Thursday, 19 April 2018
For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you know I have a weakness for pastas, seafood and delicious sauces. Let me correct that… my weakness list might be longer. Burgers, pastries, salads… All right, I admit it… food is my weakness! Let’s try that again…
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
There are so many great sauces out there… Most of them are easy but others can be slightly more challenging and Homemade Mayonnaise is one of them. With a little practice and when it’s mastered, this sauce is so incredible, you’ll never buy from the store…
My grandmother on my mother’s side was an excellent cook. She went to a private school where the nuns were the teachers. Yes she went to a Catholic school. She learned everything that any high society young lady should know; cooking, sewing, decorating, playing piano (she was amazing!), singing, nursing, accounting, and so on as well as being a great hostess with all the proper etiquette…
She made mostly everything “homemade” and it tasted so delicious! I remember as a kid when visiting her that she made the best sandwiches ever. How hard is it to make a sandwich? Of course, it’s not hard and I’m not basing her culinary skill on two pieces of bread with ingredients placed in between but there was something in hers that tasted better than my mom’s. It was only much later in life that I finally got it… There wasn’t anything missing in the sandwich making, it was just the difference in taste; one was a commercial ingredient while my grandmother’s was homemade!
If you’ve never made or tasted Homemade Mayonnaise before then you are missing out on great flavor. It is actually quite simple to make and the results are definitely superior to what you buy at the store although it’s not too shabby! This homemade condiment will make a huge difference in any dish you use it in.
Last month I shared with you my Sardine Cups recipe and I do use this Homemade Mayonnaise recipe… Wow what a difference in flavor let me tell you! Also till this day, I prefer making my own mayo when I have a sandwich because I want it to taste very good like my grandmother’s. Hey who said that sandwiches are underrated when there’s real homemade mayo in them?
For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/homemade-mayonnaise/
Wednesday, 11 April 2018
I like cooking dishes that simmer on the stove top for hours. The aroma floats in the air and it gives that “homey” atmosphere all through the house. It’s says – “Welcome, we’ll be serving great food soon…” –
When I was working as a food analyst for an American cooking website, some of the women in the Canadian division that were doing the same as I was preferred cooking in a pressure cooker. I don’t and refuse to because I love the smell of food cooking versus that sealed pot that captures all of the aroma. I also like to taste the food while it’s cooking as the flavors develop. Now try doing that when the pressure cooker is on… good luck! Please don’t even attempt doing it… you’ll be scarred for life!
There’s also the economical aspect when cooking stews… The cheapest cuts of beef are used in stew recipes. Although they are pretty tough cuts of beef, cooking them slowly for long periods of time breaks down the collagen and renders the meat which transform into tender pieces of meat. If you buy cuts of meat with less connective tissue they’ll get tough and be far from tender.
I love cooking stews and there’s one that dates back to Medieval Times that is one of my ultimate comfort foods… my Hungarian Goulash! The seasoning in this recipe is just awesome and blends so well with the other ingredients. I used to serve my goulash with mashed potatoes but a friend of mine from Toronto served hers on a bed of egg noodles and honestly, I really liked it! Is it the right way to serve it? Probably not but who cares… really! If you want to serve it with whole boiled potatoes nothing is stopping you for doing so as long as you’re happy when you eat it… now that’s the spirit you want when enjoying your goulash!
If I can describe Goulash in two words, simply put, it’s “comfort food”. It’s the kind of dish that you want to serve while the weather is still cool outside. Depending on the year, April can still be quite chilly so before the BBQ season officially begins and we start wearing open-toed sandals, this is a recipe you definitely have to give a try.
For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/hungarian-goulash/
Thursday, 5 April 2018
When you go to any supermarket, there’s an aisle packed with pickled condiments. There’s a wide selection of pickled cornichons, mixed vegetables, beets, onions, jalapeño peppers, hot peppers and so on… Do I buy any? Nope! Do you want to know why?
The food manufacturers add aluminum to pickled foods, a little too much for my liking. Aluminum sulfate or potassium aluminum sulfate helps to add that crispness and firmness to pickles. Technically, ingesting a little is not harmful as our soil and water already contain aluminum. The problem is when consuming food with additive aluminum phosphate for an extended time or being exposed to high levels of it. I won’t go into detail but the repercussions can be quite serious to people’s health…
I always loved pickled foods because my mother was making her own from our garden. I slowly started making homemade pickles and when I realized how easy it was, I never looked back. Only years later that I found out about aluminum sulfate and the health damage that can occur over time… that alone was good enough for me to continue to make my own… Now aluminum is not in all pickled foods but why take the chance. When it comes to canning, once you start, it can become very addictive!
As you probably realize, I like making Mexican recipes and although it’s not necessarily a Hispanic recipe, I still like to spice things up a little! One pickled condiment I use often is Pickled Jalapeño Peppers! They give such a nice “zippy” flavor to your dish. It’s “hot” but not overly. I have so many recipes that I use these little guys in. Check below for the recipe list…
Now making them at home is so easy and also more economical than buying the jar at the store! Yes I know… you have to invest in mason jars, lids and canning tools but after you buy all this, you open a whole new world of culinary adventure by preserving foods. It’s a smart alternative to enjoy your favorite produce all year round.
Recipes that I use Pickled Jalapeño…
and my Mexican Burger which will be posted on July 10th, 2018 – stay tuned!
For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/pickled-jalapeno/
Tuesday, 3 April 2018
Fire in the kitchen…
I don’t do too much frying at home. I find it extremely messy plus I can be quite clumsy in the kitchen. While filming this featured recipe, I started a fire on the stove top. Luckily I put it out very quickly. When there’s hot oil, everyone should be cooking with extra care and attention.
Although I might fry food on the stove top a couple of times a year besides using my CoolDaddy Deep Fryer (much safer kitchen tool for my clumsiness), I still have recipes that I insist on making because they are so scrumptious such as Dakgangjeong – what? It’s Sweet & Spicy Crispy Korean Chicken…
When I was going to Ahuntsic College in Montréal, I started hanging out with this Korean girl. She was funny, smart and intriguing. I’ve always been attracted to other cultures and back in high school, I used to hang out with Mona who, if my memory is correct, was from Thailand. I just love to learn and discover new cultures , customs, traditions, and food…
Sadly I forgot my Korean friend’s name as we didn’t stay in touch that long because she moved back to Seoul for a job opportunity. Back in the 80s’, who really owned a computer at home let alone a cellular phone with a battery the size of a brick therefore it was easy to lose contact with someone… what a bummer!
Before she left though, she invited me over to her apartment and cooked a lovely dinner. It was fiery spicy as I didn’t eat any “hot” food at all back then – things have sure changed with time… lol! Besides the burning sensation in my mouth, I really enjoyed her dinner. She gave me a few gifts along with her recipe… Dakgangjeong!
Fire in your mouth…? Not really!
With some slight changes to the recipe, 35 years later I still enjoy this recipe! Is it spicy? Not really! It has some zip to it but not as much as when I was a college student that wasn’t used to it. The flavors marry so well together; salty, sweet, and spicy… this is a match made in heaven!
There’s one ingredient though that brings the “heat” and it’s “gochujang” which is a hot pepper paste. If you can’t handle spiciness, reduce the amount of it and you’ll be just fine. This is one of those ingredients that are spicy at first but by the time you cook it with other foods , it has an amazing flavor.
These days we’re lucky because there’s no reason for not staying in touch with friends and family. I really wish we could have half the technology of today back then because there are so many incredible human beings I met and wish I could still be in contact with. The only link I got from her is her lovely Sweet & Spicy Crispy Korean Chicken recipe and the great memories of my time shared with her.
For ingredient amount and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/dakgangjeong-sweet-spicy-crispy-korean-chicken/
Thursday, 29 March 2018
Unless it was pasta, I really can’t remember a dinner that my mother didn’t serve potatoes as a side dish – all right the odd time like “once in a blue moon” kind of thing. My father has always been a “meat & potato” type of guy. Although I enjoy potatoes, I could easily reduce the servings down to twice a month… I’m still like that! Ironically enough David is like my father… okay perhaps not as excessive as my dad. Anyway, when we have two servings of potatoes as a side dish a week, I make sure that I serve something else. When I was living by myself, many months in a row I didn’t have any potatoes at all… I’m a big salad eater!
I guess a potato side dish is easy for most home cooks to serve along with a dish. The various ways to cook and serve potatoes gives many great choices as a meal accompaniment. From mashed, boiled, roasted to fried, there are so many recipes with potatoes as an ingredient to choose from and you are definitely at the right place, here at Club Foody! What? Of course I’m self-promoting my website… lol!
All joking aside, there’s a recipe that I really like serving to my guests because I find it quite tasty. I’m talking about my Scalloped Potatoes here! The creamy texture of this potato recipe with a nice hint of spices accompanies any dish elegantly. Yes it’s potatoes but an elevated version of it. I like to serve this with Duck à l’Orange which I’ll be posting to my recipes soon, Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Ham, chicken and many more dishes. An uncomplicated recipe, this is a side dish you really want to keep and you’ll understand more after you make it…
For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/scalloped-potatoes/
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Quick, easy, delicious and elegant recipe…
Do you like entertaining?
I sure do! David and I like having people over, sharing stories, laughs and good food along with a nice bottle of wine. Everyone is relaxed… well almost everyone! The only person who cannot fully relax until dinner is ready is the “home chef”. I love cooking but it’s always nicer to be able to spend some time with our guests. The last thing I want is to be stuck in front of the stove, cooking, sautéing and stirring food while I could be with them relaxing…
Easter is coming and then summer will be arriving soon afterward which means backyard parties, gatherings, big family dinners, celebrations, and so on… If you are like us, entertaining is fun but can be quite demanding especially when some recipes have to be prepared relatively right before serving. I try to reduce my time in front of the stove and having more time conversing and laughing with guests but I’m not always successful with my plan… lol!
A few years back, David ordered a beautiful rack of lamb for two at Metropolitan Grill in Seattle. I was surprised because he has never been a big fan of lamb. Perhaps because Michael, the general manager, who has known us for years, highly recommended this dish but we took his suggestion. I'm glad we did because the lamb was fantastic! I usually enjoy some mint jelly on the side but that time, I had it without any condiment… it was that good! What was also great was the fact that David finally gave lamb a try and he liked it. This is not his favorite meat but at least now, he’s more willing to eat some versus almost never before.
Lamb Chops… the solution!
Here’s a recipe I enjoy making for a few reasons and it is my Lamb Chops with Balsamic & Red Wine Reduction! What I like about this is it is so quick to make. Besides marinating the lamb for 30 minutes (*see note below), from cooking to serving it takes half an hour all together. Also it is an elegant dish to serve your guests. The reduction gives a nice flavorful dimension and wraps it so beautifully. The added beurre manié at the end of the reduction thickens the sauce but also brings a nice glossy finish to it which makes this dish even more appealing…
Surprisingly many people don’t enjoy the taste of lamb but if you do, this is a great lamb dish for you to try. It is the perfect quick meal to serve when you don’t want to stand in front of the stove cooking for hours. I like to serve this with steamed veggies and baby potatoes for a nice presentation as they don’t take too much time to make either – I’m definitely working on my time management… lol!
*NOTE: You can always marinate the lamb loin chops ahead of time. Just place them in the fridge and when ready to cook, let them sit on the counter for 30 minutes like I did in the video. In my opinion, when meat is not too chilled, it cooks evenly from center to edge.
For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/lamb-chops-with-balsamic-red-wine-reduction/
Monday, 26 March 2018
To make beurre manié, you need an equal amounts of butter and unbleached all-purpose flour. In the video, I use 1/2 cup of each. If you want to make some ahead and freeze it, portion beurre manié in teaspoons. It is the safe way to go as it’s a standard measure when added to sauces and soups.
Beurre Manié vs. Roux…Although beurre manié and roux are both thickening agents and made with equal amounts, the stage of cooking and other components vary from one to another.
Beurre manié is added to warm or hot liquids at the final stage of cooking. As the flour particles are coated with butter, when butter melts, it releases them which helps to thicken without getting any lumps. It also gives a nice shiny texture to sauces.
While roux seems pretty much the same, flour and fat besides butter such as other oils, are cooked right at the beginning as a base for sauces, soups or stews. The length of cooking depends on the level of brownness.
Here’s a recipe that I use this thickener in…Lamb Chops with Balsamic & Red Wine Reduction