We had one of those weekends that was just too perfect. The timing was just right. We got to spend time with our fabulous extended family but also as a little unit unto ourselves.

My only criticism of the weekend is that we didn’t get to see the amazing Barbeau’s but there is always this weekend to fix that.

Friday was all about roast beef and yorkshire pudding. We were lucky enough to have the complany of some great friends and a few bottle of wine. I did however, commit a crime against the roast when I didn’t grab it out of the oven early enough and when the resting time was factored in it was almost well done. 😦 Not a good thing when one of your guests is a chef.

I made a pastry topped pie out of it yesterday which might even be better than the original roast. I just thickened-up the gravy with a bit of borwned flour and added in some extra vegetables.

Lunch at “Harvest” on Sunday was terrific and we even had a visit from the chef himself to our table (the baby was a great lure). Madison was a bread fiend as usual but also helped herself to some wild boar pate and sauteed carrots. We might be creating a food monster. On the way to Picton we even stopped at a farmer’s market in Bath and found a guy selling the roots for horseradish! I have looked for these for quite some time and ended-up getting them for only $1.00.

At the same market we met a really neat lady who makes gorgeous children’s clothes and who had tutu’s to add to Madison’s growing collection. I’ve given her this blog address so I hope to soon see a comment with a link to her blog here.

We also stopped on the way back to stock-up on Bergeron Estate wines from the county as well as, some local cider. Yummmm…

This week’s food needs to be totally comforting as it is getting colder and colder and I have a wicked cough that I am trying to get rid of. Serendipity made it so that “Surviving and Thriving on Pennnies” did a whole blog entry on getting over the cold naturally so I will briefly stop at the health food store on the way home and get some supplies. I succumbed and took some cold medicine yesterday and it made me pretty out-of-it so I’m back to the old-fashioned remedies today.

So on tap we have;

1) Pastrami brined chicken (stolen from Guy Fieri but he used turkey)
For brine:
5 pounds fresh turkey breast
3 cups water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup crushed Juniper berries
1/4 cup freshly cracked black peppercorns
8 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
Pinch red pepper flakes
In a medium saucepan, combine water, sugar and spices. Heat until sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool. When cool, place turkey breast and brine in a 1 gallon resealable bag. Double the bag and place in shallow pan in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. (Just in case of leaking, check occasionally.)

After desired brine time, remove breast from brine and rinse well. Dry breast well and prepare rub

For Rub:
1/2 cup juniper berries
1/4 cup black black peppercorns
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pulse all in a spice grinder or food processor

Apply rub to breast, cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours

To Cook:
1 cup hickory chips
Take a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil (about 2 feet long) fold in half, fold in half again and fold the edges up on 1 half, think of creating a small pizza box.

Soak the chips submerged in water for 15 minutes, while chips are soaking, raise oven rack to position 4-inches below broiler. Preheat broiler on high. Drain chips, place in bottom, folded section of foil, bending the top back out of the way. Broil for 5 minutes, stir chips, broil 2 more minutes, remove and immediately and carefully, fold “top” over bottom and crimp closed. Place in oven and poke a several holes in top with knife to release smoke.

Remove turkey from refrigeration. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Roast in oven, breast side down for 1 hour, increase heat to 325 degrees F if convection, 350 degrees F if standard oven. Carefully turn over and continue to roast until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Cover loosely, cool and thinly slice.

2) http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyle/holidayguide2007/create/story.html?id=057fb235-8907-4a4a-bbfe-a7844dcf1f7c


Serves 4 as main course

Preparation time: about 25 minutes

– 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil

– 1 large onion, diced

– 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

– 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh gingerroot

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– 2 tablespoons (25 mL) curry powder

– 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne, or more to taste

– 3 cups (750 mL) chicken broth

– 1 can (14 ounces/398 mL) light coconut milk

– 2 large tomatoes, diced

– 2 cups (500 mL) diced cooked chicken or turkey (optional)

– 2 cups (500 mL) torn spinach leaves

– 1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh coriander leaves

– Salt and pepper

Optional garnishes:

– Shredded unsweetened coconut (brown over medium-low heat in a dry skillet)

– Fresh unpeeled apple, diced small (sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent apple from turning brown)

1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion and potatoes until onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Stir in ginger, garlic, curry powder and cayenne; cook 1 minute.

2. Add chicken broth and coconut milk; cover and bring to boil over high heat. Add tomatoes, and chicken or turkey (if using) and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

3. Stir in spinach just until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using garnishes, sprinkle on individual bowls and serve.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 195; Protein: 5 g; Fat: 10 g; Carbohydrates: 24 g.

The rest of the week will be some quickie foccacia (see previous recipe), ommelettes and a big stirfry with peanut sauce and chunks of spicy tofu to finish-up the rest of the veg. before the bin comes again.

Pictures and some dessert recipes will be posted later this week.

3) http://marriedwithdinner.com/

Thai Curry Beef Noodles
– adapted from Big Bowl Noodles and Rice

For two servings — multiply as needed:
4 to 6 oz dry Asian wheat or egg noodles (for substitutions, see end of instructions)
Peanut or vegetable oil
6 oz beef (such as flank steak or sirloin tip) sliced thin across the grain into 2-inch lengths
1-1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (we like Kimlan Super Special)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch
1/3 cup homemade chicken stock (or water — canned broth is too salty)
1-2T fish sauce (depending on the saltiness of the curry paste)
1T fresh lime juice
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 to 1 red chile (such as Fresno), julienned
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
a handful (12 to 15) snow or snap peas, cut in half on the diagonal
1 to 2T Thai curry paste (depending on how hot you like it; you can use half peanut butter)
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
a few tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, run under cold water, drain again, and toss with a teaspoon of peanut oil; set aside.

Mix the beef with the soy sauce, cornstarch, and sesame oil. In a separate bowl, mix the chicken stock with the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar and whisk to blend. Set both the mixtures aside.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a wok (or your largest skillet) over high heat until very hot but not smoking; add the beef, stirring to separate the slices. Using a slotted spoon or a spider, remove the meat to a clean plate when still pink in the center. Pour off the oil into a heatproof bowl.

Wipe the wok clean and return it to the burner over high heat. When hot, add 2T of the reserved oil. Add the chiles, onions, and peas; cook, tossing rapidly, until well coated with the oil. Scoot the vegetables to the side of the wok and add the curry paste to the bottom. Stir the paste around briefly in the oil to release the flavor. Add the seasoned stock mixture; bring to a boil, stirring or whisking to distribute the curry paste. Then, add the noodles.

Cook, tossing the noodles until mixed with the sauce and vegetables. Add the beef and toss briefly until everything is heated through and well mixed. Remove the cooked noodles to a platter, sprinkle with peanuts and chopped cilantro, and serve.

If you want to substitute other noodles, keep in mind that fresh noodles gain very little mass when cooked, where dry pastas can double or triple in size. You want 8 to 10 oz of cooked noodles for two servings. If you find you’ve prepped too many noodles, they keep for a day or two in the fridge, provided they’re tossed liberally in oil and well covered. They make a great snack or lunch when reheated with a little peanut butter, a splash of water or stock, and a sprinkling of chili flakes.