31 March 2009

Leftover pasta; Caffè Artigiano

More leftover pasta. I'm not doing much for cooking lately but at least saving money. Also: another Tuesday night special (art gallery and Caffè Artigiano.)

30 March 2009

Leftovers; english muffin; wake-up snack

Leftover pasta, and an english muffin with butter and blueberry- grape jam. And a nap. And an apple to wake up. In my quest to perfect the art of the 20-minute nap, I have uncovered three keys to cat-napping success -- one of which is the wake-up snack. Eating immediately on waking puts a spike in your blood sugar level and snaps your head out of the clouds and back down to Earth. Generally, at the most concentrated sugariness, chocolate or candied ginger or candied anything would be my wake-up snack of choice; but I have this giant bag of apples so I have to make use of it. The other two important factors: having an alarm clock with one of those 20-minute nap buttons, obviously, and having somewhere that you need to be shortly after the nap.

29 March 2009

Pasta; The Wire S02

I made this pasta sauce (Classico Italian Sausage, green peppers, canned diced tomatoes, black olives and thyme) in the afternoon while procrastinating from cleaning the apartment. Another late, late lunch at Akira Sushi, and a late night pasta dinner accompanied by Season 2 of The Wire, which is starting out pretty slow . . .

Peaches & Cream Oatmeal

A late, late lunch at Akira Sushi, followed by Peaches & Cream oatmeal for dinner.

28 March 2009

Irish Heather

Guinnesses with the Whitecapettes after work last night means that I abandoned my month of sobriety a few days early. A weak end for the weekend. I had braised beef with mashed potatoes at the Irish Heather. Probably the best mashed potatoes that I've had -- mixed with what seemed to be bits of crackling. Mmmm, crackling.

26 March 2009

Thai Away Home

Red Pumpkin Curry with Chicken at Thai Away Home (home of the best take-away containers in Vancouver) on Cambie, followed by Pecha Kucha across the street, featuring Matthew Miyagawa of Vancouver Slop (seen here displaying a slide of the inspiring women of his youth).

25 March 2009

Western Spaghetti

Rather than force you to look at another photo of my epic casserole, which I ate yet again this evening, I suggest that you please watch this. Also: Happy six-month anniversary to Michelle-Meals!

24 March 2009

Leftovers again

It's the casserole that keeps on giving. This is turning out to be a really cheap week for dinner.


Casserole leftovers; banana; marching-band-coffee-and-cookies.

22 March 2009

Baked Chicken with Rice & Black Beans

Tonight I made a Mexican chicken and black bean casserole based on this recipe. Admittedly I've been on a Sidekicks kick, especially since after using them in those stuffed peppers I wandered over to Safeway and discovered them on sale for half price. So, I've got a cupboard stocked full of Sidekicks.

. . . whatever works.

Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans
(from Southern Living, via Love at First Bite)

1 package Mexican Rice Sidekicks
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 chicken breast halves, cooked and cubed (don't overcook!)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 large can diced tomatoes
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese

1. Sauté the onions, pepper and carrots for about 10 minutes. Throw in the jalapeno for the last 2 minutes.

2. Prepare the rice as per package instructions.

3. Mix all ingredients together in a large casserole dish and top with cheese.

4. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350°F, then uncovered for another ten minutes.

Eeeeeeaaaaaasy. And tasty.

Happy Birthday Sonya!

We ate at Radha on Main Street, a vegan restaurant in an old wood and brick building in Chinatown that doubles as a yoga studio. It was very good. I ate this:
• Roasted beet & apple salad with beet-horseradish dressing, hazelnuts and sprouts
• Chickpea & spinach coconut curry with root vegetables, brown basmati rice and cilantro-hempseed chutney
• Raw ‘super-food’ chocolate mousse tart with goji berries, hempseeds and cacao, almond and coconut crust

20 March 2009


Braised beef leftovers from the freezer.

San Pellegrino and other things I did not cook

Uhhh... Pizzo Pizza again. I've fallen off the cooking horse lately and devoted those hours after work to long naps instead. I blame Daylight Savings Time. And I'm ridiculously busy next week so I'll be surprised if I manage to cook much at all for the next little while. Also tonight, San Pellegrino and nachos with hummus at The Whip.

18 March 2009

Brandy-Nut Brie

Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad again, and then Brandy-Nut Brie and mineral water mimosas chez Lynley.

Pizza; Starbucks

When all else fails Pizzo Pizza is always there on the way to the bus stop. And when that turns out to not be enough, there's always a Starbucks on every corner: tonight, a pepperoni slice and then a Ham, Brie & Apple baguette.

16 March 2009

Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad II

I just discovered that March is National Peanut Month (discovered by searching #Peanut on Twitter). So be prepared to see more Peanut photos for the next two weeks. Actually I couldn't help it this time, Peanut just wouldn't go away because there was fish on the table. Tonight I had Caesar salad with smoked salmon . . . which wasn't tasting quite right until I went and looked at the last time I had it and remembered to add fresh ground pepper and Parmesan and lemon juice. I was a bit distracted by my dinnertime entertainment, Julie Doiron live on CiTR (at some point those words will link to the podcast).

15 March 2009

Leftovers; Radishes

Tonight I had the two leftover stuffed peppers, and this bundle of radishes with blue cheese dip as the sun was setting; Peanut insisted on taking part in the photo shoot.

Indian Lentil Stuffed Peppers

I felt like making dinner last night but didn't feel like heading out to the grocery store, so the challenge was to make something with whatever I already had. There was a four-pack of red peppers in the fridge and so I looked around to see what I could stuff them with . . . I had some Sidekicks on hand, and no beans or meat but I did have this President's Choice Indian Lentil instant soup, which I normally take for lunches . . . and so I mixed together the following:

Indian Lentil Stuffed Peppers

4 red peppers
1 package Sidekicks (I used "Asian Chicken Fried Rice")
Indian Lentil instant soup (President's Choice, single serving)
sautéed onions and garlic
1 (generous) pinch garam masala
salt and pepper to taste
a few sprinkles red pepper flakes
a handful of red mustard seeds
Parmesan cheese (sprinkled on top)


Prepare the Sidekicks and soup as per label instructions. Mix together with sautéed onions and garlic and the rest of the spices, and cook on low heat until liquid has absorbed into rice. The details of the original recipe are here. I also broiled them for a couple minutes at the end to roast the peppers a little more.

14 March 2009

Lemon x 3

Friday March 13 -- There wasn't a time today when I wasn't completely full. There was no way I was going to turn down anything at breakfast, so I had another helping of the Fairholme granola and yogurt, Eggs Benedict, some strawberries, pineapple and kiwi . . . and this time fresh from the oven were lemon scones with chunks of white chocolate, pressed with a layer of coarse sugar and served with crème fraîche and homemade raspberry jam. This was my first time eating crème fraîche, and there couldn't have possibly been a better combination. This scone was in fact the best thing I tasted the entire trip.

It was another food-filled day on the set . . . still stuffed from breakfast, I allowed room for a lunch of Baked Salmon with Creamy Shrimp Sauce and Asparagus with Cherry Tomato Basil Vinaigrette, and then Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Fig & Olive Tapenade, and Oatmeal Cookies with Mixed Fruit & Pecans, and finally I was sent on my way with a Glazed Lemon Cupcake-to-go. Too bad we didn't have these sciencey Pacific Coach Line chairs for a backdrop in the studio.

On the ferry ride not only did I have a roast chicken dinner with dipping sauce and Caesar salad, but I had to go and top it off with this slice of lemon meringue pie, not because I was hungry at all by that point, but because I've wanted a slice of ferry lemon meringue pie for about four years, since the last time I traveled to Victoria and spent a good amount of time ogling a fellow passenger's dessert. I'd even, umm, composed a poem in my head at the time likening meringue to a cloud of happiness. Tasting it now I concluded that it did indeed taste cloud of happinesslike. Anyway. It didn't even occur to me until writing this now how many lemon-flavoured things I ate that day. It did however cross my mind after stuffing myself with abandon all day that perhaps it's time for a lemonade diet.

Fabulous Fairholme; Everyone Can Cook; Rebar

Thursday March 12 -- Thursday was a Victorian cookbook odyssey, beginning with breakfast at the Fairholme Manor. Owner/operator Sylvia Main served chocolate espresso loaf still warm from the oven, with scrambled eggs and slices of grapefruit, orange and kiwi. But most noteworthy of the morning was the homemade granola served with vanilla yogurt. So noteworthy it's one of the first recipes you'll find in the bed & breakfast's celebrated cookbook, Fabulous Fairholme. I've never experienced granola like this . . . I can't wait to try out the recipe at home.

I ate well on the set of Eric Akis's Everyone Can Cook for Celebrations photo shoot at Michael Tourigny's Studio: Chocolate Guinness Cake, Shrimp in Champagne Butter, Saffron Rice and Mashed Rutabagas, Prosciutto-wrapped Papaya with Brie and this Valentines Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Heart-Shaped Croutons. The studio is great and it was the most fun I've had on a food shoot. Eric and Michael have been working together on the Everyone Can Cook series for years, and with their lovely team of Lauras and Lighthouse brews on tap to cap off a hard day's work, they've got a great thing going.

Dinnertime: My criteria for finding a restaurant was the following:
a) busy (= popular = good food)
b) colourful decor and staff (not quite as important, but atmosphere still counts for something, especially when you're on your own in a strange city)
c) vegan options on the menu: I love my meat but I'm a sucker for the weirdest thing on the menu, and vegan menus necessitate alternative approaches to food.

Rather than ask for advice I relied on serendipity, and after wandering downtown for a while I (surprisingly) found exactly what I was looking for when I happened upon Rebar Modern Food, which also turned out to be the restaurant whose cookbook all my vegetarian friends rave about. Rebar was bustling with activity; soon after I arrived a line-up formed at the door. I had the (spicy!) Almond Burger with Monterey Jack cheese and (SPICY) housemade ketchup, a cup of (spicy) Orange Chipotle soup and a (not spicy -- just chocolatey) vegan walnut brownie to go.

Ferry Food; Mini-Carton of Chocolate Milk

Wednesday March 11 -- I had dinner on the last ferry to Victoria. A hot dog, a coffee and a chocolate milk. For some reason those mini-cartons of chocolate milk seem to be reserved for special occasions, when I am lunching or dining somewhere I wouldn't normally be (such as a ferry to Victoria in the middle of the week; in elementary school they often figured on field trips and special play days). They are a mini-extravagance I would never think to buy on an ordinary day (nor would I even notice their existence if they happen to be at the gas station when I stop for a muffin on the way to work) but whenever I am somewhere unexpected they seem to pop up as something both familiar and extraordinary. Generally the mini-carton of chocolate milk is a signifier to me that something special is taking place, and when it appears at such moments I reach for it automatically.

Midnight snack: a pillow chocolate at the Fairholme Manor!

10 March 2009

Leftovers; Caffè Artigiano

More of the same leftovers; art gallery; and a caramel macchiato at Caffè Artigiano.

I'm leaving for Victoria for a few days tomorrow, so there may not be an update until Friday evening. Stay tuned . . .

09 March 2009

Leftovers; Meringue Fail

Leftover braised beef with pasta. Also. Question: Can you make meringues using a blender? Answer: Not with my blender, anyway. I'm guessing it has something to do with the way the motor overheats and starts to basically cook whatever it is you're blending. In any case, tonight I made . . . "chocolate chip meringue bark."

08 March 2009

Braised Beef in Black Currant Cassis

I'm taking a month off drinking, but I had this stewing beef from Save-On Meats in the freezer and I've been dying for a second go at the red wine- braised beef. It couldn't wait until April, so I Googled red wine alternatives and found this handy list of alcohol substitutions in cooking -- from Amaretto to Vodka. Under red wine it lists the following: red grape juice, cranberry juice, chicken broth, beef broth, vegetable broth, clam juice, fruit juices, flavored vinegar. I once used R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Black Currant Cassis (available at Capers) as a substitution for red wine in a photo shoot -- which not only looked like red wine but also tasted delicious -- so I thought it would be the perfect substitute. And, I was right. I used 2 cups of the juice, and not only can you not tell the difference, it tasted even better this time, because I used less liquid and let it simmer and reduce for three hours into a thicker, heartier sauce. Best. Meal. Ever. For dessert: a mini cinnamon bun (or three).


Dinner between shows at Legendary Noodle on Main Street: vermicelli with spinach and peanut sauce, veggie dumplings and CENTURY EGGS! Contrary to what their name might suggest, century eggs are only months -- and not a hundred years -- old. During this time they are preserved in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice straw (according to Wikipedia. I actually knew nothing about century eggs until tonight) . . . the resulting egg looks at least a hundred years old: the egg "whites" are a gelatinous translucent brown and the yolks a deathly grey sludge, and it is basically a brie(ie. ammonia)-flavoured hard-boiled egg. I shared this dish with some friends tonight. One of them allegedly really liked it; the other almost threw up. In any case, these are best served as an appetizer, because once you've eaten other food you realize how much better absolutely anything else tastes.

06 March 2009

Pasta; Fisherman's Friends

Still sick. My body wanted soup. But my bank account wanted whatever was already in the cupboard. Also, I didn't want to leave the house; I made that mistake yesterday (even though it was a fun mistake). Soooo pasta it was. Mafalda Corta with Vegetarian Bolognese sauce (that sounds fancy, but really it's just pasta and sauce) with sautéed onions, peppers and grape tomatoes. Also some cottage cheese with strawberry rhubarb jam and many Fisherman's Friends.

Ukrainian Village Restaurant

Dinner and a show with Jackie tonight featured Russian Borsch and Potato & Cheddar Cheese Perogies with bacon and fried onions at the Ukrainian Village Restaurant on Denman.

04 March 2009

Lemon Zinger

Too sick to think. Dinner: BBQ Baked Beans; sourdough bread and butter; zaboca (that's West Indian for avocado) the way my mom serves it: quartered, pricked with a fork, sprinkled with salt and Worcestershire sauce. And a million cups of Lemon Zinger tea. I knocked over and spilled the entire contents of this particular one right after the photo was taken.

03 March 2009

Leftovers and Safeway snack shopping spree

• leftover salmon
• carrots with blue cheese dip
• bowl of Shredded Wheat with brown sugar

Dinner companions
Peanut and Australia. This is Peanut's I-smell-fish face. And/or he is doing his Nicole Kidman impression again.

Midnight snacks
(following a Safeway shopping spree)
• sourdough bread with pepper pâté
• chocolate chewy cookies
• cottage cheese with strawberry rhubarb jam
• more sourdough bread with honey roasted peanut butter and strawberry rhubarb jam
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