Category: Recipe

Trying Some Recipes From “At Home with Lynn Crawford”

Lynn Crawford, celebrity chef, author and restaurant owner

Lynn Crawford, celebrity chef, author and restaurant owner

Lesbian chef, author and TV celebrity Lynn Crawford has over 25 years’ experience in the industry. From humble beginnings, she became the Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Hotels in New York and Toronto before starring in various TV shows such as Restaurant Makeover,  her own show Pitchin’ In, opening her own restaurant, Ruby Watchco, and publishing two cookbooks. I tried some of the recipes from one of them, At Home with Lynn Crawford.

book cover of At Home with Lynn Crawford

book cover of At Home with Lynn Crawford

I try to cook meals these days, but I it’s rare that something is remarkable. I use Pepperplate, an online recipe collection service that syncs up with an app, and with all those recipes, I have only 2 or 3 that are definitely great even when I make them.

I made three recipes in all from Lynn’s book, and they were, well, mediocre. Since she’s an award winning chef, and since I had to look up what a “stock pot” is, I’m going to say it was me, not her. But what’s important is trying, right?

We want to support lesbians within the industry, and this is, after all, a lesbian book site, so Kelly and I will be trying various recipes from various lesbian chefs. Lynn Crawford was up first.

Crawford, a tattooed motorcycle-riding Canadian butch lesbian ~ Riese, Autostraddle

We tried the chicken curry, but it seemed a little bland. Lots of veggies, but we can get real curry chicken at the local pub and it takes pretty good (and spicy) there. Maybe it was the inception onion, maybe not. But it could have used another tablespoon or so of curry powder.

Onion inside an onion

Onion inside an onion

We tried her steak marinade.  It was okay, but not a knock-out.

Steak dinner with grilled veggies

Steak dinner with grilled veggies

Last, we tried the Chicken with Lots of Cloves of Garlic. I thought, how can you lose?

Lynn Crawford's recipe for Chicken with Lots of Cloves of Garlic

Lynn Crawford’s recipe for Chicken with Lots of Cloves of Garlic

Well, first you can start by having less garlic than you are supposed to. Two and a half small “Rooster” garlic bulbs wasn’t enough for one cup of garlic cloves. Yes, it’s Rooster brand, and I just went looking for a link or something, and now I am frightened and may never buy garlic from China again. Or maybe I will, some of those sites look a little sketchy. Anyway…

Just not enough garlic

Just not enough garlic

I did not use a whole chicken cut up, but instead cooked up some chicken thighs, on sale for $5. And I used regular $7 extra virgin olive oil instead of the $30 EVOO that a woman in the grocery store was hawking (it kills cancer cells, she said… really). And no tarragon, I just knock that stuff off the food before eating it, anyway.

I swear this isn't blurry, it's just covered in boiling oil

I swear this isn’t blurry, it’s just covered in boiling oil

Nonetheless, it was a delicious garlicky meal. We spooned the oil and mashed garlic over some potatoes and enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks, Lynn!

Chicken with Lots of Cloves of Garlic

Chicken with Lots of Cloves of Garlic

Jerk Chicken in a Dutch Oven

I spent Friday in a course for work. While the instructor was interesting, he spent way too much time telling stories, and not enough time covering the material. We ended half an hour early – his decision – and rushed through everything. He kept saying “we’re running out of time” and then would talk about that time years ago when he did something. Drove me crazy, and has inspired me to shut up and get on with today’s recipe: Dutch Oven Jerk Chicken, Rice and Beans. I bought all these spices at a local bulk food store for just a couple of bucks, and have enough for a couple more dishes (Jerk shrimp, anyone?!)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cajun spice
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 cups uncooked Basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 13.5 oz. can (1 3/4 cups) coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen’s organic lite coconut milk)
  • 15.5 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Jerk spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Put rice in a bowl and rinse until the water runs clear (just once or twice should do)
  3. Throw chicken thighs and Jerk spice into a baggie and shake it up, making sure you have covered the thighs as much as possible 
  4. Place chicken skin side up in a Dutch oven (or oven safe pot or pan) for about 3 minutes, just enough to make the Jerk stick but not enough to burn the spice. Set aside. 
  5.  Add about 2 Tablespoons oil to the Dutch oven, then onions, thyme, and garlic. Sauté until soft but not golden, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add rice and beans to the pot and stir
  7. Add everything else including the chicken and mix it together, covering chicken
  8. Bring to a boil
  9. Cover and place in the oven on the middle rack, for about 35 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
  10. Remove let it cool and serve.
All the ingredients mixed together in a Dutch oven, before going into the oven

All the ingredients mixed together in a Dutch oven, before going into the oven

Jerk Chicken in the Dutch over, inside my dirty oven

Jerk Chicken in the Dutch oven, inside my dirty oven. Stop judging!

One pot Jerk chicken, ready to serve

One pot Jerk chicken, ready to serve

 

A serving of one Jerk chicken thigh, covered in rice and beans, in a really big cup

A serving of one Jerk chicken thigh, covered in rice and beans, in a cup

Super Cook Sunday

organic potatoes

(Warning for all my veg/vegan friends – close up pic of medium-rare beef at the end)

By my own admission, I am not a great cook. I am an average cook, I think. I’m not sure, I don’t stand on street corners surveying people:

Me: Excuse me, am I a good cook?
Passerby: (walks past silently, looking the other way, ignoring everything anyone ever says. After all, this is the city)

I took an online test to determine if I was a good cook. At the very start, before the Begin button, it says: “This is about common sense, people. No wasabi vinagrette on the sweet potato pie.”

Okay, number one, what is wasabi vinaigrette? Number two, they spelled vinaigrette wrong. So nyah. After my test, they advised me, not too unexpectedly, that I am average. Hell, I still need to look up how long to cook hard boiled eggs. Every. Single. Time.

results

Wait, did that test just call me a turkey?!

I blame my mother who, I think, boiled everything – water in the pot, put the item in, turn up the heat, then once it boils, turn it down and simmer for 30 minutes. Potatoes? Boil ’em. Peas? Boil ’em. Corn? Boil ’em? Meat? As a teenager, I realized that boiling pork chops was a big fail, but I never did anything about it except continue to boil ’em.

I went through a vegetarian phase before I met Kelly, and the very first meal I ever made for her was the Enchanted Broccoli Forest, from Molly Katsen’s cookbook of the same name. How did it turn out?

That was almost 30 years ago. Now, I don’t make broccoli forests and I don’t usually burn stuff. Usually.

I really do cook and eat everything I list here. The photos are mine, taken while cooking (perhaps unlike the “private chef” I found online, whose recipe for slow cooker chicken included only photographs of chicken in a cast iron skillet).

My goal is to eat a little healthier, a little at a time. I have cut back on red meat, but you wouldn’t know that from this meal. It’s based on a recipe from Martha Stewart’s website. Served with organic mashed potatoes and a bit of salad with a raspberry vinaigrette (Ha! Spelled it correctly again!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef roast (already tied up when I bought it at the grocery store)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I nuked mine for 15 seconds)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard with seeds, it’s all I had

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • Season beef all over with salt and pepper
  • Whisk together butter and mustard
  • Rub mixture all over the beef
  • Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the upper third of the oven until my instant-read thermometer read 140 degrees (for medium-rare), about 40 minutes
  • Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Delicious!

roast

 

P.S. I no longer boiled pork chops…

I am loved

My wife went to the library, which sells its withdrawn books to raise money. They are very VERY cheap. She bought me Cook & Freeze by Dana Jacobi, just in time for a 4-day weekend. #Iamloved.

Cook and Freeze cookbook

Super Cook Sunday (and Monday)

pulled_pork_poutine

I tried that horrible root beer pulled pork, and needed some way to deal with all the leftovers. So I tried pulled pork poutine (with a blend of Italian cheeses, since that’s what I had). Delicious! Baked some McCain’s 5-Minute fries, put them in a casserole dish. Covered with pulled pork, sprinkled on some cheese, and baked. Threw on a green onion after it was baked, and I am done. Good food, just can’t find the recipe again.

 

homemade_cottage_pie

On Sunday, I baked the ultimate cottage pie, which is “Shepard’s Pie” but only with beef.  I got this recipe from the BBC, and halved it. Yes, it really does take 2 1/2 hours! I did not skimp. Used fresh carrots, celery and onions (was out of garlic). I peeled the potatoes, used butter and 2% milk, and that same Italian mix of cheese. That. Was. Amazing. So much better than store bought shepard’s pie. So glad I tried the “real deal” from England, it was worth the cooking and prep time. Really.

green_and_sable_grapes

Also bought some seedless “Sable” grapes, along with some green grapes. Really great little treat. Prefer them over green (and just say no to red grapes – too bitter!)

 

upgraded_ramed_noodles

 

Lastly, an upgrade to Ramen noodles, courtesy of Martha Stewart! You read that right! Can’t find the link, but here’s what I did:

  1. Made a stock from a prepared BBQ chicken carcass, some celery and onions (bits from when I was prepping my cottage pie) so I didn’t have to use that nasty flavour packet that comes with Ramen noodles. That was 2 hours in the slow cooker, but it cooked while we were out, so no biggie
  2. Kept a cup of chicken, cut up, from the BBQ chicken
  3. Boiled Ramen noodles in the strained stock
  4. Into 2 bowls goes the chicken, the noodles, a tablespoon of peanut butter (Kraft Smooth Light, in my case), and a tablespoon of soy sauce

Mix it up as best you can, and enjoy. Thick peanuty flavour, pretty good for Ramen noodles!

A Quiet day in the Gay Village

rootbeer

I woke up this morning and tried a new pull pork slow cooker recipe with root beer. Worst idea ever. Just don’t.

 

donation

The local queer bookstore, GladDay, is helping build a library for Canada’s first transitional housing for LGBTQ youth. We donated some books (mostly lesbian, some for gay men, some generally queer) to GladDay for the library.

ella on the box

Ella insisted on helping us move the books. (yes, that is a concrete statue of Pan in our home). Light enough for a couple of old gals to carry up a flight+ of stairs to GladDay, maybe 20 books or so, and they gave us a $10-same-day credit. We picked up an LGBT wedding magazine 🙂

 

us

Then we headed to the Churchmouse and Firkin for a pitcher of Blue and some burgers.

 

axe

This Axe billboard was across the street from the Churchmouse. Who doesn’t love gay ads?

Super Cook Sunday

Someone once asked, “What are you terrible at, that you enjoy doing anyway?” Pretty much that’s me and cooking. I like to cook, but I still have to look up the instructions on hard boiling an egg. Every 4th or 5th dish has to be thrown out, it’s so bad. No, I don’t generally “experiment” with recipes, but try to follow them. But more importantly, most of the food works out, and I enjoy blasting through and getting a few weeks worth of lunches for the office, or a couple of dinners. This Sunday was one of my “super cook Sundays”.

Onion, Red Pepper and Garlic Pasta in Marinara Sauce

No, I don’t make pasta or marinara sauce from scratch. Didn’t I just tell you I am a terrible cook? It’s way easier out of a jar. I just added a bit extra, that’s all. Did I mention most of my photos are blurry too? I blame my eyes. Stupid eyes. A jar of marinara sauce (some was missing because it makes an excellent dip for mozzarella sticks!), a box of pasta and a few veggies, and voila! Nine lunch-sized servings.

spaghetti

 

Chicken Teriyaki with Snow Peas and Rice

Used some of the lemon pepper chicken thighs I made last week, and my own version of this teriyaki sauce recipe (who has sesame oil around?) , threw in some raw snow peas and put everything on a bed of rice. I added an extra 1/2 teaspoon of honey to sweeten it up. And yes, I only had creamed honey so whatever whatever. Eleven lunches based on 8 cups of rice!

teryaki

 

Blueberry Banana Bread

I am probably supposed to use fresh blueberries, but I used frozen, and just “folded” them into the mix right before putting it in the bread pan. I don’t think they are in the original recipe, so the bread is quite moist (which is okay with us!) Will have a slice soon, then cut slices, wrap and freeze them for, you guessed it, lunches.

banana_bread

 

You know what’s for dinner tonight? The Winterlicious menu at Cafe California, that’s what! The Lobster Mac and Cheese,  Filet Mignon with Mushroom Brandy Sauce and Warm Chocolate Brownie are waiting!

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