the See You Jimmy sandwich

Well, JJ got very perturbed at the fact that I have started foodie content on the blog without consulting him.

And JJ, when he gets perturbed, is a fearful character indeed…

So, I’m forced to reproduce his brand new sandwich recipe here.  However, despite my telling him that he needs a catchy sandwich title in order to capture the interest of the Food Network, he didn’t want to play.  I warned him that if he left me to my own naming devices, he might be in some trouble, but – more fool him – he trusts me.

So, here is the bored Scottish pensioner See You Jimmy Sandwich (drumroll and bagpipe whine, please).

1.  Take a fresh Scottish bap and cut it in half.

(No, we don’t usually store them on the oven burners.  And for those who have never seen a bap, it is simply a soft roll with flour brushed on top.  Use any bun or bread, but don’t tell JJ I said so, eh?).

I’m also not including instructions for cutting the bap/bun/other bread in half.  I reckon you’ve got that covered already.

2.  Slice some old cheddar cheese.

You know what the lovely part of this is?  Don’t bother buying the expensive cheese, especially if you live near a Loblaws. Try your no-name old cheddar instead.  I’m a bit of a cheese snob, but this one is better than that other Ag-ed brand that starts with “B” and costs twice as much.  Really.

3.  Slice some leftover ham.

Yeah, yeah, I know – that photo doesn’t look so fabulous on the burner.  But it was guid, really.  This was the rest of the Thanksgiving ham that my mommy made us.  JJ says that in a stretch, you can go with Black Forest ham or even that plain old cooked ham.

4.  Spread some of this liberally on the bap, on both sides.

What is this, exactly?  It is Greek sour cherry preserve.  I came back from the Greek deli with this last week all excited, and told JJ “what you do is put a spoonful of this in ice water, let it sit, eat it and then drink the water which is then flavoured with the sour cherry”.  He looked at me and said “Lassie, why wuid ah dew that if ah have whisky in the hoose???”.

But apparently he got all excited about it today and decided to use it as a sandwich spread.

5.  Layer the sliced cheese and ham on top, and eat.

That’s it.  Now, luckily this delicacy was made and consumed while I was still at work.  I must confess that I’m not in a hurry to try it.  However, it is imaginative and perhaps we can actually sell the concept.

And if we do, we’ll be millionaires, I suppose.  Goddess alone knows I’m not getting all that far with my endeavours!

So, where did the name come from for the sandwich?  From this guy:

Who is he?? A marker of the guy in Glasgow who was told “See you Jimmy…” (but not in a guid way… something like “See you Jimmy… yer gettin a kick up the arse”.  “Jimmy” is used as a generic name in Scotland, much like “buddy” in the US or “guy” here in Canada – or so ah’m telt.

In this regard, they sell “Jimmy bonnets” as joke gifts both in Scotland and here.

Hmm… now I’m hungry… mebbe ah’ll jest try one a them Jimmy sandwiches now!

Ahem… well, mebbe not.  But if you do try one, let me know how you found it!

Cheers,

Kristina

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election day!

For some reason, as the 15th election day in the last two years (just kidding – but it feels as though we’re going to vote once a month up here) dawned, I started getting anxiety attacks about ignoring my Super 10 stash.

Don’t let the cheery colours fool you – the yarn itself looks very forlorn.

All my fault, I know – especially since I haven’t had it living in the best of conditions:

Too busy to knit?!?  you frown, questioning my sanity.  In fact, I haven’t even been out shopping for yarn in the past… um… since the early summer!

To be fair to myself, I’ve been busy with a number of things, including trying to start up an award-winning foodie company.

Actually, I’m just kidding about that.  But don’t you love this lovely flavoured olive oil I made this weekend while at my mother’s?  She gave me some fresh rosemary, and I just couldn’t resist:

It tastes as good as it looks, too – I couldn’t wait the two or three weeks for it to infuse, so I did a quickie hot infusion instead.

I’ve also been clearing out the deep freezer and the (rather appalling) vegetable (hah!) crisper by making chicken/pork/chorizo stock:

… and even more stock – duck this time.  Fancy sounding, I know – but the duck, an impulse buy while doing some “shopping while hungry” at Loblaws (an ill-advised move):

And, of course, some more infused oil – using dried mint, which had, until recently, been growing until recently in my mother’s garden:

But the fear dread abject stupidity inevitability of another Conservative government…

(led by our Fearmongeringless Dictator Prime Minister, pictured here with yet another of his hapless – and choiceless – victims – and since when do you read to cats anyway?!?!?!)

…has caused me to break out into a perpetual cold sweat.  Which, in turn, has caused me to start knitting again!

For now, no lacy fripperies for me, though.  My goal is to get through all of the Super 10 stash pictured at the top of this post by 28 November, our moving date – making log-cabin blankies.

(Originally, I had thought about trying my hand at a fabulous mitered-square blanket, as inspired by Amy’s fantastic work-in-progress.  But hell.  I’m just too lazy.)

Think I’ll manage?

At the very least, it will give me something simple to do during the five or so hours tonight while we’re crying in our beers hurling the vegetables which were too rotten to put into the stockpot at the television watching the election returns.

Now, off to exercise my patriotic duty at the polls (and, in case you’re wondering why I’m posting at 1 in the afternoon, I always feel that election day is worth a day off and a few pints – in memory of the days when they still closed the bars on Election Day, if for no other reason.)

Happy Tuesday!

bubble bubble toil and… yum!

OK, OK, so it’s not a direct quote, and it doesn’t even rhyme. But it reflects how I spent a good part of the Labour Day long weekend…

Yup. The Mad Princess of Preserves is at it again, folks.

You see, I made the mistake of going to Loblaws on Saturday for…oh, toilet paper and other boring things. But for once they had some local Ontario produce going!

So, I had to buy about 20 pounds of plum tomatoes and 10 pounds of these Shepherd peppers. I’ve never really noticed these before – they taste like red bell peppers, but sweeter and better. So, my first thought was to try for some flavoured booze:

This, in about three weeks, will be Shepherdised Tanqueray gin. I have no clue whether this one will taste like anything you’d wanted to drink, but I had a bunch of Tanqueray left over from the recent party, so thought I’d give it the old college try.

This, on the other hand, I can hardly wait to crack open:

Iceberg vodka with Shepherd peppers and ten jalapenos with the seeds left in. Better stock up on those ulcer meds… I love pepper vodka!

I also decided to make some infused rice vinegars, one with the peppers and one with lemon and lime:

Then I decided to roast the hell out of the rest of the Shepherd peppers:

…and start making some real stuff. First, I made a whole lot of tomato sauce with roasted pepper, roasted garlic and onion puree:

That took care of about half the peppers. So, what to do with the other half?!?

Initially I wanted to try to make some tomato/roasted pepper low sugar jam. Unfortunately, however, I made the mistake of musing about this aloud, at which point JJ overheard and suggested very reasonably that I not make any more jam until some of the stuff I made some weeks back was gone.

When I say “reasonably”, I mean this of course in the Scottish fashion:

Ye daft wee lassie, what on God’s grrrrreen airrrrth would possess ye to make more jam?!?! Every time ah open the cupboards, ah almost get murdered by a flyin jar of jam. And ye doan’t even eat the stuff! Ye should go tek a long harrrd look in the mirror…

He did, however, have a point. So, instead I made…

… salsa! Three bloody litres of the stuff. It has tomatoes, the peppers plus a third major secret ingredient. I first premiered the secret ingredient salsa at my party to great accolades (I must say I was shocked – I had only come up with it at the last minute when I realised I had 5 million bags of nachos and no salsa as I had dumped all the salsa into the slowcooker with IKEA swedish meatballs in a panic…). That version, however, did not have roasted peppers.

If it turns out at all good, perhaps I will post the recipe here. Or, perhaps I’ll just send it to the Food Network and wait for the telephone call offering me my very own programme.

I also made a V8/coriander jelly:

… and rehabbed some former jellies I had made which hadn’t set properly, including this bell pepper one:

So, I think that was a guid weekend’s work, don’t ye?

Off now to premiere the fabulous new salsa with the colleagues work.

Happy Tuesday, all!


I’m still here…

…and I’ve aged a year since the last time you saw me!

This will be rather a lame post as I don’t have a lot of guid photos on my own camera.  They turned out blurry.  However, on my 38th birthday I convened a party of 40 plus people to celebrate both my birthday and my mother’s nameday. 

Where are the photos of my mother, you ask?  I’m not posting them because she actually looks younger than me.  No joke.  Those of my friends who hadn’t met her already were shocked that she was my mother.  

So, I’m posting a photo of our mystery guest in her place: 

She brought along some mystery gifts:

(I guess she didn’t know that I’m a knitter!)

I also got lots of other fab gifts, including these:

… and these:

… and these… 

This was despite the fact that I said “no gifts or you’re not getting fed”.  But the friends who brought the gifts all told me “We can’t really read… so we didn’t understand what your Email said”. I had to accept this and feed them anyway. 

There was a little mishap with the cakes in the photo with me above, by the way.  I managed to give out the wrong buzzer code to my apartment, which was a problem with the cake delivery that my friend and colleague KP had arranged for me and my mother.  This caused a bit of drama at the party… but then every party needs drama – and the cakes got here eventually, more joy to us. The cakes were amazing – and for those in the Toronto area they were ordered from She Takes the Cake.  And surely she does take the cake as they spent an hour trying to deliver the cakes before the mishap was made known.  Sigh.  

There are photos of the big spread that we prepared, but apparently not on my camera.  I catered 20 different middle eastern / greek dishes, my mother prepared a tremendous tiropita (greek cheese pie) and my friend Jennifer provided tofu kebabs which disappeared pretty quickly.   I will be boring you with all of those photos when I get them, no doubt. 

The “I’d like to bore you with photos of my food” will be made far easier once I manage to get this gift from JJ installed:

(I guess he got sick and tired of me saying “I have to print out it out at work!!”)

I also got this fabulous lawyerly gift from my mother, who got it from ECCO Shoes where she works (in case anyone is looking…):

… and she threw these in among other gifts:

We also acquired eight bottles of wine and 50 beers from various generous friends, so we don’t need to hit the LCBO for a week some time. Not to mention a fabulous cookbook from my friend MT at work!

So, I had the best birthday ever, really.  And since I’ve been away more than a week from here, I have LOTS to rant about in the current events realm but I will save it for tomorrow whenever it seems appropriate.

As for my family emergency – thank you for all the kind Emails off list!  The emergency is sorted now and everything is fine.  

I wish you all a guid week, and leave you with a parting recipe for two salads which were an unexpected big hit at my party.  

Baby Spinach and Pea Salad

(original idea for the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Naked Chef” book)

– 4 cups/1 litre baby spinach

– 2 – 3 cups green peas (fresh if you can get them, but frozen and thawed would work)

– 113 g/4 oz crumbled feta

Combine all of the above.  Dress with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice (the original recipe) or strawberry vinegar (my version).  Add salt and pepper to taste.  

Carrot and Orange Salad

(original recipe came from Claudia Roden’s book on Middle Eastern food, now out of print). 

– 1 1/2 lbs carrots, grated

– 2 tins of mandarin oranges, drained of all syrup

– 1/2 c lemon juice

– 2 T rosewater (which you can get at a middle eastern shop)

– 1/2 bunch of coriander (cilantro), ripped off the stems – don’t chop

– salt and pepper to taste. 

Combine all of the above in no particular order. 

A happy rest of the week to you all!

Regards, 

Kristina

the mad preserver strikes again!

Well, I couldn’t help myself. You see, I had to go to the local farmers’ market on Saturday to replenish our stocks of produce and fruit.

(And, of course, a wee treat for JJ: apricot loaf!

Looks decent, eh? It’s all gone now!!)

Then I got home and realised that I’ve been bringing in produce etc at a rate that JJ we just can’t seem to come up with.

What to do with all of the leftover stuff? Why, get my cauldron going, of course!

And find my special preserving outfit to go with the cauldron…

And… voila!!!

This one is blueberry and apricot jam with lemon zest and lime juice.  It’s my first effort in making jam without pectin, which just means that you have to boil the fruit mixture a lot longer.  There is also a little extra ingredient in there… cherry tomatoes (I didn’t have enough of the blueberries and apricots, so had to improvise.  Not telling my chief taster, JJ, about the tomatoes though!!!)

And here’s another experiment:

This one is mixed bell pepper jelly with rice vinegar and rosemary.  The experimental component: midway through I realised I didn’t have enough sugar.  So, I’m not sure it will set.  But what the hey…

I also had a heap of fresh herbs, so decided to make some Sassy Scarborough Fair oil.

Parsley, garlic, rosemary and thyme… with some lemon zest added.  The garlic and the lemon are the “sassy” components.  I don’t like sage.

So, please do wish me luck – and don’t tell JJ about the tomatoes, eh?

Happy Monday!  Today is a holiday for us up here – yippee, yahoo, etc!!!  No big plans although there will surely be some patio or other calling our names out later this afternoon.

when do I get my programme on the Food Network, anyway?!?

Now, I’m the first to admit that I can become rather obsessive about hobbies – none more than food prep right now, apparently.

This was my haul from my raid on the local library the other day. Sigh. My knitting has been suffering from this latest revival of Kristina Does Food… and More Food… and Still More Food.

The obsession leads me to do very odd things – like boiling vats of stuff for four five hours in 30C weather:

This was a cauldron of beef stock I made on Sunday after our little $230.00 foray to Fiesta Farms, my new favourite supermarket too (and, I hasten to say, JJs – he was personally responsible for about $150.00 of the acquisitions). They cater to Europeans like me, which means (among other things) that at any given time there are lots of humungous and dirt cheap cuts of meat intended for soups and stews, like the Tyrannosaurus Rex beef knuckle shown above at the top centre of the pot. Two beef knuckles cost $2.25 – and now I have four litres of stock, 14 consomme ice cubes and at least three cups of shredded meat for soup.

Mmmmm.

Now, while at Fiesta Farms I promised myself I would not buy anything to preserve this week as it was too hot. And – I didn’t! However, when excavating the fridge to find room for the new purchases, I found an embarrassment of berries which were past their prime.

So, what was a frugal food obsessive to do?

Why, make jam, of course!!! I call this KBs Secret Cherberry Jam. The “secret” bit is that little white blob, which is cheesecloth containing fresh rosemary and pink peppercorns. Yes, rosemary and peppercorns.

The household jury of one (JJ, of course – because you know what? I don’t even EAT jam!!) has rendered his verdict – two thumbs up. He didnae know about the rosemary – when I told him after he tried it, he said “That’s just weirrrrrrd, lassie”. I note, however, that this did not stop him from polishing off the better part of a 250 ml jar yesterday, though).

I was actually thinking of adding some of this instead of the rosemary:

Now, that would have been really weirrrrd, I decided. Also, I’m giving some away for gifts and I’ve found that rose water is something that people either love or detest. I’m sure some of this will find its way into some jar at some point, though – stay tuned!

Anyway, the recipe (my adaptation of a blueberry jam recipe in the Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving):

Put four cups of crushed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries and cherries – and yes, I know cherries aren’t berries – I’m trying for pithiness for once, OK?!) in a saucepan. Add one 57 g packet of fruit pectin, three tablespoons of lime juice, two large sprigs fresh rosemary and 20 pink peppercorns, and one half vanilla bean. Bring to a boil over high heat. Mix in three cups of sugar and bring back to a rolling (i.e. big raging) boil and let boil one minute. Pour into sterilized and heated 250 ml (one cup) preserving jars. You can either keep this in the fridge for up to one month or process by boiling for 10 minutes. Yields six jars.

But hark! Is that something else in a jar that you spy in the back row at the left? Why, yes. Having ranted on last week about crazy hot foods, I decided to try to make my very own hot sauce.

Basically, I boiled about one litre of leftover white wine I had let go to vinegar (my frugality knows no bounds. How do you think I pay for all that yarn?!), about an inch worth of rice vinegar I’d had sitting around for some time, and a cup of white vinegar for about 5 minutes or untit it reduced back to a litre (four cups, approximately). I kept it hot and put the following things into a heated 1 litre mason jar:

  • seven fresh long red hot chili peppers (I imagine you could use any type of pepper, really). The peppers that were too long to fit in the jar, I cut in half and then split both halves down the middle to release the seeds.
  • four cloves of garlic, cut into slices
  • four sprigs of fresh thyme
  • four green onions, cut to fit into the jar (just the bulbs and some of the green part)

I’m going to let this sit for three weeks or until it all turns red, whichever comes first. We’ll see what happens. But it looks purdy, though – doesn’t it?

Any day now, I reckon I’ll get a call from the Food Network offering me my own segment on how to recycle food. I promise I won’t forget my friends, though. Really.

Happy Wednesday!

a fable and some very pithy recipes

A wee introductory note

Well, it’s finally Friday!  And, because I’m feeling dragged out and rather lazy I thought I’d post a couple of blasts from the not-so-distant past.  Below, you’ll find – respectively – a little fable about some food-crazed Torontoian… and some of my special “Recipes in 25 Words or Less”.  They were both previously published on a food blog I set up one day when bored at work feeling even more inspired than usual.  I posted a few times on that blog and then remembered that I was, in fact, a lazy@$$ and didn’t feel like doing two blogs.

So, here it is – and my apologies to any of the three people who actually visited the other blog and have already read this crap.  See you next week with some brand-spanking-new stuff!

An Urban Fable

Once upon a time, there was a little girl living in a village. She grew up learning the Greek-Canadian art of How to Cook a Meal in One Week or Slightly Less at her mother’s knee:

So, it’s not all that surprising that she moved to the Big City as soon as possible and became a bachelor.

She never even needed to cook, as she was constantly surrounded by fabulous prepared food in abundance.

But, one day, the inevitable happened. She met someone. And that someone was not happy living on chips alone (very surprising, considering that he was from Scotland).

So, our heroine had to learn to cook again from scratch.

And although the Guy From Scotland was very happy with what she made (particularly with the beanz), she kept losing the can opener. Plus, she started to miss the foods from her home village.

However, being a busy person, especially given her predilection for ranting on and on, she did not have hours on end to prepare the feasts of her ancestors:

So she started reading food magazines and watching shows about food on TV to get some ideas. However, she was not the Ideal Hausfrau, and thus she ended up becoming completely depressed by her lack of kitchen perfection and shortage of high end kitchen gadgets:


Something had to be done, quickly. She was slipping back into her bachelor ways and – worse – losing her sense of humour.

Then, one fine day, she came across a vintage cookbook:

… and realised that her cooking could actually be a whole hell of a lot worse than it actually was.

This cheered her up. I mean, why make stuff that takes hours and look like this:

…when she could make stuff in 15 minutes that actually tasted pretty good?

So, our heroine started to see the light. She could now pass the high-end without bursting into tears…and actually started to go in and giggle at all the silly gadgets. She stopped coveting $50 balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.

And now, she’s become so confident with her anti-chef status that she would like to start sharing her inspirations tips and secrets with you, gentle reader. You, too, can have fun and turn out edible meals in less time than it takes a TV chef to depress the hell out of you.

And if your family doesn’t like it? Just tell them to get off their lazy @$$es and cook for a change.


Recipes in 25 Words or Less

In which Brouhaha starts trying to achieve her lifelong goal of publishing an entire cookbook on 4 double sided sheets of paper…

Soups

  • Tortellini soup: Put stock in pot. Bring to boil. Throw in tortellini. Simmer six minutes. Turn off heat. Add frozen veg and let sit three minutes. Enjoy.
  • variation: use v-8 juice instead of stock.
  • click here for the full Anti-chef recipe
  • Cock-a-leekie: slice and saute three leeks. Add three cups chicken stock and 1/4 cup barley. Simmer 45 minutes. Turn off heat and add frozen veg. Tasty.

Appetizers

  • Hummus: Blend one large can chickpeas, 1/4 cup each tahini (sesame paste) and lemon juice, one teaspoon cumin, one-half teaspoon smoked paprika, cayenne and salt.
  • Saganaki: slice kefalotiri (or romano) cheese 1/4 inch thick. Dredge with flour. Fry in lots of butter until golden. Serve with lemon wedges and bread. Opa!
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce: mix one cup chunky peanut butter, one tsp each cumin, hot paprika, and chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, salt.  Add hot water to desired consistency.
  • Garlic Puffs: cut one sheet puff pastry into squares.  Brush on garlic-flavoured olive oil.  Sprinkle lots of parmesan over.  Bake 20 minutes at 400 F.

Salads

  • Greek Surprise: chop one red onion. Let sit in lime juice 1/2 hour. Cube watermelon. Add feta, kalamata olives, fresh herbs, salt, pepper. Pour onion/lime over.
  • Fennel Citrus: slice one bulb fennel. Add one tin mandarin oranges with juice, one quarter cup white wine vinegar, salt, pepper. Dress with edible flowers.
  • Moroccan Chickpea: mix one can chickpeas; red bell pepper; carrot; one teaspoon each cumin, coriander; 1/4 teaspoon cayenne; two scallions; garlic; olive oil; lemon juice; salt.  Zippy.
  • Village Greek: cut tomatoes into wedges; salt heavily; let sit.  Add sliced English cucumber, three cloves garlic, chopped onion, cubed feta, kalamata olives, pepper, oil to taste.

Entrees:

  • Lamb Shanks Youvetsi: place lamb shanks in ovenproof casserole.  Add two cups stock, one large can tomatoes, one teaspoon cinnamon, chopped onion, garlic. Cover.  Bake two hours. Hearty!
  • Pasta with Burnt Butter: Heat four tablespoons of butter per serving of pasta in heavy sauce pan until it foams then turns brown. Remove from heat.  Pour over pasta.
  • Chicken a la grecque: Brown boneless chicken breasts. Add sauce grecque (one can cream of chicken soup, half can water, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper). Simmer half an hour. Yum.
  • Desperation Curry: Saute one pound ground meat with soy sauce, pepper, onion and garlic (powder will do), red wine vinegar and BBQ sauce. Serve with rice.
  • Perogies: Chop onion and bacon – saute ten minutes. Meanwhile, boil perogies in salted water until they float to top – drain. Saute perogies in bacon mixture. Mmmm.
  • Ribs Like Mom Used to Make: Cut ribs into pieces. Simmer in water with an onion for one hour. Brush with favourite BBQ sauce, cover, bake in hot oven 20 minutes.

Desserts

  • Boozy Trifle: cut stale cake or muffins into cubes. Put in bowl. Soak with booze of your choice. Mix in pudding or custard and fruit or jam.
  • Decadent Delight: got cookies and pudding packs? Crush cookies, layer with pudding in bowl. Mix in whipped cream or cool whip and freeze 20 minutes. Mmm.
  • Lemon Squares: crush shortbread cookies.  Add eight tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, some salt.  Pack into pan and let sit 1/2 hour.  Cover with lemon curd.

Bonus: Baklava in 50 words or less!!

  • Baklava for Lazy People: shred half pound phyllo into large pan. Mix in two cups nuts and half pound melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes. Let cool.
  • add syrup: bring one and a half cups honey, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup orange juice, two cinnamon sticks to boil. Pour over cooled pastry.
  • (I know this one’s a bit of a cheat… but I couldn’t resist!! And everyone loves baklava!)