Monday, July 31, 2006

Someone's At The Door..

A relaxing weekend (or rather Sunday; I worked The Other Job Saturday). Rob made halibut cheeks with roasted asparagus and mashed new potatoes for dinner Saturday night and then Sunday we both made ribs with minted potatoes and my take on succotash. Most of my Sunday was spent catching up on American Gothic; I watched the show years ago and hadn't realised it was back on DVD (rabid fan alert).

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

Princess Aggie hoping she makes it into the roundup this week....


Life has been interesting this past week; that meal I posted about was one of the only times I ate at home. Rob's last days at work were this week and we indulged in rounds of celebrations (eating and drinking out). I think I should be back on the wagon next week, but things will be different as Rob will be at home now and he will want to do most of the cooking....

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Smoked Gouda Sachetti with Farmers Market Sauce

Purchase smoked Gouda sachetti from Zara's. Cook.
Blister a handful of Padrone peppers in olive oil. Season with lots of salt; set aside. Add a handful of freshly shelled peas to the pan, followed with two extremely ripe (diced) tomatoes and a bunch of chopped or torn fresh basil. Pour over sachetti and serve with peppers on the side and a shaving of fresh Parm. The perfect andtidote to 3 days of leftovers and eating out.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Richmond Night Market

Our tour was presented by Barabara Jo's and guided by Nathan Fong. We met at the shop, sipped a gingertini and then all piled in the car for the ride out to Richmond. Nathan informed us that the uncharacteristically hot weather was perfect "like Singapore without the humnidity". Once we arrived at the market, Nathan and Barbara Jo took us on one circuit of the food section of the market, explaining different foods and purchasin a sample or two for us.

Our first sample were periwinkles. They were spicy, sweet and cartilaginous. I had several

The selection was almost overwhelming, stall after stall of street food; choosing which to try was the hardest part.

Our second sample was Dragon's Beard Candy, which has the oddest texture ~ like cotton candy, but the individual threads are more resilient, almost hairlike.

Finally, we were let loose with the instructions to meet up at the car at 9:30. I headed straight to the Duck wrap, a spring roll like wrap filled with shredded duck and fried till crspy hot. I could have eaten several. Rachel went with a noodle dish, one of the few vegetarian options.

Next stop and I wanted to choose something that Rachel could share with me. The gentleman running this Korean stall was very friendly and sympathetic to Rachel's predicament, offering up several veg options. I picked the rice sticks, which were like sticky rice french fries with a sweetly spiced sauce.

I had promised to bring something back for Rob. The mini sausages onna stick (get em while they're hot)looked perfect.

Time for a sweet break, a waffle with red bean paste filling. Dee-lish.

We were starting to feel the full at this point, but didn't want to stop. A nice bowl of sticky rice, Rachel digging around the sausage on the top to get to the mushroomy rice, oh it was good.

sticky riceSeeking refreshment, I headed for bubble tea and ordered a rosehoney tea with coconut gelee. Way too sweet, but I kept drinking it because I wanted the addictive coconut chunks at the bottom.

With that last sweet note I was done and the crowds were starting to get to me. I stopped to admire the scenery as Rachel waded back in to get her drink (dragonfruit sluushie)

Stopping onlt pick up up a package of Chinese sausage, we stumbled back to the car.

Back at the shop, a fortifying ginger tea and I was ready to take the plunge an dby the Zuni Cafe book. I love Barbara Jos.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

What are you looking at?

I'm going back to sleep...

Clare is back (yay!) so head over to eatstuff to check out the roundup.

Friday, July 21, 2006


I didn't bother with a dinner post from yesterday; we had steak, you all know what it looks like.

Tonight, I am headed on a culinary tour of The Richmond Night Market presented by Barbara Jo's.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Somedays, you (or rather I ) just need to indulge. I took advantage of my extra time yesterday to prepare a dinner that required a little more work than I might usually be willing to put in. We are also on the tip of a "heatwave" here, so I picked a no cook starter.

Avocado and Cucumber Soup
1 avocado
1/2 long english cucumber
1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
apple cider vinegar, to taste
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
salt & pepper
Dice avocado and cucumber. Reserve a tablespoon of each and put the remaining in a blender with the garlic. Blend, adding water as needed until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt & pepper, stir in yogurt and vinegar to taste. Place reserved avocad and cucumber in two bowls. Ladle soup over top and finish with yoghurt.

For the second course, I prepared a gratin of fingerling potatoes, milk-braised leeks and Chateau de Borgogne cheese which is basically a triple creme brie that has been aged slightly. The result was overwhelming decadence and I kept it simple by serving a roasted chicken breast with sundried tomato jus alongside.

I also managed to squeeze some painting time in and that felt so good. It has been a long time since I put brush to canvas.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Shrimp in Caramel Pepper Sauce

Guess what! I have a day off! I overindulged last night, didn't cook, stayed up way too late and now I am sitting on the couch, eating iceberg lettuce with salt and vinegar and watching the Matador while typing up this post. I love multitasking...
Monday night, I tried out a recipe I found on the Cooking Light Message Boards.

The verdict? It was good... it wasn't tears of ecstasy good, but it was damn close. The leftovers went into wraps for Rob's lunches. I think if I were to change anything, I would up the pepper quotient...

The comments are the authors.
Jumbo Shrimp in Caramel Pepper-Garlic Sauce

I have to quote Judy Graham, my partner in producing Weeknight Kitchen. After testing my mock-up of the dish, she said, "Eat this and weep!"

We think this is a keeper of the first order.

I can't take credit for the dish. Inspired by a crab dish at Denver's New Saigon restaurant, this two-step stir-fry is done in 5 minutes, and disappears from plates even faster. Garlic and pepper caramelized in butter and sugar is wonderful on just about everything. Do the sauce for sweet sugar snap peas or broccoli, roll chunks of corn on the cob in it, or spoon it over cooked chicken. Rice and a cucumber salad round out the menu nicely

© 2006 Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All Rights Reserved

Serves 2 to 3

The one important trick to this dish is having all the sauce elements lined up and ready to go. Once the butter is in the pan you'll be adding ingredients every few seconds.

Cook to Cook: In making the sauce, know that when we say "seconds," we really mean it. Otherwise, the sauce goes from lusciously caramel-like to bitter and burnt. Keep the ingredients within arm's reach.

The Shrimp:

3 tablespoons cold pressed peanut oil, or canola oil
3 thin slices fresh ginger
2 scallions (white part only), coarsely chopped
1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined, rinsed and patted dry
Salt to taste
Caramelized Pepper Garlic Sauce:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed well in a mortar with pestle
Generous sprinkling of salt
1/3 cup coarsely chopped scallion tops
1 tablespoon diced (about 1/8-inch) garlic (3 large cloves)
1/4 cup water
1. Heat a wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat. Swirl in oil, count to five, then stir in ginger and scallion. Cook 3 seconds and add shrimp, sprinkling the pieces with salt. Stir-fry until shrimp turn pink and are beginning to firm. Scoop out of the pan and set aside.

2. Let the pan cool a few minutes, wipe it out with a damp cloth, and set it over medium heat. Have sauce ingredients nearby—the sauce comes together in a few moments.

3. Melt the butter in the pan but don't let it color. Stir in the sugar and keep stirring until the butter turns pale beige. Add scallion tops and cook another few seconds until the butter is pale amber.

4. Add garlic, pepper, salt, and shrimp. Stir a few more seconds until garlic is just golden (take care not to cook beyond golden or garlic will be bitter). Sugar will be deep amber. Stir in water, turn heat to high, and cook for just a few seconds to heat shrimp through. Turn onto a heated platter and serve immediately.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Arms Reach Bistro

Rob and I took a little trip out to Deep Cove on Sunday, taking in the beautiful views. It was so much quieter and slower paced out there; we plan to go back to Cates Park at some point.

We had a lunch at a small bistro overlooking the water. It seemed like the only game in town and I am glad we gave it a chance. Rob had a Bacon, Avocado and Cheese Sandwich and I had a Shaved Pork Loin Sandwich with caramelized apples and shallots and watercress.

My sandwich was incredible; tender pork, so flavourful too. The bread was perfect; crisp, but not cut your gum crunchy. The best part though, were the fries. Handcut, homemade, liberally peppered......

When I got home, I googled the restaurant and was surprised to find at least 3 blog references to it; and here I thought I was on to something new!
I Heart Bacon

Monday, July 17, 2006

Beef Tacos

Rob made dinner Sunday night and picked one of his favourite meals. I have to admit I really enjoyed it, even though I usually turn my nose up at tacos. Truth of the matter is that I hate the prepackaged mix that Rob seems to love, so when he said he was making them from scratch, I was more than happy. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen
and with a little reworking, will probably be a regular feature in our kitchen.
Beef Tacos

Tomato sauce is sold in cans in the same aisle that carries canned whole tomatoes. Do not use jarred pasta sauce in its place. We prefer to let diners top their own tacos with whatever fillings they prefer. There’s no need to prepare all of the toppings listed below, but cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes are, in our opinion, essential.

Makes 8 tacos, serving 4

Beef Filling
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
1 small onion , chopped small (about 2/3 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
table salt
1 pound 90% lean ground beef (or leaner)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons vinegar (preferably cider vinegar)
Ground black pepper

Shells and Toppings
8 taco shells (warmed according to package instructions), or Home-Fried Taco Shells (see related recipe)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces), or Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 small tomatoes , chopped small
1/2 cup sour cream
1 avocado , diced medium
1 small onion , chopped small
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
hot pepper sauce , such as Tabasco

1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

2. Using wide, shallow spoon, divide filling evenly among taco shells; place two tacos on individual plates. Serve immediately, passing toppings separately.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


I scooped this entertaining (to me) meme from say la vee..feel free to do the same.

• What is your salad dressing of choice? Something homemade; Rob makes this killer dressing with ginger, lime and soy
• What is your favorite fast food restaurant? A&W ~ I love the way they serve their rootbeer in huge frozen glasses.

• What is your favorite sit down restaurant? No...don't make me choose...Appolonia?? Cru??

• On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant? 20%.

• What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of? Nothing ~ I have a low tolerance for repeating food.

• Name three foods you detest above all others. zucchini, eggplant, beef wellington with gorgonzola (I know, its a long story)

• What is your favorite dish to order in a Chinese restaurant? Depends on what kind of Hon's the soups are my favourite. At LEgendary noodle, its the dumplings.

• What are your pizza toppings of choice? potatoes, creme fraiche and prosciutto with fresh rosemary.

• What do you like to put on your toast? butter and peanut butter

• What is your favorite type of gum? Big Red

• What do you consider to be your best physical attribute? I have amazingly prehensile toes

• Are you right handed or left handed? Right

• Do you like your smile? Yes.

• Have you ever had anything removed from your body? I don't thinks so, unless I have been unknowingly abducted by aliens.

• Would you like to? Nah.

• Which of your five senses do you think is keenest? Taste.

• When was the last time you had a cavity? Never (touch wood).

• What is the heaviest item you lift regularly? Full stockpots.'

• Have you ever been knocked unconscious? No, although I have fainted.
• If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die? No.

• If you could change your first name, what would you change it to? I like my first name now, but when I was 12, I wanted to be Desirae

• How do you express your artistic side? I paint, bead, sew, garden, draw, blog, cook.
• What color do you think you look best in? Oranges and browns

• How long do you think you could last in a medium security prison? 1 day.

• Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake? Yeah, my tooth.

• If we weren’t bound by society’s conventions, do you have a relative you would make a pass at?No thanks.

• How often do you go to church? Never.

• Have you ever saved someone’s life? Not that I’m aware of.

• Has someone ever saved yours? Yes, a couple of people. My grandmother, my Dad and Stepmom and Mary Jane.

For this last section, if you would do it for less or more money, indicate how much.

• Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000? Yep

• Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100? If I was single

• Would you have sex with a member of the same sex for $10,000? If I was single

• Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000? No.

• Would you never blog again for $50,000? I would want more; never is a very long time.

• Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000? Yep.

• Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000? No.

• Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000? No.

• Would you shave your head and get your entire body waxed for $5,000? No, I am terrified of waxing.

• Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000? Yep.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Unknown Pepper

My stomach issues are fading to a distant memory (or at least I am pretending they are, because Rob was threatening to drive me to the doctor). I am not really in pain anymore, but my appetite is really non-existent unless under the influence of certain ahem, things. I suspect food poisoning again, although the culprit is unknown. We went to see Superman Returns: The IMAX Experience tFriday night. You know, they lead you to believe the movie is in IMAX 3D. 4 scenes are. Still, a cool movie and it was nice to have a date with my man. We ate before the movie at a generic brewpub and I successfully pushed my overcooked BBQ chicken around my plate enough so as not to arouse suspicion. After the movie, I had no trouble polishing off my Skor Blizzard ;D
Anyway, waffling and whingeing over, on to today. I worked at The Other Job and as luck would have it, I was on the same block as the West End Farmer's Market. I picked up some Walla Walla Sweets from the Klipper's Organic Farm and as I was waiting in line to pay, I over heard the stand owner telling someone ahead of me about these peppers she was growing for the first time. Her description of the cooking method grabbed me and my appetite (a good sign) and I turned back to pick up four to try. Unfortunately, I didn't make note of the name.

The cooking method was so simple. Cook in olive oil over high heat until skin is blistered. Salt and serve. The flavour was clean, simple a sweet hotness. I wish I had bought more. I wish I knew what they were called! In the background, BC nugget potatoes with fresh mint and seared salmon. The salmon was rejected (by me); not sure if I am permanently off salmon, or if we have just eaten it one too many times recently. We also started the meal with a Caprese salad (not pictured) the Walla Walla Sweet I bought went into the salad.

Sam is right, it is a padrone pepper.

Weekend Cat Blogging

Pensive Aggie....wondering where Clare and Kiri are, hoping they are okay and sticking close to Rob.

Looks like Miss Ellie has picked up the round up.

Friday, July 14, 2006


not food posting because I haven't really felt like food at all...

Planning to participate in Weekend Cat Blogging tomorrow, although still no sign of Clare. Lets hope everything is okay over there (or down under).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bacon Tomato and Cheese

Right, now that yesterday's little tantrum has passed, let's move right along...

I only eat tomato sandwhiches a few short months of the year. Why? Beacause I am a tomato snob and the only tomatoes that taste any good are the farmer's market ones. This was the first bacon and tomato sandwich of the season and it was well wolrth the wait.
I also wanted to point out that the lovely chiffonade of basil on a tomato salad earlier came not from my knife but Rob's; he was very proud of it.

Now, onto what I tried to post yesterday. Nerissa tapped me for a short meme and I am only no getting around to it ~ Confessions in Fives

Five things in my freezer;
homemade sausage
chicken stock
strawberries (15lbs)
legs and thighs from free range chickens (I buy them whole and cut them up myself)

Five things in my closet (I'll use the hall closet)

Five things in our car
more tools
camp chairs
shopping baskets

Five Things in my purse;
old bus transfers
altoid mango sours

Five people I would like to tag; no pressure!
C is For Cooking
Tales from a Veggie Kitchen
The Food Ninja
Mangoes Verdes
Champaign Taste

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Farmer's Market Goodness

I have been toying with what Canadian Food means to me, after coming in to contact with Canada Eats. After the following meal, I felt like I had a contender. Fresh seafood, local ingredients, prepared simply. What more could you ask?

We kicked things off with a tomato, mozzarella and sweet onion salad. The onions were from a farm which has a special place in my farmer's market heart; they were very fair to me when a battle ensued over the last dozen eggs. The tomatoes and basil Rob picked up while I was standing in line for the eggs.

This was followed with wild salmon, seasoned with a little salt, seared just the way we like it, and Pemberton potatoes, first of the season tossed with a little cream and tarragon.

The meal was capped off with a trio of local berries and cream.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

I'm ready for my closeup!

It would appear that Clare is still busy recovering from her accident. Please pop over and say hi.

I thought I would link to some of the other cats that I have spotted so far. Unfortunately, I don't have Clare's talent for witty descriptive links...

Lisa's Louie all stretched out.
Adorable kitten at masak-masak
MORE adorable kittens at kitchenmage
Gorgeous J2 peering out at Farmgirl Fare
Upsie Sharing deep thoughts.
Ayla's profile at Heather's Place
The Westering Hills makes another movie
Russian Felines at Musings....
Another Adorable Kitten at Two Black Cats
The king of all he surveys at Sour dough
World Cup Cat\ at Peanut Butter and Purple Onions
Dancing Cat at chefsarahjane
Fireworks and a real livewire cat at Belly Timber
Kashim and Othello hiding from the rain

Friday, July 07, 2006

Insert Catchy Title Here

I wish I could come up with catchy and crfeative titles for my posts ~ wonder if you can take a course on that...
Anyway, last night's dinner

Grilled Chicken (no recipe), roasted broccoli (no recipe) and potato salad. The potato salad is another in a long line of my efforts to recreate Rob's mom's potato salad; I have been trying for almost six years now and still no luck...But the salad was good.
Anyway, short post today because I slept in...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Interesting thoughts

I found this link about politically correct food on one of my favourite sites, Ideas in Food. Be warned the language may not be suitable for delicate ears/eyes.

Turkey Fajita Burgers

I had to laugh; Rob and I were sitting in the sun on the Backstage Patio, sipping summery beverages and engaged in the most intense hockey talk! Its summer!! We should be thinking about other things!! But we just can't help ourselves...

Dinner was another great summery meal last night; Fajita Turkey Burgers with a Tomato & Coriander (cilantro) Salad. Rob actually told me that these were the best burgers I made yet!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tourist in My Own Back Yard

(Well, if my backyard was really huge)
Yesterday, I got on the bus and took the long trip over the bridge to West Vancouver; Ambleside, to be exact. I walked the seawall, snapping a few pics as I went.

Once I reached Dundarave, my stomach was screaming at me, so I searched for the perfect lunnch spot. A small bakery-cafe, Bakehouse, grabbed my eye. I ordered fresh lemonade (it was real) and an HLTC sandwhich. The sandwhich arrived, a deceptively simple-looking creation with housemade white bread, grilled ham and the requisite lettuce tomato and cheese. I hate mushy white bread and I was so relieved when I bit into this and it tasted like the best homemade white bread I have ever had. Sometimes the simplest things are best. The lunch gave me enough energy to make the walk to Park Royal mall and from there I hopped back on the bus to Vancouver.

Being a Tuesday night and All, Rob and I met up at the Backstage lounge for a few beverages before continuing on home to a light dinner of smoked mackerel and cucumber salad and a tomato tart.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Sunny Days

Despite the fact that I worked Sat/Sun, we celebrated Canada day in style; a BBQ Saturday, a BBQ Sunday and the most amazing beach walk and picnic today.

This is the view from the far end of Spanish Banks beach; we parked at the near end and walked as far as we could before stopping for lunch and a paddle in the cold ocean water. I must admit to napping for two hours when we got home ~ sun, fresh air and food make me sleepy!
After my refreshing nap, I was craving something cold and salty-sweet....watermelon, olive oil, fresh mint and salt and pepper.

We sat on our patio, sipped some viogner and just relished the lazy summer afternoon. For dinner, I made prawn wraps with coconut rice and mango salsa.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Weekend Cat Blogging

She is an odd girl. The other day, her "safe" zone was a newspaper on the hall floor. Anytime she got kicked out of the kitchen for being underfoot, she would sit on the newspaper and stare at us smugly....

Our host this week is the lovely boo over at masak-masak.