Enchiladas With Cheese and Chili

February 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Posted in Food, Recipes | Leave a comment
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I made these Monday night after debating what to do with Sunday’s leftover Stooperbowl Chili.  Gawd they were good.  Definitely will be making them again.  I really wish I took pictures, but I didn’t know how they would turn out so I missed that step.  Will document it next time I make them and add it to this post.

First things first … the basic Chili recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons Pre-made Chili Seasoning blend
  • 1 Lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 Onion, diced (more for garnish)
  • 1 very large clove or 2-3 small cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 can sliced Mushrooms (sorry, there’s something about the canning process that makes me love these for Chili and Pizza – wouldn’t touch them otherwise). If the mushroom slices are too large, dice them
  • 1 can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed (less ‘Chili Gas’ that way!)
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn, thawed or nearly so
  • ½ small tin (think can of condensed soup size) Mexican style Tomatoes with Chilis (heat level up to you), the one I chose wasn’t hot but added flavour
  • 2 Jars prepared Pasta Sauce (we use Ragu Original)

Method:

  • Place ground beef into heavy bottom Dutch Oven, sprinkle two tablespoonsful of the Chili Seasoning over the meat
  • Fry ground beef over medium heat until almost cooked through, drain well and return to pot
  • Add third tablespoon of Chili Seasoning over the meat and mix well. If you like more spice, add another tablespoon of the Chili Seasoning
  • Add chopped Onions and continue frying until meat is completely cooked through and Onions have softened, about 5 minutes
  • This seems weird, but create a hole in the middle of the meat, add the Garlic to that hole and leave it until it starts to cook – you have to watch it, or it can burn quickly. Once the Garlic releases its aroma and begins to cook, stir it into the meat mixture. Let cook an additional 5 minutes
  • Add the chopped and diced Mushrooms, stir and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add the Tomatoes and stir
  • Add the Kidney Beans and stir gently
  • Add the Tomato Sauce, stirring well to combine. Heat over medium heat (#4 on my stove) for several hours, stirring occasionally.  Add the Corn.
  • Pour a ladleful into a soup bowl, top with diced onions, sour cream and shredded cheese if desired. Serve with crusty buttered baguette or corn muffins and a big glass of ice-cold Milk!
  • Save the leftovers (about 4 cups) for the enchiladas!

For the Enchiladas, a really easy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 250 gr shredded Medium Cheddar
  • 250 gr shredded Monterey Jack (or Pepper Jack) Cheese
  • 1 ½ cups Milk (at least 2%)
  • Several grounds of black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup AP Flour
  • ½ of a large Anaheim Chili Pepper, deseeded and deveined, small diced.  Use a Jalapeño if you like more spice
  • 6 Large Tortillas (I used regular, but if you prefer a different flavour, go nuts)

Preheat oven to 425°F

If you don’t know what an Anaheim Chili is, think of it as if a regular Bell Pepper and a Jalapeño had offspring.  The nice thing is, I can actually eat these – even though they have the basic taste of a Bell, they don’t have whatever it is in them that I’m allergic to!  They’re usually the Chilis used in Chili Rellenos.

 

Method:

  • Shred both Cheeses separately and set aside
  • Heat the leftover Chili to hot, then turn off heat and keep warm
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan
  • Add the Anaheim Chili (you can use Jalapeño if you prefer more heat), and let it fry to soften while the butter is melting, about 5 minutes
  • Add the flour and stir to combine, creating a Roux
  • Cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste and finish cooking the Anaheim Chili Pepper
  • Add the cold Milk, ½ cup at a time, whisking after every addition. Wait until the first addition thickens before adding the next or you will overwhelm the flour. Careful not to let it burn
  • Add several grounds of black pepper and stir
  • Heat to bubbling
  • Add the grated Cheddar by hand until completely melted and incorporated, stirring well after each addition. Set aside
  • Spray a rectangular heat-proof container well with vegetable spray, then add a bit of the cheese sauce to the bottom, spreading it around, so the tortillas don’t stick.
  • In assembly-line fashion, using a quarter cup scoop to portion. Place two scoops of Chili in each Tortilla. Top with the shredded Monterey Jack (or Pepper Jack) cheese
  • Roll each Tortilla and place seam side down in baking dish
  • Repeat the process until all the tortillas and filling are finished.
  • Top with remaining cheese sauce and shredded cheese
  • Place on Middle rack of oven for 30 minutes, rotating once half-way through cooking.
  • During the last 10 minutes, flip the oven to broil. Keep an eye on it and remove when the cheese sauce has browned slightly.
  • To serve, top with a dollop of Sour Crème and diced onions if you like – or nothing if you prefer

Note: it’s helpful and easier if you put the oven proof dishes on a baking tray first – easier to move around in your oven and to take out when finished.

Damn these were yummy. 🙂

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To My Donut, on Her 12th Birthday…

February 6, 2019 at 12:31 am | Posted in Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I said to you tonight, ‘what will I do when I have no more kids in single digit ages…?’  You stopped.  Raised an eyebrow at me quizzically. Then you giggled.  That wonderfully-evil-I’m-up-to-no-good-mom, little-kid giggle which I adore.  Don’t ever stop giggling…

This year has flown by again, my Donut. You keep growing.  We all want you to stop it. You amaze me, kid.  Keep it up.  Sorry, I’m not so talkative tonight, but you know I’m so proud of you.  I hope you have an amazing day 🙂

Love you to the Moon and back.  Happy 12th Birthday to my littlest-little one.  Stop making me feel so old…


When You Can’t Find That Slip of Paper With the Chili Recipe…

January 27, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Posted in CKD, Daddy-O, Food, Kidney Disease, Recipes, The Crap that Men Do, Transplant | 1 Comment
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When Alex started Dialysis ten years ago, we had to cut down on our salt intake.  All those years ago, I searched for recipes that had little or no salt, little or no Potassium, yet had flavour.  I found a recipe for Chili seasoning on the Davita website (great recipes for people with Kidney disease), but they took it down a while later.

I had the mixture written on a piece of paper, stuck on the fridge and used it whenever my mix was low to replenish my supply. I panicked this morning because I couldn’t find the piece of paper, and I hadn’t committed the recipe to my blog yet.  Luckily I found it because I’m making Chili this afternoon.

The recipe makes a small container-full, so you can use as much or as little in your chili as you want.  Add more chilis or spices to create your own blend.  Keep in an airtight container for months.  Good for Stooperbowl parties or just on a cold Winter’s day like today.

The nice thing about this blend, although it has no salt, you don’t miss it because if you use jarred tomato sauce, that tends to have more than enough salt in them already.

I cringe when watching the Food Network’s celebrity chefs adding ‘a pinch of salt’.  I think they need a new dictionary because some of them use a small palmfull instead of a pinch… :-S

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp Chili Powder

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Tsp Onion Powder

1 Tsp Cayenne Powder

1 Tsp Oregano

3 Tbsp Cumin

3 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1/2 Tsp Chipotle Chili Powder

1 Tsp Hot Hungarian Paprika

Place all ingredients in an airtight container and shake to combine.  Use two Tablespoons when frying the meat, plus a few more added to the sauce to your liking. Shake container before using if it’s been sitting a while.

 

Sandwich Shortbread Cookies…

January 2, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Posted in All Things Doodle, Food, Recipes | Leave a comment
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Just when I thought these cookies couldn’t get better… they did.

Lexy made us a winderful dinner last week as an assignment for her Food and Nutrition class.  She made my recipes for Scalloped Potatoes, Ham and Shortbread Cookies (which is an embellishment of my Mom’s Shortbread).  For the embellishment, she chopped some Chocolate Covered Almonds and added them to the main recipe.  They turned out fantastic.  I was really proud of her, she did a wonderful job making dinner.

After dinner, I was eating one of the cookies and had an idea to sandwich them with Ganache, so that’s what I did with the second log of Cookie Dough leftover from Saturday.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the Ganache Frosting, duh, but this is how you make it. So easy.

Ganache Frosting

– 1/2 Cup 35% Whipping Cream

– 8 oz Baker’s Semisweet Chocolate

Heat the Cream to a simmer and turn off heat.  Break Chocolate into pieces and add to the Cream.  Stir until combined.  Pour into a bowl you can use for an electric mixer and place in the fridge for at least an hour or until completely set.  When set, using a whisk attachment, whisk the mixture on high until the colour changes and the frosting is airy.  It will resemble Chocolate Mousse when it is ready.

Match up cookies so they are approximately the same size.  Spread a bit of the frosting on the bottom side of one half, then top with the bottom side against the frosting.  Twist the halves together to seal them, but no so hard as the frosting will ooze out.

Refrigerate the cookies for at least an hour before consuming.  I suggest a cold glass of Milk or a cup of coffee to go with it.  They are sublimely rich and just one should be enough to satisfy any sweet tooth… I hope you enjoy. 🙂

Another Year Bolder…

July 12, 2018 at 12:38 am | Posted in All Things Doodle, Birthdays, Family Ties, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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Hi Babes.  It’s your Birthday today and I know you know that because you’ve been dropping hints for a while, and constantly reminding me that you’re 15… I remember being 15 and you are sailing through it so much better, and more gracefully than I did.

You won’t let me hang onto that amazing little kid that stole my heart the first moment I met her.  You are growing so strong and so beautiful, and I’m so incredibly proud of you every day.  You excelled again in school this year, though I’m not surprised 🙂

I wish I was with you today, but it’s only for a few days. I hate that I can’t be with you today, but sometimes life doesn’t give us easy choices.  My darling Doodle, I hope you will always be happy and you get everything your heart desires.  Please slow down a bit with the growing up; remember your Mom’s in constant denial… love you Babes, to the Moon and back.  xoxo.

 

When You Need a Chocolate Fix…

July 1, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Food, Recipes, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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I’ve been looking for the ultimate Brownie recipe, one like I had at the Sheraton in Saskatoon.  It was fudgy, chewy, chocolatey and had a great crust and insanely satisfying. If you’re ever out that way, I recommend trying one.

It’s hard to find a recipe like that when you don’t know what end result tastes like.  I found a few that I may try and will let you know if I’m sucessful.

What I did find though, was a yummy Flourless Chocolate Torte.  The great thing about this recipe is you don’t need a mixer and it takes no time to make.

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Pre-heat oven to 375°F.  Spray an 8” pan well with Vegetable Spray, cut a circle of Parchment paper and place on the bottom of the pan and then spay the Parchment paper.  If you don’t have an 8” cake pan, you can use a 9-9.5” Springform pan like I did but the cake will be thinner.

Ingredients:

1 cup (about 175g) Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter

Pinch of Salt

1/2 cup Cocoa

3 Eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 Tsp Vanilla

3/4 cup granulated Sugar

Ganache:

1/2 cup Whipping Cream

1 cup chopped Bittersweet Chocolate

Pinch of Cinnamon (optional, I love Cinnamon flavoured Chocolate)

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and chocolate and microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minute(s) at 30 second intervals, until the Chocolate is melted.  Microwaves can scorch Chocolate easily, so be careful.

Beat the eggs lightly in a separate bowl.

Add Sugar and stir until combined.  Add Salt, Vanilla and Eggs, stir until combined.  The mixture will have a really weird consistency, kind of gooey, but that’s what you want.

Add the Cocoa Powder and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until a thin crust forms and it is slightly gooey in the centre.  A baking thermometer should read 200°F when inserted in the centre of the cake.  With the 9.5” Springform pan, it was done after 22 minutes.  The texture was almost ‘Brownie-like’.  Cooking it a minute or so less would leave the centre softer, more like a lava cake.

Cool the cake on the counter and run a knife around the sides after 10 minutes.  Let cool completely, then remove from pan and refrigerate.  When the cake is complete cool, heat the Whipping Cream to almost boiling (it should be steaming and small bubbles will form around the edge), remove from heat.  Add Cinnamon if using and the chopped Chocolate.  Stir until smooth.  If the Ganache seems too thin, add some extra Chocolate.  When the Ganache has thickened and cooled slightly, pour on the top of the cake.  If you have any spare Chocolate, use a veggie peeler to make shavings and place on top of the Ganache, because as Lexy said, you can never have too much Chocolate 🙂  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Serve with Summer ripe Berries (wish I had some) and Whipped Cream.  Happy Canada Day 🙂 Enjoy!

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The Best Cheesecake… Ever

April 8, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Food, Recipes | 2 Comments
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Lemon-Lime Cheesecake on a Shortbread Crust.  Do I have your attention yet?  It’s bliss.  If you don’t like citrus, omit the juice and double the Vanilla.  Perfect with Summer-ripe Strawberries and Whipped Cream.

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 400F.  Mix Butter and Sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add Flour and mix until crumbly.  In a 9” Springform pan (I line mine with foil and spray with veggie spray), press crumbs onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Chill for 10 minutes then bake for 15 minutes until the crust is golden.  Remove from oven and let cool on counter.  Reduce oven temperature to 300F. (Forgot to mention this in the original draft) Add a pan of hot water on the rack below the one you will put the Cheesecake on – this creates a humid environment that Cheesecakes love 🙂

For the filling:

  • 3 packages room temperature Cream Cheese (I use Philadelphia Brand, it’s the best).
  • 4 eggs, also at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Zest and Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • 1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream (unwhipped)
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch

Mix Cream Cheese until fluffy.  Add sugar and Cornstarch, mix well until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add Eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition only until incorporated, scraping down bowl after every two eggs.  Add the unwhipped Cream and Vanilla, zest and Juices.  Mix until smooth.  Fold in the whipped Cream and gently incorporate until just blended.  Pour over cooled crust.

Bake for 70 minutes, turning half way through baking time (if you don’t have a convection oven).  Turn off the oven and DON’T open the door, leave the cake in for another 1/2 hour.

Cool on a rack, run a knife around the rim to loosen the cake, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but it’s better when left overnight.

Enjoy!  More pictures to follow, as I forgot to take any this time!

Well. There’s Always Hope…

March 7, 2018 at 12:53 am | Posted in Depression, Family Ties, Miscellaneous Crap, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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It’s late, I know, but I have to write this down to get it out of my head so I can sleep. Lavender Oil is NOT working tonight…

This year marks the third year since my Mom was first put into a Nursing Home.  Mom, who is suffering from advanced Dementia, used to be a fabulous cook, a great Grandmother (and a Great-Grandmother too), and was someone who fiercely loved her family.  She was many other things too that would take a whole other column to write down.  Now she’s a shell of her former self.

She didn’t plan on living her golden years in a place where she’s lost her freedom and her memories too quickly.  I honestly think that there’s an epidemic among our seniors where they fall into frailty soon after leaving their homes.  I don’t think they wouldn’t be as far gone as they are if they could just stay at home.  The decline in her mental health, so rapidly, is alarming.

There is this one resident who keeps trying to get into my Mom’s room, thinking either that it’s her own, or that it’s ok to go in.  My Mom hates her.  I was standing in the hallway, waiting for my Mom to roll out this past weekend, and this resident approached me.  I was blocking the entrance to my Mom’s room so she couldn’t go in.  I said ‘hello’ and she gave me a big smile.  She told me how much I had grown and would I like to go home now?  I could go in the car with her if I really wanted because I was a good girl.  This woman that my Mom hates is really very nice.  She obviously confused me for someone else, possibly one of her own kids.  She seemed lonely.

When my Sister first brought my Mom to her new home, my Dad was already there and only had months left to live.  They had been married for almost 56 years, and she couldn’t stand to be apart from him.  She was depressed when she was lucid.  When she was having an off day, it didn’t really matter.  The main concern was her safety.  She forgot how to use the stove, and couldn’t remember how to make toast.  Food in the fridge was still good, according to her, even though it may have been long past it’s prime.

Soon after moving into the Nursing home, she forgot how to use the phone.  Whenever she would call me, if I wasn’t home to answer and the call went to voicemail, the recordings were just like those annoying overseas telemarketers… ‘hello?  hello?  Hello!?’.  Now she doesn’t know how to call anyone.  I remember at first it was a combination of funny and frustrating.  ‘Ugh Mom, it’s voicemail, leave a message’.  She would wonder why I’d be so upset.  She didn’t understand.  Most of the time she doesn’t know who I am when I call.  She doesn’t understand the concept of ‘daughter’.  She knows I’m close to her and she loves me, but sometimes I think she just sees me as a nice person who calls.

When she first moved in, she was able to walk, and would do daily laps around the circular corridors inside.  She wouldn’t go outside unless my Brother or I were with her. She didn’t feel safe.  I think she knew she would get lost.  She’s in a wheelchair now.  She no longer has the strength in her legs to hold herself up for more than a few seconds, her muscles have weakened through lack of use.  She falls every couple of weeks.  The last time left a bruise on her cheek from her face colliding with the floor.  ‘Oh it’s nothing’, she says, wondering what all the fuss is about.

Before my Dad passed away, she was very protective of him. She had to know what everyone wanted, and he had to sit next to her all the time.  ‘So I can keep my eye on him’, she’d tell me, quite seriously, paranoia already creeping in.  Every morning, she’d pull his wheelchair into her section of their joined rooms, whether or not he felt like sitting there.  She was the boss.  They would watch TV.

After my Dad passed, she mourned him and to me, she seemed so small and vulnerable. She was alone now.  Stuck in that place forever.

After a while she moved into a private room and seemed to enjoy it.  Flowers were growing on her windowsill.  Her TV sat on a very old Telephone Stand that my Dad restored years and years ago.  Pictures of her family, mostly my kids, were hung everywhere.  If there was a blank wall, she’d fill it with pictures.  She no longer recognizes herself, or most others for that matter, in pictures.  ‘Who’s that?  Do I know him/her?’  Now she either overwaters her plants to the point where a litre or more pours out when I empty them in the sink, or they dry out and wither because she forgot to water them.  She used to have a green thumb.  We always gave her our plants to nurse them back to health.

It saddens me the most that she’s nearly completely forgotten my Dad.  She just glances at the pictures, no longer showing the same interest in pouring over every detail of my kids’ faces, or remembering the time my Dad got his foot caught in the snowbank in one of my favourite pictures of him.  Or the birds that would come to visit on their balcony outside the house they loved deeply for 30 years.

When she first moved in, she was comfortable in her new room and would love to go on outings organized by the home to local restaurants or fall fairs.  We used to find her in her room on our days that we visited.  Sometimes she would be watching TV, sometimes she would be napping.  Now she waits.  The TV hasn’t been turned on in months.  The digital photoframe I got her for her first Christmas there hasn’t been turned on in over a year.  Now she sits in the entrance of her doorway, her neck is always craned in the direction of our approach, but I don’t think it’s us she’s waiting for. She’s waiting for something, maybe it’s hope.  Hope that soon she’ll be able to leave, whether through a transfer to a home closer to her kids, or in the same manner my Dad left…

When she first moved in, although she repeated herself often, her sentences were coherent.  She remembered a lot more.  She could hold a short conversation.  Now she mostly speaks in gibberish, frustrated with her lack of communication.  When she can get the words out, it’s usually in German, a language she hasn’t really spoken since she was a young lady.  She still has good days though.  Those are the ones I cherish the most.  She tells me over and over again how much she loves me, and is so thankful when I call her.  I don’t want to end up that way.  It terrifying hoping you don’t share her fate.  When I forget details, I worry – is this the start?  My body aches and I see myself turning into my Sister who was crippled by arthritis, and that scares me because I once vowed I’d never turn into the miserable hag my Sister was; yet I see the signs.

I too need hope.  Hope that there’s a brighter future in store.  Hope that someday soon she can transfer to a closer facility before she completely forgets us.  Hope that one day it will be better.  I cling to that hope.  It gets me through the day.

Almost Mom’s Goulash… And Cucumber Salad

March 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Posted in Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment

We went to see Mom yesterday, and it made me think of the Goulash she used to make. Needless to say, I had to make it for our Sunday dinner tonight.  Mom was an amazing home cook.  She was self-taught and it was always so good.  This recipe is based on the one she used to make for us, at least once a month when I was growing up.  As a kid though, I didn’t appreciate it as I do now.  She always served it with her version of a Cucumber salad, made with just four ingredients, most of which you likely already have in your home.  Mom never used Paprika, which is why this is ‘almost’ her recipe.  It’s really good nonetheless, warm and comforting.

Take the weekend off from counting calories and enjoy…

Goulash:

  • 1.5-2 pounds beef roast, steak or stewing beef, trimmed and cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 large Onion
  • 1 Roma Tomato
  • 1/2 Hot Chorizo or similar sausage, cut into 1/4” slices
  • 10 Black Peppercorns
  • 2-3 Cloves Garlic, peeled, smashed but not chopped
  • Red Chili Paste (optional)
  • 1-2 Tsp (Sweet) Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp (or to taste) Hot Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 Tsp Coarse Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/4 cup good quality vegetable oil
  • 6-8 packages of reduced Salt Beef OXO
  • 1/4 cup Bisto Beef Powder (the Gravy Maker!)
  • 1/2 cup AP Flour
  • Enough cold water to form a Slurry – a thickish, runny liquid

Several hours, or even the night before if you can, cube the beef and season with all of the seasonings listed above, except peppercorns.  Add 1 Tsp of the Chili Paste. Stir and Refrigerate, covered until ready.  The seasonings above are approximate – if you ever asked my mom how much pepper she put on the meat, she would always say ‘to taste…’, which was mind-numbingly frustrating.  Season the meat well with the sweet Paprika and the Garlic Powder – it’s ok to be a little heavy-handed with those.  The rest are a good approximation, as I shake the seasonings directly onto the meat in batches, stir it up, then add more.

In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil, peel and crush the garlic cloves.  When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the smashed garlic and gently brown.  Remove the Garlic from the oil and reserve.

Fry the beef in small batches so it doesn’t end up losing heat and boils the meat.  Brown on all sides and remove.  Add the next batch and continue until all the meat is browned, but not cooked through.  Add the sausage and brown as well in small batches until complete. Remove sausage – eat as a snack while you’re cooking the rest of the dish.  It’s not needed in the final product.

Skim off excess grease from the pan, but careful to leave the fond (the highly flavourful, brown bits of meat, seasonings and juice which is left at the bottom).  Add the meat back into the pot.  Coarsely chop the fried smashed Garlic and add to the pot.  Quarter the Roma Tomato and add to the pot.  Quarter the Onion and add to the pot.  Add the Peppercorns. Fill the pot with water, approximately 1/2 full or at least 1” above the level of meat.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  When the liquid begins to boil, add the OXO and let simmer for several hours.

The nice thing about this dish, is you can use cheaper cuts of meat.  Braising the meat for hours creates an incredibly soft, flavourful piece of meat.  Usually I’ll start the frying around noon, then by 5:00 it’s ready to finish.

When ready to finish, the onions and tomatoes should have broken down – discard the Tomato Skins.  Ensure the liquid is boiling.  In a cup or container, mix the Bisto and Flour together, then add the cold water, stirring or shaking to remove lumps.  Usually I pour this through a strainer to ensure there’s no lumps in the gravy.

Once the liquid is boiling, slowly add the slurry, ensuring you stir or whisk constantly until thickened.  The consistency should be similar to a stew, nice thick gravy, not runny.

Serve with Potatoes of your choice, Rice or Egg Noodles… and, of course, Cucumber Salad. Reheats beautifully and tastes even better the next day. The flavour is delicately peppered, producing the most delicious feeling of ‘back heat’ in your throat.

Cucumber Salad:

  • 1 large Cucumber, sliced thinly on a Mandolin
  • Table Salt (quite a lot, not exactly sure how much)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Miracle Whip (again, not sure exact quantity)

Begin by peeling and removing the tips of the Cucumber, discard.  Using a Mandolin, thinly slice the Cucumber (not your fingers).  Place 1/2 of the Cucumber in a bowl that will have room to mix later, and heavily salt.  The only way I can describe this, is to use more salt than you would think you need – after you stir, the cucumber should taste VERY salty.  This is good. Add the rest of the Cucumber, and salt again.  Stir well and place in the Fridge, covered for at least 1 hour (longer is better).

The idea is to draw the juices from the cells of the Cucumber – kind of like making Pickles.

When ready to make the salad, you will notice that the Cucumber is now sitting in a lot of juice.  Drain into a colander lined with Paper Towel and remove as much of the liquid as possible.  The salt will have left with the juice, and the Cucumber tastes remarkably less salty.

Add several rounds of freshly ground Black Pepper and a big scoop of Miracle Whip, or fake Mayonnaise.  Stir.  You will have added enough Miracle Whip if it is gloopy.  Yes, that’s a technical term.  This is not a salad for someone watching their calories.  Serve with Goulash. Hint, it’s even better if some of the Goulash gravy just happens to spill on the top of the salad.  When I was a kid, I figured it would end up this way, so I may as well try it.  It works. Well.

I hope you enjoy these two dishes as much as I do.

Tonight, I served the Goulash and Cucumber Salad with roasted yellow and sweet potatoes, parsnip and onion mixed with a drizzle of vegetable oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Yum.

1 + 1 = 11…

February 6, 2018 at 12:03 am | Posted in All Things George, Birthdays, Caityisms, Family Ties, My Kid is a Donut, Sisters, Toeses and Noses | Leave a comment
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When Caity was born, it was still the Year of the Dog as the Chinese New Year hadn’t yet occurred.  Her Dad, Sister and myself were all born under the sign of the Ram.  Caity, I’ve always said, was born to herd us.  She has been doing exactly that for the past eleven years.

Today is her eleventh birthday.  Eleven.  I can’t handle that so I prefer to think of her age in numerology terms, two (11 = 1 + 1 = 2).  A two-year old Caity I can handle and that would mean Lex is five and I’m happy in my fantasy world….

Every year as I watch her grow, both in height, and in character; I realize how lucky I am to have her in my life.  Although Cait adores her Dad and her Sister, she’s always been bonded with me.  As much as I’m sad to see her growing up, growing away, not quite needing me as much anymore – I’m so happy to see what she’s become, although I still miss those 4 year-old toes, and 4 year-old nose.

Cait, my beautiful girl, I love you more than words can say.  I’m so proud of you and I look forward to see what you become.  I just hope you don’t lose your quirky charm, it’s a very special part of you.

Just do me a favour and slow down a little bit.  Life passes by in a heartbeat and I’m not ready to watch you grow up just yet.  To me, you’ll alway be that little monkey who would cling to my legs when you were unsure of your surroundings.  You’ll always be the four year-old who always saved her very best smiles just for me.  You’ll always be that two year-old who would carry George around by his neck everywhere you went.  You’ll always be that kid who wouldn’t let me enter a room because you were working on a special drawing for me and it was a surprise.

I’m so glad you still love to cuddle when we watch movies, though more often than not I’d fall asleep through them.  You still have all of us wrapped around your finger.

Happy Birthday, my littlest-little one.  I love you more than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.  Xoxo

 

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