If you only buy one of the Eric Akis series of Everyone Can Cook book, his latest is the one you should buy for yourself, or for a loved one who cooks for you.
Everyone Can Cook Everything, published by B.C.’s Whitecap Books is a compendium of his best-selling series, which began with one called Everyone Can Cook. Akis is a food columnist whose work now appears in a number of papers across Canada, but he’s also a chef and his recipes are generally excellent, without being too complicated.
This book is a collection of 240 recipes from appetizers, soups and salads, through to side dishes, baked goods and desserts.
With Grey Cup Sunday looming, I thought some juicy, flavourful ribs would be good to gnaw on in front of the television, so you must try this rib recipe from Eric’s latest book. It’s yummy. Just provide lots of napkins.
Incidentally, buying good cookbooks is not the only way to become a great cook. You can also attend cooking classes, like those put on by top chef Matt Batey at Mission Hill’s fabulous culinary theatre, where you can watch the chefs in action from a comfortable table where you enjoy sips of excellent wine along with the dishes being created in front of you.
It’s an amazing and delicious experience, as well as being educational. Next week is a new one called The Dynamics of Food and Wine, East Coast Living. Then there’s the Boot Camp Professional series the next week, followed by Thai cooking, Mediterranean and more. Go to the website for details: www.missionhillwinery.com
Then, join my favourite lavender lady, Andrea McFadden, for her Christmas Fair at the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm in South Kelowna Nov. 24 and 25 with all manner of lavender or herb-themed gift ideas—or a treat for yourself. Go to: www.okanaganlavender.com
If you’re thinking of gifts, consider picking up a copy of my book, Jude’s Kitchen, available wherever books are sold, including local wine shops.
Eric’s Quick Chicken Stew for Two
This was very simple and fast to make and tasted like the ultimate comfort food—like you’d slaved all day over a hot stove to make it. To match the herbs in this, try the herbaceous flavours of the White Bear 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with it. Its plummy flavours, but zesty finish cut through the richness of the chicken stew. And, it’s quite a reasonably-priced B.C. VQA wine.
1 tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 lb. (250 g) boneless, skinless chicken
1/3 c. (80 ml) chopped onion
1/3 c. (80 ml) chopped carrot
1/3 c. (80 ml) chopped celery
1 1/2 tbsp. (22 ml) flour
pinch dried sage leaves
1 1/2 c. (375 ml) chicken stock
1/4 c. (60 ml) frozen peas or corn
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
You may use either chicken breast or thighs cut into bite-sized cubes.
Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for four or five minutes, or until the chicken is light golden brown on all sides.
Stir in the flour and sage and cook for a minute.
Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil and reduce the heat until the stew is gently simmering.
Cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Add a little more stock if the stew becomes too thick.
Add the peas or corn and cook for two minutes, until heated through.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
This is a great way to cook pork ribs that renders them moist and tender, and the sauce is exotic and full of flavour. It would be a great messy snack to serve friends or family during the Grey Cup game on the weekend, or for dinner afterwards. We paired this with the Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Red Willow Shiraz, which was nice and smooth and rich-tasting, with a hint of smokiness that paired really well with the ribs.
1/2 c. (125 ml) soy sauce
1/2 c. (125 ml) ketchup
14 c. (60 ml) honey
1 tsp. (5 ml) five spice powder
1 tsp. (5 ml) coarsely-cracked black pepper
1-inch piece fresh ginger
1/4 c. (60 ml) dry sherry
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 lb (1.5 kg) pork side or back ribs
Trim the ribs and cut them into four to six-bone racks.
Combine the soy, ketchup, honey, five spice powder, peppercorns, chopped ginger, sherry and garlic in a large bowl. Add the ribs and turn to coat. Cover, marinate and refrigerate for four hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.
Place the ribs in a single layer, meaty side up, in a shallow baking pan. Pour in a cup of water. Brush half the marinade left in the bowl over the ribs and store the remaining marinade in the fridge.
Cover and bake the ribs for an hour. Uncover and brush the ribs with the remaining marinade. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, or until the ribs are tender and nicely glazed.
Turn the oven to broil and broil them for a few minutes to glaze and deepen their colour.
Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before cutting each rack into single-bone pieces.
Arrange on a platter and spoon some of the pan juices over top to serve.