Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Breakfast

Brie and Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Inside, all the melty goodness.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I crawled out of bed at 4:30am; one more day, a mere 8 hrs, and I will finally rest! I have to get to work and start the mashing of the potatoes (all 260 lb) as well as the roasting of the gigantic prime rib roasts (full size they are!). It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but I can say that I have enjoyed almost every minute of it, although, if I hadn't promised chocolates for the Menu for Hope, I probably wouldn't have bothered with those this year ~ just that little bit too much work.
Thank you for being patient with my non-blog posting. I promise I will be back with a vengeance as soon as I get some sleep.
Merry Christmas to everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Last Chance

Last Chance to buy a ticket! Thank you to everyone who gave so generously! And remember, those handmade chocolates are CA11

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Menu for Hope III ~ Canadian Content

Well, we are in the final days of this menu for hope and looking at 30.000$ raised! You have until Dec 22 to buy raffle tickets, so don't forget about the rest of our lovely Canadian prizes.

CA10 ~ the fabulous people behind one of my favourite blogs, an endless banquet, bring you an abundance of goodies and preserves; the Pear, Vanilla, BOurbon butter sounds wonderful!

CA 11 ~ found right here on this blog, I am offering up a collection of handmade chocolates and truffles. I test marketed them at a party on the weekend and the response was very positive. The flavours are Port, Dulce De Leche, Frangelico, Kahlua, Chai, Peanut Butter and Rosewater and Cardamom. 2 dozen of these little gems will come in a handpainted box (painted in the colours of the winner's choice). Like most of the Canadian prizes, I will ship anywhere.

~ Susur Lee is one of the most exciting chefs in Canada right now and you can own an exclusive signed copy of his biography/memoir/cookbook Susur: a Culinary Life courtesy of Rob and Rachel of Hungry in Hogtown

CA13~ I am not sure I want to tell you about CA13. I want this priz; A chocolate lovers dream. Clement of a la cuisine is offering a sampling of the finest chocolates from around the world.

That is all I have time for today. Come on, buy a ticket or two; it could be your lucky day!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Canadian Menu for Hope part 2

Did you see how well we are doing? Thank you to everyone who has bought a raffle ticket so far, although I would love to see a little more Canadian Content. So, without further ado, here are the next few Canadian prizes.

CA06 ~ Nico's delicious Chilean Bread. This works best for someone in the Vancouver area. Nico will bake some Chilean Bread, freeze it and deliver it with cooking instructions to your desired location. How could you go wrong with homemade bread?

~ More cookbooks, courtesy of Jen from THe Canadian Baker. The cupcake book looks stunning and way too tempting. But don't take my word for it; follow the link to her site to read all about it, then buy a ticket!

CA08 and CA09~ Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours, autographed no less! Some of you may remember that I made delicious apple spice bars from that cookbook, but she also has a killer recipe for chocolate marshmallow madelines that I never got around to posting. All the more reason to enter the draw for the cookbook (CA08). CA09, also from Sara, is Culianry Calgary to go. This package includes a cookbook AND some chocolate along with a few other goodies.

That is all I have time for today. Off to work in the culinary salt mines.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Canadian Menu for Hope

Sick of hearing about Menu for Hope yet?? I hope not, because I want to point out the wonderful Canadian prize packages.

CA01 ~ from my wonderful swap partner, Kelli Ann of avoir une famille n'est pas comme un teleroman.
She has knitted an adorable teacozy, before for keeping your teapot warm on those dreary February days. The fun doesn't stop there; she has also thrown in a local tisane blend AND a set of vintage styled set of postcards from a couple of Canadian artists.

CA02 ~ Tara, of seven spoons (I can't believe I have never read this blog before!) has donated some cookbooks. The first, one I have long had my eye on, is Michelle Cranston and Petrina Tinslay's Food and Drink at Home. I love all of Michelle Cranston's books and I may have to add this one to my collection. Also included in the cookbook prize package are Bob Blumer's cookbook AND the Playboy Bartender's Guide. Sounds like a well rounded party planning package!

CA03 ~ a makeover for your blog! Want to spice up your blog page, make it look a little more polished? Meena of Hooked on Heat is offering her talent to design a blog header all your own.

CA04 ~ worth a trip to Ontario, without a doubt. Jasmine is offering up a huge prize package that I am seriously coveting ; "Work up an appetite at a guided hike through the Waterloo moraine (a beautiful natural aquifer, protected from development). Afterwards, I’ll prepare a simple supper for us at tranquil Sunfish Lake (pictured), hosted by Edna Staebler’s dear friend and neighbour. Thanks to the very kind people at Wilfrid Laurier Press, you will also receive a copy of the just-off-the-press re-release of Edna’s first cookbook, Food That Really Schmecks. An optional morning at the St. Jacob’s Farmer’s Market can also be included on this day-trip. "

CA05~ Paige of has donated a Michael Smith cookbook, A Chef’s Day at The Inn at Bay Fortune. Those of you who watch his shows knwo that Michael Smith is an interesting and talented chef. I would be very curious to see what kind of recipes are in that book ~ nly way to find out is to buy a raffle ticket!
That's all I have time for today. Tomorrow, I will look at the next five Canadian prizes.
Please, dig into your virtual pockets and donate to this wonderful cause!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Menu for Hope III ~ a few of my favourite things

This is a canned post; I sat down on my day off and wrote a few to post on my really insane days!
I want to talk about Menu for Hope again and more specifically, the prizes I have my eye on (because I can have my own prize any time I like).
I was surfing through the lists on Chez Pim and the first thing my eyes fell on was prize UW25. I think a good excuse to check out Chicago PLUS what an interesting conference!

Next, I spotted UC09
I have been in love with the sheer creativity of Ideas in Food for quite a while now, and to be able to own a hardcover copy of their book!?

Also in the middle US, UC07 and UC06. Some cool geek gadgets; an iPod nano and a photo lightbox! What a score that would be for a mere ten dollar ticket!

Perhaps the most coveted prize, UW08, a pass for Taste3.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Menu for Hope

Well, some of you may have been wondering where I got too; last week seriously kicked my @##. Christmas is coming and in catering land, that means working 15 hrs a day, at least 5 days a week. Today, I am off, but I don't have recovery time; I have truffles to make, cards to write, parties to plan and gift boxes to paint. I haven't posted any food lately, because I don't even know what the food looks like; I just put it in my mouth and hope it keeps me going for a few more hours. Look for more regular posting to start in January. I will try to post as much as possible through December, but I don't see a lot of that happening.

The next blog on my Blogreader spotlight really needs no introduction. If you don't read her by now, please start. Head on over to bakingsheet, produced by the talented Nic.

Menu For Hope III ~CA11

Menu for Hope is a fund raising campaign started two years ago. The first year, the money raised went to help tsunami victims. The next, people hit by the earthquake in Pakistan. This year, funds raised will go to the United Nations World Food Program. Food bloggers around the world put together prize packages to be submitted to one giant raffle. Tickets are 10$ US and you can specify the prize that you wish to enter the draw for, one prize code per 10$ donation.

This year, Jasmine talked me into participating and I am offering up a chocolate lover's dream prize; Twenty four assorted hand crafted chocolates and truffles in a handpainted wooden box. The box is semi customised, as the winner of the prize will be able to choose what colours they want to go on it! The flavours I have chosen to include are; chai, port, frangelico, dulce de leche, gingerbread, cardamom and rosewater, and Kahlua. I use 70% or 86% dark chocolate for most of the truffles, with a little bit of Callebaut white thrown in for colour contrast (cardamom and rosewater, gingerbread). Prize Code is CA11

I hope that everyone who reads this blog will get in on the Menu for Hope campaign. There are so many other wonderful prizes available as well; Jasmine has the Canadian round up here and the international listing can be found at Chez Pim, the original organiser!

To buy raffle tickets or to make a donation towards the campaign:
1. Go to the donation page at ( to make a contribution.
2. Each US$10 donation will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like by entering the prize code in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your contribution. E.G: A US$50 donation may be two tickets for UW99 and three tickets for CA20.*
3. Some companies will match personal charitable donations made by staff. If your company has such a program, please remember to mark the appropriate box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address. We need this so we can contact you in case you win a prize. If you do not do this, we will be unable to contact you. Please be assured that we will not share your email address with anyone.
5. Raffle results will be announced on 15 January on Chez Pim. Draws will be conducted electronically, thanks to Derrick at Obsession with Food for creating computer application used to magically select names.

* N.B: Canadian tax laws prohibit charitable donation receipts to be issued by registered Canadian charities for raffle or lottery tickets. The UNWFP is a U.S.-based charity; should any donation receipts issued, you will need to seek professional advice regarding applying them to your Canadian income tax return.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Zuni Cafe Brasato

Finally broke in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook I bought at least six months ago! I rarely cook from cookbooks these days...
The recipe is beautifully written, almost a story instead of a recipe. And it yields the best pot roast I have ever made or eaten.


1 4lb beef shoulder chuck, trimmed
750 ml red wine (reccomends Cabernety Sauvignon, Syrah or other hearty red)
4 cups beef stock ( I am going to skip the chicken stock option to save typing energy)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped into two inch chunks
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into two inch chunks
I medium onion, cut into two inch wedges
Garlic cloves (Judy Rogers says a handful, I say go with what you are comfortable with)
1 or 2 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns, barely cracked
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
(there is also the option to add a pinch of sugar. I don't think that is necessary at all.)

Judy Rogers suggests seasoning the meat 3 days in advance. I didn't plan that far ahead, so I seasoned day of. She stresses the importance of seasoning very thoroughly and I have to agree with her. If there is one thing I have learned from catering, proper seasoning makes a huge difference!
My roast came pre tied, but if yours isn't, now is the time to strap it down nice and tight.
The braising liquid can be prepared well in advance. The cookbook says to reduce beef stock by half and red wine down to 1/2 cup. I combined the beef stock and the red wine and reduced it all by half, then added a shot of balsamic. Here is where the importance of using GOOD beef stock comes in. If you use a commercial beef stock, you will end up with an overly salty mess.
Brown the meat well on all sides. I use the stovetop method, but the cookbook also suggest using the broiler if you don't want to do it stovetop.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Use whatever pan you have on hand that will accomodate this. I used my Dutch Oven. Place the meat in, add the vegetables and spices and pour the braising liquid over that, making sure to not completely cover the meat (Judy Rogers says one inch, I went with more like four inches coverage). Bring the braise to a simmer, cover and pop it in the oven. After about two hours, remove cover and turn meat. Cover and return to oven for another hour or until roast is fork tender. You can uncover for the last 30 minutes.
When the braising is finished, transfer meat out of the pot, remove the vegetables and puree them. I poured the braising liquid into a fat separator, before some of the vegetable puree to make a sauce. Slice meat against the grain and serve.
Serves six (or two with lots of leftovers for use in other dishes)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The return of Blogreader Spotlight

Between being sick, working my butt off and trying to get ready for Christmas, Blogreader Spotlight fell by the way. But I am bringing it back, with a new to me blog that just happens top fall alphabetically in the next slot; Baking and Books. I have only just started exploring this blog and I am looking forward to reading more.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Peperoni Ripieni (Stuffed Peppers)

Rob made dinner last night, as I have beeen working a lot and am starting to feel the effects. And what a dinner it was; beautiful halibut with a dill sauce, roasted asparagus and the highlight, the stuffed peppers. The recipe is from Mario Batali and was made totally untweaked. Perhaps a little heavy on the garlic ~ cut back to one clove for those days that you have to be in close proximity to the general public. Also, we discussed cutting the oil back and subbing stock instead.

Peperoni Ripieni (Stuffed Peppers)
Recipe copyright 2000, Mario Batali. All rights reserved.
2 fresh dinner rolls, outside grated off, inside shredded by hand
3 tablespoons plus 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped to yield 1/4 cup
4 canned anchovy fillets, rinsed, drained and finely chopped
2 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano
2 tablespoons pickled capers
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 yellow bell peppers, tops cut off and reserved, seeds and pith removed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, place the shredded bread and drizzle with 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add the parsley, anchovies, 2 tablespoons cheese, capers and garlic and mix well to combine. Season aggressively with pepper and timidly with salt, then slowly mix in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil to form a fairly soft paste. Divide the mixture evenly among the 4 hollowed peppers (do not pack the mixture in too tightly) and top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese. Replace the top of each pepper and place each pepper in a baking dish that has been brushed with extra virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Episode#: MB2C05
Copyright © 2006 Television Food Network, G.P., All Rights Reserved Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Menu for Hope III

Stay tuned for my contribution to the Menu for Hope campaign. I hope someone bids on it. I'll give you a hint. The words "handpainted" and "homemade candies and truffles" were in my description to Jasmine.

Warm Eggnog

I didn't know if it would work, but I wanted a rum and eggnog and I didn't want to have a cold drink (its -9C here, we are so not used to this. Not complaining though).
I use Light eggnog because I found the fullfat stuff totally cloying. Simply heat a serving in a saucepan, whipping it violently to get a good head of foam. pour a shot of rum in a glass, add warm eggnog, reserving foam for last. Top with nutmeg.

This was all the cooking I did yesterday (besides work). I had Subway for dinner! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Let it Snow!

Sometimes, I just don't feel like doing the work myself and today was one of those days. I stayed up very late decorating last night (think 3:30 am) and the phone rang at an ungodly hour this morning (it felt ungodly, it was actually 7:30am); I was being called in to work. I actually swore at the person on the other end of the phone, thankfully it wasn't a chef or sous chef! I wrapped up around 11 and Rob and I traipsed through the winter wonderland to the market to shop for lunch and dinner. He is making short ribs for dinner, but I opted for a bag of barley and mushroom soup from the Stock Market on Granville Island for lunch. Just heat and serve!

Photo Courtesy katcam

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ancho Chicken Pot Pie

When I am reading my blogs, I regularily bookmark inspirational recipes. Laast night's dinner came off one of those bookmarks; Once Upon a Feast.

Of course, as Ruth notes in her post, recipes in foodblogland seem to take on a life of their own, catching a serious case of "Telephone". Rob had heard me talk about making turkey potpies at work and he was dead set on a puff pastry crust. So, here is my adaptation of Ruth's adaptation of Jennifer's adaptation of Elizabeth Brown's recipe.

Ancho Chili Chicken Pot Pie
Puff pastry, for crust
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced (about 1½ cups)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1-2 tbsp ancho chili powder (1 was definitely mild)
2 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, oregano
1/4 cup white wine
1 cooked chicken, meat only – diced or shredded (3-4 cups) (I roasted one off with the matching seasonings)
2 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 400ºF/200°C.

For the potpie filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium – high heat. Add the onion and cook until they start to golden (about 5 minutes); stir in celery ancarrot, cook another five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Stir in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano and cook for 2 more minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine, transfer contents to a bowl.

Heat chicken stock. Make a roux with butter and flour. Whisk chicken stock into roux and pour sacue over other filling ingredients. Season well.

Pour the filling into an oven-proof casserole or 8”x8” square baking pan. Roll out appropriate sized puff pastry sheet, prick with fork and eggwash. Cover casserole with puff pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown.

(I made 2 ramekins as well for presentation purposes)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Seared Salmon with Wild Mushroom Pilaf and Provencale Vegetables

I know, I know, more salmon... But this was really good (it is an older picture though, I haven't been passionate about food this week).

The salmon is cooked very simply, little salt and pepper. I intended to make a fire roasted tomato relish to go with it, but I couldn't find the tomatoes. Instead, I went with a tomato mango jam from the Stock Market on Granville Island.
For the rice, I took a small amount of porcini mushrooms and rehydrated them with hot water. I drained the mushrooms and used the liquid to cook a basic multigrain rice blend. The drained mushrooms were chopped and sauteed with shallots and fresh thyme, a mixture that I stirred into the cooked rice.
Provencale vegetables took their name from the herb blend I used. I cooked each component separately in foil pouches to make sure they all had an even amount of doneness. For the shiitake mushrooms, I tossed them with the herbs, a teensy bit of minced garlic and some olive oil and popped the packet in the oven for five minutes. The carrots, same treatment, but more llike 30 mins and the golden beets were sliced into 1/2 inch rounds, treated as above and roasted for 40 mins. Everything was tossed together just before service and heated for five minutes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Grape and Gourmet

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a sushi and wine pairing dinner. The food pictures are a marker. When I get home tonight, I will tell you all about the wines that matched up with these. The location was Nikko Japanese Restaurant on Robson Street, Chef Omura being our gracious host.

The first course is described as an Albacore Tuna Poke; the tuna, raw was ever so slightly spicy sweet. The cucumber roll was very refreshing but the highlight for me was the seaweed salad in the small cucumber bowl. The Smoking Loon Viogner actually seem to pair best with this part of the plate, bringing out a smooth, slightly spicy note (in my opinion; I know nothing about wine tasting).

The next course was actually a course in two parts; Chef Omura's Maki Creations and...

Assorted Nigiri Sushi. The wine pairing with this was Hugel and Fils "Gentil", a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner Blend from Alsace. For me, the wine was too sweet and sharp UNTIL I tried it with the sushi. Suddenly, I liked this wine, it went so well with the slight vinegar of the rice, creamy avocado, wasabi and salty sweet fish.

Japanese Robata was our next course; Scallop and Bacon and Chicken Yakitori, paired with Carmen Chardonnay from Maipo Valley California. My memory of this wine is almost non-existent. I don't know if this was due to the generous pours or talking tooo much or perhaps it was a boring wine?
Next please!

Our final savoury course was a Prawn and Vegetable Tempura. Again, foggy memory on this one. It was tempura...The wine, I remember. Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz, it was the first time I ever tasted a sparkling red. I was completely enthralled and I keep mulling potential pairings in my head (I think it would absolutely rock paired with salmon).

The meal was finished with a small scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream paired with Taylor Fladgate White Fine Port. Okay, I managed to fall in love twice in one meal; I have never tasted WHITE port before, but I could see myself adding that to our repetoire. (I drank two LARGE glasses of it!!)
Our hosts were wonderful and I just want to plug the website. It hasn't been updated in a while, but you can contact the organisers through the link on the site.
Grape and Gourmet

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sticky Ginger Soy Chicken

I have been sick for a few days, hence the lapse in blogging. I am back now and I marked the occaision by cooking the first meal I have felt like eating since sometime late late Friday. I was craving comfort in the form of dark meat chicken and I though the Sticky Chicken I made before might be a little harsh for my still slightly sensitive stomach. I came up with my own chicken recipe, served over coconut sweet potatoes.
Sticky Ginger Soy Chicken

This is more of a method than a recipe at this stage. Combine equal parts fresh ginger, soy sauce and honey. Add some crushed coriander. Baste chicken legs and Bake at 425, basting every ten minutes until crispy and dark golden browna nd the juices run clear. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 17, 2006

Salmon with Artichokes

I get a lot of inspiration from Passionate Nonchalance and this salmon dinner was no exception. Simply follow her recipe and you will have a flavourful and interesting salmon dish. I matched it up with a creme fraiche smashed potato concoction and a basic salad.

Life has been busy, hence the MIA. I really wanted to take part in SHF this weekend, but Rob at all of my truffles and I never got a picture..
I also have been fretting over my CBBP package; is it there yet??

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In Memoriam

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Canadian Blogging By Post

I picked up my parcel yesterday and stared long and hard at the return address....I knew that adress from somewhere. How could that be possible, seeing as I didn't really know any of my fellow food bloggers personally?
I couldn't wait, I ripped the parcel open and grabbed the postcard off the top. I scanned the name at the bottom; Kelli Ann! My swap partner from last round! This time she got me as her swapper.

I don't have time to go into detail but wanted to put this up as soon as possible. Will be back after work.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You Are Invited!

Jeff, of c for cooking, invited me to take part in a virtual dinner party a few weeks back. Life being what it is, I hadn't yet gotten around to reciprocating.

Everytime I have guests over for dinner, I plan my menu, then replan, then rethink, then... well, you get the picture. I never know whether to go overboard or casual, try to blow them out of the water or make them comfortable. It was the same way for this virtual dinner. I started planning two weeks ago and have since then scrapped the entire menu. Twice.

The one item that stayed the same was the opening course. The one thing that I think complements any meal, any season.
I would start things off with some beautiful Petite Oysters on the Half Shell.

Next, I would serve ups ome salad, perhaps spinach with a poached quail egg sitting on top...

Today, I am going to go fairly simple; don't want to frighten any of my new guests off with some of my odd concoctions or multiple courses or BOTH! I decide, since we are in the wet days of November, to serve Beef Burgundy with Mashed Potatoes, baby carrots and roasted shallots.

To wrap things up, and counteract the richness of the meal, I would serve a vanilla yoghurt pannacotta with greengage plum compote.

I hope the meal is a hit!

I would like to invite (besides the recipricatory invitation to Jeff):

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wraps with coconut rice, mango and prawns

I have mentioned these in passing before, but never provided a recipe. These have become a staple on my weekly menus; easy to make, easy to eat and oh so delicious!

Coconut rice
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 sm can coconut milk
water to equal 1.5 c liquid

To prepare coconut rice, combine rice, salt, water and coconut milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring once. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; keep warm.

Chili Prawns
Marinate peeled deveined prawns in sweet chili sauce and hot sauce. Quickly saute.

1 cup cubed peeled ripe mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
To prepare salsa, combine mango, red onion, mint, and jalapeño in a medium bowl, tossing to combine. Season to taste.

Using a large tortilla, scoop roughly 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice onto wrap. Top with mango salsa, then prawns. Roll and eat.

These can also be made ahead of time and heated in the oven.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Herbed Spaetzle with Pork tenderloin

The true star of this dinner was the spaetzle. Rob uses a recipe from epicurious, slightly altering the method.
Here is a definition from epicurious' food dictionary, for those who do not know what spaetzle is.
[SHPEHT-sluh, SHPEHT-sehl, SHPEHT-slee]
Literally translated from German as "little sparrow,"
spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made
with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes
nutmeg. The spaetzle dough can be firm enough to be
rolled and cut into slivers or soft enough to be forced
through a SIEVE or COLANDER with large holes. The small
pieces of dough are usually boiled before being tossed
with butter or added to soups or other dishes. In
Germany, spaetzle is served as a side dish much like
potatoes or rice, and is often accompanied by a sauce
or gravy.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed), washed and spun dry
3/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
In a 6-quart kettle bring 5 quarts salted water to a boil for Spaetzle. In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt. Put parsley in a blender. In a heavy saucepan bring milk just to a simmer. With blender motor running add milk to parsley and blend until milk is very green.

In a bowl whisk together eggs and water and add green milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until mixture forms a soft, smooth batterlike dough. Force dough through a Spaetzle-maker (see above) into kettle of boiling water.

Stir Spaetzle gently to separate and boil 5 minutes, or until just tender. In a large colander drain Spaetzle and rinse well under cold water. Drain Spaetzle well.

Heat butter in a skillet, add garlic, then spaetzle. Sautee until just beginning to brown. Serve hot.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blogreader Spotlight

The next blog in line is Bachelor Cooking. Based out of Delhi (I think), anthony provides easy and delicious recipes. If you ignore the advertising, there is a wealth of food waiting for you.

Last night, we went to an informal cheese tasting party, which we hope to make a habit of. I am going to start a new blog for the cheeses, if anyone cares about that sort of thing.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rainy Day Food

Vancouver's winter hit with a vengeance this past weekend. I say winter, because it rarely gets colder her ~ we had torrential downpours for a couple days. I know, that is no excuse for the week long absence from food blogging. How about this; I partied way too hard this past week and when I was at home, the last thing on my mind was blogging. Sleeping is more like it! Anyway, this week reminded me WHY I stopped clubbing all night 7 years ago and I don't think I'll be repeating the foolishness.
As I missed the beginning of the November Blogging Marathon, I have decided to get in on Michelle's version for tardy bloggers.
Yesterday, I felt like staying in. The rain coming down, the lingering effects of the past week. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with steaming bowls of hot liquid.

Lunch was a chicken broth based soup with noodles, dumplings and Gai Lan. I simmered 3 cups of chicken broth with a few slices of fresh ginger, a sprinkling of red chili and some rice wine vinegar. Then I poured it over cooked chow mein noodles, cooked storbought dumplings and blanched gai lan. Mmmmmm

Dinner was a low and slow oven affair plucked from the pages of See, Sip, Taste, Hear (yet another blog I had to had to my reader when I discovered it this weekend).
Here is my cut of the recipe, with very few changes from the original, which I believe they credit Mark Bittman for.

Anise-Scented Short Ribs
Time: 2 hours or more, largely unattended

1 Tbs Olive oil
3 Pounds meaty beef short rib
Freshly ground black pepper or szechwan peppercorns to taste*
1 medium to large onion chopped
5 nickel sized slices of fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons of ground**
3 cloves of garlic lightly crushed
5 whole star anise***
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 cup water
1 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar

Preheat Oven to 300F
1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven. Brown the short ribs well on all sides. Season with pepper as they cook. Don't rush the process, which will take about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the heat so you don't burn the ribs or get the oil too smokey. You can also do the initial browning in a 500º F oven in a roasting pan turning the ribs every so often to get an even brown. This takes about 20 minutes as well.

2. Remove the ribs with a slotted spoon and pour off most of the fat. Lower heat and cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger cooking for another 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and return ribs to the pot. Place in Oven, covered, and simmer for two hours, turning ribs occaisonally.

Serve ribs over rice. I defatted the broth and drizzled a little over the ribs and rice, then added sauteed snap peas (lightly sauteed, then tossed in sweet chili sauce).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Blogreader Spotlight

(I have a lot of blogs on my reader!) The next blog on the list is Anne's Food. I believe I discovered this blog because of my interest in all things Scandinavian (exploring my roots, etc). Anne is based in Stockholm and shares, in English, recipes, stories and reviews as well as pictures of her beautiful cats.

This past weekend, I attended the Parade of Lost Souls here in Vancouver. What a surreal experience; if you are interested in seeing some of it, just click on my flickr badge ~ I maxed out my free account, s I may take some of the pictures down at some point.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potato Sauce

I have no idea how I stumbled across this on The Pearl Onion ~ I must have been doing a search for chicken recipes. And I am so glad I did; this is one of the most versatile sauces I have ever made!

I made a few changes to get the flavour I wanted last night, the sauce lends itself well to endless variations. I could picture this as a vegetarian gravy, a sauce for pork and so on. Here is my take on it.


* Veg oil or clarified butter
* 2 boneless chicken breasts, skin on, wing joint on ( a cut called supreme scroll down to read descrip)
* Coarse salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place an oven safe fry pan over medium high heat and lightly coat the bottom with olive oil. Add chicken breasts to the pan, skin side down, and cook for 5-6 minutes until skin is lightly browned.
3. Flip chicken breasts over and move pan to oven. Cook chicken breasts through until juices run clear when pierced or youa re reasonably sure they are cooked. (My chicken breasts were normal size, free range. They were cooked in 15 minutes. My now expert touch determined they were done ~ I have cooked a million chicken breasts at Culinary Capers)

Roasted Sweet Potato Sauce

* 1 lb Sweet potato, skinned and cut into manageable pieces
* Olive oil for coating
* 1 tsp Thyme
* 2% milk (measurement will vary)
* ¼ tsp Freshly grated nutmeg
* Salt and pepper to taste
* 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil to coat, salt and pepper.
3. Roast potatoes until cooked through and a lovely brown on the outside.
4. Place cooked potatoes in the food processor with all the ingredients except milk. Gradually add milk (I also used a bit of water) until potatoes reach desired consistency.
7. Pour sauce into a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Stirring frequently, heat sauce thoroughly. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with food of choice...

Thank you Kristin, for the brilliant recipe!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Weekend Cat Blogging (#73)

Happy Halloween weekend to those who take part... I'm hoping to see a few costumes this weekend. Feel free to leave your links in the comment section. I had to work unexpectedly, so I will update links tonight.

Bonnie Loves Cats gets things started with some Halloween Cats looking for homes.
Chris Dolley manages to catch an action shot of the Kinky Tribble
Sam gets in touch with his inner frog at stillpoint.
The McKittens have at least ONE of their humans well trained at Music and Cats.
Mimi enjoying the scent of garlic at Restaurant Widow....Maybe trying to keep those halloween Vampires at bay?
Tiggy suspects an imposter in his home...but only for a moment or two.
Halloween comes early at Jelly Pizza.
Upsie puts our favourite pirate to shame at What Did You Eat?
Colin tries to demonstrate his special powers at The Westering Hills.
Mr. Bean takes over from a very busy Jasmine at Cardamom Addict
The hat attacks at The House of The (Mostly) Black Cats
Fridolin meditates deeply a Rosa's Yum-Yums
Some cute poses from Kate in the Kitchen.
Blur dodges the paparazzi at 7610.
No costumes, but some illicit napping at Lali et Cie, next weeks weekend cat blogging host.
Gorgeous Edith out for a stroll at Anne's Food.
Helios poses with a pumpkin at Tales from a Veggie Kitchen.
The Halloween Cat at catsynth educates us on the perils of being a cat at this time of year.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Burgers and fries

I special requested homemade burgers from Rob last night. He doesn't have a recipe, but I know it involves 1/2 beef , 1/2 pork. The yam fries were also experimental ~ still trying to get a crispy yam fry without actually frying them!

I had a terrible sleep last night; I made the mistake of looking at my work list for today. I have at least six different hot times ~ this means that I have to have a complete meal for anywhere from 6-20 people ready at an allotted time. I have several soups, two different lasagna meals, a wild mushroom ravioli, Chicken cacciatore, beef borg, lemon risotto and seasonal vegetables, Beef Borg, mashed potatoes and seasonal veg, 22 pizzas and 11 pizzas. I think thats all, but I kept dreaming about it all night long. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You win some, you lose some

Last nights dinner was a loss. I made Three Bean Chili and Rob made Pepita Cornbread from October CL. The chili was rather plain and the corn bread took much longer than the recipe said to cook. Rob trusted the recipe, so it was total mush when he went to cut it. Back in the oven it went. When it was ready to eat, it too was bland ~ needed more salt. The picture I took even sucked!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lets talk Real Estate

So off topic for a food blog, but something that has been on my mind for quite a while. Where I live now, the lowest a single family home goes for is....379, 000. That's on the shady side of town, far from where I live. The cheapest, on my side of town is....729,000
Lets travel East. How about Saskatoon? Cheapest house... 28, 900
I couldn't even find a house in Saskatoon that matched the lowest price in my neighbourhood. Closest? 679,000

Fall Days

I LOVE fall. especially here in Vancouver; it reminds me why I want to live here as I start to question it in the face of astronomical housing costs.
Yesterday was a perfect fall day. After work, I came home and we had a little appetizer; a friend had taken a trip to Saltspring Island over the weekend and brought me back a puck of the freshest cheese possible.

We enjoyed it on ittle wafer crackers with a drizzle of the same friend's homemade pepper jelly (I need that recipe!).

After the snack, I convinced Rob to take a walk....

We came home to a Tuna Noodle Casserole

I know you wouldn't necessarily expect a professional cook to be making Tuna Casseroles, but on what they pay professional cooks here, sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. My recipe is once again from the Cooking Light Boards, posted by sushibones from a 1997 Eating Well issue.
Tuna Noodle Casserole

1/3 cup pine nuts
6 sun-dried tomatoes, not packed in oil
6 oz dried wide egg noodles
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, quartered
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 9-oz can white tuna in water, drained and flaked
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
2 Tbls finely chopped fresh parsley or basil
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spread pine nuts in a shallow pan and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned; set aside.
3. Increase oven temperature to 425. Lightly oil a 3-qt baking dish or coat it with nonstick spray.
4. In a small bowl, soak sun-dried tomatoes in hot water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
5. Cook noodles in boiling salted water until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water. Drain and set aside.
6. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse reserved tomatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic until finely chopped.
7. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables and cook, stirring accasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add milk and bring to a boil, stirring, until thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in mayonnaise, tuna, cheese, and parsley (or basil). Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
8. Gently mix reserved noodles into tuna mixture and spoon into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved pine nuts. (The casserole will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
9. Bake casserole for 20-30 minutes, or until bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

6 servings

265 calories per serving: 21 grams protein; 11 grams fat (2.6 grams saturated fat); 33 grams carbohydrate; 385 mg sodium; 55 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fiber

Monday, October 23, 2006

Blogreader Spotlight

The next blog on my list is a local one; Always in The Kitchen. Roughly the same age as my blog, it it written by Dawna, who also shares occasional essays about food. Although the posts are sporadic, they always feature delicious looking recipes or musings on food. I took a jerk chicken recipe from this site a few months back that was excellent. Have a scroll through the archives and check out all the other recipes.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I pulled this recipe off the Cooking Light Boards (posted by sneezles, who I wish had a blog. I suspect she leads an interesting life), although I skipped the browning step, so it isn't true carnitas. Once I shredded the meat, I added some of the (defatted) braising liquid back to the meat, along with some splashes of hot sauce and some salt. Served it up with hard taco shells (Rob's request), shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream and more hot sauce. Absolutely delicious, tender meat and there were a TON of leftovers. Look for them to make a showing in the next few weeks.
I love that this recipe is a crockpot recipe. I know some people complain about the quality of food that crockpots can produce, but I just think they are trying to do the wrong things in it.

Crock Pot Carnitas

3 lb. pork butt roast
1 onion, sliced into rings
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp cumin
2-3 fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and deveined, cut into strips
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, leaves only
1 can beer (12 ounces)
salt and pepper

Insert garlic cloves in roast; place in Crock Pot with onion, herbs, jalapeño peppers and cilantro which has been chopped. Season to taste. Pour in beer. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours until fork tender. Remove meat; shred. Or can be placed in roasting pan in preheated oven (450º) for about 15 minutes before shredding. Serve with warm tortillas, shreddded cheese and pico de gallo.