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

Salsa and Agave Mexican Grill Review October 30, 2008

I have been looking for two things for quite a while –  a good takeout place near my house and a good, no frills, Mexican restaurant with authentic food. I tried Lolita’s on Davie and it was good but it is an “upscale” Mexican food; I tried El Taco on Davie as well and it the food wasn’t so good, it was overpriced and the service was slow slow slow. Salsa and Agave does answer all my prayers though – its not a place to go for dinner as it is rather casual but for a lunch or some takeout in the evening its perfect! It is a family run place, the food is very good, the service is quick and prices are very reasonable. Happy Happy Happy!

Address: 1223 Pacific Blvd the corner of Davie  Tel: 604-408 4228

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Cranberry and Orange Sorbet

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 2:04 pm

My Cranberry sauce (from Thanksgiving) inspired me to use the same ingredients for a sorbet because in my opinion cranberries and oranges are a perfect combination; the only thing I omitted was the ginger. The funny part is, when I was looking for some other Orange ice cream / sorbet ideas (I have more oranges at home than I can eat) I found David Lebowitz’s recipe for a cranberry orange sorbet that was identical to mine (or mine was identical to his for that matter) – great minds think alike…?

So here it goes:

1 1/2 cup Cranberries

1 cup water

Zest of one Orange

3/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice – strained

Combine cranberries with sugar, water and zest; bring to a boil and boil for a minute or two, let cool. Puree the cranberry mixture and strain into the orange juice, mix and churn (I churned it on high speed to make it airy and fluffy, but it could be churned in a low speed to make it denser).

The color is beautiful, its fresh and seasonal and tastes divine.

 

Utilizing Thanksgiving Leftovers

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 1:15 pm

I know Canadian Thanksgiving passed a couple of weeks ago and whoever had leftovers already ate them but the US Thanksgiving is only coming up…and there is always next year, right?

So here is an idea on how you could utilize leftover Turkey and Cranberries – make Phyllo dough turnovers! Be ware that turnovers are best eaten fresh right out of the oven or slightly warmed the next day.

Leftover Turkey Turnovers

Shred the meat and mix with some fresh colorful bell peppers (chopped fine), chopped mushrooms and fresh herbs (parsley for example) add an egg or two bind it all, add some more salt and pepper if you like. Actually you can add any other veggies or herbs you like such as celery, chives, cilantro, rosemary, hot peppers etc…

Take a sheet of Phyllo dough, cut it into three long stripes, brush with butter or oil, put a small mound of filling and close to make a triangle like in the pictures below, turning it (hence turnovers) until the end of the dough stripe creating a well sealed multilayer triangle.

Bake according to instructions on the Phyllo dough package.

*** Serve with soup or salad for a great lunch.

Cranberry and Mascarpone Turnovers

Put your Cranberries in a pot, add a bit of water so it doesn’t burn and sugar to taste, bring to boil and boil for about a minute or two, let cool and puree – it should be thick, strain a bit of the liquids if necessary.

Same process as above, cut the dough into three stripes, brush with melted butter put a heaping teaspoon of the cranberry puree on top of it put a small pinch of lemon or orange zest (optional) and a teaspoon of Mascarpone cheese. Fold as it is shown on the pictures below. Bake.

 

Delicious Chanterelle Mushrooms

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 12:42 pm

It is mushroom season and Chanterelles are one of my favorites, I can eat them plain sauteed in butter with shallots and salt but they could be such a wonderful component of so many dishes; here are a few I made recently.

Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto 2 large portions

1lb Chanterelle mushrooms – cleaned, the large ones cut into smaller pieces

1 shallot – chopped fine

1 Tbsp butter

Saute the shallots in butter, add the mushrooms and salt to taste, saute until cooked through and soft (don’t eat all of them now!). If there is too much liquid in your pan, remove it with a spoon then add back when the mushrooms are cooked. Set aside.

Plain basic risotto recipe:

1 cup short grain rice (arborio or carnaroli)

1 shallot – chopped fine

1/2 cup dry white wine

1-2 Tbsp butter

3-4 cups Chicken stock – warm [use vegetable stock to make a vegetarian version]

1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano + more for serving

Over medium heat melt the butter in a pan (a deep saute pan or just a pot), saute the shallot until translucent and add the rice. Saute for a few minutes, mixing and making sure every grain in coated with the butter – they will become a bit translucent as well. Add the wine, mix, wait for the wine to absorb and then add a ladle of stock, mix and wait for it to absorb – continue for about 17 minutes or so – you will see the starch working creating the creamy texture, taste you rice and make sure you take it off the heat when its al-dente because you don’t want it to become mushy like rice pudding or something. Add the reserved mushrooms and the grated parmigiano reggiano. Serve with the same wine you cooked the risotto with and some more parmigiano regginao and a grater :)

Given that the season for those mushrooms is short we had quite a few meals of just plain mashed potatoes covered with sauteed Chanterelles with either sour cream, whipping cream or mascarpone cheese. The latest was a Veal roast with gratineed potatoes and sauteed Chanterelles:

For the Veal roast – a Marcella Hazan recipe with some minor changes (4 to 6 people):

1kg (2lb) veal roast

4 garlic cloves – chopped fine or (even better) mashed

2 (10cm/4inches each) rosemary sprigs – chopped fine

2/3 cup dry white wine – I used a Chardonnay with very little oak

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use Canola)

Rub the roast with garlic, rosemary, freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Over high heat, in a pan (I used a small enamelled roasting pan, an oval one) heat the oil and butter; brown the roast on all sides. Add the wine, lower the heat so the wine just simmers, close the lid leaving a small gap – leave to cook for about 45 to 1 hour, check the liquids – if not enough add a bit of water. After the roast is done, let it rest in a warm place while you reduce the pan juices over high heat to produce a syrupy sauce. Cut the roast into 1 1/2 cm (1/2 inch) slices and pour the sauce on top.

Gratineed Potatoes recipe 4 portions

6 Yukon gold potatoes, sliced into rounds, 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick

2 cloves of garlic – mushed

1 cup cream (a bit less or more depending on your dish)

1/2 Tbsp butter

Fresh Mozzarella cheese or Gruyere – grated or chopped to sprinkle on top

Salt, pepper, ground nutmeg

Mix butter with garlic and butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish, arrange the potatoes in layers. Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper after each layer, use a small (!!!) dash or nutmeg every second layer (I had three layers of potatoes and used the nutmeg on the bottom and top one). Pour the cream so it barely covers the potatoes. Cover and into the oven at 450F (230C)  for about 40 minutes (the more layers you have the longer it will take), after 30 minutes uncover the potatoes, sprinkle/lay out the cheese on top and switch your oven to “broil” it will take about 10 minutes for the cheese to melt and for the top to brown.

Serve the roast and potatoes with sauteed Chanterelles (saute shallot in butter, add mushrooms and salt).

I also made some Chanterelle and Veal Linguine:

As well as Chanterelle, Veal and Bechamel sauce Lasagna

One more thing I did to “prolong” my enjoyment with Chanterelles was to make two large batches of Chanterelle Mushroom and Mascarpone Ravioli and freeze them for future use – yum!

 

Trattoria Italian Kitchen Vancouver October 15, 2008

Filed under: Canada,Food,Vancouver,Vancouver Restaurants — lovemyfood @ 5:28 pm

A simpler version of the Italian Kitchen downtown; a nice place for lunch especially if you live close by. The place is new and modern with a nice selection of appetizers, pasta, a few pizzas and some other main courses.

It was good taste-wise but the food was mainly precooked…I understand the fact that meatballs are precooked but what made me raise my eye-brows was that the pasta was already boiled and reheated in boiling water -the restaurant has an open concept kitchen- honestly it doesn’t take long to make spaghetti to order the way it should be done in a self respecting establishment! They pride themselves with fresh pizza dough made on premises so why can’t they trouble themselves with some fresh pasta and not precooked spaghetti from a box?

WWW: http://www.trattoriakitchen.ca/

Address: 1850 West 4th ave.  Tel: 604-732 1441

 

Goat cheese and Ricotta stuffed Pumpkin

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 5:01 pm

I am all into stuffed pumpkins this year; I have one idea I already tried and want to share because it was a success  and my guests liked it as well. I think any pumpkins would do whether those are the tiny ones that could make individual portions (especially if you are entertaining) or the medium one for sharing – I cut mine into wedges when I served it. I would nor recommend using the large Cinderella pumpkins because I am afraid they may collapse when cooked through (and they may not but I am not going to try anyways).

I used a medium size pumpkin, as I have mentioned and it required about a cup and a half of stuffing so the quantities I have in the recipe below are for that amount:

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 rosemary sprig – chopped

a few Sage leaves – chopped

Ricotta cheese – a bit less than one cup

Goat cheese (the log type) – a bit less than 1/2 a cup; I used a herbed one but it can be substituted with a plain one and a bit more fresh or dry herbs of your choice

1/4 cup grated or cubed Gruyere or any other cheese of your choice

Salt and black pepper

Any other herbes you like such as chives, oregano, basil, thyme, tarragon

To make:

Cut the top of the pumpkin at 45 degrees to form a lid; remove the seeds and threads from the inside of the pumpkin. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients above and fill the pumpkin allowing 1cm (1/2 inch) of space between the filling and the lid, close the lid and into the oven at 400F (200C). Bake until soft; mine took about an hour but the cooking time will differ based on the size and thickness of your pumpkin. If you are not sure how long it will take, rest assured you can take about 30 minute reserve and if the pumpkin is ready ahead of time you can just turn off the oven and keep it there for another 30 minutes or so and it will stay piping hot and it will not affect its doneness or flavor.

Be careful, when you check for doneness (remove the lid and prod the inside with a knife/fork/skewer), not to push it or shake the rack because the filling might spill (like mine did) and burn a bit which does not affect anything but the looks :)

The next one I am trying is one filled with ground lamb – I’ll keep you posted :)

 

Thanksgiving Herbes de Provence Turkey

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 11:33 am

The Canadian Thanksgiving just passed this Monday and the US one is only next month but I do want to share my simple and quick turkey rub recipe which could be used on a turkey breast roast like I have (there are only two of us so if I would have made a whole turkey it would have taken us about a year to finish all of it…) or a whole turkey which could be stuffed with your favourite stuffing.

For a 1.5 kg (3lb) turkey breast roast:

4 fresh Rosemary sprigs

8-12 Sage leaves

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

1 tsp dry oregano

4 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 cloves of garlic – minced

To make:

Melt the butter and mix all the dry herbs and oil into it; if you have a roast like mine it will be enclosed in a net under which I just stuffed the fresh herbs but if you have a whole turkey just mince the fresh herbs and add them to the rub. Smother the turkey with all this goodness.

In a pan, arrange slices of lemon, orange and onions – press on the citrus slices to release the juice; put the turkey on top and into the oven.

I like to roast mine at 400F and closed with a lid or foil for the first half of the cooking process and at 450F and open for the second half turning it occasionally so it browns all over. The cooking time is 1 hour per 1 kg (=30 minutes per 1 lb). Pay attention to the liquids in the pan and add some water if needed. When its done, cover it and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving to redistribute the juices.

 I couldn’t publish this post with a Cranberry sauce to go with the turkey…

Easy, quick and delicious Cranberry sauce with a zing:

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

1 Tbsp honey

4-5 tsp sugar

1 tsp fresh ginger – grated or chopped fine

1 cup water 

Juice and zest from 1/2 an orange

In a small sauce pan, combine all the ingredients, bring to a boil and lower the heat. Cook until cranberries burst. I like my sauce chunky so I just leave it as is; if you like your smooth just puree it with a blender if you like it thicker just reduce over high heat until desired consistency or use a bit of tapioca/corn starch or flour to thicken it.