Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Cooking Memories with my Dad.

Trying to find the time to start blogging again, I need to give myself a goal to push myself. I especially want to save some of my Dad's favourite recipes so I have them to pass on. My Dad and I love cooking together, we would work in silence mostly but we had a rhythm and seemed to just understand what each of us needed to do. Since he pass last September I've cooked a couple holiday meals that remind me of him as they were his specialties. Recipes that he either invented or doctored up.

His Meatroll was a Christmas Eve staple for our family and his Easter Ham boiled in cola and then glazed with Brown Sugar and Dijon Mustard. I made both of these and did my best to recreate his recipes but every cook has different touches that they add or alter and both my efforts were tasty but not the same as his creations. But at least when I try to remember his recipes it brings me closer to him and I remember the feeling of working with him in the kitchen. I can only hope that Otis takes a interest and I can share all my knowledge with him and pass on 4 generations of home cooking.

For now I just need to start blogging again and get my brain working.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Will update soon!

I know, I'm a horrible blogger but that will change! I promise! More good stuff coming soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

French Onion Soup

Ever since I was a kid I have loved french onion soup. What's not to love, all that salty oniony, cheesy goodness. Of course as a kid it was Lipton Onion Soup Mix that rocked my world. Back then I had no concept of the obscene amount of sodium contained in each package, I just knew it was pretty tasty stuff that made weird things like meatloaf and sour cream palatable.

I think the first time I had real onion soup was at The Keg Steakhouse with my parents sometime in the early 80's. As a kid The Keg was pretty fine dining, it was an old school steakhouse with wood paneling everywhere and with historical photos of lumberjacks and gold rush miners hanging on the wall. They had a salad bar which I loved and I would pile my plate with baby corn and sunflower seeds. They served baked potatoes with all the fixings, traditional cuts of steak (I always had the bacon wrapped filet mignon, medium rare), sauteed mushrooms and Billy Miner Mudpie. I'm pretty sure the menu hasn't changed much in the last 30 years. I think the appetizers were pretty standard for a steakhouse at the time, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail, I vaguely remember escargot and of course they had French Onion Soup.

Typically we didn't order appetizers, I mean we were having salad, baked potatoes, steak, not to mention the fact that I would also have worked my way through a couple Shirley Temples served with a side of maraschino cherries and I had to save room for mud pie so really why would you need an appetizer. Its no wonder I was a chubby kid. But I remember seeing that little brown earthenware bowl with the handle encrusted with golden bubbling melted cheese go by and I had to have that. I asked what it was and when my Dad told me French Onion Soup I was amazed. Until then I had only known French Onion Soup to be served in a coffee mug, simply boil water, add soup mix, stir, be careful not to burn your tongue. This delectable bowl of cheesy goodness can't possibly be the same thing! So I asked for a bowl, Mom said no, so I begged for a bowl, Dad said yes :)

I'm sure the Keg's French Onion soup was nothing special, most likely reconstituted broth that they topped up with some croutons and cheese and threw under a broiler but to my 7 or 8 year old taste buds it was heaven. And when I got home that night I discovered that we too had those cool little bowls with the handles, they must have been all the rage as a wedding gift in the 70's. So from then on I would boil water, add soup mix, stir, add croutons, add cheese and be careful not to burn my tongue. Now that was a fancy snack!

Anyway my favourite food blogger posted a recipe for REAL French Onion Soup and I couldn't resist. Besides I'm trying to have more meatless meals for us during the week and this recipe is perfect.

I need to go get those bowls from my Mom's house so I can make it again, but here's how it turned out.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Triple Chocolate Oscar Brownies

Recipe to come, but look at this..

Ok these brownies were alright, good chocolatey flavour but not the right texture. They were almost like fudge whereas I want that chewy brownie experience. So I'm not going to post this recipe as it is by no means the perfect brownie.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Roast Chicken

I am Roast Chicken challenged.

It seems like such a simple thing but I always manage to screw it up either by under or over cooking the poor bird. I also always break the rule of don't try something you haven't mastered when you are having people over for dinner, but since a 4lb chicken is just too big for 2 people I always invite someone over and I just love the image of carving the bird and serving all the fixings like mashed potatoes and stuffing & gravy. In my head a roast chicken is the perfect homey dinner party meal. I just haven't mastered it yet. Sigh.

But I will not give up! Especially now that I'm the mother of a big healthy baby boy who I envision as a teenage eating us out of house & home, for him alone I must learn how to roast the perfect chicken. So tonight I am once again roasting a chicken but its just for me & Ian so I have hope that I'll break free from my past failures and roast the perfect chicken. I have read dozens of recipes from all the pro chefs and homemakers and noted all their techniques. Tonight I am going simple.

Olive Oil

I loosened the skin around the breast and mashed in 2 tbsp of butter. I greased the outside of the chicken with olive oil and liberally salt & peppered it. I quartered an onion and put half of it inside the chicken and the rest is lying in the roasting pan. I tossed in a handful of garlic cloves about the pan and half a dozen yukon gold potatoes. I'm going with the recommendation of 20 minutes per pound plus 30 minutes at 400F, so that should be 110 minutes or just shy of 2 hours. I'm going to roast it breast side down for 45 minutes and then flip it and roast it breast up for another 45 minutes and then I'll check it and see if it still needs another 20 minutes.

Wish me luck.

Here's what it looked like the first time I took it out of the oven, it looked promising but the under side wasn't done, it needed an additional 30 minutes to get the juices to run clear. I think my mistake was the bird wasn't at room temperature when I put it in the oven. It was tasty but we didn't get to eat it until 9:00. sigh. I'll try again. Next time, room temperature bird, 60 minutes breast side down before I turn it, then another 45 to 60 breast side up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Things to do with Clementines

We overdosed on tangerines, mandrines and clementines this winter. Great for beating the winter blues and getting lots of vitamin C but we are so done with them now and I still had 2lbs of clementines in the fridge. Here's what I did with them and wow what a great revitalization of a fruit that we were sick of, the cake in particular was exceptionally yummy.

Nigella's Clementine and Almond Cake

Clementine & Vanilla Marmalade

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are the best cookies in the world. I swear. Well, unless you have a nut allergy and then they would be deadly. But if you need a flourless, dairy free option these cookies are for you.

My friend Nicole sent me this recipe and I love it. The only thing I change is I use mixed nuts instead of slivered almonds, its gives the cookie more flavour and texture. I always have pecans & walnuts on hand but last time I made them I had hazelnuts & almond too so it was a nut extravaganza and I think they were the best I've made so far.