Sauce

Cooking With Sin Goes Lite – Salsa Fuego con Tequila

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

“Tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!” ― Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker

Let me share another recipe from my healthier-but-still-sinful regimen.

It may not make a difference, but I think pairing your “sin” with the cultural roots of the recipe makes sense. So, I thought I’d try making a salsa flambéd with tequila. It was delicious. Plus, we just got back from a holiday in Dominican Republic and I’m enjoying my freshened up Español. In case you don’t know, “Salsa Fuego con Tequila” means Fire Salsa with Tequila.

With the carbs and sugars reduced in my diet, I have found myself turning up both the flavours and the heat. A few snappy jalapeños sure help make a meal more interesting and every salsa needs a good shot of fresh cilantro.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

Lite Salsa Fuego con Tequila

 
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 small tomatoes (I used brownish Kumatos)
6 green onions
12 cloves garlic, skin on
4 jalapeno peppers
1 sweet pepper, cut into large pieces
2 ounces 100% agave tequila
1 large, fresh avocado, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt
 

1. Place the tomatoes, onions, garlic and peppers in a large non-stick pan (with a tight-fitting lid on stand-by) and drizzle with olive oil. Gently cook/fry the vegetables for approximately 5 minutes to soften.

2. Splash the tequila over the vegetables and light. Flambé the entire pan, turning each vegetable until the skins blister. This may just take a couple of minutes then douse the flames by covering the pan with the lid.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

3. Slide off the skins of the garlic cloves. They will come off really easily now.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

4. Loosely chop up all the vegetables right in the pan. The garlic and other firmer vegetables will need to be cut on a cutting board and returned to the pan. Stir in the avocado and cilantro. Transfer to a bowl and let the salsa cool.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

4. For a flavour boost, I saved some fresh cilantro to stir in just before serving it.

5. I suggest serving the salsa by generously spooning it over shredded grilled chicken breast – to which I also added some tequila for liquid. This creates a balanced low-carb meal of protein and vegetables. And if you have family or friends joining you, they can wrap it all up with shredded cheese in tortillas.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin Goes Lite Light

 Buen Apetito!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


 

“Who Needs A Recipe?!” Bolognese Sauce

Posted on: May 31st, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“My recipe for life is not being afraid of myself, afraid of what I think or of my opinions.” ~ Eartha Kitt

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Patti Woods of Patti’s Classic Classy Cosmos has a wonderful relationship with her daughter Lauren. Lauren and her husband Anton live about an hour away, and the three of them like to get together as often as they can. Anton is a great guy who loves to cook and he especially loves to cook with wine. He particularly likes to make dishes without recipes and has a knack for recreating just about anything. One evening he simply felt like making a Bolognese sauce and came up with this spectacular recipe that has become a favourite of the whole family.

Lauren likes to say that when Anton is cooking with wine, she just relaxes and looks good drinking the rest of the wine. Well done Lauren! ;)

“Who Needs A Recipe?!” Bolognese Sauce

 
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried
1 Tbsp. fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Kosher salt
1 pack of fettuccini

 

  1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan. Add diced onion and crushed garlic and cook over medium-low heat until onions are golden. Add diced carrots and celery, and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add ground beef. Cook over medium heat until ground beef is browned and no pink remains. Add the oregano, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour in the wine, turn the heat up to medium-high, and bring the wine to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
  4. Pour in the milk, turn up the heat again, and bring the milk to a boil. Again, lower heat and simmer until the milk is reduced by half.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and paste. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and simmer with the lid on for at least 45 minutes and up to four hours. The longer the better!
  6. The Pasta: A half hour before you plan to eat, fill up a large pot with cold water. Bring to a boil. When bubbles begin to form, add salt to the water, enough to make the water smell salty. When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite. While the pasta is cooking, add the basil to the sauce and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain but don’t rinse it. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  8. Serve immediately, with fresh parmesan cheese on top and garlic bread on the side.

Patti Bolognese jewelry collage

 

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

“Drive Thru” Rye & Ginger Lamb

Posted on: March 15th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.” ~ Compton Mackenzie

Note to my non-Canadian visitors: In the Great White North here, we call our whisky “rye” because it has rye grain added to the mash and a “Rye & Ginger” is a popular drink. My hubby keeps his rye in the freezer. See the video at the end of the post.

Abandonned car wash drive thru lamb cooking with sin Chef Janet Craig

Written by Chef Janet Craig of The Satisfied Soul

It was as mild, sunny afternoon, after cooking at a client’s house, when I passed a “drive thru” car wash and thought I should go in. After chatting to the cash wash guy about cooking – he noticed the uniform – I drove in. Relaxing and reading my notes, I was suddenly jolted alert. Coming right through the water was the wash guy! He jumped out of the curtains in the actual car wash and banged on my truck, shrieking, “You are in “Drive,” Lady!!!” (instead of Neutral)

“Jeez! It said Drive Thru,” I thought.

Now I know why I was going through so fast!! I just thought I was being very efficient! He probably was worried about the Beemer in front of me!

:o

It’s been a long chilly winter, but the maple syrup will be running soon. Here is a great Canadian recipe.

Abandonned car wash drive thru lamb cooking with sin sm

Rye and Ginger Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Lamb

2 tablespoon (25 ml) Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon (25 ml) Maple syrup
¼ cup (50 ml) rye
½ cup ginger ale
2 teaspoon (10 ml) grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoon (10 ml) ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) cayenne
3 lb (1.5 kg) butter flied lamb leg
Freshly ground pepper to taste
 

Sauce

1 tablespoon flour
¼ cup (50 ml) ginger ale
¼ cup (50 ml) rye
2 tablespoon (25 ml) maple syrup
2 tablespoon (25 ml) Dijon Mustard
1 cup (250 ml) chicken or beef stock
 

1. Combine mustard, maple syrup, rye, ginger ale, ginger, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl. Brush over lamb leg. Season with pepper. Marinate in zip lock bag overnight in refrigerator.

2. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

3. Place lamb, fat side up, on rack in a roasting pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, basting occasionally or until juices runs slightly pink.

4. Place lamb on a carving board and tent with foil, letting it rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile make sauce.

5. Discard all fat from roasting pan but 1 tablespoon. Stir in flour, then deglaze the pan with the rye, scraping up meat bits. Stir in ginger ale, maple syrup, mustard and stock. Bring to boil, boil 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.

6. To serve, carve into thin slices and drizzle sauce over lamb.

How to Make a Rye & Ginger

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin