Leibster Blog Award and Panko-Crusted Sole Fillets

A big thank you to Jon from The Local Kitchener who nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award! If you haven’t yet, check out Jon’s blog. I’m not sure how Jon came across my blog, but I am glad he did! We’re just a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from each other. He is the first food blogger that I’ve met (online only) in the same(ish) city. I’m thrilled to meet another blogger in the area!

liebster-award

The Liebster award is a fun way of highlighting smaller blogs within the blogging community. Leibster, I’m told, German word meaning “beloved, dearest, lovely, etc.”

Here are the rules of the Leibster award as I understand them. The blog/blogger nominated for the award…

  • Answers 11 questions posed by the nominator. (In my case, Jon has given me 7)
  • Nominates 11 other blogs (with 200 or fewer followers)
  • Creates their own new set of questions for the nominees.

Some set of rules call for 11 questions and nominations… other for 5.

My questions and responses

  1. How would you describe where you live without naming any places?
    1. Hi-tech university town with lots of Canadian geese.
  2. When was the last time you wrote a letter (a real one, you know, that you sent in the mail with a stamp)?
    1. Do cards with a short message count? If so, just yesterday! If not… probably 6 or 7 years ago. My childhood best friend and I exchanged letters for many years before switching to Facebook.
  3. What is your favorite non-English word?
    1. Okonomiyaki — It’s a Japanese cabbage-pancake type dish.
  4. What (if any) blogs did you follow before you started blogging?
    1. I followed quite a few. I know I followed Jeanette’s first blog — she now maintains This Dusty House. And I definitely followed, and still follow The Kitchn.   I follow many many more since I started blogging.
  5. Do dogs belong in the city?
    1. Yes. I love dogs. I couldn’t imagine a city without them! In fact, just last night, I stopped to pet 3 wonderful and friendly dogs while walking to the post office and back. It made my day so much brighter! I could get carried away answering this one, but I’ll stop here.
  6. Are there any books that you have lent to more than one person (and if so, what is it called)?
    1. No. I don’t often lend books. I tend to need them for school. I’m also quite particular about their condition. However, there are quite a few that I could recommend from my own collection. Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Snowcrash by Neil Stephenson, The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton, Menace by L.R. Wright, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling… and many many more! I’ve also got a huge list of books that I would like to read!
  7. Do you plan your meals in advance, or just “wing it”?
    1. A bit of both. I tend to plan, at most, a day ahead of time. We tend to have a full freezer with a good selection of meat and vegetables. If I remember, I’ll take food out of the freezer ahead of time. If not, it may mean a trip to the grocery store. It usually depends on how groggy I am in the morning! Often, I’ll have to make a quick trip to the grocery store to buy a few things I don’t have on hand.

Nominees

(I wish I could list all the lovely blogs that I follow. I’ve done my best to adhere to the 200 followers or fewer rule. However, in some cases, this information was not available.)

In no particular order…

  1. A Corso in the Kitchen
  2. Ginger Bakes
  3. Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
  4. RV Life and Food
  5. Cookaholic Wife
  6. Cook Lisa Cook
  7. The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
  8. Cupcakes and Kale Chips
  9. The Ranch Wife Chronicles
  10. From My Sweet Heart
  11. Bark Time = Everything and Nothing

Questions for nominees

  1. What 3 words would you choose to describe yourself?
  2. Do you have a blogging mentor who has made a huge difference along the way?
  3. Have you met any of your blogging friends in real life?
  4. What inspires you to continue writing your blog?
  5. What is your favourite family recipe?
  6. Which of your own blog posts are you most proud of?
  7. What is your favourite type of food?
  8. What is your favourite pastime?
  9. Where would you most like to go for your dream vacation and why?
  10. What is your favourite genre of music?
  11. If someone made a film about your life, who would you want to play you?

And now… as if this post wasn’t long enough already… here’s a recipe! I’ve been hanging on to this one for a while. I made it a while back and served the fish with an Asian-Inspired Bean Sprout Salad with Citrus and Soy Dressing. It’s not a family recipe. I didn’t really have a story to go along with it. This seemed like a good opportunity to share it with you. (It was delicious and I couldn’t not share this with the world!)

Panko-Crusted Sole Fillets

Ingredients

  • 4 sole fillets – approximate cost $6.00
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Rinse the fish in cold water.
  5. Place the fish in the panko mix.
  6. Cover with panko mix.
  7. Gently press the panko mix so it sticks to the fish fillet.
  8. Turn the fillet.
  9. Cover with panko mix.
  10. Gently press the panko mix so it sticks to the fish fillet.
  11. Move to a baking sheet.
  12. Bake until cooked through (about 15 minutes).
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.91 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Advertisements

Guest Post: Best Waffles for Independence Day

Tomorrow, my friends south of the border will be celebrating Independence Day. More often, I hear it referred to as the 4th of July. Between school, work, hobbies (yes, I find time for that on occasion), and having just celebrated Canada Day over the weekend, I just haven’t had time to prepare a blog post celebrating Bryan’s country’s holiday.

Instead, today I have a blog poster here to help me celebrate!  I learned quite a bit of history from David’s article and hope you will too!

How will we celebrate? I think Bryan and I may need to make some waffles (topped with blueberries and fresh Ontario strawberries) now that I’ve got a new recipe on hand. Red, White, and Blue waffles!

Welcome and take it away David!


Author Bio: This is a guest post by David J. from Fridge Freezer Direct, UK’s premier commercial refrigeration and catering equipment specialist. For more information you can visit www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk.

Best Waffles for Independence Day

Independence Day – commonly called “The 4th of July” – is a proud day for the United States. It’s a day when we can celebrate our independence and really take pride in this beautiful country we live in. We generally mark this occasion in a number of different ways, and if you’re looking for a way to celebrate this great day, then we can help you!

The key is to do something truly American. After all, being American is what the 4th of July is all about! However, it doesn’t have to be a big grand gesture then enables you to mark this magnificent date; there are many small ways in which you can showcase your patriotism.

One possible way is through waffles. Thomas Jefferson returned from France in 1789 and he brought back a waffle iron. Since that day, we Americans have loved waffles, and so, what better way to celebrate than by making the perfect American style waffle?

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So if you want to mark Independence Day with a whole heap of waffles, you first need to grab the following ingredients.

Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups warm milk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter

Once you’ve got these ingredients in stock, follow our easy guide to turn these ingredients into delicious American style waffles.

Method

1) Turn on your waffle iron.
2) Get yourself a big mixing bowl.
3) Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together.
4) Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
5) Stir the milk, butter, and vanilla extract into the eggs.
6) Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl containing the dry mixture
7) Beat the batter until it develops a smooth consistency.
8) Ladle the batter into the waffle iron.
9) Cook until the waffle looks done (golden and crispy).
10) Garnish with whatever toppings you like; for example, fruit, syrup, chocolate, or candy.
11) Repeat the process until everyone’s full!
12) Sing the national anthem.

It’s as easy as that! Enjoy your 4th July and some delicious waffles!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day!

How are you celebrating today?

I’m headed to a picnic with my extended family today. I’m making a large batch of Nana’s potato salad to contribute to the potluck dinner. Looking forward to a fun day of catching up with family, playing cards, swimming, good food, and, of course, fireworks!

Improv Challenge: Fish and Chips (Fried Fish-Shaped Chips)

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are fish and chips.

Sounds a bit limiting as challenge ingredients, doesn’t it? My initial plan was to make a traditional fish with a beer batter and chips. Then… Kristen sent out the update, making this challenge a bit more interesting!

“Fish can, of course, be any real fish like tuna, snapper, salmon, tilapia or trout, but you can also use Swedish fish, or any fishy crackers/pretzels or fish shaped bread from Pepperidge Farm. Chips can also be the traditional homemade thick cut fries, but feel free to use anything that is a chip: potato, tortilla, sweet potato, veggie, chocolate, butterscotch, etc.”

This opened up so many more possibilities! This month, I decided to go with something simple yet fun. I played with the idea of fish-shaped food… and because the second half of this challenge was to include chips… I made fish-shaped chips! This is a great way to change up your every-day chips.  And I’m sure these chips would be a fun activity if you have children helping you in the kitchen.

Fried Fish-Shaped Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • Oil for frying – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Draw an oval on a small piece of paper.
  2. Fill in the details showing where you need to cut to make a fish shape.
  3. Preheat a frying pan with enough oil to shallow-fry the potatoes.
  4. Set the paper near your cutting board as a reference.
  5. Slice the potato so you have several large oval-shaped pieces.
  6. Follow your diagram to cut the potato slice into a fish shape.
  7. Use a chopstick (or similar tool) to poke a hole in the potato where you would like the fish’s “eye.”
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for each of the oval slices.
  9. Cut the unused pieces of potato into bite-sized pieces.
  10. Salt the potato pieces.
  11. Fry the fish-shaped potatoes and bite-sized pieces in batches so as not to overcrowd the frying pan
  12. Turn the potatoes once when about half-cooked (after approximately 5 minutes).
  13. Continue to fry until cooked through (about 10 minutes total, depending on the thickness of your chips).
  14. Remove from oil.
  15. Allow chips to drain on a paper towel.
  16. Serve hot and enjoy!

Makes 4-6 fish-shaped chips and bite-sized chips (approximate cost: $0.53 per serving).


My previous Improv Challenge contributions include:

Second Blogiversary

Ack! I missed my blog’s Second Blogiversary. So, I’ll celebrate it a bit late. June 4, 2013 was the second blogiversary of The Cook’s Sister. For my first blogiversary, I shared my favourite blog posts.

What’s changed since then? A lot! The biggest difference, I hope, is my blogging style. I’ve become more comfortable with the blog format and with sharing my personal stories to accompany each recipe. In fact, back in April my blogging mentor, Jeanette from This Dusty House left me this wonderful and inspiring comment on my Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe:

“I think this is my favourite of all your posts so far. A wonderful walk down your memory lane!”

Through blogging, I find that we have more meals at home because I’m excited to cook, photograph, and share my creations. While the food isn’t always healthy, there is a good balance. And while my goal is to be frugal, I’ve learned that splurging on a few items that seem pricier doesn’t always break the bank (and if it is just flat-out expensive, it’s usually cooked for an occasion, in which case staying home for an “expensive” meal is generally still more affordable than eating out).

While I haven’t met all of my goals — one of which is to keep up a regular blogging schedule — I’ve accomplished so many of my blogging goals. I’ve written guest posts (for Ginger Bakes and Lady Behind the Curtain) and received a guest post from Ginger Bakes. I also found time to read and review a cookbook: Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy and Delicious Food, by Nisa Burns.

I’ve learned not to be too hard on myself when I don’t have time to accomplish everything I want to on this blog. It is, after all, my hobby. It should be enjoyable!

Here are my favourite posts from the last year!

Arctic Char Meunière from Relish Cooking Studio

Hanger Steak with Homemade Steak Sauce

No Bake Cherry Cheesecake

Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables

Venison Stew

Piparkakut (Finnish Gingerbread) Cookies

Lobster and Egg Served Over a Potato Pancake

Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Bryan’s Step-Father’s Red Chile Enchilada Casserole

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge: Strawberries and Raspberries (Stewed Rhubarb with Strawberries and Raspberries)

Woah, what’s this… two posts in one week?!

I’m posting twice this week so that I can participate in the Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge hosted by Lady Behind the Curtain (you might remember that I guest posted on Sheryl’s blog back in January). I’ve been on the mailing list for this challenge since it began. I don’t often eat desserts, so it might seem weird that I chose to be on the mailing list at all. However, it’s not that I don’t like desserts, I just dislike foods that are overly sweet.

This month’s challenge ingredients called to me… and I couldn’t pass this one up. Strawberries and raspberries!

Strawberries are in season here in Ontario and I can’t get enough of them. Seriously! I bought some last week intending to come up with something for the challenge and ended up just eating them all plain. Yum!

So, this week I made a trip out to the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market to pick up some delicious local produce. My intention was to buy just a few things: fruit for the challenge and something for dinner. I should know better… $50 later I came home with as many groceries as I could possibly carry. I found some lovely local strawberries, rhubarb, and last season’s potatoes, raspberries (though I’m not sure where they came from), turkey hearts, pig tails, and a few other treats. We’ll be eating well this week!

When I came across the rhubarb, I knew I had to somehow work that into my dessert. But what to make… I briefly considered baking a pie. I thought about making a crumble. Another cobbler perhaps? However, I decided to go with a chunky stewed rhubarb. The rhubarb was only sold in large bundles, and stewed rhubarb is really versatile and I thought we would enjoy it because of the numerous ways you can serve it. Stewed rhubarb is great as an ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pancake, waffle, or biscuit topping, or as a filling for crepes. I ate my first serving plain. Yum!

Stewed Rhubarb with Strawberries and Raspberries

Inspired by, but much different from, my grandmother’s recipe.

Note: I used fresh produce to make this recipe. It would likely also work well with frozen produce if that’s what is available to you.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rhubarb, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 tablespoons lemon – approximate cost $0.20
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup raspberries – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 cups strawberries – approximate cost $4.00

Method

  1. Combine the rhubarb pieces, cane sugar, lemon, and water in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add strawberries and raspberries.
  6. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Serve on it’s own or with ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, crepes.

Makes about 10 servings (approximate cost: $1.05 per serving).

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Nana’s Potato Salad

Over the weekend, we celebrated my dad’s birthday. We tend to spend our family occasions at home and cook a nice meal. On the odd occasion, we order take out Chinese food (which was always my birthday request growing up). I’ve learned to plan the meal ahead. I’ve got better at timing the things I’m cooking. Each time, the meal seems to come out a little bit better.

Dad’s birthday request was for steak. I got to choose the side dishes. So, I picked up some gorgeous sirloin steaks from The Bauer Butcher, fresh Ontario asparagus from Vincenzo’s (asparagus season is coming to an end soon, so I’m eating as much of this delicious vegetable as possible), and some potatoes for a potato salad. To top it all off, Nana made an amazing confetti cake (dad’s favourite).

BBQ Sirloin Steaks

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Now, would you be surprised if I told you that the highlight of the meal is the potato salad?

You see, it’s my nana’s recipe and a family favourite. Nana has made her family-famous potato salad ever since I can remember… and ever since dad can remember. I have fond memories of spending weekends with Nana as a child and there always being an amazing array of delicious home cooked food. And her potato salad is among my favourites (also check out some of her other recipes that I’ve deconstructed and posted, including Macaroni and Cheese Casserole and Asparagus Soup). As a child I flat out refused to eat potato salad. I claimed I didn’t like it. I especially didn’t like the pre-made potato salads from the grocery store and fast food restaurants (I still don’t really like most of them). However, Nana’s potato salad was the exception. Not only did I eat it, I would go back for seconds.

Steamed Asparagus

The “recipe” is another one that I’ve had to watch time after time to document. The vague directions call for potatoes (it doesn’t say how many), the oil and vinegar dressing is the only thing that is really precise. And that’s as long as you know that the recipe is for 5 servings.

This weekend, I made the salad under Nana’s supervision. The salad was very well received by my family! No complaints. No comparisons. No suggestions for next time. It was just like Nana’s. Hooray! Now I need to make it again without supervision to really put my take on the potato salad to the test.

What makes her salad so much better? So one, she serves it warm. I don’t know why, but this makes a difference in the flavour. Her salad is good as leftovers but is definitely best served and consumed fresh. Like, within an hour of making the salad. It has great sweet and sour flavours in the dressing. It’s smooth with delicious crunch pieces of fresh vegetables. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to make. It just tastes better. (And I don’t think it’s nostalgia making me say this!)

Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Nana’s Potato Salad

Adapted from her sister’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 large potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups when cubed) – approximate cost $1.75
  • 2 teaspoons sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil (canola or olive oil works well) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, diced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced thinly – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 (slightly heaping) cup mayonnaise – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Boil and drain the potatoes.
  2. Allow them to cool until they can be handled.
  3. Peel the potato skin.
    1. If you like the potato skins, skip this step. For my own salad, I would leave the potato skin on. Nana prefers the potato skins removed.
  4. Cut potato into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Combine sugar and vinegar, stirring constantly until dissolved.
  6. Add salad oil to the vinegar and sugar mix.
  7. Pour oil and vinegar mix over hot potatoes.
  8. Allow the potatoes to cool until lukewarm, about room temperature.
  9. Add celery, green pepper, and green onion pieces.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add pepper and mayonnaise.
  12. Mix thoroughly.
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $0.80 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Creamy Asparagus Soup

For those of you who follow regularly, you might be a bit confused just by the title of this post. Creamy soup? What is she doing? I thought Amber was lactose-sensitive?

Well, turns out I can have milk… I just had to shop around for the right type! How exciting is that?!

I still can’t have most dairy. I still have to be careful when eating out, asking if and how much dairy is in a dish. I still have to politely decline milk products when visiting friends. But, when I cook at home… I can have as much as I want! I’ve been enjoying a glass of milk with my breakfast every morning… just because I can. Seriously, I didn’t realize how much I missed copious amounts of dairy in my diet until I found a way to enjoy it again.

Guernsey cows — the blurry one was trying to lick me as I took the picture!

(This is yet another post that was a long time in the making… I started drinking milk again in late February and have been cooking with it regularly since about April.)

So, what makes this milk different? It comes from a different breed of cow: the Guernsey (most milk comes from Holstein cows), and it is A2 grade (most milk is A1). The Bovine‘s article “Mercola advocates raw milk, discusses A1 A2 beta casein in connection with autism, diabetes, heart disease, etc.” gives a good explanation of the differences between A1 and A2 cows:

The type of proteins in milk, and the proportion of various proteins, varies depending on the breed of cow and the type of animal (sheep, goat, cow, etc.).

One of the major proteins in cow’s milk is casein, the predominant variety of which is called beta-casein. In older breeds of cows, such as Jersey, Asian and African cows (called A2 cows), the beta-casein contains an amino acid called proline.

In newer breeds of cows like Holstein (A1 cows), however, the proline has mutated into an amino acid called histidine.

[T]he proline that exists in A2 cows has a strong bond to BCM-7, which helps keep it out of the cows’ milk. The histidine in the newer A1 cows, however, has a weak hold on BCM-7, which allows it to get into the milk, and also into the people who drink the milk.”

Guernsey Cow

Back in February, I visited an A2 Guernsey cow farm. The farmers showed me around, explained their product, and shared delicious samples with me. They even insisted I wait around for at least 1/2 an hour so I would be somewhere comfortable if I had a negative reaction. So kind of them! After a wonderful experience, I signed up to buy a share in the herd of cows. I now get my milk straight from the farm. (Which I LOVE visiting… the cows are docile and let me pet them, the farm dog is friendly and always greets me enthusiastically, a few of the barn cats are friendly, and I love to look at the gorgeous horses) The benefit? I enjoy dairy and no longer fear the consequences of accidentally eating a bit too much. I am confident that I will not be ill when consuming milk products.

Sylvester the Barn Cat — this handsome little guy LOVE attention (and the camera)

I’m excited to make and share family recipes that I had given up for the last 10 years or so! 😀 Today I’m sharing my family’s Creamy Asparagus Soup recipe.

And I’m going to share a little secret… we usually make this with the “scrap” pieces of asparagus. That is, when we cook asparagus, we save the ends that we snap off for this soup. I like to buy an extra small bunch of asparagus so we can reserve a few spears to make a pretty garnish. However, this is not necessary if you don’t like a smooth soup. This is a great way to use up something that would otherwise go to waste.

Please, please, please share any great recipes you have that use a large amount of dairy products. I’m so used to cooking without milk, I find it hard to come up with anything but soups. I need more ideas of delicious milk-based foods that I can now enjoy without worry!

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chicken broth – approximate cost $1.25
  • 4 cups asparagus pieces, spears reserved – approximate cost $2.50
  • 2 cups whole milk – approximate cost $2.66
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add the asparagus pieces (reserve the spears if you would like to use them to decorate your soup later).
  3. Cook the asparagus in the broth for 7-10 minutes (the broth should reduce by about half and the asparagus will be very tender).
  4. Allow the asparagus and broth to cook slightly.
  5. Move asparagus and broth to a blender and add half of the milk (1 cup).
    1. Note: An immersion blender is not ideal for this soup because you will need to strain it.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Pour the asparagus through a fine strainer back into the soup pot.
  8. Press the asparagus gently to help release the liquid from the tough pieces. Be patient, this can take a while!
  9. Discard the pieces in the strainer.
  10. Turn the burner on medium-low.
  11. Add the remainder of the milk (1 cup), sea salt, and black pepper.
  12. If you reserved any asparagus spears, add them now!
  13. Cook the soup until it is steaming.
  14. Serve hot with crostini pieces or your favourite sandwich.

Makes 2 large servings (approximate cost: $3.28 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Bryan’s Step-Father’s Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole

Bryan and I don’t often go out of town. You might not guess because I’ve posted already this month about travelling to Northern Ontario. This time, the destination was much closer: Toronto. Bryan’s sister is currently living in Toronto and his step-father came for a visit, so we took the opportunity to finally visit. And we hope to visit his sister M again soon!!

We spent most of our day at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

I didn’t get any “good” shots of the group. Bryan and his step-father managed to make a “kissy-face” in every one! 🙂

Race time!

This is not my usual sort of activity. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical about it as well. I brought a book with me just in case I was bored. Fortunately, that was not the case. I had such a great time with Bryan and his family. They’re a lot of fun to be around!

However, I think my favourite part of the day was dinner. We went back to M and C’s place in Toronto where Bryan’s step-father taught us how to make his Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole. We all pitched in one way or another (despite the kitchen being a bit on the small side). The “kids” made guacamole while the “parent” worked on the Red Chile and Enchilada Casserole. He went through the recipe with us step-by-step, explaining what he was doing and allowing for the occasional photo-op along the way.

The master chef showing us how to fry a corn tortilla.

There was enough left over that we got to bring some of the red chile home. I’ve since made another enchilada casserole. I’m so glad we documented the process… now we can make our own red chile sauce at home!

Red Chile

Bryan’s step-father’s recipe, posted with permission

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef – approximate cost $6.50
  • 3 heaping + 1 level tablespoons all-purpose flour – approximate cost $0.30
  • 4 ounces (red) guajilli molido chile powder – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • Approximately 1/2 cup canola oil – approximate cost $0.25
  • Water (about 6 cups)

Method

  1. Brown 1 lb ground beef in a large pot.
  2. Drain any liquid from the ground beef.
  3. Heat 1/4″ oil (approximately 1/2 cup) in a small frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Turn down the heat.
  5. Stir 3 heaping + 1 level tablespoons of flour into the oil
  6. Stir constantly until the flour dissolves.
  7. Add 4 ounces of (red) guajilli molido chile powder.
  8. Stir until it becomes a thick paste.
  9. Add chile paste to ground beef.
  10. Fill the pot to about half with water (about 6 cups).
  11. Add a teaspoon of garlic powder and a teaspoon of sea salt.
  12. Bring to boil and let the sauce thicken.
  13. Stir frequently.
  14. Remove from heat and divide into three batches.

Makes 3 batches of red chile (approximate cost: $3.73 per serving).

Red Chile Enchilada Casserole

Also Bryan’s step-father’s recipe, posted with permission

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red chile – approximate cost $1.24
  • 12 yellow corn tortillas – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 cans of pinto beans (liquid reserved) – approximate cost $2.20
  • 2 cups Mexican cheese blend, shredded (cheddar, mozzarealla, and american cheeses) – approximate cost $4.00
  • Canola oil (for frying) – approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Heat 1/4″ oil in a frying pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Very lightly fry 6 yellow corn tortillas.
  4. Place on paper towels to remove some of the oil.
  5. Pour 1/2 juice from the can of pinto beans into a 9×13 baking dish (it should coat the bottom of the dish).
  6. Distribute the fried tortillas into an even layer in the baking dish (it’s ok if they overlap).
  7. Pour the can of pinto beans (and remaining liquid) on top of the tortillas.
  8. Top with 2 ladles of chile sauce (about 1 cup).
  9. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  10. Repeat steps 3-9 to make a second layer on the enchilada casserole.
  11. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese and sauce begin to bubble.
  12. Let stand on the counter for a few minutes.
  13. Serve and enjoy! (Optional: Serve with flour tortillas to soak up any extra sauce)

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $1.35 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Improv Challenge: Cinnamon and Sugar (Strawberry Cobbler)

Once again I find myself thinking… it’s been way too long since I’ve posted on my blog! Last post, I had just made it through the exam season. Since then, I’ve been quite busy as usual.

I took a short vacation to visit one of my very best friends and her family in Northern Ontario. I spent 3 wonderful days visiting and relaxing. The time out of the city was much needed.

Waterfall in South River

Waterfall in South River

We made a day-trip to Pickerel River where H’s aunt and uncle own a lovely cottage. It had been about 10 years since my last visit. As children, we visited for a week most summers, not a whole lot has changed (except they finished building the house). We even fit in a short kayaking trip! I wish I had been brave enough to bring my camera along, the was a waterfall down the river that was still frozen.

Pickerel River

Pickerel River

A beaver swimming in the Pickerel River

A beaver swimming in the Pickerel River

I have to admit I didn’t really want to come home. Don’t get me wrong, I missed Bryan and Loki. And I was looking forward to starting my summer classes. But a full week away would have been nice. 🙂

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are cinnamon and sugar. So far, I’ve shared:

This month, my dish is inspired by my trip up north. When we visited Pickerel River, H’s mom made a lovely peach cobbler that we took along for dessert. For the challenge, I made a Strawberry Cobbler!

Strawberry Cobbler

Inspired by S’s Peach Cobbler

Ingredients

Fruit Filling

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 cup COLD water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice – approximate cost $0.20
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon – approximate cost $0.10

Topping

  • 1 cup flour – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 cup whole milk – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided into 6 – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the fruit filling.
    1. Combine the cornstarch and cold water in a cup.
    2. Mix well.
    3. Add cornstarch mixture and brown sugar to a sauce pot.
    4. Cook over medium heat until thickened and sugar is dissolved.
    5. Remove from heat.
    6. Add lemon juice.
    7. Add strawberries.
    8. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish.
    9. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. Prepare the topping.
    1. Combine flour, cane sugar, baking powder, and sea salt in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Add milk, stirring constantly.
    3. Add water, stirring until well-mixed (no dry flour).
  4. Spoon the topping over the fruit (leaving it in dumpling shapes).
  5. Dot each dumpling with butter.
  6. Bake the cobbler for about 25 minutes (or until topping is cooked through and golden brown).
  7. Cool slightly.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.60 per serving).



%d bloggers like this: