Thursday, September 28, 2006

Halibut with Rosemary Beurre Blanc

One of the perks of working in the food industry is that you occaisonally get freebies. We were testing Risotto Pave with Chantrelles and Roasted Local Corn and I got to take a couple home. Dinner was planned around them and I ended up with a stunning piece of halibut and some asparagus. The asparagus was roasted at 375 for 10 minutes and was delicious. But the star of the evening was the halibut.

Halibut with Rosemary Beurre Blanc

2 pieces halibut, 1.5-2 inches thick
1 tbsp clarified butter
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp shallots, diced finely
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375.
Melt clarified butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Season halibut with salt and sear 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to oven and bake 8-10 minutes or until cooked to desired doneness.
Meanwhile, add shallots to skillet, reducing heat to medium. Saute for two minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add rosemary and then wine. Reduce wine by half, then swirl in cold butter. Spoon over halibut.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bad Food

I have a serious weakness. After a couple drinks at the Arts Club, I lose my will to cook or eat a healthy dinner. Last night found us at the Varsity Grill, slurbuing bowls of noodle soup. I got beef brisket noodle soup and Rob got wonton noodle soup. The kind of food you can really only eat with the one you love, if we take a page from Lyn's book.
There are no pics because a. I didn't remember a camera and b. Even if I had, I was too hungry to remember to take a picture.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Leftovers again?

Rob reinvented our leftover samosa filling last night by wrapping it with puff pastry and baking it. Even better in this form than as the actual samosa recipe. We topped it with date and tamarind chutney and served broccoli alongside.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blogreader Spotlight

This Monday's selection is 5 recipes a week.
This is one of the first blogs I ever read. I started reading her because she was a fellow CLBBer and those were the only blogs I knew about in my early blogging days. The premise is that she will cook a minimum of 5 new recipes a week; while that doesn't always happen, I really enjoy the fact that she focusses on recipes and reviewing them. Pictures are a very recent addition, but that never detracted from my enjoyment of the blog.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Comforting breakfast

I was supposed to have a weekend. Best laid plains and all that; I worked yesterday afternoon/night at a wedding in Hycroft and I got a call to work The Other job today. I can't say no to work, because I need the money, so instead I feel sorry for myself. Doesn't help that I woke up sore from carrying full cambros up and down winding back staircases last night.
I went back to my childhood for breakfast this morning; toast, natural peanut butter and applesauce, sprinkled with cinnamon.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

Aggie investigates the camera
Weekend Cat Blogging is hosted by Chef Sarah Jane this weekend and apparently its her birthday, so stop in and see all the other weekend cat bloggers and wich her a happy day.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Surprise Inside! SHF

As I was reading through my blogs this morning, I discovered today was Sugar High Friday - hosted this time by Alanna with a theme of Surprise Inside. I spent all day at work mulling things over in my head, came home, surfed a couple recipes and then set to work. The result? A cardamom babycake with broiled figs:

The surprise inside? A rosewater mascarpone cream filling!

I have had a small obsession with rose and cardamom for a while now and I came up with the basic concept at work. I am just not comfortable baking without a recipe though, so I cruised the internet until I came across Cupcake Blog and a recipe for Churros and Chocolate Cupcake, which I adapted to fit my needs.

Cardamom Baby Cakes with Rosewater Mascarpone Cream
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cardamom
pinch salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and sugar in a mixer until fluffy
2. Add cardamom and vanilla, beat until well combined.
3 add one egg at a time, beating well after each, about 20 seconds
4. in a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt
5. add flour mixture and milk to the electric mixer, alternating and starting and ending with flour, beat well after each addition
6. Scoop into greased ramekins, filling almost to the top.
7. Pipe some of the Mascarpone cream into each cake.
8. cover with a teaspoon of batter
9. bake for ~35 minutes or until golden

Rosewater Cream
Beat 250 mls of mascarpone with 2 teaspoons rose water and two tablespoons honey.


I worked a double on Thursday, so I was extremely tired when I crawled home at 8:30. Once again, Rob had worked his butt off in the kitchen. This time, he set out to make vegetable samosas. I love samosas and you can find some good CHEAP samosas here in Vancouver, but Rob was determined. He pulled a recipe of Food Network, gathered his supplies and went for it. I loved the filling, (actually had with my eggs for breakfast today) and Rob told me he bumped up the cumin in the recipe by a good tablespoon. The wonton wrappers, softened up really fast, so I would say these are best straight out of the deep fryer. Rob also made the tamarind and date chutney that accompanied the recipe. Well worth the effort, I think.

Lamb Tandoori, also from Wolfgang Puck, was the protein component and I think that Rob was disappointed with effort to flavour ratio. They were good, but he said it was just too much fiddling for a mediocre flavour. I loved the cilantro mint chutney that accompanied it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Pasta Primavera with Crunchy Veg

Rob made another dinner tonight. This time, he was trying to make me happy by preparing something "light and healthy". He made his own bechamel, with roux and two percent milk and seasoned it with lime juice and white wine.
I was presented with a creamy pasta dish loaded with vegetables ~ imagine my shock on digging in and discovering that the vegetables were not cooked at all! Initially, I was seriously grumpy about it, but I didn't want to make a huge deal; Rob went to all this effort to make dinner, why should I kick up a fuss about crunchy vegetables. You know, as I ate, I realised I actually LIKED the crunchiness of the veg; I would happily eat/prepare it that way again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Remember that chicken stew? Well, it is reincarnated here with the addition of 1 cup of water, 3 cups of chopped kale and two homemade chicken sausages. A comforting, easy soup for a fall (Tues)day. I also took the remaining pieces of chicken and stripped the meat off the bone so that it would be easier to eat. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Smokey Pork Tenderloin

Rob has been doing a lot of the cooking lately (being unemployed and all) and he is a great kitchen improvisor. Last night he made a pork tenderloin with a red wine and smoked paprika sauce. No recipe was forthcoming, but here is his description of the method:

"First I coated the pork tenderloin with that smokey paprika and seared it off. I drained the fat out of the pan and added some butter and flour to make a roux. Finished it off with some red wine that was sitting on the counter, some chicken stock and a little more smoked paprika"

Pork we always cook the same way. Once it is seared, it goes into an oven set anywhere between 375 and 425, probe thermometer securely in place. It goes to 140, then we pull it and rest 5 minutes. Perfect pork.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Blogreader Spotlight

Monday once again and here I am with the next item on my bloglines reader; 28 Cooks.
A fairly recent addition to my reader, I am not even sure how I discovered it. The blog of a "28-year old vegaquarian". ALthough I don't remember what brought me to the site, the beautiful pictures and delicious sounding recipes (especially the dips) keep me coming back.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The evolution of a recipe

I love recipes. But I so rarely post them because I am physically incapable of following them. I thought today I would give an example of that. The following recipe is my plan for dinner, but knowing myself, it will be almost unrecognizable by the time I am done. I will update this post tonight with the results!

Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale
From Cooking Light

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups sliced leek
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled white potato (about 1 pound)
8 cups loosely packed torn kale (about 5 ounces)
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek; sauté 6 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Spoon leek mixture into a large bowl.

Place 1/3 cup flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned chicken to leek mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken mixture, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, water, and mustard to pan; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Stir in potato. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in kale; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with crushed red pepper, if desired.


I stopped into the market to pick up some kale and chicken stock; I was seduced by some beautiful chantrelles and matsutake mushrooms. I also had some cippolini onions and celery root on hand from the farmer's market.
Dijon Chicken Stew with Celeriac and Kale

olive oil (what? you think I measure it?)
2 cups sliced leek
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cippolini onions, peeled and quartered
1 celery root, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
4 chicken legs and thighs, skin removed (I had them in the freezer from cutting up free range chickens)
freshly ground black pepper (again, no measuring)
1 cup red wine (open bottle of gamay noir sitting on the counter)
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
2 cups loosely packed torn kale (all I had room for in the dutch oven)

Preheat oven to 350F
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken and toss with flour; sear and remove from pan. Add leek, onion and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add remaining flour, cook two minutes. Add wine, stock, chicken, mustard and herbs to Dutch oven, bring to a simmer, cover and place in oven for 30 minutes.

Stir in celery root. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until celery root is tender. Stir in kale; simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with crushed red pepper, if desired.

The perils of onsite catering

On discovering the makeshift kitchen in the GARAGE (people, its a house party, what are you doing poking your head in the garage??)
Drunk guest #1
"So this is where the magic happens!"
Drunk Guests #43,44
"This is where we get first dibs at the food, right"
Drunk Guest #12
"You two are doing a fabulous job! Can I try that (pointing to a garnish)
Drunk Guest #80
"So this is where the magic happens"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Zingerman's Creamery and Roadhouse

I know, how could I possibly devote three days of posts to this place? Well, the fact that we spent almost 8hrs touring it all probably helps!
After the Bakehouse tour, we checked out their new teaching kitchen where classes are offered to the general public, as well as the cake studio, featuring wedding cake displays.

Thankfully, the creamery part of the tour was short. We got a small talk about cheese production followed by a sampling session.

creamery production area

Highlights included the fresh cream cheese and fresh mozzarella, as well as cheese called Chelsea

and some salami, apparently preciously banned in the US. I broke down and bought some of the Chelsea. A side note? You can bring pasturised cheese across the border.

Our tour finally over, we had only one more stop to score a free "Tour of Food" t-shirt; Zingerman's Roadhouse. The restaurant is casual but a little pricey. We were given some samples of food before we ordered, something that has never happened to me before!

I settled on a Roadhouse Salad, thinking I was doing something healthy for myself; silly girl. The salad came with 1.5 lbs of meat. I never made it to the green part of the salad; my table mates suggested I should have known that, seeing as it was 12$ and all. Well, where I come from, salads at casual but expensive restaurants run at least 12$ and feed one person as a general rule!

Wrap up? Go to Zingerman's; I know you can order online, but it is cheaper and way more fun to go in person. The service is beyond impeccable, the selection varied and fun.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Figs with Salted Ice cream

First I spotted it on Passionate got me thinking. Then, it popped up on Champaign Taste. Okay, I had to try it, it was way too tempting

Figs, brushed with butter, sprinkled with sugar and broiled.
Vanilla ice cream (or frozen yoghurt) sprinkled with fleur de sel (I used lavender salt from Eatwell Farms).
Combine and enjoy.

Zingerman's Bakehouse

After finishing our balsamic tasting and shopping at the deli, we headed off to the Zingerman's Bakehouse. (Time, 12:30pm) Our tour guide, Ally, was another of the endlessly perky employees we encountered (It is wonderful, I just don't know how they stay happy ALL DAY!). She gave us a full 1.5 or 2 hour tour of the facilities. This was the only part of the tour we payed for, but it was worth every penny.

Coffeecakes in the giant ovens
I have a full serious of photos on my Flickr account, couldn't even begin to imagine squeezing them all in here. We started in the packaging room, progressed to pastry (the pastry closet; it was so tiny and there were three pastry people trying to work around our tour group). From there, we investigated the main kitchen, the bread sorting room and the bread production room. All the staff we encountered were so accommodating and friendly, even though we were so obviously in their way.
Our tour finished with a sampling in the shop; hot cocoa coffeecake (drool), Summer Fling coffeecake and pumpernickel raisin bread.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Zingerman's Deli

Friday morning 8 am found us crowding into the little deli in Ann Arbor. I have been wanting to go here for years and as I looked around, it lived up to my wildest dreams. Tiny little space, crammed floor to ceiling with cheeses, breads, chocolates, oils, vinegars and more. We were met by the retail manager who immediately guessed we were the group here for the balsamic tasting. We told her we wanted to wait a while so we could have breakfast first.
My breakfast:

The chai tea latte was delicious and the sandwich so huge, I ended up abandoning the bagel and eating the filling only!
After a long breakfast, we wandered back into the deli, where Gauri was waiting for us. She talked about the history and nomenclature of true balsamic vinegars. I took pictures of the bottles and pictures of the little vinegar drops on our hands. I will squeeze them in later when I have more time...
I decided I preferred the vinegar from the Modena region, particularily from one family (Vecchia?. I almost bought a 250$ bottle of balsamic and the only thing that stopped me was visions of the precious liquid spilling in my suitcase as the bottle shattered.
The service was mindblowing. Gauri spent 2hrs with us (at least)and was impeccably cheereful. One of our group was unable to make the tour, due to a series of unfortunate events (stupid US Airways) and we discussed buying her a bottle of balsamic as a consolation prize. We were overheard an Gauri suggested we bring her back after her flight landed and they would give her a special balsamic tasting. We arrived at 9:30pm, a new tour guide, Teo, gave her a detailed tasting. Amazing place. If you are ever anywhere close, stop in. You will not be disappointed.
I bought 7 kinds of chocolate, bread, coffeecake, paprika, white peppercorns. I could havve bought so much more.....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Home again...

Got in yesterday afternoon, worn out from my trip, but I had so much fun. Today, I don't have much time before work, so I will just tease you with some highlights of my trip;
1. Zingermans. I have a multi page story planned about this place. I would go so far to call it a must visit.
2. Penzeys. I came home with over 100$ worth of spices. I heard rumours they are thinking of opening in Seattle!
3. Trader Joes. I like Trader Joes ~ very very affordable and good quality too. Wish we had one of those here.
4. Staying in a HUGE beautiful house surrounded by flora and fauna.
5. Spending time with the friends I see only once a year....maybe I can entice everyone to Vancouver next year..
6. Cooking with and for said friends.
I'll leave you with a late edition of Monday Blog Spotlight:
101 Cookbooks
I am sure everyone reads this already, but its the next one on my reader. The photography is stunning and the recipes are enticing. I know I have made an Irish Soda Bread from her site.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gone Fishin

Off to sunny Michigan. I'll be back next week. Don't forget me while I am gone!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Care for a glass of port a piece of dark (86%) chocolate? I can't afford the best port, but I still enjoy a glass now and then. This one is Graham's with a piece of Poulain chocolate. I thought it would be a nice companion to a new feature I am trying out ~ the blog highlight.
I read a lot of blogs in my spare time, most of which are not on my blog roll. I plan to move alphabetically through them, one a week, on Mondays and share them with the people who read mine!
The first blog on my list:
...and endless banquet
Fellow Canadian bloggers, out of Quebec. I read their restaurant reviews, dreaming of the day I can visit that province. Their recipes are also wonderful, a mix of traditional and the new. I hope you check them out!

ETA Okay Lisa, guess I am not getting off that easy! My absolute favourite way to enjoy port is as pictured above, but I also like it with Stilton or other cheeses. My usual "everyday" port is Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage, usually running my between 25$ and 39$ per bottle. I tried this new one, Graham's Late Bottled Vintage, a mere 25$ and it is a fairly good everydayer as well. I usually indulge in a glass after dinner in the fall/winter months. Oh, and I painted the glass myself!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Five Foods

Jeff of C for Cooking tagged me for a "joint project"; five foods to eat before you die. Melissa of The Traveler's Lunchbox started this and has a running list of the entries so for (860 at press time). I have been enjoying reading others reccomendations. Let us see if I can live up to the high standard already set!

1. Oysters. Freshly shucked, raw, naked. There is no way to descripe them unless you have tasted it.

2. Marrow, spread on toast with fleur de sel. Another one of those things that sounds disgusting, but ..... Just try it.

3.Foie gras. I know, duck torture. However, PETA be damned (never liked them anyway), this is good. In small doses.

4. Milan's Tomato, sprinkled with fleur de sel. Really, I have never tried a tomato that tastes quite like his and I spent my childhood in the okanagan, a perfect tomato growing region. I don't know what is in his soil, but they are supposedly organic tomatoes...

5. Copper River Salmon. I eat a lot of salmon and nothing compares to this particular salmon.

I could keep going and going. I actually considered taking foie gras off my list, because it would upset some people and there are so many other things I could list. But that would be hypocritical....
My tags:

Knife Skills

I Like to Cook
Everybody Likes Sandwhiches
Mangos Verdes
Champaign Taste

Tomato Soup

Rob redeemed himself for not reading my mind and made me tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwhiches for dinner.
As I was posting this, I felt a twinge of deja vu; I am nothing if not consistent.

I'll make up for the repeat post by answering a meme Jeff challenged me to...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sick Days

I used to be so stoic when I got sick. Back in the day when I was ill for six months out of the year. Comes with the territory when you are in asthmatic, living in mold conditions or later, when you are an asthmatic who smokes a pack a day. I would work through bronchitis, laryngitis, I even had pneumonia once and didn't know it until I started to get better and my mom sent me to the doctor. I never missed a day of work, I don't think I whined too much....
Four years ago, maybe even five now, I quit smoking. I get sick once or twice a year, nothing too serious. And I have turned into the biggest baby. This time, I got sick at the beginning of my 3 day weekend (yesterday was my Friday). I got home from work and I didn't want to eat anything except soup. We don't have soup on hand, and I was too lazy to make it. I whinged about it for hours, poking at the lovely salmon Rob made for dinner. Finally, 9pm, wearing my pyjamas and a coat, I stormed out of the house for the corner store, where I purchased one can of Amy's Chicken Noodle Soup (it was ok, but at least it was something I felt like eating). When I got back, I yelled at Rob for not offering to go himself. HE, of course, was completely baffled as he had no idea I was going anywhere until the door slammed shut. Boys. They should be able to read your mind!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Clean Out The Fridge Day

Friday, I decided it was time to do something about the situation as seen in my before photo~

With Rob helping, I went through it shelf by shelf, throwing some things away (hummus from two months ago etc)and putting other things on the counter to be used for dinner.

And the byproduct of this mad fridge cleaning was salad and crustless quiche/frittata for dinner. I layered everything that I wanted to use up and poured an egg, eggwhite and milk royale over top. It was surprisingly delicious.

Layers were:
smoked tuna
red onion
cream cheese
green olives
aged cheddar