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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Harvesting and Drying Garden Herbs

Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy: How to Dry Herbs
Rosemary & Oregano
  Last fall I harvested some of our herbs from the garden. Sage, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme were growing well. In fact my Thyme is flowering!

I cut the herbs early in the morning. Not so early that they were damp from dew but a bit later after they were quite dry.

I love the smell as I cut them and placed them on paper towels inside my wicker basket.

Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy: How to Dry Herbs
Herbs on Paper Towels
Next I shook the herbs to get rid of dust and bits of debris, then I placed them all on paper towels. I wanted to be sure they were fairly clean and dry before bundling them for tying.

Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy: How to Dry Herbs
Herbs Drying on Racks
Herbs are tied together in small bundles, then hung upside down to dry on my antique towel rack in the kitchen.  You would not believe how good it smells in there!

The tea towel is placed to stop direct sunlight from hitting the herbs. It's a south facing window, not the best spot for drying herbs but it's the only place where I have the wooden racks that are perfect for drying.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Best Ever Pot Roast

Ollie's Yummy in Your Tummy Delicious tender pot roast
I have a confession. I've never made a pot roast before. But this past weekend I decided to take pity on my poor husband who has had to live with my preference for chicken for the past 16 years.

First I had to research what cut of beef to buy. It seems that there are several you can choose from - rump, chuck, brisket and no doubt more. But I decided to use chuck and off I went to the grocery store. No labels that said "chuck" so I had to ask the butcher. He showed me something called Cross Rib Pot Roast Boneless and explained that is the same as a Chuck Roast.

I bought a 4 lb. roast and that's what I used to make this amazing tender roast that melts in your mouth. This ended up giving me 2 dinners for two (so 4 meals), 2 hot roast beef sandwiches, and 3 beef pot pies (each made for 2 adults). And it cost me about $15.00 total!

1- 4lb chuck roast
1 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3/4 cup wine
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt,
1 tsp. dried Marjoram
2 sweet bell peppers, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 or 2 onions, quartered
5 cloves garlic


First I rubbed the roast with paprika, then I seared it on all sides in hot olive oil on the stove top. That took about 10 minutes. Removed the roast but save the oil and any brown bits in the pan.  I'm sorry I haven't got any pictures of the prep but I will add them next time I make this. Put the roast into a small crock pot (Slow cooker) and set it aside for the moment.

To the pan that you used to sear the roast add 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 3/4 cup of wine (I used white because I didn't have any red), 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 2 tsp. white sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp. marjoram. I used my homegrown dried marjoram because I prefer fresh or dried to powdered.  Bring all this to heat, give it a stir, scrape up any brown bits and pour everything over your roast in the crock pot.

You can turn the crock pot on Low while you prep the vegetables. Slice 2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), 5 mashed, chopped or minced garlic - it's your choice how to do this. I chopped mine.  Add one peeled and sliced carrot, then peel and quarter 1 or 2 onions. You're going to be making gravy from all this so it's up to you how "oniony" you want it to taste!

Toss the vegetables into the crock pot with the roast and check to see if the liquid almost covers your roast. If not, add some more wine. Now you get to relax for the next 10 hours because that is how long you are going to leave your roast cooking on Low.

When your roast is done, remove it from the slow cooker, wrap it in foil and let it rest while you make the gravy. I wrapped mine and put it in the microwave so it would hold the heat.

Making Gravy
If you have an immersion blender, use that to blend and puree everything left in the cooker. You want to mash up the carrot and onions so everything is blended to a nice liquid. If you don't have an immersion blender you can pour everything into a regular blender and blend that way.

Now pour the blended liquid into a saucepan on the stove top, bring to a gentle boil, add brown Veloutine and simmer while stirring until thickened. That is your gravy and believe me it's delicious.

The meat is fork tender and almost falls apart when you slice it. I served mine with mashed potatoes because I wanted to pour the gravy over them, and carrots.

The next day I made hot roast beef sandwiches with sliced leftover meat and gravy, then I made beef pot pies. That recipe will follow soon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rib-Ticklin' Spareribs

Spareribs are the only pork I eat. And I love them. But it took me years to find a recipe for cooking them in a way that suited me. This is it, so I thought I'd share it with you. I found it in a Canadian Living Magazine a few years ago.

 This is all you need to make these amazing ribs. A roast pan (I like to use one with a removable rack so there's less mess), tin foil, paprika, salt, cumin, brown sugar and of course - ribs. You'll need your favourite barbeque sauce too. I like Chipotle for Ribs and Chicken.
 Mix together 3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar with 3 tsp  paprika, 4 tsp cumin (the original recipe calls for 4 tsp of paprika but that's too much for my taste) plus 1 tsp of salt. Set this aside while you prepare the ribs by cutting them into smaller sections. I usually cut between every second rib.
 Arrange the ribs in a foil lined roasting pan.
Rub the ribs with the brown sugar mixture
Cover with tin foil and bake in a 400' oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove from oven and drain the fat off the ribs. Then brush them liberally with barbeque sauce and return to oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. I usually reduce the heat a bit for this last stage to 375'. Watch that they don't burn but you want them nice and browned and the sauce a bit bubbly.
Rib Ticklin' Spareribs

Remove from oven, cut the ribs into single portions for ease of eating, serve with your favourite vegetables and enjoy!  Usually I serve ribs with a loaded baked potato and a green vegetable but tonight I had leftover macaroni and cheese to use up so that's what you see here.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Pre 1900 Cooking Challenge #1: Pine Needle Tea

Pine Needle Tea from the 1600s as used by Huron Indians
In December my friend and fellow food blogger Colleen Greene  suggested that those of us in the Cook Something group on Facebook prepare 12 dishes from pre-1900. This means we have to find and create those dishes from old recipes, then serve them.

I've had a lot of fun looking over cookbooks and recipes from the 1750s on, but I am starting with Pine Needle Tea. Pine Needle Tea was something that the Huron Indians (also called the Wyendot) on Georgian Bay prepared in order to prevent scurvy. When the Jesuits arrived and began construction of Ste. Marie Among the Hurons in 1639, the natives showed them many natural foods from the wild.

Pine Needle Tea was one of those shown to the French missionaries. It is rich in Vitamin A and C so helpful for colds, flu and has other medicinal uses.

Spruce Trees on our property
Hubs and I are very interested in living off the land and we like to get back to basics in our food whenever possible.  We believe in being self-reliant and so we have learned about various edible wild plants that grow in our area.

Since I live near Ste. Marie Among the Hurons and am very familiar with the site and history, I thought this would be a very appropriate recipe to use for Challenge #1.  My husband has made this tea before and he loves it.

First you find a pine tree. We used a Spruce tree with short needles. You want to look for fresh bright green needles on your tree. Some pine trees are poisonous so be sure you know what you are gathering! Luckily where we live there are no poisonous pine trees. You also don't want to drink gallons of this tea at one sitting as it can be harmful in large quantities. We use spruce but others have told me they have used Balsam, White Pine and Pitch. I cannot vouch for these varieties as we have not tried them.

You can rinse the needles with cold water if you wish. We don't. Then you chop the needles into short pieces. The shorter the better.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil on the stove, then add 1 to 2 Tbsp. of chopped needles. Simmer this for about 20 minutes or until the needles start to sink to the bottom.

When the pine needles start to sink to the bottom of your pot, the tea is ready. You can also tell by the colour. The darker the tea, the more nutrients you are getting and the stronger the flavour

This is plenty for 2 cups of tea

Chopping the needles into small pieces

We used a short needle Spruce but still need to chop
Add needles to water on stove
Tea is almost ready. A beautiful colour!

You can now strain the boiled tea into your teacup or you can let it sit and steep for another 10 to 15 minutes. A little side note - the strainer I'm using here was my great-grandmother's.
Pine Needle Tea
Hubs likes to add milk and sugar to his, but the natives and Jesuits would likely only have added maple syrup or perhaps a bit of sugar to theirs.