Combining my interests of music, cooking, recipes, photos and tune talk.

Monday, October 22, 2012


 A meal straight from the old country, if I were at all Italian...
The Meal: Lasagna and Caesar Salad
The Tunes: Aimee Mann - Charmer
The Drink: Glass of Orvieto

Homemade lasagna and Caesar salad is one of the best meals going.   I've made my dad's recipe many times but I'll never get tired of it.  I don't think he gets tired of it either since it was my grandfather's recipe that he's been making all of these years.  The secret to its deliciousness is likely the boatload of cheese that's in it.

It tastes great right out of the oven and it still tastes great the next day reheated.  It'll have for another dinner later this week, a few lunches and perhaps I'll freeze a few pieces for lunches another time when I am too busy/lazy to make anything else.

I just got Aimee Mann's new album Charmer.  I've really enjoyed her last couple albums so I was looking forward to hearing this one. Not sure if I like it as much as @#%&*! Smilers, but I'll see if it grows on me.  You also have to be in the right mood to listen to her so I'll definitely be listening to this again. 

Tons o' Cheese
1lb Ground Beef
1/2lb Sausage
1 Recipe tomato sauce
1lb Cottage Cheese
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
12oz Mozzarella
1 Pasta Recipe Rolled into Lasagna Noodles

Now you might ask, what is "1 Recipe Tomato Sauce"?  Well, in this case, its a homemade tomato sauce that I took out of the freezer since I always make double batches.  It takes a while to make since it needs to simmer and a double batch takes the same length of time to make as a single.  I'll definitely get to posting that recipe here when I make it the next time. 

Beef, Sausage and Tomato Sauce
Make the pasta (1 cup flour, 1 cup semolina, 3 eggs) and let it rest while you get the rest prepared.  Brown the ground beef and sausage and then add the tomato sauce to warm it up. 


Start with a quarter of the meat sauce on the bottom of the dish and over with a layer of noodles, then one third of the cottage cheese and Parmesan and finally mozzarella.
Repeat these steps a total of three times ending with a meat layer.  Top with the remaining Parmesan and Mozzarella. 

Assembling the Layers
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350F.

Serve it with a fine Italian wine, some garlic bread and a delicious Caesar Salad.  As for that recipe, I'll have to include it at a later date.

I understand that I just posted a meal of Lasagna and Caesar Salad and I didn't post the tomato sauce recipe nor the dressing, but I'll get to them, I promise. 

Super Cheesy Deliciousness

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip and Bacon Cookies

Cookies with Bacon
The challenge: Does Bacon make everything better?

This was a conversation I had with Molly a few weeks back and while chatting, I found a recipe for bacon cookies.  Chocolate-chocolate chip with bacon!  There were lots of different bacon cookie recipes believe it or not.  This one had some of the best reviews so I figured it was worth a shot.

Conveniently, we had a work pot luck on Thursday and poker night on Friday which allowed me to make a batch, try one and then share the rest so I don't have to eat an entire batch myself.

As I made them Wednesday night, I was chatting on the phone with Matty so no tunes in the background.

Cookies in the Oven
6 slices of Bacon (I'd recommend more)
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
2/3 Cup Cocoa
3/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Cups Chocolate Chips

First step is to cook the bacon and then crumble.

Mix together the sugar, butter eggs and vanilla.  Then add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Finally, stir in the bacon and chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes at 350F.

I brought a batch to the work potluck where the cookies were well received, except most of the comments where similar to "Great cookie, but can't taste the bacon".  So I might recommend adding more bacon next time if you want to bring out the salty bacon flavour.  Otherwise, don't bother.

Another batch I brought to poker night on Friday night.  These cookies didn't last 5 minutes.  I didn't solicit any feedback, but the fact they sold out almost as fast as a Garth Brooks concert tells me they couldn't be that bad...

Does bacon make cookies better?  Inconclusive.  The cookies were delicious, but I am not sure how much better they were because of the bacon.  I'll need further testing before fully committing.

More Turkey Leftovers

The Meal Plan: Turkey and more turkey

Turkey Tacos
After several leftover turkey dinners and the turkey pie already mentioned there was still some turkey left over and a carcass for soup.

A Turkey Taco uses everything leftover from thanksgiving  so it'll help clean out the fridge.

Leftover Turkey
Mashed potatoes
Soft shell tortillas

The picture pretty much tells the whole story.  Reheat and layer the leftovers, add some cooked bacon and shredded lettuce.  Eat carefully so you don't get covered in gravy!

Turkey Soup
Turkey Soup

This soup recipe I found on the internet.  Don't be fooled by the photo on their website...  There are no noodles in the recipe so its obviously not the right soup!  This is the actual soup.

Turkey Carcass
2 Celery Stalks
2 Carrots
1 Onion
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning
2L Chicken stock
2 Cups Rice

In a large pot, put in the carcass and add the celery stalks, carrots, onions, bay leaves poultry seasoning and chicken stock.  Add some water as required to make sure the carcass is covered and then bring to a boil for at least an hour.

After boiling the carcass, take it out and scrape off all of the pieces of turkey.  Cut up any turkey pieces that are too big and add it all to the soup.  Add two cups of rice and boil for another 15 minutes.
In my case, this turned my turkey soup into a turkey pilaf as the rice absorbed all of the liquids, but it was easily fixed by adding more water.  It actually turned out well since I froze a concentrated container that I can just add water to later.

This brings an end to the Turkey tales for Thanksgiving Turkey.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Turkey Pot Pie

Slice of Turkey Pot Pie
The Dish: Turkey Pot Pie
The Tunes: INXS Live Baby Live

After a successful turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, there was a pile of turkey leftovers so one delicious way to use them up is by making a turkey pot pie.  Afterwards, mom asked me if I used dad's recipe, which I did not.  I was unaware he had a specific recipe.  So perhaps next turkey time, I'll try that one.  But for now, I used this recipe from allrecipes.

Now it still had a home feeling since I used the last of the dough that mom made last time she was in town.

I haven't pulled out a CD to listen to while making dinner in a while so I decided to go to the shelf.  INXS Live Baby Live is a good live album of their late 80's and early 90's tracks (a bunch from their mega successful album "Kick" which I also have).   We picked this album up originally in 1991 while travelling in Australia as it had just been released at that time.
Turkey and vegetable mix in the pan

Pie Crust
4 Tbls Butter
1 Onion (diced)
2 Stalks Celery (chopped)
2 Carrots (Peeled and chopped)
1 Tsp Oregano
2 Cups Chicken Broth
3 Small Potatoes (Peeled and cubed)
2 Cups Leftover Turkey
3 Tbls Flour
1/2 Cup Milk

Uncooked pie with filling
First step is to fry up the onion, celery carrots in half of the butter.  Then add the herbs, salt, pepper, chicken broth and potatoes.  Boil until the potatoes are firm but not mushy. 
In a separate pan, toss in the remaining butter, turkey, flour and milk and heat.  Add the turkey mix to the vegetable mix and prep the pie dough.

I used a 9" pie dish with crust on the bottom and top with slits cut in the top to allow steam to escape.  This made a ton of pie which I ate for lunch and dinner for several days.

Delicious Pie!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The Holiday Meal: Thanksgiving!
Golden Brown Stuffed Turkey
The playlist: Multiple
The drink: Multiple

Thanksgiving wouldn't be thanksgiving without turkey and fixin's.  As the host for the festivities, I volunteered to make the turkey, stuffing and gravy.  As an extra, I decided to make some fresh bred to to with the meal too.  Guests volunteered to bring salads, sides, desserts and of course more booze.

The day before prep started by getting the turkey cleaned and brined as well as getting the bread together to rise over night.

Brined Turkey:
Turkey in Brine Bucket
15lb Turkey
2 Cups Salt
2 Cups Brown Sugar
Fresh Rosemary
Food grade plastic container big enough for turkey

Dissolve the salt and the sugar in a bit of warm water.  Once dissolved, add cool water, cleaned, unfrozen turkey and fresh herbs into the food grade plastic container.   Make sure there is enough water to fully submerge the turkey.  Put it in the fridge and let it sit overnight.

The bread was a no-kneed variety with Kalamata Olives, Feta and oregano, but I'll get into that recipe and variations in another post since there's enough going on in this post already.

Robyn's Pecan Pie
The game day process started at about noon so that all of the various items could cycle through the oven in time to get the turkey cooking by 2:30.  First Robyn's Maple Pecan Pie, then the bread and finally the turkey.

The music was pumping in the house from the first dial of the oven, all coming from my various iPod playlists.  Drinking country, Retro dance mix, and a ton of hip-hop and pop favourites, including the now legendary Enrique Iglesias DDG remix which had earlier got us unceremoniously written up and booted from the Tunnel mountain campground (and by us, I mean only Neil).

Bread Stuffing:
1lb Sausage
3 stalks Celery
1 Onion
Poultry Seasoning to taste
Bread - Most of a regular loaf

Brown the sausage first and then add the onions and celery to the pan.  Season with poultry seasoning to taste and add to a bowl of bread pieces.  This is always a good time to use up the left over bread bums and miscellaneous buns left over in the freezer.  Since I always seem to run out of stuffing, I doubled this recipe.

Now its time to introduce the stuffing to the host bird.  Take the bird out of the fridge, empty out the brine solution and rinse the turkey.  Pat it dry including the cavity.
Cram the stuffing into the cavity and then close up the hole using the legs and the skin flap.

I covered the stuffed turkey with tinfoil and put it in the oven for 4 hours.

Then the guests started to arrive.  First in the door was Trid, with a bottle of rum and a vegetable dish in tow and I knew we were in for a good night.  We also mixed in a few beers and several bottles of wine to go along with the all night fire.

After eating too much main course, we then proceeded to eat too much dessert.  We polished off an entire cake for Steph's birthday! Happy Birthday Steph!

 With all the leftovers in the fridge, what's Honey Badger going to eat for the next week? Turkey.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Delicious Pie
The Dish: Nanny's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

A classic around our house growing up was always rhubarb pie.  Mom would make it with various combinations, but typically with fresh rhubarb from the garden.   The recipe is my grandmother's as she tended to make a lot of pies too.

Well my house in Calgary also happens to have a rhubarb patch.  Its not big enough to do too much, but in clearing out the crop before the first frost, I did get enough to make a pie.

1 serving Tenderflake pie crust recipe, put together by Mom when she visits town and left in the freezer
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 Eggs
2 cups fresh rhubarb
2 cups fresh strawberries (likely from California)

One day I might make my own crust and post it, but for now, I'll take advantage of mom's work.  So thaw the dough and roll out the crust to fit into the pie plate.  Fill with four cups of fruit (in this case half and half strawberry and rhubarb).
Crust and filling

In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar flour and eggs and then pour on top of the fruit, filling to near the top of the pie crust.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425 and then for 40 minutes at 375.  Rarely are things done faster in my oven, but I took it out before the full hour was up, so pay attention near the end so it doesn't burn.

I took the pie to a friend's place for dinner and it was well received, despite the fact we were all stuffed before getting to dessert!