Friday, July 17, 2009

Let's spice it up!

Okay, so I told you why I am doing this blog and I did a couple videos. Not too hard, considering we had to eat dinner and that was the menu (we have to work on our lighting, but that is a different story).

But what should the first actual post talking about food be? I figured the best place to start was with my spices and dried herbs. These are the "go to" seasonings that I can't live without and whenever I am in a pinch or a little lazy they are the first place I go.

Starting with the spices: Mexican Chili Powder, Paprika (roasted or smoked are nice too), Cumin, Cayenne and Cinnamon.
And the herbs: Parsley, Basil and Oregano.

Combine these with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt and 9 times out of 10 I have everything I need. With the exception of Cinnamon (used mainly for desserts and breakfast), I combine the above herbs and spices in almost any combination with a protein. To date it has kept the family happy and doesn't lead to dinner burnout.

Two notable exceptions are garlic and onion powder, our children do not do well nursing when my wife has had either of these. Hence for the last year they have not been part of the diet (except for a trick I learnt from Heston Blumenthal which I will get to in a later post).
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Baby Spinach with Strawberry, Mozzarella and Crisps Salad

The Recipe:
Baby Spinach with Strawberry, Mozzarella and Crisps Salad

5 oz of Baby Spinach (1 small prewash container)
5-10 Strawberries
4 Tablespoons of Mozzarella
5-10 Crisps (I use
Lesley Stowe's Raincoast Crisps, green package)
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (the best stuff you got)
Drisle Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Baby Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Mozzarella & CrispsBreak the crisps into pieces. Tear the cheese into pieces with your hands and slice the strawberries. Then simply combine all the ingredients and toss. The Olive Oil should coat the leaves so that they do not appear dry, but should not settle in a pool at the bottom. The balsamic I use is quite thick and drisles very nicely over the salad. It costs about $50 CAD a bottle, but it last me a few months and probably does about 50 salads. You can use other Balsamic, but they will probably be more tart and not as sweet, but this may be more to your liking.
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BBQ Cranberry Balsamic Turkey

The Recipe:
BBQ Cranberry Balsamic Turkey

1 1/2 Pds Turkey Breast
1 Tbsp Basil (I only had dried)
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp salt
About 20 Peppercorns
10-15 Dried Cranberries

Cut turkey into 4 equal pieces and pound with a meat tenderizer until about a 1/4 inch thick. Then combine the remaining ingredients in a mortar and pestle and grind to a paste (you could probably use a small food processor as well). Rub the paste on both sides of all the pieces and let sit for about 20 minutes. Heat one side of your BBQ until the internal temperature is over 400F and preferably between 500F and 600F. Place the turkey on the side that does not have the flame (indirect heat method). Flip the turkey after 5-8 minutes depending on the heat of the BBQ. Make sure you move the pieces around if you have some closer to the flame side or the BBQ has some hot spots. Check to see if the meat is ready after 8-10 minutes by taking a small slice into the side. The meat should be white throughout. Try not to over cook as the more juice left in the turkey, the better the flavour.
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Recipe: Balsamic Almond & Feta Mixed Green Salad


150 grams fresh Almonds
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Butter

Turn oven to 350. Melt everything on stove top except almonds in cast iron pan and reduce to syrup, add almonds and coat. Once almonds are coated, place pan in oven and cook for about 10-20 minutes making sure to toss frequently and ensure they do not burn.


¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
One Tbsp Honey
Half bulb Roasted Garlic
¼ juice of a Lemon
½ cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Turn oven to 375F and place garlic clove wrapped in tin foil drizzled with olive and salt pepper, cook for 45 minutes to an hour until soft, remove and let cool. In a bowl whisk together all ingredients excluding olive oil. Drizzle olive oil and whisk in. Taste and adjust as needed.

When ready to serve, mix together:
Mixed Greens
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Canned Pears (cut to desirable size)

Serve with German Riesling Kabinett and enjoy!
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Recipe: Shrimp a la Erin

10 black Tiger Shrimp, peeled and deveined (uncooked)
2 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp of Lime
1 ½ Tbsp of Lemon
1 teaspoon of Fish sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp of ginger
1 Teaspoon of Chili Paste
¼ cup of white wine

Mix all ingredients together. Heat a pan to high, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, immediately add the shrimp. Cook shrimp on each side for about 2 minutes until completely changed colour. Remove from heat and pour sauce over top (let simmer down another minute if it is too watery).
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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Recipe: Simply Salsa

4 tbsps Olive Oil
1 Jalapeno peppers finely chopped
¼ Green Pepper finely chopped
¼ Red Pepper finely chopped
2 Sun-dried Tomatoes finely chopped
1 Shallot finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4 tomatoes diced
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
2 Tbsps Apple Cider Vinegar
1 ½ Tbsps Balsamic Vinegar

Combine all peppers and sundried tomatoes with half the olive oil. Cook for two minutes over high heat constantly stirring. Add shallots and garlic, continue for another minute, add tomatoes and rest of ingredients. Stir over heat for one more minute. Remove from heat let cool and chill until ready to serve, this is best if it is done ahead of time the flavours have time to settle and combine.
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Recipe: Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Jambalaya

½ Green Pepper
½ Red Pepper
1 Jalapeno (1/2 seeds in)
2 Stalks of Celery
2 Carrots
5 Shallots
7 Cloves of Garlic
8 Button Mushrooms
3 Medium Sized Tomatoes Peeled
3 Cups of Chicken Stock
½ Cup of Sherry
Olive Oil
1 package wild rice

2 Hot Italian Sausages

2 Chicken Breasts
¼ Creamy Italian Dressing
1 Tbsp of Chilli
1 Tbsp of Cumin
1 Tbsp of Paprika
2 Tablespoons Worcheshire
2 Tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar

12 Pieces Balck Tiger Shrimp
Olive Oil

Combine all ingredient in chicken grouping, set aside.

Dice and combine peppers carrots and celery in a large stock pot with olive oil, cook over high heat. Add shallots, continue cooking….add garlic continue cooking. Add rice and butter continue on high, add mushrooms and sherry. Cook off alcohol and add stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil and reduce heat, cover and let simmer.

Cook sausage in frying pan water and oil, covered. Once finished continue on high and cook all ingredients with chicken for 3-5 minutes until all sides are white.

Add chicken and sausage to stock pot…continue on low heat.

Cook all ingredients in shrimp section (ten minutes before serving) set aside and add on top of finished plates when ready for serving.

Cook stock for 1-2 hours.

Drink with Champagne! And Enjoy!
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