What to do About the Mess

Posted in Darcie's Delights on November 6th, 2012 by Dee – Be the first to comment

I adore beets but I loath the grossness and staining that comes along with preparing them.

I’m making it my mission to find ways to cook them that won’t result in me, my clothing, my kitchen, or my cat being covered in red for weeks.

I have tried wearing gloves; it works great until you touch anything other than the beets.  When I say touching things I mean things like the tip of your nose, and then you don’t notice; an hour later someone comments that you look like rudolph and then you realize that you love beets, but you hate them very very much too.

I have had golden beets.  They’re great, but I dont want to pay the crazy extra mark up each time I have beets.

I found this tip today and am going to try it  next.

“I LOVE beats and my personal favorite way to cook them is in the Crockpot! You get the flavour intensity of roasting with less electricity usage. I just rinse mine, trim off the greens (to be eaten later in a salad), wrap them individually in foil, and place them in the Crockpot. Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours until soft; since the heat is so low you don’t really have to worry about burning them. The peels will just slip off and they’re like wonderful edible gems!”

If you have any other ideas to try besides this, please let me know!

Pickled Beans – Super Hot

Posted in Darcie's Delights on September 15th, 2012 by Dee – Be the first to comment

I grew up in a house where my mom would preserve veggies and make jams, relishes and an array of other yummy things.

I’ve put off doing a lot of canning since I moved out west, because I felt like I didn’t have the space to keep the pots, jars, and in general spread out and make a mess while I cook.  This fall I realized that if I can have a wine cellar in my storage locker I can find some room for my giant pot and the jars too.

Its been a while so I started out with something simple:  ‘Spicy Pickled Green Beans for your Caesars’. A friend’s dad has a garden that needed harvesting and he had so many green beans we didn’t know what to do. I felt inspired and I googled a few other people pickling recipes and came up with this    I didn’t really follow a recipe. I tossed in a few cups of vinegar, pickleing spice, garlic, vodka (it was a tip from a friend), dill, bay leaves and  chili peppers.

I realized quickly into my cooking that my apple cider vinegar had become an entity to itself and probably wasn’t safe for human consumption.  This was disappointing because it meant I had to half the amount of brine I was going to make.  The upside is that I still have a bunch of beans chopped and ready for something great soon.

Pickling is fast and rewarding and makes your house smell clean and fresh.  I feel like I’m ready to do a jam. Any request for flavours?  its probably going to be what you get for Christmas this year.

Again forgive the photo quality.  I’ll use my SLR next time.

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican Brown Stew

Posted in Darcie's Delights on September 13th, 2012 by Dee – Be the first to comment

So after being away traveling and having one of the most amazing summers of my life, I’m back in the kitchen!   I can’t tell you how good it fells to wrap an apron around my waste and get down with some home cooking.

My Seestor introduced me to a few other cooks websites and I’ve been religiously bookmarking meals waiting for my triumphant return.

I got my spatula wet with a Jamaican Brown Stew from skinnytaste.com   http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/jamaican-brown-stew-chicken.html

After reading the recipe through a few times I realized how easy this would be.  As in most recipes its all about prep and timing.  I enjoyed making this because the chicken requires an hour to marinate.  I utilized the time by cleaning my kitchen, it was a little overdue.  The dishwasher and sink were full of clean dishes waiting to go into their homes and the recycling needed to be sorted and taken out.  Its really amazing how much you can get done when you have a defined amount of time to do something.

This meal was easy to make and was so good.  I actually was sad that I had no one to share it with that night; suckers should come home for diner 🙂

My photos aren’t the best pictures I’ve taken, I was trying to use a point and click and it just isn’t what I need for this kind of mater piece work.

 

 

 

 

okay just the meatloaf, its Alton Browns (more or less)

Posted in Darcie's Delights on January 3rd, 2012 by admin – 1 Comment

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces garlic-flavored croutons
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and broken
  • 3 whole cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 18 ounces ground chuck
  • 18 ounces ground sirloin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg

For the glaze:

I made a mix of hot sauces and a barbecue sauce.

Directions

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.

 

In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and thyme. Pulse until the mixture is of a fine texture. Place this mixture into a large bowl. Combine the onion, carrot, garlic, and red pepper in the food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped, but not pureed. Combine the vegetable mixture, ground sirloin, and ground chuck with the bread crumb mixture. Season the meat mixture with the kosher salt. Add the egg and combine thoroughly, but avoid squeezing the meat.

 

Pack this mixture into a 10-inch loaf pan to mold the shape of the meatloaf. Onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of the tray. Insert a temperature probe at a 45 degree angle into the top of the meatloaf. Avoid touching the bottom of the tray with the probe. Set the probe for 155 degrees.

 

Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.

Freezer Clean Out!

Posted in Darcie's Delights on January 2nd, 2012 by Dee – 1 Comment

So we might be getting a new refrigerator and in anticipation  of this special event I have started the 2012 freezer clean out!

This far I have made:

  • Salmon in a spicy orange sauce with lemon garlic broccoli, quinoa , and Lemon pepper salad.
  • Buffalo Meatloaf.
  • Banana Muffins.
  • Gluten Free Crab Cakes.
  • Spinach Quiche.
Cleaning out my freezer has got me back in my kitchen and cooking hard.  The downside of all of this cooking is that its giving me dishpan hands hardcore.  Along with a new refrigerator I’m getting a new dishwasher, stove, and microwave range.  The dishwasher is the only appliance that is actually not working.
The food is mostly worth it.
The crab cakes were lacking on gluten, but we got to enjoy them with friends on New Years who cant have gluten. I made two sauces, the original sauce that calls for a red pepper/Dijon mustered sauce.  It was soooo gross.  After that sauce was rejected by all I made a garlic aioli, now that was a good dip!
The muffins I may have messed up a little, I accidentally put in nutmeg and not cinnamon, so they had a unique flavour.  Over all the muffins were moist and we did eat them all.  I wouldn’t suggest you make this same error as a fun experiment.
The meatloaf and quiche were easy and yummy and everyone should have a go to  recipe at home. If you dont let me know and I can post mine.

Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken

Posted in Chicken, Darcie's Delights on August 6th, 2011 by Dee – Be the first to comment

This week we’re cooking from page 200 from ‘The Best of the Best’

If my sister ever decided to pick up a spoon and cook along remember not to put in the nuts or you’ll kill your husband.  they’re one of the last things you add so you could put them in a bowl and let people spoon add them as they please.

 

THE REVIEW

 

Hey, have you ever made stir-fry? Cause I just did.  I’ve made a lot of them in my life, but somehow managed to overlook the fact that this was another one.

Maybe I’m a little late to the game on this one, but I thought it would have been more like a Chinese dish with vegetables than a stir-fry.  My fault for not really paying attention.

This is a super easy dish to make.  Its important to have everything prep’d before you start your cooking because with stir-fry timing is everything.

Over all good flavour.  I think there might be a little too much sugar in the sauce, with the tbps of sugar and ketchup it equals a sugar high for hours. When the sauce was made the cayenne was  somehow overlooked, it became a quick last minute toss in because I cant imagine not having a dinner that has a little kick to it… or a big kick, I love hot food.

Over all it was good, not good enough to use the recipe again, but good.  If you’ve never done a stir-fry or you’ve used a bottle sauce for years and you’re looking to branch out this might be a good one for you.

War Wonton Soup

Posted in Darcie's Delights on July 16th, 2011 by Dee – 4 Comments

How do we pick the next recipe?

There is a cook book that is randomly opened to a page,  whatever meal appears is the meal that we make. That kids is what we call science!

 

Today we’re cooking the ‘War Wonton Soup’ on page 116

I’m a little hesitant because it calls for pre-made wontons.  I feel lucky that I live in Vancouver and have a bunch of amazing places to go and buy fresh and tasty wontons. However,  this could be the Velveeta experience all over again.

 

REVIEW

Good good very very good.

This meal wins because it is stupid easy. The hardest part is prepign the veggies and that almost no work becuase its just rough cuts.

I was lucky enough to stop over at the T and T supermarket to pick up wonton boullion and wontons.  These two ingredients made the meal amazingly tasty and worth the little exrta effort to procure them.

 

  • Prawns == awesome
  • Wontons – better than restaurant
  • Broth – not as good
  • Veggies – better than restaurant
  • Beef just didn’t have any flavor left.  It was kind of extraneous.  That’s one of the more important points, since it was probably one of the most expensive ingredients, and didn’t add much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I went to add in the wontons to the broth I think I was in too much of a rush and didn’t let them drain enough, because of this the broth was really watered down.  Not to hard to fix, add more bouillon and let it simmer for a few more minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nomnomnom will make again this fall.

Can anyone tell me if you can freeze wonton soup and still have it come out okay?  Im not sure how well the wontons will freeze and re-heat.

Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese

Posted in Darcie's Delights on July 6th, 2011 by Dee – Be the first to comment

Nothing says summer like hot macaroni casserole, so lets do it.

We’re doing a small step away from the slow cooker and are looking to the bible of cook books, ‘The Best of Bridge”, and are going to be making their gourmet mac and cheese.

 

I’m cooking from from ‘The Best of the Best … and more’.  The recipe is on page 145 if you want to cook along.

http://www.bestofbridge.com/2008/11/01/gourmet-macaroni-cheese/

 

THE REVIEW

 

This is your classic mac and cheese.  Its a Canadian meal fit for a king, well the king of 3 year olds.

It was nice to make something that wasn’t right out of the box.  Its been a long time since I’ve made a white sauce,  I think its been since junior high home economics actually.  It was fun to go though the process.

As I was reading the recipe I wonder about the need for processed cheese.  It actually made hesitate multiple times when I was at the store, I didnt want people to see me buying it… serious, its one chemical away from plastic.  Also it makes me question the use of the word ‘gourmet’ in the title.  In the past  I’ve enjoyed a  good meal or two, I would almost call them gourmet,  I don’t think any of them have included processed cheese.  This would have been so much better with a spicy havarti or a smoked gouda.

Tips

  • I have multiple casserole dishes and I picked a round deep dish.  That was wrong,  I should have picked something shallow.  I cant tell you exactally why, it just would have worked better with the noodles and sauce.
  • Go light on the bread crumbs.  I had some crumbs kicking around in the cupboard that I wanted to use so I piled them on thinking it would be like a yummy crust covered in cheese. What it turned out to be was a dry yucky layer that spread out and spilled everywhere even after being cooked.  Think dust on a bookshelf, yum.
  • Think about adding some of you favourite spices, for me that would have been at least extra pepper.

What came out of the oven looked good, like when mom would make it (minus the burnt parts).  That being said I think the main consumer of regular mac and cheese is kids.  Really I cant eat it without thinking of my nephew who is just about 2 1/2 year old.  Its pasta, thats a win in a little world, its got cheese in it, also a win, and its white and has no offensive flavours and spices… actually this would be good for a hospital or a nursing home as well.

I would make this again but with some serious revisions.  Jalapeno havarti, maybe some veggies or meat and put the paprika and other spices into the sauce.

 

  

Quality ingredients. For all those who cant take dairy this one is not for you.

 

Sauce pan surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The finished kaboodle.

Smoke House Short Ribs

Posted in Darcie's Delights on June 23rd, 2011 by Dee – 2 Comments

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 short ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag baby carrots
  • 1 cup celery, thickly sliced, about 2 stalks
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons smoked ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose seasoning salt
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can beef stock

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over high heat.

Season short ribs with, salt and pepper. Sear the short ribs on all side until brown and caramelized.

In the bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker place the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Then add smoked paprika, smoked ground black pepper, and all-purpose seasoning salt. Pour in wine and beef stock. Place short ribs, meat side up, on top of vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 8 hours.

Strain and defat the cooking liquid. Serve as sauce on the side.

 

 

THE REVIEW

 

This was really easy to make.  When the hardest part of the process is sauteing the meat you know you’re in for a cooking treat.

All in all it was meh, okay.  I’m not a fan of the short ribs that I bought.  I wish they had been something more substantial and less fatty through and through.  When I think ribs I think gnaw off the bone meaty fun.  These were flimsy sad rib babies that wouldnt keep together, by the time they were done cooking there was no bones left attached to the meat.  Normally, yes, people do ‘oh and ah’ over ‘fall off the bone meat’ and I am one of those people, but this just didn’t give me that ‘grunt grunt, I’m eating meat’ feel.   Actually I felt like I had gone for Korean BBQ, which is also good, but not what I wanted.

When I took the meat out of the pot I also felt very wasteful because you leave behind the sauce and all of the great veggies.  Now a days its just not cool to toss out food, so making a meal that you don’t eat everything going into the pot just seems…. well embarrassing.

This was okay.  I like the other rib recipe that I made last summer WAY better, so that is going to be my go to slow cooker rib recipe for now.

Veggies in the pot... and eventually in the trash.

 

Ribs getting sauted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooked meat in the pot getting ready for flavourage.

A quick grill to make them more Canadian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final product!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow-Cooker Sweet & Sour Pork

Posted in Darcie's Delights, Recipes on June 14th, 2011 by Dee – Be the first to comment

What You Need

1-1/2 lb. (675 g) boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
3/4 cup Kraft Original BarBQ Sauce
1 can (10 fl oz/284 mL) 25%-less-sodium chicken broth
1 can (14 fl oz/398 mL) pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked

Make It

PLACE meat in slow cooker; top with onions.

ADD barbecue sauce and broth; cover with lid. Cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours (or on HIGH 5 hours).

STIR in remaining ingredients; cover. Cook 20 min.

 

THE REVIEW

 

 

This is a great first recipe to have my sister dive back into crockery.  Its easy to make and in the end is tasty.

I dont have too much to add because I didn’t change to much in the cooking process.  I was happy that I went with a spicy BBQ sauce because it added a kick that I thought the meal would be missing due to the lack of spices.

I started to cook late so I thought I would cook this on high for 5 hrs, don’t.  This cooks really fast if you cut the pork small.  I could have done it on low for 5 hours and it would have been fine.  Also, after the rice went in I waited 20 min stirred it and then gave it another 10 minutes so all the rice was moist and even.

Over all:

Good and easy.  Will it get added to the favs, no, but I would would make again (with chicken not pork next time)