cuisine jardinière

Boiling beets, picked fresh (well, ‘pulled’) from the garden, prepped baby green beans (ready for dehydration) and reducing salsa verde for an egg white scramble.



Bacon-wrapped, stuffed chicken breast

i started with a lemon-garlic marinade, then decided that I wanted to use this bacon I’d gotten and didn’t really love on its own. I made a lazy-quick sauce of tomato paste & basil with a small amount of Parmesan. Normally, I wouldn’t do lemon AND tomato but it was already on.

It smells fantastic!

Baked in my old, old, old Le Creuset 30mm skillet. -clicky for Smell-a-vision

Quick dish between butterflying the chicken, it being breast meat and 260C oven! (500F). 30″, tops!

spaghetti squash

I can’t be bothered to do a proper food prep or recipe post cos there are only 3 people regularly reading here and I think they probably already know how to do spaghetti squash!


I like to microwave mine. For the naysayers, I have a couple of excellent reasons. The biggest deciding factor is my inability to lop one in half, off the vine.

Think chef’s knife versus a redwood tree.

It might happen eventually, especially considering they’re sort of hollow on the inside, but man you’d better have a whetstone handy and be prepared to take a long time, get blisters and hopefully not hack off any of your own parts in the doing.

That said if you want to bake the little fuckers, you need to hack them in half and bake insides-down for about an hour.

To microwave, choose a spaghetti squash of a size to suit your microwave and poke it approximately 300 times. Actually, think tiny stabs about every inch–completely covering the rind with stabby holes.

Nuke on high in 5-6 minute intervals (usually takes 12-18 minutes, depending on size). If you didn’t poke enough holes, don’t worry, the squash will let you know by exploding. Oh, what larks! I’ve only had it happen once and I hope for no repeats!

I flip mine over every 5-6 minutes, checking for softening of the rind. When the whole rind gives to pressure, it’s done.

It should have been hissing for some time now. Mind the steam. It will fuck you up.

Remove squash when it’s safe to handle and lop in half. If you’ve cleaned the guts out of a pumpkin, it’s a bit like that only be aware the squash flesh that you are going to eat will string off with the seeds.

Remove them but retain as much ‘spaghetti’ (squash flesh) as possible. I use two tools: my hands and a fork. Your hands are best at getting the majority out but a fork can scrape out a ton off of the inside of the rind.


Moroccan-y Stew

20140609-110309-39789983.jpgI’m a big fan of pots of food. I mean pots of food all tossed in together.

I had some extra lean ground beef (96% lean) and some sweet potatoes, some leftover French green beans (can’t handle the actual bean/ seeds to digest but the outer husks, yes) and some fresh spinach from le jardin — I also added 1 tin (10T) of tomato paste and an equal amount of water. Cooked the beef first with spices and then added in the cooked veg except for the spinach, which was raw and cooked down.

I used about 4T cumin, about 2T cinnamon, about 1T chili powder (wasn’t enough, went back and added a few shakes of Tabasco Special Reserve pepper sauce) and that was it.

Pretty easy. I reckoned it would be low on salt with all that food but the green beans and tomato paste came salted, so it’s grand.

It’s not ‘Moroccan’ exactly but it does lean towards that sort of style (per my time in France, where we ate a lot of Moroccan and North African dishes).

Memorial Weekend, Pork Steaks

When locals move away and come back to visit, they always have a story about how the new butcher has no idea what a pork steak is.

Today’s ‘close world’ of internet and cable TV has educated Flatlanders about the much-loved pork steak but it isn’t yet as popular dehors than here. We’ll kill you over pork steaks.

If there’s a BBQ or a summer event of any kind here, you’ll find pork steaks!

My Irish granny baked hers after dredging in flour and served with final topping of ketchup.

My mammy used BBQ sauce and grilled hers. I grew up enjoying them both ways but my favourite is baked-plain on a pan with oven fries, which soaked up some pork fat as they cooked, making them extra delicious, if humble in appearance.

I marinated mine in apple cidre vinegar, a mélange of spices, and Himalayan pink salt. I baked them on a roasting rack above asparagus cut today and some store-bought yellow tomatoes. Mangez-bien!


Warning: Oh, Boy! Oberto






I eat a lot of jerky because it’s so shelf-safe and if you get the right kind, it’s gluten-free (beware many DO contain gluten). I also like that it’s a big protein punch!

I opened a brand-new, big-arsed, Costco-sized package last week and started nomming. Thankfully, I looked down.

In all my years of eating jerky from a plastic envelope, I’ve never seen bits of shiny metal. If they were going to make me a prize-winner, I wish it had been a white gold diamond ring. But it wasn’t.

I went to their website and filled out the contact form. I was a little dismayed that they didn’t replay at all, not even auto-reply. Today, I spent my break time and found their corporate office’s main number from the Yellow Pages. The receptionist was extremely polite. She said that nobody minds that site contact thing (I suggested they pull it down or start minding it). She said that she’d contact their IT man and see about that. I told her my story of the Giant Costco Bag and nomming and then getting the bejeebers scared out of me, finding that.

She said they’d need the product returned to test. Since it took days for me to contact a person there, I’d had time to run this by the owner of my company who said they’d want the product and went further to say that I should save a piece with the metal bits on it as Proof. Interesting! You have to talk to people who conduct Business to know about the hanky panky business they’re up to (I’m too honest to even think about that, in other words).

I ran that by the receptionist. She said to expect a signature confirmation pre-paid package in the post, which I’ll use to return their product to them for testing. In the meantime, she said they’d send a $20 Costco gift card for replacement of the product I couldn’t eat.

I think that’s a nice good will gesture but I don’t think I’ll be eating their jerky for a while. I’ll DEFINITELY be looking at it well before nomming!

In addition to the lurgy I’ve had, I’ve also had (sorry) diarrhea, which I’m hoping isn’t because there’s a tiny shard of metal in my gut. I’m not bleeding or anything, so I hope it’s completely unrelated. Obviously, if I started bleeding, I’d go to doctor! In the meantime, I’m posting this warning:

Look at your jerky REALLY, REALLY WELL!

ps: I sent the photos to the receptionist via email. She said they looked like white dots. When she said it, I looked and can see what she means BUT I assure you, in person they are mirror-like, shiny steel-like bits. They’re small, as you can see but nothing anybody wants to ingest!