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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Monthly Archives: December 2011

And another year bites the dust!  As quickly as it came, 2011 is nearly over, smell ya later: thanks for the good times!
Yesterday we had some family in, so I decided to use up my leftover smoked turkey that I purchased for a holiday party we had a couple of nights ago… my inspiration was the Jamie Oliver Christmas Special that I watched bout 4 times on Christmas Eve.  With the help of google, I was able to “translate” some of the British food measurement terms (what is a rasher, a knob or a pint), and I present you with a Canadian interpretation of Jamie’s leftover turkey and leek pie.

Smoked Turkey & Leek Pie
3 strips bacon, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
4 lbs leeks, washed and chopped – white & green parts
sea salt & black pepper
2-3 lbs left-over white turkey meat, chopped
2+ tbsp regular white flour
4 cups turkey or chicken stock
2 tbsp Double Devon Cream
397g pkg Tenderflake puff pastry dough
6-7 fresh sage leaves, rolled and chopped finely
1 egg, beaten with a little dash of salt added

First off, get that bacon going in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Once the bacon is starting to brown, add the olive oil, butter and thyme leaves. 

While this is getting crispy, clean and chop the leeks – you may have a “holy crap this is a lot of freaking leeks” moment, but let it pass – they will melt down to practically nothing. 

Add the leeks to your pot of fat and stir to ensure everything is coated.  Put a lid on it and set the timer for 30 minutes.  Give things a stir every 10 minutes or so.

While that leek magic is happening, get your turkey ready and chop your sage.  This is actually a pretty simple recipe… time keeps moving on and finally 30 minutes is up!  Add the turkey meat and stir to coat.  Next add the flour and stir to coat – I learned on Jamie’s program that if you add flour to the goo before the liquid/stock goes in, you will avoid any lumpy nastiness!  Learning!

So now that you’ve stirred the flour, add your cream and stock.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil.  Give things a quick taste to see if you need any more seasoning… since I was using smoked turkey, I didn’t really need too much salt.  Anyways, the rest of this recipe is super easy. 

Couldn’t be any simpler – while things are bubbling away, prepare a sieve over top of another pot.    Transfer the goo into the sieve and mash down – what you’re collecting below is a delicious gravy to serve with your pie (or if you’re like me, slave over the gravy then completely forget to serve it with dinner!)

Will the goo is draining, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and roll out half of your pastry dough on a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle with the sage leaves, then add the other half of the dough on top. Make sure this dough is large enough to cover the top of whatever dish you’re going to bake the pie in.

Add the goo sans gravy to a baking dish and cover with the pastry.  Tuck in all sides, like you’re putting it to bed, then using a knife, lightly score the top in a diagonal pattern and then brush with your egg mixture. 

Shove in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until crust is nice and golden.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Serve with a side of baby peas and the gravy would probably be a great idea too!  (BTW I heated that gravy in a pot and added about another 4 tbsp of flour, a bit at a time and whisking in between additions – it was lovely with the leftovers for lunch today).

This is what it looks like with peas and gravy!

Everyone have a great NYE and see you all in the bloggersverse next year! xo


I’m usually in shock if there is wine left over at my place, but it occasionally happens!  I don’t have a “go to” recipe for beef stew – I like to try lots of recipes and lots of different methods.  Today I decided to combine a few of the tricks I’ve seen and read about.  The result is a rich and hearty stew that I will definitely be making again!

Beef Stew with Wine
2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp flour + salt & pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped (about a cup)
5-6 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 cups red wine (I used Apothic Red Winemaker’s Blend)
2 cups beef broth
2 cups baby potatoes, halved or quartered, your choice!
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crushed
more salt & pepper to season
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
3 tbsp really good dijon mustard (i used Dijon Mustard with Black Truffle that I purchased in the Okanagan in October during my visit for Harvest Wine Festival 2011)
2 more tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
optional: truffle oil to sprinkle right before serving…

2 secret flavour-enhancing ingredients!

In a large ziplock bag, combine 2 tbsp flour, salt and pepper.  Shake your beef cubes to coat.  Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Working in small batches, brown your meat – making sure to get a nice carmelization – don’t worry if you get lots of stuck bits on the bottom of the pan – that will come off later and add tons of flavour!

Add all of the meat back to the pan and add the onions, carrots and celery.  Cook until you start to smell the vegetables cooking.  Add the garlic.

Lots o’ garlic!!

When things are getting nice and fragrant, increase your heat and add the first cup of wine and get tough on the bottom of the pan – release all those brown bits!  Add the next cup and then the beef broth.  Bring to a boil over medium-high.  Add the potatoes, all of the seasonings and the mustard.  Give it a good stir, drop the heat to low and partially cover.  Let simmer for about 2 or more hours, stirring every half hour or so.

flavour bits starting to loosen up!

Right before serving, take 2 tbsp butter and work into 2 tbsp flour – I think this is kind of a faux-roux… not sure, but add that to the stew and stir till melted. 

This makes the stew so nice and creamy – omg so delicious – Todd says this was one of the best stews he’s ever had, so it’s a good thing that I recorded the recipe for the blog!!

Okay, after how many days of consuming nothing but sugar, booze and cheese, it’s time to get back into the normal flow of things.  I’m not talking “New Year’s Resolutions” or anything crazy like that, but it’s just time to enjoy food that doesn’t make you slip into a fat coma for 3 hours after consuming! 

The January issue of Food & Wine boasts many easy and quick recipes this month, and tonight I adapted one of their recipes for Sweet & Sour Shrimp.  I scaled it down for a “dinner for two” and also added some brocolli and yellow peppers that I had in the fridge.  The rest of the meal comes together so easily with ingredients everyone has kicking around.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sambal oelek (or chili garlic paste)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, grated on a tiny grater
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled
1 cup brocolli flowerettes
1 cup sliced yellow pepper
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
1/2 cup basmati rice

Cook rice in the way that works for you  – I usually do 1/2 cup rice to 1 cup water, bring to boil, drop the heat, put a lid on and cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes – have it ready b/c this dinner comes together quickly!

In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, broth, sugar, sambal oelek, cornstarch & vinegar.  Set aside.

Grate ginger and garlic. 

Heat a large frying pan to very hot.  Add the oil to the pan and chuck in the garlic and ginger.  Cook for only about 10 seconds or until fragrant – things tend to burn quite quickly, so don’t over-do it!  Chuck in the shrimp in and cook – you’ll see the grated stuff starting to stick to the shrimp and forming a delicious crust – so awesome! 

Cook until the shrimp starts to turn pink and curl slightly – only about 2 minutes.  Add in the vegetables and slowly whisk in the sauce you prepared.

Stirring constantly, let the sauce thicken (happens so fast!) only about another 2-3 minutes.

Serve atop the rice and garnish with sliced green onions and a sprinkle of black sesame seeds!

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve already!!  I actually got up this morning and was through the Superstore doors at 7am today!  Yah, I’m “one of those people” – annoying hey?  With list in hand, I leisurely combed the aisles and got all the ingredients for dinner tonight, Christmas brunch and my two sides that I’m taking over to friends tomorrow night.  SO HAPPY and GRATEFUL I am not cooking a turkey this year!!!  We did order a whole smoked turkey, but more on that in coming days!!

When I was at Big Bend Market yesterday picking up my turkey, I spied a pound of the most lovely fat looking scallops I’ve seen in a long time – I bought them knowing that a recipe would sort itself out by dinner time.  The recipe I made is an adaptation from Cooking Light magazine – switched a couple things up, so here is my take on the recipe:

Scallops with Bacon and Sauteed Spinach
4 slices bacon
1 lb large scallops, rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
salt & pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 large white onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bag spinach
2 large ripe roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving

In a large heavy bottomed skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat, till nice and crisp.  While the bacon is cooking, prepare the scallops – make sure they’re nice and dry – season with salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  Set aside until we’re ready to cook.  Chop onion and slice garlic – set aside.

How’s your bacon doing?  It should be cooked by now, so remove it from the pan and let rest on paper towels till cooled.  Once it’s cool, crumble the bacon for serving overtop of the scallops. 

Ditch most of the bacon fat, saving about 1 tbsp in the pan.  Jack up the heat to high.  Carefully add the scallops into the pan – don’t overcrowd that pan or they’re not going to cook properly!!  Cook for about 2 minutes each side.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Same pan, lower the heat to medium high again and add the onions and garlic.  After about 2 minutes you will notice the onions going soft, and picking up those nice scallop bits too! 

Put in the tomatoes and cook through.  Add half the spinach and cook for about a minute.  Then add the other half of the spinach and cook for another minute until wilted.

Time to plate!  Start with the spinach mixture and top with bacon bits.  Serve with lemon slices.  I think this is supposed to be a starter/appie recipe but we ate it like a main dish – so satisfying!!  I served it with Volcanic Pinot Gris… arghghgh droool!  So nice! 

Merry Christmas everyone!!

“Tis the season to be Merry!  And enjoy a few beverages (responsibly!) at the old orrifice.  For the past couple of years, I’ve had shared the tradition of mulled wine cider in the slow cooker for us to enjoy with our pizza party.  Some years it’s good, some years it’s wayyyy too strong (especially for consumption at the office!!!)  This year – big time WINNER!  So great and the perfect balance!!  Enjoy this for your holiday gatherings, or if you’re funny like me, at your next office function – just make sure everyone has a ride home!

this may or may not happen today!

Mulled Wine Cider
1 bottle of red wine (cab sauv probably the best)
8 cups of all-natural apple juice
1/3 cup liquid honey
4-5 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp anise seed (which I kind of crushed between my fingers as I put in the slow-cooker)
6-8 whole cloves
zest & juice of 2 medium navel oranges and chuck the orange carcasses in the cooker too
1-2 whole oranges, sliced thinly

Put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and put on high for a couple of hours.  Drop the heat to keep warm and drink up until it’s time for Santa to come!

Pour in the apple juice

Most important step: pour in the booze!

Now just wait for everything to come together 🙂

I hope everyone has a really healthy happy safe wonderful Christmas – if you indulge in fire-water, please drink responsibly and always arrange for an alternative ride home!  (today I carpooled so I could get wasted at work… awww special!)

Is anyone ever really ready for Christmas??  It comes so fast and is over so quick and then I think to myself – crap I forgot to make this or that!  This year has been really busy for our family plus sick kid and husband equals not that much time in the kitchen for doing the things I need to do!  Last night I whipped up the most delicious little recipe that came inside a little insert “50 Edible Gifts” from this month’s Food Network Magazine.  Get this: another way to use almond butter!!  OMG I love it – super fast and easy and looks hella impressive too!  I think this one would be a fave among your heath-nut type pals b/c they are not too sweet and really minus the sugar are a fairly healthy little choice!

Coconut-Almond Truffles
3/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + more for rolling
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.  Combine all ingredients in a ball, working into a dough – it takes some time, but eventually comes together.

Using a 1 tbsp measuring spoon, portion out the dough. 

Using your hands, roll the portions together (use a good amount of pressure too) then roll in the extra coconut.

Lay out on your prepared cookie sheet and chuck in the freezer overnight.  Looks fancy! Was easy!!

Every year I look forward to making my version of “nuts and bolts” or “chex mix” and every year I make it differently because I always forget to write things down as I go!  Now that I’m a blogger, I forced myself to record as I went and here is the 2011 version of Shannon’s Holiday Snack Mix!  It’s a pretty tame version that what I’m used to making – not very spicy at all – this one is for the kids!!
Enjoy (responsibly) by the tree with a glass of Baileys and Eggnog!

Shannon’s Holiday Snack Mix
1 cup melted butter
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp onion powder
3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tbsp Louisiana Hot Sauce

6 cups Bugles
4 cups Cheeze-its (I actually prefer Ritz Bits but cannot find them anywhere this year!)
6 cups Cheerios
6 cups Crispix cereal
6 cups pretzels
2 cups salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.  In a glass bowl, melt butter in microwave.  Add the Worcestershire, onion powder, garlic and hot sauce.  Set aside.

This is my little garlic grater – its awesome!!

In your very biggest roaster, combine all of the other ingredients. 

I wont bore you with a play by play of adding each ingredient, but you get the picture!

Pour the butter mixture over top and gently stir to combine. 

Shove in the oven; take out and stir every 10 minutes for about an hour = maybe more if it seems like it needs to dry out more.  Remove from oven and let cool completely. 

It goes kind of golden after about an hour in the oven

Store in airtight containers for up to a week.

Makes a great little present too!

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