Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Menu for Hope III

Stay tuned for my contribution to the Menu for Hope campaign. I hope someone bids on it. I'll give you a hint. The words "handpainted" and "homemade candies and truffles" were in my description to Jasmine.

Warm Eggnog

I didn't know if it would work, but I wanted a rum and eggnog and I didn't want to have a cold drink (its -9C here, we are so not used to this. Not complaining though).
I use Light eggnog because I found the fullfat stuff totally cloying. Simply heat a serving in a saucepan, whipping it violently to get a good head of foam. pour a shot of rum in a glass, add warm eggnog, reserving foam for last. Top with nutmeg.

This was all the cooking I did yesterday (besides work). I had Subway for dinner! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Let it Snow!

Sometimes, I just don't feel like doing the work myself and today was one of those days. I stayed up very late decorating last night (think 3:30 am) and the phone rang at an ungodly hour this morning (it felt ungodly, it was actually 7:30am); I was being called in to work. I actually swore at the person on the other end of the phone, thankfully it wasn't a chef or sous chef! I wrapped up around 11 and Rob and I traipsed through the winter wonderland to the market to shop for lunch and dinner. He is making short ribs for dinner, but I opted for a bag of barley and mushroom soup from the Stock Market on Granville Island for lunch. Just heat and serve!

Photo Courtesy katcam

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ancho Chicken Pot Pie

When I am reading my blogs, I regularily bookmark inspirational recipes. Laast night's dinner came off one of those bookmarks; Once Upon a Feast.

Of course, as Ruth notes in her post, recipes in foodblogland seem to take on a life of their own, catching a serious case of "Telephone". Rob had heard me talk about making turkey potpies at work and he was dead set on a puff pastry crust. So, here is my adaptation of Ruth's adaptation of Jennifer's adaptation of Elizabeth Brown's recipe.

Ancho Chili Chicken Pot Pie
Puff pastry, for crust
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced (about 1½ cups)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrot
1 cup diced celery
1-2 tbsp ancho chili powder (1 was definitely mild)
2 tsp each: ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, oregano
1/4 cup white wine
1 cooked chicken, meat only – diced or shredded (3-4 cups) (I roasted one off with the matching seasonings)
2 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 400ºF/200°C.

For the potpie filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium – high heat. Add the onion and cook until they start to golden (about 5 minutes); stir in celery ancarrot, cook another five minutes. Add the garlic, and stir until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Stir in the chili powder, cumin, coriander, paprika and oregano and cook for 2 more minutes. Deglaze pan with white wine, transfer contents to a bowl.

Heat chicken stock. Make a roux with butter and flour. Whisk chicken stock into roux and pour sacue over other filling ingredients. Season well.

Pour the filling into an oven-proof casserole or 8”x8” square baking pan. Roll out appropriate sized puff pastry sheet, prick with fork and eggwash. Cover casserole with puff pastry. Bake until pastry is golden brown.

(I made 2 ramekins as well for presentation purposes)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Seared Salmon with Wild Mushroom Pilaf and Provencale Vegetables

I know, I know, more salmon... But this was really good (it is an older picture though, I haven't been passionate about food this week).

The salmon is cooked very simply, little salt and pepper. I intended to make a fire roasted tomato relish to go with it, but I couldn't find the tomatoes. Instead, I went with a tomato mango jam from the Stock Market on Granville Island.
For the rice, I took a small amount of porcini mushrooms and rehydrated them with hot water. I drained the mushrooms and used the liquid to cook a basic multigrain rice blend. The drained mushrooms were chopped and sauteed with shallots and fresh thyme, a mixture that I stirred into the cooked rice.
Provencale vegetables took their name from the herb blend I used. I cooked each component separately in foil pouches to make sure they all had an even amount of doneness. For the shiitake mushrooms, I tossed them with the herbs, a teensy bit of minced garlic and some olive oil and popped the packet in the oven for five minutes. The carrots, same treatment, but more llike 30 mins and the golden beets were sliced into 1/2 inch rounds, treated as above and roasted for 40 mins. Everything was tossed together just before service and heated for five minutes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Grape and Gourmet

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a sushi and wine pairing dinner. The food pictures are a marker. When I get home tonight, I will tell you all about the wines that matched up with these. The location was Nikko Japanese Restaurant on Robson Street, Chef Omura being our gracious host.

The first course is described as an Albacore Tuna Poke; the tuna, raw was ever so slightly spicy sweet. The cucumber roll was very refreshing but the highlight for me was the seaweed salad in the small cucumber bowl. The Smoking Loon Viogner actually seem to pair best with this part of the plate, bringing out a smooth, slightly spicy note (in my opinion; I know nothing about wine tasting).

The next course was actually a course in two parts; Chef Omura's Maki Creations and...

Assorted Nigiri Sushi. The wine pairing with this was Hugel and Fils "Gentil", a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner Blend from Alsace. For me, the wine was too sweet and sharp UNTIL I tried it with the sushi. Suddenly, I liked this wine, it went so well with the slight vinegar of the rice, creamy avocado, wasabi and salty sweet fish.

Japanese Robata was our next course; Scallop and Bacon and Chicken Yakitori, paired with Carmen Chardonnay from Maipo Valley California. My memory of this wine is almost non-existent. I don't know if this was due to the generous pours or talking tooo much or perhaps it was a boring wine?
Next please!

Our final savoury course was a Prawn and Vegetable Tempura. Again, foggy memory on this one. It was tempura...The wine, I remember. Banrock Station Sparkling Shiraz, it was the first time I ever tasted a sparkling red. I was completely enthralled and I keep mulling potential pairings in my head (I think it would absolutely rock paired with salmon).

The meal was finished with a small scoop of Green Tea Ice Cream paired with Taylor Fladgate White Fine Port. Okay, I managed to fall in love twice in one meal; I have never tasted WHITE port before, but I could see myself adding that to our repetoire. (I drank two LARGE glasses of it!!)
Our hosts were wonderful and I just want to plug the website. It hasn't been updated in a while, but you can contact the organisers through the link on the site.
Grape and Gourmet

Monday, November 20, 2006

Sticky Ginger Soy Chicken

I have been sick for a few days, hence the lapse in blogging. I am back now and I marked the occaision by cooking the first meal I have felt like eating since sometime late late Friday. I was craving comfort in the form of dark meat chicken and I though the Sticky Chicken I made before might be a little harsh for my still slightly sensitive stomach. I came up with my own chicken recipe, served over coconut sweet potatoes.
Sticky Ginger Soy Chicken

This is more of a method than a recipe at this stage. Combine equal parts fresh ginger, soy sauce and honey. Add some crushed coriander. Baste chicken legs and Bake at 425, basting every ten minutes until crispy and dark golden browna nd the juices run clear. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 17, 2006

Salmon with Artichokes

I get a lot of inspiration from Passionate Nonchalance and this salmon dinner was no exception. Simply follow her recipe and you will have a flavourful and interesting salmon dish. I matched it up with a creme fraiche smashed potato concoction and a basic salad.

Life has been busy, hence the MIA. I really wanted to take part in SHF this weekend, but Rob at all of my truffles and I never got a picture..
I also have been fretting over my CBBP package; is it there yet??

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In Memoriam

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Canadian Blogging By Post

I picked up my parcel yesterday and stared long and hard at the return address....I knew that adress from somewhere. How could that be possible, seeing as I didn't really know any of my fellow food bloggers personally?
I couldn't wait, I ripped the parcel open and grabbed the postcard off the top. I scanned the name at the bottom; Kelli Ann! My swap partner from last round! This time she got me as her swapper.

I don't have time to go into detail but wanted to put this up as soon as possible. Will be back after work.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You Are Invited!

Jeff, of c for cooking, invited me to take part in a virtual dinner party a few weeks back. Life being what it is, I hadn't yet gotten around to reciprocating.

Everytime I have guests over for dinner, I plan my menu, then replan, then rethink, then... well, you get the picture. I never know whether to go overboard or casual, try to blow them out of the water or make them comfortable. It was the same way for this virtual dinner. I started planning two weeks ago and have since then scrapped the entire menu. Twice.

The one item that stayed the same was the opening course. The one thing that I think complements any meal, any season.
I would start things off with some beautiful Petite Oysters on the Half Shell.

Next, I would serve ups ome salad, perhaps spinach with a poached quail egg sitting on top...

Today, I am going to go fairly simple; don't want to frighten any of my new guests off with some of my odd concoctions or multiple courses or BOTH! I decide, since we are in the wet days of November, to serve Beef Burgundy with Mashed Potatoes, baby carrots and roasted shallots.

To wrap things up, and counteract the richness of the meal, I would serve a vanilla yoghurt pannacotta with greengage plum compote.

I hope the meal is a hit!

I would like to invite (besides the recipricatory invitation to Jeff):

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wraps with coconut rice, mango and prawns

I have mentioned these in passing before, but never provided a recipe. These have become a staple on my weekly menus; easy to make, easy to eat and oh so delicious!

Coconut rice
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 sm can coconut milk
water to equal 1.5 c liquid

To prepare coconut rice, combine rice, salt, water and coconut milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring once. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork; keep warm.

Chili Prawns
Marinate peeled deveined prawns in sweet chili sauce and hot sauce. Quickly saute.

1 cup cubed peeled ripe mango
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
To prepare salsa, combine mango, red onion, mint, and jalapeño in a medium bowl, tossing to combine. Season to taste.

Using a large tortilla, scoop roughly 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice onto wrap. Top with mango salsa, then prawns. Roll and eat.

These can also be made ahead of time and heated in the oven.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Herbed Spaetzle with Pork tenderloin

The true star of this dinner was the spaetzle. Rob uses a recipe from epicurious, slightly altering the method.
Here is a definition from epicurious' food dictionary, for those who do not know what spaetzle is.
[SHPEHT-sluh, SHPEHT-sehl, SHPEHT-slee]
Literally translated from German as "little sparrow,"
spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made
with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes
nutmeg. The spaetzle dough can be firm enough to be
rolled and cut into slivers or soft enough to be forced
through a SIEVE or COLANDER with large holes. The small
pieces of dough are usually boiled before being tossed
with butter or added to soups or other dishes. In
Germany, spaetzle is served as a side dish much like
potatoes or rice, and is often accompanied by a sauce
or gravy.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves (preferably flat-leafed), washed and spun dry
3/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
In a 6-quart kettle bring 5 quarts salted water to a boil for Spaetzle. In a large bowl whisk together flour and salt. Put parsley in a blender. In a heavy saucepan bring milk just to a simmer. With blender motor running add milk to parsley and blend until milk is very green.

In a bowl whisk together eggs and water and add green milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until mixture forms a soft, smooth batterlike dough. Force dough through a Spaetzle-maker (see above) into kettle of boiling water.

Stir Spaetzle gently to separate and boil 5 minutes, or until just tender. In a large colander drain Spaetzle and rinse well under cold water. Drain Spaetzle well.

Heat butter in a skillet, add garlic, then spaetzle. Sautee until just beginning to brown. Serve hot.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blogreader Spotlight

The next blog in line is Bachelor Cooking. Based out of Delhi (I think), anthony provides easy and delicious recipes. If you ignore the advertising, there is a wealth of food waiting for you.

Last night, we went to an informal cheese tasting party, which we hope to make a habit of. I am going to start a new blog for the cheeses, if anyone cares about that sort of thing.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rainy Day Food

Vancouver's winter hit with a vengeance this past weekend. I say winter, because it rarely gets colder her ~ we had torrential downpours for a couple days. I know, that is no excuse for the week long absence from food blogging. How about this; I partied way too hard this past week and when I was at home, the last thing on my mind was blogging. Sleeping is more like it! Anyway, this week reminded me WHY I stopped clubbing all night 7 years ago and I don't think I'll be repeating the foolishness.
As I missed the beginning of the November Blogging Marathon, I have decided to get in on Michelle's version for tardy bloggers.
Yesterday, I felt like staying in. The rain coming down, the lingering effects of the past week. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch with steaming bowls of hot liquid.

Lunch was a chicken broth based soup with noodles, dumplings and Gai Lan. I simmered 3 cups of chicken broth with a few slices of fresh ginger, a sprinkling of red chili and some rice wine vinegar. Then I poured it over cooked chow mein noodles, cooked storbought dumplings and blanched gai lan. Mmmmmm

Dinner was a low and slow oven affair plucked from the pages of See, Sip, Taste, Hear (yet another blog I had to had to my reader when I discovered it this weekend).
Here is my cut of the recipe, with very few changes from the original, which I believe they credit Mark Bittman for.

Anise-Scented Short Ribs
Time: 2 hours or more, largely unattended

1 Tbs Olive oil
3 Pounds meaty beef short rib
Freshly ground black pepper or szechwan peppercorns to taste*
1 medium to large onion chopped
5 nickel sized slices of fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons of ground**
3 cloves of garlic lightly crushed
5 whole star anise***
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 cup water
1 Tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar

Preheat Oven to 300F
1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven. Brown the short ribs well on all sides. Season with pepper as they cook. Don't rush the process, which will take about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the heat so you don't burn the ribs or get the oil too smokey. You can also do the initial browning in a 500º F oven in a roasting pan turning the ribs every so often to get an even brown. This takes about 20 minutes as well.

2. Remove the ribs with a slotted spoon and pour off most of the fat. Lower heat and cook onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger cooking for another 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and return ribs to the pot. Place in Oven, covered, and simmer for two hours, turning ribs occaisonally.

Serve ribs over rice. I defatted the broth and drizzled a little over the ribs and rice, then added sauteed snap peas (lightly sauteed, then tossed in sweet chili sauce).