Saturday, February 25, 2006

Provencale Beef Daube

IMBB this month, courtesy of Cucina Testa Rossa, was Regional French Cooking. I first tried to track down a regional dish from the Loire valley, as that was the first area of France I was ever obsessed with. When I turned up nothing that I particularily cared for, I moved on to Alsace, then Basque and finally settled on Provence. I actually love the food of Provence, but I associate it with lazy summer lunches with aioli, salade nicoise etc and it was freezing, almost snowing and Rob was making heavy hints about hunks of stewed meat. I love the internet though; after some searching, I came across a recipe for Beef Daube Provencale and the old BINGO sign flashed over my head. Now, in my opinion, one of the things that makes regional cuisine is working with what you have and I was lacking a few flavour elements plus the time called for in the recipe, so I created my own twist on it.

Of course, I had to serve it with noodles and I rounded out the plate with grilled romaine and Caper-Anchovy aioli.

Beef Daube Provencale

2lbs stewing meat (I purchased and dissected a blade "steak")
1 bottle of red wine
6 cloves
zest of 1 orange
6 bay leaves
Herbes de Provence (I used about a tablespoon)
250 g diced bacon
2 carrots, chopped
4 shallots, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

Early in the morning (or the day before), marinate the meat with wine, cloves, half the orange zest, bay leaves and herbs.
When you are ready to cook, drain the meat, saving the marinade. Sweat the bacon in a large pan, remove, add to the reserved marinade. Seaason the beef with salt & pepper and sear in the bacon fat, working in batches to prevent overcrowding. Remove from pan, set aside. Sweat the shallots, carrots and celery, add the marinade back to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the meat, cover and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Leave it alone for 3 hrs.
Preheat oven to 250F.
Remove the meat from the pan, strain and defat the braising liquid. Using the same pan, make a roux with butter and flour. Add the liquid back to the pan, then the meat as well as the rest of the orange zest. Adjust seasoning as necessary and transfer to 250 oven until you are ready to consume.
Wine pairing was a Beringer Zinfandel, mostly because that was all we had on the rack and we are 3 days from payday here.
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Weekend Cat Blogging

She's thinking "why are you taking my picture at six thirty in the morning??"

Check out Kiri's yoga moves at Eat Stuff.

Friday, February 24, 2006

You win some, you lose some

Just in case you were starting to think that all my food turns out amazing, I am here to set you straight....unfortunately. I get these crazy urges mto experiment, and sometimes they work, sometimes not so much. If you read my blog regularily, you may have surmised that I am a huge fan of gravlax. I wanted to use some sumac I had, so I tried to make gravlax with sumac instead of dill. I served it with toasted pita, salad and a pomegranate molasses and yoghurt sauce. One bite and I put down my fork, asking Rob if he would like some KD. He at all of his, but I could not stomach the flavour. I may have overcured the salmon, because the texture was a little off as well. I liked the pomegranate sauce though, so I haven't given up on middle eastern inspired cured salmon.

This what I ened up eating; Stewed black beans with cumin and Aleppo pepper. It was delicious and very moreish.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Homemade Ravioli!!

Last weekend, Rob and I broke in the pasta maker a little more with a batch of lamb ravioli. We were having shortribs for dinner though, so we froze the ravioli for future consideration and Wednesday night was our lucky night. The recipe in its entirety was taken from Food Network, with modifications of course...

Lamb Ravioli with a Rosemary Cream Sauce
Recipe courtesy Adrian Tonon

Lamb Filling:
1 pound ground lamb
2 eggs
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano(I was short Parmesan, so used some of my Pecorino pepato...)

Rosemary Cream Sauce, recipe follows

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute lamb until fully cooked through. Cool slightly and mix in all the remaining ingredients. Set aside.

Lay the pasta out flat and spoon a small amount of filling down the center of the pasta, about 1/2-inch apart. Lay another piece of pasta on top and press down to seal in the filling. Cut into individual ravioli and press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal.

Bring a large pot of boiling, salted water to a boil. Boil the ravioli until they float, about 3 minutes. Drain the ravioli well.

Add the blanched ravioli to the Rosemary Cream Sauce and cook until smooth and velvety. Garnish with shaved Montasio cheese and a sprig of rosemary, if desired.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Rosemary Cream Sauce:
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream ( please use heavy cream.. I didn't and really regretted it ~ had to manually thicken my sauce)
1/2 cup seasoned stock

In a large skillet, saute the rosemary in butter until fragrant. Add cream and stock and bring to a simmer; heat through and let the flavors infuse. Add blanched ravioli and cook until smooth and velvety.

This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Aurora Bistro

Since Rob and I went all nasty for our Tuesday dinner and ate out at Sammy J Peppers, I thought this would be a perfect time to slip my brunch review in.
I met up with a friend on Sunday at Aurora Bistro. The place was pretty busy, so we waited at the bar, her with a cappucino and myself with a beautiful cranberry grapefruit mimosa. The wait was a relatively painless twenty minutes (amazing what good company and a little booze will do for a girl!) before we were ushered to the tiny corner window booth. I already knew what I was having, as we were coming here on the strength of a friend's taster of the duck bacon. Rachel's decision was also pretty simple; being vegetarian, the options weren't exactly limitless!
My poached eggs with hollandaise, potato rosti, duck bacon and corn relish arrived and I dove in, swooning as I cut into the eggs to reveal the perfectly poached runny yolks (yes, I know the language is getting a little cheesy, but it was soooooooooo good!), The potato was crispy, the corn relish barely noticeable and the duck bacon was so flavourful. Well worth every cent of the 11$ I spent on it.
Next time I am feeling flush, I would like to try their dinner menu!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Diner Monday ~ Salisbury Steak

Ahh the return of Diner Monday - and no, you are not imagining things, this post WASN'T here on Tuesday. Oh how I love Blogger's time/date options. Anyway, Rob's project this weeka nd we went really old school with salisbury steak, green beans and homefries. Anyone else notice that all of our diner meals are served with green beans? Got any better suggestions? Or ideas for classic diner meals? Leave me a comment, let me know.

By the way, this was very tasty in a totally trashy way.....

Rob's "Salisbury Steak"

1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1 tbsp ground cumin
salt & pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c breadcrumbs
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced shallot
Saute shallot and garlic in olive oil with a light pinch of salt; this will take about 3 minutes. When your done, pour everything in the pan over the meat. Gently mix all ingredients together and form two "steaks"(or more ~ its a lot of meat!)
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and cook the steak 4 mins on each side or until it is done. Top with your favourite gravy recipe. Its just that easy!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Spa Food Day 5

Soba Noodle Salad with Stirfried Vegetables, Seared Tuna and a Warm Citrus-Soy Vinaigrette

The final day of spa week ~ I am going to miss it. I feel so much better when we eat like this, but Rob is getting antsy and craving braised meats....
Anyway, I had a lot of time to play today and I knew I was doing tuna, which I wanted to pair with soba noodles. Soba noodles are a traditional japanese buckwheat noodle and I love eating these in salads. Most recipes start with "Follow directions on noodle package". That wasn't good enough for me ~ I wanted to make them myself, seeing as how I have a pasta maker and all. I did some searching for recipes and I emailed a local blogger to see if she had ever made them. She told me no, but sent a link to a recipe, which was more than I was getting in my search efforts. I decided to forgo the kneading with the feet and try to make it in my KitchenAid as well as quartering the recipe. The first round was a disaster; the noodles broke into little pieces when I cooked them and the dough was really hard to work with. Of course, anyone who understands the science of flour knows why this happened; the pasta recipe had almost no gluten in it and gluten is what makes the pasta elastic and chewy. So I scrap the first batch and started again, this time going equal parts semolina and buckwheat flour. The pasta comes together beautifully, I adore my new attachment for the Kitchen Aid, although the final flavour is lacking some of that nuttiness that is synonomous with soba noodles. Maybe next time I will try the kneading with the feet method....

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Spa Day 4

Friday, I am tired and just want something simple but healthy. I marinated chicken breast in lemon, oregano and garlic for a couple hours before skewering it and cooking it on the George for 7 minutes. Purchased some precut veggies for greek salad, stirred them up with lemon, olive oil and some olives, made a quick cilantro yoghurt dip and warmed a whole wheat pita. Forget Rachel Ray, that was a fifteen minute meal!

Weekend Cat Blogging

Aggie likes to pull up a chair to the table and watch us while we eat, waiting for one of us to get up so she can grab OUR seats. She's just curious, doesn't try to eat anything, but wants to smell it all. Adn if it is something yummy like fish, she will eat it out of my hand in miniscule little pieces. So picky that one ~ if the piece is slighgtly bigger than normal, she turns her nose up at it.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Spay Day 3

A very good team effort dinner tonight. I planned and Rob executed, with excellent results! We have Roasted Pork tenderloin with Fraser Valley Blueberry sauce, Steamed brussel sprouts and wild and brown rice pilaf. The Pork was crusted with a rub made from equal parts ginger, allspice, cumin and coriander and the blueberry sauce contained blueberries, shallots, balsamic vinegar and honey.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Spa Food Day 2

Today's entry is Steamed Salmon with Herbes de Provence, Stirfried Veggies and Brown Rice. I may have converted Rob to brown rice ~ he noticed that it has more flavour than white rice! The steamed salmon went for 7 minutes, but I think I will back it off to five next time~ it could have been a little less cooked.

Cheese Sandwhich Blogging

Today, I woke up. I brushed my teeth. I ate a grilled cheese sandwhich...

Okay, maybe not. But this IS about a grilled cheese sandwhich ~ a decadent, rich and interesting grilled cheese sandwhich

Start with two thin slices of Terra Breads Rosemary Loaf.
Add some shaved Pecorino Pepato from Les Amis De Fromage.
Drizzle with Chilliwack Valley Wildflower Honey.
Grill and Consume.
I went all out and had a glass of crisp white wine with mine. The pecorino melted to a slightly chewy texture and the sweetness of the honey was a welcome contrast to the acidity and pepperiness of the cheese. By keeping the slices of bread thin, I created a crunchy foil for the melted interior.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Spa Food Day One

Rob and I have been feeling really draggy lately and I was starting to wonder if our diets were lacking in the good stuff. So this week is Spa Food Week. Hopefully healthy and interesting meals that might get us feeling better soon!

Tuesday Night's meal was an experiment with TSP (Texturised Soy Protein). I made meatballs with the resuscitated tsp then simmered them in a roasted tomato and garlic sauce to top off my zucchini "fettucini". Along side that I served a grilled heart of romaine with an anchovey, garlic & basil dressing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


How wonderful is my man?
I came home to this yesterday ~ a new pasta roller attachment AND two cutters. Totally extravagant and way out of our budget, but a wonderful gift nonetheless. And for no reason!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Curried Coconut Lamb Chops with Mango Salsa

I have had this recipe earmarked to try for quite a long time and finally gota round to it today. Of course, I went shopping sans recipe and had green curry on the brain, instead of the Madras curry called for. I would use the green again, it paired well with the salsa.
Curry-Coconut Lamb Chops with Mango-Mint Salsa

The chops need to marinate overnight, so start one day ahead.

4 servings

Lamb chops

1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Madras curry
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp golden brown sugar
2 – 1 2/3 pound racks of lamb, frenched, each cut into 4 double lamb chops (I am poor, so used lamb loin chops, 5$ for 4 at T&T)


2 cups diced mango
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
2 tbsp fresh lime juice (oops, forgot to buy limes...lemon instead)
2 tbsp olive oil(didn't use it, didn't miss it)
1 tbsp minced fresh mint leaves

For lamb chops:

Whisk coconut milk, soy sauce, curry powder, minced garlic, and brown sugar in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lamb chops, turning to coat. Cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

For salsa:

Mix diced mango, minced red onion, minced bell pepper, lime juice, oil, and mint in medium bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours.
The next part is NOT what I did. We aren't allowed to have a BBQ, so I tried it on the George. BIG mistake. I ended up having to finish it in a fry pan as the george was leaving it this awful pasty colour

Prepare barbeque (medium heat). Sprinkle lamb chops with salt and pepper. Grill lamb chops until thermometer inserted horizontally into chop registers 135 degrees F for medium rare, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer lamb chops to plates and serve with salsa.

Bon Apetit July 2005

Saturday, February 11, 2006


The sun held till this morning, so i set off to walk the seawall. It felt like spring out there, and I felt good because I was pre-working off my upcoming Saturday night dinner..
Here are a few images I spotted along the way.

Crocus or Two


The last picture is Yaletown as seen from the South side of False Creek. Yaletown is like another world to me. I take the little ferry across and suddenly I am in a world of gleaming brand new highrises, fountains, white buildings, refurbished wharehouses and High End Food Destinations. When I first moved here, I remember going to dingy abondoned looking warehouses in Yaletown for secret after hours clubs. Hard to imagine that now...

Weekend Cat Blogging ~ Guest Cat

Kitties has been a guest before ~ you may remember her caught in the act of drinking out of the fishbowl...
Anyway, this was taken at our friend's birthday last month. I was so tired and the party was still going strong so I slipped away to curl up on his bed. Kitties came to join me after a while and we had a nice snooze while the more lively ones played backgammon at full volume in the living room and other stuff.

Head over to eatstuff (where I just noticed another guest cat!) and you can check out all the other Weekend Cat Bloggers

Thursday, February 09, 2006

That feels good....

That's right, the sun is shining in Vancouver!!!! Of course, the only way I get to see it is by checking out the katkam tower cam... All the same, it makes for a change of mood. I saw people smiling today!

Picture is from katkam website.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Diner Monday ~ Chicken Fried Steak

Oh, I know, sounds horrific. But I have always had a morbid fascination with chicken fried steak and Diner Monday was the perfect opportunity to try it.
I used eye of round tenderised steaks, seasoned well and dredged in seasoned flour, then shallow fried. Served with mashed potatoes and vegetable medley, it was quintessential greasy spoon fare. And I will happily admit that I enjoyed it!

I whipped off a quick dessert as well (really quick ~ less than 15 minutes from start to finishing cleanup): Peanut Butter Chiffon Pie. Using a premade chocolate crumb crust helped cut some time, as well as the joy of my trusty KitchenAid mixer. The original recipes all seem to call for Cool Whip which gives me the worst stomach ache, so I used real whipped cream instead. Decadent;.

Monday, February 06, 2006


This recipe was shared with me a few years back by someone from the CLBB. Shortly after they shared the recipe, they disappeared from the boards, so I have no idea if they ever got my note of thanks.

Shrimp Scampi
4 tsp olive oil (did not measure ~ it was a glug or two)
12 med. garlic cloves, crushed (this came to about 1/3 cup crushed garlic)
1 c. dry red vermouth
2 c. diced tomatoes (4 roma tomatoes)
1 1/2 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 c. chopped FRESH parsley
Several drops hot pepper sauce
fresh ground pepper

Shrimp Scampi directions: Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over med. high heat. Saute the garlic for a few seconds, then add the red vermouth and tomatoes. Cook for 5 min. Add the shrimp and cook for 3 min., or until shrimp are pink. Season with hot pepper sauce, fresh parsley (all of it!), salt, and pepper to taste. Divide between 4 plates (or two and Rob's lunch box).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Saturday Night

We had a decadent Night on Friday, so we decided to take Saturday easy. After running a few errands and me hitting the amazing sale at Plum, we settled in to watch some movies. The first was The Brothers Grimm, which was so much fun in a blackly comedic way. Then after dinner we settled in to watch Crash. It didn't really grab Rob, but it knocked me over. I was sobbing by the end.

Dinner was a European affair with homemade herbed Spaetzle, Rheinlander Sausage from Oyama and organic sauerkraut, also from Oyama.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

No doubt she is waiting patiently for a treat... maybe a chance to lick a fishy plate?