Archive for March, 2015


The big salad….

supposedly spring is on the way… In the doldrums of winter it doesn’t seem possible to have a fresh green salad . 

Most likely it would have to be hot house or imported ingredients from some tropical land . I guess in the coldness of winter , fresh spring produce seems out of place till the earth warms.

But now the promise of lettuce, greens and the like of juicy red tomatoes, leads me to the fact that a salad is in the works.

Does a salad for a meal rank right up there with quiche  ?  Ya know , a manly meal that doesn’t  have at least 3/4 lbs of blood red meat that dwarfs the plate?  Well… For now yeah….

A container of mixed greens from the supercenter and a couple of vine tomatoes. I wavered between these or the grape tomatoes, knowing by fact the the pictured perfect vine tomatos are raised for their aesthetic   appeal, rather than their flavour, as one who has tasted fresh garden tomatoes can attest to. 

None the less the basic ingredients are in place , a hard boiled egg would be added and of course , salad dressing, here no (sexist remark redacted) vinegarette. Sort of a creamy Russian, Thousand Island variety would suffice. Being a mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise , horseradish, and green relish, yes , with a hot pepper addition.

Hmmmmm, something missing, the crouton , a major building block of the big salad , important as the electron , proton and the neutron. 

Diced fresh bread sautéed in butter with minced garlic and then browned in a fry pan would add to the topping with the addition and a “bird seed” mixture. THAT’LL DO IT ! Onions are a required staple of most recipes!




 Remember the big salad from Seinfeld ? 


Modified take out

there’s always seems to be containers of take out food in the fridge, some unwanted to pass to other family members. 

Here the traditional chicken and broccoli containerized take out dressed up for a meal. 

Start with a additional of a sweet and sour sauce, ketchup, vinegar and,  some pineapple rescued from the fridge that I previously stored from a fresh pineapple, white sugar and brown sugar, a splash of soy sauce and of course a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes. Measuring,  by taste. 


The briccoli and chicken placed on a shallow pan with the addition of sliced porta bello mushroom, to reheat, placed under the broiler till the mushrooms were tender and the other contents reheated. 


The rice now at stage three, 15 minutes rest covered, as in the recipe for 5-10-15 rice. 5 minutes boil, 10 minutes covered simmer and 15 minutes rest, a foolproof recipe.  A standard white rice , double the amount of water to rice. Now done ! (Sometimes one would pass along a container of takeout white rice )


Final assembly.



Done !


marinated tangy chicken thighs with pearl onions and roasted potatoes

defrosted 3 chicken thighs ,  since there was some  plain yogurt in the fridge, placed some in a small bowl and added curry powder, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper  along with so peeled pearl onions and chopped garlic. Now placed in  a quart baggie and left to marinate several hours.

Nothing fancy for the potatoes, sliced, and a bit of melted butter with herbs , in this case fennel with a bit of salt and pepper are mixed to coat potatoes , placed in a shallow pan and placed under a medium broiler or spaced far enough from the flames to prevent burning before completed cooking.

After the marination of the thighs, place the contents in a shallow  enough pan to space out the chicken and the onions and broil, again sufficiently spaced from the broiler to cook without burning, about 7-10 minutes per side.

no photos of the process, just the finish.


love those onions !


meatballs and tomato sauce

I’m never consistent with this recipe, whatever is around goes into the meatballs and sauce . One thing I did accomplish that I rarely do is the meat combination of the meat balls. Previously purchased, ground veal, a piece of beef and pork, I ground up the beef and pork and mixed it into the veal , each at one pound increments.  After combining the three, into three baggies they went, into the freezer for later use.

When I finally got around to making this dish , the thawed meat mix was available, a mixture of  onion, garlic, leftover garlic bagel chips, TVP (Bobs Redmill Textured Vegetable Protein (Soy)) ground in a food processor, a tablespoon of Stout dried spent grains, and an egg was added. No measurements were taken except for the dark spent grain which can easily overpower a recipe. The meat balls were mixed and formed , the consistency adequate, placed in a fry pan with a bit if olive oil and baked in a 400 degree start and lowered to 325, to brown the meatballs , every 20 minute or so roll them to brown a good portion of the surface.


When meatballs are browned, remove the skillet from the oven and carefully pour in the tomato sauce that’s simmering at this point to deglaze the skillet and return everything back to the stockpot the sauce came from, scrapping the skillet if needed.


That’s just the contents of  meatballs, for the sauce I’ve given up over the years of making a standard tomato sauce. A good portion of shredded carrot, onion and celery are started with a sauté in olive oil before  the cans of tomato sauce and tomato paste are added. Don’t forget a good portion of garlic since tomato sauce is supposed to be a tribute to an Italian meal.  Dried herbs are added usually oregano and others , dried this time of year since I’ve failed to keep the potted herbs going that were outside last summer. A good dose of hot pepper flakes to give the sauce some spiciness are added , good if used for pizza later on. Also fortunately that I have some melomel on hand (home made mead), that goes in in place of wine and also use any stock (other than fish) to thin the sauce as it bubbles away.

IMG_7672I’m sure you have your own concoction for sauce, here I let mine simmer and ran one of those stick type food processors through it to blend in all the veggies so it’s more a tomato vegetable sauce. More tasty cuz you know what’s in it !

Testing the sauce traditionally calls for dipping a hunk of torn bread into the pot for taste test and final re-adjustment. Since the meatballs and the sauce were going to be containerized for later use, I just made a small meatball and bread serving to satisfy my hunger.

IMG_7675Meal completed, I find that the sauce is just right , a bit spicy but this mellows over time and the meatballs are light, not heavy.

Bon appetit ….




marble cake

A cake doesn’t have to be just for special occasions, a cake can serve as a simple dessert and a lot more cost effective than buying store bought cakes and pastries.

This is just a modification of a previous recipe, reserve a portion of the batter usually 1/3 to 1/2 , and mix in chocolate, usually melted, to the reserved batter.


Now spoon or layer in the chocolate batter over layers of the plain batter. Swirl the batter now, in the cake pan, with a knife.

Bake as usual.The cake along with bread recently baked.

IMG_7701Done. Not frosted, makes a convenient snack. Good for lunches.


Mornin’ or should I say afternoon or early evening.

With spring around the corner, possibly the last of the cold weather and precipitation is drawing to a close.  Possibly , primal instincts, if still intact after influences of the modern day life, let’s us have a Saturday morning sleep in.  (Hibernation?) YAWN….Or it could be a reaction the the previous busy week of werk and life. Yes , I believe in escapism ….

Surely when the weather warms I’ll be in a better mood (maybe) to experience a sunrise , that is without a busy hustle bustle schedule looming over my head for the remainder of the weekend.

Now American test kitchen is on in one room as hard rock resounds from my desk in another room .  Freshly showered,  the body slowly comes to grip with the kitchen, coffee is spot on for a mocha flavour ,a triple blend of two single origins with a touch of robusta. Ground and drip brewed. Roast was a medium light. Reality ….dead ahead ….

I temper the late breakfast with diced broccoli stems , remnants  of the broccoli consumed by other family members, green onions to get veggies in and out of the way. chorizo sausage, 1/2 slice will be the meat additive. Since I have bread made from the previous night , instead of some kind of wraps , will be sliced and and pan fried with two eggs sunny side up and runny. Done , now Saturday chores are coming into focus…..

Saute broccoli and green onions , don’t forgot some dried peppers, ancho for background spice to compliment the chorizo sausage .

Two eggs , you know how to cook them to your preference.


Plate  up the veggies.. Top with the eggs… Pan fried bread on the side for yolk dipping… Yep , a small smattering of dried habanero. If you want to eat more veggies I find that hot peppers and seasonings helps compliment as long as you don’t overdo it . The broccoli flavour is still there.

Bread, from the night before..  This is the first time in about 3 attempts that I get it right . Having baked bread with the typical dry yeast addition, now I have a poolish on the counter top in a mason jar , simply , a starter of water,  yeast and flour. Since I make bread about every two days or so I find that the starter, poolish, adds a bit of tart flavour to the bread other than the  typical yeast only addition. (Think wild yeast additions for flavour ) Similar to a sour dough , but not as involved. I use about a cup of the poolish added to a bead recipe in addition to 1/2 the amount of the liquid and yeast added to the recipe . Basically I still proof dry yeast about twenty minutes ( with water and sugar), but only half the amount , and add the poolish for the remainder. Previous loaves were ok, but I let them rise to long and they collapsed . Gotta keep and eye on them as I use a quick rise yeast .

Does spring break mean we will actually get a break ?    ……….. lol…….

Refilling my coffee cup !


The morning grille

potatoes on the grille this morning…

Five minutes in the microwave  along with….


I decided to add grated carrot, not shown

Triple blend of Rwanda , Honduras, and Robusta, in the press

meanwhile back on the grille….

Coffee is ready while the grille cooks away. It’s nice having a large cooking area not limited to a frypan…

First sip… Aaahhhhhhh…     Close inspection reveals that my mug wasn’t washed from the day before…… Just rinsed…

Not the most elegant looking plate , but nourishing. Have some red beans in the fridge and considered addIng them.

Another sip of coffee…extremely smooth… Life is good …spring is on the way…




a bit of diversion from the kitchen today……..     city views…….








I did have a Burger King Meal, not often that I do as I have in the past, the quality a bit less than I remember, the size of the portion of fries seems to be getting smaller.


The sour cream pound cake

Diane makes and bakes a awesome pound cake, rich with many eggs. The recipe I’ll post at a later date for the sake of getting these pictures posted.

IMG_7620The presentation TA DA ! An accomplishment ! Seeing that after I repaired the oven, Diane had to re adjust the baking process as she  previously compensated for inaccurate temperature.  One attempt failed as the cake fell. Now  the oven it reads true and the cake is proven once again !


IMG_7626care for a slice?

 IMG_7625Excellent base for Ice Cream

IMG_7628with whipped cream…


Gifted Rice Crispy treats by Justine

IMG_7624An awesome finish to a corn beef and cabbage dinner !


Scottish Oatcakes

From the Betty Crocker International Cookbook:

“These quick Oatcakes can be served with butter and jam, honey or, for a more substantial tea-time snack, cheese or herring. The sweetened cookie variation, below, resembles our oatmeal cookies.”

18 Oatcakes

preheat oven to 375 degrees:

Ready the ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup oats or quick cooking oats.

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

added optional ingredients;

about 1/2 cup chopped chocolate chips ~60% cacao

approximately 2 tablespoons sugar.

(if you want to make cookies add 1/3 cup sugar)

IMG_7629cut the shortening into the dry ingredients, (mixed). Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time till a stiff dough forms.








Now on a slightly floured surface roll it out to about 1/8 inch.


IMG_7635Cut into about 2 and 1/2 inch rounds, a small mason type jar worked well as a cookie cutter . Place on a cookie sheet.


Bake in 375 degree oven for 12 minutes till slightly browned may be 2 or 3 minutes longer.


These cakes are on the dry side, the small amount of sugar I used made them slightly sweet and the chocolate chips gave them more flavor as they were eaten plain without butter etc. I would use butter instead of the shortening if I make the recipe again and consider adding chopped nuts.

Makes a good lunchbox addition.


March 2015

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