Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Missed Posts

Being so busy means that I miss out on a lot of posting possibilities. Here is an overview of recipes made and pictures taken that never made it here.

Rob takes my favourite lamb stew recipe and Morrocanizes it with cinnamon and other good spices. I make a saffron couscous and you get one of the best meals this past week.

Mario's Gelati sells containers of their famous flavours in our grocery stores. This one is a blackberry sorbetto. I sliced fresh strawberries and drizzled the whole mess with balsamic......mmmmmm

Finally got around to making the layered caramel brownies, recipe courtesy my CBBP partner. Rob killed theses off in a few short days!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Braised Halibut

A month or so ago, I was treated to a wonderful evening at Barbara Jo's. The halibut was mindblowing and I have been meaning to recreate it at home ever since. Tuesday, I finally got my chance. I'll post the recipe here soon, but I have to say nothing beats halibut cooked on the bone....

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging/ Sweet Comfort

I finished work early today and for the first time in a long time, I found myself with free time (last Monday doesn't count!). I bought a Madeline pan when I was in a camera funk last week (amazing what comforts a person ~ in my case, its buying kitchen supplies), and I have been itching to use it. Michele at the accidental scientist posted this amazing looking recipe that I made today. My madeline pan is for large madelines (and I overfilled it), so I only got 1 dozen. I also drew inspiration from Michele's reccomendation to enjoy these with tea and filled them with a sour cream, cream cheese and Earl Grey concoction..... sweet and oh so decadent.

And for the weekly installment of Aggie cuteness; here she is watching tv, guarding the remote jealously.

Clare is once again the gracious hostess ~ be sure to check out next weeks double whammy of cat and cookie blogging fun.

How entertaining, Clare also made Madelines this week!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Copper River Salmon

I worked a long, hot shift today and the last thing I wanted to do was make dinner ~ but I had promised Rob fish so off I went to the market. I stood in front of the case at Longliner staring at the fish, feeling sweaty and nasty and so uninspired. Beside me, I heard someone ask for fresh salmon; the counterperson confirmed they had some, but it was 20$/lb, Copper River. My interest was piqued! I have had the Copper River Salmon before and I always thought it was worth the extra expense, so I asked for a good sized chunk. My enthusiasm came flooding back ~ oh what a difference a piece of fish makes! I stopped at SPUD and picked up some tiny red potatoes, an avacado and some tomatoes and headed for home. The potatoes were blanched and then roasted with olive oil and salt and I harvested some of my lettuces for a salad with the tomatoes and avacado. Finally, the fish. I heated a cast iron pan to smoking hot, seasoned the salmon with salt and placed it skin side down in the pan for three minutes, flipped, cooked for a remaining minute and served it immediately with a wedge of lemon.....

In honour of where's my mind, I chose not to have fiddleheads ;p

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Camera's Back!!

I got my camera back with no charge for repairs! In the meantime, I acquired a madeline pan, which I happened to find a recipe to use. But first, tonight's dinner.

I grow some herbs on my little patio and the lovage has really taken off. I sauteed some lovage with garlic and then mixed in shredded smoked cheddar and a little cream cheese. A pork tenderloin was butterflied and the schmeared with the concoction, tied and seared. I roasted it in a 400F oven to 140F, then served it up with mashed roasted yams and marinated asparagus.

For clarification, I meant this lovage, not this one!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Vodka is Bad

Trust me.... I swore off the stuff in University, but enjoyed the occaisional Caesar. This past Sunday evening, I indulged a little to heavily which resulted in my spending most of Monday (my only day off in the last month) so violently ill I could barely crawl. So no fun foodie blog post for me today....

Saturday, May 20, 2006

WCB, CBBP and other delights

First the aggie picture. That's Rob's slipper she has her nose buried in.
Head over to Eatstuff, check out the wild creature and be sure to congratulate Casey and Clare
Second, apology for no posts this week; I have been hot, tired and cameraless. That' sright, the camera is on the fritz again...

Which leads me to the next topic ~ CBBP. Thursday afternoon, I stopped at the post office to pick up my parcel and headed for home.(Waiting for me were two sweet postcards from the recipient of my parcel. ) My parcel came from Jen of Canadian Baker. What an amazing site, so many sweet sweet recipes! Anyway, inside was a cute card, the craziest brightly coloured measuring spoons, ingredients and recipe for Layered Caramel Brownies, an Ontario magnet and a cute little box of Walker's Chocolates (which we have made short work of). Thank you so much Jen, and Sam for organising this. I wish I could have taken a picture....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Easy Dinner

Back at The Other Job yesterday and today. Yesterday was a good day ~ I laughed alot, got to sleep in and generally felt all warm and fuzzy at work. I was still tired though, so I was relieved when I came home and Rob said we were having salmon. Although i always have to cook the salmon, it really is simple and fast.

I sprinkled it with a beautifel Lavender Sea Salt, slashed the skin and seared it skin side down for 3 minutes, then flip for one minute. Beautiful, crispy skin, medium rare salmon. With fiddleheads of course.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Chicken Sausage with Sage & Red Wine

Haven't had much time to cook, create or even post about food. Saturday, I worked my regular job and then I worked an event in the evening (birthday party for a 13 year old. I am guessing the budget was over 20,000). Sunday was a 6 am start, but that meant I finished work early and Rob and I had time to make sausages (we are so addicted now). This time, the recipe is Rob's; a blend of sage, roasted garlic and red wine. We were over confident though and slightly overstuffed them, meaning that they burst their casings during cooking (I say we, but really, it was me.) Still delicious and sausages to be proud of.

My sausage inna bun (get em while their hot) was served with red onions, mayo and grainy mustard, as well as Rob's delicious spicy coleslaw.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

I believe I have mentioned Aggie's fascination with alternate sources of water... Well, thios week we were draining the cooler, looked away for a minute, looked back and this is what we saw.

Curious....could this be water?

Feels like water

I can almost reach it

Success! it was water

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dispatches from the "Garden" Posted by Picasa

Feeling Crappy

In a bit of a change, yesterday was a physically difficult day. My stomach decided to rebel and I spent the day at work in so much pain I couldn't even eat lunch. Feeling all miserable and sorry for myself, I stopped on the way home at Barbara Jo's and had a cup of tea (very good tea, they sell it there) then came home and moped around a bit. Rob indulged me for supper with one of my favourite stomach easing meals.

After a nice runny egg on toast supper and lots of water, I felt tons better and by 9 pm I was ravenous again! Someone should research the healing power of runny eggs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


It was a better day yesterday. Thank you for the kind words, I sometimes let things get to me too much. Yesterday, I decided to try and find the positive, and I came away feeling a little less bruised, although it was still challenging.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Emotional Exhaustion

Yesterday, I came home on the verge of tears. One of my jobs, for which I signed a confidentiality agreement, just takes it out of me. I wasn't upset for myself, I was upset for what I saw at work, upset for the people who need to use the services offered by the center I work at. I am back there today and I really need to give myself a thicker skin...............

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday Service

The priests called me back for another shift; the weekend cook had a first communion to go to. I found myself back in the kitchen, much more comfortable with my surroundings now. Lunch was brunch plus soup; they have to have soup everyday! I made a black bean and hubbard squash soup that was well received and the pancakes and frittatta were hot items as well.
After lunch, I began making a cake, using a recipe from The Dieticians of Canada Cook. The recipe became a mere template as I improvised with what I had on hand. (I will type up the recipe later). The result was a sugar free apricot spice cake.

I had to work with what the weekend cook purchased for me on Saturday, so dinner was dreaded pork chops (I really don't like cooking them), rice pilaf, steamed broccoli and roasted yams.
I slowly ambled home, enjoying the view and the feeling of having a relaxing day of work oonce in a while.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

The house was deathly silent this morning after I got up. No whining and begging from Aggie. When its that quiet, I start to get worried ~ God knows WHAT she can be up to. Turns out I had no reason to worry; I found her in the darkened bedroom, staring intently under the bed.

Wierd cat.....

Eatstuff is hosting again.Kiri knows where the good bits are!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Canadian Blogging By Mail

Chocolate.... you know how much I love it....
Sam from Sweet Pleasures has organised a Canadian edition of Blogging by Mail and I am hoping I have made the cut off. The theme? Chocolate. and I have included a special kind of chocolate; Ibarra. There are many recipes out there that I have used it in, such as my Death By Chocolate Cookies.
Another favourite of mine is this pecan bar recipe.

Frontera's Mexican Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Frontera Grill’s house specialty dessert for more than 13 years has been a gooey chocolate pecan pie in a tender, flaky crust. Here we’ve turned that same approach into bars, simplifying our original pie recipe and giving it a form that’s right for a buffet or party. Rather than pastry, we’ve made an easy crust of bread crumbs and crunchy Mexican chocolate, then filled it with an indulgent cargo of nuts and chocolate held together with a just a bit of not- too- sweet goo. You may find it easiest to line your pan with a carefully flattened piece of heavy-duty foil to help lift the bars out. Chilling them first will make them easier to cut.

Makes 24 bars

2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) pecan halves

1 cup (about 6 ounces) finely chopped Mexican chocolate (such as the widely available Ibarra brand)

6 ounces (about 6 to 8 slices) fresh white bread, preferably cakey sandwich bread (like Pepperidge Farm), broken into large pieces

1 cup (8 ounces) melted butter, plus extra for coating the pan

A generous 3/4 teaspoon salt

5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces not larger than 1/4-inch

3 tablespoons flour

4 large eggs

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup, preferably dark (or you can use a mixture of corn syrup and molasses, sorghum, Steens cane syrup or most any of the other rich-flavored syrups that are on the market)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for garnish

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake until richly browned and toasty smelling, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then scoop into the food processor and coarsely chop by turning the machine on and off. Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the nuts and put in a large bowl to use in the filling. Add half of the Mexican chocolate to the nuts in the food processor and pulse the machine to mix them. Add bread slices; process until everything is fairly fine crumbs. Add 1/3 cup of the melted butter and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Process just to moisten everything. (Lacking a food processor, you can chop each item separately with any other appliance or gadget you deem appropriate, then combine them in a bowl with the melted butter and salt.)

Liberally butter a 13x9-inch baking pan, then evenly pat in the crumb crust mixture. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Add the remaining half of the Mexican chocolate, the chopped semisweet chocolate and the flour to the bowl with the reserved pecans. In the food processor (you don’t even need to clean it), mix the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the corn syrup, pulse a couple of times, then add the remaining 2/3 cup of melted butter, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and all the vanilla. Process to combine thoroughly, then pour over the pecan filling mixture, stir well and scrape everything into your crust-lined pan.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until the bars have pulled away slightly from the side of the pan. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into 2 inch-squares, dusting with powdered sugar and arranging on an attractive serving platter.

Recipe from Salsas That Cook by Rick Bayless with JeanMarie Brownson and Deann Groen Bayless.

Bean Salad with Sundried Tomatoes

After work yesterday, I ambled home, stopping at Barbara Jo's to say hi to my friend and to consult with her about dinner ideas. I was offered a cup of tea and some deadly sorbet or ice cream and I browsed the cookbooks in high style. I came across a recipe for a bean salad that I wanted to try out for dinner, but I wasn't in any sort of position to purchase the cookbook. Trying to imprint it on my mind, I came home to make it. My version isn't exact, but the spirit is there and I would happily purchase this cookbook at some point ~ the result was fantastic.

Bean Salad

1 c chopped red onion
1 c chopped celery
1/4 cup sundried tomato bits
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 can adzuki beans
1/3 cup diced smoked cheese ( I used a subtly smoked sheeps milk cheese)
1 tbsp rosemary
salt & pepper
4 cups baby spinach

Saute onion & celery, add sundried tomatoes and drained beans. Stir in vinegar, salt & pepper and rosemary. Let cool and stir in remaining ingredients.
Unfortunately, we ate it so fast that I didn't have time for a pic.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Northwest Culinary School

Many of you are aware that I attended a certain culinary school. Well, one of my fellow ex students recently started a pastry program at Northwest and I went along with her to the open house, just to check it out.

Notice the clean airy classroom? I was in love. What a beautiful, small school. I wanted to redo my culinary course just to go to this school. Instead, i will ive vicariously through my friend, listening enviously to her curriculum.....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Sausage making day, I was craving a light and refreshing lunch. And on days when I want something completely different, I cruise other food blogs for ideas. I found this one at Everybody Likes Sandwiches, and I followed the dressing recipe to a T. The salad itself was made up of what I had on hand and I poached a few chicken thighs for the meat.

Very refreshing and tasty! Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sausage making

I bought a book recently, Charcuterie, and I have been dying to make sausages ever since. We had all the hardware, I scored hog casings from Trimpac and I had 10lbs of meat languishing in the freezer. A day finally came when both Roba nd I had the time to work on the Project. I selected the Sweet Italian Sausage recipe from the cookbook and as Rob cubed up the meat and pork fat, I assembled the seasonings.

mixing (those are not my arms)

Rob mixed athe meat and seasoning together and it went into the freezer as we set up the grinding stations. The book emphasises the importance of keeping your meat as cold as possible to prevent the fat from melting and giving the sausage a nasty grainy texture.

grinding (yes, those are my arms. Try not to be blinded by the terrifying white blobbiness of them)

For some reason, I decided to make sausage in a sleevless pastel top with lace detailing on the cleavage???! Anyway, Rob and I took turns pushing it through the grinder before popping it back in the freezer. We cleaned everything up and prepared to stuff. The hog casings, which come packed in salt, had been soaking in clear water and we ran water through them just in case. We went at it 3 or 4 feet at a time, Rob feeding the meat through the tube and me guiding the sausages along. 40 sausages later, we were done.

Aren't they beautiful?

We served them poached and then fried, alongside homemade pasta tossed with basila nd anchovies and a simple green salad (I grew all the greens on my little patio!).
Now we can't wait to make more flavours of sausage ~ unfortunately, we have no room left in the freezer. Anyone care to help us?