The Birth of Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy

 Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy came to be out of two separate events in my life. My youngest son loved to cook with me. At an early age he declared he wanted to open a restaurant when he was older, called "Tyler's Yummy in Your Tummy" He never did open that restaurant but I loved the name and decided to use it for my Blog on Cooking and Recipes.

 "Ollie" replaced the name "Tyler" in the title simply because that same son suggested the nickname Ollie when my first grandchild was born. My middle name is Olive after my Grandmother, and I became Grandma Ollie to my grandchildren. And thus Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy was born!

 This blog will be a collection of recipes - family, my own, and any others I can find in my collection. I've been cooking for almost 50 years - having started as a pre-teen. In Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy I'll share my favourite recipes, tips and techniques with you.

Friday, July 8, 2011

'Tis the Season to Dry Herbs

Herb Drying Rack on kitchen north wall
 Well, my herbs are drying nicely on their various drying racks in the kitchen. I ran out of room on my first rack (the one with umbrella like arms that swing up and out when in use).

So far I've hung Basil, Lemon Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, and Sage. I added one sprig of parsley even though parsley doesn't dry well. I will leave it a few days until there's no moisture and then I'll freeze it in plastic ziplock bags.

Since I have many more herbs ready to harvest, this morning I had hubs pull two of our antique hook racks out of storage and hang them for me in the kitchen. There's not a lot of room on them but I can get almost a dozen more bunches of herbs up using them. 
Herb drying rack on kitchen west wall

I can hardly wait to store these for use all winter long.  I keep my dried herbs in green glass containers in a dark pantry so they don't lose any potency or flavour.

My coriander has flowered now I just have to wait for the flowers to turn brown. Then I can shake the fruit off and store that too. I've never dried coriander before so this is new for me.

I can't get cilantro plants where I live so I bought a bunch of fresh cilantro in the grocery store. I know I can chop the leaves and freeze them in ice cube trays for use.

I love cilantro and have begun using it a lot in my cooking. It's wonderful with tomato-based dishes, eggs, avacado... and much more.

But I can never use the entire bunch you have to buy! In fact I use about 1/100th of it and the rest gets thrown out. What a shame! So I'm going to try the ice-cube tray method and see if I like it. Unfortunately I have no ice cube trays so I'm using small cream cheese containers with lids. Fingers crossed!

Chopped Cilantro in Water
Just chop the cilantro and put one portion (I used a tablespoon) in an ice cube tray or small container, then add enough cold water to just cover the leaves. Freeze and when you are ready to use the cilantro in a recipe, toss the whole thing in, water and all!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Barbeque Foods at a Family Reunion

Every summer we hold a Family Fun Day at our home. Since we have a hobby farm, we've got lots of room for games, scavenger hunts and outdoor cooking.

Making an Outdoor Corn Cooker

One of the traditional foods we cook is corn on the cob. Our twist is that we cook this outside over an open fire. Hubs and I took an old child's swing set and removed the swings leaving only the frame. Then we took an old water pressure tank, cut a chunk off to make a pot about 2 feet in diameter and 2 1/2 feet high.

Next hubs drilled 3 holes at the top of the tank and inserted chains which meet to merge into one chain. The tank hangs on the swing set frame from that one chain. We now have a very nice corn roasting pot! Just fill the pot with water, build the fire under it and start it up.

Water Pressure Tank
Finished Corn Cooker
It takes about an hour from start to finish depending on how big a fire you build and how close the pot is to the fire.  If you hang the pot too close to the flames you get ashes falling into the cooking water.

Garden Grabber aka Corn Picker Upper
Last year hubs bought a tool called Garden Grabber. It's for picking up leaves - it looks a rake on a long pole but the hand grabs the leaves. Hubs uses it to grab the corn out of the boiling water.

The first year we cooked corn outside over an open fire, he taped a wire basket to an old broom handle to get the corn out of the boiling water. Not the best method so that's why he bought the Grabber last year. It works perfectly!

Barbeque Chicken

Barbeque Chicken
The other traditional food I make for the reunion is barbeque chicken. It's easy. I just buy chicken thighs (sometimes I add a few drumsticks for variety) and pre-cook them for about 20 minutes in my oven.

Then I baste them with barbeque sauce and grill them outside on the barbeque for about 10 minutes each side. I like chipotle style barbeque sauce but you can use any kind you prefer.

 Sausages or Hot Dogs

The third food item I like to make for a Family Fun Day is something I know the children will like - either hot dogs or sausages on the barbeque. Of course we have the standard buns plus all the fixings - relishes, mustards, ketchup, pickles, chopped onion, cheese and horseradish. Yep that's right - horseradish. It's yummy on a sausage in a bun!

I like to put a small container of saurkraut on the picnic table too, and a variety of mustards such as French, Dijon and whatever other kind appeals.

Family and friends who come to the Reunion bring desserts and salads so our summer feast is complete!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sweet Potato Fry With Poached Eggs & Hollandaise Sauce

Darn one of the eggs broke! But it was yummy
Last week I had a brief glimpse of a brunch dish on T.V. No recipe was given and there were no instructions how to cook it, but it looked and sounded so yummy I decided to try to duplicate it.

All I could see was that it had sweet potato, sweet peppers, some kind of sausage and onion as a base, with a poached egg on top covered in Hollandaise. I knew it had more ingredients but it wasn't clear from the finished product what they were.

So this morning I created my own version and boy was it yummy! I started with pre-cooking one peeled and sliced sweet potato for about 10 minutes in boiling water (I think I'd reduce this to 8 minutes next time). Then I cooled it quickly in cold water and set it aside.

The chopped vegetables and sausage
Next I chopped into cubes 1/2 a red pepper, 1/2 a yellow pepper, one small onion, a small chunk of sweet sausage (I used chourico) cut into slices, and about 2 Tablespoons of fresh cilantro.

I set that aside to work on the Hollandaise sauce and the poached eggs.

I started the water for the poached eggs then made the Hollandaise sauce. For the sauce I melted about 1/4 - 1/3 cup butter and slowly added it to 3 beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. I put a tiny squirt of lemon juice in the egg-butter mixture and a couple of shakes of cayenne pepper. I thought it might need a hint of spicy to contrast the sweet potato and peppers.

When my Hollandaise had thickened slightly, I kept it warm by pouring it into the pan where the butter had melted, putting the lid on and sticking it in the microwave. I didn't turn the microwave on of course, I was just using it as a warming oven.

Poaching the eggs in the egg boats
As soon as the water was boiling rapidly, put my eggs in their little egg boats (I don't know the actual name for them, I just call them egg boats and I love them for poached eggs! You have to remember to give them a quick spray with cooking oil though or the eggs will stick).

I gently put the egg boats in the water and turned the gass off and put the pan lid on, then set the timer for 10 minutes. I didn't want a runny yolk this time but I might try this with an 8 minute egg next time.

Don't take the lid off and in 8 or 10 minutes you will have perfect poached eggs in a beautiful circular shape, no straggly bits protruding.

Saute time!
Once the eggs were nestled in their hot water and the timer set, I sauteed the peppers and sweet potato mixture in a small amount of butter. I added salt and pepper to taste to the cubed items in the pan, and a quick shake of fine herbes.

It took about 5 minutes for the onions to be nice and soft but not crispy or brown. I just kept that mixture warm while waiting for the eggs to finish.

Ready to assemble
Okay everything was done and ready for assembly! First I had to get the egg boats out of the hot water and work fast to stop the eggs from continuing to cook.

So I scooped the saute mixture in to my glass dish and then turned out my perfectly poached eggs on top. Last was the Hollandaise poured over the top and my brunch was ready.

To make it even prettier I could have added some fresh parsley on top. You can see the finished dish at the beginning of this recipe. It was really tasty but I didn't are for the sausage I chose so next time I'll try another type.

I also think I might try cooking honey-garlic sausage separately and serving it beside the egg-sweet potato dish, or pre-cooking Sweet Italian and slicing it to add to the mixture.

My husband gave this first attempt a 7.5 out of 10. I'll do better next time I try it. But it was tasty!