“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

First off, I want to thank everyone who came to visit me last night at my booth during Afterglow. I had many great conversations with the lot of you and it was great to be able to share what I know about living dairy free, and very encouraging to have so many people excited to try my recipes.

Those who attended last night’s event got a bit of a preview that you folks have not yet been privy to, a few days ago I made Panko Crusted Stuffed Meatballs and posted a picture on both Facebook and Twitter. That resulted in several people asking for the recipe and I decided to include it in those featured at my booth.

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Since some of you were geographically unable to attend, and others either couldn’t make it out or the rain killed their copy of the recipe, I’ve uploaded a PDF version of the pamphlet I handed out with all three recipes included. Simply click the link and you’ll have access to them in all their glory. Tony’s Recipes – Afterglow

I look forward to hearing feedback from those who give these recipes a go and, as always, if you’d like to send me an e-mail with pictures of your creation and a write up on what you did, I would love to post them on here. My goal for this blog is to replicate the atmosphere found when sitting with a group of friends in the kitchen, swapping recipes.

Happy Cooking!

This Life Is What You Make It” – Marilyn Monroe

When I first kicked this blog back into gear I wasn’t sure what I wanted it to become. It was more or les a virtual recipe book that I could refer to as need be, then something happened. People start reading. Not just people I knew either, I’ve met quite a few people since I started. In doing so, the main idea for my blog took form.

I love cooking with friends and sharing recipes/ideas, as well as riffing on how to make them better. So I want to replicate that atmosphere in a blog, and apart from encouraging people to comment about how the process goes for them or suggestions for recipes to feature, it is somewhat out of my hands haha. Luckily I received an e-mail this week with Barbara Nolan‘s take on the Breakfast Pizza recipe I posted a few entries ago.

So, basically from here on out, if you try one of the recipes and want to share with everyone, and I hope you do, just shoot off an e-mail to biodomer@hotmail.com with pictures and any tweaks you made to the recipe and I’ll gear up a post and share it with everyone else.

Here We Go!

Starting with the tweaks to the recipe:
Bacon fried in a 12″ pan – I was actually considering changing this to chopped up Canadian bacon in the future.
6 eggs scrambled – I did this with milk but think I might leave the milk out next time.
Daiya Cheddar cheese – Cheddar is my personal favorite kind of cheese.
Black olives spread over half of the eggs
Red/Green peppers spread over the other half
Sea Salt and Garlic & Herbs sprinkled over all

Bake at 350° for 15 min.

She also posed this question – “I am thinking that the consistency of mine may have been different because of using the milk to scramble the eggs.  Did you use anything?” The answer is just a very little bit of water. I find it makes the egg a lot fluffier, which gives your eggs a great little pick me up.

Now for the photographic evidence, and I would like to go on record saying this looks leaps and bounds fancier than mine! Great job, Barbara =)

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I look forward to more e-mails from all of you.

Have a great one!

PS – If you send in your goods, you name the post too =P

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, I was watching Chuck’s Day Off on the Food Network and he was making this really yummy looking spinach dip. Going on about the different cheeses that go into it, and the beer base and I slowly started to check out mentally. A beer based spinach dip sounded great, but when you’re lactose intolerant and they talk about how great the flavors of the different cheeses are, and the boost that they give to the recipe, you just sort of lose interest. But for whatever reason I decided I was going to make it work with my ingredients, I was going to make it dairy free, and it was going to be excellent…I was right!

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Los Ingredientes

  • Round loaf of bread (I find Sourdough works best)
  • 1 bottle of beer (We swear by Stella) (here’s a list of Gluten Free Beer to use instead. Note that I have not tried these, but have friends who drink Redbridge)
  • 1 pkg Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds (amazing dairy free cheese, best I’ve found)
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 4-6 mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • roughly 4 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sea Salt & Herbs

Before I get into this, I have to expand on the Sea Salt & Herbs as it can be found in almost every recipe I make. It’s a mixture of, you guessed it, sea salt & herbs that can be purchased at the Bridgewater Farm Market from Rumtopf Farm for $5 a bag. If you live in my general area I strongly suggest picking up a bag and trying it for yourself. I barely make a meal without it.

First thing’s first, put your cheese in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of flour and mix to make sure its all coated so they don’t clump together and put it to the side.

Next, take a bread knife and cut the top inch or so off the top of the loaf of bread and, taking a paring knife, cut out the inside of the loaf, leaving about an inch the whole way around. Scoop out the bread from inside the loaf as you would a pumpkin when making a Jack-O-Lantern and chop them up into little cubes doing the same with the top you cut off earlier. Spread them out on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, along with salt & pepper over top and mix to make sure they are all coated. Make room for the newly formed bread bowl and put them all in the oven at 350 for 5 minutes. Afterwards, take your cubes and put them on a plate, or tray, or in a basket if you’d prefer but keep the bread bowl on the pan, you’ll need it again .

While all this is going on you can fry up the yellow pepper, mushroom, and onion in a frying pan with a bit of olive oil and whichever spices you prefer. Keep it at a low heat, you won’t need them until after the spinach goes in with the beer & cheese.

In a pot, bring the beer to a very warm temperature without bringing it to a boil and add in the cheese. This will take longer with the dairy free cheese than normal cheese just because it’s a different consistency. Add in the Sea Salt & Herbs, or your go to seasoning, and with a wooden spoon keep mixing it slowly until it becomes completely melted, then comes the audience participation. Get the person who’s been standing there holding up the counter while you’ve been working to slowly add the spinach to the pot while you keep stirring.

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for since I mentioned it, I know you have! The veggies you fried up earlier can now be added into the pot too! Once it’s all had a chance to get properly acquainted, take the contents and pour it into your bread bowl. Then it’s back into the oven for another 15 minutes, still at 350, and you can dig in and enjoy.

Remember, if you run out of the cubes, you can always start ripping the bowl apart!

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Be sure to check out the other recipes on the blog too, as all of them are dairy free! =)

PS – If you want to make this more of a meal, you can always fry up some ground chicken or turkey, or stick with the veggie theme and double up on the mushrooms. peppers, and onion. Zucchini is also a nice addition =)

Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are. – Bertolt Brecht

As with any recipe, there are changes over time. Either you want to try some new twist or you are out of an ingredient, you sub something in and never look back. They are ever changing and, as such, some of the recipes from earlier posts aren’t made the same way anymore. This can only mean one thing……..

RECIPE REVAMP!!!!

First up we have the Lasagna Cupcakes, which have become a big hit in this house. As I mentioned with that recipe, Josh Lyons (@JoshLyonsPhotos) suggested a game changer. He suggested folding the corners in on top of it and making it a parcel almost. We went a step further and decided to add in another layer entirely. Start with the wonton wrapper, meat, sauce, cheese method same as always. then put another wonton wrapper on top and press down the middle. This gets meat and sauce, then fold the four corners in and stick them to the sauce. This keeps them in place and allows the cheese to cover the top. We tried it once and haven’t looked back, it kicked the recipe up to a whole new level. Also, even though I haven’t tried it yet, you can also switch out the meat for pan fried veggies just as easily and make this a vegetarian dish. I would suggest zucchini, mushroom, and peppers as they are what I use when making meat free lasagna.

This is what I love about cooking, there’s always a new way to do it, and it brings people together.

For those visual learners, this is what you’ll end up with

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Yes, the cheese looks different than yours, I use Daiya Dairy Free Cheese. Honestly, even if dairy was tolerable, I think I’d still use it. I love the stuff.

Next on the docket is the Make Ahead Potatoes and that is as simple as taking the risk and leaving it in for a bit longer, or turning up the heat to 375. This does require a bit of a close eye, but the results are well worth it. We also added green onion and mixed it throughout. But, unlike the rest of the veggies, the green onion went in raw, which I believe yields a better and sharper flavor.

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When I first made the Any Meal CasSurreal I said that it you can really put anything in it. It’s a culinary building block and a lot of fun to experiment with. My favorite tweak to date was when we have some of the Loaded Chicken Burgers in the fridge, so we broke them down and fried them up and used it as the base for the CasSurreal. Since all of the veggies we normally put in are already a part of the burgers it cut down on prep time. Everything else is done the same. We also made one with the shrimp that is in the same entry as the burgers, its a long entry, which turned out quite good too. My houseguests at the time preferred the shrimp version, whereas I really liked the chicken burger base, so enjoy experimenting with it!

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To date, these are the tweaks and modifications that have been made to the recipes within the blog. As I make changes, I’ll post them here. As well as new recipes.

Also, there seems to be a small but loyal group of readers, so I thank you immensely as I would be the only one reading these otherwise & I already know what I do, I don’t need updates.

I would also like to ask you all to take a look at this blog and send me any questions/complaints/criticisms/suggestions that you may have.

Either e-mail me  iam@tonylantz.com or simply leave a comment below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Also, tattoo is fully healed.

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In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Considering I told everyone I would update with more fun stuff yesterday, I felt that today was a good day to do it. Not that I thought it would be a good laugh to get all your hopes up, but yesterday was my dad’s birthday and it was a jam packed day of running around and cooking.

In an effort not to forget things, I’m going to jump back to where my last post and move forward. That means you’ll have to read all about it before you find out the AWESOME gift I got for my dad. I mean, you could just scroll to the end, but then you’d be cheating yourself out of a good read now, wouldn’t you?

I had gotten up much earlier than my other cohorts, so I was chatting with Josh and Emily (@JoshLyonsPhotos & @Emily_Ellyn on Twitter) about food, and Josh’s band Fell on Deaf Ears (definitely suggest checking them out!)

Emily had posted a photo of some amazing cupcake on Facebook andwhen I shared it, Sara, my houseguest, commented that we should have cupcakes for breakfast, then she came upstairs. My brain immediately started working and within a few minutes I had a recipe MOSTLY figured out in my head. I told Sara that her wish was granted and we’d be making Breakfast Cupcakes.

The Good Stuff

  • asparagus, cooked (follow recipe below)
  • leftover Make Ahead Potato, or some sort of potato (hashbrowns, mashed, fried)
  • 7-8 eggs depending on how many other ingredients make it into the muffin tins
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 coloured pepper
  • 1-3 stalks of green onion
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • Sea Salt and Herbs

So, the asparagus (pronounced Ass-Par-Agus forevermore, due to Sam’s dad). I have a very simple method and it turns out consistently tasty. set the oven to 400, lay the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil being a bit more generous in coating the tip (adds awesome crunch) and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper. I prefer using a coarse grinder for both S & P as I find it kicks up the taste a bit. Then it’s just a simple 15 minutes in the oven and you are off to the races.

This is a fairly simple recipe and great for making while still half asleep or while the coffee you’re drinking works its way into your blood stream.

the onion and peppers get a quick fry in a pan with some olive oil. Leave the green onions aside as they have more flavour going in raw.

The potato goes into the muffin tin first, to cover maybe 1/4 of the tin. Once again, the Make Ahead potatoes from the previous post work splendidly as a base and depending on the size of the group you served with it initially.

cut the asparagus halfway up the stalk and stick it in the middle of the potato so the tip sticks out like a flagpole once everything is added into the tin. You may need to poke a hole in the potato and then fill it back in around the asparagus.

The eggs and fried veg mixture can be mixed together in a bowl and poured into the tins evenly. Then sprinkle the green onion and cheese over top of each one and it’s into the oven at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

it should end up looking something like this:

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Sam missed out on the initial creation and consumption as she was working. Once we did the dishes, we took the leftovers to her, which means we each had three AND all the asparagus we had left over. good hearty breakfast.

The downside to missing a few days of blogging is the events in between photos becomes a bit blurry….OH! Nevermind, I remember.

I could delete the above sentence, but then you may feel less involved in the process, and we can’t have that.

Sara, B, and I decided to buy some outdoorsy stuff since we were already at Walmart (Sam works there). We got a football, dog frisbee (they were cheaper), and a bocce ball set. We spent the bulk of the day at the soccer field playing and getting burnt by the giant fiery orb in the sky, all in all a great afternoon.

We got back and it was back into the kitchen for me. Sara had never had poutine before so we had to rectify that. But, as usual, I couldn’t just make a normal poutine, I had to be difficult.

Back on the 30th I attended a Heritage Party that featured all things Canadian, including poutine. Being lactose intolerant, I made my own and enough for others to try, cooked it all, put it in a casserole dish, and covered it with foil. When we got there it was tossed in the fridge and then into the oven when we were ready to eat. What resulted was the recently dubbed Poutinserole.

I replicated it, and I think it’s a keeper.

The Inner Workings

  • Fries
  • Gravy
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Ingenuity

with a bit of olive oil in the pan, & the temp low-medium toss in your fries, and once they thaw, throw on the Sea Salt & Herbs. keep frying them until they get a bit crispy, or your desired fry texture. In a pot bring whatever gravy you’re using to temperature (I used a can of mushroom gravy, which was excellent). Combine the gravy and fries in a casserole dish and then mix in the cheese. Make sure everything is mixed well, then cover the dish with foil and, as per usual 350 for about 18-20 minutes. You’re not cooking anything, you’re basically making it more awesome.

I’m giving you fair warning, Poutinserole is not photogenic, but tastes excellent.

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Baking allows it to be cut into squares and, if you wish, you can add some more gravy drizzled over top.

Given that we did a lot of running and jumping and such we were quite hungry and the Poutinserole takes some doing. As such I had an appetizer in mind that doesn’t take too long to throw together, but tastes like a lot of work went into it.

The Essentials

  • Shrimp (cooked and deveined)
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Margarine
  • Garlic or Garlic powder (Not Garlic salt)

In a pan, toss in some olive oil on low-medium and once that heats up a bit toss in your shrimp, and once those get comfortable, hit them with a healthy dose of Sea Salt & Herbs, and keep them going on a low-medium temp.

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While they’re in the pan, mix your margarine (or butter if you prefer) with either minced garlic or powder and melt it down, either in a small pot, or microwave (which we opted for). Once it’s liquid pour it over the shrimp and keep tossing it in the pan until they are completely coated.

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Once they get a good coat of garlic butter, plate them and enjoy. Make sure you also have a little bowl of plate for the tails.

The reason for keeping it at a low temp is that these lovelies are already cooked and you are basically heating them up and locking in the flavours you have added.

This is where there I take a bit of a break from cooking as there wasn’t much time, we did a whole lot of running around those few days. Not only that but Sara made us an excellent breakfast one morning and gave me time to get some work done.

You’ll have to ask her what all went into it, but it tasted so friggin’ good!

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What I do know is that the sourdough had some becel underneath a heaping spread of homemade strawberry freezer jam my mother had whipped up the day before.

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Should last us a few days 😉

During the time away from the kitchen we went to Peggy’s Cove

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I get my picture taken with this sign each and every time I go to Peggy’s Cove

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spent another day at the field playing with our new toys, Sam was able to come this time.

(No pictures available)

Sam had to go to work, and we three that remained were way to hot to cook so we went to Waves. We ordered Sweet Potato Fries and Chipotle Mayo to start and I got the same thing I get every time. Chicken Clubhouse without cheese or bacon.

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Waves has the best fries in town, and their sweet potato fries are no exception.

The following day the 4 of us were up early and off to Halifax, Sam and I played tour guide as we hit up the essential shops on Barrington. Renaissance (they sell Chucks), Rock Candy (Rock shop that I can never leave without buying something, Freak Lunchbox (candy store to end all candy stores), & Oddjects (wacky fun shop that can’t be explained unless you visit).

Dad’s birthday was yesterday and I KNEW I could find him something at Rock Candy. For a while, each gift giving event I would give him a Beatle’s CD, then I shot myself in the foot, gave him the gift of all gifts and presented him with the entire Beatles collection in stereo that they released a few years back. Ever since I try to find unique and inventive gifts, sometimes thinking very far outside of the box.

Normally any time you find something related to The Beatles and there are four of them, it’s very simply one for each member of the band. I found a set of four pint glasses with that exact motif, and it just didn’t do it for me. I thought it was too predictable and something I could have picked up anywhere with little to no effort and that, does not, a good gift make. One the other side of the store, under a Misfits alarm clock, I found THE gift. Again a set of four pint glasses, but instead of each being the face of one of the members, each was a different album cover. It was perfect, Beatles related, yet not something you could find anywhere, it was a treasure and would go splendidly with his Jimi Hendrix coffee mug.

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I also got him a M*A*S*H 4077th keychain, because we used to watch it together all the time when I was growing up.

Next we went to Oddjects and I found this black and white polka dot cookie jar that stood on four legs with green and orange leggings and little black boots/shoes with a tag reading $15. I couldn’t see a matching lid anywhere and assumed that was why it was cheaper. Now, my mother has a rather odd cake plate that this would compliment, it was originally given to her as a gag gift and she uses it proudly. As such, I knew the cookie jar was perfect. When I took it to the counter the lady told me it had a lid, I told her I must have missed it. When she went and got it for me, I knew why I missed the lid… It doesn’t match at all, it’s like two different people made the two halves….it’s AWESOME.

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Is this not the best cookie jar you have ever seen?!?!?!!

If you have a better one than this, please post a pic in the comments.

Dad loved the birthday gifts and mom loved the cookie jar and couldn’t stop laughing.

Yesterday was Dad’s birthday, we did it, we made it to yesterday!

We didn’t do much during the day, went downtown, talked to Marc, our tattoo artist. Sam, B, and I made an appointment for Monday (pics to come). Then we went to get donairs, Sam and I told B and Sara that they HAD to get a proper donair while they were here. In Vancouver we never could find one that tasted as good as they do here, with real donair sauce.

I can’t eat them anymore because of IBS and I’ve yet to try to make a Tony Friendly version, but I’m sure it will come.

When we got back from getting donairs I had to start making dinner. It can take a bit of time, but the result is well worth it.

I call them Loaded Chicken Burgers, and they are aptly named.

Components

  • chicken bacon, 7-8 strips diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 3/4 a good sized harder apple (not a mac), cubed
  •  3-4 stalks of green onion
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground chicken
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • several splashes of italian dressing
  • 2 eggs
  • stove top stuffing
  • cayenne
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • 5-6 mushrooms can also be added, we kept them out as Sara’s not a fan

You’ll need two pans for this one. Olive oil in both, low-medium temp, in one pan put the diced chicken bacon and cover the pan with foil. In the other add the onion, pepper, and apple (once again leaving out the green onion).

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Stir both occasionally and cook them down. You’ll be able to tell that both are done when the bacon starts to crisp (chicken bacon is already cooked when you get it) and the apples will still have a bit of crunch to them. The reason for that is the stove top stuffing will steal some of the juice from the burger, and the apple gives it back as it cooks down inside.

Mix the bacon with the veggies and set aside to cool down. In a good sized bowl, add the chicken and green onion, then toss in your veggies and bacon. Get right in there and knead it with your hands, have to make sure its blended well. Afterwards, put the cheese in, followed by the stove top, mix thoroughly, then add the Italian dressing and one egg. Knead again and form a patty freehand. If it looks like it may fall apart as it cooks, add the other egg. Providing it looks solid, don’t bother with the second egg. Sprinkle on the cayenne and Sea Salt & Herbs liberally as it has to reach its way through all the meat.

If you have a burger press, then that’s great and if not, simply eyeball them to the size you’d like.

I have a press and this made 20 1/4 pound burgers.

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Cooking method is up to you as well, it was a beautiful day so we BBQ’d. If the weather isn’t in your favor they fry up really well in a pan.

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That’s it folks, we have reached the end. I hope you all enjoyed our trip through the past couple of days in the kitchen and beyond. Let me know how you like the recipes.

In closing, This is the Sea Salt & Herbs I keep talking about.

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“Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” – Roger Ebert

*NOTE* – Both of these recipes have had additions/tweaks made to them and the additional info can be found Here!

normally I’ll go full tilt for one meal a day, and Saturday, that meal was Lasagna cupcakes and Make Ahead Potatoes. Neither are all that labor intensive and both taste awesome! I think I’ve stepped up my game a bit because I have friends staying with me from Vancouver and they’ve seen all the pictures I post with what I’ve cooked and now they get to try it, so I don’t want to miss any chances to impress.

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They are a cinch to make, and just so everyone felt involved we made an assembly line.

The Goods

  • 2-3 mini muffin tins (can also use regular muffin tins)
  • 24-30 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 pkg ground meat (we used chicken)
  • sauce of your choosing (we used Hunt’s mushroom & basil)
  • cheese (we used Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella)
  • seasoning for meat, completely up to you

(To make these vegetarian, simply ditch the ground chicken and supplement veg of your choice. I have made them with zucchini, mushroom, peppers, and onion with excellent results.)

I’ll tell you right off the top, these babies are going in at 375, so turn your oven on when you think you should to be ready to cook. Put some olive oil in a pan and bring it to temperature. Add your ground meat and once it starts to break apart and get a little bit of colour add your onion and seasoning/spices. Cook on a low-medium heat for maximum flavor.

While it’s cooking get one of your houseguests/family/friends AKA prep cooks to put a wonton wrapper in each muffin tin. This is where you have a decision to make, you can either use a glass, cut circles out, and place them in the tins OR you can say screw that, and put in the entire wrapper, which is MUCH more fun!

By the time you’ve decided between circles or squares, your meat has probably finished cooking and now all you have to do is layer in the sauce, meat, and cheese.

Once again, we implemented the assembly line, meat, sauce, cheese, repeat. I will say, we didn’t heat the sauce, it went right from can to tin. It will cook during the 18-20 minutes spent in the oven, but it is your call.

The last decision you have to make for this dish comes between the first and second layer of meat,sauce,cheese, (when using the mini muffin tins) and that is whether you want to fold the corners back in and cover them with the mixture (Thanks to Josh Lyons for the suggestion, its a great one!) or leave them exposed to the elements (see what I did there?).

So these go in, as I said, @ 375 for 18-20 minutes, and come out looking like they do above.

Next on the docket is a little gem called Make Ahead Potatoes, reason being you can make it ahead of time and simply toss it in the oven before your meal. When I got IBS, I also managed to become lactose intolerant, which meant I couldn’t eat this one anymore, which SUCKED. But recently, I’ve found dairy free cream cheese, and sour cream and I was off to the races!

The original recipe is HUGE and feeds roughly all the players in the NFL, so I knocked it down a few pegs.

The Innards

  • 8×8 pan
  • 4-5 good sized potatoes, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp margarine
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • cheese for the top

This will be cooked @ 350 so, once again, preheat accordingly. Fry the onion and yellow pepper in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Boil the the potatoes, drain, and put in a large bowl. Put a little bit of margarine in with them and give them a rough mash, then switch to a hand held mixer, this will make the potatoes extra smooth. Mix in the other ingredients as they appear. Once the veggies have been added, transfer to your 8×8 pan. The potato WILL  go above the edge, that’s fine and half the fun. Just smooth out the top and generously apply a layer of cheese and that sucker is ready to go into the oven @ 350 for 40 minutes.

Let it be said that you can add any extras you would like to this dish, I think the next time we do it I’ll add chicken bacon for good measure.

These are the dairy free alternatives I used for this recipe:

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Making use of all of these still make it taste great and the three other people who were eating it said that they wouldn’t know that it was made with dairy free anything. This was the end result.

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If you want a bit more of a crust, you can leave it in a bit longer, or after the 40 minutes, switch it to broil. But be advised that if you choose the broil method, keep a VERY close eye on it as it can go from crust to crisp without notice.

That brings everyone up to date on the culinary goings on up until yesterday morning, but rather than bog one post down with a boatload of recipes and such. I’d hate for you to get too excited and try and lick/eat your screen.

To close this out, here is my step-kitten, Molly

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“If I’m Not Back In Five Minutes, Just Wait Longer!” – Ace Ventura

I apologize right off the top, I’ve got a massive head cold so this post may become a bit loopy.

keeping up with Canadian content, another apology, this time for a lag in updates. Two friends from Vancouver arrived on Tuesday and as such I haven’t had much spare time to fill everyone in.

Yesterday my cousin Tim decided to take a trip up to visit, so we all spent the day sitting around, shooting the breeze. I tend to post photos of the things I cook, as they tend to be somewhat out of the ordinary, and Tim was looking forward to finally being able to TRY some of it. So, when it came time for Supper, I decided to step it up a notch and make Cordon Bleu Roll-Ups, but with a bit of a twist.

This is the recipe as I found it:

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As I said before there are were deviations from the recipe, but I wanted to make sure everyone had the same starting points to allow you all to make your own tweaks.

Being lactose intolerant, I switched the milk for almond milk, and no one knew any different, just make sure that it’s unsweetened. The cheese was also switched out for the Daiya Dairy Free cheese I mentioned in the previous post.

I also found, not having panko crumbs on hand, that the amounts on the dry ingredients were a bit excessive and you really only need the 1/2 cup flour and the 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, panko or otherwise to suit your fancy.

The main difference between mine and the recipe above is that I didn’t use ham. I know what you’re thinking “Chicken cordon bleu is ham and swiss!” “It makes no sense!” “you’re a crazy person!” I look at it this way, my girlfriend doesn’t like ham, so I changed the recipe. Keeping her happy seems like the opposite of crazy, to me.

As an alternative, I fried up roughly 4-5 mushrooms, 1/2 a yellow pepper, & 1 medium onion and used that mixture in place of ham.

Everything else went according to recipe, apart from the fact that we used the BBQ. It was an incredibly hot day yesterday and using the oven would have been very stupid. So we used the pizza pans we have set aside for grilling, put a little bit of olive oil on them and loaded them up with the Roll-Ups (we doubled the recipe).

When all was said and done, this is what we ended up with:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and we were able to make them to suit everyone’s needs:

Sam doesn’t like ham? CHECK! we used veggies instead

Sara doesn’t like mushrooms? CHECK! we fried onions and peppers separately for her.

Mom can’t eat peppers? CHECK! she gets onions and mushrooms.

We found the best way to do it so that everyone got the most out of it was to do 4 with mushrooms and onion and 4 with pepper and onion. We also kept them together rather than slicing them up, but this is what they look like once they are opened.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

obviously this is one of the mushroom ones.

Tonight we’re going to be making some lasagna cupcakes, which should be up sometime tomorrow.

Be sure to let me know how you like theses/any alterations you make to yours!

In closing, this is my kitten. She’s all tuckered out from being a moron all morning.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be.

I’m back! I didn’t forget about all you lovely faces I’ve yet to see, and some I have!

Father’s Day took roughly three days to plan, since Sam and I thought we’d be in Vegas. I must say, I’m honestly kind of glad it fell through because Father’s Day could not have gone any better. But I’m getting ahead of myself, Saturday came before Sunday, and that was a lot of fun too.

Our town has a Farmer’s Market, and I have a friend who plays music, when you add those together I had a friend who was going to be playing music at the town’s Farmer’s Market which meant I was going and so was Sam.

Patrick Thompson is a VERY good musician and one hell of a nice guy, I met him through a coffee house I hosted and he has been incredibly supportive and gung ho about the other events I’m working on within the town, which include a bi-weekly or monthly coffee house and a few top secret projects (deets to come). To the best of my knowledge he doesn’t have a music site, but this is his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/patrick.thompson.144 His CDs are $10 and while there may be only 5 songs I haven’t taken it out of the stereo and they are all originals.

We didn’t go to the market alone, oh no, we brought one of our nearest and dearest, Ms. Brittany Francis, or B-Fran as I like to call her. She is an absolute gem and a recent culinary arts grad. We picked her up around 10AM, drove back into town, stopped at the parkade and walked the rest of the way (lots of walking Saturday) Apart from Patrick’s CD, I didn’t spend too much money, I bought some AWESOME homemade granola bars and some really awesome mint lemonade, heavier on the mint than the lemonade as they grow their own.

A lot of networking was done for the aforementioned top secret events, and I will be teaming up with B-Fran for some culinary expressionism for one of them. =)

Speaking of culinary, while intimidated, I like cooking for B-Fran because she is always cooking and its nice to give her a break. When we got back to my house I made the Any Meal Cassurreal (what I’ve decided to call it from here on out) that I posted in a past entry

MEMORY JOGGERNAUT

I used Sourdough for the bread this time around and I feel that it worked much better. It was a huge hit, and she wanted the recipe. I, of course, directed her here.

For Mother’s Day, Sam and I cooked for my mom, her mom, Nancy (back up mom) and Sam’s grandmother and the men were sent to Sam’s to fend for themselves (they didn’t make food, just drank rum and coke). But we ended up making the dessert while they ate their main, which stressed us out a bit. We wanted to make the dessert beforehand this time, we also wanted to make “Manly Cupcakes” so Saturday night we made Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with a Rum Buttercream Icing for…

FATHER’S DAY!!!!

psssssst, the one with the tie

Pete, Sam’s dad

True to form, I’d yet to get a card for either my dad or Sam’s and the presents we had got for them were still in transit as we were late to order them online, best children ever, so we hit the ground running once we rolled out of bed. We decided we needed to get them something that we could give at dinner along with the cards we were going to get. We got all the gifts no problem, the dads loved them, but the cards were a bit more difficult. Having done the same thing on Mother’s Day you’d think I would have learned and planned ahead, but if you know me at all, you know that I would do no such thing. We went to the Mall, we thought we’d have to fight off hordes of people to get good cards, but the mall was fairly empty. I was surprised, we were the only two in the card store, I don’t know if people are just better prepared for Dad Day because Mother’s Day comes first, or if dads are just more lackadaisical about the whole ordeal so people don’t put forth as much effort.

Regardless.

Sam and I spent a good 30-45 minutes looking through all the cards to get the perfect ones for our dads and dads-to-be. On that note, there are no damn Father-In-Law cards! Trust me, we looked, not even any backers for where they would be! They have Daddy from Daughter, Daddy from Younger Daughter, I’m sure they probably have Daddy from child who just discovered they were their own father. But not one single frigging Father-In-Law card. That meant trying to find cards that were Father’s Day cards without saying “To My Father” which is no easy task. We finally found the right ones, and stocked up for Sam’s mom’s b-day and my Dad’s  (July 15th and 12th respectively). Oddly enough I ended up with a Dad thank You card for my dad, but it was perfectly written for the relationship we have so I couldn’t pass it up.

The card store’s debit machine was on the fritz so we were there for a good chunk of time talking to the lady behind the counter about the dinner we were making, the dessert we had made, and what we had done for Mother’s Day. After she suggested that we should open our own restaurant, do catering, or come to her house anytime we want to cook but aren’t hungry, the machine came back online and we paid. As we were leaving she said  “just remember, 221B Baker st” (not her real address), waved, and went about her business.

We came back to mine and got all the groceries ready to go to Sam’s and cook, the dads decided we should do a big family meal rather than just them and have the moms go do something else. We had made enough cupcakes so that I could take some to the meeting I couldn’t attend due to cooking, so Sam iced those whilst I got my soapy soap on, showered, so I was presentable for the upcoming event. We decided to take two cupcakes to Anne, the lady from the card store, since we knew her address and figured she’d appreciate it. As fate would have it, we had found her street two nights prior while out for our nightly stroll.

She was elated to receive them as she was obviously not expecting us to show up, cupcakes in hand.

Everyone at the meeting seemed to appreciate them as well and Jason went so far as to describe them as “individual servings of life-changing deliciousness.”

The recipe was also requested, so at the bottom of this entry I’ll post the recipe to both the chocolate Guinness Cupcakes and the Rum Buttercream icing.

Supper was a rather grand affair, Pete, Sam’s dad, had been requesting that Lisa make tacos for at least the past month, so that was of course what was on the menu. We used extra lean ground chicken as the meat, and opted for soft tacos rather than hard shelled. He was also very happy to find out that if he buys “healthy stuffs” she’ll make him tacos.

Given that both Lisa and I are lactose intolerant we had all the usual topping choices, lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream, plus Daiya cheese, and lactose free sour cream.

My mother and I share the curse of IBS and she can’t eat tacos so we made miniature versions of what we made for Mother’s Day, which were essentially mini shepard’s pie in muffin tins.

*this is where the picture would go, but I don’t have one*

Don’t they look good!?

We also cooked up a crap load of asparagus as everyone in the family loves it.

They seem to love mine and my father’s cooking method which is very simple, but has excellent and consistent results.

spread asparagus on baking sheet.

drizzle with olive oil, making sure to cover the tips as they’ll provide the best crunch.

sprinke with cracked black pepper and sea salt.

cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

devour.

The night was topped off by three rounds of washer toss, which Sam and I lost to our dads, and everyone sitting around the fire talking until almost 11.

All in all a good night and a great day.

And the Icing

Word to the wise, keep the icing refrigerated until use, the rum will melt the icing when it’s at room temperature.

Enjoy and most importantly, don’t cupcake and drive.