Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Marinated barbecue steak

This recipe probably doesn't need a recipe; but it is something I enjoy eating from time to time -- marinated barbecue steak. The exact cut of meat is (mostly) immaterial, but the marinade allows you to choose a very low-fat steak. The leaner the meat, the longer you should marinade it. I recommend marinading flank steak overnight, whereas a lean boston steak often needs no more than a few hours. We tend to buy butcher's block steak because of its lack of marbling, and consistent thickness. The former requires more marinading, but the latter helps guarantee that it will cook evenly.

2 lbs butcher's block steak
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Montreal no-salt steak spice

1. Marinade the steak in the red wine, olive oil and steak spice for a minimum of 4 hours, or overnight.
2. Cook at medium heat on the barbecue until medium-well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Weekly menu for the week following May 16th, 2009

I make up a weekly menu because I'm cheap. Breakfasts always very, as do snacks, based more on what I have in my pantry than what I write down here. Some days I successfully mix and match and other days are carbon copies of the day before.

L: Chicken sandwich with cheese, lettuce, spinach & sliced tomato
D: Out
L: Leftover Beef & barley soup with tomatoes
D: BBQ steak, baked potatoes/sweet & steamed green beans
L: Leftover Beef & barley soup with tomatoes
D: Californian brochettes* with basmati rice
D: Italian chicken thighs with spazel & a blue-cheese dressed walnut & green salad
D: Chicken soup & fresh bread
D: BBQ Lemon-herb roasted chicken drumsticks, potatoes/sweet potatoes & green salad
D: Cheeseburgers, all dressed. Green salad.

* from the butcher's already in marinade.

  • Cereal & skim milk, fruit. Water.
  • Multi-grain oatmeal & cinnamon, fruit. Small glass of milk.
  • 2 pc toast, nut butter, fruit preserves. Small glass of milk.
  • 1 egg, 2 pc bacon, 3 slices tomatoes, 1 pc toast.
  • Apples, pears, bananas, berries
  • Low-fat yogurt & flax seed.
  • Cheese & crackers.
  • Taco chips & salsa.
  • No-bake power bars.
  • Celery & nut butter.
  • Celery, zucchini, radishes (plain).
  • hummus + stuff.
  • Onion soup dip + stuff.
20-May-09 Added links.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The failure of a new paella recipe

I wanted to try a "new" paella recipe that I found on the ABC website. It sounded like it should taste good, if a bit too spicy for me. The following is the recipe with the changes I made to make it less hot. It was still too hot for me though, and something was definitely not to my taste. Paella to me brings to mind the taste of saffron and short-grain rice. This recipe lacks the saffron and uses minute-rice instead, which while absorbant, isn't quite the same.

The recipe was supposed to come in under $15 and serve 4 (which explains the lack of saffron and the specialty rice). The spices used are pretty costly when initially bought, but I had them all in my pantry and, based on the amount used, my cost should still be under the $15 goal.

Paella has a long tradition in Spain, and it's a wonderful community dish that has numerous cultural variations. Chicken and shrimp paella is one of my favourite versions, but I've also made vegetarian paella too (replacing the meat with beans and adding more vegetables).

Browning chicken in oil (with the skin on) is something that takes more practice than I have. My pieces were only lightly browned, and when served, the skin was gummy and unpleasant. It would have been better to leave the chicken in the pan to crisp more before removing it to a plate. Also, I think I overcooked it. The meat itself was very tasty, but the skin ... ug.

Medium salsa is hot for me. Hot salsa is inedible. This mix is something far north of hot salsa. The depth of flavour I was expecting might very well have been there, but I couldn't taste it. I couldn't taste much of anything--even with a glass of milk and a sour cream chaser.

Without thinking, I cooked 2 cups of basmati rice beside the dish. So now I have lots of cooked basmati rice and leftover chicken (hrm... I see chicken fried rice in my near future). Regardless, here was the failure along with a few changes for next time.


  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (next time I'd leave this out)
  • 1 tsp red chili flake (next time I'll reduce this to 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (next time I'll reduce this to 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 two-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 med yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tbsps fresh ginger, julienned
  • 2 tbsps paprika
  • 2 tsp red curry powder (next time I'll leave this out)
  • 8 whole cloves garlic, peeled (next time I'll use 4 and mash them with salt & parsley)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (next time I'll use 2 red bell peppers)
  • 1/2 lb kielbasa sausage, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups five-minute white rice (next time I'll use 2 cups short-grain spanish rice)
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • black pepper, fresh ground (to taste)
  • saffron (to taste) (next time I'll add this in)
  • Directions

    1. In a 6 quart saucepan, combine stock, chipotles, chili flake, and chili powder and bring to a boil.
    2. Lower the heat to a simmer, and reduce the heat to minimum.
    3. In a large 12-14-inch sauté pan, heat olive oil until almost smoking.
    4. Season the chicken pieces generously with salt & pepper.
    5. Brown them carefully and slowly until the skin is a deep, dark, golden brown. Work in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
    6. When chicken is browned on both sides, remove it to a plate.
    7. In the same pan, add the onion, paprika, red curry powder, garlic cloves, red bell pepper, and ginger.
    8. Sauté until soft and golden brown, about 8 minutes.
    9. Add the chicken stock to the onion/pepper mixture and bring to a boil.
    10. Lower the heat and allow to simmer 10 minutes.
    11. Place the browned chicken pieces in the broth and cook for 15 minutes.
    12. Add 2 cups rice and the sausage to the pan.
    13. Bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes, turn off heat and let sit for 5 additional minutes, uncovered.
    14. Serve with a spring green salad.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Weekly menu for the week following May 8th, 2009

    I'm sure this will change once I get my Victory basket on Tuesday, but for now -- here's my menu. I bought the rosemary roasted pork cold-cuts believing that I'd be making a lunch for 5, and the soup was for a dinner for the same 5 people; but that didn't turn out. So my initial menu is changed to try and eat up all the left-overs.

    B: BLT on Chiabata bread, tea.
    L: Rosemary roasted pork sandwich with cheese & salad, tea.
    D: Beef & barley tomato soup, tea.
    Snacks: popcorn, small apple, cottage cheese
    B: Cranberry & orange bread & butter, small apple, tea.
    L: Rosemary roasted pork wrap with Beef & barley soup
    D: Chicken Paella Diana
    Snacks: 10 wheat crackers, small apple, cottage cheese
    B: Multi-grain oatmeal, cinnamon & small apple
    L: Chicken paella diana, green salad, diet coke
    D: Pasta & meat balls, green salad
    Snacks: Crudité & light tzatziki, small apple,
    B: Rosemary roasted pork rolls with mustard & cheese
    L: Rosemary roasted pork wrap with Beef & barley soup, diet coke
    D: Sauteed Tilapia with Honey-Scallion dress, basmati rice & steamed vegetables
    Snacks: 10 wheat crackers, small apple
    B: Multi-grain oatmeal, cinnamon & small apple
    L: Last-night's leftovers with extra veggies, diet coke
    D: BBQ Lemon-herb roasted chicken drumsticks, potatoes/sweet potatoes & green salad
    Snacks: Crudité & light tzatziki, small apple
    B: Rosemary roasted pork rolls with mustard & cheese
    L: Last-night's leftovers with extra veggies, diet coke
    D: Dinner out
    Snacks: cottage cheese, small apple

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Weekly menu for the week of May 4th, 2009

    It's another week, and thus another menu. When searching online for these recipes, I came to realize that about 1/2 my recipes are on another site (I seem to be forever finding new places to write, and new things to write about). I'm going to migrate posts from the other site to here (and cheat by backdating the posts). Hopefully it won't cause any problems. Fingers crossed.

    Lunch: BBQ chicken breast, basmati rice & broccoli spears (with hunan vinegar sauce)
    Dinner: BBQ beef (with Montreal steak spice), baked potato/sweet potato & steamed green & yellow beans

    Lunch: BBQ beef, basmati rice & broccoli spears (with hunan vinegar sauce)
    Dinner: Homemade tacos (ground beef, taco spice, cheese, romaine lettuce) & homemade salsa

    Lunch: Taco salad (taco meat over a green salad)
    Dinner: Sauteed Tilapia with honey-scallion dressing

    Lunch: Tilapia with honey-scallion dressing over couscous
    Dinner: Beef brochettes, flat bread & tzatziki served with green salad

    Lunch: Tuna salad
    Dinner: Paella Diana

    Vegetables & hummus or tzatziki
    Crackers & cheese
    Apples, bananas, plums
    Taco chips & salsa
    Unbaked energy bars