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Black and Blue Steak Salad

Throw another steak on the BBQ and make this salad tomorrow! This is what you can do when you have a leftover steak.  Black refers to the blackened steak and blue refers to the blue cheese dressing which accompanied the finished salad. (Actually we love putting blue cheese on our steaks along with fresh sage.) So here goes…

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Black and Blue Steak Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 beef Top Sirloin Steak Boneless cut 3/4-inch-thick (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups spring mix greens
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles*
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dressing of choice OR blue cheese dressing in lieu of the crumbles*
  1. Place beef in plastic bag with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Turn steak to coat evenly. Marinate for at least 1 hour in refrigerator.
  2. Remove beef from marinade. Place beef on grill, on medium heat. Grill, covered, for 7 to 11 minutes. for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally.
  3. Remove from grill and slice steaks across the grain.
  4. Add cherry tomatoes to grill for 2-3 minutes or until burst.
  5. Fill platter or large salad bowl with mixed greens. Top with burst tomatoes, avocado slices, sliced red onion, and blue cheese crumbles. Top with steak and serve with dressing of your choice.

Elevated Campbell’s Tomato Soup

How to dress up a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup for company? This recipe turned out well, but alas, I did not take a photo. You will just have to trust me…LOL

Elevated  Campbell’s Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Fresh Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Cup Dried Bread Cubes (I use the ones meant for stuffing)
  • 1 Can Tomato Soup
  • 1 Can of Chicken Broth (I pour my chicken broth into the tomato soup can after pouring the tomato soup out.)
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Chopped Thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

I recommend using 3 or 4 (depending on size) Ramekins

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl toss together bread cubes, 1/3 cup of the shredded cheese, pinch of salt and pepper. Set off to the side.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the tomato soup, chicken broth, basil, thyme, and vinegar until smooth.
  4. Evenly distribute the bread cube mixture among the ramekins or fill the entire bottom of the circular casserole dish you plan on using.
  5. Next you want to evenly distribute the soup mixture among the ramekins or slowly ladle over the bread cubes in a singular casserole dish.
  6. Use the rest of the remaining cheese to float on top of the soup mixture, by slowly sprinkling it onto the soup.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10minutes, then switch to a low broil and allow to cook until the cheese becomes golden brown and bubbly (about 5 minutes in our oven, but this can happen quickly so watch carefully to be sure).

Penne alla Vodka

No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…

Penne Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Penne
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.

Turn off the heat.

Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.

Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.

During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.

Season with salt/pepper if desired.

Add in the drained pasta.

Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

 

 

Classic Cobb Salad + Dressing

Just in case you are wondering about the difference between  a Chef’s Salad and a Cobb Salad, here is what I found in Wikipedia

A Chef Salad and Cobb Salad both have lettuce, cheese and meats such as bacon, chicken breast, and ham, plus hard boiled eggs. But a Cobb salad usually has a mixture of lettuces, and also has avocado and tomatoes. It was named after Robert Cobb who was the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and created by his chef in 1937.

This is the Pinterest version I was able to locate. Cobb Salad Dressing.

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or leftover baked ham, chopped
  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce (or salad greens blend)
  • 8 grape tomatoes (I chopped up a Roma tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 3 ounces ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing) OR Cobb Dressing below*
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until is crispy. Removed from oven and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Heat grill or a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook chicken, flipping once, for about 3-4 minute per side. Make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temp and is no longer pink. Remove to a plate to rest. (Substitute chopped ham in place of chicken).
  3. Rinse and dry lettuce, then remove outer leaves and core. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a platter or shallow serving bowl.
  4. Rinse and halve tomatoes. Place on top of the lettuce to one side of the bowl. Slice eggs and place next to the tomatoes in a line. Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and then chop or slice. Add next to eggs.
  5. Slice or dice chicken and place on salad next to avocado. Crumble bacon and place next to the chicken/ham. Crumble blue cheese and place next to bacon.
  6. Serve with the ORIGINAL dressing! 

Cobb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a blend and blend together until well mixed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Looking for a great Easter side dish? Buy that half head of cabbage and start frying. This is an excellent side and you can substitute turkey bacon if you prefer. It reheats beautifully.

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Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onions and Garlic

Serves 4

  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 large brown onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium head of white cabbage, trimmed, cored and sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • The following to taste:
  • salt, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, paprika
  • a knob of butter (optional)
  • dill weed (to taste)

Heat a skillet and then cook the bacon rashers over medium heat until just crisp. remove and set aside on paper kitchen towelling to drain. Crumble and keep warm.

Add the onion to the bacon drippings. (Over here our bacon is very lean so there wasn’t many. If you find that is the case, add a small splash of olive or rapeseed oil.) 

Cook, stirring to soften. when it begins to caramelize somewhat add the garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant. Add the diced carrot.

 Add the cabbage.  Cook, tossing and stirring, until the cabbage begins to soften.  Season to taste with the seasonings. 

Add 60ml (1/4 cup) of water and cover. Cook and steam over low heat until the cabbage has softened. Stir in the bacon crumbles.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required. If desired stir in a knob of butter. Serve hot.

Larry’s Meatloaf (My spouse)

Some unknown person is always tinkering with my recipes? This time I made that someone (?) write down what he did. It was incredible and very moist! What can I say??? This was supposed our takeout and movie night vicariously with friends, during COVID-19, but we stayed in and he cooked. With these garlicky green beans the meal was awesome.

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LARRY’S MEATLOAF

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of ground beef and pork
  • 3 strips of bacon for topping the meatloaf
  • ¼ cup of tomato pesto for topping the meat loaf
  • 3/4 cup of crushed pork rinds

 

  • ½ medium white onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme

 Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I use Weber hickory)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Lightly spray a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan with oil and line with parchment.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp of water to a small fry pan, add in the onion and garlic and caramelize over low heat. When caramelized, add in the herbs. Set aside.
  3. Place the meat in large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients well and then stir in the caramelized onion mix and the crushed pork rinds.
  5. Pour mixture over the meat and blend well using your fingers.
  6. Put into loaf pan and pat down.
  7. Cut bacon into short pieces and place on top, then add the tomato pesto over the loaf.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F, covering lightly with foil after 45 minutes. Meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F. (about 1 hr. to 1 hr. 15 min).
  9. When meat is done, juices will be clear. Drain any fat and let sit about 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Salmon Loaf

Ok…here’s another salmon recipe just because we got a fresh supply of canned wild sockeye salmon from our Canadian visitors. Wild sockeye from the west coast is quite different from Atlantic salmon in colour and taste.

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And since our friend is both gluten and lactose intolerant, this recipe from Pinterest was a great choice. We served it with some fresh steamed Brussel sprouts and a great yellow rice. Hope you will give it a try!

Salmon Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (coconut or macadamia oil are also great)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated (or 2 smaller carrots)
  • 2/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely diced
  • 600 g of canned salmon (3 x 213 g / 7.5 oz cans, drained with larger bones removed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 175 C/ 350 F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion and celery. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring once, and then add the grated carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add a couple of tablespoons of water when it feels like the oil has dried up. Finally add the garlic and cook together for another minute or two.

In the meantime, drain the salmon and remove any visible large bones. Don’t worry too much about the smaller bones or the skin as it will blend in just fine. Add the fish to a mixing bowl and flake with a fork or your fingers.

Add the cooked vegetables to the salmon. Grate some lemon zest, add the eggs and almond flour and mix everything together with a fork. Make sure the egg is well incorporated.

Grease a medium loaf tin with a little coconut oil (make sure to brush all sides with oil). Transfer the loaf mixture to the tin and press down until well compacted and even on the top. I like to bang the tin against the bench a couple of times to get rid of any air pockets inside the mix. Then place in the oven, middle shelf, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

 

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Have a friend visiting who is Gluten Free and Lactose Intolerant, except for goat cheese! Since we had smoked salmon on hand, Pinterest was the perfect place to look for dinner! It never fails me. This is a great recipe with lots of flavour. Serve it up with a nice green salad. It would also be great for a brunch.

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8- 10 eggs depending on size
  • ¾ cup full-fat milk (or coconut milk)
  • 6 ounces wild caught smoked salmon, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill, (divided)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Capers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Grease a 8 x 10 Pyrex baking dish very well with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pan heat the olive oil over a medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low if the onions begin to brown too quickly. Don’t stir too often, let them brown. Continue to cook until the onions are caramelized and lightly golden brown. About 15-20 minutes.
  3. Arrange the onions in a single even layer in the greased sheet pan.
  4. In a large-bowl beat the eggs. Add the milk and a small amount of each the smoked salmon and goat cheese and all but 1 tablespoon of the fresh dill. Season with black pepper and just a little pinch of sea salt. Combine.
  5. Pour the mixture over the onions in the prepared sheet pan. Arrange the remaining smoked salmon and goat cheese evenly on top and place in the center of the oven.
  6. Bake until the eggs are set, about 30 minutes. Check if it needs more time. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with the remaining fresh dill as well as capers.

 

A Little Taste of Brazil!!

One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?

Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.

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In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…

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I chose to roast it whole.

There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.

Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe

Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.  Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked.  It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more.  By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.  

Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows

Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.

Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!

Slice against the grain for tender cuts.    

Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.

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Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Just in time for News Year’s Eve! As a change this year I decided to have Oysters Rockefeller in place of the usual escargots. Alas, they were impossible to find as fresh and on second thought I did not want to have to shuck them. Third choice was either mussels or scallops. NO mussels to be found. I had to settle on frozen scallops. This recipe from Closet Cooking was not only simple, but really awesome with the mustard sauce. Since I neglected to take a photo, this is the photo which accompanied the recipe.

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It was perfect with the broiled asparagus AND very perfect with the leftover mustard sauce, so much so that |I had an idea for using this sauce on Eggs Benedict some time.

Let me know if you try it! It made a great and simple romantic dinner for two.

Seared Scallops in a Cajun Mustard Cream Sauce

Prep Time:5 minutes Cook Time:10 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes Servings: 2

  • 1-pound sea scallops (about 1 inch thick) I used ten scallops
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun mustard (or grainy mustard)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  1. Pat the scallops dry and press on the Cajun seasoning.
  2. Met the butter into the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the scallops and sear until lightly golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side, before setting aside.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the heavy cream, mustards and lemon juice, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and serve the scallops in the sauce garnished with the chopped parsley.

Option: Replace the butter and oil with bacon grease or butter yet, start by cooking 4 strips bacon, use the grease to cook the scallops in and sprinkle the crumbled bacon onto the scallops just before serving!

Option: Add 1/4 cup chicken broth or seafood broth or white wine to the pan before adding the cream and deglaze the plan by scrapping all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon while the broth simmers.

Option: Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to the sauce!

I chose not to use any of the options this time around!!

Happy New Year!!