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A Recipe From My Boyfriend, Jamie Oliver.

I’m baaaaaaaaaack!

Pardon the long absence. Jamie and I have been just SO busy jetting around the world, saving kids from shitty school lunches and such that I just haven’t had time to do a review…. or a recipe.

How’s my boyfriend, Jamie Oliver you ask? Well… he’s super hot of course, cool and funny. We’ve been jetting here and there over the world.. interview, cooking demo’s.. etc. The media keep wanting to interview me but I just tell them no – I just can’t possibly stomach the paparazzi. They make up lies! They fabricate stories! They spread un-truths!

**blink** **blink**

Not like me at all.

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh ok ok ok.

So Jamie Oliver is NOT my boyfriend.. and I haven’t been jetting all around the world ok?? I’ve been at home, enjoying the quality half hour or so we spend together. Well, maybe not TOGETHER, together… and maybe it’s just me WISHING Jamie was my boyfriend. Can’t blame a girl, can ya?  I mean, look at him! ‘Nuff said.

Ok.. soooo… my REAL boyfriend, being all sweet and understanding, fulfilled my wishes and bought me a couple of Jamie’s cookbooks. Can I just say I was thrilled???

I looked and looked over those cookbooks, trying to decide which one of his recipes I’d attempt first.  Because I couldn’t really decide… I did the “open the book and make what you see”… method. (Remember this method? It was the same method I used choosing the recipe for dauphine potatoes from Anthony Burdain, here. )

Ok.. so the book is this one.

cookbook

and the recipe is:

Grilled Filet Steak with the Creamiest White Beans and Leeks
(*linked at the bottom)

photorecipe

I was a little let down by the Recipe Choosing Gods because truth be told… I’m not a fan of lima beans. They’re “ok”, but really, they rank pretty low on my favorites list. But… choose me this recipe it did, so cook it I must. (Like that resolve?? lol)

Here we go.

So you slice up 4 leeks, nice and thin. My question that the recipe didn’t state was HOW MUCH of the leek did I cut? The whole white and green part? Because I have to say… the upper portion of the green parts on those leeks were like barn boards. TOUUUUGGGHH!!! I was going to call my brother who is a chef and ask him as he would most likely know. However.. I thought I should follow the recipe as it states, and figure this out on my own. That way, any mistakes I make, I can report to you – my illustrious, amazing readers – and you’d just think I’m amazing for saving you making the same mistakes! I’m so cool sometimes, it’s hard for me to stand it.

Leeks

Ok.. so I didn’t slice the woody ends. ONLY to the portion where it started to go thick and tough. After chopping, sweat them in a pan with garlic and a “knob” ( “Knob”.. funny word for a measurement. “knob” is probably a tablespoon or something – I’m guessing. Who knows? I wouldn’t mistake it for a stick of butter or anything………………… orrrr would I????? ).

Anyway, after they’re nice and soft, add a cup of white wine (any that you like to drink is fine.). Leave enough wine for you to enjoy after with the meal. Be it a glass, or the whole damn bottle.

Hey… I don’t judge.

Turn the heat up and bring this to a boil. At this point, the lima beans can join the party. Please be sure to rinse them from the can because you don’t want any mushy grossness from the bottom of the can being a party crasher.

beans

Add them to pot with a “splash” of water (I added about a 1/3 cup of water). Turn the heat to simmer and let it do its thing for about 5 – 10 minutes.

mixture

In the meantime…….

Season your steaks. I used just top sirloin cuts. Nothing fancy. Place them in a screaming hot pan and fry those lovelies on both sides for a few minutes a piece. You don’t want to over cook them. Take them out and let them rest.

Back to your beans, add the crème fraiche, give it a stir. The recipe says to add a glug of olive oil but I left it out, as I didn’t think it was needed really, but that’s my thing. If you want to , go ahead and glug away!

Slice your steaks into thick strips. Divide the bean mixture between the plates and add the steak strips on top.  Here’s my final masterpiece:

dish

My review? Considering I’m not crazy about recipes with beans and leeks, this was quite good. The leeks were sweet and tender, and the beans were nice and soft and creamy. Surprisingly, they really showed off the flavor of the wine. Combined with the PERFECTLY cooked steak (If I say so myself!) I thought overall, the dish was quite nice. Easy to make and VERY filling. Who thought??

Did it blow me away? No. Would I make it again? Maybe….. and only if I knew the people I was making it for liked leeks and lima beans. If you met people like that, make this for them!

You’ll be a rock star :)

If you decide to try the dish, please let me know what you think of my boyfriend’s recipe.

Ok, ok… my PRETEND boyfriend!

Don’t judge.

Just go make the recipe. ;)

Recipe:

http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/jamie-oliver-s-grilled-steak-with-white-beans-and-leeks

Aunt Christine’s Household Hints! – VINEGAR!

If anyone knows me personally, (and I know those who don’t, I do believe you’re missing out..), they would most likely know who my Aunt Christine is as well. I grew up in the country, a half mile away from her, and spent hours upon hours at her house  playing with my cousins when we were kids. Now, as an adult I still adore her (possibly more than when I was a child), and as anyone who knows her can attest, she’s one of the most generous people I know.

Now keep in mind, generous comes in many different ways with her.  For instance, every time I go south to the States she comes over and gives me some “funny money” (US Dollars) that she had just “hanging around”. When she comes across a great deal somewhere, instead of buying one, she’ll buy a few and end up giving me one of whatever it is. For my last birthday, she bought me a purple wig. Yep… I don’t know why either, but she’s great that way! I mean come on, who gets a purple wig AND a helium “Happy Birthday” balloon that sings the birthday song to you whenever you punch it???? I loved it!!

Ok, so moving on. At some point a year or so ago, she came over and gave me a super cool series of small books that she bought God knows where. They are basically 3 separate books on different uses for household vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Alright, obviously these hints aren’t exactly MY AUNTIE’S HINTS as the title of this blog post suggests, because the vinegar book is actually written by Christine Halvorson (NOT my Aunt Christine) but I kinda like the idea that she gave me the books, so it seems like they came from her…. like my logic?

Here’s the vinegar book:

IMAG1310

The books have a bit of a retro/vintage type of look to them, and are full of super cool little “hacks” or hints, to make life easier, and cost effective.The book suggests using Heinz’s brand name vinegar, however, I’m SURE any brand name of vinegar would work if not your not feeling fancy. Just be sure it’s the 5% acidity kind.

So, I thought when times are a bit slow around here (aka, I have nothing new to post), you, my dear readers, will get a handy dandy hint or two on how to use one of these household staples in ways that you may not have ever dreamed of! Well perhaps you may have heard of a few of these, but you can always pass the info (as well as this blog post..ahem) onto someone who might not be in the know. That way, you could be the hero for the day and be a smartypants ALL AT ONCE!

Win win!

So, we shall commence the schooling with the household vinegar tips. For the most part, these tips are referencing your run of the mill, white, grocery store bought, 5% acidity vinegar. A few tips will use apple cider, but that will of course, be prefaced.

Ok. Here’s two handy hints to get us started:

For cleaning your microwave:  If you microwave is dirty and greasy with old food particles and other grossness, microwave a glass container with one cup of water, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar for about 3 to 4 minutes. After the microwave is finished, leave it there for about 10 minutes without the opening the door. Then, open the door and simply wipe clean!

Laundry: If you add 2 cups of vinegar to the rinse cycle while washing cotton or wool blankets, it will remove any soapy residue and leave the blankets smelling clean (not of vinegar), soft and fluffy!

If you have any uses for vinegar, let me know and I’ll post them here!

If you’re interested in buying these books, here’s a place you can:
http://www.amazon.com/Heinz-Distilled-Vinegar-Helpful-Household/dp/141271365X

Tasty Tom’s still Tasty?

Tasty Tom’s
9965 – 82 Ave
Edmonton, Alberta.

What do you know, it’s GROUPON time again!

My thrifty ass had a Groupon for $20.00 towards a meal at Tasty Tom’s on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton.

Now let me tell you what I know about Tasty Tom’s. Back in the day (the day being like, late ’90’s), I lived just a few blocks from this joint and they had a menu that had a lot of German cuisine on it. Schnitzel, sauerkraut, European wieners, and great beer. When they opened, they gave me my first experience of a Cuban Sandwich. (Yes. Cuban. Who am I to question it?) Anyway, if you don’t know what a Cuban sandwich is, it’s pretty much a menage a trois of sliced pork, sliced ham and awesome swiss cheese on a ciabatta bed with mustard, pickles and other condiments in the mix. Then the whole sandwich was toasted panini style – waaaay before paninis were the shit.

I LOVED this sandwich. They at one point took it off the menu, which made me cry, but they said would still make it on MY request. (well, and probably others’ requests as well, but I like to think I’m special.) That made me happy again.

Anyway, I moved away from the area and stopped going to Tasty Tom’s but always had fond memories of the great times I had there with friends, and the fantastic food. So when the deal showed up in my Groupon email, I took it, anticipating another great meal… and at the back of my mind, the most faintest little itty bitty hope that I might again have my beloved Cuban sandwich. HEY! A girl can dream, right?

Even being under new management since the middle of 2013, (so no Cuban sandwich for me), the decor was about the same that I’d remembered. I wasn’t really sure if that was good or bad, actually. Simple and unassuming, a mishmash of different tables and chairs, but clean. My friend and I were told we could pick our table, so we did, made ourselves comfortable, and service began.

After checking out both menus (breakfast that goes till 3, and lunch that goes til 5………. odd, but ok), I decided upon the Schnitzel Burger (Breaded pork cutlet, Swiss, mustard, mayonnaise). My friend chose The Weiner Schnitzel (Breaded pork cutlet with lemon and potato salad). Those descriptions were taken verbatim, so I had to wonder, did they pay the printer by the word or something? Wouldn’t one want to snazz up those descriptions just a tad??

Anyway.. here’s my Schnitzel Burger:
(sorry for the crappy phone pic!!)

tastytoms1

Sooooo yeah. What can I say about this thing? I had asked her how thick the schnitzel was before ordering and she said it was a thick piece. Well, if by thick she meant really thin, then I believe she was correct. The burger came to the table looking ridiculous. Thin and long, the schnitzel overhung the bun by a few inches on either side – I mean, why not slice that beast (skinny beast) in half, bread both pieces and double-decker it?? Then, just to make it that extra bit worse, they used one slice of barely melted, cheap processed “swiss” cheese on top.

Culinary mastery right there, folks.

Taste? Sigh. It was booking first class on the bland wagon even with all its accompaniments in tow. I actually had to ask for extra mustard because the slight little swipe that was put on the bun was simply a tease. The cutlet was dry as a popcorn fart and simply flavorless,…. oh, unless you wanted to call a bit of old oil taste from the deep-fried breading, flavor.

The home fries on the plate were plentiful and super yummy, but the house brand “ketchup” was like watered down Heinz 57 mixed with weirdness. I didn’t like it.

My friend’s plate:

tastytoms2

My friends meal was basically the exact same schnitzel that was on my burger, but on a plate.  And sadly, tasted the same way as well. Dry, dry, dry. So terribly overcooked. Even the slice of lemon couldn’t save that poor pork cutlet. Now, I understand that schnitzel is not a dish that wins first place at the spice fair, but I’ve had really good schnitzel in the past. The flavor comes from the combination of a fresh-cut piece of meat, nice breading, and clean oil. Oh, and not frying the living crap out of it helps. This little cutlet was tired. VERY tired. The potato salad on the plate was pretty decent though, but not good enough.

Gone are the days of my beloved Cuban sandwich and excellent German food. The whole meal was a huge disappointment and not even close to being the tasty part of Tasty Tom’s.  It seems as though management has given up and don’t care about the quality of food they present. Here’s a great tip: Just down the road a few blocks is K&K Foodliner. A German owned food import store and deli. They have everything you could want to make wicked schnitzel……

the REAL schmackhaft, or, tasty way.

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