Monday, 30 April 2012

A Menu for Yukon Blonde

            I do get excited about a great many things not the least of which is reconnecting with old friends. I had the opportunity to do so in the past week as some good friends of mine rolled into town. After a crazy couple of months which saw them take Europe by storm, release their new album, and tour across Canada, the boys from Yukon Blonde hit town. Now here comes the rave. This will be a bit biased but I don’t care because this is my blog. You need to see this band; you need to support them, full stop. Their new album, Tiger Talk is, simply put, awesome. In addition to being a wicked band that is bringing back the rock and roll into our lives, they may be the nicest guys out in the world today. Proof positive is the fact that they went out and signed autographs for a bunch of kids who were too young to get into the show. Now here comes a bit of an apology to John, the bass player. John joined the band a little late in the history of me knowing the boys and I don’t know him really well or at all really, but I will say Thank you John for those sweet bass riffs. So here are the recipes that were inspired by the boys I know in Yukon Blonde and their visit to my town. I hope you enjoy and go and buy the album because even if the recipes fail you will have great tunes to enjoy.

Braised Beef Brisket for Jeff Innes to the tune of Guns by Yukon Blonde

5-8lbs of beef brisket
Salt and pepper
4 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp chilli powder
2 cans of lighter beer
1 liter beef stock
3 coarsely chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic whole

-Combine the salt, pepper, onion powder, and chilli powder. Rub the brisket down with the stuff and chuck it in the fridge over night.
The rub down before the sear

-Sear off the brisket on all sides to a golden brown.

-In a roasting pan toss in your onions, garlic, and brisket. Add in your beer and stock and then cover with foil.

-Toss it into a preheated 300 degree oven and let it work for about 6-7 hours. Let rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Serve on a roll.

That one is for you Jeff now you got your brisket done. Now, we move on to the sauce. The sauce goes out to the member of the band that I know the best Brandon Scott. We played music together but more than that we drank together... a lot. Brandon is known, in my world, as the Bear which is a long story but never fails to make me smile. So the sauce is inspired by Brandon.

Bourbon Barbeque Sauce for Brandon “The Bear” Scott to the tune of My Girl by Yukon Blonde
Saucy just like the Bear

2 cups ketchup
2 tbsp grainy mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2tbsp molasses
¼ cup bourbon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 onion chopped as fine as you can get them

-sweat the onions down in a frying pan until they are super soft but not browned, medium heat lots of stirring.

-dump the rest of the ingredients into a sauce pan and add in the onions and let reduce until it is nice and thick like the stuff you get in the bottle.
-blend the snot out of it and you got your sauce.

There is the Bear’s sauce. Now we move on to the rhythm of the group. I am talking about the man, the myth, the legend... Graham Jones. This is the only recipe in this set that has a little bit of crunch which seems like it is appropriate for the sweet beats of Graham.

Raw slaw for Graham Jones to the tune of Radio by Yukon Blonde


½ sliced green cabbage
¼ sliced red cabbage
2 granny smith apples cut into batons
3 grated carrots


¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp sour cream

-dump all the veggies into a big bowl.

-in a jar add in all of your dressing ingredients, put on the lid and shake it like your momma gave it to you

-dump the dressing onto the veggies and toss. Now you got the raw slaw.

There you have the menu inspired by the boys in Yukon Blonde. Give it a go and buy Tiger Talk you can’t make the food without the tunes. All the best to Brandon, Jeff, Graham, and John, I can’t wait until we meet again.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Johnny's Hangover Hash

            So I was asked by my friend Jill what were some good ways of re-purposing leftovers and as I thought about it I realized that it is not something that I do very often. I generally just grab the containers out of the fridge, give them a quick smell to make sure that they are still good and simply mow down. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to put together a recipe which allowed us to both use up the leftovers and not waste them and to make something that is fast and easy to satisfy that after work, I am starving, but I am lazy feeling that we all fall victim to. I have another motive for including this recipe and that is it is the best food in world to quell a hangover. Yep that is right you have all of the stuff that you need to get over the over. It is buttery and cheesy and meaty and good. You can and should use whatever you have in your fridge, this is one of those of fluid recipes that you just add what you have. So add what you have. You can make it full of meat or completely meatless the world is your oyster on this one kids.

Johnny’s Hangover Cure Hash

2 potatoes diced
½ onion finely diced
2 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper
Diced corned beef as much as you like or whatever you have in your fridge (in the picture I used leftover pork tureen courtesy of Toby)
 3 eggs beaten with 2 tbsp of milk
Cheese grated whatever you have on hand
2 tbsp Sriracha I love spice so I put more than this in mine, just saying

-Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion and potatoes. Fry until about half way cooked.

-Add in your meat and continue to cook until your spuds are done. Taste them to make sure.

-Add in your eggs and cheese and sriracha and stir to combine with the rest of your ingredients. Keep stirring until your eggs are scrambled the way that you like them.

-Dump the mess onto a plate and devour. Done.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Jill and Johnny's Vegetarian Lasagna

            Here we are off on another adventure with my friend Jill and you know what that means: a hopefully tasty dish that is meatless. Whenever I talk to Jill she is always filled with thoughts about what she wants to cook and, for someone who claims she has no skills in the kitchen, she thinks about food preparation more than almost anyone I know. She has a sense of adventure which is awesome and most of our food conversations start off with her saying, “I saw Gordon do this or I read about Laura doing that. Can we do that?” I find that it makes me smile as I try to wrap my head around what she wants to cook. So my mind started to work overtime when she told me she wanted to make vegetarian Lasagna. My trepidation about this suggestion was a two parter.  First, I have my own wonderful and magical memories of this dish all of which include copious amounts of both pig and cow. This was a special occasion meal in my family, and the only thing that I wanted to have for dinner on my birthday from the age of eight until, well, now. My Mom makes a killer lasagna and I love her all the more for it. Secondly, most of the vegetarian lasagnas that I have eaten over the years, well, sucked. I remember getting served plates of mushy, congealed.... stuff that always seemed to come with a disclaimer such as “you can’t even taste the tofu” or “you won’t even miss the meat.” For future reference, I always miss meat and tofu is not and will never be a viable alternative nor is it a replacement for meat. It is a good ingredient that I do use but crumbling it up does not make it hamburger. So there I was trying to come up with a good version of vegetarian lasagna. Here we go, I hope it doesn’t suck.

            So here are a couple of things that we did that seemed to work really well. The addition of some smashed walnuts to your tomato sauce will add some texture to and extra flavor to it. I like it but it may not be for everyone so feel free to omit them if you are not a fan of nuts. We used raw zucchini but if you have the time and the inclination you can grill it to add a roasted flavor. While we are on the subject of vegetables you can add whichever ones you like, grilled eggplant would work great and I have even used roasted carrots which add sweetness to the dish. This is all up to you. Cook your pasta about half way to being done before you layer it in. If you cook it all the way it turns into mush when you bake the lasagna as a whole, if you put it in raw it will still be crunchy when you pull it out of the oven. Let’s get to it.

Jill and Johnny’s Veg. Lasagna to the tune of Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch

Tomato sauce layer

1 can crushed tomatoes
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 onion finely diced
2 cloves minced garlic
½ cup smashed walnuts toasted
Salt and pepper

Put all of your ingredients into a sauce pan over medium heat and let reduce until thick. Part one is done.

Cheese sauce layer

¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2-3 cups whole milk
1 cup of shredded cheese whatever kind you like I would lean towards a milder cheese.

In a saucepan over medium heat melt your butter and then add your flour to make a roux.

Add your milk heat through, don’t let it boil.

Add your cheese and whisk until smooth. If it gets too thick add more milk and whisk more. It should run off your whisk not congeal on it. Part two is done.

The rest of the layers

2 cups of Ricotta cheese
A big handful of fresh chopped spinach
1 zucchini sliced, enough to make a good overlapping layer in your pan
Mushrooms, enough to make a good overlapping layer in your pan
Lasagna noodles, par cooked enough to make two layers in your pan
2-3 cups Grated mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese

Combine the ricotta and chopped spinach in a bowl.

Layer the sucker, noodles in first, tomato sauce next, zucchini, noodles, cheese sauce, mushrooms, ricotta and spinach, grated mozzarella and then finish with the parmesan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45- 60 minutes.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes so that the thing can set up before you cut into it.

There it is. Give it a go and let me know.