How about you? Was your January fast and action-packed. Mine was not. It was long and dark. And I’m glad it’s over!
Yesterday was just miserable outside. So I spent all day cooking:
- Jambalaya – I made a few modifications to the recipe below, such as: I add shrimp or other shellfish at the very end. Turn off heat and cover.) Let the steam cook these items. I also start with a few or many bacon lardons.
- beef and Barley soup My recipe. Start by making your own broth from bones. Chicken or beef it doesn’t really matter. I will add beef with bones later. I personally like to start with chicken broth as I already have frozen carcasses in my freezer from Sunday roast chicken dinners. Also I like the way my rich chicken bone broth combines with the beef later in the process.
- Bring bone broth to a boil and reduce to simmer for several hours. Add a roughly chopped onion or two, garlic and a few carrots and some rough chopped celery (pick stalks with leaves as they add a lot of flavour when cooked. You can leave the skins on the onions, its easier and they will add some colour to your broth. Strain them off later with the bones.
- Skim fat and froth as you go along.
- Strain out bones and other debris.
- Now you are ready to start making your soup.
- Get your mise en place ready (diced carrots, onions, celery, herbs, beef*, etc.
- *beef: I like to use short ribs and the thinly cut Korean style beef ribs. Lots of bones, fat and flavour (You must salt well and skim the fat periodically as it cooks)
- Bolognese Sauce. Prepared with my own canned tomato sauce made from Okanagan Valley Roma’s. Better than any sauce you can buy. I still have two flats left from our canning 3 years ago. These were canned the weekend I had my stroke.
Mixed mushrooms. Mushroom medley with butter and a wee splash of truffle oil (I will use these in a risotto later in the week.)
Years ago when I was in Portugal for the first time, I stayed at a Relais & Chateaux hotel. Maybe it was this one I’ve linked below. There I had mushrooms as a component of my meal. I had never had any mushroom quite as delicious before or in fact since. It took me many years to figure out the deliciousness came from both butter and the truffle. This was about 20 years ago when the only reference to truffle I had was Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”.
This hotel has a Michelin one star, so it quite possibly is the place I had the awesome truffle mushrooms.
Here are some other pictures from the day:
Today’s feature photo was taken Thursday night at our fantastic local Mexican restaurant, Nevado’s. The excellent tamarind spareribs, yam & chorizo hash and fish tacos are what likely inspired my marathon cooking weekend. In case you are wondering, the cocktail is an old fashioned. My good friend Stan introduced me to this cocktail a few years ago, and now and then when I want to feel grown-up, I have one.
Me and a Roop were up early today. The sun is shining. The ice, has been melting these past few hours so a light layer of slush sits on top of the ice. Dangerous. Ugly Winter boots must be worn and extreme care taken if going out today. Which I am not planning to do, unless it is to head to the hot tub. I thought to do this last night but my motivation faded. So I am spending a few hours in my office blogging and doing a piece of work that is due tomorrow morning.
Days are starting to be lighter, longer. I am getting some energy back and my interest is rising in beginning other projects, in particular cooking.
I am beautiful, I am strong , I am inspired, I am chef
I am awesome and so are you!
Stay warm and awesome wherever you find your fine self today. Lets talk again sometime next week.