Also not cooking: Rogers DNS hijack, foiled.

I am writing my own webserver for my computer networking course, and have been annoyingly forwarded to Rogers' search page every time my server fails to acknowledge on the connected socket.

I'm sick and tired of Rogers using deep packet inspection to hijack DNS requests for unresolved DNS hosts.

What does this mean? It means that every time you try to go to a website like "www.thiswebsitedoesntactuallyexist.com", you get forwarded to an ad-revenue search page hosted by Rogers.

Every link on the page is an advertisement, and the "opt-out" is also a scam. You get redirected to a fake IE 404 page every time.

I found out today how to fix this problem. Here's what you do:
  1. Put DD-WRT on your router.
  2. Enable DNSMasq. In the DNSMasq options window, enter:
server= # rogers DNS

# Rogers crap servers
  1. Set the router to distribute DNSMasq as the default DNS server to DHCP clients.
  2. Reboot all attached clients, verify they now have the gateway IP of the router as the primary DNS server, and you're ready to rock.
That's for you, Rogers.

EDIT: A friend of mine pointed out that if you are a big fan of the Google "I'm feeling lucky" trick in Firefox, you can just type in your Google search in the Firefox URL bar. Rogers effectively takes that luxury away from us. Use this to get it back!


Why Gordon Ramsay is the best chef on TV.

Not only does Gordon Ramsay star on multiple shows, he owns many restaurants, with his own personal touch in each one of them. Angry head chefs? Probably!

That's not why I think he's the best. You might want to skip this post if swearing offends you.

This is:

and this:

Not only does he have a colourful palate of words (ha ha, funny), he manages to come up with unique and interesting way to insult people on every show.

He also has become so big, there are mock videos about his adventures critiquing various restaurants; see these "little Gordon" videos:


Recipe: DiZazzo home made pasta sauce! pt.3

Today, I'm going to continue part 3 of my pasta-sauce epic.

Making a Meat Sauce

To turn this already delicious sauce into something more awesome, we need to add some ground beef to the sauce.

NOTE: If you are using less than 5 cans of tomatoes, you'll want to decrease the amount of ground beef you put in the sauce so the sauce doesn't become too laden with meat.

Additional Ingredients:
  • Ground beef (1 lb.)
  • Canola oil (1 cup)
  1. Add the Canola oil to a pan and heat until it becomes less viscous (read: moves around more freely).
  2. Add the ground beef to the hot oil. It should sizzle.
  3. Chop of the ground beef with a wooden spoon, so that there are very small pieces.
  4. When the ground beef is brown, this is when any self respecting person would drain the fat and oil from the meat. Not us. DO NOT DO THIS ... It's not any fun!
  5. Close your eyes and pour everything into the sauce, meat, oil and all. Keeping the fat and the oil adds a significant taste and consistency to the sauce. If you're going to drain it, just give up and go to East Side Mario's now.
  6. Mix the meat into the sauce and let it simmer!
Making pork side ribs Additional Ingredients:
  • Pork Side ribs (see image)
  • Canola oil (1 cup)
  1. Cut the fat (large white portions) from the ribs. You can see a picture of them with it removed below:
  2. Cut up the ribs between the bones, so you end up with good sized pieces:
  3. Place the oil in a frying pan, heat it, and start placing the ribs into the pan. Make sure you have a lid to cover the entire pan. It's going to splatter!
  4. Once the ribs are browned on all sides - empty entire contents (again) into the sauce. Mmm flavour!
  5. The ribs need to boil for 3 hours in the sauce to become tender! Do not boil them for any less. This means that you should probably start getting the ribs into the sauce as soon as possible after you've started simmering it.
Finishing up

When everything is said and done, you will end up with a pasta sauce that has the consistency of the picture below: Well, that's everything for now. I hope you'll some day get to enjoy this recipe. I've made it for many people and their testimonies have made me think that I might some day open an Italian restaurant!


Recipe: DiZazzo home made pasta sauce! pt.2

This post is a continuation of my first 'home made pasta sauce' post.

Lets get all the prep and other stuff sorted out!


Prepping the tomato sauce

We need to blend the tomatoes to break them down into smaller pieces. Keep in mind, the longer you blend them, the smaller the tomato pieces will be, and the more "watery" your sauce will be. I like to grind my tomatoes on a "pulse" setting for literally under two seconds (super blender!). This leaves somewhat medium-small size chunks of tomato, which gives a nice rich flavour to the sauce.
  1. First thing you want to do is to open all your canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Set them aside.
  2. Add 1/2 cup of canola oil to the bottom of the empty sauce pot. Let it heat and spread across the bottom completely. Turn heat up to 3-4 (medium-low).
  3. Empty the contents of a single can into the blender, and add a single can of tomato paste. Fill up the empty can of tomatoes half way with water and add that to the blender. Blend on a low setting for 1-2 seconds at a time, checking until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Pour the blended tomatoes into the sauce pot! Repeat until done.

Now it's time to chop and fry some garlic. I've made a few videos for you. They're super interesting. Of me. Chopping .... garlic. Okay maybe they're not that interesting. Here they are anyway. (Please excuse the extremely poor sound quality, camera mic)

A note for the second video, at the end there's quite a bit of garlic left in the pan after I empty it into the sauce, I had to put the camera away to salvage all of it. Make sure you scrape the pan clean and get all the garlic in your sauce!

Now that we've chopped and fried garlic, we need to add the rest of the spices to the sauce. Remember to
check my first post for the quantities!!
  1. Add the basil. Grind it up in your hands and sprinkle it in if you have fresh stuff!
  2. Add the salt.
  3. Add the sugar.
  4. Half the onion and put each into the sauce. This absorbs a lot of the acidity from the tomatoes and I think it's a pretty important addition to the sauce!

At this point, the base tomato sauce is complete. It's really that simple. Here's the kicker.

It needs to boil for 4-5 hours until a thick consistency is reached!

The truth is, the slower you cook something, for some reason, the better it tastes. Mind you, there are exceptions, but this is not one of them. When I made this sauce, my pot was as full as you saw in the basil picture. It boiled to about just over half that amount, and that was adding meat (which increased the total volume of solid items displacing sauce).

I'm going to leave you with this final video showing you how to stir the sauce so that its mixed well!

Check my next post for instructions for a meat sauce and pork side ribs (so so so good!).


Recipe: DiZazzo home made pasta sauce! pt.1

Yep, I've been holding it from you. Not anymore, though! This weekend I was busy getting something special ready for you guys, the recipe for pasta sauce which has been passed down the long line of DiZazzo's, to me, who is sharing it with you today.

Now, don't get me wrong, it may not be the best sauce in the entire planet... but I haven't tasted anything better anywhere. So unless you can cook me up a batch of pasta sauce that tastes better, I'm going to boldly claim that it's the best. Why? It's not over complicated with too many ingredients put into it like celery carrots and peppers. It's just a simple, traditional sauce!

Not only did I photo-document the whole process, I took little video clips of me doing some of the prep work that didn't involve using both hands. I had to hold the camera, after all.
This is going to be a long recipe, so I'm going to split it up into a couple of posts.

Lets start!


Usually the recipe calls for freshly skinned Roma (plum) tomato's, but we're going to cheat a little and use something else. Who has time to skin tomatoes anyways? The sauce already takes long enough to make!

For the base tomato sauce
  • Aylmer whole tomatoes (5 cans)
  • Unico tomato paste (4 small cans, or 2 large)
  • Sugar (2 1/2 tbsp, more if needed)
  • Salt (2 tbsp, don't forget you might want to add meat which reduces the amount of salt you'll need)
  • Dried Basil (two handfuls if its freshly dried and unground, 2 tbsp if its already ground up)
  • Garlic (3/4 to 1 whole bulb of garlic)
  • Onion (1)
  • Canola oil - 1/2 cup ... BUT qty depends on what kind of sauce you're making ... meat sauce takes much more.

For Meatsauce

  • Ground beef (1 lb.)
Additional Meat Items
  • Pork side ribs (seriously don't knock it till you try it, its melt in your mouth good)
  • Meatballs (1/2 ground pork, 1/2 ground beef - will post a recipe for this later!)
  • a LARGE pot
  • a blender
So that's everything you're going to need to get started, see the following posts for details, pictures and videos!


St. Patrick's Day green food items!

Happy St Patrick's day! Today is the day most of you will be looking to incorporate the most green as possible, and by green I don't mean environmentally friendly... I mean full of St. Patties day festiveness! ... Or green because of alcohol poisoning, which usually comes after the festiveness. In order to facilitate today, I've come up with a list of green food items / ideas for you!
  • Guacamole Dip
  • Leprechaun Punch (Make sure you go overkill on the Lime!)
  • Green Jello
  • Green cupcakes (You'll need some dye, I'm sure you have some for your beer)
  • Green milkshakes (dye vanilla ice cream green)
  • Green cookies (again, dye...)
  • Asparagus (check my blog for a recipe!)
  • Brusell Sprouts
  • Caesar Salad
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Pickles
  • Okay you know I'm running out of ideas when I write stuff like celery and pickles...
  • Really, just add green food colouring to stuff. You might be too drunk to be cooking / cutting / preparing anyway :)
And in honor of today, I've made my blog green! Ha ha, not really, it was always this way.


The poll results are in ...

At the beginning of the month, I added a poll to my blog which asked readers if they had used any recipes they found on my blog... Well, the results are in and here they are:

Here's the breakdown ... I voted yes once, and my girlfriend voted yes once ... and the rest of you voted 'No' (essentially) so that means nobody has used anything from my blog!!

Seriously, why? What type of recipes would you use if I posted them? Are you looking for extremely gourmet recipes? More "reviews"? What? I'd love to know.

Discuss below!


FREEGAN: When Vegan isn't enough.

I recently heard about a new type of "aware" eaters. Flavour Fiascians, meet: THE FREEGAN. This isn't an "bad economy" thing, people want to do this!

They aren't your typical Vegan. They're budget minded, environmental conscious eaters who won't let chain grocery stores waste an ounce of food. How are they doing this?


The best part is, they're not destitute people. They have good homes, jobs, and lives.

Sure, minimizing waste is great. But rolling in it isn't really my idea of fun. Saving tossed food isn't really a crime, but trespassing to get it sure is, plus, don't you think it's a little humiliating?

Comment below!


RECIPOSITORY: What do you think?

Earlier on this year, I had rather interesting idea on how to combine my two passions, computer science, and cooking! I think I came up with the perfect idea. I will make a computer I have to feed!

No, I'm only joking, that's not my idea. My real idea is to create a web application where users can create an account and browse multitudes of recipes. A repository of recipes. Recipository!

That's been done before, so whats so unique about this idea? The main feature list is the following:
  • Ability to schedule any type of meal by day in a calendar-like interface. You can add any number of meals to a day, but typical ones are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack thrown in for good measure.
  • The system will AUTOMATICALLY generate a grocery shopping list of all the stuff you need for your meal "schedule". This list can be printed in the order things appear in your local grocery store! Talk about streamlined!
  • If you're the kind who likes to eat healthy, you can enter a target amount of calories or have your meals selected from certain "health" categories.
  • If you're the budget oriented type, you can select a minimum and maximum amount of coin to spend in the grocery trip and it will automatically find you cheaper alternatives to some ingredients and meals.
  • If you just want to click-n-go, you can have the system select from pre-defined groups, or your own presets.
  • Integration with online grocery shopping. Click and go TO THE EXTREME.
  • ... and so much more!
The whole idea was birthed from my laziness to figure out what to make. I'm sure many other students have been in the same trouble, so why not leave a comment and tell me what you think?

The system is about half way through development... but I'd still love to hear some comments or suggestions about this!


Why is junk food so much more satisfying?

Being in computer science involves long, late night hours. I'm talking going to Middlesex college at 9pm and not leaving until 8am the next morning. No word of a lie, go there any time and you'll see at least 3 computer science students staying over night.

So, naturally long midnight shifts require some sort of nourishment. For most CS students, its chips, pop, candy... mostly junk. Anyway, the point is, I wish I had that junk food right now. And I ran out of nuts because I've been too busy to shop lately! Nuts were at least better than this!

There's something about making one of these that just doesn't work when combined with programming.


Veggie Stuffed Peppers

I was making a tomato herb salmon tonight in the oven, and in an attempt to use up items in the fridge, it was suggested to me that making tomato veggie stuffed peppers would nicely compliment the flavour.

Here's what I came up with on the fly!

  • Bell peppers (3)
  • Tomato sauce (I had some left-over home made stuff, but you can use canned just as well)
  • Zucchini (1/4 cup diced)
  • Mushrooms (1/4 diced)
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Onion (1/4 cup diced)
  • Rice (1 cup)
  • Butter (4 tsp.)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (much tastier than the mass produced stuff!)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil
  1. Chop the zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and onion finely. Grate the mozzarella and set aside.
  2. Carve the bell peppers like a pumpkin, and scoop out the insides. Rinse out and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, add water and rice and butter (2 tsp.). Keep at medium heat until the rice is cooked.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat butter (2 tsp) until melted. When hot, add the garlic and onion. It should sizzle lightly.
  5. When the onion and garlic are golden brown, add the zucchini and mushroom. Cook until tender.
  6. Fill a medium pot 3/4 full with water. Place the peppers in it and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling check the peppers for tenderness. You want them to be soft enough but not complete mush. I don't really know how to describe it any better than that. I took mine out about 3-4 minutes into the boil.
  7. When the rice is done cooking, add it to the mushroom and zucchini. Add pepper, salt and basil to taste. Mix well.
  8. In a glass oven dish, place the peppers so that they stand upright and spoon the rice & mushroom mix into the peppers. Pack it tightly in there!
  9. Drizzle the tomato sauce over the peppers so that a good portion of them is covered. I also think putting some sauce inside would have been good, but I didn't think of it at the time.
  10. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the peppers, and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
  11. Remove from the oven and let the peppers stand for 5 minutes.
  12. Serve!


And the winner is....

Congratulations Thinking Revised! You've won the first weekly MIT2412 blogging award!

Written in a more serious tone, Thinking Revised always prompts me to think a little bit harder about (mostly US) political happenings, and their would-be implications on us Canadians. Never missing a beat or a post, Thinking Revised has had an excellent week of posts.

Now, lets get this going. What the author of Thinking Revised has to do, is make a post on his blog with one of the images he likes, and about how he's won this award. The images can be found here.

Then at the end of the week, he should nominate three blogs he thinks have had a good week in posts. Mull it over a little on the weekend, and then decide who he thinks should win.

When he's ready to pass the award on next Monday, he can put the little glass trophy icon in his sidebar to let others know he's won previously!
You can find the code at the bottom of the post, here.

Thats it! Congratulations again, and lets get this award going!


ATTENTION MIT2412: New blogging award!

Have you thought blogging awards such as "The Lemonade Stand" award were pretty fun and awesome? Well, now you too could potentially have an award for your blog!

Every week, we're required to post 5 blog posts. We're all busy university students, so, naturally some weeks will have more / better quality posts than others. Why not be rewarded for time and effort spent on them!

Here's the lowdown:
  1. At the end of the week, nominate 3 other blogs of students in MIT2412.
  2. Over the weekend, think about who you think the award should go to.
  3. On the following Monday, make a blog post about who you've selected as the winner!
  4. The winner can then make a blog post and place one of the following images on their blog. Their post should also have a backlink to the person who gave the award to them. Don't just pick your friends, explain why you nominated them.
  5. The person who passes the award on can add a smaller version of the trophy to their sidebar, using the HTML widget code at the bottom of this post.
  6. To be fair, you may only win once!
A day late, but I'll get us started. Here are my nominees:
  1. Laur Lore: Exploring Lunacy, Lies, and Folklore - Her posts are more complete than an encyclopedia.
  2. Thinking: Revised - Plentiful and well thought out posts, written in a quizzical writing style.
  3. Magda and the Great White North - She will not get off my feed! ... Which means she's posting quite a bit.
Check back on Monday to see who won!!

Here are various images you may link to, depending on the color scheme in your blog:

(The last photo has a transparent background. Blogger puts in the border...)

and here is the picture and HTML widget code for your "I'm a previous winner" sidebar:
<div style="border: 0px; text-align: center; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;">
<a style="text-align: center; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" href="http://flavourfiasco.blogspot.com/2009/03/attention-mit2412-new-blogging-award.html"><img style="border: 0px none ;" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_Q68rWxXV8VI/SbLA7CzZ4UI/AAAAAAAAAIg/B7BqpH8BglA/s320/award_small.png" /></a>
<p style="text-align: center; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;">I've won the 'MIT 2412: Best week in blogging' award!</p>

Copy and paste that code into an HTML sidebar widget and you're ready to rock.

Check out this totally awesome CAKE!

Okay, okay, I know wars are bad. But cooking art is cool! Especially this masterpiece. I shouldn't be celebrating this image, but I just can't help myself about how awesome it is. Where would you start cutting it? You'd have to eat the frosting mushroom cloud first or it'd fall over!

Thanks to Jen @ CakeWrecks.


Tomato Mushroom Pesto Penne

I guarantee, this tasty pasta dish will not fail to satisfy your hunger. Even if you're not a fan of Pesto (I'm thinking about your comment, Single Betty), I think you should try this anyway! Makes four servings, so invite some brave friends.

  • Garlic (4 cloves)
  • Onion (1/4 cup)
  • Olive oil (2 tsp.)
  • Butter (1 tsp.)
  • Flour (2 tbsp.)
  • Milk (2 cups)
  • Salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • Pepper (1 tsp.)
  • Grated Romano cheese (1/2 cup)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)
  • Fresh / jarred Pesto (1/4 cup)
  • Roma / plum tomatoes (2)
  • Penne pasta (1/2 bag)
  • Optional: Substitute Roma tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes
  1. Mince the garlic and onion. Set aside. Cut the tomato into thin wedges, or diced pieces, set aside.
  2. Pour your milk into a measuring cup, and add the flour. Add salt. Whisk well until dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Begin a pot to boil pasta in.
  4. In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil and butter.
  5. When the oil/butter is hot, add the garlic and the onion. It should sizzle lightly.
  6. When the garlic is golden brown, add the flour and milk mixture.
  7. Heat the milk and flour mixture until hot. Do not allow it to boil! Whisk every 2-3 minutes.
  8. When the white sauce begins to thicken, add the parmesan and romano cheese. Make sure you stir very frequently, the cheese must be well mixed.
  9. Add the pesto. Mix well, again.
  10. Your pasta pot should be ready... add the penne to the boiling water.
  11. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes, depending on desired thickness. I like to play on the 8 minute boundary.
  12. When the pasta is at desired tenderness (Al Dente is to my liking) strain and combine in the large saucepan.
  13. Toss well with the sauce. You want to make sure you coat the penne with the pesto sauce.
  14. Add the tomato and serve!


Youser Generated Content

(Photo by Nick DiZazzo)

I was born with a computer in my hands. Okay, nooot really, but you won't ever find me without one. That being said, I think I am one of the select few people who can boast that they've been using the public internet since it was dubbed the "World Wide Web" in 1991 (that makes me an internet user at age 6) and when the HTML protocol was devised. Back in the good ol' days, you had to connect to it with the trusty AT modem commands:


.. and when you're done ...


So what have I witnessed in the span of time since the Web was in its infancy until today? I've seen:
Some of those sites are the foundation of what and why the Internet is the way it is today. They pioneered the concepts of posting "user generated content", even if they didn't implement it right away.

Speaking from my own personal experiences, what many people
today who talk about online social networking don't realize is that the evolution of social networking started on private "Bulletin Broadcast Systems" (BBS's). These were created in the 1970's and you needed one of these to get onto one:

I bet all you kids are asking "what in the hell is that?!". That, my friends, is an analogue modem. A non-technical explanation is that it was used to send signals between computers... aka, talk.

Anyway, online social networks moved to Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and then transformed into forums (or, bulletin boards). Forums were the very first way for users to actually change content that was ON the internet.

After forums were born, something new started happening. Within the last 5-7 years, social networking platforms emerged, and:

The "Coles Notes" version? I've visited every corner of the Internet and watched it permute its self from state to state.

Since I answered the "how" question of social networking, this leaves the "why". Sadly, this is where y
ou should stop yourself from making a mistake, by asking me. There are many more smart people out there who have gone to the trouble of figuring it all out. Like this guy. Michael Wesch.

Wesch has produced several works which explore the dynamics of social interaction via online networking platforms. Out of all of them (and yes, I did take the time to go through the rest of his online videos and writings), this video is the most interesting:

An important point that he brings to the table, is that through YouTube, people are rediscovering community. They're rediscovering their own voices. Via a new medium, they're
rediscovering what mankind once had.

As a result, they're discovering for the first time, and in a new way, how to remix their lives with the culture that surrounds them and embrace the creations of others.

YouTube has become a medium which can bridge gaps between people of the world. Every time a new video is added, our world expands a tiny bit; but at the same time, our world gets a whole lot smaller.

Check out my nuts!

We're supposed to use attention grabbing titles, aren't we?

Anyway, I've recently taken an initiative to eat less unhealthy snack foods (notice I explicitly avoided 'eat more healthy'). That still doesn't help the fact that I have cravings for them, and I'm sure you're the same way. I've finally decided on a fairly good alternative that gives you the crunch of chips, but without the greasy fingers and bloated stomach. Forget that soy crap, check out these nuts!



When it comes to their health benefits, walnuts definitely are not a hard nut to crack. This delicious nut is an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a special type of protective fat the body cannot manufacture. In addition, walnuts contain an antioxidant compound called ellagic acid that supports the immune system and appears to have several anticancer properties.
(Taken from: Whfoods.com)


Consuming hazelnut is very important for healthy life. Eating only 25 gr hazelnuts a day can be a very good protection against many diseases including cancer and heart diseases. According to results of a research, people who consume hazelnuts or hazelnut oil, have 50% less risk of dying because of hearth attack when compared to those who never consume hazelnuts.
(Taken from: Home Remedies)


Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health, even in individuals with diabetes. (I don't really know what any of that means, but it sounds good.
(Taken from


A high-fat food that's good for your health? That's not an oxymoron, its almonds. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
(Taken from Whfoods)

Getting these at a grocery store is not a good idea. A small tub of cashews will run you six or seven dollars!


  • M&M Peanuts
  • Chocolate Covered Cashew
  • Beer Nuts
disclaimer: I am in no way responsible if you discover that you're allergic to nuts AFTER you've read and tried my suggestions regarding nuts.


Have you used any recipes from my blog?

I'm curious as to how many of you actually use or have used recipes you've found on my blog. I've added a poll on the right-hand side for you to place your vote on.

I'm interested in an accurate count of how many people are using the posted recipes, so if you haven't yet gotten around to cooking one or two of them (I know you will!), please answer honestly.

The point of the poll is to determine what types of posts I should be focusing on for you, my loyal readers! So if the results come back and lots of people have made recipes from here, I'll happily keep posting more. Otherwise, I'll try to increase the amount of list posts and "top tens", as well as "popular food" types of posts.

Thank you!


Donut Pancakes - Accidental Discovery!

Sometimes I'm a little preoccupied. Enough to put too much oil in a pan for my pancakes, and to let it get too hot.

To make a long story short, I ended up with donut pancakes this morning. It was actually fairly good - I wouldn't recommend making these EVERY time you make pancakes, but give them a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

They were golden brown on both sides but crispy, not "cake-like". I cooked them on each side until I saw the traditional "bubbles in the batter" flip indicator, pulled them out, and served. They were much heavier than normal pancakes, so don't eat too much of these or you might feel sick, but they were tasty!

Pannuts? Docakes? I don't know ...


Fantastic Shepherd's Pie!

This recipe is a mishmash of different Sheppard's pie recipes I've followed. I think it combines simplicity with flavour, to give you the best trade off between cooking/prep time versus how good it tastes.

  • Ground beef (one package, extra lean)
  • Onion (1/4 cup)
  • Ketchup (1/4 cup - 1/2 cup, use your judgment)
  • Montreal steak spice (2 tsp.)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp.)
  • Water (1/4 cup)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Basil (1 tsp)
  • Chili Powder (optional - for bite, a "light dusting")
  • Baking potatos (5-6)
  • Sour cream (1/4 cup)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Butter (2 tbsp.)
  • "Niblet" Kernel corn (small can)
  • Cream corn (small can)

We will be preparing 3 different dishes; the meat, the potatos and the vegetables. The order you do them in doesn't matter because they will all be combined in the end. I think I've layed them out in a pretty effecient manner, but feel free to break the mold.

The Potatos
  1. Peel and cook the potatos until they're ready to mash.
  2. Add butter, milk.
  3. Mash potatos well.
  4. Add sour cream.
  5. Add salt to taste.
  6. Add pepper to taste.
  7. Mash potatos well, again. No lumps or your fired.
The Corn
  1. Open both cans of corn
  2. drain as much water from the niblets as you can.
  3. Drain a slight amount of the watery juice from the cream corn.
  4. Combine in a small pot and cook at very low heat until simmering.
The Meat
  1. In a large saucepan, brown the ground beef with the onion, basil, and the steak spice.
  2. Once brown, add the garlic powder and mix well.
  3. Add the ketchup along with 1/4 cup of water.
  4. Cover and keep on low heat. The meat should have a small amount of "sauce" coating it.
The Dish
  1. Layer the meat in the bottom of a glass oven-dish.
  2. Layer the corn mixture on top of the meat.
  3. Layer the mashed potatos on top. Use a fork to make those fancy decorative lines on the top of the mash potatos, and garnish with basil.
  4. Bake covered at 400F for 45 minutes.
  5. Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.



I remember growing up watching Garfield cartoons. He could scarf entire lasagna's in a matter of seconds, cutting a small piece out then eating the rest of the lasagna. I never really thought about how strange a lasagna-eating cat was, but, it was entertaining nonetheless.

Since then, I've learned how to make a few different types of lasagna! While the following one probably isn't the most gourmet, its definitely the easiest and fits my "student cooking" theme pretty well.

  • Ground beef (1 package, lean)
  • Oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • Tomato sauce (1 large can)
  • Basil (1 1/2 tsp.)
  • Onion (1/2 cup)
  • Cottage Cheese (4% large container)
  • Mozzarella Cheese (1/2 - 3/4 brick depending on how much you like)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the ground beef and onion together.
  2. When the ground beef is browned, add the tomato sauce, onion, and basil, add water and simmer lightly for 10 minutes.
  3. Layer thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large glass oven dish.
  4. Layer lasagna noodles on top of sauce.
  5. Layer thin layer of sauce on top of the noodles, and then spread a layer of cottage cheese and sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan on top.
  6. Continue layering like this until you're out of ingredients. Make sure your top layer is sauce and cheese!
  7. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350F.
  8. Serve with a fresh caesar salad!


Bleugh! It never fails!

Have you ever sat down for a quick bite at The Spoke and ordered everyone's favorite, the CLT? I don't know what it is about the CLT, but it's an extremely addicting wrap they serve with lettuce, tomato, marble cheese and chicken. Don't forget the special mayo sauce they serve with it!

How many of you actually sit down and plan to add a little more aluminum to your diet? I sure don't, but that's what happens EVERY TIME.
The foil wrap the CLT comes in always ends up getting chewed on, even when you're being most careful not to!

This afternoon I sat down at The Spoke to enjoy a CLT while waiting for my group members to show up and was actively thinking to roll the tin foil down after every bite.

Minutes later I was gnawing on a fair sized chunk of aluminum...

Maybe CLT's are just so good that you can't help but eat them quickly, and therefore get to the tin foil faster than you can roll it down, I don't know, but I think I'm just going to have to start accepting the foil as a part of the CLT.


Parmesan and Romano Artichoke Dip

I like dips and/or dipping. Try this chopped artichoke and Parmesan & Romano dip when you have company.

  • Chopped artichoke hearts (14 oz can, jar, whatever)
  • Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup)
  • Romano cheese (1/8 cup)
  • Mayonnaise (1 cup)
  • Garlic salt (1/2 tsp.)
  • Lemon juice (a few splashes)
  1. Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Transfer contents of mixing bowl to serving dish.
  3. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes.
  4. Serve with baked tortilla chips, crackers, or toasted pita.


Baked Cream Cheese Crab Dip

I always find myself looking for something quick to grab and snack on. Unfortunately, anything good will take time to make, and if I ate anything frozen, somewhere on the planet, a kitten might be sacrificed.

This crab dip recipe I'm about to share solves those problems! I usually make two or three at a time and refrigerate or freeze them
(worst case) before they're baked.

  • Cream Cheese (8oz package will suffice, let it warm to room temp)
  • Onion (2 tbsp, chopped)
  • Salt
  • Crab Meat (1 can)
  • Horseradish (1 tsp.)
  • White Wine / Cooking Sherry (2 tbsp.)
  1. Mix.
  2. Bake at 325F for 15 minutes.
  3. Garnish with any available spices, parsley, bay leaves, paprika, etc.
Awesome eh? I like to toast pita bread until it just gets crispy, and serve those with it. Otherwise, get some thick restaurant tortillas, and bake them in the oven for 5 minutes along with the dip.


Willies Chili Flank Steak

The way this flank steak is prepared is simple, not very time consuming and in my opinion, one of the most tender, and flavorful ways to prepare beef. It'll knock the socks off of anybody who you make it for.

  • Flank Steak (try to get a medium thickness cut, ask the butcher)
  • Kraft BBQ Sauce (1/2 bottle)
  • Willies Chili Sauce (1/2 bottle)
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine BBQ sauce and Chili sauce. Mix well.
  2. On a cutting board, score the flank steak diagonally and lightly to provide crevices for marinading.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and spread enough of the chili sauce mix to cover the bottom of the flank steak.
  4. Set the flank steak on top of the foil sheet, and spread a good amount (leave a tiny bit) of the chili sauce mix to cover the top of the flank steak.
  5. Marinade for 3 hours.
  6. When ready to cook the flank, set oven to BROIL and place the flank in the oven. It's going to get somewhat smokey, so open a window and take the battery out of your fire detector!
  7. Cook for 10 minutes on each side. When you flip the flank steak, add the remaining chili sauce mix to the freshly exposed side. If your flank is pretty thick, add 2-3 minutes per side.
  8. Done! My favorite sides to serve with this are green beans and baked potatoes.


Simple Bruschetta

Bruschetta is tasty! I made up a batch a few nights ago and put it over some baked salmon and drizzled some balsamic vinegar on it. It's really easy to make, all you need are 5 simple ingredients. The key to good bruchetta is being able to chop things very finely, so get out your best knife!

  • Tomato (1 large)
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves, depending on size)
  • Minced onion (1/2 cup)
  • Dried Basil (1/2 tsp)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 tsp)
  1. Cut the tomato into fine slices. If I had to give a measurement to the thickness of each slice, I'd say about 0.5 cm.
  2. Take each tomato slice and cut it into strips, then cut the strips across at a 90 degree angle. Repeat this until you're done. Place diced tomato in a bowl. Check out this link for a similar technique.
  3. Mince the garlic.
  4. Mince the onion.
  5. Combine garlic, onion, tomato and basil in a bowl and toss until it's well mixed.
  6. Add the olive oil and mix well.
If you like your bruschetta a bit stronger, increase the amount of garlic and onion ... but be careful ... the strength of the garlic and onion can get out of hand quickly!


Culinary Catastrophes...

Ever wonder what it looks like when food goes wrong? The most disgusting and unappetizing creations are born, that's what!

Ever feel like having a extra double stuff Oreo:

I think this culinary catastrophe is fairly obvious ... Can you count how many layers are in it?

If Oreo's aren't your thing, how about a "garbage plate":

This creation allows you to choose from a combination of cheeseburgers, hamburgers, Italian sausages, steak, chicken, white or red hots, a grilled cheese sandwich, fried fish, or eggs, served on top of one or two of the following: home fries, fries, beans, and mac salad. Mmmmmm!

Doesn't that sound so good?

If you're extra hungry, check out the rest of these works of art at this is why your fat.


My top 8 recommended places to fill up!

1. Talltrees (Huntsville)

This cute little restaurant is an old victorian home converted into a fine dining restaurant. Its nestled atop a hill overlooking the lake in Huntsville. Choice menu items are their Cesar salad (Dare I say it, it has more garlic than the ones they serve at Garlics!), their Fillet Mignon, and Strawberry Gratinee.

2. Fellini Koolini's (Albert Street)

This local Italian restaurant, manages to keep a "just like Nona's" style of cooking, but manages to pull off serving many people without turning into a "spaghetti factory". The food is fantastic, and the staff are very friendly. Personal favorites are the Brie and Raspberry coolie appetizer, three Italian cheese stuffed chicken breasts with spinach.

3. Garlics (Richmond)

This restaurant is known for massive amounts of garlic in pretty much every dish you can think of. Its been a while since I've gone, but, being a huge fan of garlic, pretty much everything on the menu is appetizing. My favorite would have to be the braised lamb shank, though, I don't know if they serve it any more because their menu changes monthly.

4. The Cottage Bar and Grill (Huntsville)

Perched right along the Muskoka river in Huntsville, this restaurant is a nice afternoon place to dock your boat, sit in the sun and have drinks while enjoying some of their pub fare. Favorites are the "Cottage Club" with pesto, mayo, and grilled chicken. Also delicious is the chicken cesar wrap! God, I miss summer.

5. The Keg Station (Richmond)

A classic place to enjoy a perfect steak, I've come to enjoy going here more and more. Although, other Keg's don't really seem to compare to the one on Richmond that was built inside the old train station. Maybe its the atmosphere, or maybe its the staff, but I prefer this location over others!

6. Bangkok Garden (Toronto)

This restaurant is located next to the Delta Chelsea in downtown Toronto, and serves a plethora of delicious dishes. I've only eaten there once, but by far it was the best Thai food I've ever tasted! It's the most fun to sample different items, so ordering food tapas style, you get the most selection for about the same amount of money.

7. Mill St. Brew Pub (Toronto)

This awesome little brewery is a good place to park yourself in the afternoon or evening after a day in Toronto. They have several different kinds of beer they make right there on location, and you can see all the brewery equipment as decor. Quite an interesting place to be. They serve the staples, but truely delicious is the Melted Brie and Grilled Chicken Panini. If you go, go for the beer. The food just happens to be there too.

8. Spageddy Eddies (London)

If you ever are out of ideas but feel like you have enough room to fit a herd of cattle in your stomach, go to Spageddy Eddies. Its buried in an alleyway in front of Carling street (for those of you familiar with Up on Carling ...). Just like the name says, they serve spagetti. Well, "spageddy", but LOTS of it. For 7-8 dollars, you get a MASSIVE bowl of pasta that will last you for 2 meals. Mixed drinks are also $4.25, so its a students dream come true.