Go Spicy!

Turns out that spicy doesn't just make for good tasting foods, it could also be helping you stay alive. It appears that the active compound in hot peppers, capsaicin, may have positive effects in fighting certain forms of cancer and helping you live longer.

So, this is clearly a case of no pain, no gain... That's coming and going.

A Stir-fry is in the Sauce

A good stir-fry can be made or broken by the sauce you choose for it. While different kinds, depending on your protein choices, can be enhanced by certain flavours in specialized sauces, it's good to have a "go-to" sauce for general use.

I put this one together because I found many were just a little too sweet and I was looking for something a bit more savoury. So, here it is:

1/4 cup soy sauce1/4 cup water or stock1 tbsp rice vinegar1 tbsp sherry2 tbsp oyster sauce1/4 tsp smoked paprika1/4 tsp chili flakes or 1/2 tsp sambal oelek2 tsp corn starchFresh ground pepper (be generous)1/4 tsp ground sumac (optional, if you have it, I do...) That should do a good 2-4 person stir-fry. Works really well with beef, especially since beef is well suited to savoury flavours.

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

There I sit, broken-hearted; Thanksgiving is over and I just got started...

What to do with the delicious left-overs that haven't been consumed in sandwich form yet? How about soup! More specifically, Turkey and Wild Rice soup, a delicious finish to the Thanksgiving meal.

To make this, we have a couple of stages to consider. First, we want to make a stock from the turkey carcass. You did save it didn't you? Much goodness flows from that... Once the stock is made, then we make the soup itself.

Making the Stock
First thing you want to do is strip the remaining meat from the carcass, this will be the turkey you use in the soup. Then take the remains and place it into a large stockpot with some roughly chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Leave the skins/paper on these, they have flavour and will add some colour to the stock.

Then add water, in this case I used 32 cups to cover the carcass, but add what you think is appropriate. Bear in mind that you will have some evapora…

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Canadian Thanksgiving falls around the time of the year that you can get fresh cranberries in the store. Not all that surprising, it's a feast to celebrate harvests after all, but it does mean that you have a real opportunity to do it yourself rather than buy it canned.

Believe me, fresh is best!

So, to get started, here's what you need:

1 bag of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
1 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of water
Citrus zest of your choice (I used lemon, but orange or lime would also be good)

Rinse the berries and have look for berries that are too soft and discard those. Add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan and place on low heat.

Stir everything from time to time, monitoring until all of the sugar has melted. This will take about 10 minutes or so, be patient.

Once everything has melted, increase the heat to medium and stir more frequently, but constantly, until the berries burst. You should have lots of bright red liquid in the pan, this will gel from the pectin in the berr…

A Good Intro to Knives

Okay, if you haven't heard of Alton Brown, I really advise spending some time discovering him. He's the kind of chef that really makes the process of learning fun. I'd love to have him as a teacher in the kitchen. While that is not to be, sadly, you can have him as a virtual teacher in your kitchen and that's where this video comes in:

While this video will not make you a master of the blade just by watching, what you can get from it is a sense of the basic concepts and an idea of what that dizzying array of knives (which would look good in my kitchen if anyone is interested in supplying) is intended for. It's also done in that friendly and comedic style that Alton Brown is famous for, so even if you already know watch anyways because it's fun. Many thanks to Alton Brown and Shun Knives for creating this video.

Now, having stated my lust for that selection of knives, you do not require all of those knives to be effective in the kitchen! As a must have set, you …

Quick Tip - Summer Savoury Perks Up Stews

I love a good beef stew, especially in the winter when you're looking for a hearty, stick to the ribs, kind of meal to keep you warm and cozy. I add a lot of different herbs and spices into my stews, but the one that always kicks it up a notch is summer savoury.

Don't just limit that to stews, summer savoury is also really tasty in some soup dishes as well, especially ones with a lighter broth like a chicken noodle or similar.

App Review - Paprika for Mac and IOS

In the good ole-days everybody collected their recipes in various books, notepads, and binders because that was really the only option. However, the problem with that is finding the recipe again! Nevertheless, it was a model that worked well for many people for a great long time and many people stick with it today.

For me, being a child of the computer age, I like to have the machine do the work for me and so notepads and slips of paper are not a good solution. It's even more relevant now when we have powerful options like tablets and smartphones that allow the integration of applications in very useful ways and so enter the Paprika app for recipe management which offers up support on Mac OS X, IOS, and Android platforms (sorry, no Windows).

Now, there are several apps out there that do things very similar to Paprika (notably MacGourmet Deluxe), but I haven't really encountered any that do as much for as little. I've been using Paprika for quite a while now, so what I'…