Buttermilk Dill Ranch Pasta Salad

I’m all about pasta salads. I can eat pasta salad every day. There’s just a few caveats. First and foremost, they have to be delicious. Texture is an absolute must. And, they have to be easy to make, inexpensive, and they must be still just as tasty the next day! The best thing about past salads is that they can be made ahead of time. You can easily adapt them to your liking too, because they’re very forgiving. And, it seems that everyone loves them! That’s probably why they are such a popular side dish at many restaurants, and certainly at every summer picnic or backyard bbq! IS THIS A COLESLAW OR A PASTA SALAD? You’ve got a keen eye, Dear Reader. Indeed this dish has the makings of a coleslaw, but it also has everything you need to make a delicious pasta salad. I’ve seen a coleslaw pasta salad circulating online for the past year or two. I tried the recipe once. And, we loved it. I just thought I could do better. I’m not being conceited! Really! I just firmly believe that a simple recipe is great, but you can always improve upon it. How did I improve on the original? I made a homemade dressing for starters. And I added dill to the dressing – lots and lots of dill! The original has carrot and cabbage. My version has jalapenos, red and yellow bell peppers, green onions, corn, and even chopped hard boiled egg! These are all simple ingredients, but they’re fresh and there’s a lot of them. They all work together to create a very delicious pasta salad. THAT’S A LOT OF CHOPPING! Yes, it really is. But, I love it. I find chopping vegetables to be very pleasing and theraputic. Not everyone agrees with me, so you can certainly take shortcuts. You can eliminate the need to chop carrots and cabbage. Purchase a bag of pre-chopped coleslaw mix at the grocery store. The 14 ounce package will give you pretty much the same amounts as if you were to cut whole veggies. Just dump in the entire contents of the bag! In some grocery stores, you can find pre-chopped carrots and peppers too. They can usually be found in the cooler section of the produce department. If you want to speed things up, you can opt for that route as well. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of…

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Very Berry Virgin Mojito

I hate summer – really, I do!  But, that’s no excuse not to partake in a refreshing and delightful summery drink like this Very Berry Virgin Mojito.  Before you get your knickers in a knot, yes, you can most certainly undo the virgin part by adding a good splash of rum! WANT AN ALCOHOLIC VERSION? JUST ADD A SPLASH OF RUM! As for me, John.e, and of course, McKenna, we like our drinks to be virgin.  John.e and I never consume alcohol. He doesn’t like the taste at all. And, I tend to be very picky with what I like and dislike. No matter the type of alcohol though, I will immediately break out in sweat. I get so overheated on just a sip or two. For those reasons, we tend to make virgin drinks only. Because I am not very well versed in the amount of alcohol to add to a drink such as this, I had to research it. From what I can tell, most people add just one shot of their favourite rum to one cup of the mix. Does that sound right to you? It sounds like a lot to me, but then again, I have no experience with it. When it all comes down to it, the amount of alcohol you use is up to you. It’s all about personal tastes after all! HYDRATION IS IMPORTANT! I love to sit outside on a hot day with an ice-cold beverage.  Last year, I was big on the Sweetened Peach Iced Tea, but this year, I think the virgin mojito has won me over.  I love the bright, crisp flavour of the bruised mint leaves, and the pop of colour and burst of flavour from the raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. We’ve been drinking more lemonade and limeade type drinks as well. I think my favorite was the Strawberry Lime Lemonade, but the Old Fashioned Limeade and my Homemade Lemonade were delicious too. I can’t decide! Summer drinks have to be tasty. They need just the right amount of sweetness. I think that too much sugar in a drink ruins the taste of it and makes one feel bloated and tired. There’s no room for being tired in the summer! We’ve been enjoying these mojitos so much in fact, that I’ve made it my mission to find a winter version of a virgin mojito so that I don’t have to wait until next summer to enjoy another…

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Homemade Mozzarella Sticks

Last weekend, while John.e and McKenna went into town to pick up pizza for dinner, I decided to make some appetizers. One of those was 3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers. With quite a few jalapenos and lots of cheese on hand, I knew they would go great with pizza! The other appetizer I prepared were these Homemade Mozzarella Sticks. We are cheese lovers, so we could handle three food items with lots of cheese. You have live a little once in a while, right!? Besides, we have been staying at our house since the lock down started, so we can indulge a little. EATING IS WHAT I DO BEST LATELY! Everyone on social media seems to be talking about the fact that they are eating more now that things are at a standstill. The same applies to me. There are a few reasons for this. First, I blog about food, so I’m always baking or cooking something. Seriously, Dear Reader, I prepare recipes every single day. When we were told that we could start working from home, we packed up our computers and the cats and all three of us headed to the house. After all, there was really no reason to stay in Toronto if we didn’t need to be at the office. The problem with being at the house though, is that we are in the country. We have been at the house since March. Do you know what the country in Canada is like in March and April? Cold!!!! So we stayed inside. We worked during the day and watched movies at night. All the while, we ate. Here we are in July and we are still at the house. I’m still eating. My clothing is growing smaller. But yet, I continue to make foods that I know I shouldn’t be eating – like these mozzarella sticks! But, I can’t resist! They are so delicious! CHEESE STRINGS ARE THE BEST! If you decide to forget about your weight for now – like I have! – and you want to make these mozzarella sticks, there are a few things you should know first. The most important thing to consider is the cheese. Cheese strings will make your life so much easier! It might be just me, but I find cheese strings to have less oil content than regular brick cheese. This means that they will meltdown better and become gooier. If you’re in a…

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Sweet Jalapeno Pork

It seems that I cannot get enough of jalapenos lately. I’ve been experimenting with them a lot. If you’re a Lord Byron’s Kitchen fan, you might have noticed that I have been posting jalapeno inspired recipes lately. I swear, I’m almost over it! What happens to me quite often. I will find a new ingredient and I’ll run with it until I grow tired of it. I’m doing it with jalapenos now, but I’ve done it before with shallots, butternut squash, and even Brussels sprouts! But, I think jalapenos have been winning in terms of recipe popularity. It seems that everyone loves jalapenos! Once you’ve finished with this recipe, I encourage you to consider my 3 Cheese Jalapeno Poppers, these Jalapeno Corn Muffins, and also, my Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad. If you’ve never grilled jalapenos before, you must try it! FRYING JALAPENOS In this recipe, the pork and the sliced jalapenos are tossed in the same batter and fried in the same manner. I sliced the jalapenos about 1/4 inch thick and left the seeds in. As you know, Dear Reader, it’s the seeds that make the jalapenos spicy. If you remove them, the jalapeno is mild and sweet. Because I wanted the spiciness, I left the seeds in. If you want to remove the seeds, I would suggest you prepare your jalapenos differently. Rather than slice them, cut the jalapeno lengthwise. Remove the seeds with the back of a spoon. And then you can cut the jalapeno into chunks. Don’t be tempted to dice the jalapenos. If you do, they will be hard to fish out of the frying oil! Also, because the jalapenos have moisture content, they will not be crispy when fried. So, don’t think you’ve done something wrong. The batter will crisp up, but the jalapeno itself will be soft. THE BEST CUTS OF PORK FOR THIS RECIPE When using pork, there are three cuts that are very popular. The first is pork tenderloin, the second is pork butt, and the third is pork shoulder. You can use either for this recipe, but I used pork butt. If you decide to use pork loin, keep in mind that it’s a leaner cut and can easily be overcooked and tough. Pork butt, because of the marbling and fat content, will most always be the safest choice. Pork shoulder will promise the same result. Just an FYI, pork butt is sometimes called Boston butt. Likewise, pork shoulder…

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Chicken and Asparagus Teriyaki

This is one of those recipes that I threw together for myself one night and loved it. Sometimes, I swear, I put more thought into what I’m going to prepare for John.e than I do myself. Being that he’s a vegetarian, it requires more thought and more planning. One particular night I had dinner all planned. But I forgot about what I was going to have. I had chicken and asparagus in the fridge. There was also a jar of my homemade 10 Minute Teriyaki Sauce. That’s pretty much all I needed to make this delicious stir fry. Let’s talk a little bit about the ingredients, and then I’ll tell you all about my homemade teriyaki sauce. You should have a jar of it in your fridge at all times. It’s so versatile! CHICKEN BREASTS AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Our fridge is never without boneless and skinless chicken breasts. Yes, I know they can be quite boring. But, they’re also quite fast to cook. Chicken breasts have a bad reputation for being dry. But, that’s only because they were not prepared properly. Chicken breast meat is very lean, healthy, and high in protien. That leanness is exactly why the cook up very fast. Because they cook fast, they’re also very easy to over cook. Nothing is worse than over cooked chicken breasts. That’s why they get dry! The secret is to preheat and to cook over a very hot heat. When baking chicken breasts, I season them and place them on a baking sheet. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chicken goes in for exactly 25 minutes. If they’re really big, I leave them in for 30. But, never longer than that! If I’m frying them, the pan is really hot. I toss them in and move them around. And, I never overcrowd the pan, because they will not brown fast enough, which means I have to cook them longer to get the desired look. You can use chicken thighs for this recipe. They’re great with this! I used chicken breast only because it’s what I had and they’re leaner and healthier. CHOOSING THE RIGHT ASPARAGUS For this dish, you want asparagus that is not too thick and not too thin. Thick asparagus will take longer to cook in order to get rid of the woodiness. Too thin and it’s going to overcooked and limp. This is exactly how I choose the right asparagus. I…

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Red Berry Swirl Tartlets

In the world of food blogging, Canada Day is one particular celebration that’s almost completely void of food that mimics the colours and/or patriotic symbolism of this beautiful country. Here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, I have a few recipes that celebrate America’s Fourth of July. So, this year, I decided to up my Canada Day recipe game as well. ARE CANADIANS AS PATRIOTIC AS AMERICANS? Using the word patriotic to describe Canada is not something I feel really comfortable with doing. It’s not that Canucks aren’t a proud people; I think it’s the fact that Canadians are modest and humble. Of course, I’m not stating that in contrast, Americans aren’t those things as well. But, it seems that America loves a good excuse to host a party! You must admit, my Dear American Reader, the Fourth of July is a huge deal for you. Just a few years ago, while writing up a recipe, I found some facts about America’s Independence Day. I stumbled upon a fact sheet which I found extremely interesting. The website had compiled a list of Fourth of July food consumption. THE TRUTH IS IN THE NUMBERS Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July.  They also spend 92 million dollars on chips, 167 million on watermelon, and 341 million on beer. If you were to do the math, our numbers would be a small fraction of those. So, why is it that Canadians don’t celebrate Canada Day with more red and white food? Do a search on Pinterest for Canada Day food and then do another search for Fourth of July food. See the major difference? The only reason I can think of is that Canada Day is not usually celebrated like Independence Day. THE CELEBRATION IS DIFFERENT Americans tend to celebrate Independence Day with with fireworks. They have parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies. In addition, events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States take place on July 4th as well. In contrast, Canadians usually celebrate Canada Day with fireworks and live music. Large outdoor concerts featuring some of Canada’s best musicians and singers are a very common attraction. In smaller towns there might be a parade or a community volunteer-based pancake breakfast. It is surely not a large spectacle like it is for our neighbours to the south. THE RED, WHITE,…

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Guacamole with Charred Corn and Tomatoes
Guacamole with Charred Corn and Tomatoes

Guacamole with Charred Corn and Tomatoes

I have spent most of my life avoiding guacamole as much as possible. Prior to me preparing dishes on my own, every guacamole I had found was loaded with cilantro. I hate cilantro. I’m one of those people who will argue that cilantro tastes like soap. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a mouthful of soap, but if you did, you would understand why guacamole was avoided. A few years ago, I discovered dried cilantro. I took a chance and tried it in the guacamole I was preparing. And, guess what!? It didn’t taste like soap! It was so good, in fact, I made it again for this blog. I called it Guacamole for Cilantro Haters just so that my readers knew where I stood on the issue! So, there we were. I had found a way to make guacamole that both the cilantro hater and the cilantro lover could agree on. I thought that was it, but there was so much more to guacamole that I had yet to discover. GUACAMOLE – WHAT A WEIRD NAME FOR AVOCADO SAUCE! Guacamole has been around for since the sixteenth century. Can you believe that? Apparently, the Aztec’s were the first to prepare guacamole. Oh, that’s why we call it guacamole. It literally translates to avocado sauce. For many, many years, guacamole was mostly considered a South American condiment and used in North America in Mexican-themed dishes only. That was until the 1990s when avocado consumption skyrocketed. Most people say that it was a result of the United States lifting a ban on avocado imports. Apparently, we have Columbus to thank for the introduction of guacamole to North America. He is credited to introducing it on his second journey. GUACAMOLE VARIATIONS Over the past ten years, I’ve seen some very innovative twists on the classic guacamole. I’ve also seen some very disturbing attempts at improving the classic condiment. About two years ago, we were out for lunch and on a whim ordered a side of nacho chips and guac. The guac had big chunks of pineapple in it. Needless to say, we ate the chips and the bowl of pineapple guacamole was left behind. It was not delicious. I remember eating guacamole with chopped fried bacon stirred into it. Now, as a bacon lover, I have to say, it was quite good. I’m not sure it would work in every guacamole situation, but in this…

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Tomato Tortellini Soup

As a food blogger, I sometimes feel guilty about using prepared food items. I think I should be preparing things from scratch. But, I remind myself that Lord Byron’s Kitchen is all about recipes that can be made easily by anyone. There’s no shame in buying frozen tortellini, but if you’d like to make your own pasta, you can do that too! I’m reminded of a conversation I had with McKenna a few months back about school lunches. I’ve always struggled with what to send with her. She’s a picky eater when it comes to school lunches. So, I asked her to give me some ideas; tell me what her friends bring. She proceeds to tell me that one of her friends asked her why she brought a sandwich so often when her dad was practically a chef. Well, thanks for the partial compliment! But, I’m sure this friend wasn’t aware of the fact that I ask McKenna every single day what she wants for lunch. Her response is always the same – I don’t know. Well, kid, if you don’t know at your age what it is you want, you’re getting a sandwich! The thing is, I’m not a chef. I’m just a guy who loves to cook and bake. My sister and I got an apartment together when I was 18. I’ve been cooking and baking since then, and I’ve practiced and practiced some more until I became good at it. But, no matter how much I might enjoy rolling pasta dough, not everyone does. Knowing that the majority of my readers are not trained chefs either, makes my decision to use frozen tortellini that much easier and warranted. TORTELLINI DO; TORTELLINI DON’T If you decide to use fresh, homemade tortellini, I’ll assume that your cooking skills/knowledge are to the point where you don’t need any help. But, if you’re using store-bought, frozen tortellini, let me walk you through it. When using frozen tortellini, you must keep it frozen. And, you must use it in its frozen state. Do not thaw it first! I know that’s such a contradictory of what normally happens when cooking, but in this case, it’s gospel. If you thaw it first, I guarantee you it will become rather mushy or fall apart completely. I used three cheese tortellini, because I knew John.e would be eating most of this soup. I had to keep it vegetarian. You…

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Almond and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

Okay, dear Reader, I don’t officially have a top ten list of pesto recipes. Not one that I carry around with me in my wallet. And, certainly, not one that I’m going to admit to at this particular time.  But, if I did, then this pesto would be on that list, and most likely, very close to the top. This is one of those pasta dishes that make you feel better about yourself and make you happy to be alive.  Am I the only one that can feel such powerful emotions from eating good food?  If I’m not alone, please come forward.  We can start a club! COOKING AND BAKING IS PERSONAL! I’ve shared this with John.e before, but I’m not sure I’ve talked about it at Lord Byron’s Kitchen.  My recipes – my creations – are extremely personal.  I try my best to not take negativity to heart. But, it’s really hard to hear the words, “I didn’t like it.”  Everyone has their own personal tastes, but when it comes to sharing food you’ve prepared, it’s very personal. When someone loves to cook and bake, and likes to share it with the world, yet that same person is an introvert and is also a perfectionist, doing so can be rather difficult.  I have worked through my shyness with sharing my recipes. I have embraced the food blog experience. Once in a while though, a reader will comment that it wasn’t good, or it didn’t turn out. It never fails to hit me right where it hurts, but I keep reminding myself that not everyone likes rhubarb; not everyone likes foods drenched in sauce; not everyone eats cake or cookies on the regular.  And, that’s alright! But, when you’ve poured your heart and soul into it, it’s hard to not have pleased the masses. STICKING WITH IT! Over the past few years, Lord Byron’s Kitchen has changed names, formats, and cuisines.  If you’ve been with me for a while, you might remember when Lord Byron’s Kitchen was called Pretty Practical Pantry. You might also remember when posts didn’t feature a recipe card at the bottom at all!  Blogging of any kind is a huge learning experience. Along with learning to plate and present the food, you must also learn to roll with the punches – negativity included. Now, I try not to focus too much on what I think people would like to eat. …

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30 Minute Ginger Beef

This particular beef recipe has been one of the most popular recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen since it was originally published in early 2017. No matter how popular though, there were many readers who struggled to get it just right. Today, I’m updated the recipe with new photos and better cooking instructions. I’m hoping that this will help you to achieve the best possible 30 Minute Ginger Beef at home. No more takeout orders needed! THE BEST CUTS OF BEEF FOR THIS RECIPE Before John.e and I started living together, I used to make Ginger Beef nearly once a week. It was such a great weeknight meal – easy to prepare and is very forgiving of cheaper cuts of beef.  If you ever have one of those days at the grocery store when you’re craving steak, but the price is outrageous or the cuts are just not worth it, grab some cheaper steak and you’ll easily satisfy your beef cravings. Personally, I think skirt steak of flank steak work best for this recipe. Both of these cuts are often used interchangeably, because they are both tough cuts of beef. But, sliced thinly against the grain, they are tender and delicious. If you can’t find skirt of flank steak, you can certainly use other cuts of beef as well. I’ve used beef tenderloin for this recipe a few times and it works perfectly. We shop at an Asian grocery store quite often. They stock thinly sliced beef that is primarily used for bulgogi or ramen dishes. It’s a little more expensive pound for pound, but it’s a thinly sliced rib eye and it works very well for this recipe as well. SUBSTITUTIONS OR VARIATIONS This dish is one that I’ve perfected. Truth be told, I don’t need to refer to a recipe at all.  So, when I decided to post this recipe to my blog, I had to really think about how to get the measurements right.  One of the best things about this dish, other than the wonderful flavor, is that the recipe is very forgiving. For example, if you love the flavour of fresh ginger, you can certainly add more in the cooking process. I love ginger and always use a lot of it. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can use the dried ground ginger powder in a pinch. Since ground ginger is more intense, use only 1/4 tablespoon. The carrots can be…

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Tofu and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

I was never a fan of tofu. But living with a vegetarian certainly changed that. The tofu I was used to eating came from a random take-out Chinese dish. It was bland and I thought it to be slimy. How was I to know that I would one day enjoy eating and cooking with tofu? If you’re much like me and tend to screw up your nose at something before you try it, then I get you! You’ve often heard it said that we eat with our eyes first, right? Well, based on that, would anyone ever eat tofu? It’s certainly not appealing to look at! I’m going to share with you a few things I learned about tofu over the past few years. Maybe you’ll change your mind about tofu and give it another try. Maybe you already love it and don’t need convincing. Either way, when all is said and done, this is my Tofu and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry recipe. And, I think you’ll really enjoy it. The Truth about Tofu To start with, there are different levels of texture (softness versus firmness) in tofu. From least firm to most firm, the most common types of tofu are silken, soft, medium, firm, extra firm, and super firm. All tofu is basically the same, but the firmer the tofu, the more water content has been pressed out of it. Since I am not a vegetarian and grew up eating meat, I prefer firmer tofu. It has a meatier texture which I tend to favor. Softer tofu is best when used in soups, like the popular Chinese version of hot and sour soup. I’ve learned that the firmer the tofu, the longer it takes to heat all the way through. So, firmer tofu is best for baking or frying, while softer tofu is best for quick recipes. Here’s a cool fact. The firmer the tofu, the more fat and protein the tofu has. Remember that if you’re on a high-protein diet. Probably the most important thing I’ve learned about tofu is that it is very adaptable. You can use tofu in almost every way possible. I’ll talk about some of those next. I should also mention that tofu is extremely cheap in comparison to meat. The Magic of Tofu Unless you’ve been living off the grid, you must know that cauliflower can be transformed into just about anything you can imagine. I’ve…

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Brown Butter Pasta with Spinach and Goat Cheese

This recipe was born out of the need to use up some spinach that was nearing the end of its shelf life. We are spending time at our house and since the closest grocery store is more than 30 minutes away, we stock up. We had two bags of spinach which were too expensive out in the boonies to go to waste. I looked through my fridge and I saw that I had two packages of goat cheese. We have this rather large wooden “bowl” on the counter where we keep garlic and tomatoes, etc. I had lots of fresh garlic. Our home is never without pasta. And, it is never – I mean never! – without butter! That was pretty much it. I threw it together and it was delicious. The photographs in the post were the result of those two bags of spinach. No recipe testing needed. It turned out perfectly the first time! HOW TO BROWN BUTTER Brown butter is one of the most underrated ingredients. It’s the most simple thing in the world to do. Seriously, if you can boil water, you can make brown butter. And, you only need one ingredient – butter! When you brown butter, you are in essence ridding the butter of all of its water content. You are also caramelizing the remaining milk solids. What you’re left with is an glistening, brown sauce with a slightly salty and sweet flavour, but with a nuttiness to it as well. It’s important to note that when browning butter, I use salted butter. It just tastes better. Browning butter is not an art form, but it might take a little practice. I promise you, if you do not leave the butter unattended, and if you are a little patient, practice is not needed. You will master it every single time. You see, Dear Reader, you need to melt the butter on a lower heat and allow it to slowly come to a white, frothy bubble. Once that happens, it takes just a moment for the butter to go from perfectly browned to horribly burnt. Attend to it at all times is the best advice I can offer. One other thing – browning butter relies mostly on your eyesight rather than skill. Use a light colored pan to get the best results. I use a stainless steel frying pan. Darker pans, especially those with a non-stick coating, will interfere with how…

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Old Fashioned 3 Ingredient Limeade
Old Fashioned 3 Ingredient Limeade

Old Fashioned 3 Ingredient Limeade

I’m an equal opportunity type of guy when it comes to lemons and limes. I like both of them equally, but not interchangeably. For example, I like lime juice in my Diet Coke and on the barbecue, but not a lemon. And, I like lemon in a cake, or with fish.Ingredient Limeade But when it comes to a cold, refreshing summer drink, I don’t think I could choose between the two. That’s why I decided to make both Limeade and Lemonade. I’ll get to posting the recipe for Lemonade soon, but for today, it’s all about the lime! Is this Really a Recipe? Why, yes it is! It takes a little bit of tweaking to get the acid and sugar levels just right. I’ve done the work for you here so you don’t need to worry about a thing! Besides, even though there are only 3 ingredients, you still need to whisk and stir and slice and squeeze. It’s a recipe! The most important thing to remember when making this Limeade is that you will need to ensure that the sugar has been completely dissolved. If you have ever prepared a simple syrup before, then you’re already a pro! But, for those of us who have not, I’ll provide you with all of the details. What is a Simple Syrup? A simple syrup is a mixture of equal parts water and sugar. The water and sugar are added to a sauce pan and whisked together over heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Completely! That’s very important! Ingredient Limeade Whenever I make a simple syrup, which is something you’ll need to do in this Old Fashioned 3 Ingredient Limeade recipe, I never leave the saucepan unattended. Obviously, if you let the water and sugar mixture come to a boil, it’s going to bubble up and make a mess. But, if you keep the temperature of the burner low, you’ll eliminate that risk. I never leave the saucepan unattended, because as soon as the sugar is dissolved, it’s done! Ingredient Limeade Depending on the coarseness of your sugar, that could take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Just continuously stir with a whisk until you cannot see any visible granules of sugar in the saucepan. It’s that easy! What’s Next? Patience, Dear Reader! That’s exactly what’s next. The simple syrup has to cool down before we can use it. I pour it from the saucepan and into a pitcher.…

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Traditional Newfoundland Cold Plates

Oh, my Dear Reader, looking at these photographs evokes such feelings of comfort and nostalgia for me. Cold Plates were served in our home every single Sunday night without fail. In fact, they were also served at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years! It was very common in our home to have a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner consisting of turkey, stuffing, gravy, and a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, turnip, carrot, etc. All of those vegetables were cooked in the same pot along with cured salt beet and a pudding or two. That meal was usually referred to as “cooked dinner,” “hot dinner,” or sometimes, just “cook.” It’s most commonly known as Jiggs Dinner outside of Newfoundland, but in our home, it meant a simplified variation of the meal. If someone said Jiggs Dinner, it meant that the meal would not have any roasted turkey, chicken, or beef – just the cured salt beef – and there would also be no gravy. It’s confusing, but we all knew what mom meant when she said one or the other. But this post is not about that meal, it’s about Cold Plates! What I’m trying to say is that we would eat large on special occasions. We would have “cooked dinner” for lunch and then Cold Plates for dinner. Or, in the case of Christmas, we’d have “cooked dinner” for a late lunch on Christmas Day, and then we’d have Cold Plates for supper on Boxing Day. Oh, I should mention that you might need to first understand that you can eat dinner for lunch in Newfoundland because that’s exactly what it is! In Newfoundland, there are four meals each day – breakfast, dinner, supper, and lunch. (As opposed to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.) Breakfast is self-explanatory. Lunch (around noon) was called dinner. If your friend at school asked if you were going home at dinner time, you knew full well that they meant lunchtime. Then there was supper – not dinner. And lastly, there was lunch. Lunch was a little strange now that I think back on it. Anything consumed between 8pm and bedtime was considered a lunch. And it’s quite common to have company for lunch – friends or neighbours could join you for a cup of tea, maybe some buttered bread, canned ham, a slice of fruitcake, a tea biscuit, etc. So, all of that just to let you know that Cold Plates are a…

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Classic Homemade Tartar Sauce

Would you believe that I never tasted tartar sauce until I was a young adult? Nope! Contrary to what one might think, tartar sauce was not something I can ever remember being on the table when I was a kid. I grew up in a mainly fishing town in Newfoundland. Fish was everywhere! And, my family was no stranger to it at all. My dad worked in a fish processing plant for many, many years. And, my mom would prepare all types of fish for meals. I’m not going to say that I loved eating all of that fish. In fact, I can remember many times sitting at the table and being yelled at, because I wouldn’t eat what was set before me. Unlike most kids today, we didn’t get options at mealtime. Oftentimes, fresh fish wasn’t on the menu, which was always my preference. My mom would prepare fish that I hated. Any fish that was salted, smoked, or dried was disgusting. There were only two exceptions – dried capelin and dried squid! If fresh fish was being served, I was all in! My mom used to make the absolute best deep fried battered cod. Pan fried salmon with pork scrunchions and potatoes was delicious! I couldn’t get enough stuffed baked squid! Shellfish – no thanks! But, with such an abundance of fish, there was one type of seafood my mom would never prepare – shellfish. We never had crab, lobster, oysters, mussels, or shrimp. I can only remember eating lobster once before the age of 20. And that was prepared at a friend’s house! To this day, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve eaten crab, lobster, or shrimp. And, I’ve never tried oysters. I’ve tried mussels once, but couldn’t swallow it. Shellfish is not my thing and I totally blame my mother! The point of all of this is to tell you that we had a good supply of fish. And, even though that fish was served many ways, tartar sauce never once found its way to our table. My introduction to tartar sauce! It wasn’t until I was at that age when I’d go out to eat with friends that I discovered tartar sauce. Right after college, I found myself working in a financial firm. Right up the street was a fish and chip joint. It was common for the entire office to order fish and…

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