Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 30 Round Up and Challenge 31



A million THANK YOUS to Michelle over at Je Mange La Ville for hosting the July WCC. Her great round up on all things Farmers Market is here.

Michelle, you are the best! And of course welcome to host any time.

I am your host for August/the 31st challenge, and our theme is....

"Get Your Grill On".



So pick a BBQ recipe from a cookbook, magazine, newspaper or off the internet. Make it, write about it, and send me a link by August 30. My email address is iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca.

If you'd like to host a month of WCC, or have a challenge idea, let me know!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sher

I have a pretty bad memory, so I can't remember when or how I found the website What Did You Eat and its author Sher. What I do remember is this. I loved the title and its description -

What Did You Eat?
The first question asked by my family on any occasion

(In my family it's What did you have?)

The other thing that got me was her photos. Always incredible. As someone who can't take a good picture (and doesn't have the patience to try either) I was amazed every visit at how wonderful her pictures were. I printed off her recipe for these potato cakes not only because they sounded delicious, but also because the photos were so great.

What kept me coming back was her writing.


Today the Bread Baking Babes were to have posted about our July bread. Instead we are posting tributes to Sher. She was the groups biggest cheerleader, and could always find something positive to say about someones disappointment/failure/disaster.

I've got a small pile of Sherry's recipes bookmarked or printed off, but I decided for today to find a different recipe, so I got to spend some time on her blog. Like every other time I was struck by her wit, her writing and her photos. Sher took part in many food events - in addition to the Daring Bakers and Bread Baking Babes she was a frequent contributor to Weekend Cat Blogging, Weekend Herb Blogging, and Presto Pasta Nights. Since PPN is one of my favorite events too, I chose to make Sher's recipe for Pastina Timbale.


I chose it because it's not something I would normally try, because I'd be too afraid to mess it up. So for this I wanted to try it because it's not something I would try, because I'd be afraid I'd mess it up. That, and Sher referenced Big Night, which is one of my favorite movies.


When I made the dish, I didn't think about how long it was taking (which was more me moving slow than the recipe). I didn't think about how many pans, pots and dishes I was dirtying. I didn't even think about how bummed I'd be if they didn't de-mold properly. I thought about Sher, and my other blog friends. I thought about how nice it felt to be trying something new. I thought about how happy I was to be cooking in the kitchen with Scott. I thought about the amazing power of the internet and how you can come to care so much about people you've never laid eyes on. And I also thought about how life can be so goddamn short.


The dish turned out perfectly. It was beautiful and tasted wonderfully summery and fresh. It was easy too, but looks totally impressive. I can't wait to make this again. And when I do, I'll think of Sher.

My thoughts are with Sher's family and friends at this terrible time. We all miss her very much. Thank you to Glenna, who is compiling a list of bloggers who are paying tribute to Sher today.

Bye Sher, and thanks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Tribute to Sher - Sunday July 27

On Sunday July 20 we lost our friend and sister Sher of What Did You Eat to a heart attack. On Sunday July 27 we are honoring her memory.

Our baking group The Bread Baking Babes are inviting everyone who knew and/or loved Sher to post about her.

Visit her website What Did You Eat. Pick a recipe that Sher made. Cook it. Write about it. Or if you prefer, share with us your thoughts and memories about our beautiful friend.

Please send a link to your post to me (iliketocook at shaw dot ca) or Mary (mary at breadchick.com) so that we may forward your posts to Glenna, who will be making sure that Sher's family are able to read our posts, and see how much Sher meant to all of us.

She was a special friend, vivacious and supportive to all who knew her. I hope you will help us send our lady off in style.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Loss

I am shocked and heartbroken. We have lost one of our own.

Sher, the smart, funny, supportive creator of What Did You Eat passed away yesterday. I was a lurker and occasional commenter on her blog, and we were both members of the Daring Bakers and the smaller baking group, The Bread Baking Babes. Anyone who knew Sher is devastated, but no one more than her best friend, and fellow Babe, Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food.

Glenna has written a beautiful tribute to her friend, and I ask you all to read it.

My deepest sympathies go out to both Sher's family and Glenna.
The food blogging community just got a little dimmer.

Goodbye Sher.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Western Spaghetti

I found this over at Foodtv.ca's blog Food for Thought, an amazing spaghetti dinner created by Pes. It's all incrdible, but I love the candy corn/flames and the aluminum foil/oil especially.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge 30 - Farmers Market

This past Saturday was the best market so far this year. The crowds! The lines! The stands sold out of stuff by the time we got there! We came home with a great haul, and it was out of that pile of goodness that I chose my ingredient to be used in this months Weekend Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Michelle of Je Mange La Ville.

I did have some help in choosing a recipe this month, because before we left for the market that morning, I watched an episode of Forever Summer with Nigella Lawson, and she made cold beet soup. And then, at the market, of course there were beets everywhere. I had planned on buying two bunches; one for beet soup and one for my favorite Vegetarian Salad Nicoise, but in my excitement (yes, I know I am sad) I only bought one bunch. I was torn, TORN! between which dish I should make, but the soup won out as I hadn't made it before.

This was alright. I thought it was a little too heavy on the spices, maybe I should have cut them back by half to start. Scott really liked it, so maybe it's just me. The color was shockingly pink and really pretty. And a little bowl of cold soup on a hot day is so refreshing.

Email Michelle your post for WCC 30 by July 27 at mlbATjemangelavilleDOTcom.

Spiced Pink Soup

Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer

2 large or 3 medium raw beets (i used my whole bunch)
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
7 cups heated chicken or vegetable stock (i used 6 cups of veggie stock)
salt and pepper
2 green onions, halved lengthwise
1 cup plus 2 tb sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400'. Wrap the beets in foil and bake for 1 to 1/2 hours until tender. Let cool. Peel and cut into chunks. Place the beets in the food processor with the lime juice, cumin and coriander, and puree, while adding the stock through the funnel. You may have to divide soup into 2 batches. Season with salt and pepper, then pour into a container, add the green onions, cover and refrigerate until cold. When ready to serve, remove the green onions and whisk in the sour cream (Nigella put back in the food processor, but I'd already washed mine, so I just whisked). Serve cold.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Market

The most beautiful Rainbow Chard ($2.50) I've ever seen, Baby Bok Choy ($3), delicious peas ($5), carrots ($3) and beets ($3) because I was watching Forever Summer this morning and Nigella made cold beet soup.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Brine your pork

That brined pork tenderloin we made the other day was really something. We finished up the last of the leftovers in sandwiches (yum!) and I bet we will make this again soon. Pork tenderloin is really the only cut of pork I like anymore. Chops and all that are just too dry, not like the pork chops I remember my parents buying when I was little. When pig breeders started altering pigs so they would grow faster and be leaner (which is just so very WRONG, WRONG, WRONG on about 11 million levels) they got rid of the flavor too. I do not buy chops anymore, but if I had any in the freezer (which is a possibility) I would try them too in this brine.

Soy Orange Brine from The Complete Book of Pork

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tb freshly ground or chopped ginger root
2 - 2 inch strips of orange zest (i just hacked some off an orange - no measuring)
1 1/4 cup orange juice
2 tb salt
2 tb brown sugar
1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice powder

1 cup ice cubes (i used about 1/2 cups)

Place the soy sauce, ginger and orange zest in a small pot on the stove. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place the orange juice in a large bowl. Whisk (or stir) in the salt, sugar, and 5 spice, until all or most of the crystals have dissolved. Add in the soy-ginger-orange mixture, and stir well. Add in the ice cubes, and stir again. I let the brine sit until it was cold, then removed whatever ice had not melted.

Place your pork in the brine, or place the pork and brine in a plastic bag and seal, cover and refrigerate for 3-6 hours.

Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry. Grill, bake or whatever.

I rubbed my pork with a dry rub before grilling. I didn't follow a recipe, just mixed brown sugar, paprika, 5 spice and salt, then let it sit on the meat while the bbq heated up.

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This sh*t is bananas


Awesome! You guys have shared with me a ton of delicious sounding banana bread recipes! Thanks to Bowreality, Vicki, Claire and Jenny for their delicious recipes left in the comments, and thanks to Mary , Lisa, Mags, Kelly, and Mel for their emails.

Scott's got a tough choice ahead of him!


Banana pancakes - Jack Johnson

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Help Please!

This is a shorty post today....I'm pooped from lack of sleep; being at the running track at 6:30 this morning for Day Two of my walking program my friend Tito decided on a whim that we should start; and yard work when I got home tonight. So instead of telling you about dinner, which I can't do because we haven't eaten yet, I need your help.

I've got 6 or 8 bananas that are rapidly spoiling. I don't want to freeze them, because I'll never use them and my freezer is too full. Scott wants banana bread, but I don't have any recipes.

If anyone has a good (naturally) recipe for banana bread, preferably with no nuts, would you please email me (iliketocook AT shaw DOT ca), or leave something in the comments?

I'll love you forever!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I brined a pork tenderloin, and I liked it.

We bought a huge pack of pork tenderloin from Costo last month, and I wrapped each of the 5 'loins in plastic wrap and froze them. I thawed one to cook on Saturday but hadn't thought of what to actually do with it, so we made something else for dinner that night and I pulled out some cookbooks to see what I could find. Not surprisingly, I found a nice sounding recipe in Bruce Aidells' Complete Book of Pork. The recipe called for brining and grilling the tenderloin, and at the end of the recipe, there was a note about butterflying the tenderloin to lessen the time needed for brining and grilling. We out of the house longer than we'd intended on Sunday, so butterflying the tenderloin was a perfect solution. The brine - soy sauce, ginger, orange zest, orange juice, salt, sugar, and Chinese 5 spice - soaked through that pork in about 3 hours. Once it was removed from the brine and blotted off with paper towel, I rubbed it with a dry rub - paprika, more 5 spice, brown sugar, and salt. It grilled up quickly, and had a great color and crust from the brine and rub.


So good! The orange was a strong flavor, but not overpowering. It was juicy and tender, and very excellent with a side of stir fried bell peppers.

I'm trying to get back in the habit of writing out a menu plan for the week, or even just for the few days ahead. I've been very unorganized in the kitchen lately, and have had to toss out more leftovers/moldy produce than I'd like. Which is why this week there was no farmers market post! I went to both markets this week - the Wednesday day market downtown and the Saturday market, and kept my hands in my pockets.

There will hopefully be a little less food to chop up for the worms this week (who seem to be all or mostly all still alive!). And I'll be able to start fresh next Saturday at the market, with more room in the fridge.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Sunday

Firstly, residents and visitors to Kamloops - the best hash browns in the city are to be found at Scotts Restaurant downtown. Oh my. That is really all I can say. A nice portion with a crispy crunchy crust on the bottom. Nothing that you could recreate at home with a non stick pan, that's for sure. Scott is in love with the place and I can't blame him. Cheap too. Breakfast for the 2 of us was under $15.

After our tasty breakfast yesterday and a couple more errands we went to Value Village so Scott could look for a storage box. He didn't find anything, but I found these great wooden salad bowls, 4 for $2.99.

Salad for dinner tonight!

On the way home we stopped at Chapters to check out their book sale.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Presto Pasta - Thai-ish Beef and Broccoli Noodles

I've really been craving Asian food lately - rice, noodles. I found a recipe to try the other night, but much like my last pasta dish for Ruth's Presto Pasta Night I struck out when I went to the grocery store for ingredients. I couldn't find the right noodles, the right sauce ingredients. By the time I was done, what I ended up with had little in common with the recipe I started out with. It's still a work in progress, but I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far.

Thai-ish Beef and Broccoli Noodles

serves 4

200g lean beef, cut into thin strips
2 tb oil
1/4 lb wun tun noodles (or noodles of your choice)
400 g broccoli, chopped into smallish bite sized pieces
1 tb (or to taste) black bean garlic sauce
1 tb oyster sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup water

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the beef, and cook until the meat is about half cooked. Add the broccoli, black bean sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir the cornstarch into the water. Add to the pan, and cook until the sauce is thickened, and the broccoli is tender crisp. While the beef is cooking, cook the noodles, drain, and place on your serving dish. When the broccoli is ready, pour the beef and broccoli mixture over the noodles. Serve straight away.

Gay from A Scientist in the Kitchen is hosting Presto Pasta this week. Check with her for the round up on Friday!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Lighter Eggs Benedict

I tried out this recipe last weekend as a healthier "decadent" weekend breakfast.

The last recipe I tried from the Podleski sisters didn't turn out so well. But I have a weakness for Eggs Benny, so I gave it a try. The sauce is made with mayo and sour cream (both low fat) and lemon juice and mustard, instead of butter and egg yolks. You are not going to fool anyone into thinking this is a "real" benny, but it's pretty good. The mustard and lemon juice give it a nice tang, and of course the sour cream and mayo make it creamy. Scott liked this more than I thought he would, although he would still choose a "real one" over this every time.


"Benaddicted to Eggs"
from Crazy Plates by Janet and Great Podleski

serves 4

8 slices back bacon (Canadian bacon)
4 eggs
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise (I used fat free)
1/4 cup low fat sour cream (I used fat free)
1 tb honey mustard
1 tb lemon juice
pinch salt
pinch cayenne pepper
2 english muffins, split and toasted

Lightly brown bacon on both sides. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Cook your eggs (poached for real Eggs Benedict, although I only like scrambled). While your eggs are cooking, whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, and lemon juice in a small pan. Season with salt and cayenne pepper. Heat over low heat until warm. Do not let the mixture boil. Place 1 muffin half on each plate. Top with 2 pieces of back bacon each. Place one egg on top, then top with the sauce. Serve straight away.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday/Thursday

Last night I made something for dinner that I wanted to make for years and years but at the same time has scared me - Watermelon and Feta salad.

I pared down Nigella Lawson's recipe a little - cubes of watermelon, smaller cubes of feta, chopped black olives from the deli, and thinly sliced red onion marinated for 15 or 20 minutes in fresh lime juice.

It was great, of course. Really great. Sweet, salty and rich. And fast. I can see myself making this a lot over the summer.

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Tonight for dinner we stopped by the Wok Box, which opened a week or so ago. We took our order of coconut shrimp, wontons, and a Mongolian stirfry to go. I have become a fan of coconut shrimp, and these were pretty darn good, especially for take out. The sauce - "spicy coconut curry" was pretty bland and not that interesting. The wontons were fine, but their sauce - "spicy chile garlic" was atomically hot. Too hot. The stir fry was alright, but there was wayyyyyy more rice than veggies and tofu. The tofu was weird; chewy and stiff. Fortunately there wasn't much of it. The menu lists snow peas, celery, carrots, broccoli, water chestnuts and baby corn as the veggies in that particular stir fry. There were maybe 3 snow pea pods, no celery, no water chestnuts, and one small piece of baby corn. It was all carrot. Which was ok. The sauce was nice, and the dish filled us up. I'll go back one or two more times at least, and hopefully it will get a little better as time goes by.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Weekend Cookbook Challenge Roundup

Greek Salad from Lisa at An Apron A Day.

Thanks to my friend Mike for hosting the Weekend Cookbook Challenge in July. His roundup is here, please go read about all sorts of tasty salads.

July's challenge is being hosted by WCC regular Michelle from Je Mange la Ville, and she has chosen
Farmers Markets

as her theme.

Please get your posts to her by July 27. Michelle's email address is mlb AT jammed DOT com.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008