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Welcome

dnaWelcome to our new website. We want to write about food, dream about food, cook food. We want to share recipes, swap ideas, answer questions, ask questions. We will cater, maybe open a restaurant, maybe write a book. Need help? We can help you with an event, give you advice on any food projects you may have in mind, help you execute. You dream it, we will help you create it. Stay tuned to this page, we will have lots happening here.

 

p.s. we are new at writing and designing our own website, we welcome your feedback. If you have any suggestions or requests, please send them to chef@alexanderskitchen.ca Thanks.

First blog post

Holiday Entertaining? Let us help!

holiday hearthThe holiday season is just around the corner, need a hand? We can cater your holiday dinners, office Christmas parties and family gatherings. Do you just need a hand prepping a few apps? We can do that! Need full service catering with servers and bartenders? We can do that too. Food for 6 or 60 (or even 600!) we can accommodate. We like to make custom menus for our clients so please contact us at catering@alexanderskitchen.ca and let us help you.

We can also do some great holiday baking for you. Let us bake some festive cookies and dainties or make some showstopper desserts like our dark chocolate, sour cherry trifle! One of my favourite things to make is a traditional Buche de Noel, complete with little meringue mushrooms. Just let us know what you need!

Here are a couple sample menus for you:

Pass Around Appetizers
$9/person

roasted squash, sesame, shiitake mushroom

brie with fig and pistachio

brie, fig and pistachio crostini

baby bocconcini, cherry tomato and basil skewers

 

Main Course, Buffet Style
$34/person

roast pork loin stuffed with apricots, sundried cranberries and apples with a dijon mustard glaze

baked salmon with sundried tomatoes, italian parsley and olive oil

oven roasted potatoes with rosemary and garlic

wild rice with mushrooms and parmesan

roasted beets and carrots with sunflower seeds and scallions

brussel sprouts with bacon and cream

field greens with currants, feta and walnuts in a balsamic vinaigrette

romaine lettuce with artichoke, red onion and avocado in lime, cilantro dressing

Dessert

assorted dainties and cookies

Menu #2

Pass Around Apps
$11/person

berber spiced shrimp with mint and lemongrilled shrimp

savoury profiteroles with chicken liver mousse and cornichon

roast garlic and white bean tapenade with eggplant relish

Main Course, Buffet Style
$40/person

Brown sugar and smoked paprika crusted beef tenderloin with chimichurri

Chicken fricasee with leeks and mushrooms

sweet and savoury potato dauphinoise

saffron pilaf with sundried cranberries, raisins and toasted pine nuts

green beans with pancetta and parmesan

roasted cauliflower with coriander, orange and chilies

roasted root vegetables with sage and brown butter

Butter lettuce with fennel and grapefruit in a mint and ginger dressing

arugula salad with roasted pear, blue cheese and walnuts in a red wine vinaigrette

Dessert

banana, chocolate chip bread pudding with warm caramel sauce

 

Boeuf Bourguignon

beef fryingThis recipe is ripped right out of the pages of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French CookingBut that’s not where I learnt it. This is a dish from my childhood. It’s funny how the hings you grow up seem normal. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that most kids in Canada didn’t have this dish

beef searedas a regular staple in their diets. I grew up watching Julia Child on PBS with my mom. I love making this dish, not just because it encourages you to speak in Julia’s high-pitched voice, but because it is a simple beef stew, elevated by technique. Don’t try to skip steps, don’t over fill your pan, don’t cheat. The end result is worth the extra work.

 

Boeuf Bourguignon

beef raw2 lbs beef

ok, lets talk about beef. What cut I use depends on how much time I have. If you need this made in a hurry and still want it to taste awesome, use tenderloin. You can brown it, make the saucy part and serve it medium rare. If you have a couple hours, use sirloin. Makes a nice braise, but doesnt need a ton of time. But for the best tasting, with the richest sauce use something from the shoulder. You can use cross rib, top blade or even chuck shortribs.

1/2 lb baconbacon

1 lb mushrooms, halved, quartered or whole

1/2 lb baby onions, shallots or cipollini

or if you can’t find any of those, just coarse chop regular onions

1 clove garlic, smashed

2 cups full bodied red wine

2 cups beef stock

2 bay leaves

1 sprig rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

cornstarch

  1. dice beef into 1 1/2 inch cubes. season with salt and pepper
  2. cut bacon into 1/2 inch lardons, peel onions (or shallots)shallots
  3. in a heavy dutch oven, fry bacon until a healthy amount of bacon fat has been rendered. remove bacon from pot and set aside, pour off excess fat, but save the fat.
  4. working in batches so you don’t crowd the pot. brown beef on all sides. set aside
  5. mushroomsreturn a little bacon fat to the pot. again working in batches, sautee the mushrooms. set aside
  6. add a little more bacon fat and sautee the onions. deglaze the pan with red wine. add bay leaf and rosemary and bring to a boil. reduce until 1/2 cup of wine remains.
  7. return beef, mushrooms and bacon to pot. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and braise until meat is fork tender.bacon and mushrooms
  8. if the sauce is thin, make a slurry with the cornstarch and mix into the sauce. bring back to a boil to thicken
  9. check seasoning. (trick: if the sauce tastes a little flat you can add a tbsp soy sauce. If it tastes too acidic, add a little brown sugar. If it tastes too sweet, add a tsp vinegar.)
  10. Bouef BourguignonBe sure to wish your dinner guests a resounding “Bon Appetit!!”

Cooking Classes

Chef Alex will be teaching cooking classes on Wednesday October 11 and Wednesday October 25. Each class will begin at 7:00 and run for roughly 3 hours. In each class will include a three course dinner. Each class will combine demonstration with a hands on component. You will learn some basic skills, some new recipes and some “chef tricks”. You will leave each class with a handout of all the recipes you created. These classes are meant to be educational, but more than that, they are meant to be fun!

Classes are $75.00 per person, or you can book for both classes for $130.00.

Wednesday October 11th: Cooking Italian

pasta picTortellini di zucca with brown butter and sage

Chicken Scallopini with white wine, herbs and capers served with rapini, cherry tomato salsa fresca and soft polenta

Red Wine poached pears with candied walnuts and zabaglione

 

choc souffle

Wednesday October 25th: French Cuisine

Profiteroles stuffed with chicken liver mousse

Boeuf Bourguignon with creamy mashed potatoes and green beans.

Chocolate Grand Marnier Souffle

email me at chef@alexanderskitchen.ca to sign up. I am keeping these classes small, so book soon.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, need a hand?

turkeyIt seems like this year  Thanksgiving Weekend kind of snuck up on us. Wasn’t it just last week that we were sitting on the beach? If you are feeling stressed about having to serve your family and friends an elaborate feast this weekend, let us help you.

We can Brine and Stuff the bird, we can make all the side dishes, we can even do the whole thing, complete with appetizers and desserts. If you are interested in doing a theme, talk to us, we can tweak the menu to suit you.

Just the Turkey

     Brined, seasoned and stuffed. Ready to roast                                    $8/person (min 8 ppl)

     Roasted and Ready to serve, delivered hot.                                                           $15/person

      for a free run bird,                                                                                               add $5/person

All the Sides

     mashed potatoes, baked yams, 3 veggie dishes, cranberry sauce, pickles, gravy and a salad                                                                      $12/person (min 8 ppl)

Dessert

     Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie and Chocolate Brownies                             $8/person (min 8 ppl)

Appetizers

     mini crab and corn cakes, kale and feta galettes,

     blue cheese and bacon stuffed mushrooms                                          $9/person

squashDelivery Charges may apply.

To order, just email us at catering@alexanderskitchen.ca

Easy Chicken Curry Dinner in 4 Parts

curry pic 1Okay, maybe doing any dinner that involves 4 parts can’t really be called “easy”. But each part is easy and they all stand alone. Serve the curry with the rice and skip the other two. Enjoy the eggplant with a couple poached eggs and some toasted bread. Use the zucchini as a side dish to almost anything. Take the curry, wrap it in a tortilla and call it Roti. There are lots of options. But even if you made the whole 4 part menu, you should be in and out of your kitchen in under an hour.  And there is a reason your stove has 4 elements.

If you have any bottled chutney’s or hot sauces, pull them out of the fridge for this. You can add to this menu by serving it with sliced cucumbers, some nice plain yogurt, some little bowls on nuts and seeds. Part of the fun of Indian cooking is the way you get to play with your food.

chicken curryChicken Curry

2 lbs chicken thighs

1 tbsp canola oil

1 large onion, diced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, minced

1 tbsp of your favourite curry powder

(pro tip: If you don’t feel like grinding your own curry powder. try mixing two different ones together. For this recipe I used 2 parts madras curry and 2 part hot jamaican)

pinch of chilies, to taste

1 tbsp brown sugar

6 russet potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

  1. cut chicken into large chunks. Heat oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. Add chicken to pot. Let chicken begin to brown
  2. add onions, celery, garlic, ginger, spices and sugar. Cook for about 5 minutes on high heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. add potatoes and stock. bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft and chicken is tender.
  4. Mix in yogurt , check seasoning and serve.

Sweet and Spicy Eggplanteggplant

1 tbsp canola oil

1 large eggplant or a couple small ones, diced

1 large onion, diced

1 tbsp coriander seed

1 tsp (or more) dried chili flakes

2 cups diced tomatoes

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 tbsp sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

  1. in a dry pan, toast the coriander til it starts to pop.
  2. add oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add chilies and eggplant and sauté until eggplant is tender.
  3. add tomatoes, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil.
  4. reduce heat and simmer until “jammy”.
  5. stir in sesame seeds and sesame oil. adjust seasoning. Serve hot with dinner, but any  leftovers will keep well in the refrigerator and can be used as a chutney.

Shredded Zucchinishredded zucchini

4 zucchini, grated on the largest grater size, or julienned on a mandoline.

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

lime

salt and pepper to taste.

  1. working in batches, being careful not to overload the frying pan, sauté the zuchinni.
  2. Sprinkle with chilies, cumin, salt and a squeeze of lime.

riceBasmati Rice

2 cups basmati rice, cleaned

3 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp butter

  1. put all ingredients in sauce pan. cover with lid
  2. bring to a boil.
  3. reduce heat to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. About 20 minutes.

Variations

  1. after the rice is cooked, stir in chopped green onion, cilantro and mint
  2. after rice is cooked, stir in raisins and slivered almonds
  3. while rice is cooking, add some orange peel, a couple star anise, a couple whole cloves, and a piece of cinnamon stick
  4. while cooking, add lemon zest, a slice of ginger and green coriander pods
  5. while cooking add a few threads of saffron
  6. all of the above

Pop Up, September 15th

We are putting on a Pop-Up dinner at Cafe 1958 this Friday, Sept. 15th. Tickets are $60 per person. The seating is limited, so book soon. You can email me at chef@alexanderskitchen.ca for more information.

Everyone wants to see the menu. I don’t understand why! I always like the element of surprise. But for those of you who want to know what you are buying tickets for, here it is. I have a vegetarian option available if desired.

Please keep in mind that then menu may change as I go shopping, If I find some cool stuff, I might just have to include it.

Sept 15 Pop Up

Omnivore

pop up menuoysters, cucumber, gin

oxtail broth, red cabbage, raw beef

fried “spam”, quail egg, celery salad

duck with bigoli

grapefruit curd, mint granita, pomegranate

scallops, popcorn grits, cider gastrique, prosciutto

fried kale, mushrooms, chicken fried brie, pickled melon

pork neck, gnocchi, crispy onions, brown butter

strawberry milk, burnt almond cookie, dark chocolate ganache

Herbivore

cucumber salad, fresh mint, pistachios

shitake mushroom broth, klimps, pickled beet

fried tofu, quail egg, celery salad

bigoli with brussel sprouts, walnuts and parmesan

grapefruit curd, mint granita, pomegranate

grilled artichokes, popcorn grits, cider gastrique, roasted fennel

fried kale, mushrooms, chicken fried brie, pickled melon

bigoli with brussel sprouts, walnuts and parmesan

parsnip gnocchi, roasted squash, white beans, crispy onions

strawberry milk, burnt almond cookie, dark chocolate ganache

Making Lunches

About mid-July this year, our youngest daughter informed us that her friend at school has much better lunches than she does and she thinks maybe her chef Papa needs to step up his game.

food picNow, I’m just going to take a moment to unpack all of this. First of all, our youngest is spectacular at throwing some shade and rarely misses an opportunity to do so. She does this with an impish grin and gets away with it most of the time. Secondly, all our children can and do cook. She is super capable of making her own lunches and has done so. Having said that, Alex really loves to cook for people, this is such an expression of affection for him, that he will always make meals for us. Finally, we homeschooled our kids for varying parts of their educations and now we have 3 in school and so making lunches is something we need to get a handle on!

One of my favourite things to eat for lunch, either at home or at work, and what I’m in fact chowing down on as I write this, is a Big Salad. Remember when Elaine on Seinfeld became obsessed by the Big Salad? That is me. I love veggies and I really love having something I can eat over the course of hours as I do other things and it just gets better as the salad dressing sinks in. There is rarely a time in our house when we can’t make a Big Salad out of the stuff in our fridge and cupboards. And to go along with a Big Salad, I like to have a homemade dressing. I really, really, really dislike store bought salad dressings. I find them oddly sweet and glompy. And so I always make my own dressings, which can be as simple as taking some olive oil with salt and pepper in it, and a couple of lemon wedges or as fancy as sesame oil with garlic, ginger, hot chili flakes, soya sauce and lime juice. Check out some of our Big Salad and dressing combinations here.

Now on to those pesky kids! None of our kids are big sandwich eaters. Generally speaking, they will choose other options. And when we were homeschooling all of them, lunch was usually leftovers from the night before. Or pita pizzas: easy and quick. Now, we are looking to make lunches every day and apparently, one of our kid’s friends has a mom who is acing this lunch thing and putting the chef to shame so let’s get this lunch thing kicked up a notch. This will be an on-going endeavour so we’ll be sharing our ideas (and would love to hear yours!) as we go!