Thursday, June 30, 2005


Well, a new store opened up on Granville Island, where I work. Barbara-Jo's Books To Cooks. Yes, a cookbook store. I managed to resist temptation twice. Apparently, the third time is the charm ( or the curse). I caved. I gave in. I surrendered to the siren call of the cookbook ~ I couldn't help it. It was only $5.00!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Taste Canada

I recently stumbled across a post about Taste Canada, on a blog from South of The Border and I knew I had to do it. Thank You Jennifer, for giving me an extension.
I must admit, I stewed for a day about what Canada Tasted Like To Me. I questioned my partner. His response: pemmican, maple syrup, salmon, back bacon. I tried to think of quintessential Canadian ingredients and I slowly formulated my menu. We started with Sweet Petit Oysters, eaten over the kitchen sink, completely naked (the oysters) and gloriously salty sweet.

The main dinner: Soy and Rice Vinegar Marinated Steamed Wild Salmon with Hijiki and Morels. Salmon, although not confined to Canada, just seems so very Canadian. I chose the rice vinegar and soy because, for me, Canada is about a seamless blend of cross-cultural culinary experiences. The Hijiki, or sea asparagus tastes like the ocean, and for this west coaster, Canada IS the ocean ( I know, that is utterly blasphemous, but apart from a week long visit to Winnipeg, most of my life in Canada has been spent this side of Golden, BC). And the morels ~ god, morels. I get slightly manaical about these fungii when they are fresh in season. Morels taste like early summer, the season I wish would stay forever. I served the Salmon with roasted Organic Local baby potatoes and carrots.

And finally, dessert. I wasn't going to do dessert, but I was in the market today and the Local Blueberries had arrived! A sucker for fresh fruit, I scooped up a generous amount for $2.50 and served them up with very gently whipped cream flavoured with maple syrup.

And that was My Taste of Canada. Now I just need a photography lesson to do the meal justice!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Roasted Veggie Quesadillas

Well, those of you who know me, know that I have a weakness for twoonie tuesdays at our local bar. And after a couple cheap gins, the last thing I want to do is cook. Tonight was a new recipe and I ended up trying it out on guests. The recipe was inspired by the Rebar Cookbook, but I doubt that it bears little resemblance to the original. I pre~roasted the veggies and chorizo before my marathon jam~making session today and just assembled when we got back.


For a post supper, late night munchie, I whipped up dessert quesadillas for the boys: strawberry, mint, black pepper jam and queso filling.

Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 japanese eggplant, diced
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 red onion, diced
3 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 Chorizo sausages (optional)
Roast each item individually at 450F for 15-20 minutes (use your judgement). Combine.
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, diced
salt& pepper to taste
Stir the chipotle, salt & pepper into the roasted vegetables.
Shredded Cheddar
Build & then fry your quesadillas in a non-stick pan.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Silly Survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey


I decided to fill the school break with some non-scholastic posting and Utensibility seemed like the perfect choice for today. I may not be able to "wax poetic" about my choices, but I am still more than happy to share my favourites. What a hard choice though... I looked at my beautiful Empire Red KA Mixer ~ yes I love it, but I don't use it EVERY day. Same with the 14 cup Cuisinart Food Processor. Then there is the digital scale that I use so much I even take it to school for my practical exams, or the thermometer or... well I could go on. I finally settled on a big ticket and a little ticket item, so here goes.

Hey Big Spender!
Absolutely out of the 300$ range, two of the items in it cost 300$ combined. I use it every day, I take it to school and back with me. Its hardly beautiful, but its wildly functional. Drum Roll Please.........
That's right, it is my knife kit. Two of the knives in it were separate (splurge) purchases (top two), but everything else was included: carving knife, chef's knife, paring knife, melon baller etc. I would be unable to function in the kitchen if I lost this. I guard it a little obsessively, but I am sure you can understand why. The backstory of this knife kit ~ it was included in my tuition package for Dubrulle. My tuition was $12,000. If this school thing (god forbid) is a flop for me, I think I will qualify for the world's most expensive knife kit.

Cheap is good!

And for my budget item ~ the spice grinder. I know, technically it is a coffee grinder, but this thing has never seen a coffee bean. It is reserved for grinding up my whole spices, chiles, etc. I don't know where I would be without it. Buying crappy preground spices, perhaps?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What I did on my summer vacation (sort of)

With time off from school, I have been feeling a little lazy. Tuesday morning I remedied that by getting up bright and early and heading to Aldergrove to pick strawberries. Two and a half hours in the hot sun and we had ourselves thirty pounds of strawberries each! Yeah, we got a little carried away. Hot, dirty and tired, I headed home to tackle the aftermath ~ hulling strawberries. The payoff is worth it all though. My first batch of preserves went through tonight, with five more to follow.

Strawberries with Zinfandel 

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It's your birthday...on Thursday!

An early birthday treat for Katie, involving a strawberry, white chocolate mousse..

Happy Birthday! 

Monday, June 20, 2005

I've been tagged..

Which was a good way to get me back in the posting habit ~ school's out for two weeks and I have been lazy. So, courtesy of Sweetnicks, here goes...

1. Total number of cookbooks I’ve owned:15

2. Last cookbook(s) I bought: The Rival Crockpot book ~ secondhand. It was only 50 cents!

3. Last cookbook I read:The new Mario Batalia one, can't think of the title off the top of my head. Can't wait to borrow it and try some of the recipes.
4. Five cookbooks that mean a lot to me:
a. Mes Confitures: my most expensive cookbook purchase. It never fails to inspire me.
b. Fresh: the cookbook I have used the most ~ beautiful pictures and sophisticated yet simple seasonal recipes.
c. Joy of Cooking: Its a classic. The first cookbook I ever owned. I learned the basics from JOC.
d. The Oxford Companion to Food: Not a cookbook, per se, but my parents recentlt purchased this for me and it is the most comprehensive source of food information. Not to mention constant reminder of the faith my family has in my abilities.
e. My filed magazine collection: spanning 5 years of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Food and Wine and Cooking Light. I will find a recipe every time i open up one of those three ring binders.
5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?
NancyLand Vancouver Foodie Fun, Em at TravelingEm (if she has the time), Susan at 5 Recipes... and I think the other two I would pick have already done it: Sweetnicks and Taste Everything Once.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Chinatown Images



Dollar Meats 

Chinese Pharmaceuticals 

T&T Miscellaneous 

Fish at T&T 

Asian Vegetables 

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Last Day of Dimensions

This was my last Dimentia class ever. And my last class ever with Chef Julian (who, despite my bitching, has grown on me a bit) He is leaving for a big job at the Cactus Club ~ money HAS to be the motivator there. Anyway, we had to present our personal projects. I was finishing mine at 5 am this morning, hungover from a fun evening with our friends the night before. Amazingly, it wasn't too terrible. However, there were some really good ones: a puppet show, a movie and a board game. It was quite entertaining to Chef Julian to see all of us sitting on the floor like kindergartners with juice boxes (from the soy presentation).


Tuesday, June 07, 2005


The day we were all waiting for. We got to finish and eat our braised and stewed dishes. There were some surprises and some disappointments. The first dish on my mind: Braised Lamb Shanks with Parsnip and Potato Mash and Minted Roasted Beets.

Lamb Shank
Its a little hard to see the colour here, but the beets were amazing, the mash was to die for and the lamb demi was stunning. The shank, for some reason, was chewy? I have made lamb shanks a LOT (as some of you can attest to) and I have never had them come out chewy. Anyway, the plating on this dish was mine.
Next up, Richard's plate, Beef Burgundy with Pappardelle and glazed vegetables. The pappardelle was a lemon and black pepper dough. The disappointment in this dish were the noodles. They tasted amazing, but they fell apart somwhere between cutting and plating. I think we rolled them too thin. Plating is mostly Richard's ~ I fiddled with it after he was done, because he said he hated the way it looked, then he got all offended that I changed it. In the end, the thing I changed, Chef Tim said he liked, so no tears came of that.

Beouf Borguignon with Pappardelle
Finally, the Chicken Blanquette. What a bizarre dish. Poached chicken served with a sauce thickened with both roux and a liaison (egg yolks and cream). I'll be honest, I hated it. Plating is Dana.

Chicken Blanquette
Mary made a baguette and did most of the prepwork for the soup as well as mashing the potatoes and doing a lot of tidying ~ Sorry, Mary.
Here is the spread:

The spread 

Monday, June 06, 2005

Prep Day

I came to school all excited today ~ my recipes said Braised Lamb Shanks, among other things and I couldn't wait to try them. The first disappointment occurred as I walked in to class. There was Chef Tim... Soren was out sick. Chef Tim decided that we needed to devote the entire morning to prepwork, not cooking, so my dreams of a nice monday lunch were dashed. I got to pick my group, due to a mixup in counting, so I went and worked with Richard, Mary and Dana. It was a fun group, everything went smoothly, but our lunch disappointment was heavy. Afternoon was devoted to listening to Tim drone on about things that I already have COPIOUS notes on. Fortunately, I had to work, so I made a dash for the door at three o'clock. I could feel the jealous eyes of my classmates as I slipped out the door.

Monday Afternoons

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Putting it all together....

But I forgot to take pictures. Last night, I bought a whole free range chicken and jointed and boned it out. I was so proud of myself. I left the wing bone on and cleaned it off for decorative purposes. i then took the two breasts, seared them and finished them in the oven. In the pan I seared them in, I made a white sauce with shallots, beer and sage. Meanwhile, I prepared organic new potatoes with olive oil and black pepper and an organic green salad. When the chicken was done, I cut it on the bias and plated it attractively. I really should have taken pictures, but I was so hungry, we dove right in.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Weednesday class started with a pop quiz on math, which I survived. Then we presented our group projects and finished the day off with some videos about GMO foods and abbatoirs and factory farms. Only two more weeks of this nightmarish class left.