabbed onto it right away as she realized with whipping cream in the dough it had to be good.

She made it and thought so much of it she sent the recipe to her sister who lives on Pelee Island. Her sister made it and entered it into a strawberry shortcake baking contest. She won 2nd prize. The judges told her the only fault was the top of the biscuit crazed a little.

This time I made a few adjustments and added the optional orange liqueur.

Nowadays most of us just open a bag of tea biscuit mix and that’s it. Back in the day, biscuit making was an art and there were/are different recipes for different types of biscuits.

I think we are aware that the old sailing ships fed the sailors a biscuit called hard-tack and some cooks could make biscuits that were used for hockey pucks. This biscuit recipe is for a soft crumbly biscuit. The extra fat from the butter and heavy cream are one factor for a soft crumbly biscuit; the use of pastry flour cuts back on the amount of gluten and again this aides the soft texture. Using all pastry flour would lighten the biscuit even more.

The final touch for a light biscuit is the handling of the dough. You need a light touch and do not over-work the dough. In hot weather it will help if you chill the pastry board.

In season, nothing beats Ontario strawberries; I hope this biscuit, whipped cream, and a drop of Triple-Sec will make them just a little bit better.

Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake

Pelee Island 2nd Best

Yield 8 - 10

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 2 quarts Fresh strawberries, washed, trimmed, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Sugar (depending on how sweet strawberries are)
  • 1/4 cup Orange liqueur—like Triple Sec (optional)
Shortcake Biscuits
  • 1 cup Pastry flour
  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 6 tbsp Tablespoons ice cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup Heavy cream (35% fat)
  • 1 Egg white whipped until frothy
Fresh Whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Method

FILLING

Toss berries with sugar and liqueur if using; set aside.

Mix all dry ingredients together.

Cut butter into flour until you have consistency of course crumbs Add in half of heavy cream; fold in whipped egg white, continuing adding cream until you have biscuit dough that will ball together.

You may need to flour your hands to form into a dough ball.

On a floured board, roll or pat the dough into a 6” x 12” sheet. Fold from bottom as if it were a piece of stationary being folded to go into an envelope. Roll or pat dough back into a 6” x 12” sheet. Using a 3” cutter cut 8 circles.

Roll scraps of dough out and cut 2 more 3” circles.

Place them on a baking sheet, touching. You can also bake them in a cast iron pan or on a baking stone. Brush tops with a little cream.

Bake at 400 F in a pre heated oven for 10 minutes then lower temp to 350 F for about 5-7 minutes. Biscuits should be golden and a toothpick inserted into biscuit should come out clean. Gently move biscuits from baking sheet to a wire rack and allow to cool.

FRESH WHIPPED CREAM

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form; then add sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks; set aside in refrigerator.

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE ASSEMBLY

Cut biscuits in half, and layer strawberries onto bottom of biscuit also using some of the liquid, which soaks into the biscuits.

Top with fresh whipped cream. Put top of biscuit over whipped cream. Optional to add a dollup of whipped cream on top and a slice or two of berries for garnish.


June 25, 2015

 

Shrimp and Pasta Summer Salad

It seems I am always thinking and writing recipes for the BBQ (or my sweet tooth), but we need to eat more than grilled meat.

This is my wife's recipe so I take no credit; but I can vouch for it being tasty regardless what you serve it with. She set it up in two parts because she likes to prep ahead but did not want the shrimp sitting in the salad too long. Adding the vinaigrette to the warm pasta infuses it with flavour of the vinaigrette.

For the shrimp we often use shrimp rings; we poach the shrimp for a couple of minutes in simmering water; this firms the flesh up a bit.

Enjoy the summer.

Shrimp and Pasta Summer Salad

Yield 8 - 10

Qty. INGREDIENTS

Step ONE

  • 2 cups Bow Tie pasta-sub your choice of pasta
  • 1/2 cup Chopped celery
  • 2 Eggs Hard boiled and chopped
  • 2 Green onions, chopped
  • 1 Yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4-6 Radishes, chopped
  • 6 oz Preserved roasted red pepper (Pimento) chopped
  • 10 oz. Renee's Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Step TWO

  • 1 lb. Cooked shrimp tails off
  • 1/4 cup Ranch dressing
  • Reserved pasta water as needed.

Method

Cook some eggs to hard boiled-no green ring please. Cut up your vegetables and set aside. Cook pasta in boiling about 8 minutes until pasta is al dente. Drain reserving a little pasta water for later.

Combine Renee's Honey Dijon with pasta; allow to cool, then add celery, onions, eggs, pimentos, and radishes. Toss to mix and set aside in refrigerator until just before service.

Step TWO

Cook shrimp and remove tails, cool in refrigerator. Add chilled shrimp and ranch dressing just before service.

If salad seems dry add a little of the reserved pasta water or more ranch dressing.


May 21, 2015 (on 89.7 FM Radio)

 

Honey Rhubarb Custard Crisp

This recipe has two motivators; first, rhubarb is in season and second, I am going to be guest co-host on Chef’s Corner at 89.7FM with Chef Michelle.

The guests on the show are two experts on the bee business. I should not write too much about honey until after the interview but I do have a couple of tips. Honey is sweeter than sugar and heavier than sugar; so you should use about 25% less when using volume measure. Honey also burns easier than sugar so you should cook 25 degrees F. lower when substituting honey for sugar. So 25 % less and 25 degrees F. lower. Although I am not getting into BBQ sauces today, honey is great in BBQ sauces where you want sticky. Honey in sauces and glazes is like ice cream on apple pie.

So if you don’t get a chance to listen this morning I will give you a recap and some tips next week.

Regarding the custard base, it is a variation of the filling I use for my rhubarb pies. Some cooks prefer a little cinnamon for spice instead of vanilla. So if you prefer cinnamon just do the switch in both the topping and the filling.

Yield 8 x 8 pan

HONEY RHUBARB CUSTARD CRISP

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • Butter to grease pan
  • 3/4 cup Honey, liquid, clover or spring flowers
  • 3 tbsp Starch
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 lb Rhubarb cut into 3/4” pieces (or 1 /2lb. Rhubarb & 1/2lb. Strawberries)
CRUMB TOPPING

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup FLOUR
  • 1 1/2 cups Rolled oats cereal—not instant
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cold butter
  • ½ tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Method

FILLING

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8” x 8” baking dish or a 9” deep dish pie pan.. Washand cut rhubarb; set aside. Combine egg, starch, sour cream and honey; mix well with a whip. Fold rhubarb into egg/honey mixture. Pour mixture into greased pan.

CRUMB TOPPING

Combine Flour, oats, sugar, vanilla and salt. Cut butter into cubes then work into oats and flour with a pastry cutter or a couple of pulses in a food processor.

ASSEMBLY

Pour rhubarb mixture into greased pan; sprinkle topping over rhubarb and bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.


May 10, 2015

 

Buttermilk Rhubarb Muffins'

I was sitting on the swing after dinner a couple of days ago and I thought I saw some movement in the garden; I sat very still and watched intently to see what was moving. Keep in mind I am half-blind in my left eye and don't see well with my right. As I watched closely I determined it was the rhubarb growing. It is growing so fast I will have some to market next week.

Of course to a foodie the mere sight of rhubarb reinforces that Spring is here and we need to polish up the rhubarb recipes.

This week's recipe will give you a break from the meat dishes I have done lately and set your taste buds up for a gentle sweet/sour experience.

Here are a few tips to go with the recipe:
1.substitute 1 cup of honey for the 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar.
2. No buttermilk?---Sour 1 cup of milk by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes.
3. Take the walnuts out of the batter and add to the streusel topping for toasted walnuts.
4.If you like a stronger cinnamon punch add a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter-leave the cinnamon in the streusel topping.
5. If your rhubarb is tough or has been frozen, blanch it for a couple of minutes
6. If you trust me, double the recipe-they are sooo goood they will fly right off the platter.

If you are from Nova Scotia, sooo goood translates to some good. For non-Nova Scotians some good is the extreme superlative as in: good, better, best and some good.

 SOME GOOD, BUTTERMILK RHUBARB MUFFINS
YIELD 18-24

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups A.P. flour
  • 1 Tsp.. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 Fresh egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Buttermilk -- sub soured milk
  • 2 cups Diced rhubarb, tender stalks, 3/8" dice
  • 1/2 cup Chopped walnuts

TOPPING

  • 1 tbsp Melted butter
  • 1/3 cup White sugar
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, oil/butter, egg, vanilla and buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth.

Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended (Lumpy is OK).

 Stir in the rhubarb and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top.

In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, white sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of this mixture on top of each muffin.

Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes (Use the toothpick test). Cool in the pans for at least 10 minutes before removing.


May 18, 2014

 

Lime Thyme Lamb Chops

Although spring is a little shy this year; it is still time to think of Spring recipes and lamb; lamb is an item that seems to suit Spring.

Thyme should also be sprouting in sunny niches. Back in the day, the farmers bred their ewes so the new-born lambs could enjoy the spring pastures. That of course limited the supply of lamb. Now the ewes are bred so that lambs are born throughout the year.

Without getting too technical, a lamb is defined as less than one year of age. A nice size of lamb is 110 lbs. on the hoof , that will give you about 55 lbs dressed. Much over that the weight goes to fat and much less the yield is not as good and the chops are small.

Lamb is popular in many cultures, especially around the Mediterranean basin; it is also popular in Scotland. Each culture has it own recipes and spices. Surprise, surprise I prefer the Scottish recipes.

Lamb flavour and tenderness also reflects where and how it has been raised. Ontario lamb raised on our prime pastures and sweet hay is one of the finest lamb available. It is sweet, tender and juicey; it does not have the unpleasant odour or grassy taste associated with New Zealand and Australian lamb. I have said it a hundred times before; but just to remind you, 10,000 coyotes can not be wrong!

LIME THYME LAMB CHOPS
YIELD 2-3

Qty.  Ingredients

BUTTER

  • 3 oz. Butter (softened)
  • 2 tsp Freshly grated Zest of a 2 limes
  • 1 tsp Lime juice
  • 2 tsp Fresh Thyme, finely chopped

CHOPS

  • 6 Lamb loin chops (t-bone)
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Method

Prepare butter ahead and let chill.

Combine butter ingredients and chill until firm.

Bring chops to room temperature, rub with salt, pepper and garlic 10 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat grill to hot. Grill or barbecue lamb chops for 4-6 minutes each side. Allow to rest tented for about 5 minutes.

Place a spoonful of the butter on to each cooked chop and allow to melt. Serve the chops with salad and crusty bread.

Optional butters:

  • Orange & Rosemary Butter: Mix together the butter with the orange zest and fresh rosemary.
  • Garlic & Black Pepper: Mix together the butter with 1 clove garlic, crushed and 2.5ml (1/2tsp) crushed black peppercorns.

May 14, 2013

 

Cheddar and Chives Scrambled Eggs

I am still working on some Spring recipes especially suited for a buffet. Unfortunately "Mother Nature" is in bad humour and the Great Lakes Basin is experiencing global cooling.

In a good Spring you would have fresh chives growing in a sunny spot on the south side of the barn. Not this year, but if I keep up the Spring recipes maybe the old lady will get the hint Cooking scrambled eggs is an art.

The tips are low heat and using a lift and fold technique as described in the recipe. Having your eggs room temperature helps. Mix in a little milk and whipping seems to ad some leavening to the eggs.

Do not overcrowd your pan; cook in batches if need be. Most pans can only handle about 4 eggs at a time. Remember the tortoise wins the race in making light fluffy scrambled eggs. Eggs are cheap-practice makes perfect.

If you are a regular reader, note I will be away for two weeks researching seafood recipes in a warmer clime on your dime. The store will be open in my absence.

CHEDDAR and CHIVES SCRAMBLED EGGS YIELD 2-3 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 3 Fresh Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 1/4 cup Old shredded Cheddar-lightly packed
  • 2 tbsp Chopped chives or green onions

METHOD

You will need a large non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet as well as a wooden or heat resistant silicone spatula.

Mix the eggs and milk with a silver fork until smooth and creamy. Put the skillet on med-low heat. On our range we used #4 of 10 settings. Add the butter to the pan. If it starts to bubble your pan is too hot. Eggs do not like high heat-makes them rubbery.

When the butter has melted, swirl it around to coat pan. Add the eggs, then sprinkle the chives and cheese over the egg mixture. The eggs will start to show a little cooking on the edge; lift and fold the edge to the centre. Turn off heat under pan. Continue to lift and fold.

You will end up with a pile of egg in the centre. If you are going to hold them for a buffet, remove from pan to holding dish when just a little under cooked. If they are for immediate use cook until all wet is gone.

Divide into portions with your spatula and serve.


May 18, 2014

 

Rainbow Trout Fillets

I thought a trout recipe would be timely as the fishermen are doing their best to catch some spring trout. Of course every seasoned fisherman knows how to cook a trout; but in case you are a novice or are purchasing fresh local trout these tips might help.

I think the Cardinal rule would be to keep it simple. Trout has a beautiful light flavour and you don't want to overcome it with spice. Butter, lemon & dill are the proven stand bys. Butter is the choice for frying; but a little oil will help prevent sticking to the pan.

Trout are usually eaten with the skin on and crisped. You can however remove the flesh easily; just slide a knife under the flesh after cooking or skin the fillet prior to cooking.

Purchased fillets will have the scales removed; fresh caught need to be scaled or skinned.

RAINBOW TROUT FILLETS
YIELD 2

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Fresh rainbow trout fillets
  • Pepper & salt
  • Herbs of your choice
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Olive oil.

METHOD PAN FRIED
Pat fish dry and sprinkle lightly with pepper, salt and herbs of your choice. Keep the spicing light. The fish has a delicate flavour that can be over shadowed with a lot of spice. Heat a cast iron pan on med. high with the butter and olive oil. When the butter foams add the fillets skin down; cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 90 seconds. Remove from heat; allow to temper 3-4 minutes and serve at once with a few lemon slices.

FOIL WRAPPED ON BBQ
Same ingredients plus foil. I prefer individual packages for the fillets. Spray the foil with cooking spray and lay a fillet onto a piece of foil large enough to make an envelope. Put some butter on and under fish. Seal the envelope. Place envelopes on medium hot grill, skin down, for 5 minutes. Flip and cook for 2 more minutes. Unwrap fish and lift with a large spatula onto plates. Garnish with lemon & parsley.

DIRECT GRILLING
Direct grilling is tricky as the fish fillet may break up on you. The tricks are to have your grill plates squeaky clean and oiled. Cook the fillet flesh side down over high heat. Grill about 3 minutes then flip using a large thin bladed flipper. Reduce heat and cook another 3 minutes or until skin is crisp. Remove from grill with large flipper or use two if fillet is large.


May 15, 2014

 

Thyme and Wine Chicken Burgers

For those who prefer the lighter taste of chicken, here is a simple recipe to start you on your way.

Chicken does not have as much collagen as beef, so it is a bit more difficult to get the ground chicken to form and hold into patties. The eggs and soaked breadcrumbs help the ground chicken to hold together.  Another trick is to chill them to the point of just starting to freeze. Make sure you have a long flipper with a thin blade and do not try to flip until the flipper slides easily under the patty.

If you don't like wine, sub ginger ale; it won't taste quite the same though. Cooking with wine or any alcohol spirits changes the taste profile. Wine and spirits act as a catalyst with the other ingredients aiding them to release their flavours. So, the meat and the spices are a bit more intense. The same is true for vegetables in a soup or stew.

While I always recommend you buy quality chicken, a little secret I learned from my brother is to add chicken soup base to your recipe for more chicken flavour. I have to tell you when I was engaged in volume cooking where price was everything, a little chicken soup base helped with the taste.

THYME & WINE CHICKEN BURGERS
YIELD 8 x 5 oz.

Qty.    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 /2 cup Dry bread crumbs
  • 4 oz. White wine
  • 2 lbs Ground chicken*
  • 2 Fresh eggs
  • 2 tbsp Finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper

* if you bought cheap chicken add 1-2 tsp. dry chicken soup mix to make it taste like chicken

 

Method

Mix the bread crumbs and wine together and let them stand. Beat eggs and stir into ground chicken; add lemon juice and spices, then wine & breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pat or roll out into a 8" x 16" rectangle; using a 4" cutter (an empty 28 oz tomato can) cut out 8 circles. Stack them in piles of 4 using patty paper between patties. Work the trimmings into an extra patty.

Chill the patties well. They can rest in the refrigerator several hours.

At grilling time, clean and oil your grates; heat grill to med-high. Grill the patties about 6 minutes per side. Rotate the patties a quarter turn at the the three minute mark for nice grill markings.

Move patties to side of BBQ with low or indirect heat for a further 5 minutes. There should not be any pink in the patties or a probe thermometer should read 175+ F. It is difficult to insert a thermometer into the side of a patty. So, stack 4 patties and probe from the top.

2014

 

Smokin' Blade on a Bun

Here we are stuck in the winter blahs.  My mind was saying we need some comfort food; but the cooks also need a simple recipe to serve up for a quick supper. Although some BBQ all winter, many of us are longing for a hint of BBQ to embrace the coming spring. Hopefully this recipe will fill all three.

A blade roast is one of the more flavourful roasts from the front shoulder of a steer. It requires long slow moist cooking and is a favourite for pot roast dinners. Cooking the blade in BBQ sauce then serving it up shreded on buns or sliced crusty bread should give you a quick meal that gives you a taste of comfort food and a hint of BBQ.

Note that cooking garlic for a long time diminishes the harshness of fresh garlic or garlic that is lightly cooked; so go for the gusto and use lots in the roast; you will have the aroma and hint of garlic.

Note too, that by waiting 10 minutes after you rub meat with the salt, the salt draws sugars and protein to the surface of the meat; thus when you brown it over high heat you get some caramelisation on the surface. This adds greatly to the overall flavour.

SMOKIN' BLADE ON A BUN

YIELD 6

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs Blade roast
  • 1 Bulb Garlic
  • Pepper, salt for rub
  • 1 Med. Onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Beer or ginger ale
  • 1/4 cup Packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbls. Spicy mustard or Dijon
  • 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Liquid smoke flavouring or more to taste

PREPARATION
Bring roast to room temperature. Peel and sliver garlic cloves. Cut slits into roast and insert garlic slivers into meat -the more the merrier. Rub roast with salt & pepper; let it rest for 10 minutes. Then, brown roast in a hot skillet with a little oil.

Cover bottom of slow cooker with chopped onion; then place browned roast on top of onions. Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over roast. Cover and slow cook on low or high depending on your time-line. After cooking remove roast from cooker, Allow it to rest at least 15 minutes tented with foil on a plate. Skim fat from sauce while waiting; if sauce needs to be thickened keep crock-pot on high; other wise turn onto low.

Shred meat or carve thin slices across the grain; then return meat to crock-pot and stir to coat. Meat can be piled onto buns to serve or you can cool and reheat.

ASSEMBLY
Prepare 6 burger buns or sliced crusty bread, pile bottom of bun with meat using tongs. Add toppings or more sauce as desired then add top of bun and munch.

These go well with hot German potato salad. Toppings could include bacon, caramelised onions, chopped tomato or chili sauce.

2014

 

Delmonico Steak and Almond Shrimp for Valentines

I was reading up on beef cuts when I came across the term " Delmonico steak"; like most foodies today I thought a Delmonico was a rib-eye steak.

As it turns out there is a lot of history and a little mystery as to what a Delmonico steak really was when it was served in it's namesake restaurant.

According to one food historian there are nine different theories. The most popular are the chuck eye first cut, the rib eye, a boneless wing or club steak and finally a 2" top sirloin.

Recipes written by the leading chef's at Delmonicos in the late 1800's are as follows: a 2" loin steak pounded down to 1- 1/2"; it was then given a salt and pepper rub and grilled over charcoal to the desired doneness. Although that sounds like top sirloin to many; the problem is changing terminology. Back in the day "loin" referred to any part of the rib loin and the long loin. The author of the article narrows his choice down to a 2" boneless club steak. It is the section of the long loin that lies between the rib-eye and the T-bone. It is well marbled and a 2" cut would weigh about 20 oz. There would only be four of these per steer making it a scarce or "special" cut. Delmonico's also became synonymous with "the best" and after the demise of the original Delmonico's during prohibition other restaurants used the term to define their best steak.

In any case, the recipe I have here will work with any of those cuts and also the Kansas City strip, and a tenderloin. If you are doing tenderloin you would need two; the other steaks cut thick enough would serve two.

I used watercress in the compound butter because I like the peppery kick; but, you could use parsley, thyme or other herbs.

My favourite sides for this are bow-tie pasta for starch and asparagus for my vegetable.

DELMONICO STEAK & ALMOND SHRIMP
for VALENTINES

Yield 2

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Delmonico steak 12 -20 oz.
  • Sea salt, ground pepper, garlic powder
  • Peanut oil for frying if req'dFeb

Compound Browned Butter

  • 1/4 lb Unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Freshly chopped watercress leaves.

Garnish for steak

  • Compound lemon butter, & watercress

Amaretto Shrimp

  • 6 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup Sweet onion, finely minced
  • 1 lb. Large raw shrimp, cleaned, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup Amaretto liqueur
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

METHOD

Make the browned butter/compound butter ahead or first; then do all your prep and portioning. The shrimp takes about 10 minutes and the steak will take 15-20 minutes and the final 10 minutes of the steak preparation is a resting period. So butter, then steak, then shrimp. Potatoes or pasta and veggies you can work in; potatoes hold and most veggies and pasta are quick.

Browned compound butter:
BUTTER: This recipe calls for 1/4 lb., but you can do more and keep it for later use. Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat at moderate heat until butter turns to a tan colour. Remove from heat and set on a cool surface.  The butter continues to cook and can be overdone. Whisk occasionally as it is cooling. As it reaches room temperature whisk in lemon juice and watercress. Keep it combined then chill in refrigerator. If you wish you can roll it into a small log while it is still plastic. As a log you can cut slices from it for your garnish. Me, dropping a rounded spoonful is OK.

STEAK: Your steak needs to be at room temperature-about an hour. The rub should be on the steak for approx. 10 minutes to allow the salt to do its magic. Grilling the steak on a BBQ is great, but in this weather you may need to use an electric grill or the never fail cast iron fry pan (coated fry pans do not take the high heat).  Pat the steak dry; then rub with salt/pepper/garlic rub; wait 10 minutes. Peanut oil is the best for high heat. Heat your pan smoking hot then add steak. Allow 5-8 minutes per side depending on thickness of steak and how rare you like it. After both sides are done, warm a pie plate; set a rack on it; place steak on rack and lightly tent with foil.

Now get onto the shrimp.

SHRIMP: Sauté onion in butter until translucent and barely browned; add shrimp and sauté about 5 minutes.  Add amaretto, almonds and salt and cook on medium heat for another 4 to 5 minutes. Hold for service; serves well over pasta.

ASSEMBLY:
Cover centre of a small wooden cutting board with watercress; place steak over watercress; then add a dollup of the compound butter. Plate the shrimp, and pasta/potato and vegetables. Carve the steak at the table serving half to each person.

2014

 

Skillet, Easy Valentines Cake

Ok, this one is for the boys to show off their prowess with the old cast iron skillet. If you use the cake mix and jam you can whip it up in no time flat and look like a pro. The ladies of course would follow the complete recipe and garnish using a bake pan.
No matter how it is done or by whom; it is quick easy and sure to please on any occasion with multiple choices of fruit.

SKILLET, EASY VALENTINES CAKE

Yield 8

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup Butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups Mashed strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup Cranberries fresh or frozen (Sub 1/4 cup cranberry sauce)
  • 1/4 cup Orange juice

CAKE BATTER
French Vanilla white cake mix-- follow pkg directions
Or batter as follows:

  • 1-1/2 cups A.P. flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Baking pwdr.
  • 1 Fresh egg, warmed
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Melted butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

GARNISH
Mint leaves, fanned strawberries & Ice cream

METHOD
Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl beat egg, then butter, milk and vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients into liquid to form a smooth batter.

ASSEMBLY
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a 10 " oven proof skillet melt cubed butter, then stir in sugar until dissolved. Stir in orange juice, strawberries & cranberries. Grease sides of skillet with lard or shortening.

Prepare cake batter per pkg. directions or make batter as above: Pour batter over berries, then bake for approx.25 Minutes. Cake should be lightly browned and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted into cake. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10-15 minutes. Invert pan over serving dish. Allow it to cool a bit so berries are set. Slice into wedges; garnish with mint leaves, fanned strawberries and ice cream.

If you do not have a skillet use a 9" x 13" baking pan lined with silicone paper.

If you are pressed for fruit you can sub jam -reduce sugar to 1/4 cup.

2014

 

Super Bowl Shaved Beef on a Bun

This recipe is for the boys since they may have a little trouble with timing. I have made it easy.

It also promotes some of the less expensive roasts which are considered tougher but more flavourful. This cooking method will give you melt in your mouth beef with a full flavour punch to the taste buds.

One note of caution, I used dry aged beef; if you don't have a local meat shop selling dry aged beef, leave your supermarket roast uncovered in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. This will help to age it but dry aged is the best.

The choice of bread has options; if you don't like the "chew" of Ciabatta you can use softer buns and grill them in garlic butter or choose a bread to make sliders. If you are really brave, look up a recipe for Scot's Baps; this is a round bun designed for meat fillings.

Yet another aspect of this style of cooking is energy savings. Cooked traditionally this roast would cook @300F. for 2.5 to 3 hours. I will let the rocket scientists do the calculations; but my guess is a 60% savings in energy use.

SHAVED BEEF on a BUN

Yield 6-8

Qty.    INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lb. Eye of Round roast
  • Sub( Inside round, rump, or sirloin tip)
  • Sea salt, pepper garlic powder
  • Bread
  • Ciabatta loaf or other rustic breads
  • Sandwich Fixings
  • Spring greens, shaved red onion, blue cheese dressings
  • Horseradish, ground pepper & sea salt.

METHOD

Determine serving time and go back 3 hours & 25 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Roast should be at room temperature. Rub roast with salt, pepper and garlic. Let it rest 10 minutes so the salt can do its thing.

Put on a rack over small roasting pan. Place in oven; turn heat down to 450 F. Cook at high heat seven minutes per lb. (aprox. 21 miuntes). When 20+ minutes has passed, turn oven off and leave roast in oven for 2-1/2 hours.

Roast will be uniformly pink. Let it rest about 10 minutes then shave with very sharp knife or electric meat slicer. Note if roast is too rare, reheat 10-15 minutes @350.F.

ASSEMBLY

Toss greens and onion in small amount of blue cheese dressing -- just needs a hint of the dressing.

Slice bread lengthways, butter both sides. Spread a layer of tossed greens on bottom half of loaf; top with shaved beef; add pepper, salt and a bit of horseradish.  Put top of loaf over meat; then slice on a diagonal into 2" slices.

 Serve on a platter with mixed pickles, dill pickle & olives.

Since this is a Super Bowl recipe a little beer would be good about now.

2014

 

Burns Dinner

Every year in the civilized world, Scots and wannabees gather on or near Jan 25th to celebrate Scotland's famous poet, Robbie Burns. Undoubtedly they will sing "Auld Lang Syne", the most sung of all songs in the world. Not bad for a humble farmer who had a way with words.

In any case, in 99.9% of those gatherings the meal will be Roast Sirloin, Haggis & Neets & Tatties. Well I am sure Mr. Burns didn't eat that venue every day and being a Scot he may well have loved a Popeseye roast or steak. The Popeseye is what we call the rump roast.

In the U.S. the cut is all but forgotten and meat charts lump it in with the outside round. Unfortunately some Canadian meat cutters and charts confuse it with round as well. The Popeseye or rump is a muscle that weighs 7-10 lbs. It sits behind the Sirloin and above the hip bone of the steer. Taken out of the steer as a whole muscle it resembles an eye. It is high in flavour and properly cooked as tender as sirloin.

The name Popeseye? -- I have searched endlessly for the origin of the name to no avail. My guess is this: The early Scots Presbyterians were much maligned by the Catholic leaning King James VII of Scotland (King James II of England) so there was disrespect towards the Papacy from the Presbyterian Scots. Now this muscle is part of the exterior anal sphincter system and if you stood behind a steer and imagined the rump muscles as eyes, you may imagine the entire Papal face. So, like the Popes Nose on the turkey, the Scots got their kick at the papacy. Subtle folk they are.

Enjoy yours Burns Dinner whatever you have.

BURNS POPESEYE STEAK
With mushroom Drambuie butter

Yield 2

Qty.   INGREDIENTS

DRAMBUIE BUTTER

  • 1/4 lb Butter
  • 2 tbsp Powdered dried wild mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp Drambuie, Madeira or Orange Liquer

STEAK

  • 2 Popeseye steak cut 1-1/4" thick
  • (true rump steak or sub strip loin or Sirloin tip)
  • Pepper, sea salt. garlic powder

METHOD

BUTTER

Soften to room temperature, pulverize dried mushrooms to a powder (crush between sheets of silicone paper, mortal & pestle or what ever).

Mix butter mushrooms & Drambuie together; then roll into a log and chill. You will have some extra.

STEAK

About 1- 1/2 hours before dinner take steaks from refrigerator to counter top. Dry with paper towel. Let rest for 50 minutes. Rub with course sea salt, pepper & garlic powder. Let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat cast iron skillet with peanut oil to smoking hot (about 5 minutes)

Cook steak 4-5 minutes per side; only turn once-don't poke it or press it. Remove to a warmed plate with a rack over it and loosely tent with foil; then rest for 7-10 minutes. Place on serving plate and top with a 1/4 " slice or two of Drambuie butter.

Sides would be clapshot, (turnip & potatoe mixed & mashed) & buttered leeks.

Dessert would be Marmalade & whiskey bread pudding with clotted cream.

2014

 

Swiss Steak

I remember watching my father make Swiss Steak when I was about seven years old. He had a honking piece of steak about an inch thick and he was working the flour into the meat with the edge of a saucer. Then it was browned in the old cast iron fry pan. I don't remember the onions and celery; but I am sure they went in too. I remember the last to go in the pan was a jar of home-preserved tomatoes Dad had grown; Jim and I had picked while battling the huge tomato worms, and Mom had canned. I remember soaking up the juices with the heavily buttered mashed potatoes.

We had a cow and made our own butter; so, milk, butter and whipped cream were plentiful. Well, I can't milk the cow or churn the cream for butter any more, but I can still make the Swiss Steak.

P.S. Some days I don't remember what I had for breakfast the day before; but I can visually remember meals from 60+ years ago. It must have been good.

SWISS STEAK

Yield 3-4

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • Steak
  • 1 lb. Delicated round steak (a.k.a.minute steak, cube steak)
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dry Mustard-sub cayenne pepper for some serious heat.
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/2 cup Wine-I like white or a blush-red is more robust
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 cup Diced onion
  • 2 Stalks Celery sliced
  • 2 cups Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tbsp HP sauce
  • 1  28 oz Can Diced tomatoes
  • To Taste: Salt, pepper, sugar, lemon juice

 

METHOD
Combine the flour, salt, pepper and mustard. Pat steaks dry; then pound flour mixture into steaks with a meat hammer.

Cut steaks into desired portion size. Preheat large skillet or Dutch oven and brown 2-3 minutes per side. Don't crowd pan-work in batches. When both sides are nicely browned remove steak.

Deglaze pan with wine; save wine and brownings. Add more butter to pan and sauté onions, celery and mushrooms. Don't crowd pan -- work in batches.

Next put wine and brownings in bottom of pan then return meat to pan, add mushrooms, onions, celery, HP sauce and the can of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, cover pan and simmer slowly for 90 minutes or place pan in oven covered and bake @ 350 F. for 90 minutes. Steak should be fork tender.

Serve with mashed potato and green beans.

2014

 

Chocolate Bread Pudding

We recently vacationed in New Bruswick; one of our stops was in St. Stephen, the home of Ganong Chocolate. The locals are so immersed in chocolate, they like to call themselves the chocolate town and they have an annual week-long chocolate festival.

Ganong has been making chocolate treats since 1873, making them the oldest chocoletier in Canada. They have a modern plant on the edge of town and the original brick factory located downtown is now a chocolate museum and a factory outlet store. We swaggered out of the store with two canvas shopping bags full of chocolate and a cookbook.

The cookbook is the effort of the locals; it is entitled "The Chocolate Town Cookbook" and is all chocolate recipes. The recipe that follows was submitted by Carol-Ann Nicholson of St Stephen. Her comments were: "This is an old family recipe. It was a favourite of adults and children alike, especially on cold winter days after sliding or skating. Sometimes my mother deliberately left bread out to stale so we could have pudding the next day".

My only comments are: the better the bread and the better the chocolate, the better the pudding. I think I would get some of Marché 59 's rustic loaf and like the St Stephen matriarch, I would deliberately let it stale.

Bon appetit!

CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING

Yield 6

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups Cubed stale bread
  • 1 /4 cup Butter
  • 1 3 /4 cups Whole milk
  • 1 cup Whipping cream
  • 4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 4 Large egg yolks
  • 1 cup Walnuts - optional

METHOD

Butter a 2-quart baking dish. In large bowl drizzle bread cubes with melted butter; toss to coat then pour into prepared baking dish. Add nuts if using and stir in. Bring cream and milk to simmer in a med.-to large pot.

Remove pot from heat and whisk in chocolate. Whisk sugar and egg yolks together in another bowl then add melted chocolate a little at a time whisking as you add. (if the chocolate is too hot or added all at once you can cook the yolks). Pour the chocolate custard over the bread, then cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest and absorb some of the custard for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. and bake for approx. 35 minutes. The center should still jiggle a bit or appear wet.

Remove from oven and cool for 15-20 minutes, then serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Sep 10, 2013

 

Pork and Peaches Warm Salad

Peaches are in season and the chipmunks had the decency to leave some on my trees, so here we have it grilled peaches and pork. Pork tenderloin is a bit tricky to grill without getting it too dry, hence the brining which increases its moisture content by about 10%. If you are accomplished on the grill and don't have a problem grilling pork tenderloin you can skip the brining. What we are striving to do with the pork is get a quick sear on the outside, then slow cook it bathed in BBQ sauce. The peaches just need to be on the grill long enough to get the grill marks and warm them through.

My cherished editor is meatless; so for her and others who abstain from meat, try grilling a Portabella Mushroom instead of pork.

PORK & PEACHES WARM SALAD

Yield 4

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • BRINE
  • 4 cups Water divided 2 and 2
  • 1/4 cup Pickling salt
  • 1 /4 cup Maple syrup
  • PORK
  • 2 Pork Tenderloins approx. 1 lb. each
  • Dry rub-pepper and garlic pwdr.
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • SALAD
  • 8 cups Mixed spring greens
  • 1 Small Red onion, shaved
  • 1 cup Dried blueberries
  • Blue cheese salad dressing
  • GARNISH
  • 6 Med Peaches
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

METHOD

We need to organize the prep so everything comes together at the end.

Brine: Bring 2 cups of water with the salt and syrup to a simmer making sure all the salt is dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 cups cold water. Chill the brine in fridge or freezer. Select a dish that will hold the two tenderloins and allow the brine to completely cover them. When brine is chilled place meat in pan; pour brine over. You may need to place a saucer and some weight to keep them submerged. Brine 2-3 hours in a cool place or 5-6 hours in refrigerator.

Salad Prep: Wash and spin greens, shave red onion and toss with blueberries. Cover and hold in refrigerator.

Peach Prep: Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, place on a flat luncheon plate and set aside. Cut peaches in halves, then remove a thin slice from the rounded part of peach half. Set aside covered.

Cooking the pork: Remove pork from brine and rinse; pat dry then sprinkle with rub. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes on a rack. A three-burner BBQ is helpful for this task. Clean and oil grates. Preheat left burner on high. Grill pork for 5 minutes on high, turn over and grill other side of pork for 5 minutes. Move pork to center grate and lower heat on left burner to low. Brush meat with BBQ sauce. Turn meat over after 5 minutes and brush with BBQ sauce again. Test doneness after 5 minutes-A meat thermometer should read 165F. This is just past pink. Some recipes call for temperatures of 150 F.-too pink for me. But overcooking dries the meat out. Set meat on a plate and tent with foil for 5-7 minutes to rest meat.

Cooking the Peaches: During the last 5 minutes of slow cooking the pork, heat the right burner to Med-high. Dip cut sides of peaches into the sugar/cinnamon mixture and grill 2-3 minutes per side. If you want the skin off it will come off easily now. Set peaches aside and hold warm.

ASSEMBLY Toss the salad with the dressing and place salad onto dinner plates. Cut tenderloins in half; then slice each half into coins and fan meat over top of salad. Cut peaches into wedges and place around meat on top of greens. A nice crusty baguette with cold butter and you are good to go.

Aug 31, 2013

 

Cath's Tomato Butter

It is just over a year since my friend Cath O. passed away. She is greatly missed. To remember her and celebrate her I am passing on this recipe from her collection.

After Cath's death her husband Ron, like many widowers, had to turn his hand to cooking. One of Ron's efforts was based on my recipe for ground brisket sliders. When I commented to Ron that it was a large volume recipe, he replied that he had family coming to visit, so, lots was OK.

A few weeks later Ron and Cath's daughter Candice was in my shop and I asked her how Ron made out with the slider recipe. She replied that they were great except she missed her "mother's tomato butter" on her burger. Me, I had never heard of tomato butter. So, I asked for the recipe. Fortunately when the family was clearing out Cath's office they found her many hand-written and clipped recipes.

Marg has made two batches of this recipe from Castille's hydroponic tomatoes with great success; now that field tomatoes are available I am sure the recipe will be even better. Make lots. I use the tomato butter as a spice in my cooking, and as a dipping sauce as well as a condiment for burgers. It is a great substitute for tomato paste in recipes.

Thank you Cath. for many great memories, many Foodie conversations and this recipe.

CATH'S TOMATO BUTTER

YIELD

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 10 lbs Tomatoes ( about 6 quarts)
  • 1 quart Malt vinegar
  • 1 Tbls Mixed whole spice (pickling spice)
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbls. Cayenne pepper (heaping makes it HOT)
  • 1 Tbs. Salt
  • 3 lbs. white sugar (6 cups)
  • 3-4 tbls. Cornstarch

METHOD

Peel and quarter tomatoes. Let stand in malt vinegar overnight. In morning boil 10 minutes and skim. Add spices tied in spice bag. Boil for 3 hours. Add sugar and return to boil. Add cornstarch dissolved in cold water and boil 5 minutes. Bottle in sterilized jars using standard canning practices

Aug 11, 2013

 

BBQ'd Peaches, Chocolate and Ice Cream

Humans are very conceited and self-centered; they tend to believe we are unique amongst all the living things in the Cosmos. It is not frightening to me to consider there may be other intelligent life-forms out there.

It is frightening to me to consider this is the only planet with chocolate and we are not taking great care of this planet.

So, if all the other salient reasons for being environmentally responsible do not connect with you -- remember chocolate: -no planet, -no chocolate.

Now while peaches, rum and ice cream are all fine food products, they all humbly serve at the altar of chocolate!

This recipe can be easily adapted to canned peaches and could also be flambéed.

BBQ'd Peaches, Chocolate & Ice Cream

SERVINGS 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Ripe peaches (freestone if available)
  • 2 tbsp Melted butter
  • 6 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Pussers Rum optional

METHOD

Scrub peaches if leaving skin on or peel. Halve peaches, remove pit and clean cavity.

Spray BBQ grill plates with non-stick spray; preheat your BBQ to medium and grill peaches cavity side down for approx. 5 minutes and peaches begin to caramelize.

Place peach halves in an oven-proof casserole cavity up. Place a half-ounce piece of chocolate in each cavity; then brush peaches with melted butter.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for approx. 15 miutes or in your BBQ on indirect heat. Peaches should be tender and chocolate gooey.

Remove from oven; place ice cream in bowls then top with the peaches. Drizzle half ounce of rum over each bowl and serve.

Note: In the winter use canned peaches and brown them in the first step on a griddle or electric grill.

Jul 27, 2013

 

Dill Pickle Relish

After Marg planted her garden this spring, the weather became cool and nasty and our cucumber plants looked they weren't going to make it; so, we planted another set of plants. You know the story; now we have more cukes than I could possibly eat. So, we thought it might be timely to do a little canning & pickling.

One of my favourite condiments on a burger is dill pickle relish. This recipe is quick and easy and will help deal with the extra cukes. Pickling cucumbers would also work; you need a cuke that is not too seedy.

Brave souls could add a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the recipe.

DILL PICKLE RELISH

YIELD 6 x 250 ml. Jars (3 x 500 ml.)

Qty. INGREDIENTS

  • 4 lbs. Young English cukes (garden fresh)
  • 1/4 cup Pickling salt
  • 1/2 tsp Tumeric
  • 2 cups White vinegar (5% strength)
  • 1/3 cup White sugar
  • 4 Cloves Fresh Ont. garlic, pressed
  • 1 tbsp Dill seeds
  • 2 tbsp Mustard seed*
  • 1/2 cup Onion, fine dice

METHOD

Scrub cucumbers and trim ends; cut into 1" pieces then pulse in food processor to yield 1/8" to 1/4" dice. Blend salt & turmeric together; place cucumber in large bowl; then toss with salt & turmeric. Pour one cup cold water over mixture, allow to stand for an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Drain in large sieve or China cap; rinse with cold water, drain again and press out as much moisture as possible.

In a large Dutch oven heat vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill & mustard seeds to a light boil. Add cucumber & onion, return to boil and simmer about 30 minutes and mixture begins to thicken. Fill hot sterilized jars, leaving a half-inch head space. Boil filled jars in water bath for 10 minutes.

jul 27, 2013

 

Pusser's Rum Peach Crisp

Niagara peaches are coming on the market now, while mine are still green and I am battling the chipmunks to preserve the crop. Margaret says I shouldn't be so selfish as there seems to be enough to go around. Hmmph!

A few years ago in Florida we went on a small boat cruise that stopped at a small restaurant that was only accessible by boat. I don't think our building and Health standards would approve it but the shrimp were good and the rum peach cobbler was to die for.

I have a "thing" for Pusser's rum and I prefer an oatmeal crumb top to the traditional U.S. biscuit type top; so here is a good replica.

I was tempted to throw in a couple of handfuls of beautiful local blueberries as well; but the matron made me stick with the program. But, you can, if you are not being supervised as I sometimes am.

Don't forget the ice cream.

PUSSER'S RUM PEACH CRISP

Yield 8

INGREDIENTS

Filling

  • 12 Peaches, about 8 cups, peeled and sliced
  • Or halved and grilled.
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 4 tbsp Honey or maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp Pusser's rum
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

OATMEAL CRUMB TOPPING.

  • 1 cup Flour
  • 3 cup Rolled oats cereal-not instant
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 cup Cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

METHOD

FILLING

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in 4 tbsp honey. Add sliced peaches and rum; cook stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Blend a 1/4 cup of brown sugar with the starch & cinnamon, then stir it into the peaches in the skillet, set all aside keeping warm.

TOPPING

In a medium bowl, add the flour, oatmeal, sugar, vanilla, and salt, mix well. Work butter into flour mixture until it is well combined and starting to clump. I use my hands.

ASSEMBLE & BAKE

Spread crumb top over peaches and bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven fo 35-40 minutes. Top will be browned and fruit will be bubbling.

Enjoy warm with ice cream.

Note: For added flavour, cut the peaches into halves and grill on BBQ for 4-5 minutes. The entire dish can be adapted to the BBQ or to a 9" x 13" baking pan if you don't have Grandmas skillet..

Jun 10, 2013

 

Sweet and Sour Sausage Kebobs

Using your gas BBQ as a grill doesn't need to be a big production or an expensive meal. This recipe should take about 15 minutes to prep and 15 minutes to cook.

I used two types of sausage and put some of each on each skewer. If you are not using precooked sausage, you should precook them by poaching for 10-15 minutes.

The Octoberfest/Chorizo combo gives you a medium spice level in the Octoberfest and a little heat and smoke in the Chorizo. A Bratwurst/Smoked honey garlic would provide a milder combo; there are a number of choices to heat it up like Texas jalapeno with cheddar, chicken with curry and hot Italian. You can also mix the veggies up with zucchini, mushrooms etc. And the best news for ladies is your man slave can handle the cooking.

SWEET & SOUR SAUSAGE KEBOBS

Servings: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 Bamboo skewers, soaked in water
  • 1 lb Octoberfest precooked sausage*
  • 1 lb Chorizo precooked sausage*
  • 2 Red peppers
  • 2 Green peppers
  • 2 Med. Vidalia onions
  • 1 Pint Cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup Italian salad dressing

SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Corn starch
  • 6 oz Apple juice
  • 6 oz Orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Cider vinegar

METHOD

Prepare sauce: Combine apple juice with corn starch; then place all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer until thickened-set aside to cool.

Cut peppers into 2" squares; quarter onions and seperate into separate layers. Baste vegetables in the Italian dressing while cutting sausage. Cut sausage on a 45 degree angle about 1-1/2" long. Preheat grill to medium.

Thread sausage pieces, tomatoes, peppers & onions onto skewers in alternating pattern-about 3 / 4 of a sausage per skewer. Place skewers on grill and brush with sweet and sour sauce; grill 4 minutes per side then turn over and baste. Repeat until sausage is hot and veggies are getting a little char-about 12-15 minutes total. Additional sauce may be used for dipping. Serve with Spanish rice or a crisp salad or both.

Jun 6 , 2013

 

Lamb Chops, Herb Butter and Salsa

Lamb is loved by some, hated by others and some are indifferent. For lamb lovers this is obviously a good recipe. For those who are indifferent, or have never tried Ontario lamb, this is a good starter recipe. Ontario lamb is tender and does not have the aroma and gamey flavour associated with imported lamb. For those who hate lamb, it may be foolhardy to try and convert you. It may even be counter-productive as there will be more lamb for lamb lovers if you refrain from eating lamb. But consider this: the Wiley coyote has his choice of meals, chicken, venison and the occasional pet poodle; but the coyote prefers Ontario lamb.

Ten thousand coyotes can't be wrong! But, you might be.

Lamb Chops, Herb Butter & Salsa

Yield 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Ont.lamb loin , chops*
  • Salt, pepper & garlic powder for dry rub.

SAVOURY BUTTER

  • 2 tbsp Butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp Lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp Lime juice
  • 1 tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped

SALSA

  • 2 Med Tomatoes*, chopped
  • 1 /4 Med. Sweet onion, fine dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh chopped mint or watercress
  • 1/4 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 tsp White wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice

DRESSING

  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Country style mustard

METHOD

Remove chops from refrigeration; while chops are coming to temperature prepare butter and salsa ingredients.

Herb Butter: Soften butter, add lime and combine. Set aside cool room temperature..

Salsa. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, mint & onion; set aside in refrigerator.

Combine vinegar,oil, lemon juice in small bottle set aside.

Dressing. Combine mayo and mustard, set aside.

Heat grill to med hot. Rub chops with dry rub. Cook 4-6 minutes per side. Time depends on thickness of chops and desired doneness. On a 3 /4" chop 5 minutes is good for med. rare. Tent chops with foil and allow to rest chops on rack over a pan for 5-10 minutes. While chops are resting, shake oil/vinegar/lemon juice to combine, toss salsa with oil/vinegar/lemon juice; then fold in mayo./mustard. Hold for service.

Plate chops and place a tsp. of butter on each; add salsa to plate and boiled new potatoes.

Much too good for ordinary people - but you are special.

Jun 30, 2013

 

Canadian Potato Salad

Basking in the warmth of patriotism generated by Canada Day, I thought I would do a recipe using mostly Canadian food items. So, the first item is Yukon Gold potatoes: the potato was developed at the University of Guelph by G.R. Johnston and R. G. Rowberry. It was released in 1980 and has spread world wide.

Butter: the butter we use and sell is Stirling Creamery's from Stirling On in Hastings County.

Bacon: the bacon we use is made from Mennonite raised hogs in Waterloo County. It is brined and smoked the old way-it is not pumped and is smoked in a smokehouse using Maple wood, a very traditional bacon.

Canola oil was developed using natural plant breeding methods (not genetic modification) in the early 1970's at the University of Manitoba by Keith Downey & B. R. Stefannson. It is a large export crop and is used world wide.

Peppers: Canada has over 2000 acres of hot houses, more than twice the U.S. Seventy percent of our hothouse produce is shipped to the U.S. Peppers are a large part of the production. So look for Ont. Hothouse Peppers at your produce shops. U.S. consumers are showing a preference for Canadian hot house produce over Mexican products because of our Health Safety Standards, which hinge largely on our clean water.

Green onions are easily grown and local farm markets are well supplied.

New Ontario garlic is available and the taste and aroma of local fresh garlic is awesome.

Cider vinegar can be purchased that has been made in Ont, & B,C. from Canadian apples.

Local honey is always available. It was a mainstay sweetener for the Canadian Natives and pioneer settlers -- nothing sweeter.

Salt and mustard are available from Canadian sources; but lemon juice and pepper corns must be imported.

Twelve of fourteen ingredients are Canadian and six are very local.

So, thus ends the Canadiana lesson for today with the reminder; eat local, eat Ontario, eat Canadian and we all prosper!

Sweet & Sour Canadian New Potato Salad

YIELD 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 lbs Yukon Gold new potatoes, golf ball size or smaller
  • 2 Knobs of butter (Houston's -Stirling butter)
  • 1/2 lb. Double smoked bacon (Houston's)
  • 1 tbsp Canola for frying (Canadian developed)
  • 1 Red pepper (Ont. hothouse)
  • Green pepper (Ont. hothouse)
  • 1 Green onions (my garden)
  • 4 Cloves New Ont. Garlic (Houston's)
  • 1/2 cup Cider vinegar (Ont. Produced)
  • 4 tbsp Local honey (Houston's)
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Each salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Hot dry mustard

METHOD

Wash potatoes, leave skins on, and cut larger ones in half or quarters. Add to a boiling pot of water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until soft. Drain and hold warm with a little butter.

Fry bacon until almost crisp, cut into 1/2" pieces; then set aside and keep warm.

Seed and slice peppers into strips; mince or fine dice garlic, slice the white part of onion thin; cut green part into 1/2" pieces. Mix the vinegar, honey, lemon juice, salt, pepper and mustard together; set aside.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil, then add garlic and white portion of onion; stir fry for 2-3 minutes then add peppers and green onion. Stir fry for 4 minutes-peppers should tender crisp. Add the honey/vinegar mixture and stir until it is warmed-about 2 minute. Add bacon pieces and fold in.

Pour the pepper/onion/honey/vinegar/bacon mixture over the warm potatoes; then gently toss mixture to mix well. Let the salad sit for 15-20 minutes keeping warm. Serve warm. The salad can also be chilled and served cold or reheated.

Jun 26, 2013

 

Rainy Day Salisbury Steak Dinner

OK, this summer looks like a rainy one; so, a planned BBQ could turn into Salisbury steaks; or you might have some BBQ'd burgers left over that would warm up nicely for this recipe. Since we are on a kick to do some time saving recipes-this will fit. If you need a Sailisbury recipe check out my May 05 recipe for Brisket Sliders. (also avail. By email).

If you had asked me last week the origin of Salisbury steak I would have guessed the U.K. Not so, it is from the U.S. and evolved along side the burger. It is credited to a Dr.J.H. Salisbury who was a proponent of a low carb. diet. The term Salisbury steak has been in use in the U.S. since 1897. It is often called a hamburger steak; but that can be a bit misleading. Hamburger (now) must be 100% beef. The USDA requirements for Salisbury steak are: 65% meat minimum 40% beef, 25% may be pork, maximum fat content is 30%, no meat byproducts, flour, bread, oats maximum is 12%. The remainder may be vegetables (onions, peppers) mushrooms, egg binder & liquids. Technically a hamburger steak could be a Salisbury steak; but a Salisbury steak may not reach the requirements of a hamburger steak.

In any case, it is nice comfort food on a rainy day.

Rainy Day Salisbury Steak Dinner

YIELD 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 6 oz. All beef Patties*
  • Sub home-made beef patties or left over BBQ'd patties
  • 2 Lg. Onions sliced
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • Prepared gravy or
  • 3 cups Beef stock, heated
  • 4 tbsp Flour
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • Pepper, salt, seasonings to taste

METHOD

Broil patties in oven on a bake sheet, 7-8 minutes per side. Hold warm as needed. Sauté onions until golden in a skillet. Remove and hold warm. If making scratch gravy, add the flour to onion skillet; allow it to brown a bit then add butter. Combine to make a brown roux. Add hot stock slowly while whisking to avoid lumps. Season to taste.

Assembly; Place Salisbury steaks on plates; top with fried onions & gravy. Best served with mashed potatoes and sweetlet peas.

* All beef 6 0z. Black Angus patties available @ Houstons

Jun 15, 2013

 

Closed Door Rump Roast

Well, I am still in the mood to try and help organize your cooking time; this recipe should help. A few years ago I wrote a similar recipe for a 6 lb. rare prime rib roast. I have been wanting to try it with a smaller boneless roast for some time. Voici. Like the 2 hour 400 degree chicken recipe, this recipe gives you an exact time for the meat to be ready; organize around it.

A little about the rump roast, the rump sits behind the sirloin and above the hipbone. The entire rump weighs 8-10 lb and is comprised of three muscles. In terms of flavour and tenderness it is more like the sirloin than round. The rump is best cooked on low heat. The closed-door method does that while it remains in the oven for approximately 4 hours. It is then reheated in the last phase.

In Scotland the rump roast is called a Popeseye roast. I have looked everywhere to find the derivation of that name; but I could not find one. Perhaps, it is because the entire rump is eye shaped; perhaps, since the Scots Presbyterians had no love of the Papacy, it is similar to the term Pope's nose describing the butt of a turkey. The two eyes (rump roasts) are in close proximity to the rear. So, the two terms may have originally been used as a derogatory term towards the Papacy.

Whatever the case, a rump/popeseye roast cooked in this method is sure to please. I think you could sub a sirloin or sirloin tip roast.

Closed Door Rump Roast

YIELD 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • One               Rump Roast app. 3+ lbs.
  • 1 lg.              Onion, sliced
  • 1-2 Bulbs     Fresh garlic
  •                        Salt & pepper
  •                        Butter

METHOD

Calculate your meal-time and subtract 6 hours; that is when the roast goes in the oven. Bring your roast to room temperature-aprox. an hour. You will need an open roasting pan. Sprinkle roast with salt & pepper. Spray pan with non-stick spray then cover bottom with onion slices and half the garlic. Place roast in oven fat side up. Sprinkle remaining garlic over roast. Place a dab or two of butter on top of roast.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Place roast in middle rack of oven. Set timer for 45 minutes. After the 45 minutes has elapsed, turn oven off. The door must remain closed for the entire process.

One hour before meal time for rare, one hour 15 minutes for medium, turn the oven back on at 375 F. For rare, after 45 minutes remove roast from oven and allow it to rest for 15 minute tented with foil. For medium leave roast in oven for an hour, then remove and rest for 15 minutes.

As ovens can vary a little use a meat thermometer when you remove the roast from oven. You can put it back in for a few extra minutes as needed.

Jun 10, 2013

 

Baked Bow Tie Pasta, Bacon and Bay Scallops

OK, I am going to wrap up the series of comments re. saving cooking time and chef knives with a bit about caring for a Chef’s knife. Presuming your knife has been put away properly, and you are going to use it.

First you need to hone the edge with a steel. If you watch the TV chef shows you will have seen a Chef hold a steel with one hand and his knife in the other and it looks like he is having a sword fight with himself. For the amateur, hold your steel point down onto a secured cutting board. Next draw the blade over the steel at a 20 degree angle. Repeat on the other side of the blade. Repeat three to four strokes per side; that is all is all it takes; the speed is not important.

Occasionally you need to sharpen the blade with a handheld sharpener with stones. Follow the directions, then use your steel. For home use you would need to sharpen 3-4 times per year.

After you have used the knife, wash it by hand; then sanitize it; then rinse and dry. For storage use a blade shield, a knife block or wrap it in a clean linen tea towel. Don’t just toss it in the “junk” or knife drawer.

 

This week’s recipe and many variations of it can cut your time by pre-prepping the sauce and pasta; thus cutting down on spent just before the meal. A vegetarian version using peppers for meat or a cooked chicken variation could be fully prepped ahead of time.

The garlic we used was fresh picked; the bulbs had not yet formed cloves—the aroma was devine!! If you have extra growing in your garden try it or check the roadside stands. We bought ours at he stand on hHy 2 on the East edge of Bowmanville.

Bay scallops are much smaller than Sea scallops; they are from the Bay of Fundy; I much prefer them to the Sea scallops. They are more tender and succulent. The Sea-Food truck at the Port Hope Farmer’s Market sells them.

Baked Bow Tie Pasta, Bacon and Bay Scallops

Yield 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Strips                Double smoked bacon*, fried & chopped
  • 1 Med.                 Onion, diced
  • 2 small bulbs     New garlic, diced
  • 3 Cups                 Sliced mushrooms
  • 4 fresh                 Basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp              Each salt & pepper
  • 1 /2 Cup             White wine
  • 1 28 0z. can        Diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp                 Tomato butter*
    • (Sub tomato paste & pinch cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 Cup             Whipping cream
  • 4 Cups                 Bow tie pasta (prior to cooking)
  • 1 lb.                      Bay scallops (sub shrimp, diced chicken etc)
  • 2 tbsp                 Garlic butter
  • 1/4 Cup             Chopped parsley
  • 1/2 Cup             Grated Romano cheese

METHOD

In a large skillet, fry bacon until crisp; set aside. Drain excess bacon fat from pan then sauté garlic, onions & mushrooms until mushrooms are golden coloured about 8 minutes; add basil and wine and simmer until liquid is all gone.

Add tomatoes and tomato butter then simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream, bacon & parsley then simmer for another 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl combine pasta and sauce. At this point you can hold the prepped dish for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

The next step is to sauté the Bay scallops in the garlic butter until just lightly browned—don’t over cook. Combine scallops with pasta and sauce. Turn out into a buttered 3 quart baking dish; top with Romano and bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes.

Note: Items with an * are available @ Houston’s Country store
New garlic is available at roadside Farm Markets

Jun 6 , 2013

 

BBQ Buttermilk Potatoes

Thought for the week — Our farmers are greatly restricted in drug and hormone use compared to the U.S. Yet every week in the supermarket beef loss leaders you will see the advertisement say USDA beef. Ninety per cent of the anti-biotics produced in the U.S goes into animal feed. Why? Just like Ben Johnson and Lance Armstrong proved—drugs work. Animals fed antibiotics cost 10% less to feed. They grow bigger and faster on less feed.

BBQ Buttermilk Potatoes

Yield 12

INGREDIENTS

  •                  Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
  • 2 Cups     Buttermilk
  •                  Pepper & salt
  • 2               reen onions, fine dice
  • 3               GARNISH
  • 2 Tbsp     Bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp     Granulated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp     Butter

METHOD

Peel potatoes or not. I like mine peeled some like them not peeled. Slice potatoes 1-4“ thick, set rounded ends aside for other recipes. Put potatoes in a bowl and pour buttermilk over them.

Now, using a 12 portion muffin tin, place muffin liners in holes or line with foil to make cups. Spray paper liners or foil with non-stick spray. Place slices of potato into muffin cups with smaller slices on botton and top. Between each slice sprinkle a little of the onion and pepper/salt. Stack about 2 slices above rim.

 Fill all twelve holes, then melt the butter and mix in bread crumbs and parmesan.

Place in BBQ on indirect heat or in 375F preheated oven. Bake about 35 minutes. Use a skewer to test potatoes for being soft. If topping browns too quickly, tent with foil until potatoes are tender. (Old potatoes cook quicker than new ones).

Jun 5, 2013

 

Cream of Roasted Aspargus Soup

I enjoy plays, movies, and novels that involve time warps that transport people back in time or into parallel universes. Plays like “Brigadoon”, novels like Creighton’s “Timeline” and of course the master trilogy ”Lord of the Rings”.

 My readers know that I love going to Quebec to indulge in the wonderful French Bread. This past week I hit a time warp and was transported. I had an optometrist’s appointment in Port Hope and on the way to the top of Walton Street I noticed a bakery sign. So after the appointment on the way back down Walton Street we were able to park near the bakery sign. I almost did not go in as I some times I let my wife peruse shops with out me; but she said “No, come on in”.

I walked through the door and it happened. I was transported to Quebec.

On the left wall there was a list of products and at the top was “Croque Monsieur”, there were pastry cases full of delectable delights. At the back left of the shop there was bread; all sorts of bread—baguettes, sourdough boules, walnut loaves, rustic loaves all sold at $5.00per lb. There was a coffee station and Bistro style tables and chairs. I ordered coffee and a croissant with butter and jam. I sat and enjoyed the snack, the ambience and the aroma of bread, freshly baked. The waitress was friendly, the service was great and we bought bread to take home. But, the bubble burst; I was in a quaint shop in Port hope that had been there almost a year called Marché59.

So what has that to do with a recipe? Well soup is best served with a crusty baguette or a crusty loaf. In this more or less traditional cream of asparagus soup I roasted the asparagus and onions to impart a little different flavour.

Cream of Roasted Aspargus Soup

Yield 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs.       Asparagus, trimmed of woody stem bottoms
  • 1 large    Cooking onion, chopped (1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
  • 2 tbsp    Olive oil
  • 1 Tsp.      Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp Each salt & pepper
  • 6 cups      Chicken stock
  • 1-2            Potatoes diced (1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
  • 1 Tsp.        Fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp     Chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp     White wine
  • 6 oz.         Heavy cream
  • A squeeze Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

GARNISH

  • Reserved asparagus tips

METHOD

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut tips from 12 stalks of the asparagus; set aside. Cut remaining asparagus into 1 “ pieces; coarsely chop onion. Spread onion and asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper & herbs de Provence.

Roast in oven about 15 minutes turning once. While asparagus is roasting, cook reserved tips in simmering water with 1 tbsp sugar added to water; do not cover pot; cook until tender; rinse in cold water and set aside. (Sugared water preserves the green colour of asparagus)

Heat chicken stock and add roasted onion, asparagus, thyme, parsley, potato & wine if using. Simmer until potato is soft. Drain some stock from mixture; reserve it.

Puree soup in batches returning to pot. Add reserved liquid and cream to obtain desired consistency. Season with lemon juice, pepper and salt to taste. Portion into bowls add garnish and serve with fresh slices of French baguette.

Jan 3, 2012

 

Basic Beef Stock

(First published in Jan 2012).  In the next few weeks I want to do some comfort food recipes to match the season. Lately I have had a number of “new” cooks who seem to be interested in some basic cooking techniques. I realize many of you are pretty sophisticated and don’t need this type of recipe, but maybe it will spur you to recreate your own stocks instead of the commercial products. This recipe works for lamb or game; for chicken you just need to shorten the simmering time to 3-4 hours. If you simmer chicken bones too long you draw out an earthy taste – not good.

I have a bag of lamb bones I need to deal with so that was my motivation. I can also get beef bones for you at $3.00 per bag.

Wishing everyone joyous cooking and tasty meals for 2012!

Basic Beef Stock (for soup or stew)

Yield

Qty. INGREDIENTS
STEP ONE

  • 10 lbs Beef bones cut into 3-4” pieces
  • 2-3 Carrots scraped and cut into 3” chunks
  • 2-3 Onions. peeled & halved
  • 2 Parsnips scraped and chunked
  • 3 Celery stalks, chunked
  • 1 Garlic bulb, separated into cloves and peeled
  • Salt & Pepper

STEP TWO

  • 2 Gallons cold water
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • White wine for deglazing—optional
  • 2-3 Tsps. Lemon juice.

METHOD
STEP ONE
Rinse the bones in cold water, Spread over large roasting pan with vegetables. Sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper. Roast in pre-heated 375 F oven until bones are browned—not burnt. About 45 minutes
STEP TWO
Remove bones to a large stock pot that will hold 2 gallons of water plus the bones & vegetables. Cover the bones with 2 gal. cold water and place on medium heat—bring to simmer. While stock is heating, drain liquid from roasting pan and separate fat by chilling. Add liquid to stock pot. Deglaze stock pot with a little white wine or water and add to stock pot. Add a couple of bay leaves and a tsp. of Herbs de Provence or spices of choice. Note water level in pot—bones should be covered; simmer for 7-8 hours. Do not boil!! You will need to skim froth as required and add water to keep bones covered. Taste stock and adjust seasonings; usually 2 tsps of lemon juice will perk it up.

STEP THREE
Strain contents through cheese cloth lined strainer, then chill in cold water bath or refrigerator. When chilled strain again and decant to leave residue in bottom. Stock can now be bottled for freezing or can be “canned” by reheating and using water bath method of canning.

NOTES:
Recipe may be halved.
Bones can be divided into two pots
Can be adapted to game or lamb –modify spices as desired
Stock can be simmered in your oven in a large open roaster if you do not have a large enough pot—Temperature around 225F.

Dec 12, 2011

 

Eggnog Dip

Ok, I’m trying to give you a mini collection of Christmas recipes this month. This one is for an appetizer dip; If you want to tame it down you can omit the rum or switch the eggnog entirely with sour cream. The selection of dippers, is mostly up to what you, fiends and family enjoy.

Christmas Appetizer Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 Sourdough loaf, boule shaped
  • 6 strips Double smoked or Montreal smoked bacon
  • 14 oz Eggnog
  • 2-4 oz. Pusser’s Rum
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheddar, the sharper the better
  • 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened.
  • 1 cup Green onions, chopped, fine
  • ASSEMBLY STUFF
  • Bread strips
  • Garlic Butter
  • Veggie sticks
  • Corn chips

METHOD

Fry the bacon crisp, pat dry and chop fine. Cut top off the bread and set it aside. Using a sharp knife cut away the bread from the crust; try to get bread out in large pieces; remove remaining by hand so that you have a nice crusty bread boule. Set aside.

Soften the cream cheese then beat with a little of the eggnog. Fold in the rest of the ingredients and pour into bread boule (or greased casserole dish). Heat in 350 degree F. oven for 30 minutes. In the meantime slice top from the bread boule and pieces removed cut into strips; butter with garlic butter and set aside on cookie sheet. Toast in oven the last 5-10 minutes of heating bread boule.

ASSEMBLY
Remove foil from bread boule, set bread boule on a medium sized platter and surround with veggie sticks, toasted garlic bread, corn chips etc.
Notes:
If you don’t care for eggnog and rum, use sour cream and apple cider.
You can prepare dip in a casserole instead of bread boule.

Nov 28, 2011

 

Breakfast/Brunch Trifle

I have really been scratching my head on how to start recipes for the Christmas cooking season. I guess it is logical to start with a breakfast item.  Except that me being logical is not logical —ponder that Spock.

One of the best Christmas meals I recall was a brunch at my mother’s between Christmas and New Years for her Grandchildren. I got to attend as the supervising cook. There is no doubt this type of dessert would have been demolished by the mob.

Breakfast/Brunch Trifle

Yield 8-10

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups Blueberry muffins, crumbled coarse
  • 1 oz. or so Sweet white wine—Sub apple juice
  • 1/4 cup Tripleberry/bumbleberry jam, melted
  • 2 cups Fresh blueberries
  • 3 cups Plain yogurt
  •  1/4 cup Maple syrup
  • 2 cups Sliced strawberries
  • 8 oz. Ctn Whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Sugar

GARNISH

  • Dried sweetened cranberries and mint leaves

METHOD You will need a 3 quart glass bowl. Crumble muffins into bottom of bowl; sprinkle wine over all. Melt jam and brush over muffins and wine. You can rest the trifle overnight at this point if you wish.

Next add the two cups of blueberries. In a separate bowl swirl the maple syrup into the yogurt then spread over blueberries. Slice the two cups of strawberries and layer over the yogurt. Whip the cream to soft peaks then add sugar and whip to firm peaks; spread over berries. Garnish the top of trifle with berries and leaves to imitate holly or other Christmas motifs. Chill; then serve by dipping through all layers with a ladle.

Nov 18, 2011

 

Apple and Cheddar Oatmeal Pancakes

With chilly mornings and wood-smoke lingering in the air it makes one hungry for a hearty breakfast. I remember well the hearty farm breakfasts that my Aunt Lorna used to prepare. Oatmeal porridge, eggs and bacon,toast and honey and to top it off my Uncle often had apple pie and cheese. My wife thinks I am quite strange; because, given the opportunity I enjoy apple pie and old cheddar for breakfast. I also have a life long “thing” with pancakes and I enjoy oatmeal. This recipe does triple duty, pancakes with oatmeal, and apples and cheddar. Did I mention Maple Syrup?

Apple and Cheddar Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1-3/4 cups Milk
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
  •  1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup Grated cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Grated Honey Crisp Apple Butter for frying
  • Maple Syrup for topping

 

METHOD Combine the milk and oats and allow to stand 5 minutes—shred cheeses and apples while waiting. Mix flours, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add honey, egg yolks, melted butter to milk and oatmeal, stir.

Pour wet ingredients over flours, stir well . Fold in cheese and apples. Whip egg whites with whipping cream to soft peaks. Fold into batter. A few lumps in batter is fine.

Heat a griddle or fry pan to medium. Add butter to griddle and drop batter by 1/4 Cup. Cook 2-3 minutes then flip and cook 1-2 minutes on other side.

Repeat until all are cooked and serve with butter and maple syrup or fresh fruit.

Nov 14, 2011

 

Ann's Turkey Meatloaf

One of my regular customers, who has a gluten intolerance in her family, sent me a no-gluten turkey meat loaf recipe. She told me she subbed pork for turkey and cut the recipe in half and it worked well. Since it calls for no-gluten corn bread, I asked where she got the cornbread. Well, she bought a no-gluten cornbread muffin. So, that would work or you could make the no-gluten corn bread recipe I gave you last week. If gluten is not an issue in your family regular cornbread would be fine. Regular breadcrumbs would work, but the flavour would be a little different. In her recipe the loaf had a brown sugar glaze, but in the spirit of never following a recipe, I changed the glaze to cranberry with a little orange liqueur. So, you can follow this recipe, backtrack to Ann’s version or do your own thing as I suspect most of you do.

ANN’S TURKEY MEAT LOAF Optional Gluten-free

Yield 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. Ground turkey
  • 1 small Sweet or red onion, peeled
  • 1 medium Carrot, peeled, trimmed
  • 3 cloves Fresh peeled garlic
  • 1/2 cup Tomato ketchup
  • 1 Tbls. Molasses
  • 1 Fresh egg
  • 3/4 cup Gluten-free cornbread crumbs (sub regular corn bread if gluten not an issue)
  • A pinch Cinnamon & Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Salt & pepper to taste

CRANBERRY GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup Prepared Cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec, orange Juice or Apple juice

METHOD Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2 lb loaf pan. Put the ground turkey into a large bowl and using a fork break it apart a bit.

Roughly chop the onion and carrot into 1” chunks and place them into a food processor; add the garlic; pulse until the veggies are uniformly diced- fine- not mush and not too chunky; add them to the turkey. Toss lightly with fork to distribute the veggies. Add the ketchup, molasses, egg, cornbread crumbs, spices and thyme.

Mix it all up using a light touch; try not to over-mix it into mush (over-mixing makes for a dense loaf). If the mixture is too dry at this point, add a little more ketchup. If it feels too wet, add more cornbread crumbs. You want a nice stick-together balance.

Spoon the meat loaf mixture into the greased loaf pan and firmly press into place, smoothing and rounding the top of the loaf so that the sides are lower than the edge of the loaf pan (you don't want the glaze spilling over the sides later on).

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, make cranberry glaze by melting the cranberry sauce over low heat, then whisk in liquid of choice.

At the 45 minute mark, remove the loaf from the oven. Spoon the glaze mixture on top of the loaf. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Allow the cooked loaf to cool for ten minutes or so before slicing and serving.

Nov 7, 2011

 

No Gluten Corn Bread with Apple; yeast raised

One of my customers who has a gluten intolerance sent me a recipe for a turkey meat loaf that looked really good—but it called for no-gluten corn bread. Which I didn’t have. So, this week I am going to make the corn bread and next week I will do the meat loaf. If gluten intolerance is not an issue I have corn bread recipes on file. (email me). The meat loaf will work with regular corn bread or no-gluten corn bread.

NO GLUTEN CORN BREAD Yeast raised with Apples

Yield 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Rice flour
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 3/4 cup Cornmeal
  • 3 / 4 cup Grated Honey Crisp Apple
  • 1/3 cup Potato Starch
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp xanthum gum
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2  Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Instant yeast

METHOD Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9” x 15” loaf pan (2 quart) .

Mix first 8 ingredients well in large bowl (all dry ingredients). Use a cheese grater to shred apple and add to dry mix, blend well.

In a stand mixer blend all liquid ingredients (Including honey).  Using paddle with mixer on medium speed slowly add dry ingredients; pause and scrape sides of bowl down with spatula. Beat 4 minutes, then spoon into pan. Allow to rise uncovered for 60-75 minutes—to top of pan. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 35-40 minutes. Loaf should sound hollow when tapped.

Oct 10, 2011

 

Maple Glazed ham

The rational for this recipe is two fold; first I had customers asking how to cook the type of ham we sell—an old fashioned brined and smoked ham. They are not considered cooked as the smoking only par-cooks them; and I did not have a printed recipe. The second reason is I ordered more hams than I sold for Thanksgiving.  Sort of like the thief who stole more chain than he could swim with. So, I was hoping this recipe might inspire a few people to come out and buy one of my extra hams. If not you can store it until your next ham feast. 

MAPLE GLAZED SMOKED HAM

Yield 3/4 lb per person

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Old fashioned (not cooked) skin on, bone-in smoked ham
  •  Cloves optional—I like them

 

GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup Maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Ginger Ale—regular, not diet
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice.

METHOD Glaze: Mix glaze ingredients together, Bring to simmer and simmer for several minutes. Hold warm.

HAM Preparation: Score skin to fat level in 1” squares; insert a whole clove at each cross cut. Lightly brush with glaze. Place in a roaster on a rack, pour some water in bottom to level of rack. Cover and bake in preheated oven for: 6 lbs cook 2 hours; 8 lbs. Cook 2-1/2 hours; 10 lb Cook 3 hours.  Ovens vary—ham should have an internal temperature of 165 F. at this point.

Uncover ham and brush with glaze; continue cooking uncovered; brush every ten minutes for 30 to 45 minutes for larger hams. Internal temperature should be 180 F. at this point.

Remove ham from rack, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

OPTIONAL SAUCE: Deglaze roasting pan with a little white wine; pour into saucepan, remove excess fat using a fat separator or put some ice cubes in cheesecloth and swish around pan; fat will cling to ice cubes. Bring to simmer then thicken with tapioca flour mixed with water.  Add a small can of crushed pineapple; stir and hold warm. Note tapioca flour thickens below boiling point. Pineapple has an enzyme that prevents wheat flour from thickening.

Oct 2, 2011

 

Colourful Thanksgiving Veggies

Anyone who has regularly read my recipes knows I am a bit of a colour freak. I love a colourful plate. On our vacation to Quebec this fall we noticed an abundance of multi coloured carrots: red/maroon, purple, orange, yellow and creamy white. Naturally I had to buy and try. We also found them in a local supermarket and at a Farmers market. The flavours are each a little different, but very tasty. According to my brief research, coloured carrots were the norm in ancient times. Selective breeding developed the orange variety. Each colour brings a different set of unique micro-nutrients; the orange is of course well known. The research on the red/purple group indicates they have powerful anti-oxidants similar to blueberries. So, eating all colours is definitely an advantage. So, that covers the carrots.

The turnip/ squash/cranberry casserole is going to give you a bit of a bitter-sweet contrast and a texture contrast as the squash will puff up. It will be colourful in the casserole and on the plate.

COLOURFUL CANDIED CARROTS YIELD 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs Garden fresh multi coloured carrots
  • 2 tsp White sugar
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4 tbsp Brown sugar or Maple Syrup

METHOD Multi coloured carrots come in about 5 colours, so you need a nice mix. Scrub them and cut into coins or batons—I like a diagonal slice. Bring to a boil with water and 2 tsp. of white sugar. (The sugar in the water will hold the colours—do not cover pot—cooking covered fades the red and purple colours. Simmer until just al dente

Heat butter and sugar in fry pan on medium heat. Drain carrots and add to fry pan. Stir fry about 5 minutes, then remove to casserole dish and hold warm until service.

VARIATIONS: Add a little ginger to the butter mixture.

TURNIP/SQUASH/CRANBERRY CASSEROLE YIELD 8

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter to grease casserole dish
  • 2 cups Mashed cooked turnip
  • 1-3/4 cups 35% cream, divided 1:1/2:
  • 4-3/4 cup Cranberries, fresh, frozen or dried. Divided into 2 parts.
  • 2 cups Baked mashed squash—Acorn or Buttercup
  • 1 Egg Separated
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Seasoned bread crumbs

METHOD Put the squash on to bake or bake ahead. Cut and peel turnip, boil until tender. Mash coarsely; grease a deep 6-cup casserole dish with butter. Spoon 2 cups of mashed turnip into dish; spoon lightly—don’t press it down. Pour one cup of cream over turnip—cream should come level with top of turnip—add more as required.

Sprinkle half of cranberries over turnip.

Scrape two cups of squash into a mixing bowl; allow to cool a little, then add egg yolk and sugar, and mix well. Whip egg white and 1/2 cup cream until foamy; then fold into squash. Spoon squash over turnip, pour remaining heavy cream over squash, sprinkle rest of cranberries on top, then sprinkle bred crumbs over all. There should be room in your casserole for the squash to rise.

Bake in preheated 350 degree F. oven about 25 minutes. Casserole should be heated to 175 F internal temperature and bread crumbs should be golden. Cooking time is about equal to turkeys resting time. This could be prepped up to a day ahead and cooled—cooking time will be about 45 minutes if cooking from cold.

Aug 18, 2011

 

Chicken Cacciatore, Gluten Free

It seems to be a regular occurrence lately to meet someone or discover someone I know who has intolerance to Gluten –including pets. So I thought I would try a few gluten free recipes.

In many cases it is very easy to substitute gluten free flours for wheat flour and you will find some amazing, but subtle, flavours by using corn meal, oat flour, buckwheat flour etc. instead of wheat flour. Breads and baking are a bit more challenging; but we will get to that.

CHICKEN CACCIATORE GLUTEN FREE YIELD 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  •  2 lbs *Bone-in, skin-on free range chicken thighs
  • 1 cup Cornmeal (Most brands are gluten-free-check label)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Fresh ground pepper.
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1  cup Rose¢ or white wine
  • 8 oz Sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Red pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 Green pepper cut in strips
  • 1 Spanish onion sliced
  • 2 Cloves Crushed garlic
  • 4 Med Fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 cups *Pasta sauce—organic, gluten free
  • 1 tbsp Fresh chopped parsley/cilantro
  • 1 tbsp Fresh chopped basil Salt, pepper, seasonings to taste

METHOD Combine corn meal, salt & pepper in a food service bag. Add thighs in batches and shake to coat. In a heavy skillet brown chicken in batches over med. high heat with oil. Place browned chicken on bottom of a deep casserole dish. Deglaze skillet with wine and pour over chicken. Sauté mushrooms, peppers, garlic and onions in batches and pour over chicken. Add diced tomatoes, chopped parsley and pasta sauce to casserole. Cover and bake in 350F. preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Remove casserole from oven, remove bones from thighs, stir in fresh basil and adjust seasonings to taste. Hold warm and serve over prepared long grain rice with a salad. * Items with asterisk available at Houston’s Country store

Sep 17, 2011

 

BBQ Pulled Pork

One of the common complaints about pork is that it is too dry and lacks flavour. Well we sort of got what we asked for; we asked the farmers for leaner pork. Leaner pork = less fat = less flavour and less moisture. However, this recipe will be moist and full of flavour. It is the least expensive cut of pork and the cut with more natural flavour. Cooking with the skin on and bone-in also enhances flavour; at the end of the prep you can leave some fat in or remove according to your requirements.

BBQ PULLED PORK YIELD 6 -6 oz. portions

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Bone-in skin-on pork shoulder roast 4-5 lbs.
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves -- optional
  • 2 tbsp Dry BBQ rub i.e. The Keg’s
  • 1 Large Sweet onion, sliced –Spanish, Dutch, Vidalia
  • 1 Can Ginger Ale—not calorie reduced
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce

METHOD Score skin on roast, if using garlic sliver cloves of garlic; then make slits in roast with a sharp fine pointed knife and insert garlic slivers into slits. Rub roast on all sides with dry rub. Heat BBQ to high and grill roast to brown on all sides. Place half of sliced onion in bottom of slow cooker or a Dutch oven, put roast on top skin side up and place rest of onions on top of roast. Pour can of ginger ale over roast and add water so roast is 3 / 4 immersed in liquid.

Cook 5-6 hours in slow cooker on high or 3-4 hours in covered Dutch oven @ 350 F. The roast needs to be very well done, falling of the bone tender.

Remove roast to pan and allow to cool 30 minutes; reserve the liquid. When roast is cool enough to handle remove bone, skin and excess fat. Shred meat with two forks or your hands. Add 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and fold it in. Depending on the moistness of the roast and consistency of BBQ sauce you may need to add more BBQ sauce and some of the reserved liquid. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lemon juice, celery salt, Cajun spice mix etc.

You can warm it up and serve on buns, over rice etc. or allow it to cool and reheat the next day. We made this for supper and I had the leftovers for lunch the following day. I think it tasted better the second day. Your net weight of meat will be about 50% of the original weight. Note: If BBQ not available you can brown the roast under your oven broiler or in a heavy fry pan.

Sep 10, 2011

 

Road-House Beef Bourguignon

We are just back from our vacation in The Eastern Townships of Quebec; the food, of course, was the highlight of our vacation. Quebec cuisine is renowned for gourmet restaurants and beautifully prepared meals. But it is not just the high-end restaurants that impress me; small cafes, hot dog/poutine shops all go the extra bit to make food tasty and well presented.

There is a small roadside café in the village of Ayer’s Cliff. It is totally unremarkable on the outside. The only clue to what hides within is the parking lot filled with construction trucks, police cars and pick-ups. Every vacation in the area we make it a point to have lunch there, (Chez Maurice). The interior is neat and clean with tables and a lunch bar. The occupants are from all walks, but a little heavy on working men—construction, truck drivers etc.

The conversations are bilingual; they switch from French to English depending on the speaker or the response. They have a menu, but most meals seem to come from the specials on a hand written bulletin board. The specials run from $8.50 to $9.95. With the special you get a bowl of soup de jour, your entrée with potatoes, vegetables, salad, dinner roll, a simple homemade dessert and coffee. I chose the beef bourguignon.@ $9.95. The plate comes brimming and well garnished. I don’t have Maurice’s recipe; but I do have some experience in volume cooking so, I can imagine making up a batch suitable for 25 –30 portions.

I have shrunk my thoughts down to a 2-3 portion size for home use. It is not Julia Child’s version; but it is easy to make and absolutely delicious. I hope Maurice approves.

ROAD-HOUSE BEEF BOURGUIGNON

Yield 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Each salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 3 Rashers Double –smoked bacon
  • 1 lb Beef stew meat
  • 3 / 4 cup Red wine divided, 1/4 cup : 1/2 cup
  • 1 Med. Cooking onion diced.
  • 1 Med. Fresh carrot—I like the dark red ones.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and mashed – to taste
  • 2 tbsp Butter as needed for frying
  • 1 tsp Herbs d’Provence to taste
  • 2 tsp Tomato paste.
  • 1/2 cup Beef stock
  • ADJUST SEASONINGS Lemon juice, salt pepper to taste ROUX
  • 1 Med Sweet onion—Vidalia, Spanish or Dutch.
  • 2 tbsp Butter

GARNISH

  • 1 Med Sweet onion—Vidalia, Spanish or Dutch
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 6 oz Button mushrooms

METHOD

In a heavy fry pan brown the flour on low heat; set aside and divide into two portions. Add salt & pepper to one portion. Clean pan; slice bacon into 1 /2 “ strips as long as the width of the rasher; fry in olive oil to almost crisp. Remove bacon with fork and set aside in a small Dutch Oven.

Dredge stew meat with browned flour that has salt & pepper. Brown meat in bacon fat and add to Dutch oven. Deglaze fry pan with 1/4 cup of wine and add to Dutch oven. Sauté diced onion, sliced carrot & garlic in butter, then add to Dutch oven. Add balance off wine, tomato paste and Herbs d’Provence; stir. then add beef stock to just cover mixture. Allow to simmer for an hour or cook in oven for 75 minutes @ 325 F.

While meat is simmering cut the sweet onion into 1” squares by separating layers and slicing each layer. Caramelize in fry pan with honey and butter. When almost caramelized add button mushrooms and brown them. Set mushrooms and caramelized onions aside and hold warm.

Check meat for tenderness; cook a bit longer if needed. Taste for seasoning: add lemon juice, more salt. pepper, spices as required Make a roux from balance of browned flower and butter. Thicken sauce as required with roux. Simmer three to four minutes to remove starchiness.

Ladle into individual serving bowls or a casserole dish and top with caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Aug 29, 2011

 

Pork, Peaches and Pecans

Peach season is here and the local Supermarkets are brimming with Niagara peaches – too bad the same stores couldn’t carry local strawberries in their season—oh well, let’s enjoy the peaches. As well as the supermarkets, I have a peach tree that is trying to set a world production record. I have always envied the Floridians who can walk out in their yard and pick a tree ripened orange -- I have done that on vacation and the taste is so different. Now, I can at least pick a tree-ripened peach—Cool. Global warming? However with lots of peaches comes work; we have made jam, preserves, and frozen some and now a Peach and Pork recipe! 

PORK, PEACHES & PECANS (Gluten-free} YIELD 2-3

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pork tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp Cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp Oat flour-gluten-free -- sub regular flour if gluten not an issue
  • 1/2 tsp Each of salt, pepper, garlic pwdr.
  • CARAMELIZED ONIONS
  • 2 Med. Spanish or Vidalia onions
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp Butter
  • CANDIED PEACHES & PECANS
  • 4 Med. Peaches, peeled and cut into 6 sections
  • 3/4 cup Pecans
  • 3 tbsp Brown sugar—pinch of cinnamon optional.
  • 4 tbsp Butter

METHOD Combine flour, pepper, salt & garlic powder; brush meat with half of oil and dredge in seasoned flour. Heat an oven proof skillet with remaining oil; brown meat on all side; remove to preheated 325F oven. Roast for approx. 20 minutes.

ONIONS: Heat a skillet with the butter on medium; add onions and sugar. Fry stirring occasionally until onions are well browned—about 12 minutes. Hold warm. Check meat for doneness—155-160 F. internal temperature. Remove to cutting board and tent with foil—start peaches

PEACHES, Peel and cut peaches in to wedges ahead of time. Heat butter and sugar on high to bubbling, add peaches and pecans; stir fry to coat and candy. Do not over cook peaches. Reduce heat.

ASSEMBLY: Spread onions on serving platter, slice tenderloin into diagonally sliced portions; place in center of platter; place peaches and pecans around edge of platter. Serve with Parisian potatoes and a green & yellow bean medley.

Aug 13, 2011

 

BBQ Rack of Lamb and Mushroom Sauce

I expect there are as many recipes for rack of lamb as there are curls on a wooly lamb. Although lamb lends itself to many spices, keep in mind the spice should accent the *mild flavour of Ontario lamb and not overpower it. There appears to be at least four ways of adding spice flavour to lamb: --by brining with herbs, by marinating, by using rubs. and through sauces. This recipe uses a mild rub and a sauce. A pepper and salt rub is known as a “Dalmation” rub; it is basic and has stood the test of time. The use of a herb sauce allows each to choose how much spice they want. Most Ontario lamb is born in the spring and raised on their mother’s milk and lush spring pastures, when the pastures dry up and lose their nutrients most farmers finish them with grain and harvest them at approx. 90 lbs. The combination of mother’s milk, lush spring pastures and grain finish yields a lamb product that has been naturally raised, tender and a milder flavour than imported lamb. 

BBQ RACK of LAMB & MUSHROOM SAUCE

Yield

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 racks Ontario lamb
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp Course sea salt or Kosher salt SAUCE
  • 2 tbsp Rosemary, fine chop 1/2 cup White wine
  • 1 cup Mint Jelly—sub apple or red pepper jelly
  • 1/2 cup Whey butter
  • 2 cups Sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp Crushed garlic—sub 1/2 cup finely chopped onion.
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Horse radish
  • 1/4 cup Sour cream

METHOD The sauce can be made ahead or while the rack is roasting and/or resting. I would prepare the rosemary first and all other prep and measuring. Finely chop the fresh rosemary and pour wine over it. Puree it in a blender and set aside. (the alcohol in the wine will extract the flavours from the rosemary). Preheat one side of BBQ; bring rack to room temperature; brush with olive oil and press ground pepper and salt into all surfaces. Place rack on hot grill fat side down; grill about 2 minutes then rotate 90 degrees; grill for another 2 minutes, then turn it over to bone side down and grill for three minutes.

Remove rack to cold side of BBQ, fat side up. Turn heat down to medium and roast for about 20 minutes rotating 180 degrees half way through. Check internal temperature. 125F= rare, 145 = med, 165 is just past pink. When cooked to desired temperature remove to a pan, tent with foil and cover with a towel for 10-20 minutes.

SAUCE. Heat a fry pan to medium high, add butter and garlic, stir fry for 2 minutes and add mushrooms; sauté until browned. Set aside and hold warm.

Melt the half-cup of butter with the jelly on low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in the rosemary and wine, return to simmer and add mushrooms and garlic, stir in sour cream and horseradish. Hold just below simmer.

ASSEMBLY Carve rack by slicing between bones; Serve on a platter garnished with rosemary or watercress. Serve warm sauce on the side. New potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables will round out the meal.

Aug 7, 2011

 

Rainy Day RIbs

This recipe could have just as easily be called “Bad Day Ribs”. A few weeks ago we messed up our commitments and had too much going on the same day. So we decided we would pre-cook some ribs and then reheat them on the BBQ for supper with the kids. We often do the first part with ginger ale in the winter but proceed with out the resting period. As things happened on this day we were ready to reheat on the BBQ—and then—the propane tank was empty!! So we did the oven thing. The ribs were so good we tried the recipe over again—still good. I think the sugar and acid in the ginger ale tenderizes the meat and the resting period is actually a period of slow cooking. Cooking with sugar tends to help food hold its texture, so these ribs are tender but not mushy. You can use your choice of spices and BBQ flavour. It should work with side ribs as well. For beef ribs I would use a cola instead of ginger ale. Of course, you can double or triple the recipe.

Yield 2-4

  • 1 Rack Pork back ribs
  • 1 Med. Onion, sliced
  • 2 Cans Ginger Ale (Not Diet)
  • Pepper, salt, garlic pwdr. to taste
  • 6 oz BBQ sauce

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut ribs into portion size pieces. Using a roasting pan large enough so ribs are not on top of each other, Spray pan with non-stick spray. Spread 1/2 of onions on bottom of pan, lay ribs into pan bone side down. Pour ginger ale over ribs. Sprinkle salt, pepper spices over ribs. Top with rest of onions. Cooking has three steps:

STEP ONE: Cook ribs for one hour covered, then cook another half hour uncovered.

STEP TWO: Rest ribs: Remove ribs from oven and let them rest at least 45 minutes—if longer refrigerate.

STEP THREE: Reheating: Preheat oven on broil. Place ribs on parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover generously with BBQ sauce; place in middle of oven and broil for about 10 minutes—BBQ sauce should be bubbling and starting to caramelize. Turn oven to bake and reset temperature to 250 F. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Traditionally ribs are cooked long and slow—but this works. I think the combination of sugar in the ginger ale and the resting period tenderizes the meat, but keeps the texture.

July 30, 2011

 

Lamb Chops with Cucumber-Mint Sauce

Ontario lamb is highly regarded, tender and tasty. Although it is sometimes a little scarce, more should on the market as fall approaches. Lamb lends itself to many herbs and spices, but this one is quite simple and uses local ingredients. With a little imagination you could sub fresh mint for the mint jelly/liqueur.

YIELD 4-6

  • 8 Loin, rib, or gigot lamb chops
  • 1/2 cup Quality olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Fresh ground coarse pepper
  • 2 tbsp Coarse sea salt

SAUCE

  • 2 cups Sour cream
  • 1 cup Shredded cucumber
  • 2 –3 tbsp Mint jelly
  • 2 oz White wine
  • Note: you can sub 2 oz. Mint liqueur for jelly & wine
  • 1/2 tsp Herbs De Provence

METHOD

Place chops in shallow pan and dredge with olive oil, set aside in oil — they need to come to room temperature.

SAUCE: Peel and seed a cucumber, shred or dice it, then squeeze out excess juice in a linen tea towel, set 1 cup aside. Gently melt jelly in microwave, then stir in wine and herbs; pour over cucumber. Combine cucumber and wine (or mint liqueur) with sour cream, set aside to chill.

CHOPS. Preheat grill Place ground pepper and salt in flat pan then press chops into mixture (both sides). Grill about 5 minutes per side on direct heat for medium—time will vary with thickness and desired doneness. Hold warm for about 5 minutes to allow meat to set.

ASSEMBLY: Plate chops and add a dollop of cuke/mint sauce to each or serve sauce on side. New potatoes and fresh peas would round out this meal.

July 21, 2011

 

Warm and Cold Salmon Salad

The recent heat wave inspired this recipe as everyone was looking for a cool way to cook. Many turned to the BBQ and others were using the slow cooker. It conjures up a cookbook theme—Beat the Heat Recipes.

The first time I had a warm/cold salad was on a weekend foray to St. Jacobs; it was a medley of fried mushrooms on chilled greens—it must have been good as I still remember it and the restaurant. (and of course my dinner companion).

Yield 4-6

SALMON

  • 1 Fresh Atlantic salmon filet app. 1 lb.
  • 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground pepper
  • 1 tsp + Freshly snipped dill.
  • 1 tbsp Lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Butter


DRESSING

  • 1/2 cup Sour cream
  • 1 cup Chopped, peeled cucumber
  • 1/4 cup Fine dice red pepper
  • 1/4 cup Fresh snipped dill
  • 1 tbsp Lemon or lime juice

SALAD

  • 8 cups Freshly torn Bib lettuce or Romaine hearts.
  • 12 Cherry or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp Capers

GARNISH

  • 1/2 cup Pecans, toasted
  • 6 slices Red onion, thinly sliced

METHOD

I am setting this up as a warm and cold salad. You could chill the salmon and have a totally cold salad. Chill the salad ingredients. Prepare your salmon and foil wrap it. Grill the foil pkg on BBQ 5 minutes per side then place on cool side of BBQ on upper rack for 10-15 minutes longer on med.-low heat, lid down.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all together and set aside to cool.

ASSEMBLY: Divide the lettuce onto 4-6 plates; divide tomatoes, capers & blueberries between the plates. Check the salmon, it should be opaque and flake easily—if not cook it a bit more. Flake salmon and divide over plates. Drizzle dressing over all plates. Sprinkle warm pecans over all, then top with thinly sliced red pepper.

I intended this recipe as a light lunch with crusty bread, but it could be served as a side or appetizer—portions to your taste.

July 16, 2011

 

BBQ Salmon and Pineapple

Before we start there was an “oops” in last week’s recipe (it has been corrected below). The white chocolate pudding mix should be two pkgs., not four. I also had a complaint from my head cook about using the decimal system for measuring—so we are back to fractions.

Atlantic salmon is considered one of the great delicacies of the world and there is none better than Canadian. It cooks quickly and is rich in nutrients. The only pitfall is many overcook it. I have paired it with grilled pineapple and lime for some added flavour. The watercress will add a pungent peppery aroma and flavour.

Although I set this out for the BBQ it could be done in a conventional oven or it could be planked in the BBQ.

PINEAPPLE SALMON

Yield 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Whole Salmon filet skin on (or 4 Pcs 3-4 oz.)
  • 1 Whole Fresh Pineapple
  • 1 /2 cup Pecans
  • 2 tbsp Bread crumbs, seasoned
  • 2 Limes - 2 tbsp zest, reserve juice
  • 1 tbsp Fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard to taste

GARNISH

  • 1 bunch Watercress
  • Grilled pineapple rings

METHOD

Prepare a foil tray using heavy foil double thick to hold salmon; roll edges up to make a rim. Spray with non stick spray and lay salmon onto pan skin side down.

Peel and core pineapple; Slice into rings 3 8 “ thick; fine chop
1/2 cup and set aside all.

TOPPING MIX

Crush the pecans and mix with 1/2 cup chopped pineapple, bread crumbs, dill and melted butter—it should stick together; add oil if too dry, pinch of flour if too wet.

PREP

Brush salmon with mustard and then pack topping onto salmon. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 15 minutes.

COOKING

 Place pan on upper rack of BBQ, turn on opposite side of BBQ and cook by indirect heat for 10 minutes, lid closed; rotate pan 180 degrees and cook for 5 more minutes, lid closed.

Prepare pineapple slices by lightly coating with cooking oil; Leave salmon in place turn burners to high and grill pineapple 2-3 minutes per side, lid open. Check salmon; it should flake easily.

ASSEMBLE AND SERVE

On a suitable warmed platter, cover with watercress (steamed spinach or rice), using two lifters gently lift salmon onto platter whole or cut into portions and transfer; lay pineapple rings around edge and drizzle lime juice over all. Enjoy

July 9, 2011

 

Raspberry/White Chocolate Squares

Raspberries are in. Of all the tender fruits, I think raspberries have the shortest shelf life and the shortest harvest.  So, this recipe is timely and it pairs the berries with cream cheese and chocolate. It just doesn’t get any tastier.

YIELD 9 x 13 pan
CRUST

  • 1.25 cups Graham cracker crumbs
  • .75 cups Fine chopped toasted pecans
  • .25 cups White sugar
  • .5 tsp Salt
  • .5 cup Butter, very soft.

FILLING

  •  6 oz. White baking chocolate, coarse chop.
  • 1 tbsp Cream
  • 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened.
  • 2 Pkg White chocolate instant pudding mix, 4 serving size.
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 4 oz Frozen whipped topping (1/2 8 0z. Ctn.)
  • 2 cups Fresh raspberries

GARNISH

  • .5 cup Fresh raspberries
  • .25 cup Coarse chop, toasted pecans

METHOD

CRUST:

Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil; spray foil with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For crust, mix dry ingredients together then work butter in to make a soft dough. Press dough into bottom of pan and partially up sides. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool in pan on rack.
FILLING: Heat chocolate and cream over low heat until melted, set aside to cool but not set. Beat cream cheese with electric beater until fluffy.

Beat in chocolate, then add pudding mix and milk. Beat for two minutes at medium speed. Fold in whipped topping, then berries. Ladle into pan, smooth top and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 6 hours.

GARNISH:

Remove plastic wrap just before service, sprinkle with berries and nuts. Lift out of pan using foil and cut into bars.

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