Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crispy Pork Chops

This is a simple recipe there are only 4 ingredients really...well 5 if you count the oil I used to cook it in. I found that these where a perfect picnic food, they transport really well and are super easy to make. You can change up the way it taste by using pre seasoned bread crumbs or adding your own herbs and spices to it. Feel free to experiment. I used pitas to bread these, but you can use bread crumbs, crackers or just plain flour.

You will need
2 pork chops
1 pita, slip in half and toasted.
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoon oil- for cooking

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350.
2) Using a food processor make bread crumbs out of the pitas.
3) In bowl or plate spread the bread crumbs out, add the cheese and mix to combine.
4) Dip the pork chops in the beaten egg, then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside
5) Heat the oil in saute pan, you may need to do two batches depending on the size of you pan.
6) Add the pork chops and cook on each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
7) Remove from the pan and place on a cookie sheet, cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked.


Fattoush ( Tomato and Cucumber Salad)

I've made this many times, it's really nice and light. The good thing about it is all the ingredients are available year round, but the summer is really the best time to have this. I used Sumac in this recipe, but that it optional. It is kind of hard to find and a little pricey. I've wanted to buy it for a while because Nigella has a could recipes where she uses it. When I was working on a show in Niagara Falls there was a bulk food store just down the street from my hotel. I was there one day and saw that they had it so naturally I had to have it.

You will need
1 cucumber peeled and diced
1 lb cherry tomato's cut in half or quarters
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
2 pitas
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sumac (optional)

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350. Split the pitas in half width ways and toast until golden. Careful not to burn, I've burned a lot of pitas in my time.
2) In a bowl add all the other ingredients. Mix.
3) Break the pita halves into bite sized pieces. Add half of them to the salad and stir everything together.
4) Just before serving add the remaining pitas.


Pigs in a blanket

Alright so like I said in the post before, I made these using a Nigella recipe. It is from her newest book Kitchen. I was really excited for these, mainly because she talked about going to a party and falling in love with them. Then when the party was over she ate all that was left. I think in the future I'll play with this recipe a bit. Maybe try different kinds of hot dog, veggie dogs, sausages etc.

You will need
1 sheet puff pastry
6 hot dogs, veggie dogs etc
1 egg beaten

For the dipping sauce
2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sour cream

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350. Roll out the puff pastry, cut it in half length ways.
2) Brush the beaten egg on the pastry.
3) Place one hot dog at the bottom of the pastry, roll it up until the hot dog is covered. Cut off the extra pastry. Repeat until all the pastry is used.
4) Cut the hot dogs into bit sized pieces and place on a cook sheet.
5) Brush the tops with the beaten egg and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Mustard Dipping Sauce

1) Stir the mustard's and sour cream together


A regular Sunday Picnic

Today Adam and I went down to the park by our apartment. We live right by Lake Ontario so the park is on the edge of it, it also has this amazing splash park. I decided last week that I wanted to go on a picnic...I also decided that Adam had to make something for it. Which he did and I was very happy. He made potato salad, I made pork chops, pigs in a blanket, custard tarts and a tomato and cucumber salad. When we where making everything we both where pretty excited, I was very excited about the pigs in a blanket because I tried a Nigella recipe. Overall we thought the best things where the pork chops and the potato salad. I was a little disappointed in the pig in a blanket, they are served with a mustard dipping sauce. Maybe it was the type of mustard I used but I found them meh. The tomato and cucumber salad I thought was ok, I added sumac to it which I sort of liked but I think I preferred it the way I normally make it. Either way I'll be posting the recipes for everything here.....I may even get Adam to do the post about the potato salad. We shall see.

I do have to add that the splash park was amazing. Truth be told I think it was for kids but Adam and I ran around it and had an amazing time, even though the water was a bit cold. We wanted to take pictures of us getting wet but never got around to it. So we took one when we where getting ready to leave.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Panzella Tomato, Basil and Bread Salad

It has got to be one of the tastiest things I've ever made. The best part is if you make it once you will never forget the recipe. I adjust the quantity of the ingredients every time I make it. I like mine to have extra basil and balsamic vinegar, sometimes I want an extra punch of garlic. I'll be taking some to work tomorrow. That's the wonderful thing about a dish like this, it transports really well. I don't even have to worry about keeping it cold. I'll just pop it in my bag on my way to the bus and take it out when I get hungry. 

Fresh tomato's are one of my most favorite things about summer, really I know it sounds silly but it's true. I'm always so interested in those heirloom tomato's that you find at farmers markets, or even super markets now for that matter. They always look so much better then those boring old red ones, who doesn't want a green tomato with strips or a bright yellow one?

I strongly believe that everyone should try this go ahead make it.

You will need
1 stale loaf of bread cubed
1 bunch of basil sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes diced
1 small onion sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
salt to taste

1) Pre-heat your oven to 350. Place the cubed bread on a baking sheet and place in the oven until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2) In a large bowl add the garlic, onion, vinegar and oil. Let sit until bread is ready.
3) Add the tomato's and basil to the onion mixture, reserving 1/4 cup or so of the basil.
4) Add the bread, using your hand toss to combine. Season with salt.
5) Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
6) Just before serving sprinkle over the reserved basil.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Chocolate Pudding

Adam had asked me to make him pudding about a week or so ago. He reminded me about it a couple days ago so I decided that I would in fact make it for him. It's pretty easy to do, it reminded me of making Creme Brulee. The recipe that I read said to cook the pudding until it became the consistency of mayonnaise. Which is totally true, in fact that is pretty true when making any kind of custard. You can eat this pudding hot or chill it in the fridge for a couple hours. I tried both ways but I found that eating it cold with a little whip cream on top taste the best. If your a fan of pudding skin don't cover it plastic wrap before you chill it. However you do want to cover it once it is cold.

You will need for 4 generous servings

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour or corn starch
1/3 cup cocoa powder- sifted
pinch of salt
2/12 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
Vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter

1) In a large bowl mix the sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt. Add 1/2 cup of milk and mix until combine
2) Meanwhile heat the milk and whipping cream until boiling.
3) Add one egg yolk at a time to the cocoa and milk mixture.
4) Slowly add the heated milk to the cocoa and milk mixture, stirring the whole time ( I used a whisk to combine everything).
5) Once all the hot milk in incorporated into the cocoa, pour into a pot and let cook until thick. Stirring constantly.
6) Once thick remove from the heat, add the vanilla, chocolate and butter, stir until chocolate is melted and everything is combine.
7) Pour into a bowl or into individual serving dishes. Cover and chill in the fridge.

1) Place a dollop of whip cream on top and some grated chocolate....or perhaps a cherry.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Onion, Tomato and Basil Frittata

Last night I was watching cooking videos on YouTube when I same across a British show called "Two Fat Ladies". It is basically a show from the mid/late 90's where two ladies would travel across Britain cooking different foods. Foods which more often then not contains loads of oil and butter. Most of their food was old British food, odd pairings made in molds. I do have to admit that I would try some of there stuff. Which is how this frittata came about. To be honest I'm not even the one that made was all Adam. I basically turned to him this morning and said that I wanted him to make me that for breakfast and that we had everything expect Parmesan cheese. He did really well, it turned out amazing. I kind of wish he would cook more often.

You will need
6 eggs
2 onions sliced
2 tomato's diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
5 or 6 basil leaves torn
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan, add the onions and tomato's. Cook until soft. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add the rest of the butter

2) Lightly beat the eggs, add the onions, tomato's, cheese, salt and pepper

3) Spread the torn basil on top the eggs.
4) Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the edges are set but the top is still slightly runny.
5) Place the pan in the oven and cook until the eggs have set.


Sardines and a movie

Adam and I went to the grocery store yesterday where I stumbled across a bag of frozen whole sardines. I was surprised because it was only $3.99 for 12 fish. We ended up buying it and when I got home I took 4 out to defrost. Now I've never cook or had a sardine that was not from a tin so I didn't really know what to do with it. I was also not looking forward to gutting it. I highly suggest buying a cleaned fish. However if you buy them whole like I did, you want to cut the head, tail and any fins off first then remove any scales. Then slice the belly open, scrap out all the innards then rinse the fish in water. Word to the wise, the back bone is still in place if you wish you can remove it, or cook the fish on the bone. Just be careful of bones.We ate the sardines with a salad while we watched The Empire Strikes Back. It made for a very enjoyable Friday night.

You will need for 2 people
4 Sardines- cleaned
1/2 medium onion -sliced
1 tomato- diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cilantro
1) Heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions and tomato's saute for 2 minutes
2) Add the herbs and continue to cook until onions are soft
3) Add the sardines, cover the saute pan and cook for 10 minuets or until fish is cooked.
4) Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day Goulash!

Today is Canada Day and in celebration I made a very unCanadian dish, Goulash. About 5 year ago I went to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. I remember going out to dinner one night and having Goulash. I kind of forgot all about it until recently when my friend Jelena and I where talking about her upcoming trip to the Czech Republic. I've had Goulash on the brain ever since. Jelena has come and gone from the Czech Republic and with her return came a photo of a very curious Goulash. A Boar Goulash to be exact. When I saw that picture I knew I had to make Goulash.

I discovered that making this dish is very similar to making my Beouf Bourguignon. It has very similar ingredients and is almost the same preparation....well with the expectation of the dumplings. I will be making this again, hopefully in the near future. I think next time I'll add some root vegetables. I know the ingredient list looks like a lot but really the majority of it is spices. The most labor you will ensue will be browning the meat. Once you have done that your everything else is easy.....well beside the wait. I woke up this morning and wanted Goulash, I'm very impatient when I want something. However in this instance the wait was worth it. A traditional Goulash is served with bread dumplings. I've included the recipe for them below.

Just a little side note. This recipe calls for Paprika. I used Hungarian Paprika, feel free to use whichever on you have at home. If your buying Paprika for this I would get Hungarian or spicy Paprika.

You will need
2 pounds or so stewing beef or pork diced
4 cups sliced onions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
3 bay leaf
1 small can tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups stock (chicken, beef, vegetable whichever you like)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (If using table salt use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1) Dry your meat. Heat a saute pan with the oil. Brown the meat in batches. Set aside.
2) Add the onion to the saute pan. Sprinkle the sugar over top. Turn the heat down and let caramelize. Stir occasionally. This should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
3) Add the ground caraway and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
4) Add the Paprika cook for another minute.
5) Add the thyme, bay leaves and marjoram. Stir to combine.

6) Add the can of tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
7) Add the vinegar and stock, stir until everything is combined.

8) Season with salt and pepper.
9) Bring to a boil. When it has reached the boil, reduced the heat and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hour or so.

Bread Dumplings

You will need
2 cups stale bread cubed
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

1) Mix the eggs and milk together in a large bowl.
2) Add the baking powder and salt to the flour and stir to combine.
3) Slowly add the flour mixture to the milk stirring to combine.
4) When the batter is smooth add the stale bread.

5) Wet your hand. Form the dough into one or two loafs.

6) Bring a pot of water to the boil.
7) Add the loaf(s) cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Flip the loaf(s) over and let boil for a further 10 minutes.

8) Using a piece of dental floss cut the bread into 1/2 inch slices.