Super Tart Lemon Curd

Posted by Pussycat in Sweets | Leave a comment

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I love lemon curd, but I also love tart lemon as opposed to sweet lemon.  I was looking for a way to make my lemon curd even more tart recognizing that sugar is essential to the consistency of the recipes.  Then in a moment I had it.  Though this may not be a ‘purist’ version of lemon curd it certainly served my purposes.

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I made the lemon curd from a previous post…. here… then I added 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a tablespoon of cornstarch (mixed while cold) then added to the mixture.  This allowed me to make more of the curd without adding more sugar, thus a more tart lemon curd.

  • Juice of 5-6 large lemons (1 cup fresh lemon juice) and zest
  • ½ (or less) cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small parts
  • 1Tablespoon cornstarch

Using a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a metal or glass heat-resistant bowl and whisk until smooth. Set the bowl over the simmering water, without letting the bottom touch, and continue to whisk. Whisk until the curd has doubled in volume and is very thick and yellow. Don’t let it boil but bring it up to just about the point of boiling. Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the butter, a couple of chunks at a time, until melted.


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I used this curd to cut the sweetness of a pavlova that I made…that’s why I wanted something with a strong tart component…. recipe of that and pics still to come!  :)

Northern Manitoba Whitefish

Posted by Pussycat in Main Dishes | 1 Comment

I had a busy August and haven’t posted in while, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking.  I have to admit that I’ve been looking for quick things to cook and on one of my rounds to the grocery store I found this Northern Manitoba Whitefish… looked intriguing.  I’ve long since loved pickerel and well… any kind of fish but I’d never come across this fish before… so I just had to try it.

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I didn’t really have the time to find a creative way to make this so I pretty much stuck to ‘simple’ also I’m trying to stick to healthy foods so baking it was my method of choice.

I have to say that the fish was moist and so good.  The preparation made for an easy, healthy meal.  You can certainly use any kind of whitefish… or any fish for that matter.  No need to spend a whole lot of time preparing… just season, stuff, layer and bake… easy… easy… and so good.  I also think that by keeping it simple you really get to taste the fish, and this fish is very good.

 

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Recipe

  • 1 whole cleaned fish
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • 1 sliced onion (I used a purple one, hence the coloring)
  • Salt and Pepper

Grease a baking pan or cover and then grease.  Rinse the fish and salt and pepper inside and out.  Layer the onion and lemon slices inside the fish and cover with several slices of each.

Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees and bake until done.  I baked mine for about 35 minutes.  How long you bake it will really depend on how hot your oven is and how big your fish is but you can tell it’s done when it flakes with a fork and is opaque inside.  Also, once it starts to look nice and golden around the edges it’s pretty much done.

Enjoy!

 

 

Baked Sticky Chicken

Posted by Pussycat in About Me, Main Dishes | Leave a comment

I’ve been busy in my garden these days and it is starting to feel like it’s paying off….

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The strawberries are just finishing and the beets are still little, the tomatoes are just starting and the cucumbers are misshapen and of varying sizes but there will be lots.  The beauty of home gardening with heirloom veggies in an organic way… a challenge to get what you want when you want it … and as much or as little as you want but it is certainly tasty!

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Today I made a chicken recipe based on the premise of a recipe that I found on foodgawker posted here  the original recipe is made with italian bread crumbs… which I don’t have handy… in fact I didn’t even have regular bread crumbs handy BUT I did have a loaf of jalapeno garlic bread drying out on the counter.  SO a quick crush in the blender and problem solved.

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There seem to be two keys from this recipe that are right on the mark.  First – bake your chicken on parchment!  I typically have used aluminum foil to avoid the baked on mess but I have to say that parchment is way better.  The chicken doesn’t stick at all and clean up of just some grease is easy enough.   Second – the topping of half and half vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) and honey mixed together and then poured over the chicken in the last 5 minutes makes it super GOOD.

So my recipe is different than the one that I originally found but I have to say it was fabulous… thanks Port and Fin for the idea!

Chicken

  • 8 – 10 pieces of chicken (I used legs and thighs because we like dark meat)
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1-2 cups breadcrumbs (use any good leftover bread – I used a jalapeno garlic loaf)
  • 1/4 Cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 Cup honey
  • 1/4 Cup cider vinegar

First place chicken pieces in a bowl and cover with olive oil, garlic and onion powder and salt and pepper, mix well to ensure all pieces are coated.  Then mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan and coat the chicken pieces in the mixture.  Place on parchment and bake at 400 for 30 minutes.  Turn the pieces of chicken over and bake for another 30 minutes.  * In the last 5 minutes pour the mixture of honey and vinegar over the chicken and once done serve.

BONUS – Cucumber salad!

Not sure if you notice but I served the chicken with pan fried baby potatoes …. YUM … and a salad of fresh cucumber salad. This is an easy salad that can be made with any cucumbers though I have to say mine was especially good because it came from the bowl of veggies I had picked earlier in the day and it is incredibly simple.

Use a mandolin to slice some peeled cucumbers very thin.  Then salt and pepper and add a dollop of sour cream…. mix… let sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes and mix again.  The cucumbers will let out some juice and that mixed with the sour cream makes a tasty and easy dressing.  Yes… I know… it’s not exactly diet food… but sometimes you have to just let go!

Enjoy!

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Split Pea Soup

Posted by Pussycat in Soups | Leave a comment

There is nothing like a good hearty bowl of soup when the weather is a bit cool outside, cool and rainy, which is how it is here right now.  I’ve been restricting my carbs which includes starchy vegetables like peas, carrots, potatoes etc… just because I’m trying to drop a couple of pounds.

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But when the weather is yucky and the craving is taking over… time to cave in… sometimes you just have to indulge and enjoy… guilt free!

My indulgence this time was a nice bowl of split pea soup, with loads of garlic and marjoram… these flavours remind me of home…. enjoy!

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 Ingredients

  • 1 bag dried split peas (454 grams)
  • 1 Litre Chicken Stock (I use low sodium)
  • 1 – 2 Carrots
  • 1 Whole Onion peeled
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Chunk of Ham and/or Chorizo
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Marjoram
  • 4 – 5 Garlic Cloves Minced (or more depending on taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized pot add chicken stock, dried peas, carrots, whole onion, bay leaf, and meat.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the peas are soft and cooked. Take out the ham and set aside, take out the bay leaf and onion and throw them away.  Use an immersion blender to cream the soup (with the carrots).  Cut the meat into small chunks and place back into the pot.  Season with marjoram, salt and pepper and add minced garlic (the garlic loses it’s kick the more it’s cooked so if you don’t want a strong garlic flavour add it earlier and cook for a while, however if you like a strong garlic kick like I do then add the garlic last).  If the soup is too thick add a bit of water and if it’s too runny cook some of the water off.

I like to eat my soup with home made croutons and I’ve found the easiest way to make them.  Chop bread into bite-sized cubes and season with salt, pepper, marjoram and garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic).  Sprinkle with olive oil and either spread on a baking sheet and bake until toasted OR you can place them in a  microwavable container and microwave on high for 1 minutes, shake them about and place back in microwave for another minute, continue until they are crispy.  Be careful in the microwave though as they can go from crunchy and crisp to burned very quickly!  Serve croutons with your soup.

 

Popcorn Pudding

Posted by Pussycat in Sweets | 1 Comment

popcorn pudding0001You know how sometimes you see something in a magazine and it just makes you stop dead in your tracks?  Well that happened to me as I flipped through the most recent issue of Food and Wine.  Popcorn Pudding?  What!   Seriously???  I read through the rest of the magazine and put it away… though the thought of popcorn pudding lingered…. I just couldn’t resist… for any of you who know me….  I.  LOVE.  POPCORN.  So this was a no brainer no matter how hard I tried to resist.

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Ingredients (as taken from Food and Wine with a little added explanation since I read it at least a dozen times and seemed to miss a key point!)

  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon popcorn kernals
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using the oil and popcorn, make the popcorn and set aside.  (I had made popcorn for us to eat the night before and set some aside for this recipe… about 2 cups of it)

In a large saucepan combine the milk, cream sugar and salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar then remove from heat.

Take the popped popcorn and put it into the milk/cream mixture and cover.  What you’re doing here is letting it steep… like tea… after about 10 minutes you can strain it into…. the next bowl.

In a medium bowl cream the egg yolks and cornstarch and make sure all the lumps are mixed thoroughly.  Very slowly add the strained, still warm cream/milk mixture into the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture… making sure to whisk all along to avoid scrambled eggs.

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Once all the mixture is together, place back into saucepan over medium heat and whisking frequently cook until it bubbles just a bit and is thickened.  It will thicken even more once refrigerated.   Scrape the mixture into either a bowl or into separate cups/bowls and then take plastic wrap and literally cover (touching!) the pudding and cool until it chilled.

Serve with popcorn as a garnish… YUMMY… Next time I’m going to do this in chocolate or caramel… its’ very good…

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NOLA – Best Places We Ate

Posted by Pussycat in Reviews | Leave a comment

We’ve been home now for a few days and I just wanted to post some of the best places we ate.  We certainly didn’t eat at all the best places that were in New Orleans… often we avoided the ones that required reservations since we had it in our minds to use our feet as our main mode of transportation.  Consequently we were often very hot, sweaty and not exactly in our Sunday best wear.  So we stuck to places that were within about 6 miles from our hotel.  At any rate, here are some of our favourites.

This was my fried fish plate at the ACME Oyster House…. Fried Oysters, Shrimp and Whitefish…. in the background you’ll notice my partner’s Roast Beef Po’Boy… very good!

NOLA last post0001We also really loved Poppy’s Crazy Lobster.  This place was by the River Walk and we went there a couple of times…. seriously good!

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The fish boil, whichever combination you had was served with a couple of potatoes, corn on the cob as a sausage. The spicy kick from this was just enough to make my mouth happy.

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We also had the lobster salad…. YUP… there’s half of a lobster there… all the meat was nicely taken out of it… and it was good.

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But MY most favourite place was Cafe Amelie, in the French Quarter.  It’s a lovely courtyard and though they had lots of room to sit inside, we chose to enjoy the heat.  We found this place the day before we left and had lunch…

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The first time we went there we had Grilled Salmon…

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And I had the Fireball Mozzarella Salad…. the cheese was marinated in hot sauce…. a seriously fabulous bit….

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And finally… a super amazing Shrimp and Grits….

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I know it doesn’t really look that amazing but it was so good I can honestly say that I absolutely fell in love with it…. so much so that since P picked dinner for our last day… I chose this place to go back to the next day for our final lunch…… and I had the salad and I had YUP you guessed it Shrimp and Grits!  P had the Poutine… which was served with Cajun Pulled Pork…. YUM!

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Did I mention how good the Shrimp and Grits were?

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Really so stinking good that I’m going to spend the next several months trying to find and recreate this luscious meal…. if ANYONE has any suggestions or thoughts on how I can meet this new mission of mine I’m ALL OPEN!  I did, by the way, ask our server if I would be able to get the recipe and she very politely told us… likely not…. so I’m just putting it out there…. I do know that the chef has a Cajun background and she did tell us that often the shrimp sauce is based on their cooking background… HELP …. ANYONE?

Just in case you missed it earlier… :)  Here is my favourite meal… the most amazing Shrimp and Grits at Cafe Amelie…..

Honestly, I’m not sure that we’ll get back to NOLA anytime soon… there are just so many wonderful and amazing places to go and eat… but SERIOUSLY… I can’t imagine not ever having these most amazing Shrimp and Grits again!

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Now we’re back home and I’ll have some of my home made meals to post…. look for Popcorn Pudding… YUP… straight from the Food and Wine Magazine… and it’s good!

 

 

NOLA – RootSquare

Posted by Pussycat in Reviews | Leave a comment

We have done a lot of walking on this vacation.  I would say we average 8 – 10 miles a day going to places like City Park, Palmer Park, down the River Walk, throughout the French Quarter and of course down the famous Magazine Street. We’re at the opposite end of the French Quarter from Magazine Street and so the walk ends up being at least 4 miles each way… that’s just during the day mind you… then we come back shower off and go out to wander the French Quarter…. It’s a wonderful life for sure.

One of the places we’ve been to visit on our hot walks down Magazine Street is Root Square as the timing turned out we were in the neighbourhood at the right time (a senior dinner hour… lol… about 5 pm) we were tired and hot and hungry.  So we decided to check it out.

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We opted to dine upstairs on the beautiful wraparound balcony instead of downstairs where the meal options are set and a little pricy for our needs.  When you’ve been walking around the city for a few hours and are hot and sticky it’s not the most opportune time to have a 2 1/2 hour dining experience.

One of the things I’m beginning to notice about the restaurants in NOLA is that if you order a lemonade and it’s ‘fresh’ or made from real lemon juice and not the mix or tap stuff then the food is likely going to be pretty good.

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This lemonade was fabulous, a little tart, just how I like it and for my partner in crime who wanted it a bit sweeter the waiter was kind enough to bring out some simple syrup to help it out.

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We started with the Coffee and  Strawberry Cured Salmon which was accompanied by several pickled items…. including green strawberries… interesting… and actually better tasting than I had expected, green tomatoes, peaches and heirloom carrots. The salmon was lovely.

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P had the Lamb Meatball Rigatoni which was pretty good and it was easy to tell it was all made from scratch.

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I had the Tandoori Roasted Monkfish (something I’ve always wanted to try – I’ve heard it described as the less expensive lobster) and it came with a Harissa Yogurt and some pickles… they seem to really love to pickle things here….and they are good at it.

This is a newer restaurant in New Orleans but if you’re ever down Magazine Street it’s definitely worth a try.

 

 

 

Swamp and The Joint

Posted by Pussycat in Reviews | Leave a comment

What is so cool about New Orleans?  The people?  The culture?  The city?  It’s all those things…. the wildlife…  in and outside of the city is something to behold.  ;)  We took a little swamp tour and it was amazing…..

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Though there are lots of tours to choose from we decided on the Honey Island Swamp Tour through Cajun Encounters… Captain Greg was our trusty tour guide…

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It was a very fun tour, we chose to do the small boat tour which is up to the maximum of 10 people and there were actually only 6 of us…. it made for a very nice trip….. Captain Greg seemed to know exactly where all interesting wildlife was…. we came upon a very cool hand-sized spider that I don’t have a picture of since it seemed to be a little camera shy… but we did catch this cool dude…. little grasshopper…

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The grasshoppers were huge by my humble Canadian standards and the racoons were small but seriously cute. You’ll notice him having a little treat….. we’ll talk about that later…

swamp and joint0035The surroundings were stunning!


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And of course then there were the crocodiles….

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A little closer???

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Awe… we can get a better look than that….

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These crocs are very cool…. and there were quiet a few of them in a certain section of the swamp…. they swarmed to our boat as our captain gave them a little treat….. and gave us an opportunity for some fabulous pictures…but that wasn’t all…

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There were still the wild pigs to visit…. as they grunted and snorted and ate up the treats our trusty captain had for them….we also stopped by one of the local neighbourhoods…

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Certainly an cool way to live….

swamp homes0288 All in all it was a very cool adventure.  I have to say that I really appreciated the tour provided by Captain Greg, he was great at stopping, shutting the motor off and letting us listen to the peacefulness of the swamp. He also provided us with a numerous facts about the swamp and many opportunities to photograph the beauty.

I must admit though that I was torn walking away from this day trip.  As much as I loved the opportunity to get up close and personal to many of the animals on this day, knowing that they were hopped up on marshmallows because of people like me was not lost on me.

You see, the animals come up to the boat and hang around for all those wonderful picture opportunities because they want the treats that are provided by the drivers of the boats… and their drug of choice is the marshmallow.  All the Captain had to do it throw one of those pillowy blobs of sugar into the water and the crocs would turn and come in our direction….yes folks… we were hanging out with the ‘pusher’ and I have to admit that I’m not sure how I feel about that… they are essentially addicted to sugar…. something they can ONLY get by hanging out by the boats….I suppose we can all think a little about our addictions….

We ended our day by going back to The Joint…. just had to get a meal and it was worth the walk from our hotel following the trip…

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A half rack of ribs… with a side salad with smoked tomato and onion dressing and the drink… which I couldn’t remember the name of here…. is actually ‘Mr. Whiskers’ and it was just as good the second time around….

The whole meal was fantastic and the ribs are really quite amazing…. and their chairs … were even cooler the second time around.

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Sites of New Orleans

Posted by Pussycat in About Me | Leave a comment

I know this is generally a food blog…. and I normally post pictures and/or recipes of food… but really… this place is definitely beautiful and so I thought I would share just a few of the pictures I was able to capture during our walks around town… and through parks… and down the cool streets……

Bourbon House

NOLA Walk

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I hope you enjoyed seeing just a few of the sights I’ve been so fortunate to see in person…..

Red Fish – NOLA

Posted by Pussycat in Reviews | Leave a comment

I know that I can’t keep posting every meal that we have here in NOLA especially since we eat so darned many of them…. so from now on I’ll only post the exceptional ones….

Red Fish

We stumbled onto Red Fish Grill by accident… you know… we were out… walking around… found ourselves hungry for dinner and there it was… a seafood restaurant…. and trust me this was a winner.

It is casual and interesting….

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They started us off with bread…. in this…

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It was so fresh, so warm, so diet busting worthy that I can’t even actually show it to you because even though we requested a SECOND…. it was gone before I could snap a picture…. besides a photo really wouldn’t do it justice.

Let’s start with 1/2 dozen Oysters on the half shell…

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And a Watermelon Caprese for the faint of heart….

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Next a fish dinner for each of us….. Wood Grilled Lemonfish with Kale and Sweet Potato Puree….. seriously delicious….

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And for my partner in crime… Wood Grilled Red Fish with Crab…  also amazing… yup had a taste of that too!

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And you have to know that I don’t normally order dessert…. just generally too full to enjoy it… but when you’re on vacation and you have a meal that is so stinkin good… you just can’t help yourself but order the dessert…. cause you have to know it will also be amazing….

And home made Bananas Foster was truly that!

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This place is so good…everything was seasoned and cooked exceptionally well…. nothing need to be added…. and we’ll be back at least one more time before we head home…. this is one of those places that you go to try many of their dishes…. next time I think it will be something blackened…. !