30 November 2010

Spiced Apple Pie Chips


I ate the same thing as yesterday. And polished off these apple pie chips. They are good, but I intend to perfect them with a mandoline.

Indian Food In A Can


Every once in a while it is both necessary and satisfying to eat Indian food from a can. It is even better if you can have two different cans (Jaipur Karhi & Matar Paneer), and throw it on a bed of basmati rice and arugula.

29 November 2010

Hangover Kitchen Day


I made some apple chips yesterday. Spiced Apple Pie Chips, that is. Today, I've already eaten half the batch.


Then I made seared tofu with bok choy and coconut ginger curry sauce for dinner. Which I made before back in June. Baby bok choy was better. Also, if you substitute lemon instead of lime in a coconut curry sauce, it is not as tasty. LESSON OF THE DAY.


Finally, I couldn't get enough of making things, so I made my own granola (it's my intention to start eating breakfast everyday). The recipe is from Jamie Oliver's magazine ("jamie") and IT IS DELICIOUS. I don't know if I got the measurements right because they were all in grams, but here is my adapted North American version:

Super Toasted Granola with Chewy Fruit

8 Tbsp honey
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
7/8 cup skin-on almonds, chopped
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cherry juice-infused dried cranberries
1/2 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried peaches, chopped

Note: The recipe calls for dried sour cherries rather than dried cherry juice-infused dried cranberries, but those were hard to find and when I did find them they were really expensive.

Also: Dried peaches are hard to find, but at Safeway in the bulk section they have "mixed dried fruit" which is peaches, apricots and prunes, so you can just pick out the peaches, and go through the self checkout and no one will be any the wiser.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. (I assumed this was 300°F but I almost burned the granola, so maybe I'll go for around 250°F next time?) Spread the oats, seeds, nuts and coconut out over two baking trays. Heat honey in a saucepan, pour over the trays and mix with a spoon. Bake for 20 minutes (or less! Keep checking to make sure it doesn't burn!), stirring every so often.

Add the fruit to the trays, stir once and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then break it up and store in a special granola jar that you keep on your counter so that it makes you happy every time you look at it.

Special Jamie tip: Don't be afraid to toast the oats until really golden; this gives the granola a more caramelized flavour.

Maximum-China-Meals


Our friends Duncan & Anna gave a slideshow presentation of their recent trip to China, capped off with a food feature in which we got to see every meal they ate.


Accompanying this was some delicious homemade Chinese food (I forget what the tofu and eggplant dishes were called, but both were very tasty), featuring Duncan's recreation of his favourite street food, a pork belly bun.

I have yet to even go through my photos from China from over a year ago now, but hopefully soon I'll be able to put together a little photo montage. The slides reminded me of, among other epic meals, both fond and ridiculous memories of the breakfast buffets at Beijing International Hotel.

---
Later... some salad, because looking at all that Chinese food really made me want to eat salad, and then a batch of President's Choice Porcini Mushroom Tortelloni.

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Much much later... I sustained myself throughout a Fine Mist Public Domain LP release and subsequent rager with Cratz (courtesy of Janos) and PBR.

27 November 2010

Chicken Corn Soup; Meringues


Fancy dinner: I mixed some frozen corn with a can of chicken soup.


Also I've been doing a lot of failing lately at making tart filling, which left me with approximately a million egg whites. So I made them into meringues at 1 am.

26 November 2010

Pizzo


It was a Pizzo pizza night.

24 November 2010

Salad and other things


Salad today again. Plus more risotto. And a lot of ginger snaps, short bread and lumpy tart filling.

Leftover Risotto


Tonight I defrosted the leftover Quattro risotto. It tasted better than this photo might suggest.

Salad; PC pasta


Monday night I ate this salad. Also President's Choice Roasted Vegetable Raviolini.

21 November 2010

Weird Potato Salad


I've never made potato salad before. It tasted a bit weird. For one thing I used the weird President's Choice whole egg mayonnaise that separates whether it's been sitting two seconds or two weeks, and tastes a bit... weird. Also, you never see blue potatoes in potato salad, and I think there is a reason for that. But they were part of my mixed bag of new potatoes, so, I was lazy / thought it would be neat to have them in there. Also in there: hard boiled eggs, dijon mustard, rosemary, arugula, red onions, green peppers and salt and pepper. WHATEVER. I am filling the rest of my belly in bed with apple juice and Genisoy Rich Cheddar Cheese Flavour Soy Crisps.

Apple & Cheddar Tart with Arugula


Last night we made an apple and cheddar tart, using a recipe I found on one of my favourite food blogs, Closet Cooking. Probably the main reason I like his blog is because the premise is pretty similar to mine, except that he's been a bit more successful in becoming a good cook -- he cooks/posts EVERY SINGLE DAY. No pizza slices or crackers for dinner there. Unless he makes them himself.


Anyway this recipe is incredibly easy. The tart is made with frozen puff pastry; spread with mustard and topped with sliced apples (that have been simmered about a minute in apple cider to soften, and then tossed in reduced apple cider and rosemary) and strong cheddar cheese. (A word to the wise: don't buy that giant $12 brick of No Name brand extra old cheddar. Even if it's on sale for $7. There are much stronger cheddar cheeses out there.)

Once baked, individual slices are topped with arugula that's been tossed with olive oil and lemon juice and seasoned with salt and pepper. I've never cooked with puff pastry before and it's SO EASY. And because this is covered with apples and arugula, you can pretend that it's healthy.

Happy Birthday to Aaron feat. okonomiyaki


Friday night: I ate seafood okonomiyaki at The Clubhouse, where we celebrated Aaron's birthday with a little Stop Making Sense and Trapped in the Closet. Also featured: a delicious three layer chocolate mousse birthday cake by Liz.

19 November 2010

Legendary Noodle takeout


We discovered that we can order takeout from Legendary Noodle House. Peanut was pretty excited. First dish: Vermicelli with Spinach in Peanut Sauce.


Also: Dao Xiao Mian with Prawns. Peanut got to chew on a prawn tail.


Finally: Dumplings in Hot Sour Soup with Mushroom & Bamboo, Egg. There may or may not have been meat inside these dumplings. For Jay's sake, let's say there was not.

17 November 2010

Baby Arugula & Field Greens Salad


I found some cheap field greens and baby arugula today, which resulted in me eating three bowls of salad for dinner. Also in the salad: carrots, tomatoes, blue cheese, croutons, Simply Natural Organic Vinaigrette with Sundried Tomatoes, and black pepper. I still have a lot of arugula! What should I make with it?

>:\

Tuesday: Temple.

16 November 2010

Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Girasoli


I made this fancy President's Choice Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Girasoli. I fried up some shallots and poured in a little vermouth to go with it and the whole thing was o-k. Then I added sun dried tomato pesto, and it was really good.

14 November 2010

Tomatoes; Avocadoes; Potatoes


Tomato & avocado salad, salted and peppered and Worcestershire sauced.


Baby potatoes, salted and peppered and 1/4 tsp Savoury-ed, roasted at 425°F for 20 minutes.


And topped with cottage cheese.

Delicious Leftovers


Saturday was a night of delicious leftovers. Greek salad, prawns étouffée, AND Tuscan bean soup.


Topped off with a Pizzo pizza midnight slice.


And then the soup was polished off.

12 November 2010

Cookbookyssey #10: For the Love of Soup

For the Love of Soup
by Jeanelle Mitchell
© 2010 Whitecap Books

I picked up a bag of Bob's Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix from Capers, partly because the colourful mix of beans was so pretty, and figured I would throw in some herbs and vegetables and make some kind of soup with it. Then I remembered my multiple-personality fish stew, and decided it's probably a good idea to work from a specific recipe for now. I chose Tuscan Bean Soup, and based on the results, I think I should stick to specific recipes for at least the next year or so... it makes all the difference between having to defend the weird flavours a dish to my taste buds, and just simply, totally loving it.


The bean mix is the only ingredient where I strayed from the recipe; Tuscan Bean Soup calls for just one bean: white kidney beans. I don't know if using 12 additional beans made the soup better, but the recipe definitely made my 13 beans delicious.


Tuscan Bean Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups water
28 oz can plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cups cooked white kidney beans
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp dried basil)
1/2 cup dry red wine
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (or to taste) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrots, and sauté for 5 minutes.


Deglaze with red wine; add tomatoes, stock, water, beans and basil, and bring to a boil. (Note: I started soaking 2 cups of beans at 7 am before I left for work, drained them when I got home, brought them to a boil with 2 1/2 times the amount of water, simmered for an hour, drained and set them aside before using.) Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Partially purée the soup with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Puréeing part of the soup gives it a nice creamy texture. This soup is great. I can't stop eating it. Hooray for simple ingredients! Hooray for following recipes!

What else looks good in this book?

• Wild Mushroom & Leek Soup with White Wine
• Stracciatella Soup
• Creamy Leek & Fennel Soup with Parmesan
• African Peanut Chicken Soup
• Hearty Lamb & Bean Soup with Port
• Hamburger Soup!

Prawns Étouffée


My coworker Jan brought me back some Étouffée seasoning from her New Orleans travels. Last night Jay and I tested it out on some prawns.


But before that we ate a Greek salad. Because it kind of magically appeared while I was procrastinating from cleaning my apartment. Some cheeses were also eaten. So when the time came to make the prawns we weren't even that hungry, but nevertheless we carefully followed the instructions on the package.


Which began with melting a stick of butter in a pan. We guessed that this amount was close to what one might call a "stick."


Next you add a pound of shellfish of your choice, and sauté until heated thoroughly.


Finally: add a cup of water, a package of River Road Étouffée Seasoning, 1/2 cup chopped green onions and 1 Tbsp lemon juice (which we forgot). Cook covered until mixture thickens slightly and serve over rice or pasta.


I happened to have a box of New Orleans–style "dirty rice" from Safeway that's been sitting in the cupboard for most of this year, so this was finally its moment to shine. It was pretty spicy. It was hard to tell if the spiciness was coming from the rice or the seasoning, but I would wager a guess that the butteriness came from the butter.

10 November 2010

Mediterranean Fish Stew


Ok, I think I am getting this Mediterranean Fish Stew down. It tastes SO DIFFERENT each time I make it. But last time it just tasted like it had multiple personalities. It's calmed down a bit more for this round.


This time I used a mirepoix of 1/2 fennel, 1/4 red onion, 1/2 a rib of celery and 1 shallot. I spiced it sparingly with maybe 1/4 tsp chili powder, a sprinkling of fennel seeds, just a few strands of saffron and quite a bit of black pepper.


Deglazed with 1/4 cup dry vermouth, then mixed in about a cup of (No Name brand) garlic pasta sauce, diluted it with some (1/2 cup?) water, seasoned with dill, and added 1/2 small can of baby clams, the same amount of cooked baby shrimp, and a chopped up 100g piece of Sockeye salmon. I think I've got a handle on this recipe. Next time I will step it up by using fresh dill.

09 November 2010

Leftover Stew + Boulevardier


Seafood stew leftovers tasted much better today, having spent the day mellowing out. A side of bread and butter also goes a long way. But I'm thinking of trying a different version of this tomorrow, since there are leftover clams and fennel in the fridge.

Also on the menu: a Boulevardier. The manly Negroni. Mixed 1:1:1 Campari, sweet red vermouth and Wild Turkey bourbon. Everywhere else on the internet they add double the amount of bourbon, but that's a bit too bourbony for me. (They also use fancier glasses and citrus zest.)

08 November 2010

Smoked Black Cod & Clam Stew


I had about a cup of marinara left over from last week's President's Choice pastas, so I looked through the Michelle-Meals marinara files and remembered the Mediterranean Fish Stew recipe from my cooking class last year. (Also made here and here.) The recipe is kind of a skeleton that you dress yourself, starting with a base of fennel, seafood of your choice, some spices, some kind of alcohol, some herbs and tomato sauce.


I started with a mirepoix of 1/4 onion, 1/2 fennel, 1/2 rib of celery and 1 shallot, and seasoned it with chili powder, fennel seeds, saffron and pepper. Deglazed with some vermouth, then I added half a small can of baby clams and a chopped up $4.75 piece of smoked black cod. I mixed in the marinara and some water to bring it to the right consistency, then let it simmer until the fish was cooked, and seasoned it with marjoram, dill and thyme, more pepper, red pepper flakes and finally some Frank's hot sauce.


I think it turned out ok. I'll probably know a bit better with the leftovers, once the flavours have come together. Every bite is so different. Some bites are better than others. Such as the ones with fennel and cod. Maybe it needs less herbs. Like no marjoram or thyme. It's pretty spicy. Maybe it didn't need that hot sauce after all. WHO AM I KIDDING. This is edible but not great.

Edit: The stew tastes much better as a 1 am snack.

07 November 2010

Potatoes & Meat


Leftover meat & potatoes revisited. With green beans with sour cream and vinegar on the side.


This time I sautéed some onions and green peppers, tossed in the pork (chopped into fine little bits), seasoned with a little marjoram, nutmeg, Worchestershire sauce and dijon mustard, deglazed with some red wine, and threw in the potatoes. I'm really enjoying the nutmeg/Worchestershire/dijon seasoning combination that I picked up from Emily's meatless shepherd's pie and mushrooms on toast recipes. It seems to work with all things mushroomy and potatoey. I don't really know what marjoram is or what it's supposed to be used with, but it seemed to work here too.
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