Chocolate Cherry Cake

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Chocolate Cherry Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Was going through my dry goods cupboard making a grocery list and came across a tin of Cherry Pie Filling that I forgot I had and figured no time but the present to make something with it.

Now since I am not that proficient at making pie crusts I decided I would use it in a cake and what better combination  than Chocolate and Cherries?

I present to you my Chocolate and Cherries Cake.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 cup All Purpose flour – sifted
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 18 ounce can Cherry Pie filling
  • 9×13 Cake pan

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. In a large non reactive bowl mix together all the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In another large non reactive bowl mix together the remaining ingredients except the cherry pie filling.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and, using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients together until smooth. Add the cherry pie filling and mix until a batter forms.
  5. Spray the cake pan with a vegetable oil spray and dust with flour.
  6. Pour the batter into the cake pan and smooth.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.

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

Until next time…..

                           Bon Appetit

Bahn Mi Tacos

Bahn Mi Tacos

Bahn Mi Tacos

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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In Vietnamese cooking Bahn Mi refers to the Bread that is used in sandwiches and if done right it is one of the best sandwiches you have ever had.

Now traditional Bahn Mi sandwiches usually consist of marinated meat and pickled veggies and it’s the marinade that really stands out but in this case we have added typical Taco toppings…….. green onions, sour cream and Cilantro…. so the taste has changed a little but you can still detect the Asian influence to this Taco.

Here’s how we doe this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 pounds Steak strips
  • 1 medium piece Daikon – peeled and shredded
  • 4 cups Shredded Carrots
  • 4 Scallions – chopped for garnish
  • Small bunch of Cilantro – chopped for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • Sour cream for garnish
  • 1/4 cup Soya sauce
  • 1/2 cup Fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Garlic Chili sauce
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard Seeds
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese

Putting it all together:

  1. In a non reactive bowl mix the Soya sauce, Fish sauce, Garlic Chili sauce and sugar mixing well. Pour over the steak strips, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. For the pickling liquid combine the Apple Cider Vinegar, Sugar, Sea Salt, Peppercorns and Mustard seeds in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the carrots and Daikon in a bowl and pour the pickling liquid over top mixing well and cover.
  4. In a large fry pan or wok heat the oil and quick fry the steak strips in the marinade.
  5. Build your Taco by briefly heating the Tortilla then layer cheese, steak, pickled veggies, green onions, sour cream and cilantro.
  6. Enjoy.

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

Until next time…….

                           Bon Appetit 

Chicken and Shrimp with Sauce Cantonese

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Chicken and Shrimp with Sauce Cantonese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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The sauce recipe for this dish comes from a book, The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking, that was published back in 1985 and has 2000 recipes in it. I chose this sauce as it appeared to pair well with Chicken and Shrimp and I also had 95% of all the ingredients in the house.

I was pleased with the overall taste of this recipe however I was disappointed in the amount of sauce it produced as I would have liked more.

Cooks note: Increase the sauce recipe by 1/3 – 1/2 for a more saucier result.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list: 

  • 1 bag 31-40 Shrimp – peeled and tail off
  • 2 Chicken breast – sliced into small piece
  • 1 large package Udon noodles
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil
  •  1 teaspoon grated Ginger
  •  3 Garlic cloves – grated
  • 1 1/2 pounds Sugar Snap Peas
  •  1 cup Chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
  •  1 teaspoon Soya sauce
  •  1 teaspoon Sugar
  •  1 tablespoons Dry Sherry
  •  1 tablespoon Cornstarch with 2 tablespoons Water
  •  1 Egg – beaten 
  • 2 Green Onion tops – chopped for garnish 

Putting it all together:

  1. Heat the oil in a large Fry pan or Wok and cook the chicken in batches and set aside.
  2. In a large non reactive mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients except the Shrimp, Egg, Green Onions, Peas and Cornstarch and water.
  3. Pour the sauce ingredients into the pan or wok and bring just to a boil.
  4. Mix the cornstarch and water together and whisk into the boiling sauce. Reduce the heat and let simmer until it starts to thicken.
  5. Temper the beaten egg by adding a small amount of the sauce liquid and then add to the pan/wok and stir well.
  6. Add the remaining ingredients except the green onion and simmer until the shrimp is cooked.
  7. Prepare the noodles according to the package instructions.
  8. Plate the noodles, top with the sauce and green onions and enjoy.

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

Until next time……..

                           Bon Appetit 

 

Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

Brownies

Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I don’t bake all that often mainly because I don’t think I am very good at it but secondly because baking really is an exact science. Unlike cooking where you can get away with not using exact measurements baking requires precise measurements otherwise the finished product will not turn out and most times I just don’t have the patience.

What then lead to my decision to make brownies? My wife’s best friend of 60 years was by for a visit and since she does not bake and does not really cook I decided to offer up a treat.

This particular recipe is an adaptation from the baking queen, Anna Olson, so I hope I do it justice.

Here is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  •  10 oz (300 g) Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
  • ⅔ cup (150 mL) unsalted Butter
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) Sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) Vanilla extract
  • 3 large Eggs
  • ½ cup (125 mL) All-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) Salt
  • 3 oz (90 g) Butterscotch chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped Peanuts

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C) and grease and line an 8-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl resting over a pot of barely simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring gently. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and vanilla.
  3. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in the chopped peanuts and butterscotch chips.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the brownies comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

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

Until next time………

                           Bon Appetit

Meat on a stick

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Meat on a stick

  • Servings: 18-20
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I love the culture of grilling. It creates an atmosphere that is festive but casual. 

Bobby Flay

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and instead of taking the women in my life….. my wife, daughter and daughter in law….. (my mom lives 2 hours out of town and at 85 doesn’t like to travel far anymore) out to a restaurant for dinner I did the next best thing….. I made them dinner starting with appetizers so they could do as they please and be waited on as befits the day.

The main drawback to this particular recipe is the prep time. The meat needs to be marinated and assembling the skewers is time consuming and somewhat labour intensive however as my son says “there is something about wood and meat that makes it all worth while” and I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 pounds bottom Sirloin steak tails (see cooks note)
  • 9″ Bamboo skewers
  • 2 large Yellow peppers
  • 2 large Red peppers
  • 2 large Orange peppers
  • 1 large Red Onion

For the Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup sodium reduced Soya sauce
  • 1/3 cup Fish sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Garlic Chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sugar

Putting it all together:

  1. Cut the steak and vegetables into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a non reactive container mix together the soya sauce, fish sauce, garlic chili sauce and sugar. Put the steak in a zip lock bag, pour in the marinade and place in the fridge overnight.
  3. Soak the skewers in water for at least 30 mins as this will help to stop them burning on the grill.
  4. Preheat the grill to 375° and then build your skewers by alternating the meat and the veggies until all the skewers are filled.
  5. Grill and enjoy.

Cooks note: I chose bottom sirloin steak tails because one of our independent grocers carries them and the price is really quite good as is the product however feel free to use whatever steak you wish.

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

Until next time………..

                         Bon Appetit

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie

  • Servings: 2 nine inch pies
  • Difficulty: easy
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For this recipe I decided to go back to the beginning and make the very first thing I ever learned to bake —- the iconic and oh so good sweet potato pie!

Now when I first heard about this dessert some 20 something years ago I thought “man people were nuts”… I mean really…. potatoes in a dessert? Well I tell you the very first bite had me hooked and the only sad part is I don’t make it nearly enough.

As you can see in the photo (Note to self: Get a different camera) the pie is lacking the one element my family and friends missed and that is whipped cream but seeing as how it was Thanksgiving and I was in the middle of doing about 18 other things I was forgiven. Maybe the next time.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 4 Large sweet potatoes – peeled and diced
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 stick of melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 nine inch ready to bake pie crusts

Putting it all together:

  1. Boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender
  2. When cooled place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except the milk
  4. Using a hand blender mix all the ingredients until smooth
  5. Add the milk and mix until incorporated
  6. Pour equal amounts of the sweet potato mix in the pie crusts
  7. Place in a 350 degree convection oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the middle clean
  8. Let cool and dig in

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

Until next time……….

                              Bon Appetit

 

Bahn Mi Pork and vegetables over Udon noodles

  • Servings: ”2″
  • Difficulty: ”easy”
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Bahn Mi is the traditional Vietnamese term for “baguette” or simply bread however in some North American culinary circles Bahn Mi has come to represent something else…… The flavourful marinade used to make the traditional Bahn Mi sandwich.

The basic sauce only has four ingredients and while you may turn your nose up at say, fish sauce, don’t let that stop you from trying this delightful recipe. I even go so far as to add the sauce to ground meat and make Bahn Mi burgers and meatloaf. If you make a larger batch of the Bahn Mi place the unused sauce in an air tight container and refrigerate.

Here’s how we do this one……….

Shopping List:

  • 3 Boneless pork loin chops – sliced into thin strips
  • 1/2 each of yellow and orange sweet pepper – julienned
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion – sliced
  • Two “heads” of Baby Bok Choy
  • 1/4 cup Soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup Fish sauce
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Chili sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • 2 Teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 package Udon noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola oil

Putting it all together:

  1. Put the Soya sauce, Fish sauce, Garlic chili sauce and sugar in a measuring cup and mix well
  2. Put the pork and the Bahn Mi sauce in a resealable bag and shake until all the meat is coated. Refrigerate for approx. 20 mins.
  3. Heat the Canola oil in a Wok or a large saute pan
  4. Add the pork and the marinade and cook until almost done
  5. Remove the pork leaving the sauce in the pan
  6. Add the vegetables and heat until soft. About 5 minutes
  7. Add back the pork and mix well
  8. Cook the Udon noodles according to the package directions- usually 3 to 4 minutes
  9. Place the noodles in a bowl and top with the pork mixture. Enjoy.

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

Until next time……….

                           Bon Appetite

Buttermilk cheddar loaf

  • Servings: 12-14
  • Difficulty: easy
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This may very well be my first and only foray into the world of making bread. You see I don’t bake a lot—– truth be told I do very little baking simply because it is not something that is in my “wheelhouse” (otherwise known as my comfort zone) but since I was making some biscuits for a family gathering I thought I would try my hand at it and see where we got to and since it was a present for my mother I will have to wait to receive the verdict.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is one of those “simple but tasty recipes for the grilling season and beyond” and is so versatile it can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner or even a late night snack when you are feeling a wee bit peckish. One of the other great things about this recipe is that you can twist it and turn it and add all kinds of things to make it yours.

Try adding things like Jalapenos, bacon, dill or BACON AND JALAPENOS. The combinations are near limitless.

Here’s the one that I put together……….

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of All Purpose (ap) flour
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/4 melted butter
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded old or sharp cheddar

Putting it all together:

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • In a medium size bowl mix the first seven ingredients together
  • In a large measuring cup add the milk,egg and melted butter and whisk until well incorporated
  • Mix the cheese into the dry ingredients
  • Add the buttermilk mixture and mix with a spatula until just wet. If it looks a little to thick you can add some water
  • Spoon into a pre greased (use cooking spray as it’s easier) 4 x 8 loaf pan
  • Bang the pan on the counter a couple of times in an effort to get the mixture to settle and avoid air bubbles
  • Pop the pan into the oven and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cool for about ten minutes, slice and enjoy.

So there you have the easy peasy Buttermilk Cheddar loaf and another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Thanks for dropping by and until next time………..

                                  Bon Apettite

 

Habanero and Garlic hot sauce

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I’m not a big fan of hot sauce because, well, it’s HOT but I figured that since I was growing Habaneros in my herb garden I might as well take a stab at making some and see where I wound up and if it turned out to be too hot for me then my son would take it because he likes the stuff. Now before you call me a wuss let me explain that I love spiced food I’m just not a lover of spicy food and when I say spicy I generally mean hot.  I mean let’s examine this for a moment. You go out to dinner or you make a really nice dinner at home only to douse it in Hot Sauce so you can no longer tell what the dish originally tasted like. Seems like a waste to me but hey…… whatever floats yer boat.

This particular recipe is one that is a “little bit of this and a little bit of that”—– meaning I have taken bits and pieces of various recipes to come up with this one and like I have said before “what fun is there in cooking if you can’t twist and turn a recipe to make it your own?”

I now present to you my first ever foray into the world of making Hot Sauce…… hope you like it.

Ingredients:

–  6 to 8 orange Habaneros

–  4 to 6 garlic cloves

–  2 Cups White vinegar

–  4 tablespoons white sugar

–  4 green onions – roughly chopped ( you can substitute a medium white onion if you wish)

–  2 Large Plum tomatoes – rough chopped

–  3 tablespoons Smoked Paprika

– 2 to 3 Limes

Putting it all together:

–  Wearing disposable gloves cut the Habaneros in half and seed them – careful not to wipe your eyes while wearing the gloves

–  Put the Habaneros, vinegar and garlic in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil — reduce heat and simmer

–  When the Habaneros have softened, about ten minutes, transfer the ingredients of the saucepan to a blender or food processor and squeeze in the lime juice

–  Puree until smooth

–  Add the remaining ingredients and again puree until smooth

–  Pour the hot sauce into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator

The finished product should look something like this

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As in everything else you can adjust the heat level to suit your own tastes by simply adding or subtracting Habaneros. You can even go so far as to use an entirely different hot pepper such as a Scotch Bonnet, Jalapeno or Cayenne.  You can even go so far as to add some Mango and impart a little sweetness to the heat. The choice is yours.

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

So until next time………..

                                                                         Bon Appetit

Habaneros baby

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This picture is of just some of the Habaneros that are currently residing in my Herb Garden and these things have been breeding like rabbits leaving me with the “I don’t know what to do with all of them” conundrum so I mentioned it to my boss and he suggested a Habanero paste and as intriguing as this might be I figured I would start with something a little easier and make—— HOT SAUCE.

Now most people know some hot chili peppers like Jalapenos or Cayennes but Habaneros may not be as well known outside the hot chili pepper clubs so let me give you a very brief run down on these things. Chilies as you may know are rated on the Scoville Scale which is the scale used to rate the heat intensity of a pepper and of course the higher up the scale the hotter the pepper. For instance a sweet bell pepper rates a zero while Pure Capsaician (this is the chemical in peppers that produces heat) is rated at 15,000,000 and this is hotter than U.S. grade pepper spray. To further illustrate the various heat levels Jalapenos, which most if not all people are familiar with, rate between 3,500 and 8,000 on the scale while Habaneros sit at between 200,000 and 350,000 so suffice it to say that only someone with a death wish would want to eat one of these things by itself so when  using these things be careful and ALWAYS use disposable gloves.

Here now for your tongue burning pleasure is my version of Hot Sauce………

Ingredients:

Eight to ten Orange Habaneros – I will use the orange for the color effect on the finished product

Four to six garlic cloves- peeled

One small onion – chopped

Three tablespoons Canola oil

Four tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes

Juice of three limes

Two tablespoons sugar

Putting it all together:

In a medium sauce pan heat the oil (medium heat) and add the onions, Habaneros and garlic and cook until the onion starts to turn brown- stir continuously

Reduce the heat and add the remaining ingredients cooking until the tomatoes break down

Pour the contents of the pan into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth

Strain the contents through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate for a minimum an hour– Also remember that the longer you let it sit the better the flavors marry together.

Now obviously you can adjust the heat level of the sauce by using more or less of the Habaneros or by substituting a different type of pepper altogether. That’s the beauty of a recipe……. making it your own.

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

So until next time…………….

                                                               Bon Appetit