here and there

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Deep Fryer

One of my weddings gifts finally hit the dust!  It seems amazing that I remember who gave me this gift!  Aunt Mary, my Mom's oldest sister gave me a Deep Fryer and I remember wondering what I would do with this as I didn't deep fry anything!  

Yet, over the years, I have used this time and time again and thought of my Aunt when using it.

For many years, I used it for Hot Pot!  This worked perfectly to keep the simmering broth hot in the middle of the table as we sat around it and cooked slices of meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles! 

Then when I started to prepare the traditional Christmas Eve supper, I found the recipe for Pampushky with poppy seed and prune fillings.  The deep frying was left to my hubby to do as I dreaded hot boiling oil!  For a long time, I used the wok to do this as it certainly uses less oil than other pots. 

Over the last couple of years, I have used this fryer for deep frying the delicious doughnuts or Tim Bits! 

This Christmas we hosted a Syrian family who loved helping and wanted to do the prune stuffed doughnuts.  Everyone took part! 

 Unfortunately as my husband was frying the doughnuts they took longer to do even though the temperature was set at 400 degrees.  Yesterday, I check the temperature of this fryer using a candy thermometer.  Sadly I will have to retire this work horse and not without thoughts of my Aunt!  Thank you a wonderful wedding gift and many great memories!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chili Lime Chicken, Calamari with Jalapeños and Vegetables, Dragon Boat Lettuce Wraps

After a weekend of cooking for a house full of guests, a stop at a local restaurant before driving my brother to the airport was most appreciated. Since we had just finished brunch and there was a two hour wait before leaving, we ordered three appetizers that all go well together and can all be wrapped in the romaine lettuce! 

Beer Can Duck, Wild Rice and Caesar Salad

Duck is a very rich tasting meat and was being thawed for Duck à l'orange before my  Birthday weekend and surprise guests.  To me, cooking a whole duck has always felt festive and extravagant.  

With all the many steps in making Duck à l'orange and after a long telephone call with my son and his children in the East, I decided to test out Barbecuing this duck as a Beer Can Duck.  I had found an excellent marinade for Beer Can Chicken on the Maple Leaf Packaging and uses this same marinade on the duck.  Well I winged it as I couldn't find this recipe but did use the following in the marinade: Sesame Seed oil, Lime juice, Five Spice powder, Garlic and hot Chilies.  

Into the can of beer, I had dropped a Garlic clove, Star Anise and the squeezed Lime.

The skin of the duck was crispy and the meat tender and moist.  My son was most anxious to flambé this duck! But I had other plans!

Mushrooms and Mixed Bell Peppers were roasted in a Cast Iron pan on the BBQ.    Garlicky Caesar salad was made as a side dish.

Wild Rice with Raisins and Almonds,  another vintage recipe was made as a side dish to accompany the Crisp Duck. The Wild Rice sweet, savoury and nutty dish is a perfect for Poultry.  In fact this was the recipe I used for stuffing for Cornish Game Hens at my daughter's Celebration Baptism meal.  

What better way to end a birthday weekend filled with family, fun and good food then with a Flambé Pudding!

Back back Ribs, Country Style Ribs and Shanghai Bok Choy

Baby Back Pork Ribs and Country style ribs were perfect to feed a crowd on my birthday weekend.  Both ribs were slowly roasted at a low oven temperature and finished off on the BBQ. The Back Ribs were covered with a Smoking Hot Sauce while the Country Style Ribs were brushed with a Honey Garlic sauce before barbecuing.

Garlicky and Spicy Caesar Salad, Creamy Asian Coleslaw and Grilled Shanghai Bok Choy were made by my Sister in Law and were most delicious with the pork ribs. 

The use of Cast Iron Pans worked to tie all the different dishes together and not to mention kept the food hot!   


Raclette refers to both the cheese and the maker. I hear about Raclette when first married and how you could heat a slice of Raclette Cheese in a cast iron until soft and serve it with crusty bread and a salad. The Chef, Brian Little talked about how a wheel of Raclette was hung in a fire place and slices of cheese were sliced off as they heated over the coals.  Although our Swiss friend disagrees with this story, I have found refer to this in the Family Circle ABZ's of Cooking. Raclette means "scraping"  and refers to the scraping of the cheese on to boiled potatoes. 

Raclette is a soft creamy cow's milk cheese that originated in Valais, the french speaking area of Switzerland. 

I have found that other cheese is as delicious; Cheddar, Emmanuel and Gruyere.  Our friends kids made grilled cheese sandwiches in the raclette pans or coupelles under the grill by the heat elements. 

My Matterhorn Raclette Maker is perfect for 8 guests and especially for unannounced guests.  There is a far amount of chopping and prep before the meal but once everyone sits down, it  becomes a leisurely and enjoyable meal as everyone cooks their own dinner. 

Although I did have roasted potatoes and slices of Raclette cheese, the focus of this meal was grilling a variety of Vegetables, Seafood and Tenderloin steak.

Appetizers and desserts for a birthday surprise party

Birthday surprises are fun especially when one's family has been planning the event for months! A lot of work went into coordinating this party resulting in a lot of text messages between my children and siblings! How wonderful and fun for everyone! My Grandchild was especially happy to be part of this and wanting me to try all the food! I learned later that she could not sample any of the food until the Guest of Honor did! 

 Hand held Apples pies were made by my daughter.

Granville Island Smoked Salmon on Dill cream cheese on Waffles

Lamb lollipops served on a mustard sauce.  

Lemon Cake with tangy Lemon Curd baked and decorated by my daughter

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sambusak, Zaartar Rolls,

How exciting to visit our new Canadians in their new Apartment and be part of their delicious cuisine! It was great to have an update of their first week in school!  According to the young boys, Canadian schools are must too easy. No daily homework assigned until 9pm!

Today, we sampled Freshly prepared Zaatar rolls and Sambusak along with a beautiful presented pizza and a Salad!

Sambusak are delicious savory Turnover filled with caramelized Onions and strips of beef cooked in Arabic spices! Outstanding!

Zaatar Rolls were popping hot and filled the apartment with a wonderful aromatic smell. Yes,  this is one of my favourite spices that I use for dressings and steak! 

The presentation of the salad was proudly served along with the newly learned English word "flower"! 

Yes, we definitely do eat with our eyes!

Pasta Casserole; Ma'Karonah bil Bechamel

This Syrian pasta dish is a neat spin on baked pasta casserole.  This dish was prepared for a birthday dinner for one of the boys who turned eight in the new year.  


Ground lamb was sautéed in Olive Oil, along with chopped white onion, garlic and Arabic spices, such as Cinnamon, Cardamon, Curry, Turmeric, Black Pepper and Salt.

Tomato paste and a can of crushed Tomatoes were added to the meat mixture and simmered to develop flavors.  Again the sauce was adjusted to taste by added some of the spices below!

Penne was cooked, drained and half of the penne was added to a well greased casserole pan.  The meat sauce was then spread on top of the cooked pasta. The rest of the Penne was spread on top of meat sauce.  Béchamel sauce was poured on top of the Pasta.  Mozzarella was sprinkled on top of the sauce.. The casserole was baked at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly with a golden top! 

In making the Béchamel Sauce, about 1/2 c of butter was melted and about 3 cups of milk was added and heated. Flour (1/2 c) was added into this and whisked until blended into the sauce. More milk was added for the desired consistency!

The birthday boy enjoyed a Lava Cake with whipped cream topped with a Maraschino Cherry