Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 28 Round up - TV Cooks

Hello out there, and thanks for coming to read the round up for Weekend Cookbook Challenge 28 - TV Cooks. I'd like to say a big thanks to everyone who took part this month. There are literally a zillion food challenges out there, and I thank you for coming and taking part in mine.

Let's start this round up off with ME!, shall we?

After my original recipe choice turned out hideously, I tried a yummy summertime drink, Berry Smooth from the ever popular Sandra Lee.

Mike from Mel's Diner, who will be the host with the most for June's WCC, shares with us Crispy Fried Rhubarb Pork from Jamie Oliver.

Newlywed Michelle at Je Mange La Ville was inspired to make Provencal Vegetable Soup from Wolfgang Puck.

Fellow BC'er KC from Kits Chow joins us for her second WCC with this mighty tasty looking Kayaker's Wok Fried Mac from PBS.

Judy and Judy's Gross Eats share with us Super Nachos from Rachel Ray.

The wonderful Shaun of Winter Skies, Kitchen Aglow has joined me again and came with a lovely Braised Pork Belly and Buttered Apples from Tyler Florence.

Another familiar face is Haalo and Cook Almost Anything Once, with some very pretty Goat Cheese and Red Capsicum Pancakes from Gary Rhodes.

Yay! Ruth has come for a visit at WCC with a two post dish over on Once Upon a Feast - Fermented Black Bean and Garlic Sauce and the finished dish Black Bean Chicken and Tofu Stirfy from Ming Tsai.

And yet another old friend, Pavani who urges me not to give up yet on Tempeh with this Tempeh Club Sandwich from Delicious TV.

Robin from Made with Love shares a decadant dessert, Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding Trifle from my girl Paula Deen.

Anne and Kitchen Bliss bring these great Wolfgang Puck Ginger and Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp to the round up.

Lisa and An Apron A Day have a kickin cheesecake from Emeril - Margarita Mama's Cheesecake.

Paula the Cookbook Junkie shares a dramatic Carrot Cake from The Young and the Restless. Slap!

BA Gourmet from the self titled blog whips up some Coconut Macaroons from Ina Garten.

Deb from Kahakai Kitchen in Hawaii (I'm officially sick with jealousy) whipped up a tropical Coconut Bread Pudding from Sam Choy.

Megan from My Baking Adventures got creative with Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Ina Garten.

Again, huge thanks to all of you who shared with us this month! I appreciate it so much.

June's WCC will be hosted by my man Mike of Mel's Diner. His theme is SALAD, so wow him with a fantastic salad and email your link to him at eatatmelsdiner AT gmail DOT com by June 29.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

2 weeks of markets

Lucky you, you're getting two weeks of market in one! Last weekend was a combo of being busy and lazy and there was just no time for posting.

I finally got a chance to visit Heartland Foods last Friday. Their store is small, but they offer an amazing array of locally produced fruits, veggies, flours, honeys, etc. They've also got locally raised meats - organic, free range which is awesome. They are only open Monday to Friday, but open until 6 on Wednesdays for your after work shopping. We picked up some tomatos, a cucumber and an organic chicken, not shown here but you'll see it soon.

Also last Friday we visited the first night of the new Farmers Market on the North Shore in Kamloops. It's being held at McDonald park every Friday night from 4 to 8 (I think). Being the first night the market was a little small, but all the vendors were super nice and very enthusiastic. We bought some stuff for our garden - basil, a pepper plant, a zucchini plant and some sage.

Then last Saturday we went to the downtown market. There's still not a ton of produce available. We shared some bannock spread with raspberry jam after Scott stood in line for ages, right now they are the most popular stall at the market - and came home with some celery plants, a watermelon plant, and a container of Wild Mushroom Curry powder from Forest to Fork.

The rest of Saturday was spent in the yard, sitting on the porch and enjoying the sun. Later we made beer can chicken with the organic bird we'd bought the day before.

Yesterday morning we headed downtown for the Saturday market. After sharing a bannock with jam for breakfast, we got to shopping. There were more vendors this week, but most of the new ones were selling plants. Still not a ton of fresh produce. My Dad, who went to the market later in the morning, asked one of the vendors who was selling plants when they would be selling veggies. He was told that the cooler weather we had has pushed most of the produce back to mid or late June.
Yesterday we bought: buns, sausages, spinach,

and 2 lettuces and a parsley.

Beer Can Chicken. Wash and dry your chicken. Pick your favorite spice rub and rub it all over and inside the chicken. I used my lovely rub that Jasmine sent me a couple of months ago. Jasmine correct me if you read this, it is this recipe? Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. When the time has come, take the chicken out of the fridge, and heat your bbq. Get a can of beer, open it up, and drink (or have someone else drink) half of it. Take your chicken and beer to the bbq, along with a pair or two of tongs, and a washable oven mitt or kitchen towel.
Get your bbq ready - if your bbq has burners running vertically, turn off one side. That is the side you will put the chicken on. Our burners run horizontally, so I turn off the front burner, and turn the middle burner down to low. However you do it, you can turn the heat up or down as needed during cooking.
Push the chicken securely onto the beer can, and place on the grill. Move the chicken legs to stabilize the bird if necessary. Then go wash your hands. When your hands are clean, slather the chicken with bbq sauce, lower the cover and leave for 20 minutes. Check your heat, and adjust if you think you need to. Use the tongs and your kitchen mitt or towel and rotate the chicken by about 1/3 (so a new side of the chicken is facing the more direct heat). Slather with sauce again, close the lid and leave for another 20 minutes. Then rotate and slather again. After an hours cooking, give the chicken a check for doneness. If it's not ready, give it another turn and slather and check in another 20 minutes. When it is ready, turn off the bbq and have a plate or bowl standing by. Be very careful while you remove the can from the chicken. I do this at the bbq, so if I spill the beer can it's going to spill on the bbq, not in my kitchen. Grab the can firmly with one pair of tongs. With another pair of tongs or a kitchen towel, or both, grab the chicken. Gently twist and pull the chicken off the can. Put the chicken on a plate. Set the beer can aside to cool before tossing it out.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cheesy Bread Bakers

Back in November some fine ladies and I baked up some totally sinful cinnamon buns. I'm still not sure what was the best part, the long instant messaging chat we all had that day, or the excellent buns that were the end result.

We were to meet up again online this month to make a different sort of bun - an ooey gooey cheese bun. Who could say no?

Unfortunately I had a commitment I couldn't get out of and wasn't able to join the fun (and reportedly R rated) online chat, but I did get the buns baked.

These buns were SO easy to make and tasted just heavenly. The only downer for me was that 3 of the buns sort of toppled over in the cooking and looked like cheesy slugs rather than buns, but whatever, that's just me. They tasted super good and were sooooo cheesy. We gobbled one down right out of the oven, shared one for lunch the next day, toasted one up for breakfast another day, and graciously gave one to my parents. They turned theirs into sandwiches with ham and asparagus, but neglected to take a picture or share with me! The nerve.

Please visit Helen, Ivonne, Kelly, Laura Rebecca, Lisa, Mary, Sara, and Stephanie 's blogs to see more cheesy goodness.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cook Most of the Book - Vegan With a Vengeance

Well, it's Tempeh time, let's get started. This week I've done 4 recipes, although technically 3 of them were done for one dish.

I bought the tempeh a couple of weeks ago. I had a harder time that I'd expected finding it, and when I did, I snagged the last package. Before I bought Vegan with a Vengeance, I'd never heard of Tempeh, and until I bought it, I'd never seen Tempeh. Here's what it looks like:
Frankly, not very pretty. The package said that the black came from the processing (or something) and doesn't mean the tempeh is bad or anything. I can see why they need to have that on the package, it's not very appetizing. Thank God Scott was sick in bed the night I made this. If he'd seen this, he would not have even humored me with sampling the finished product.


Tempeh Sausage Crumbles (brunch, pg 22)

Isa says: "...don't be afraid to experiment with it (in different dishes)."

Sara says: "..."

I tried. I really did. I wanted to like this. I liked the spice mix (fennel, basil, oregano, hot pepper, sage) and I thought the end result looked like sausage. But I had issues with the texture and the smell. Scott, who was as I mentioned was sick in bed the day I made this, didn't think much of it either. He didn't care for the spice very much (he hates fennel) and didn't like the texture either. But hey, we tried, right?

What I did differently: Nothing.

What I'll do differently next time: Nothing. There won't be a next time.


Baking Powder Biscuits (brunch, pg 27)

Isa says: "(this) biscuit recipe has served me well for years."

Sara says: "Who doesn't like a biscuit?"

I love me a biscuit, and these are really nice and flaky. I cut them into the requisite 2 inch rounds, and boy, did they look small. But they were still yummy. I served the above plate of warm biscuits to Scott in his sick bed. They didn't make him better, but he liked them.

What I did differently: Nothing.

What I'll do differently next time: Make 'em bigger!


White Bean Gravy (brunch, pg 27)

Isa says: "The gravy is a modified version of a recipe submitted to my Website by someone named Lisa."

Sara says: "It's like pea soup on a biscuit!"

Actually Scott said that. I omitted the tempeh sausage crumbles from the gravy, so this was just white bean gravy on the biscuits. Pretty good, for a can of beans with some broth and seasoning.

What I did differently: used dried sage instead of fresh.

What I'll do differently next time: This was pretty good, but I'm not sure I'd make it again.


Coconut Pancakes with Pineapple Sauce (brunch, pg 32)

Isa says: "Coconut and nutmeg are a great combination"

Sara says: "Scott thinks he's back in Hawaii!"

Coconut is not my favorite thing in the world, but these are nice, and the coconut and pineapple really transform a plain pancake. I'm used to pancakes and waffles not really tasting like anything. I love how Isa adds nutmeg (in this recipe) and other spices to her pancakes and waffles. I would make the pancakes again, but I'd probably play with the pineapple sauce. (PS, have you made the pumpkin waffles yet??)

What I did differently: cut back the coconut to 3/4 of a cup.

What I'll do differently next time: Nothing.


Well, I'm disappointed we didn't like the tempeh. But I'm glad we tried it. Unfortunately I'll be omitting any other tempeh recipes from this challenge. There's no point in cooking with something we won't eat.

Next week: well, I'm not sure yet, but maybe noodles and pizza!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 28 - TV COOKS

I think there's a wee jinx on my kitchen lately; I've produced a higher number of failures than usual. It's a good thing we bought that box of Annie's Mac n Cheese and the big bag of frozen burritos from Costco. One of those failures was supposed to be my dish for this months Weekend Cookbook Challenge. It's the 28th month, and the theme I chose for this month is TV Cooks.

I picked a somewhat new face(s) to Food TV - the Podleski sisters from Ontario, authors of 3 cookbooks, and hosts of Eat Shrink and Be Merry on Food Network Canada.

I've got all 3 of their books and have had success with the recipes I've tried. But my luck ran out with a recipe that I've wanted to try literally for years. I chose to cook A Curried Affair from their first book Looneyspoons.
This is a chicken casserole - curry, chicken, pineapple and mushroom soup, basically. I've wanted to try this for ages, but now I'm sorry I did. Who knew that chicken, curry, pineapple and mushroom soup when combined taste like nothing? It looked awful and tasted like mush.

Disappointed, I hit the bottle. Just kidding, I looked for a new recipe to try for WCC. And I found one by everyone's favorite TV hostess:
I know! But really, this recipe is a keeper. It's for a drink and the reason I picked it is because one of the ingredients is cassis. And I've had a bottle of cassis in the cupboard for years.
Cassis from Elephant Island, a beautiful and my favorite winery.

This was a pretty great drink and would be perfect to sip on the porch on a hot summer day. I hope we'll get some days like this year.

The deadline for entries for Weekend Cookbook Challenge 28 is May 25! Email me your posts at iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca.

Berry Smooth
Sandra Lee

serves 4

2 cups lemonade
1/2 cup cassis
1/2 cup vodka
2 tb lime juice
ice cubes

In a pitcher, stir together all ingredients except ice. Fill glasses with ice, then with equal portions lemonade mixture. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Market

The markets are slowly getting better every week. Today the bannock people were there, and we were lucky enough to get a piece (up to $3 now), they ran out well before the market closed. Look what I got!
Asparagus plants! How cool are they, I'm very excited. In two years (fingers crossed) we will be able to pick aspragus right out of our back yards. This is some new hybrid that apparantly is easier to tend. Check back with me in two years and see if we're eating asparagus from our garden. If not, I'm out two bucks.

We have a little teeney fountain in our backyard, and now it has a water hyacinth in it.

Spinach! I see many yummy salads in our future this week.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Cook Most of the Book - Vegan With a Vengeance

I've got 3 more Vegan with a Vengeance recipes for you, one of which is my new favorite VwaV recipe. I know! The Pad Thai has dropped to second place already.


Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toastaed Garlic (sides, pg 125)

Isa says: "Believe me when I tell you these are amazing. No, seriously. Roasting the brussel sprouts give them a popcorn-y flavor."

Sara says: "Pretty good, but I still like steamed sprouts better."

I like sprouts a lot, and this is the first time I've had them any other way than steamed. I liked these, I liked the garlic with them, but I'm sticking with steamed. Sorry.

What I did differently: Nothing.

What I'll do differently next time: Nothing. Maybe more garlic.


Herb Roasted Potatos (brunch, pg 25)

Isa says: "You can't have brunch without potatos."

Sara says: "You're damn right, Isa."

These were really great. They got a nice brownness and crispness which I loved. My taters cooked much faster than the recipe, at the point where the potatos are to be tossed with the herbs and cooked another 20 minutes, mine were done.

What I did differently: omitted the thyme.

What I'll do differently next time: keep omitting the thyme.


Pumpkin Waffles (brunch, pg 40)

Isa says: "...the best vegan waffles you've ever tasted."

Sara says: "These are NOT the best vegan waffles I've ever tasted. These are THE BEST WAFFLES I've ever tasted!"

I want you to stop what you're doing, click on this link to the recipe and go in the kitchen and make these suckers. These are the best, the best waffles I've ever had in my life. The pumpkin is not an overpowering flavor in the waffles, but it's there in the background, holding hands with the ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Seriously, these are super fantastic.

What I did differently: Made a half batch.

What I'll do differently next time: Make a full batch.

I know, I promised you Tempeh 2 weeks ago. It's coming next week, promise!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bites v 5

Saturday was the 3rd farmers market of the year. Pretty much the same as the week before - mainly plants with a couple of baking stands. We bought some whole wheat buns and a rhubarb plant.
After the market we had planned to go for a walk in the park, then pick up some lunch stuff at the deli and have a picnic in the park. It was too windy, so we went home and I worked in the yard. When we were done, we had a jug (or two) of beergaritas. And then suddenly, somehow, Saturday was over.

I love zucchini and I made these little baked zukes last month. It started off as a Jamie Oliver recipe from Cook with Jamie, but he made a vinaigrette with herbs, and I didn't have all the stuff, and Scott wanted garlic, so it became just zucchini tossed with garlic and olive oil and baked in the oven. They were really really great, and the next day I chopped up some of the leftovers into a salad.


This recipe was what I made for dinner on Valentines day. Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach, Gruyere and Shiitakes from Food to Live By, that I received from Lis last year. I'll never be able to thank her enough for this great book.
We couldn't find any shiitakes, so we used brown mushrooms. We also cut back on the amount of spinach. It was really great, and we ate the leftovers for breakfasts.


Coral Broccoli that I bought from the deli downtown. Tasted pretty much just like cauliflower to me.

I don't really like pork chops anymore, I think they are too lean and no matter how careful I am they are always too dry. I had some in the freezer I wanted to get rid of. Thankfully I found a bbq crockpot recipe to use them up.

Here's the recipe from Chicken, again?. Very tasty and I like any recipe where my crockpot does most of the work.


I am thinking of changing the name of this blog from i like to cook to "i want to cook everything that the cookbook junkie blogs about". Catchy, huh? I think I've got half her posts bookmarked. I love anything sweet and sour, like her Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Don't they look yummy?
They really were. Here's the recipe for Sweet and Sour Meatballs.


Donut King opened here in Kamloops in December. The owner is a former Tim Hortons franchisee. He's opened his store in a former (not his) Tim Hortons location on the corner of Summit and Columbia. The big difference between Donut King and Tim Hortons? Donut King makes their donuts fresh daily, on premises. Tim Hortons donuts are made in a factory, frozen, and shipped to the stores where they are heated up.

I had to buy donuts for an early morning meeting a couple of months ago. I'd heard rave reviews about Donut King, so I picked up two dozen donuts. They were still warm.

The verdict? OH MY GOD. Those are some mighty fine donuts. I scooped a couple to take home to Scott after work. He nearly had a fit when he saw them - one was covered in toasted coconut which apparently is his favorite donut. That was news to me, but we don't eat that many donuts. Isn't the box so great?


It's been ages since I shared a del.icio.us recipe of the week . My recipe count on del.icio.us has hit 305 which is frankly ridiculous. I need to stop bookmarking and start cooking what I've already saved. Back in February I spotted a vegan pate recipe over at one of my weekly reads the urban vegan. It sounded really interesting, and the ingredient list was so short and simple I couldn't believe it. I showed the recipe to Scott and just like that we were off to the store to pick up mushrooms and pecans.

This could not be a simpler dish to make. Toast your pecans in a large pan on top of the stove. Then whizz them into toasted pecan flour. Slice up your mushrooms and garlic and cook them. And cook them. And then cook them some more. Deglaze with sherry.

Then toss them in the food processor with the pecan flour and some olive oil. I added some extra sherry at this point just because I could.

We let it cool and later that night served it with crackers. (Go look at uv's picture of the finished pate, it's much nicer than mine.)

There are no words to tell you how great this is. It's nutty from the toasted pecans, it's earthy from the mushrooms. It's boozy from the sherry. And it's even more amazing the next day.

A million Thank You's to the urban vegan for sharing such a delicious recipe with the internet. It's so damn good.

Recipe:sherry-infused pate.


I tried another recipe from the most recent Rachel Ray magazine. Unlike the Asparagus Popover that we liked so much, this one was a dud. The turkey meatballs were pretty easy to make, but were so bland. There wasn't much seasoning in them, so Scott added some Italian blend. If he hadn't these would have been much worse.
A couple of days later we heated up the leftovers in some pasta sauce for meatball sandwiches. They were ok. I wouldn't make this again.

Normally the end of April would/should be too warm to have the oven on for 3+ hours to make stew, but that wasn't the case here in Kamloops. So I found a nice sounding stew recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking - Carbonnades a la Flamande (Beef and Onions Braised in Beer)

This was tremendous - definitely the best stew I've ever made. I added more brown sugar than called for, the sugar was hard so I just threw in a clump, and I really enjoyed the sweetness it added. I'm hoping the warm weather is here to stay, so I won't be able to make this again until at least November!

I was very fortunate to receive an advanced copy of Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (available on May 6):
I loved this book! I was excited to see that Kate is originally from Hope, BC (although now lives in the US) which is practically down the road from Kamloops. This is Kate's second book and her first based on cooking. Because I'm afraid I'll give too much away, here's the official blurb:
In this smart, delicious novel by the bestselling author of The Friday Night Knitting Club, a celebrity chef shows her friends and family the joy of fulfillment— and manages to spice up her own life at the same time.
Shortly before turning the big 5-0, boisterous party planner and Cooking with Gusto! personality Augusta “Gus” Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she’d rather not—her own. She’s getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to plan her own birthday party. What she needs is time on her own with enough distance to give her loved ones the ingredients to put together successful lives without her.
Assisted by a handsome up-and-coming chef, Oliver, Gus invites a select group to take an on-air cooking class. But instead of just preaching to the foodie masses, she will teach regular people how to make rich, sensuous meals—real people making real food. Gus decides to bring a vibrant cast of friends and family on the program: Sabrina, her fickle daughter; Troy, Sabrina’s ex-husband; Anna, Gus’s timid neighbor; and Carmen, Gus’s pompous and beautiful competitor at the Cooking Channel. And when she begins to have more than collegial feelings for her sous-chef, Gus realizes that she might be able to rejuvenate not just her professional life, but her personal life as well. . . .

I really enjoyed reading Comfort Food. I loved the writing, and the characters. I loved the plot twists, those I saw coming and those I didn't. It was a really fun read and will have a permanent home in my bookcase. There's also a companion website to go with the book, with information about the book, characters, recipes, and games and quizzes. I'm proud to say I received top scores in the quizzes, thankyouverymuch. Check this book out! I don't think you'll be disappointed.