Monthly property tours a great introduction to a market

Each month, Venture Investment Properties holds a house tour in one of our investor cities. On Sept 28th, we were in Hamilton. The group is getting larger each time and is a great way for newcomers and veteran investors alike to introduce themselves to the marketplace without any pressure from agents, etc.

Often you find the house you want right then during the tour, as happened on this tour when one couple put in an offer that night!

If you’re interested in learning more, click here

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What next in Canadian Housing?

Following the small increase in national home sales revealed by CREA Monday, the association has updated its forecast for the housing market.

Although acknowledging the strong economic and demographic fundamentals which support the housing market in most of the country, the forecast highlights the policy headwinds that are creating barriers for homebuyers. more

Opportunities in London, Ontario

Through an associate in the London, Ontario market we can now offer some great investment opportunities in Student Housing.
We have been doing it in Hamilton for the past 15 years and London has always been the only other location we would consider, mostly due to municipal rules and regulations.
Here is a list of current properties available. Use the Contact Me link to if you would like to learn more.

A modern approach to a traditional dish

Pierogi has been around for centuries. A staple of Eastern European countries initially, they have been taken up by the French, the Italians, American immigrants, and now modern chefs.

Inspired by dishes created at the Loaded Pierogi in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, this dish is a fusion of Italian, Slovak, and American tastes. My wife says I was ahead of my time as I’ve been “bastardizing” traditional Pierogi recipes for about twenty years (my ex-mother-in-law was a traditional Czech, and my exposure to many European staples emanates from her table). Although the basic potato pierogi done in onions and bacon and topped with sour cream, is exquisite in its simple form, I liked the idea of adding sauces, sauteeing and baking (instead of boiling and grilling), mixing sweet and sour… and the list goes on.

So now that it’s a modern trend and no longer a sin, I don’t mind sharing my own creations. Sorry Bubba!

INGREDIENTS

10 pierogi frozen (making your own is an option, but a time-consuming one) I prefer potato filled to any other. LEave them in the fridge or wrapped on the counter until thawed.

1/2 cup tomato soup
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 fresh tomatoes (skin removed) crushed
1/4 cup red wine
dash of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Italian salad dressing (I use Parmesan and Garlic- flavored)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tbsp each pepper and salt
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 tbsp marjoram
1/4 tbsp oregano (if you are missing one, put a 1/2 tbsp of the other)
If you have fresh oregano, use 4 sprigs instead of the dried ingredients

3 rashers bacon, cooked, wrapped in paper towels, and crushed when dried
1/2 onion, chopped

METHOD

  1. Cook onions first, to a golden hue
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes and carrots and cook for 3 min, then add the soup and marinara. Bring to a boil
  3. While boiling add the paste and wine, then simmer for 10 min
  4. Add marjoram, oregano, salt, pepper, and continue to simmer for 5 min
  5. Meanwhile, cook bacon to a hardy crispness. Remove half of the grease
  6. Ensure the pierogi are thawed, not frozen and saute in the bacon grease until they firm up and brown slightly. Add the salad dressing and continue sauteeing for 10 min until pierogi are puffed up and browned

Place pierogi on dish side by side and pour sauce over them. Sprinkle crushed bacon over the sauce and serve. A nice tomato salad (Caprese or feta and tomato work nicely) can be served as a side.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

 

How do you reheat steak without cooking it further?

If you’re like me, having left over steak leaves a lot to be desired. If you cooked it perfectly the first time, then any further cooking will turn it into charcoal or thereabouts. If you try pan frying but that just turns even the best medium-rare steak into well done in seconds, especially if you slice it.

Here are two methods I’ve used to achieve the above and stopped me from ruining a great steak the next day:

  1. IF THE STEAK WAS KEPT IN THE REFRIGERATOR  Place the leftover steak in a freezer seal plastic bag and immerse it in a pot of boiling water. After 20 minutes or so, the steak is warm enough to eat and the temperature hasn’t risen enough to change the “state” of the steak as it was originally cooked. The only problem with this method is that you recognize you’re not cooking to 160 degrees and so risk that some bacterial matter may have been introduced during the refrigeration stage.
  2. IF THE STEAK WAS FROZEN (OR REFRIGERATED OVERNIGHT) Place leftover steak in about 1/8 inch of warm water inside a slow cooker (preferably a small one) and turn the dial to “warm”. After about 1/2 hr, the steak is heated through and hasn’t changed it’s “state”. If you’re concerned about bacteria, dial it to low and the steak will cook slightly further (turning a medium rare into a medium, etc.), but you’ll still have a decent-tasting steak that has likely reached close to 160 degrees.

I find that whenever I reheat a steak, it loses a little of its original flavour, so I usually serve with a tomato/onion/feta salsa, or at the very least, a little A1 or HP sauce on the side. Even a little heated gravy or aus jus poured over the steak will not only add flavour but keep the warmth in.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

 

 

 

 

Baked Haddock with Creamy Crab Sauce

I had an urge for a creamy crab sauce. That’s what started it. Then, I realized I had to have the sauce with something. Enter the Haddock. Brushed lightly with lemon olive oil and baked at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, the Haddock is a perfect vehicle for the Crab sauce to enhance. You can put it on top of anything really (preferably fish) but I like the consistency of baked haddock to that’s my choice. The sauce is 296 calories per serving alone, so that’s why a light fish is necessary to keep those numbers down.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsns butter
2 tbsns flour
2 green onions with about 2″ of green, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon parsley leaves chopped (or 1/2 tspn dried)
4 ounces lump crabmeat (I use canned but fresh would, of course, be better)
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups heavy whipping cream (or half and half if you think that’s too rich)
1/2 tspn cajun or creole seasoning. (sometimes I use a 1/4 tbsn of chili-flavoured olive oil)
1 tbsn tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat; stir in flour, onions, and parsley. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes
  2.  Add the sherry and crabmeat to the flour mixture; gradually add the cream, stirring constantly. Stir in Cajun seasoning and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes to reduce slightly.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if necessary.
  4. Arrange the haddock (or whatever) on a plate and pour sauce over top. Serve with rice or small baked potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.

Roasted Sausages & Grapes

 

This is actually not a gourmet dish but rather a staple, comfort food example from Tuscany.  Popular at grape harvest, Italians use grapes right from the vineyard. It has a nice balance of richness with sweetness that is pulled together by balsamic vinegar.

My kids loved this dish when I discovered it about 25 years ago and it continues to be a simple go-to for my wife and I, along with a great Tuscan wine. The best way to enjoy this dish is to ensure each forkful has a grape, a slice of sausage, and a dollop of mashed potatoes. When it hits your taste buds for the first time, it is truly astonishing!

INGREDIENTS

2 sausages per serving (mild or hot Italian, honey garlic, English banger). My preference is mild Italian because the flavor mix is tremendous and the meat doesn’t overpower the grape. Serve one of two types in each serving; i.e: one mild and one banger on a plate.

3 tbsn unsalted butter
6 cups red or green seedless grapes, stemmed (I prefer red for rich flavor)
4 tbsn balsamic vinegar

METHOD

  1. reheat oven to 500 degrees. In a large pan, cover sausages with water and parboil for 8 minutes to rid them of excess fat.
  2. Melt butter in large, roasting pan. Add grapes and toss to coat. With tongs, transfer teh sausages to the roasting pan and push them into the grapes so the sausages don’t brown too quickly
  3. Roast, turning the sausages once, for 25 minutes or until the grapes are soft and the sausages have browned.
  4. With a slotted spoon, bring sausages and grapes to a heated serving platter
  5. Place the roasting pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. Add balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom the the pan. Allow the vinegar and juices to reduce until they are thick and syrupy.
  6. Pour the sauce over the sausages and grapes and serve immediately.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and a good Tuscan wine.

This and other recipes occasionally pop up in the Artichoke Hart series (available here), or the London Cartwright series (available here). Both chefs are fictional… the dishes are not.