This past week has definitely been interesting. I haven’t had to make any adjustments yet due to pricing of the meat, but I am expecting that to happen since I would like to do this on a budget if possible. It is the random and unexpected ingredients that I have to purchase, since we have a very well stocked pantry, its very rare that I have to go and buy a ton of ingredients.
This week started out with a bang. On New Year’s Day I decided to attempt to make a Pear Tart. Everything started out alright. The pudding was delicious, the pears looked amazing, and smelt so good. The tart shell was store bought and I should have pre-baked it so that it had some crunch. Instead I put all my fillings in and then put it in the oven. Overall it still tasted amazing and after believing it was going to be completely disgusting, it turned out great.
- tart pastries
- 3 pears, sliced
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/2 cup pastry cream
- 1/2 cup pear jam
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the pastry and line a 9-inch tart pan.
- In a large saucepan, combine the pears with water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until tender, but not mushy. Drain and let cool. Cut into slices.
- In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1 cup water, the cinnamon stick, and cloves and brings to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes. Add the pears, reduce to medium heat, and boil gently, swirling the pan occasionally, until the syrup is thick and pears are tender. Remove and let cool.
- Spread the pastry cream over the bottom of the tart. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove pear slices from the syrup, draining them well and reserving the syrup, and arrange the slices.
- In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the syrup and the pear jam, bring to a boil, boil until thick, about 3 minutes. Strain. Stir in the lemon zest, and then brush the glaze over the tart. Serve Warm.
January 2: Chicken Stir Fry. Now I know this doesn’t involve a bunch of homemade items, it is definitely a favourite of mine for how easy it is to make on a weeknight. Since everyone was heading back to work the next day I thought I would make something that would work perfectly with lunches. It doesn’t matter how many times you make stir-fry it always tastes the same with the same ingredients. Still a classic family favourite.
Chicken Stir Fry
- 1 pkg chicken, cut into cubes
- Teriyaki sauce
- Frozen Veggies
- Cook chicken until golden brown. Add in veggies and let steam to tenderize the chicken.
- Add sauce. Cook rice. Serve immediately.
January 3: Fettuccine Alfredo. This is a brand new recipe that I am trying, you make the pasta sauce from scratch. You can used store bought pasta, until I learn how to make my own, and then cook according to the box. For the sauce it is really simple, all that is in it is butter, cream, garlic, and parmesan cheese. Super simple. I didn’t add as much garlic as I would have hoped. But I will only make it better the next time I make it.
- 1 box dry fettuccini pasta
- 1 cup butter
- 3/4 pint heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- 1 dash garlic salt, more if you like it garlicky (I also added minced garlic)
- 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add fettuccini and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter into cream over low heat. Add salt, pepper and garlic salt. Stir in cheese over medium heat until melted; this will thicken the sauce.
- Add pasta to sauce. Use enough of the pasta so that all of the sauce is used and the pasta is thoroughly coated. Serve immediately.
January 4: Faux Greek Salad. Instead of adding all the olives and the crumbled feta, this recipe is only cucumber, onions, and tomatoes in a water, vinegar, and spices bath. You let it soak for as long as you would like and then eat it. I only let mine soak for roughly an hour before dinner, and it took on some of the flavouring, which was very good. (I ate some the next day and it was even better.) If you are going to make this I suggest letting it soak overnight before eating it.
Faux Greek Salad
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 onion, sliced and separated into rings
- Whisk water, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl until smooth; add cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion and stir to coat.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours.
January 5: Rice Pudding. My Dad has been a fan of Rice Pudding forever, so when I found a recipe, I just had to make it for him. The struggle was trying to find vanilla bean pods, looked everywhere and still could not locate. I substituted the pod with extract and it worked just the same. I did have a minor mistake of it boiling over on the stove, so next time I would watch it a little more that I did this time. I would also add less lemon zest, since it seemed a little to lemony. I would have let it steep longer on the stove as well since my Dad did say that there was still a couple crunch pieces of rice in there. He did rate it a 7/10 which is good in my books.
- 1 vanilla pod (or 3 tsp vanilla extract)
- 4 cups milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup abornio rice
- Cut vanilla pod in half and drag knife to remove the vanilla seeds inside.
- Combine the vanilla seeds and the other ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Gradually stir in the rice and simmer at low heat.
- Remove the cinnamon. Can be served hot or cold.
January 6: Rice Paper Rolls. Oh my. I don’t even know where to begin with these. The filling was easy enough to make, the concept was easy enough, the execution could have been better. Rice Paper is a thick paper that once you submerge in water it becomes translucent and easy to fold and shape. After creating the filling, which was good, I moved on to soaking one and a time the rice paper. Seemed simple. After creating, it said to place in fridge to chill, so I did, when I pulled them out to try, they were very rubbery and no so eatable. So I personally would never make them again unless my brother wanted them, since he was the only one who liked them.
Rice Paper Rolls
- 1/2 lb vermicelli noodles
- 3 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 lb broccoli
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- 24 rice paper rounds
- fresh mint
- butter lettuce leaves
- Soak the noodles in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the noodles and cut into 2-inch lengths. Set aside.
- In a wok or large frying pan, warm the peanut oil. Add the garlic and cook. Add sesame oil, broccoli, and carrots. Toss and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the noodles, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely.
- Fill a small bowl with water. Working with 1 rice paper, brush with a little water. Let stand a minute, place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the centre. Fold the rice paper up and over the short ends, the fold and roll lengthwise. Repeat to fill 24 rice paper rolls.
- Line a platter with the lettuce leaves. Arrange the rolls, seams down.
January 7: Eggs Benedict. I pictured this mornings breakfast going so much smoother than it did. I cut the “bacon” and started to lightly saute it in a pan. When my Dad asked if we had hash browns and of course we didn’t, so off he went. When the hash brows and the meat was done, I started on the hollandaise. It was a complete fail. As I was mixing it broke, which means that the butter and the buttermilk heated too fast and they turned more into a paste. So when I started again I had supervision and my Mom talked me through how she makes it. Overall it was a very delicious breakfast.
- Hollandaise Sauce
- English Muffins
- Canadian Bacon
- Preheat the grill. Heat the Canadian Bacon.
- Cook the eggs, and heat the english muffins.
- Prepare hollandaise.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter turns golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
- Whisk 1/4 cup buttermilk, cornstarch, salt and cayenne in a heavy medium saucepan until smooth. Whisk in egg along with the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk.
- Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook the sauce, whisking constantly, until it comes to a simmer.
- Cook, whisking, for 15 seconds.
- Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice and the reserved butter. Serve hot.