Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami relief

If you can give in any way, here are some organizations that are accepting donations:

Care Canada

Developement and Peace

Doctors without Borders

Salvation Army

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Some Recipes and things

Christmas is fast approaching......

We haven't done much cooking lately, what with getting ready for the holidays, and what we have cooked have been simple things like beef dips, homemade pizzas etc. I did cook a ham on the weekend, one we had bought from Millarville, but I wasn't that impressed with it. I did the same glaze and cooking that I did on the Thanksgiving ham, but it was dry, and I am fairly sure I didn't overcooked it. Let's blame the ham, shall we?

My office has pretty much shut down for the holidays; most of the staff is still here, but there is not much to do. So, here are some links and stuff.

This crab cake recipe is what I'll be making on Christmas Eve. We've made it once before, and they were excellent. I love the spiciness of the peppers in the cakes and the Mayo.

Nigella's prawn cakes are GREAT.

Christmas morning, we will be having prosciutto and Brie rolls. This is from one of my notebooks. I think it may have come from Gourmet or Bon Appetit. The original recipe called for just prosciutto, but we likey the Brie.

Makes 4 large or 8 small rolls.

1 pkg Pillsbury crescent dough
Dijon mustard

unroll the dough, and separate into 4 squares. Press the perforations within the squares together with your fingers to seal. Lay a couple of pieces of the ham and cheese on the dough, and roll up. If you want 8 small rolls, cut each roll in half with a serrated knife. Press ends closed so no cheese escapes. Mix mustard and honey together and brush on top. Bake as directed on the Pillsbury package.

I printed off this recipe for Roasted Red Onions from Jamie Oliver ages ago, but have not made it yet. I should though.

Another Jamie Oliver recipe I'd like to make is this brunch bread, a grown up version of the above rolls, sort of.

I agree with the Exploding Chef that Delia Smith leaves much to be desired in the personality department. But doesn't this Onion and Goat Cheese Tart sound amazing?

I made this mini Beef en Croute Delia Smith recipe in the summer. It was good and very impressive-looking.

A couple of years ago, I searched the internet for recipes for Coal candy to make for Christmas. Here's one I might have to try next year.....

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Christmas Baking and other stuff.

I whipped out the new Kitchen Aid mixer on the weekend and did some baking to give away for Christmas. I made whipped shortbread, raisin cookies, java bark (chocolate bark with espresso powder mixed in), and my version of cowboy crunch (peanuts and graham crackers covered with milk and white chocolate).

Scott took ALL the raisin cookies to work, so I have to make more tomorrow. We also made Antipasto a few weekends ago - it turned out excellent. I will be giving some of that away as well to my favorite co-workers. Scott is guarding the anitpasto supply jealously, making sure I don't give too much away. Yeah, he better be careful, there's only 15 jars left! He may be out by the new year. Actually, the way he's been eating it, he could be.

I am working on my food menu for the Christmas holidays as well, as we are having company. I am definitely making crab cakes on Christmas Eve, of course there will be turkey on the 25th. I tried to convince everyone that we should have ham, but they are traditionalists, and want the bird. We also got a new BBQ this weekend, as our old one couldn't make it thru a bad wind storm we had a few weeks ago, and took a header off the balcony, where it landed, not only bent, but in pieces. This is my new bbq. Although mine does not look like this, it looks like a giant cardboard box that nearly killed me when we pulled it out of our car. I appreciate the heaviness and sturdiness of a good bbq, but not when I have to carry it around.

Anyhoo, we are also going to have tenderloin steaks and my version of the Ruth's Chris chop salad. I have made it 3 times since we got back from our trip, and it just gets better and better. That's what I have for the menu so far, but there are lots of meals that I still need to fill in. One thing I don't need to worry about is dessert - 2 presents I have received at work this Christmas - a huge box of Bernard Callebaut chocolates, and also a great big Tortuga Rum Cake.
A very merry Christmas indeed!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Horrible Recipe of the Day #1

How disgusting does this sound?

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum sauce?

Ew. I can't imagine why anyone would think of such a recipe!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The new addition to my family

Looky what I got last night......


Dammit, I wish I knew how to add pictures.

Anyway, isn't is georgeous? Oh yeah, all metallic chrome and slinky. That is one SEXY beast.

Can't wait to give it a spin.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

San Francisco Report

Well, what can I say. What a city. The night after we came home, I was watching A Cooks Tour on the food channel. It was the French Laundry show. That is one of my favorite episodes. The way his personality is so giddy and goofy, and he is almost shy about meeting Thomas Keller is so sweet. It is totally in contrast to his normal appearance.

Incidentally, Thomas Keller went and did a demonstration and book signing and the Williams Sonoma store in San Francisco that was 3 blocks from our hotel the day after we left, dammit! And Anthony Bourdain was there on the 10th. F**K.

Anyways, so the show starts with Tony in San Francisco. He is walking down the street, and he says how much he likes San Francisco. He says it's a little dirty, and everyone is drunk.

That is the perfect description of the city.

It sure is a crazy place. The traffic! THE DRIVERS! Some of the worst I've ever seen. The hilly streets, some of them are truly terrifying to drive down. But it was beautiful.

We went to Alcatraz, which was much cooler than I thought it would be, Union Square, Colt tower, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge, took at boat tour, and just went every where we could and soaked it all up.

Great weather, nice people, good food.

And that's what this is about isn't it. This isn't a complete list of meals, just some that stuck out in one way or another.

Our first day there, we had a late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf that will have to remain nameless, as I can't find the bill. Anyhoo, it was very nice, with an outdoor patio covered in ivy and flowers. Service sucked, but the food was good. I had a crab cake sandwich, something I had never heard of, or thought of, but it was good, served with a remoulade sauce on the side. Scott had a great meal; a baby shrimp and crab sandwich on bannok bread. It was so good and fresh tasting.

That night we found what I think is my favorite bar in the world now, Lush Lounge.

One note I should have written first, we had a terrible time finding places to eat for breakfast and lunch around where we were staying. And to find a place to have a drink after dinner was nearly impossible. Do these people not have pubs? Apparently not.

Lush Lounge was so cute and small and dark. The staff was really nice. We had frozen mandarin cosmos (one thousand thumbs up) and frozen watermelon martini's (two thousand thumbs up). A yummy night.

We had a questionable breakfast at a questionable Jack In the Box. Not a good choice, but we were hungry, and as I said, pickins were slim.

Fisherman's Wharf at lunch. Scott has developed an obsession with said wharf. Went to Gold Rush restaurant. It's like a fast food place. He wanted Fish and Chips. The menu didn't really appeal to me, but they did have calimari, which I have recently learned to love. We got our food, and were immediately unhappy. The fish and chips were out of a bag. The calamari wasn't rings, it was these bizarre pyramid shaped chunks. I barely touched it, so Scott, who felt bad because he had insisted on going there, took me to Crepe Cafe and bought me a beautiful crepe filled with fresh strawberries and whip cream. He redeemed himself.

We had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack which was a silly place, full of goofy decorations and music. Scott had crab, and I had a steak. I also had a Gold Claw Shaker Rita (a margarita) that was so freakin good. It was also $9.00 US. Boo. The food was good though. Down by the wharf they have these stands in front of restaurants that sell crabs and shrimp cocktails and stuff. It's just street food - no tables or anything. I tried so hard to get Scott to have his crab there, because I knew he wanted to. But for whatever reason, he said he didn't want to. His loss, and I got to have a Shaker Rita.

The best breakfast we had was a little place in a Galleria (open air mall) called
360' Gourmet Burritos. We had excellent egg and cheese and black bean burritos called 360 AM burritos. Their salsas were so good too - a really nice mild one and a sweet/spicy one that tasted a lot like pepper jelly.

Two other dinners of note -

Ar Roi Thai restaurant. This one has a short story with it. There were 3 thai restaurants within 2 blocks of our hotel. The first one, which was right across the street from our hotel, sounded good to me. Scott wanted to see the menus of the other 2. Ar Roi was the second. Ar Roi and the third restaurant both had soft shell crab, which we both wanted to try. We decided on Ar Roi. We decided to order 2 appetizers and share an entree, and then if we were still hungry we would get something else. So we decided on the crab and another appetizer of crepes filled with spicy chicken. When the server came (like a lot of thai/chinese/vietmanese restaurants, service is very abrupt.) we asked for the crab. They were out. We asked if they were out of anything else. They said no. We then decided on the crepes and chicken satay. They were out of the crepes. We asked if they were out of anything else. They said no. We then tried to order satay and a salad. No salad. Good God. Finally, we hit on something they did have - satay, spring rolls and pad thai. All were pretty good, the spring rolls were the least best of the bunch. And with a glass of beer for Scott and water for me (they only serve wine and beer) the total was a reasonable $27.00 US.

Ah, dinner at Ruth's Chris. Amazing dinner. We started with a small chop salad, which is probably the best salad I have ever had. I was a little worried about the dressing, blue cheese and lemon basil, because I am not a blue cheese fan, but it was great. I had the petit filet and Scott had the rib eye. We shared a creamed spinach. The steaks were just great, mine was so tender. We had a apple crumb for dessert. With one drink each, our bill before tip came to $110.00 US. Was is worth it? Absolutely. I will go back any time for the chop salad alone.

That being said, I am planning on spending much time in my kitchen trying to recreate the salad. Scott says he will be my taster. What a trooper.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Beef and Broccoli

My mom used to make this for special occasions when I was young. It's been a long time since I had it, but I found myself pulled to both beef and broccoli at Sobeys last night. It was darn tasty.

1 lb steak, cut into strips
1 Tb paprika
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups beef broth
Handful chopped green onions
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped in bite size pieces
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tb cornstarch
2 tomatos, cut in wedges
Hot cooked rice

Toss the steak with the paprika. Melt 1 or 2 Tb butter in a large pan, and lightly brown meat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add broth, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the onions and broccoli, and cook covered for 5 minutes. Mix the cornstarch into the soy, add and cook until thickened. Add the tomatos and cook until the tomatos are just heated through.
Serve over rice.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Orzo, and then Burritos

Sunday night, I made Orzo with Goat Cheese and Ham from my November issue of Gourmet.

It was very good, very fast to make and I love recipes that have few ingredients. Halved the recipe, as there are only 2 of us, and there was still enough left over for Scott's lunch the next day. Only downside - he said it didn't taste as good after being microwaved.

Last night I made Pan Fried Bean Burritos also from the November issue of Gourmet.

While the overall outcome was good, I did some pretty dumb things along the way. While roasting the peppers,onions, garlic and tomatos, I burned myself when my hand slipped. Then, I cut my finger while cutting up the peppers. I couldn't find a seranno pepper, so I used whatever kind of pepper it was that Sobeys's was selling the other day. Since the pepper was one of those funny shaped ones that make it hard to half and seed, I used my fingers to get the seeds out. I don't know what that pepper was, but damn, it was spicy. The salsa was so hot, it was almost inedible. And I didn't have any more tomatos to calm it down with. The last straw for me was that, after washing my hands, I touched my face near my nose, and my skin felt like it was on fire for the better part of an hour afterwards. AND, I forget to put the cheese in the burritos too!

But, other than all that, they turned out fine; I would definitely make them again. The reviews after the recipe mention that they all found the salsa to be bland. Well, not ours, but maybe next time, if we do it right, we may have to "jeuje" too.

On my to-do-list - buy more band-aids, and some rubber gloves.