Thursday, September 30, 2021

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Chrissy Teigen's Pad Thai Carbonara

 When I got the cookbook Cravings 2 a couple of years ago, the first recipe I wanted to try was the Pad Thai Carbonara, but I was sure my picky family would hate it, so I didn't make it.

And then when I cooked from it for Cookbook Cleanup, again I didn't make the Carbonara, even though I really wanted to.

And then I was just like, screw it!  I want to try this!  So I made it, and I loved it.

Humongous shocker - the kids refused to eat it, but The Mister and I quite enjoyed it.

If you look closely at the picture you can see the sauce is not too smooth - I think my heat was too high and I cooked the sauce a bit too long - I am paranoid about making sure raw eggs in sauces are fully cooked, even though I will eat handfuls of raw cookie dough that contains egg when I make cookies.  I can't explain it. 

Recipe from the internet - pad thai carbonara

Sunday, September 26, 2021

snapshot - beautiful sunrise

 I took these last week when I was taking the garbage out.  xo

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Monday, September 20, 2021

garden update

 If you have been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for another garden update post, this is for you, bestie.  <3

Since my only other garden post this year at the beginning of July, the tomatos grew nicely.  This area is all cherry tomato plants, and then we have one roma tomato plant in a pot.  We have been very lucky and had a ton of cherry tomatos this year!  Probably our best tomato crop ever.

The potatos did ok..... I sort of expected more.  I think we need to add more dirt to this bed next year and make it deeper.  I forgot to weigh the tater haul, but we probably made our money back in what we paid for the bag of organic seed potatots that we planted.

Potatos above, potato plants before the kids ripped them up below.

The Mister planted some sweet peas for me.  When I was a kid my mom always planted a ton of these in our backyard, and when I was in grades 3 and 4 she would cut little bouquets for me to take to my teachers.  I'm sure that made me look like a sucky kid, but whatever!  Sweet peas make me think of my mom.

Here's what we harvested that day.  Lets see, what else  - the rhubarb went hard early in the season and then dramatically died off.  I know rhubarb is an early harvest, but our evil plant usually keeps giving and giving much longer than this year. I'm sure the heat and smoke did it no favors.  The blueberry plant only ever produced a couple of handfuls of berries, but it is new, so maybe that was to be expected.  The kale did not grow.  The zucchini did not grow.  We do have some pepper plants in a planter box with small peppers on them, maybe as long as your thumb?  I wanted to give them more time to grow, but it's getting cold at night, so we might pick them soon.  The lettuce bolted early.  We did get 2 small cucumbers that were pretty tasty.  The herbs were pretty stunted.  I'm sure it's mostly due to the terrible heat and fires we had this summer, but I think we will have to add some new dirt and fertilizer next year to try to boost things.  Maybe this winter I will become obsessed with garden tik toks to fill my time.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Thursday, September 16, 2021

cookbook cleanup 27 - Fraiche Food


It makes me uncomfortable to write about cookbooks I don't like.  I can't even imagine how hard it is, how much work, goes into writing a cookbook.  These things take years and a lot of effort.  And really, who am I to judge?  So I'm going to be quick.  Backstory - I ordered this book last summer on a day when I was feeling very down and very very sorry for myself, and for some reason I thought this would make me feel better; snap me out of my funk and cure all my problems.  It did not.  But!  That isn't the books fault.  I'm just not the target audience for this book.  I'm not sure who is, but it isn't me.  This book has a very strong chilling with your girls and getting cocktails at the popular BC chain restaurants vibe.  This book is white, in that so many of the photos seem overexposed and light that it hurt my eyes to look at them, and they made the book seem bland to me.  The food seems fine, but there wasn't much I was interested in trying.  I made a couple of things - some cookies, banana bread.  They were fine.    

So this book has moved on and off my shelf and  I hope it finds a home where it can be appreciated. 

Cookbook Cleanup results so far - Back on the bookshelf - 14  Donated -13

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

spotted signs - Riverside Park

 Under the pier, August 2021

Friday, September 10, 2021

how to cook dumplings

 When we lived in Calgary, we would occasionally go to a restaurant in Chinatown that had THE BEST dumplings.  They were tender on top and super crisp on the bottom and were served with a few sauces, and they were just the best thing to eat for any occasion.

For years I've been cooking dumplings at home and while they are always good, I could never get them to come out with the same soft on top and crisp on the bottom texture that I remembered from the Calgary dumplings so many years ago.

Recently I was watching Ye Ole Tickey-Toks and  BOOM!  Right there was a video on how to make the perfect dumplings; the dumplings of my dreams.

Go visit Eastswithvan on Tik Tok to see her video, but the basic instruction is - don't mess around with them in the pan.  

I always just dumped them in the pan with some oil, and then tossed and moved them around a bunch before I threw in some water for steaming.  Wrong wrong wrong.  Get them in the pan and then leave them alone!  Who knew.  Probably lots of people, but not me.

Here's what I learned - 

Put a bit of oil in the non stick pan.  Heat it over medium heat.  Put your dumplings in the pan, flat bottom side down.  Fan them, very close to each other, in a circle.  Cook, not touching the dumplings, but maybe rotating the pan on the burner if you have a stupid stove where the burners heat unevenly, like we do.  Cook them for 5 minutes, making sure they don't get too brown.  Add "some" water, and cover and steam for 5 more minutes.  Remove the lid and if there is still water in the pan, keep cooking, again making sure the bottoms aren't getting too brown, until nearly all the water has evaporated.  

Remember to watch your heat, you don't want your dumplings getting too brown and crisp too quickly.

Now this part I'm still working on as I've only done this twice!  You mix some more water and a spoon (?) of flour.  Whisk together and pour around the dumplings.  Then you cook THIS another 5 minutes until the slurry and the dumplings are nice and browned and crisp on the bottom.  Try, if you can, to loosen the edges with a spatula and then flip the whole thing over onto a plate so the bottom is now the top.  Like this.


They could have been a little browner, but I was nervous.

The second time I made them I did get them a bit browner but my flipping game was NOT on point and they didn't come out in one layer.  But they still tasted delicious.

I put out the Saigon dipping sauce, some chile garlic sauce, and soy sauce as choices for dipping sauces, and then I tried to make a dipping sauce but it didn't taste very good.

ALSO, between Dumplings 1 and Dumplings 2 I bought a bottle of red vinegar (not red wine vinegar) for dipping and oh boy.  So good.

Go check out Eatswithvan for the BEST way to cook dumplings.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Saturday, September 04, 2021

sweet and sour pork

There is no parenting task that brings me less joy than cooking for my kids.

They are terrible, miserable little beasts that dislike pretty much everything I cook.  
Sometimes the complaining starts in the kitchen when they come in to see what I'm making.  
Sometimes it's when the plates hit the tables that the faces and the "What is THAT"  "I'm not eating it!" start.
Occasionally they will have a few bites, tell me how good it is, and then when I'm relaxed and smiling they do a 180 and declare they don't really like it after all, it's pretty gross.
I wasn't sure how this one would go over since there is no reasoning behind what they like and/or dislike but - they liked it!  And honestly I would have thought they were even more insane than usual if they hadn't like this.  So good.
I made 1 1/2 times the sauce since I like things saucy.  This is a good, easy dish to make that hopefully everyone in your house will enjoy.