Thursday, 30 August 2007

Goodbye Summer

I am welcoming Fall with arms wide open. To celebrate I made soup last night, and enjoyed every single minute of it! Of course since doing so the sun has come out, and it is 28C, but that is okay.

Normally I am not quite so welcoming of the season change, and I am sure once fall is officially here I will be regretting my early indoctrination of it. Of course to be honest my longing for colder weather is simply due to the my overwhelming desire to use my new cookbook, Great Soup, Empty Bowls. Did I mention that I was able to get a copy of it for only $5 at HomeSense, I really love that store. Because I wouldn't let myself make soup in too early, I have been reading it over and over again. Flagging all the ones that catch my eye, which is most of the book. I was even reading it in the ER last week, while I was waiting for my Hubby. I do believe they people there though I was a tad strange. Oh well!

Anyway this I was very impressed with first one and can't wait to try more of them.

Fresh corn chowder and roasted red pepper cream:
(Serves 4)

  • 4 cobs of corn
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and cubbed
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1 poblano pepper: roasted, peeled, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt
Start by cutting corn off of cobs. You should end up with approximately 2/5-3 cups. In soup pot, melt butter and cook onion and garlic until soft. Add potato, corn and milk. Bring to a simmer and semi-cover pot with lid cooking until potato is soft. Approximately 10 minutes.

Add whipping cream, poblano pepper, and season with salt. Return to a simmer. Stirring frequently, cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.

For the cream:
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 red pepper: roasted, peeled, seeded and pureed
Combine all ingredients for the cream. Add a dollop on top of soup and serve.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Menu Planning

The mission to use as much food from my pantry and freezer over the next few weeks as possible. Why you ask? Well we finally received a possession date for our new house, and I don't really want to move or possibly have to throughout that much food! See I have a bad habit of stock up on food when it is on sale, and freezing left overs a lot!

So the goal is to try and make our way through everything slowly. The good thing is it cuts down my grocery bill quite a bit!

Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Soup (homemade of course)
Thursday: Biryani (cheating on this one, it is from a box)
Friday: Night off
Saturday: Wedding
Sunday: Ham and potatoes - attempt number 2
Monday: Leftovers

Have a good week :)

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Vegetarian Night

In our quest to eat healthier, I like to have Vegetarian night. I aim for at least once a week, however it unfortunately doesn't always end up that often. Normally Hubby protests the night, and aways comments on 'how this would be really good if there was ground beef in it!'. I of course deny him, and we continue on our merry way :)

For this week's vegetarian installment I was able to combine with one of my favorite styles of cooking, Mexican! I adore the flavor of cumin, and the sort of smokey taste it bring to dishes. Of course it also gives me and excuse to use salsa when I am eating, my absolute favorite!

Vegetable Tostadas:

  • Tostada shells
  • 2 potatoes, peeled, cubbed and boiled
  • 3 gloves garlic minced
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 tomatoes diced
  • 4 oz green beans, blanched and cut into bite sized pieces
  • oregano
  • 1 can black beans
  • Feta cheese
  • 2-3 romaine lettuce leaves, shredded
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
Heat olive oil in skilled and add cooked potatoes, and brown. Add garlic, red pepper, chili powder, paprika and cumin. Cook 2-3 minutes until peppers soft.

Add tomatoes, green beans, oregano. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until tender. The mixture should be sauce like, and not to dry. If needed add some water. (I added around 1/2 cup).

Heat black beans in separate skillet with small amount of water. Keep warm, but don't let dry out.

To assemble tostadas: place tostada shell on plate, and layer black beans over bottom, sprinkle with crumbles feta. Spoon hot veggie mix on and top with few shreds of lettuce and green onion and serve at once.

This recipe is really yummy. If there is a desire to serve it in a non-vegetarian style, you could replace the black beans with ground beef easily, Enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Thai Green Chicken Curry

We love our curries in this house! For Hubby it is cooking he grew up with, so it reminds him of home, and for me I just love the flavors and heat found in the dishes. It is something I was only exposed to within the last few years, but instantly fell in love with. Getting used to the heat has taken some time though :)

Through my curry adventures what I have quickly come to realize is that I would prefer a north Indian plate over a south Indian one any day. The problem with that is my Mother-in-law is from south India, and traditionally makes that style of food. She is wonderful at it, and actually known throughout her community for her cooking! She makes the best biryani hands down and I could never dare to compete against it (well at least not if I valve my life). But, that being said I have retreated to my own kitchen and done quite a bit of my own cooking and experimenting with curries now that suit my taste. My secret, I actually prefer mine to hers any day now, including this Thai one, shhhhhhh! I am going to get is so much trouble if she finds out!

Thai Green Chicken Curry:
  • 2 chicken breasts cubbed
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 eggplant chopped
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and minced
  • 4 tbsp cilantro, minced
Green Chicken Curry

In large pan bring coconut milk to a boil. Add garlic, shallot, and chicken. Return to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until chicken no longer pink. Remove chicken with slotted spoon and place in bowl off to side (keep warm).

Stir in curry paste into pan. Add eggplant, and chilies. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Return chicken to pan and return to boil. Adjust seasoning to taste by adding salt and pepper. You may need to add a small amount of water of broth if sauce is to thick (I added about 1/2 cup). Stir in cilantro. Serve with rice.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Menu Planning

Okay, it has been a crazy day at work, and I almost didn't have time for this today. Good thing my Hubby is always late picking me up!!!

Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Thai green chili
Raspberry-Chipotle sauce with pork chops and roasted asparagus (I have never hear of raspberry-chipotle sauce before, but in the last week came across three different recipes for it so I just have to try it out!)
Friday: Night Off
Saturday: Vegetable Tostadas
Sunday: Hams, scallop potatoes and some random veggie to balance it out (For me this is comfort food and I just crave it everyone and awhile - Hubby hates it when I say 'Comfort Food', I tend to use that to describe lots I guess!)
Monday: Night off

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Guilty pleasures

For the most part, our house eats very healthy. We ate our veggies and have vegetarian nights, we try not to fry very often, we don't buy prepackaged foods, and I try to buy organic as much as I can afford too. Also we don't often have sweets in the house, and if we do they are homemade (so at least I have to burn calories to make least that is how I rationalize it). But of course every now and again, we get that urge for something that you know you shouldn't eat.

Ever since I read this post about fish and chips a few weeks back it is all I have been craving like you wouldn't believe. I added it to my menu planning a couple of times now and failed to produce. But I finally got around to my own version tonight! Of course I had to coordinate it with a gym day so I didn't feel too much guilt!

Beer battered Fish and Spicy Chips:

  • 1 lb tilapia (or white fish of choice)
  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for dredging
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 egg white
  • salt and pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • 4 large russet potatoes, cut into slices/wedges
  • cayenne pepper
  • Olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line baking sheet with silpat (if you don't have one don't worry, just watch that chips don't stick).

Arrange potatoes on sheet in single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and small amount of cayenne pepper (be careful not to add to much, but if you like it hot go for it!) Using hands toss to coat.

Bake in oven for approximately 45-60 minutes or until crisp, turning frequently.

In a skillet add oil, approximately 2 inches in depth, and heat.

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, dredge is flour and put aside.

Mix 1 cup flour, beer, salt and pepper. Put aside for 10 minutes. While waiting beat one egg white until peaks form. Gently fold into batter mixture.

Shake excess flour off of fish, and place into beer batter, coating well. Place in skillet with heated oil and fry until golden brown. Remove to paper towel lined plate.


Chili Tartar sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayanoise
  • 1 tbsp minced pickle
  • 1 tbsp minced onion
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chili sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with fried fish.


Friday, 17 August 2007

Serves me right!

I was trying to fight back against the fall like weather we have been having. I should have done the soup like I wanted and just conceded.

Hubby was going to BBQ, how much more summer-esk can you get. Well of course midway last night, as we were cooking the propane runs out! So we haul everything back inside and fire up the oven to broil the rest of our meal. Of course it still tasted wonderful, but it was just missing the hint of BBQ taste. Oh-well what can you do.

Greek Salad and Red wine vinaigrette:

  • 1 tomato chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber chopped into large pieces
  • Feta
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For vinaigrette combine in small bowl garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and red wine vinegar. Whisk well, and pour oil in as a slow stream, whisking continuously.

Combine all other ingredients in bowl and pour vinaigrette over, and toss to coat.

Greek burgers, stuffed with Feta, and tzatziki sauce:
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp cucumber minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or you can use fresh)
  • 1 tsp minced fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500g (1 package) lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp red onion minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • Feta thinly sliced
For the tzatziki sauce:

Combine yogurt, garlic, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Mix well. Spread on half of toasted bun.

For the burger patties:

Combine beef, garlic, onion, lemon juice, oregano in bowl and mix well ensuring well combined. Divide meat mixture into equal portions for patties (mine made 4).

Divide each of those portions into two, and form into thin patties. Take one patty, place feta slice on top, place another patty on top and seal together. Repeat with remaining.

Cook until no longer pink.


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Menu Planning

Our heat wave is over :( In fact the way the temperature has dropped it feels like fall! I am very tempted to break out my soup pot, especially since I just got a new soup cookbook I am dying to try. But I will resist, and instead try to keep summer alive and BBQ!

Tuesday: Pizza
Wednesday: Spaghetti and meat sauce
Thursday: Greek burgers and salad
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Going to a stagette...should be interesting
Sunday: Fish and Chips (trying this again)
Monday: Night Off

Monday, 13 August 2007


I have a major sweet tooth, it really isn't much of a secret. What my sweet tooth craves most of the time though isn't candy, or pop or even a chocolate bar. It is cake, with mountains of icing on top! I might have something to do with the way birthdays were celebrated in our house growing up. Every year, there was a Safeway cake, with flowers on top, and of course being the birthday girl you always got a flower. Um, I still need the flower off the cake.

Anyway, what a better way to indulge my sweet tooth than with cupcakes! Perfect little cakes, topped with swirls of flavored butter cream icing! My mouth is watering again. I found this wonderful site completely devoted to cupcakes, and then there is this awesome little cupcake bake shop in our city, They have the moistest cupcakes, and an icing that isn't overly sweet so you can enjoy every single bit. They inspire me. I want to whip out my kitchenAid and recreate the little mounds of cake, but alas I think that my waist line would severely regret that. If I have been more organized I could have tried to whip up a batch for the shower I hosted on the weekend. But who am I kidding, I don't have that kind of time! So for the time being I am leaving the work to the experts, and just going to enjoy!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

More Blueberries

By now you all know of my love for blueberries. Did I ever mention that I made that same pie again the next weekend! The first just disappeared too quickly for my Hubby's liking and he insisted. Really who was I to argue!

In order to do that second pie, I had to acquire myself a second case of blueberries. However, after two cases of blueberries (that would be 10 pounds worth) in just a little over a week, I must admit we were getting slightly tired of the little berries. I am ashamed to admit I could not really handle them on my cereal one more day. There were too many leftover to simply freeze and attempt to cram into my tiny freezer.

Looking for something simple, creative, that would respect Hubbies wishes of healthier food (at this point I was not yet banned from baking), and use as many little berries as possible what we came up with was pretty yummy. It didn't really solve my copious amounts of leftover berry problem, 3 out of 4 really isn't that bad!

Angel Food Cake with Blueberries and cream:

  • 1 angel food cake (preferably store much easier)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Place berries, granulated sugar and a couple of tablespoon of water into a sauce pan (Be careful not to put too much water in, 2 tsbp is really enough) and simmer for a few minutes.

For cream mix together sour cream, vanilla and icing sugar. Pour spoonful of cream over cake, top woth blueberry sauce and enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Menu Day

Seriously where has the week gone! I swear I am sitting here working on this post, blink, and all of a sudden I am doing the one for next week!

Busy is good though, as it keeps us on our toes. This week shall be no exception as between planning a bridal shower, getting ready for my race on Saturday, my mother's friend's wedding party, and normal life I am felling stretched pretty thing.

So with that taken into account we are going for quick and easy dinners this week.

Tuesday: Pizza!
Wednesday: Cedar plank salmon, wild rice and grilled portabello mushrooms (Look familiar? It should that would be the same one from last week that never quite got made)
Thursday: Shrimp and Orzo pasta salad
Friday: This is the east Indian wedding party, should be good food!
Saturday: Fish and Chips
Sunday: Bridal Shower, no dinner tonight
Monday: Night OFF!!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Kitchen masterpiece

There are some recipes that you take one look at, and just know that any attempt to try them is beyond your current skill set (and patience for that matter).

Some you see and think they will be a breeze, and they are.

Then there are my favorite ones. The ones that you think will be easy, but turn out to be waaay more involved and complicated that you thought possible. You get such a feeling of accomplishment when you make your way through one of these!

On one Sunday afternoon I started making a recipe that falls unto the latter category, unbeknown to me when I started of course. I end up spending the entire afternoon in the kitchen making stuffed potato patties! It was not the steps involved were overly complicated, on the contrary, it was simply the time involved made the process slightly exhausting. After I was finished the last thing I wanted to do was eat them! All of my hard work, my master piece, gone just like that. But who am I kidding, of course we dug in immediately once Hubby came home. It was then that it became worth every painstaking minute that they took. Hubby loved them, Lilly picked at them (which is impressive), and I will make them again...just not in the near future.

Stuffed Potato Patties: (Courtesy of Nigella Lawson - Feast)

  • 2kg russet potatoes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1tsp ground all spice
  • 250g ground beef
  • 60ml water
  • 4 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 70g plain flour
  • 200g fine bread crumbs
Pierce and bake potatoes until cooked through, leave them at cool.

Heat oil in fry pan. Add onion and cook until soft. Add spices and stir to coat onion. Add beef and cook, breaking up with spoon, until brown. Stir in water. Once cooked through remove from heat, let slightly cool, and then stir in parsley.

Scoop out inside of cool potatoes, add eggs, salt, and flour to mixture. At this point you need to make a smooth dough. I used my Kitchenaide, but it is suggested mixing by hand and kneading will work. DO NOT use a food processor! I found that I had to add quite a bit more flour, as it was very wet and very sticky. Too much so to do anything with properly.

Dough at this point is to be divided into 18-20 little balls. Each ball is to be flattened in your hands and 1 tsp of beef filling to be put into the center. Seal the beef inside of the flattened dough, reform into a ball and then flatten again. You should not be able to see the beef inside. Coat in bread crumbs, put off to the side and repeat. This would be the part that took quite some time! Make sure you cover your hand well with flour, as again this is initially a very sticky process and otherwise you will have trouble rolling dough into balls.

Add oil to fry pan (approximately 1 cm deep) and heat. Fry patties in hot oil until warmed through and golden brown on both sides. Transfer to paper towel lined rack to cool.


Green Fatoush: (Also courtesy of Nigella Lawson - Feast)
This is much simpler and just as incredibly delicious!

  • 4 green onions
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 pita breads
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 4 tbsp chopped mint (I admit I didn't have this, stupid grocery store was out)
Cut pitas open so that you have four halves. Toast them in oven on baking sheet for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden. Let cool.

For dressing whisk together lime zest, juice and oil in small bowl. Add sprinkle of salt, and put aside.

Deseed chillies and finely chop them and onions. Place into bowl. Tear lettuce unto pieces and add as well.

Half avocado, and using spoon scoop out pieces into salad. Pour dressing over, add most of chopped herbs and toss. Break toasted pita into pieces and toss again.

When you sever sprinkle top with remaining herbs and more pita.


Friday, 3 August 2007

I'm baaack!

Yaaaa, you can all breath a sigh of relief now. Our computer is back up and running perfectly, and we didn't lose anything that was on it! That means all of my pictures are okay, and I can get my butt in gear and share them with you all.

I feel so out of practice, so I do believe I need to start off slowly.

Nothing too complicated, but something incredibly wonderful nonetheless. How about grilled cheese? Not the one that you ate as a child, with those kraft slices between the bread. These ones have been spiced up and have a definite grownup taste to them. But they are quick, easy and gourmet!

Grownup Grilled Cheese:

  • Mushrooms (approximately 5) sliced
  • Pancetta thinly sliced
  • Tomato and basil Havarti (or any other cheese of choice)
  • Bread
  • Butter
In skillet fry mushroom with a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper, until soft. Remove from heat.

Taking two slices of bread, place thinly sliced cheese on one side and pancetta on the other. Place cooked mushrooms on one side and close sandwich. Butter outer sides of bread, and grill on warm skillet until each side is golden brown and cheese is melted, turning once.