Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blog Day 2006

The idea is to highlight new and interesting blogs. I am going to pick the 5 most recent additions to my Bloglines reader:
1.The Small Things, by one of my favourite food bloggers, kickpleat.
2. Posie's Place
3. Spice Girl
4. Champaign Taste
5. bunnyfoot

Fajitas!

Thank you for bearing with my indulgent posting of links; what can I say, I have a warped sense of humour!
I convinced Rob to make me Fajita's for dinner last night. I just love that whole "roll your own" thing ;D I made the marinade for the steak the night before, using the following recipe. We simply skipped the step where you grill it and instead, cooked it stovetop.

TerryTX's Chipotle Lime Flank Steak

1 (1 1/2 lb) flank steak
4 chipotle chiles canned in adobo
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup (anout 1/2 of a bunch) chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons garlic oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients for marinade. Marinate flank steak in the refrigerator 8 hours or overnight. Remove steak from marinade and reserve marinade.

Grill or broil to desired degree of doneness.

Meanwhile, as steak is grilling, bring marinade to a boil and boil until slightly reduced and thickened. Serve sauce over thinly sliced steak.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Filler

Okay, non foody filler. I want to share some of my favourite things; they make me laugh or cry or just think.

William Gibson Website
; This the official website of my favourite auther. I enjoy reading his blog and I have found links to other interesting ones through his links.
Like this one, Baghdad Burning. I was angry, horrified and saddened reading this blog. And I felt like a new window had been opened up.
The first time I read Ghost Town, from Kidd of Speed, I cried.
Need a break from the tears? A silly one I love, Rather Good. The kittens singing "Valhalla" (Immigrant Song)made me laugh till I nearly cried.
CLBB, my home away from home. Made friends here, discovered recipes.
Craftster.org, for thimgs I will never have time to make.
And the UBC version of the most annoying and virulent song ever.
Oh, and Wil Wheaton's Blog.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Recipe Interlude

Didn't really cook yesterday because we went to the PNE and ate tons of junkfood for lunch. Dinner was a salad.

So, I thought I would share the recipe I made for the priests opn Sunday. It is one of my all-time favourite meals, the one I request when I feel like crying. Feel free to experiment with the flavour elements; we do.

Lamb Stew

4 lamb shoulder chop
butter
1 onion -- chopped
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups lamb stock
1 sprig rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Preheat oven to 300F
Brown chops in butter and olive oil. Transfer to casserole dish.

In the same pan, saute onion and garlic till soft. Add flour and butter. Cook on low 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add white wine and stock. Bring to a boil and add rosemary, thyme and tomato paste. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Pour over chops. Cover and bake 2.5 hours. Or until tender.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Jerk Rubbed Chicken Thighs


The picture isn't beautiful, but it works. Rob made jerk chicken, farmer's market corn on the cob and yellow beans from the magical land of milan. Perfect summer meal, although I was craving lamb stew after serving it to the priests!
The jerk rub recipe is courtesy of Bobby Flay

Jerk Rub:
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cayenne powder
2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons dry thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Apply to meat of choice. Rob said he added a little cornstarch to help it adhere to the chicken.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

First of the season....


Golden smoked bacon, toasted bread, fleur de sel, cracked pepper and Milan's Tomatoes...

Decadent Seafood Crepes

Friday night, Rob told me he was craving seafood. I was itching to use my crepe pan. A little thought on my part and we have a happy marriage of the two....


Decadent Seafood Crepes

1 cup bechamel (your favourite recipe)
100 g smoked tuna (or other smoked fish)
400 g red snapper, poached (or other white fish)
200 g prawns, shelled and cooked
zest of a lemon
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
Dash of tabasco

8 crepes

Preheat broiler
Combine seafood with 3/4 c bechamel, lemon zest, peppercorns and tabasco. Taste for seasoning.
Divide seafood mixture evenly between 8 crepes, roll up and place on a bakesheet. Brush with reserved bechamel and broil for five minutes or until warmed through and tops are golden (as you can see, I tried the oven first and my tops didn't brown nicely.)
Serve hot.
4 servings

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Rob's Lentil Stew

I didn't get around to posting this at the time, but Rob made me some of my favourites before he left for his trip. This lentil stew spell totall comfort for me and is regularily requested throughout the winter.


Lentil Stew

1 cup lentils -- (green)
5 cloves garlic -- chopped
1 medium onion -- diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 (6 ounce) chorizo -- chopped
or
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper -- to taste
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 cups stock

Cook sausage in a large skillet on medium high heat. Romove from pan and drain, leaving fat in the pan. Cook onions on medium high in the same pan for 2-3 minutes. Add ginger and garlic; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add lentils, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.Add 1 1/2 cups stock, stir in ground cumin. return sausage to pan. Simmer on low for 1.5 hours, stirring occaisionally. Add remaining stock as needed. Season to taste. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lavender Lemon Chicken

All that enthusiasm for cooking for one went right out the window after last Wednesday/Thursday morning. Thursday was a 10 martinis with some friends followed by a hugely overpriced steak dinner(martinis cloud your judgement). Friday was a wrap stuffed with cold leftover tofu and peach salsa. Thankfully. my aunt and uncle were in town and they spoiled me with a dinner at Yoshi's, followed with snacks at La Bodega. By Sunday, I was in full on pity party mode, eating breadsticks for dinner with a bottle of wine. Yes, all by myself. Monday, Subway. I slept 30 hours in the last 8 nights. I watched 12 movies, read 8 books. But Rob, called last night and he is in Salmon Arm, a mere six hours away; my energy is back and I treated myself to a nice dinner last night with a little help from Quince and the Okanagan Wine shop.

I purchased a leek risotto and a summer vegetable medley (hard to do these items in small portions) from quince and picked up a bottle of rose at the wine shop. A quick stop at the corner and I had a free range chicken breast.
The oven was preheated to 375 and the chicken breast sprinkled with Lavender Sea salt from Eatwell Farms. I seared it in a smoking hot cast iron, two minutes on the skin, flip, two minutes on the other side. Cutting a lemon in half, I placed it cut side down in the cast iron and slid it in the oven, setting the timer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, I heated the risotto with some water and started heating a saute pan for the veggies. A glass of Lemberger-Pinot Noir from Lang Vineyards helped me pass the time waiting for the chicken to finish.
Once the chicken was done, I set it aside to rest, (threw the veg medley in the saute pan) squeezed the remaining pulp from the lemons and threw them way. I deglazed the hot skillet with some wine, reducing it slightly. This was my easy pan sauce.
Dinner was served and I actually got 8 hrs of sleep last night....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Coconut Crusted Tofu with Peach Salsa

Thank you Jeff, for inspiring me to cook even though I am cooking for one for the next 8 days. I get a little maudlin when Rob and I are apart (doesn't happen very often) and I forget that I used to LIKE being on my own and cooking what I want...

I knew I wanted something with tofu; he hates it, I love it. I did a search of the CLBB and came across an interesting recipe for coconut tofu with peach salsa. Of course, god forbid I actually write down the necessary ingredients or even bookmark the recipe so I can find it later...
After work, I wandered up the hill to Meinhardts and decided to wing my ingredient list. Once I was satisfied with the main event, I picked out some Chili garlic gai lan from their prepared food section and then tried to pick a starch. Wait a minute! Rob's not here - I don't have to have a starch!! So I left it at that.



Here is my interpretation of the recipe I saw only once.

Coconut Crusted Tofu with Peach Lemongrass Salsa

1 peach, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 tsp fresh lemongrass
1 tsp ground ginger
red chili, to taste
salt, to taste
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 oz compressed extra firm tofu, sliced 1/2" thick
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375. Season tofu, dip in egg and then coat with coconut. Place on a well oiled bake sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, saute onion and lemongrass in olive oil. Add peaches, vinegar and seasonings and cook till peaches are tender. Stir in fresh mint.
NB - I made a cooked salsa because I have an allergy to raw stonefruit. I think this would be nice with a fresh raw salsa as well.
Serve tofu garnished with salsa.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wine buying

Okay, short non-food post. I just wanted to put a plug for any local to try buying their wine at Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie. I stopped after work one day and received impeccable service, offers of samples etc. I came away with a tasty bottle of wine and that warm fuzzy feeeling that only good service can bring..

Won't be cooking much right now; Rob is off on a road trip and somehow, food isn't as fun when there is just one of you.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

I am so mortified...
Last night, Rob cooked dinner. He made meatloaf with mashed potatoes and yellow beans. Seemed innocent enogh, but the meatloaf and the sauce were very rich. It wasn't until after dinner that he mentioned the cheese aspect of the meatloaf... A niggling suspicion poked at the back of my mind.
"Umm, where did you say you got the recipe?"
"Food Network. Some woman whose show we don't get up here."
" Paula Deen?"
"Maybe."

On further inspection, it was revealed that it was indeed a Paula Deen recipe. The queen of over the top southern cooking. Why am I mortified?
1. I couldn't tell there was cheese in it.
2. Its like 2000 calories/serving!
3. I liked it.


Cheeseburger Meatloaf and Sauce
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
User Rating: 4 Stars


1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon House Seasoning (garlic powder, black pepper, and salt mix)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grated Cheddar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup crushed crackers (recommended: Ritz)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (recommended: Lawry's)
2 slices white bread
Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together, except the bread slices and Sauce. Shape into a loaf. Line a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan with the bread slices. Place meatloaf on top. Bake loaf for 45 minutes. The bread absorbs the grease and should be discarded after loaf is removed from oven.

Sauce:
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar
Chopped onions, optional
1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, chopped, optional

Heat the soup and milk over medium heat; add the cheese. Add the chopped onions and parsley to the sauce, if desired. Pour Sauce over the meatloaf or pass at the table.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Birch Bay

Perfect eggs

Deception Pass

Locals Only

Anacortes

shoes

motel room

Bellingham Breakfast

Chuckanut drive Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 11, 2006

C5

And so, our beautiful meal heads towards the finale. I won't even pretend to remember the wine that went with the next course, warm goat cheese on a slab of toasted brioche. The wprds late harvest were in their somewhere and it tasted ice wine-ish. Rob started his litany of "I couldn't possible eat anymore, yet somehow, his plate was clean when the waiter came back....

I do remember the next pairing; a twenty year old tawny port with an espresso ice cream cake and the most amazing apricot ice cream.


A brief hiatus as we were forced to move inside (no patio alcohol service after 11pm in the city of Vancouver) gave us just enough room for the final course. A ruby port paired up with a chocolate marquise and blackberry sorbet.


We did it! We made it through all 14 courses in 4.5 hours! And we both looked at each other and knew it was totally worth it. We relaxed as we waited for the bill, knowing we wouldn't have to eat another bite. Wait a minute! While you sit and sign a bill for almost a months rent, have a platter of house made candies and mini cookies, in recognition of your anniversary!! The worst part? we had to try a bite of everything....
In the cab home we held hands and gabbled like teenagers "remember when that salmon came out!? And it was cool seeing that Red guy from That 70's Show.... Ooh, that first wine was so amazing, I wish I had caught the name of the vineyard....."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

C4

Next.. the dish that got me so excited I actually broke a plate!
A glass of pinot grigio arrived at the table and Rob and I guessed various incarnations of duck. We were wrong. A crispy pork terrine was delivered to our table. A perfect cube of tender, slow cooked pork shoulder with a crispy thin crust. It was palanced on a sweet pee puree with a black truffle gastrique. I think I moaned when I tasted it. I know I shed a tear when I tried the wine. I got all flustered, my camera started to slip from its hiding place and I flailed about trying to catch it, instead hitting the lip of my bread plate. Crash!! 30 seconds later, the broken glass was gone and a fresh clean plate at my elbow. God, I love good service..


Rob and I were starting to struggle; we had been eating, albeit small portions, for 3 hours by this point.
A glass of Cabernet was delivered, followed by beef two ways. A piece of rare beef, tender and just warmed through, balanced atop a cube of perfectly slow cooked shortrib. Perfectly cooked zucchin and sweet candied hazlenuts were served alongside.


Finally, a break from the endless booze; a palate cleanser. Blueberry soda (which tasted like blueberry air in the mouth) served with a tiny sassafras cream puff.


We were gasping for air at this point, but the waiter gently reminded us we had 3 more courses coming. What were we thinking..........

To be continued

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

C3

Just got back from a mini break. The memory of the wine pairing is getting a little fuzzy, so you will have to bear with me...

Our wonderful waiter brought our next glass of wine (pinot grigio, I believe...) and made mention of Milan's tomatoes... I had no idea they were available yet this year and was almost drooling with anticipation.

A single tomato was skinned and gutted and splayed across the plate. Topping it, a tomato thing, some halibut, artichoke heart (beautiful and fresh), garlic and acck... memory fading... (may have had something to do with the copious amounts of wine we were consuming!). Every bit as wonderful as I thought it would..

(I must apologise, the light was fading and I was not using flash)
The next course was paired with chardonnay. A single piece of buttery grilled rare albacore, served over fennel infused risotto, and something on top...(darn wine). This was good, the risotto was impeccable and it was surging to the fore as my favourite dish of the evening.


Gewurtraminer was the next wine, wish I knew the winery. The flavour was so amazing and I suggested something smoky would pair really well with it. The picture doesn't do it any justice, but it was a piece of sablefish, wrapped with sablefish chorizo, served atop perfectly cooked green beans with an orange saffron butter sauce painted on the plate. Heavenly, delicate fish, a slight smoky spiciness from the chorizo...

To Be Continued.....

Monday, August 07, 2006

C2

Only three courses in and I am already losing track of the wine pairings! prior to the 3rd course, a glass of rose arrived at our table and an optional utensil; a set of steel chopsticks. We had fun trying to guess what we were going to be getting next. Rob called meat and he wasn't really wrong as I have always been taught to treat salmon like red meat

A succulent piece of salmon (poached perhaps, it just melted in the mouth) perched over a screen from which pine fumes wafted. Then the waiters simultaneously topped up the bowls with an evergreen broth. Under the piece of salmon were a few sauteed chantrelle mushrooms; the whole dish screamed West Coast to me.

Next course was preceded with a glass of Sancerre and a non-optional utensil; a pair of pinchers. No amount of guessing got us close to the target ~ a virtual smoked scallop brushed with matcha.

The presentation was so darn cool and I actually forgot my aversion to the scallop! The cedar smoke wafting out of the glass funnel made me think of campfires.

The course Rob had been waiting for and his favourite hands down (a quote "if this dish scores 100 points, everything else is a 50"; he's a fat fiend) A glass of Sauterne appeared at our table followed by a plate of foie gras with pickled cherries. I have to admit it was pretty damn good ~ if a little decadent for me.

To be continued....

Sunday, August 06, 2006

C1

Have you ever shed tears at a meal? Over the food? Then you may be able to comprehend the experience we had at C.
We arrived and were promptly escorted to a table, seated and napkined. They took our drink order; a sake martini.

Oh... I should have known from the first sip of this martini. It was smooth with a slight saltiness and a pickled ginger finish. We didn't even bother looking at the menu; we knew we wanted the chef's tasting menu with wine pairing. Before we could even order, a waitress arrived at our table with a small palate of soft butter and fleur de sel and a basket of house breads. There were three to choose from and I opted for the signature scone; nori and toasted sesame.

I let it slip that we were celebrating our anniversary and the first course wine pairing came with an extra two ounces of champagne. The first course was a chilled fresh pea soup with cured trout; the description seems so mundane in comparison to the exctasy we experienced with every bite. The champagne pairing was spot on too.

Next up was a sablefish terrine and new potato salad. The pairing was a graf riesling. The sablefish was a smokey flavour which brought out the soft buttery undertones of the riesling. The potato salad was four slices of new potato perfectly cooked with a grainy mustard vinaigrette.

To be continued................ Part 2

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging


She lies on the floor and everytime one of us walks by, she tries this cutesy pose on us.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Anticipation

This month, Rob and I will celebrate our sixth anniversary and we plan to do it in style. We don't do gifts, but we plan to have a meal out to remember.
C Restaurant

Our reservation is for Sunday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Celebration of Light

Every year, the city of Vancouver is lit up with fireworks from the Celebration of Light (formerly known as the Symphony of fire).
Last year, we managed to organise a picnic for some fireworks viewing and I really wanted to do it again this year.

9 of us gathered on the shores of English Bay to share amazing food, drink and relaxation. Highlights included Spice Cupboard Chicken Legs and Wings, Blueberry Grape Chutney and a deadly Lemon-Raspberry trifle. (Recipes are requested).

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Roast Pork


Last night was a quiet night at home with team effort on the dinner production. I decided I wanted a pork roast and Rob started it for me. My inspiration was drawn from the Joy of Cooking

Roast Pork Loin

3 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
olive oil to make a paste
Combine ingredients to form a thick paste
1 pork loin roast
Poke a few holes in the roast and stuff with paste. Slather the rest of the paste over the roast.
Preheat oven to 500F. Cook roast for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 250F and continue cooking until roast reaches internal temperature of 145 or however YOU like your pork done. Rest, slice and serve.

My pork was served with roasted yam, onion and feta and fresh green beans.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fringe Benefits

There is a definite upside to Rob being home all the time! This morning he made me a resuscitating breakfast of perfectly poached eggs (3.5 minutes) and toast. The perfect thing after a night out.