I haven’t spent a lot of time in the kitchen this past week, so I took a little trip down my photo’s and came across this. One of our favorite memories of spending time in Moosonee is the impromptu meals that just require a cook stove, a flat surface, propane and a beer or two.
This garage cookout was during a trip Mrs. Canuck came to visit her brother Tony and he was more than happy to slice up some moose meat and take out a bag of walleye. Fresh wild ingredients treated with nothing more than a little oil, salt, pepper and onions in the moose make for a tasty meal that leaves you wanting more.
The moose is slow cooked and the walleye pan fried crispy. Behind the scene, you don’t see the turkey fryer going for the 10+ lbs of potatoes that were double fried to crispy deliciousness and in this house, doused with malt vinegar while I run to escape the pungent smell.
Is there a meal family cooks for you that you ask for?
It has been a few days since I’ve posted, but I do have an excellent excuse. When we lived in Moosonee many years ago, Mrs. Canuck and I were on the Ducks Unlimited Committee and every year in February there is a dinner and auction for fundraising for Ducks Unlimited Canada.
While on our trip to Barrie and Orillia, my aunt who is the co-chair of the committee, called us and dropped the thousand dollar question. “Would you be willing to do the dinner this year.” I can’t say I was surprised, as it was mentioned before; but now an answer was required and all I could muster was “I’ll call you back”.
30 minutes later, we had a menu idea and called back to say “Yes, we’ll do it”. The remainder of the 300KM to Barrie was further discussion of the menu for over 100 people. We were settled on a decision and planned a Greek dinner theme. Ideas of souvlaki, rice were tossed out but the final decision was:
Greek Skewer with feta, tomato, spinach, and olives
Greek salad with romaine lettuce, red onion, tomatoes and cucumber
Greek pasta salad with feta, peppers, olives, tomatoes, and cucumber
Herb roasted chicken
Roasted diced potatoes, skin on
Baby carrots in a honey butter glaze
Pita and tzatziki
I had my camera with the new lens on it and all set to take some photos as we moved along. As my luck would have it, I forgot the memory card in the laptop but I managed to get a few photos with my iPhone.
This was our first experience having to plan and execute a menu for over 100 people and while at times it was stressful, all the time it was enjoyable and most of all we had fun.
It would have not been possible without Granny Canuck and Mrs. Canuck working together to help with the menu, cut, wash, dice and bake. Mrs. Canuck worked her magic with desserts of carrot cake and cream cheese icing and Granny Canuck made her fantastic fruit salad which was the first to go.
This morning having coffee with the D.U. members, we were already discussing the menu for next year, the 30th anniversary and already looking forward to the 2018 event.
One of the things I believe is, you can taste the love people put into their food. If you don’t believe it, have Mom cook you a meal and if Mom isn’t around, find someone who is passionate about food and watch them cook and then taste their food. Now find someone who hates being in the kitchen or looks at cooking as a chore and let me know which meal you prefer. I am sure there is a portion of it is knowledge and time in the kitchen, but an ingredient you can’t buy is love or passion.
Prime example. Take sliced beef, toss it in a pot with mushrooms and onions and soya sauce and make a pot of rice. Sure sounds like a boring weeknight meal that anyone can put together. Now, toss your Mom into the mix and you have this delicious dinner that is hearty and warming, seasoned perfectly, extra tender beef and even the Minute Rice is divine. I’ve tried and for some reason, this can not be reproduced in my kitchen with my hands. We have the same pots, buy the beef at the same place, use the same soy sauce and even the same blue box of Minute Rice. The only factor is, Mom.
See where I’m going here?
Today is Valentine’s day and posted above is one of the treats I made for Granny Canuck and Mrs. Canuck around the campfire one summer, long before I started this blog. After a long day in the sun and wanting some ice cream, the desire came just as the sun was setting at the taste of BBQ steak was starting to leave our taste buds. We needed something sweet and needed it quick.
I ran into the camper eager to find something that involved ice cream and came across the in-season cherries we bought fresh the day before at the local market. Looked on the counter and saw a bag of granola and within seconds I had it. Sweet, cold, hot, creamy, crunchy all in one and knew it was going to be a hit.
Here is a quick rundown of what I did and to be honest what I would do again if I were to make it, as I didn’t write it down and going by my very limited memory.
Stuff You Need
cherries, a good bag full
1-2oz orange liqueur, optional orange juice
sugar to taste, optional stevia sweetener.
good premium ice cream
granola, we get unsweetened stuff usually from the local bulk store or Kashi.
Stuff You Do
Pit cherries and place in a pot with sugar and liqueuer or orange juice and place over medium heat or in our case, warm coals on an open fire. If you are using stevia or artificial sweetener, leave it out until step 2.
Cook cherries until they break down until it’s thick and syrupy. If you are using stevia or artificial sweetener, you can add it now.
Let mixture cool a little as not to instantly melt the ice cream.
Assembly, ice cream, cherry compote, granola and garnish with a fresh cherry.
Last but not least, enjoy!
A special tribute to my Valentines of a picture I did many years ago on our anniversary and today and each and every day it remains true.
So a cow, a pig, and a chicken walk into a bar and the bartender phones his chef friend to make him some amazing sliders.
We’ve all made burgers before, pulled pork sandwiches and no one could agree on what one to make. We did the next best thing, make three sliders! A smoked pulled pork slider with homemade BBQ sauce, a Buffalo Wing slider and a Beef Burger with homemade bacon jam to finish it off.
Big shout out to Mrs. Canuck for making the slider buns homemade! Apparently, you can’t find slider buns in the middle of winter in Northern Ontario.
Read below for all the details you need to pull off your own slider party.
Pulled Pork Slider
Step 1 – Make the pulled pork or beg for some pulled pork.
large pork butt or shoulder
your favorite pork rub
Bring pork to room temperature and rub seasoning over pork
Follow smoker instructions and smoke pork for 6-8 hours
Put pork in oven tightly covered at 300 for 3-4 hours until it pulls apart tender with a fork.
Step 2 – Coleslaw
package coleslaw mix
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tbsp of celery seed
1 tbsp of sugar, we like our coleslaw very tart, adjust to taste
dash or salt and pepper
Put vinegar, celery seed, sugar, salt, and pepper in a small pot and bring to a boil.
Pour hot over the coleslaw mix and stir.
Place in fridge for 2-3 hours to soak up all the flavor.
Step 3 – BBQ Sauce
There is only one BBQ sauce we use in the house when it comes to ribs, chicken and pulled pork. It’s one I’ve been using for 10+ years and here is the recipe.
1 onion, diced fine
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup apple juice or apple sauce
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp mustard powder
Cook onion with a little bit of oil till it’s soft, about 5 mins.
Add all other ingredients and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes stirring every so often as not to burn.
Step 4 – Assembly
Split your slider bun and toast with a little bit of butter on a hot pan.
Add pulled pork and drizzle some sauce on the top.
Top with coleslaw.
Bacon Jam & Smoked Cheddar Burger Slider
Step 1 – Bacon Jam
1 lbs bacon
2 large sweet onions, sliced thick or thin, you choose; we like thick.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup strong coffee
2 – 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until cooked but not crispy, it needs to have some give to it.
Take out the bacon and drain most of the bacon fat, leave 1 tbsp to start the onions.
Return pan that the bacon was cooked in and set to medium heat and cook onions for 8-10 minutes
Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and cook for 20 minutes until onions are caramelized.
Add coffee, vinegar, and cooked bacon to pan and cook until it resembles a thick jam, stir every 5 minutes. This should take 10-15 minutes.
Step 2 – Burger
I typically don’t do anything to my ground beef when making burgers. I believe you need to let the meat speak for itself, no eggs, no bread crumbs, just beef and good old fat.
1/2 lbs ground beef for 6 slider burgers
smoked cheddar cheese
bacon jam from above
6 slider buns
Take medium ground beef and form into a patty.
Heat a frying pan medium-high heat, season burgers with salt and pepper and place in pan.
Fry burgers until the juices run clear, living in Canada we cook our burgers to well done, just don’t go WELL done and turn them into hockey pucks, eh!
Sprinkle the cheese on the burgers to get melted and gooey.
Step 3 – Assembly
I’m pretty sure you know how this goes, but just in case you don’t.
Split bun and toast with a little butter in a hot pan.
Put cooked burger and cheese on the bun.
Put bacon jam on the burger.
Put the top on bun, burger, jam and squash down.
Buffalo Chicken Slider
Step 1 – Shredded Buffalo Chicken Breast
4 chicken breasts
1 cup Franks Buffalo Wing sauce, 1/2 cup to cook and 1/2 cup once shredded.
Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing.
Add chicken, onions and 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing sauce to a slow cooker or heavy dutch oven.
Cook for 4 hours if using a slow cooker on low or 300 in the oven for 2 hours.
Take chicken out and shred using two forks.
Put chicken back in the pot and add the other 1/2 cup Frank’s to the shredded chicken, keep warm until you are ready to plate.
Step 2 – Assembly
Same as above sliders, toast the buns with a bit of butter in frying pan.
Pile on a good serving of chicken to the slider bun.
I’m trying to amp up my photography game when it comes to the blog. I have been shooting most of my food shots with my iPhone and having access to a Sony A6000 camera, it’s time to dust it off.
I make various versions of this from time to time and you can choose anything you have in pantry, freezer or fridge. The basics remain the same each time, natural Greek yogurt base, stevia to sweeten, a dash of vanilla and from there, let your imagination go wild.
The Stuff You Need
1/2 cup natural unsweetened Greek Yogurt
1/2 package stevia or sweeten to your taste
a splash of vanilla
can peaches packed in water
granola, I used Nature Valley Chia Seed & Coconut Granola
The Stuff You Do
No lengthy instructions needed, add stevia, yogurt, and vanilla together then layer.
What did you put on yours? Please feel free to share your own version of this light and fresh afternoon snack!
No trip to the Orillia is complete without stopping at Mariposa Market for lunch or to grab something for the road home. My Mom’s sweet tooth and love for bread, cookies, pastry and anything that is market fresh keep us coming back for more.
On the menu today, was French onion soup; which had a hearty and rich deep flavorful broth accompanied by a lukewarm bun. I had a cauliflower creme soup and a ham and cheddar baked sandwich but the picture didn’t turn out and I was hungry.
If you are in the area, definitely take a stop and grab a bite or something for the road, you won’t be disappointed.
Last night we drove from Timmins to Barrie for a little getaway with Granny Canuck and Mrs. Canuck to stop at Casino Rama in Orillia and take in some good restaurant eats and a little minor shopping. A mandatory Barrie food stop for the traveling crew is “The Mandarin”.
Yes, it’s a Chinese buffet filled with fried food, sugary sauces and overeating indulgence like you’ve never seen before and we enjoy every calorie. While we were having dinner, the usual banter of staff danced about to sing happy birthday to an elderly couple sitting close to our table. We clapped with our sticky fingers and sang with the rest, only to find out the gentleman’s name was Morris, having dinner with his lovely wife and turning 86. Once the excitement died down, I looked at my Mom and instantly knew what she was thinking.
Over the course of many years, we have all taken turns to pay it forward to unsuspecting dining couples, drive-thru customers, and coffee-goers. One of my fondest memory is an elderly couple in their turquoise 1960’s Thunderbird behind us in the Dairy Queen drive-thru on a Sunday afternoon. We paid for their ice cream and drove away. A quick look in the mirror we could see the sheer surprise and delight on their faces as they were told their ice cream was on the silver vehicle driving north.
Tonight, we asked our server to make sure we picked up the tab for their dinner. Normally we get to sneak out and leave them wondering; but in this case, the server who wasn’t too sure of our intentions pointed directly at us when they asked who paid the bill. We all turned 50 shades of red and tried to sneak out; but before we could Mrs. Morris came to our table with tears of joy in her eyes and hugged my Mom. On our way out, we shook the hand of our new friend and made our way to the hotel.
This isn’t a challenge to anyone to pay it forward, I’m not posting for a pat on the back, I’m posting because as I posted before, it’s the little things in life. My Dad would sometimes do this, as cheap as he was. Tonight we did it for Morris and Mrs. Morris to make his day a little extra special and a story he will remember long into his 90th birthday.
We did it in part for ourselves, the little thing that reminds us of Dad. He would be even happier knowing it was two seniors. After all, they get a 20% discount.