Curried Mussel Chowder

2017-04-05 18.59.10

Curried Mussel Chowder

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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You don’t become a chef to become famous.

Eric Ripert

I think every home cook has the daydream of hitting it big on T.V. as the host of their own cooking show and having millions of adoring fans just gobbling up any and all recipes they showcase and I admit that I fall squarely in this group however being the practical person that I am I know this will never happen so I will be content with cooking the best food that I can for my family and friends and posting the pics to my blog in the hopes that others will enjoy it as well.

Shopping list:

  • 1 1/2 pounds frozen precooked Mussel meat
  • 4 cups Vegetable stock
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 1/4 cup Butter
  • 1 cup diced Potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped Leeks – white and light green only
  • 3/4 each finely chopped Celery and Onion
  • 4 tablespoons Yellow Curry powder (see cooks note)
  • 1/4 all purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Corn Kernels
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro for garnish

Putting it all together:

  1. In a stock pot or Dutch oven melt the butter and saute the onions for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until blended. Cook the butter and flour for about 5 minutes but don’t let it brown.
  2. Pour in the vegetable stock and whisk until smooth. Add in the remaining ingredients except the Cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer (stirring occasionally) for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Pour the soup into four individual bowls, top with some cilantro and serve.

Cooks note: For a milder curry flavour substitute Garam Masala for the Yellow Curry powder.

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

Until next time……….

                          Bon Appetit

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Steak and Kidney pie

Steak and Kidney pie

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
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2017-03-24 18.59.51

 

‘Chef’ doesn’t mean that you’re the best cook, it simply means ‘boss.’

Tom Colicchio

This is one of those recipes where people look at the title and either turn up their nose automatically or, as in my wife’s case, it elicits a warm walk down memory lane .In my case my childhood memories do not include this staple of British cookery because my dad was a Pork man through and through but there were also 7 kids and so the food budget was aimed at lower costing but still healthy foods like Liver.

Now this recipe is not an original from me but it is my adaptation of one from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger so kudos chefs and thank you for giving me the base for my twist on your recipe.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 pound bottom Sirloin steak tails – cubed
  • 12 ounces Beef Kidney – cored, rinsed and cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups Mushrooms – quartered
  • 1 medium sweet Onion – roughly diced
  • 1 12 ounce can Guinness
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons liquid Beef base
  • 5 tablespoons Canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/3 cups of Flour plus 1/3 cup
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 cup cold Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice Water
  • 2 tablespoons melted Butter

Putting it all together:

  1. Prepare the pastry: In a large bowl, combine flour with butter and salt. Mix lightly with your fingertips until butter forms pea sized pieces. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon of the water. Add to flour mixture all at once, mixing gently with your fingertips. You should be able to see chunks of fat, and the pastry should be moist enough to begin to stick together. If the pastry is too dry, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water.
  2. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface, dust with flour, and knead it until the pastry is smooth, about 3 to 4 times. Transfer to a plastic bag and form pastry into a disk. Refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes, or as long as 3 days.
  3. Meanwhile: Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a casserole or Dutch oven. Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook for about four minutes. Add the 1/3 cup of flour and mix well.
  4. Stir in the Worcestershire, beef base, bay leaves and salt and pepper.
  5. Pour in the Guinness and bring to a boil.
  6. Add in the steak and kidney, mix well, cover and place in the oven and simmer for about 1 hour or until the meat is fork tender.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375°. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
  8. Fill 4 oval Au Gratin dishes or one 9 inch pie pan with the steak and kidney mix and cover with the pastry. Make a vent hole in the pastry, brush the melted butter on the top and put back in the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

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

Until next time……….

                           Bon Appetit

Baked Mexican Breakfast Bars

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Baked Mexican Breakfast Bars

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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What nicer thing can you do for somebody than make them breakfast?

Anthony Bourdain

While breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day it can also be the most challenging one to make. I mean how many times can you have bacon and eggs or pancakes with bacon or French toast with bacon before you get tired of it and want something completely different?—- okay let’s be serious…. NO ONE ever gets tired of bacon but you get my drift.

This was the conundrum I found myself in this morning and as I remembered reading about this kind of dish recently I set out to make it and of course put my own spin on it.

These are also great to freeze and use on days when you are in a hurry because you can just heat and run.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 3 cups diced Ham
  • 1 medium white Onion – diced
  • 1 cup chopped Asparagus spears
  • 1 8 ounce can Corn kernals – drained
  • 1 8 ounce can Black beans – drained and rinsed
  • 10 large Eggs 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Chipotle powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dried Parsley
  • Salsa – (optional)
  • 1 9 x 12 x 1/12 Mini loaf pan

Putting it all together:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. While the oven is heating mix the eggs in a 4 cup measuring cup and set aside.
  2. In a large non reactive bowl mix all the remaining ingredients.
  3. Spray the loaf pan with a non stick spray, spoon the ham and veggie mix equally into the mini loaf pan.
  4. Pour enough eggs into each slot to just cover the mix and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve with salsa if using.

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

Until next time………..

                            Bon Appetit

 

Surf and Turf burger

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Surf and Turf burger

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.

Anthony Bourdain

It’s cold and snowy and blowing and depressing and I want it to end……… come on Mother Nature have a heart BRING ON THE SUMMER—– please??

Okay so my grovelling didn’t work and despite what some rodent proclaimed a few weeks back winter and all it’s icy snowy wonder is here to stay for a wee bit more but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of warm weather, cold beer and BBQ right? 

So in honour of summer dreaming I decided to make Surf and Turf burgers for dinner tonight. Now absolutely everyone has “the best” burger recipe and I for one am not about to get into a war of words over who is right and who is not but suffice it to say the best burger (in my humble opinion) is one where the patty stands on it’s own based on a righteous flavour profile and is simply enhanced by whatever toppings you put on it.

With that in mind here is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 Pounds ground Pork
  • 2 Pounds ground Beef
  • 12 peeled and deveined 26-30 Shrimp
  • 1 medium Onion – minced
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Garlic cloves – finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons Blackening Spice
  • 2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 ounces Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Red Onion – sliced
  • 1 large Tomato – sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • handful of Spinach
  • Soft Crusty rolls – split

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large non reactive bowl mix together the pork, beef, onion, garlic, Worcestershire, eggs and blackening spice. Cover and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
  2.  Using a standard ice cream scoop form 4 ounce patties.
  3. Grill or pan fry the burgers until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  4. In  a medium saucepan melt the butter and add the garlic. While the garlic butter is heating dust the shrimp with the Old Bay and add to the garlic butter. Saute until the shrimp is pink, about 4 minutes.
  5. Build your burger and enjoy.

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

Until next time……….

                           Bon Appetit

 

Healthy chicken vegetable soup

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Healthy chicken and vegetable soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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“You can’t go wrong with relatively simple comfort food. It’s also about ease. Some cook to impress. I cook for people to enjoy the food.”

Al Roker

Every once in a while, for no particular reason, I crave something warm and comforting that does not take a lot of time to make and not only tastes good but is good for you……. enter Chicken vegetable soup.

Now as a general rule I avoid trying to make chicken soup of any kind as it usually ends up tasting greasy or oily and that’s not very pleasing to anyone however I surprised myself with this one as it is neither greasy nor oily and that confirmation came from my better half who is also my greatest and most honest critic.

Here is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts – diced
  • 5 small boneless skinless chicken thighs – diced
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 2 celery stalks – chopped
  • 2 large carrots – chopped
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1 cup rough chopped mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
  • 4 cups sodium reduced  chicken  stock
  • small bunch of kale – roughly torn
  • 1 10 ounce can pre-boiled lentils (substitute black beans if desired) 
  • salt and pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven and sear the chicken in batches. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the onion and saute for about three minutes then add the remaining vegetables except the Kale and Lentils and stir until well mixed together.
  2. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on until the vegetables are fork tender, about 20 minutes (add aditional stock or water if needed).
  3. Add the Lentils and Kale and continue to simmer until the Kale is just wilted
  4. Season with salt  and pepper

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

Until next time……

Bon Appetit

Pan fried Basa with cheesy grits and sauce Piquant

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Pan fried Basa with cheesy grits and sauce Piquant

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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It’s no secret that I love Southern food— BBQ, Smoked, Etouffe and Gumbo to name a few—- so coming up with this “dinner winner” was easy as pie and although it may appear to be a bit time consuming in the making it is definitely worth the effort.

When I first started out to make this one I had every intention to use Catfish because it is such a staple of Southern cooking however I soon found out that my local grocery store (we don’t have an easily accessible fish monger) does not sell it anymore because it is so expensive to get in and no one buys it so I did the next best thing—- Basa and since Basa is Vietnamese Catfish it fit into the recipe quite well.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 medium Basa or Catfish filets
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Canola plus 2 tablespoons oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned Grits
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 3/4 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • 3 Garlic cloves – chopped and divided 1 for Grits 2 for Piquant
  • 1/2 cup Corn flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped green onion for garnish.

Putting it all together:

For the Sauce Piquant…..

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a non-reactive saucepan over high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, 1 1/2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, red pepper and stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Transfer to a food processor or blender, and puree on high speed. With the motor running, add the remaining 1/4 cup of oil through the feed tube and process until smooth. Serve warm.

For the Grits…..

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine broth and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Slowly stir in grits; reduce heat to low, and cook until grits are tender, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and butter.

For the Fish…..

  1. Mix the Corn flour with 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
  2. Coat the fish in the seasoned flour
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large pan and fry the fish until golden brown, about 10 minutes
  4. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels

To plate the fish simply spoon some grits onto the center of a plate, place the fish on top and spoon some sauce Piquant over the fish. Garnish with some green onion and enjoy.

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

Until next time………

                            Bon Appetit

 

 

 

 

Navy bean soup

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Navy bean soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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The first time I heard about this soup was back in 1974 when I was watching the iconic Mel Brooks movie “Blazing Saddles”. In the end there is a massive fight in the commissary of the studio the movie was being filmed in (you have to see the movie to understand) and at some point someone gets pushed through the checkout line covered in Navy Bean soup. So when Mother Nature decided to throw us a curve ball the other day and go from spring like weather to freeze your butt off it became clear that soup was in order and that scene from the movie jumped into my head and a little voice said……….. “Navy Bean” (the voice sounded surprisingly like Cleavon Little lol).

One additional point—- I used a Smoked Ham/Pork Hock because I like the smokiness and flavour it adds. If you don’t want to use one then simply substitute some diced ham.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 pound Navy beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large smoked Ham hock, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 medium Onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cups of Cold water
  • 8-10 black Peppercorns
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 – 3 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Cheesecloth and butchers string

Putting it all together:

  1. Put the beans in a large soup pot or Dutch oven, cover with water and soak for about 20 minutes
  2. Drain the beans and set aside
  3. Make a Bouquet Garni by putting the peppercorns, thyme and bay leaf in the cheesecloth and tying together with the butchers twine.
  4. Place all the other ingredients in the pot or dutch oven and cover with the water.
  5. Tie one end of the butchers twine to the handle of the pot and put the other into the pot
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer
  7. Cook until the hock and beans are completely tender, about 1 1/2 hours
  8. Turn off the heat and remove the hock.
  9. When cool enough to handle strip the meat off the hock discarding the fat, bone and skin
  10. Chop the meat into small pieces and add back to the pot
  11. Remove and discard the Bouquet Garni
  12. Blend about two cups of the beans with some liquid and add back to the pot
  13. Mix well and adjust seasoning
  14. Enjoy

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

Until next time………..

                          Bon Appetit

Bacon wrapped baby potatoes

Bacon wrapped baby potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sometimes finding just the right side dish can be a major chore as well as a major pain in the butt and this is exactly the dilemma I was facing not to long ago when my ever helpful and brilliant wife suggested I make the perfect side dish….. “bacon wrapped baby potatoes”.

Not much else to say after bacon wrapped potatoes except……….. “Let’s eat”.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping List:

  • 12 – 18 medium sized “Baby potatoes” (allows for 3-4 potatoes per person)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated Onion
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 8 slices of Bacon – cut in half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Rosemary
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Putting it all together:

  1. Blanche the potatoes in salted water for about 5 minutes
  2. Put the blanched potatoes in an ice bath and set aside
  3. Put all the ingredients except the bacon in a large mixing bowl and blend well
  4. When the potatoes have cooled add them to the mixture and coat well
  5. Wrap each potato with a half slice of bacon and put, seam side down, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper
  6. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the bacon is crispy
  7. Enjoy

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

Until next time……….

                              Bon Appetit

Chicken and Orzo stew

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Chicken and Orzo stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe came about as a result of my daughter and grandson getting sick and asking “daddy/pops” to make something comfy cozy to eat so I went looking and found the base for this recipe at Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Now for those that don’t know me a request of “make me something comfy cozy”will not result in a batch of chicken soup even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with chicken soup. It’s just that I like to come up with tasty alternatives and this one fits that category to a “T” and both my “patients” loved it.

Here then is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium sized boneless skinless chicken breast– cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Vidalia onion— diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • 14 fl oz (415 mL) diced tomatoes with juices
  • 4 cups (1 L) reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup of rough chopped Crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Orzo
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) kosher salt, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of Tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coriander
  • freshly chopped parsley, for serving

Continue reading “Chicken and Orzo stew”

All purpose Dry Rub

  • Servings: ”Approx.
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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All purpose dry rub

They say that “Necessity is the mother of Invention” and so I can only imagine that this was the thought going through the mind of whomever first came up with the idea of using a Dry Rub to flavour their food. Now I know that, historically, salting  and drying different types of foods has been around for centuries and has been very successful in its use but the origin of the dry rub will leave me scratching my head for some time to come.

This particular rub is my go to for beef and pork since I have a slightly different one for chicken and by adding a few other ingredients this one can be used as a Blackening spice, Mexican style spice etc.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 3 Tablespoons Seasoned salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulate Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons Dry Parsley flakes
  • 3 Teaspoons Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin 

Putting it all together:

  1. Put all ingredients in a non reactive bowl and mix until well incorporated
  2. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid

You can use this dry rub for grilled meats, oven baked meats, stews or whatever you can dream up.

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

Until next time………

                       Bon Appetit