Sunday, 29 July 2012

Well kiss mah grits!

Good mornin' y'all! Fer sum time now I've been explorin' southern dishes. First, with my wild craving for southern fried chickin' with all them tasty fixin's. And now, I've got a hankerin' fer some grits. Coming from the True North Strong And Free, I always wondered what the hell grits were. I've heard of 'em in such phrases as kiss mah grits! but that's about all I knew about 'em. One day, I had an Amerian friend who gave me a packet of plain Quaker instant grits. I tried them and thought it was kind of like cream of wheat, but salty and buttery. It was tasty though. The problem was that I wanted more and couldn't find any here as they are only sold in the States, and most probably just in southern states. So good luck finding some here in the wonderful land of poutine eating surrender monkeys.

Thanks to the great invention of the interwebz, we're now able to connect with the rest of the world. Thus, I was able to get my hands on a real recipe thanks to the Food Network's website. This gentleman named Alton Brown, is a celebrity chef and he put up his own recipe for home made cheese grits using corn meal. Thankfully I live in a melting pot of a city and I was able to find corn meal at an independent grocery store that sells other products than the No Name brand or President's Choice. I swear sometimes it feels like we're in Soviet Quebec from the lack of diversity in the grocery stores. You don't pick the food you want, food picks you! I also got a block of soft orange cheddar, but the recipe asked for strong cheddar. I didn't know how cheesy it would be so I picked a soft one, but afterwards I realized a strong cheddar would've been better.

Anyway, enough talkin', lets get cookin'. Making grits is very easy. And that's good when you wake up in the morning and you're half awake and hungry. Here's what you need:

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter (you can use margarine to make it less rich)
  • 2 oz or 1 cup cheddar cheese (sharp cheddar preferably)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (white cornmeal is better, if you can find any)
  1. Pour the milk and water into a pot, add the salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisking constantly, gradually add the cornmeal.
  3. Mix well and then bring the heat down to low and cover.
  4. Cook for around 15-20 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy whisking every 1-2 minutes to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.
  5. Once cooked, take off the heat.
  6. Stir in the butter and the pepper.
  7. Finally, gradually add the cheddar cheese while mixing until the cheese mixes completely with the grits.

The end result should be a big cheesy orange mush. The idea of eating cheese flavoured mush might not be appealing to some, and the picture may not look very appetizing, but trust me on this one. It's really good! But, very rich though. Using margarine would've been a good idea I think. And thank god I used the low fat cheddar with the amount of butter you have to put in there. Some other improvements I think would have been to use no salt, but I would certainly have added bacon to this instead. There's also another recipe out there where they add jalapeno peppers! I bet that's super tasty. Most recipes though will suggest using half strong cheddar and half some other more creamy cheese to get the right texture and flavour.

A Canadian sugar shack version of this could include brown sugar instead of salt and pepper and maple syrup instead of cheese. With the bacon of course. Hmm... Maybe I'll try that next time!

Bon apétit!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

I don't know what I'm doing beans and rice.

Oh man. Tonight I had no idea what the fuck I was doing. I had leftover baby spinach leaves from last week's salad recipe with a little bit of bell peppers and half a large red onion. I also looked in my pantry and saw all the bags of dried beans I've had for so long and never got around to cook them. So I thought "Hey! Beans + vegetables + rice = black beans n rice!"

I quickly looked up an easy black beans n rice recipe on and found Jamie's Black Beans and Rice. It looked easy enough. Cook some rice. Fry some veggies in oil in a pan and add sauce then serve over the rice. Lets do this.

I got the missing ingredients to complete the recipe, except for the enchilada sauce specified in the recipe. I couldn't find any at the grocery store. (Canada eh!) Instead I got an Old El Paso fajita flavouring pouch and a can of tomato sauce. I was hesitating on getting the jar of restaurant style salsa instead.

When I got home I took the bag of black beans an suddenly realized they were fava beans. Womp womp... Meh, I thought I could just boil them and it would be fine right? WRONG! Those motherfuckers take THREE HOURS TO COOK! And that's only after YOU SOAK THEM OVER NIGHT! God dammit. After chopping up all the vegetables, cooking the rice and getting ready to start stir-frying the veggies and the beans, I had to run out last minute to get a can of black beans. It was 10:30pm and I knew the grocery store was closing at 11, so I had to haul ass and hustle before they closed otherwise I'd end up with a recipe for "rice".

I race down there, grab the damn beans, and head back home again. Now let's get cookin'.


  • 1 1/2 cup of Uncle Ben's converted white rice. (Converted white rice doesn't stick together)
  • 1 19oz can of black beans.
  • 1  regular sized (15oz-ish) can of tomato sauce. (Preferably use the enchilada sauce)
  • 1/2 a red onion.
  • 1 yellow bell pepepr.
  • 1 big handful of baby spinach. (From one of those pre-washed boxes at the grocery store)
  • 1-2 tbs of chilli powder.
  • 1 tbs of salt.
  • 1 tbs of Mrs Dash Extra Spicy seasoning.
  • 1 tsp of sugar. (Preferably brown sugar, this is to reduce the acidity of the tomato sauce.)
  • 1 sachet of Old El Paso fajita mix.
  • 2 tbs olive oil.

The cooking
  1. Cook the rice according to the directions on the box. Fill a pot with water and a pinch of salt and boil the rice until it's cooked. Then strain and put aside.
  2. Heat the pan to medium heat and pour the 2 tbs of oil in the pan.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onions and fry them until they become transparent.
  4. Add the diced peppers and cook until tender.
  5. Strain the beans from the liquid in the can and add them to the pan with the rest.
  6. Empty the sachet of fajita mix over the vegetables and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Pour the can of tomato sauce or enchilada over the vegetables in the pan and stir.
  8. Add the chilli powder, salt, Mrs Dash seasoning and sugar and stir to mix well.
  9. Add the baby spinach and mix them in until they get all soft and mixed in with the sauce.

Using tomato sauce as a replacement for the enchilada sauce wasn't the best thing to use, but definitely worked in the end thanks to the extra spices. I suggest you add them to taste so as to get right amount for yourself. 

Additionally, adding about a teaspoon of pure cocoa in there would definitely give it a little extra something that would go well with the mix.

This was a frankenstein recipe from the rest of vegetables I had from last week's salad that I made and I am really glad it turned out so well. It tasted even better when it was reheated. It's all vegetarian too! If you want the extra protein, I guess you could add like a pound of ground chicken in there or something. I didn't want to use any. I felt like I had been eating a lot of meat lately and wanted to give my digestive system a break. Also, the small amount of groceries I had to buy made me save money and I was able to feed myself for 4 days! Isn't that fan-fucking-tastic?


Sunday, 22 July 2012

The "F-U! Subway!" Salad.

This week I went to the Subway sandwich shop close to my office for lunch. I decided to order a tuna salad because I didn't want to fill up on bread and feel sleepy the rest of the afternoon. And tuna is pretty much the best meat option they have for a salad. Plus, I felt like having tuna. But, the guy who made my salad didn't know how to make one. He was so lost. First of all he put about the same amount of veggies you would put in a sandwich. So I barely had any lettuce. For the rest of the vegetables I had to ask him to cut them up because otherwise the big slices of tomato and cucumber don't mix in the salad and they're not bite size. Plus, he barely put any tuna! Come on, man! It's the same price as a full 12 inch sandwich! At least give me just as much tuna! Finally, the cherry on top is when I ask for some oil as the dressing. They only had the Subway special which is oil and oregano. He turned my salad into a fucking soup! Way to fuck up an easy meal, dickbag! I bet you're going to be fine when you go live by yourself during college, if you even ever get there. Heck, I think the vegetables in my salad had a higher IQ than the guy making itNeedless to say, I was unhappy and left quite dissatisfied. So I thought "if no one can do it right, do it yourself! And I did. And that's why this recipe is called the Fuck-You, Subway! salad.

I decided to make mine out of baby spinach, veggies and fish. (Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel, etc) Simply because I find that spinach has more flavour than regular lettuce and it has lots of iron and other very good stuff. In terms of dressing, I chose to use olive oil, balsamic vinegar and some maple syrup for a sweet twist. So here goes:

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

  • Box of clean, ready to eat baby spinach.
  • 2 orange bell peppers.
  • 1 small red onion.
  • 4-6 small cucumber.
  • 1 can/jar sliced black olives.
  • 1 small box of cherry tomatoes.
  • Italian herbs mix.
  • olive oil.
  • balsamic vinegar
  • maple syrup
  • Can of tuna/salmon/whatever fish in a can.


The obvious:
Slice the red onion in rings and slice those in half.
Slice the bell peppers in bite-size strips.
Slice your cucumbers.

The dressing:
In a small bowl, mix 2/3 olive oil, 1/3 balsamic vinegar, add maple syrup until a tiny bit sweet.

Toss a handful or two of spinach in a bowl, add a handful of peppers, onions, olives, a few cherry tomatoes, sprinkle some Italian herbs. Then flake the fish and add it and cover with the dressing.

Optionally you can add some shredded cheese, which would have been nice had I thought of buying some. (d'oh!)

All in all, it makes a colourful great tasting salad and it gave me the opportunity to raise my middle finger at Subway for sucking so bad at making salads.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Refreshing Chicken Finger Wrap

I've been super lazy when it comes to cooking lately. The pas couple of weeks were kinda bad. I was having a bit of an emotional fit and I had no appetite. But, after having that tasty fried chicken at Fatboys Southern Smokehouse in Ottawa on Canada day I felt like that food brought my soul back in me.

Last week, was hot. Very hot, and humid. So I decided to make something that would be tasty and refreshing. I remembered making some really good breaded chicken fingers for a penne arabiata dish I did a few months ago. I decided to add something to give it some zing and use those chicken fingers to make a delicious Asian wrap.

Yo! He's got the funky fresh style with the tasty lyrics.
Jin's rap and my sandwich have a lot in common.

I found the original recipe for the penne arabiata on my favourite website, You can fin the whole recipe here. But, I just used the part for the breaded chicken fingers and changed it up a bit. Instead of putting garlic powder, I used powdered ginger. The rest is pretty much the same. Here are the ingredients for the chicken:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of regular breadcrumbs
  • 4 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spices
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ~1 cup of grapeseed oil or more for frying
And for the sandwich:

  • 1 pack of green spinach fajita wraps
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 head of boston lettuce
  • 1 bag of thick chow mein noodles
  • 1 bottle of Kraft™ Asian Sesame dressing.
Here's how you prepare the chicken. It's pretty simple.
  1. In a small bowl, whip the 2 eggs together.
  2. In a larger bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, powdered ginger, salt and garlic powder and mix well.
  3. Cut the chicken into long strips
  4. In a deep dish pan, pour the oil and put on medium heat and wait for the oil to heat up.
  5. Dip the chicken strips in the eggs and roll in the bread crumbs mix.
  6. Fry the breaded chicken strips in the pan until golden brown on each side.
  7. IMPORTANT: Make sure the chicken is well cooked and the meat is white, no pink!

Once your chicken is all nice and fried, let it rest on some paper towels to absorb the excess oil. In the meantime, cut up your vegetables for your sandwich.

When the chicken has cooled down, you can make yourself a delicious wrap. Take a fajita wrap, put a leaf of boston lettuce, 3-4 strips of orange peppers, a few strips of cucumbers, a hand full of chow mein noodles, 2 strips of chicken and drizzle with the Asian sesame dressing. Roll up and enjoy!


This wrap is refreshingly delicious in the summer thanks to the peppers and the cucumber. I hope you like it!