Chili Cheese Fries

Chili cheese fries

Chili Cheese Fries

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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There are foods that North Americans eat that Europeans find really strange….. okay even some North Americans find strange. Things like Poutine, Ketchup Potato Chips, Root Beer and yes…. Chili Cheese Fries.

Now there was a time when Chili Cheese Fries were reserved for county fairs or cheap diners but they have seen a resurgence in popularity recently mainly due to celebrity chefs bringing this dish back into the spotlight because, as with everything else, “what was old is new again.” The other awesome thing with this recipe is that the chili part of this can be made a few days ahead of time and then frozen for when you need it.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 3 cups Chili – See Texas Style Chili for the recipe.
  • 1/2 block Old Cheddar – shredded.
  • 1 bag frozen French Fries or 4 – 6 fresh cut Yukon Gold Potatoes.
  • 3 Scallions – rough cut for garnish.
  • Sour Cream for garnish – optional.

Putting it all together:

  1. If using frozen fries cook them per the bag instructions. If using fresh toss the fries with Canola Oil, salt and pepper and place on a sheet tray in a 425° oven for 18 – 20 minutes.
  2. While the fries are cooking heat the chili in a medium pot.
  3. To serve place the fries on a plate, top with the chili and cheese and garnish with the green onion and sour cream.
  4. Enjoy

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……..

                            Bon Appetit

Tefal Actifry

Actifry

Tefal Actifry

 

I used to have a Bravetti™ Deep Fryer, you know the kind…. took four liters of oil to fill it then it took forever to heat up and depending on what you were making it could be hit and miss on the doneness. The other pain was the clean up….. It was a mess to drain because you had to filter the oil into a container without spilling oil all over the kitchen, store the filtered oil somewhere and then clean the appliance without damaging the heating elements and not to mention the fact it was a big appliance and took up a bunch of counter space.

Well I finally got tired of the Bravetti™ and after cleaning it up I donated it to Value Village and then went on the hunt for a replacement.  I am happy to say that the Actifry™ is head and shoulders above what I used to have. Not only is it a healthier alternative as it uses 2 Tablespoons of oil and HOT AIR but once you close the lid and set the timer it is instant start and the timer goes off when your food is done. The clean up is a snap as all the parts come apart very easily and soap and water is all I have ever needed. I have used this machine for French Fies, Chicken Fingers and Shrimp with great success and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. Oh and…. it fits in the corner of my counter thereby leaving me work space.

So if you are looking for a deep fryer I would highly recommend giving this one a whirl…. you won’t regret it.

Until next time……..

Poutine

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Poutine

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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This iconic French Canadian dish (pronounced Pou Tin) is so good it has been adopted by the rest of the country as well as south of the border and there is good reason for this. I mean who can resist the salty gooiness of Cheese Curds that have been melted over french fries by means of tasty gravy?

Let’s also not forget that when it comes to Poutine that anything goes as evidenced by Chef Chuck Hughes (Le Bremner and Garde Manger in Montreal) who won Iron Chef America with his Lobster Poutine.

I decided to make this as a side dish the other night simply because it is so easy and tasty but it’s also a great accompaniment for anything that has been grilled. You can also use it as a main dish or even a late night snack.

Cooks note: There are no real ingredient measurements for this dish as it really is a personal preference. Some people like more fries and less gravy while others load up with toppings and decrease the amount of curds. I used some measurement for fries based on my personnel preference.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • Cheese curds
  • Beef gravy
  • French fries – 11 ounces for a full serving and 6 for a half.
  • Green onions, hot peppers

Putting it all together.

  1. If using frozen fries cook according to package instructions.
  2. While the fries are cooking make the gravy. Homemade is preferred however if you want you can used tin.
  3. To build your poutine simply put a layer of fries on the plate and top with curds, gravy and your toppings.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time…….

                          Bon Appetit

 

 

Fish and chips

  • Servings: ”4-6″
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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In reading posts from other bloggers or food sites I often run across “This was my grandmothers recipe” or “I learned this one from my mother”. My grandmother died almost 40 years ago and I don’t ever remember her cooking anything and as far as I know my mom’s recipes have disappeared so I don’t have the ability to draw on either of those two for inspiration which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place… so My Kids would have “family” recipes to draw from should they so wish.

Now I know what you are going to say……. “How can something as simple as fish and chips become “your family recipe”  since it is such a basic straight forward recipe that everyone at one time or another has made? The answer to that is simply that any recipe can become your family recipe due to the twists and turns that you give it and so with the ones I have added to this basic of all fish and chips recipe it has become mine.  

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 4 to 6 Sole fillets
  • 3 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs – whisked
  • 1 head of Cauliflower – leaves removed and cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium white onion- quartered
  • 4 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup (more or less) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon each of: Salt,pepper,paprika,oregano,basil
  • 1 pound french fries- (I prefer fresh cut but didn’t have the time so I used frozen)

Putting it all together:

  1. Mix the bread crumbs, herbs and spices together making sure they are thoroughly blended and set aside
  2. Bake the french fries according to the package instructions
  3. In a large pot bring 2 inches of water to a boil
  4. Place the cauliflower, onion and garlic into a steamer and place, covered, over the boiling water
  5. Steam for approximately 15 minutes or until the cauliflower, onions and garlic are fork tender
  6. Put half the cauliflower mix into a food processor or blender along with one ladle full of the water
  7. Blend until smooth
  8. Add in the remaining cauliflower mix along with the butter and mix for about two minutes
  9. While the food processor is running add in the heavy cream until just incorporated
  10. Dredge the fish in the seasoned bread crumbs, put in the egg wash and then back in the bread crumbs
  11. Heat the Canola oil in a fry pan and fry the fish until golden brown on both sides. About four minutes depending on the thickness of the fish
  12. Place the cauliflower puree on one side of the plate, lay the fish on the puree and the french fries beside
  13. Enjoy

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time………

Bon Appetit

 

 

 

Chicken A La King

Chicken A La King

When I think of classic Diner dishes I think of Meatloaf, Burgers, French Fries, Onion Rings and of course the oft ill thought of “Blue Plate Special” but there is another very simple recipe that has seen a bit of a resurgence lately and the one I am referring to is Chicken A L King.

The little bit of culinary history that I know about this dish is that it started as a way for restaurants to use up left over chicken and thus (did I really use the word THUS?) lower the wastage of food and to add more dollars to their bottom line. It doesn’t hurt that this dish is also easy to make and oh so good.

The other thing I like about this particular recipe is it is inexpensive to make. If you use generic ingredients, except for the chicken, then you can feed a family of four for around $20.00 and in today’s economy that’s not half bad. Oh and although this looks “prep heavy” it’s not really.

So here’s my take on a classic Diner dish……..

Ingredients:

         Two medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts or six boneless skinless chicken thighs – diced

          One package extra broad egg noodles

         One package frozen peas and carrots

         2 Tins mushroom pieces

         1 ½ cups Chicken stock

         ¼ cup All Purpose flour

         3 Tablespoons butter

         1 Teaspoon granulated garlic or two chopped garlic cloves

         1 Teaspoon White pepper

         1 ½ Tablespoons Tarragon

         Pinch of salt

         3 Tablespoons Olive oil

         ¼ Cup heavy cream (35% whipping cream)

 

Method:

         Bring a large pot of water to a rolling simmer

         In a large mixing bowl place the chicken and the herbs and spices and mix well

         Add the oil to a large fry pan and add the chicken in batches removing with a slotted spoon when done

         Add the butter and when melted whisk in the flour and make a blonde roux

         Add in the Chicken stock and whisk until you get the consistency you like

         Add the frozen peas and carrots and the mushrooms and simmer for approximately four minutes

         Add the chicken and the heavy cream and bring to a boil

         Cover and turn the heat down to low

         Bring the pasta water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions

         Drain the pasta, plate and top with the Chicken mixture

 

You can serve this dish with pasta, as I like to, or with rice and if you get really ambitious you can use fresh baked biscuits.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time…….

Bon Appetit

Chipotle Mayo

chipotle_mayo

Mayonnaise has, for the longest time, enjoyed the reputation of being that plain condiment that you add to a dish to make it creamy—- like in Tuna or Chicken Salad sandwiches—- or used on a burger or dog and yes… I put Mayo on my hot dogs.

Well Mayo has enjoyed a face lift of sorts the past little while in that you can now find it in different flavors and one of the most popular flavors is Chipotle Mayo. Now Chipotle is not some uber exotic ingredient that requires trekking days into a disease ridden swamp to find in fact it’s really nothing more than a Smoked Jalapeno pepper and even though it’s not the uber exotic ingredient you might think it sure tastes like it.

Chipotle Mayo has two things in common that you will find in 99% of all Chipotle mayo recipes…. Garlic and Chipotles in Adobo sauce and it’s the Adobo sauce that gives Chipotle Mayo its distinctive reddish hue (see the attached photo) however being the wild man that I am I prefer to smoke my own Jalapenos and do without the adobo sauce. You don’t get the same color but the taste, which is the important part, is the same and it’s great with french fries or on a Curried Chicken burger (see grilled chicken for the Curried Chicken burger recipe).

Ingredients:

–          2 Smoked Jalapenos

–          4 Garlic cloves

–          1 Teaspoon Salt

–          1 Teaspoon pepper

–          ½ Cup Mayo

Method:

–          Stem and de-seed the Smoked Jalapenos

–          In a food processor add all the ingredients EXCEPT the Mayo

–          Pulse until a paste is formed

–          Blend the Chipotle mixture with the Mayo until well incorporated.

–          Refrigerate until needed

This is a “simple but tasty” dish to add to your repertoire and if you are not lucky enough to have a backyard smoker or stove top model then smoke the Jalapenos in your oven using a smoke pouch (soaked wood chips placed in a tin foil envelope with holes punched in it) at 250 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Bon Appetit