Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sabine Women, Road Works,

Not a lot on TV on Tuesday night, PBS is doing a programme about the Viet Nam War. I wonder what kind of audience they are getting. It started at the weekend and is continuing, I don't know how long. So, we watched one of Matt's favourites, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It is a very enjoyable film - total romance of course. But some of the story is based on the story of the Abduction of the Sabine Women which I have just discovered was a myth. However, I had forgotten that one  thing stated in the movie is that the tradition of carrying a bride over the threshold began with that story. Now I wonder how true that is. The incident is usually referred to as The Rape of the Sabine Women but Wikipedia says that is a mis-translation of the Roman word Rapta which is more like abduction than rape. Amazing what you learn just picking up things from a movie. Anyway, we love the music and as a young woman I always loved Howard Keel who had a magnificent voice as did Jane Powell, his co-star.

Tuesday is grocery shopping for us and they have kindly pulled up all the roads and left only one way into the store. Because of this people were going through a gas station to get to the other side of the road works. I would imagine the owners of the station would be totally teed off by that. I can't believe they totally blocked off a fairly busy road rather than doing one side and then the other. I cannot imagine what all these road works are costing the city. What with the LRT (Light Rail Transport) which still isn't completed although lots of the roads are now open again.

I know lots of people out there don't like Brussels Sprouts. Never really understood why except for a short period before I realised that the water in my building distorted the taste and I started using distilled water to cook them. However, I came across this recipe and thought maybe this would help. They are, after all, so good for you.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

These perfectly crispy garlic parmesan roasted brussels sprouts are easy and quick to put together and only calls for a few ingredients.

1 lb brussels sprouts trimmed
2 Tbs olive oil extra virgin
1 Tbs garlic powder or to taste
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper ground
1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated

1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.

2. Clean the brussels sprouts by rinsing in cold water, cutting off the end of the stem, and discarding it.

3. Place in a bowl and mix Brussels sprouts together with the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

4. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

5. Sprinkle with more parmesan cheese if preferred and serve warm.

Servings: 4

Source: Jo Cooks
Author: Joanna Cismaru

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Bowling, Dieting, Subway.

Bowling went pretty well although unfortunately we were three and our opposing team was five. We had to "Vacancy Scores" which are 175 per game, but the opposing team mostly beat those anyway. I am not sure about the last game which was a good one for us but we had to leave before they finished. My average went up 2 points. I don't know why I am suddenly bowling like I used to but I am not complaining as I am sure you realise. Will find out if we gained any points on Thursday. Won't be more than 2 if any at all. I forgot, one of our team brought me a Black Forest birthday cake today which I shared as far as I could. It was somewhat messy and crumbly but a delicious cake He even brought a little candle to go on it LOL.

We were both getting low on a prescription for an analgesic so went to our doctor's walk-in clinic. We were then told that as the prescription had been written by the Physician's Assistant we had to take it to the pharmacy right there so that the Doctor herself could sign the scrips tomorrow. Bit of a nuisance because we are known and registered at our usual pharmacy. However, whilst picking up the pills I saw a sign about a weight loss programme. I enquired about it and a young woman came to talk to me about it all. Turned out that the first week(s) would cost $250 - sorry but no thanks. She explained it was really healthy food that we would be making bought from the pharmacy I gather. I assured her I cook really healthy food anyway. Plus Matt does NOT need to lose weight and although she told us he could eat it too, unless he supplemented, he might end up losing too and he is quite skinny enough these days. I then gave her my card for this blog - mostly the recipes I publish are healthy food anyway. I basically do not believe in using substitutes such as "low fat" or diet foods of any kind. I believe in eating everything and anything in moderation.

As it was gone 6 when we left the pharmacy, dropped down to Subway to get something to eat. We can feed the pair of us for $7.67 which is pretty good value.

I often eat small egg foo yong at Mandarin so I thought this would be interesting to try.

Egg Foo Yong with Mushroom Sauce

Think of egg foo yong as a cross between an American-style omelet and a crispy Chinese pancake, loaded with vegetables and topped with a savory mushroom “gravy.” It’s a superspeedy meal thanks to packaged broccoli slaw, matchstick-cut carrots, and microwaveable brown rice. A smaller (8- to
10-inch) skillet will make for a taller, fluffier pancake. Tamari sauce is slightly thicker than soy sauce with a more robust flavor (many brands are also gluten-free). Use anywhere you’d use soy sauce, especially in meat marinades.

2 Tbs sesame oil, divided
3/4 cup matchstick-cut carrot
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
2 cups packaged broccoli slaw
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 Tbs unseasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs tamari sauce or reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 (8-oz.) pkg. presliced cremini mushrooms
2 (8.8-oz.) pkg. precooked brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

1. Preheat broiler; place rack in upper middle position.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Add carrot and white parts of green onions; sauté 3 minutes. Add slaw, ginger, and garlic; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates.

3. Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons tamari, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add egg mixture to slaw mixture in pan, tilting pan to spread mixture evenly. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until egg is set on the bottom. Place pan in oven; broil 2 minutes or until top is set and golden. Cut into quarters.

4. Combine stock and flour in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Add flour mixture; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until mixture is slightly thickened. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon tamari and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

5. Heat rice according to package directions; divide evenly among 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 wedge of the pancake and 1/4 cup mushroom mixture; top evenly with green parts of onions, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and sesame seeds.

Servings: 4

Author: Deb Wise
Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Monday, September 18, 2017

Card, Books,

This was my birthday card from Matt

But the owls jumped off

and ended on my freezer door. Turns out Matt didn't even know they were magnets LOL.

Had a quiet weekend - lots of cooking of course. Today we are league bowling of course. We have lost one member of our team so not sure what will happen. For a while we will be playing three and a vacancy. The vacancies count as 175 points per game. Keep your fingers crossed for us please.

I am well into a series of books by Daniel Silva which were recommended to me by Denise Hammond of My Life in Retirement. One slight problem there are quite a few of this series so when the hero goes into a likely death situation, I know perfectly well he won't die 'cos he has to be there for the next books. Not that it makes them any less exciting.

I thought this looked good.

Pork Medallions with Fennel-Apple Slaw

1 6 oz    sweet potato, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 1 lb  pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-in.-thick slices
1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup hard apple cider or regular cider
2 Tbs grainy mustard
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 cups thinly sliced apple
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb, plus fennel fronds for garnish
2 Tbs sliced shallot
2 Tbs minced parsley
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Combine potato slices and 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes or until tender.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high. Top pork slices with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add to pan; cook 5 minutes on one side. Remove from pan; add cider, and cook 1 minute. Stir in mustards. Remove pan from heat; stir in butter. Add pork to pan; let stand 3 minutes.

4. Combine potatoes, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, apple, fennel bulb, and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Serve slaw with pork and pan sauce. Garnish with fennel fronds.

Servings: 4

Author: Mark Driskill
Source: Cooking Light

Have a great day

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Birthday Week

I have groused about it before, but on the weekend Bon Appétit came up with 75 weeknight dinners. Do they really think people are going to plough through 75 suggestions unless, like me, they are searching for recipes to share. Another email I got contained snacks for football weekends, there were dozens of them. I never did get to the end any more than I got through the 75 recipes. Maybe I am just lazy, but I can't imagine anyone, with a busy life, work, kids etc. etc. would bother to go through so many recipes. 24 hours after writing this, I get another email offering 100 lunches!!!!

My first bowling for the league went pretty well. Had two good games and one moderate. I was quite pleased. Being the first day, I won't find out how many points we gained until we go in on Thursday. Update: We are lying 2nd. I hope we can stay up there. Thursday bowling went well too and the alley owner gave me a bunch of rhubarb from his garden as a birthday present. Yum. Tonight we go to the Red Lobster which I understand has a Shrimp Fest running. More yum although the shrimp here is not as tasty as the ones we got straight from the sea in North Carolina.

Tuesday was my free lunch at Mandarin. It also coincides with the Moon Festival this month which is celebrated mid Autumn during a time of moon watching. Of course, this means Moon Cake which I really love and which nobody else seems to enjoy.  The bit in the middle of the cake represents the moon. The cakes are predominantly made with lotus seed paste and are very sweet. I am giving you a recipe but I know I would never make it, and I don't suppose any of you would either. I ate plenty of it for lunch together with a lot of other specials just prepared for the Moon Festival. They had some Korean chicken which was delicious.

Wednesday morning I felt absolutely lousy. Ended up going to bed for the rest of the morning but by lunchtime was starting to feel OK. No idea what the problem was.

So we went to the Red Lobster for supper and I ordered the Seaport Lobster and Shrimp, but I
couldn't get the local pic so ended up with the US pic. The only difference, I didn't get broccoli, I did get rice. Matt had Blackened Arctic Char. I had been very tempted to have the Arctic Char myself as it is one of my favourite fish. I forgot, being a creature of decision I decided to get some Chocolate Wave Cake to go home. However, Matt got some to eat there so I changed my mind. Ate a lot of it and then changed my mind and took the rest home. It is so delicious. Not only that I ate two of their biscuits too - really a birthday is no excuse.

I have been writing this email in bits and pieces all week, so if the timings seem a tad off, sorry about that.

Moon Cake

A step by step guide for making mooncake, a traditional Chinese dessert typically eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival for good luck.

For the dough
100 g all purpose-flour
60 g Golden Syrup
1/2 tsp Alkaline water available at Asian grocers
18 g Vegetable oil

For the filling
420 g Lotus seed paste
6 Egg yolks salted
1 Tbs Rose-flavoured cooking wine available at Asian grocers

For the egg wash
1 Egg yolk
2 Tbs Egg white

2. To prepare the Chinese mooncake dough use a large bowl, mix the golden syrup, alkaline water and oil well. Sift in the flour. Use a spatula to combine all the ingredients. Don’t over–stir. Knead into a dough. Cover with film wrap and rest for 40 minutes.

3. Mix egg yolks with wine. If the salted egg yolks are homemade and freshly broken from the shells, you’ll see the egg whites turn opaque after mixing with the wine a few minutes later. Wipe the yolks dry with kitchen paper. Cut each into two halves. Set aside. Roll the lotus paste into a long tube.

4. Cut into 12 equal portions of 35 grams.

5. Roll each portion into a ball shape. Set aside and preheat the oven to 180°C.

7. Whisk the egg yolk with the egg white. Sift through a fine sieve.

9. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a small ball shape. Cover a dough portion with a plastic film and roll into a thin disc. Then take a lotus paste ball and poke a hole in the middle with your finger.

10. Place the egg yolk inside and roll and shape into a ball. Wrap and seal the lotus paste ball with the dough disc.

11. Spray the mooncake mould and place the stuffed mooncake into the mould. Lightly press the mould handle, then remove the mooncake from the mould. Transfer the stuffed mooncake onto a lined baking tray.

12. Repeat this step to finish the remaining dough and lotus paste.

13. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Brush the mooncakes with egg wash, at about five minutes, before removing from the oven. Continue to bake until the pastry turns golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. Store in an air–tight container. The pastry will become soft and shiny in one or two days: the mooncake recipe is ready to be enjoyed.

Source:  Fine Dining Lovers

Have a great day

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Recipe

As this is my birthday week, I have decided to take it easy on blogging so don't be surprised if you don't see much from me for the rest of the week. Of course, today we start our Winter League bowling as well.

I am always looking for salmon recipes and I thought this looked good.

Slow-Roasted Salmon With Fennel, Citrus, And Chiles

Don’t bother trying to divide this fillet into tidy portions. Instead, use a spoon to break it into
perfectly imperfect pieces.

1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood or navel orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 2-lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
¾ cup olive oil
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

1. Instructions

2. Preheat oven to 275°F. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.

3. Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.

4. Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs.

Servings: 6

Source: Bon Appétit

Author Notes
Also Try it With: Cod, halibut, John Dory, or turbot fillets

Have a great day

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Recipe

Here's something a bit different.

Tomato Tulips

This is a great recipe found on gastrobasket, Who said, "This idea will definitely make you a popular party host! Simple but stylish party food in 30 minutes. Tasty and stylish tomato
tulips!" So adorable- had to share.

4 cups mashed potatoes
1/3 cup celery with leaves,finely chopped
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish, drained well
1/3 cup dairy sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup half and half cream
2 Tbs wine vinegar
2 tsp yellow mustard-to taste
3 large hard boiled eggs, separate yolks from white part
salt, pepper, oval tomatoes,green onion tops

1. Separate cooked yolks from egg whites;refrigerate yolks for later in recipe. --- In a large bowl, combine the first nine(9) ingredients and the chopped egg whites only.

2. Mix thoroughly to blend. Add additional mayonnaise and half and half , only if needed. Mixture should be moldable. --- Spray mixing bowl lightly with cooking spray , sized just large enough to hold filling completely to the top. Place potato mixture into bowl, making sure to pack firmly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to fill the tomatoes.

3. Making tulips: Use elongated (oval shape) large grape tomatoes. Cut a tomato crosswise, but not to the very bottom. Remove the flesh out of each tomato and put some salad inside. Sprinkle a little grated egg yolk in center tops. Make the tulip stems out of green onion tops. Add some dill as greenery. Put a bow around your bouquet.

Servings: 6

Author: Pat Duran

Have a great weekend

Friday, September 8, 2017

Africa, Bowling, Hurricanes,

Thursday morning I received an email suggesting I should go where the wild things are and including details of all kinds of trips. Look at the price of this one. It suddenly hit me that these people who go to Africa to shoot animals have to start off paying this kind of money to get there in the first place and they then pay a small fortune to legally shoot animals (I am not talking poachers here) but people like the dentist who shot Cecil the lion. I then proceeded to think why would anyone, however rich, want to spend all that money just to shoot a beautiful wild animal? What bugs me too, I couldn't even begin to think of getting there for financial reasons and yet they squander all this money to go on a killing spree. I must admit, thinking of the dentist, I didn't know they made that kind of money. I do know, from recent experience, that dentistry is expensive, but.....

Bowling went pretty well today even though I was beaten twice. Matt decided to bowl really well today too. I just hope I can keep this up when we start our league play next Monday. There was one point this afternoon that we were the only people in the alley apart from the owner. Seemed very odd. The Thursday league (which I call The Ladies from Ayr) doesn't start til next week. Sept. 14 which is the birthday of someone I know quite well.

Irma still seems to be heading for Miami or a bit south. I am so glad we are not there any more. It occurred to me that Matt's granddaughter who has been cruising up and down from New Jersey to the Bahamas (I think) must be pleased to be back in the UK right now. Things are really in a mess in that part of  the world with the Texas coast having been devastated and now the Florida coast  about to be ravaged. Nobody has even mentioned the hurricane which has just gone in to Mexico - this was Katia and I haven't really heard much it.

This recipe is from Mushrooms Canada and is well worth taking note of.

Caprese Baked Egg Cups

Butter, for greasing
12 eggs
½ cup button mushrooms, sliced
½ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
½ cup bocconcini cheese pearls, cut in half
½ cup fresh chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Prepare veggies, and grease muffin tins with a generous amount of butter so that egg cups don’t stick. Crack eggs into each muffin cup.

3. Divide veggies evenly among muffin tins, then season with salt and pepper.

4. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until yolks are just set. Cook closer to the 15 minute mark if you like your yolks semi-hard.

5. Serve and enjoy! To re-heat, microwave two at a time for 1 minute.

Author: The Girl on Bloor
Source: Mushrooms Canada

Have a great day

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricanes, Supper, Costco

I am writing this on Wednesday morning and all I am hearing is about Irma and what a really bad storm it is. Now a Category 5. But - there's another one behind it, Jose. However, from the storm track it looks as though it will miss the mainland. Hurricanes happen every year of course, but they don't always visit the States. I would also point out that they are getting stronger due to global warming which I am informed doesn't exist.

Wednesday night I cooked Chicken and Mushroom Skillet in a Creamy Asiago and Mustard Sauce which I posted the other day. It was delicious, but I did think I should have cooked a green vegetable with it. I also had trouble getting the chicken cooked right through, probably because I think my chicken was bigger than the 6 oz specified. It turns out the calories for the actual dish as posted are 384 per serving so not as bad as I feared.

We went to Costco in the afternoon after my exercise class (wish I could say our class) and bought chicken, just as well or I wouldn't have had enough for the chicken skillet above. We bought lamb chops and some fillet steaks which are absolutely huge and plenty in one steak for both of us. I do like Costco's meat. Actually I am quite pleased with myself, Costco is known as the $300 store round here - I came out at $125 so that was good. Repacking all the meat for the freezer was not so good.

This recipe comes from an article called Healthyish Cheese Dishes. Several of them looked really good including one with roasted plums. However, this one I thought I would try. I really enjoy endive.

Endive With Tart Apple Dressing And Blue Cheese

The dressing has virtually no oil in it, balancing acidity with the sweetness of apple juice and
fattiness of the cheese and nuts

Nut Salsa
½ cup pecans
½ cup finely crumbled Bayley Hazen Blue or other firm blue cheese
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¾ tsp gray sea salt or other coarse sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Dressing And Assembly
? cup apple juice
2 Tbs Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
¼ tsp fresh lemon zest, plus more for serving
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp olive oil
4 endive, preferably red, leaves separated

1. Nut Salsa

2. Preheat oven to 300°. Toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 12–15 minutes. Let cool. Toss in a medium bowl with blue cheese, oil, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

3. Dressing and Assembly

4. Whisk apple juice, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, and ¼ tsp. lemon zest in a small bowl; season dressing with salt.

5. Toss endive in a large bowl with half of dressing; season with salt.

6. Divide nut salsa among plates and arrange salad on top. Spoon remaining dressing onto endive and grate some lemon zest over top to finish.

Servings: 4

Author: Flora Bar in NYC
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Asian Flooding, Bowling, Irma,

I am ashamed to say that I had completely missed the news about dreadful flooding in Asia and the loss of 1,000 lives. Apparently the major deaths occur in shanty towns which are not able to withstand such waters. There are many pictures if you follow the link I found. We tend to concentrate on the disasters at home and forget about the rest of the world.

Bowling went pretty well again today, not as great as the games I had at the other bowling alley, but our home alley has nice refinished floors so balls run well on them. We don't start our senior's league til next Monday of course, but we will, as usual, bowl on Thursday.

A friend lives in Florida, I think in the Keys, and I messaged him on Facebook to get the hell out of there. Irma is going to do a number on Florida I think Last I heard it was a Category 5 hurricane. NOT funny. I would certainly be running. Getting off the Keys at the last moment won't be a good idea either as there is only one road as I understand it. The world is certainly full of disasters at the moment.God help all those in Texas, India and Pakistan, and now Florida.

I love dishes like this - maybe there is some Slav in me or something. This is a Ukraine version but there are many other takes on this recipe.

Noodles with Cabbage (Lokshyna z Kapustiou)

Cabbage and noodle dishes are found all over Eastern Europe, and this is a common variation found
in Ukraine.

4 Tbs (60 ml) butter or vegetable oil
1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
1 onion, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) drained sauerkraut (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 lb (225 g) dried egg noodles, cooked according to
the package directions and drained
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry bread crumbs toasted in
1 Tbs (15 ml) butter

1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and sauté the cabbage and onion until tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add the optional sauerkraut and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked noodles and stir to combine. Serve garnished with the toasted bread crumbs.

Servings: 4 to 6

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Nuclear Threat, Hurricanes, Bowling

Yesterday it was sand, today it is Kim Jong-Un. A comment was made yesterday that the dredgers should take the sand from North Korea and maybe it would disappear. It seems to me the US has got enough disasters to cope with at the moment without having threats from that idiot. Not sure who said it, but they said he was "begging for war". Seems like it doesn't it?  If we end up with a nuclear war we may not have to bother with the shortage of sand or anything else. Is he really such a fool?

I got a message today asking me to pray for Texas. I don't think that will help much now. It's donations they need. And there is another hurricane likely to hit Florida and/or the east coast of the US. Irma is already a Category 4. The emergency services will be stretched to the limit if this one hits. God help America.

Today we go back to our 'home' alley and I am wondering how I will do on the wooden lanes, albeit totally redone, after the synthetics where I bowled so well. Our senior's league doesn't start til the 11th as being a Monday league, we have to miss Labour Day.

I saw this recipe  over the weekend and liked the look of it so will try it out tonight I think. I have to buy a few things, I'm out of mushrooms and have no asiago cheese although I do have Parmesan. Kevin Lynch comes up with some excellent recipes, but I am not sure he ever worries about calorie content on any of them,

Chicken and Mushroom Skillet in a Creamy Asiago and Mustard Sauce

Quick and easy chicken and mushrooms in a creamy asiago and dijon mustard sauce.

2 Tbs oil or butter
4 (6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp thyme, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
1 Tbs grainy mustard
1 Tbs dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup asiago cheese, grated

1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium-hight heat, season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste, add them to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4-6 minutes per side, before setting aside.

2. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and it has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix in the garlic and thyme and cook, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

5. Add the broth and cream, mix in the mustards, season with salt and pepper to taste, add the chicken, bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

6. Mix in the asiago and let it melt, remove from heat and enjoy!

7. Option: For One-Pan: Make this a one-pan meal by adding 8 ounces of pasta and 2 1/4 cups broth or water (or 1 cup of rice and 2 cups broth or water) to the sauce in step 5 and simmer, covered, until cooked, about 12 minutes (or 20 minutes for rice).

8. Option: Cook the mushrooms longer, until the start to caramelize, for even more flavour.

9. Option: Add 1 tablespoon white miso paste by mixing some of the hot pan sauce into the miso in a bowl before mixing it back into the pan sauce just after you remove it from the heat.

10. Option: Season with soy sauce instead of salt or miso.

Servings: 4

Author: Kevin Lynch
Source: Closet Cooking

Have a great day

Monday, September 4, 2017

Nubia, Egyptian Gold, Sand Wars,

Isn't it odd how things connect? I told Matt that there was a programme about Nubia on TV tonight. Later I looked at  Bob Scotney's Sunday Stamps blog and there was a picture of an Egyptian headdress. I wondered if it was gold. I then wondered where the pharaohs got their gold so I googled and discovered a lot of it came from Nubia. Coincidence or what? I am not 100% sure but I don't think Nubia, as a country, exists any more I guess I will find out more by watching the programme. The Egyptians sure used a lot of gold, most of us know the gold items found in the tomb of King Tutenkhamun. Funny I never thought about Egyptian gold before. I missed a chance to see the funerary items of King Tut when they were in Philadelphia. I think they had them in Toronto shortly after we first got to Canada but we were too busy settling in.

I enjoyed the programme about Nubia, it was interesting, but then I watched a programme which shocked me to the core. It was called The Sand Wars and was about the fact that billions of tons of
sand are used in construction and many other instances, but construction is the main usage. It turns out that because there is insufficient sand they are now dredging it from under the sea. This causes the sand surrounding land to slip away in order to fill in the empty spaces. Not only is sand being dredged, but all the marine life in the area is also being sucked up and obviously killed. In many instances the sand is being dredged illegally because there is such a demand for it and there is a Sand Mafia - it is very big business. However, islands are disappearing because of this sand dredging and on the coasts beaches are also disappearing. It isn't just erosion that is doing it but the dredging of billions of tons of sea floor. No, they cannot use sand from the Sahara, the Gobi or any other desert because it is the wrong kind of sand. Because it is constantly blown about by the wind, the grains are round and will not stick together. I was horrified by the information in this programme and it is something very few people know anything about. Beaches are being rebuilt by dredging sand and pumping it onto them, but this doesn't last more than a year so it is done again, meanwhile the areas off the beaches are being damaged and the sand from the beaches is being sucked back into the holes. Not only that, pumping tons of sand onto the beaches is killing off the critters that live in the sand and are not prepared to cope with such an inundation of sand. You can watch the trailer of Sand Wars which might give you some idea of the problem. It is something everyone should do something about particularly when the oceans are rising making the problem even worse. I wish I could get everyone to see the whole programme. I kept thinking of all the concrete being used on our balconies!! Actually a drop in the bucket.

Potato salad is the quintessential dish for any gathering. At least in North Carolina it certainly was and also it appears regularly in Ontario too. I have never been much on potato salad, possibly because to me potatoes don't taste as good as they did in Europe. Some of the best potatoes I ever tasted were in Malta. Just as well I don't live there. However, when this picture appeared in my inbox it did make me think yum, so I thought I would share it with you. This is a very Germanic version of potato salad.

Potato Salad With 7-Minute Eggs And Mustard Vinaigrette

Egg salad and potato salad: Unite! We like how the still-soft yolks dress the salad, but you can cook
the eggs a minute or two longer if you like them more set.

2 ½ lbs new or baby Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs whole grain mustard
1 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
3 Tbs coarsely chopped dill pickles
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives

1. Steam potatoes, covered, in a metal steamer basket set in a large pot over boiling water until tender, 20–30 minutes, depending on size. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

2. Meanwhile, cook eggs in a large saucepan of boiling water until whites are set and yolks are still slightly soft, 7 minutes. Drain; transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and chill until cold. Drain and peel; set eggs aside.

3. Toast mustard seeds in a dry small skillet over medium-low heat, tossing constantly, until seeds start to pop, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl (be ready with bowl; once seeds get going, it’s chaos).

4. Whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a large bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil; whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Set 3 Tbsp. vinaigrette aside for drizzling.

5. Halve potatoes and add to bowl with vinaigrette. Add parsley and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a platter. Halve reserved eggs and tuck in between potatoes. Drizzle with reserved vinaigrette. Top with pickles, chives, and toasted mustard seeds.

Servings: 8

Eggs can be boiled 1 day ahead; drain, cover, and chill. Peel just before using. Vinaigrette can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill.

Author: Claire Saffitz
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Recipe

Chicken Piccata is an excellent dish and this recipe is pretty simplified. I found it through Yummly and that lead me to Valerie's Keepers. Valerie serves this with brown butter parmesan orzo.

Easy Chicken Piccata

For better results for the sauce, I recommend using canned concentrated chicken broth, not the ready-to-serve kind that is better for soups nor the powdered broth.

8 boneless, skinless, thin-cut (1/4 to ½ inch thick) chicken breast cutlets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup flour, for dusting
2 Tbs olive oil, more as needed
3 Tbs capers, rinsed
2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 ¼ cups lower-salt chicken broth
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice, more as needed
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs unsalted butter

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off excess.

2. Heat about 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.

3. When very hot, put your cutlets in the skillet, don't overcrowd the skillet, you can sear your cutlets in two batches.

4. Cook your cutlets about 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside.

5. Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to your skillet than add your capers and garlic and cook for 1 minutes until fragrant.

6. Add your chicken broth and lemon juice and let reduce for about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

7. Add the butter and half of your parsley and mix well. Put the chicken back in the skillet and coat well with the sauce.

8. Sprinkle the rest of the parsley over the chicken and you're ready to serve.

Servings: 4

Source: Valerie's Keepers
Source: Adapted from Fine Cooking

Have a great holiday weekend

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mac and Cheese, Bowling, Sailing Story,

My email frequently contains recipes for Mac and Cheese. Why? I thought everyone in North
America made it from packets!! I must admit I haven't made Mac and Cheese in years but I used to make the sauce with onions and then layer a dish with canned corned beef and tomatoes piling the mac and cheese on top and then baking in the oven until it got a good colour on top. Matt even got his young offenders to make it on a camping trip they went on with him. But I have NEVER made it from a packet. However, guess I shouldn't be too scathing as there are things I have made from packets in recent years. Risotto comes to mind. I really can't stand at the stove too long to do the stirring any more. Even the packet version requires quite a bit of stirring.

Had another really good game at Victoria Lanes today. Matt did a bit better too. I would love to think I could bowl as well in the weeks to come at Towne Bowl.

Birgit asked me to tell some tales of when I was a kid living on a Thames Barge. It was a very long time ago now, but I will include them as and when I think of them. One thing I do remember was the first time my father sailed the barge to the Continent, not quite sure which particular country, but I suspect it was Calais, France, which we visited first of all our trips. I remember we went into a café for
coffee or maybe tea, and they had the most wonderful cakes (to me anyway) remember this was just after the war and rationing was still in full swing in the UK. I certainly had never seen cream cakes of any kind and so I went nuts. I always remember one which was a chocolate cone and filled with cream, real cream that is, not the weak substitute we get in this part of the world. I remember I called it a chocolate marlin spike. A marlin spike was an item which was very familiar to me because they are used on boats for all kinds of jobs, for instance unknotting ropes.. The sad thing about this story, I had ordered two cream cakes and ate the first one and regretfully I didn't have room for the chocolate marlin spike. I might have found it somewhat too rich. I am not sure what happened to it. We didn't have doggie bags in those days. I have never seen anything similar since that time.

I know I have at least one vegan reader so when I came across this recipe, I thought I would share it.

Vegan Chocolate Pie  

1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews
3 Tbs whole cane sugar (or brown sugar)
3 Tbs prune puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached white flour
dash of salt

2 cups non-dairy chocolate chips
2 24.6 oz boxes extra firm low-fat silken tofu
3/4 cup whole cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt

1 cup thinly sliced almonds
1/4 cup maple syrup

Raspberry Sauce
1 10 oz bag frozen unsweetened raspberries (thawed)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. To make the crust, place the 1/2 cup of cashews into a food processor and process them until they resemble fine meal. Add the whole cane sugar, prune puree and vanilla extract, and then process the mixture until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

2. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing, add the cashew mixture, and then stirring, and or using your hands, mix all of the ingredients to thoroughly combine them. Evenly press the dough into the bottom of a lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan, and then bake the crust in a preheated 350F oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is light brown. Remove the crust from the oven and set it aside.

3. Place the chocolate chips into a double boiler and melt them over barely simmering water. Place the tofu in a food processor and process it until it is smooth. Add the whole cane sugar, vanilla extract and salt, and then process the mixture to combine all of the ingredients. Add the melted chocolate to the processor, and then process the mixture until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined, and the filling is smooth and creamy.

4. Lightly oil the sides of the springform pan, above the baked crust, add then transfer the filling to the springform pan, on top of the crust. Smooth the top of the filling, and then bake the pie in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes.

5. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the sides, allow the pie to cool to the touch, and then cover the springform pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving. Remove the side before serving.

6. Meanwhile, place the maple syrup into a saucepan, bring it to a boil, and cook the maple syrup, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to very low, add the almonds, and continue to cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the syrup has crystallized onto the almonds, and the almonds appear dry. Transfer the maple syrup-coated almonds to a rimmed nonstick baking sheet and allow them to cool to room temperature.

7. Place the raspberries and sugar into an electric blender, and process the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Strain the sauce through a fine strainer, stirring often, to remove most of the seeds. Allow the raspberry sauce to sit in the strainer for at least 1 hour, to allow most of the seeds to be removed. Discard the remaining sauce with the seeds. Pour the raspberry sauce into a covered container, and refrigerate it until ready to use.

8. Cut the pie into 8 to 12 wedges, place them onto dessert plates, and then sprinkle each serving with a few of the maple syrup- coated almonds. Drizzle each serving with a small amount of the raspberry sauce and serve.

Servings: 8-12

Author Notes
The maple syrup-coated almonds can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container.

Source: WW Recipes

Have a great day

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thames Barges,

Just been watching a series of English programmes called Shoreline Detectives. Pretty interesting, but part of the programmes featured a graveyard of Thames Sailing Barges which made me feel very sad because many years ago I used to live on a Thames Barge. After the second world war, my father bought a Thames Barge named Iota, from a company which was converting them into habitable living vessels. Iota had fitted carpets and every mod con which was available at the time. Including a propane operated fridge which was constantly going out due to the movement of the vessel. My father sailed Iota to France, Belgium and Holland although they were actually designed for the coastal and shallow river waters of the British Isles. They were cargo vessels and transported things like bricks, straw, coal, etc. bringing much of that into London from other parts of the UK. When operating commercially they were sailed by a man and a boy although in one case a man and his wife who spent their whole married life working a barge. It was sad to see the rotting hulks of the barges in the mud of an Essex shore. I know, in fact, that Iota too has been left to rot and yet there are still a number of barges which have been restored by enthusiasts and are still being sailed. Years ago they used to have a Thames Barge race, don't know if they still do. My father entered Iota at least once that I remember. This has filled me with lots of nostalgia tonight.

I thought this looked very tempting.

Grilled Citrus-Shrimp Lettuce Cups

This marinade recipe works with any other quick-cooking shellfish or seafood—try scallops or squid. Just be sure to stick to the 30-minute marinade in any case, since going longer can toughen the flesh.

1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 5-inch lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 Thai chile, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp finely chopped peeled ginger
1 tsp (or more) kosher salt
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Cooked white rice, Little Gem lettuce leaves, sliced cucumber or julienned carrot, lime wedges, mint or basil sprigs, and toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

1. Whisk shallot, lemongrass, chile, lime juice, orange juice, ginger, and salt in a small bowl. Reserve half of marinade for serving; cover and leave at room temperature until ready to use. Pour remaining marinade over shrimp in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes.

2. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Grill shrimp until lightly charred and cooked through, 1–2 minutes per side. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl and toss with sesame oil; season with salt, if needed.

3. Serve shrimp with rice, lettuce, cucumber or carrot, lime wedges, mint or basil, sesame seeds, and reserved marinade for making lettuce cups.

Servings: 4

Source: Bon Appétit
Author: Rick Martinez

Have a great day

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Water, Hurricane Flooding,

 I hate this, we were told the water would go off at 8 a.m. today (Tuesday) so we got up at 6:30 to be sure to get our showers prior to the lack of water. Now I am sitting around with little to do until lunchtime. I could, of course, read I suppose. If we had had any sense, we would have done our weekly shopping this morning instead of this afternoon. They really need to change all the damned pipes in this building they are forever having leaks and burst pipes. After all the original plumbing is around 43 years old.

It is pretty horrific watching what is happening in Texas. I was pretty shocked to hear how many pets perished in the Katarina hurricane disaster so they are trying to ensure people can bring their pets when they are being rescued. We have lived through a few hurricanes, but never had to put up with all the flooding which has occurred in Texas. I believe there is a Canadian collection taking place, I need to look into that further. I did see one picture of a couple having a baby which made them happy despite having no home any longer.

I love food like this

Coconut Shrimp Summer Rolls

"A tropical, drool-worthy mash-up of sweet, crispy shrimp and refreshing summer rolls."

5 oz apricot jam
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1/2 cup cilantro
1 garlic clove
1 pinch salt
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped green cabbage
1 1/2 cups chopped purple cabbage
12 shrimp
3 oz beer
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 oz coconut flakes
6 sheets rice paper

1. To Make Dipping Sauce:.

2. In a bowl, combine apricot jelly, crushed pineapple, apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes.

3. To Make Coleslaw:.

4. In a food processor, add water, olive oil, scallions, cilantro, garlic, salt and lime juice. Pulse until combined.

5. Then add sour cream and pulse again.

6. In a bowl, add chopped green and purple cabbage.

7. Drizzle olive oil mixture over the cabbage and mix well.

8. To Make Coconut Shrimp:.

9. In a bowl, whisk beer, egg, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.

10. Dip peeled, headless shrimp in the batter.

11. Then coat with coconut flakes.

12. Fry the breaded shrimp in hot oil until the coconut flakes are golden bown.

13. Place shrimp on a drying rack over a sheet tray to allow the excess oil to drip off. Let cool.

14. Assembling the Roll:.

15. On a sheet of moistened rice paper, place a scoop of coleslaw in the middle, edge of the paper (think of it as about 1/3 in from the edge). Then roll and fold until the top of the coleslaw is covered by the rice paper.

16. After the shrimp cools down and excess oil drips off onto the rack, place two shrimp on the roll


Have a great day

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Printer, Victoria Bowl,

Technology can be so frustrating. I had, with the help of a Staples technician, decided to take my black ink cartridge in to be exchanged in order to see if that was the problem with my printer. This morning, Monday, I booted up my computer and to my surprise the printer decided to print a test page. Considering there was no black cartridge it wasn't bad so I put the black one back in and it printed another test page, that was fine. My printer's gremlins have, for the moment, disappeared. Hurrah. I really wasn't looking forward to buy a new one, especially as I had two brand new cartridges in this one.

We bowled at Victoria Bowl again today (Monday) and once again I had 3 good games. My first game was 214. I haven't had a 200 game in a while now so I was chuffed. Matt did better today too. We will be there one more time on Thursday. I would like to bowl there more often, but Matt does not like the synthetic lanes. They really suit my style of bowling. I didn't realise, until today, that the owner had installed all the lanes himself (by doing so he saved $80,000 he told me). A lot of work but he has done a good job. Still cost him a lot of money but it will save him money in the long run. Next week we will, presumably, be back at Towne Bowl.

I loved the look of this version of a Niçoise Salad - not sure I would bother with the potatoes but otherwise I think I will try this.

Salmon Niçoise

We love making this take on a Niçoise salad with mâche instead of traditional frisée for a slightly
more mellowed recipe.

8 oz small purple potatoes
Kosher salt
4 oz haricots verts, trimmed
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4 cup olive oil
¼ cup drained capers, patted dry
1 lb skin-on salmon fillet
Freshly ground black pepper
4 anchovy fillets packed in oil
1 Tbs whole grain Dijon mustard
½ tsp sugar
1 lemon
½ medium shallot, finely chopped
4 cups frisée or mâche
¼ cup niçoise olives, pitted

1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and add cold water to cover by 1". Bring to a boil, season with salt, and cook until fork-tender, 15-20 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a plate with a slotted spoon.

2. Return water to a boil and cook haricots verts in same saucepan until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water. Chill until cold, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and pat dry.

3. Return water in pot to a boil and cook eggs, 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to bowl of ice water and chill until cold, about 5 minutes. Peel; set aside.

4. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over medium-high. Add capers and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until capers burst and are crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer capers with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Let oil cool; set aside.

5. Preheat oven to 425°F. Rub salmon all over with reserved caper oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast until medium-rare (fish will be slightly translucent in the center), 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

6. Meanwhile, mash anchovies, mustard, and sugar in a large bowl to form a coarse paste. Remove peel and white pith from lemon. Working over bowl, cut between membranes of lemon to release segments. Squeeze remaining juice from membranes into bowl; discard membranes. Whisk in shallot, then slowly whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

7. Using a fork, break salmon into large flakes; discard skin. Halve reserved potatoes and eggs crosswise.

8. Arrange frisée on a platter; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with half of dressing. Top in separate piles with potatoes, haricots verts, hard-boiled eggs, olives, and salmon. Drizzle salad with remaining dressing and top with fried capers

Servings: 6

Author: Claire Saffitz
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day

Monday, August 28, 2017

Printer, Bowling

Damn and blast, my printer packed up on Sunday morning. I thought it wanted a new cartridge but
even with replacements it wouldn't work - it is attempting to print but a page gets a bit of colour and a bit of black but not much of anything. It is a Hewlett Packard and I tried getting answers or help on their site, not much luck there. If I have to replace it, I will probably go back to a Canon. HP charges an arm and a leg for their ink cartridges. Hm, checking it out, I don't think Canon cartidges are cheap any more. I can get a printer/scanner for about $50 but the ink would cost $64!!!!

Friday we went to another local bowling alley, Victoria Bowl, (our usual one is having the lanes dressed) and discovered they have installed synthetic lanes. We have bowled on them before - they seem a tad noisy, but I don't find them too bad. Matt decided he hated them but that was because he had lousy games - except the first one. We will be going back there today, Monday, and again later in the week. The following week our usual alley should be open again. Although it costs a lot of money to install synthetic lanes, the owner told me he will not have to have them dressed every year which does cost a fortune, so in the end he will save money. The owner of Victoria is a fairly new owner and seems to be spending a lot of money on the place. I might say I bowled three really good games - the alleys or me?

I cooked this on Friday for supper and we both enjoyed it. I love foil wrapped cooking, saves on cleanup. I don't carry seasoned rice vinegar so added seasonings to my white wine vinegar.

Ginger Sesame Salmon

"Salmon and grated ginger with sesame oil are cooked on a bed of chopped carrots, then served on
fresh spinach leaves."

4 thin onion slices, separated into rings
2 sheets (12x18-inches each) Reynolds Wrap(R) Non-Stick Foil
2 medium carrots, cut into julienne strips or shredded
4 (4 ounce) salmon fillets, thawed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh spinach leaves

1. Preheat oven to 450°F or grill to medium-high.

2. Center one-fourth of onion slices and carrots on each sheet of Reynolds Wrap(R) Non-Stick Foil. Top with salmon. Sprinkle with ginger; drizzle with vinegar and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Repeat to make four packets.

4. Bake 16 to 20 minutes on a cookie sheet in oven.

5. OR grill 14 to 16 minutes in covered grill.

6. Serve salmon and carrots on a bed of spinach. Sprinkle with additional seasoned rice vinegar, if desired.

Source: Reynolds Kitchens

Have a great day