Friday, September 30, 2005

The 23/5 Meme

I have been tagged by both Punky from Busy Nights Real Food AND the wonderfully named Sarah Lou at One Whole Clove for the 23/5 meme.

1. Delve into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post (or close to it).
3. Find the 5th sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog, with these instructions. Ponder it for meaning, subtext and hidden agenda.
5. Tag 5 people to do the same.

My 23rd post was written last September. It is for a Shrimp dip that Scott's family makes for special occasions. The 5th line is:


Um, I don't think I will be able to find any meaning, subtext, or agenda in that. That whole post was simply the recipe for the dip.

Let's go back to my 20th post. The fifth sentence:

Please help my deepest birthday wish become a reality.

Now that's more like it. This post was written shortly before my birthday. I had just discovered that Anthony Bourdain's cookbook Les Halles had been released early. I desperately wanted it and hoped that Scott or someone in my family would buy it for me for my birthday. I have an unholy crush on the man, and NEEDED have this book. I did receive the book for my birthday and read it over and over again. Have I cooked anything out of it? That is a different story. I smell an upcoming Weekend Cookbook Challenge!

I know tons of people have had this meme already. So please forgive me if you have already been tagged. I'll tag Kitchen Hand at What I Cooked Last Night, Alicat at Something So Clever, Liz at Truffle Mutt and Linda at Kayak Soup.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

BBQ Ribs

We bought some pork ribs to bbq. We took some ideas from an old episode of Good Eats. After removing the membrane from the back of the ribs, we made a rub of brown sugar, salt, onion and garlic powders, chili flakes and Old Bay. We rubbed it on the ribs and made an envelope out of aluminum foil. We added some beer, sealed it up and cooked it in the oven at 300' for 1 hour. Then we took the ribs to the bbq and finished them off with some sauce.

The result:

Monday, September 26, 2005

Curry Picture

Not the best picture, but the best I can do! Here's my Thai Tofu over Red Curry Sauce with Coconut Rice that I made for IMBB. Post and recipe below!

IMBB #19 - I can't believe I ate vegan!

When we first started dating I took Scott to a vegan restaurant. He hated it. He hated the "fake meat" texture and taste. I secretly thought that he only hated it because he knew what it was. Or wasn't. Over the years I have successfully fed him tofu and soy protein and not told him what it was. That seems to work best.

One of my favorite foods is a curry. Scott likes all kinds of curry, especially chicken. So I figured it would be easy to fool him with a vegan curry I decided to cook to enter IMBB #19 hosted by Sam from Becks&Posh.

I picked this recipe partly because of the name of the dish, and also for the first lines in the recipe; "Even if tofu turns you off, try this dish. The flavors will win you over."

Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce over Coconut-Scallion Rice

This recipe was an all-around winner. It was easy to make, fairly quick, and the aroma and taste were amazing. And Scott's reaction? I was truly surprised how much he loved it, especially after he realized he was eating tofu. Too often meatless meals, especially ones with tofu are looked down on. This is one of the best meals we have had in recent memory, vegan or otherwise.

I made a few changes to the recipe when I made it. The only other change I will make next time I cook this is to ease up on the chile sauce a little. I found this just a bit too spicy for my liking.

Thai Tofu with Red Curry Sauce over Coconut-Scallion Rice
Adapted from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons.

I took some pictures of this dish as it was ridiculously good looking. Sadly, my camera is holding them hostage. If I ever get them I may post them separately.

1 1/2 tsp grated lime rind
1 1/4 cups (10 oz) coconut milk
2 3/4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups jasmine, basmati or regular long grain rice
2/3 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp salt
3 tb oil plus 1 tb oil
3 tb hot chile sauce
1 pkg firm tofu, cubed
4 cups broccoli, in small pieces
1 cup green onions

Bring the coconut milk, water and first amount of salt to the boil. Add the rice, stir and cover. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and cook for 25 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, combine the lime rind, cilantro, garlic and peanuts. Blend to a paste. With the machine running add the 3 tb oil. Mix to combine, add the chile sauce and mix again. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil over high heat in a non stick skillet. Add tofu and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan, add the broccoli and 1 cup of water. Cover and steam for 3 minutes. Stir in the sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add the tofu and toss.

Mix the green onions into the rice. Mound the rice on plates and top with the curry. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.

Tagged with: +

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Saturday night dinner - caesar salad

Caesar salad.

This one is from my mom.

1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp hot mustard
1 tsp worcestershire
2 drops tabasco
2 egg yolks

Blend above together. Add:

4 tb red wine vinegar
4 tb oil

Makes enough dressing for at least 6 servings. Add cheese, bacon bits, croutons etc to lettuce and dressing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Martha's Apprentice

So The Apprentice, Martha Stewart is on right now.

Matchstick - great name. Primarius - not so much.

I am already not liking Dawn. Jim can get out NOW. What a jackass. I went back and forth between liking him and feeling iffy about him. It's now the boardroom, and I officially hate him. Poor Jeff. I think he is being unfairly picked on.

And Martha! I liked the beginning. I also like her in the boardroom. Not as pompous and idiotic as "The Donald". Not crazy about the theme song.

Who's going to get kicked off? And what will Martha's line be? I really hope it isn't "You don't fit in" like I heard it might be.


Oh, Martha. Wrong move. How could you get rid of Jeff? And use that stupid line!

God I hate Jim and Dawn.

Martha so sweet, writing Jeff a note.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Weekend Cookbook Challenge #2 Silvana's Velvet Cauliflower Soup

The recipe for the WCC #2 comes from "The Best" by Paul Merrett, Silvana Franco and Ben O'Donoghue. I loved this show when it was on the Food channel. 3 cooks/chefs competing against each other to cook the best dish in different categories. This was a dish cooked for their "Best Summer Soup" competition.

Instead of picking a cookbook first and then a recipe, this week I picked the ingredient first. I bought the world's biggest head of cauliflower yesterday at Millarville. It weighed just under 5 pounds and cost $3.00.

We really enjoyed this soup. I think I went a little too heavy on the cauliflower. The recipe just calls for a large head. I used 1/2 of the gigantic head and it was a bit too much. We also added a couple of handfuls of sharp cheese for Scott, since this wasn't a cauliflower cheese soup. The croutons were yummy too. Thanks to Scott for the great picture of the bowl of soup!

Silvana's Velvet Cauliflower Soup
adapted from The Best, recipe by Silvana Franco.

750 ml milk
2 garlic cloves
1 bunch green onions
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 large head cauliflower
2 tb olive oil
2 tb grated parmesan cheese
1/2 small ciabatta loaf
100 g pancetta, cubed
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400'. Pour the milk into a pot. Roughly chop the garlic and add to milk. Finely chop the white part of the bunch of green onions and add to the pot. Add the cumin and tumeric and salt and pepper. Break up the cauliflower into small florets and add to the pot. Bring to the boil and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.

Meanwhile, toss the oil, parmesan cheese and some pepper in a bowl. Cube the bread and coat with the cheese. Spread out the cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp and brown.

Dice the pancetta and fry over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towel and set aside.

Finely slice the remainder of the green onions.

Puree the soup, either in a food processor or with a hand blender. Check the seasonings. Ladle into bowls and top with the green onions, croutons and pancetta.

Friday, September 16, 2005

SHF #12 - Cooking up custard (Or, I baked a pie for my boss!)

I always miss these great food events like Sugar High Friday, Paper Chef, and Is My Blog Burning. I either forget to watch for them, or forget to participate. So I was determined to enter SHF#12. One problem - I don't like custard. At all. But! There is someone who does. Someone who every Friday asks me to keep an eye out for Flapper Pie if I happen to go to a farmers market.

It turns out that Flapper Pie is made with custard. And the lover of said pie? My boss. What better way to stay on his good side than to make his very favorite pie?

Flapper pie is basically a custard pie topped with meringue. I tried to do some research and come up with some interesting facts, but all I really found out is that this pie dates back to the 1800's. It originated in Eastern Canada, but it was westerners that gave it the name. Why call it Flapper Pie? Who knows?

Not only was this my first time making custard from scratch, it was also my first time making meringue too! Wooooo!

Finished custard cooling on the stove. Ignore the yellowness. I can't work my camera at the moment. I had a couple of scary moments with the custard; trying to simultaneously whisk, add the eggs and keep the temperature low was a little tricky. But it seemed to be fine.

Custard in graham crumb crust. The crust smelled very nice from the addition of the cinnamon.

The pie, topped with meringue and crumbs and baked. If you look really hard you can see the meringue is browned in spots.

The pie was very easy to make. I was pleasantly surprised; I had always assumed that custards were tricky and finicky. But it really wasn't. It had a nice flavor to it too. I think I may have to re-think my anti-custard position.

And the verdict from my boss?
He LOVED it. He said he hadn't had a Flapper pie in years and it was just as good as he remembered. Isn't he a nice boss? Well, maybe not so much. He didn't share! With any of us! He took the whole pie home to eat himself. Who does that?

Flapper Pie
recipe by Floramaria Deter

1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar
3 Tb cornstarch
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tb sugar

Combine all ingredients for crust and mix. Set 1/4 cup aside. Press the rest into the bottom and sides of a 9" pie plate. Bake at 375' for 8 minutes and cool.**SEE NOTE

For filling: Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a pot, add the milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a boil. Mix a ladleful into the egg yolks, and then add the yolks to the pot, whisking. Cook for 2 minutes until thickened. Add the vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly. Pour into crust.

Meringue: Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat to stiff peaks. Spread over the filling, sealing around the edges. Top with reserved crumbs. Bake in a 400' oven for 5-9 minutes until top is lightly browned in spots.

Cool to room temperature.

**NOTE: I think this recipe is way too heavy on the crust. I only used enough of the crumb mixture to cover the sides and bottom and discarded the rest.

Monday, September 12, 2005

WCC #1 - Havana Sandwiches

This the THE sandwich. They are very good and very big - I didn't even finish half of mine. It is so good you'll want to kiss the cook. Scott says to think about adding some cheese - like mozza or gouda. That is what he's doing next time we have these.

Havana Sandwiches
adapted from Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons

1 loaf of bread, like a french loaf
1 onion, sliced
1 orange or red pepper, sliced
1 garlic clove minced
1 canned chipolte pepper with adobo sauce
1/4 cup mayo
1 tomato sliced

Cut two thick sections of bread from the loaf. We used about 3/4 of a loaf of bread for 2 sandwiches. Split horizontally. Put a cutting board on top of the bread and weigh down with some cans. Leave until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.

Heat 1 tb oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onions and peppers until soft, about 15 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, chop the chipolte and mix with the mayo and garlic.

Remove the weights from the bread. Spread all pieces of bread with the mayo. Top on half of each sandwich with the peppers mixture, and top that with the tomatos. Top with the remaining bread.

In the same skillet, heat another tb of oil. Add the sandwiches and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.

Weekend Cookbook Challenge

For months I have been working on a blog entry that lists all the cookbooks I own. I have redone it over and over. I am working on it again and almost have it done. One thing I noticed is that even though I have these books at my fingers, I rarely use most of them. Some of them I have never cooked out of. It's time to change that. So I am starting my Weekend Cookbook Challenge (or WCC for short). Ever weekend I'll pick one of my cookbooks and randomly or not, depending on my mood, choose a recipe to cook.
It's just that simple.

First entry will be up shortly.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Palace of Eats

We had lunch on Saturday at the wonderful Palace of Eats.

One of these times I'll remember to bring my camera. The restaurant and staff are so great and the sandwiches are HUGE!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Giada Watch

Those guys at TVgasm are so funny.

See for yourself!

Saturday night dinner - crab cakes

This is a recipe my mom gave me. It is adapted from a recipe from Canadian Living magazine.

Crab cakes with chipolte mayo.

Sobeys sells a top-quality brand of crab removed from the shell, picked over etc. There is enough crab in the bag for 2 recipes of this, or 1 crab cake recipe and something else yummy.

200 g crab, cleaned and picked
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup diced yellow or orange pepper
1/4 cup chopped green or red onion
1 egg
2 tb bread crumbs, plus more for dredging
oil for frying

1 or 2 canned chipolte peppers (depending on how spicy you want it) with adobo sauce
1/2 cup fat free mayo
dash worcestershire

To make mayo: finely dice chipoltes. Mix all ingrediants together.

To make crab cakes: Squeeze as much liquid as possible from crab. Add the peppers, onion, egg and bread crumbs. Add 3 tb of the chipolte mayo and mix together. Form into patties and lightly bread in the extra crumbs.

Fry over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Serve with mayo and lemon.

Saturday night dinner - bread sticks with prosciutto

We had a big dinner. No pictures, but here are the recipes.

Bread sticks with prosciutto

Bread sticks

I saw this pictured in a newspaper. All it is is prosciutto wrapped around breadsticks. We couldn't find any breadsticks when we were shopping, and didn't have time to go to another grocery store, so what I did was buy a tube of pillsbury bread sticks and I cut each piece of dough in half length wise. I baked them for a little longer at a little higher heat to make sure they were crisp.

They were very good, but they should be put together immediately before you eat them. I wrapped the sticks about 20 minutes before I put them out, and the bread sticks had started to soften from the ham.

But they were tasty and popular.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Bad - Mac and cheese with bacon, truffle oil and orange essence. Good - Orzo with ham and goat cheese.

So lets say that you are out and about on Saturday and happen to stop in at The Cookbook Company, a store you love that sells great books, food and equipment. Let's say that they are selling frozen mac and cheese (in their packaging, they have made it) with bacon, truffle oil and orange essence. Your husband is so excited by the description and adds it to your basket.
We'll skip the part when you tried (unsuccessfully) to get baking instructions from the owner of the store. The mac and cheese goes home with you and Sunday night, very tired from a day of working in the yard, you throw it in the oven.
Wow. After a hard day's work, there is nothing like a big bowl of pasta that tastes like it has been soaked in orange juice.
This was beyond bad. This was inedible. The only thing you could taste was orange. The cheese (in the macaroni and cheese!) had no flavor. The bacon was made up of hard overcooked bits and fat. There was no hint of truffle. It was orange-flavored noodles.
Mmmmm...Sandwiches for dinner.
Next time you are in the mood for mac and cheese, try this recipe instead. It is quick and very tasty. AND you won't have wasted your precious gas to drive downtown to buy sludge!

From Gourmet magazine:

Orzo with Ham and Goat Cheese

1 lb orzo
1/2 lb ham, chopped (about 2 cups)
1/2 lb soft goat cheese crumbled
5 green onions

Cook orzo until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the water. Mix the orzo, ham, cheese, onions, salt and pepper to taste, and add the reserved water to your liking. Toss until the cheese is melted.

Serves 6.

** The magazine says to broil it until the top is golden, but we never do that.