Saturday, June 25, 2005

Taste Canada

What does Canada taste like to you?

Jennifer at Domestic Goddess wants to know.

To me, Canada tastes like sunshine, summer and the smell of grass. Spring and summer are my favorites times and when I truly feel the most Canadian. Canada is a truly awesome country - full of water, mountains, trees and wonderful people. I think it is most beautiful in the spring and summer; green and bold.

My happiest childhood memories are from summers - swimming, playing, visiting, and eating with friends and family. My parents used the barbecue as much as possible throughout the year, and in fact still do; on Boxing Day 2004 my dad was outside barbecuing steaks in a -30' snowstorm.

Rhubarb is of course not native to Canada. It dates back to ancient China, and is also native to Siberia, Mongolia and Tibet. Up until the late 1700's, it was used solely for medicinal purposes. In the 1780's people began using it as a pie filling. At one time, it was known commonly as "Pie Plant".

It's uses seem unlimited - liquor, sorbet and ice cream, chutneys and relishes, sauces, jams and jellies, pies, cakes, breads, fools, and of course crisps. In some countries rhubarb is used solely in savory dishes.

While Rhubarb is not original to Canada, I think it is a food that we Canadians can and do embrace. Rhubarb thrives in Canada. It easily tolerates our cool winters and occasional cool summer temperatures as well. According to at least one website, some say that the finest quality rhubarb is grown in Canada.

Rhubarb is everywhere in Canada. In everyone's backyard garden and at every farmer's market. Do a search on the web for "Canada Day Recipes" and almost every site will have at least one recipe for something made with rhubarb.

My Mom had a massive rhubarb plant in our garden, and one of the first things she taught me to cook was stewed rhubarb. To me, rhubarb announces that the warm weather is here to stay for at least a while.

The picture at the top of this post is a recipe called Rhubarb Crunch. I found it on the Allrecipes site after my boss gave me a garbage bag full of rhubarb last week. We like it, especially the contrasts; the rhubarb is tart and smooth, the topping is sweet and crunchy. Add some cream as we did, and have a safe and happy Canada Day.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Lunch at the Copper Chimney

My boss got a menu stuck in his door at home for the Copper Chimney restaurant. (240 Midpark Way SE, 201-7336.) It's East Indian cuisine and everyday but Monday they have a lunch buffet. (5th down) We made a reservation this morning, and headed out the door to be there for our noon reservation. The restaurant is located in a small, very quiet mall. Copper Chimney itself is quite small and had no customers when we arrived at 12:15. Not one. As we took our seats, we noticed a TV on the wall that showed a live picture of the kitchen and their tandoor oven. We watched the cook make our naan and cook it in the tandoor. They brought us out this naan that was so good - hot, a bit greasy, and soft on one side and crispy on the other. I ordered a lassi to drink and we headed up to the buffet. It's a small buffet, including salads and rice there was about 9 items. A green salad, a corn salad, rice, butter chicken , chicken kebob, a shrimp and veg, and 3 vegetable dishes, one was an amazing combination of green peas and cubes of cottage cheese in a sauce, and another was Allo Gobhi. Yum! My least favorite was the unnamed third vegetable dish; it was fine, it just didn't stand out as much as the others. With the naan and mango chutney and mint sauce on the side, the standouts were definitely the pea dish and the tender, flavorful chicken kabobs and the naan. Never in my life have I had such good bread. The buffet was $12.00 a person, a very reasonable deal, and we were glad to see more tables fill up soon after we started eating. I am definitely looking forward to my next visit soon.

The opening of Millarville

Keep your fingers crossed.....Millarville market is scheduled to open tomorrow.

The first market was delayed for 2 weeks by all the rains and flooding.

I'll be there tomorrow ready to buy some good stuff. Here's to hoping that everything is good up there and they have lots of customers tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bad and Good things.

On our way to Chico's Tecate Grill on Saturday we ran into some car trouble. Because Scott was going to be away most of the week, (and our holidays are coming up!) we figured we better get it looked at sooner rather than later. We left our car at the shop and went to Chinook Centre. The new Williams Sonoma had opened that morning! We got there about 11:30 and it was crammed with people. I bought one of these, one of these soaps, a counter top cleaner (not shown on the web) from this collection, and both of these. It was really too busy to have a good look around, in fact I missed most of the books and food items. When our car was ready, we debated whether we should have lunch at Chico's, as was the plan, or if we should go to Kinjo's since it was right next door. I have been to Kinjo's many times with the people in my office, Scott has only been once. No. We want Mexican food, the kind you drive all the way across town for. Traffic was hell, but we got there and had some damn fine food. I love the Pasilla salsa there. We stopped at T&T Supermarket, an oriental grocery store on the way home too. Picked up some veggies, meat, rice, sauces etc. Went back to Williams Sonoma to buy my boss his very own cherry pitter. A crappy start to the day, but overall, not too shabby.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I give up on Big T's BBQ

People, I tried. I really wanted to like Big T's. I absolutely love BBQ.

But after the 4th time there I've had enough.

The meat is good, needs some work on the smokiness, but it is tender and juicy. The side dishes for the most part, are good. The prices are not bad.

But I just can't take it anymore. The very bad beans served with almost every meal. The sauces are fairly bad and need a lot of work. The service is awful. I won't even go into detail about my last (and final!) visit. It's not worth it. Between the food and the hostile service (and I'm pretty sure that our server was one of the owners) I was embarrassed that I had suggested the place to my dining companions.

So until a new bbq restaurant pops up in town (not likely!), it's the backyard bbq for us from now on.

Too bad.