Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Diner Monday ~ Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Since Sunday Challenge had to be sidelined due to my work schedule (may still change it to Weekend Challenge), I decided I wanted a new theme night. So here it is ~ Diner Mondays. I love Diner food and I think that it is something that can be done well.
My first dinner is one I have repeated many times. To be honest, it is the only meatloaf I have ever tried!

The original recipe can be found here

Slow-Cooker Meat Loaf with Mushrooms

2 slices homemade bread
1.5lbs ground meat (I grind my own and do a mix of various meats)
1 1/2 cups sliced (king oyster) mushrooms (I think any meaty mushroom would work. I love king oyster mushrooms and they are darn cheap too)
1 cup chopped fresh onion
1/2 cup minced fresh herbs
salt & pepper
Dash (or three) of Worcestershire sauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms together. Allow to cool. If you are grinding your own meat, simply put the bread slices through the grinder after the meat. Other wise, pulse bread in a food processor to form crumbs. Gently mix everything except ketchup, mustard and pepper flakes. Form a loaf and palce in the slow cooker.

2. Combine ketchup, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl stirring with a fork. Spread ketchup mixture evenly over top of loaf. Cover with lid, cook on Low for 5-6 hours. (I usually go 8, with no ill effects)

Pair it with a delicious "homemade" Jello Pudding for the ultimate blue plate special!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Morning

I don’t have a pic or a recipe lined up for today, so I thought I would get chatty.
First of all, Sam, the haggis MAY have been a pale replication of true haggis. What put me off was the faint aftertaste. Initial flavour was good, but then this metallic taste started kicking me in the tongue.
Karen (Rob’s little sis), I can’t find your comment to reply to it, but I just wanted to say hello, glad you dropped in and hope you will lurk on a regular basis.
That’s all for now! I think I'll go make myself a cup of tea.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Robbie Burns Day...

Was a few days ago and Rob (named after the poet) was determined to try haggis. A local sausage place (Oyama) carries it, so he ordered a slice and steamed it up for our supper.

The verdict? It isn't terrible, but it isn't something I would go out of my way to order and I will never cook it at home. At least now I can say I have tried it!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Is My Blog Burning? Noodle Goodness

I haven't played with these events for a while, and I almost didn't make it to this one, but I have been dying to make some homemade pasta and I finally bit the bullet today.
I have made pasta before, but only in the classroom. I scouted a few recipes, settling on JOC for my inspiration. I mounded the flour in the middle of the counter, added an egg, some olive oil and some cold water. I also cracked lots of black pepper into it and added some salt. Then I mixed until it came together and kneaded for about ten minutes. Into the fridge it went for a rest while I psyched myself up for the rolling. See, I don't have a pasta machine and my mind was dead set on pappardelle-type noodles.
The rolling was a very involved process, folding the dough several times and rolling it out again before I was satisfied by the texture. My rolling pin is a total lightweight as well, so that didn't help!
Once the dough was thin enough, I sliced it into fat ribbons and allowed it to dry for a while as I slowly warmed up leftover lamb shank meat in its own braising juice. A quick boil of the noodles, a toss with the braising liquid, top it all off with the lamb and some lavendar sea salt and you are set! Now I need a pasta machine. Because as much as I loved the pasta, I don't think my arms and shoulders can handle that again....
Tagged with: +

Weekend Cat Blogging

Strange kitty. She just sits in the tub and stares. We aren't sure why.
Kiri is on holiday, so the charming boo and her lovely mum are hosting this weekend over at masak-masak.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Steak Salad

After pizza and poutine, we were ready for something a little lighter...
So Rob made this amazing green salad with a perfect medium rare steak sliced on top.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Sometimes, a body just craves junk food. This will probably gross a few of you out, but I lurve poutine, a treat with fries, cheese curds and hot gravy poured over it all.
Last week, we treated ourselves to some at home.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pizza for 2

Friday, we had homemade pizza. But we have such very different tastes that are pizzas are usually quite entertaining. Friday's was no exception. Try and guess who topped which side..
Side A
Tomato sauce

Side B
rosemary prosciutto
red onion
black pepper

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Rob's Birthday Dinner

As you may have noted, Rob's birthday was on Friday. Unfortunately, I worked Friday and really only had the energy to organise homemade pizza. Saturday was the day for spoiling him. I took a few requests and assembled the multicourse meal.
Paired with:Balthauser Ress Rheingau Riesling 2004
Pacific Rim Petite Oysters

Chilled Celery Soup

Seared Foie Gras with a Fig, Port and Pomegranate Sauce
(Rob specially requested foie gras. It was a little rich for me, but he seemed to enjoy it)

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Pancetta, Poached Quail's Egg and a Warm Vinaigrette

Paired with: Terre de Levant Cotes de Ventoux 2004 which is a Syrah and Grenache Noir blend

Rosemary Lamb Popsicles with Yukon Gold potatoes and Peas and Carrots in a Lavender Butter (funny story about the butter, I'll tell you later)

Paired with Taylor Fladgate Port (too lazy to look at the bottle, but I am 90% sure that it is a 10yr old tawny)

Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake with Blood Orange Sauce

All I can say is ~ what a success! Rob seemed to really enjoy it and I got that super rush of being able to pull it off and still have enough time and energy to EAT the meal! My portions were pretty good for a tasting menu, except that I could have scaled down the foie gras and the cake. Other wise, small portions leaving room for the next course.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sunday, January 15, 2006


10 Things about me

1. I was bit by a dog when I was six and I am mortally terrified of most dogs to this day. I KNOW that they probably won’t bite me, but my deep down gut feeling tells me to watch them carefully. My scar has mostly faded but I can still feel it when I touch my face.

2. I am a University drop-out. I went to UBC after graduating with high marks from my high school in Victoria. And promptly lost interest. I frittered a year and $5000 away and ended up on academic probation. That’s when I realised I was wasting my time, money and energy on something I really wasn’t interested in.

3. I lived in England for several years. Went to high school there.

4. I wanted to be an actor. I took Theatre Studies when I lived in England, I was in plays and musicals. I just lost my confidence and chickened out when I moved back to Canada.

5. I talk to my parents on the phone every other week at least and correspond through email on an almost daily basis with my mom.

6. I am obsessed with grammar and how bad mine has become. I used to be a very disciplined writer ~ how do you think I managed to pull off A’s in all my English courses? But I seem to have forgotten the rules after 8 years of not being an academic. And it drives me up the wall ~ I know the sentence is wrong, I just can’t remember WHY or how to fix it!

7. I like marrow. You know that fatty gooey stuff inside lamb and beef bones? Think it’s gross? I used to, but I can’t get enough of it now.

8. I am a Sci-Fi Nerd. I love William Gibson books, Douglas Adam’s and have watched way more star trek than anyone in their right mind should. I don’t do the full on trekkie thing though.

9.I have been so broke that the only food I ate in a two week period was a zucchini I found by the side of the road and a couple packets of ketchup stolen from McDonalds. After losing 20 lbs ina month, I finally broke down and went to the foodbank. That was 7 years ago, but I still make a cash donation every year to the food bank. I feel like I owe it, you know?

10. I used to smoke like a fiend and drink 12 cups of coffee a day. And shake like a leaf. I quit 3 or 4 years ago.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Meme Mania

Seven Culinary Things To Do Before I Die:

1. Eat in Italy
2. Eat in New York
3. Take the WSET course
4. Open my own business
5. Taste truffles (the real ones)
6. Take a culinary tour of France
7. Grow all my own food

Seven Things I Can't Do In The Kitchen:

1. Follow a recipe (its this compulsion I have)
2. Cook naked
3. Sear without fiddling (I have to leave the kitchen to stop my urge to check the searee every 30 seconds)
4. Not make a mess (the chocolate splashes on the ceiling are a testament to this)
5. Stand on one foot while chopping
6. stop tasting
7. I don’t feel that I am a perfect cook, I just feel that I can make anything if I really put my mind and my training to it.

Seven Things That Attract Me to Food Blogging:

1. Discovering Recipes
2. Sharing my experiences
3. Seeing that I am not alone in my obsession
4. Inspiration
5. The international aspect
6. Eating
7. Cooking

Seven Things I Say Most Often While Cooking:

1. "Ow."
2. "oh c@@p"
3. "I hope its cooked"
4. "Dammit"
5. "Hmmm"
6. "Where’s the ----------?."
7. "How long has this been In here?"

Seven Cookbooks I Love:

1. The internet
2. Fresh
3. Martha Stewart’s Hors D’ouevres Handbook
4. Hot sour Salty Sweet (do not own this)
5. Best of the Best
6. JOC
7. Food Blogs

Seven Cooking Shows I Can Watch Over and Over Again:

1. Good Eats
2. A Cook’s Tour
3. Mario Batali
4. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Seven Foodbloggers I Want To Join In Too:

1. Food & Thoughts
2. Culinary Adventures
3. Deetsa’s Dining Room
4. Pumpkin Pie Bungalow
5. Food Ninja
6. Kitchen Chick
7. Christina's Kitchen

Weekend Cat Blogging

Aggie, doing her best pretzel impersonation.

Head over to EatStuff, say hi to Kiri and Clare and check out all the other cute kitties.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Quik and Easy Dessert

This was one of those spur of the moment things that actually turned out well. I wanted sweet but not TOO junky, had a ripe banana on my table and ran with it.

Very simple really. Cut one banana in half. Top with a brown sugar/spice mix (I used ground ginger) Broil until top is crackly. Serve with a dash of cream. Ice cream would be even better!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Farro: what is it and why do I like it?

Stop reading now if you are looking for something amusing/chock full of recipes. I am going the educational route today to try and share what I know about farro with the rest of you ~ unfortunately, that isn’t a whole lot!. This was inspired by Nerissa’s query to my post about the farro risotto.

First of all, farro is one of the “ancient grains” ~ it was used in Roman times, unlike many of our present day grains. In reading around, I discovered that it lost ground against other grains because of its low yield. It is also VERY similar to spelt, but not the same. Of course, that all depends on who you read! Check out this link for a brief farro/spelt debate. According to my bag of the lovely stuff, it is also known as Pearled Emmer Wheat. Of course, I have now discovered that Emmer is something else entirely. Confused yet? Cause I sure am! The Scientific name on my bag of mystery grain is triticum dioccum or something like that. I suggest googling farro if you are REALLY curious about its history and health benefits (and apparent trendiness ~ GAACCK).

Why do I like it? The flavour is so rich and nutty and I have heard that the protein and fiber contents are impressive. I also love the texture ~ it retains a nice chewy bite when fully cooked.
Go, try it if you can find it ~ it is excellent in salads, soups and hearty breakfast porridges. Spelt is an acceptable substitute....

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Eggplant Schnitzel

My first recipe from the latest Vegetarian Times. It was both a success and a failure, if that is possible. The dish was very good, but I ended up finishing it in the frying pan instead of in the oven as per the recipes. I think the issue was that I used panko instead of regular breadcrumbs, making it more difficult to achieve even crispy goldness. served with farro risotto and green salad.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Southwest Eggs Benedict

I feel nasty right now. A friend celebrated his 40th birthday last night/this morning. We got home around 9:30 this morning and I really think I should just crawl into bed. I leave you wiuth yesterday's breakfast and a promise to post the recipe when I can focus my eyes a little better.

Okay, so I have recovered enough to discuss the breakfast. Catesa, your guess was pretty close….
The base was a corn muffin recipe borrowed from the Food Ninja and altered slightly.

Skillet Corn Muffins

1/4 C CornMeal
1/3 C Cream + 1tbsp water
1/3 C Masa Harina
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1 tbsp egg or egg substitute
1 tbsp oil
The Application
Combine the corn meal and milk and let stand for 10 min.

In a different bowl mix all the dry ingredients.

After the 10 min add the egg and the oil to the corn mixture and mix well.

Add the dry to the wet and form into two english muffin sized cakes. Heat an oiled skillet over medium heat and place cakes in pan. Cover, cook five minutes, flip, cover cook for another 5 minutes. Then split the muffins and toast cut sides down in the frying pan.

Southwestern Eggs Benedict

Two toasted Corn Muffins
4 poached eggs
1/4c Salsa Verde
½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2tbsp Silken Tofu
Shredded Sharp Cheddar

Blend Salsa Verde, fresh cilantro and tofu and spread on toasted muffins. Top with poached egg and cheddar cheese.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

Aggie Snuggling with Rob.

Head on over to Eat Stuff, say hi to Kiri and Clare and check out all the cats from around the world.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


I have a muffin recipe that I got from a friend a few years back and have never used another since. I took her recipe and it became my formula for various flavours of muffins. The most recent incarnation was the Banana Eggnog Muffin ~ I was hungry, had over-ripe bananas and leftover eggnog on hand and the rest is history….

Emily's (Insert Flavour here) Muffins

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup low fat sour cream (I have been known to use yoghurt~lemon in the banana version)
1/4 cup 2% milk (or whatever your preferred fat content ~this is where I put the eggnog)
1 2/3 cup pureed (banana, chunky applesauce, pumpkin etc)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
Spices of your choice (I put cinnamon and nutmeg in the banana muffins)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda (I would like to experiment with baking powder, see if I get a different rise)
1/2 tsp salt

1) Preheat over to 350 degrees.

2) Cream butter and sugars. Add the ingredients up to, but not including the flours ~ beat well.

3) Stir together flours, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to wet mixture and beat until combined.

4) Pour batter into muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until a toothpick tests clean - about 35 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Years Day

We had a quiet, homebody kind of New Years Day ~ watched From Here To Eternity and napped. Dinner was very simple and casual, but oh so good.
I slow cooked a smoked ham hock, then shredded the meat and used the broth to cook up some blackeyed peas. Stirred the ham in and served it with sauteed brussels sprouts.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

Rob made Christmas dinner, so I got to do New Years Eve. There is nothing I like more than planning and preparing an "occasion" dinner. My menu changed a few times, but the fundamentals stayed the same.
I decided to submit my menu to the New Years Roundup on CookingDiva
We started with a favourite, oysters on the half shell with just a squeeze of lime for me and unlimed oysters for Rob. Usually we just stand by the sink and eat them as Rob shucks, but I wanted this to be a nice dinner, so I crushed up some ice cubes and filled two bowls. We had this with the Stellar's Jay "champagne".

The next course was spinach salad with a warm shallot & balsamic vinaigrette. This absolutely rocked! The vinaigrette was super easy and totally made the dish.

The main was Crisp Braised Duck with a Sherried Jus, Leek & Yukon Gold Rosti and Carrots with Fennel & Italian Parsley.

The final course ~ dessert. I had been searching for the perfect dessert all day, trolling through pages and pages of recipes and nothing seemed to be right. I stumbled across a restaurant review where mention was made of a lemon yoghurt semifredo, and a lightbulb apeared over my head (well, no, but it would have if I was a cartoon character). I have no idea what real semifredo is supposed to be like ~ I just created this recipe. And it was damn good! Recipe here.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Eve. Here's to 2006!