Category Archives: Home Meals

2019 Cookery Project — Easter Lunch

Easter Lunch

Easter Lunch

A full plate. It’s a holiday!

Clockwise from the top, we have rosemary roasted onions, made with garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and rosemary, then sliced leg of lamb, with more garlic and more rosemary. There’s a dab of store-bought mint jelly at six o’clock.

The star of the show was the serving of Brussels sprouts with onion and crumbled bacon.

Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something. for the onions.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file. for the Brussels sprouts.


Lamb to the Slaughter

This seems an appropriate place for a certain memorable video.

From 1955 through 1962, Alfred Hitchcock hosted a television anthology series called Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Hitchcock only directed 17 of the 268 episodes—in those days, a television season could run to 40 weekly episodes—but he hosted all of them, displaying the famous Hitchcock dark humour during his introduction and closing comments to each show, and mildly trolling his advertisers before the mid-show commercials. His appearances were sometimes the best part of the episodes.

Here’s one of the classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents stories, written by Roald Dahl, starring an absolutely-perfect-in-the-part Barbara Bel Geddes, and directed by A. Hitchcock himself. It’s called Lamb to the Slaughter.

Advertisements

2019 Cookery Project — Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Every now and then, a fella just wants some good ole comfort food, and nothing says “Comfort” like a good ole Pot Roast, made in a good ole crock pot.  (I’m trying for folksy here. Just go with it.)

The recipe comes from Classy Cooking, and it differs from the last few recipes I’ve tried in that it’s not a rethinking of a classic dish, or a 21st-century version of an old favourite. It’s just really good pot roast, composed of the traditional beef roast, yellow onions, carrots, and Yukon gold potatoes. It’s seasoned with minced garlic cloves, Worcestershire sauce, minced fresh thyme, minced fresh rosemary, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. The whole thing goes into a crock pot, gets doused with beef broth* and red wine,** and cooked on low heat for eight or nine hours.

Everyone knows that soups and stews taste better the second day. Since I slow cooked this overnight, it was technically the second day before I had my first taste of it, which was part of the reason it tasted so good.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.


* When I was young and poor, I thought you could get away with substituting beef bouillon cubes for beef broth. You can’t.

** I’d also advise against substituting grape juice for the red wine.

2019 Cookery Project — Pork Marbella

Pork Marbella

Pork Marbella

I’d mentioned Chicken Marbella fondly in my posting about an updated recipe for Beef Stroganoff, and a couple of days later, what did I find? A recipe for a revised version of the dish, using pork loin instead of chicken.

If I were the least bit paranoid, I’d suspect the editors of Bon Appétit of monitoring my blog. (I already know about the bugged phone and the intercepted mail, and I’m reasonably sure that the woman down the hall is on their payroll. Why won’t they leave me alone?)

Anyhow, I made it, and it tasted great. It needs an overnight marinade, but once that’s done, you can cook and serve the Pork Marbella in under an hour.

Excellent result.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2019 Cookery Project — Steak Stroganoff

Steak Stroganoff

Steak Stroganoff

Last month’s Epicurious featured a refreshing new variation on a classic recipe. I tried it, and it’s excellent.

Beef Stroganoff originated in Russia in the late 19th century and became popular in the US after World War II. The dish was to the 1950s what Chicken Marsala was to the 1980s: An elegant but easy dinner-party favourite.

I can’t remember the last time I saw Beef Stroganoff on a restaurant menu, but it’s never really gone away.

Here’s how Epicurious revived it: Instead of cutting the beef into cubes or strips before cooking, the meat—boneless New York strip steak—is pan-seared whole and served in 1/2″-thick slices.

But it’s what’s done with the buttered egg noodles that gives the dish its zing. Once the noodles are drained, they’re flavored with two teaspoons of finely grated lemon zest, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and a half cup of torn dill.

This one’s a keeper.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2019 Cookery Project — Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole

Still under the influence of my recent stay in Charleston, I craved* another taste of Southern cooking. Some spicy New Orleans-style Shrimp Creole seemed like a good idea.

The Recipe Critic gave me the instructions I needed for a fast and easy meal, in which the most time-consuming step was peeling the pound of previously deveined shrimp.

The result was good, and, more importantly, it tasted like something I’d find in a Louisiana restaurant.  Authentically Creole. This made me inordinately happy, and a bit proud. I’d created a dish using a flavour profile that was outside of my familiar safety zone, and it had turned out well, which is one of the core reasons that the whole Cookery Project exists.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.


*Note my use of the word “craved”. It’s rarely heard outside the South, where it usually expresses a longing or desire for something to eat, as in “I crave a nice big bucket of Popeye’s Spicy White. And a diet Coke.”

2019 Cookery Project — Frogmore Chowder

Frogmore Chowder

Frogmore Chowder

No Frogs Were Harmed in the Preparation of this Frogmore Chowder
(Mainly because Frogmore Chowder contains no frogs)

According to Wikipedia, Frogmore is a community near Beaufort, South Carolina, and the name “Frogmore Stew” was coined by one of the owners of a local fish company in the 1960s. I didn’t get a chance to try it in Charleston, even though it showed up on approximately 72% of the local menus, so I decided to make it at home. I used a recipe from The Washington Post.

The dish is heavy on the cream, which has never stood in the way of my search for a good recipe. (Cream and butter are our friends!) In addition to the usual suspects, the stock contains thyme leaves, white wine, and clam juice.

The other four main ingredients—the stuff that makes Frogmore Chowder the dish that it is—are corn, fingerling potatoes, shrimp, and kielbasa sausage.

Liked it a lot.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2019 Cookery Project — Vince and Terri’s Chicken Chili

Vince and Terri's Chicken Chili

Vince and Terri’s Chicken Chili

I’d done almost no serious cooking for the 2019 Cookery Project since the start of the year, so once I made it home from Charleston, I was eager to get back into my own kitchen and get to work.

I love chili, but I’ve never been able to put together the right combination of meat, spices, liquids, garnishes, and other ingredients needed to create The Ultimate Chili Bowl. A few months ago, I was whining about that failing to my sister-in-law Terri—I do a lot of whining to relatives about various failings, a few of them even my own—and she promised to send me a recipe that she and my brother Vince use. Which she did.

The Verdict: This chili was good, as well as fast and easy to put together. I think the secret ingredient was the jar of mild salsa verde, something I’d never used before, which gave the chili a nice kick.

I’ve already used the recipe a second time, doubling the main ingredients and upping the spices by 50%, so that I could freeze most of this second batch in 1-, 2-, and 4-serving containers. There’s no such thing as having too much chili within easy reach.

But the quest continues. It may be that my search for the ultimate chili recipe is doomed to inevitable failure, like my endless attempt to find a place that serves fish and chips as good as the ones I used to get, a long time ago, at a little shop in San Francisco. But I’ll press on, like Joel Cairo and Kasper Gutman, despite the odds.

After all, ultimate chili is the stuff that dreams are made of.


Rating

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.