Friday, January 20, 2012

Frogs' Legs

I had frogs' legs for dinner tonight.  I haven't had these since I was young but I noticed some at Flannigan's butcher shop and had to pick them up.  This used to be a childhood treat that my sister brought from Oshawa when she would come for the weekend so I had to try them again.

I've never cooked frogs' legs before so of course I went to the internet to do some investigation.  I found lots of interesting recipes but I wanted to keep it simple.  I decided I would just dredge them in flour and pan fry them in butter.  One hint was to soak them in milk first so I did that...for about an hour.

Then I dredged them in flour and pan fried them in butter.  Don't they look cute ;)

I served the little legs with mushroom rice and green beans.  The entire dinner took about 30 minutes to make.  If you ever find frogs legs, give them a try! They were great and the cats thought so too...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

We had stuffed peppers for dinner tonight - the perfect meal.  Not only simple to make but it has protein, vegetable and rice all in one dish!

I don't have a recipe for this.  I just make it but here are the ingredients I used today..

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees.  Brown some ground beef - for two servings, I use about a cup.  I season with salt and pepper and cook it slowly in a frypan so you don't need to add fat.  When it is almost done, I add the vegetables.  Today I used onion, celery and one clove of garlic. Often I add mushrooms but use whatever you like or whatever you have leftover in the fridge.  The vegetables should equal about a cup.  I also add some dry seasoning at this stage.  I often use Italian herbs like oregano, basil, etc.  You can go Mexican with a fajita or taco seasoning mix.  Whatever flavours you like are perfectly fine.

Once the vegetables are softened, add about a cup of cooked rice.  I prefer brown rice but used white tonight.  Next step is to add about a cup of diced tomatoes.  Stir to mix well and then add about half a cup of mozzarella cheese.  Stir to melt and spoon into a pepper that has been halved and de-seeded.  I like to add about a Tbsp of liquid to the bottom of the dish before placing it in the oven,  Today I used tomato juice but water works just as well.  I sprinkle the top with some more grated mozzarella cheese - about 1/2 a cup.

The peppers need to bake about 30 minutes until they are softened.  I pierce them with a knife tip to make sure they are ready.  This is an easy and healthy dinner so enjoy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lemon Loaf

I have some friends dropping by for a visit tonight so I decided to make a lemon loaf.  I'm not a great baker.  I prefer to cook so I like to have some standby desserts that I can make up in a few minutes.


1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
grated rind of one lemon
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cream shortening and sugar together.  It will be a nice lemony colour.   Beat in eggs, lemon zest and milk.  I use my Kitchenaid mixer to make this easy.

Mix in flour, salt and baking powder.  If you are a good baker, you will sift all these dry ingredients into your wet mixture.   However, if you are slapdash like me, you will dump it all in and turn the machine on ;).  I find it tastes the same.  Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for one hour.   At the 45 minute mark, I start checking it because I find that it doesn't usually take a full hour.  Today it took 55 minutes for a toothpick to come out clean.

Make a glaze with a 1/4 cup of icing sugar and the enough of the lemon juice for a runny consistency.
While it is still warm, I poke holes in the top with a bamboo skewer and gently pour the glaze into the holes and over the top of the loaf.  Cool and slice.  I hope you enjoy this easy dessert.   Recently I used it as the base for a lemon and berry trifle.  It was soooo good.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Duck a L'Orange

Happy New Year!  Tonight I made duck to celebrate the start of a new year.  This is one of my favourites and was on sale at the local grocery store so it was an easy decision.  I love duck.  It is the dish I always used to order out at fine restaurants but I have found it is quite easy to make at home and soooo much cheaper.

Thaw the duck and place it in a large enough pot to cover with water.  Add a good tsp of sea salt and some pepper - today I used pink peppercorns.

Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes.  I usually turn it about half way through to make sure it is well cooked.  This takes a little work with hot water and a slippery duck.  Don't use tongs because it will tear the skin - I like to use a couple of metal spatulas.  Your other option is to weigh down the duck with a heavy plate but that can get really messy too.  By boiling the duck first, you get rid of a lot of the fat.  After 45 minutes, take it out of the water and let it cool before cutting it up.

I like to make the orange sauce while it is cooling.

In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup OJ, 1/2 cup marmalade and 2 Tbsp of Grand Marnier.  Heat this up til the marmalade melts and it bubbles.  Now you can serve it like this or you can thicken it by mixing 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch with a little cold water before stirring it into the sauce.  It can be reheated right before serving the duck.

Next step is to preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Yes I said 500 degrees and yes, you will have to clean the oven after this but it is definitely worth the price.  You need to cut the duck in half, then quarters.  This can be pretty daunting if you have never done it before but I'll talk you through it...Start but turning the duck breast side down.  Run your knife along the back bone, gently cutting through the skin and the meat.  Then use kitchens shears (or plain old scissors) and cut on either side of the backbone.  Discard the back bone and turn the duck over.  Again cut through the skin and meat in the middle of the breast.  It is not as difficult to cut through as a chicken so be gentle.  Cut in half...

Now you are going to cut each half in quarters.  If you feel along the half, you can feel a diagonal depression which is the line to follow.  There are almost no bones to cut.  Put each quarter on a rack on a heavy rimmed baking sheet.

Bake at 500 for 20 to 30 minutes to crisp the skin.  It will spit and smoke and if you don't have a good oven like mine - you might want to take the battery out of  the smoke alarm while you are doing this.  Keep your eye on the duck while it is crisping.  You can work on the rest of your meal but stay in the kitchen.  We don't want any fires!

This what it looks like after 20 minutes.  Almost ready...then serve it with a little orange sauce.

Bon appetit and cheers...

Wow the picture taking is a little wonky, isn't it?  And that's before I polished off 3 glasses!