Tag Archives: Cook

For The Love of October

October is the best month of the year. Not only do I get to celebrate my birthday, watch the Major League Baseball fall classic extravaganza,  bask in the crisp October weather. I also with much delight get to cook and enjoy  the world of squashes.

Winter Squash

Winter Squash (Photo credit: Suzies Farm)

 

I love me a good squash. Boiled with butter, spiced roasted, puréed, in soup, creamed, candied, baked in pies. Squashes are the hearth of fall, they represent the change of season and the long hard work of our farmers. The squash season is long and arduous. In order to grow one, one must plant them in early spring and allow them to receive ton of sun, God providing of course.

Many a recipes will surface on the internet, cooking shows or even your grandma’s recipe Rolodex for your favourite dishes, including the much dreaded Pumpkin Spiced Latte (YUCK!) (no wait double YUCK!). One of my favourite squash is the spaghetti squash. I love how it flakes into strings and can be moulded in any shape and flavoured deliciously since it has a very light and delicate taste. My other best squash is the butternut squash. It roasts really well and makes a great purée and soup, and how can I forget the vast realm of zucchinis? I have some squashes here, right now and I’m going to start cooking some for this evening.

 

What’s a squash recipe you love? 

 

 

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Today I Make: Moro (pigeon pea rice)

This one brings me back to my childhood in the Dominican Republic. It’s a really simple dish.

Arroz con guandules!

Arroz con guandules! (Photo credit: urbanlatinfemale)

It’s been years since I’ve had pigeon peas (guandules) and when I finally found out what they were call in English (pigeon peas) I looked for them right away. Long and behold, I found them in the Caribbean isle in the supermarket. Funny enough I also found out the name “guandules” is only known to Spanish speaking Caribbean countries. Which is why I couldn’t find them anywhere.

This is one dish I dreamed about. Moro De Guandules, it involves dice onion, garlic, peppers, tomato and tomato paste. Seasoning, oregano and thyme are also key components of the dish but what really brings all the flavours together is coconut cream (milk). I on the other hand used coconut oil, its way more economical and you still get the same results. The flavour element is bang on while not compromising the rest of the dish.

Name a nostalgic dish by leaving a comment? Tell us how they bring you back to times of old memories! 

 

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The Open Menu Curse

One of my goals for this blog is to peel the layers of the onion and unveil some truths about the ins and outs of the restaurant business and the hospitality  industry. Albeit, I will never do it justice like Anthony Bourdain does in his legendary book “Kitchen Confidential”.  In this edition  I will break down the last hour of a closing shift in most commercial kitchens.   A sense of ease comes to all when the dinner rush winds down. Cooks start to go for after dinner brakes to ease tension and serving staff starts to dwindle down on by one. In my opinion this the one of the worst hours in cooking altogether.

Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One big problem with this last hour of business is the closing duties. Managers and restaurant owners are so focused in saving money that they cause their kitchens to under perform and load the remaining cooks with a huge work load. In order to save money managers cut cooks and server shifts. One by one the cooks are sent home leaving behind 1 or 2 to flip the line, wash the dishes and set for the next day, plus they need to be done by the time doors close. All of this is happening while the restaurant is sitting new customers. Most restaurants open their tables when the reservations are over or until is time to close the doors. Here in lays the problem. The kitchen is expected to produce to the current customers and start the closing duties with a diminished crew and no extra time to clean up.

I’d be really weary to enter  a middle of the line restaurant in the last hour of service. You will not get the best service, food or attention by your server. The experience will be inadequate at best. Though not every restaurant suffers from this phenomenon most are guilty of cutting short the service and cooking staff in the last hour to save a few dollars. Cooks will curse and say abominable things about you the new customer coming in thinking you still have 45 minutes to eat! BE CAREFUL.

Don’t be fooled by pretty smiles and quick food when adding to the work load of a few disgruntled employees looking to close shop for the night and release stress. Unless you know the establishment really well it’s better get your food delivered or take it to go!

Leave a comment and let us know of any horrible experiences you’ve had while dinning.  

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Today I Make: Balsamic Asparagus

This is one of my wife’s favourites;

Very simple and very delicious;

balsamic asparagus

Raw asparagus sautéed with olive oil and basted for a minute in order to steam them. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, tablespoon of butter and a squirt of honey, seasoning to taste. The whole dish takes no more than 6 minutes to make. I didn’t boil the asparagus first. I cooked from raw, this way you’ll get a snap and crisp to the dish… and yes, they will cook just fine…

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What made quick simple dishes tickle your belly? 

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Today I Make

It’s been snowing for the last 3 days here in Edmonton. In my opinion there’s only 2 things that comfort cold weather and being coup up in with not much to do. Cake and Stews…

 

Pork Stew

Pork Stew

 

I made brownies last night. Naturally, today I had to make stew. Cubed pork loin, potatoes, garlic, onions, carrots, spices, and cilantro. Add enough water to cover it. Let it stew for about an hour or hour and half at medium heat (longer if you have shoulder or shank 2 hours or more)

Enjoy!

Leave a comment by telling me what your comfort foods are?

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Today I Make

One of our family favorites is pancake breakfasts. Today I saw a few ripe bananas just laying there taunting me to put them in the batter. So I did. (Did this for thanksgiving weekend)

Banana on Pancake

Banana on Pancake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The kids love to mix in the batter and slice the fruit when we add it to the batter. One of my super very secret ingredients is vanilla extract. PURE! vanilla extract, adding a couple of teaspoons to the batter makes for good times.

In reality when making pancakes the possibilities are endless. Go, Play , Eat! I hope you’ll get creative next time you make pancakes and enjoy the time with the kids.

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Today I Make:

Today I’m going all out, well, not really

 

I did feel like making supper today. I had a cooking bug itching at me… so I cooked. In today’s edition I making Spiced Rice w/ raisins and in the oven I have double cut boneless pork chops stewing in a balsamic tomato sauce. Oh my mouth just watered!!!!

 

Tomato sauce

Tomato sauce (Photo credit: Aelle)

 

Rice:

 

I use brown basmati  rice sautéed in olive oil with turmeric, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and a dash of nutmeg. After adding water I dropped about 2 cups of sultana raisins halfway through the cooking process. I finished it with  handful of chopped cilantro.

 

Pork Chops

 

After lightly dusting them in spiced flour, I slowly pan-fried them until golden brown, then I transferred them to a baking dish in where I doused them in Balsamic vinegar, tomato sauce, honey, fresh thyme and oregano. Cooked at 350 degrees fo about half hour or until done.

 

Life is good and I will enjoy!

 

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