So, this living off the grid thing? I find myself less inclined to look recipes up as often as I used to. I spend much less time at my iMac and way more time on my iPad because the iPad requires much less power to operate.
But today the sun is shining and the wind is blowing so our batts are charging and I am living large having both my iMac and my iPad going at the same time! Shocker, I know!
I had half a can of refried beans that needed using up; also had some flour tortillas hanging out in the cold room; oh, and a heavenly head of romaine lettuce! Set the brain to churning what to make with those ingredients? Quesadillas; have the tortillas, cheddar cheese, a tomato, green pepper and 4 green onions to go with the refried beans. Now, a Mexican flavoured dressing. Thanks Google! At Mel’s Kitchen I found what I was looking for: Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. Do I wish I had all the fresh veg to put together her Chopped Salad? You betcha! As it is, I used what I had in my cold room: that lovely Romaine, some black olives (note to self: remember to buy SLICED black olives) a yellow pepper, 1/3 of a long english cucumber. Do I have fresh limes on hand? Nope, but I do have lime juice so that had to do.
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed Lime Juice
4 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Honey
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
In small jar with a lid combine all the vinaigrette ingredients and shake until well combined.
Add additional S&P, to taste.
Pour dressing over salad, toss; serve immediately.
So having moved off-grid is challenging how I do kitchen stuff. For one, I am meant to only go grocery shopping once every 2 months or so. Now, as a Vegetarian? That’s a lot of produce to purchase! And you can well imagine that there is no way that much produce is going to keep that long even if I DO store it in Tupperware Fridge Smart containers! I have planted garden greens and stuff in my greenhouse but that was only 3 weeks ago so I am not able to enjoy its bounties just yet.
Anyway, one of the produce purchases I made was 4 LE Cucumbers. Now if the weather was nice and cold up here like it’s supposed to be then maybe the cukes would have lasted longer but it ISN’T cold so now I have to find ways to use up all my precious produce!
Another tricky thing? My husband doesn’t really like cucumbers! I love ’em but there are only so many cukes a girl can eat! Well, thankfully I still have internet access out here in the middle of no where; I googled cucumber recipes and found this one over at Two Peas & their Pod(s) whom I have been following for years so always trust their recipes!
Oh, I suppose I should have mentioned that we use a cold room and not a fridge in the winter to conserve propane. Hence my lamentations that the weather is not all that cold here at the mo. If I am to believe this thermostat, it is a balmy 10C outside!!!! What?? We are high up in the Chilcotin region of British Columbia and it is supposed to be COLD here. I digress. I was pleased to find their Asian Cucumber Salad. And much to my delight, Luke loved it. He even said, “Hey, there’s ginger in here, right?” Now normally he is like Emile in Ratatouille and eats any and everything without a lot of regard to what goes into a recipe so I was impressed.
Right, the recipe! Please do go over and visit The Two Peas! They have a great site and some GREAT recipes!
Asian Cucumber Salad
1 Long English Cucumber, thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
a pinch of Sugar
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 small clove Garlic, minced
a smidge of fresh Ginger, peeled and finely chopped (less than 1/8 tsp, all up)
1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Seeds
Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Place sliced cucumbers in a small bowl and sprinkle with salt; set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the rice wine vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, cilantro, green onions, garlic and ginger; drizzle over cucumbers.
Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, to taste.
I have decided that it is very dangerous for me to follow Chocolate, Chocolate and More on Facebook for the simple reason that they are forever posting such great recipes! I want to try them all! The problem is, I need to a bigger audience to feed said baked products to! My husband can only eat so much of my baking and I just have a taste and am done with it…otherwise I would be the size of a house!!!
I picked up their recipe for Hot Chocolate Muffins; they have been well received by everyone who has tried them! The only changes I have made are: Add White Chocolate Chips to the Cocoa Batter and add Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips to the White Batter. Go ahead, get in the kitchen and make these delicious muffins!
2 cups Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs, at room temperature
1 cup Milk
6 Tablespoons (3oz) melted Butter, cooled
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Cocoa
1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 400F.
Line a Muffin Tin with paper liners.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar; set aside.
In medium size mixing bowl whisk eggs, add milk, butter and vanilla and continue whisking.
Create a well in your dry ingredients and add your liquid ingredients, all at once; gently stir to combine, just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
Divide batter in half. Add cocoa and white chocolate chips into one half of the batter and gently stir in; do not over mix.
Stir the semi sweet chocolate chips into the white batter; do not over mix.
Place a teaspoon of plain batter into lined muffin tin; spoon a teaspoon of chocolate batter; add another teaspoon of white batter; finish up with a teaspoon of the chocolate batter.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove to oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Turn out and cool completely on wire racks.
After attending SASET’s free (to Aboriginals) 16 week program I was so in love with the idea of cooking for a living that I signed up for the 39 week Professional Cook Level 1 & 2 program! Let me tell you, it is NOT free! And, after spending thousands of dollars on the program, I am going to say that if you know anything all about cooking, this program is NOT for you; challenge the ITA Exams instead!! It’ll save you thousands of dollars and give you the same feeling of satisfaction that you have achieved something great!
Okay, but that said, I mean, if you have worked in a professional Kitchen under a knowledgable Chef then you will not enjoy the course. If your kitchen experience to date is Maccas, A&W, or Wendy’s then, yea, for sure this will be a good experience for you.
Anyway, Level 1 is completed around February which I happily breezed through. Level 2 commenced, and after some extreme difficulty with a certain someone on staff in the Culinary Program (Hint- it’s not the Chef and it’s not Cashier Leah) I switched out of the daytime program to the evening course on offer. Which worked out really well because I had been hired as a Pastry Chef at Best Western Rainbow Country Inn at the beginning of March! Chef Dan Cool is an amazing person to work with – I did my SASET practicum at Garrison Crossing where Chef Dan was then stationed.
Sadly my health took a turn for the worse – I have been in Emergency more times than I can count, have had countless tests done, one surgical procedure with a very uncomfortable follow up appointment which had me bedridden for a few days, more prescription pills than you imagine and still, here I am 7 months later, still in more pain than a body ought to have to endure. Through it all I have soldiered on! Like I said, Chef Dan is amazing to work for! You will currently find me manning the Carvery & Omelette Station at our Sunday Brunches – I did try to put in extra hours for a bit but it wasn’t worth the effort as I would be bedridden, or close to it, for the remainder of the week.
As a result of my poor health I have yet to complete my Level 2! I did manage to write my outstanding quizzes over the summer, Yea, Me! But I still have to do my Practical Final and my Written Final. I have done a fair bit of studying for my written and just over the past few days have finally touched up the Practical Menu that I started months ago! I AM looking forward to finishing this course up, being able to say, “Look, Dad, I did it!” Please know that my dad passed away a gazillion years ago…okay 19 years ago. I spent my whole life trying to prove to him that, yea, I am good enough and smart enough and by golly, by gosh, I am!
Without further ado, I would like to share with you my menu…oh wait, another quick anecdote:
While writing this real menu, it brought back memes of the Fanciful Menu I wrote for SASET. What a great time I had writing that menu; the imaginary road trip across Canada that had me handpicking ingredients from each province and territory of our great country. I am very pleased to report that over the Summer I actually DID take a road trip across Canada! Well, to Thunder Bay, Ontario where my Australian husband was duly awed by Lake Superior! We took the northern route to Ontario, stopping in Jasper where I met up with a fellow classmate (Jordan) and also saw my niece, Jacqueline at Jasper Park Lodge (if you haven’t been there, go, NOW!); we returned along the Transcanada Highway which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was so great to see so much of Canada and awe inspiring to realize just how big Canada is! We have so much more to see!
Okay, NOW I will share with you the real menu that I will be using to complete my Professional Cook Level 2 training.
PC Lvl 2
Beef Tenderloin Canapés with Mustard-Caper Sauce
Beef Tenderloin, trimmed
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Finely chopped Green Onion
Slices Baguette Style French Bread
Heat oven to 450F.
Place beef tenderloin in ungreased shallow metal roasting pan or ovenproof skillet. Rub beef with oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place pan over medium high heat; cook until beef is browned on all sides.
Place beef in 450F oven.
Immediately reduce oven temperature to 375F; bake 15 – 20 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in centre registers 140F (60C)
Remove beef from oven.
Cool for 30 minutes or until completely cooled. If desired, wrap tightly in plastic wrap until serving time.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine mayo, onions, capers, mustard and horseradish; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Slice beef very thin.
Spread bread slices with sauce.
Top each with small piece of Radicchio beef slice and watercress
Serve immediately, or cover loosely and refrigerate until serving time
I have to make Focaccia for my Professional Cook Level 2 Practical exam…well, I don’t HAVE to make Focaccia but it seems Dinner Rolls are frowned upon as …. That’s such a Grandma thing to make….well, hello? I AM a Grandma! I also have the choice of making a Baguette but the truth is, mine always tend to have gaping holes in them! Anyway, I decided to make this Focaccia instead of my tried and true Dinner Rolls.
I have to admit, the second time I made this recipe, I was quite impressed! The first time, I made as recipe suggested and it came out thin and crispy – second time, I let the Focaccia proof for about 45 minutes before I baked it.
The original recipe came from my ancient The Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook, page 38.
2 Tbsp (1 Tbsp) Sugar
2 cups (1 cup) warm Water
1 Tbsp (1 1/2 tsp) Active Dry Yeast
5 cups (2 1/2 cups) Bread Flour
2 oz (1 oz) Butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp ( 3/4 tsp) Salt
Olive Oil for brushing loaf(ves)
*I only need to make 1 for my practical exam so I have listed the ingredients for a single Focaccia in brackets
In large bowl, dissolve sugar in water; sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy.
Using wooden spoon, stir in 3 cups (1 cup) of the flour, butter and salt; beat until smooth.
Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease all over.
Cover with plastic wrap or damp tea towel and let rise in warm place for about 75 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 portions ( No need to divide dough if only making one Focaccia).Form each portion into a ball.
Place on lightly floured surface and sprinkle with flour.
Cover an d let stand for 20 minutes.
Stretch and pull out each portion of dough into 16 inch (40cm) long oval.
Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Using side of hand, make ridges 1 inch (2.5cm) apart down length of each oval.
Brush each loaf with olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary, thyme and salt.
Cover loosely with tea towel and let proof in draft free for 45 minutes.
Bake in 375F (190C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from baking sheets and let cool on wire rack.
Makes 2 Focaccia (1 Focaccia)
Each Focaccia serves 4 – 6 depending on use.
Welcome to my Kitchen where the most important ingredient is Love.