A Tuesday Night Supper

I haven’t done a food post in eons. And now I’m thinking I have to reinstitute Dalectables.  I’m thinking about it. Oh, and don’t worry, this won’t be one of those super cheery blah-de-blah; step-by-step with twelve photos of the same thing.  No, no, this is not one of those!

Just like blog post ideas, so go ideas on what to make for supper (for the umpteenth day in a row).  And by go, I mean by the wayside.  Sometimes, just like the wannabe post where I write one line with the intention of coming back to it later, I buy an ingredient for a specific recipe only to find its less-than-desirable self in the back of the fridge.  Sometimes, like the line, I manage to use said ingredient in another way, thereby not wasting it.  And sometimes, I actually use it in the way I wanted to.  Or almost.

I had a head of cauliflower in the crisper drawer, slowly de-crisping and becoming more, let’s say frumpy. (And I don’t know about you but with the price of groceries, this is NOT the way to go.)  I have been wanting to do a recipe since forever and tonight was the night!  Of course, I could not find that recipe for the life of me… so, as I usually do, I went to the trusty Google and entered the ingredient I wanted to use.  BOOM! Oh wait, that’s not it. Ooohhh… but I have everything I need for THAT recipe.  It’s a go!  And, while it might be a supposed main course, I knew that my kids would not buy it so it was going to be a perfect side for the marinated chicken thighs – that I actually remembered to do this morning before work.  I am on FIAH!  Okay, let’s not get excited.

And, take that Jamie Oliver… I, too can have a fabulous meal done in thirty minutes!

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks With Romesco Sauce and a side of Marinated Chicken Thighs.   So, thank you, Martha Stewart, your recipe was delightful.  And thank you, Dale Rogerson, your marinade turned out delish (not that I can ever make it again coz it was some of this, some of that and…)

Ta dah!

Just Roll With It

“I try not to make plans. Because, even the best laid plans etc. etc.”

Author: Brent Spiner

My plan for Sunday was rather easy.  Get up (always a good way to start the day), have a coffee, eat some breakfast, have a second coffee, then get my heinie outside for a good walk.  Upon my return will deserve a nice bowl of my veggie soup, take a shower, prepare supper, pick up my mother, enjoy our meal, drive her back, relax and go to bed.

As Sundays go, it started off nice and slow.  Slept in until 9 (never mind I was awake from 2 till 5).  Stoked the fire and made myself a cup of coffee.  Got onto the Interwebs to catch up on my readings.  Ate my bowl of Raisin Bran by 10, continued reading and next thing I knew it was past noon.  Well, dang.


If I was going to walk for any reasonable time, I’d have to eat sooner.  Continued reading and commenting and whatnot and then around 1:30-ish, had a small bowl of soup, then dressed up to go out.

Shovelled the back porch and along the back of the house up to the side gate (must have all exits free from snow, in case). Once that was done, grabbed my camera and was off.

After the cold we had on Saturday, Sunday felt positively balmy!  Off I went in the direction of  my willow, planning to keep walking until I reached the discovered secluded walkway.  I got to the first park and decided to take a pic of the play area as this week’s theme in my photo group is “a touch of blue”, and there is blue on the monkey bars.  I slid-shuffled across the skating rink, passing by a lady who was clearing the snow off the rink.  I took a few pictures then noticed a flash of something on my camera….

“No card in camera”.

What. The. Fuck?  What an amateur move! I completely forgot that I had taken a few pics of the sky from my living room window the evening before, uploaded them into my computer. Where I left the card. Sonova–

I grumble and take out my cell phone to snap a couple pics.  Would have been a grand day with the camera as the day was beautiful, for sure.

However, there was no way in hell I was lugging my camera bag without being able to take pictures!  Get a sore back for nothing? No.  So I turned around.  As I crossed the park, I thought, hey, all is not lost, I have lots of time. I shall go home, change and go back out for a run.  Once I turned on the next street, the wind in my face determined otherwise.  The day was bust. I just wasn’t feeling it, anymore anyway.

So I took my shower then slowly started preparing my supper. It was nice to not feel rushed.  Chopping and sautéeing and browning. It’s when I feel the most zen.  Just as I was putting my coat on to leave to pick up my mother, Iain’s CAA arrived to boost his car (dead battery).  I told him that, since he had to drive his car to get his battery full, it would be a wonderful idea if he could go and get his grandmother.  He agreed.

We had a lovely and simple Sunday dinner.  To be repeated!  I made my “Chicken à la Tuscan à la Dale” – one of those recipes that I actually wrote down.  (Years and years ago, Mick asked me to please stop winging it and write things down so that I could potentially repeat the good stuff.)  Of course, I never follow it, but the fact that I wrote it down means that I potentially remake it sorta-kinda the same way (ish).  It just so happens I was looking for this recipe to share with someone else – and ended up not doing so coz I never did get around to sending out Christmas cards in which I was supposed to include a recipe on a 3″ X 5″ index card; said index cards that I actually bought for the occasion and will be potentially used next year – so it was top of my mind when I asked Mom if she wanted dinner.

Plans are great and all but hey, when they are broken, doesn’t mean all is lost!





When You Just Can’t Do Another Chicken Noodle Soup

As many of you who read me know, I’ve been sick since Wednesday night and since then whining, whinging, sharing my woes with you.  You have all been remarkably kind and patient and your get-well wishes have been more than well-received.  I promise I’m on the upswing and will no longer bore you with my sickies!

I have missed my last two days of work at the club because of it. Yay! I mean, I’m so sad…  Yes, I am very sad about it. I believe the worst is over but I took no chances and decided to NOT go to a comedy show I had tickets for tonight and that way ensure I not share my germs with anyone else.  Besides, even if I were to sit isolated in a corner, every time I would laugh, it would be guaranteed to be followed up with a coughing fit and no one wants to be THAT person! So here I am.

I am completely chicken-souped out.  Seriously. Don’t show me another bowl. First I made (coz, yanno, I’m the mom so no one makes it for me, right?) the chicken broth, most of which was frozen but some kept to make Chicken with ginger and rice.  It was pretty darn good, I kid you not – enough for one of my kids to sneak a bowl or two…

Then yesterday, that first batch finally done, I remembered seeing a Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup box in my cupboard! YES!!! THAT’s exactly what I wanted. I was gonna make a batch, and stracciatella it by adding a beaten egg or two. Woot!  Open the cupboard. Damn. Gone. Sigh.

So, I made my own, of course.  I had the broth, I had the noodles. I had the eggs.  But of course, I decided to add a few itty-bitty veggies to it, coz, I just can’t help myself.

Now that is all fine and good. And between the lemon-honey-ginger teas and chicken-variation-soups, I needed me something else tonight. Plus my throat could take something with more texture by now.  I could have heated some leftover pork tenderloin but meh.

I’m still on an empty-the-fridge mission.  However, on Thursday, despite my feeling like crap, I had a hair appointment I did not want to miss so on my way home, I did a mini-get-only-the-necessities purchase spree.   This has given me a few more options.

I was in the mood for my take on Pol Martin’s “New York Style Croque-Monsieur”, which, to be honest, is a grilled cheese plus extras.

It should start off with decent bread, ok, I had some multi-grain sliced bread that was gonna be just fine. It needs cheese, preferably a gruyère or Swiss – I had Jarlesberg, black forest ham, bell peppers (both purchased with this sandwich in mind) and fresh cracked black pepper.

So, the first step is, one must cook the bell peppers in butter (I prefer the yellow, orange or red as they are sweeter) till they are soft but not mushy.

You then build the sandwich very specifically:  bread, cheese, ham, peppers. lots of cracked pepper, cheese bread. Don’t forget to butter the outside of each bread slice!

You then fry up this delicious sammy like you would any grilled cheese.

Once perfectly toasted, cut in half and try not to eat too fast…

Why the black pepper, you ask? Adds spice to the sweet of the peppers and ham. The cheese needs to have some personality to come in and give a slightly tangy bit to hang with both the sweet and spicy.  All I can tell you is the flavours play with your tastebuds in a most delicious manner!



What’s In My Tin? Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins


This NaBloPoMo thing has me all buggered up for my usual series!  The days slip by and I find myself wondering where to slip in a post not related to the Prompts!  I then end up doing two posts in one day and I worry that I exaggerate!

Soooo… as mentioned in the last edition of What’s in My Tin? I have left the apples behind and now give you healthy Banana chocolate chip muffins.  I’ve even added some nuts for texture.  Why not? They can be switched in or out, the chocolate chips increased or just nuts, up to you and what your family likes.  I like to put half and half as nuts are healthier than chocolate chips and I get no complaints from the Peanut Gallery.



What’s not to love in that glorious mix of bananas, chocolate chips and nuts?  Even if it is the healthier version, my kids don’t even notice (or is it because Mom is always trying to give the healthier version and they’ve just gotten used to it?)


You can get the full recipe here.  Enjoy!

A visit to Dalectables Is In Order

Hello my friends!

For those of you not in the know, I have another blog solely related to food, food, food!  The preparation, the recipes, the video tutorials (OK, still partly under re-design) but still accessible.

Please go and check it out!

Simple Marinara Sauce

While there, you could subscribe and see the site as it transforms, bit by bit!

Thanks and have a most excellent day!

A Stroll Down Recipe Memory Lane

Sometime during our breaks in yesterday’s tapings – we did have to wait for items to cook – I showed Laurie-Ève (my camerawoman for the day) my recipe book & magazine collection and explained to her that my love for cooking and entertaining really started when I was 18-19 years old.   Just to give you an idea…. here are most of them!

(Ummm…. Hello, my name is Dale and I am a Cookbook-a-holic….)

Recipe books
Where was I?  Oh yeah.  My boyfriend at the time had introduced me to the magazine called “Sel & Poivre” (Salt & Pepper) and I used to buy it religiously. I don’t think it exists any more.  I pulled out a random issue, dated Jan/Feb 1989 (L-E wasn’t even born yet!!!) – one that had survived  “the purge” – to show her that it was a great magazine for a neophyte cook such as I was at the time, as the recipes were pretty simple to follow.

As flipped through the pages, I landed on a recipe I hadn’t done since forever.  Oh yes!  I knew then and there that I was going to be making this particular recipe in the near future….

The future was tonight!  Can you imagine?  Shrimps flambéed in brandy on a Wednesday night!  Why not?

Shrimps Flambéed in Brandy
Dang…. if you squint, you can see a little of the flames on the upper right quadrant of the frying pan! Let’s just say it is a tad difficult to be the chef AND photographer at times! And I had to hurry up before the flames went out. Ah well… you get the idea!

2013-11-13 18.45.33
Added a little brown basmati rice and some steamed broccoli and voilà! Dinner in 20 minutes (and that’s ‘coz the rice is longer to cook!)

For those who may be interested, here is the recipe:

Shrimp flambéed in Brandy

1 leek, white parts only, sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 lb of shrimp (they say not to peel them but I hate having to peel my shrimp in my plate – so I peeled them!)
Salt & pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 Tbsp dry white Vermouth (I only had dark so I used it)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Pinch of tarragon
4 Tbsp Brandy, warmed
Fresh parsley for decoration (oops! totally forgot to add it!)

I peeled my shrimp and sprinkled them with salt & pepper and tossed them
I did not have any regular olive oil so I just used the extra virgin

Heat olive oil in frying pan and sautée leeks for 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Heat extra virgin olive oil with the butter on pretty high heat. Add shrimp and toss to cook quickly until they are pink.
Add garlic and reserved leeks (and if you didn’t toss the shrimp with salt & pepper, add it now)
Lower heat and add vermouth to deglaze (scraping the bottom of the pan to get any delicious stuck bits) with a wooden spoon. Add thyme and tarragon and allow to reduce for a few seconds.
Sprinkle warmed brandy over the shrip and, using a long match, flambée.
Garnish with the parsley and serve with rice and veggie of choice, if you so choose to do so.

It’s Soup Time!

I am a soup-lover. I could eat one every day but, it seems to me you need to have a little bit of a chill in the air to really enjoy them – especially the hearty kind.  But then, maybe that’s just me.

I went out for a walk with the pooch Tuesday morning and you could actually hear the falling leaves landing on the frozen ground!  Alrighty then… we have just gotten a reality check! We are “Falling Back” with the clocks this coming Sunday which is a definite sign that winter is just around the corner.

Morning chill

Morning chill

That means it’s soup time!  That heart-warming, feel-good meal that I love so much. I set to work.

I was in the mood for a lentil soup so I went through a couple of my standard cookbooks, compared recipes and then finally made my own!

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced, keep leaves for garnish
2-3 garlic cloves, slice or chopped
2 cups of lentils, rinsed and picked over (I use Dupuy as they keep their shape well)
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock, or water)
3 cups water
1 can whole Italian tomatoes, hand-squeezed
Large bunch of kale, stem removed, and chopped

Heat olive oil in stockpot and gently sautée 1st four ingredients until soften but not browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add lentils and mix around to warm up, about 5 minutes. This allows the lentils to get coated in the mixture of oil & veggies. Sprinkle in seasoning.

Add stock and water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and gently cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes or so – the lentils must be softened but still al dente and not mushy!

Add hand-crushed tomatoes, chopped kale and leftover celery tops (if using). Bring heat up to a low boil to cook kale, verify seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of wine vinegar.

Guaranteed to warm up your tummy!

Inspired by Lidia

Yesterday morning was my annual physical so I could not eat breakfast at my usual time.  By the time I returned home from being poked and prodded, I was starving. Didn’t even want to take the time to toast a piece of bread so I poured a bowl of cereal and turned on the boob tube.  I ended up on TLN and Lidia’s Family Table was on.

It was a pasta special.  Hubby was sitting with me while I was watching, turned to me and said:  “You gonna make pasta for lunch?”  I answered that it was silly.  I make pasta for supper, not lunch!  He returned with “You can’t make me watch a special on pasta and not make me some! That’s just being mean!” Please note that if it were up to him, he would have pasta every day…

Soooooo…. what the heck?  I went through my cupboards and fridge and realised that I had pasta but not the corkscrew kind; I had beans but not the cannellini kind, I had cheese but not the Grana Padano kind.  Hmmmm, what to do?  What I always do – improvise!

So I made Lidia’s “Cavatappi with Sundried Tomatoes and Cannellini Beans” but MY way!

Adding the cheese & parsley

Adding the cheese & parsley

Bow Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Red Kidney Beans

Bow Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Red Kidney Beans








It turned out quite tasty (despite my using whole wheat pasta again!!) and I will be trying the official recipe in the near future.  For now, here’s my version:

Bow Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes and Red Kidney Beans

1 375g box of whole wheat Bow pasta
5-6 Tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced + some of the oil
1/4 to 1 tsp chili flakes, to taste
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
2-3 ladles of pasta water
1 cup grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese
1/2 to 1 cup chopped parsley

Add pasta to boiling salted water (must taste like the sea!) and cook until just shy of al dente (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce)

In a large skillet (I used a chicken fryer), heat the olive oil and add garlic, cook until soft but not browned, add sun-dried tomatoes, a bit (1-2 tbsp) of the oil from the jar and the chili flakes, salt and pepper, stir to heat through. Add beans and stir until all is heated through. Add 2-3 ladles of the pasta water until desired thickness is achieved. Bring to a boil and the reduce to a simmer.

Using a spider ladle

Remove pasta directly from pasta water (shake some of the excess water off) into the sauce.

Mix well and just before serving, add cheese and parsley. Mix once more and serve.

Should serve 4, if you’re reasonable!

Cheap and Delicious

It is possible to eat a good meal on a small budget. Sure this recipe can be done with filet mignon or some other beef cut but let’s face it, we don’t always have the cash to splurge and frankly, when hamburger is on special, I stock up on it and try to find other ways to use it except spaghetti sauce meatloaf or burgers! Here’s my attempt to make it more interesting.

I always go for the extra lean meat and, much to my family’s chagrin, I usually use whole-wheat pasta as well. My son was not shy in stating that this meal would have worked so much better with white pasta! Whatever. My job is to try and feed this bunch in the most healthy manner I can. For that reason, I also replaced the usual sour cream with Greek yogurt and hoped to heck it would work! It did!

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

1 package of no-yolk, whole-wheat wide noodles (you can use the regular egg noodles)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1.5 lbs lean hamburger
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
4 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
2 cups beef broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup Greek yogurt (you can use sour cream, if you choose!)
Parsley for garnish

Bring water to a boil, salt it and add noodles to cook until al dente.

While noodles are cooking, heat large skillet on medium-high, add olive oil and brown meat, stirring regularly to ensure even browning. Add onions and mushrooms and cook for a good 5 minutes, until onions and ‘shrooms are soft. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Sprinkle flour over the meat and mix to blend in. Add broth, Dijon and tomato paste and mix well. Bring to a boil then lower to simmer, allowing mixture to thicken for about 5-10 minutes or so. If necessary, add some pasta water to the mixture. Add yogurt and blend well.

Serve sauce over noodles and sprinkle with a little parsley (if you’re feeling fancy!)

Hope you enjoy!

Another Apple Story…

I returned to my friend’s gorgeous apple orchard Le Verger des Dix-Terres to help him pick the last batch of apples. He had about a dozen or so trees to liberate. What a glorious day to do so! Just the right amount of heat, the sun kept peaking in and out of the clouds, and, even though the clouds decided to “share” their bounty, in reality, it barely misted us.

Most of the orchard had been cleared out: Flemish Beauty pears, Cortland, Redcort and Spartan apples. What was left were the Liberty apples and a few trees holding onto the most delicious, juicy, crunchy and sweet Honey Crisp Apples!

Verger des Dix-Terres

Verger des Dix-Terres

We worked for a good couple of hours before being treated to David’s most excellent burgers. Energy replenished, we went back to work for another three hours or so.

Iain working hard

Iain working hard

I must agree with hubby – one must have utmost respect for farmers of all kinds. They work their butts off! Those baskets we used to pick become quite heavy – especially when you are on your tenth one! I knew I would be feeling it the next day in my shoulders and upper back. I even ended up with small bruises on my thighs from resting on the ladder as I reached ever deeper into the branches.

In payment, we were given oodles and oodles of apples! Here comes more jelly!!!