Sunday, 22 January 2012

The 10 Mile Dinner

Tonight I am making a traditional Sunday Night Supper. A lot of people rave about the 100 mile dinner, and it is a way that we eat regularly. My parents live 10 miles away, on piece of land severed from my grandparents farm. My Uncle now farms that land, as well as his farm which adjoins it. As a result, the chicken, beef, and some vegetables and fruit that we eat are from the land I grew up on.

We do have to puchase a lot of our fresh fruit and veggies in the store though, and perfect timing, a friend of mine posted an article on facebook about purchasing producing at the grocery store.. check out the full article here:

Essentially, this is the way to identify if your foods are genetically modified or not:
ORGANIC - The number 9 is added to the front of the regular four digit PLU code (e.g. an organically grown banana would be 94011).
GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GMO) - The number 8 is added in front of the regular four digit PLU code (e.g. a genetically engineered vine ripe tomato would be 84805).
CONVENTIONAL - No number is added, so you will just see the standard four digit code (e.g. a conventionally grown banana would be 4011).
I checked it out when buying produce yesterday and although I didn't look through everything, I didn't find anything with an 8.. which is good!

But on to more important items.. tonight's meal!

Tonight's menu is:
Roasted Chicken
Roasted Vegetables (Carrots and Onions)
Mashed Potatoes

and for dessert: Rhubarb Crumble

The main ingredients of each of these dishes are from the farm, including the rhubarb.

Roasted Chicken seems simple enough, but watching cooking shows can show you there are various ways to jazz it up. Recently I watched Chef Michael Smith and he used his vegetables as a roasting rack. I had seen this done on another show as well, although the name/chef escapes me right now. Needless to say, I thought I'd try it and see how it goes.

We get our chickens cut in half, as a whole 8 pound chicken is a bit much for just the two of us.. in case you are wondering about why the chicken looked strange in the picture below.

I placed the chicken on the 'rack', rubbed it a bit with olive oil and sprinkled Rosemary and Thyme on it, threw it in the oven at 350, until it is done. I say 'until it is done' because that will all depend on the size of the chicken, and if it was frozen and fully thawed when you put in on, etc. The smell of rosemary and thyme is so lovely as it cooks.

It is great to have almost all of the meal ready in one pan. Once it is ready, I pulled out the carrots and some of the onion, and made gravy. To make my gravy, I take away some of the grease, add the water from the potatoes (it has some of the 'goodness' in it) and thicken it with cornstarch (I'm a cornstarch girl.. not flour) Tonight's meal is just regular mashed potatoes with it.

I don't know if having the veggies on the bottom as a rack made any real difference at the end of the day.. it certainly didn't taste any different than usual, or was any more moist in my opinion.. but it makes sense in theory.

I'll save the Rhubarb Crumble recipe for another day...

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Cream of Broccoli Soup

  • Josh asked me recently to make Broccoli Soup. The only time I've ever made it was out of a Campbell's Tetrapak, and the salt content in that is staggering. 

I hunted around to find a recipe that contained ingredients that I had and found something that sounded easy enough. Was it ever! the hardest part of this recipe was chopping the broccoli! Josh had two bowls and is looking forward to it for his lunch tomorrow too. He specified that he wants the cheese on the side so he can add it later... that it HAD to be like that or it wouldn't be right.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 6-8 cups broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

garnish with shredded old cheddar cheese

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium sized stock pot, and cook onion and celery until tender
  2. Add or prepare and add broth. I love Epicure Selections chicken bouillon, so that was 3 cups water and three tablespoons of bouillon. Add broccoli, and cool until the broccoli is tender
  3. Fill blender half way with soup, taking care to have enough liquid with the broccoli to allow it to blend. Puree in batches and return to pot.
  4. In small saucepan, over medium-heat melt 3 tablespoons butter, stir in flour and add milk. Stir until thick and bubbly, and add to soup. Season with salt pepper, garnish with shredded cheese and serve.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Raspberry Hot Sauce and my Favourite Dinner EVER

I have been getting adventurous lately, trying some new recipes. I tried a raspberry hot sauce once at the One of a Kind Christmas Show and it was amazing, and I've never been able to find it since. So I decided to try an interesting recipe that used leftover dill pickle juice. I won't bother posting the recipe because it was a dud, and it reinforced my 'don't measure just squirt' philosophy when it comes to do-it-yourself sauces like that.

(I get this from my Mom... when I asked her for her pancake recipe, she had to throw the items in a bowl, and then take it back out to measure it because she never followed a recipe.)

For example, my favourite dinner EVER is Braising Ribs. I've never come across this recipe anywhere else... so I have no idea if others make it, but it is the birthday dinner/special occasion dinner my Mom would make for me. To be honest, I'm sure the name should be Braised Ribs, but we always called it Braising Ribs. (Note: I just googled and it auto completed to Braising Ribs, but search results came up Braised Ribs)

Braising Ribs
Use one package of beef braising ribs (approx 4 strips of meaty short ribs)
One long squirt of ketchup (probably equivalent to 3/4 to 1 cup)
15 or so dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
A few spoonfuls of brown sugar (probably 1/3 cup)
Two spoonfuls of mustard (My mom always used yellow, but my husband had my try dijon and it worked worked out well)
A medium long squirt of HP Sauce (probably equivalent to 1/3 to 1/2 cup)

Mix with enough water to cover the meat in a casserole dish. Cover with tin foil (recommended over glass because of how messy it gets) and bake at 350 degrees for 3.5 to 4 hours.

I use this recipe to clean out the ends of bottles of the above items. Because the recipe calls for water to dilute these, you can swish it around to clean out the bottles. As you can imagine, it turns out a bit different every time.

Makes 3-4 Servings