Sunday, October 18, 2015


Thanksgiving is done, atleast in Canada.  We've consumed lot of stuffing, cranberries, yams, potatoes, carrots, and of course turkey!  So what do we do with all those left overs!?  Well, if you've kept your carcass you have soup; but that's not all!  Here is a list of dish combinations that you can make to keep everyone interested and you using up those leftovers!  

Turkey broth - place your turkey bones in the largest pot you have, fill up the pot until the water just covers the bones.  Add in 1 onion, 2 carrots broken up by hand, and 2-3 stocks of celery, a bayleaf, and some thyme.  Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to just above a simmer (maybe medium low).  Let still simmer about 4-6 hours and then strain it.  Let the mixture coolest in the fridge overnight, then the fat should have hardened and you can just pull it out.  To freeze you have 2 options.  Option a- use a cleaned out milk jug (4l size) and pour the broth in there, OR you could use ice cube trays and freeze the broth into ice cubes to be used later as needed.  

Turkey "shepherds" pie - uses carrots, peas, corn, onion, turkey.  You can use both your yams (or sweet potatoes) with your white potatoes for the top.  Plus, if you used your carcass for broth it works well for this dish.

1/2 cup each of carrots, peas, and corn
1 onion
2-3 cups of turkey meat roughly chopped into chucks (1.5-2" approx)
1/2 cup each of butter and all purpose flour 
3 cups of quality turkey or chicken stock (recipe above)
2 cups of mashed potatoes
1 cup of mashed yams
1 cup of cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Pre heat your oven to 375f.  Melt the butter in a skillet or frying pan, add in the veg and stir over. medium high heat for 4-5 minutes to warm up the veggies.  Add in the flour and stir to create a roux with the vegetables.
2. Once the flour looks like it is incorporated and it looks mushy add in 3 cups of turkey or chicken stock, and keep stirring until it starts to thicken.
3. Add in the turkey meat and warm it slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Transfer to a baking dish large enough to hold it, either a 9x9 glassware oven proof pan or a round baking disk.
5. Combine the potatoes and yams and put on top of the turkey veg mixture.  Spread it out and add the cheese on top.
6. Bake covered at first for 20 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes to brown the cheese slightly.
7. Let cool for about 5 minutes then serve it up!  

Awesome Turkey Sandwich
You can really use your turkey here for a great sandwich!
1) grab your self some rectangular ciabatta buns
2) slather on mayo and butter
3) start turkey on the bottom, then add stuffing, lettuce, cranberries and top it off
4) eat!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Thanksgiving dinner

Turkey or ham?  If turkey, do you stuff or not?  While I'm not here to hash out that debate, I can tell you about some of the things I do to make thanksgiving dinner.  

First, I usually cook a turkey.  It's a tradition for my family and I actually enjoy the many ways that a turkey could be prepared.  Like chicken, there are plenty of ways to cook a turkey.  This year I'm opting to smoke my turkey.  I usually roast it but I have rotisseried, deep fried, deboned and stuffed.  If we buy a frozen turkey I like to thaw it in the fridge for 7 days before, sometimes 5.  You can thaw it under running cold water as well.  Most health authorities will not recommend thawing on your counter as it gives salmonella a chance to grow and potentially give people food poisoning.

Stuffing in or out? 
I don't normally stuff my turkey.  I just think that the stuffing can't get to the right temperature needed to kill all the bacteria.  However, that isn't to say that you shouldn't.  If you precook your stuffing a little bit just to get it hotter you can add the stuffing to the bird.  Cook your turkey for about an hour or so first, then stuff it.  Continue to cook them together in your oven.  

I find 350F is a good temperature to cook at, and if you have a digital thermometer that you can leave in the bird it will be easier to know when it's done, otherwise check the temperature about every hour, you are looking for 165-170 when it comes out.  

Your turkey is not ready yet, so make sure you plan this carefully.  Now place tin foil over the bird, don't wrap it, but cover it and let it rest at least 30 minutes.  You're doing this because the juices in the meat are still really excited and if you just start cutting into it out goes all that flavor!  Let them relax, you can too, have some wine.... Or whine... Depending on how everything else is turning out.

Most turkeys sold in Canadian grocery stores are going to be between 6-11kg (12-22lbs, if you're not sure how many pound you have? Multiply your kg weight by 2.25, OR ask Your phone if it has a personal assistant on it, like Siri or OK Google).  Cooking time may vary, but I'd say 2-2.5hrs is a good cook time, 4 max.  This where good planning skills will come in handy.  In culinary school I was always taught to make a schedule, now I'll do one in my head for the items that will take longer than an hour to cook.  I start with what time I think we could be ready to eat, subtract from that how long I need to carve, and rest the item in question.  From there I consider what method I'm using, I'll usually research a few websites about the method of cooking I'm using just to make sure I have a realistic time in my head.  From there I get the time I need to start cooking.  Today for example, we are having guests, I want to smoke my turkey, brine it, rest it, carve it and eat by 5:30 or 6.  So brining (I'll discuss later on) will take 12 hours atleast.  Cooking takes 3hrs, resting is 30 minutes, carving is about 30 minutes.  So that's 4 hours of cooking.  I need to start smoking by the latest of 1:30pm.  During the cooking time I can start my other sides.  

What's Brining? 
I like to brine because it is a great way of adding flavor to your bird and keeping moisture in it during the hot cooking process.  A brine is typically a salt sugar solution that injects moisture.  There are lots of great recipes on the internet, I personally like Chef Michael Smith or Alton Brown for their recipes.  I have found that those 2 cooks are generally easy to follow and their recipes turn out for me every time.

Happy thanksgiving everyone!  Hope this helps!

Monday, September 28, 2015

what's a blog?

I didn't remember I had this until today... I guess I should try to update it more....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sooo it wasn't cinnamon I used?!?!?

Cinnamon.  We all take it for granted that those brown sticks we buy during the year and in huge bulk quantities at Christmas time are indeed cinnamon sticks.  Well, that is not entirely true.

According to Wikipedia, "Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum) is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka,[1] or the spice obtained from the tree's bark. It is often confused with other similar species and the similar spices derived from them, such as Cassia and Cinnamomum burmannii, which are often calledcinnamon too. Cinnamon lowers the rate of cellular respiration in yeast."

So what Chef? What are you saying?  

Well, the next time you go to buy cinnamon here is a picture of what you are actually looking for.
On the Left is that TRUE cinnamon looks like, the right is Indonesian cinnamon.  While we in North America don't really know the difference between the two or more types of cinnamon I assure you the real deal can't be beat!  

So the next time you reach for that stick of Cassia, just remember its flavor maybe what you remember as cinnamon, but in another part of the earth true cinnamon is king!

Thanks for reading!

Chef Corey

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Butter Chicken

Tonight I made Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice, peas and Naan bread.

I decided to try it from scratch rather than from a package, as with most things I like to try for the first time so I can understand the length and process that it takes to make this delicious dish.  The rare seeming ingredients are actually pretty common I found out.  If you are from Canada I was able to find them in Superstore, otherwise Indian Spice stores will likely have what you want.

This recipe is complex and takes an entire day to make:
You'll need a few recipes in order to make it.

1) Garam Masala Powder (yes you can buy this and same some money in the short term, but why???)
makes 2 tbsp
8 cloves
4 tsp of cumin seeds
3 whole green cardamom seeds
2 whole black cardamom seeds
A 2" cinnamon stick (you can use REAL cinnamon or cassia, the more commonly sold in north america is cassia, but that's another blog)
2 tsp coriander seeds (the seed that wants to be cilantro)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (my favourite American celeb chef always keeps one in his pocket, I don't cause I don't like lint in my food, but whatever floats your boat.)

a) Toss everything into a frying pan and turn the heat to med.
b) Move the whole spice around in the pan until they become fragrant.  Meaning they will start to give off a wonder smell that isn't charcoal, charcoal means you've burnt it... start again.
c) Move all of these spices to a coffee grinder that had been cleaned and wiped out.  Taken them for a spin and grind them up.  You can also use a food processor or if you REALLY want a unique experience use a Mortar and Pestle.  Move to a clean jar with a lid, this spice will last up to 3 months.

2)Ginger-Garlic Paste
makes 1 cup
a #100 scoop is approx. 1 tbsp  You can freeze it in an ice cube tray.

2 serrano green chilies
1/2 cup fresh gingerroot, peeled
1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp cold water

a) remove stems from chillies.
b) put everything in a food processor and puree into a paste.
c) add water (no more than 1 tbsp) to make a smooth paste.

3) Tandoori Masala
1/2 tsp carom seeds (bishops weed is also the same thing)
1 tbsp warm spice mix
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 black salt (I did not find this product at superstore, however I know it exists you can find it in Indian Specialty shops, but you can also sub in table salt)
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi)
1/4 tsp dried mango powder (Amchur is the ingredient name)

a) Grind up the Carom seeds
b) Combine everything in an airtight jar.

4) Hung Yogurt
makes 1 1/2 cups

2 cups plain yogurt

a) Line a sieve with cheese cloth.  Place the yogurt in the sieve and suspend it over the bowl.
b) Drain the liquid in to the bowl, then discard the liquid.  Tie up the cheese cloth to form a pouch and weight it down with cans.  You can use a plastic bag to cover the cans.  Leave it for 2 hours to allow the remaining liquid to drain.
c) Remove the cheesecloth and transfer the yogurt to a container.  This actually will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks.

5) Clarified Butter
Makes 1/2 of the original amount

1/2 to 1 pound of unsalted butter

a) On low-med heat in a sauce pot place your butter.
b) Allow the butter to melt until it separates and foams.  Scrape off the foam into a strainer.
c) Pour into a container and try to leave the white milk fat at the bottom of the pot behind.  The butter will separate in the container anyway, and you can take your clarified disk out and keep it literally FOREVER!!!!!!!  The milk fat is the part of the butter that causes it to go bad, once you remove the milk fat all you have is pure unadulterated fat!  MMM-MMM-MMM-MMMMMM!!!!

So now we have our prep list!!!  Yes 5 recipes and you just have your prep list!!!  It is a little bit of work for this recipe.

6) Sizzling Tandoori Chicken
Serves 4-5
Ready in about 8 1/2 hours

3/4 cup Hung Yogurt
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp tandoori masala mix
1/4 tsp carom seeds
salt to taste
2 tbsp lemon juice
red food coloring, a few drops will do
2 tbsp oil
8 skinless bone-IN chicken thights (cut shallow slits in them)
metled butter for basting

  • Grab a freezer bag and put everything in it.  Mix it all up and marinate for at least 8 hours or over night.
  • Heat your hot box or oven to 400˚F.
  • Take out an extra large frying pan, you'll want it to make your butter chicken recipe.
  • Cook this recipe for 20-25 minutes
  • Take out the chicken and place it in a separate dish, now get ready to make the final recipe for this dish!
7) Butter Chicken
Make 4-5 servings, and is ready in 20 mintues.

4 tbs butter
1/2 tsp veg oil
2 tsp ginger-garlic mix
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup tomato puree (buy the puree, if you don't and you blend a can of tomatoes you'll want to cook out the liquid for some time to allow the sauce to thicken up a bit)
1/2 tsp red chili powder
salt to taste 
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
the tandoori chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream (save yourself the hassle, just buy the heavy cream, you're not eating this dish to watch your weight.)
  • Turn on a burner to med with you just out of the oven hot fry pan.  I hope you didn't clean out that yummy tandoori sauce, you'll want it.
  • Add your oil and butter.
  • Now add the ginger-garlic, and saute for a few minutes approx. 30 seconds.
  • Add the tomatoes and puree.  Cook through and crush the tomatoes with your cooking utensil.
  • Add everything else except the cream.  Before you add the salt make sure you taste this sauce.  Add your salt as you feel you're going to need it.  You'll notice that the salt will not quite respond right away.  That is because of our tomatoes, the acid actually masks the salt.  But you should notice that the taste has "livened up" a bit.  A few small pinches is more than enough.
  • Cook your chicken all the way now, a safe temperature to end at is about 160 to 180˚F.
  • If your sauce isn't very thick by this point take your chicken out and place it in a clean serving dish large enough to hold both the chicken and the sauce, but continue to reduce the sauce until it thickens a little more.  You don't want to quite coat the back of a spoon, but close.
  • Now add your cream and bring the sauce back up to temperature.  The cream while also thicken as it cooks.  You want that milk fat to work for you it keeps the cream from separating with all the acid that is in this dish, hence why you use whipping cream or heavy cream at least 35% milk fat.
  • TA DA!!  Your two days of cooking is now complete.  This recipe is really bigger than its bite, and you should now be commended for your brilliant effort!!  Serve this with Basmatti rice and if you'd like some yummy Naan bread!  I wasn't happy with mine, as I thought it was really over mixed and I didn't understand one of the ingredients in the recipe book I used.  But there are a lot of other web site on here that I think would be great guides.  I will post a Naan recipe once I find one that works for me though.  Rice is pretty simple, its a 2:1 ratio water to rice.  boil until the water is no longer present and the rice is stiffened then take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Voila!
I hope you've enjoyed this lengthy process!!!

Chef Corey

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Crème Brulée

I created a quick recipe for Crème Brulée a while ago, thought I should share it! If you use the lower temperature and put love into it, I'll guarantee it'll be better than the Fine Dining restaurants. The real secret to Great Crème Brulée isn't the custard, its time and temperature. The lower the temperature or your oven the more silky the custard is. Long slow cooking low temperatures results in a smooth custard. Here is the recipe.

Crème Brulée

Makes approx 8 x 4floz portions

4 cups whipping cream

2/3-cup sugar plus 1-2 Tbsp per portion cup

8 large egg yolks

1 vanilla bean pod sliced lengthwise

1) Pour the heavy cream in a saucepot and add the vanilla bean. Heat slowly until almost boiling.

2) While milk is steeping and coming to an almost boil combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large metal bowl. Stir together to form a paste.

3) While constantly whisking, slowly add 1 fluid ounce of the cream at a time at first. It is important to only add a small amount at the beginning because the eggs will scramble if the hot milk is added too fast. Continue to add the milk slowly and whisking until all of the milk is used up.

4) Using a spoon or paper towel remove the bubbles on the top of the custard. (The egg mixture and milk mixture are now a custard)

5) Heat your oven to 275˚F or 300˚F (I like to the lower temperature because it creates a smoother texture).

6) In 8 ramekins (approx 4 fl oz each), pour in the custard ¾ of the way up. Once each is filled place all but one into a baking pan (at least a 9x9, glass or metal doesn’t matter). Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven and pour in some hot water from the tap about ½ way up the ramekins, and then add the last ramekin.

7) Carefully push the pan into the oven and close the door, set a time for 50 minutes. You will know they custard is cooked when if wiggles like gelatin. Slightly undercooked is better than over cooked, any more than 1 hour and the custard could over cook.

8) Refrigerate at least 6 hours but I recommend up to 1 day.

9) Now the actual Brulée part. (Crème Brulée translated means burnt cream). Use about 2 teaspoons of either white or brown sugar to coat the top of the custard. Now you can either A) use your oven or B) use a blowtorch if you have one handy.

a. To use your oven set the rack on the highest point (that will still give you room to put these on a baking sheet) and put the custards into the oven. Cook until the sugar is just starting to turn golden, then remove and let the sugar cool.

b. To use a Blowtorch. Turn on the blow torch making sure nothing around it is going to catch fire (IE: significant others, cats, dogs, houses… you get the picture). While turning the custard in a clockwise fashion in your fingers heat up the sugar with the torch starting at the top and work side to side all the way to the bottom and then reverse. The sugar will start to turn a golden brown liquid, once all the sugar is melted let it rest for a up to 30 seconds so as to harden up.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A little hole in the wall

While visiting my brother and sister-in-laws in Halifax, my brother-in-law took us for lunch to a little restaurant named John's Lunch. This was an out of no wear 1.5 story home in Dartmouth, as we pulled up I didn't think anything of it. We got out of the van and walked up to the door to order... there was a line up, like going into a Starbucks in Vancouver. "Usually a good sign," I thought. There wasn't a table available in the place, it looked to seat approximately 35- 40 people, and every seat was taken with more waiting. As I looked at the staff that worked there I could see a resemblance in some of them, so they're a family run business! I couldn't exact their nationality, it doesn't really matter anyways, this wasn't going to persuade my decision of the food.

As we waited for our food people came and left and continued to line up for what was going to be a great feast I could imagine. About 10 minutes later we received our food wrapped in a paper bag, we took it to the van and drove a little ways to a picnic area. We sat down and opened our plentiful bounty reveling our prize. The first bite awaited... *crunch*...*chew, chew, chew*... "mmmmmm", as silence filled the air. Crunchy, moist, oily. Fish and Chips... it was magical. I've never had such a great meal at a little dinner. This is definitely worth the wait, yet how could I have been missing this?? The only place I have to compare this to is Barb and Ernie's old fashioned country inn back in Edmonton. Always packed, always buzzing with customers, the owners entertaining the crowds, handcrafted speicalties flowing like water out of the kitchen. These types of family owned businesses are a dying breed, and yet when someone stumbles across them its hard to believe more and more people aren't trying to create this type of atmosphere anywhere else in the cities. This is definatley what makes these places speical!

Chef Corey