Sunday, December 30, 2012

New at the Haggis and Herring

Please welcome J3

Jonathan Morgan Saraga

Born Dec 29

Everyone is great now that Mom is over the shock of having three sons!!!  I was seriously thinking girl.  My apologies to Jonathan for calling him Stella for the last 9 months.

 J1 is thrilled to have another brother.  J2 had no idea what to make of things but kept pointing at him saying "baby" so that seems fine.

Thank you all for all the love and support!

M and the J's

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Rickard's Cardigan Beer-braised Ribs

NOTE: This post was scheduled by Daniel Saraga of Haggis and Herring before he suddenly passed away.  We have decided to ensure his scheduled posts continue.  Daniel's wife Meredith posted her eulogy to him.  Please read more about our wonderful Daniel.

When I was at the Rickard's Cardigan launch, Brewmaster Matthews was telling me about beer-braised ribs that his wife had made. Although I wasn't able to get my hands on the recipe, I still wanted to give it a try myself.

My main problem was that I've never made ribs before. Ever. Mostly because I've been a little intimidated by ribs culture. It's very competitive and very secretive. I worked myself up to buying some ribs - so I was committed. Now to find a recipe.

I realized that finding the right recipe for me was going to be a big challenge. Many recipes took hours and hours. Some used slow cookers. I didn't have time for that - this meal was being made on a weekday. I eventually found one - beer braised ribs at Serious Eats. That recipe gave me a method that I could work with, as well as a set of ingredients that I could adapt.

It smelled great when it was in the oven and the ribs tasted great. They were tender, but not fall-off-the-bone soft. The cayenne added a nice kick as well, and the garam masala complemented the spices in the beer.

Rickard's Cardigan Beer-braised Ribs

1 rack pork ribs, membrane removed and split into three separate parts
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp garam masala
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cayenne
5 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat edge of a knife
1 bottle Rickard's Cardigan
1 tbsp flour
1/4 cup water

  1. Preheat oven to 300-degrees and season ribs with salt and pepper.
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high and sear ribs on both sides once piece at a time and set aside.
  3. Add garam masala, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, garlic, beer, and stir.
  4. Add back ribs, bring to a boil and cover. Transfer to oven and let cook for 75 minutes - until meat is tender.
  5. Transfer meat to a foil-lined pan and preheat broiler. You can add additional salt and pepper if you prefer. Broil on both sides until brown and crisp (1-2 minutes).
  6. Skim cooking liquid of fat, strain using a sieve and bring to a boil. Mix the flour and water together and add to liquid. Stir until thickened and pour on top of ribs.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Swiss Chard and Cheddar Soup

NOTE: This post was scheduled by Daniel Saraga of Haggis and Herring before he suddenly passed away.  We have decided to ensure his scheduled posts continue.  Daniel's wife Meredith posted her eulogy.  Please read more about our wonderful Daniel.

September cooled down right away, just the way I like it. I dislike hot-and-sticky August. Cool nights, warm soup, some hearty bread and a beer. That's my idea of a September dinner.

Earlier that week, I read Chaya's Swiss Chard Soup recipe and it inspired me. I knew I had to make my own version. You can read Chaya's post if you'd like to learn more about Swiss chard.

Well, I've made my first soup of the season, and according to Meredith, I've set the bar high. The cheese in the soup really complimented the beer. We nearly finished the entire pot ourselves - with barely enough left over for lunch the following day.

Swiss Chard and Cheddar Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
2 carrots, chopped
4 cups chopped Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
3-4 cups vegetable broth
1 can mixed chickpeas and kidney beans, drained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded old Cheddar cheese

  1. Heat oil in a deep pot on medium and fry onions for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and carrots and continue fry for another 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add Swiss chard and stir for 2-4 minutes, until wilted.
  4. Add broth, beans, thyme, salt, oregano, and pepper, stir, cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to medium and let simmer, covered for 30-40 minutes.
  6. Remove 1 cup of vegetables into a separate container and and using an immersion blender, puree.
  7. Add pureed vegetables back to pot, stir in cheese, and serve.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Vermouth Chicken

NOTE: This post was scheduled by Daniel Saraga of Haggis and Herring before he suddenly passed away.  We have decided to ensure his scheduled posts continue.  Daniel's wife Meredith posted her eulogy.  Please read more about our wonderful Daniel.

I guess my friends and I are at that age when our parents are starting to get older and are moving out of houses they've occupied for 30+ years and into smaller places – apartments, condos or otherwise. You can imagine the fun of emptying a lifetime of accumulated stuff from basements. I'm not looking forward to helping out with that task when the time comes.

Our good friend, Dr. Karen, has been on such a mission for the last few weeks. Back in July, she uncovered a case of Vermouth which her father apparently "bought for next to nothing - practically free!" What on Earth was she going to do with it? Why, call up her friends and ask them what they'd do with a bottle, of course!

I immediately said "I'd cook with it," and started to look up what exactly Vermouth was, aside from one of the ingredients in a Martini.

To my surprise, I learned that Vermouth is actually a fortified wine, so it doesn't last long once opened. It really needs to be kept in the fridge once the seal is broken, and tossed after six months.

Now put up your hand if you or your parents have a half-empty bottle of Vermouth sitting in your liquor cabinet that's at least 14 years old. You should throw that out.

I also read that Vermouth can be used as a substitute for red wine in savoury dishes, and quickly found a recipe for Vermouth chicken. Not being satisfied with the original recipe, I rewrote it and adjusted many ingredients, including upping the amount of sauce (both literally and figuratively) and adding olives – you could just smell that it was begging for olives, seriously.

We served the chicken with baked potatoes, however, I think we'll serve it with rice next time.

Dr. Karen made her own, mostly following this recipe,
using less onion, putting the olives on top
afterwards, and serving it on top of spatzele,
a German pasta.

Vermouth Chicken

2 tbsp olive oil
1 kilo chicken legs
1 red onion, sliced
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt (if tomatoes are unsalted)
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 cup dry Vermouth
1 can diced tomatoes
250g mushrooms
1/4 cup olives, sliced
1 small can (150ml) tomato paste
  1. Heat olive oil on medium in a deep pan and brown chicken for 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add onions, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and saute for 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add the Vermouth and quickly scrape any remains of chicken from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Add back chicken, reduce to medium, cover and let simmer for 25 minutes, turning chicken after 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in tomato paste, add olives and reduce to medium-low. Cover and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
  7. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Daniel Saraga - the Herring at the Haggis and Herring

It is with a broken heart that I write this.

My beloved Daniel passed away suddenly on Friday night, surrounded by his family.  In true Daniel style he had just finished barbecuing dinner for everyone.

I wanted to share the eulogy that gave at his service yesterday.  There is a hole in my heart.

I have to apologies to Daniel for the COMPLETE lack of editing. I know it's an insult to post something so lacking in proper editing on your blog - but I am so tired and I need to this.

My Darling Daniel.   That’s how I addressed all my cards to him and he called me his one and only.  And I know that’s true - he lived it and proved it everyday.

I needed to speak today because I need all of you to understand what the world has lost.  What his parents and brother have lost, what his children have lost and what I have lost.  A few people thought speaking today might be too much for me - to that Dan says “have you met my wife?”  

Daniel was the single greatest person I have ever met.   I loved him and I hope he knows and understands that. We had a lifetime planned but only got six years.  Luckily for me I have my children for that lifetime. 

Daniel was a son, father, brother, cousin, nephew, son-in-law, brother-in-law, grandson, friend and my husband

I fell in love when Dan on our 3rd date.  That day he showed a strength of character that is rarely seen.  The third  time we were supposed to go out I tried to cancel because my brother Jeremy’s cat was dying in Burlington and I needed to go and be there.  Dan immediately told me he would drive me.  I protested that it would be an odd situation because of the cat and that my mother has no idea he existed.  He said it would be fine so I accepted.  He drove out there, watched as I held my cat, brought flowers for my mom, and then when we had finished dinner he realised Raffi had died.  He immediately consoled me and took me out for a walk.This sound small but showed a tremendous amount of compassion for a person he barely knew who was devastated over the death of their cat.  That is who Daniel was. I knew immediately that I would be able to count on him no matter what - through what ever happened.  And I was right. That is what makes this especially hard.

The greatest gifts he gave me are our three children and he was an amazing father.  They made his face light up.  And you all know that thousand watt smile of his.  

Jacob- You are so like him in many ways. I see his generosity and compassion in you. The very first time I meet a your Dad he showed me a picture of you and you should have seen him face when he showed it me.  He was was so proud of you.  Learning how to ride a bike this summer, reading Harry Potter with you was the highlight of his life for over a year, putting the duck away, your hats and the special sense of humour you shared.  For example. Labeling ice cream in the freezer “Babba’s Soup” so I wouldn’t know you two had bought it.

Jeremy- Your dad often would just spontaneously say - you are so darn cute. He delighted in watching you eat.  He actually often used to entertain people by feeding you various food and telling them to watch.  And entertaining it was. Not may under twos enjoy calamari, fish, jerk chicken, curry, haggis and herring etc the list goes on.  There is no doubt you inherited your dad passion for food and I can’t wait until you start cooking food for me.

J3- the one that Daddy only met through ultra sound pictures, my growing bump and the kicks that he finally got to feel on thurs night.  I know your daddy’s spirit will be with me everyday of your life.

I wanted to mention some highlights from Daniel life to show what an extraordinary individual he was.

1. Music - you can’t talk about Dan without talking about music. He loved music.I was amazed when I discovered what a talented musician Dan was.  He could play almost any song by ear on his clarinet. When he found out how impressed I was by that talent he said “should have done that on the first date- that would have been it.” 

2. Family- Family was everything to Dan. This included blood and non-blood related individuals, Dan bestowed the title family to many people. There was no differentiation between his side and my side. It was  a collective. He supported me through the passing of my grandparents. He called his Mother every morning. So his brother learned from him and called her every night.   His children were his greatest delight.  He would do anything for family.  

3.Travel.  Before we met Dan hadn’t had the opportunity to travel much.  I soon changed that and the bug firmly took hold.  We went on a cruise, then Aruba, Israel, Alaska, England, Calgary, Edmonton and the Dominican.  We had so many more trips planned.

4. Food.  The Haggis and the Herring. His blog.  Well not just his blog but our house.  We call ourselves the Haggis and the Herring - a nod to our heritages.  The night we went into labour with Jeremy we actually had haggis and herring for dinner. Certainly not your typical combination but at first glance neither were Dan and I.

I need to mention some imperfections - lest you all believe he was too perfect- or rather things that we had “discussions” about as my grandparents would say . His idiosyncrasy made much of how he was.  The pacing- something he and his brother share and something which Amanda and I hope I children DON’T inherit, he could be a dog with a bone at times worrying at something that long ago should have been dropped, his refusal to wear anything but jeans- we had a battle every single time a dress up event approached. My solution was to schedule a meeting with him in his calendar in advance to discuss his wardrobe.  He refused to understand that I wasn’t disorganised I just wasn’t his style of organized. 

Sensitive, compassionate, always ready to help. He lifted me up.  He believed in me and us and life when I couldn’t. When we lost our two babies, when we celebrated Jacobs milestones and Jeremy arrival and the hundreds of thousand little moments that we celebrated. and he was my rock.  That final Friday - his very favorite special night- we did get one great last moment- maybe half an hour before he died, where he told me he loved me and  that everything was going to be ok.  

I would like to read from our Ketubah- because this is really truly how we lived and sums up all I am trying to say about Dan.

"Today I love you completely, as I did yesterday and as I will tomorrow. I will be there for you when you need me most.” We will always try to be understanding and forgiving, sensitive to each other's needs and feelings. We will be there for each other in times of need as in times of celebration. We will share in each other's hopes and dreams and support each other to achievements great and small and through all of life's setbacks. May our hearts be united forever in faith and hope. Let our home be built on understanding and loving-kindness. May our home be rich with wisdom and reverence. May we always keep these words in our hearts as a symbol of our eternal commitment to each other: I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.

Anee L'Dohdee V'Dohdee Lee

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Ultimate Bacon Sarnie (Sandwich)

At the end of August, I read an article about an ongoing debate on the ultimate bacon sarnie (sandwich) in The Register, a UK-based technology magazine. The author, Lester Haines, welcomed readers to email in their photos by Friday, September 14, so here it is.

To prepare, Meredith and I had a deep discussion about how we'd make our ultimate bacon sarnie:

Bread: bread can be a contentious issue. Clearly, a proper English sarnie would be built upon slices of hand-sliced white bread. Well, we had just finished our loaf and chose a different avenue. Instead, we opted to get some Gryfe's bagels - one of the best bagels you can get that's not baked in Montreal.

Bacon: our initial thoughts would be to Canadianize the sarnie a bit further by using pemeal bacon. That thought lasted until we realized that we already had some traditional slices in the freezer from a local butcher.

Sauce: there was no debate here. It must be brown sauce, and it must be HP's brown sauce in particular.

Eggs: yes, our sarnie has an egg. We hope it's not interpreted as an Aussie move, we just thought it would go really well with everything, and it sure did.

Cheese: this is where things fell off the rails, sorta. We trotted off to the nearest grocer with high hopes to get some old Cheddar. We didn't want to buy the generic 1/2 kilo block of tasteless cheddar - we wanted something nice from the deli. There was only one problem: the Cheddar was made in Normandy. Say what? Yes, Normandy, France. We're hoping to be forgiven for that particular indiscretion. We're keeping the bagel, but we're hoping for proper English Cheddar for our next go.

Verdict: this is the ultimate bacon sarnie. The bagel wasn't overpoweringly dense and allowed you to taste the rest of the sandwich. The brown sauce complimented both the bacon and the egg, and the cheese, despite surrendering as soon as it touched the egg, added just the right flavour.

Ultimate Bacon Sarnie

2 bagels
1 tbsp butter
6 rashers (slices) bacon
2 eggs
2 slices old cheddar cheese
1-2 tbsp brown sauce (i.e., HP sauce)
  1. Slice bagels in half and butter both sides. Set the slices on plates.
  2. In a non-stick or cast-iron pan, fry the bacon and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the pan and and fry eggs, over easy.
  4. Before removing eggs from pan, place slices of cheese on top of the eggs and remove the pan from the heat.
  5. Assemble each sandwich as follows:
    bottom bagel slice
    brown sauce
    3 rashers bacon
    egg (with melted cheese on top)
    bagel top slice.
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Felafel

It's time for the September edition of Secret Recipe Club, where a group of dedicated food bloggers try out each others recipes. This month, I was assigned Corina of Searching for Spice. Corina blogs to keep a record of the new things she tries. I immediately decided to try out her felafel recipe, just because I've been itching to make felafel for a very long time.

I've only made felafel once before, and it was a big mess (but tasted excellent). I modeled it after felafel I ate in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the felafel was served in a very large flatbread called lavash (the resulting wrap was about a foot long), and served with a varaiety of salads (hummus, baba ghannouj, beets, Moroccan carrots) and french fries. It was (and continues to be) the best felafel sandwich I've ever had.

This round of felafel wasn't going to be quite as elaborate. In addition to me substituting 1 tbsp dried parsley for the fresh parsley (or cilantro), we weren't going to make the different salads or serve it in that particular bread, but we were going to serve it in a tortilla wrap with lettuce, vegetables, dressing and fries. It got great reviews at the table and we'll definitely be making it again!


1 can chickpeas, drained
2 tsp pureed garlic
1/4 cup parsley or cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp water (optional)
1/2 cup flour (for rolling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
  1. Place chickpeas, garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, chili powder, flour, onion and water in a food processor and puree on high.
    Note: you may need to stop the mixer a few times to scrape the sides with a spatula until it really gets going into a workable paste. If you're really having trouble, add a tablespoon of water and keep going (you don't want the mixture to be too loose).
  2. Roll into 1-1/2 inch balls, roll balls in flour, flatten slightly on top and set aside for 30 minutes on a sheet of floured waxed paper.
  3. Heat oil on medium-high to high and fry felafels for 3 minutes on each side, turning gently with a spatula. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb some of the oil, and serve.
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Rickard's Cardigan: Get it While it Lasts

Earlier this week, my friends at MolsonCoors invited me to the launch of their first seasonal beer: Rickard's Cardigan. Meredith was unable to attend (and was quite upset about it), so I was accompanied by my close friend Kristian instead. After our first sip, we were both sold.

Dan with his sample six-packs on the subway ride home. Kristian with his first bottle of Rickard's Cardigan

Cardigan was developed by Brewmaster Gary Matthews who drew inspiration from what fall means to him – preparing for the upcoming holidays. Cardigan has hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and brown sugar, so it does just that. Memories of preparing for Thanksgiving (and Rosh Hashanah) immediately came to mind and the beer pairs well with seasonal foods like turkey, ribs and other sweeter dishes. It's a great tasting beer.

Kristian noted that "there is no shortage of seasonal beers on the market – winter ales and summer lagers (typically involving some sort of citrus accompaniment) come to mind. The beauty of Cardigan is that the taste really does conjure up all that is synonymous with autumn."

The packaging is clearly a nod to the Argyll sweater-wearing, Instagram-snapping hipster and I think it's a great move.
Argyll sweater-wearing,
Instagram-snapping hipster
 waiting for his beer
Not only does the packaging really catch your attention, it points out that a large beer company can jump out of the mainstream with a micro-brew-style product.

Of course, if Rickard's is looking to take things up a notch and pick up a spokesperson, this particular hipster has a secret identity:

Cardigan Man!

Turning the focus back to the event, Brewmaster Matthews gave us a generous portion of his time to discuss Cardigan, beer in general and other topics, including fresh-water scuba diving and cooking.

Matthews took his undergrad in Environmental Sciences at Trent University (my alma mater) back in the 1980s. The transition into brewing came about when he started a job as a lab assistant at Molson. He continued in various different jobs until he was offered a position as a brewer. He even put off his honeymoon to attend brewing school - that's dedication!

Matthews is currently working on his next project: Rickard's seasonal brew for this upcoming winter. I'm really looking forward to trying it.

Back to the beer and food! Some of the food served at the event was actually made using Rickard's Cardigan. This included pulled-pork sliders with a Cardigan-based barbecue sauce and chicken skewers with a Cardigan glaze. Matthews even told me about a beer-braised ribs recipe his wife has made on a few occasions.

I'm hoping to get my hands on at least one or two of those recipes shortly. Hopefully I'll have time to make one before we run out. Which leads me to something very important:

Hoarding Alert!

Rickard's Cardigan is a small run for a big brewery like MolsonCoors. They estimate that it should be available at The Beer Store until around Remembrance Day, however, if it sells out faster, stocks won't be replenished and you'll likely need to wait at least until next year.

Pick up a case while you can.

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White Bread

Meredith wanted to make bread for some friends who were coming over for dinner one evening, and she had all day to make it. It was pouring outside and Jeremy was feeling a bit under the weather as well.

For Christmas, Meredith's mother gave her a copy of the Five Roses cookbook, knowing it's the same book that her grandmother used (an earlier version, at least). In my opinion, the recipe for white bread is quite a task. There's lots of punching and kneading, and even more waiting. I guess that's why I don't bake.

The bread itself turned out great. We used it with our dinner that evening and shared some with the neighbours (who's going eat four loaves?!)

White Bread (makes 4 loaves)

1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups milk (we used 3.5%)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp vegetable shortening
2 tbsp salt
2 cups water
10-12 cups flour
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup water. Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 30 minutes, then stir.
  2. In a saucepan, scald the milk, add 1/4 cup sugar, 2 shortening and salt. Stir until the shortening melts and add 2 cups water. Make sure milk mixture is lukewarm.
  3. Add yeast to milk mixture and using a standing mixer, mix in 6 cups flour until smooth.
  4. Gradually add the remaining 5 or six cups until the mixture no longer sticks to the board or mixing paddle.
  5. Remove dough from mixer and knead by hand for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Grease a bowl with shortening and place the dough inside, turning it around so it's also covered in shortening. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm room (approximately 80 or 85-degrees Fahrenheit) for about an hour, until it doubles in size.
  7. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for about 45 minutes.
  8. Punch the dough down again and divide into four equal parts.
  9. Cover the portions and let them rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Shape into loaves and place in four 8.5" x 4.5" x 2.5" bread pans, cover, and let rise again for 1 hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 400-degrees and bake loaves for 30-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.
Mostly from the Five Roses Cookbook

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Cucumber Dill Dressing

During cucumber season in July, everything cucumber was on sale. I made some batches of my microwave sweet pickles and tried to look for something new as well.

Meredith wanted me to change the salad dressing up for a bit - getting bored with some of my standards), and Judee's Cucumber Dill Dressing recipe was perfect timing. I didn't stumble across Judee's recipe by accident - I follow her blog through my news reader so I get her most recent updates, along with my other favourite food bloggers, including Food Floozie, Hungry Jenny, Gluten Free Edmonton, Maroc Mama and many others.

Anyway, Judee's recipes are always great - never too complicated, and this was no exception. A simple combination of ingredients for an excellent flavour. I ended up using dried dill instead of fresh, and I added a little salt and pepper (optional in her recipe). This dressing was perfect for a small lunch salad - with lots of leftover dressing for the next couple of days.

Cucumber Dill Dressing

1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
5-7 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp (generous), dried dill
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup Greek yoghurt
pinch salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients using an immersion blender.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Strawberry Muffins

Well, strawberry season has come and gone again, and Meredith was very busy making all sorts of stuff. There were several evenings where dessert was strawberries and cream, and there was, of course, pie.

Meredith took the little guy strawberry picking as well, and he had quite a good time. You can see him surveying the area during coffee break here.

...and sampling the haul. I think he was weighed on his way out at the register (just kidding, he only ate two or three, and promptly wiped his hands on his shirt :-)

The day after the excursion, I read an email with a recipe and was told to get ready to take a photo when I got home. To my delight, I arrived home to some yummy strawberry muffins Meredith had made using whole wheat flour. It's mostly based on a recipe she read earlier that week.

Strawberry Muffins

2 eggs
1/2 cup mango apple sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 bananas, mashed
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees and line a 12-muffin tin with paper inserts.
  2. Using a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, apple sauce, oil, sugar, vanilla and bananas.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and slowly add to the banana mixture.
  4. Stir in the strawberries by hand and spoon batter into muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the top.
  6. let muffins cool on a wire rack.
recipe inspired by

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Mama's Pastel (Moroccan Shepherd's Pie)

My aunt sent me another of my grandmother's recipes in earlier June, for a Moroccan shepherd's pie called pastel. This is another dish that I haven't eaten in roughly 12 years - since my grandmother passed away.

Many of the measurements weren't exact, so I did need to use mu judgement along the way, and I think I'm getting better at guessing these type of things. It turned out exactly as I remember it - crispy on the outside and yummy inside.

Mama's Pastel (Moroccan Shepherd's Pie)

1/2 kilo ground beef
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt (for meat)
1/4 tsp pepper (for meat)
10 potatoes, boiled in salted water and drained (reserve 1/2 cup liquid)
1 tsp turmeric
salt, to taste (for potatoes)
1/4 tsp pepper (for potatoes)
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

  1. In a deep pan on medium heat, add beef, water and start to brown the beef, using a potato masher to break up beef. Add the lemon as soon as the meat starts to break up.
  2. Drain excess liquid and discard lemon, and add nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  4. Combine the 1/2 cup of potato water and turmeric and mash the potatoes using the 1/2 cup of liquid. Separate into two portions.
  5. Grease the inside of a large casserole dish, (8" x 13") using the olive oil and gently spread half of the potatoes evenly across the bottom.
  6. Spoon the meat over the first layer and gently spread, trying not to compress the layer of potato underneath.
  7. Place the egg slices evenly over the meat.
  8. Lightly spread the remaining potato mixture over the meat and eggs and make a pattern (or just lines) using a fork.
  9. Brush the egg wash over the top layer of potatoes and bake for 45-60 minutes, until top starts to turn golden brown.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Donut Muffins

Note to self: do not use the camera on a loaner phone when
your phone is in the shop :-(
It's the August edition of Secret Recipe Club and my assignment for this month is Danielle from Nashville who writes Mostly Food and Crafts.

There are a ton of great recipes under the "mostly food" category to choose from. I really wanted to make her Chicken Paprikash, however, the latter-end of July and the beginning of August were crazy for me, so Meredith agreed to take the SRC project on herself - meaning that it was going to be a baking project.

Meredith chose to make Danielle's Donut Muffin recipe. She followed her recipe using a mini muffin tin - next time we might use our donut tin.

The chicken will need to wait until September (and it will definitely happen).

Donut Muffins

3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and lightly grease mini muffin tins with shortening.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and egg until they're light yellow.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and add to the egg mixture and stir well.
  4. Continue to stir and add the vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Using a tablespoon, fill each mini muffin cup about 3/4 full and bake for 5 minutes at 500-degrees.
  6. Immediately lower the temperature to 350-degrees and continue baking for 5 minutes until done.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl. Keep the melted butter in a separate small bowl.
  8. Dip the muffin tops into the butter, then into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Rhubarb Pie

We had devoured most of the pie by the time I remembered
to snap a photo. It was very, very tasty.

Rhubarb season has started in late May, and Meredith got her hands on some. She was quite excited. What she didn't know was that there wasn't enough rhubarb for the pie she wanted to make, so she winged in and threw in an apple as well. Very creative (and super tasty, of course!).

The one warning Meredith offered is for the prepared pie crusts in those shallow tin pans. They're not as big as they say they are, and there's a big risk of everything bubbling over. The next time she makes this, she's going to buy the flat pie crust and put it in her ceramic pie plate - it's much deeper and will do a better job at containing the mess.

The recipe is loosely based on one of Martha Stewart's rhubarb pie recipes, however, Meredith substituted a few ingredients, did her own thing with the pie crust and left out the plastic kittens thermal glued to the jail cell bars.

Rhubarb Apple Pie

prepared pie dough
5 cups rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored and cubed
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp tapioca starch
pinch salt

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp sugar
pinch salt
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Press the pie crust into a deep, 9-inch pie plate, trimming edges if necessary. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the crumble topping: in a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, sugar, and salt. Using a spoon (or your hands) MIX in the butter until clumps of mixture form. cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Move oven rack to the lowest level and preheat to 400-degrees. 
  4. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Transfer mixture into pie shell and sprinkle with crumble topping.
  5. Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any overflow.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 375-degrees and bake for 90 minutes, until topping and crust has browned lightly. If the pie starts to brown too quickly, cover pie in a tin foil tent.
  7. Let cool before serving. 
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Chicken Tikka Pie

A Friday in May ended up being a long day. By the afternoon, I was ready to get the heck out of the office and get moving on dinner. My original plan was to make a chicken dish using some leftover white wine, however, my friend Hungry Jenny changed my mind.

Jenny had published a porky tikka pie for her regular Friday Pie Day feature, and I loved the idea. It's just what we needed for dinner. Of course, I wanted chicken (since it's Friday), and I had a couple of ideas for minor changes to make it my own, but really, it's Jenny all the way.

My mini Corningware set isn't nearly as nice as Jenny's proper ceramic English pie plates, but they still held together, and it tasted great. I'm so glad I tried it out, and I'm sure I'll be making it again (if I'm not trying yet another of her pies.

Chicken Tikka Pie

1/2 kilo chicken, bonless, skinless, cubed
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2+2 tbsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes, cubed (around 500g)
2 cups mushrooms, sliced (around 150g)
1 medium onion, diced (around 100g)
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
4 medium potatoes (around 750g), peeled, chopped and boiled
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup milk
(4 small ceramic pie plates)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the garam masala, paprika, ginger, garlic and 2 tbsp oil, and whisk together using a form. Add the chicken, mix well and leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees
  3. In a large pan on medium heat, add the remaining oil. Brown chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and onion, and stir.
  5. Add the ketchup and almonds and let simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Transfer mixture into four individual pie dishes.
  6. Add the turmeric and milk to potatoes and mash together. Spoon potato mixture evenly atop each pie dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the potato begins to brown on top.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Red Onion Sauce

I wanted to try something new for a family barbecue, but we didn't have very much time to do anything very different. Back in May, I saw a recipe on CES for a red onion sauce popular on hotdogs in New York City, so I ran with that (with a few changes of course). The sauce isn't made of onions, it's a red sauce with onions in it. Or, more accurately, onions covered in a reddish sauce.

The resulting sauce was very flavourful, and the cayenne added a good zing to it.

Red Onion Sauce

2 tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and on medium heat and saute onions until translucent.
  2. Add garam masala and chili powder and stir for one minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and let simmer, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes, until mixture thickens.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

Note: this mixutre isn't a pickle like relish, so it must be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 days.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Chicken Marbella

Our neighbour, Olivia, frequently invites us over for dinner when certain dishes are on the menu. One of our favourite dishes is her Chicken Marbella. It's a dish I have yet to make myself because, for some reason, I can stand in front of the stove and stir a pot for an hour, but I can't bring myself to baste something in the oven. I've got to get over that.

In the meantime, Olivia was generous enough to share her recipe, based on the recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook, and allow me to take photos. The dish pictured didn't have cilantro as a garnish because there was an in-house shortage.

There's something about the flavours in this dish that make it irresistible. I think it's the sweet and savoury combination of flavour - it's amazing. I always use extra sauce to help mop up the rice. So tasty.

Chicken Marbella

2 tbsp garlic puree
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
8 large olives, pitted and cut in half
1/4 cup capers (retain some of the juice)
3 bay leaves
2 kilos chicken legs and/or thighs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine
4 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves.
  2. Add the chicken and coat completely with the marinade (tip: you can put the chicken and marinade into a large zipper bag). Cover and refrigerate, for several hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a large roasting pan (or two smaller pans), arrange chicken in a single layer and spread remaining marinade over evenly.
  4. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar. Pour white wine around the chicken, being careful to not wash the sugar and marinade off the chicken.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes basting frequently. Note: use a meat thermometer to check chicken or check for clear juice (not pink) when testing using a fork.
  6. Transfer chicken and marinade to a deep serving dish and garnish with cilantro.
  7. Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Cuban Sandwich

Note to SRC: my deepest apologies to Wendy for the late link-up.

It's Secret Recipe Club time again, and this month's assignment is Wendy from La Phemme Foodie. Wendy blogs from Philledelphia, where she's a lawyer by day and a food blogger and photographer by night.

For the assignment, we considered several recipes, including slow cooker ribs in a root beer barbecue sauce, as buffalo wing macaroni and cheese, but in the end, I had a craving for a sandwich, and her Cuban sandwich won the day.

We made a few changes to the recipe out of necessity. On the shopping trip for ingredients, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find roasted pork. Our grocery store doesn't have a proper deli, so we're stuck with packaged prepared meats. They did have sliced roast beef, so I picked up some of that.

Meredith was quick to point out that it's very unlikely that you'd be able to find a Cuban sandwich anywhere that's not made of pork, and it's even less likely that you'd find one made of beef, given the abundance of pigs and the lack of beef cattle.

We also decided to use a French baguette instead of a plain kaiser roll. That's was simply because I'm not keen on huge, overly heavy breads.

In the end, the sandwich turned out really well. It grilled nicely in our panini press (we chose the griddle attachment) and was warm and tasty. We'll likely be making this again

Cuban Sandwich

1/3 cup diced dill pickles
1/3 cup diced pickled banana peppers
1 baguette, sliced into two 8" lengths and split in half
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp mustard (we used Dijon)
100g pound thinly sliced smoked ham
150g pound thinly sliced cold roast pork (we used roast beef)
2-4 slices Swiss cheese
1 tsp margarine or cooking spray (we used cooking spray)

  1. Preheat a panini grill to medium.
  2. Combine pickles and peppers in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Spread 1 tbsp mayonnaise on the bottom half and 1 tbsp mustard on the bottom of each sandwich.
  4. Layer the remaining ingredients in the following order: ham, roast pork (or beef), pickle mixture and cheese.
  5. Gently flatten sandwich and spread margarine on the top.
  6. Transfer the sandwich to the panini grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Chickpea Stew

At the end of a week where we ate a lot of meat, I was happy to cook a meal that was vegetable-heavy and easy to prepare.

I had recently read a couple of vegetarian recipes involving chickpeas and this was the result of combining bits and pieces from each. I went easy on the spices, so the stew was pretty mild. I think you could easily double the garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne to get a more powerful flavour, but the vegetables themselves were still flavourful when topped with rice.

Jeremy rooted through his bowl and cleaned out all of the chickpeas. He seems to enjoy just about anything as long as it's accompanied by some sort of sauce or other flavouring. Lucky me.

Chickpea Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp salt (if tomatoes are unsalted)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
3-5 servings rice, prepared
  1. Heat oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Add carrots and continue to saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to medium and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Top with rice. 
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

We don't make bacon often, but when we do, we occasionally save the rendered fat in a jar and store it in the back of the fridge. I'd joke about using it to make fried bread once in a while, but I never do.

Putting bacon in everything has been a trend for some time. I think it's part of the sweet and salty combination that makes the flavours attractive. I've seen bacon with chocolate and bacon-topped cupcakes. Meredith wanted to use some of that bacon fat for cookies, so we started looking.

The more reasonable recipes used about 1/2 cup bacon fat (as substitute for 1/2 cup butter). I know - that can't be healthy. We weren't expecting it to be. And there had to be some crumbled bacon as well.

The cookies were pretty good. There was a slight aftertaste that was a little strong, but I attribute that to sediment in the bacon fat - extra salty bits. I think I should've put the hot bacon fat through a coffee filter first, because it was a little cloudy. I've done it before and I'll do it next time - if there is a next time.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup rendered bacon fat
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
  1. Using an electric mixer, fold bacon fat, butter, and brown sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
  2. Continue to mix on low and add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Continue to mix and add flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
  4. Mix in chocolate chips and bacon and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, spoon balls of dough onto baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 16 minutes and allow cookies to cool on a rack.
inspired by Kim Conte's recipe.
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Miffy's Baked Beans

This large casserole dish was maybe two-thirds of the batch.
This particular batch didn't use beer, however, it tastes
even better with the beer.
When my mother-in-law told me that she had made baked beans from scratch, Meredith and I were excited to try it. We were equally disappointed to find that they were already gone.

Fortunately, it didn't take much pleading for her to make a batch for us. The beans arrived - slow cooker and all - and there was much more than expected. But we didn't complain - more for us. We're big fans. Sausage and beans, potatoes and beans, beans on toast, beans and Kraft Dinner. Not that we usually eat these meals consecutively.

I've never made baked beans from scratch myself. My slow cooker just isn't big enough, and the bowl doesn't remove for easy cleaning. Still, I was very reluctant to part with it because it was a gift from my (now deceased) grandparents.

A couple months later, I stumbled upon a large slow cooker for $10 at a garage sale and I I finally got the recipe from my mother-in-law (the beans pictured in the photo are hers).

The recipe is mostly based on a Chatelaine recipe. I read the reviews and they were mixed. I suspect that several readers cooked the beans on high and quickly dissolved most of the liquid in the cooker. Unfortunate for them, but great for me. The beans we feasted upon tasted great.

Miffy's Baked Beans

1 onion, finely chopped
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red-chili flakes
2 cups dry navy beans, rinsed
3 1/3 cups water or 2 cups water + 1 bottle of beer

  1. Combine onion with bacon, molasses, ketchup, Dijon, salt and chili flakes in the slow cooker and stir gently until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Stir in beans, water (and beer) until combined.
  3. Cover and cook on low until beans are tender, about 10 hours.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Yogurt Cereal Bars

Meredith was looking for something relatively healthy to give Jeremy as a snack - preferably something not terribly messy. We're still working on it, but these yogurt bars still hit the spot.

Meredith first attempt used oats the first time and although they tasted great, it was more of a falling-apart crumble. And Jeremy found them a little dry. He stuck his tongue out until the bits fell back onto the plate. Whoops.

The second attempt, using corn flakes (more along the lines of the recipe our friend gave us), turned out much better. The cut nicely into bars and held together. Jeremy loved them - the most important part.

Yogurt Cereal Bars

2 cups corn flakes
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 cup butter
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  2. Combine corn flakes, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  3. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form.
  4. Press half of the mixture firmly into the bottom of a greased 8-inch square pan.
  5. Mix yogurt, egg and 2 tbsp flour in another small bowl.
  6. Spread yogurt mixture over cereal mixture in pan and then sprinkle the remaining cereal mixture on top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let cool and cut into bars.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Soft Pretzels

It's Secret Recipe Club time again, and June's assignment is Karen Cooks. Karen blogs from Montana and has all sorts of great recipes that we'd love to try, including chicken marsala, grilled pineapple guacamole, venison stew, and a really tasty looking cheesecake.

After reviewing Karen's recipe index, I knew exactly what we were going to make right away. Soft pretzels. We'd conquered bagels in a previous month, and it was time for the next baking challenge.

We only changed a couple of things out of necessity: we ran out of white flour, so we substituted in 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, and, and instead of Kosher salt, we substituted some lime-infused sea salt were were given as a gift for such a special occasion.

Forming the pretzels was fun as well. Our eldest son used the pretzels as an opportunity to shape them into numbers.

These pretzels are best served immediately and don't fare well as next-day offerings. That wasn't a problem for us - they were gone by the end of the evening.

Soft Pretzels

2 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
3/4 to 1 cup warm water

1 cup warm water
4 tbsp baking soda
sea salt
3 tbsp butter, melted
  1. Prepare the topping (soda wash): in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 4 tbsp baking soda and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve baking soda and let cool.
  2. Start the dough: place all ingredients for the dough in a stand-mixer bowl using a paddle attachment and mix on low. When a ball starts to form, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes or until dough is soft and smooth and no longer sticky.
  3. Put dough into a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 500-degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick lining.
  5. Transfer dough to a pastry mat and divide into 8 pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope and shape into a pretzel (or numbers as we did). Dip each pretzel into the soda wash and place onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt, cover in plastic and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, until the pretzels are a golden brown (note: keep a close eye on them - ours were slightly over-done).
  8. After baking, immediately brush with melted butter and serve.
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Friday, June 8, 2012

Cincinnati-style Buffalo Chicken Chili

Yes, another chili recipe. This one is mostly from scratch, tho. Inspired by a combination of different recipe concepts and what I happened to have available.

My original plan was to make buffalo chicken chili. However, we didn't have any bleu cheese. Not completely foiled, cheddar would still do. I also didn't have a proper wing sauce, so I used hot pepper sauce and compensated by frying the vegetables in butter instead of oil.

Then the issue of what to serve with it arose. We've had a lot of rice lately, so I suggested pasta. Of course, chili served on pasta and topped with cheese is really Cincinnati-style, so suddenly Cincinnati and Buffalo had to hash it out.

I thought the sauce turned out a little thin, however, I opted to not add any tomato paste. I also thought that the chili needed more spice. I added additional sauce when I served it. It could simply be because of the sauce I used. I'll leave it up to your own personal tastes.

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Cincinnati-style Buffalo Chicken Chili
Cincinnati chili is served on pasta and topped with lots of cheese. It's a great alternative to tortilla chips.
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 kilo ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can mixed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (or more, to taste)
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 4 servings spaghetti, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (we were out of bleu cheese :-(
1. brown the ground chicken, garlic, paprika, oregano and cumin in 2 tbsp oil over medium-high heat, using a potato masher to evenly break up the pieces.Set chicken aside.2. Heat on medium and add onions, celery and carrots. Let simmer until tender (10 minutes).3. Transfer the chicken back into the pan and add the tomatoes, beans, and hot sauce and bring to a boil.4. Reduce heat to medium-high and let simmer for 30 minutes to reduce the liquid.Serve on top of pasta, topped with cheese.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Muffin Tin Dinner Rolls

Clearly, Meredith was inspired by The Muffin Tin Cookbook, by Brette Sember. She decided to adapt a recipe for muffin tins on her own when we were going to a family dinner. Not wanting to bring another dessert, she tried a bread recipe instead.

Much of the recipe is based on the Better Homes and Gardens dinner rolls recipe, however, these rolls are much bigger. The original recipe quoted 24-36 rolls, while Meredith's recipe resulted in sixteen rolls.

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Muffin Tin Dinner Rolls
Much of the recipe is based on the Better Homes and Gardens dinner rolls recipe, however, these rolls are much bigger. The original recipe quoted 24-36 rolls, while Meredith's recipe resulted in sixteen rolls.
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
1. Combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm water and 1 tsp sugar, mix and let sit for 10 minutes.2. In a small saucepan on medium heat, stir together milk, sugar, shortening, and salt until warm (120-130 degrees Fahrenheit) and the butter is almost melted.3. Using a standing mixer, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast and continue to mix. Using the low setting, slowly add the milk mixture and let combine for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl.4. Increase speed to medium and slowly add the remaining flour. Continue to beat for three minutes.5. Remove dough from mixer and shape into a ball. Rub dough with 1 tsp oil, place in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for one hour.6. After dough has risen, grease enough muffin tins for sixteen items.7. Divide dough in half. Divide each half again three more times until you have sixteen pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface and place into the greased muffin tins. Cover, and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.8. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375-degrees.9. Brush rolls with egg wash using a pastry brush and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from tins and let cool on wire racks.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 rolls

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Moroccan Sausage and Chickpeas

When I saw Food Floozie's chickpeas with chorizo, I knew that I had to make my own version of the dish. I had Moroccan sausages in the freezer, so I was pretty much ready to go. This version wasn't going to be vegetarian or using pork. I don't associate the flavour of pork with Moroccan cuisine - probably because most Moroccans I've met are either Jewish or Muslim.

I had originally thought about using some Merguez (lamb) sausage, but I had found the "Moroccan" sausage in the freezer. The Moroccan sausage isn't one of my favourites, but it holds a special place for me as it's the sausage my grandfather and father make at family events. The (kosher) butcher who makes them packs them with a significant amount of fat, so they practically swim in the pan, or, result in two-foot-high flames on your grill. Good times.

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Moroccan Sausage and Chickpeas
A tasty combination of sausage, chickpeas and cous cous
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 lb Moroccan sausages
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large (28oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp paprkia
  • half lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • to taste pepper
  • 6-7 servings cous cous
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Brown sausages for 3-5 minutes and break them into chunks using the sharp end of a spatula.2. Add the garlic and onions and continue to saute for 5-10 minutes, until onions are soft.3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.4. Turn heat down to medium and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.5. Serve with cous cous.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-7 servings
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