The new year snuck in…with some leftover chicken dinner…

Well, Happy New Year to you!

I saw it coming…something about roasting 2 chickens for Christmas dinner had ‘leftovers for the next bunch of time’ written all over it…

We ended up freezing a bunch of that chicken, then, company arrives…

So, I turned to Jamie Oliver (of course, you say!) for some recipe insight, and cheated a bit on this one by using the afor-mentioned already roasted chicken.

Here’s a link – oh, I also left out the olives (because they are not a big fave for the kids…)

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/hunter-s-chicken-stew-pollo-alla-cacciatora

Goes well with some home made bread.

Enjoy!

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Late but great: Simple rice pudding

You know why there are two s’es in dessert?

Everyone wants more dessert.

 

Sorry, bad joke.

Well, this one is a great dessert, in the sense that there is not a lot of added sugar (if you don’t use the jam), but it is still a sweet, rustic and old fashioned dessert. Our three kids really enjoy this one, and Caleb, our youngest, has been asking for it for a few weeks now. So, tonight, I put some on the stove.

The ‘quick jam’ is optional, in my opinion, as the pudding itself is a treat. If you can afford organic milk, then power to you!

Here it is, via Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” :

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/jamie-oliver/creamy-rice-pudding-with-the-quickest-strawberry-jam.html

Enjoy!

 

Quick post update: Fish Cakes – easy.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted – I hope you’ve been eating well!

I’ve been wanting to share this one for a while. The humble can of tuna, kicked up a few notches.

My 3 intense food critics, our 3 children, really enjoy these super easy fish cakes. They prefer not to have the chiles, and we don’t have lime leaves on hand most days, so we go for a bit of lime juice.

Check it out: easy, inexpensive, great flavour! Fish cakes, from Gordon Ramsay’s “Ultimate Cookery Course” – a great series, where he doesn’t even yell or cuss folks out!

cheers,

j

Chicken Soup for the….Stomach.

So, it’s a rainy / windy / insert bad weather description here kind of day. You’re feeling tired, a cold is creeping around the windows and pointing it’s finger at you, time for some comfort food.

Bring on the humble Chicken Noodle Soup….

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Here’s a basic recipe that will help you feel warm inside:

Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 onion diced
2-3 pieces of celery diced
2-3 carrots peeled or washed and diced
bunch of parsley
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (home made is preferred, of course)
1 piece garlic
approx. 1 cup of noodles
1 a good glug of olive oil or butter
approx. 1/4 chicken – cooked –  skin removed

* bring stock to a boil in soup pan while you chop and saute the veg

Saute onions, garlic, carrots in olive oil on medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add stock (or add to the boiling stock)

Add noodles about 10 minutes before serving

Add the chicken to warm it up – it’s cooked already, so you don’t want it getting overcooked

Season with salt/pepper/ lime/ cilantro – I recommend you serve it with the biscuits from the previous post.

There you go – a simple recipe that’s good for practicing those knife skills! Nothing fancy, but good for the ‘soul’?

Get some Biscuits

Where I’m from, biscuits are a good thing. When it’s raining, and miserably cold outside, it’s time for some soup and biscuits. So, when Sunday became a blustery, wet day, and several of us were fighting colds, we made a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup (I’ll put the recipe in the next post), and some fresh biscuits.

Biscuits are a ‘quick bread‘, which means they rise quickly, making them a fast recipe to create. Instead of using yeast and waiting for hours for dough to rise, be punched down again, and rise yet again, quick breads rise…quickly. The leavening agent in this recipe is baking powder, which reacts with the liquid to help the dough rise.

Here’s a quick, simple biscuit recipe:

Tea Biscuits
(for strawberry shortcake – add half cup of sugar)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sift together:
2 Cups Flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Add:
1/2 cup shortening and blend into dry ingredients with a pastry blender (not a mixer or blender)

Add:
1 cup milk

Stir with a fork into a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a slightly floured surface (counter) and knead 8-10 times. Roll to thickness (biscuits will double in height when baked). Cut with a floured round cookie cutter or a glass, and put on an greased cookie sheet or pizza tray (we don’t usually grease ours, and they come off fine, so feel free to skip the grease!) .
Place close together for soft sided biscuits and far apart (1 inch) for crusty sided biscuits

Bake: 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Makes about 15 biscuits.
For East Coast style, serve hot, buttered with Molasses drizzled on top. That’s right, Molasses.

Enjoy!

 

Fresh Food is So Now!

It happened like this:

I had a random phone call the other day – “We’re going fishing on Saturday, want to come?”

Now, I’ve been fishing before. I grew up in Nova Scotia on a dairy farm, so my fishing experience is somewhat different than the experience that lay before me.

This is going to make me sound old, but there were times I would be brook fishing using a cut alder and some rope, a metal nut for a weight, and a hook. That’s right – bring on Tom Sawyer…

So, when I said a hearty “Yes” to my friend’s invitation, it was with the caveat that I had never experienced fishing from a boat, on the West Coast.

The night before, a good part of me was hoping they would call and cancel. The other part of me, was rearing to go (wherever we were going. Did I mention I had no idea where we were going?).

Several hours, some breakfast and coffee, and a bumpy ride later, I found myself bobbing in the relatively calm and fogged in waters off of Port Renfrew, motoring past the West Coast Trail with some solid friends.

It was like a different culture. Words like ‘army truck’ and ‘coho killer’ were being tossed around, as the other two in the boat discussed their strategy of how to snag the elusive fish that the fishfinder claimed was somewhere, down there, or over there…

To make a long story short, after a decent amount of ocean watching,  I caught my first West Coast Pacific Pink.

It was a good half footer.

It put up a decent fight.

Then came one twice the size. We said hello, then tossed it back. This was getting interesting.

Then, I had a nice size Wild Coho fighting against the line. I pretended like I knew what I was up to, and somehow managed to ‘play’ in that wild Coho Salmon (with some great encouragement from my friends). It was kind enough to spit out the hook at the same moment my friend Steve netted it.

A very thoughtful gesture.

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A few hours later, I had a couple of massive filets of Wild Coho, and spent about an hour stoking our outdoor firepit (which stands as our grill…yes, rustic is so now, too!).

Which leads me to the recipe. Yes, this is a food blog.

Simple Wild Coho Salmon.

1. Catch aforementioned Wild Coho Salmon. Make sure you can legally keep that Wild Coho Salmon, gut and clean accordingly, (keep the spine and tail for chowder later on. Yes, indeed!).

2. Heat your cooking source of choice. I recommend a fire bbq, or gas stovetop, but you can bake it in the oven as well.

3. Put a healthy amount (healthy amount?) of butter in a tin foil pan or tray. Add a bunch of diced garlic, squeeze in some lemon or lime. Season with Salt and Pepper. Allow the butter to melt in the pan before you put in your fish filets.

4. Top filets with more butter, garlic, and lime juice (You can add all sorts of things, but this one is very simple).

5. Cook, skin side down. Cover if it’s a big filet (Yes, mine was. Thank you for asking).

6. When the meat flakes off easily with a fork, it’s about time to eat that Wild Coho Salmon.

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That was the best salmon I’ve ever had – and our toughest critics, our three kids, enjoyed it!

I think they enjoyed their dad’s fishing stories, too.

 

 

Pico de Gallo – It’ll make you want to throw away the canned salsa

Ok, I’ll say it: Pico de Gallo is the bomb.

This is a legit recipe I was taught by my Mexican Sister-In-Law (who informed me that salt was indeed a necessary ingredient. She was right). If there’s a party happening, then I’m more than likely going to bring this and some organic nacho chips. It’s a simple traditional recipe that is a real winner (seriously, people talk about this one afterwards…)

Pico de Gallo literally means “the rooster’s beak” – how cool is that for a salsa name?
It is a fresh salsa- no canned tomatoes, here.
It’s also a slow kind of recipe – no blending or food processing this one. Blender is bad. Hand diced – good.

With that in mind, if you’re new to kitchen knives and wanting to keep all your fingers you started with, I strongly suggest you watch this video by Jamie Oliver on knife technique, and use the ‘cross chop’ (see 1:38 in the video) to get things done – don’t get into the fancy stuff until you’re feeling solid on the basics. Use the ‘rock chop’ (see 4:12) to slice you halved  onions and tomatoes then cross chop everything out to the right size – nice, small, similar sized chunks (ie who wants a mouthful of onion?…) .

The recipe is varied depending on the size of your tomatoes and onions, but here’s the basic recipe (which is a great way to practice those knife skills) :
Anna’s Pico de Gallo (aka the Rooster’s Beak)
Legit salsa from my Mexican sister in law.
chop finely:
a medium size onion or red onion (big salty tears…)
a bit more tomato than onion 1-2 tomatoes is a good starting point

Add:
a wack of washed chopped cilantro (yes, a wack, or a handful, if you prefer)

finely cut hot pepper (to preference hint: seeds = more heat safety hint: DO NOT tough your eyes- getting chile in your eyes is a very painful process, and you will need to flush your eyes with water for quite a while to get past that moment)

Squeeze in:
Limes – amount depends on quality of lime. Some are just green rocks masquerading as limes. Start with one, but have an extra on hand, just in case.

Add:

salt to taste
Stir, taste, adjust seasoning or lime if necessary, enjoy.

This fresh rustic salsa is great with nachos and tacos, and is also great on a fried egg the next day (+ refried beans, some tortillas, = a basic huevos rancheros ).

Pico de Gallo. A fresh salsa with attitude.

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