Braised chicken with mixed vegetables

January 5, 2015 Leave a comment



Simple and effective. Roasted Maryland chicken cuts (leg and extended thigh, with skin) in a mixture of great vegetables, served with mashed potatoes. In an oven proof deep dish on the stove, brown the chicken, set aside, and then sauté the vegetables accordingly. Add the wine, reduce the liquid by half, then add the tomatoes and the herbs and spices. Add the chicken, lightly cover with foil, and cook in the oven at 180 C (350F) for 1 to 1.5 h. Serve with mashed potatoes made only with butter, whole milk, salt and black pepper.

Here are the details!

Chicken pieces for 3 to 4 people
1 brown onion, minced
2-3 small eggplant, minced
1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, minced
4 small carrots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
500 ml (2 cups) white wine
1 can diced tomatoes 12 oz (350 g)
1 Tb fennel seeds
1 Tb oregano dried
1/2 Tb thyme dried
Salt and black pepper to taste

Smokin’ turkey

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve posted this photo before, but no detail on the recipe. For Thanksgiving, I based the marinade for the turkey on a recipe from the NY Times, out of Florida. I marinated turkey legs, wings, and breast overnight, and then smoked the legs and wings for 7 h, and the breast for 3 h.


The recipe for the brine can be made smaller or larger, depending on the amount of meat. Ultimately, the meat just needs to be, for the most part, soaking in the marinade. If you use a zip-bag, the amount of marinade can be reduced. For this recipe, I spread the marinade around on 6 legs, 6 wings, and 2 breasts.

The marinade

1 L (4 cups) fresh orange juice

juice from 12 limes

2 Tb salt

2 Tb ground cumin

2 Tb ground coriander

1 tsp ground allspice

1 head garlic, thoroughly smashed

Marinate the meat overnight. I then cooked the meat in a Texas (off-set) smoker for about 7 hours (breast for 3 h), heated by red gum coal at about 120 C (250 F), supplemented by pre-soaked hickory wood at regular intervals (about every 2 h) for smoke. I also basted the meat in the leftover marinade at about the same interval. The result was great.

November 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Each go at the smoker is slowly getting better. This time it is pork ribs (american style) and beef brisket. Each meat had their own marinade, smoked with a mixture of hickory and apple wood, and basted with a home-made BBQ sauce in the final hours. The final cooking time was about 8+ hours. Details below.


For the pork ribs, I marinated 8 racks for 24 h in:

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tb salt

2 Tb ground cumin

2 Tb ground coriander

2 Tb ground paprika

1 Tb ground allspice

1 Tb ground cinnamon

2 Tb oregano

Half a dozen fresh coriander roots, minced


For the beef brisket, I marinated two slabs weighing in total 2 kg (4 lb) for 24 h in:

2 Tb salt

1/4 cup of my corned beef spice mix (below, and details here)

6 cloves garlic, minced


Pickling spice (master mix)

2 Tb black peppercorns

2 Tb mustard seeds

2 Tb coriander seeds

2 Tb hot red pepper flakes

2 Tb allspice berries

1 Tb ground cardamom

2 cinnamon sticks, crushed into small pieces

24 bay leaves, crushed into small pieces

2 Tb whole cloves

1 Tb ground ginger


For the BBQ sauce, sauté  the following in 1/2 cup butter:

1 red onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Then add:

1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1 can diced tomatoes (12 oz, 330 g, approx.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tb oregano

1 Tb ground cumin

1 Tb ground coriander

1 tsp allspice

small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), ripped apart

Cook for about 60 minutes on low heat, then strain through a fine sieve.


For the smoked meat, I heated the offset (Texas) smoker using natural red gum charcoal, and added a mixture of hickory and apple wood chips (pre-soaked in water) at regular intervals. I maintained the temperature between 80 – 90 C (175-195 F), rotating and moving the meat at regular intervals, and basting the meat two times in the last 2 hours. Total cooking time was 8+ hours.


Pulled beef ribs

October 25, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m not the greatest fan of beef ribs on the bone. Sure, they’re great, but pork, chicken, and lamb ribs are better! The main reason is certainly not the flavor, but rather the amount of fascia (connective tissue) and fat that does not melt away at times. So, I decided to slow cook the ribs, pull the meat off, discarding the bad bits, and stewing it into a rich, pulled beef to serve with soft dinner rolls. This isn’t a BBQ, per se. The ribs are braised in heaps of red wine, garlic, onion, celery, oregano, and other spices, then left to cool. Then the bad bits are taken out, and the resulting mass is stewed. Served on soft rolls, with a side of veg, yum!

The detailed recipe is after the photos…




2 kg (4 lb) beef ribs

2 medium brown onions, minced

6-8 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks celery, minced

500 ml (2 cups) red wine

1 medium can diced tomatoes (250 g, 8 oz)

2 bay leaves

1 Tb oregano

1 Tb cumin

1 Tb sweet paprika

1 Tb salt

Brown the meat using a bit of oil in an oven-proof dish, then add the onions. Once the onions are sweating, add the garlic and celery. Saute a bit, then add the red wine. Cook down the red wine by a third, then add the rest of the ingredients. Place a layer of parchment paper over the meat, then cover well with foil or lid, etc., and cook in the oven at 150 C (300 F) for about 3 h. Once cooled, pick out the bones, cartilage, fascia, etc., then transfer all the remaining meat and vegetable pulp into a deep dish, and reduce down over low heat until thick and rich. I served it with a side of broccoli and corn, sautéed in a bit of butter, cumin, and black pepper.

Classic pork chop with a bit of spice

It’s been awhile since I’ve cooked a pork chop. Wonderful when cooked properly, dry and chewy if over-cooked. But quick and easy. I’ve added a bit more than the standard salt and pepper, but the result is great.


4 pork chops, at least 1 inch thick

1 clove garlic, finely minced

2 Tb ground cumin

1 Tb ground ginger

1 tsp ground allspice

salt and pepper to taste (approx. 1 tsp of each)

Mix all the spices and dry rub the pork chops. Let sit at least 30 min, ideally 4-6 h. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). In an oven-proof skillet, pan fry the pork chops on medium heat in a bit of oil, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork chops to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes, then serve. A reasonable amount of pork fat and juices will pool in the pan. Pour a bit over the meat just prior to serving.

Sweet potato, cabbage, and pecan (creamed) soup

This soup is sweet, nutty, and rich. The final addition of cream just before serving provides a smooth, creamy texture. The flavors are reminiscent of sweet potato pie, but there is no added sugar in this soup. All the sweetness is from the sweet potatoes and onions, offset by the cabbage and pecans. I served it with warmed bread from the oven. My girls enjoyed it.




2 Tb oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into bite-size pieces (I don’t bother peeling; extra minerals and flavor)

1 large brown onion, minced

1/4 green cabbage, shredded

2 cups pecans

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)

1 Tb ground cumin

1/4 tsp each of ground cinnamon, allspice, and mace

1/4 tsp black pepper

salt to taste (most stock will have salt, unless you make your own)

1 to 2 cups cream (depending on final consistency desired)

Saute the sweet potatoes, onion, cabbage, pecans, and garlic until the sweet potatoes start to brown and caramelise. Add the stock and spices, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, and cook for about 25-30 min. Using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth. While still blending, slowly add the cream until the desired consistency is achieved. Salt if needed.

Spinach, basil, grana and mixed nut pesto

May 17, 2014 1 comment

There is no pretty photo with this post. The photo is portioned pesto for freezing. But the pesto is great, freezes well, twaws easily, and comes in handy for quick and easy meals. My girls love pesto in pasta, and this pesto, packed with spinach, pecans, and walnuts, packs a healthy punch. Taken from the freezer, I put the frozen zip-bag in a bowl of hot water, and by the time the pasta is boiled, it’s ready to toss with the pasta. It’s that simple. Though I often add a few more things on the day. Want some meat? Fry up some chicken thigh. Add some broccoli, some minced green beans, the options are endless. The recipe is below.



1 lb (1/2 kg) spinach

200-250 g (1/4 lb, 4 oz) fresh basil

8 cloves garlic (approx. 1/2 head)

125 g (3-4 oz) parmesan, grana padano

1/2 grated nutmeg (1 tsp approx.)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 cups each whole pecans and walnuts

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tb salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You will likely need to slowly add the spinach and basil, because of the whole leaf volume, but the processed product will fit into most large food processors. Once thoroughly blended, portion out the pesto into zip-bags or other storage containers, and freeze. I portioned out into 5 large portions (each amount was about 3/4 cup+), each enough to toss with 4-6 servings pasta. If you don’t want pasta, the pesto also works well as a chicken/seafood marinade, or a dip with bread, biscuits, cheese, etc.


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