The Blue Drink (Starfakes)

This one is a delicious alt to iced coffee.

Blue Drink:
1/2 Frozen Blueberries
1 tbsp Maple Syrup** (or any other sweetener/sugar)
1C Ice
1/2C White Grape Juice
Splash of Coconut (or regular) Milk

I like to hard shake the ice over the blueberries in the cup before adding the liquids to help quasi muddle them as they start to thaw. It brings out the great blueberry colour.

** Use real maple syrup, not that table pancake crap.

I have a second drink that’s a riff of this Blue Drink called the violet drink.

Violet Drink:
1/2 Blackberries
1 tbsp Maple Syrup** (or any other sweetener/sugar)
1C Ice
1/2 Passion Tea (or any exotic fruit juice)
1/4C Coconut (or regular) milk

Same thing with muddling the berries with the ice in your large cup, giving it a hard shake or three so the ice really breaks the berries up to release its flavour and colour before adding the other liquids.

** Use real maple syrup, not that table pancake crap.

Small Home Refresh

We wanted to do a full main floor reno where we ripped down the two kitchen walls, redid the flooring, changed the paint colour, and installed a new ceiling with pot lights after some structural work we wanted done (even though a few contractors said wasn’t necessary).

In the end the quotes we got were too high, so we decided to do the flooring and painting ourselves. This is how it’s going.

What the old flooring and wall colour looked like.
Ripped the eff up!
What the new colour scheme will be in the end.
The new flooring mock up with the nosing for the stair edges.

So, the floors are ripped up in the foyer, around the basement stairs, the living room and the dining room. The last part of that puzzle is the kitchen since we’re redoing that floor space as well. There are a few things to address there: where to store the fridge and stove while we do the kitchen flooring and how do we move them without ruining any of the new flooring in the process.

I’m a bit nervous just thinking about that part. Eek.

I have all of the main painting done. I have to paint all the floor and window trim boards, and then we can put the paint and rollers back in the garage where they belong and start playing the tile puzzle game with our furniture and belongings from corner to corner until the new flooring is all installed. Someone other than me wants this project done by the end of this long weekend. Wish us luck!

A Burger For The Ages

I don’t make a lot of burgers by hand at home. When we do burgers, it’s typically store bought pre-formed and frozen for convenience only. The husband takes them to work fully cooked on the smoke bbq and cooled down, with a slice of cheese and anything else he wants to add to it on the fly.

I was cleaning out the two freezers last night (the one attached to the fridge, and our cube stand up mini freezer) and found some portioned ground pork in ziplock bags. I pulled them out thinking I can use it for a dinner this week. Not specifically anything like burgers, but sometimes I like to form them into a meatloaf or meatballs before even thinking about burgers.

Tonight I made burgers for a change of pace. And now my husband is demanding to be kept in the style to which he quickly became accustomed to (as of tonight). *sigh* Ok, fine. Here is what I made him:

Creole Burgers:
14 oz Ground Pork
3 tea Creole Dry Rub
I Egg
3/4 C Breadcrumbs (of your choice, though I used Italian flavoured)
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese, grated up

Don’t overwork the meat mixture as you combine everything. I measured out meat for three patties at 4.6/4.7/4.7 oz each. Each was hefty and fantastic. It was a tasty burger on its own that could forgo a bun if need be. But, of course we topped it with sauces, veg and lettuce from our herb garden.

I was spoiled Beyond when this truck showed up at my workplace.

I was, I suppose, trying to give that Beyond Meat burger I had earlier this week a run for its money. I think this burger is just as tasty as the meatless one. Similar flavour palette, same texture, same satisfying feeling in our tummies.

Try this burger recipe and tell me what you think.

Breakfast Kebabs

Although it’s not hot here – or when it is, it’s not deathly hot – like it in the deep southern part of the States, I still needed to use up some fruit I bought days ago that were on the cusp of aging out. I’m not about food waste if I can help it. I trimmed off the bad parts and used what was left to make five large fruit kebabs we ate as part our breakfast this morning.

It’s currently +22C. Not too shabby. I’ll take it.

That’s the breakfast hash I made using leftover baby potatoes, sweet potato, and hot sausage that I smoked on the bbq.

A&W Onion Ring Seasoning

It’s Canada day, a day of reflection upon who we actually are vs who we like to pretend we are. Hard ugly truths are bitter pills that are hard to swallow, but we must take our medicine at some point so we can start some kind of change for the better, right?

Also, Canadians don’t have much in the way of culture outside of the Indigenous, Inuit, Metis and Quebec peoples to lay claim to, but we do have a fast food franchise called A&W that makes the best onion rings I’ve ever tasted. I have been working on figuring out the secret or the formula off and on all year, but I had a chance meeting with an employee yesterday and they openly told me the secret.

We love A&W root beer in this house.

I was close, but not close enough. Here it is:

1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tea Garlic Powder
1/2 tea Chili Powder

My last attempt at making these beautiful rings at home a few months back.

I figured out the increments for making a small batch at home. They could only tell me what the powders were but not how much since it wouldn’t help me unless I plan to open my own food shack tomorrow. ­čÖé

So, this blend is the seasoning you will add to your coating bowl in a 3-bowl dredge station. This should be enough to batter and fry up rings from at least two medium to large sized onions.

Creole Dry Rub

I forget where I found this recipe, but it’s solid gold. I have used on loads of meats and vegetables alike, so it’s versatile. And we often smoke meats on our charcoal bbq. The husband doesn’t like ribs with anything but this rub on it. Give it a go.

Creole Dry Rub:
2 TBSP + 1.5 TEA Paprika
2 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP ea: Onion Powder, Dry Oregano, Dry Thyme, Cayenne, Black Pepper
1 TEA Salt

Pour all into a small mason jar, give it a shake, and rub it all over generously all over your chicken, pork, beef and other.

I often double this recipe to have some on hand at a moment’s notice when cooking in the kitchen since it can be┬ásprinkled over roasted veg or into a lovely breakfast hash.

Stovetop Eggplant Parm

For the coming months when it’s too hot to turn on even the broiler for five minutes, I bring you Eggplant Parmesan made on the stovetop.

Yes, I know you don’t like eggplant, but perhaps someone else you know does?

The idea is the same as a traditionally made eggplant parm but you forego the lovely browned cheese on each of the crispy breaded eggplant round medallion slices.

It starts out by laying some paper towel on a plate and putting 1/2″ eggplant slices on it. Salt both sides, and prick each medallion. Microwave them for 1 to 1.5 minutes, checking at the 1 minute mark for doneness. Remove any that are foldable; continue microwaving the thicker cuts.

Set up your basic 3 Stage Dredge Station:
1. Flour + S&P in the first bowl
2. Egg whisked up in the second bowl
3. Panko + Italian Seasoning in the third bowl

While your hot pan is heating up some oil, quickly flour, wash, and coat a few slices to drop in the hot pan over the oil. Continue dredging a few more medallions as you check the colour on the first batch. Flip when you hit a nice looking crust. Add a bit more oil around the first few and drop the second batch down to brown.

Remove the done medallions to rest on a wire rack over paper towel until all the slices have been fried. Wipe out the pan’s dirty oil, and add a tomato sauce of your choice. Plunk the eggplant medallions into the hot ragu (being careful not the fully submerge both sides). Cut or grate some mozzarella cheese and place some on each eggplant slice.

Place a lid (or a big sheet pan if you don’t have a matching lid) over top of the pan to let the cheese melt as everything hits the same temperature.

Fish out two slices and place them on lovely fresh bun. Top them with a bit of the ragu, and if you like some lettuce and roasted peppers or pickles (I love the crunch and taste contrast here), and EAT!

Tex-Mex Crema

Have you ever make fajitas at home and thought, “This is missing something.” But you can’t put your finger on it? You know it should be something cold and/or creamy but you already put out the sour cream and that’s just not cutting it? Yeah, I’ve got you covered.

Tex-Mex Crema:
1/2 C ea: Mayo, Sour Cream
1/2 Lime, Juice & Zest
1/2 Tea Honey
1/4 Tea Cumin

Whisk up in a bowl or shake together in a mason jar. Spoon it over your fajitas and prepare to really enjoy your meal.

Santa Fe Salad

I discovered this one watching a tv cooking show. It’s going to be in heavy rotation around here this summer, me thinks. I can already imagine it plated beside the smoked ribs we are going to make on our charcoal bbq. Oh, boy!

Santa Fe Salad:
1 sm can Black Beans, rinsed
1 1/2 C Frozen Corn, rinsed to thaw quickly
1/4 C Red Onion, diced
Pinch Cilantro leaves, fine chop (garnish)

2 Limes, Juices
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 Tea ea: Chili Pepper Flakes, Garlic Powder, Honey

Shake the dressing up in a mason jar. Pour over veg mix. Toss in the bowl right before serving.