food amongst family and friends

Summer Food Bliss June 29, 2011

Filed under: Appetizers,Make Ahead,Pork,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:50 pm
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This meal, and all sorts of variations on it, is pretty much my favourite part of summer, aside from the heat. Barbequed turkey burgers with Mango BBQ Sauce, on homemade brioche burger buns, topped with old cheddar and bacon jam (that’s right, bacon jam) with a side of beet and mustard greens straight from my garden, tossed with marinated artichoke hearts, a little feta, and a drizzling of balsamic vinegar. Summer food bliss at it’s best. The question is, which recipe do you want first, the buns or the bacon jam? My guess is bacon jam, which is from Dinner with Julie, so without further adieu . . .

1 pound bacon, chopped (the better the bacon, the better the jam)

1 small onion, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coffee (again, I would encourage good quality)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tbsp each, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard

1. Cook bacon in a heavy pot over medium heat until crisp, but not too crunchy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon, then drain off most of the fat, leaving just enough to cook up the onions and garlic.

2. Add in the onions and garlic and saute until soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add the bacon back in along with everything else and cook over medium heat for about half an hour or until deep brown and thickened to a jam like consistency.

3. Pulse a couple of times in the food processor to get a finer consistency (if you want).  Serve warm or cold. It was great on the burgers and on goat cheese on some baguette, but I can also see this being fantastic on some stuffed french toast or pancakes. Use your imagination and enjoy!


PS I froze half of mine, but I would be nervous to can it based on the meat. That said, you might have more canning experience then me, so do what feels right.




Rhubarb Chutney June 28, 2011

Filed under: Canning — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:34 pm
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It’s rhubarb season, and I am the proud new owner of a giant rhubarb plant that I inherited from a neighbour last year (thanks, Ren!), so its time to put this stuff to use. I’ve only recently become a chutney fan, but now that I’m in, I’m all in. This is a good one, very tart and spicy, perfect for serving with a pork roast or tourtiere. We had it on the weekend with some fresh baguette and goat cheese, which was really lovely as well. I’ll hopefully come up with a pork roast recipe for this one over the next few weeks and post it here, as I’m really wanting to taste test it that way as well.

As far as the canning part of this goes, just make sure your jars and lids are sterilized ahead of time, either in the dishwasher or boiling water, then keep them all hot (I use sinks full of boiling water) while you are filling the jars. Keeping the chutney at a gentle boil while you are filling will help as well, and this way they should seal without a boiling water bath, but if you are worried they won’t seal, a water bath never hurts anything. Just put them in a pot of boiling water, upright so the lids are covered in water, for 10 minutes. Then let them cool on the counter top. They should seal long before they hit room temperature and you can tell by the popping sounds that it’s working. Once everything is at room temperature, test the seals by pressing on the top of each lid, the sealed ones are stuck down, any unsealed ones will pop up and down with pressure.

Now, if my super casual instructions have you concerned, please go here (which is also where I got this recipe from) and read up on canning procedures, but remember that the biggest thing is to have everything really clean before you start and while you are doing it, and that all the jars seal.

8 cups diced rhubard

6 cups chopped onion

2 cups raisins

7 cups light brown sugar (and you really do need it all)

4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp salt

2 tsp each, cinnamon and ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp cayenne (this did not make it at all spicy, so if you want it a little spicy, I would at least double that)

1. Combine everything in a large, heavy bottomed pot. I used my enamel lined dutch oven, which was perfect. Bring to a boil and then let simmer about 45 minutes, or until slightly thickened, making sure to stir often to avoid scorching, especially near the end.

2. Pour into jars, wipe the rims, add the lids and proceed to hot water bath if you so choose.  Makes about 5-6 pints.




Crispy, tasty oven french fries June 23, 2011

Filed under: Quick and easy,Sides,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:07 am
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I know this isn’t particularly revelatory to everyone, but the first time I figured out how to pull french fries out of my oven that actually tasted like french fries and crunched like french fries, I was really excited. So I thought I would share my secrets, just in case someone out there has been trying to do the same thing. Plus, when you have kids, having the ability to make french fries that are equally as healthy as roasted potatoes is a skill set that you will never regret.

So, first thing, invest in parchment paper. Nothing gets crispier oven fries than parchment paper, not even the silicone baking sheets. Second, and this will sound strange, toss the potatoes with a little oil and sugar before baking; the sugar is key to getting them to crisp up properly. I always add some salt in there as well, and depending on who I’m feeding, some rosemary or paprika or chipotle powder. But the keys to good oven fries are parchment paper and sugar, everything else is just gravy.

4 thin skinned potatoes, scrubbed (or peeled, I’m just too lazy) and sliced into your favourite french fry shape

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Any other seasoning you enjoy

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.  Stir together oil, sugar, salt and seasoning. Toss with potatoes to coat.

2. Spread potatoes out on the two cookie sheets so they aren’t too close together and bake for about 45 min to an hour, depending on how thick you cut them and how many you have. Turn every 10-15 minutes. They are done when they are crispy and deeply browned on the ends and thin edges.

3. Serve with ketchup, or if you are a spice fan, banana sauce (looks like ketchup, made from banana peppers, so yummy)




Balsamic Chicken June 21, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Mains — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:06 pm
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I could fill my recipe book with delicious, easy, healthy recipes and I would still feel like I needed more. I just found the next one to jot down in the ol’ book (or blog). Paired with a salad, this is an easy peasy meal and I bet you have all the ingredients to make it in your kitchen at any given time. I served it with a tossed salad and this simple potato salad (which you should also try immediately, it’s divine), but I think next time I will opt for a fresh ciabatta to soak up the balsamic vinegar reduction.

I hope you like it!


adapted from ELS, this serves 3 adults (4 if you’re sissies)

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 t olive oil
1/2 large onion, sliced
salt & pepper
1 T (or more) dried rosemary
1 c balsamic vinegar
6 cloves garlic, bashed and chopped

1. Toss onion slices with olive oil in a dutch oven or casserole. Add chicken and a healthy dose of salt, pepper and rosemary. Pop it in the oven at 450F for 40-45 minutes (mine took 41), stirring a few times to stop the onions from burning to the bottom.

2. Bring the balsamic and garlic to a boil, simmering until it reduces to a syrup (or something close to that).

3. When chicken is cooked, give it a stir to loosen the onions and pour the balsamic reduction over top. Pop it under the broiler for 2 minutes and serve.


Peach Pie in a Sour Cream Pastry

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,pastry — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:30 am
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I know I’ve been on a bit of a dessert kick lately, and I meant to stop, but I ate a peach the other day that for no apparent reason made me think “Pie!”, like I was a cartoon character with a light bulb above my head. The strange part about this is I have never actually had or made a peach pie before in my life, but there was my thought bubble and I couldn’t get rid of it. So, since my husband requested grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries for his father’s day dinner, I figured the least I could do was a pie. And I happen to know that Meagan is the queen of pies, so I borrowed her recipe for the filling and used my favourite sour cream pastry recipe that I stumbled across years ago, wrote down and have yet to discover it’s equal. That said, I have no idea where it came from, so I’m unsure where to give credit, but thank you whoever you are, because before this, I was more of a filling than a crust girl. Also, while moving my grandmother last weekend, she gave me some enameled tin pie plates, and told me the best pies are made in metal pans, because they crisp up better. Not surprisingly, she was right. This is easily the best pie I have ever made or consumed. That’s all I’m telling you, now you have to make it for yourself, and do it while the peaches are in season!


2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup shortening (I’m a Tenderflake fan)

6 Tbsp sour cream (I admit I used greek yogurt this time and it more than got the job done)

1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles rolled oats.

2. Add in sour cream 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring a bit between each addition. Once all is added, turn out and knead a bit to get it to just come together, but don’t overwork it or the pastry will get tough.

3. Cover and place ball of pastry in the fridge until you are ready to roll it. Makes enough for one large double crust pie. (The trimmings made a nice little rough peach tart to deliver to the neighbours)


5 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (this was 5 large ones for me, but I would have a few more handy just in case)

1 tsp lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1/8 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp butter

1. To peel the peaches, x the bottoms with a paring knife, then drop them in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds. Remove them from the boiling water and drop them into a large bowl filled with ice water. The skins should come off of the ripe peaches quite easily at this point. I found the peaches that seemed slightly under ripe to be much harder to peel, so it’s best to get them at their peak.

2. Stir together peaches and lemon juice, then add sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

3. Preheat your oven to 450. Cut your pastry ball in half and roll out one half so that it is big enough to fill the plate and hang over the edges a bit. Make sure not to stretch the pastry to fit in the corners or it will shrink back.

4. Place in pie plate and fill with peaches. Dob the 2 Tbsp of butter over the top (this helps to thicken the sauce) and then add the second crust. Trim the excess pastry off the edge and pinch the crusts together. You can use a fork to decorate the edges if you wish or start harassing Meagan for pie decorating lessons, because hers are way prettier than mine.

5. Cut a couple of heat vents in the top and cook in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust with foil and turn the heat down to 350 and cook for another 35 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 30 minutes or so before serving.



P.S. I have often frozen both apple and saskatoon pies once filled and trimmed but before baking, so I see no reason why you couldn’t do the same here. That way you could have a fresh peach pie in the dead of winter. Just cover the pie with foil and then wrap in a couple of plastic bags and make sure you freeze it flat. I try to set it out about an hour before I want to cook it, so the pastry thaws a little, then cook the same (10 minutes at 45, then lower the heat) but a little longer on the end, maybe 10-15 minutes, depending on how it looks.


A Rainy Weekend = Oven Fried Chicken June 20, 2011

Filed under: Chicken,Mains — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:33 am
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Nothing like cold, windy, wet weather to make me want to turn my oven on and make some comfort food. Mom made this a lot growing up, but there has never been a recipe, just an idea, so please take this and make it your own. This is the first time I have ever measured the spices and they vary greatly depending on my mood and what’s on the spice rack; I know that in a pinch I’ve just used flour and a pile of Mrs. Dash (how to impress your new boyfriend by cooking at his house where Mrs. Dash IS the spice cabinet). Also, the photo is not doing this justice, I forgot to take the picture when this came out of the oven, so this is the uneaten piece, cold and alone – don’t base your decision on the picture, this is a tasty treat!

4 quarter chickens (or one whole chicken, cut into pieces, or whatever chicken pieces you like – thighs work well – just make sure they are skin on and bone in or you are missing the point of this recipe)

1/2 cup flour

2 tsp oregano

1 1/2 tsp garlic salt (garlic powder would work too, just make sure you add some salt to it)

1 tsp each, smoked sweet paprika, basil, rosemary, and thyme

1/2 tsp each, mustard powder, cumin, chipotle chili powder, smoked salt

1.Preheat oven to 375 and line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.

2. In a large plastic bag (make sure it is hole free), combine flour and all the spices. Add the chicken, close the bag, and shake to coat the chicken, making sure each piece is well covered.

3. Lay chicken out on baking sheet and place in oven. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your chicken pieces, using a brush to baste the chicken with it’s juices every 10 minutes or so.

4. Near the end, I usually pour some of the fat from the baking sheet into a sauce pan to make a gravy. If you have any of the flour combo left, use that to thicken the fat over medium heat (about the same amount of flour as fat) then add some water (potato water works great if you are cooking potatoes) or broth to get the consistency of gravy you want, add some salt, pepper, and worchestershire sauce to taste and serve.



PS This is not a healthy recipe, nothing about it is good for you, hence the term ‘comfort food’, but we can all be forgiven these transgressions once in a while, right?



Parisienne Martini June 17, 2011

Filed under: Drinks — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:51 pm
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I’ve realized that I’m not so good at finding, cooking and posting new recipes.  In fact, I love what the other gals post so much on this blog, there just doesn’t seem any other reason to stray outside of it except out of sheer guilt.  However, I am not afraid to try new drinks.  Soooo, I thought I’d post my new favorite. 

The main flavour of this is Creme de Cassis from Cassis Monna  & Filles, a company on l’Île d’Orléans in Quebec that is owned by a friend of mine and her family.  Along with running a beautiful restaurant, they make fantastic liqueurs and I’ve always been at a bit of a loss as to what to do with the bottles I’ve received from her whenever we visit.  Well, besides the obvious of pouring it over, say, ice cream, here’s one option:

 Creme de cassis

The Parisienne


1 1/2 oz Vodka (I prefer Grey Goose; the better the vodka, the better the martini)
3/4 oz Vermouth
1/2 oz Creme de Cassis, or to taste

Add plenty of ice to your shaker, top with alcohol, shake, pour, enjoy!  Can be garnished with a lemon wedge.  Cheers!  Ren