Gotta love a publication that loves bacon!

Check out this months edition of Tailgater Monthly!


Bacon makes everything better!

Bacon makes everything better!

“Age seldom arrives smoothly or quickly. It’s more often a succession of jerks.” Jean Rhys

Jerk Chicken wings with Mango Hot SauHeat again? I’m afraid so! As I’ve said before it’s really not about the heat, although that’s fun, it’s about the flavor and the feeling released on your senses. Jerk is one of my favourites and always has been. There is a sweetness in the fiery goodness from the All Spice, cinnamon, and brown sugar that permeates the meat to another dimension.

Spicy and sweet has always been in my arsenal. There are plenty of ready-made dry rubs out there to make your life easier but there is nothing like creating your own concoction specific to your personal taste and it’s easy.

My wings were marinated in my own rub and moistened with a little vegetable oil to spread the karma of the Caribbean. Grilled over charcoal and served with a Scotch Bonnet and mango dipping sauce smoothed out with honey and yogurt excited the mouth.   On the side, Orzo and grilled vegetable salad with toasted tortilla strips for crunch.

You have to take bland out of the equation. Good meals with interesting twists and a flavour theme keep the creative juices flowing.

Be well and eat well!


“Generally speaking, food has to be spicier than it would be if you tasted it on the ground,” Peter Jones

Hot Garlic Drumsticks with Bacon OrzoYou have to try everything. Hot, sweet, savory, strong, smokey, even weird in life. You don’t have to like everything, you just need to try it. After all, if you don’t try something you might miss your new favourite thing, a new direction, a new person, or even a new opportunity. Going through life only doing or trying what you know will never take you down new avenues. Change, stretch, break that envelope that you live in.

Food wise, hot and spicy is a good thing. It wakes up your taste buds and gives them new opportunities to experience. It might be that you aren’t a big fan and that’s OK. You tried and maybe you’ll try again. Look past the hot and see the flavour. That’s what we chili heads do.

Tonight’s offering is chicken drumsticks marinated in garlic, olive oil, and Nando’s Hot Garlic Sauce served on bacon and parmesan orzo. The drums were grilled over charcoal low and slow to keep them juicy.

Be well and eat well!


“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Jane Howard

Turkey Shoot 2013A Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Canada comes a month early compared to our friends in the US. Origins can be dated back to 1578 and the voyage of Martin Frobisher searching for the Northwest Passage.  Samuel de Champlain held many festival of celebration of thanks and established the Order of Good Cheer  in sharing their food with the First Nation.

At one point Upper and Lower Canada celebrated Thanksgiving at different times. After the American Revolution, refugees that remained loyal to Britain brought customs and traditions north to Canada. Its date fluctuated until 1957 when the second Monday in October became a national statutory holiday.  The theme became a celebration of the abundant harvest and thankfulness of all we are blessed with.

Our family gathering’s origin comes from an event long before my participation. During the 1960’s, my in-laws would have a fall party they entitled The Turkey Shoot. The day long party centered around the men target shooting for bragging rights and the prize of a turkey for

Thanksgiving. Its day had long passed and would have probably remained a memory if not for the creativity of my brother-in-law. We decided in 1989 to make Thanksgiving our event and resurrected The Turkey Shoot. Christmas would be for our immediate nest, but Thanksgiving would be the whole family, extended, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends, dogs, basically everybody that makes us who we are. There would be no presents and no expectations other than being together to be together. We would eat, and eat well, have drinks, tell stories and rehash laughs and tears, sit up too late around the fire and just be us. I have to say in 24 years I have no memory of disagreements, attitudes or fights. I am very proud of us all. Understand that some years have been good with new arrivals and life events; others have not been so good.  People, important people, loved ones that have been with us and should still be with us are gone in body but still sitting around the fire with us. Our Thanksgiving is about family.

We have our target competition, horseshoe pitch, archery, and have even taken to setting Chinese lanterns into the sky late at night with messages to those that we wish were there.

I can talk about the food but we’ll let the pictures do that. There’s not a lot of late evening photos because no one really wants to see us dancing to Journey or rolling downhill off an unbalanced chair. Actually you probably do but what happens at the farm stays at the farm.

To all my friends, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. To all south of the border and anticipating yours, I wish you happiness and the warm embrace of your family and friends.Fall in Northern Ontario

The Farm
Juuust a bit outside!TailgateFire Good!Turkey Spit


“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.” Humphrey Bogart

Yesterday was a good day. Things happened, issues worked out, and the feeling in the air was happy. It wasn’t a prime rib or porterhouse day, more like a Salisbury steak day, which in the long run is satisfying and comforting. Like a meat hug.

So hitting the #BGE with my more than massive cast iron pan I thought why not switch it up a little bit. Salisbury meatballs in a onion sauce. Then the thought of what to serve them with?  We’ve all had baked potatoes with the works on top. You know chili, bacon and cheddar, broccoli and cheese, whatever. So my meatballs sat on a twice stuffed cheddar potato with the onion gravy ladled on top.

Ok decadent, maybe a little excessive, but my doctor is on holidays, and cholesterol level is surprisingly normal, so why not.

Veal, medium ground and a de-cased  pork sausage for a meat medley. Dehydrated onions, worcestershire, a little soya sauce, garlic and pepper with some bread crumbs to make my balls. I sautéed them in the cast iron over coal till they were browned and removed from the heat. The onion went in to clear added garlic beef stock with a slurry of corn starch to thicken the sauce. Then back in with the meatballs to finish cooking.

The potatoes were baked, scooped and mixed with cheddar and cream till and blended till smooth. Then back in the skins. Balls on top and sauce over everything!

Nice and comforting.

Salisbury meatballs! A different take on an old standard.

Be well and eat well.






Over the top

Over the top

“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.” Robert Louis Stevenson

If I was told by a doctor that I could never have another piece of red meat it would hurt, but I could do it. If he told me that I could never have another glass of wine it would hurt, but I could live with it. If he said that I could never have another piece of #cheese, I would say, “How much time do I have left.”

Cheese is wonderful! Cheese is glorious! Cheese is my favourite food! Every kinds, every texture, the stinkier  the better!

Here is what I came up with last night, Roasted Squash rigatoni using #TreStelle mascarpone and Grana Padano with pancetta and kale.

The Butternut squash was roasted over coals with garlic and rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The warm, soft squash was blended with the garlic, mascarpone, Grana Padano, and cream.

I wilted the kale by adding it to the freshly boiled pasta.

Once tossed with the rigatoni, the pan fried pancetta was mixed in with the luxurious sauce and baked for 20 minutes.

Did I say I love cheese! This mixture with the pasta is sweet, sticky, and so tasty that your kids won’t know they’re eating squash and kale.

Be well and eat well!


Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley

Great weather, great weekend, and as Phil Robertson says, Happy, Happy, Happy!

Life has a way of just happening. No warnings, you just wake up and stuff is there to deal with. You can plan your best to make sure the bumps and the pitfalls are minimum, but in the long run, stuff happens.

Keeping a positive outlook is hard sometimes, but the flip is a negative one and going down that road is a soul sucking defeatist route that brings you to your knees.  Accomplishing even the smallest goals becomes overwhelming! Stay positive! Stay on your path! Don’t let the naysayers take control of your thoughts. Do what you know is right and stay away from the “realistic people”.

Everyone has heard the comment” I’m just being realistic,” and then someone lists off all their realistic points. Pay attention to their comments and see how many of them are negative. Most realistic people are actually just negative thinkers. Being realistic means looking at both sides positive and negative and dealing with them as elegantly and effectively as you can.

This weekend the food was fun. Having experienced the deliciousness of rotisserie chicken on the gas grill, we decided that to try a cousin of Mr. Chicken and introduced Mr. Duck to the Napoleon. Simply rubbed with ground coriander, salt and pepper and stuffed with lemons. I had duck bones in my freezer, (doesn’t everyone) so Mr. Duck had a Pinot Noir and duck stock reduction to complete him.

Red rice made an introduction too. Prepared in the duck stock instead of water and finished with toasted almonds and grated apple.

Since the trolls had friends over and we needed to stretch the quantity, over the charcoal short ribs in a honey/soya/sesame blend hit the Weber.

Vicky created a wonderful Kale and Grapefruit salad to complete the meal.

Weekend good! Week to come will be good, after all it’s not what your dealt, it how you deal with it.

Be well and eat well!


Duck,Duck, Pork!

Duck,Duck, Pork!

“It is a solemn thought: Dead, the noblest man’s meat is inferior to pork” Mark Twain

Made fresh! Really fresh with no paper wrapped around it!

Made fresh! Really fresh with no paper wrapped around it!

So fast food done at home? Easy! When you bow to the advertising of Fresh tastes best, so why drive, waste gas and money? Do it yourself!

Last night was a pork tenderloin sub or hoagie if you will. Starting by making a rub of garlic, onion and brown sugar, the pork was grilled over coals, sliced and served on a French stick. Onions browned in balsamic and brown sugar and topped with homemade pickles and Swiss cheese.  The trolls went wild.

20 minutes! Less time than getting in the car to pick up fast food and still warm, soft and juicy.

Be well and eat well!


“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” Cesar Chavez

I’ve always believed in the family dinner.  Taking time from the week to bring everyone together and just be together. Our lives are too full these days and we have become a self-society.  When you have children your focus changes, or should change.

Ever since life dealt us a hard hand and we became 3 from 4, dinner and food has been a binder for us. Sharing and talking or even just being together in the same room has bound us through difficult times. This effort has even spread to friend, boyfriends, girlfriends, and new partners. Funny how a simple basic need imparts love when you take time to put your heart into it.

As I stated before, soup is one of my favourite meals to put together on the #BGE. Roasting off vegetables in the oven imparts more flavor, but roasting outside over some sweet wood takes it up to a new level. Smoke is like a kiss from the gods.

This time it was Corn and Sweet Potato, roasted of course.  Pulling back the husk of the corn but leaving the husk intact and then pulling all the silk out, as best you can. After that push the husk back into place and soak in water for at least an hour. The water soaked husk will create steam and hold back the leaves from burning right away. Oh they will burn just not as fast.

While the corn is soaking, prepare your stock. If you have bones in your freezer and make your own great, if you’re using a store bought stock, that’s ok too but add your own twist to it. Some bay leaves, garlic, whatever will make it your own.

When your grill is ready put on your sweet potato. I half mine and rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When its 50% there, I start my corn. Husks intact and laying over the coals. I keep turning until the kernels are golden. You won’t get all the husk covering the corn so you can peak and watch.

Take the roasted corn from the grill along with your sweet potato and let cool till you can handle it. Remove all the corn from the cob and place half in your stock along with the scooped out sweet potato. Keep the other half aside. Don’t forget to put the stripped cobs in the stock too.

After 20 minutes of the warm sweet stock cooking, take it off, take out the cobs, and blend till smooth in a blender or food processor.   If you want a very smooth soup, pour through a strainer and work it through with the back of a ladle. If you like a little more substance to your soup, skip the strainer.

At this point add the reserved corn to your soup and return to the heat for a few minutes. The corn was already roasted so all you’re doing is heating it up.

A little cream or sour cream to the bowl and garnish however you like. A little red pepper flakes make it happy, happy, happy!

Soup is like a warm loving blanket and a great conversation starter at dinner time. Make some bread too. It’s not that hard.

Be well and eat well


"I live on good soup, not on fine words." Moliere

“I live on good soup, not on fine words.”

“I want to be strapped to a table, while a family of chickens argues over who gets to eat my legs.” ― Jarod Kintz,

“If you’ll be my Dixie Chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee Lamb, And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland”. This is one of my favourite Little Feat songs. I didn’t do southern chicken, I did stuffed chicken legs!

I’ve been working on my butchering skills and have only seen this preparation a few times, so I thought, why not?

I had a house full of trolls and a whack of chicken legs. My usual got to is to wrap in bacon and smoke over hickory. Tonight I wanted to try something different. My attack plan was simple, if I can get the first leg deboned, I can do it! Honestly, it was simpler than I thought. Creating these little poultry packs of heaven is something I will definitely go back to.

The fridge and the pantry had genoa, bocconcini, chèvre, tomatoes, and spaghettini. So let’s go Italian!

I blended the chèvre into a paste with garlic, red onion, and Italian seasoning. I placed a dollop of paste on a slice of genoa with a whole basil leaf and a slice of bocconcini. Rolled into a little cigar and then inserted it into the drumstick sealing the end with a toothpick. The outside was rubbed with olive oil and Italian seasoning. The little morsels of love were grilled on the cast iron until they were browned.

The meal was served with a tomato, red wine sauce tossed into the spaghettini.

Being able to take a bite without the bone there is a great experience. I’m thinking a bacon and cheddar stuffing next time!

Be well and eat well!


Where's the bone!

Where’s the bone!