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Friday, October 26, 2012

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Canadians face this question far before our American counterparts. But regardless of geography, the same question faces us all.... "It is Thanksgiving and I am invited for dinner. What should I bring?"

Normally, there are so many duplications of ingredients at a holiday event such as this. At a Thanksgiving gathering, this equates to all varieties of sweet potatoes, variations on stuffing, and pumpkin laced desserts. So, for those who want a slight break from tradition and who want to ensure that their flavours stand out from the rest, the question becomes:  "What can I do that is still festive but not going to add another level of "same" to the mix?"

The first decision to make was savory or sweet. In this case, I figured that people would choose to bring savory, transporting their family's traditional side dish to the shared table. So, I chose sweet.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Honey Garlic Pork Loin Roast

I have to admit something. I haven't been eating beef-- for the last month. And it has everything to do with the e coli contamination and recall of so much beef in Canada.  It has just turned me off of all beef. I feel bad about it. I really do. Because I shouldn't be punishing all the great beef farmers and processors out there. But I just can't eat it. At least, not right now. I am sure it will pass eventually.

In the meantime, I am eating a lot of pork. And chicken. And pork. And when I have company, I cook some kind of pork roast.

Roasts are easy for big groups of people because they take a little preparation, and then the oven does all the work for you while you entertain your guests. Normally I would alternate between beef and pork, but like I said earlier, I just can't do beef right now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baked Salmon with Oregano Lemon Crust

People say that tuna is the chicken of the sea. I understand why... because it is readily available and extremely versatile. But to me, salmon is my chicken of the sea. I guess that's because in British Columbia, it is always available fresh and I find that you can flavor it and cook it so many ways. It is meaty, has just enough fat ( just like chicken) and is just so delicious. 

By far, my favorite way to cook salmon is steamed whole, Chinese style with ginger, green onions and soy. That definitely has something to do with my mom, who always cooks fresh salmon that way. It's healthy, flavorful and comforting.

I also enjoy salmon simply baked with dill sauce or grilled with lemon and thyme. There are just so many ways to enjoy salmon!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beef Stew

My husband requested beef stew the other day. So, I went out and bought everything that I needed to make stew.  After a bit of thought, something occurred to me.... the stew that I was thinking of may not have been the stew my husband was thinking of. I mean, usually when he requests something particular, it's a dish that his mom used to make and he wants me to try to recreate. But beef stew? With potatoes, carrots and tomato? Never seen him mom make that! So, I thought I would ask.

And I was right. He was actually thinking of something similar to Blanquette de Veau (French Veal Stew) or some kind of slow cooked meat in a brown sauce and starch on the side.

Oh well. With the ingredients already in the fridge, I decided to go ahead with a traditional (well, by North American standards) beef stew.

Despite the fact that it wasn't what my husband had in mind, he loved it. And so did I! The ultimate comfort food!

Friday, October 5, 2012

How to Cook a Turkey? Happy Thanksgiving!

I first referred to cooking a turkey in one of my earliest posts called How to Cook a Chicken? And in this post, I actually reference turkey as being the bird that introduced me to the method I now use frequently: Breast Side Down.

What, breast side down?? Yes, that's right. Regardless of how you season your turkey, if you stuff it or don't stuff it, cooking a turkey (or a chicken) breast side down is the key to the juiciest bird you will ever eat. 

As I said in my earlier post... "I love turkey, but as a child, I never really liked the breast meat (unless I smothered it in gravy) because I always found it too dry. That is, until one day, I asked my mom to cook the turkey breast side down. My mom asked me why I wanted her to do this. After all, having a nice, golden breast sitting up on a platter is generally how you serve, then proceed to carve, a turkey during the holidays. It's tradition! I explained to her that I thought if she flipped the bird over, the breast would soak up all the juices dripping through the turkey and into the bottom of the pan, and would soak up the flavors of all the aromatics she used to put in the roasting tray. So, she trusted me and she tried it. The result? A very tender, juicy breast and since then, neither she nor I has ever looked back!"

That was probably almost 15 years ago. And every bird I have cooked since then has been breast side down and amazing.