Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MMMMMM Tomatoes

I know, I posted the pic a week ago and left you all hanging... Here is what it is. Fresh Zebra Heirloom Tomatoes, Bocconcini Cheese, Fresh Organic Basil, Cracked Black Pepper, Fleur de Sel (thank you Erica) all on bread from the Farmer's Market. It was to die for ~ and probably the last tomato sandwich this year.

Maple soy salmon Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Changing Direction

This is the dessert from the dinner I made for my parents ~ Vanilla Yoghurt Pannacotta. The main was just as good, but I was feeling a little frenetic, so didn’t photograph. I made Chicken breasts stuffed with Mushrooms Sage and Chevre, Fresh Herb Risotto and Glazed Green beans.
Those of you who are regular readers may have noticed the infrequency of my posts. I have been trying to decide what direction the blog should take. I am finished school, so no more educational posts. I have a new job at the school that I am not particularly comfortable writing about. So that leaves me with food. I think I am going to shift the focus to what I prepare at home with occasional narcissistic posts about life.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


I amde cookies today ~ MY cookies... Well, actually, they are from an Anna Olson recipe, but I still call them mine. They aren't pretty, but they are my ideal CC cookie.
Here they are:

And a close up.

I shared this recipe with Niki from Esurientes, and one of her taste testers described them as "American".

Here is the recipe, with both my notes and hers... My cookies look a lot different then hers ?

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Servings 24

3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter -- softened
1 cup (227g) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (250g{not sure about that translation, it's from Niki) all purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces (285g) bittersweet chocolate -- cut into chunks

1.Preheat oven to 350 F (175C).
2.Cream together butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.Drop by tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
5.Let cool slightly and enjoy.
Source: "Sugar"

Linda writes: I found this recipe on Food Network Canada, upped the chocolate slightly and recieved the praise of friends, family and coworkers. The keys are the cornstarch and the bittersweet chocolate. You can use chips instead of chunks.

Niki writes: I added extra vanilla to this recipe as well as a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, becuase I love the aroma. I also added about 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, which all contributed to an excellent flavour.

Warning ~ Non Foodie Post

Going off topic here. I was reading this site (warning to my grandmother ~ you probably don't want to go there) and I fell in love with the concept of looking back to the Top 100 songs of my grad year and seeing how I feel about them now. It's easy to do, just go to musicoutfitters.com, plug in grad year and Top 100 and you are set. I bolded the ones I hated and italicised the ones I don't remember.

1. Candle In The Wind 1997, Elton John
Gaaackkkk. Tragic, really, as I do like the original.
2. Foolish Games / You Were Meant For Me, Jewel
3. I'll Be Missing You, Puff Daddy and Faith Evans
4. Un-Break My Heart, Toni Braxton

5. Can't Nobody Hold Me Down, Puff Daddy
6. I Believe I Can Fly, R. Kelly
7. Don't Let Go (Love), En Vogue
8. Return Of The Mack, Mark Morrison
9. How Do I Live, LeAnn Rimes

10. Wannabe, Spice Girls
11. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart), Backstreet Boys
12. MMMBop, Hanson

13. For You I Will, Monica
14. You Make Me Wanna..., Usher
15. Bitch, Meredith Brooks
16. Nobody Keith Sweat
17. Semi-Charmed Life, Third Eye Blind
18. Barely Breathing, Duncan Sheik
19. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Az Yet Featuring Peter Cetera

20. Mo Money Mo Problems, Notorious B.I.G.
21. The Freshmen, Verve Pipe
22. I Want You, Savage Garden
23. No Diggity, BLACKstreet Featuring Dr. Dre

24. I Belong To You (Every Time I See Your Face), Rome
25. Hypnotize, Notorious B.I.G.
26. Every Time I Close My Eyes, Babyface
27. In My Bed, Dru Hill
28. Say You'll Be There, Spice Girls
29. Do You Know (What It Takes), Robyn
30. 4 Seasons Of Loneliness, Boyz II Men

31. G.H.E.T.T.O.U.T., Changing Faces
32. Honey, Mariah Carey
33. I Believe In You And Me, Whitney Houston
34. Da' Dip, Freaknasty
35. 2 Become 1, Spice Girls
36. All For You, Sister Hazel
37. Cupid, 112
38. Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?, Paula Cole
39. Sunny Came Home, Shawn Colvin
40. It's Your Love, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
41. Ooh Aah... Just A Little Bit, Gina G
42. Mouth, Merril Bainbridge
43. All Cried Out, Allure Featuring 112
44. I'm Still In Love With You, New Edition
45. Invisible Man, 98 Degrees
46. Not Tonight, Lil' Kim
47. Look Into My Eyes, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
48. Get It Together, 702

49. All By Myself, Celine Dion
50. It's All Coming Back To Me Now, Celine Dion

I cannot stress enough how much I hate Celine Dion....
51. My Love Is The Shhh!, Somethin' For The People
52. Where Do You Go, No Mercy
53. I Finally Found Someon, Barbra Streisand and Bryan Adams
54. I'll Be, Foxy Brown Featuring Jay-Z

55. If It Makes You Happy , Sheryl Crow
actually, I don’t mind this one...
56. Never Make A Promise, Dru Hill
57. When You Love A Woman, Journey
58. Up Jumps Da Boogie, Magoo And Timbaland
59. I Don't Want To / I Love Me Some Him, Toni Braxton

60. Everyday Is A Winding Road, Sheryl Crow
or this one
61. Cold Rock A Party, Mc Lyte
62. Pony, Ginuwine
63. Building A Mystery, Sarah McLachlan
this song doesn’t bother me too much, but I am not a Sarah fan, per se
64. I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
65. Your Woman, White Town
66. C U When U Get There, Coolio
67. Change The World, Eric Clapton
68. My Baby Daddy, B-Rock and The Bizz

69. Tubthumping, Chumbawamba
embarrassing moment ~ I really liked this one, I even bought the album.. *hanging head in shame*
70. Gotham City, R. Kelly
71. Last Night, Az Yet
72. ESPN Presents The Jock Jam, Various Artists
73. Big Daddy, Heavy D
74. What About Us, Total
75. Smile, Scarface
76. What's On Tonight, Montell Jordan
77. Secret Garden, Bruce Springsteen
78. The One I Gave My Heart, w Aaliyah

79. Fly Like An Eagle, Seal
80. No Time, Lil' Kim
81. Naked Eye, Luscious Jackson

82. Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix), Los Del Rio
oh god, no.... Now its in my head....
83. On and On, Erykah Badu
84. Don't Wanna Be A Player, Joe

85. I Shot The Sheriff, Warren G
Hate reworkings
86. You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time), Brian McKnight Featuring Mase
87. Don't Cry For Me Argentina, Madonna
meh, don’t care either way ~ find myself singing it at time
88. Someone, SWV
89. Go The Distance, Michael Bolton
90. One More Time, Real McCoy
91. Butta Love, Next
92. Coco Jamboo, Mr. President
93. Twisted, Keith Sweat

94. Barbie Girl, Aqua
another tragic moment ~ I enjoyed this song AT THE TIME
95. When You're Gone / Free To Decide, Cranberries
96. Let Me Clear My Throat, DJ Kool
97. I Like It, Blackout Allstars
98. You're Makin' Me High / Let It Flow, Toni Braxton
99. You Must Love Me, Madonna
100. Let It Go, Ray J

What WAS I listening to in 97?? Because it seems like I don’t know anything on here..
Alright, I’ll fess up. I am an oldies/weird music/opera/classical music fan. The only reason I knew any of these songs is because they played them at my university dances.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Weekend Cat Blogging

Miss Aggie is the cuddliest, most sedentary cat I have ever known. I can't get action poses, because she doesn't seem to want move very much! Here she is in her favourite position, sprawled across Rob's lap....

Here are the other cats....
J2 & New Cat at Farmgirl Fare
Tigger at Hunny I Cooked
Trick or Treat at Tarzile (I can read it! I haven't forgotten all my French!)
Jansen guestblogging at Anne's Food
Trixie at Green Girl Art
Caramel Brown Kittie at Restaurant Widow
Living the Beautiful Life at Papilles Et Pupilles
Lyle the Lion at Basic Juice
Miss Kitty at Culinary in the Desert
Opium at Cel's Home Page
Adorable Ginger Kitten at masak-masak
Studious Miles at My adventures in the Breadbox
Kittaya at Mahanandi
The Kitten at Tigers and Strawberries
Lucky at The Countess
And Kirisarous at Eat Stuff

Friday, September 16, 2005

Baking Purchasing and a Job Interview

Okay, the last of the exams. Baking in the morning. So brutal (the written part). I seem to have real issues with the science of it all. Second part, practical, was fun and went smoothly. we had to make 24 fancy buns, birds nest cookies and cranberry orange scones.
Afternoon, Purchasing exam, all written with lots of math, went by pretty fast. I think I did well.
Now to the job interview. I have been keeping a low profile about this, and I still don't know for sure if the job is mine, but on Wednesday, Chef Soren asked me if I would be interested in working for the school. I thought about it, told him Thursday that I would be and Chef Chris held the purchasing exam for me on Friday so that I could have an interview with the HR person. I THINK it went well, but I still haven't gotten the "you're hired." and I wish they would let me know either way. So think some positive thoughts for me and lets hope I hear soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

International Final

I forgot to take my camera to the International Cuisine Final, which is kind of sad, because it was one of my prettiest dishes. Anyway, International worked like this. We had a one hour written test, followed by a two hour practical exam. For the practical, we were given a recipe when we started the exam. it simply listed ingredients and basic instructions, with no information about amounts or cooking times. We had to prepare one serving of the recipe and serve it with two veg and a starch. Mystery Recipe? "Chicken" with a Fines Herbes Cream Sauce. The "Chicken" was actually a cornish game hen that we had to bone out and poach the breasts, leaving them "frenched". Then a cream sauce was made with the poaching liquid, fresh herbs stirred in and the whole thing would be served. I made a risotto to go with mine, green beans and glazed beats. Everything turned out really well and I didn't recieve any official grades, but Chef Soren told me my butchery was "excellent".

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NARC Final Exam

As I write this, I have already received my grade for this final, but I will tell you about it anyway... It was a black box team effort and we were required to produce a soup, a salad and a main with 1 protein, 1 starch and 2 veg on the main plate. The protiens offered to us were a whole chicken, a flank steak or a trout. We could choose to use one, two or all of the protein. We found out the ingredients at the beginning of the exam. This is what rachel and I produce.
1. Salad with Crispy element ~ Apple and Leek Salad with crispy carrot garnish and a thyme and red wine vinaigrette

2. Soup with Garnish ~ Aromatic Chicken Broth with Dumplings. Garnished with red pepper brunoise and Crisped parsley

3. Main Course ~ Stuffed Frenched Chicken Breast with Rosemary White wine pan sauce. Served with a wild rice, pear and red pepper pilaf, braised kale and glazed carrots.

I also had a written exam which was insanely easy.
Final score? 99/100

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Feast of Fields ~ Farm Folk, City Folk

I am tired, sore and sunburnt. And I had the most amazing day. Me and two classmates signed up to volunteer for the Feast of Fields. One of the perks of volunteering was being able to do a lot of mingling and sampling before we were put to work. This event is so fun and unique. We sampled wines, delicious food, cheeses etc. We wandered the grounds of the beautiful Vista D'Oro Farm and basked in the sunlight and tranquility. And I took a few photos. Then they put us to work. And now I need to go lie down....


Or What I Did Last Night.
As I mentioned yesterday, I was working last night (thank you all for the well wishes). I volunteered my time for 10$/hr here
In case you can't read the sign, it is the River Rock Casino, a huge very new hotel/casino in Richmond
The event: David Foster and Friends Fundraiser. Look, here's my official staff badge

I worked in the kitchen from 2pm till 10:15, helping with a buffet for 1000. I was pretty terrified going into it, but it turned out to be really easy work and I soon found my comfort zone. As we worked, Sarah Mclaughlin (sp) and Josh Groban rehearsed ~ Very cool to get to hear that. There was one low point to the evening ~ around 8pm, I cut my middle finger on my left hand. Right through the nail! Of course, being a casino, I had to sign all sorts of paperwork for one stupid bandaid and they had to call the first aid guys down to the kitchen. It was all good though ~ I had a good time and it felt good to put in a full eght hours.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Farmer's Market Haul

It's Saturday again and I hit Trout Lake once more. I picked up tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, organic eggs, fresh organic kale, couple of jalapenos, two organic butternut squash, 3 kinds of organic grapes, 3 kinds of organic potatoes and a gorgeous artisan goat feta.

Already used some of the feta, tomatoes and jalapenos in my breakfast frittata.
Wish me luck, I will be working today. I am terrified ~ first time in a REAL kitchen.

Weekend Cat Blogging

I made a frittata for breakfast post-Farmer's Market, and I threw ins ome leftover salmon we had in the fridge. Well, Aggie loves eggs and cheese and throw in some fish and she is in heaven. We sat outside to eat and she perched on the railing, waiting, hoping for a bites.

Bella and Tasha battling it out at A Few of My Favourite Things
Mathides of Skor i Skralden
Beowulf at The Countess
Macroom of Dispensing Happiness
Ally at masak-masak
Princess Kelly at Anne's Food
Princess Lixue at Look Hunny, I Cooked
Yoshi and Tanuki at A Cat in the Kitchen
Jingle Ball at Restaurant Widow
New Cat at Farmgirl Fare (love those ginger kitties)
Kittaya at Mahanandi

Thursday, September 08, 2005

International ~ South America

Today in international, we had an odd day. Our region was South America, but Chef Soren was once again unable to teach our class, so no lecture and a demo from a dubious Chef Chris opened our day and then we went at it. We served everything at the same time (I hate that), so in no particular order:
Seafood Empanadas. I was dubious about these, but they came out very well.Good flavour, nice crispy exterior, creamy filling. These were served with a jicama slaw.

Sweet Potato and Yam chips with Chimichurri. The chimichurri was an odd pairing here ~ didn't really have the right texture for the chips. However, it was wonderful and garlicky and was delicious on the empanandas and the beef.

Finally, Weird beef. We flattened out a flat iron steak, seasoned heavily with chili and cumin, then rolled carrot sticks, green pepper sticks and WHOLE HARDBOILED EGGS into th emiddle of them, tied them off and braised them. These were served with delish black bean and polenta cakes.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

NARC Day Two ~ British Columbia

Second day of BC cuisine. I was hoping for a repeat of the energy levels of the previous day, but I wasn't that lucky... Still a fun and delicious day.
First, Flash-smoked Wild Coho with Concord Verjus. We started by curing the salmon for 24 hours with Fleur de Sel and crushed dried seaweed. This pulls out the moisture and replaces it with a deeper flavour of the sea. The the salmon is cold smoked for roughly one hour. The apparatus for doing this was so neat. It involved a plastic bucket, a cold smoker burner, an aquarium pump and some cedar boughs. The cedar is placed right on the lit cold smoke pellet, at the bottom af a large plastic bucket. Then the salmon is placed on a rack near the top, the lid goes on and it smokes The aquarium pump helps to blow air onto the lit pellet and keep it smoking. Once it is done, slice very thinly and serve. So , so good. We served it on a bed of arugula and escarole with a dressing that used fresh concord grapes crushed with olive oil and mint and allowed to steep. The sweetness of the dressing was perfect with the sharp arugula and the bitter escarole.

The next course was Veal Paillards With spinach and basil, Gorgonzola and Chive Polenta and Braised Kohlrabi. I forgot to bring my recipe homr for the polenta, I will update that later. The veal was ok, nothing to write home about, but the polenta was goooooood. Creamy, hint of gorgonzola ( I cut back on the recipe because I didn't want it to kill the other flavours in the meal), lots of fresh chives stirred in at the last second. And the kohlrabi was decadent ~ braised in cream with fresh dill added at the end and topped witha roasted red pepper brunoise.

Finally, dessert. Grilled Okanangan Peaches with pomegranate and amaretto sabayon. Really amazing. Chef Chris was in the Okanangan on the weekend and brought us back fresh peaches to use. Nothing tastes like a fresh tree-ripened peach. Unless it's one taht has been lightly grilled, topped with caramelised brown sugar and served alongside a rich sabayon. We also baked off some of the leftover puff pastry and made littel puff pastry flowers for garnish, along with a reduction of some of my leftover pomegranate juice.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

NARC Day One ~ Beautiful British Columbia

Our culinary journey of North America brings us back home to our native province. And it also brought us the hardest and most rewarding day yet. Let's just say that 95% of the class was unable to finish within the alotted time!
First course:
Mussels in Saffron Cream Soup. This was a very good, simple, but excessively rich soup. Our musselsall opened up nicely and we simmered their steaming ligiud with fish stock, saffron and white wine, stirring in cream and a little cornstarch to thicken.

The next course was very time-consuming ~ Duck Two Ways. We jointed a whole duck, removed all the skin and fat from the breasts and set them aside. Then we removed the bone, fat and sinew from the thighs, chopped up the thigh meat and made a duck farce with it. The drumstick we also boned, but left the skin on and pounded the flesh out. then we took a roasted red pepper, cut it into squares, placed some of the farce on the square and rolled it up like a cigar. The drumstick was rolled and tied, then seared and roasted. The breasts were seared just before the end, then we made two pan sauces, a blood orange and Curacao one for the legs and a mango and star anise for the breasts. We served this with potato rosti, roasted shallots, roasted tomato and glazed asparagus. And I was sweating after that! But it was FUN. And the adrenaline kept me going for the next 8 hours!

Dessert? A Petit Saint Honore Cake, made with Puff Pastry, Choux Pastry and a special pastry cream called Creme Chibouiste (sp? I don't have the recipes in front of me). Rachel made this and it was also a killer amount of work, making all those pastries, caramel etc.

We had our soup and entree out on time, the desssert was 15 minutes late, but we could have had it out on time if we wanted. We were just so far ahead at that point, it seemed silly.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


So, my exam for NARC is supposed to be a black box. I have to make soup, salad with crispy element and main protein, starch and two veg. I decided I need to practice and told Rob he had to give me a black box.
He went ALL OUT. After his mystery box, I can do anything because it was deadly!
My ingredients:
two yams
can of coconut milk
two limes
two red peppers
chicken stock
one cippolini onion
1 cup brown rice
shitake mushrooms
foie gras*
two tenderloin steaks

So...drumroll.....the results!
Soup: Yam and Roasted Red Pepper with Coconut and Lime

Endive and Caramelised Fennel, Cranberry Vinaigrette and "Seared Foie Gras"*

Pan seared Tenderloin Steak with a Zinfandel and Cippolini onion Sauce
Brown Rice, Shitake Mushrooms and Red Pepper "Risotto"
Parsley Butter Glazed baby carrots and Bush Beans

*Funny story. Rob THOUGHT he bought foie gras, and so did I. Until I opened it to discover very expensive foie gras pate!! So "seared foie gras" became panko crusted seared foie gras pate...

I was so exhausted after I did this. I like to think the exam will be easier, mainly because I won't have so many crazy ingredients. Rob said what most impressed him was the fact that I had my menu outlined within ten minutes of starting. Oh yeah, and no recipes allowed.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

New Orleans

I have always had this romantic long-distance love affair with New Orleans. In my final years of high school, I was trying to figure out how I could go to Tulane University. Every year, I fantasise about visiting it. I have felt heartsick since last Monday, watching my beautiful city fall apart. I know, I have never been there, but I want to. I want it to come back, rebuild. I can't even begin to imagine what those people must be going through.

Once again, I hit Trout Lake. This time I had a ride home, so I really stocked up on winter squash (they keep forever in the bottom of my pantry). I got some beautiful farm fresh organic eggs, tomatoes, grapes, peppers, squash, garlic, goat feta, blackberries (steeping in vodka right now), melons and fresh corn.

Weekend Cat Blogging

Every night, when we start to make a move towards the bedroom, Aggie goes into "floppy cat". Sprawled out on the floor, she purrs and rolls around and tries to trip us up on our way to the bedroom.
Here are some of the cat fans~
Sort er godt at Skor i skralden
Jack & Betty at Stephencooks
Boo at masak-masak
Macroom at Dispensing Happiness
Glinda at Anne's Food
Jazz at (a new to me) Look Hunny, I cooked
DoodleBug at Farmgirl Fare
Stumpy and Abe at Restaurant Widow
Jack at My Adventures in The Breadbox
Grimalkin and Ozy and some Animal Rescue Links at Tigers and Strawberries
Pheobe at Baking Sheet
Miss Kitty from Culinary in The Desert
Bella and Tasha at A Few of My Favourite Things
Spencer and Chelsea at Je Mange La Ville
Ms. Beiji at Pumpkin Pie Bungalow
And of Course, Kiri at Clare Eats looking cute in a sailor suit!
And on a sad note... a moment of silence for Moufie.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

International~ Central America

Yay! I got to work with whomever I wanted today ~ so the 3 of us were back together; Rachel, Joyce and I. Our region was Central America, so Mexico etc. We started things off with a lovely fresh ceviche of scallops and prawns.

This was followed by the main ~ Lamb with a pumpkin seed, cilantro, chili, lime etc sauce, corn tamales and hearts of palm. The tamales were so very good, I want to make them again. And I was really proud of my sauce as well. The lamb dish was called Lamb Pepian

We finished with a dessert, a lucious rich baked rice pudding, called Arroz Con Leche

I left early for the sake of my sanity and the health of my classmates (see yesterday). It was a really nice feeling....