(More) Meals en Masse: Beef Stroganoff

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 14

I know, it seems like this is all I’m doing these days. Well it’s kind of all I have time for in the evenings now, and I kind of want to get as much of it done as I can before I start to get REALLY tired. This Martha Stewart Stroganoff (adapted for lazy busy people) is almost as good as it would be if you made it by searing the meat and cooking it in a Dutch oven, and it takes way less time to put together. The amounts below will make a meal that serves six; I doubled the recipe and then divided it into three, cooking one and freezing two, and it perfectly sated the Pie and myself for dinner and provided a hefty lunch for us both the next day.

Start by chopping up 1 large onion. Chop it as coarsely or finely as you prefer. This is your jam, man.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 1

Grab as well 1 lb white mushrooms. You can cut them in half if you like but I was extra lazy and bought the pre-sliced mushrooms. Because I’m an adult and this is my house and I totally can do whatever I want (the novelty has not worn off yet – I don’t think it ever will).

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 2

Grab yourself 2lbs good quality stewing beef. Mmm beef. The original recipe calls for you to take 2lbs chuck and slice it 1/2″ thick and 3″ long but who got time for that?

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 3

Pitch all that into a 5-6 quart slow-cooker pot and dust liberally with coarse salt and black pepper.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 5

The other batches I chucked in freezer bags and I’m hoping the mushrooms will come out of it okay. Fingers crossed. If it doesn’t work out I’m sure that the Pie and I will be too sleep-deprived to notice.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 4

Cook your beef for 8 hours on low (or 6 hours on high), until everything is nice and brown and you have all this awesome juice. Scoop out about 1 cup of that awesome juice and pour it into a wee pot on your stove.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 6

Grab 2 tablespoons cornstarch and blend it with 2 tablespoons water.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 7

Pour that cornstarch mixture into the cooking juice and bring that to a boil.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 8

Let it cook for a few minutes until it gets nice and thick.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 9

While that’s going on, cook up a batch of egg noodles. I feel like this particular dish is what egg noodles were made for. If you wanna go gluten-free on this one, you may have to find alternative noodles.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 11

Turn the slow-cooker off (or leave it on warm) and return the thickened juice to the pot. Tip in as well 1/2 cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (this version I use has tarragon in it and it’s AMAZING). Give that a solid stirring.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 10

Serve over your cooked egg noodles with fresh dill, if you have it (I didn’t).

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 12

A hunk of nice bread to sop up the extra sauce won’t go amiss, either.

Slow-Cooker Beef Stroganoff 15

Mmmore Meatloaf!

Happy Birthday to Papa John!

More Meatloaf 6

One of the weirder, yet endearing things about my husband is the fact that if he goes to a fancy restaurant and they have meatloaf on the menu, he will order it. Every. Single. Time. Like a total weirdo. I’m carving my way through a juicy perfectly cooked steak. And he’s eating meatloaf. So we make quite a bit of meatloaf at home, too. Here’s another version of my classic: feel free to double it as I did and freeze one (or both) for later!

First ye grab yer meat. A lot of it. Enough for two loaves. I prefer the lean stuff – the extra lean is wayyyy more expensive and is harder to stick together.

More Meatloaf 5

Then ye take yer onions.

More Meatloaf 1

And yer mushrooms.

More Meatloaf 2

And ye put them in a bowl.

More Meatloaf 3

With a lot of other stuff: panko bread crumbs, Newfoundland savoury, oregano, salt, pepper. The works, really.

More Meatloaf 4

Then you chuck the meat in a bowl and add some eggs. Like, four or five.

More Meatloaf 7

Dump in the rest of the stuff too and give it a good stirring. Feel free to use your hands. Tip in some Worcestershire sauce as well for flavour.

More Meatloaf 8

When you’re ready, whisk up a concoction that’s a mix of barbecue sauce, Dijon mustard, and honey.

More Meatloaf 10

Spread that in the bottom of your two loaf pans.

More Meatloaf 11

Cram the meat on top and smooth it down. See how that sauce comes up the sides? That’ll keep it from drying out.

More Meatloaf 12

When you’re done, you can either cover it up and shove it in the freezer …

More Meatloaf 14

Or you can bake it at 350°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.

More Meatloaf 13

Then you eat it. Unfortunately cooked meatloaf does not photograph well. But you get the picture.

More Meatloaf 15

Punchy Potato Salad

Punchy Potato Salad 12

With potato salad, like most salads, you can wing it more often than not and it turns out great.  It does help, however, to have a general idea of what sort of flavour theme you want to have ahead of time.  For this one I wanted something creamy but also with enough greenery and fresh things in it I didn’t feel like it was coming straight from a plastic grocery store container.

Punchy Potato Salad 9

I started off by washing and chopping 13 medium sized potatoes.  I like to leave the skins on.

Punchy Potato Salad 1

I then boiled them until they were quite soft.

Punchy Potato Salad 2

Then I hard-boiled 6 large eggs by putting them in a pot of water with a dash of vinegar (the vinegar makes the shells easier to remove) and bringing it to a boil; then I turned the water off and left them for 20 minutes.

Punchy Potato Salad 3

I drained the potatoes and chucked them in a large bowl together with about 3 stalks minced celery.  Then I grabbed a handful of herbs from the garden and minced those as well: dill, chives, parsley, green basil, and purple basil.

Punchy Potato Salad 4

Into the bowl.

Punchy Potato Salad 5

Some chopped baby dill pickles too.

Punchy Potato Salad 6

And of course the eggs, which I peeled and chopped coarsely.

Punchy Potato Salad 10

The dressing was simple: Dijon mustard, Wafu’s sesame dressing, and some aioli I picked up at the grocery store (instead of standard mayonnaise).

Punchy Potato Salad 7

A little black pepper never hurt.

Punchy Potato Salad 8

Mix that all together.

Punchy Potato Salad 11

Oh the creamy, dill-y goodness!

Punchy Potato Salad 13

Soy-Dijon Roasted Chicken Thighs

Roasted Chicken Thighs 14

I found this recipe online and halved it for a quick fall dinner to showcase a home-grown squash given to us by our neighbours.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Set 6 chicken thighs (with bones and skin still on) in a baking dish.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 1

Mix together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 2

Pour that over the chicken, turning the thighs to coat them completely.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 4

Mix together 2 tablespoons fines herbes (or an acceptable substitute — I used half Newfoundland savoury and half herbes de provence) and 2 teaspoons fennel leaves.  Add in some salt and pepper as well.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 6

Sprinkle that evenly over your chicken and cover it with foil. Bake the chicken like that for 45 minutes.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 7

Remove the foil and baste your lovely thighs in the juices they’re producing.  Scrape the bottom of the dish a bit to make sure nothing is getting stuck there.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 9

Pour 1 cup chicken stock into the dish so the tops of the chicken thighs are still exposed but they are otherwise happily bathing in broth.  Bake that for a further hour, and let the tops caramelize.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 10

When they’re ready, drain the juices into a gravy boat to serve separately, and have some lovely fall vegetables (like this roasted squash) as a hearty side.

Roasted Chicken Thighs 13

The King of Cream Soups

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 17

This is a variation on my other cream of broccoli soup recipe, but I like this one better because it uses less cream and the thickener is cauliflower instead of starchy potatoes.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 3

And I have called it the king of cream soups because it’s my favourite of them all.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 18

And also because I found this old cushion cover embroidered by one of my great aunts and decided it would make a nice backdrop.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 12

Start with your vegetables: onions, broccoli, and cauliflower. I ended up making a relatively small soup, so I only used 1 onion, 2 heads broccoli, and half a head cauliflower.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 1

Chop the onion up relatively fine and heave it in a pot with some olive oil and some minced garlic. Sautée that on medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 5

While that’s on the go, chop up your broccoli.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 6

Shave the tough skin off the stems and use that as well.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 8

Broccoli is good for you, so use it all.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 7

Do the same with the cauliflower.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 9

Heave those in the pot as well, and give them a stir.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 10

At this point I added about 4 cups chicken stock, but you can use as much as you’d like, or water, or any other stock.  Enough to make a soup of it, I guess.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 11

Then I simmered it until I could squish the cauliflower with the back of my spoon (broccoli will become squishier faster, so the cauliflower should be your test).

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 13

Then out comes my brszzht — I mean, immersion blender.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 14

And now you add the sauciness: here we have dijon mustard, Worcestershire (“wooster”) sauce, a dash of cream and two big spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Give those a good stir to mix.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 15

Serve it hot (I guess you could serve it cold if you liked, but that’s weird) with some grated cheddar cheese.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 16

Fit for royalty?  Absolutely.

Cream of Cauliflower and Broccoli 19

Mean Slaw

Happy belated birthdays to Thidz and Stef!

Mean Slaw

I have never made coleslaw before in my life.  In fact, I don’t even really like coleslaw.  For this, though, I will make an exception.  And I made all this without even consulting a recipe!  I guess a lifetime of watching my mother cobble together a slaw left a lasting impression.  This particular combination offers a bit of a snappy uptake on the traditional Southern slaw, and I hope you like it. If I do say so myself, I make a mean slaw.  Remember that a slaw is always best the next day, after the flavours have had a chance to intermix.  Also, if you say slaw a lot it starts to sound weird in your head.  Slaw.  Slaw.  Slaw, slaw slaw.  Slaw.  What a weird-looking word.

Before we begin, I would like to introduce you to my cabbage.  This was the smallest one I could find in the produce section, and, to give you a size comparison, that is a two-litre kettle sitting next to it.

Mean Slaw

Cabbage is the basis of every slaw.  I am not too fond of the bitterness of red cabbage, though I know it adds a bit of colour to the salad.  Nevertheless, I’m sticking with the green one.  If you have a food processor, then this salad is a snap to prepare.  I like to do certain things by hand, however, and me and my stupid sharp knife get along real well.  You’ll want to hack off a hunk of your cabbage and then start slicing off bits real nice and thin.

Mean Slaw

If they are too long and dangly for your liking, feel free to cut the little cabbage strips in half before tossing them in a large bowl.

Mean Slaw

I also have some fennel here, which makes for a nice aniseed-y aftertaste in the salad.

Mean Slaw

Don’t worry too much about the green bits — focus on cutting up the white parts really thin and chuck those in with the cabbage.  Don’t add too much, or your slaw will just taste like liquorice.

Mean Slaw

Next, I’m going to grate a large carrot and add that in for sweetness and colour.

Mean Slaw

Some sweet red peppers.

Mean Slaw

Feel free to add ones that are a little spicy, but not too spicy.

Mean Slaw

And some red onion.  Give that a toss.

Mean Slaw

Now you make up your dressing.  I think coleslaw dressings are kind of like curries — they need a lot of ingredients in order to encapsulate all the important flavours a slaw needs.  In this one I have olive oil, rice vinegar, dijon mustard, minced garlic, brown sugar, celery seed, and mustard seed.  You can replace the rice vinegar with white vinegar if you want something a little stronger.  The Pie is not a huge fan of heavy vinegar usage which is why I take the milder rice vinegar more often than not.

Mean Slaw

I poured all that into a plastic container with a lid and gave it a good shake.

Mean Slaw

Now your salad is all ready to be dressed.  Pour on the dressing in stages and toss to coat.  You want enough dressing so you get some pooling at the bottom.  It will be absorbed into the salad while it sits.

Mean Slaw

Seal your tossed and dressed salad in a container and refrigerate overnight.

Mean Slaw

Serve with burgers and fries, or any other summery food you can think of.

Mean Slaw

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Happy Easter!

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

It’s spring.  Well, I shouldn’t say that.  It’s spring in some parts of Canada.  Here in Newfoundland we are still clearing up snow from our blizzard last week.  In most parts of the country the markets are full to bursting with new spring vegetables: tender carrots, tiny potatoes, fresh peas.  Here in St. John’s it’s time to clean out the dregs of our winter supply, and most produce around here is either flaccid or unripe.  So we make soup.

This soup will be served as a starter at our Easter dinner on Sunday.  If a soup could be considered to be light and fluffy, it would be this one.  In fact (and I may have texted this to the Pie when I made it), I bet if you put the Easter Bunny in a blender and heated him up he would taste a lot like this soup: sweet, a little bit spicy, a hint of ginger, and chock-full of carrots.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup
This recipe is simple, and takes very little time.

I have here 2 bunches of “new” carrots (which in reality were bendy and dried-out), 4 Bosc pears (which I unsuccessfully tried to ripen for three days), a handful of mildly hot peppers, and 2 onions.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Chop those puppies up and toss them in a pot.  Add a whole carton of chicken broth (about 4 cups, or a litre), and top the rest up with water.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Chuck in as well a few teaspoons of minced ginger (two will probably do it, as the minced stuff is wicked strong) and a healthy dollop of dijon mustard.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Add in a few tablespoons of sweet chili sauce as well.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Simmer that like crazy until all the vegetables are tender.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Remove it from the heat and use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to turn it all into an orange pulp.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

If you’ve picked a really hot pepper for your soup, you might want to serve it with a dollop of sour cream, or maybe some green onions for garnish.  It’s also lovely just as it is.  You can freeze it easily and bring it out whenever you need a taste of spring.

Spicy Spring Carrot Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I was talking to Cait over GoogleChat the other day and she was scarfing down some cream of broccoli soup, a dish I adore.  She rubbed it in a little bit that she had some and I didn’t.  So I figured I’d blend myself up a batch.  And I thought that you could, too, if you wanted to.

Start with some onions.  Dice them up pretty finely.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Chuck them in a large pot with some garlic and a bit of olive oil and butter.  Let that cook on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

While that’s going on, you can start on your broccoli.  I used three heads of broccoli, chopped up, including the stems.  Use a vegetable peeler to get rid of the tough skin.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Then I also sliced up about two stalks of celery.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

And cubed up several small potatoes. I leave the skins on for texture and vitamins but that’s up to you if you want to remove them.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Those go in the pot too, as well as about 4 cups chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth if you are feeling vegetarian).

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cover that and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes, until everything, including the potatoes, is tender and squishable.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Then remove it from the heat and use an immersion blender or a food processor to blend the soup to your ideal of smoothness.  I like mine a little chunky.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Then you can add in your flavourings.  The first is obviously some form of cream or milk.  You can use sour cream or yogurt or coconut milk or soy milk or whatever you like.  I’m going to go traditional here and use some heavy cream.  We keep it in a small Nalgene bottle because then we can see how much we have left and we don’t have to deal with the cream crusties on the mouth of the carton.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Dijon mustard is also a popular addition to this soup.  The Pie hates mustard but as long as I use it in moderation in things he doesn’t mind.  It definitely adds to the taste.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

And finally, you are going to need a shot or two of Worcestershire sauce.  That goes without saying.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

So add in whatever you like.  Feel free to adjust to your personal taste.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Give it a stir so it’s all nicely mixed in.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

And serve.  With crusty bread on the side and chives to top, or, if you are a real cream of broccoli fan, more grated cheddar cheese than is really sane.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

That’s it, that’s all.  Easy, huh?

Pioneer Potato Salad

Pioneer Potato Salad

We had a Valentine’s cold-plate potluck at work on Tuesday and I was assigned to make a potato-egg salad.  And as the best one out there belongs to the Pioneer Woman, that’s the one I made, with some modifications of course.  Ever since the grocery store down the block closed I have found myself without certain key ingredients at unfortunate times.  Today, it was green onions.  So I improvised.

Wash and cube about 5lbs potatoes.  I used two different kinds, for the colour.  You can peel them if you want, but I like the texture and flavour of potato skins so I left them in.  Plop those in a large pot and boil them until they’re tender and mashable.

Pioneer Potato Salad

You’re also going to want to hard boil 4 eggs, through whatever method you use.  When they’re ready, peel them up.  Mine were pretty recalcitrant and refused to be peeled in a civilized manner.  The shells would not come off without a fight.

Pioneer Potato Salad

I punished them through the vigor of my chopping (even if your eggs are well-behaved, you’ll still want to chop them up).

Pioneer Potato Salad

Finely chop as well half an onion (or 5 green onions).

Pioneer Potato Salad

And a handful of sweet pickles.  You can use dills, if you prefer, but I think it’s better with the sweet ones.

Pioneer Potato Salad

In a bowl, mix together about 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise and 4 tablespoons mustard (I used a stone-ground dijon here, but you can use what you like).

Pioneer Potato Salad

In a wee bowl, arrange about 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  I also added 2 tablespoons dried chives, for colour, as I was missing the green onions.

Pioneer Potato Salad

I also had another wee dish of dried dill, for garnish.

Pioneer Potato Salad

So here is my mis en place.

Pioneer Potato Salad

Mash your boiled potatoes.  I really like the colour combination of the white and yellow ones here.

Pioneer Potato Salad

Stir in your mayo/mustard mix.

Pioneer Potato Salad

Add in your eggs, onions, pickles, paprika, salt, and optional chives.  Make sure to scrape the bottom so you get everything mixed in evenly.

Pioneer Potato Salad

Plop it in a serving dish.  The best part about this potato salad is it’s good hot, warm, and cold.

Pioneer Potato Salad

Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and some dill, or whatever floats your boat.  It’s not elegant, but it’s good!

Pioneer Potato Salad

O Canada: Maple-Glazed Salmon

Maple Glazed Salmon

You won’t see too many fish or seafood dishes on here, because the Pie won’t eat them.  You can’t do a feature on Canadian cuisine without talking about Canada’s vast ocean resources, so I’ve kind of snuck this one in under the radar.  I discovered the recipe a few years ago when the Pie and I had two other roommates who were a little more into sea creatures than he is, and I made it often.  The plus is that the marinade works really well on pork chops as well, so when I make this I can make a piece of salmon for me and a piece of pork for the Pie and we’re both happy.

Maple syrup forms the basis of this marinade, but the lemon juice, ginger, and soy sauce give the sweetness a bit of a snap.  Quick and easy, too.  I pulled it from an issue of Canadian House & Home a million years ago.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup genuine maple syrup, 4 tablespoons light soy sauce (I used organic tamari), 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, and 1 teaspoon minced ginger.  This is enough marinade for 4 pieces of fish.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

You’ll notice here that I butterflied the porkchop I had, just to make it the same thickness as the salmon. That way I could cook them at the same time.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

Place your salmon* (or your pork) in a shallow dish and, saving about 1/4 cup of the marinade for later, pour the sauce over the fish.  Refrigerate that for an hour.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

Preheat your oven to 450°F.

While that’s heating up (mine takes forever), peel 2 very large carrots and wash 3 very small zucchini.  Or whatever ratio you prefer.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

Use a mandolin to slice the vegetables thinly lengthwise.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

Plop them in a pot with a few inches of water.  Add a generous pat of butter and some fragrant herbs, like herbes de provence.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes, until the carrots are all bendy.

Thinly slice up about 3 tablespoons scallions or green onions.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

Spray a glass dish and set your fish in it with a bit of marinade to coat.

Maple Glazed Salmon

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, basting halfway through with some leftover marinade.

Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with some of that 1/4 cup of marinade you saved earlier.  Sprinkle with the sliced onions. Drain the vegetables and serve as well.  Mmmmm … This makes up a little bit for the poutine we had last week, but won’t stand up in the face of what I’ve got planned for you on Friday.  Stay tuned!

Maple Glazed Salmon

*** THE END ***

*If you’re reading this asterisk-ed caveat, you got me: that is actually trout, not salmon.  It was in a big jumbled pile at the seafood counter and I picked it up by mistake, okay?  Sheesh.