Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Clean out the 'fridge Quesadilla

This evening was a 'clean out the 'fridge' night. We had a few spicy sausages that we had to eat up and we didn't want to eat them as is. My first thought was TACO...but we also have ground beef to get rid of so that will be later this week. I looked in the 'fridge and saw some whole wheat tortillas and voila...QUESADILLAS !

Here's what I did:

  • got the sausages going in a pan
  • grated some cheddar cheese (I had ha;f a package so I grated the whole thing...the left over will be used in the tacos)
  • pulled out 1 yellow onion, 1 green pepper and a bunch of button mushrooms, chopped them got them going in a pan. I added some cracked pepper, salt, and some dried herbs
  • once the sausage was done I took them off the heat and cut them up into thin pieces
  • on one tortilla i placed the sausage pieces randomly, then added the onion, green pepper and mushroom and topped it with cheese.
  • add the second tortilla and straight into a heated pan
  • once the side was crispy flip
  • once that side was crispy, it was placed on a cutting board and cut into 8 pieces

Add a touch of sour cream and mmm mmm mmm...a filling clean out the 'fridge dinner !

(so filling in fact, the leftovers are for lunch tomorrow)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mornay Sauce (cheese sauce)

I wanted to make a side dish with a cheese sauce so I figured, why not return to the Robuchon Book for the recipe. To do the sauce I first had to create a white roux, then a bechamel sauce and finally the mornay sauce (none of which I have ever done before).

For the White Roux I did the following:
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Flour
  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, taking care not to let it brown. Dump the flour in all at once and use a whisk to mix it completely with the butter so that there are no lumps. Stir the mixture continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. It should whiten, foam, and look as though it is boiling, but it should not actually bubble. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool.

( I'm not sure about the 'foam and looking as though it's boiling....I just mixed it until it was all one consistency and it looked right)

Next was the Bechamel Sauce:

  • White Roux
  • 1 quart of milk
  • Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Whole Nutmeg to grate
  1. Bring the milt to a boil and pour it over the roux. Whisk the mixture into a sleek, lump free sauce. Bring to a bubble and cook for 10 minutes at most, stirring and maintaining a very gentle simmer. Season with a pinch of salt, a dash of cayenne, and if you wish, a few gratings of nutmeg
  2. a cooked baschamel sauce may be passed through a fine strainer to remove any lumps that may have formed.

(We added a bit more than a pinch of salt and a dash of cayenne....we did not add nutmeg)

Now onto the Mornay Sauce:

  • Bechamel sauce
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese
  1. Bring the Bechamel sauce to a boil in a saucepan over low heat, stirring with a spatula. Whisk the egg yolks to break them up. On very low heat, stirring constantly, pour the egg yolks slowly into the bechamel. Add the grated cheese and stir until completely melted.

( we did not add the eggs...we used Cheddar cheese and used 2 cups. We also added a few shakes of Parmesan cheese)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Chocolates - Turtles & Ferrero Rocher

The Holidays arrive and so do the chocolates. I don't think I consume as much chocolate in the 11 months leading up to Christmas as I do over the 2 weeks at the end of December. And of course, I have my favourites.
They are Turtles and Ferrero Rocher. Both I could eat until I burst. And once the clock has struck 12 on Jan 1st, I shun them for another 11 months.
Both of these tasty treats have got to be the most addictive things outside of jelly beans, popcorn and crack. Even though I try, I cannot have just 1. Even sticking to 2 is near impossible. I find, it's just easier to ensure neither are within 30 feet of me or my house. Because if they are, they might as well just be dropped in my lap. And don't even think of taking the last one....that's a good way to lose fingers and/or get a broken arm.
That's just a warning to anyone who stops by our place and has the same cravings I very careful....even though they are on a tray and look to be an offering for anyone who wanders by...they're not.....they're all mine....

Monday, December 21, 2009

A few Beers

At the work Christmas party this past weekend I had the opportunity to try a few new beers.
The first was the Erdinger Weissbier. This is a nice cloudy Bavarian wheat beer at 5.3% that has a very light flavour. Citrus works very well with this. I enjoyed this one and can see myself tucking into again in the future.

The second was the Blanche De Chambly. From Canadian Unibroue , another wheat beer at 5%, again a very light flavour that works well with Citrus.

The third was the Duvel . This is a Golden Ale from Belgium. A stronger beer at 9% but it doesn't have the bite of most strong beers. It's an easy drinking beer with a slight fruit flavour.

I would recommend any of these to someone who is tired of the usual during the holiday season.

Captain Morgans Dimwitted Nephew ?

I came across this Rum when I was in the UK on my last trip. I can't say it was the best I've ever had but it certainly wasn't the worst. I don't think the back shelf Rum's need to worry...but the lower end ones should be concerned. This stuff was being sold had that distinct "I'm not an expensive Rum" taste but it didn't make me gag when I knocked it back with Coke.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guilty Pleasures - Fast Food

I'm as guilty as the next when it comes to food that's bad for you. I'll talk smack about all the nasty bits that are inside a chicken nugget, but I'll gleefully chomp them down when they are smothered in individual pre-packaged processed BBQ sauce. I'll swear off the stuff when I watch something like 'Super Size Me' or see hordes of overweight people packed in line at KFC, but eventually, the craving gets the best of me and I'll be one of the masses moving slowly through the cattle rails to the till where you hear the familiar phrase "coke with that?".

Why is this stuff sooooo addictive? I have visions of the Simpson's episode when all the characters where chasing after the final Rib-Wich and the rich German gives up his car for the coveted treat only to look blankly after it's finished and state " I have the buyers remorse". This is how I feel after each gorging. I'm sure many will agree, when you get the fast food call, you'd step over your own mother to get your hands on the [insert nasty food-thing here] and once it's greasy bulk slides into your stomach and you feel the uneasy twitchings of your body saying 'WTF IS THAT?!?!?" you immediately feel like you should should have a steel brush shower, go to confession and/or run to the nearest toilet to cry the blues and ask God 'why am I so weak?'

I have tried to cut this 'stuff' out but to date have been unsuccessful. I have, however, limited my visits as well as tried to focus on the ones that aren't as bad (or at least, they seem like they aren't as bad). Places like Subway & Edo Japan, seem, to be a bit better so I'll choose these over Mc D's or Wendy's (I haven't been to an A&W for years...I can honestly say, I can't remember the last time).

I suppose a little guilty pleasure every now and then isn't the end of the world. I'll re-evaluate when I get out of breath walking to the girl taking my order.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

French Onion Soup

To celebrate the fact that I love onions and to stay on theme, we decided to dust off the cook book project and make my favourite soup. French Onion Soup. For a little history, French Onion Soup originated in Lyon, but somewhere along the line it became a popular late-night supper in Les Halles, the old central food market in Paris.

We used the Robuchon book for this recipe. It's as follows:

  • 2 pounds of onions
  • 10 table spoons of butter
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound country bread
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 cups freshly grated cheese
  1. Peel onions, slice into thin rounds. Melt Butter in a soup pot and add the onions, stirring to coat well with butter. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes until they are slightly golden brown.
  2. add broth. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat, stirring from time to time.
  3. Preheat broiler. When hot lightly toast bread on both sides. Remove the bread but leave the broiler on.
  4. Blend the soup to get onions broken up. Season to taste. Fill oven proof bowls with soup.
  5. Top each soup with slice of toast and cover with grated cheese. Give each soup a twist of pepper and put under broiler for 3-4 minutes, long enough to crisp the cheese but not burn.

here's what we changed

We used a combination of Swiss and mozzarella cheese. We used yellow and red onions. We used Beef broth instead of chicken. We did not blend the soup (we left the larger chunks of onion). We did season the soup (the beef broth had enough). We used French Bread.

We were very happy with the end result and we made enough to freeze in packages for soup in the future.

If you'd like to purchase the Robuchon book (it's fantastic) click on the amazon link on the right where it shows cookbooks etc.

Enjoy !