Friday, 24 October 2014

Open-Faced Crab Sandwich Recipe

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Cream Cheese; 2 Pks
  • 13 oz Crab;
  • 1/2 c Ginger Ale
  • 6 ea English Muffins
  • 2 tb Onion; Grated
  • 24 oz Cheddar; Md. Sliced, *
  • 2 tb Worcestershire Sauce
  • 12 ea Tomato Slices

* Slice the cheese into 12 2-oz slices.

Directions

  1. Soften the cream cheese with the ginger ale. Mix in the onion, Worcestershire sauce and crab. 
  2. Split the muffins in half and place 2 heaping Tbls of the crab mixture on each half. Top with a slice of tomato and cheddar cheese. 
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes or until heated through and cheddar is melted. Serve hot.

Monday, 13 October 2014

America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers.

From the New Yorker

There are more than forty thousand Chinese restaurants across the country—nearly three times the number of McDonald’s outlets. There is one in Pinedale, Wyoming (population 2,043), and one in Old Forge, New York (population 756); Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania (population 1,085), has three. Most are family operations, staffed by immigrants who pass through for a few months at a time, living in houses and apartments that have been converted into makeshift dormitories. The restaurants, connected by Chinese-run bus companies to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, make up an underground network—supported by employment agencies, immigrant hostels, and expensive asylum lawyers—that reaches back to villages and cities in China, which are being abandoned for an ideal of American life that is not quite real.

Rain, who asked that I use his adopted English name to protect his identity, is reedy and slight, with a wide face and sloping cheekbones. He is observant, in no hurry to speak, but he is more cagey than timid. Like his boss, and like everyone else who works at the restaurant, he is primarily concerned with saving as much money as possible. He needs to pay the snakehead that got him to the U.S. and send money to his family in China. He harbors the vague suspicion that everyone around him is angling for more money, less work, or some other benefit at his expense. So, instead of conversation, Rain occupies himself with the math of a transient cook: the time it takes to clean the shrimp, the days before he can visit his girlfriend in New York, and the balance of his debts. At night, he lies on a cot in his boss’s otherwise empty living room, mulling the slow processing of his green card. During the day, if he’s feeling bold, he walks across the strip-mall parking lot to order lunch at Subway, pointing at the menu when he doesn’t know the English word for something.

“I understand why he acts like this,” Rain told me, about his boss. “He’s been working in that restaurant for almost twenty years. He goes back and forth between the restaurant and the dorm where we live. Back and forth, back and forth, every day for years.” The boss’s wife and kids are in China. “You do this kind of work for that long, and you start to lose perspective.” Rain pinched his fingers together. “Your world is this small.”

It can get kind of better

Six mornings a week, the boss picks up Rain and the other workers from their dorm and takes them to the restaurant. Their preparations have a catechistic order: first the rice cooker, then dishes for the buffet, then those for the lunch rush. Twice a week, a Chinese-run company brings supplies, and everyone gathers to butcher meat, hacking it into small pieces for quick cooking. They put on rubber gloves and pour salt and cornstarch over the meat, mix it by hand, then seal it and put it into the freezer. Chinese kitchens in the U.S. have none of the badinage that makes for good reality TV. In Rain’s kitchen, the only person who talks is the boss, complaining. When a buffet tray gets low, a waiter calls through an intercom, set at a startling volume: “We need more pineapple chicken up front!”

When Rain arrived in the U.S., he assumed that he had a fair proficiency with Chinese food. His father had prided himself on his culinary skill, and his mother was a capable cook, too. She taught him when to add spice to a dish, when to temper it with Chinese celery. Rain worked briefly as a fry cook in his village, and found that he had absorbed some of his parents’ knowledge. “Even if I’ve never cooked a dish before, I can think about it and draw from my experience,” he said. Having grown up on his father’s subtly flavored fish soups, he was surprised by American Chinese food. Americans seemed to eat like kids: they love starches and sweet things, and are frightened of meat and fish with bones in it. “Americans eat all that fried stuff,” he told me. “It’s not healthy.” Real Chinese food is more refined: “You have to spend a lot of time studying and really understanding it.”

In Maryland, most of the patrons seem to come for the buffet and eat as much as they can. Still, Rain loves watching people in the dining room. “I like seeing a clean plate,” he said. “I like it when people take the first bite of my food and they start nodding their head.” He spends hours trying to create a perfectly round Chinese omelette. “There’s a lot of kung fu in making egg foo young,” he told me. “If you have time, you’ll make it really perfect. You’ll make it bigger, better-looking, rounder. They’ll think, I spent so little money and I got such good food, and on top of that it’s good-looking. And then maybe they’ll come back.”

Rain viewed the job in Maryland as an opportunity to expand his repertoire. “In a takeout restaurant, people order the same dishes over and over,” he said. At a bigger restaurant, he could learn new dishes. And his salary—twenty-eight hundred dollars a month—was good, but not good enough to arouse concern. “If you come across a job paying three thousand, you think there must be something wrong with that restaurant,” he told me.

Rain lives with five co-workers in a red brick town house that his boss owns, part of a woodsy development near the restaurant. The house is tidy; there are three floors covered with white carpeting, and each worker has been supplied with an identical cot, a desk, a chair, and a lamp. “Some bosses don’t take care of the houses,” Rain said. “If they’re renting the house, especially, they don’t care. The rooms will actually smell.” Every restaurant worker has a story of sleeping in a dank basement or being packed in a room with five other people. Many complain of living in a house that has no washing machine, and being forced to spend their day off scrubbing their grease-spattered T-shirts in a sink.

So this is why he stays

For many restaurant workers, the decision to come to the U.S. is irrevocable. But, as the disappointments of immigrant life accrue, it can be hard not to imagine that things might be better elsewhere. Chinese-Americans, despite a good public image, suffer higher rates of poverty than the general public. Mental-health problems are an increasing concern in New York’s immigrant communities. In parts of China where the growing economy has given people more options, the allure of working in the U.S. has faded. This February, in a hostel in Queens, I met a woman who had just returned from a difficult day of job hunting. “I thought America would be heaven, and all it is is cold!” she complained. She returned to Beijing after four months. In Fuzhou, a taxi-driver told me that he was glad his attempts to emigrate had failed. “My father says that having a son in the United States is like having no son at all,” he said.

Rain tried not to dwell on returning to Maryland, where he was due in a few days. Everyone else who had worked at the restaurant when he started had been driven off by the boss’s temper. “And it’s so far away,” Rain said. If he could find a job somewhere closer, he could see Annie every weekend. As his family’s only son, Rain feels increasing pressure to send money home to his mother. But, he reasoned, everyone who comes to the U.S. should be prepared for hardship. “Everything we do, we do for the next generation,” he said, and added, “No matter what, it beats sitting around in the village.”

Friday, 10 October 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Guacamole Recipe

Ingredients
  • 3 Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Directions
  1. In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

Ratatouille Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup diced green bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced zucchini squash
  • 1 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Set a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve either hot or at room temperature.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Vegetables Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large organic red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound raw shrimp (26—30 shrimp per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth, and add to the skillet along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Mac & Cheese Burger Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups of your favorite prepared Mac and Cheese (homemade or from a box)
  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/3 cup Beef Marinade
  • 6 cheese slices of your choice (Cheddar recommended)
  • 1/3 cup of your favourite Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • Pickles
Directions
  1. Prepare the Mac & Cheese according to recipe (or the directions on the box).
  2. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef and marinade. With your hands, make 6 large hamburger patties.
  3. Prepare the grill for direct cooking. Over medium heat, cook the burger until done, about 10-12 minutes, flipping once during cooking. Add the cheese during the last minute of cooking to melt.
  4. Assemble the burgers from the bottom up: bottom bun, pickles, onion, cheese burger, ¼ cup of mac & cheese. Drizzle 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce over the mac & cheese and then top with the bun.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Perogy Poutine Recipe

Ingredients
  • 8 perogies 
  • ¼ cup cheese curds
  • 3 – 4 oz gravy
  • 2 sprigs of parsley
Directions
  1. Brown perogies (approximately 3 -4 minutes per side). Plate perogies, top with cheese curds, poutine sauce, garnish with parsley.
Serves 2

Original Joe's Dill Dip Recipe

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed 
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's seasoning salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lawry's onion salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion 
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley 
  • 1/2 teaspoon monosodium glutamate (see note) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Directions
  1. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dill weed, seasoning salt, onion salt, Worcestershire sauce, onion flakes, parsley flakes, monosodium glutamate, and hot pepper sauce. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours
Note: monosodium glutamate, or MSG, is used in restaurants all the time. You can find it, but more than likely you'll have to order it. If you really want this to take like Original Joe's Dill Dip you'll need it. Otherwise you can substitute sea salt. It won't be the same, but at least it will be edible.

Ratatouille Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups medium diced eggplant, skin on
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup diced green bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced zucchini squash
  • 1 cup diced yellow squash
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Set a large 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. 
  2. Once hot, add the onions and garlic to the pan. 
  3. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. 
  4. Add the eggplant and thyme to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is partially cooked, about 5 minutes. 
  5. Add the green and red peppers, zucchini, and squash and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. 
  7. Stir well to blend and serve hot.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Freeze fruit via ice cubes to add flavour to your drink

Cut fruits or berries onto your ice trays and fill the rest with water. It will make your drinks taste so much better plus add a splash of color.

Freeze fruit via ice cubes to add flavour to your drink

Lifehack: Corn on the Cob in the Cooler

Here is an easy way to cook corn on the cob if you don’t have easy access to a large pot (like when you are camping) All you have to do is find a decent sized cooler, clean the inside. Get a large pot of water to boil and pour it into the cooler, throw the corn in, and close the lid for about 30 minutes, and your done.

Corn on the cob in a cooler

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lasagna Cups Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/3 pound ground beef
  • salt and pepper
  • 24 wonton wrappers
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • garnish
  • basil for (optional)

Directions

    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

    • Brown beef, and season with salt and pepper. Drain.

    • Cut wonton wrappers into circle shapes (about 2 1/4- inches) using a biscuit cutter or using the top of a drinking glass. You can cut several at a time. Note: For a more rustic look, no cutting necessary!

    • Reserve 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese and 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese for the top of your cupcakes. Start layering your lasagna cupcakes. Begin with a wonton wrapper and press it into the bottom of each muffin tin. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese in each. Top with a little meat and pasta sauce.

    • Repeat layers again (i.e. wonton, Parmesan, ricotta, mozzarella, and pasta sauce). Top with reserved Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.

    • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove, use a knife to loosen the edges then pop each lasagna out.

    • Garnish with basil and serve.

    Gordon Ramsey Makes Scrambled Eggs