Monday, May 30

Healthy Salmon Dinner

Because I've been eating way too many chocolate covered almonds.  We received a bag of them as a part of a gift basket, a 1.5 kg bag of chocolate covered almonds.  Were we looking too thin?  That won't be a problem now...oh, my stomach is mad at me for eating so many.
So I hefted myself off the couch and out of my chocolate almond stupor to whip up a healthy dinner and get back on my stomachs good side.  I decided on fish steamed with lemon and thyme, brown rice and a tomato and avocado salad.  Healthy and simple.  And not chocolate covered, thank goodness.

Lemon and Thyme Salmon

2 salmon fillets
a lemon (slice thinly)
salt and pepper
olive oil

  • preheat oven to 375F
  • hopefully the skin has been removed from your salmon fillets but if it hasn't now's the time to do it. After you've removed the skin cut the filets in two so in total you have four pieces.
  • cut four 7" by 7" pieces of tin foil.  Place one salmon fillet on each piece.  Season the salmon with salt and pepper then place one or two sprigs of thyme and lemon slices on each fillet. Drizzle on some olive oil and lemon juice (from the leftover lemon pieces).

  • Fold the tinfoil edges together and crumple them so it's loosely sealed into a package.  Place your four little foil packages onto a baking sheet and put that in the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes, careful not to overcook!  Remove from the oven and serve.

Lemon Sage Mayonaise

4 tbs mayonaise
juice from 1 lemon
finely sliced sage
  • mix all the ingredients together.  That's all.

Tomato and Avocado Salad

2 tomatoes
10 cherry tomatoes
1 avocado
balsamic vinegar
  • chop the avocado and tomatoes (just halving the cherry tomatoes) into largish pieces and mix with 2 tbs of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbs of thyme.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Some Day in May

It's finally warmed up in the frozen wasteland I call home (so called by the documentary 'Life', hmph)  and this week we were able to eat our first dinner out on the screened in porch (even if it was a bit chilly).  We all pitched in, rolled up our sleeves, girded our loins and you know, mopped and stuff.  Anyways, it looks much better now!

So after all that toil we had to celebrate with some music, a little barbecue and a few cocktails.  We grilled argentinian style ribs which were marinated in a ginger and soy sauce (by Stonewall), served it with bok choy and oyster mushrooms sauteed in garlic and sesame oil and steamed white rice.  It was perfectly lovely.

The cocktails were a recent creation of mine and my boyfriend's which my sister named 'Mistoffer Pimbiscus'; a combination of our names and the ingredients.  I'll leave that recipe at a later time... We also partook of some ale, Dead Guy to be specific.  It has a very piratey bottle.

Some flamingo lights to dispel the frozen wasteland image...

Our lovely meal!

But of course the evening can't end there, we continued on with some after dinner drinks (limoncello and brandy) and dessert.  Dessert was bananas stuffed with chocolate, wrapped in foil then heated on the barbecue and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  My banana was stuffed with peanut M & M's!  Great, right? Yes, great.  As with all good evenings I'm not quite sure where it ended but I know I enjoyed myself.

Saturday, May 28

Afternoon snack

Coffee and chocolate are great together, this is a fact.  What else could you want for an afternoon snack? Coffee, chocolate and peanut butter?  Yes. While watching The Office? Yes.

Friday, May 27

Pugs Are Weird

I added the wrong link when I submitted this photo, oops. HERE is the link to the real recipe, sorry!

Pugs are weird but we can't help but love them.  Snoring, grunting, impossible to train pugs, what would we do without them?  Still have carpets?  Probably.

This is Evie.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Chicken

Whether you love to cook or not, when you generally have a lot of people to cook for you start to value ease.  Lobster Thermidor seems like a marvelous idea when Julia Child makes it for 12 guests, but around 3/4 of the way through with hungry people waiting and my kitchen looking like Battle Lobster I sometimes want to cry.  Those are the moments when I think to myself, why didn't I just roast a chicken?
This is such a simple and popular dish, you can't go wrong with it really, and that's pretty exciting.  Plus anytime you're mixing bourbon and brown sugar you know the results will be good!  I served it with mashed yams and chevre (something else I rely on when cooking for a crowd - or just myself because it's really great and sometimes I must eat a whole bowl of potatoes alone. Yes, must), and a green salad.  Oh and Kir Royales, important not to forget those!

Bourbon Brown Sugar Chicken

1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbs maple syrup
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
raw chicken
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Mix all ingredients except chicken together.  They'll be a bit lumpy but thats fine.
  • Place the chicken breast up in a roasting dish.  Smear it with the bourbon butter mixture all over, but mainly the breasts and legs (reserve any extra sauce).
  • Place the chicken in the oven and roast at 400F for 20 minutes (keep an eye on it, the sugar can burn!), then cover it with foil and reduce the temperature to 375F.  Baste the chicken every 20 minutes with the pan juices and any left over sauce. The chicken should cook til it's internal temperature measures over 170F.  For my chickens that was 2 hours, but mine were quite big.  Once the chicken is cooked remove the foil and turn the heat back up to 400F.  Leave the chicken (watching carefully) for about 5 minutes in the oven or until it's sufficiently browned.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before you begin to carve.

Mashed Yams with Chevre

6 medium sized yams
6 oz goat cheese
salt and pepper
4tbs butter
  • peel and chop the yams into cubes.
  • microwave the yam cubes for 8 minutes (or until soft), then mash them in a large bowl with the butter.
  • mix in the goat cheese with a wooden spoon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep warm in the oven til serving time.  So simple but so popular!

Kir Royale

champagne or sparkling wine
creme de cassis
  • add a tablespoon of creme de cassis to a champagne flute and then top it with about 6oz of champagne, voilà!

Sunday, May 22

Wednesday at Oui

If I have one favourite place in Winnipeg (my hometown) it's Oui.  I've been going there for years in what seems like any and all my spare moments.  I've been going so long it's not even called Oui anymore but Peasant Cookery and I can't make the change. Anyways, Wednesdays are now "Buck a shuck" Wednesdays, which means all their raw oysters are $1 instead of $3.  So if I didn't already have enough reason to be there, I can now pretend I'm saving money, and I do like that.
Oui has three things that make it pretty tops in my opinion; good quality raw oysters (sign of a good restaurant), an interior I feel comfortable in and a cocktail list that is adventurous, exciting and classic.  Yup, all those things.  So it's pretty great.  Here's what my Wednesday afternoon looked like there...I'm so glad I'm going back tomorrow.

A sidecar to start...

...goes so well with oysters and mignonette.  What do you prefer; tabasco, lemon, mignonette?  I always have trouble deciding and end up trying each again before eventually sticking with mignonette.
 Then the main course; a perfect charcuterie plate!  Everything made in house, from the pickles to the mustard to the country paté.
A Cucumber Dew martini, cool as it's namesake.
 There's never much left.
To finish it off?  Espresso! Aren't we sophisticated.  Oh, I can't wait to return.

Couleur Café - Serge Gainsgbourg

Friday, May 20

Bologna Flowers!

Bologna and flower are not words that you often hear together but that will change once you try these!  They're the height of sixties breakfast kitsch and that sounds pretty good doesn't it?  My mother made them for us when we were little (not in the sixties) and we loved them, so if you're trying to sneak a bit of protein into someones diet this might be something to try...or you just love bologna.  Because let's face it, we may love fois gras now but we grew up eating bologna.

Bologna Flowers

6 slices bologna
6 eggs

  • preheat the oven to 375F
  • grease a muffin tin with spray on Pam, then push one slice of bologna into each cup.
  • crack one egg into each bologna filled cup then place in the oven an bake until the eggs are set.  About 15 minutes.  

Sea World

First we ate.  That's what we always do first anywhere. We found red, white and blue jello and some mexican food.  And what do you drink with that?  Beer.

Then on to the many attractions and wonders of Sea World...

All in all, Sea World was a less depressing place than I thought it might be.  That might be due to the amount of cotton candy I ate though.