Posts tagged ‘non-vegetarian’

Fresh: Plain and Simple

The theme of this post is all about “fresh”; my desire to be out of the dust and into fresh air, a new wine that goes by Fresh, and a couple fresh new recipes created today by me.

The hallway walls are getting a good sanding this weekend. Yikes – that is a lot of dust. I find plaster dust very hard on the skin. Even if I don’t actually partake in sanding myself, I find my skin gets dry just being in the presence of it. Here I go complaining again… I’m trying not to, really I am, but it has been a long winter with a lot of dust and the storm windows have prevented me from opening the windows for even a hint of fresh air.

A while back, I promised that I would share the hidden staircase that we were planning on using when we refinish the hallway floors. This was a picture from upstairs. Looks totally usable, right? I’m afraid not… the former owners removed far too much of the staircase and it is about a 3 foot drop to the floor. Most of the staircase opening is also blocked by pipes. Sounds terrible, I know, but this gives me a very good reason to head south while the floors get refinished, don’t you think? See, I can be optimistic during this crazy renovation! A good wine helps too.

Real wine connoisseurs out there would likely scold me for pairing red wine with fish, but in our house we drink what we like. Today, we like Fresh Cabernet Gamay. This wine is described as having a clear deep ruby colour; cherry, licorice and pepper aromas; dry, medium body; and ripe black fruit flavours with soft tannins. I describe it as light and tasty. Try it and let me know what you think.

And a couple fresh new recipes from my kitchen:

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Hash with a Side of Simple Haddock

I had full intentions of buying salmon at the market today. I’m not a big fan of seafood, but I don’t mind salmon and rainbow trout. However, before I knew what I was saying, I asked for two haddock fillets. I don’t know how or why this happened. Since I don’t normally eat haddock, I didn’t want to dress it up too much. I wanted to see what it actually tastes like. So this entire meal was kept very simple, which is nice on Friday after a long week.

Sweet Potato and Mushroom Hash

  • 2 small or 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped

Simple Haddock

  • 2 haddock fillets
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • dash of cayenne

To make the sweet potato and mushroom hash, warm up the oil and butter in a medium-sized skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft and most of the water from the mushrooms has been absorbed (about 7 minutes). Remove the mushrooms from the skillet and keep warm. If needed, add a bit more oil to the skillet. Add the sweet potatoes and sauté until browned on all sides and soft in the centre (about 10 minutes). Be sure to flip the potatoes around the pan as they cook so that all sides brown. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet, sprinkle with salt and garnish with green onions.

Preheat your barbeque* or oven to 375F degrees. To make the haddock you will need to make an aluminum foil packet lined with wax or parchment paper big enough to fit both haddock fillets. Place the fillets side-by-side in the centre of the packet. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with chives, salt and cayenne. Close up the packet, and if cooking in the oven place on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or on the barbeque for 10 to 15 minutes (length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fillets). Serve alongside sweet potato and mushroom hash.

* I don’t like fish smells in the house so I always cook fish outside on the barbeque.


April 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

A Sneak Peak…

Okay, okay, I know I said I was going to make you wait until the bathroom was all tiled before I did a show and tell… but the glass was installed for the shower and it brought tears to my eyes.  No really… seven years, and finally this:


The day the glass was installed in our shower. The tape on the corners has to stay on for a day so that the silicone dries.

That is all you are going to get to see until the bathroom is finito, I mean it this time! I will, however, give you a quick-and-easy-but-tastes-like-you-spent-hours-on-it recipe to tide you over.

Super Easy Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata with Pasta and Mushrooms (adapted to serve 2, plus leftovers)

My favourite part of this dish was the aroma from the garlic simmering in the white wine. For that reason, I left the recommended garlic portion of the recipe the same even though I scaled down the recipe to serve two. I also didn’t reduce the amount of sauce from the original recipe and I’m glad I trusted my instincts; the pasta really soaked it up. I used a 2008 Riesling from Angels Gate Winery. As far as white wine goes, and we don’t drink a lot of white wine, this is going to be my go to summer wine. It has a subtle hint of apples, it is light, and I think, going to be the perfect white wine to wind down on a Friday evening this summer.

  • ½ box whole-wheat, multigrain or kamut spaghetti
  • ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour, divided
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (or your favourite homemade version)
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or more depending on your taste)
  • 2 chicken cutlets (1 large chicken breast or 2 small)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (I used white button and crimini)
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 3 to 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (next time I’m going to add a bit of fresh thyme too)
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, whisk 5 teaspoons flour and broth in a small bowl until smooth. Place the remaining flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and sauté until soft and lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in the same pan and add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add garlic and wine to the pan and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Pause and enjoy the aroma. Stir in the reserved broth-flour mixture, lemon juice and the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, capers, butter, and the reserved zucchini and mushrooms. Toss the pasta in the pan with the vegetables and sauce. Serve the pasta topped with the chicken.

March 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm Leave a comment

Green Eggs and Ham

Sometimes the mood just strikes for bacon and eggs. The trouble is, my daughter doesn’t care for eggs so I can never make a meal out of just bacon and eggs. And so, I came up with a compromise. Mo loves peas; so why not make a green pea soup to accompany bacon and eggs. I love making soup. It is just so simple. However, I was in the mood for a challenge. I’ve made my life easy by getting all of my Christmas shopping done early, so I kind of have a bit of free time on my hands, which means a few extra minutes in the kitchen to experiment. I wanted to try something new and I’ve never poached an egg before. This didn’t prove too difficult. A splash of vinegar in gently simmering water, make a little whirlpool with the handle of a wooden spoon, slide egg into the whirlpool from a little dish… and there you have it. After a couple minutes I removed the egg from the water with a slotted spoon. It was easy. I poached four eggs and didn’t break a single yolk. And then the bacon; I prefer to bake my bacon in a 425F degree oven for 15 minutes (give or take). That was a weekday supper. Oh, and don’t forget some baguette. You may prefer your bread toasted, but supper looked and smelled so good, I couldn’t wait for toast!

Green Pea Soup, Poached Eggs and Bacon

Fresh Pea Soup

3 cups fresh or frozen peas

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

4 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium-sized Yukon gold potato, diced

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the green onions and garlic in the butter for three minutes. Add the potato and broth and simmer until the potato is soft. Stir in the peas and simmer for another five minutes. Puree the soup in a blender. Return to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.

December 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

Beef Stew a la Crockpot

I seem to be using my crockpot more and more these days. Another testament that winter is coming. My favourite crockpot recipe is for beef stew. I try not to make it a lot because I don’t ever want to feel like saying, “beef stew again…” and my daughter is not too fond of it. The Assistant Director, Garth, at the office I work in has been looking for new and easy crockpot recipes, so I guess it is time to take the recipe out of my brain and onto the Internet.

I’ve modified this recipe from one I found on the Internet years ago, but can still be found here. I’ve adjusted the seasonings because they tend to concentrate more in the crockpot. I don’t recommend leaving out the red wine, but it choose to, then make sure you use a good low sodium beef broth (homemade is best so that you can control the salt content). Like herbs, I find that too much salt in the crockpot can be overwhelming. Feel free to adjust the vegetables and seasonings; this just happens to be our favourite mix after a few years of experimenting. You should find that you can get everything peeled, chopped and in the crockpot in 15 minutes or less!

A simple beef stew that is almost ready when you get home from work.

Beef Stew a la Crockpot

1-1/2 pounds of stewing beef, cubed

2 medium-sized onions, 1 inch dice

2 carrots, peeled and diced in 1 inch chunks

2 celery stalks, diced in 1 inch chunks

10 to 12 baby potatoes, halved (I use a mix or red and white potatoes)

1-1/2 cups of mushrooms, thickly sliced (I use a mix of cremini and white button mushrooms)

1 cup red wine

1 cup low sodium beef broth

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

1 cup frozen peas

2 tablespoons corn starch

3 cups fresh baby spinach (optional)

Set your crockpot heat setting to low. Place all of the ingredients except the peas, spinach and cornstarch in the crockpot. Give it a stir, cover and in 7-1/2 hours turn the heat up to high and add the peas. Mix the cornstarch in a bit of water and add it to the stew. Stir and cover for another 30 minutes on high.

Place a good handful of spinach in each serving bowl and spoon the stew on top. Serve.

November 23, 2009 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment


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