Vegetarian Tourtiere

Tonight I will be attending a party with a lot of vegetarians, so I decided to put together a vegetarian tourtiere. The result was pretty delicious, so I am sharing the recipe here. Remember, if you are buying frozen pie crusts, make sure that they too are vegetarian (ie made with vegetable oil, butter, or vegetable shortening).

Ingredients:

Yves ground round

Yves garden vegetable ground round

1 large baking potato, boiled in water lightly salted with 2 whole cloves

1 large parsnip, boiled with potato (see above)

1 portobello mushroom

1 small onion or half of a sweet onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery finely chopped (if you prefer no celery, I recommend placing large chunks in to get the flavour, you can remove once your mixture has thickened)

1 – 2 tablespoons of grapeseed, olive, or canola oil

2 teaspoons ketchup

Dash of worchestershire sauce

Pinch of ground sage

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground ginger

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

1 veggie bullion cube or 2 cups veggie stock

Instructions:

Fill a pot with water, add salt, cloves, and cut up (large pieces) potato and parsnip (peel first). In a large dutch oven, heat oil and add onions, celery, and finely chopped mushroom cap. Add seasoning and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add both packages of Yves and stir. Add stock and 1 cup of water from potato pot. Once the potato and parsnip have cooked, mash roughly with a fork and add to dutch oven. Bring up to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the ketchup and Worchestershire sauce and continue to cook until mixture begins to thicken. You do not want it to be too wet, or you will get a soggy crust. Taste as the mixture is thickening and add more seasoning to taste. Add about 2 tbsp of Panko bread crumbs. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. Place in your favourite pie crust (if you make your own, add some thyme to the dough for a tastier crust). Fill pie, use egg wash and place top crust (cut a nice design to make it more festive). Brush with egg wash and bake. Serve with zucchini relish or organic ketchup or Branson pickallily and sliced tomato wedges.

Best Grilled Cheese Ever

The supermarket had a lovely selection of cheeses on sale, so I bought a wedge of mild gouda and used it to make the yummiest grilled cheese I have ever tasted. Have to write out the recipe because it was just that good, no pics though.

Ingredients (for one sandwich):

2 slices good quality bread, I used an ancient grains variety.

1/2 tbsp bacon fat

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 small onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp dijon mustard, I used a grainy variety.

salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

Saute onions in bacon fat and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice cheese to cover bread, spread dijon mustard on one slice of bread and distribute sliced cheese on the other slice. Top cheese with the sauteed onions. Fry bread in the seasoned bacon fat and butter mixture until golden on both sides. Enjoy!

Beer Brined Pork Loin Chops with Mustard Sauce

A new butcher has opened in my town and I picked up two very lovely thick pork loin chops. Not the biggest fan of chops, I surfed and surfed for ideas and found a recipe that, with some modifications made for a very tasty treat that we will have again. No photos, sorry, but here is the recipe followed by a link to the original inspiration.

Pork chop dinner for two

Ingredients:

2 pork loin chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick, bone in.

Brine:

One bottle of beer, I used Wellington Pale Ale (original asked for lager or pilsner)

One onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp cracked pepper

1 tsp sugar

Sauce:

2 tbsp avacado oil

2 medium sized shallots, finely chopped

1 bottle of beer, I used the same beer as for the brine

1 cup chicken stock

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1 – 2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

a few turns of the pepper mill or 1/2 tsp pepper

Slurry (cornstarch and cold water, about 1 heaping tbsp of cornstarch and equal amount of water)

Instructions:

Combine ingredients to make brine, be sure that sugar and salt have dissolved and then place over pork chops and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. (I used a large zip plastic bag) Turn chops from time to time. Remove from refrigerator about 1/2 before cooking.

Heat oil in a saucepan, cook shallots for about two minutes then add the beer. Let the beer boil down for about ten minutes, then add the chicken stock and remaining ingredients. Turn down heat and let simmer until sauce reduces by about half. Turn off until pork chops are done.

Heat a cast iron pan or stovetop grill lightly coated with oil. When pan is sizzling hot, turn down a bit. Dry off your pork chops, score the fat, and then put on the pan. We do not like them pink and cooked them for about 8 minutes a side. When pork chops are done, let them rest a good five minutes while you finish your sauce by bringing it up to a boil, adding the slurry, and stirring for about one minute (it will thicken). Serve with a basic risotto or mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and asparagus.

Original recipe: http://recipes.menshealth.com/Recipe/beer-brined-pork-chops-with-beer-mustard-sauce.aspx

Coming of Age in Second Life – An anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human

By: Tom Boellstorff. University of California Press.

In this original ethnographic study of the virtual world “Second Life” (SL), anthropologist Tom Boellstorff explores cybersociality, creativity, and authenticity in an online setting. The study is highly innovative because Tom Boellstorff conducted all of his research through his avatar Tom Bukowski and entirely in the virtual world. Treating the avatars that Bukowski interacted with as humans, he gave them pseudonyms and followed the ethical protocols for conducting research with human subjects in the actual world. Boellstorff asks us to understand the ways that this exploration of virtual reality highlights the ways that the actual world, is in fact, always already virtual.

The opening chapters of the book introduce readers to the methods of anthropology, drawing on pioneers of the discipline Bronislaw Malinowski and, as the title suggests, Margaret Mead. He makes a strong case for the value of participant observation, that hallmark of ethnographic research first introduced by Malinowski and Boas, to argue that ethnography has something special to contribute to the study of on-line communities and virtual worlds. The book is written for a wide audience including anthropology students, anthropologists, and anybody interested in virtual reality, cyberpunk, and cybersocialit
Virtual worlds, for Boellstorff, are not games they are rather places wherein people can play games, craft selves (avatars), and build places and communities. Boellstorff introduces his readers to new terms and spends a fair bit of time providing definitions for words like “virtual” “real” “actual” “world” “worlding” and “age of techne.” In the second chapter Boellstorff focuses on the history of virtual worlds, lifehistories (personal virtual histories), and earlier research on cybersociality. The third chapter provides a more detailed explanation of methods and ethical considerations.

In chapter four Boellstorff argues that “placemaking is absolutely fundamental to virtual worlds”? He outlines the ways that places are central to the life course of SL residents and continues to provide evidence for his understanding of SL as a place. He has an interesting discussion on the connection between visuality and knowledge in SL and in the production of anthropological knowledge in general.
Chapter five explores notions of self and person and relates these concepts to his idea of being “virtually human.” Here he draws on the work of Marcel Mauss and engages the reader in a thought-provoking consideration of the link between ideas about personhood or self and industrial or consumer capitalism. He then shows that for many SL residents their avatars are an expression of their “true” or inner-self and are in many ways more “real” than the personae they display in the actual world. Chapter six explores intimacy and relationships in SL while Chapter seven moves into a discussion of community and the relationship between community and location in SL. He also talks about the ethic of kindness within the context of SL and the contrasting practice of “griefing.” Chapter eight introduces readers to the political economy of SL and the concept of “creationist capitalism.” It is here too that we read about governmentality, rules of order, and social inequality within SL and the limitations of the platform/software.

Chapter nine reinstates the book’s central thesis – it is through virtuality that we discover what makes us human, and that the actual world is in fact always, already virtual.

“>Buy from Amazon.ca

Longbourn: Pride and Prejudice Revisited.

A true pleasure to read, Jo Baker takes the storyline from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and creates a detailed and convincing world from the perspective of the servants in the Bennet household. Most of the characters are actually mentioned, albeit in passing, in the original story. And when the Bennets go to a party in the Austen novel, the servants at Longbourn help them get dressed. When the Bennets entertain it is the cook and the parlour maids whom prepare the meals and clean the house. The novel offers a real sense of the terrifyingly precarious position of the servants during this era and also addresses the horrors of the slave trade. Baker’s prose is nearly as pleasing as Jane Austen’s and fans of the latter will surely enjoy this read.

“>You can buy it from Amazon.ca here.
 

What to serve with tourtiere?

Tourtiere is a delicious French Canadian meat pie that is served Christmas Eve. I make mine with pork, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, onions, garlic, celery, ground pork and 1/2 baked potato chopped. Being now married to a Brit, we had some Branson Pickle, a favorite condiment across the pond.Decided to try it with the tourtiere and some fresh tomato wedges. It was delish.

Serve with tomato wedges and Branson Pickle or Ketchup.

Serve with tomato wedges and Branson Pickle or Ketchup.

Three ideas for leftover turkey (with recipes)

Simmer until the chicken stock has soaked in and evaoporated.

Simmer until the chicken stock has soaked in and evaporated.

Busy still with family and feasting, but thought I would share three recipes for leftover turkey:

Turkey Salad Sandwiches (Easy peasy)

Ingredients

Leftover turkey cut into cubes (or shredded if you prefer) – use about 1/3 cup per sandwich

Mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip if you prefer) – about 1 tbsp per sandwich, to your preference

Chopped dill pickles (1/2 per sandwich)

Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Instructions

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Spread on sandwich bread and slice in half. Enjoy.

Turkey Fried Rice (Easy)

Ingredients

1-2 stalks celery cleaned and finely diced

½ cup chopped cooking onion

½ to 1 cup chicken stock

Diced turkey

Rice (gauge amount to number of servings according to directions)

Worcestershire sauce (about 2 tbsp for 4 servings)

Cooking oil

Sandwich bread for toasting

Instructions

Cook rice according to package directions (my mom always used Minute Rice which is very quick, but Basmati would work well)

In a saute pan heat oil and lightly saute celery. Add cubed, cooked turkey to heat through. Add cooked rice, chicken stock, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and simmer until moist but not swimming. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with hot butter toast points.

Turkey pot pie (Medium)

Ingredients

Cooked turkey cubed or shredded

Gravy (or use chicken stock thickened with a rue)

Leftover vegetables

Frozen pie shell or puff pastry

Instructions

Take pie shell out of freezer and preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit. Meanwhile prepare your filling by heating or making sauce. Combine with turkey and vegetables. Fill pie shell (you do not want the filling to be too hot, but you are using cooked turkey here). Make slits in second shell. Moisten edges of bottom shell, carefully place shell with slits on top of pie. Bake for about 45 minutes. If you want it pretty beat an egg in a bowl and brush lightly over top shell for a nice golden brown finish.

ENJOY.


Creamy Lemon Cheesecake (adapted from a recipe by Gordon Ramsay

Just made my first cheesecake, and while I am waiting on it to set, I have tasted the batter and it is creamy, lemony, and not too sweet.

INGREDIENTS:

2 bricks of cream cheese (16 ounces) at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 eggs, beaten

¾ cup sugar (you might want to add a bit more)

Splash of vanilla extract

Juice of 2 ½ lemons

CRUST:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs and ½ butter, melted (it looks a bit loose to me, so might need to adjust, next time I will buy the premade crust)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix filling ingredients (cheese, sour and heavy cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice) until creamy. Press graham crumb mixture into the bottom of a spring pan. Pour filling and smooth. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cake cool in oven for at least one hour then refrigerate overnight. Top with fresh berries, powdered sugar, and/or candied lemon slices. ENJOY!

Auntie Marie’s Cheesy Christmas Spread

A feature of Christmas and one of my personal favourite holiday treats this cold spread tastes fantastic on crackers (butter crackers and thin vegetable flavoured crackers work well). The recipe is from memory and I don’t really measure but the measurements are pretty close. Be sure to taste after the mixture is well-mixed and remember that the green onion flavour will get stronger if you make a day ahead and feel free to adjust the ratio of the cheeses, this is the ratio that I prefer.

INGREDIENTS:

¾ – 1 cup of Velveeta Cheese at room temperature

¼ – 1/3 cup of Imperial Cheddar Cheese, crumbled

1 spring onion or green onion

About 1 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce

1 hardboiled egg chopped

Optional: ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Mash all ingredients in a bowl (I just use a fork) until well combined. Transfer to a serving bowl and smooth top. Garnish with sweet paprika and dry parsley flakes. If you want to be festive, you can use a cookie cutter as a template to produce a design in green and red.