Category Archives: Holiday

Feast of Leftovers: Cabbage and Bean Soup


I wrote a few Feast of Leftovers posts in the past – and well I think I will keep adding to that theme! This isn’t really leftovers – but it is emptying my fridge of some extra items so here goes! I get most of my visits from people looking to make soup with search terms like : Prime Rib leftovers

There are of course many ways to makes cabbage soup, so I won’t claim this adds anything new to the soup pot! And I do tend to make things up as I go along. Still this one does stick a little more to the recipe as written – but then again don’t let that stop you from experimenting!

(I have a Sour Cream Biscuit recipe here if you want something to go with the soup. Easy to make while the soup is simmering!)

Starting: All about the base…

All soup depends on the base its starts from. In the case of cabbage soup I start with fried onions. Cabbage isn’t an exciting flavour so I like to add some flavours to wake up the taste-buds. Garlic, caraway seeds, bay leaves, hungarian paprika, fresh ground black pepper and spicy sausage! Of course if you are vegetarian you can delete the sausage and add some hot red pepper flakes or a dash of your favourite hot sauce.

Ingredients: Chop chop chop

Cabbage soup requires some chopping so lets begin
3 large carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
1 large parsnip peeled and sliced into rounds
3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1 large cooking onion (yellow onion) chopped
1/2 head of a large cabbage shredded (or 1 small cabbage) This is about 4-6 cups of shredded cabbage.
fresh parsley finely chopped (don’t over do it – so 1/4 cup at most)
2 stalks celery chopped into small pieces

2 cloves garlic crushed and minced
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (slightly crushed with mortar and pestle if you have one – but crushing not required!)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (sweet)
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste

6-8 cups chicken stock (low-sodium) (or vegetable stock for the vegetarian crowd!)
Hot water (fresh boiled)

1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of white beans rinsed (size of can up to you!)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 or 2 spicy sausages diced (I prefer Chorizo – a spicy Portuguese/Spanish sausage but any will work)
OR for vegetarian version some hot red pepper flakes to taste)

Part 3: Bringing it all together
In a large soup pot (minimum 6-quart/6-litres) heat the vegetable oil until hot (medium-high heat)
Add the onions and slowly saute the the onions for 10-15 minutes. You do not want the onions to brown! This is a slow frying of the onion to release the sweetness of the onion. Reduce the heat as required to keep from burning/browning.
Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the caraway and paprika and mix the spices into the oil (about 30-seconds)
Paprika burns easily so you don’t want a high heat – medium should be good.
If you are adding sausage add it now. If it is fresh sausage then cook until completely cooked. If you are using dried/smoked sausage the cook until heated through. If you are not adding sausage add a pinch of hot red-pepper flakes to the other spices.

Add the minced garlic and when the smell of garlic hits your nose then add all the hard vegetables (potato/carrot/parsnip and celery if you are adding some)
Saute the spice and vegetables for a couple of minutes. If the vegetables are sticking add 1/2 cup of hot water.

Once the vegetables are well coated with the oil and spice base (and the sausages for you meat lovers!) then add your chicken/vegetable stock to the pot. Add the bay leaves. Bring this to a boil. If you are using a salt-free stock you will want add some salt at this stage – no more than a teaspoon. Remember the sausages will be salty too!

Now add the cabbage to the pot. Don’t worry if it seems full and the stock doesn’t seem to be enough – as the cabbage cooks and softens it will release liquid into the soup.

Let this come to a boil again – and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are the desired softness. Taste the broth – remember you are adding the canned tomatoes which will add some hidden salt!

Now add the rinsed canned beans and the diced tomatoes. Add the minced parsley if desired. Bring back to boil and then set to a simmer. Stir in the ground pepper.

Remove from heat and let the flavours blend for 10-15 minutes before serving. Remove the bay leaves if you see them.

Feast of Leftovers: Sour Cream Biscuits

Oh the joys of harvest and fresh local vegetables. After the excess of candy and treats, some simple hearty vegetable soup is what the day requires!


As always I have extra sour cream and since I have a large pot of cabbage and bean soup – what any soup needs is a nice freshly baked biscuit. And I love sour cream biscuits. Simple and easy to make – and helps get rid of that sour cream sitting in my fridge. I posted another version of sour cream biscuits that uses vegetable shortening. These use lard – and lard makes the best biscuits. Yes rendered pig fat is a a culinary blessing!
(I will post my cabbage and bean recipe soon – my other soup recipes are: Prime Rib, Turkey)

4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon salt (or less if desired)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Lard (at room temperature!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk

parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350°F
Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the sour cream with the egg until blended.
Place lard in large bowl, and cut with knife into small cubes. Now dump in the dry ingredients!
Use a pastry cutter to blend the shortening into the flour mixture until the mixtures has a course pea-sized texture.
Add the sour cream and cut mixture until it is course crumbs.
Using clean dry hands knead dough 6 to 8 strokes; if dough is too dry and not binding together, slowly add a bit of milk a teaspoon at a time. The mixture should just bind together without being too dry or too moist!
All of the above should be done fairly quickly to avoid over-working the flour and activating the gluten! (which would make the biscuits tough…)
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Lightly dust with flour if it is sticking to the rolling pin. Fold in half, and then fold in half again.
(Yes that would now be a quarter – but this is cooking not math class!)
Now roll out once more to about 1/2 inch thick and cut biscuits (no bigger than 2 inches wide!)

Place biscuits on parchment paper in a cookie sheet. The biscuits should just be touching each other – this will make them puff upwards more than then expand sideways!
Brush the top with any left-over milk to make the tops brown evenly.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (until desired golden brown on top)

Let cool a few minutes – and then enjoy!

These biscuits are not only excellent with soup but also really tasty with butter and your favourite jam.

Food : Prime Rib BBQ!

English: USCA Choice standing rib roast (2 bone).


First you will need a Prime Rib roast. How big should it be? Depends on how many people and how much meat they like to eat! And how much you want to spend!

The rule of thumb is: 1 Rib feeds 2 People. So a 2 Rib roast would feed 4 People. For a backyard BBQ feast that has a lot of other food you can probably estimate 1 Rib for 2.5 People. This is assuming 1 Rib is equal to about 1 Kilogram or about 2.2 Pounds.
Adjust things accordingly for weight!

When you buy your Prime Rib roast look for one with good layer of fat. Fat is flavour. Fat keeps the meat moist while cooking. You can always cut off the fat when serving! You want at least a 1/4 inch (less than 1 cm) of fat on the side away from the bones.

Get a GOOD Meat Thermometer!
The most important item you need in cooking a Prime Rib roast is a good meat thermometer! Prime Rib should not be overcooked. Yes you can estimate times but really the best way to cook this premium cut of meat is with a good, reliable and accurate thermometer. I use a digital thermometer that stays in the roast throughout the cooking process. The one I use has a long lead from the meat probe to an exterior display that sits outside the oven. Very nice for monitoring the cooking progress without opening the door!


1) Let the meat come to room temperature before roasting. This may take an hour. A cold Prime Rib will not cook properly, with the outer portion overcooking. Never try and cook a frozen Prime Rib roast!!! Use paper-towels to pat dry the surface of the meat.

2) DO NOT SALT. Salt pulls the moisture from the meat. Season with garlic, or some other rub if you desire. I just rub on some fresh ground pepper.

3) OPTIONAL: Garlic! grab a garlic clove or two and slice into small slivers. Now take a very sharp thin knife and slice small holes all around the roast, inserting a garlic sliver into each hole.

4) OPTIONAL: While the roast is sitting out (see step 1) you can do this! BBQ Rib is even better with a good roast rub. Here is a rub recipe (and you can make your own!).

1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake

Mix together the pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and pepper flakes.
Remove the butcher’s twine and lightly coat the roast and ribs with oil.
Season on all sides (including the space between the ribs and roast) with the dry rub. Re-tie the beef roast and ribs back together. Now let sit at room temperature for an hour.

5) Set up your BBQ (grill) for indirect heat and preheat to low (250-300°F).

6) Place the roast, bone-side down, on a roasting rack and pan combination. Add enough beef stock or water to fill the pan about 1 inch deep. Optional: Add some dried mushrooms to flavor the liquid base! If you are using a digital thermometer insert it into the roast!

7) Place the roast and pan on the grill on the indirect side where you don’t have any burners on. Close the grill lid and cook until the rib roast hits 10 °F less than your desired level of doneness.
NOTE: This should take about 3 hours for medium rare. It’s a good idea to turn the roast around every 45 minutes or so. (For rare – pull at internal temperature of 115°F. For medium rare – 125°F. For medium – 135°F).

8) Remove the roast and pan set up and let rest at room temperature until the internal temperature stops rising – about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, turn up the grill heat to high (you want it very hot – about 500 °F).

9) Taste the au jus (seasoned broth in the pan) and season to taste with salt and pepper to taste. Keep the au jus warm.

10) Now fully remove the rib bones. Then place the rib bones cut side down over the heat. Also sear the roast 2-3 minutes on the cut side and 1-2 minutes on the other sides.

11) Once the outside of each portion is nicely seared remove from the grill. You may let it rest for a few minutes but it isn’t needed – as it already settled during the previous rest.

12) Slice as desired. Top with some of the au jus and serve.

Sit back and enjoy summer!

Recipe: The Ultimate No Fail Way to Make Tofu Delicious!!

For those that have no idea what tofu is first an explanation.
Tofu is not short hand for: To F U

Glad I could clear that up for you.

Let me quote Wikipedia for you:
“Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu is bought or made to be soft, firm, or extra firm. Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.”

So let’s clear something up at the start, shall we? Tofu does not have to be a bland part of your meal. There are many varieties of tofu chose from, and just as many ways to prepare it. But let’s skip all that for now: here we are looking for perfect simplicity. And that means there’s really only one cooking method you need to know to make tofu that is delicious, versatile, and perfect for any meal! Learn this simple, no-fail way to cook tofu, you’ll never be disappointed.

1) Take tofu and rinse
2) Toss tofu in the recycling bin
3) Go buy some meat
4) Fire up the grill and get barbecuing

Problem of bland tasteless tofu solved easily and forever!

What is your method for improving bland foods? Tell me in the comments below.

And you are most welcome!

Days: Good Friday

(Yes I am recycling. This is a copy of my Good Friday post from the past… I liked it so I am sharing all over again!)


This day seems to be the forgotten holiday of the year. There is no lead-up to Good Friday. No frenzied fanfare of festivity. No elaborate feasts to plan and prepare. That is probably why I like this holiday the best.

Good Friday really is a day off from the bustle and hustle of the consumer world. No sales. Just time to contemplate the world. I am sitting here this morning with a second cup of coffee, watching the sun peak over the horizon. There is a slight mist on the roofs of the houses as the day slips from springtime chill to springtime warmth.

I have time to think. Let my brain play with words. Roofs. Rooves. I remember learning in school that the plural of roof was rooves. But now we use the american “roofs”. When did that change? The rule I learned was if it ends in ‘f’ or ‘fe’  then to make the plural you drop the “f” sound and writes “ves”.

dwarf to dwarves
elf to elves
hoof to hooves
knife to knives
leaf to leaves
life to lives
self to selves
wolf to wolves

Of course then there are words that ignore the rule anyway – like the plural of beef is not beeves. And the plural of proof is not prooves.

Ah English the language of rules, and long lists of exceptions to the rules! This is why English is such an exceptional language.

As you can see Good Friday is for getting diverted and contemplative. Mindless musing. The above was simply pointless stream of consciousness.  A raw slice of my brain straight up. I am full of trivia. Or full of something.

My favourite memory of Good Friday is from many many many years ago. I was in my early twenties. I was with some friends driving up to Midland, Ontario to find a very specific restaurant that served Lake Huron whitefish. Our friend and driver had heard the fish was incredibly fresh and delicious.

Now I don’t remember the restaurant name but I do think it was Henry’s Fish Restaurant. I’ve been back a few times so my memory may be muddled. And the fish is still worth the long drive!

But this memory isn’t about the destination. It is about the journey. That day was a foggy Good Friday. Dense white cotton fog slowing us down to well below the speed-limit. The trees and posts shadowy dark flickers flashing by us. The road shiny black and slick. There was no-one else on the road. Just us – some friends on a journey. Cocooned in our own reality.

In the back of the car was a book – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – and for me it was an incredible find. At that moment, in that space, that book and the message inside clicked with me. There are concepts in that book that I had no idea could actually exist! My friend – the driver of the car – saw me thumbing through the book and gave it to me.

From where I sit today I can see that same book looking at me from my shelves. It is bedraggled and stained and dog-eared. The book has survived the years – my friend the driver did not. He died later that year from leukemia. But on that Good Friday there was no leukemia darkening our thoughts. On that day we were full of life twenty-somethings on a road trip. Our driver was a big robust man full of life and zest – and by the fall of that year he was an anemic husk gasping for air in a hospital bed. He was much too young to die.

That Good Friday held no hint of the sadness waiting in our future. We laughed, we talked. The restaurant wasn’t open we arrived, so we walked the waterfront. We drank early morning beers (cans in bags – oh we were so clever!) by the lake, while we discussed philosophy and how we would change the world. By the time we had finished our exploration of Midland – the sun had burned away the morning fog.

The fish was indeed wonderful, and we promised that next year we would repeat the road-trip. We promised that this would become our Easter weekend ritual. I’ve been back since then – but the ritual never blossomed.

In the mid-afternoon sunshine we drove back the way we had come. No hurry to get anywhere, we stopped at used bookshops and curio stores along the way looking for old National Geographic magazines. And books on World War II history. Our own version of an Easter Egg hunt for those that no longer believed in the Easter Bunny.

Good Friday: A good day to remember how we have arrived at this moment in time. And to remember those who we loved and left behind.


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