Soup Up My Soup

Food and Stuff

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Ettabelle’s Spareribs

A few years ago we moved my Grandma from her house in Goderich, Ontario, into a retirement home in London close to my parent’s house. When it came time to clean out her home, I naturally called dibs on all of her cookbooks (not sure how happy she was about parting with those actually). I now have about twenty of these on my bookshelf, with some of them as much as fifty years old.

The other day I picked up “A Continual Feast,” a compilation of recipes put together in 1981 from the ladies of the local church, my Grandma included. She has about a dozen recipes in there with her name next to them, and one of them are these spareribs.

These are really easy to make; brown the ribs in some oil in a skillet for a few minutes and then transfer to a baking dish with the sauce for about an hour and a half at 350. I actually just had a saute pan with a lid (All Clad, it’s awesome use it all the time), and just used that and it worked fine. Also, I used convection baking and they were cooked perfectly in an hour.

The lemon and the vinegar are a nice contrast to the sweetness from the “catsup” and the brown sugar, also I left out the water but only because I forgot it. The end result was quite nice. Two thumbs up. I’ll comb through the book and post some other recipes that I liked.



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Flounder Roulades

Flounder is a flatfish that lives at the bottom of the ocean. It will give you four fillets that are white, lean and flaky, and when cooked in butter and a bit of oil in a nonstick pan can give you a nice complex flavour that’s worth the effort that goes into filleting delicate flatfish.

One fairly painless way to prepare this fish is by doing a roulade. Once you’ve done the filleting, dress the pieces in some salt, pepper and any other spices you want, roll them and put them through a skewer. Then, on high heat, cook for about three minutes on each side, leaving them a bit raw in the middle for extra flavour, take out the skewers and serve.

To plate, you can finish with some citrus juice and any sauce. For this I used some lime juice and wasabi









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Pork Lion with Dijon Mustard (Filet de Cochon a la Dijonnaise)

I don’t cook a lot of pork but came across this recipe so thought I’d give it a shot and thought it was pretty good.

When cooking recipes that call for pork loin, make sure you figure out if you need to be using pork center cut loin or tenderloin. The latter is much smaller, tender, and cooks faster. For this recipe, you are using the center cut loin and will be braising for about 45 minutes in total. Keep a meat thermometer nearby if possible and make sure you don’t cook much past 141 degrees Fahrenheit/60 degrees Celsius. You can cook pork to a medium rare or medium temperature,  it doesn’t have to taste like a hockey puck.

You could alter this recipe to use tenderloin, however because tenderloin is fairly tender (the name ain’t lyin to ya), it’s not a meat that lends itself to braising. Braising is usually done with tougher cuts of meat. What you could do is sear the tender loin, add all the liquids, and then put in the over for about 12-15 minutes at 400. That should do it.

Pork Cut Sheet


If you are getting pork from a supermarket, you’re likely to only see pork loins cut into thin pieces which are then fried like a steak. This happened to me so I asked the butcher to cut me out a long strip instead. This allows for better cooking through braising.




  • pork loin, center cut, 2.5 lbs
  • onion, 1 medium, chopped
  • stock, veal or chicken, 1 cup
  • whipping or heavy cream, 1 cup
  • rosemary, a handful
  • dijon, 3 tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Brown the pork loin on all sides using butter or clarified butter, a couple minutes on each side, and set aside
  2. Chop a medium onion and saute it in the pan for a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine or a white port. Make sure you get all the scrapings off the bottom in the pan so they will be properly incorporated into the sauce. Return the pork to the pan, cover and cook on low heat on the stove for 30 mins.
  3. Add the chicken or veal stock and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cream and cook for a final 10 minutes.
  5. A few minutes before you’re done and about to serve, add the dijon mustard and incorporate into the liquid. You might find you want to add more than 3 tbsp to get more of a mustard-y kick.
  6. To serve, place the pork pieces onto a plate, and spook some of the sauce on top. Have enough on the plate that you can dip the pork pieces onto the sauce


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Choucroute Garnie (Sauerkraut a l’alsacienne)

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Last night I had the pleasure of going for dinner at Le Paradis on Bedford Ave. (one of the best values in the city for French food) and ordered Choucroute Garnie, a dish from Alsace Province in France consisting of various assortments of pork nestled in sauerkraut and cooked in wine.

I learned a bit about Alsace from a wine class I took a few years ago. As for wine, their two most notable grape varietals are Riesling and Gewurztraminer, the latter being German for “spice” or something to that effect. That’s it, that’s all I got.

Through war and conflict the region has bounced back and forth between Germany and France four times in the last hundred years or so, presumably finding a permanent home now in the latter. Although, with the way they have been getting along lately at the ECB, you sometimes wonder.

With the use of sauerkraut and various pork products such as sausages, I guess it comes as no surprise, then, that Alsace is so close to Frankfurt. Choucroute Garnie is a staple in Alsace during the wintertime, and given the horrible weather here in Toronto these past few weeks I thought I’d give it a shot tonight and it turned out pretty good. If you decide to make it, ensure you have at least a few delicious mustards on hand; mix and match for best effect. Nothing better than good mustard.

You can find reliable instructions for Choucroute Garnie in Larousse Gastronomique (I found a copy from the 1960s at the Trinity College Annual Book Fair for 5 bucks (!) that has served me quite well), or if you want a quicker version, here. Enjoy with a nice Reisling, or in our case tonight, a good Italian Chianti.

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Sauce Bordelaise

Bordelaise just refers to something that comes from Bordeaux, and this sauce is great for profiling wine from the region, if you decide to use it. An interesting fact about French cuisine is that the are actually only two red wine-based derivative brown sauces (sauces that use demi-glace and red wine), whereas there are several that use white wine exclusively. The second, Meurette Sauce, comes from Burgundy. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the two most notable regions in France for red wine are the ones that have a sauce that uses it.

According to the 1961 edition of the French food encyclopedia Larousse Gastronomique, Sauce Bordelaise simply refers to white, and then later red wine, as well as marrowbone fat. This differs somewhat to more modern definitions, which generally define the sauce as sautéed shallots with a red wine and then once the wine has been sufficiently reduced, finishing it with some butter for taste and thickening. You can see versions here and here. (Note: if you clicked on those links, notice in the video the chef added sugar to counterbalance the acidity of the wine, and in the second link, the Wikepedia page, calls for adding demi-glace to the sauce).

Although the above video is probably a more traditional version of the sauce, I much prefer sauce Bordelaise as it appears in James Peterson’s Sauces, 3rd edition. I don’t much like sauces that are too thin when poured over a protein such as steak, and I prefer sauces to be smooth over having chunks of shallots in them (most of the time). Just a preference though, not claiming that the below recipe is the proper or the best one.

A couple notes on the ingredients. You can buy demi-glace at most upscale grocery stores, and many butchers will make and sell it. If you don’t mind paying 7 bucks for a cup of it, you can purchase it at Cumbrae’s in Toronto. If you’re keen to use marrow instead of butter, you’ll want to call ahead to make sure the place you’re going to look for it has it. I buy bags of bones from places like Sanagan’s Meat Locker (same location as the old European Meats on Baldwin in Kensington), and will cook with them. I like butter in sauces just as much though.


  • red wine, 1 cup
  • demi-glace (can be veal, beef or chicken), 3/4 cup
  • minced shallots, 2 tbsp
  • black pepper, crushed, 1 tsp
  • dried thyme, 1 pinch
  • bay leaf, 1/2 leaf
  • red wine vinegar, 2 tsp
  • cognac (if you have it), 2 tsp
  • beef marrow cubes or cold butter, 1 1/2 ounce


  1. Combine the red wine and demi, along with the shallots, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf and simmer gently until reduced by about half.
  2. Strain the mixure into a clean saucepan with a fine mesh strainer (or whatever you normally use).
  3. whisk in the vinegar (and Cognac if you have it), simmer for 30 seconds, then add the marrow or butter. Season with salt to taste.









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What is Teriyaki?

Teriyaki is derived from the word teri, which refers to the shine produced by the sugar in the marinade, and yaki, which means to grill or broil. The marinade used to make teriyaki in traditional Japanese cuisine consists of soy sauce, mirin (similar to sake but lower alcohol and higher sugar content), and sugar. Like the recipe below, it’s more common in Western recipes to see garlic and/or ginger added to the marinade.

Teriyaki Marinated Salmon Fillet w/ Herb Dressing 


  • Salmon Fillet, 1.5 lbs.


  • Sherry, Sake, or Mirin, 3 tbsp.
  • Brown Sugar, 3 tbsp.
  • Water, 2 tbsp.
  • Soy Sauce, 2 tbsp.
  • Vegetable oil (or Olive oil), 2 tbsp.
  • Minced Ginger, 1.5 tsp.
  • Minced Garlic, 2 tsp.


  • Sour Cream, 1/4 c
  • Lemon Juice, half a lemon
  • Vegetable Oil (or Olive Oil), 1.5 tsp.
  • Choppd Fresh Dill, 2 tsp.
  • Chopped Fresh Basil, 2 tsp.


Marinade the fish for at least 20 minutes. An easy way to do this is to add the fish to a dish and pour the marinade mixture over the fish and put in the fridge.

While the fish is marinading, make the sauce and set aside.

Cook for about 4 minutes on each side on minimal heat. I took the skin off (scortched it and then it slide off), if you want to keep the skin on, turn the heat down slightly and if possible, use a non-stick pan.

While cooking the fish, continue to baste it with the remaining marinade mixture.

To serve, place a dollop of sauce and put on the plate, along with the fish and whatever else you’re serving it with.

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Lazy Sunday Frittata

A frittata  is an open-face omelette originating from Italy. Unlike a traditional omelette where the eggs are cooked at  high heat and then folded, a frittata is typically made by sauteing some combination of vegetables and meat until softened, and then the egg mixture is poured into the pan and then left to set at low to medium heat. A non-stick brunch pan such as the one in the photo is most ideal, but any pan which has been sufficiently seasoned with butter or oil will do.

After the vegetables and/or meat has been cooked through, it should take about seven minutes give or take for the eggs to set properly. About half way through the setting process you can add cheeses such as feta to the mix.

I usually just end up using whatever is in my fridge, but normally I will put in spinach, peppers, tomatoes, onions, and then maybe ham, bacon, and feta or cheddar at the end. It takes about four eggs worth of liquid to fill this brunch pan, but use whatever you want that reflects the number of people you are cooking for. You can serve this by cutting into slices.

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