here and there

Friday, September 11, 2015


My recent thrift find is a beautiful book by Sarah Raven called In Season, cooking with vegetables and fruit which looks at the fruit and vegetables that are available in the different seasons.  I have started reading this book at the August section. I came across this recipe in the September section. 

I could not resist picking up more beautiful peppers that are still available at a new Italian Supermarket for $1.49 per pound 

The peppers are preserved in Vinegar and Olive Oil which is a traditional bottling technique in Italy.  This book explores many different preserving techniques which I am interested in trying.


1 pound peppers
1T pickling Salt
2T white sugar
1 c Vinegar 
3/4 -1 c Olive Oil

The peppers were roasted in my oven for a half an hour at 350.  I did add a splash of  Olive oil. 

The roasted peppers are placed into plastic bag to sweat and then be peeled.  I did skip this step and did not cut the peppers into small strips as the Habaneros are small and wanted to leave them whole! 

The peppers are placed into a sauce pan along with sugar and vinegar and cooked on medium for 5 minutes.

The mixture is then placed into a jar that has been sterilized, 

Olive oil ( 3/4 c to 1 cup) is added and the jar sealed.   The jar is wrapped in a thick cloth to cool slowly for a couple of days which according to the author will be safely preserved. 

The mixture will keep for a year, but when opened refrigerate the peppers.  

The peppers are used with meat or cheese. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Lasagna, Peach Galette and Antipasto for a family supper

My cousins were driving in from Ontario on a cold, damp and rainy Labor Day weekend.  My hubby has been asking for a lasagne and this was a perfect time to make two casserole; one for Sunday dinner while freezing the other one.

Add a base of tomato sauce before layering the noodles.

My husband makes a meaty spaghetti sauce using ground beef and pork along with Italian sausage.

Frozen cut leave spinach that had been thawed and the water pressed out is added to the middle layer.

 Cottage cheese is added over the spinach to give a creamy layer.  This middle layer is a family favorite.

Yes, there is no need to parboil the noodles as the noodles cook in the steam and do absorb some of the liquid in the sauce. The casserole is covered with foil to trap the steam to cook the noodles.
 Use regular dried noodles as the prepared parboiled dried noodles lack flavor and are gummy when cooked.  

The lasagna is baked covered with foil in a 350 oven for about 30 -45 minutes.  Shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan Cheese is added and browned in the last 5 to 10 minutes. 

Having stopped at the new Italian Supermarket close to our home, I purchased small amounts of a variety of pickles, olives, prosciutto (dry-cured ham), mini Bocconcini, blue cheese, green grapes and smoked trout along with some crusted bread!

For dessert a Peach Galette, freeform crust using puff Pastry, but one could as I often do is make a pie pastry and use the rustic method as above! 

This picture is for my dear cousin, Aline, in Manitoba.  My youngest grandchild is almost 6 months old here.

My granddaughter loves to play dress-up at our house. She has a variety of princess outfits but at present prefers the Snow White costume.

Our dogs, especially Kasper, loved the visitors! 

Safe travels through the Rocky Mountains, Banff, Jasper and back home!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Macaroni and Cheese Buns

Macaroni buns seem outrageous but are delicious and great for any summer picnic.  Macaroni in a bun were a hit with the young and old!

Again, there are many versions of this. Some just use the mac and cheese mixtures and place it into a muffin tin.  I used my own bread dough that I rolled out thinly and then scooped a heaping teaspoon of the Mac and Cheese.  I also used a wonton wrap with the Mac and Cheese filling. These were lighter and would be awesome for a party, served with Fresh Tomato salsa!

The recipe I used is my favourite Mac and Cheese recipe

I made a roux, added hot milk and whisked until the mixture thickens. I used cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese..  You can stop here and have a fondue! 

The recipe is very much like my Grandmother's, only she would have used cottage cheese for her Baked Macaroni casserole.  As a kid, I loved my grandmother refrying slices of the Mac & Cheese the next day with an easy over egg for breakfast!

Mac and Cheese recipe
 elbow macaroni
3 T butter
3 T flour
1-1/2 cup milk 
2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated,
2 eggs
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

  • Cook the macaroni and drain well
  • Made the white sauce. I use my microwave to melt the butter, add the flour, whisk, beep for a few seconds, add  the heated milk, whisk again until the mixture is thick.  This is all done in a couple of minutes.
  • Add in the shredded cheeses, stir until melted.
  • Add in the beaten eggs, pinch of salt, nutmeg
  • Stir in the cooked elbow macaroni

Using mini muffins that have been sprayed, a 2 inch cutter was used to cut the bread dough that had been rolled out.  

I found it easier to place the macaroni filling holding the cut dough. The weight of the filling if placed into the dough while in the tray would pull the dough down in the cup.  This way, you could pull the dough up over the filling and prevent a mess if the cheese bubbled over!

Above is Mac and Cheese in a Wonton Wrapper

Having some dough and Mac and Cheese left over, here is what we had for supper that evening!  Along with Pork patties and veggies cooked in my Cast Iron pan on the BBQ. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Lacto Fermented Hot Sauce

The City Palate Harvest September magazine edition is full of preserving recipes.  The Lacto fermented hot sauce can be used in stews, soups, taco or salad dressing, fresh or aged.  
I have always wanted to do this recipe and found that the new Italian Supermarket close to the house carried many varieties of peppers, from sweet to hot habanero.  The recipe calls for one pound of hot peppers and I used a pound of habanero peppers.

The peppers were washed and the stems removed.

Using a food processor, pulse the garlic and hot peppers until a coarse mixture.  Add honey.  

  Add salt and water

Transfer mixture to a quart jar and loosely screw on the lid. Let sit at room temperature for 4 days. Stir the mixture everyday.

Day 0ne, 

Day 2

Day 3

finally something brewing!

Fermented Hot Sauce

  • 1pound of hot peppers
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 T of honey
  • brine (1 1/4c water and 2tsp kosher salt)

  • 1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Homemade Sriracha Jerky

In my collection of recipes, I have from a cousin who was a hunter and fisherman recipes of dried and smoked meat and fish.  Each recipe has evolved as he tested the different recipes and modified the recipes to his liking.  His handwritten notes are scrabbled beside the recipe.

Last week, a recipe appeared in our Metro Newspaper and I decided to make it. I have been craving beef jerky!

1/2 c unseasoned rice
1/3 c Sriracha sauce
1/4 c Brown sugar
minced garlic
1 lb sirloin 

The beef was cut into strips and placed into a plastic ziplock bag along with the marinade.  Work the mixture into the beef. 

The mixture was placed into the refrigerator and left for 2 -3 days. 

I did use the dehydrator in my oven, but one can set the oven to 200 and check at 2 hours to see if done.  I lay the strips on to parchment and half way I did place the strips on a grate. 

The jerky is done when it is dry and bends without breaking. 

Not sure I liked the taste of this jerky, it seemed to need more kick to it and lacks salt.. 
Like my cousin I guess I need to experiment and keep notes!