Monday, July 31, 2006

Vegetarian Week - DAY 2

Breakfast this morning was a toasted crumpet with peanut butter and some cherries.

For lunch I had packed a green salad and gazpacho soup. I had poured my salad dressing into a smaller container and put that in with the salad. Sometime, I guess last night, the dressing leaked out and by lunch the salad was a soggy mess. I fought off my boss and his ham sandwich and got some vegetable pasta salad from the deli instead.

Mmmmm soup.

For dinner tonight I made Brie and Mango Quesadillas. I used a really nice Brie that we bought on our holidays in BC earlier this month. My mango was kind of funky so I didn't get as much flesh off as I hoped, but this is for sure a repeat dish. We layered slices of Brie with mango, jalapeno, chopped green onions and cilantro on one half of a whole wheat flour tortilla. Fold over the other half and cook over medium-low heat on both sides until hot and melty. We made a sour cream sauce to accompany - just lime juice salt and cayenne pepper stirred into sour cream.

Very delicious.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Vegetarian Week - DAY 1

Day One is over and done with, and not only is Scott still alive, he's also full.
We started our day off with some Vegetarian Cornbread toasted in the oven and topped with honey butter. Cherries from Millarville and leftover grilled pineapple on the side. I've never had better cornbread in my life. I don't know where I found this recipe, but it is truly delicious. The recipe is actually vegan, but I threw this together yesterday before we went to a wedding and I'd forgotten to buy soy milk.
For lunch we had an open faced sandwich based on kickpleat's wonderful tomato sandwich with lemony feta spread at everybody likes sandwiches. We put some feta slices on the bread and broiled them until the bread was crisp and the cheese was hot. We mashed up 1/2 an avocado, smeared that on the cheese, and topped the whole thing with green onions, lettuce, basil leaves and tomato slices. I had bought 2 kohlrabi last week at a farmers market, so we invented our own Kohlrabi Slaw.
Our dinner was sooooo amazing. We made the "Summer Greens and Nectarines" salad from one of my favorite books Rebar Modern Food Cookbook.

Everything was delicious and we only used the toaster oven today so it kept the house cool. Not that it matters now; theres a huge storm blowing in. You never know, we could have snow by morning!

Boy was this sandwich ever good.


Vegan Cornbread
author unknown

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cup soymilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tb baking powder
1 tsp salt

Whisk the syrup oil and milk together. Blend in the remaining ingredients. Spray an 8X8 pan with non stick spray and pour batter in. Bake at 350' for 25-30 minutes.

Kohlrabi Slaw

2 kohlrabi bulbs, peeled
handful of grated carrot
2-4 green onions, chopped

1/2 cup low fat or non fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tb lemon juice
1 tb dijon mustard

Shred the kohlrabi (in a food processor is easiest) and toss with the carrot and onions in a large bowl. Set aside.

Puree the remaining ingredients together until smooth.

Start with 1/2 to 3/4 of the dressing and adjust to your desired consistency. Mix well and chill at least one hour.

Summer Greens and Nectarines
from Rebar Cookbook

I couldn't find any nectarines, so I used peaches instead. I only made half a recipe, but still used 2 peaches. This is SO GOOD.

2 tb honey
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 shallot, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 thick sliced wholegrain bread
1 tb olive oil
6 oz salad greens
2 ripe nectarines
4 oz chevre

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, omitting the oil. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking.

To make croutons, cut the bread into 1/2' cubes. Heat olive oil and saute the bread until golden on all sides. Just before serving, slice the nectarines. Toss the greens with the nectarines, croutons and vinaigrette to lightly coat. Place in a salad bowl or on individual plates, crumble chevre and crack black pepper over top.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

"We Go Vegetarian" Week

A hundred years ago, I was a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian for two reasons - one, I had a bunch of unpleasant run ins with some veins and assorted ick in some meat, and two, being in my very early twenties, I thought it would be cool. I think reason two was more motivating than reason one. I was the only vegetarian out of all my friends, so I felt pretty awesome, walking around with my Vegetarian Times magazines, and shopping at the health food stores. I also got to say things like:
"Dinner? Sure, I'd love to, but don't forget I'M A VEGETARIAN!"
"Mom? I'm coming to town to visit you for the weekend. Don't forget when you're grocery shopping that I'M A VEGETARIAN!"

Yeah, like that wasn't annoying.

I lasted longer that anyone thought that I would. And while at the time I was happy I gave into that ham sandwich, a part of me still wishes I hadn't.

People become vegetarians for a variety of reasons; health, environmental, and ethical being probably the top 3. Some believe that non-meat eaters are less likely to be overweight, and are less prone to health problems such as cancer, heart disease and strokes. That there are much higher amounts of chemicals and pesticides in meat than there are in vegetables and fruit.
Some believe that too much land, energy and water are wasted on raising livestock.
And many simply believe that raising animals to kill and eat is cruel and unnecessary.

Where I stand in all that doesn't matter, but lately I've been thinking that we (as in my household) are eating too much meat. While most of the time we eat lots of vegetables, on the whole I'd love to eat more vegetarian meals than ones including meat.

So, starting Sunday, the iliketocook household will be eating completely vegetarian for one week. As there are many interpretations of what a vegetarian can eat, we will be Lacto-Vegetarians, meaning we will eat dairy products such as cheese and milk, but will not eat eggs.

I have to say that poor Scott does not seem as excited about this as me; in fact he's been cramming meat into all his meals since I announced my plan last week. Tonight (his last chance for meat before Veg Week begins) we're going to a wedding. I think he's praying that roast beef is on the menu. It might be a loooong week.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Lucky Number Seven

Our seventh edition of WCC has a theme with a twist - Lucky Number Seven. This can be interpreted any way you'd like - so I went to my cookbook shelf, counted over to the seventh cookbook I've not used yet. The book was Cooking For Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser. I bought this book last summer after Adam from The Amateur Gourmet mentioned it a few times. I took it on my holiday to read; it was not bad, though I preferred the recipes to most of the story. I had marked some of the recipes to try last year, but the book got shoved to the side, like so many others.

I flipped through, looking for a recipe that could fit the challenge criteria and came across a beautiful sounding recipe for pasta that ingredients. This was the one for me!

Bavette Cacio e Pepe
Amanda says "One is tempted to add more cheese, butter and oil to the recipe. Resist this impulse." So I did.

My recipe differs slightly from the one in the book, mainly because I didn't read the directions all the way through. It was wonderful though.

sea salt
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Romano cheese
1/2 lb linguini
2 tb unsalted butter, chilled
2 tb olive oil
1 tb freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Sprinkle in sea salt. Meanwhile mix the cheeses together in a small bowl. When water boils, add pasta and cook until al dente. Scoop out 1/2 cup of cooking water, and drain the pasta.
Return the pasta to the pot. Add the butter, oil and 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and stir with tongs until the pasta is covered with the sauce. Sprinkle in the cheese and pepper and stir to blend. Season with salt (if you think it needs it) and serve.
4 servings.

We really enjoyed this, although I think I overcooked the pasta a bit. It was fast and very rich.

Hey you! Join in the fun! Email me your link to your WCC submission! I'll have the round up posted after August 4.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gmail is crapmail

I've noticed over the past month that my email doesn't seem to be working so well. Some reminder emails I've sent myself didn't arrive, and I am pretty sure that some emails the I sent or responded to from some bloggers out there weren't recieved.

If you were one of those people, please accept my apologies. I'm not usually that rude!

I've got a new email address: iliketocookATshawDOTca

Please update accordingly, and let's hope this one works better.


Vegetable Curry

Last night's dinner was a very very good vegetable curry. We lightly steamed some onion, red pepper, zucchini, cauliflower and spinach, dumped them in a pan and added a jar of Sharwood's Singapore Laksa sauce. Simmer and serve over rice.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yippie Ki-Yay, M-F!

So the Calgary Stampede is over and done with for another year. For you, and only you, my lovelies, I went to the Stampede to sample some of the culinary delights. How I did not gain 10 pounds is a mystery to me.
Next time I go, I am going to have some bannok for sure.
Mid-afternoon, before a million more people showed up.
Corn Dogs!
They had really really good looking pizza here.
You could probably eat at the Stampede all day every day its on and not repeat a meal.
Our appetizer: a corn dog with mustard and curly fries. This was only my second corn dog in my life and hot damn was it good. I refuse to think about how fattening this is.
The BEST thing about the Stampede. Mini Donuts.

Also next time I go, I will have either a funnel cake or an elephant ear.
Sooooo good when it's 30' on the grounds.
Who could drink coffee when it's so hot???
Yay! Mini donuts!
Meet Robert the Budweiser horse.
Texas chips.
Beef on a bun.
The backside of a band.
Pineapple Whip.

I feel the need to clarify that all this food was shared...I did not eat it all myself, thank God. Only for you I did this...and I hope I don't have to do it again for a loooooong time.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Subs and stuff

I love to go down to Chinatown for subs. There is a little teeney shop in a strip mall with 2 tables in the doorway. The family that runs it is friendly and loud and one lady has a miraculous memory. Unfortunatly I won't have to go down there as much now that Scott and I are making our own version.Vietnamese Chicken Subs
This is just a list of ingrediants. Use as much or as little of each as you want.
Crusty bun
Cooked Chicken, sliced
Mozzarella or other mild white cheese, sliced
Peanut Sauce
Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and minced
Cucumber slices
Carrot Salad

Spread mayonnaise (if using) on bun. Place chicken slices on one half of the bun and top with the cheese. Broil in your oven or toaster oven until bread is crisp and cheese is melted. Remove to a plate. Spread peanut sauce on the side of the bun with out the chicken, and top your sandwich with cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber and carrot salad.

Carrot Salad
1 cup of shredded carrot
3 tb sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar or wine vinegar
pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 cup water

Place the carrot in a bowl, cover with water and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingrediants in a bowl or jar with a lid. Mix until the sugar is dissolved. When the carrots are done, drain and add to the jar. Let sit at least one hour.

In other news, I am making my own raspberry vinegar, so I can make my own raspberry vinegrette. I'll keep you posted.
Also, look what I got! I have looked all over Calgary for grits with no luck. I asked my boss to look in a specialty grocery store by his house for me. Without telling me, he called a friend that was coming to Canada for vacation, and asked him to bring me some. The 2 containers were sitting on my desk when I came to work this morning. I am kind of freaked out, because the pictures on the box were not what I was expecting grits to be, but then I didn't really know what to expect. Help! I need some suggestions/cooking tips. Tanna
can you or anyone out there help?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hillside Estate Winery, Penticton BC

We had a nice lunch on the patio at Hillside Estate Winery just outside of Penticton.
Tuscan Sandwich
Beef Carpaccio

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Saturday at the Lake

Here's where I spent Saturday after Millarville watching Scott fish, reading my book and eating cherries from the market.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Oops...I did it again...

Every time I come home with a new cookbook for my collection, I make myself promise that that one will be the last one for a while. And every time I cave.

Today was no different. Scott and I met at the mall and had lunch in the food court. (It seemed like a funny idea at the time.) After lunch we went for a walk and I of course made a beeline for William Sonoma. They were having a big sale and at the back of the store I found a stack of cookbooks on sale!I got The Girl Can't Cook by Cinda Chavich for $7.99. Cinda is a writer from Calgary. She's written 3 of her own books, contributed to at least 2 more, and has written in the Globe and Mail, Cooking Light, Wine Spectator and Chatelaine, to name a handful. I'd seen this in the stores before but never looked at it. But for that price, how can you pass it up?
I also got The Curious Cook At Home from Dee Hobsbawn-Smith, another Calgary writer. Dee has also written 2 other books and contributed to 2 others. Dee has also written in the Calgary Herald, Canadian Living magazine, and City Palate. Dee also used to own a restaurant in town, and is part of Slow Food Calgary. I picked up her lovely book for $9.99.
Just down from WS was a store going out of business. I got this beautiful Nigella Lawson colander for $20.00.

Now I'll see you in a day or so, I've got some reading to do.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blog Party #12 Passport Party

I am so excited this is my second Blog Party in a row! The wonderful hostess Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness is celebrating one year of her parties! For her 12th she asked that we base our food on a favorite destination or somewhere we'd like to travel to.
Since I haven't been to that many (none) exotic places, I chose the country of our number one dream trip - Spain.
Our first dish was Patatas Bravas - fierce potatos, a dish we had at a tapas restaurant earlier this summer. It is potato that is baked or fried and tossed with a spicy sauce. We cubed the potatos and baked them, then tossed them with a sauce of onion, tomato, white wine, red wine vinegar and paprika. The sauce was either a bit too thin or there was too much of it, but overall it was pretty nice.
Scott loved these mushrooms. I took 2 Spanish tapas ingredients - mushrooms and serrano ham - and made these wonderful stuffed caps. I finely diced the ham and mixed it with very finely minced onion and garlic. Stir in a glug of olive oil, paprika and pepper, stuff and bake.
Our drink was the best part of the party for me! We mixed white wine with Willaims Sonoma's sangria mix, added some fruit and drank away.

Thanks Stephanie for another wonderful time!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Cookbook Spotlight Roundup - "Kitchen Sense" by Mitchell Davis

Hi everyone. Part one of the Cookbook Spotlight Roundup is up at Cath's site A Blithe Palate
Part two is up at Weekend Cookbook Challenge.

Thanks again to Cath and all the bloggers who participated!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cookbook Spotlight - Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis

When Cath from A Blithe Palate asked Weekend Cookbook Challenge to co-host this event, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

A chance to get a copy of a not-yet-released cookbook? To read and cook from and share with you guys? AND to ask some fellow bloggers to help out?

Who could say no?

We asked 25 bloggers to read the cookbook, cook a recipe and share their thoughts. What would everyone cook? What would everyone think? And how many of them would make the same dish?

I have to say, I really enjoyed this cookbook. I love the cover art. I found the "Kitchen Sense" and "Basic" tips scattered among the recipes very informative. I love the cookbook recommendations at the back.

Mitchell Davis has also included a helpful section at the bottom of each recipe. He lists any Advance Prep that can be done for the dish, as well as tips on the leftovers (always very handy) and Variations that can be made to the dish.

I also love the introduction. The first two lines read:
"You have just opened a cookbook written by someone who loves to cook. If you like to cook already, you've found a new friend."

I was not bothered at all by the fact that there are no pictures in the book. I found the recipes and their introductions to be so descriptive pictures weren't necessary.

I had a very tough time choosing some recipes to try. I wanted to do a complete meal, and to make sure that all the dishes we cooked were somewhat complementary to each other. My list of recipes I wanted to try was growing longer and longer.

I decided on a Southern themed meal. Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy, Succotash, and Burst Cherry Tomatos.

Burst Cherry Tomatos
This was simple and very very good. Cherry tomatos are sauteed with lots salt and pepper until thier skins burst.

Buttermilk Biscuits with Sausage Gravy
I was so excited to come across this recipe. Last year Scott and I went to a Southern Brunch in the U.S. and had biscuits and gravy for the first time. We have talked about them ever since. I wish I had known years ago how wonderful biscuits and gravy could be. The recipe in Kitchen Sense produced biscuits that were very light and fluffy and the gravy could not have been easier. This is a dish I'll make again and again.

Now this stuff was good. The recipe call for using fresh or frozen lima beans. I have never seen either in my life. However, Davis suggested using frozen edamame - soy beans - in place if the limas weren't avaliable. Sauteed with corn, onion, ham and cream, how can you not love it?

We enjoyed all 3 very much and I am really looking forward to cooking many more dishes. I've only had the book for a few short weeks, but it's already pretty dog-eared; pages marked with sticky notes and scraps of paper, even a few corners turned down! The next 2 recipes on my must try list are Watermelon Gazpacho (garnished with feta cheese and kalamata olives, mmmmm) and Cheese Grits. (My first course of action with the Grits will of course be finding grits.)

A big thanks to all the bloggers that participated in this event. I hope you all had as much fun as I did. Cath and I will have the complete round-up posted soon.

And a very very HUGE thanks to Cath. Thanks for asking me to be a part of this. I had a blast.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Calgary Stampede

ooooh, my the Stampede over yet? Every July Calgary goes cowboy (well, more than usual) for 10 days.

I've been to pancake breakfasts....4 hour lunches with free food and booze....parties after work. How much more can a girl take?

We don't plan on going to the Stampede Grounds this year. Instead I'll just keep eating pancakes and drinking hootch for another 3 days.
But if we did, we would certainly partake of 4 of the 5 Worst Stampede Foods:

1. Corndog - 460 calories, 19 grams of fat.
2. Mini Doughnuts - 360 calories, 20 grams of fat.
3. Bratwurst on a Bun - 550 calories, 35 grams of fat.
4. Candy Apples - 375 calories, 75 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fat. (no apple for me, thanks)
5. French Fries - 600 calories, 31 grams of fat.
from Thursdays Calgary Herald.

Holy cow! How do you expect to fit into your Wranglers after eating that?


I was so excited when we were on holidays to come across watercress at a farmers market. I've always wanted to try it, but I've never even seen it before. I got 2 bunches for $2.00 - a steal I think.

But what to do with it????

My first dish I wanted to try was Haalo's Watercress and Potato Soup

This soup makes me wish that the local store carried watercress. It was so good and rich tasting - sort of like our potato leek soup, but with a greener, more peppery flavor. When we were stripping the leaves from the stalks (fun!) I gave some a taste and was surprised at the strong flavor. Delicious.

I still have one bunch left! What to do, what to do...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Stormy Monday

While my sunburn and I are digging ourselves out from under piles at work and home, here's some lists for you:

Stuff I bought that I can't wait to cook with/eat:
Watercress -I'm going to make Haalo's soup!
Grains of Paradise
Cheese, cheese and more cheese
Mango Curry Marinade

Stuff I ate that I want to recreate:
Roasted Garlic Balsamic Vinegrette
Broccoli Salad
Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
Chicken Enchilada with Mole Sauce (I've only ever used prepared Mole. I want to try to make my own.)
Pad Thai
Salad Nicoise
Thai pizza with chicken and tamarind