Christmas for One
I wasn’t going to do anything special this year cause I had a case of the Christmas blahs, but, at the last minute I bought a fresh leg of lamb and roasted it off with rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Threw in some diced potatoes and carrots as sides. Washed the meal down with a spiked (vodka) cranberry lemonade. Dessert was slices of a bought dark fruit cake. And, it was, on the whole, a good Christmas.
Because I had a lot of leftover meat (sliced lamb and salami), I baked off a quick batch of enriched (eggs, milk, sugar and melted duck fat) kaisers and hamburger buns for sandwiches.
Lunch plate of nibbles … bought cracker assortment, cheese (smoked Gouda and old white cheddar), Genoa and Hungarian salami and some apple slices (Ambrosia).
Regardless of the way you celebrate this time of year, I hope you were surrounded, virtually or in person, by friends and family (blood or choice).
And here’s hoping for a much better New Year.
This is the pizza I made today. It was delicious. Just my usual pizza dough, frozen, thawed in the fridge overnight and baked today. I threw everything I had on top. Hot Italian sausages, spicy pepperoni, green pepper, mozzarella and sharp cheddar cheese on a jarred portabello mushroom sauce.
And this is a Japanese orange Castella/sponge cake I made back in May. I’ve wanted to make a Castella cake for a while and this was the result. Because it’s a very simple, barely sweet, cake, it benefits from some garnishes. I had no fresh berries or mint so I put a scoop of French vanilla ice cream on top, warmed up some plum jam and diluted it with water and poured it over the top.
I really should do a proper post of this cake, one of these days.
Paczki are the Polish version of filled fried donuts … something to indulge in on the day before the start of Lent.
Much of the world knows today as Fat Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday but locally, it’s “POON-ch-key” Day. These were delivered to my door by my big brother … 4 plum and 2 lemon filled.
My first post of the new year is, fittingly, a bread recipe.
Creamy eggs and salted croissants make for a perfect breakfast
Just before Christmas my brother was in my neighbourhood and stopped in at a nearby European style bakery. And then he dropped off four of these bread rolls shaped into crescents and sprinkled with caraway seeds and coarse salt. And a bag of chocolate bonbons filled with cherries and liqueur. I ate three of the bread rolls the same day but the chocolates lasted until after New Year.
Recently, I saw someone had posted a picture of a similar type of bread rolls, on my Hungarian Facebook group. To make a long story short, I got the recipe, originally posted in Hungarian, and translated by a second party, and made them yesterday. A similar recipe can be found here though I used 2 tsp of dry instant yeast, rather than fresh, in my bake.
Shaping the croissants … a pizza wheel is the best way to make the clean cuts for making the dough wedges. The dough (652 gm) was rolled out into an 18″ circle.
Baked at 400 deg F for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven’s foibles.
Fluffy interior of the croissants
One more ground beef post because it’s a very versatile protein source.
I couldn’t make up my mind what I wanted to make so I split up the one pound bag of ground beef into meatballs and a quarter pound burger patty.
Pan fried the meatballs and made a couple of meatball subs on home made sub/hoagie rolls.
If desired, you can brush the sliced and scooped out hoagie bun with garlic butter and toast lightly or leave plain before adding the meatballs and sauce, topping with grated Mozzarella or Provolone cheese and broiling until the cheese has melted.
The other quarter pound was shaped into a burger patty, pan fried and paired with a fried egg, a couple of strips of crispy bacon, a slice of American cheese and a home made hamburger bun.
I got back-logged with a ton of pics/dishes for April/early May so I though I’d do a picture dump. These are all no-recipe dishes or ones for which I’ve already posted recipes. Enjoy.
Soups – Japanese lo mein noodles and broccoli florettes in dashi stock and cream of mushroom (thanks to Campbell) with grilled cheese sandwich on home made rye bread.
Pork Chop Trio
Egg White Omelette – bacon crumbles, sweet red/yellow/orange pepper
Plain quesadilla – guacamole and grated old cheddar on home made sourdough flour tortilla
Pasta – Chicken Tortellini with a basil pesto and Fettuccine with a hot Italian sausage sauce
Sourdough Bagels – Plain and Cinnamon Raisin
Chocolate puddings and pot de creme
Even though my proteins of choice are usually chicken and pork, every once in a while, beef is available at a good price. Here are a few dishes I’ve made featuring those purchases.
A pre-seasoned corned beef brisket bought on sale (~40% off) was featured in both dinners and sandwiches for economical and tasty meals.
Sliced corned beef on demi-baguette with Dijon mustard served with onion rings and salad
Served with mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage.
And a large piece of eye of round (often found for a good price) was portioned into three pieces, each of which was prepared in a different fashion, to maximize flavour and tenderness.
Eye of round braised in an onion soup mixture … some of the braising liquid was used to make an onion gravy served over the sliced beef and over the mashed potatoes.
Roast was coated in seasoned flour, seared and simmered in braising liquid.
Shades of Deadpool
I want sushi.
No sushi grade fish/seafood? No smoked salmon? No asparagus? Don’t want to make tamago? The bacon’s frozen solid?
Well, what DO you have?
A couple of avocados in the fridge and three fake crab sticks in the freezer.
Ok …. I CAN do this.
This is the internal conversation I had with myself.
Luckily, the crab sticks thawed quickly when I submerged the plastic freezer bag in cold water.
I had to make a quick batch of seasoned rice vinegar (6 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp salt) cause I was almost out but otherwise, this is what I ended up with.
Four gunkan sushi (3 spicy crab stick, 1 guacamole) and Two crab stick and avocado temaki (hand rolls)
Prepping the strips of nori (1 1/2 inch or about 2 finger width) and the rice ovals (about a rounded soup spoon of rice) for the gunkan or battleship sushi
One crab stick, avocado and spicy Sriracha mayo futomaki (cause it was pretty fat)
Breakfast for lunch (aka brunch) or dinner (aka brinner) is one of my favourite meals.
Bacon, eggs and cream cheese …
… sometimes the eggs get scrambled and the cream cheese gets spread on toasted sourdough bread. There’s usually bacon in the picture though.
Two thick cut slices of sourdough bread soaked in a mixture of 1 whole egg, 1/3 cup of milk and a splash of vanilla extract and fried in unsalted butter makes a delicious if not diet friendly serving of French toast (pain doré) with lots of real Canadian maple syrup. And on the side … BACON!!!!!!!!!!!
Genoa salami and home made crunchy sourdough flatbreads
Before cooking – gochujang sourdough tortilla, guacamole and shredded Monterey Jack cheese
I hate throwing away egg whites, though I have often done so. If I had a decent sponge cake recipe, I’d try to make a small version but I only have a full sized sponge cake pan and my last attempt at the full size (many years ago) was a miserable failure. And don’t get me started on macarons. I’m not THAT desperate. So, I’m stuck making meringues. As often happens, I FORGOT to let the egg whites come to room temperature. And they may have been ‘aged’ longer than advised. Still, even a somewhat grainy meringue bakes up to a tasty treat. I sprinkled toasted coconut on some of the meringues before baking. And I beat in espresso powder on the last third of the beaten whites so they deflated. Who cares?
The last of the home made puff pastry rectangles filled with espresso sweetened whipped cream with a cup of coffee … cause you can never have TOO MUCH caffeine.
I bought an unripe mango and cut it too early so it was hard and somewhat tasteless … no problem. Peel and dice and add 1 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of yogurt, sugar or honey to taste and about a tbsp of fresh grated ginger. Whizz it up in your blender and you get three refreshing servings of mango smoothie.
ANOTHER PICTURE HEAVY POST WARNING:
February’s been a month of snow and rain and cooking.
I’ve already posted a number of things but there have been meals and dishes produced to nourish the body even if they were not post-worthy on their own or repeats of previous posts.
No-knead sourdough with a bit of ground rolled oats added to make for a taste boost. Toasted and spread with peanut butter … a delicious breakfast addition or snack.
I also made another loaf of sourdough quinoa for sandwiches.
I tried out a recipe for Chipotle Yum Yum Sauce posted on “The Frugal Housewife” blog and used it on pork roast and on poached eggs served on toasted sourdough bread … a sort of Tex-Mex eggs Benedict. Fast and easy to make and delicious. I’m sure I’ll think of other ways to use it in the future.
Devilled eggs made with the Yum Yum sauce in place of the mayonnaise … so good
Meals and stuff
Creamy beef tortellini soup
Teriyaki baked salmon
Japanese chicken and tofu curry (using prepared roux) over rice
Chinese sausage rice bowl
Sliced bread/baguette pizza
Grilled cheese and cream of tomato soup … I added a couple of strips of cooked bacon to the sandwich as well.
Fried eggs, Polish sausage, cream cheese breakfast or lunch
Puff pastry filled with sweetened whipped cream and fresh blackberries