Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Time!

Good old LOGS (local overpriced grocery store) actually had a decent deal of for once in a blue freakin' moon: pumpkins for 19 cents/lb. For $2.53 I got these beauties:I spent yesterday roasting them up, pureeing the meat, and freezing the pumpkin in one and two cup portions. I got exactly 14 cups of pumpkin puree from these two pumpkins! Woo-hoo!I also saved all the seeds and roasted them, in addition to the seeds my roommate gave me when she emptied out the pumpkin she bought for Halloween. I decided to have some fun with the spices Palidor sent me in her care package recently. I made three different kinds of roasted pumpkin seeds (always a favourite snack of mine at this time of year!): curry flavour, using the curry powder Palidor's dad uses; Chinese Five Spice; and just plain salted.The curry ones smelled absolutely out of this world! They needed some help in the flavour department, however. I think these would be good on a salad or as a garnish. I can tell you, though, that I am so looking forward to making a real curry with this powder because the aroma blew me away. The Five Spice were OK...They also needed a bit of help. I think, in retrospect, I should have added some sugar to them. The salted ones were great!

Thanks again, Palidor!!!

Have a great Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lunch at Max & Irma's

Again last week, Dad and I journeyed to Nelson to take advantage of some sales at Save-on Foods, and once again we had lunch. We decided upon a restaurant we'd enjoyed in the past but hadn't been to very recently, Max & Irma's.

They have a great menu featuring sandwiches, wraps, salads, and wood-fired pizzas. The last time I was there I had a great sandwich called the Italian Club: pancetta, lemon & herb chicken, Asiago cheese, lettuce & tomato, and garlic mayo. It was amazing!

After taking a while to decide, on this most recent occasion I fancied something light because I was already thinking ahead to dessert! The list was on the board in front of me and it had so many yummy things on it that I knew I couldn't resist, so I wanted to watch it with my entree. I opted for the Chicken Club Wrap, and Dad went for the Italian Club. Both sandwiches came with house side salad and corn chips. We both enjoyed our choices very much!Now, onto dessert. There was tiramisu, there was blueberry peach cobbler, there were some other things, but the one that caught my eye was the chocolate cherry cheesecake! I looked forward to this all during lunch and it was worth the wait! It was so excellent - full of black cherries and big chunks of actual milk chocolate bar, with a thick chocolate cookie crust. It was to die for! My dad had the flourless chocolate espresso torte and he thought it was amazing.Another winning restaurant in Nelson, BC!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

101 Uses for a Roast Chicken #21: Chicken & Pesto Pizza

Before I get to the main part of this post, I have something to say. I am going to be making my posts short & light for the coming while because I'm planning on doing my own version of NaNoWriMo next month; you can read about my amendments & reasoning behind them here. Obviously, I still have to eat, so I'll still be posting regularly, but my posts will be shorter than usual and I might be spending less time going around to visit you all. I'm trying to schedule as many posts to publish for me automatically as I can. So, if you don't hear from me as much, it's not that I don't love y'all! I just want to focus on this other goal for a month and see how it goes. Wish me luck!

OK...Onto today's topic...

I had a hankering for pizza the other day. I also had some leftover chicken from my spatchocking experience in the freezer, and I needed to find a way to use a decent chunk of my boring pesto. I've used pesto instead of pizza sauce before and it works really well. I got some naan from the grocery store, and I was set!

Super easy, super quick, really delicious!

Chicken & Pesto Pizza with Olives

1 piece of flat bread - naan, or pita, or whatever
pesto sauce
leftover chicken, cubed
1 slice of Black Forest ham, chopped
mozzarella cheese, shredded
pitted Kalamata olives

Assemble & bake until browned & bubbly.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Puzzle Time

Last week at work a dessert was sitting on the counter when I arrived. It looked like a vanilla cake with chocolate chips in it. It was decorated with pink & white icing. I was stoked! I love it when residents drop off goodies and I get to sample other peoples' desserts!

As I went through my tasks, the dessert sat next to me. I began to look at it closer... Those were no chocolate chips and that was no cake. Instead, what I seemed to be seeing was as pudding with raisins in it.

The maker of this dessert is Italian and no one seems to remember to ask her what exactly this is.

When I had a break and could taste it, it was very boozy - lots of rum in it, I believe. And it had the texture of unbaked cake batter. What I think it was, however, was lady fingers soaked in booze and mixed with...something...Vanilla custard? Whipped cream & custard? Some combination thereof?

I have no idea, but here's a picture:

So, we have the following elements:

  • booze - rum, I think
  • raisins
  • possibly lady fingers - or some cookies or cake or something, soaked
  • custard - maybe

Does this ring any bells for anyone? I never see this resident and the cook is always too busy to remember to ask! If you know, leave me a comment. Thanks!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Magazine Monday #53: Sangria Chicken

My roommate is in a line of work in which she receives a lot of gifts at holiday times, and last summer she was given a whole bunch of wines. One bottle she opened and didn't drink so she gave it to me. It was a cabernet sauvignon. I don't drink wine at all, but I do enjoy cooking with it! And there was a recipe from the March 2009 issue of Gourmet for Sangria Chicken that really tickled my fancy, and now I had the means to try it out!

The recipe is here.

This was a fabulous recipe! It was super quick and easy to make, and very, very tasty. A definite keeper!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cookbook Review: A Year in Lucy's Kitchen

Am I a bad Canadian if I admit I'd never heard of Lucy Waverman before I got this book? Because, honestly, I didn't have a clue who she was and had to do some research in order to figure out that she's actually pretty well-known in certain Canadian circles. Lucy is a prominent Canadian food columnist and food writer, and she's famous for her articles in both The Globe and Mail (one of Canada's national newspapers) and the LCBO's Food & Drink Magazine.

OK, I'm in BC. I neither read The Globe and Mail nor have access to the Liquor Control Board of ONTARIO's periodical. Sue me!

It doesn't matter because Lucy's new cookbook, A Year in Lucy's Kitchen, has made me fan!

We are all surely familiar now with seasonal eating, but Lucy actually takes the concept further and provides recipes & menus on a monthly basis, using local, seasonal ingredients appropriate to each particular month. I really enjoyed this approach, not only because the recipes were broken down even further from seasonal to monthly, but this made for a much more interesting structure for a cookbook. While I do love cookbooks, don't get me wrong, as a writer (with a degree in creative writing), I often get bored with the structure of your average cookbook: appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, veggies & side dishes, desserts. Etc. Sometimes I feel like I'm reading a mystery novel I already know the resolution for. In the case of A Year in Lucy's Kitchen, I was delighted with her approach to the structure of the book and it made it a much more interesting read for me.

The chapters, one for each month, do indeed focus on seasonal fresh ingredients, and with the added bonus of simple, easy-to-use menus for great meals that are quick and delicious. What I also loved about this cookbook was the variety in cuisines: Thai, Indian, Chinese, Jewish - to name a few. I love cookbooks with varied themes!

As for the recipes, they are great! They are not fussy, not complicated, and don't involve huge lists of ingredients. I made two recipes: Spinach, Apple, and Avocado Salad on page 273 (substituting romaine lettuce for the spinach, and cashews for almonds, as that's what I had on hand) and the Plum Pizza on page 208 (substituting apples for plums as I don't like plums). In the case of the salad, it had nice, refreshing dressing I'll definitely use again. As for the Plum Pizza, which was more along the lines of an apple tart in my case (I'll do an upcoming post on this soon), it was spectacularly simple and delicious, and something I'll definitely do again.

I have bookmarked over a dozen recipes to try from this book, and I can't wait! A total recommend!

Saturday Laugh & Awards


A couple of my favourite food bloggers have bestowed me with some awards!

Palidor of Crazy Asian Gal awarded me with this friendship award. Thank you, Palidor! You rock! In return, I'd like to pass this on to my great friend Pierce of Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor. Pierce also rocks!

Nat of Girls Are Made Of... gave me this lovely loyalty award. Thank you, Nat! You yourself are one rocking food blogger! I'd like to pass this one on to Cathy of Accountants Can Cook? Cathy is one of my daily "must reads" and I love her humour and no-nonsense style. What does Cathy do, everyone? Yeah, you guessed it, she ROCKS!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sexy Marbling

I made a ton of cookies at work the other day, chocolate chip and Dad's. For some strange reason, the Dad's cookies spread a lot; this happens from time to time and it's a real mystery to me and the other staff who make them. Everyone has had a similar experience. We make the exact same recipe, yet sometimes they spread a lot. Such is the life of a baker.

I also made a marble cake. I haven't done a lot of marbled cakes in my life, but it's kind of fun!When I took it out of the oven, Cook said, "Wow, that's sexy!""Sexy?" I've never had anyone say that about anything I've made! I was really happy.

Alas, the cake required icing...

Ah well. The picture is all I need.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cooking with Kylie: "Mum's Stir-fried Chicken Fillets"

Oh, how I am loving this series I'm doing! I can't get enough of this cookbook, and think I'll take a look on Amazon to see what else Kylie has published, because she's awesome!

Here is another simple recipe from Simple Chinese Cooking that was delicious. I didn't use chicken fillets, but rather I used some chicken breasts because that's what I had on hand. I also didn't use any chilli as the recipe calls for because I don't like them; I used some orange bell pepper instead. The original recipe also calls for stock, but I didn't need any more liquid so I didn't use it. Kylie describes this as one of her mum's "no-nonsense dishes."

Stir-friend Chicken, à la Kylie's mum (adapted by me from "Mum's Stir-fried Chicken Fillets on page 81 of Simple Chinese Cooking)

For the marinade:

1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2cm slices

Combine chicken with marinade ingredients and set aside to marinate for about half an hour.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium white onion, sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed & cut into 10cm lengths
1 tbsp sake
1/2 orange bell pepper, finely sliced

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok until surface appears to shimmer. Add chicken and marinade & stir-fry until cooked. Remove from wok & set aside.

Add 1 tbsp oil to wok & stir-fry onion, pepper, & spring onion for 1 minute. Add chicken and stir-fry for another minute.

I served mine with rice.

Again, yummy, simple, and quick. Again, a winner from Kylie!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Restaurant Review: Funky Mexican Monkey

Last week, Dad and I took another trip to Nelson, and after deciding on one place to go for lunch, we ended up going somewhere completely different on a whim. This new eatery in Nelson, Funky Mexican Monkey, was on our walk to the other place we were going to, but it looked cool from the outside and we decided to give it a try.This location used to house a very excellent restaurant called Kas, but alas, Kas has closed shop and instead we have here a small burger joint that also sells Mexican food. Some of the links on the site aren't working, but if you go here and scroll down, you'll be able to find the entire menu.

The inside is small, a tad cramped, but on the cozy side, complete with a huge collage of monkey photos and even a tree covered with stuffed monkeys. The menu looked good and it was hard to decide on what to get, but I was in a burger mood. The menu states that all burgers are served with "a heaping amount of hand-cut fries" so I was pretty stoked about that. I chose the Funky Monkey Burger, which was essentially a cheese burger that had the addition of a homemade pineapple relish. My dad started out with the Azteca soup, which is a spicy, brothy soup topped with tortilla chips, guacamole, lettuce, cheese, and sour cream - touted by the sign out front to be the local critics' choice for "best soup in Nelson." Dad thought it was really good. He followed up the Portobello Burger, which came topped with Swiss Cheese, roasted red pepper, sauteed red o onions, sliced avocado, and spring mix. He loved it.
The fries were totally excellent and probably the best fries I've had in a long time!

This lunch for two came to about $30. Totally a recommended eatery if you're ever in the Nelson area. Next time, I intend to try out the Mexican food!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Garden Bounty 2009: Lemon Balm

I do love herbs. I have always wanted a herb garden, and I even had a dream of becoming a herbalist and herbal healer back when I was much younger. Culinary herbs are more my bag now, and this year I grew cilantro (let's not go there, OK?), basil (and we all know how well that turned out, don't we?), chives (which did nothing - I think I planted them too close to the neighbouring peony and they didn't get enough sun) and something wonderful called lemon balm.

Part of the mint family, lemon balm gives off a wonderful, lemony scent. I was surprised to find seeds for this at my local purveyor of cheap gardening crap, Wally World, and when I did, I was delighted and didn't hesitate to purchase a package.

Again, I made a huge error when I planted the seeds: I misjudged how large the neighbouring plants would grow. In this case, the neighbouring plants were my bean plants, and if you recall, these were so out of control and I got so many beans I couldn't give them all away - and I froze nearly 3lbs. This is a big problem for me; I have no concept of spacing when it comes to my garden. It doesn't help that the garden itself is small and narrow, and as such I do take some care in where I plant things. But I feel the need to utilize the space as best I can and this has led to some errors in judgment - like with the chives. And this was the case with the lemon balm.

The seeds took forever to sprout and I didn't see any growth poke through my soil for weeks. They have a longer germination time, as I read on the seed package, but even so, these didn't start showing any signs of action for a long time after I expected them to. In the meantime, the wax bean plants took off as if they were on steroids (I used nothing on them, I swear!) and before long, the lemon balm was living in the shadow of the lush bean leaves. As a result, I got a very poor, very small, very stunted crop. When I yanked the bean plants at the end of August, which was when they started to dry up and stop producing (it was almost a relief, I was so overwhelmed with beans), I thought the lemon balm would have a fighting chance. How wrong I was; it never had a chance. Early frosts, blahx3, and I got next to nothing. I was disappointed and annoyed with myself.
I did get a very small amount, and I had to pick them and do something with them just so I could feel slightly less disappointed and annoyed. I decided to make some cookies. Initially, I thought I would make shortbread with lemon balm, but the idea evolved and I got over-ambitious. I also got a shitty result.

I won't even post the recipe because it's an adaptation I made and since it was just an abject failure I don't even want to spend the time typing it out. It was my own fault; I should have known better than to do what I did and I have no on to blame but myself.

So, what did I do with the cookies? I took them to my brother & SIL's place for our family dinner and left them there! Jem is like Mikey; he'll eat anything!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Magazine Monday #53: Pancakes!

Our MM hostess, Ivonne of Creampuffs in Venice, commented recently that I should be on Canadian Living's payroll, since my MM posts predominantly come from Canadian Living Magazine. And you'll probably see even more CL recipes on here, now that Gourmet is defunct.

So, what's on the menu for today's MM? Well, how about pancakes? I made this recipe from the July 2009 issue of Canadian Living: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (without the compote included in the recipe - I'd rather have maple syrup, thank you very much). Instead of blueberries, I used some of my locally-foraged huckleberries.

These were delicious - light and airy and cakey. Perfect! The recipe made way more that one lone coyote could eat on her own, so I took the leftovers to my brother, who gladly ate them up.

A recipe for the "keeper" file for sure!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thanks to Palidor!!!!

Once again, the thoughtfulness and generosity of my blogging community humbles me.

Today, I received a wonderful box from Palidor, author of Crazy Asian Gal. The box was bursting full of 13 different spices, including star anise, whole cardamom, and Palidor's dad's curry powder. Many are spices I cannot get where I am or are so exotic I couldn't afford them at all. Some, like the macha powder, I'd never heard of! Also in the box were some gourmet hot chocolate mixes and some Halloween candies. My office smells wonderful!

Palidor, thank you so much! I am very much looking forward to using these spices in different ways, and learning how to cook with them. The oncoming winter requires lots of hot chocolate, so those are going to be very nice when the cold weather hits.

You are so very kind, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate this gift!

Pumpkin Pie!

This is the first recipe I've made from my recently reviewed copy of Earth to Table, by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. I knew this was something I had to make as soon as I laid eyes on the recipe - adore pumpkin pie, and sometimes you need to branch out from the same old recipe you've been using for a decade, right? Right! The fact that this is no-bake is a bonus.

First of all, let me tell you about the pastry. You all know I'm always on the lookout for great pastry recipes, right, because I've had pastry-making issues in the past? I was actually not going to bother making the pastry recipe from Earth to Table because I like this one so much, but I decided to give it a whirl after I read through the instructions. In them, the author advises to use a grater to grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. This means you don't need to touch the pastry as much with your hands - making a flakier pastry and much less of a mess. This was such a brilliant idea! And it worked fantastically. I can honestly say that this is the nicest pastry I've ever made: it was perfectly flaky, light and airy, and tasted excellent. It was a bit on the salty side, however, but that is easily remedied. I added a bit more sugar to it since it was going with a sweet pie.

Pâte Brisée for 9" single crust pie, page 306 of Earth to Table, very slightly adapted by me

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
2 tbsp - 1/4 (approx.) cold water

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Grate butter directly into dry ingredients. Stir. Add water, a tbsp at a time, kneading dough slightly until it comes together. Turn onto floured work surface. Shape into a disk and chill until needed.

In this case, you need a blind baked pie crust, so I rolled out the pastry dough immediately and lined my pie plate with it and stuck it in the freezer until it was cold. Then I pressed foil onto the surface of the shell and added my pie weights (I use rice), and blind baked the crust at 350F for 15 minutes the pie weights in it, removed the pie weights, then baked the crust an additional 20 minutes until it was light golden. I set it aside to cool.

The pumpkin pie recipe in the book is called "Mile High Pumpkin Pie." It uses a meringue made with maple syrup on the top, which is then broiled to get a nice toasted effect. I didn't do this because it required a cup of maple syrup, and because that particular ingredient is expensive for me and I didn't want to part with a cup of it for one dessert, I topped the pie with whipped cream instead. This was just dandy. The filling recipe is amazing, though! For it, I used pumpkin that I roasted last year and froze. That pumpkin was a little pale, so this filling doesn't have the dark orange colour that a typical pumpkin pie might have.

Pumpkin Filling (page 212, Earth to Table)

1/4 cup cold water
1 packet powdered unflavoured gelatin
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 cups roasted pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine cold water with gelatin and let it sit (bloom) for at least 10 minutes.

Cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add whipping cream until incorporated, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add pumpkin, salt, and spices; beat until smooth. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, cook gelatin mixture over low heat, stirring until gelatin dissolves completely - about 1 minute. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix until well combined.

Pour filling into prepared shell. Chill at least an hour before serving.

This was a huge hit! The filling was so light it was almost mousse-like, and it wasn't too sweet. The spices were perfect. This will definitely be made again in my kitchen - it was excellent!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner - Again!

Tonight was my second Thanksgiving dinner of the week, as most of my family was away last weekend for our holiday last weekend. My SIL Shan had a 15lb turkey for 6 people so there were a ton of leftovers. As usual, this was a spectacular feast as only Shan can put on. On the menu:

  • turkey
  • stuffing
  • mashed potatoes
  • green beans & carrots sauteed in garlic, olive oil, and lemon
  • Brussels sprouts
  • spaghetti squash gratin, made by your favourite coyote
  • gravy, cranberry sauce, buns
  • no-bake pumpkin pie, also made by your favourite coyote

I did promise you recipes from this meal, did I not? Well, here is the spaghetti squash gratin recipe I used, that I totally made up on my own, using squash I grew in my garden this year. The squash were very, very small, fitting in the palm of my hand, but they tasted pretty good. I love spaghetti squash - it's the only squash I'll eat other than zucchini. Usually I just bake it and mix it with some butter, but I wanted to do something different with it (I have, actually, used spaghetti squash in place of pasta at times, and that's a great idea; it's a very versatile veggie). I got some very cheap ricotta cheese on my last cross-border shopping spree, and off I went!

Spaghetti Squash Gratin

  • 2 1/2 cups roasted spaghetti squash (this turned out to be three of my smallest squashes)
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1. Combine squash, ricotta, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Place in a medium-sized, well-greased or parchment-lined casserole dish. Top with cheddar
2. In a skillet, melt butter until bubbly. Add breadcrumbs and garlic, and season with a little salt & pepper. Toast until the bread crumbs are toasty & golden.
3. Put breadcrumbs on top of casserole. Bake casserole at 375F until hot through & cheese has all melted.

This was a hit! It was great and everyone enjoyed it! I will definitely make this again!

Next post - the pumpkin pie. But let me rest a bit first, eh?

"What To Do With A...": Salmon Melts

I haven't done a post in this series for a while, mainly because I haven't had so many bits & pieces hanging around my fridge, freezer, and pantry lately. But, some time ago, I did purchase a can of sockeye salmon on sale for $2.99 - and it was a larger can, not one of the tuna-sized cans. It was a deal I couldn't refuse, so I went for it. And the can sat there, and sat there...I also had half a brick of cream cheese in the freezer, left over from some long-forgotten baking project. And then I did a column for Bread 'n Molasses featuring my mom's salmon spread, an old family Christmas treat (upcoming in the November issue) ...And inspiration hit! If you can have tuna melts, why not salmon melts? Off I went to get some mozzarella and some English muffins.

Here is what I did:

1 can (large) sockeye salmon
1/2 brick cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dried dill
3 sliced green onions.
a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce
a dash of lemon juice

Mix together. Toast an English muffin about half way. Put salmon filling on muffin. Top with cheese. Broil until cheese is all melting & bubbling.
This was fantastic! If you think cheese on salmon is weird, ask yourself: is cheese on tuna any less weird, when you think about it? This worked and was delicious. I would definitely make this again!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Garden Bounty 2009: Patty Pan Squash

I planted two kinds of squash this year, spaghetti and patty pan. The plants grew most excellently and in the case of the spaghetti squash, I got for small squash that fit in the palm of my hand. In the case of the patty pans, I got nearly didley freakin' squat. I did get lots of flowers, though, which was a nice consolation for an otherwise pathetic patty pan crop.

I don't know exactly what went wrong, but as I was reading a section in Earth to Table, I wondered if it was the plant: I seemed to have more male flowers than female flowers. A lot of flowers just dried up and died; very few of them produced any squash at all. I have no idea why this was or what I can do to remedy it, and I had to wonder at nature: surely these plants would have figured it out!

Anyway, I think I got about 5 patty pan squash out of a huge pile of plants. These plants took up a lot of room in my small plot, and I felt annoyed that I got so little product from them.

Though the flowers bloomed early, it was a while before any sign of squash showed up, and as we had a series of early frosts I had to harvest the little guys earlier than I wanted to. In the end, this is what I got:Yeah, these are SMALL, man! The smallest is less than 1cm in diameter. I was not impressed. I even had a recipe from Canadian Living for patty pan squash skewers that I wanted to make, but it wasn't going to happen. In the end, I tossed these with a bit of oil, salt & pepper, and roasted them off with the potatoes I cooked for my spatchcocked chicken meal. This is a very close up view of this "side dish:"Grrrrrr! I will not be growing these again next year. The spaghetti squash, on the other hand, is another story.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cooking with Kylie: Prawn WonTons

I adore a good wonton, so it was only a matter of time before I made one of Kylie's recipes for these wonderful meat-filled noodles. What attracted me to this recipe for Prawn Wontons with Spring Onion, Ginger, and Vinegar dressing was the lightness of it: prawn wontons with a simple vinaigrette sounded like comfort food without the heaviness often associated with comfort foods.

Once again, I was not disappointed.

The recipe for this dish is HERE.

Here's how it went.

First of all, I made the dressing, which was easy-peasy. It had an ingredient in it I'd never used before called kecap manis. From what I gathered, this is a condiment similar to soy sauce, but in addition to having soy sauce in it, it also has molasses. It's a little thicker than soy sauce, but it has a richer, more complex flavour. It was really good. The dressing was delicious, and I could see a version of it being used in other dishes as well as with these wontons.

Wontons are easy to make but do take a bit of patience. Again with this recipe, I halved the ingredients, and so I used 150g of my medium shrimp that I usually have in the freezer. To fill the wrappers, I used my #100 cookie scoop, which is about 1 tsp. Using the scoop makes wonton so much easier.

I didn't shape mine in Kylie's way, but I don't think that matters too much. After boiling them, they were ready to be bathed in dressing!This was delicious, absolutely delicious! I was kicking myself for only making 1/2 a recipe because I wanted MORE! Once again, this was very simple to make & put together, just as the cookbook title suggests. Another awesome Kylie recipe!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Rundown

This year it was just Dad and me because my brother & SIL were visiting family in another province. But, just because there were only two of us, we did not simplify anything and had the full-on, slap-up Thanksgiving turkey dinner we wanted. On the menu:

  • turkey breast roast (my dad hates everything about turkey except the white meat, so he only buys turkey breast roasts and usually has 3 or 4 of them in his freezer at any given time) roasted with double smoked bacon & sausages made by a local butcher
  • potato cakes made with garlic & Parmesan cheese; a departure for us, but this is an old dish my grandmother used to make apparently
  • stuffing, gravy, yams (only dad eats yams)
  • Brussels Sprouts sauteed with bacon & pinenuts & topped with Parmesan (made by yours truly)
  • and for dessert, Bakewell Tart, also made by yours truly

Here is a nice collage I made of the meal:Everything was delicious! The recipe for the Brussels is basically this one from this post, only I used regular bacon instead of pancetta, and I topped the dish with Parmesan cheese.

As for the dessert, Bakewell Tart, my dad has been nagging me for this for a long time, and I finally gave in for this special occasion. He was so thrilled and so impressed and as soon as he bit into it, he said, "This is it!" I don't know why I put him off on this so long, because it was ridiculously easy to make. Alas, I'm not going to post the recipe because I want to use it for my next Bread 'n Molasses article, so you'll have to wait until January! But here is another collage:The cool thing about this year's Thanksgiving is that we're getting two of them in the family! When my brother & SIL get back from their trip, we're having another turkey dinner! This will be later this week, and I'll be making two dishes for it, too. Those recipes I will definitely share, so stay tuned!

I hope my Canadian readers are having a great long weekend!

Full Flickr set is here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, Part Two

I just HAD to post this! It's priceless!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

To all my Canadian friends and readers out there, have a wonderful Thanksgiving this weekend! Stay safe & enjoy!

Saturday Laugh

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cross Border Shopping & Lunch at Rancho Chico

Last week my dad and I went cross-border shopping to Colville, Washington, where there is a huge Wally World. Is Wally World the root of all evil? YES! Do I shop there anyway? YES - because I live on a very small budget, and the dollar was at almost 92 cents that day, so basically even with 10% added to the prices of the things I bought, I was getting a good deal. Here are some examples:

  • 1 gallon milk (3.81L, so slightly smaller than the 4L jugs I buy at home): $2.34, which is about $2.60-ish CAD. The cheapest I can get milk for around here is $4.51/4L at Safeway, but usually I get it at the local overpriced grocery store (LOGS) for $4.99.
  • eggs, 1 dozen: $1.32. For God's sake, the cheapest around here is $2.71/doz. at Safeway, but, again I usually wind up getting them at LOGS for $3.29.
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts: 5lbs for $15. There were 10 breasts in a package, so this works out to not only $3/lb but also $1.50 per breast. This is ridiculously cheap. I'm lucky if these go on sale around here for $4.99 - 6.99/lb, and even then, I don't usually buy them.
  • whole roasting chicken: $0.98/lb. This is un-effing-believably cheap! Here, a good sale price on a piddly little fryer is $2.29/lb!
  • ricotta cheese, 2lbs: $3.69. I pay maybe $4.99 minimum for half that amount here.

Not everything is cheaper, and you really have to know your prices in order to make this work out for you. Also, you do have to be aware of how much the limits are at the border. It's $20 for chicken, and about that for dairy products. And we've been dinged before, let me tell you. Apart from the limits, there is no duty on grocery items. If you go over your limit, at least on dairy, the duty is 300%. I stayed within my limits and I was fine.

Now, on to lunch. We always go to Rancho Chico because the food is great, the portions are huge, and the service is fast!

My dad had Arroz con Pollo - it was excellent. I've had it before and really enjoyed it.

I had the Chicken Chimichanga - which is what I usually get, because it's so good.

And for a sweet "dessert" they bring around these deep-fried tortilla thingies that have a simple syrup on them, as well as whipped cream and strawberry sauce - yum!
All in all, a great day out!


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