Sunday, April 30, 2006

IMBB ~ Stale Bread

Whew, i just made it under the wire. I chanced to read on Cooking With Amy that IMBB was this weekend and I just had enough time to get a dish in to participate.
Hosted by Obsession with Food, the theme is stale bread.
Say stale bread and I immediately think bread pudding. When I was a very small child and living a below the poverty line existence, my parents would get free day old bread from the bakery on trips into town. When they got home, a pot of goats milk would go on the stove with some honey. Cubed up dry bread was stirred into it and it was one of my favourite meals. Flash forward 20 years and I realise that was not true bread pudding. True bread pudding is dense and eggy and loaded with rich spices and dried fruit. And that is what I set out to make tonight.

The result was so rich, it needed a sauce of some sort. But so warm and soft and comforting.

Linda's Bread Pudding

3 large eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
3 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean
grating of nutmeg
1/3 cup currants
1/3 cup brandy
3 1/2 cups cubed bread (I used a lovely stale malted multigrain)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat milk with vanilla bean until just warmed. Soak currants in brandy. Separate eggs and cream egg yolks, golden syrup and sugar together. Add brandy /currant mixture and mix well. Stir bread and warm milk together and let bread soak in liquid mixture until very soft. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites to stiff peaks (I got that idea from the Joy of Cooking). Gently stirr egg yolk mixture into moistened bread and then fold egg whites in.
Pour into a well-oiled baking pan (I used a round one). Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


Notes: This was so rich, I wished I had added some orange zest to it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Comfort Food

Our Friday night "Tea" was a meal that took me back to my years in England as a teenager.

You see, baked beans are super cheap in England (or at least they were when I lived there, costing about 25 cents for a no name can) and my parents were running on a tight budget with two growing girls. Ergo~ lots of beans on toast. I actually like it though, and Friday was no exception. Rob bought some double smoked bacon and made lardons which he added to generic storebought beans. I get hungry just thinking about it.

There you go, a culinary confession. I like food that doesn't require hours to prepare.

Weekend Cat Blogging

I know we have seen Aggie in this pose before, but it was so damn cute, I couldn't resist taking a picture..

Head over to Eatstuff to check out all the other kitties.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Movie Meme

I spotted this on Foodgoat and I had to play. I used to fancy myself a bit of a movie buff, subscribed to Empire (even was a member of the chat forums there, back in the 90's), etc. According to Roger Ebert, these are the films you need to see to talk about movies.
The ones I have seen are in bold.


1. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) Stanley Kubrick
2. “The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut
3. “8 1/2? (1963) Federico Fellini
4. “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog
5. “Alien” (1979) Ridley Scott
6. “All About Eve” (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
7. “Annie Hall” (1977) Woody Allen
8. “Apocalypse Now” (1979) Francis Ford Coppola*
9. “Bambi” (1942) Disney

10. “The Battleship Potemkin” (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
11. “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) William Wyler
12. “The Big Red One” (1980) Samuel Fuller
13. “The Bicycle Thief” (1949) Vittorio De Sica
14. “The Big Sleep” (1946) Howard Hawks
15. “Blade Runner” (1982) Ridley Scott
16. “Blowup” (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
17. “Blue Velvet” (1986) David Lynch
18. “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) Arthur Penn
19. “Breathless” (1959 Jean-Luc Godard
20. “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) Howard Hawks
21. “Carrie” (1975) Brian DePalma
22. “Casablanca” (1942) Michael Curtiz
23. “Un Chien Andalou” (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
24. “Children of Paradise” / “Les Enfants du Paradis” (1945) Marcel Carne
25. “Chinatown” (1974) Roman Polanski
26. “Citizen Kane” (1941) Orson Welles
27. “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) Stanley Kubrick
28. “The Crying Game” (1992) Neil Jordan
29. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951) Robert Wise
30. “Days of Heaven” (1978) Terence Malick
31. “Dirty Harry” (1971) Don Siegel
32. “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) Luis Bunuel
33. “Do the Right Thing” (1989 Spike Lee
34. “La Dolce Vita” (1960) Federico Fellini
35. “Double Indemnity” (1944) Billy Wilder
36. “Dr. Strangelove” (1964) Stanley Kubrick
37. “Duck Soup” (1933) Leo McCarey
38. “E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) Steven Spielberg
39. “Easy Rider” (1969) Dennis Hopper
40. “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) Irvin Kershner
41. “The Exorcist” (1973) William Friedkin
42. “Fargo” (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
43. “Fight Club” (1999) David Fincher
44. “Frankenstein” (1931) James Whale
45. “The General” (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
46. “The Godfather,” “The Godfather, Part II” (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
47. “Gone With the Wind” (1939) Victor Fleming
48. “GoodFellas” (1990) Martin Scorsese
49. “The Graduate” (1967) Mike Nichols
50. “Halloween” (1978) John Carpenter
51. “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) Richard Lester
52. “Intolerance” (1916) D.W. Griffith
53. “It’s a Gift” (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
54. “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) Frank Capra
55. “Jaws” (1975) Steven Spielberg
56. “The Lady Eve” (1941) Preston Sturges
57. “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) David Lean
58. “M” (1931) Fritz Lang
59. “Mad Max 2? / “The Road Warrior” (1981) George Miller
60. “The Maltese Falcon” (1941) John Huston
61. “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) John Frankenheimer
62. “Metropolis” (1926) Fritz Lang
63. “Modern Times” (1936) Charles Chaplin
64. “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
65. “Nashville” (1975) Robert Altman
66. “The Night of the Hunter” (1955) Charles Laughton
67. “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) George Romero
68. “North by Northwest” (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
69. “Nosferatu” (1922) F.W. Murnau
70. “On the Waterfront” (1954) Elia Kazan
71. “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) Sergio Leone
72. “Out of the Past” (1947) Jacques Tournier
73. “Persona” (1966) Ingmar Bergman
74. “Pink Flamingos” (1972) John Waters
75. “Psycho” (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
76. “Pulp Fiction” (1994) Quentin Tarantino
77. “Rashomon” (1950) Akira Kurosawa
78. “Rear Window” (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
79. “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) Nicholas Ray
80. “Red River” (1948) Howard Hawks
81. “Repulsion” (1965) Roman Polanski
82. “The Rules of the Game” (1939) Jean Renoir
83. “Scarface” (1932) Howard Hawks
84. “The Scarlet Empress” (1934) Josef von Sternberg
85. “Schindler’s List” (1993) Steven Spielberg
86. “The Searchers” (1956) John Ford
87. “The Seven Samurai” (1954) Akira Kurosawa
88. “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
89. “Some Like It Hot” (1959) Billy Wilder
90. “A Star Is Born” (1954) George Cukor
91. “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) Elia Kazan
92. “Sunset Boulevard” (1950) Billy Wilder
93. “Taxi Driver” (1976) Martin Scorsese
94. “The Third Man” (1949) Carol Reed
95. “Tokyo Story” (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
96. “Touch of Evil” (1958) Orson Welles
97. “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) John Huston
98. “Trouble in Paradise” (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
99. “Vertigo” (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
100. “West Side Story” (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
101. “The Wild Bunch” (1969) Sam Peckinpah
102. “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) Victor Fleming


Hmm, perhaps I am not as movie savvy as I thought.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm baaack!


That's right, I liberated my camera from here yesterday. It was so nice to have it back after so long.
After picking it up, I headed downtown. I had an interview to go to at 2, and I needed to kill a little time, so I started hunting for a patio. I stumbled across a dark dingy place just off Robson, no patio, that I just had to try. It is called Guu and I have heard rumours about it here and there (link to a review, buried in this fascinating article). the palce was packed, and I squeezed up to the bar. The menu was handed to me, a handwritten, tattered thing with the Japanese (?) first, english second. I ordered a chicken bowl.

It was a battered chicken, over rice topped with a snotty egg and served with pickled vegetables and miso soup. It was very good, but I couldn't finish it by any stretch. I am thinking I might have to go back again, just to see what the other offerings are like.

Must run, off to the catering job.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Spring/Summer Food

Sunday was a stunning day and Rob and I went into full on picnic mode ~ on our patio of course. I made two kinds of devilled eggs, prosciutto wrapped melon, salad, potato salad and Rob made jerk chicken wings (I will have to harass him for the recipe). I sipped cava, Rob sipped Coronas and we just relaxed. Monday morning, I had to get up at 4:30 am to go work one of my several jobs, and I was really not feeling it. the nice part was finishing work at 10:30! I had time to hit the library and pick up my hold (Carpe Jugulum), shop the Salvation Army and find a gorgeous pair of Nine West mules for 8$, check out the Army & Navy shoe sale (kept myslef to one pair of shoes) and have lunch at La Casita (with a margarita, of course).
La Casita was interesting. I got the special, Black Bean Soup, Chicken Tamal and Salad. The salad was awful ~ soggy, old and underdressed. The soup was good, but I would have liked a squeeze of lime in it. The tamal was excellent; tender, flavourful, very moreish. I would like to try a few of the standards on their menu ~ everything seems very affordable and they have proper margaritas; on the rocks.



SOUR CREAM, LEMON, AND HERB DEVILED EGGS


6 hard-boiled eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Chopped fresh parsley or thyme

Shell eggs, then cut in half lengthwise. Transfer yolks to small bowl and mash with fork. Mix in sour cream, mayonnaise, and mustard. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Spoon yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle generously with chopped parsley or thyme. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate.)

Makes 12.

Bon App├ętit
April 2006
Kristine Kidd

Linda's Chili Garlic Deviled Eggs
adapted from the Bon Appetit recipe

6 hard-boiled eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon chili paste
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
salt

aleppo pepper

Shell eggs, then cut in half lengthwise. Transfer yolks to small bowl and mash with fork. Mix in sour cream & mayonnaise. Stir in pastes and season generously with salt and pepper.

Spoon yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle lightly with aleppo pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover loosely and refrigerate.)

Makes 12.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Callback!

The priests called me back!! I get to cook for them again in May ~ weekend cook's grandchildren will be celebrating their first communion, so she needs someone to cover for her. I am looking forward to it already.

Yesteday, we went to the first BBQ of the season at a freinds' place. Grilled Ribeyes, portobellos and Asparagus, two different salsas and an excelent pasta salad. Oh yes and Ovaltine rice pudding!! It was really good, especially topped with a tiny scoop of gelato...

Its a beautiful day, so I am off to enjoy the sunshine on my little patio.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

Another one from the files; Aggie in her favourite winter evening spot. Cuddled under the afghans with just her head sticking out. When its really cold, you don't even see that!


Head on over to Eatstuff, Check out Kiri savaging an enemy and all the other cute kitties.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Repeat Dinner

I don't often do repeats, but I was so taken with the chicken I served the priests I decided to try it again. I used bone in skin on chicken thighs. OMG, so good, this will go onto the short list for sure.

We served it with a morel mushroom risotto (yes, I am obsessed with morels right now ~ They are FRESH!!) and a caprese salad. The salad was simple; sliced strawberry tomatoes, sliced baby bocconcini, shredded basil, balsamic, olive oil and fleur de sel. A little tip I learned today for slicing bocconcini (you can also just tear it); use an egg slicer! Works like a charm and I wish I had thought of it.

Worked again today~ starting to feel the muscles in my chopping arm and my knife callous is getting bigger. I am filing all these beautiful appetizers away in my head; they may turn up on this blog in a home friendly form.

After work, Rob and I nipped over to Trimpac meats to pick up my hog casings and special salt; sausage making! Coming soon to a blog near you.

On a sad (and expensive note) a sticky substance apparently invaded my camera and it is going to cost me 110$ and another week to repair my camera. Just repeat after me; my camera is worth two days wages ~ maybe it will make me feel better about paying for it!

Spring on a plate

I keep getting these spring cravings; morels, asparagus, fiddleheads, etc. Last night I managed to fulfill all of those cravings in one fell swoop. My market foray yielded wild onions, fresh morels, fiddleheads, fresh basil, crisp-tender asparagus and beautiful strawberry tomatoes on the vine. I left the tomatoes on the vine, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt and roasted them quickly at 500f. A drizzle of balsamic and they went onto the plates, still on the vine. I sliced open the morels and sauteed them in lots of butter. When I was satisfied, I drained them and used the butter and the same pan to make my roux for the creamy pasta sauce. The asparagus was quickly blanched, the fiddleheads were sauteed for 10 minutes, the wild onion was chopped and stirred into the cream sauce. Once the pasta was boiled and ready, I tossed everything together and served alongside the roasted tomatoes........

I passed the initial trial period at work; thank you all for your positive comments. I did cut myslef yesterday, but it wasn't a flesh wound, it was a nail wound ~ I shaved half of my nail off my left index finger. Hurts like nobody's business.

Must run, have to work today and then I am off to my favourite meat supplier, Trimpac, to pick up some hog casings and sodium nitrite.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Catering

First day of work today. I would be lying if I said I wasn't shaking like a leaf when I arrived. Luckily, I got that out of the way before risking damage to my limbs. I had a blast, worked hard, and made it through day one of the trial period. Day two, final day tomorrow. I will know where I stand after tomorrow's shift.

Oh, how I wish i had my camera so I could show you our meal tonight~ Seared sablefish with morel mushrooms, dilled fingerling potatoes and fiddleheads. Spring on the plate!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Last Dinner with the Priests

I have to admit, I really enjoyed the last three days ~ I coudl cook for the priests full time!

For the last lunch, I made an "Italian" Vegetable soup, Ham sandwhiches from the leftover ham, salad and baked beans.
Dinner was an adaptation of Giada's Balsamic Chicken, Roasted Baby Red Potatoes, Sauteed Zucchini, Green Peas, Salad and a Sugar Free Pear Custard Dessert with a crumb topping.
They seemed to enjoy it all and I amde more money in 3 days than I did in two weeks of part time catering prep!

Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)
I ended up using 3 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts; I was cooking for a group of old men with health problems. I am planning to try this the right way at home~ teh flavour was incredible.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces (giblets, neck and backbone reserved for another use)
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in small bowl to blend. Combine the vinaigrette and chicken pieces in a large resealable plastic bag; seal the bag and toss to coat. Refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove chicken from the bag and arrange the chicken pieces on a large greased baking dish. Roast until the chicken is just cooked through, about 1 hour. If your chicken browns too quickly, cover it with foil for the remaining cooking time. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Place the baking dish on a burner over medium-low heat. Whisk the chicken broth into the pan drippings, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the baking sheet with a wooden spoon and mixing them into the broth and pan drippings. Drizzle the pan drippings over the chicken. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the chicken, and serve.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Easter

Yes, I know, Easter was yesterday. But I was to tired to write yesterday and this is all about Easter with the Catholic priests.
I had been informed that Sunday lunch was always brunch, so I made some pancakes, a variation on an egg roll up posted by Joe of Culinary in the Dessert, bacon, salad, veggie tray etc. Lunch is right at noon and at 11:45, one of the priests let me in on a little secret ~ they have soup everyday! 15 minutes to make soup; I cranked the heat on the stove, blended leftover mashed potatoes with turkey stock, added in leftover sliced cooked carrots, some herbs and spices and 15 minutes later, soup was on the table.
Dinner was ham with sugar free blueberry-dijon glaze, sauteed green beans with toasted almonds, roasted yams, dried cranberry rice pilaf, salad, easter bread and sugar free lemon bars.

A successful dinner all around and I came home to my favourite supper, Tuna Tataki.

The cranberry pilaf was a straight swap in a recipe from the cherry marketing board.





Cherry Rice Pilaf


1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon margarine
3 cups cooked rice

Put onion, celery, cherries, walnuts, thyme, marjoram, pepper and margarine in a large nonstick skillet. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender; stir occasionally. Add rice; mix well. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until thoroughly heated.


Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 191 Calories; 6g Fat (28.7% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 33mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 Fat.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

So tired.....

What a day! I apologise in advance fro typos. I am so exhausted, the only reason i am sitting upright is that I finally ate a meal and I can't go straight to bed after that.
I cooked for the priests today till 6~ turkey soup, salad, sandwhiches for lunch; slowcooker meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy and assorted veg for dinner; low sugar blueberry apple crisp for dessert.
From there, I headed straight downtown for a wedding at the Art Gallery. I was doing a stage with the catering company. What a rush; suddenly it was 10, i was walking out the door realising I could barely move. This just convinces me that catering is what I want to do....
Now, I need to find a recipe for sugar free dessert for the priests tomorrow....

Weekend Cat Blogging

Although my camera is in the shop right now, I was lucky enough to have a picture of aggie floating around in my files. I put a gift for Rob in a lovely chocolate brown gift bag with lots of crinkly spring green tissue. As soon as he opened it, Aggie was right in there ~ i missed the shot where just here tail is sticking out.



Check out cat lovers all over the world at eatstuff.

Friday, April 14, 2006

On blogrolling

I am intrinsically lazy (and a little short on time), so I rarely update my blogroll (found on the side of the front page, under food blogs). kIf you want to know what I am reading, check this list out; Linda's Bloglines Subscriptions

Tragedy Strikes

Oh the horror of it. No pictures of creamy (highly addictive) risotto with preserved black truffles, roasted Free range chicken breasts or fiddleheads! No pictures of chocolate truffle cakes, yarg or the other cheese the name of which escapes me. No pictures for a while. My precious camera stubbornly refuses to turn on despite repeated battery changes, so it has gone to the repair shop and I am hoping it will be coming home again. It got wet. I think I put my (cloth) purse down on a puddle or something, because it was soaked and so was my camera case.....

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Matcha, Matcha, Matcha Woman.....

I just discovered a new obsession; matcha chai from Granville Island Tea Company. If you haven't been to this place already, please go! The owners are wonderful, their tea selection is to die for and the regulars don't bite. Much ;p
The matcha chai is this warm, sweetly intense beverage with a touch of peppery heat. I wish I had my camera.
I stopped by after my interview, and indulged.
Oh yes, the interview..... Well, I get to try it out for a couple of shifts at least. Here's hoping I don't screw up too bad!
I was so excited, I went and blew some money on a few truffles (the fungal ones) and some exotic looking cheese from Les Amis de Fromage.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tempeh Club Sandwhich

I had half a block of tempeh left in the fridge and I was inspired to make a "club" sandwich with it. I seared the tempeh (I accidentally bought "indonesian" flavour, so it was spiced already) and put it on a sandwhich made with sprouted grain bread, vegan mayo, lettuce, tomato and avacado. Yum! I am so full now and it was a great (and slightly healthy) way to get rid of that excess tempeh.

Serve with a herb salad and a tall glass of sparkling water and you have a great restaurant style lunch on your hands.

EbiTen/ Legendary Noodle

Well, breakfast was super healthy yesterday! Then it kind of went downhill from there...

First the good news ~ I got the interview at the catering company I have always wanted to work at; Thuursday, 10 am, send me good interview vibes.

Now to the reviews.

I was out job hunting yesterday and tying up some loose ends. I headed over to the main branch of the library, hoping to get a new library card (I lost mine last summer); what a hassle. I ended up walking out sans card and mad and hungry. Right across the street from the library is a place called EbiTen, Japanese fast food. I figured Japanese food HAD to be healthy; I was wrong. There were a few sushi options (the usual suspects) and everything else was tempura and teriyaki and deep fried octopus balls. I ordered the tempura bowl, against my better judgement. It was the Japanese equivalent of corndogs. The only good part of my meal was the bottle of iced green tea that I had with it.

After work, I met up with Rob and two friends and we headed out to Legendary Noodle on Main Street. While far from being healthy, the food here was so good. We ate two dozens teamed pork & leek dumplings, a big bowl of handmade noodles with black bean sauce and minced pork and a fried onion pancake all for around 5$ each. The place is a little dodgy looking and there is no sink in the bathroom, but I WISH we had something like that in our neighbourhood. Well worth blowing the healthy eating plan for.
Here is an old review from a local blog; Legendary Noodle

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tempeh and Tacos

The original plan was tempeh tacos for me and beef tacos for Rob. Unfortunately, I didn't make enough corn tortillas, so I ended up having my tempeh on a bed of baby spinach!

I sliced the tempeh and cooked it with a marinade of lime juice and a touch of chipotle, then laid it over the spinach, topping it with homemade salsa and a touch of sour cream.
For Rob's Taco's, I made the corn tortillas inspired by The Gluten Free Girl and marinated a cheap steak all day in lime and chipotle. I seared the steak, sliced it very thinly and served it alongside salsa, sour cream, cheese and the tortillas. He seemed to enjoy it.


We will see if today is a better day for the snacking urges ~ I plan to be out job hunting, so thst should distract me somewhat. Tonight is a dinner out at a dumpling house on Main; this should be interesting.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Trials of Unemployment

Okay, so I am not TOTALLY unemployed! But Monday was my first day of not working at the school in a very long time. The worst part ~ the withdrawal. I had NO idea how much and how often I was eating at work; students would bring me little treats, a salad here, soup there, a bread roll, a cookie, some lunch etc. It wasn't until I was at home on a weekday, all by myself, that I realised I was doing this. This day has been like the first day after quiting smoking. My skin crawls, I keep getting up to grab a drink of milk, maybe a handful of nuts or chocolate chips then stopping myself as I realise what I am doing! I have been concerned about the fact that I FELT like I was eating nothing and I was unable to lose any weight; looks like I solved that mystery.
I know this blog has been mostly about the decadent stuff, the over the top, but i am concerned about my health ~ I don't feel energised, I feel drained and bloated. I decided to start eating the way I want, and then I got into some natureopathic stuff about blood type/type of food you should eat. I am not sure if I buy it fully, but many of the things that I crave when I am feeling unhealthy are on this list of foods I *should* eat.
Anyway, I don't want to bore anyone; trust me, I am not turning this blog into a "diet" site (I do have sausages to make this week). I am just warning you that there might be some healthier food making an appearance on these pages. Plus I am trying to distract myself from the block of cheese in the fridge. Sneak peek at tonight's dinner? Tempeh Tacos.....

Calypso Roti



This post has been a long time coming ~ i made it last weekend when we had friends over for dinner. One of my friends is vegetarian and I actually really enjoy any opportunity to make vegetarian food. This recipe is my second one from my Rebar cookbook. I mad ea few changes, mostly because I wanted to assemble ahead of time and I forgot a few things when I was grocery shopping.

Calypso Roti

4 roti, chapati or whole wheat tortillas (I used roti, but I used about 1 dozen)
2 sweet red peppers
1 tbsp veg oil (I never measure oil, just use what I think I need)
2 cups shredded cabbage (I bought preshredded and tossed with apple cider vinegar and olive oil for a little moisture and flavour)
4 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
BLACK BEAN HUMMUS
1 can black beans
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tsp chipotle puree (I just used a touch of my chipotle adobo sauce from a can of chipotles)
1/4 tsp salt (never measure salt)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I am a cumin junkie, so I used 2 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground corainder (left it out ~ lazy)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (just used a whole bunch)
2 tbsp flax seed oil (optional)
1 bunch cilantro
MANGO MOJO
1 ripe mango ( I used two)
2 cloves garlic ( left it out)
1/2 habanero (forgot to buy a habanero, so used a chipotle)
1 tsp salt (again, didn't measure)
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped (again, used one bunch.

Prepare black bean hummus and mango mojo. Take the ingredients for each, puree in food processor, its just that easy.

Wrap roti in foil, place in a 300f oven. Meanwhile, halve, seed and julienne the red peppers. Saute to desired doneness (original says 5 minutes, but use your instinct ~ mine went less)
Remove roti from oven, spoon hummus on, top with grilled peppers, cabbage, mango mojo (I left this out) and toasted pumpkin seeds. Roll, serve.

I actually made the roll ups the night before, without the mango mojo, cut them in half and plattered them with the mango sauce as dip. They were excellent and went down well with the non-vegetarians too. (At least, Rob seemed to like them).

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My Birthday Dinner

Last night, Rob prepared a seafood feast for my birthday dinner ~ I helpe dout a bit too.
To start, we shared a dozen oysters. I didn't tak a picture because, well, there are several in my archives and I just wanted to eat.
The second course was a creation straight out of Rob's mind; Stuffed Mushroom Caps.

Rob stuffed the caps with shrimp, herbs, cream cheese and other secret ingredients before baking them for 15 minutes and finishing them under the broiler.
The third course was my creation; a palate cleansing Chilled Fresh Pea Soup with Lemon.

Another made up recipe, this time it came out of my head. I gently cooked fresh green peas with a touch of white wine, before pureeing them in the food processor with the zest of a whole lemon. I din't have enough substance, so I wilted a little spinach, blended it and added it to the peas. then I seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg and whipped in some sour cream. Chill.
With the first three courses, we had a Cava, Spanish sparkling wine.
The final course was my request, from epicurious.com ~ Black Cod with Lemon Vinaigrette and Herb Salad. Black Cod or Sablefish is a fish that makes an appearance on many Vancouver restaurants menues and I have been waniting to try it for a while now. We followed the epicurious recipe almost to the letter, except I bought a premade herb salad and while we were shoping on Granville Island, I stumbled across the first morel mushrooms of the season. We sauteed those with butter, added some fresh dill and served them over the sable fish. It was really just gilding the lily. Sablefish is so buttery and rich ~ I can't believe it took us so long to try it!

Dessert was my new favourite ice cream, Haagen Dazs Mayan Chocolate, as we watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Not Weekend Cat Blogging

Well, you might be seeing a little more of me over the next while ~ I quit one of my jobs, the fulltime, 6-2 one and I don't have a replacement lined up, yet.
I am not ready for Weekend Cat Blogging yet, because I have to go to the dentist at 8:00 (I know, dentist on my birthday, its all wrong) and I don't have time to chase Agnes around with the camera.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Early Birthday Treat



As I mentioned in a previous post, I busted Rob and my friend on my birthday gift. I still enjoyed it though. I went to an evening of food and learning at Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks with author Jennifer MacLaglan of Bones fame. I have been lusting after this book for a long time, and I knew the class was happening, so I statred begging Rob to let me go as my birthday present. That is when he and my friend got this sick look on their faces ~ it was already planned AS MY BIRTHDAY GIFT!

As I left for the event, Rob said "I hope you get some food there!" And Oh my god did we ever. As Jennifer talked about the book, she and her helpers prepared huge marrow bones. We salted the marrow and spread it on toast as she moved on to the halibut and the duck legs and the chinese style oxtail. I was so full, I needed a nap after that. The food was incredible and if I wasn't already converted to on the bone cooking, it would have been a near spiritual experience. Jennifer spoke with passion and as she signed my book later, we talked about the state of culinary schools here, leaving the butchery element out of the curriculum, working with pristine, boneless skinless cuts.
Thank you for the early birthday gift ~ you guys are awesome.
While I was there I also picked up Charcuterie ~ this is my new obsession.
And thank all of you for the birthday wishes.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Good Food and Friends

Sunday night, two friends dropped by for an evening of finger food, games and general chitchat. The menu:
Who Loves Ya Babyback Ribs
Jerk Rubbed Chicken Wings
Calypso Roti
Roasted Rosemary Potato Skewers
Veg & Dip
Gingerbread Cake with Apple Compote, Lemon Honey Mascarpone and Lancashire Cheese.
The guest brought the dessert and I have included the link to her recipe. She also left the recipe for the apple compote in the comments section of this post. I highly recommend checking it out!. It was all so good, the cake was moist and rich and the trimmings were strong enough to stand up to the intensity of the cake.


Feeling rather guilty this morning. My birthday is coming in a week and I managed to once again bust Rob on my birthday present. The poor guy can't catch a break, I always manage to ruin the surprise. This time, I busted the friend too. I'll share the gift after I receive it, but here's a hint: My friend works at Barbara Jo's......

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

Last week, we headed over to Sidney to visit my parents. I love Sidney ~ quiet booktown that is is. This is a guard cat from one of the many secondhand bookstores in town.

Head on over to Eatstuff, say hit to Clare and Kiri and check out all the other kitties.