Liz & Joe’s

This goes back to when I was a kid.  Way, way back.  I was about six years old.  So, we are looking at about 50 years back.  I don’t know if either of my brothers will remember this, but I can remember this day like it was just yesterday, the smells and WONDERFUL taste of Elizabeth’s soup.

Liz and her husband Joe had a very tiny cottage like, outdated, very old restaurant on the top of the hill at Booth’s Harbour where my parents had a small boat and we had just put in our very old brand new to us, cottage!  Our ‘cottage’ was an old school bus that my parents found.  They working together gutted it, painted it, put in major bunk beds on both ends with cots and it was our escape for many years to come down by the water on Lake Erie.

One spring day, when there was bits of dirty snow on the sides of the road, my family, mom, dad, brothers Mark and Randy must have gone to the lake to check our brand new very old cottage.  For supper, we went to Liz & Joe’s, as the hand painted little sign said. My thinking is that this was a Hungarian couple.  They still had thick accents…  I remember walking into this dank little restaurant and the smell of cooking cabbage and savoury hunker down goodness just hit my nose and I’m sure I was drooling.  As a child I loved soup, stews all vegetables and meat and potatoes.  Much unlike both my brothers.  The lady with the brown grey streaked hair had a very large pot on the stove.  They had home made bread.  I don’t think there was a great menu choice, but they did have a grill.

Liz trotted over to the little table we all sat at, I think there was only maybe four tables in all and a little bar counter with swirly round seats.  She pretty much told us what we were going to get.  My brother Randy kicked up his heels.  I won’t eat that!  So Liz told him..’what’s the matter with you, no wonder you are so skinny!’  Joe yelled, ‘it’s okay, I make you a hamburger, you eat hamburgers?’  And, with that Randy was happy.

To this day, I remember that bowl of thick, thick soup, this ‘everything left over’ soup and that huge chunk of bread dripping with real butter and to this day, it still ranks up there with the best meal I’ve every had.

Today, I cleaned out my freezer, refrigerator and added a few ‘things’ and thought of Elizabeth and Joe.  As the day goes on, this soup will change as I try to get that wonderful flavour Elizabeth brought to my forever memory.  I will add the starch, either potato or pasta later in the day and it will thicken as the day goes by….

liz-n-joes

 

CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND I’M GOING CRAZY. Are you? ;)

For most of us, this time of year and we are turning ourselves inside out trying to make things nice for Christmas.  The cooking, the shopping, the planning, wrapping, cleaning….painting….(yes we just painted and papered the living room)…on top of your regular work and it’s not a far stretch to get overwhelmed.

We don’t want to resort to feeding our family expensive processed food, or CRAP for short, yet we need meals to be quick and easy.

Tonight, after shopping and doing what has to get done, I did a home made sloppy Joe’s and fries.  So much better than the canned stuff.  You do have to simmer it a bit and stir a bit, but other than that, easy-peasy.

sloppy-joe-101

 

Ingredients:

1.5 cups water, divided

1 lb of lean ground beef

1/2 bell pepper (green, yellow, orange, red ~doesn’t matter) chopped.

1/2 medium sized onion chopped

3/4 cups ketchup

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 tbsp garlic powder (heaping if you love garlic)

1 tbsp onion powder (don’t have to have this, but it’s nice if you do)

1 tsp Dijon mustard (if you don’t have dijon any mustard will do)

dash Worcestershire

1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/8th tsp cayenne (or more depending on your taste for heat)

Okay, here goes:

Saute your onion and bell pepper in some butter in a fry pan until the onion starts to get a a bit soft.

Add the hamburger and work with a fork until there are no big lumps.  Brown this up a bit.  Add half the water.  Stir it well.  Let it simmer a few moments.

In a bowl combine all the other ingredients.  All of them.  Make sure you don’t miss any.  Mix them up well, including the other half of water.

Stir this into your fry pan with the meat mixture.

Simmer, not boil all of this on a medium low heat stirring occasionally.  Simmer roughly about 30 – 40 minutes until it’s nice and thick like in the picture.  Taste and adjust your salt, pepper and cayenne. (some like it hot, some not)

Toast your buns during this time.

We have this with french fries.  I have a deep fryer but you can oven cook your fries or make home fries in a fry pan or have soup with this.  Or a beer and nothing else.  Depending on your mood and needs.

Trust me, this is delicious.