For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

More light lunch and dinner ideas July 21, 2008

Filed under: Food,Recipes,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 9:15 pm

It is summer, and it hot and you want to eat something light and fresh…here are a few ideas I implemented recently:

Cold shrimp with pineapple salsa over salad greens

OR…

Italian style antipasti consisting of cured meats – Pruscuitto, Cooked Ham and Bison Salami; Cheese – Goat Pecorino Toscano and Parmigiano Reggiano; Spicy Sicilian Olives; Fresh English Peas; Grilled Zucchini and Yellow peppers; Fennel sausage (also grilled); Bread and Olive Oil; Mozzarella, tomato and Basil salad (Capri); Smoked Salmon and Creme Fraiche (not really blending in but had to be eaten…).

 

OR…

 

A combination of different salads: Basic Guacamole (1 fork mashed avocado, 1 fork mashed hard boiled egg, salt and lemon juice); a Capri salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil and black pepper); two green salads one with Feta, Walnuts and hot peppers and the second with zucchini strips sauteed in olive oil and garlic; whole grain bread and the last egg we had in the house :)

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Corn is here – so what else can I do with it?

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 8:56 pm

We ate corn on the cob and put it in salads and a salsas and… So I figured soup should be next…not a dense, heavy, corn chowder but a lighter soup. This recipe will yield 6 big portions.

You will need:

4 corn ears – cut the kernels off, reserve the cobs.

1 shallot

1 celery rib

1 carrot

1 clove of garlic

3 cups of milk, I use 2%

2 cups water

2 rosemary sprigs (10cm/4 inches each)

2 small bay leaves

1 Tbsp butter

For Garnish:

3-4 sprigs of Garlic Scape (which is now in season) OR green onions OR Parsley – chopped

6-8 slices of smoked bacon (optional) cut into small (1x1cm or 1/2×1/2 inch) pieces

Cayenne pepper

To make:

Heat milk with the corn cobs, when it is almost boiling take it off the heat and cover. Meanwhile…

Cut (no need to cut nicely as it is a blended soup) the base of all soups – maripoix – carrot, celery & onion (shallot in this case). Heat butter in your pot, on a medium heat, add carrot, shallot, celery and the chopped garlic clove, saute until soft but not browned. Add 3/4 of the corn kernels, water, the milk with the corn cobs, rosemary and bay leaves. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the corn cobs, bay leaves and rosemary stems. Blend with your immersion blender (or your food processor) until desired consistency. Add remaining corn kernels.

 

Araxi and Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler

Filed under: Canada,Food,Travel,Uncategorized,Whistler — lovemyfood @ 8:35 pm

Just so you know… Bearfoot Bistro has an Oysters special from 5pm to 7pm when oysters are $10 a dozen. I am really looking forward for the opportunity to have dinner in this restaurant as the the Head Chef Melissa Graig is receiving a lot of praise.

WWW: http://www.bearfootbistro.com

Address: 4121 Village Green (inside the Best Western hotel)  Tel: 604-932 3433

We had a light meal in Araxi on the weekend and it was very good; the last time we were there was about two years ago and I recall it was good too. The cheese stuffed Zucchini blossoms were nice and delicate and the desserts were so pretty I had to take pictures!

The one on the left is a Raspberry Napoleon with Rose ice cream and Raspberry coulis; the one on the right is an interpretation of a Black Forest Cake with Cherry-Chocolate ice cream, caramel and reduces Kirsch or Sherry Brandy or something of that sort. Delish!

WWW: http://www.araxi.com

Address: 4222 Village Square  Tel: 604-932 4540

 

Le Crocodile, Vancouver

Filed under: Canada,Food,Travel,Uncategorized,Vancouver,Vancouver Restaurants — lovemyfood @ 8:17 pm

It was our wedding anniversary the other week and we decided to celebrate in Le Crocodile; we have been planning to have dinner there for quite a while after having a delicious dessert a few months back.

This traditional French restaurant is expensive but is well worth it; especially if it is a special occasion. Service is impeccable and so is the food. Portions are fairly large so you might want to share an appetizer or a main course and leave some room for dessert.

I would recommend any of the dishes we had:

For starters – escargot in pastry shells; lobster Thermidor – half a lobster in cream sauce with mushrooms and cheese.

Second – Northern Caribou which was one of the specials that evening served with Pommes Anna (thinly sliced potatoes layered with butter and backed); Duck breast and Foie Gras with Calvados reduction.

Dessert – Grand Marnier Souffle and Strawberries with Champagne Zabaglione.

Wine and coffee.

WWW: http://www.lecrocodilerestaurant.com

Address: 100-909 Burrard St. (on Smythe)  Tel: (604) 6694298

 

With and without pectin July 18, 2008

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 10:26 pm

Berries are in their full glory these days and the prices are low which makes you want to buy more and more eating them fresh on their own or with ice cream, making cakes and pies, sauces for game and salsas. But we all know this is all going to end soon and there will be nothing left till next year. I don’t like jams and confitures much because the ones in the stores are too gelatinous and too sweet and I never buy those, except for special occasions such as making Linzer Cookies or Pie glaze. When I was a kid, store bought jams were rare, everything came from my grandmothers who worked hard, all summer long, making the most delicious preserves in the world. They were not only fruits and berries but mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers etc.

This summer I have decided to give this a try.

Lets start with the basics…

Jars:

Home Hardware sells them by the dozen with the lids for $12 (I bought the 500ml). Wash with hot water and put in the oven upside down for 10 minutes or so on 170-200F for them to sterilize and dry thoroughly. Be careful when you take them out….When you fill the jam, leave about 1/2cm (1/4 inch) gap between the jam and lid, put the top on and screw the ring with your fingertips – do not over do it. Put a big pot of water, bring to boil and place a few filled jars at a time for about 10 minutes. Take out and let stand at room temperature for about 24 hours. All leads should seal – press on each one and make sure its impossible :) You can unscrew the rings now if you wish. They can be stored for at least six months.

No Pectin preserves:

I made two big jars (1 liter) of no pectin liquid preserves for immediate consumption (they could be sealed and stored as well). Those are great over ice cream, toasts, cakes, yogurt and just with some tea in the evening. The process is quick and simple: 1 pot, berries (small ones – whole, the bigger (i.e. strawberries) -roughly chopped), sugar to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid (a bit) until syrupy. I have made one batch of strawberries only and another batch was of mixed berries -all the leftovers you have in the fridge- strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries which I think was even better.

Preserves with Pectin:

I made quite a few jars of jam with pectin to enjoy later in the year which I have properly sealed and stored. It is really not complicated either, so don’t worry. The recommended amount of sugar for two cups (500ml) of jam is 1/2-1 cup or alternatively 1/4-1/2 cup honey; I always use the lower border but your taste might be different. I have used two brands of Pectin; one was far superior to the other. I bought  Pomona’s universal pectin, which is a 100% citrus pectin, first and it  was great and worked like magic. When I was towards the end with only two jars left I ran out and sent my husband to get some more at the grocery store across the street. The only pectin they had was Certo pectin crystals (the “light” version) which also contains sugar and fumaric acid on top of the pectin. Not only that it had added sugar, the performance was far inferior, it didn’t set at all even though I used almost double the amount I used with Pomona’s.

The process itself is very quick – bring the berries/berry puree to a boil, add sugar and pectin, boil for a couple more minutes. Keep stirring about 5 (a couple more if it is on the liquid side or less if its really dense as it is) minutes after taking of the heat to get the “setting” process going and prevent the separation of the liquid from the solids.

Now for the “recipes”… I have decided to experiment with some flavours and here is what I got (all for 500ml jars):

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam – a winning combination in pies and such:

3 Rhubarb stalks chopped 1/2cm wide (1/4 inch) pieces

1 1/2 cups coarsely pureed strawberries (use your food processor or blender, or just cut with a knife)

Sugar+Pectin

Spicy Strawberry with Pinot Gris

1 cup pinot gris (or any other white wine you like), reduced over high heat to about a 1/3, it will become a bit caramely in color.

Mix into the hot reduced wine about 2 Tbsp of sugar, a shake of chili pepper flakes, a shake of ground cayenne pepper and a shake of cinnamon – you can always adjust those at the end.

2 cups strawberries (pureed….)

More sugar to taste (will depend on your wine and strawberries) + Pectin

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey

2 cups strawberries (pureed…)

2-4 Tbsp vinegar – use 2, taste…add more so you feel the acidity

Honey+Pectin

The other ones I made were plain Strawberry, Blueberry, and a mix of the two -classic :)

 

Shiro Sushi Vancouver July 14, 2008

Absolutely the freshest fish in town, just melts in your mouth!

In a tiny strip mall, on Cambie str, neighboring a beauty salon and probably a dry cleaner or something similar hides one of the best sushi places in town (from the ones I have visited) – it has a nice atomosphere, offers an extensive menu (in addition to the sushi) and good value.

The Nigiri does melt in your mouth; Temaki (cone/hand roll) are flavorful and the sashimi are like little jewels. I had a few sushi rolls there as well and they were good. 

Address: 3096 Cambie str. Tel: 604-874 0027

 

Saltspring Island July 2, 2008

Filed under: Food,Hidden Gems - BC,Saltspring Island,Travel,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 7:00 pm

We spent the long weekend on Saltspring Island that hosts two really good cheese makers, one good winery (and one bad) and a great bakery.

Moonstruck Cheese – Organic, delicious, cow’s milk cheese. It is a working farm so the store is not attended, samples and descriptions are displayed on the table and a well cheese stocked fridge is right by their side. You sample, you pick your favorites (and believe me its difficult), put the money in a box and record your purchase in the book. It is possible to pay by a credit card but for that you have to go get on of the employees working in the cheese room right next door; they will also provide ice-packs if you need those. I picked the Beddis Blue and Savoury Moon which incorporates summer Savoury in the rind.

Saltspring Island Cheese Corp. owned by the famous David Wood – the cheese is made of Goat’s milk and the place itself is very nice with outside tables where you can eat what you have just purchased, a little garden you can walk in as well as a 5 minutes self guided tour through the cheese making process. Here, less varieties of cheese are produced but they have a different way of making a difference. The soft Goat cheese is packed with some sort of an infuser which gives it a unique taste and aroma – Lemon, colorful peppercorns, white truffles, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and a few others making for a beautiful presentation when the cheese is turned out onto a board. Other types include Feta (regular and Chili infused), Juliette (regular and bleu) which is a soft, white mould surface ripened goat cheese as well as a Manchego style cheese. All cheeses are available for tasting and purchase, along with crackers, marmalade and olives.

                                                                            Gary Oaks Winery – is located on the Ganges Fulfurd rd. (right by the Saltspring Island winery); tastings are at $2 per person but the fee is waived with a purchase and it is really not that difficult to make one. We sampled four wines Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Zeta – Zweigelt grapes (Austrian) and Fetish – a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, the only grapes not grown on the island and are imported from the Okanagan valley. It was a hot summer day and I favoured the two lighter wines, which I have purchased, but it speaks nothing of the other two which I enjoyed as well.

 

Saltspring Island Winery – The wines are offered with some local cheese (from the two cheese makers described above) which seems like a nice gesture at first but the lady doing the tastings is watching for you not to make any attempts to take more than one tiny piece of cheese by removing the plate from the “bar” as soon as possible; the other problem with this is that when you taste the cheese with the wine you are thinking “what a great cheese” nothing about the wine crosses your mind…and when you take the second sip and the cheese is gone you are even less impressed. The grounds are nice and the outside tables are inviting but the wine sold at about $10 per glass when you can buy the whole bottle for $25 also give you the feeling you are being tricked and ripped off.

Embe Bakery – in Ganges, at the outskirts of town at 174 Fulford-Ganges rd. there is a small bakery witbread and great pastries. I especially recommend the Nanaimo Bar that is fresh and delicious.