Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pork Paprikash

Seems as though I have an abundance of pork these days.  I open the freezer and there are random bags of leftover pancakes, milk bags (yes I do freeze them sometimes), random orange freezies and pork.  Tenderloins, chops, ribs, bacon.
Just to clarify, I don't live on a pig farm - although that might be sorta neat, until the dreaded time came when they were no longer my pets.

I always wanted to live on a farm, wait, let me rephrase, I always wanted to have farm animals...just not get up early to feed them or clean up mass quantities of you know what or raise them to be my dinner either.  I also have this love of farm houses and barns, they are beautiful, rustic, architecturally intriguing.  Ahhh, that takes me to a better place than the butcher.
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pavlova for 1 OR 10

Calling all marshmallow or meringue fans!  This dessert fills both cravings.  Crusty outside like a meringue and marshmallowy textured innards - sweet love, sweet, sweet love!
Your toppings are up to your own desires, any combination of fruit, whipped cream, chocolate drizzling over top COME ON NOW!

Thanks to my good friend JoLo, I made this dessert for a wild night of cards at a friends house on her recommendation.  It turned out pretty good!  I do have some tweaks to make for the next time (i.e. I would make the thickness greater, I would not put as much Grand Marnier in my whipped cream - because I liked that taste, and maybe I would just make a few extras for just me - tee hee)  Instead of making it more like a cake - which is apparently how you eat it, I made individual portions, nothin says you have to do it the way it was written right?

So, since I had never heard of it before of course I had to Google it - I know, nerd right?  Didn't you notice I said wild night of cards?

I'm gonna Geek it up a little more here: 
The dessert is named after the Russian dancer Anna Pavlova apparently after she visited New Zealand but the dates of the "first" rendition are sketchy - thank you Wikipedia!  Now, I am no Pavlova buff, in fact, I have to say I am not a fan of ballet or opera for that matter but I do know she was a famous dancer in the late 1800's early 1900's. 
Seems as though this recipe is a fit for her - rough exterior yet soft and smooth inside. 

She apparently was known to perform not to the standards that we might think of today - bent knees, incorrect turns and placements however she turned into a beautiful artist and is quite famous.

You're welcome for the history lesson

So on to dessert....

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Top 5 "Fast Food" Friday Meals

So what happens when Friday comes in your house and you've been cooking and cleaning and working and shopping and taking the kids to sports practices, music lessons, friends houses all week and then 5pm hits and you realize you didn't take anything out of the freezer the night before?
Yes, that happens in our household on occasion, I confess.

There HAVE to be days that you just need a break from life, from worrying about all of that stuff AND being healthy.  Enter "Top 5 Fast Food Friday Meals"
Here's my list of some of our favorite things to eat when I don't want to cook creatively and no one knows what to do - some of them might surprise you:

Sandwich n Salad Night
Grilled cheese n bacon sammies with maybe a side salad to compensate for the bacony buttery goodness.
I could also go for an English muffin slathered in my homemade blueberry pomegranate jam too...Can I put that into #4 as well?

Hot Dogs - "Street Meat" Style
For those who don't know, we mean stopping at a local food truck, grabbing a steamed then bbq'd dog, topping it with onions, bacon bits, cheese, ketchup & mustard and shoving it down in minutes

#3 - My pick (because I don't have to cook, clean or pay teehee)
Wendy's Chicken Fingers
Do you have Wendy's in your country?  Their chicken fingers are YUM!  But I've had a good finger at Chick Fil A too *sigh we don't have those here*

South St. Burger - with goat cheese HECK YA!
A little joint with big taste and myriads of topping choices which makes it one of the better "chain" burger places in our neck of the woods.  We have yet to find a mom n pop dive with the burger of all burgers that are handmade, grilled to will happen, one day!

AND at the top of our list (which could be longer if I really thought about it long and hard)
This award goes to 2 crazy little places because they both have our favorite dish - the General Tso Chicken!
1 A - Golden Lake Take Out is about an hour and a bit away from our house but I will travel all the way there and ALL the way home just to have their rendition - its THAT good and no other restaurant in our area makes it the way we like it.
1 B - Mr. BM has found another little Chinese take out place in Brantford, Ontario (a little town in Westernish Ontario) that also makes it the "right" way.  I have no idea what the name of it is and I don't think he knows either!
He happens to be there a lot for work and on Fridays I can ask him to bring some home if the mood strikes. 
It strikes all the time but its maybe a once in a month thing.  I think it would be hard to maintain my pre-wedding dress figure if we had it more - although I think I could eat it every day.

So, there you go.  No pizza on this list, surprised? 

What's your fav thing to eat?

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Individual Meatloaf Bundles

Meatloaf meet Bacon, Bacon, meet Meatloaf.  You will get along like apple pie and ice cream do, you will marry like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  Three cheers for love (of bacon)

Today's dinner came from my all time love of bacon.  I LOVE it, I know its not good for you, but I can't help it!
Who doesn't enjoy a BLT (I do minus the T), or a good ole grilled cheese and bacon sandwich? 
You know when you go to an all you can eat buffet the first thing you do is to swing nonchalantly by the bacon tray to to see if its crispy or saggy and then you grab yourselves a wad - you cant help it, its SO good!
Ok, maybe that's just me - see, I have faults. 

Tonight we meld my love of the pork fat with Little Ugh's favorite - The Meatloaf.
Throw in some fresh green beans, some thyme infused scalloped potatoes and you got yourself a winning combo!
I want bacon and eggs for breakfast...just sayin

I'm Listening to:  Bad to the Bone - George Thorogood & The Destroyers
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Pork with Potato/Parsnip Puree

Shoot that's a lot of "P"'s in that title isn't it?  I coulda made it better by throwing in a "Pleasant" or maybe "Painfully Easy" OR "Pardon, you want to Partake in this Painfully Easy, Pleasant, Pork recipe with Phenomenal Potato/Parsnip Puree"?
Even I am shaking my head at that - but that was fun!

Sometimes simple can be better.  This recipe goes beyond simple.  Do you have a plastic bag?  A pork tenderloin? Some Shake n Bake "s&b" (or other form of crumb coating)?  Blended spices? All you need now is an oven.  If you don't have one of those you might be outta luck

I am not sure why I never thought of doing it before - we have had s&b pork chops before, we all have, but when I was calling out to friends for some pork recipes my dear friend Jane (HI JANE!) said "I use s&b, and its great" I thought...ya, *lighbulb* that's a great idea!
So this post is an Ode to Jane :)  Thank you for juicy, crispy crusted pork

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Poor Mans Stew

Don't go calling the ethics police!  I am not suggesting that only "financially challenged" individuals should/do eat this stew.  My Omi has been making this stew for ages.  She named it! (funneling blame to those who cant defend themselves - my M.O. HA)

True Story - My Omi, she's...old....(LOVE YOU) Old enough to have been through wars, depressions and have a great grandchild! 
She has been making this stew for as long as I can remember.  She had one time told me that their family was so poor that sometimes they only had potatoes, bread and carrots for weeks at a time and to ration out the food it was easier to create soups/stews.  If they got lucky they would get a few other veggies or *hands over mouth, shocked* sausage!  This is why she called it the Poor Man's Stew rather than the Potato Soup which is commonly eaten in Germany.  (She also once told me that she had to walk to work when she was 8 years old in sock feet because her shoes were so worn from running from stampeeding cows - so who knows what reality is)

Now, we are a little bit more financially stable in this day and age so when I make it, I add a few extra veggies and use turkey sausage as well.
Enjoy this rustic, hearty, warm your belly on cold days stew!
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Monday, January 17, 2011

"I'm Bananas, You're Nuts" Loaf

Whoever thought to take a rotting banana and use it anyway for desserts was a genius!  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't take an old, black, fruit fly magnet of a broccoli head and hope that my soup tasted more broccoli-like.  But bananas work, and work well indeed.

Ive been making this banana bread recipe for years now and I am not even really sure where it came from to be honest.  Normally I do not add anything to it because it is just so moist and bananay but on occasion I do add chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, or both...both is good, both is really good (but not necessary at all!)
This recipe will not disappoint in the least TRUST ME!  Better than your grandma's - I wont tell when you agree.

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No Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

YAY!  My love handles and flag arms (bingo wings, Oprah arms, flappers & clappers etc.) are thanking me for making these!  This is why I only eat TWO folks, and a less copious amount of frosting when I make them (which is very rare actually)

Seriously though, this is a great way to wake your family up on a snowy Sunday morning!  Some fresh cut fruit, maybe some strawberries, bananas, kiwi....some yogurt, cup of tea (or coffee...blechhh) and an oooeyyy goooeyy scrumptious cinnamon roll.  Just like ANY cereal, it is part of a nutritious breakfast.  And you can eat anything if you moderate what you put in your belly - I don't condone making and eating the entire batch.  I also do not advocate eating a pint of ice cream yourself but sometimes it just feels SO right!

My men, both little and big, were pleasantly surprised when the wafting smells of cinnamon floated up towards the bedrooms.  Little Ugh actually woke up, raced down the stairs and said "Did you go to Cinnabon?"  You can have 2 my favorite son

I can almost guarantee that you have all of the necessary ingredients already in your pantry - no need to plan these out.  Just wake up, and bake up!
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Part 2 - Chorizo & Cream Cheese Ravioli

So, I hope you previously read the Carrot Pasta Dough post?  Well, if you haven't, you better start with that unless you only want the stuffing and not the "bird".

The filling for the ravioli is a little spicy since we used Mexican chorizo sausage but marries well with the cream cheese and the carrot pasta dough.  I used a tomato based sauce and found that next time I would use a butter cream sauce or something other than tomato - it seemed to take away from the awesome filling and pasta flavor a bit.  It was still GREAT, it just could have been BETTER!
So, here we go, Rosa and I get to work.
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Pasta Dough For The Rabbit In All Of Us

This post will strictly be the dough portion, you'll have to read on for the filling and final result.

Rosa (my pasta machine) needed a work out, she's been in her box for a few weeks now and getting antsy!
Last time Rosa came out to play we made fettuccine, this time, pillowy pockets of goodness - Ravioli.

I had wanted to kick up the dough making it a little, you know, creative.  I'd eaten spinach pasta before (shucks, none in the house) but I had never had carrot pasta (WOOT - just happened to have a brand new bunch)
Figuring the sweetness of the carrots would be a good combination with a filling that was either spicy or savory, Rosa and I hand and crank - were ready. 
You'd think this might take a while but it was only an extra 10 minutes or so from the "regular" dough recipe and whenever you get a chance to add extra flavor AND veggies what's an extra 10 minutes?
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sauce Week - Day 5 - Red Enchilada Sauce

Alright, you may remember I posted enchilada's already (and if you don't then you should be reading the entire blog!) but that was a few months ago AND it was made with more of a traditional Mexican Verde sauce.  This sauce is made with tomatoes, chipotle peppers, and roasted red peppers.  Red sauce.

Sauce week could possibly turn into sauce month with the way things are going!  Maybe I will have a Sauce of the Month Award.
I mean what about homemade biscuits with bacon gravy, tomato vodka sauce n penne, poutine, chicken alfredo?  They all deserve to be included don't they?
So let's hear your ideas?  What do YOU want to see on here?  I would love to hear your thoughts?  Comment away! VOTE!
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Sauce Week - Day 4 - Red Wine, Balsamic & Cherry Sauce

That sounds divine doesn't it?  Move over Gordon Ramsey!

This sauce came about because I needed, no wanted, a sauce to accompany the pork tenderloin I was about to prepare.  Pork and cherries work together - remember the cherry chutney post? 
So off to my friend "Google" I went to find what sort of sauce I wanted.  I found this recipe on the Food Network and made it my own by changing the herbs used inside the pork (I like rosemary) and adding some shallots to the sauce.
I cannot take credit for the sauce, only the idea of having a sauce and wanting to finally use my wine.
(We still get wine from people who know we don't drink the stuff)
Even my father in law enjoyed it and he is pretty hard to please!
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sauce Week - Day 3 - Bolognese Sauce

You can't have a sauce week without a good meaty sauce can you?  Ya, I didn't think so.
I have to admit that in the past, a meat sauce in our house was few and far between, sauce with meatballs - different story all together!  Just seemed easier but in retrospect I guess not since I don't buy prepared balls I make them myself - I never claimed to be brilliant

This sauce does take some time to produce the flavors so if you don't normally eat early this could work for a week night dinner OR you could make a bunch on the weekend and freeze it (which is always a good thing) I just sounded like Martha in my head there!

Now you will notice throughout the pages that there are very little IF ANY posts with ground beef, but this recipe I find really does need the beefy flavor (but I have made it with ground chicken and turkey and its good too)
Pasta sauce tastes so much better when it's not from a can! 

Bolognese Sauce

1 lb lean ground beef

4 slices slices bacon cut into small pieces
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 c. dry red wine
1 can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 c. water
pinch of sugar

In a large pot add chopped bacon, onions, minced garlic, carrots, celery, and spices; fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 7-8 minutes.
In a separate pan brown off the meat and add to the veggies once nearly cooked (it will finish cooking in the sauce)

Add crushed tomatoes, wine, water, tomato paste, bay leaf and sugar, breaking up tomatoes with potato masher or spoon; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 1 hour. I like to simmer for another little while (30 minutes more if you have time)
Discard bay leaf before serving.

Yes this picture was taken before - this was from the homemade pasta post (I didn't take sauce prep phots, sorry)
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sauce Week - Day 2 - Mac n CHEESE Sauce

Sauce week might turn into sauce month with the lazy posting habits (I know, I am a day late)
Yesterday I decided to use the traditional "white sauce" method to create my famous home made mac n cheese.  Move over Kraft Dinner!
Some people prefer to have theirs baked with a crumb topping but not this gal.  I like creamy goodness so if you like the texture quit while you are ahead, this post is not for you.

How do you make mac n cheese feel fancy?  WHO CARES!  Its comfort food through and through.  BUT if you really want to "white glove" it up you can add some lobster or crab, you can throw in some pancetta and some different cheese, serve it in martini glasses.  You can really use your imagination if the warm cheesy morsels aren't good enough for you but again, you can find a different post to read if you want to be snooty because this is just cheese, cheese and more lovely cheese!  I love it so much that when I have to taste for salt and pepper additions I grab some crusty bread and dip it in, and sometimes (god forbid I say this aloud) I just take a few scoops out and eat it by itself.  HEY, you might do it with peanut butter or nutella I do it with cheese sauce get over it, try it!

So, a "white sauce" is made by first creating a roux.  You can make it with a number of different fats (butter is most common) but I used bacon fat this time around and it is mixed with flour and cooked prior to adding the liquid.
Also, the addition of nutmeg is common in the bechemel sauce (white sauce).  I will tell you that I did use this in my sauce but I also added a few other things too.  Go whip yourself up a pot of this stuff, it may be better than a tub of ice cream! (I should also mention that in the time that it takes to boil your pasta your sauce is ready)

Cheese N Mac
makes 4 - 1 cup servings

2 tbsp. butter (I used bacon fat but not everyone has that kickin around, I save mine)
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
pinch of nutmeg
2 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt n pepper to taste
1 c. cheddar cheese (depends on your taste but a medium is nice)
1/2 c. Gruyere cheese (if you don't have it, don't fret, just add more cheddar)

In a pot over medium heat melt butter. 

Add in the flour, nutmeg and dry mustard and whisk.

 It will look like globs for the first little bit but will break up a bit (don't worry if it doesn't, it will still make a smooth sauce) Cook this until the mixture is a light brown shade - a minute or two.  Lower the temp to a low-medium and add the milk slowly continue to whisk.  The sauce will begin to slowly thicken over the next few minutes. 
Once the sauce has a texture of yogurt add in the cheese and Worcestershire and continue to whisk.

Adding the first cheese

Taste and add salt and/or pepper as needed

This is the time to dip your bread in to taste before you add your pasta ;)


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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sauce Week!! Day 1 - Mustard Wine Sauce

Not to be mistaken for Shark Week (which is also amazing) this week is my ``Ode to Sauces``.

I am not too sure the age I started enjoying sauces and gravies, it might have only been a few years ago really.  I don't remember wanting to put cheese sauce on my veggies, wine sauce on my meats, gravy on my potatoes... mmm poutine (oh you better believe we are having that this week friends!) but I do fancy them now.
Its funny really because I get a little annoyed when Mr. BM smothers my painstakingly hard work with ketchup or bbq sauce without even tasting it first.  I mean, how do you know it doesn't already taste AMAZING???...Hmmm slight contradiction I guess. Ah well, what can ya do

I suppose I should have started with a basic white sauce to kick off the week but I didn't, that`s on the menu for tomorrow, today, veal scallopini with a mustard wine sauce
I think I am going to drool all week writing these

Mustard Wine Sauce

(1 tbsp. olive oil - if starting without pan fried meats)
1 shallot finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/4 c. white wine
1/2 c. whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard (the grainy kind I like best)
salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

TIP:  The best is to actually start this sauce after you have pan fried something so that you can gather all of the bits by using the wine to deglaze
Add shallots and garlic to pan (on med-high heat) and saute for 2 minutes or so, until the shallots have become a bit translucent.  you don't want your garlic to burn.  Stir in wine, scraping any bits from the pan.  Allow to reduce slightly (another 2 minutes or so) Add cream, mustard, salt and pepper.  Allow the sauce to heat through, stirring continuously for another minute or two.
Coat your veal with a few tbsp. over the top and you should be in heaven!

Veal Scallopini

Grab as many veal scallopini pieces from your butcher as needed.
Dredge your meat in flour (mixed with salt and pepper)
Pan fry until golden brown - about 3-4 minutes per side
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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year to All!
May this year bring you a future of health, wealth,  fun, and full bellies!

Was your new year rung in in style?  How about with some of your closest friends and family?  Maybe you were like us old fogies and hung out, popcorn in bowls, watching movies until 11:58pm barely keeping your eyes open, wishing the next 2 minutes would go by so quickly so you could lay your head down for the rest of the night?!  BORING!  Even our 12 year old was with his friends partying it up!  Shoot, wanna be friends?
Actually, we enjoyed it.  Honestly we did!  Whichever way you celebrated we hope you did it safely and had a great time :)

This year I have a resolution (I usually do not make them because we all know no one sticks to them) This year I am resolving to not gain any weight, make some amazing foods for my family and friends and try to take this love of baking/cooking to a new level.  I am not sure what that entails but I WILL cook more, eat more and post more.

On that note, this week I made 2 great meals (well, most of my meals are great *cough cough*) - both of them involved superb sauces which made me want to have a week long love affair with foods that need sauce or taste so much better with it!
Tomorrow will be day 1 of Sauce Week
Hope you enjoy :)
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