Supper Sunday: Pretending it’s Summer with Steak!


I don’t know about you all, but I am pretty much over this whole ‘winter’ business. I mean snow can be pretty and whatever, but I have found that the weather in Southern Ontario so far has left much to be desired. I mean an ice storm over Christmas? really?

Anyways, that said, I have taken to staying indoors and pretending it’s summer as a coping mechanism! And the best way to do that is to enjoy my favourite summer dinner: Steak & mushrooms with salad!

 Mmmm so delicious- Just how I like my steak, medium- rare and covered in delicious fried mushrooms.

Ideally I would BBQ the steak, but as it is about -20, I opted for pan frying.

These are lovely thick rib steaks and the process of cooking them is pretty much:

Sprinkle this:

All over both sides of the steak then throw them into a pan on high heat searing one side, then flip, put the lid on and check on it until it is your preferred doneness, possibly flipping it once more, but I keep it on high for the whole time.

While you are doing this you can also do your mushrooms- I like a lot, so this is about 5 extra large portobello mushrooms:

That I like to cook very simply with some butter and salt, adding the salt at the very end so that it doesn’t pull all of the water out of the mushrooms right away.
Meanwhile- if you really want to pretend it is summer- like my sister and I- you can whip up a couple extra large cocktails! 

This was very simply just a shot of Grand Marnier, about 1/2 cup of mango juice and sparkling water- all mixed into an oversized white wine glass and garnished with an extra large orange wedge! Cheers!

MMM tasty, of course I went all out and decided to paint my nails rainbow in honour of summer as well… or it might have been a nod to Dexter… you can look at it either way.
Then whip up a little spinach/kale/red pepper salad, maybe have some veggies & dip on the side and BAM!! insta-summer!!
I savoured each bite- which of course is best when you skewer some mushrooms followed by the most juicy piece of steak like this:
Overwhelming deliciousness!! I even dressed the Kitties up in their bathing suits for the occasion!
So that has been my way of coping with the winter so far. Do any of you have good ways of coping with the long cold winter? Or any favourite summer dinners?
Hope you all have a delicious Sunday!!
xo erin

Soup Sunday: Spicy Chili


This Soup Sunday is CHILI!!

I love chili- and this is a super spicy chili. Nice for those -23 C days, when you need both a steaming & spicy bowl of delicious dinner! Not to mention a super quick and low mess recipe. This recipe is all made in one soup pot, so there is very minimal clean up, and it can be made start to finish in about 40 minutes. Not to mention it is super cheap, comprising of mostly ground beef and canned foods. ūüôā Enjoy!

Chili

1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
chili pepper to taste (optional) – I used about 2″ of a chili pepper minced
2 cloves of garlic

1/2 cup of chili powder

1 large can of whole italian tomatoes
2 cans of your favourite beans (I used black beans and red kidney beans) – drained 
1- 1 1/2 cup of vegetable cocktail or tomato juice (depending on how thick your chili is
salt and pepper to taste 

In the bottom of your soup pot, fry the beef onion, peppers and garlic, until the meat is browned and the onion is translucent. Then add your chili powder, coating the meat.





Now add your whole italian tomatoes (which are much nicer and thicker than your regular whole tomatoes!- I love them)

And add your beans and vegetable cocktail. Somehow under the light these tomatoes look a little fluorescent.. but I promise they are normal.. 

Mix that all together, breaking up the whole tomatoes with your soup spoon. Let it all cook together for 20-30 minutes, breaking down the tomatoes and letting the flavours infuse together. Add salt and pepper to taste – I generally add quite a bit of salt, and I like this a little on the salty side.





And Voila! you have a delicious, spicy – one pot meal! Of course you could serve this with a quesadilla and it would be perfect, or maybe the cornmeal muffins that I made on another Soup Sunday. 





I was a little lazy this Sunday and I just enjoyed a solo bowl of this spicy chili with a piece of cheddar cheese on the side. 

Hope you are all having wonderful Sunday’s!

xo erin

Soup Sunday: Rich Turkey Stew


You are all about to learn what I do with all of my Christmas leftovers. Turkey Stew. A rich and delicious stew so full of flavour and full of all my leftovers from the big dinner! 

This is- like all of my other recipes- very flexible, and I generally just use everything that I had for Christmas dinner that is still leftover.

Turkey Stew

For the stock:

bones from your turkey (I just take all the meat off the carcass – everything else is left for the stock- this year we had a 14 lb bird)
(also if you like you can roast the bones for 30 minutes in the oven before you boil them for more flavour)
1 large carrot cut in large pieces
1 large onion cut in large pieces
1 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp black pepper corns
enough water to leave only 1-2″ of the turkey not submerged  (approx. 8 cups)

Place all of the above into a large stock pot. I just got this lovely Le Creuset 6.7 L round french oven for my mom for Christmas- and this was the first soup it has seen!

Boil away for 20 minutes covered, and 10 minutes uncovered (approximately). 

Then strain away all the bones and vegetables, leaving a delicious rich stock.

Now to Soup:


1-2 cups of leftover mashed potatoes 
1 or less cups of leftover turkey gravy
1 1/2 cup leftover cooked carrots or cook them in the microwave quick
1 1/2 cup of brussels sprouts halved or quartered
1 cup of leftover corn
2 1/2 cups of leftover turkey broken into bite-sized pieces 
salt / pepper / seasonings to taste 

– you can pretty much put any leftover veggies you have into this- or just your favourites-

Add the mashed potatoes and the gravy into the stock, mixing it all in until it blends in with the stock- this will make your stock SUPER thick, rich and delicious, then add all the veggies and turkey.

Then, the most important step, taste your soup, add the salt, pepper and seasonings until it tastes just how you like your soup to taste- add a little, taste, assess, add more or stop. I used this for seasoning because my mom got it for Christmas and it was there.

Then serve your piping hot and delicious soup to all of your family, who hopefully isn’t too sick of turkey to appreciate your lovely soup!

I served mine with a cheese quesadilla- not traditional, but so delicious!

What do you like to do with your Christmas leftovers? Hope you are all still basking in your Christmas chocolate and looking forward to New Years!

xo erin 

My Pie Crust


This recipe has been requested by some of my friends (Claire- this is for you!), generally after I’ve had them over for dinner &  dessert with pastry involved, whether it be a chicken pot pie, tourti√®re, or one of my famous fruit pies. (exemplified here in a tourti√®re)
Before we get started with the recipe, I just want to state that this pastry is not the most picture perfect, glossy, thick pastry. This is a SUPER tender and melt in your mouth pastry, that can be used for the most delicate pies- but that I love so much that I still use for my meat pies and quiches. It is very very tender and delicious, but it will not look like what you generally see on the Thanksgiving magazine covers with the super smooth, glossy top with thick edge- but I LOVE IT!, WAY more than what I think are more ‘tough’ pastries. Anyways. I hope you enjoy it- As you can tell pastry is close to my heart- and this is a recipe that has been passed down from my grandma and is somewhat of a family special tradition. I hope you enjoy it too! 
My Pie Crust
This is very simple recipe. You can make a full batch using a full block of lard which would be enough for approximately 3 pies with tops or 5 pies without tops and some little tarts- it really depends on how thick you roll it (the thinner the better). Or you can make a half-batch, which would be a good amount to make one pie with a top or two pies without tops, with some extra maybe to make some jam tarts :).
For the full batch:
1 lb of lard (tenderflake), cold and cubed
4 1/2 cups of flour (plus flour for dusting your rolling surface and rolling pin)
ice water
Using a pastry blender, cut the lard and flour until it takes on a crumb texture. Alternatively you can use a food processor – but be VERY CAREFUL to not over-mix!!
When you have a nice crumb consistency, add a little bit of ice water (without the actual pieces of ice) and mix with a big spoon bringing it together- keep adding a little bit of water here and there and only mix until it JUST comes together loosely- it will still be crumbly and NOT a smooth dough- you want it only just holds together.
 For a bottom crust, push together a ball of pastry a bit smaller than two fists – dust your work surface with flour (I like to work on wax paper), and dust your rolling pin aswell. Roll out your dough to about 1/4″ thick- it can be tricky to work with , but I promise it will be the most tender, flaky and melt in your mouth pastry. If you have any tears or holes you can patch them up by pressing little filler pieces into holes. I like to lift up the wax paper under my pastry and us it to fold the pastry into quarters and then place it in the pie shell and unfold it- to reduce tears- this pastry is delicate!
 For ease, I like to do my pie tops with little pieces that I roughly shape into leaves, or cut it into strips to do lattice. You can also use cookie cutters for any shape you want- or you can just roll a normal flat top- whatever you like. With the leaves you can always use your pastry scraps from tarts or the pie shells- then you don’t have to re-roll (which will make it tough). The one rule that I generally go by with this pastry is: the more difficult it is being and the more frustrated I get- the more tender it will probably end up- so don’t worry about it- go for the taste not the looks!
I use this pastry for pretty much all pastry needs, be it chicken pot pie or pecan pie. My general rule for pie cooking times is 15 minutes at 375 F, then 30 minutes at 350 F. I find it gives it the perfect golden brown top. 
I hope you like this pastry recipe and that it becomes as much of a favourite to you as it is to me! I used this pastry in my tourtière recipe I just posted, which you can check out here!
Have a lovely Christmas Eve Eve!
xo erin

Not so Soup & Not so Sunday: Tourtière on a Monday


Yes, it is the second installment of a failed Soup Sunday- I was thinking that at some point in the new year this feature might become Supper Sunday instead- because I will eventually run out of soups… but I suppose I can keep it, in this cheating way for a while.

And today is Tourtière!!

Tourtière
1 1/2 lb ground pork
1 medium onion (diced)
1 tbsp butter
3 cups mushrooms (chopped)
1 apple (peeled & diced) 
2 tsp white whine vinegar
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed potatoes (mashed with butter & cream/milk)
1 pie shell with top (you can learn how I make my own HERE)

Cook the pork with the onions in a frying pan. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms in the butter, once they have reduced a bit, add the apple. 



Mix the cooked pork with the cooked mushrooms & apple. Add the vinegar and spices to the pork mixture.



 Then, mix in the mashed potatoes to the pork mixture (I like to save any leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer for this purpose- or I cook potatoes in the microwave and mash them quick with a little butter & cream) 



Put it into your rolled pie shell, and cover with pie top. I make my own pastry, and instead of rolling out a flat top, I like to cut out leaf shapes and lay them over the top.



I made a double batch- so that I could make four mini tourtieres to save in my freezer for lazy winter evenings.




Then bake in the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 F for 30 minutes. 
REJOICE in your delicious meal!




mmmmm
And serve with a side salad, or whatever you like.

It might fall apart a little, but I guarantee that it is delicious!
The perfect Christmas Eve meal- nice for lunch leftovers on Christmas day as you prepare your turkey!
Hope you are all having wonderful Monday’s! So close to Christmas!

xo erin

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