Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I have not posted much this week, as it has been more than hectic, and I am not sure between now and the new year things will settle down. I think I just need to better organize my time, or learn to live off 4 hours of sleep. Things I have made in the last week have been nothing to brag about, much less post. Lets see I had rice krispies that were going stale, so I made peanut butter rice krispy bars, an omelete using up left overs in the fridge, a pita pizza and dined out more than once. After this weekend I hope to get back on track and get cooking and baking normal meals again.
I can't complain about having to eat out at my favorite sushi place though. I was introduced to Sushi Generations through a friend and it has become a great lunch place for a group of us girls to frequent and catch up with one another. The sushi is very fresh and flavorful, the presentation pretty and the serve always nice and polite. The presentation in the above is not representative of some of the dishes, noting I went with take out this time....told you it has been a lazy and crazy week.
On another note months ago I was tagged by Bexxie from Pies and Bass. At the time I was not blogging much and did not get around to passing on the tag. So I thought I would get going on this now.
Once you are tagged there are some rules to follow which are posted below. Then you are to tag 5 others.
Here are the MeMe rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
Five Facts About Me
1. I graduated from Kinesiology (BSc. Kin) and worked as a Kin and personal trainer for 5 years. Now I work for a health and safety organization.
2. In my spare time I love to be outdoors be it running, hiking, and/or biking (or cooking of course).
3. My vice is red wine - (with bread and cheese).
4. My birthday is in November making me a scorpio - intense, determined, emotional, introvert, secretive, deep, passionate, loyal, brooding, extreme and mysterious..... seems pretty accurate!
5. My favorite season is fall as I love the fall foods, colors, the smell of the cool air and of course Halloween.
So here is who I am tagging:
1. Our Kitchen Sink
2. Apples and Butter
3. Butter Sugar Flour
4. Easy Does It
5. Feel Good Eats
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Here is a video of te inaugural 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs event—which showcases 24 Featured Publisher blog posts around the globe in a 24-hour period. I think this video is really neat as it captures visually how international the Foodbuzz community is, while at the same time making us all feel so connected.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
1 cup butter, at room temp
8 oz light cream cheese at room temp
1 cup flour
Mix all the ingredients together and form a ball. Refridgerate over night. When ready to use flour a surface (well floured as this dough can be sticky) and roll out a bit of the dough at a time to about 1/2 cm thickness. Use a cup about 5" in diameter to make circles. Continue doing this until all the dough is used up. Feel free to make them the size you wish.
8 oz. chicken breast, diced into 1" cubes
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp (2 cloves) minced garlic
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
2 T chopped cilantro
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped pimento stuffed olives
3 T raisins
1/2 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground black peppe
1. In a large skillet over medium heat combine olive oil, chicken, onion and bell pepper. Saute a few minutes until onions start to become soft. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and tomato paste and stir. Add garlic, cilantro, raisins, and olives and sautee for 3 minutes.
2. Add wine and scrape around edges of pan to de-glaze - this adds so much good flavor. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until all of the wine is absorbed. Set aside to cool.
3. . When filling has cooled, place about 2 tablespoons of it on one side of the pastry circle. Brush edges of dough with water. Fold in half and crimp with a fork.
4. Can store in fridge or freezer until ready to bake. Place empanadas on non-stick baking sheet (spray with non stick spray). Brush egg wash over each empanada so they do not dry out and so they get that nice golden look.
5. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 375F.
Makes about 24 empanadas.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I have been pretty sick this week with my throat being so sore soup is/was all I could swallow. Luckily I had some homemade soups - broccoli and potato leek in the freezer. However, when those ran out I went to the store and bought some sort of vegetable and rice soup, as I had no energy to even consider making anything. I was quickly reminded that these soups are tasteless and infused with so much sodium I could feel my blood pressure rising. Today I found out I have strep throat and have been put on antibiotics...however I do have a bit more energy so I was determined to make more homemade soup. I posted this on Two For Tuesdays Blog Hop, check out the link and post your own recipes.
While sick I have had the opportunity to browse some of my favourite blogs and stumbled upon an event I have been meaning to participate in No Croutons Required hosted by Holler of Tinned Tomatoes. This months event is Hearty Vegetarian Soups. With all the soups I have been making and eating lately I felt like this event was made for me. It was also good timing that on Thanksgiving I was fortunate to have my dad give me a butternut squash and a jalapeno from his lavish garden, both perfect vegetables for soup. The squash certainly looked better than my poor pumpkin, which the squirrels have slowly carved into a Jack-O-Lantern. Verdict on the soup is that it turned out to be silky smooth in texture with spicy warm flavors, exactly what my throat needed.
Spicy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
1 large butternut squash (about 3 cups of 1" cubed pieces)
1 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 carrots peeled and sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream 35%
1/3 cup parsley for garnish
pepper to taste
Prepare all vegetable first by peeling and chopping them.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook until onions are soft.
Add apples, carrots, squash and 3 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
Transfer in batches to a blender and puree mixture. Once pureed return to pot and place on stove on low to med heat. Add cream and pepper. Adjust taste as desired.
Serve in bowls and top with parsley.
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Potato Leek Soup
Roasted Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thank you Foodbuzz and congratulations on your launch.
Monday, October 13, 2008
It is nice to see so many bloggers enjoying fall as much as I am. I have seen some beautiful soups, gratins, and desserts. I think the cooler weather makes us all enjoy cozy harvest foods. Being in a harvest mood myself I bought some market fresh baby carrots which I thought would compliment a rack of lamb and some roasted potatoes. I have never eaten a french cut rack of lamb and was excited to try this with either a marinade or red wine reduction. Although the red wine reduction sounded delicious, I was a bit of a lush and kept the wine for my own self indulgence and went with a grainy mustard and thyme marinade. It turned out very nice providing savoury flavors to this grill rack of lamb.
As for the carrots I wanted to do something a bit unique with more flavor. Thinking back to my green beans with lemon and garlic. I decided to go with garlic and ginger flavored carrots. For even more flavor I had herb seasoned potatoes. Overall a very tender and palate pleasing dinner which was served with a 2 year old wine which I have been waiting to open since my wedding. It was full bodied and a perfect match with the gamey lamb.
2 french cut racks of lamb (1lbs)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 T grainy dijon mustard
1/2 T thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp rosemary
Mix all the ingredients together and rub on the lamb. Let sit for 4 hours in the fridge.
Preheat grill to med high and grill for 10 min per side for medium. Let rest for 10 minutes under foil so juices settle.
1 bunch of baby carrots with tops on, peeled
2 cloves garlic minced
1 T butter
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
Steam carrots in steamer for 10 mins. Heat the butter in a large non stick pan over med heat. Add garlic, ginger and cook 1 min. Remove from heat. Add carrots, cilantro and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with lamb.
Take 10-12 baby potatoes, and cut into wedges. Place them in a bowl and toss with 1 T of olive oil and season with pepper, herbs (rosemary, thyme), chili powder and a pinch of cayenne and paprika. Bake in the oven for 25 min at 375F.
Friday, October 10, 2008
You do not have to be in Cuba or Mexico to enjoy this nice tropical beverage (although I wouldn't mind relaxing by sitting on a beach anytime soon). In fact after a long day working around the house or hiking/biking, or just after a long hard week at work it is nice to retire to the deck and sip on this refreshing drink. I am not one to try many drinks, I like wine and beer and love to try endless types of both, but when it comes to alcohol I do not really drink it with the odd exceptions - like this again refreshing mojitos.
Unfortunately this past weekend was the last of my holidays before going back to work. However, on the bright side it is now Friday and I can now enjoy another one of these delicioius drinks as I relax on my now leaf infested patio. As much as I love fall it is nice to have a reminder of summer once and a while and with the temp at 20C I think this drink can be resurrected before the real frost sets in.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Well it has not been easy getting back to work after 2 weeks off. I have not had much time or energy to make the type of meals I was when I was off. In fact Monday was soup (although homemade) and Tuesday and omelette, which somehow turned into scrambled eggs. I am sure after at least a week of rest I will be up and able to cook again. But these light meals have been good noting how much food and drink I consumed over the past two weeks.
One of the dishes I made over my holidays was lemon garlic shrimp. If you are looking for a quick, savoury and attractive looking appetizer I’d recommend trying out these out. The smell of the garlic and lemon sautéed makes your mouth water. And they literally take only a few minutes.
12 large shrimp, raw
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon juice
1-2 T olive oil
1/4 cup parsley, fresh and chopped
salt and pepper
In a large skillet heat oil and garlic over medium high heat. Add lemon juice and parsley, Stir in shrimp until they turn pink. Season with salt and pepper while cooking.
Monday, October 6, 2008
This past weekend I was able to enjoy spending time with my nephews (3) at Saunders Farm. Saunders Farm in autumn offers harvest fun by day and haunting activities by night and is a great place for kids, families and those that like to get a little spooked this time of year.
With my nephews being 9mths, 2yrs and 4yrs old the daytime harvest was of course the best time to see the farm. During the daytime Saunders Pumpkin Farm offers pumpkin patches, puppet shows, harvest hayrides and mazes. There is also a haunted house available to older kids and adults during the day. I am pretty much a wimp when it comes to these things, but am always willing to try them. So clutched to my partner we made our way through the dark corridors, where things jumped out at us, screams could be heard (other then my own), chainsaws and spooky children chanting. It was spooky enough during the day that I am not sure I could endure the Field of Screams at night, which is basically a haunted field you walk through at night. Eerie!
Being in a pumpkin patch can certainly put you in the mood for fall fare. Last year was the first time I tried a spaghetti squash and just loved substituting it for pasta, that way I could indulge in more garlic bread. It makes a nice autumn dinner when topped with spaghetti sauce.
1 3/4 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 cup chopped chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 1/2oz) can beef broth
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp salt
1 large bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 can or chopped fresh mushrooms
1. Cook meat, onions, celery and garlic in a large saucepan over med-high until browned. Drain mixture. Return meat to saucepan stir in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35min. Stir in parsley cook 5 min.
Aerial view of mazes at Saunders Farm.
Friday, October 3, 2008
It was a pretty cold day yesterday and all I was craving was a hot bowl of soup to warm my chilled bones. I recently had a cream of broccoli soup at a local pub and as usual my obsessive compulsive behaviour pursuaded me to make a pot myself. I found this recipe in the first Looneyspoons cookbook, which I altered only slightly by adding more broccoli. I found the soup to be smooth and creamy without having to add any heavy cream. The recipes in these books are usually pretty good - simple, light but still loaded with flavor, perfect for your after work or school dinner.
1 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
4 cups broccoli florets (1 head of broccoli is good)
1 cup peeled and cubed potatoes (1 medium is good)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
3/4 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 dashes of hot pepper sauce
In a large saucepan add either non stick spray or 1 T olive oil. Add onions, garlic and celery. Cook and stir over medium heat until celery begins to soften (5min). Add broth, 3 cups of the broccoli and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 mins.
While soup is simmering steam the reserved (1 cup) broccoli unti tender. I microwaved it for 1 min and it was perfect. Set aside.
Transfer soup to a blender, working in batches and pulse on and off until sour is pureed but still sort of chunky. Return blended soup to pot over low heat.
Add steamed broccoli, pepper, thyme, worcestershire sauce, salt, hot pepper sauce, sour cream and cheese. Stir until smooth.