Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Bowling, Outage, 50's pop,

Thanks for crossing your fingers for my bowling today, it worked. I bowled pretty well and my average went up one point. Our team gained 5 points (we were playing the leaders too), but I don't know if we have gone up a spot til I see the results on Thursday. One thing I found out, I was so thrilled with the scores when I played at Victoria Bowl during the summer, it turns out the lanes are set up differently and everyone gets better scores there. It was explained to me. Ah well, I thought I was doing so well. Matt bowled pretty well to day too.

Talking to people about the power outage yesterday. Turns out that the storm spread quite a large area and there are still areas that don't have power. One friend had just put dinner into the oven to cook when the power went out. She wasn't too happy.

Right now, as I am typing they are playing 50's pop music on TV. Some of them are being sung by the original stars, sorry guys, you are really too old and your voices show it. Others don't sound too bad but the majority really shouldn't try and do it any more.

I love leeks and although it says this is an old recipe, it's not one I am familiar with.

Leeks In Vinaigrette

Despite being a timeless classic, it’s probably been a while since you made this dish. Entertaining bonus: It gets better as it sits, which means you’ll be rewarded for making it ahead of time.

4 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, tough outer layer removed
Kosher salt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
½ garlic clove, finely grated
1 Tbs Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp whole grain mustard
½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp sugar
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Trim root end of leeks (leave as intact as possible so they don’t break apart while cooking) and cook in a large pot of boiling salted water until meltingly tender (a paring knife should go all the way through with no resistance), 15–20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool.

2. Whisk shallot, garlic, vinegar, Dijon and whole grain mustards, thyme, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil and 1 Tbsp. water; season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

3. Halve leeks lengthwise and arrange on a platter, cut side up; drizzle with vinaigrette and let sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Servings: 4

Tips
Leeks can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day
 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday Afternoon, Weather,

Unusual, we had another power outage. Asked the super if he knew anything about it. He said he had heard that a pole was down, 3,000 houses without power but that they estimated the power would be back on by 6 and damn me if it didn't come on at 5.55. In the middle of this we had quite a rain storm so I felt sorry for the guys working on the power. We had decided to have supper early just in case. Basically a picnic of Brie and crackers with grape tomatoes followed by the remains of the Pavlova I made for Saturday. I mad it with strawberries. Not a good idea. The strawberries at this time are huge and quite tough as strawberries go. I will use raspberries instead if and when I make another until summertime fruit is available. Oh well, I have two lots of leftovers for supper on Monday and Tuesday. Can't complain. Of course I was concerned because Poldark is on tonight and I don't want to miss it!! I didn't.

Prior to Poldark I watched the programme The Durrells in Corfu. I used to love Gerald Durrell's books with one exception, My Family and Other Animals which was about Corfu. I felt the same about the TV show tonight.

Monday is bowling of course so please keep your fingers crossed for me and our team. If the weather continues as it has been in the last couple of days I will be wearing a jacket. It is quite chilly now. Bit of a shock after all the lovely weather we have been having.

I notice all the stores lately have been stocked up for Hallowe'en but now I notice Christmas stuff creeping in already.  It gets earlier every year I swear.

I found this recipe through Yummly and like the sound of it.

Korean Style Pork Chops

4 pork chops
1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
2 Tbs honey
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

2. In a medium size bowl whisk together the soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and sriracha sauce. Pour over pork chops and let marinade for about 20 minutes.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet for medium high heat. Add pork chops, without marinade, and cook for about 5 minutes for the first side, or until it gets a nice brownish color. Flip the pork chops and pour the remaining marinade over them. Cook another 5 min on this side.

4. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking them. Roast for about 10 minutes, or until pork chops are completely cooked through.

Servings: 4

Author: Joanna Cismaru
Source: Jo Cooks

Author Notes
If your pork chops are not very thick, mine were about 1 inch in thickness, you might not need to finish cooking them in the oven.


Have a great day
 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I was looking for something different to serve with breaded fish. I came across this recipe. Sounded good although I think it is a meal in itself, not a side dish. However, although I didn't have the ingredients, I thought I would share it.

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers and Avocado in a Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs minced shallots, from one medium shallot
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbs sugar
9 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, best quality such as Colavita
1 tsp lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
6 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, chopped

Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Servings: 8

Author: Jennifer Segal
Source: Once Upon a Chef

Have a great weekend
 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Supper, Weather, Balconies, Bowling, Krav Maga

I was quite impressed with myself Thursday afternoon, I hadn't been able to do anything about supper because the cleaner was here - changed her day because of a funeral. So when we came home from a) bowling and b) doing a bit of shopping, I rushed around and made Moroccan Style Stuffed Peppers for supper.  So what you might say, but these days doing anything like that, quickly, frequently has me howling with back pain. Or leg pain, or both. I managed to get through it without too much problem.

This morning they were re-painting the roof of our balcony. Not sure why, but I guess they figured 2 coats. Not sure when they will get around to painting the floors. When we came home I noticed that both the hoists which they had been using on our side had gone. I am guessing, hoping, they have taken them round the back to do all the handrails.

After all the gorgeous weather we have been having, today winter is approaching. 10°C and quite chilly. Matt wore shorts, silly Matt. Even the bowling alley owner had gone into long pants today and we usually figure he lasts out til the last minute. Bowling, by the way, was NOT good. Not only that we only won 2 points on Monday. One of the opposing team had the best game of his life, 305. At the beginning he told me he was lucky to get one strike a day. He would choose to prove himself wrong when we were the opposition!!! He is on the Thursday League as well so was there today and said he couldn't buy a mark for love or money.

I mentioned Krav Maga the other day. The Israeli self defense system. I did some Googling about it and found there are two schools in the area. I also found a clip showing just what Krav Maga is like. I think I am a tad too old for this. Pity because I think it would be wonderful to learn. The idea is to defuse the situation.


For years I have been bemoaning the fact that we cannot get fresh shrimp in Ontario. Then Denise of My Life in Retirement said she always uses frozen. I then thought, I always froze the fresh shrimp I bought and brought back to Canada so maybe it wouldn't be so bad, so I bought some the other day. Uncooked and in the shell. I plan to make Shrimp Creole which is a dish we used to be very fond of and here is my recipe. We will be having this on Saturday night. Of course when we lived in North Carolina, I frequently used more shrimp than called for.

Shrimp Creole

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup celery
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp peanut oil
flour for thickening
ground black pepper
2 cup fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chili powder (or Tabasco sauce) and/or fresh chillis
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sherry
1 lb shrimp cleaned and deveined
Parmesan
cooked white rice, basmati for preference

Sauté onions, peppers, celery and garlic in hot oil until tender. Make a roux with a little flour. Add tomatoes, paste, sherry and seasoning. Simmer 45 minutes. Add shrimp and simmer for 10 mins. Just before service add Worcester sauce. Serve over rice and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Servings: 4

Have a great day
 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Exercise Class, Weather, Red Foxes and Stonehenge.

We had a temporary instructor at our exercise class today, boy was she ever good. She really knew what she was doing. I was impressed. Wouldn't mind her as a regular instructor.  Her name was Alex. I seem to be meeting a lot of Alex's these days all using different shortened forms of their name. Alex Trebek is one of my favourites of course and of course, I haven't had any kind of contact with him other than watching him every weeknight on TV.

Been a somewhat rainy day and not very pleasant so we didn't see anything of the workmen on the balconies. We all think they won't have finished by the end of this season. Frustrating really. I think as the temps have dropped somewhat and appear to be staying there, I will finally go into long pants. I always hate it at first - less feeling of freedom I guess.

Interesting programmes on PBS tonight, one about Red Foxes who appear to be learning to live anywhere including in our back yards. Sadly they are also encroaching on Arctic Foxes - and occasionally killing them - so that the Arctic Foxes may not survive. The next programme was about Stonehenge and through the analysis of bones buried there, they seem finally to be able to get a handle on who built it and why. They are beginning to believe that its original purpose was as a burial ground for important people, probably from a ruling family of the time. The bigger stones were added later in order to mark the winter and summer solstice. That is what they believe at this time but the bones they have found actually at Stonehenge were in thousands of pieces. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle. I never did get to visit Stonehenge although Matt did. These days it is fenced off and you can't get close to it any more.

This is a pretty simple recipe to make your own Gravlax.

Cured Salmon (Gravlax)

2 lbs (900 g) fresh salmon fillet
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup (60 ml) salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground white pepper
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground allspice

1. Rinse the salmon and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Place in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with half the dill. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle half the mixture over the salmon. Turn the salmon over, sprinkle with the remaining salt mixture, and top with the remaining dill. Cover with plastic wrap, place a flat plate or pot lid on top, and place several cans of food on top for weight. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. To serve, drain the salmon and cut diagonally into thin slices.

Servings: 12 as an appetizer

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Saga of the Buns, Moon Gifts, DVD,

It occurred to me that I hadn't told you the saga of my whole wheat buns. I have been buying them from my local grocery store for years. They are just the right size for my lunch and, in the store, are known as 'funny buns' presumably because they come out oddly shaped. However, the powers that be decided these should no longer be sold despite the fact that, as the bakery manager told me, they are a good seller. Funny buns were actually made in white and multi grain versions. I managed to get some of each before the completely disappeared. Don't much like the white as they are long and thin and when I toast them (I like crispy) they tend to break when cut. However, there is a bakery just down the road from us and I finally got round to calling there and found some delicious buns which are better than anything I had been getting. Hooray. Cheaper too.

Also didn't mention that Mandarin (I'm sure you've heard me mention them before) were doling out little gifts to customers during the Moon Festival - which is not yet over by the way - and I have collected one or two. I think they are rather pretty. Matt thinks they are junk, he is probably right but I still like them.

I tried to play two DVD's tonight, neither of which would work although they did the other day. Ended up watching The King's Speech as that would play. I really am not quite sure why the others didn't work. I tried cleaning them, maybe not very successfully.

I thought this looked pretty good especially with the whole wheat wraps.

Creamy Avocado and White Bean Wrap

White beans mashed with ripe avocado and blended with sharp Cheddar and onion makes an incredibly rich, flavorful filling for this wrap. The tangy, spicy slaw adds crunch. A pinch (or more) of ground chipotle pepper and an extra dash of cider vinegar can be used in place of the canned
chipotles in adobo sauce. Wrap these up to take as a healthy and portable lunch for work.

2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs canola oil
2 tsp finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (see Note)
¼ tsp salt
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 medium carrot, shredded
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15 oz cans white beans, rinsed
1 ripe avocado
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 Tbs minced red onion
4 8- to 10-inch   whole-wheat wraps, or tortillas

1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion. To assemble the wraps, spread about ½ cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.

Servings: 4

Tips
Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Eat neat: Keeping the filling inside a wrap or burrito can be a challenge, especially if you're on the go. That's why we recommend wrapping your burrito in foil so you can pick it up and eat it without losing the filling, peeling back the foil as you go

Source: EatingWell Magazine

Have a great day
 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

PCT, Ada Lovelace, Bowling,

One of the sons working at the bowling alley was telling me he had been hiking this weekend. Funnily enough Matt and I had watched a programme about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail which runs for something like 3,000 miles (from memory) and we figured the people doing the trail were nuts. They start off in searing heat and desert conditions and need to carry gallons of water, then they get to the mountains and have to climb through snow and a high pass, and they pass areas of volcanic activity and pools of boiling acid together with fumeroles and so on and so on. It is apparently a very expensive trip because of all the stuff you need to survive from beginning to end. One girl we were watching had to give up because she ran out of money. She was hauling a pack which was twice as heavy as anyone's. Not only that, she seemed to be wearing flip flops for the first part of the trail??

Following that, there was a fascinating programme about Lady Ada Lovelace and her connection to Charles Babbage who designed a huge calculating machine which Ada had the intelligence to realise could be adapted to do all kinds of mathematical calculations but also to play music and such, i.e. a computer. She has the distinction of writing the first computer programme which heavily influenced Alan Turing who is widely recognised as the original constructor of the computer when he built a machine at Bletchley Park during the war which was able to crack the Enigma code being used by the Germans. This was the subject of the movie The Imitation Game if you ever saw it. I have a copy of it and think it is an excellent film.

Bowling wasn't great today, not sure how many points we took, think only two as we left before the other team had finished. Our last game was abysmal - we accumulated scores of over 900 for our first two games and ended up with 800 and something in the last game. Personally I had one good game. Matt had two.

On the way home, went to return a library book and was going to pick up one and not until we got there did I remember it was a holiday, duuh.

I thought this dish looked and sounded pretty tasty and will be trying it in the not too distant future. It appeared in a list of Spanish recipes. I loved the food of Spain (actually I have always loved the food of any European country I visited) so I share this chicken dish with you.

Chicken with Catalan Picada

This Catalan dish, made with chocolate and spices, is reminiscent of Mexican mole, says Janet Mendel. "But without the spiciness of the chiles, it's much easier to pair with wine." The sauce is
thickened with picada, traditionally a blend of toasted nuts, herbs and garlic

4 whole chicken legs, split (2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup oloroso sherry
1 bay leaf
1 3-inch strip of orange zest
1/4 tsp thyme leaves
1 slice of peasant bread, crusts removed and bread cut into1/2-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Large pinch of saffron threads
Small pinch each of aniseeds
Small pinch of ground cloves

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook over moderately high heat until browned, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat until very thick, 5 minutes. Add the broth, sherry, bay leaf, orange zest and thyme and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, turning once.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Toast the bread and almonds on a baking sheet, about 8 minutes.

4. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a food processor with the bread and almonds, the chocolate, parsley, cinnamon, saffron, aniseeds and cloves. Process to a paste.

5. Stir the picada into the sauce and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and orange zest, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Servings: 4

Author: Janet Mendel
Source: Food & Wine

Have a great day
 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Thanksgiving Dinner, Reading,

The Crispy Parmesan Potatoes did not work as per the recipe. They came out somewhat undercooked but I found them pretty tasty anyway. Matt, however, would not eat them because they were under done. If and when I try them again, I will par boil them first, which is how we normally cook roast potatoes, and proceed from there, or maybe I should just roast them longer.. Not only that, I opted for Pepper Steak in the end, big mistake, I got complaints about the pepper corns. I didn't crush them sufficiently. Dunno why I bother sometimes. This is from the guy who grinds pepper over everything, and lots of it. He thought the steak itself was delicious though. Oh well. I guess I will not be doing Steak au Poivre ever again.

I have been buried in legal thrillers lately, the Sasha McAndless series by Melissa F. Miller. I am really enjoying them and have recommended them for others to read. Also, Sunday night is Poldark so of course I was glued to the TV. Odd really considering I don't normally watch too much TV. Other than Jeopardy of course.

This is a recipe I found in my recipe programme, it sounds interesting, the picture they supplied didn't look anything like the recipe sounded so I searched for one that did seem to apply.

Exotic Mushroom Soup

There are many intriguing new varieties to try with flavors subtle and intense. For this appetizer, we combined shiitake, crimini and chanterelle mushrooms for a soup so smooth and rich it doesn't need any added cream.

3 Tbs butter, divided (no substitutes)
1 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped shallots
2 medium celery ribs, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 lbs assorted mushrooms (such as shiitake, crimini, portobello or white mushrooms), stems trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 14-ounce cans chicken broth
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 lb chanterelle or trumpet mushrooms, stems trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper

1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, shallots, celery and carrot. Cook until vegetables soften, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the 2 pounds assorted mushrooms, the wine and thyme. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, until mushrooms soften and are lightly browned. Stir in broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.

2. Puree one third of mushroom mixture in blender; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining mixture, then return to saucepan and reheat.

3. Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chanterelles, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring often, until edges are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.

4. Divide soup among 4 serving bowls. Sprinkle top of each serving with parsley, pepper and chanterelles. Makes 4 servings.

Servings: 4

Cooking Times

Have a great day
 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Recipe, Happy Thanksgiving.

On the other hand, continuing from yesterday, I received an email from our LCBO (Liquor Board) recommending a Shiraz wine by Red Knot which I decided to try along with their recipe for Fillet Steak. Oh, I have re-read it and realise it calls for a whole piece of fillet. No doubt I can adapt it for us.

I wish all my Canadian friends a very happy Thanksgiving this weekend. One thing locally we can be thankful for is the wonderful weather we have been experiencing. Long may it last. We have had the odd rain shower but generally it has been sunny and fairly warm for the time of year. Well, Matt and I are still wearing shorts. Even thought it is a holiday, I am delighted we will still be bowling.

Beef Tenderloin with Bourbon Pecan Beurre Brun

The French are known for having one of the more complex and time-consuming cuisines, however they have given us one of the simplest and quickest sauces possible with their classic Beurre Brun,
which is literally browned butter. A splash of bourbon and some crunchy pecans make this Beurre Brun even more intriguing while still letting the tenderloin be the focal point of the dish. Serve with boiled fingerling potatoes and some wilted spinach.

1 ½ lbs (750 g) beef tenderloin (whole piece, not in filets)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbs (25 mL) olive oil
¾ cup (175 mL) bourbon
1 Tbs (15 mL) fresh sage, finely chopped
¼ cup (50 mL) unsalted butter
½ cup (125 mL) pecan pieces, toasted

1. Season tenderloin generously with salt and pepper. In a thick-bottom sauté pan (that just fits the meat) heat olive oil over medium-high. Carefully place beef in oil and brown well on all sides, about 9 minutes. Be sure not to burn the bottom of the pan as this pan will be used to make the sauce.

2. Place the browned beef in a baking dish (setsauté pan aside) and continue cooking beef in a 400°F (200°C) oven to desired doneness.Use a meat thermometer for proper internal temperature, medium is 140°F (60°C).

3. Pour excess grease out of sauté pan; off the heat add bourbon and sage to the pan. Over medium-high reduce the bourbon by half, about 2 minutes.

4. Add butter, pecans and a pinch of salt, and cook over medium-low heat until the butter melts; continue to cook until the milk solids in the butter begin to toast and turn golden brown. Take off the heat immediately so as not to burn the butter. Carefully warm through just before serving.

5. Remove cooked beef from oven, let rest for 8 minutes covered with foil. Slice into 4 pieces and serve with butter drizzled overtop.

Servings: 4

Source: LCBO
Author: Tonia Wilson-Vuksanovic

Have a great holiday weekend.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bowling, Thanksgiving,

I have to do some boasting. When we went bowling today, I checked out the team status which was 6th. Bit better than last week. Something sent me back later to check on various other statistics. For the first time in my life (well as far as I remember) I have the highest female average, the highest single and the second highest triple. Matt had the highest single score. Normally I never look for my name in such stats so I don't really know why I did today. I bowled pretty well today except for my second game which was not good. I wonder how long I can keep these high scores.

As our Saturday night special cum Thanksgiving meal, I have decided to do Steak au Poivre and having posted the Parmesan roast potatoes yesterday, I bought some potatoes to roast today. Probably do baby bok choy too.

This is a very traditional recipe, however, these days it is often made with the addition of cream to the pan at the end rather than butter.

Steak au Poivre

2 thick-cut well-marbled fillet steaks, about 1 pound total weight, and 1 1/2 inches thick
2 Tbs mixed whole peppercorns, including black, white, green, Szechuan and Jamaican (whole allspice)
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbs vegetable oil
butter

Pan sauce
2 Tbs minced shallots
2 Tbs cognac (or bourbon or red wine)
½ cup flavorful dark stock
1 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
Garnish
Chopped parsley
Watercress

1. Crush the peppercorns using the bottom of a heavy skillet.

2. Sprinkle salt to taste on the top and bottom of the steaks; then press each side into the cracked peppercorns, encrusting the steaks lightly or heavily, as you prefer.

3. Heat the oil and the butter in a heavy sauté or frying pan over high heat. When the pan is quite hot, lay the peppered steaks in. Fry for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the undersides are well seared. Turn the meat and cook the second side for about a minute. Press with a finger to test for the slight springiness that indicates rare. Cook to desired doneness and remove to a warm platter.

4. Making the pan sauce

5. Add the shallots to the pan and sauté briefly, stirring with a spoon to scrape up the drippings. Lean away from the stove (averting your face) and pour the cognac into the pan; tilt the edge of the pan slightly, over the burner flame, to ignite the alcohol. The cognac will flame for a few seconds as the alcohol burns off; cook for a few moments more and then add the stock. Bring the liquid back to the boil, and cook about 1 minute to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Finally, add the soft butter, swirling the pan until it melts and incorporates with the juices.

6. When blended, pour the sauce over the steaks. Sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley and garnish each plate with sprigs of parsley or watercress.

Servings: 2

Author: Julia Child and Jacques Pépin
Source: Leite's Culinaria

Have a great day
 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Exercise Class, Bowling, Mail,

Went to my exercise class on Wednesday afternoon, the first time I have worked with our new instructor. She certainly came up with a few new things we have never done before.

Today is bowling of course, but just for the two of us. I did increase my average for league play on Monday - as I said, we won 5 points but I won't know our standing until this afternoon.

For a while I haven't been able to use Windows Live Mail on my laptop. Suddenly today (Wed) it started working again. I didn't do anything to it so I have no idea why.  Maybe it was something to do with the internet being off for a while, who knows?

In England we have been making roast potatoes for many a long year. It used to be a specialty of Matt's and we have a friend who doesn't eat a lot, but show her some roast potatoes and she devours them. These produced by Kevin Lynch of Closet Cooking look absolutely gorgeous and I would have trouble limiting my intake too. I don't know what the sauce is, he doesn't say.

Crispy Parmesan Roast Potatoes

Potatoes roasted with parmesan cheese that get all sort of nice and golden brown, crispy and good!
Seriously better than french fries!

1 Tbs oil
1 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
1 Tbs oil
1 1/2 lbs small (1 to 1.5 inch diameter) potatoes, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste

1. Brush the oil on the bottom of a baking dish and sprinkle on the parmesan.

2. Toss the potatoes in the oil, salt and pepper and press into the parmesan with the cut side down.

3. Roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until the parmesan is nice and golden brown and the potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes, before removing from the oven to let cool for 5 minutes and breaking them apart.

Servings: 4

Author: Kevin
Source: Closet Cooking

Author Notes
Season the potatoes with your favourite spices or blend instead of just salt and pepper, like cajun seasoning or taco seasoning or Italian seasoning




Have a great day
 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Our Windows, Hair Salon,

Tuesday, having returned from shopping and Matt getting a haircut at long last, we were sitting in our living room, would have been a beautiful day to sit on the balcony!!! and the workman was power washing the balconies above and below and doing the brickwork too. He kind of washed some of the windows but not seriously, so we were somewhat disappointed. I am sure it would have made a big difference had they really concentrated on it. So, the windows are still not that clean and still have concrete splashes on them. He was yelling down to someone below and saying this was his last job for the day because they turned the f***ing water off on him at 5:55. Nice I thought. He didn't know who was listening.

The comment about Matt's haircut; our regular salon changed hands, I have been there once, Matt once or twice, can't remember, then they closed down for renovations etc. and said they would reopen on Sept. 30. Trouble was they didn't and Matt's hair was looking dreadful so finally I booked him an appointment at another salon near the grocery store. Used to go there years ago. So now he is happy and looks much better LOL.

Yet another pork tenderloin recipe. Pork and apples really pair well. As you will see this is full of brand named items, most of which can be obtained anywhere.

Easy Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Apples

Brush pork with brown sugar and a robust blend of McCormick® Rosemary, Paprika and Garlic Powder, for a meal that’s equal parts sweet and savory. Bake on a single sheet pan with sliced apples
and onions, and enjoy

2 Tbs packed brown sugar
1 tsp McCormick® Paprika
1 tsp McCormick® Rosemary Leaves, crushed
1/2 tsp McCormick® Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 medium apples, cored and cut into thin wedges
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix brown sugar and seasonings in large bowl. Reserve 1 tablespoon. Brush pork tenderloin with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning mixture. Place in center of large foil-lined shallow baking pan.

2. Toss apples, onions and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl. Add reserved seasoning mixture; toss to coat well. Spread around pork in pan.

3. Roast 25 to 30 minutes or until pork is desired doneness. Slice pork and serve with apples and onions.

Servings: 6

Source: MCCORMICK®

Have a great day
 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Vegas Shooting, Bowling, Gossiping Workmen,

What a horrific thing to happen at the Las Vegas concert and so far nobody seems to know why and interviews with his family are shedding no light on the incident. It is all over the news of course and my heart goes out to the families of those who were killed or injured as well as to the injured themselves of course. A comment on BBC news tonight, the Americans feel the "right response to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun". There were more people killed in home grown terrorist shootings this year than were killed in 16 years of war. Vietnam and/or Korea.

Bowling wasn't bad today, we actually gained 5 of the possible 7 points and I had one fair game and one excellent game. Sadly the last game for both of us was lousy.

And they say women gossip. We just had two guys working on our balcony for about half an hour and they never stopped gossiping the whole time. They have finally filled in the holes on our balcony so all that needs to be done is to paint the concrete, top and bottom, and then to put up the railings. I gather they then have to be passed by an inspector before we get to use our balconies again. One thing concerning us, our windows are filthy and in some areas splattered with what looks like concrete. Not something we could deal with ourselves and I have heard that they don't clean them either so....??

I rather like the sound of these so apart from saving the recipe (can you imagine how many I have saved?) I thought I would share it. I have linked on the method of peeling pearl onions.

Italian Sweet and Sour Onions (Cippoline en Agrodolce)

These little onions make an elegant appetizer or cocktail snack all by themselves, or you can toss some on a salad or serve them as a side dish with meat or seafood. They will keep for a long time in
the fridge, so consider making a double or triple batch.

2 lbs (900 g) small Italian cippoline onions if available, or small white onions, pearl onions, or shallots, peeled and left whole
3 Tbs (45 ml) butter
1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs (30 ml) sugar or honey
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Boil the onions in salted water until tender all the way through. Drain and pat dry. Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet over high heat and saute the onions until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar to the pan and continue cooking, shaking the skillet to roll the onions in the vinegar mixture, until the syrup thickens and glazes the onions. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 8

Source: World Wide Recipes

Have a great day
 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sunday Night.

Not a lot to say tonight (Sunday) Poldark started it's 3rd season and of course I had to watch it. I watched the whole of season 2 but never saw season 1. I must say, I do wish Ross Poldark would shave. He doesn't look the gentleman he is supposed to be and it was not fashionable, in those days, to sport the unshaven look.

Monday is league bowling, I seem to have lost what I had recently so need to try and get it back. I was bowling so well for a while.

Can't believe it's now October and the sun has been shining merrily all day. Mind you, Friday when I was at exercise class we had one heck of a storm. It began by chucking down large hail stones, and they were pretty large I can assure you. Then the heavens opened and the rain came down extremely hard. It didn't last that long and by the time our class was over, it was brilliant sunshine again. Supposed to be fairly high temps again this week.

I'm always looking for pork tenderloin recipes and this one appealed to me.

Pork Tenderloin with Golden Beets

We love the easy walnut sauce that goes with this pork tenderloin. Make it up to a week ahead to go alongside another fast weeknight meal; just store in a jar and chill.

¼ cup walnuts
3 Tbs plus ½ cup olive oil
1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
3 medium golden beets, scrubbed, cut into bite-size pieces
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups sauerkraut, plus ½ cup brine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
4 Tbs fresh lemon juice, divided
½ cup finely chopped mint
½ cup finely chopped parsley
¼ cup finely chopped dried tart apricots

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 7–10 minutes. Let cool, then chop.

2. Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Season pork loin (look for one with a nice dark color and some fat on it) with salt and cook until browned on all sides, 10–15 minutes. Transfer pork to a platter.

3. Add onions and beets to same skillet and cook, stirring often, until onions are slightly translucent and browned, 10–12 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, sauerkraut, brine, broth, wine, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook until beets are fork-tender, 25–30 minutes.

4. Return pork to skillet and push down into liquid. Turn heat up to medium and simmer, uncovered, turning meat occasionally until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of loin registers 150°, 20–30 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

5. Meanwhile, mix walnuts, mint, parsley, apricots, remaining 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, and remaining ½ cup oil in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

6. Spoon beet mixture onto plates and arrange sliced pork on top. Spoon a generous amount of walnut sauce over.

Servings: 4

Author: Brad Leone
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Travel League, Creepy Crawlies,

Sorry I was missing in action yesterday, not really sure why. It was a Travel League day and we
joined the group at the Red Lobster for lunch. I had a Caesar Salad with shrimp which was pretty good. Then to the bowling alley and once we got going it was fun if not terribly great scores. The second game we played was Bowling Bingo which I enjoy but Matt doesn't. He isn't alone. I am not sure why because I think it is fun. You get a bingo card up on the computer and you have to try and get all the scores on the card, be it strikes, spares, 2s or so on. The card we had yesterday had three of each requirement - never counted but about 25 squares. It is on a timer so you usually have to move it to play the game.

The other day I learned a new word and I don't think I mentioned it. (I hope I am not boiling my cabbages twice). Once in a while I feel as if there is something crawling over my skin. Just like a bunch of ants or something. I thought maybe it was psychological because we have ants again at the moment (although I think they are beginning to disappear) and I wondered if this was a "condition" so I Googled, and lo and behold it is called formication after the Latin word formica for ant. It is, apparently related to diabetic nerve pain although not exclusive to diabetics. Pins and needles is also related. I notice, checking for the link, Wiki says "not to be confused with fornication" LOL. I haven't checked, but I wonder why the material they used on kitchen counters, etc. is called formica? No, not my hand!!!

I keep looking up recipes for shrimp in the fond hope that I will find some decent shrimp one of these days. One of the problems of being so far from an ocean.

Indian Shrimp Curry (Jhinga Kari)

Although many traditional Indian dishes are fiery hot by Western standards, they can all be tamed to suit palates accustomed to milder fare. This dish is an example of how the spiciness can be adjusted
to the taste of the cook.

1 lb (450 g) jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 Tbs (15 ml) cider vinegar
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
4 Tbs (60 ml) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs (15 ml) finely chopped ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) turmeric
1/2 tsp (2 ml) ground cumin
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cups (250 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
Chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) for garnish

1. Combine the shrimp, vinegar, and salt in a bowl and marinate at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until it is very hot. Saute the onion, ginger, and garlic until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the shrimp along with the marinade and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are pink, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for until the shrimp are firm, about 3 minutes. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro.

Servings: 4

Source: World Wide Recipes

Have a great day
 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Travel League, Movie, Canadian Thanksgiving,

Today is the first of our Travel League bowling meets. Lunch at the Red Lobster and then bowling at our home bowling alley. We have decided only to participate on the months when the bowling is in a local alley. Victoria or our usual alley, Towne. We are not going to the out of town ones at all.

Finally I got Guardians of the Galaxy 2 from the library. Not Matt's cuppa tea so I will probably watch it on my laptop. For some reason when I play movies on our DVD player we have to turn up the sound drastically to be able to hear anything at all. I really am not sure why.

Wednesday afternoon I went to exercise class and didn't have a twitch in my rear end although in the morning it was pretty painful. We will see what happens. I said to our instructor I had a PITA and she said, oh no, your husband? It was quite funny at the time.

When we went shopping on Tuesday afternoon, they had a deal going on frozen turkeys. I suddenly realised why. Canadian Thanksgiving is on October 9. I had completely forgotten. I am not sure what I will do, probably  buy a turkey breast just for the two of us. I came across this side dish which is recommended for Thanksgiving.

Company Cabbage

This is especially pretty prepared with Savoy cabbage! Be sure not to overcook the greens so they
don’t turn mushy

2 tsp (10 mL) chicken bouillon
4 cups (1 L) coarsely shredded green or Savoy cabbage
½ cup (125 mL) shredded carrots
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped celery root or celery
¼ cup (60 mL) sliced green onions or chopped shallots
½ tsp (2 mL) dried dillweed (or 1 ½ tsp/7 mL fresh)
3 Tbs (45 mL) chopped pecans
1 Tbs (15 mL) melted butter
½ tsp (2 mL) prepared mustard
1/4 tsp (0.5 mL) pepper

1. In large saucepan, heat 1/2 cup/75 mL water over medium-high; add chicken bouillon, stirring until dissolved. Add cabbage, carrots, celery root, green onions and dillweed, stirring to combine. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, stirring slightly, until tender.

2. Stir together pecans, butter, mustard and pepper. Pour over cabbage mixture; tossing to combine.

Servings: 6

Source: Great Canadian Cookbook

Have a great day
 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pain in the Ass, Mandarin, Weather,

Since last writing, life has been a bit of a pain in the ass for me, literally, my self diagnosis is that my
piriformis muscle is possibly compressing my sciatic muscle. Suffice to say it has been pretty painful. I did go bowling but it hurt. I only had one good game. Tuesday it was a tad easier and hopefully it will continue to improve. I read up on all this a bit and saw video of some exercises. Only trouble is, the girl doing them was a good 50 years younger than I and she was on the floor, sitting on a rolling pin and moving back and forth on it to massage the muscle. Yeah, right. Matt figured out a couple of stretches I could do which is why things have improved, no doubt. Wednesday afternoon is exercise class which should also help.

 Not only that but my laptop is playing me up as well.  My email programme, Windows Live Mail, isn't working. Luckily it still works on the desktop. I can get my email from the IP website, but that is a nuisance, IMHOP.


We did go to Mandarin for our anniversary supper and I did have their roast lamb as I said. It was absolutely delicious. Better than I have ever cooked for myself. I wondered if it was locally grown lamb rather than imported. Too expensive for my budget unfortunately. I hope we manage to go back some evening before the end of the Moon Festival celebration. I wondered if they would have mint sauce, they didn't, but they had mint jelly and I quite enjoyed that too. Been turning my nose up at that for years. I always have hot and sour soup but my friend pointed out it was really too hot for soup. True, so I went to their starters bar and found some delicious mussels, some shrimp (prepared with Chinese sauces and some scrumptious seaweed. I love seaweed. They had lots of more Westernised  things like beets and potato salad, but I figured the lamb was enough Westernising for one evening. After the lamb I had some Chinese foods of course. There were specials for the Moon Festival of course. I then had moon cake and some ginger ice cream which was good too.

Talking of too hot, our weather has been incredible with temps up in the 30°C - most of September has been wonderful weather. However, I understand it is going to come down with a whoomp at the end of this week. Would have been nice to have a balcony!!!

Having published a somewhat decadent crepe recipe the other day, I came across this one and couldn't resist sharing it.

Crèpe Cake With Whipped Cream

Make sure to cook the first side only until it’s very light golden. Essentially, a dark crepe is a tough crepe, and you’re aiming for a super-delicate texture.

Custard
4 ½ cups whole milk
2 ½ cups heavy cream
5 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Zest of 1 medium orange
¾ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
10 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch

Crèpes And Assembly
4 large eggs, room temperature
4 cups whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt, plus more
4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tbs powdered sugar
2 tsp orange sanding sugar (optional)

1. Custard

2. Combine milk, cream, butter, orange zest, cardamom, and salt in a large saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean and add pod. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and cook until butter is melted and mixture is warm.

3. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until light and very pale, about 3 minutes. Add cornstarch and whisk until no dry spots remain. Whisking constantly, gradually add warm milk mixture. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and pudding-like in consistency and just beginning to boil, 5–7 minutes.

4. Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean medium bowl, using a heatproof rubber spatula to help press it through; discard solids. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface, and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

5. Do Ahead: Custard can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

6. Crepes and Assembly

7. Blend eggs, milk, granulated sugar, and vanilla in a blender until smooth and frothy. Add flour and ½ tsp. salt and blend just to combine. Transfer to a large measuring cup, cover, and chill at least 1 hour.

8. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium, then brush lightly with some butter. Whisk batter to reincorporate and ladle ¼-cupful into skillet. Working quickly, swirl pan to evenly coat and cook crepe, reducing heat if browning too quickly, until bubbles form on surface and edges are light golden, about 2 minutes. Slide a spatula underneath to loosen and carefully flip. Cook on other side until a few brown spots appear, 15–30 seconds; transfer to a flat plate. Repeat with remaining butter and batter, stacking crepes on plate as you go (you should have 25 total). Let crepes cool.

9. Place 1 crepe in the center of a flat plate or cake platter. Dollop a scant ? cup custard over. Using a small offset spatula, carefully spread custard across entire surface of crepe. Repeat process with remaining custard and all but 1 crepe. Place remaining crepe on top, then lightly cover cake with plastic. Chill 2 hours.

10. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until medium peaks form. Pile whipped cream on top of crepe cake, making decorative swooshes with a spoon. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.

11. Do Ahead: Batter can be made 2 days ahead; keep chilled. Crepes can be cooked 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Cake (without whipped cream and sanding sugar) can be assembled 1 day ahead; keep chilled. Top with whipped cream and sanding sugar, if using, just before serving.

Servings: 16

Author: Amelia Rampe
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day
 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Harvey the Hurricane Hawk, Anniversary,

Many of you may have heard the story of Harvey the Hurricane Hawk. I hadn't until I got an email from National Geographic and one of their topics was the hawk's release. I then had to find the story and it turns out it went viral.



To me it is an incredible story. Obviously it happened at the beginning of Hurricane Harvey. The hawk even allows people to handle him without too much fuss which made me wonder if he was a falconer's bird but then if he had been, surely he would have been ringed? A great story nevertheless.

Today Matt and I have been putting up with each other for 45 years. Thought we would go to supper at Mandarin, particularly as  they are still celebrating the Moon Festival and one of their evening items is roast lamb. Yes, I have a roast of lamb in the freezer, but this way I don't have to cook it myself. The picture of us, 45 years ago, I was wearing a pale lilac coloured dress, looks white but wasn't. We had a reception at home with just a few people and guess who made the food - yes, we did. I remember Matt made a Spanish orange dessert which contained quite a lot of alcohol and unnoticed by us, his two daughters were sitting at the table supping up the juice. When he took them home to their mom, she wasn't too pleased as they were quite tiddley. I think they were about 5 and 9 years old as I recall. These days the 5 year old doesn't drink at all and hasn't done so for many a long year. Just went through some other old photos of that time and Matt's comment was, what a difference having dark hair makes - not that his hair was ever that dark but it sure wasn't white like it is today.

Isn't that nice, I received a thank you email from Justin Trudeau, our Prime Minister, not sure what for mind you, I didn't read it. But as far as I know, I have done nothing to earn the thanks of Justin.

I love Portobello mushrooms so I liked the look of this recipe. But, if I make it - me being me - I would not use low fat cheeses.  However, as this is supposed to be a diabetic recipe, that is probably why they use such ingredients. This diabetic doesn't believe in it though. I remembered a story when, quite a few years ago, we were living in the States but we came back for a while to visit friends and stay with them. I discovered Portobello mushrooms in a local grocery store which I had never seen in Canada before. They were pretty expensive so I bought 4, one each for our hosts and for us. Our hostess refused to eat anything so expensive so guess who chomped it down instead?

Lasagna Bella

This lightened-up lasagna is big on flavor, thanks to roasted portobello mushrooms and fresh basil.

8 large fresh portobello mushrooms
1/8 tsp salt
2 (14.1 ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 tsp salt-free tomato-basil-garlic seasoning blend, such as Mrs. Dash brand
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
¾ cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
5 fresh basil leaves, snipped

Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove stems and gills from mushrooms. Place mushroom caps, gill sides up, on an unheated foil-lined broiler pan; sprinkle with salt. Roast for 13 to 26 minutes or until tender, turning once halfway through roasting time. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine tomatoes, onion, and tomato-basil-garlic seasoning blend. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a medium bowl combine mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese. Spoon one-third of the tomato mixture onto the bottom of a 2-quart square baking dish. Arrange four of the mushroom caps, gill sides up, on top of the tomato mixture. Spoon one-fourth of the cheese mixture over each mushroom cap. Spoon another one-third of the tomato mixture over the cheese-stuffed mushroom caps. Arrange one of the remaining four mushroom caps, gill side down, on top of each cheese-stuffed mushroom cap in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture evenly over the mushrooms. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake in the 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Servings: 4

Source: Diabetic Living Magazine

Have a great day