Thursday, May 29, 2014

What happened to The Food Network?

Dolmades - stuffed grape leaves

Looking through The Food Networks line up of shows makes me cringe a little.  I used to really enjoy this channel, now it seems like it is a line up of game shows and restaurant tours.  What happened to the cooking shows and wonderfully spicy chefs that explore home techniques and teach us about strange and wonderful new foods?

Is this what our society wants, game shows and eating out?  I thought the market research was showing a trend of eating at home?  I guess they were wrong.  

This concerns me a little, but I know there are still people out there going the extra mile and making their own broths, breads and noodles.  Good for you all!  I hope you keep at it!  Keep that TV turned off and feed your inner foodie.
Paprika chicken and egg noodles

I propose in honor of not watching The Food Network, we inspire each other.  What is your favorite dish to cook at home?

Tonight we are having Paprika Chicken, Egg Noodles, and a big salad with farm dressing.  That is our favorite dinner.

Ready? Set (the table). Inspire!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Paprika Braised Ribs - Hungarian style

Hungarian Paprika Braised Pork ribs.
Oh, this was delish! I have to share it.  I used up the last of our grass fed pork for this dinner and it was worth it.

Begin by dicing up a yellow onion.  

 Saute it in about 3 tablespoons of butter oven proof dish until it is translucent, not browned.

Add about 5 tablespoons of Paprika to the butter and onion in the pot, and reduce the heat.

Stir it around so the paprika coats the onions and begins to get very aromatic.  This ensures it will be very tasty.  Place the ribs in the dish in layers, the fewer layers you have the tastier the ribs will be.  This could be made in a big roaster if you are making a lot.  Add pork broth, or just plain water until it rises about half way up the ribs leaving the tops exposed.

Cover the pot with foil, and put a lid on.  Place it in a 250F oven for about 3 hours.  When it is ready the meat will be falling off the bones, and your house will smell like Hungarian heaven.


We ate ours with Borscht.  A perfect complimentary dish to ribs.  Follow my rules for making perfect borscht without a recipe by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

60 Things to Braise with - that are not Chicken Broth

It is still winter here, and so I braise a lot of meats in the oven.  I do on occasion use homemade chicken broth, as a liquid.  A note on chicken broth: I love chicken broth, we use it a lot in our house.  Bone broths are very nourishing and full of immune supporting ingredients which make it the perfect food for cold and flu season.  To find out how to make a simple chicken bone broth click here.

Sometimes when you are cooking you don't want the underlying flavour of chicken dominating your dishes.  I see the ubiquitous use of the square cartons on cooking shows and shudder at the quality as well as the flavour.  Let's shake things up a bit to make winter seem less blah and make your house smell amazing.

Here are some liquids to experiment with next time you braise some meat.  Simple braising instructions will follow the list.

  1. beef broth
  2. pork broth
  3. lamb broth
  4. vegetable broth
  5. fish stock
  6. turkey stock
  7. water (plain or add herbs)
  8. light beer
  9. dark beer
  10. lime beer
  11. red wine
  12. white wine
  13. pink wine
  14. balsamic reduction and any other liquid mentioned
  15. balsamic vinegar and any other liquid mentioned
  16. red wine vinegar and any other liquid mentioned
  17. cider vinegar and any other liquid mentioned
  18. cooking sherry alone or in combination with another liquid
  19. rice wine vinegar in combination with another ingredient
  20. soy sauce
  21. tamari
  22. miso soup (instructions here)
  23. milk
  24. goats milk
  25. almond milk (homemade of course)
  26. rice milk (homemade of course)
  27. oat milk (homemade of course)
  28. roobios chai (see source here)
  29. saurkraut and it's juice (homemade)
  30. kimchi and it's juice (homemade, click here for recipe)
  31. kombucha (recipe here)
  32. left over beef gravy
  33. left over pork gravy
  34. left over chicken gravy
  35. fresh tomato juice
  36. Diced tomatoes
  37. fresh apple juice
  38. fresh apple cider
  39. fresh pear juice (diluted)
  40. fresh cranberry juice (diluted)
  41. fresh grape juice (diluted)
  42. lemon juice and water
  43. lime juice and water
  44. orange juice and water
  45. grapefruit juice and water
  46. coconut milk
  47. coconut water
  48. whiskey
  49. scotch
  50. vodka
  51. infused vodka
  52. rose hip tea
  53. juniper berry tea
  54. fennel tea
  55. ginger tea
  56. pineapple juice 
  57. brandy
  58. port
  59. yogurt
  60. Leftover soup (for soup ideas, click here)

Notice I didn't mention soy milk? Never use soy milk, it is highly processed, it is not properly prepared, and more detrimental to your health than chocolate bars.  I will post more on the dangers of improperly prepared soy products like soy milk later.

I should also mention that I have tried many but not all of these liquids, but would in a pinch.  Don't be shy in your kitchen.  Experiment a little and see what you can create.  Don't forget to save the braising liquid, it can make tasty additions to other meals and usually freezes well.

To Braise meat;

The beauty of braising is you can use tough low cost cuts of meat, and the end result is something that is falling apart with the back of a spoon.  So grab some pork hocks and trotters or a tough beef roast and make some magic happen.

Brown or sear you meat in the braising pan or a frying pan.  This is optional, it adds loads of flavour but you can just place the meat right in to the braising pan.  To braise I use a heavy dutch oven.  Add your desired vegetables and herbs if any, add liquid to about half way up the meat, leaving the top exposed (you can also saute the veggies for a different flavour).  Place in your oven at 250 for a minimum of about 4 hours, longer for larger more solid cuts of meat.  You can also braise in a wide shallow crock pot if you have but remember each piece of meat should only have liquid about half way up.  Yes, it is that simple.  I think it is the perfect way to cook for a busy mom with lots of kids or someone who is busy and needs to get dinner on the table without a lot of fuss.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

practicing in the Grande Prairie, Peace Country & Birch Hills County


I have moved my practice to the Grande Prairie/Birch Hills County/Peace Country area and begin taking new clients as of July 2nd. Please contact me here to book an appointment, please include your phone number.  I will be contacting you by phone.  All information given is private and confidential.

For the last 7 years we have been living in Calgary, AB.  My husband and I have lived in Calgary twice over the last 16 years and both our children were born there.  In between our stays there we have lived in Edmonton and Montreal always moving because of work.  I am happy to announce that this time we have moved simply because "we want to."  We moved home, finally.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Salsa and Spring Snow

Today is one of those early spring days that reminds you that you live in Canada.  It has been beautiful, the snow was melted, the grass was green and then snow.  But that is okay with me, it is just part of spring in Canada.

We stayed home today.  I decided that the over ripe tomatoes on my counter needed a new home, so instead of dumping them into the compost they were reincarnated into salsa.

8 ripe tomatoes
1 red onion chopped
1 chopped sweet red pepper (this eliminates the need to add sugar to your recipe)
1 chipotle pepper
1/2 head of peeled garlic cloves
1 jalapeƱo or 1 table spoon crushed chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon ground cumin
the juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon of chili powder
2 tablepsoons cider vinegar

Set the tomatoes, peppers, water, salt and pepper and cumin to boil in a large pot with the lid.  When the onion is tender and the tomato skins split, remove from heat and let cool until you can comfortably handle the tomatoes with your hands.

Peel the tomato skins from the tomatoes and discard.

In a food processor place all of the ingredients and reserve the cooking liquid.  Using a tablespoon open up the chipotle pepper and scrape the insides (seeds and all) and add that to the food processor as well.  Add the remaining ingredients above to the mixture and blend quickly.  Try not to puree, keeping it a bit chunky is best for nachos.  Taste it and season it to your liking.

This will keep in the fridge for about a week.  You can can or freeze the extra salsa if you don't eat it all.