31 August 2011

Scenes from Marcello

Marcello is the namesake wood-fired pizza restaurant of Marcello Lombardo, whose other namesake and now rival pizzeria, Lombardo's -- about a block away on Commercial Drive -- is run by his ex-wife. It was awarded to Patricia Lombardo as part of a 97-page judgment in a messy divorce a few years back, after she discovered him having an affair with one of their employees.

The full story of the "$1.1 million dustup" can be found here, including details of the 'Dead-beat Dad' postering that went on in the neighbourhood, and allegations of skimming from Lombardo's during the procedings to raise funds for Marcello, which focuses more on fine-dining and is built around a wood-burning oven which also serves as the mouth of a giant sun god head.

It's a dramatic tale filled with passion and pizza. But here's a little story of my own: one told with delicious food.

Ok, it's not a story. It's just a couple photos of what we ate there last week. We started with marinated roasted veggies.

Next up: pizza campagnola -- tomatoes, bocconcini and arugula on tomato sauce. A delightful pizza, though Nicli and Goldies still own my heart.

But it was worth the visit for the dessert alone: raspberry-filled white chocolate ice cream.

Stay tuned for the Lombardo chapter of this story!

30 August 2011

Curried Sweet Potatoes & Green Beans

Curried sweet potatoes & green beans
Note: half a bag of those bags of green beans they sell plus half a sweet potato does not an entire dinner make. You WILL eat an entire bowl of popcorn by yourself later.

Sweet potatoes were seasoned with curry powder, coriander powder, coriander seeds and cumin seeds. And pepper. Plus a squeeze of lemon juice. Next time I'll throw in some cayenne pepper and a handful of seared tofu to ward off the popcorn eating.

29 August 2011

Food Scraps! More Heirloom Tomatoes!

Food Scraps
I visited Food Scraps with my week's worth of composting, and I'm happy to report that usage is on a steady incline. They'd already had more drops than the previous week, and it was only noon. Learn more about the Food Scraps Drop Spot here!

Hierloom tomatoes at the market
Another great thing about their service is that it brings me out to the market every weekend. Where, incidentally, heirloom tomatoes are much cheaper than the ones they sell at Capers.

It's a damn fine time of year for tomato lovers.

28 August 2011

Farfalle Aglio Olio e Peperoncino

Spag aglio olio e peperoncino e also a red pepper, tomato and Parmesan
In honour of the upcoming Olio Festival: Farfalle aglio olio e peperoncino (e also onion, red pepper, tomato and Parmesan cheese!) Jay fed me all weekend. Thanks Jay!

Kale & Avocado Salad

Kale & avocado salad
A Michelle Meals classic: good ole kale & avocado massage salad. Feat. grape heirloom tomatoes, and brought to you by the lovely-accented Karen Knowler:

27 August 2011

The Gigantic Heirloom Tomato

You don't want to know how much this greeny-red 1-1/3 lb heirloom Capers tomato cost. I am embarrassed to say.

But I will say that it cost MORE than this spontaneous-purchase sour cherry pie that was sitting next to the check-out. It was a splurgey kind of day.

I did my best to make the most out of that ole tomato. When I realized I had blueberries AND goat cheese in the fridge, I cracked open my copy of Mairlyn Smith's Healthy Starts Here, which has a very simple and very tasty recipe called Blueberry & Tomato Salad For One. According to Mairlyn, this is THE salad to make mid-August, when both blueberries and tomatoes are at the height of their season.

Later Jay came over and made us veggie burgers. Featuring fat heirloom tomato slices. (Messy food styling by Jay)

Finally I mixed up the rest of the tomato in this salsa dip, along with red onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, avocado and black beans.

Sadly, this is where I was misguided with my heirloom tomato. The salsa I made back in May was much more delicious, and that was using a MUCH CHEAPER can of diced tomatoes! The tomatoes that had sat stewing in their own juices in a can of perfectly sized chunks tasted much more tomatoey than my beloved heirloom.

Lesson: Give expensive heirloom tomatoes the star treatment -- make them the spotlight of your dish, where you can bite into them like a big, juicy fruity steak. If tomatoes are just one component of a backing ensemble (can you tell I was watching episodes of Glee all night?), then reach for those diced tomatoes. You and your wallet won't regret it. Oh, and also...

Lesson #2: Bigger is not always better. While this tomato was much more delicious than the regular ole tomato that Jay brought over, there were still parts of it toward the middle that were a just a tiny bit on the mealy side. I suspect smaller is the way to go for absolute deliciousness.

25 August 2011

Go Canadians!

I made it out to the Canadians game last night. My favourite part of Canadians games happens around 8pm, when the sky fills with black birds making their way home for the night. A new, miniature friend was also a highlight of last night's game.

Here's a photo that makes it look like I went to the game 35 years ago.

Concord grapes: still a "basebally" kind of snack, according to Duncan, since you get to spit out the seeds. A fruity alternative to the usual sunflower seeds.

Cheese flavoured Kit Kats, of course.
Cheese-flavoured Kit Kats! Courtesy of Janos. If you let them melt in your mouth, they taste like Smart Food popcorn.

Meta cotton candy photo
A photo of Duncan taking a photo of cotton candy.

24 August 2011

Ants-On-A-Log: Revised & Updated

Jay's Ultra-Modern Ants-on-a-Log
Last night we (ie. Jay) made veggie burgers. The ever-resourceful Jay took the leftover toppings and made this Ants-On-A-Log: a bok choy stem stuffed with onions and portobello mushrooms.

22 August 2011

Harrison Hot Springs

Black Forest, Harrison Hot Springs
I went to Harrison Hot Springs and got my hair did for this hair convention thing. Then I dipped my toes in the spring source, and then I sat on the Black Forest patio and reveled in its German-ness.

Mmmmmmmm Bavarian sausage
Mmmmm Bavarian bratwurst and sauerkraut. This was way better than expected.

Being made all fancy was fun.

I thought about how fun it might be to be a full time model. And then I ate this ice cream cone.

Dream Pizza Friday

Friday night: always a good time for Panago pizza. They forgot to put the pineapple on my dream pizza (pineapple, banana peppers, green peppers and green olives), so I brought it back and they smothered it. Even with cold pineapple it's such a great flavour combination. THANKS DREAM.

20 August 2011

Weird Curry with Trader Joe's Harvest Grains

Dinner with P
Thursday night's weird dinner: red onion, red bell pepper, carrots, bok choy from the Fine Mist garden, expired soft tofu that we unsuccessfully tried to sear and then somewhat successfully tried to bake, green Thai curry paste, lime, ginger and cilantro. Served on a bed of Trader Joe's Harvest Grains. In fact we used this very package of Harvest Grains, blurred out in the background. Purchased in May 2009! It took me a looong time to eat these.

19 August 2011

Rainbow Chard Wraps

I don't know about these rainbow chard wraps yet...

Rainbow chard wraps!
The filling is my attempt at a mock salmon pâté, made in the food processor with walnuts, celery, bell peppers, dulse, dill, dates and lemon juice. The dulse, a sea vegetable, is supposed to impart a seafoody flavour. I don't think I used enough though.

Wrap assembly
The flavour of these things is improved by adding tomatoes and red onions to the wrap, and maybe a little leftover guacamole from Wednesday's stuffed mushroom. Anyway, they are a work in progress. Supposedly they are good for you, and they are definitely filling. But, I'm just not convinced I want to ever eat them again.

They did give me enough energy to take this little lady from down the street for a walk at lunchtime, though.

18 August 2011

Marinated & Guac-Stuffed Portobello

I ate this guacamole-stuffed Portobello mushroom for dinner last night. It was as filling as eating a steak. They are ridiculously easy to make.

Marinate a Portobello mushroom for several hours in Nama Shoyu (1:3 Nama Shoyu to water). Nama Shoyu is raw, organic, unpasteurized soy sauce. If you don't have any, or don't feel like asking the guy in Capers where you can find it, you can just use regular soy sauce.

In a food processor, pulse together one avocado, about 1/5 of a red onion, and several grape tomatoes. Scoop onto the mushroom, and that's it. Food processors! Mushrooms! Avocados! They are amazing.

17 August 2011

Save-On Meats Breakfast Poutine

On the weekend we somehow managed to get up around 10 am to make it down to Save-On Meats, lured by the promise of breakfast poutine.

The wait was not too long considering that there were six of us, and there is only one booth in the restaurant that can seat that many.

Save-On Meats is more of a solo or two-person kind of breakfast place. You can seat four to a booth, but it looks like even then it would be a bit of a tight fit.

There was breakfast poutine aplenty! But I have to say, I was expecting some runny yolks that on first cut would seep into the gravy and mix with the curds. Our poutines were topped with hard poached eggs. A sad waste of a yolk with so much gooey potential. Eating French fries for breakfast most definitely seemed a bit wrong, but if you're going to go the poutine route, I'd recommend specifying over-easy or sunny-side-up.

16 August 2011

Beer and Burgers for Books (in Uganda)

Guess which event I attended.

Burgers and beers for books
I like books. Also burgers, and beer. I've been riding the vegetarian train too long as of late. It made this hamburger all the more delicious. Sorry, cows.

Sorry also to Jesse, who hates Instagram photos. And thanks to Monica for inviting us and sharing her peppery fries. Unless you are Jeffrey or the other people I mentioned, you didn't make it out. But you can still donate to a worthy cause! Help support the Bunalwenhi Community Library here.

13 August 2011

Don't Scrap Your Food Scraps! Community Composting in the West End

Hey West End apartment dwellers: you can now bring your food scraps to the Food Scraps Drop Spot at the West End Farmer's Market to compost them! This weekend was the first of a ten-week pilot project, put together by Vancouver Farmer's Markets, Recycling Alternative and the City of Vancouver.

They have super-composting powers: not only do they take the usual veggies, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells, but they are also accepting meat, dairy, breads and pastries and paper towels!

They sell these handy bins there, too. They are perfect for apartments with balconies, but I just store my scraps in a large tight-sealing tupperware container that I got at the dollar store. You can also keep your container in the fridge or freezer, to fend off odors and fruit flies.

The program is in its trial phase right now to assess the city's composting needs, so show your support and collect those food scraps and bring them on down next Saturday!

You can also participate in their sticker survey...

Pick up a poster for your lobby to help spread the word...

And while you're at it of course pick up some delicious and colourful local produce.

Then share it with someone you love!

11 August 2011

Angel Hair Zucchini with Raw Marinara

It's that zucchini noodle time again! Last night I put my food processor to work and tried my hand at the marinara sauce we learned in raw food class. I'm not becoming an entirely crazy raw foodist or anything: the pasta was smothered with Parmesan cheese.

Making the sauce, I was reminded of what they say about raw food recipes: flavour-wise, the ingredients are never quite the same (eg. no two fruits or vegetables are alike -- some are juicier, riper, tangier, etc., etc.), so the recipe will never come out the same twice. Therefore you have to sort of use raw recipes as a template, adjust the tastes accordingly, and be open to imperfection.

Variety: Now using zucchini squash! Ok it's pretty much just a zucchini, only yellow.
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