Tomato Sauce

Ingredients – serves 2 -4

  • 1 – large 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves – chopped
  • 6 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of fresh basil (aprox 2/3 cup) washed and torn into small pieces
  • salt and pepper

Step 1: Remove all of the basil leaves from their stock and tear them into small pieces. 

Step 3: Put the oil, garlic, tomatoes, salt and some fresh ground pepper in a sauce pan and cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes.  Stir occasionally and break up any big tomatoes with a spoon.  Whatever you do – do not put a lid on the sauce. Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary.

Step 5: Right before serving mix in the basil – reserving some as a garnish.

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We were extremely happy with how big and fresh tasting they were.  To open them you will need an oyster shucker knife that can be purchased at most seafood stores for about 3 dollars and a thick dish towel to protect your hand.  It takes some practice to open them properly without loosing the liquid but with a little perseverance you will be able to wow your friends with this delectable treat.

Step 1: Make sure that the oysters shells are tightly closed and discard any that are open. Most stores will check to make sure that the oysters are alive by tapping them before selling them to you. It is pretty easy to spot a bad oyster because they smell pretty bad when  you open them.

Step 2: Remove the dirt on the shells by scrubbing the oysters with a brush under cold running water.

Step 3: Put the oyster on a cutting board.  Hold the oyster in place with the palm of your hand that is wrapped in a thick towel.  The curved side of the shell should be facing down with the flat side facing up.

Step 4: Insert the oyster shucking knife between the shells.  You will see a small opening near the hinge. Jab the knife in the small opening and apply pressure.  Once it starts to open twist the knife so that the oyster’s muscles are detached from the shell. Move the knife along the top of the shell to continue opening it and scraping the top shell.

Step 6: After the top shell has been removed cut the oyster from the bottom of the shell.

Step 7: Serve with toppings such as – lemon wedges, lime wedges, horseradish, hot sauces, scotch, Grey Goose vodka,  cilantro, salsa verde etc.  We like to present them on top of snow or ice.  YUM!

Posted in Fish and Seafood, Great deals | 1 Comment

Adventures in Sausage Making

Curiosity finally got the better of me and I just had to get the sausage stuffer attachment for our Kitchenaid stand mixer.  Loblaws had whole pork shoulders on sale for $0.99/lb so we ending up making Hot Italian and Hungarian style sausages.  I’m not going to lie, it was a lot of work but the end result was so good that it was well worth the time and effort.

Step 1: In a large bowl measure the ingredients for your batch and put them into the fridge.

Step 2: Using s sharp knife remove the fat and skin from the meat and cut it up into tiny pieces.

Step 3: Grind each batch using a coarse blade. Mix the meat with the rest of the ingredients.  Keep everything as cold as possible by keeping the ingredients refrigerated when not in use.

Step 4: Soak the hog casings in bowl of ice cold water for at least half an hour to get some of the salt out. Hold one end of the casing up to a tap and turn on the cold water. Slosh the water through the inside the casing, working your way to the other end. Empty the water completely from the casing.

Step 5: Sample your creation by cooking a little of the sausage to test the seasoning mix, adjust seasoning if necessary.

Step 6: Lubricate the stuffer horn with lard or shortening.

Step 7: Tie a knot on one end of the casing and put the entire casing on the horn.  With a pin, prick the end to get the trapped air out.

Step 8: Start passing the meat through the stuffer and into the casing. If any air pockets show up, just use the pin to prick the casing to remove the air.  Leave some space in the casings so that you can twirl them into links.  Turn them to make links and then cut the connector bit.

Posted in Pork | 4 Comments

How to cook a geat steak at home (in the oven)

You can cook an excellent steak in the oven with the help of a cast iron pan and a digital thermometer using the instructions below.   Of course other more expensive cuts can be used.  We like to cut our steaks from roasts as this is much more cost effective, and you can cut them as thick as you like.  For this method, a minimum of one inch of thickness is required.


  • 2 – 6 to 8 oz steaks
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Seasoning such as salt and pepper
  • 2-4 tbs butter
  • 2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • (optional for the pan sauce: finely chopped red onion, mushrooms, splash of wine, parsley – so many tasty choices!)

Step 1: Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees °F

Step 2: Once your oven is close to the desired temperature, heat up a cast iron pan on the stove top to medium-high.

Step 3: Season your meat with olive oil on both sides and some pepper and salt Or steak spice.

Step 4: Turn on your oven fan because it will get smokey.  When your skillet is really hot drop the steak into it. Let it cook for two full minutes, then flip it over using tongs.  Let it cook for another two minutes on the other side.  You want a brown crust to form on each side of the steak. Do not move it or poke at it while it cooks.

Step 5: Put a digital thermometer into your meat and set it to beep at the appropriate temperature.  The interior of a cut of meat may still increase in temperature 5-10°F so set your alarm five degrees lower than your target temperature.  If you are not using a thermometer it should only take a few minutes to cook in the hot oven.  Here is a handy chart that will help you with getting the right internal temperature.  I personally like my steak medium rare so I take it out around 130-135°F.

Step 6: When the thermometer goes off, take the skillet out of the oven, take the meat off the skillet and let it rest covered with foil for 10 minutes.

Step 7: While the meat is resting, add the butter and garlic to your hot skillet, and scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula.  You can also put a dollop of olive oil and/or wine in the pan if you want.  Mushrooms and onions would taste good as well. Yummy yum.

Step 8: Plate the meat and then pour the pan sauce over the top of each steak.

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Roast Prosciutto-Wrapped Fish

I made a slight variation on this recipe with decent results.  It was inexpensive, fast to make and quite tasty – a good recipe for a weekday meal.  I suggest using walnuts instead of pine nuts because of their exorbitant cost (7$-8$ for a tiny bag).  We used the frozen haddock that was on sale so I added lemon juice to the recipe – spritzing the fish liberally before and after being cooked really improved the flavour.  Instead of frying the fish first in a pan we baked them until almost done and then broiled them for a few minutes.  This created a crispy crust without having to fiddle with them by turning them over several times in the pan.  I also omitted the salt because prosciutto is salty enough for my personal taste.


  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper (Salt is optional)
  • thick fillets white-fleshed fish
  • thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 small lemon wedges

Step 1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a small food processor, combine herbs with nuts, enough olive oil to make a thick paste, and pepper. (Alternatively, chop everything fine and combine in a bowl.)

Step 2. Season fillets with pepper and lemon juice. Lay one or two slices of prosciutto on a board.  If the fillets are larger than those pictured here use more than one piece of prosciutto per fillet and overlap them like fish scales. Smear prosciutto with a layer of herb mixture, then lay fish in center and wrap it up.

Step 3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes; add butter. Add the fish to the hot pan fold side down and cook in the oven until tender, 5 to 7 minutes depending on thickness. Once the fillets are almost done cook them under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the prosciutto. You will know that the fish is done when a thin-bladed knife will pass through their thickest point with little resistance. Serve with small lemon wedges.

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Mexican salsa: Pico de gallo

There is nothing better than fresh homemade salsa to top off tacos, fajitas or nachos.  Yummy!  Precise measurements are not that important when making this so taste as you go and adjust as necessary.  It is best to make this ahead of time and let the flavours mix together for a while before serving.

Makes 3 cups.


  • 1 chopped onion
  • 3-4 chopped tomatoes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno finely chopped (remove the seeds if you don’t want the salsa to be hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Step 1: Mix all ingredients together and taste.  And that’s it!

Posted in Condiments, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Pork Tacos

I created this pork taco recipe recently and was very happy with the results.  Pork shoulder is extremely flavorful, juicy and tender especially when it is roasted slowly on low heat.  The pork shoulder is sometimes sold cut in half.  A picnic shoulder roast portion of the arm is often smoked and sold as a ham.  The upper part of the shoulder is known as the pork butt or Boston butt.  This recipe takes some time but it is very little work, and an inexpensive and delicious way to feed a crowd.   You can prepare the pork the night before and then simply throw it in the oven the next day after browning the meat.  We highly recommend trying this recipe.


  • 5 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tbs oregano
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 3 tbs oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small tin OR 1/2 large tin of low salt chopped tomatoes

Step 1: Salt and pepper the outside of the pork.

Step 2: Mix all of the spices, oil and lime juice in a bowl.  Rub the pork with the spices.

Step 3: Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Step 4: The next day.  Heat a large cast iron dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot on medium-high.  Brown each side of the roast well  (2-4 min per side).

Step 5: After the meat has been browned add the tomatoes and scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pot.

Step 6: Cover with a lid and cook in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours.  The pork will fall apart when done. Shred the meat with a fork and mix it with the tomatoey spicy goodness in the bottom of the pot.

Posted in Pork, Uncategorized | 1 Comment