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Victoria home cooking - Slow roasted garlic and tomato marinara · 30.08.15 by colin newell

Home cooking Victoria B.C. Marinara sauce

As Fall and harvest comes upon us, it is time to start making some of those tasty sauces that we will start enjoying throughout the fall.

Most of our best tomatoes are now ready and they are being converted to sauce for pasta dishes in the future. One of our favourite building block sauces: Marinara – it cannot be beat. It scales up well and you can add nothing to it or your favourite protein.

Let’s go!

Necessary ingredients: Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and ground black pepper, 1 medium onion,
2 medium celery ribs, 1 medium green bell pepper, basil, oregano, fennel seeds, chili flakes, 1/2 cup red wine or vegetable stock,2 bay leaves, 2 Tablespoon tomato paste, bunch of fresh parsley…

Take 3 pounds of Roma tomatoes.

Boil some water. Trim the stem end of each tomato and then cut a 1/4” X at the blossom/stem end.
Drop the tomatoes a few at a time into the boiling water for 60 to 90 seconds OR until the skin starts to loosen. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes to a bowl to cool for a few minutes.

Pull the skin off of each tomato.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees (F).
Line one or more large baking pans with parchment paper.

Cut all of the tomatoes in half. Set a fine sieve over a bowl. Squeeze out all the seeds over on and onto the sieve. Keep the juice that comes out! We will use this later.

Place these tomatoes onto the parchment paper.
Mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil and 3 to 5 garlic cloves crushed and minced.
Paint this oil/garlic mixture onto the tomatoes. Put a twist of fresh ground pepper and salt onto each of the tomatoes.
Roast the tomatoes on the parchment paper in the oven for 2 hours.

Put all of these roast tomatoes into a bowl and add the reserve juice from the earlier seed removal.
Puree this mix with a hand mixer to medium fine puree eliminating all the lumps and clumps. Personal preference kicks in around here.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add onion (diced), celery (diced) and bell pepper (diced).
Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon or more of basil (fresh or dried) and oregano (fresh if you have it), a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds (use a rolling pin — releases the aromatics), a pinch of chili flakes and cook for another minute.

Added the pureed tomatoes, wine or stock, bay leaf and tomato paste and simmer, stirring occasionally for 35 minutes or so.

Discard Bay leaves and add chopped parsley (1/4 cup chopped)

Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Makes around 10 cups of sauce.

Bon apetit! This is one of our favourites and mirrors one of our all time favourite sauces from Victoria restaurant Zambri’s. Original recipe by Eric Akis of the Times Colonist.

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Are you ready? Chapter One · 9.04.15 by colin newell

Earthquake Victoria be prepared

It is 2:22 AM on the dot when the ground starts to move in Victoria. You are sleeping soundly in your bed and, initially, the noise and vibration doesn’t fully awaken you. Like emerging from an under water dive, you gasp at first as you reorient yourself to the full reality of being awake. By now 10 seconds has passed by and the side to side movement appears to be intensifying. You are now fully aware as the thunderous grinding noises of earth and rock pitched against each other unfold. Everything moves helplessly atop this geologic canvas in a way that is at once fully terrifying and at the same time cartoonish.

Everything that is not tied down is being thrown around as if in a childhood toy box. And now, you are just one of the toys at the mercy of forces both devastating and unseen.

You roll out of bed trying to stand up and as you reach for some clothing in the darkness, you realize that you control nothing – you are entirely at the mercy of this event. It starts and ends when it is good and ready. Through the window and in the street power poles pendulum back and forth, whipping power lines taut. They fracture, power transformers hum, flash and explode in a shower of sparks.

Before you know it you are pushing your way to the front door of your home, oddly still standing, its corridors littered with a lifetime of personal possessions. Common sense mixed with a supreme quantity of fear and dread set in. You remember some of the things you have heard about earthquakes, how most of the injuries occur while fumbling around in the minutes following the shaking. Much to your astonishment, you discover that you have pulled on a pair of shoes because it is a good thing: the floor of your home and the outdoors are layered with broken glass. It’s everywhere.

The suburb where you live has just been hit with an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 – the shaking lasted 27 seconds which seemed like much more. As you look around you are struck by the normality of everything on first glance. Nothing fell over, you think. As your hearing starts to kick in amidst the darkness and chatter of neighbors emerging from their homes, you take stock of your immediate surroundings. In the distance you can hear the hiss of broken gas lines, the report of people calling to each other, and even the sound of terror – those alone, staggering into the street wondering what is next.

Your earthquake check list is well established in your head. You instinctively reach for your tool kit that you keep in your car (and an extra set in the garage) and shut off the gas main to the house. Thankfully, there is no water rushing into the street as evidenced by a ruptured water main. Even though you are almost frozen with fear, you keep moving and pushing yourself through the experience.

Your check list scrolls in your head:
a.) Water… got at least a weeks worth in bottles (and lots of beer!)
b.) Candles… check c.) dried food… (enough for a dozen or so neighbors for a week!)
d.) first aid kit… check e.) shelter… house is still standing. It’s summer and I have a 4 person tent. Excellent.
f.) Radio. You grab it on the way out of the house. It’s tuned to a local AM station and has fresh batteries.

The local radio station is running on emergency power. This is your first and primary way of assessing what has happened on a broader scale. Your cell phone is currently a paper weight overloaded by panicked 911 calls and toppled towers. As you divide your attention between the crackling radio and the downtown horizon in the distance, you are overwhelmed by the site of a rising orange glow over the city.

To be continued


Colin Newell is a writer, technician and advocate for emergency preparedness – who is, more or less, prepared for anything nature can throw at him.

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Cuban influenced BBQ Rotisserie Chicken · 3.09.14 by colin newell

Dry Brined Cuban Chicken - from the good people at Weber BBQ

My wife’s gal-pal Sheila A. got us a Weber Rotisserie attachment as a house warming gift.

A suitable grilling recipe seemed in order — and to have her over to treat her to the dish.

So off to the Weber recipe guide – which is very expansive. Original link here

The Dry Brine

Finely grated zest of 2 large oranges (around 3 tablespoons of zest)
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon Old Bay® Seasoning

1 whole free-range chicken, about 4 pounds, neck, giblets, wing tips, and excess fat removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl combine the dry brine ingredients. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Brush the chicken all over with olive oil and season evenly, inside and outside, with the dry brine.
Refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 to 36 hours.

Next day – Rinse the chicken briefly under cold running water to remove most of the dry brine.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with the pepper.

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F).

Truss the chicken: Slide a four-foot length of butcher’s twine under the legs and back. Lift both ends of the twine and cross them between the legs. Then run one end under one drumstick. Run the other end under the other drumstick and pull both ends to draw the drumsticks together. Bring the twine along both sides of the chicken so that it holds the legs and wings against the body.
Tie a knot in the ends between the neck and the top of the breast. If necessary, push the breast down a little to expose more of the neck.

Following the grill’s instructions, secure the chicken in the middle of a rotisserie spit, put the spit in place, and turn on the motor.

Place a large disposable foil pan underneath the chicken to catch the drippings.

Cook the chicken over indirect medium heat, with the lid closed, until the surface is a deep golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 160° to 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone), abut 1¼ to 1½ hours. Make sure you use a digital thermometer – and make sure you achieve these internal temperatures! Food safety!

When the chicken is fully cooked, turn off the rotisserie motor and remove the spit from the grill.
Tilt the chicken upright over the foil pan so that the liquid that has accumulated in the chicken’s cavity pours into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes (the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during this time).

The chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender, juicy and gently fragrant with the sublime influence of the spice rub and brine. We served this wonderful chicken dish with pasta salad and BBQ corn on the cob (about 10 minutes on the grill while the chicken rested) – apply a garlic butter mix to the cobs while turning every two minutes. Serve with the beverage of your choice; beer, wine, fruit juice, tropical cocktails, or whatever you like.

And Enjoy! This chicken could have easily served 6 – 8 people with various sides.

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Fall harvest cooking - Slow cooker Chicken Stew with Dumplings · 6.11.13 by colin newell

Colin and Andrea's Fall Harvest Chicken Dumpling Stew

It is that time of year when it is cold and damp when we arrive at work and dark and wet when we leave work. And what is better than coming home to a steaming hot pot of slow cooked stew!
Only thing you need to do when you get home is whip up the dumplings.

This is a heart warming dish that is perfect for this time of the year – it pairs well with any full bodied Red Wine – like a Cab S.B. – We had a California Sonoma Cab SB that was perfect with this dish. Enjoy and welcome to the Fall home cooking season!

Ingredients:

2 kg skinned boneless Chicken thighs
2 cups chopped / diced carrots
2 cups chopped / diced celery
1 chopped onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup (low salt)
1 cup water

Directions:
Cut chicken into large – medium pieces.
Brown (in oil + pork fat if you have it!) chicken in dutch oven or pot seasoning with salt, pepper and thyme
Remove chicken to crock pot
Saute onions carrots celery in Crock pot (that you used for browning chicken)
Place onions, carrots and celery on top of chicken in the Crock pot.
Put all the sliced mushrooms on top of the veg and chicken mixture.
Stir soup, water, thyme and black pepper in a bowl.
Pour soup mixture over the chicken / veg mixture in the crock pot.

Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours.

Dumpling recipe.

2 cups of flour – 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (opt) – 4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt – 2 tablespoons butter – 3/4 cup 2% milk (approx.)

In bowl whisk together flour, parsley, baking powder and salt.
Using pastry blender OR two knives cut in butter into coarse crumbs.
Using fork, stir in enough milk to make sticky spoon-able dough.
Leaving space around each, drop by tablespoon full (dough) onto simmering stew.

Cover and cook (without lifting lid) for 15 minutes or until dumplings are not longer doughy underneath.

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Pork tenderloin on a spinach salad · 31.07.13 by colin newell

Easy to prepare and low in fat.

1 – 500g pork tenderloin

Preheat oven to 450 (F)

Pork Loin Salad

Heated a frying pan with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil.

Rub your tenderloin with some pepper, olive oil and garlic salt.

Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides (2 minutes per side) in the pan.
Place the tenderloin in a ceramic baking pan (pan is coated with left over olive oil.)
Spread honey mustard all over the seared tenderloin with a sprig of oregano.

Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 (F)
Bake for 30 minutes or until core temperature is 165 (F)

Remove from oven – rest for 10 minutes (tented in tinfoil)

Make the salad of your choosing -
Take the tenderloin and slice into thing medallions – serving over salad.

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