Showing posts from 2014

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'…

Quick Tip - Trim the ends!

I made pickles for the first time last week and it was a lot of fun. Canning things is really kind of addictive! Unfortunately, I didn't know that you want to trim the ends of the cucumbers, especially the flower end, because there are enzymes concentrated there that will soften the pickles.

So, I made another batch this week, but I trimmed the ends!

Quick Tip - Give Tomatoes a Dash

Not that tomatoes need a whole lot to punch them up, but a nice and quick way of adding a little dash is to wedge up a tomato and then grind some fresh pepper (I use a four pepper blend) over them and sprinkle lightly with some high quality salt.

Hardly a new idea, I'm sure, but I was rather surprised at how many people I know didn't think of it when I put this together last night on a whim.


BBQ Chicken - Hawaiian Style

I have no idea how authentic this recipe is, despite having been to Hawaii, but I can tell you this much: it's as tasty as Hawaii is beautiful. As Kat put it, she's not a fan of chicken thighs, but this marinade was made for them.


6 chicken thighs1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 cup water1/2 cup soy sauce2 cloves of garlic (fine mince)1/2 onion (chopped, I prefer a fine dice)1/2 tbsp fresh grated ginger1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper1/2 tbsp oregano1/2 tsp pepper flakes1/2 tsp paprika (smoked paprika is nice)1/2 tsp cayenne Whisk all of the ingredients (less the chicken) in a bowl until thoroughly mixed and then add in the chicken to cover. I usually use large freezer bags for marinating, I find them really convenient for getting coverage, but either a bowl or bag is fine. Place in fridge and marinate for at least an hour, but longer is better.

When ready, preheat the BBQ to medium (about 375℉) and oil the grates. To be fair, this is probably much, much, better over charcoal,…

Tasty Lime Sorbet

I love the taste of all citrus fruits, but there's something especially intense in the flavours when it comes to lime. This recipe revels in the taste of lime and it's really very easy to make. So, here's what you need:
6 juicy limes2 cups water1 1/4 cups sugar (and another 1/4 cup if you want to reduce the lime intensity a little)2 tbsp rum (or vodka)1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract Mix water and sugar together and heat at medium to melt the sugar into the water. Once melted, remove from heat and let cool. You're basically creating a very thin sugar syrup.
While that's going on, zest half the limes. Then juice all 6 limes, getting as much of the liquid as you can. You can mix the zest and the juice, it's all going in the mix anyways. You should have about 1 cup of juice. Then add to the juice the rum and the vanilla.
Note: The purpose of the rum is to change the mixture enough to prevent the sorbet from becoming an ice cube, you want to be able to scoop it. If you …

Quick Tip: Great Instructional Videos

Sometimes it's much better to see how something is done rather than getting a description. While you can certainly search around YouTube (and I do), there's a great source for instructional cooking videos from an obvious source: Martha Stewart. I find the videos to be clear and concise, not to mention well shot as you would expect.

Lo Mein - High Taste

Want fast and tasty? Then it's really, really, hard to beat Lo Mein for that fact! Not only is it really easy to prepare, but it's fast to cook, and easy to vary up. I added this to my cooking list a couple of weeks ago and Kat loved it so much, I ended up making a beef variant and chicken variant in that week. That, by the way, is the great thing about Lo Mein: pick your meat or go all vegetable, it's up to you.

So, what do you need for this trip across your tastebuds? The list here is for 2 people, so expand as needed:

4oz of your meat of choice (chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.)1 tbsp peanut oil (other high smoke point oils are fine)1 cup of fresh bean sprouts1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms (pick your favourites)1/2 cup of green onion, just the green portion. Cut about 1" long. You can save the white bulbs for other purposes if you want.1/2 cup of julienned carrots1 clove garlic, minced1/2 tsp ginger, minced1 tsp sherry3 tsp soy sauce2 tsp oyster sauce1/2 tsp toasted sesame …

Minestrone, The King of Soups

Even before I quit smoking, I loved minestrone soup. Back, when I thought I still disliked most foods and vegetables, we had to take a semester of Home Economics as a part of high school and in the class we made minestrone soup. That was my first encounter with it and I loved it.

There are lots of variations of minestrone out there, but mine is purely vegetarian and I keep it that way to enjoy the bright, fresh, tastes of the vegetables as they mix and mingle while cooking away in my crockpot. This recipe does require a large slow cooker to work with as there's a lot of vegetables, liquids, and so forth. I use my 8 quart slow cooker and this gets filled to the rim!

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped2 cups of sweet onion (vidalia is nice), chopped2 cups chopped celery2 cups carrots, sliced3 cups vegetable broth2 cups water1 28oz and 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes1/2 cup red wine or  1/4 cup of sherry (optional)1 cup kidney beans, drained2 cups green beans2 cups baby spinach, rinsed3 zu…

Not the Salt of the Earth, but it Should Be In Your Kitchen

Not all salts are created equal. In fact, most of them are of a lesser stature, especially the iodized tiny cubes of the common table salt. There are better choices out there, choices that remove the iodine and the anti-caking agents and leave you with pure, true, salt.

Amongst some really, really, tasty salts out there is one that stands out above them all: Maldon Sea Salt. Seriously, all you need to do is taste test this with any other salt and it's going to be very obvious. It's mild, yet penetrating taste, adds that perfect finishing touch to any dish you would consider salting. I like it so much, I now carry a pinch tin of it in my pocket.

As Slate Magazine so eloquently put it, "It's half the price of a movie ticket in New York City. Shut up and buy this salt."

'Nuff said.

Quick Tip: Be Prepared

Eating good tasting food every night can be hard to arrange, but not if you think a bit ahead like Gina does. Visit her site, Shabby Creek, to find out how to put one month worth of tasty meals together in a less than a day.

It's great idea on her part, though I have to admit that I would probably struggle to do this, mostly out of sheer laziness on a weekend. Nevertheless, I have to admire the solution she's put together, it's quite a slick exercise on her part and if you have that discipline then you'd be rewarded.

The Best Tomato Soup, Ever

I love soup, all kinds of soup, and on a cold winter's day there's seldom anything better for lunch than a bowl of hot tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. That, then, leads me to my absolute favourite tomato soup recipe!

So, first, assemble the ingredients:

2 - 28oz cans of diced tomatoes2 cups vegetable broth1/2 onion, diced2 cloves garlic, minced1 tsp honey1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped1/2 cup cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp, older, cheeses)2 tsp dried oregano1 cup of creamsalt and pepper to taste
Chop the onion and mince the garlic, then spray a large pot with olive oil and heat at medium. Add the onion and cook until softened. Then add the garlic and cook for about two more minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes (with the juice). vegetable stock, honey, basil, cheese, oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue simmering for about 10 minutes.

While the mix is cooking, grate your cheese and prep the cream. You'll also want an immersion blender, i…