Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Potatoe and Lovage Soup

1 Sweet Potatoe
4 White Potatoes
1 Cup Lovage Chopped
1 Onion chopped
1 Stalk of Celery chopped
4 Cups of Seasoned Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper

Bring Stock to a boil, all ingredients and cook till tender.
Allow to cool.
Put in blender and blend, and then run through strainer.
Garnish with chopped lovage leaves. 


Lovage is an herbaceous plant. It grows about 2m tall and the leaves are dark green to yellow green.  It is very common in Europe and Southwestern Asia.  In Europe it was once known as a parsley. It can be used in Soups, Salads, Stews or even brewed into a tea. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Meatball & Orzo Soup


1 lb ground pork
3 oz bread crumbs
1 egg
1 cup cooked orzo
2 qts. seasoned chicken stock
1 carrot fine diced
1 onion fine diced
1 celery stock fine diced
salt and pepper


Mix ground pork, bread crumbs, egg and salt and pepper. Roll into small meatballs and fry till fully cooked.
In stock pot make seasoned chicken stock. Bring to boil, add vegetables, cooked orzo and meatballs. Cook till vegetables are fully cooked.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

We garnished ours tonight with Chive flowers.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


In a lot of our recipes you see the term deglazing. What this means is when you are cooking something after it has been removed you add some liquid to the bottom of the pan and it lifts up all the residue from the bottom of the pan. One of the uses of this is when you deglaze a roasting pan and thicken it up you can use this for your gravy.

1910 - 1912

1910 - Kitchen cabinets make an appearance and pantries start to disappear
            Hawaii begins to can pineapple and shipping to the U.S.

1911 - Proctor & Gamble develops hydrogenated veg shortening and calls it Crisco
           Canned Chili goes on sale

1912 - Oreo cookies come out
            Soft hamburger sized buns are manufactured

Friday, 18 May 2012

Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Brown Sauce Ingredients
1 lb. beef shank          1 oz. olive oil
1 small onion             1/2 oz. tomatoe paste
1 carrot                      1 Tbsp. Thyme
2 stalks celery            1 cup red wine
1 bay leaf                   4 cups water
2 cloves garlic            1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions for Sauce
Caramelize the meat until almost black on both sides with the vegetables. Add tomatoe paste, water, wine, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 4 hrs till the meat is tender. Strain and reserve the juices in pan. Discard remains or use them in a soup if so desired. Mix cornstarch with same amount of water and add to juices. Bring to a boil and then simmer till desired consistency is reached, stirring constantly.

Meat and Vegetables

1 chicken cut in pieces          4 cloves garlic
4 oz. mushrooms                   1 tbsp. thyme
1 sm onion                            salt and pepper
4 slices bacon

Cook chicken in oven at 350 degrees till fully cooked.  In a frying pan add sliced bacon, sliced mushrooms and sliced onions. Fry till bacon reached desired consistency.  Deglaze the frying pan with a bit of the brown sauce.

Plate the chicken and top with bacon, mushrooms and onions then dress with wine sauce.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bacon, Potatoe & Avocado Salad

2 Whole Potatoes
4 Strips Chopped Bacon
1 Onion
2 Tsp. Dill
2 Oz. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Tsp. Marjoram
2 Tbsp.  Shredded Coconut
1 Avocado cubed
Salt & Pepper

Boil potatoes with the skin on. The reason for leaving the skin on is that they will not absorb the moisture and therefore will be firmer.
Fry the bacon till crisp and remove from pan. In pan add the onions and fry till golden brown, add vinegar to this. The reason for cooking the onions is that it stops the fermentation and the salad will remain fresh longer.
Peel and cube the potatoes, place them in a mixing bowl with the other ingredients including the bacon fat. If you do not wish to use the bacon fat you can substitute oil for it, or if you do not have enough fat from the bacon add a bit of oil. Mix well and serve warm.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Muskoka Chefs Meeting in Mississauga

On Monday night Trevor and I had the pleasure of being invited to The Muskoka Chefs Association meeting as guests. The meeting was held at Maple Leaf's Think Food in Mississauga and hosted by Norm Myshok from Canada Bread.  It was very well attended with approximately 80 people.

The evening started with a seminar from The Ice House, who had come in from Niagara on the Lake to introduce their Ice Wine. I had tasted Ice Wine before and really disliked it and Trevor is not a fan of sweet syrupy drinks either. To our surprise the drink they offered us was not sickeningly sweet or overly syrupy. We both really enjoyed it and began thinking of what foods we could incorporate this wine with. Jamie MacFarlane's Ice Wine has won 3 gold medals and is considered one of the best ice wines in the world.

After the seminar we had a lovely meal and then they had the Members meeting. It was a great evening for Trevor as he met up with some chefs and salesmen that he had not seen in a very long time. We had a wonderful time and are greatful to Norm for inviting us and the Muskoka Chefs Assoc. for welcoming us to their meeting.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Beet & Mango Salad


2 cups sliced beets
2 Green onions diced
1 mango peeled and diced
1 small tomatoe
1 sweet potatoe
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. Coconut vinegar
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 oz. Ginger – finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper


Boil sweet potatoe till cooked but still fairly firm and let cool. Do the same with the beets.  Chop potatoe in nice sized cubes and slice beets in ¼ inch slices. 
In a mixing bowl add all your vegetables, mango and cilantro.
Mix ginger, sesame seed oil, vinegar and lime, add to vegetables and mix gently. Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Stuffed Tomatoe Appetizer

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup dark chicken meat (vegetarians and vegans omit chicken)
1 small onion
1 oz. coconut oil
4 small tomatoes
1 1/2 coconut milk
1 mango diced
1 tbsp. curry powder

Simmer chicken legs in coconut milk till tender. Cool chicken and dice. In another pan sweat diced onion with coconut oil.
Add curry powder, take milk from pan used to cook chicken and add to pan with onions add quinoa and chicken and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut top off tomatoes and core out. Fill the tomatoes with mixture and garnish with mango pieces on top and lid of tomatoe.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Avondale Restaurant Equipment

It is very important as a Chef to have excellent equipment and in Hamilton there are many Restaurant Equipment Stores. The one that I prefer to use and that stands out the most to me is Avondale Restaurant Equipment at 223 Avondale Street in Hamilton, Ontario, Phone 905-544-0577.

Avondale will not only deliver your new equipment but they will also install it for you and service it. They are affiliated with Barbers Restaurant Repair, which have been in the repair business for over 40 years in Hamilton and are well known.

The Director of Marketing, Kristy Barber-Feaver is the person I have dealt with when I go in there and I find the service very good and Kristy is very friendly and helpful. Just last week I was there purchasing small ware items, such as measuring cups, a pan and measuring spoons. Not mentioning the competitors name but I did price these items somewhere else before going there and the price at Avondale's was much better.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chicken Kiwi Salad

1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into 5 pieces
½ Tomato Chopped
1 Kiwi Chopped
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1 Cup Cooked Basmati Rice
½ tsp. Lemon Juice
Juice of one Lime
2 Tbsp. Avocado or Olive Oil
1 oz. chopped dill
1 Tsp. Chopped Dill
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

Marinate the pieces of chicken in dill and the lime juice overnight
Cook the rice and let cool
Brown the chicken in a non-stick pan
To a mixing bowl add all the ingredients but the chicken and mix. You should let this sit for about 20 minutes just to let the flavours absorb.  Plate and top with your chicken pieces. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Kasha and Cremini Mushrooms

Raw Kasha

In the picture above is Kasha in the uncooked state. Kasha is also known as Buckwheat and is commonly used in Europe. It is generally used as a side dish, breakfast or in soups. It is gluten free so is perfect for celiacs. It is also a great source of iron.

The mushrooms we chose to use in this dish are Cremini. These mushrooms are similar to the button mushrooms but have a deeper richer flavour.

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked kasha
1 small onion
4-6 cremini mushrooms sliced (size dependent)
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 2 limes

In a saucepan place water and olive oil, bring to a boil.
When water is boiling add kasha, mushrooms and onion and cover.
Turn heat down and simmer about 15 minutes. Take off heat and let rest for about 10 mins.
The water should all be absorbed.
Mix in the lime juice and serve warm.

1906 - 1910

1906 - Frankfurters are nicknamed Hot Dogs
            Kellog's Corn Flakes go on sale

1907 - Hershey's Kisses come out

1908 - The first Dixie Cup

1910 - Gas Ranges start to replace wood burning stoves, coal and petroleum

Monday, 7 May 2012

Imitation Crab Salad

The imitation crab we used here is actually chunked Alaskan Pollock. This is usually what the imitation crab you purchase is. This recipe would be just as nice with real crab.

1 pkg chunk imitation crab
1/2 red pepper
2 green onions
1 oz. fresh dill chopped
juice of one lime
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

In mixing bowl place crab, diced red pepper, diced green onions and dill. Mix in oil, vinegar and the lime juice, salt and pepper if desired.

Let marinate for a couple of hours and serve cold.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

1904 - 1906

1904 - The St. Louis Fair introduces: Puffed Rice, Popcorn, Burgers on a bun, Iced Tea, Ice Cream Cones                              and Peanut Butter
Campbells introduces canned Pork & Beans
The Campbell kids debut in Philadelphia
Jell-O publishes its first recipe booklet, featuring Jell-O Marshmallow Dessert, Minty Velvet, Paradise Pudding and Raspberries Supreme

1905 -  America's first pizzeria opens in New York's Little Italy called "Little Italy"

1906 - The hot fudge sundae is created at C.C. Brown's on Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles
Jell-O's annual sales near the $1,000,000.00 mark
Mama Leone's Restaurant opens behind the Metropolitan Opera House in New York

Friday, 4 May 2012

Sew Hungry on Ottawa St. in Hamilton

Today from 11am-3pm there is a rally of food trucks.Trevor and I decided to take advantage of this outing and have a nice little walk down Ottawa St.  The trucks began pretty much on time and they were spread out far enough apart that it didn't create too much havoc.

Some of the trucks we noticed were off course The Gorilla Cheese Truck, with their fantastic sandwiches, The Toasted Tangerine, Hank Daddy's Barbecue, Cake and Loaf were there, The Blue Donkey, The Portobello Burger for vegetarians or anyone, The Cupcake Diner for that sweet tooth and Shriner's Kettle Creek Popcorn. I would say there had to be at least 15 trucks there.

Judging by the people munching on pizza, sandwiches, ravioli and sweets, the food must have been fantastic. Those pizza slices were tempting. I had to at the very least buy my green onion, cheese and beer bread from Cake and Loaf.

The line ups were not too bad and having had food from a food truck before I know they are able to get the orders out fairly quickly. Some of the local restaurants such as Poco Loco and Limoncello also had food items available. Laidlaw Church also got in on the action with a sit down meat pie dinner in their parking lot.

The one that struck me the most though was Bryce's Fish and Chips. While I did not have an order the ones I seen coming out smelled great and looked tempting. They were giving a perfect lunch size portion for a donation to the Mission Services.

How do we feel about food trucks? We both agree that its a great concept, especially for workers on their lunch hour or maybe on a busy shopping day. We do not think that they will take away from local businesses. Trevor and I both enjoy spending time together enjoying a lovely meal in a restaurant but we certainly would not mind just stopping at a food truck and grabbing a bite for lunch either. Hamilton would do well to relax the laws on these trucks and allow more into the city.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Yorkshire Pudding


2 cups milk
8 eggs
2 cups flour
1/3 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. oil
1/3 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Put 8 eggs in mixing bowl with milk, salt, nutmeg and oil. Beat gently, do not overwhip.
Add flour and mix (don't worry about the lumps)

Prepare your muffin tray - each spot should be about 1/8th full of oil. Some recipes require you to heat the oil prior to putting in the filling, this one does not require that. Fill each spot 3/4 full of the mixture and place  pan in oven.

Bake for approx 30 mins until it puffs up and the top is hard then turn down to 350 degrees for about another half hour. You will know it is done when you take out the tray and you lift one up and it is very light and airy.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Ranko's Meats and Delicatessen

I put this under Restaurant Reviews and Shopping as you can order take-out prepared meats from this store.

As a Chef, I enjoy trying foods from around the world. In Hamilton one of these gems is Ranko's Meats and Delicatessen at 1111 Cannon St. E. , 905-544-6173 They are a family run business which has been around over 35 years and the owners Roy and Biljana Sobota prepare the meats on the premise.

They have delicious smoked meats. They also do a roast pork and lamb every Friday and Saturday which is sold by weight. They do such a wonderful job with this meat that it sells very quickly so if you want a large amount I would suggest calling in for a special order. You can order a whole lamb or pig in advance and Roy will roast it for you and cut it in serving size pieces. Some of my other favourite products there are Bacon Bits (they call them Cvarke), kranskje sausages and cevapi (which is a skinless mini sausage).

I have become addicted to the bacon bits, they are so good.

They also sell many other European Products, such as pickled vegetables, cookies, jams, phyllo pastry, cheeses and Belgium chocolates.

Worth the special trip out to this store.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hamilton & District Chefs Assoc Meeting

Tonight we attended the Hamilton & District Chefs Assoc monthly meeting at Avondale Restaurant Equipment.
The guest speaker tonight was Norm Myshok from Canada Bread. It was a very interesting demonstration.

The main focus of tonights meeting was about taste. He had brought little containers of different items for us to stick on our tongue to show us how we re-act to these different items. The first one we dried our tongue and then put some sugar on the dry spot, when your tongue is dry you don't really taste the sweetness but as soon as it becomes moist again you suddenly have this burst of sweetness. We also had little jelly beans, we plugged our noses and chewed on them with no flavour, as soon as we unplugged our noses we had a burst of the flavour of the bean.

He also talked in detail about umami, it is a bit involved to go into here but basically its one of the 5 different flavours. The 5 different flavours are sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Umami is a Japanese word meaning "pleasant savory taste". For more information about this there is an interesting read on Wikipedia, just type in umami.

Tim put out a nice little snack of cheeses, fresh fruits and crackers. The Chefs Association is a great place to meet people in the field and learn a lot of new things. We look forward to the next meeting, which now due to summer coming will not be until September. The meetings are once a month and there is a page on facebook if you want more information "Hamilton District Society of Chefs & Cooks"