Cooking With Sin 2014 Calendar – April

Posted on: March 30th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Each month in 2014, I am sharing a calendar page that includes a CWS recipe. Here is April’s!

Click to open up the large version of the calendar page, then right click and save or copy it for yourself. Print it off for your fridge, share it with a friend, post it at your office… etc.

I just ask, if you use it in a document, please use the entire image, so Cooking With Sin gets the credit. Thank you. It is yours to enjoy!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Calendar 2014

CWS Calendar 2014-04

Check out the story from the original recipe “Wedding Pudding” Dutch Advokaat.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival

Posted on: March 30th, 2014 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

Elmira maple syrup festival 2014 logo

2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival here in Waterloo Region, Ontario. It is run by over 2,000 volunteers and over 70,000 visitors are expected this year to this one day event. Oi!

I’m super excited to be part of the action this year at “The World’s Largest One Day Maple Syrup Festival.” Hope you can join me Sat., April 5th on the Cooking Stage at 9:45 am. I hear rumours that I might be in the Pancake Flipping Contest too! Should be hilarious, indeed!

It would have made my Mennonite Grandma’s heart warm to know I’m spending quality time in solid Mennonite country. Here’s to good people and good times!

Elmira Maple Syrup Festival 2014 Cooking Stage schedule

Once you tried “Cooking With Sin,” you never go back! ;)

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Who Let the Dog Out? #3 – Maple Orange Chicken with Mandarin Ketchup

Posted on: March 23rd, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it? It makes our relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.” ~ John Grogan

The 3rd & final in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul.

When I moved to Belleville, Ontario, I started catering dinner parties at a lot of larger homes in the county that were on the waterfront in very rural areas. One party had this little Sheltie and I was alarmed when my server opened the back door and let him out. This property was 5 acres in the middle of nowhere and I asked, “Did you ask anyone if you can let the dog out? Is the yard fenced? Do they have an invisible fence? OMG! What is the dog’s name?” Quickly, I picked up a lamb chop and waved it outside whistling like a jackass and fortunately, he returned.

While we avoided trouble that time, we may have done some damage later that night. While I was pulling a chocolate soufflé out of the oven, a chunk of it flew out of the pan. Before I could stop him, the dog snapped it out of the air while it was still piping hot. My server and I gave each other that “Oh no!” look. I immediately got him some cold water, but he didn’t even react. He seemed very happy with his illegal treat. :cool:

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Who Let the Dog Out?

Who Let the Dog Out? #3

Maple Orange Chicken with Mandarin Ketchup

 

Maple Orange Chicken

 4 chicken breasts
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp Noilly Pratt Vermouth
1 tbsp grated orange rind
1 tbsp fresh orange juice

1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place in a resealable freezer bag.

2. Combine maple syrup, Vermouth, orange rind and juice. Pour over chicken in bag and let stand 1 hour in fridge or up to 24 hours.

3. Preheat an indoor or outdoor grill to medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade and grill chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side, covered, giving the chicken a quarter turn three minutes into cooking of each side. When chicken is cooked through, and no pink remains, remove from heat,

Mandarin Ketchup

2 cans mandarin oranges, drained (approx. 2 cups)
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
pinch cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Noilly Pratt Vermouth
2 tbsp maple syrup
hot pepper sauce, to taste
garnish – sliced green onions and toasted almonds

 1. While chicken is marinating, combine remaining ingredients except garnishes, in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Pour into a medium saucepan and cook over med-low heat for 40-45 minutes or until reduced by half. (Measures about 1 cup sauce.)

3. Serve warm or cold.

To Serve

Slice the cooked chicken and drizzle with the Mandarin Ketchup. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and toasted almonds to garnish if desired.

Chef Janet’s final thoughts:

Chef Janet Craig Cooking With Sin Maple Orange Chicken 2

I have an older Rottie mix who was a rescue dog and I realized the other day when I let her out on the deck, how old & frizzled she looked (much how I feel some days). She gave herself a shake and smiled at me over her shoulder and I realized like my clients, that dog was everything to me.

So I have had the pleasure of working in some great homes but I think the doggy part of the clientele is still the most fun.

Thank you for letting me share my stories and recipes. Maybe our paths will cross someday.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“Who Let the Dog Out?” #2 – Beef Ragout

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” ~ Dean Koontz

The 2nd  in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul.

Another part of my job is cooking for seniors and I am often hired by their “kids” (people like me in the 50’s & 60’s) to ensure their parents are eating properly. A lot of seniors used to be good cooks, but over time, sometimes they are no longer able stand for long periods or they have dietary restrictions. Hiring me gives them the ability to be independent and remain in their own homes.

A woman contacted me and arranged for me to go to her parents’ home – a lovely large Tudor style home. She had said her Mum, Martha, had slight dementia and her Dad, George, was a retired doctor and didn’t cook. When I arrived this couple greeted me at the door, both beautifully dressed, lovely white hair, their cardigans in place. Martha had her full makeup on so my first impression was that they looked healthy and happy.

After I got unpacked and started to work the husband, George came into the kitchen with his newspaper in hand and asked if Martha could sit with me. I realized the poor guy never has time to himself so I said, “Of course. Martha, come sit, watch me cook and I’ll make you some tea.” I kept thinking, “Why are they in this huge house?” Well, you guessed it. They had this dog, a Puli named Sandy, who was a mass of black dreadlocks to the floor. I could not tell his ass end from his front end, but they loved him and they couldn’t give up their home while they had their dog.

After being asked the umpteenth time what my name was, Martha announced Sandy had to go out. So I took the dog and let him out the glass doors onto the patio. It was the middle of January and the patio door was stuck with snow, so I ended up outside as well trying to get the dog out. Then Martha slammed the glass door shut and locked it, with me outside!

I tried my best to convince her to let me in. I could hear her calling out, “George, there is a strange lady in white on our patio.”

“Jeez!” I thought, “Do you think he’s heard that before?” Then I had a brainwave. I picked up Sandy and smiled at her. She opened the door happily saying, “Oh! You found Sandy!”

Chef Janet Craig Cooking With Sin Beef Ragout Who Let the Dog Out?

“Who Let the Dog Out?” #2

Beef Ragout

 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
2 pounds stewing beef, trimmed, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted, ground
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 540 ml can diced tomatoes, including juice
2 bay leaves
2 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
1/2 cup pitted green olives, sliced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
 

 1.In a resealable plastic bag, combine flour, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add beef and toss until evenly coated.

2. Set meat aside, shaking off any excess flour; reserve flour.

3. In a heavy frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the oil over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Brown beef in batches, turning and adding more oil, if necessary, for about four minutes per batch.

4. Transfer beef to slow cooker’s stoneware insert. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions and garlic, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Sprinkle with cumin and the flour mixture and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add beef stock, wine, tomatoes with juice, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about two minutes.

5. Add to slow cooker, stirring well. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours, until mixture is bubbly and beef is tender.

6. Stir in roasted peppers, olives and parsley. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes, until peppers are heated through. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Who Let the Dog Out? #1 – Port Sirloin & Portobello Mushroom Stew

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed. For after all, he was only human. He wasn’t a dog.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

The 1st  in a series of 3 dog “tails” written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul

As a Personal Chef I work in many peoples’ homes with a variety of family pets and as a dog owner I love their dogs. Those of us who have dogs in our lives know each one has their own personality and we can rave ad nauseam about this, much like new parents with their infant. I find that people identify with your child or your dog so you are either Buzzer’s Mum or Timmy’s Mum depending if you are in the dog park or the schoolyard. Of course we dog-crazy people can’t quite understand for a moment why some people do not like them or are terrified of them.

Often times I work in clients’ houses alone for the day and I enjoy having their dog as company, but it can also be a lot of responsibility. As a result, I have had some hilarious situations.

One day I went into my client’s kitchen and there was a young standard Schnauzer named Guinness in his crate. The moment the dog saw me, he went nuts so I phoned the client at her office and asked, “Can I let the dog out while I’m here? When I’m done I will re-crate him before I leave.” She was relieved and said the yard is fully fenced so I could also let him outside. So that sounded good.

Now when I am cooking I usually make about 20 entrees with sides that are labelled and frozen so I’m really busy and every burner is on plus the oven, microwave, etc. I often bring my lunch as well.

So that day I was working away and noticed that Guinness was very quiet. Searching the house, I caught him on the living room rug gnawing away on my lunch steak! I freaked! Not only had he eaten my lunch, but it looked like someone had been murdered on the rug! Quickly I put Guinness back in his crate, turned off all the burners, found the soda and vinegar and got on my hands & knees to scrub the rug and try to make it presentable.

Finally I was able to get back to my real job in the kitchen. I was under pressure and behind in my schedule, but I had to listen to the incessant whining, crying of poor Guinness. Wouldn’t you think, with a belly full of rib eye, he would be sleepy? So, later while cubing meat for shish kebobs to grill on the barbeque I caved and let him outside to run around the yard.

Well, you guessed it. A little while later, I returned to the backyard to find NO dog! I frantically called him and there he was smiling like only a big goofy puppy can from the neighbour’s back yard. Was he able to jump the fence?

So I had to run back into the kitchen, again, turn off the stove, then turn off the barbeque, lock the door and leave the house. As I ran around the block to get to the neighbour’s yard I seaw the tail end of Guinness going over the hedge & fence back into his own yard. NOOO!

I am usually in and out of a client’s house in 4 to 5 hours and leaving before they return home from work, but that day my car was pulling out of the driveway as they were pulling in and she said, “I bet you got playing with that dog!”

“Yeah, you got it!” ;)

Cooking With Sin Chef Janet Craig Port Sirloin Portobello Mushroom Stew

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” #1

Port Sirloin and Portobello Stew

Serves 4-6

3 cups hot beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and rosemary (or 1 tbsp each of fresh)
1/2 cup red wine
1.2 lb sirloin roast, cubed
salt & pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup veg oil
1 cup onions, diced
1 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red potatoes, skin on, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup port wine
2 teaspoon each of salt & pepper
1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can)
 

1. Heat broth; add bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, red wine. Simmer 20-30 min.

2. Season beef, dredge in flour, brown, and remove. Add onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic & butter. Sauté until onions are caramelized.

3. Return beef, add port, hot broth, s & p. Bring to boil, simmer 45-60 min.(this is nice in Crockpot or baked in heavy casserole) Near the end, thicken with tomato paste.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin