Monday, December 30, 2013

Recipe Archive

I decided to make the Blog a little easier to navigate by adding a "Recipe Archive". This is one central page that has links to all the posts I've completed. Hopefully this helps with the navigation. If I am really ambitious I may even make specific categories for things but for the moment we'll leave everything in the category of "Things that make me fat".

Here is the link: Recipe Archive

Enjoy and Happy Holiday's!

- Jeff

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Buttermilk Biscuits

If you are looking for something to go with Christmas dinner or a hangover breakfast after New Years these biscuits are the perfect flaky, buttery companion. I originally made these to go with some fried chicken but they took over as the star of the meal (the chicken was great but these are so easy). I've made them three times this week; making Jess and I look like magicians for how quickly they disappear. You will need a food processor and about half an hour including baking time. They are best made with butter milk but I used 1% and they were still great. I have also been adding white pepper to make them spicy. I made some with rosemary and garlic that were perfect with pasta. You could probably add honey and make them sweeter. We have a tiny food processor so my recipe fills it up. It will make 10 smaller or 6 biscuits large enough for toppings.


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk 


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor with the butter.
  4. Pulse the processor until the dough looks like wet sand.
  5. Add most of the milk and pulse a couple times until you have a wet dough.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter top.
  7. With your hands, press the dough out until it is around half an inch thick. 
  8. Fold it over on itself and repeat (I fold it 7 times but that's just cause I like the number 7).
  9. It will pretty much double in height in the oven so pat it down to half of the final height you want.
  10. Cut it into rounds using a cookie/dough cutter or a drinking glass (If you have nothing round I guess you could make square ones)
  11. Repeat the process with the scraps but try not to work the dough too much.
  12. Bake the biscuits for around ten minutes (try to keep an eye on the bottoms because they cook pretty quick, I ended up broiling them for a minute to get the tops golden).
  13. Try not to burn your mouth as you start stuffing them in.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lamb Stuffed Ravioli with a Creamy Truffle Sauce

A couple of our good friends just got back from a trip to Italy with their pockets stuffed with meat, cheese, truffles and an appetite for pizza and pasta. They were willing to share so we decided to have an "Italian Feast" starting in the late afternoon and going until we drank our weight in wine and gave our love handles love handles by stuffing as much pizza, pasta and tiramisu down our throats. The highlight of the night was lamb stuffed ravioli with a truffle cream sauce. This was the pinnacle of decadence. We made our own pasta dough but if you are not interested in making your own raviloli you would be able to make a ragu and top any type of long noodle.

Lamb Filling

  • 1 lbs ground lamb (I am not big into organic food but I suggest organic or the best quality you can get your paws on)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Brown the lamb in a large skillet.
  2. Allow to cool (5-10 min).
  3. Mix in the remaining ingredients.

 Truffle Sauce

  • 1/2 pound cold butter.
  • 1/4 cup white truffle oil.
  • 1 cup white wine (use good wine so you can drink the rest of the bottle).
  • ~ 1 tbsp minced shallots.
  • ~ 1 tbsp chopped garlic.
  • ground white pepper.
  • salt.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream.
  • 1 small black truffle.
  • chives.
  1. Chop the garlic and shallots in a food processor.
  2. In a saucepan, combine wine, shallots, garlic, salt and white pepper (use your discretion with the salt and pepper).
  3. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 mins.
  4. Stir in the cream.
  5. Cut the butter into cubes.
  6. Reduce the heat and stir in the butter.
  7. Add to past and garnish with shaved truffle and chives.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fried Pickles and Mozzarella Sticks

I love pub, deli, diner, bar and street food more than I should. Tonight I was on my own for dinner and decided to just have a sandwich and use up some of the food in the fridge from the weekend. I made some mozzarella cheese on Saturday and had enough leftover to make some mozzarella sticks. I also had pizza sauce to dunk them in and some salami for the sandwich. I figured that if I was going to be frying I might as well fry a couple pickles to take my sub to another level. The pickles added some extra crunch, taste and texture to a pretty average sandwich.
Breading food is easy and if you don't want to fry you can always throw it in the oven and it tastes the same without the additional grease of frying.

  • 1 cup seasoned flour (salt, pepper, etc)
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I used seasoned crumbs)

  1. Fill a small pot/dutch oven with a couple inches of oil (I used a mix of grape seed and canola)
  2. Heat the oil on medium high. To test if it is ready I usually chuck in a piece of bread. It will bubble and rise to the top of the oil.
  3. Dredge your item in the flour, egg, then crumbs.
  4. Fry until golden (2-3 min).


There isn't much to say about the mozzarella sticks other than they are little bundles of fried deliciousness. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Thin Crust Pizza Dough

I have been doing more and more baking and really want to perfect a couple things so that I will have my "go to" recipes. I think this "traditional" pizza dough was pretty much perfect. The only thing I would love to do is make this pizza in a wood fired oven; unfortunately I don't think our apartment is ready for me and fire to work together.

This dough will make two cookie sheet sized pizzas. The crust has the perfect crunch on the outside while being bubbly and soft inside.

  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (you could use bread or pizza flour)
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp olive oil

  1. In a a stand mixer or large mixing bowl add the sugar, yeast and water. Wait until it doubles in size.
  2. Add the flour salt and oil and mix until the dough ball is smooth and stretchy (about 5 min).
  3. Lightly oil the ball and set aside to double in size (approx 1hr).
  4. Punch down the dough and separate into two.
  5. Set aside and allow to rise again.
  6. Roll out the dough and top with your desired topping.
  7. Bake for 30 to 40 min at 400-425 degrees

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Creamy Grits with Spinach and Salami

I am one of those people that doesn't know the difference between grits and polenta and after making dinner tonight I am no closer to knowing the truth. I do know that whatever I made tonight was amazing and I will be making it again. This was a "lets clean out the fridge" meal and will be a regular dinner or breakfast meal going forward. I would love to make shrimp and grits so maybe I will do that next time.


  • 1 cup corn meal (I have no idea what kind I used because Jess had put it in a Tim Horton's tin)
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups cheese (white cheddar would be good but I ended up using Parmesan & Romano)
  • 6 slices of salami
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 3 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1/4 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic


  1. Boil the water and add the corn meal.
  2. Simmer for 20-25 minutes while it absorbs the water.
  3. Fry the salami until crispy leaving the grease for the  onions and garlic.
  4. Soften the onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Set aside the salami, onions, and garlic then added some water to the pan and blanched the spinach.
  6. In a food processor blend up the spinach and ricotta and add some salt and pepper.
  7. When the water has been absorbed by the corn meal add the butter and cheese.
  8. Fry an egg.
  9. Put everything in a bowl and destroy it!
 The texture of the grits is creamy and was a great base that could incorporate many flavors.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Home Made Gnocchi

I feel like I have been thrashing the "Italian red sauce" recipes but I do eat a lot of pizza and pasta. This is a pretty easy potato and ricotta gnocchi recipe that makes dumplings that are way better than store bought and don't eat up a bunch of active kitchen time. They were not perfect because I ended up mashing the potatoes with a fork and my commitment to smooth fluffy potatoes faded pretty quick.

  • 2 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ~ 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tbsp salt

  1. Boil the potatoes for about 40 min with the skin on.
  2. Peel the potatoes and pass through a vegetable mill, box grater or mash up with a fork.
  3. Incorporate the cheese, egg, salt and 1/2 of the flour.
  4. Add enough of the remaining flour for it to become a sticky dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 balls.
  6. Roll each ball into a log and cut into whatever size you want (they will plump up in the water so make them smaller than the final size)
  7. Boil the dumplings in salted water until they float.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Banana Coconut Fritters

I have been trying to work my way up to making "Cronuts", (croissant-donuts), for the last couple months and have been putting it off. I decided that maybe I should try something less involved to practice deep frying. Jess was watching the food network and saw a quick donut-fritter recipe on one of Gordon Ramsey's shows and we figured this would be a good starter donut. We did not have all the ingredients but made it work with what we had. We ended up with awesome "Timbit" sized Banana Coconut Fritters that we devoured for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

Cooking away
My failed attempt...

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup desiccated coconut 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large bananas
  • Grape seed oil for frying (I didn't have enough so i had to mix it with canola oil)
  • Powdered sugar and cinnamon for serving 

  1. Sift flour & baking soda in one large bowl.
  2. Stir in the sugar, coconut, and salt.
  3. Mash the bananas and stir into the dry ingredients.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes – the baking powder will help it fluff up slightly for the desired batter texture.
  5. Fill a Dutch oven or large saucepan with the oil and heat. You want enough oil so that the dropped dough is completely submerged, (it is ready when a cube of bread dropped in the oil sizzles and turns golden in 30 sec.)
  6. Using a spoon carefully drop the batter into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.We used a melon baller to scoop the dough in. Jess, was obviously way better than me because mine looked like demented funnel cakes.

 Lift out with a slotted spoon & drain on paper towel – this is where you can sprinkle them with sugar while they are still warm .

They had a perfect crust on the outside and the inside was fluffy and gooey from the banana. These would be great dunked in chocolate sauce or with chocolate ice cream.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stuffed Pizza

Jess had plans last Friday so I decided to stay in and have a "man" night to myself. I had a healthy supply of Basketball on TV and scotch to keep me hydrated. The only thing I was missing was something grimy to stuff my face with. I decided I would combine my Carmine's Sauce and Deep Dish Pizza posts into one super meal. If you ever need to increase the amount of processed meat and in your diet this is the fastest way to bump your numbers.
Stuffed pizza is another "Chicago" product and takes a Deep Dish pizza and adds another layer of crust. This layer adds to the structure of the pizza and acts almost like the club layer in a Club Sandwich. I didn't change any of the quantities of the recipes; I just ended up dividing the dough 60/40 instead of of 50/50 using the smaller piece as the topper. I also ended up with extra sauce but threw it in the freezer to use later. I also blended up some of the sauce to make it more pizza saucey. Realistically this was way over the top for a pizza, I used 6 types of meat and 3 types of cheese, and it probably was about $40 for everything.

Here are all the parts waiting for me to put them together.

Here is the build up.

And finally the pay-off.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Home Made Perogies

There is no excuse for buying cheap frozen perogies because they can be made fresh if you have a couple hours and enjoy spending time in the kitchen like myself. I made a fresh cottage cheese filling, a potato, cheese and jalapeno filling, and dough and was eating in about 1hr 20 min. I made 20 cheese and 15 potato. If you have a stand mixer this makes the job extra easy.

  • ~2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • filling (see my Home Made Cottage Cheese recipe)

I literally took everything and dumped it in the mixer with a dough hook and mixed it for 5 or 6  minutes. When it is smooth and soft wrap it in saran wrap and let rest in the fridge for 20 - 30 min. I would describe the dough as being silky and on the brink of being sticky. It will smell great because of the sour cream.
 After it has rested in the fridge roll it out (you might need to lightly flour your surface). I usually roll it until it just becomes translucent and you can start to see the counter through it. I used a 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut out my dough. If you don't have a cookie cutter you can usually use a glass that is around the same size. Fill each dough round with about a tablespoon of filling and pinch the edges together. If your dough is on the dry side you might need to run a little water along the edge to get a tight seal.

Here are the stuffed perogies:

 After they are stuffed you are ready to boil the perogies for 4 or 5 minutes or until the have been floating for a bit. I usually fry mine in some butter right out of the boiling water.

Serve with extra sour cream, onion, bacon, sausage or anything else you'd like. Then stuff your face!

Home Made Cottage Cheese

Cheese is quickly becoming a new obsession for me and I am finding that it is super easy, quick and cheap. This cottage cheese took about 45min to make and was way better than store bought. When I was growing up my extended family would get together and spend weekends making sausage and perogies. This cottage cheese is the perfect filling for perogies and I think I even convinced my friend to try to get his family to start making their perogies using fresh cheese. There is only two required ingredients and the only "special" equipment you need is a thermometer and some cheese cloth.


  • 8 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill (chopped)
I was scared that the vinegar would leave an after taste so I decided to add fresh dill so that in the worst case scenario it would kinda taste like dill pickle chips. It turned out that there was no vinegar taste and the plain cottage cheese would have been great on it's own.


1. Pour the milk into a large pot and heat on medium to 120 degrees F. Stir gently.
2. Remove the milk from the heat and slowly stir in the vinegar. It will start to separate.


3. Put the lid on the pot and let it firm up for 20 - 30 min.
4. Line a colander with your cheese cloth and pour the mixture through it. You can either keep or discard the whey (liquid part)

5. Rinse the curds under cold water and break into smaller curds with your fingers.
6. Transfer to a bowl and add your salt, pepper, and herbs.
7. I liked the dryness of the curd because I used it as a perogy filling but if you want it to be a little more runny add a splash of cream or milk.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mixed Berry Bread Pudding

I am not a huge fan of sweets but I have always liked bread puddings because they are simple, quick and versatile. This recipe is basically a fancy french toast because I ended up using pancake syrup on top instead of making a sauce. A couple of weeks later I made a lemon poppy seed one that was great as well. I cooked mine in one large dish and then used a round cookie cutter to cut a couple slices and stack it up. You can make individual ones if you have ramekins that would be an appropriate size. Having something warm for dessert is perfect for those lazy Sunday's where all you want to do is loaf around and read or watch movies. I went with blueberries and raspberries only because they were on sale.


  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 loaf French bread (stale)
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 - 3 cups fresh berries
  • Pancake or Maple syrup  


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, vanilla and nutmeg. Toss in the bread and let soak for a couple minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir into the bread mixture. Gently fold in the berries.
  4. Pour the pudding mixture into a pan (I used a glass casserole dish). Bake in the oven for about 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the pudding turns golden brown.
It will have a great crust on the top and should be creamy, warm and soft in the middle.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Teriyaki Hawaiian Burgers

It has started snowing here and I find myself dreaming about some of the places we have visited. One of our favourites was Hawaii. Hawaii has a great mix of Japanese and island foods. This burger was the perfect thing to combine those flavours and fill my belly. We don't have a BBQ so I pan fried the burgers and they ended up being flavourful, juicy and delicious. The pineapple,teriyaki and cheese make this burger a little different from the norm while keeping the satisfaction of having a burger.

Here is the burger mix prior to the egg and bread crumbs:

  • 1-1.5 lbs of ground beef
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 green onions (sliced)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs

I mixed everything other than the eggs and bread crumbs a couple hours before we ate so that the onions would soften up a little and the flavours would combine evenly. Add the egg and crumbs and form into patties and cook however you prefer. I took the pineapple slices and warmed them up in the pan I cooked the burgers in. I topped the burgers with either a Havarti or spicy Monterey Jack slice.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Italian Bread

This bread turned out way better than I was hoping. It was a last minute addition when I made the Carmine’s sauce. I ended up using one loaf for garlic bread and the other disappeared throughout the day as we prepared other things. It had a perfect crust that was still chewy and soft on the inside. It smells amazing as you bake it and you need to make two loaves because you will be eating it as soon as you can. The rising times are pretty dependant on the temperature of your kitchen and how hungry your yeast is. I ended up letting mine rise for about 2.5 – 3 hours total. It did rise in the oven as well. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Butterface" Wings

I planned on making a "Chefs Special" hot teriyaki wing but because of laziness I ended up making the most delicious worst looking wings you could imagine. If these looked any uglier you would need to put a paper bag over them before eating them. The problem was that I never made a decision about whether I was making a marinade or a sauce when I started putting these together. I think I should have split the liquid into one part marinade and one part sauce; thickening half and adding it at the end of the cooking process.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Deep Dish Pizza

It is rare that I actually follow a recipe but this one was perfect in every way. I found it on another blog and as usual I am impressed at what other people get up to. Here's the link:  I am not sure how I ended up being fixated on "Deep Dish" but I am pretty sure that I came across this when I was looking up stuff for our trip to New York. We devoured this on a Saturday night while watching movies and it was awesome. The crust has a nice crunch while still being soft and chewy in the middle. I found her instructions easy to follow would only consider adding more sausage and cheese because if you are going to make a a hot tub of cheese you might as well fill it to the brim.

Here are the photos of a hard days work.

Sauce ingredients:

The Rest: