Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cookin' with Coolio

Life is a beautiful wonderful thing, and you know, it's just too short to be taken seriously all the time. Some days, most days having fun and laughing is the best thing you can do. In the kitchen too.

So last month when asked if I would like to receive a copy of Coolio's new cookbook Cookin' with Coolio, my answer was absolutely HELL YES! If the idea of Coolio writing a cookbook seems rather bizarre to you, it's actually really not. Coolio's got his own cooking series on the internets - it's very funny and inventive. He knows food and his recipes are very fun.

The timing of receiving this cookbook wasn't great for me as I am only possibly days away from giving birth and am on limited movement by the doctor. But I have read this cookbook cover to cover, laughing and drooling all the way.

The recipes are all straightforward with clear, sometimes hysterical directions. This is the food that Coolio cooks for his friends and family and the writing reflects the fun he has in the kitchen. There is no dry or boring reading here. An example from his recipe for Strawberry Fields Banana Muffins Forever (from the chapter Sweet Treats For That Sweet Ass):
"You might think that muffins are for women, but listen to me, motherfucker, muffins are for everybody!"
or from the recipe for Crybaby Chicken (from the Pimpin' The Poultry chapter):
"...it's so flavorful, it'll make you grow extra tongues. If you can't take the heat, you shouldn't be in the kitchen in the first damn place."
I've marked up most of the recipes in the book to try, and last night we made the Steak Fatricia.
A delicious stir fry/fajita, your steak and veggies are cooked with lime juice, cilantro and a ton of garlic. Fold in a tortilla with some sour cream and hot sauce for a crazy delicious and fast meal.

I absolutely love this cookbook and recommend that anyone who likes to laugh in the kitchen should take a look. This book is pure fun and great food.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mighty Life List

One of my daily stops on the internet is Maggie Mason's Mighty Girl. Maggie wrote her Mighty Life List - a list of 100 things she hopes to do before her life is over. Back in June she announced that a sponsor had offered to help her cross off 10 things from her list, and she spent the summer doing amazing things - visiting Greece, organized a food fight, and taking tap lessons, among others. Her list, her experiences and her joy of learning and trying new things inspired me to write down my own list. This year I crossed two major things off my life list I kept in my head. In May we went to Alaska and right now I'm sitting here with my feet up on doctors orders as we wait for our baby to arrive.

Here's my Mighty Life List, in no order:


1 Buy a camper and go camping

2 Place flowers at the memorial statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn in Austin, Texas

3 See a Cirque du Soliel show

4 Visit every Province and Territory in Canada

5 Learn to play the drums

6 Have a chocolate tasting

7 Participate (as in run) in a Terry Fox Run

8 Meet in person some food bloggers I "know"

9 Make a Mythic Pasta Dome, from scratch, a la Big Night

10 Go to Churchill and see the polar bears

11 Make a pie with fruit from our garden

12 Learn to make aspic salad for Scott

13 Make at least one new recipe a week


15 Go to Memphis for barbecue

16 Make a sock monkey

17 Go away somewhere warm for Christmas and New Years

18 Make really good sushi at home

19 Visit Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian

20 See the Great Wall of China

21 Eat at the French Laundry

22 Learn to speak another language

23 Make homemade ice cream and eat it in the backyard on a hot summer day

24 Learn to take better photos

25 Sew a shirt or skirt or pair of pants with my sewing machine

26 Become once again the organized person I used to be

27 Go houseboating

28 Pay off our mortgage early

29 Cook at least 10 recipes out of every cookbook I own

30 Travel on a train

31 Do the very best job I can as a parent

32 Make cheese

33 Replace the art prints we have up in the house with all original art - paintings and photos

34 Visit Spain

35 Fly a kite successfully

36 See the Northern Lights

37 See Niagara Falls

38 Learn how to tell the doneness of a steak with the "touch" method, rather than my "guess" method

39 Make a pavlova

40 Deep fry a turkey

41 Try Absinthe

42 Watch the sunrise from a beach

43 Fly First Class on a long (or longish) flight

44 Take a photo of the baby everyday and post online for family and friends to see (don't worry, not here on my blog!)

45 Be able to recognize more constellations that the Big and Little Dipper

46 Go on a weekend (or longer) trip where Scott could fish all day/to his hearts content

47 Enter some baking into a fall fair

48 Make Turkish Delight

49 Buy and learn how to use a photo editing program to make our photos look better

50 Take a cooking class and learn something really great

51 Take a trip down the Pacific Highway with Scott and our family, like I did with my parents when I was young

52 Visit New Orleans

53 Go to Las Vegas, get dressed up, have a fancy dinner, then play a few hands of blackjack while sipping cocktails

54 Be able to donate regularly to worthy causes

55 Live more "Green"

56 Set off fireworks on a beach

57 Forgive and forget

58 Take part in a parade

59 Stick my toe in the Atlantic Ocean

60 Visit Italy

61 Take a cruise to a tropical destination

62 Learn to make towel animals

63 Complete at least 5 craft tutorials

64 Have a day at a spa

65 Go to the Columbia Icefield

66 Have a family portrait taken

67 Try snowshoeing

68 Drive a boat

69 Go on a trip with no predetermined destination

70 Hire a cleaning company to come to the house once a month

71 Have a little black dress or outfit (that I look good in) for dinners or parties

72 Be able to do 20 regular push ups without stopping

73 Decorate a cake with fondant

74 Visit Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

75 Have a header designed for my blog

76 Spend a weekend in a cabin with no tv, phone or internet

77 Add the baby to the family tattoo on my arm

78 Volunteer at a mission or church kitchen to serve a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal

79 Try glass blowing

80 Have a margarita tasting

81 Make a piece of jewelery (that I would wear in public)

82 Catch (and release!) a fish

83 Go to the Richmond Night Market

84 Read these 10 classic novels

85 Have a movie marathon night and cook food inspired by the movies

86 Take photos in the park with a big bunch (20 or more) of helium balloons as a prop

87 Eat at one of Bobby Flay's restaurant

88 Visit all 5 Great Lakes

89 Go to Oktoberfest in Kitchener

90 Learn to juggle

91 Rent a convertible somewhere warm and drive with the top down

92 Learn an old fashioned card game and have a card night

93 See some of the original paintings of the Group of Seven

94 Stay in a fancy hotel suite for one night

95 See the Bay of Fundy

96 Open a coffee shop/bakery

97 Pay for the groceries of the person behind me in line

98 Take a Tai Chi class

99 Make Spam Musabi

100 Shave my head to raise money for charity

101 Take the Mondo Beyondo class

102 Have a bonfire on the beach

103 Make paper

104 Take a Belly Dance class

105 Start a charitable foundation

106 Make a handmade toy for Paxton

107 Get in shape

108 Try 1 new food a week for 10 weeks (each year)
Dandelion Greens / Lotus Root/ Kalamansi/Sticky Rice Ball

109 Learn to knit

110 Make 50 things out of paper

What's on yours?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The meatballs cook in the sauce!

The first week of my maternity leave is over and it wasn't quite as productive as I'd hoped. I'd made plans to get some stuff done before the baby arrives but due to issues with my blood pressure, I've been ordered to severely restrict my activities, and have pretty much been doing jack squat since Wednesday. There's been a lot of fidgeting, staring out the window, and watching a hell of a lot of food shows.

Yesterday morning I saw an old episode of Nigella Bites where on a rainy day she made pasta, meatballs and sauce from scratch. After my doctor appointment we stopped at the store and picked up what we needed for the meatballs and sauce.

I used the 2 recipes as guidelines instead of following them to the letter. The thing I most wanted from her recipe was that the meatballs are cooked in the sauce, rather than being fried or baked first. I love meatballs but hate making them at home. Cooking them right in the sauce makes so much sense. And by making the meatballs small, they cook fast.


I used a large can of roma tomatos and a small can of fire roasted tomatos in place of the passata in the recipe. I whizzed the sauce smooth before adding the milk and meatballs for the final cooking.


Both the sauce and meatballs were delicious and dinner was ready in just over 30 minutes. Also great about this recipe - I figure I spent under $8 to make the sauce and meatballs, and got enough for 3 meals for the 2 of us.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bread Baking Babes - Brioche Mousseline

November's Bread Baking Babe bread is brought to us by Monique, of Living on bread and water. She's chosen a Brioche Mousseline from the The Breads of France, by Bernard Clayton Jr. The twist to this bread is that it is baked in a tin can (soup, tomato, coffee), instead of a bread tin. Crazy!

This dough, and please go visit Monique for the recipe, requires some time, like a day. I split the recipe over 2 days, leaving the dough in the fridge overnight and then giving it some extra rise and recovery time the next night before baking. I've never made a dough before with so much butter and eggs. The dough was the most lovely yellow color, and was so silky and smooth. It was a gorgeous dough to work with.

A week or so before I made the bread a discussion popped up on the Babes private blog. Some of the bakers were wondering if tins lined with that white material would be safe to bake in. Some Babe Google work showed that it would be safer to stay away from those lined tins. Well guess what? Apparently ALL the tinned food we have in our pantry contains the white lining. We opened 5 cans of food on bread baking night - soup, tomatos, olives, fruit - and were blocked. We had to go with a regular bread tin for baking. On the plus side I made a terrific tomato-olive pasta sauce that's now sitting in the freezer.

If you've already visited some of the other Babes, you'll see that this dough rises incredibly high. I hoped that ours would as well, even though it was being baked in a regular tin, so we surrounded the tin with a parchment/foil cover.

The bread went in the oven....

And came out a regular sized loaf!

Oh well. I have to tell you that looks don't matter very much. The brioche was still a very nice loaf of bread.

Scott had some toasted every morning until the loaf was gone. We also used some for grilled cheese sandwiches one night, and oh baby, were they good.

Please turn to the right and visit the other Babes to see their sky high breads.

Cheers!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

Apples

Last Saturday (the 31st) was the last Farmers Market until the spring. What a bummer. We went down to pick up apples and potatos. There was a lovely couple selling apples there this year - many varieties and good prices. I will miss them this winter.



Last week Mary wrote about memories and the smells of certain foods. For me, the smell of cinnamon always reminds me of the applesauce my Mom would make in the crockpot when I was little. It was sweet and spicy and chunky, and I've never been able to make an applesauce that has come close to it.

This one is close though, from the Cookin' Canuck who shared her secret family recipe for crockpot applesauce. Scott, who I've never seen eat applesauce before, ate this every day for a week. If you like applesauce, try her recipe.


When I'd sorted out the apples - a pile to be turned into applesauce, some to be juiced, another pile for eating straight up - I set aside some to try out a recipe that I've had my eye on for a couple of years, Scandinavian Apple Soup.

This was interesting, not what I was expecting, but quite nice. The aroma of apples and onions took me by surprise but it's a warm comforting soup. Recipe here.

Happy Monday!