Thursday, December 31, 2009

last post of 2009!

It was an amazing holiday season in the nickel capital. Lots of time spent with friends and family made it extra special. Here's one night before xmas:

Made delicious savory asian crab pancakes and summer rolls!

To make these babies, all you need is a couple cans of crab, 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, chopped green onions, chopped challots, an egg, and salt/pepper.

The batter closeup.
Frying them up in olive patient unless you like mushy pancakes!

Chopping veggies for the summer rolls...

Soak the rice paper in some water for a minute or two...then start rolling up the veggies like you would a fajita...dip away in some peanut sauce...almost like being back in 'Nam.

We ate, drank, jammed and were merry. Then it was on to the bar to see the Beatles White Album performed in its entirety.

Would you get a load of those adoring fans?

Suddenly, it was like "party at pelletier's!" Cool by me. What a good host...there's always food around. Tonight was grilled cheese fest. I learned a new grilled cheese technique which involves throwing blobs of butter into a hot pan then adding the bread and cheese. I am of the pre-buttering the bread this was different. Oh and a new secret ingredient...home made garlic salt sprinkled all over the shop. Heavenly.
There's no messin' around when you see that much butter. Serious stuff.

Serve with grainy mustard instead of ketchup. So posh.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2010 is filled with food, friends, and fun. xo

Monday, December 28, 2009

double-brunch sunday

I had forgotten about the wonders of brunch. Good for recovering from too much xmas cheer, good for gathering the family around a table, good for the taste buds, good for incorporating the best of lunch and breakfast. We headed down to Simon's Gallery and Grill for the first of two brunches the Sunday before xmas. Behold! Cake is a staple of Simon's brunch.

This was a cheese and cranberry brioche cake, come straight out of the oven. The cooks watched me quizzically as I snapped away. I promised I would only write good things. Truly no complaints about this yummy cake.

Brunch plate close up!

Brunch number 2 was attended shortly thereafter at the Gospel Brunch Sunday at Laughing Buddha. A fantastic way to pass an afternoon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Beginnings of Holiday Food and Festivities

Back in my Ontarian homeland for the holidays, I have less time to cook but it seems like I am always eating. So much festive food happening all around. I can't wait until Christmas and my matante's famous carrot comes but once a year.

In the meantime, I satisfied my guilty urges for the seafood lover in me. I've heard that the food at the red crustacean comes pre-cooked and heated on massive conveyor belts but I don't care, I still crave it and eat it at least once a year.

North Pacific King Crab, mighty delicious sea creature, come to me!

Gratuitous macro money shot. Keep your moaning to a minimum, there are children around.

Still hooked on the seafood vibe, my bro and I went to Umai Sushi a couple days later.

Sunomono salad.

Then holiday parties started happening...

Merry merry!

With parties come munchies. This pizza was inhaled in under 5 minutes, thank god there was another one.

Post-party all day breakfast and satisfied smiles all around!

Monday, December 14, 2009

beans and greens and more leftovers

This is comfort food to me. You can use any bean you like and any green veggie with it. I have particularly enjoyed this dish with kale or broccoli. This is one of those dishes that tastes like more than the sum of its parts.

You will need: beans, greens, a lemon, a clove of garlic, a pinch of cayenne and a handful of grated parmesan, and some cooked grains like rice or quinoa.

Chop up your greens into bite size pieces. Don't forget to rinse them well! I once was surprised by a bright green little (live!) worm on my fork as I was about to bite into a piece of organic marinated broccoli. I ran around the room crying and gagging as my family laughed and laughed. Scarred for life now.

Here's the flavour section of the dish...grated parm, chopped garlic, lemon zest, cayenne and the juice of that lemon I zested. Booyeah!

Start by quickly stir frying the broccoli in a little olive oil. When it turns bright green, add the garlic and cook until slightly tender, or however you like your veg. Add the beans, lemon zest and juice, cayenne and stir fry that shizz up. When it looks ready add the cooked grain and parm and mix well.

That's it! Enjoy.

What do you do when the fridge needs emptying! That's right, have a leftover party challenge! What I had left in the fridge: out dated organic goat cheese, stale bread, 3 zucchinis, boiled carrots, mashed potatoes and beets.

What I made: stuffed zucchini with goat cheese and buttered thyme crumble, potato carrot soup and balsamic roasted beets.

Good times! The soup was pretty impressive because it did not taste like mashed potatoes and boiled carrots one bit. I embellished these humble ingredients by frying an onion and some grated ginger and garlic in some coconut oil. Then I added some veg stock, salt, pepper and curry powder and threw in the leftover veg. Simmer that and when it smells great blend it. Done!

The zukes were prepared by hollowing out the seedy middles and stuffing them with goat cheese and bread crumbs that I had lightly toasted with butter and fresh thyme. Sprinkle that magic on top, cover with foil and bake until soft.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

fun with leftovers

Sometimes I wish I had the time to cook but I don't. Sometimes I can't be bothered to cook at all. And then I remember that I am hungry so I check the freezer. Hooray! Frozen leftover time! By making extra batches of pasta sauce you can have a very good meal in no time at all. I like to freeze tofu dishes, as the tofu gets super spongy once frozen and thawed. The texture is great in curries and sauces.

So here is some tofu veggie pasta sauce jazzed up with some frozen veg and quickly fried in a wee bit of olive oil. So good and so quick!

To make freezer food more exciting, it's best to pair it with something fresh. We found this delicious fresh flatbread crust and I embellished it with a mix of butter, minced garlic, olive oil and pesto and slices of dying zucchini on top.

Gourmet garlic bread I tells ya.

It never hurts to include salad and wine with almost every meal.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I learned to make omelets by watching the fine folks making them at This Ain't The Only Cafe in Sudbury, which is now the Laughing Buddha. Secrets I learned: 1) Adding water instead of milk to the egg mixture helps the egg stay together. 2) Fry your veggies in olive oil and douse liberally with good balsamic vinegar and spices.

Here's what's going into my 4 egg omelet: zucchini, shrooms, tomatoes and havarti cheese.

Frying everything up, I added fresh thyme and balsamic.

Eggs go into a medium hot, oiled pan.

Once the eggs have somewhat solidified, add the cooked veg and top with cheese. Let it cook for a minute or two.

Now comes the fun/hard part. Flipping! Be brave and go for it. Hesitation is not your friend when flipping an omelet. But if it rips a bit, as you can see mine did, comfort yourself with the fact that it will still taste delicious with these slight imperfections. Makes life interesting, no?

Here's my half! I like to eat all omelets with sweet chili sauce.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Orange Yellow Blue

Life kind of reminds me of this these days. Except with food. Ok maybe it doesn't make sense but this post is about colors. Look at the orange acorn squash I transformed into soup! First just split it in half and think about how its shape and outline would make a fabulous bed linen print.

Best friends! Brush 'em with oil and stick face down in a pan and roast for about 45 minutes. Throw in an onion too, for fun.

Bright orange happy mushy yummy. Scoop that business into a bowl.

Marvel at the inner workings of an onion.

Grate some ginger and garlic into your soup pot. Fry in coconut oil until soft, add half a chopped apple and your baked squash and onion, cover it with veggie stock. Simmer away and add a big pinch of curry powder and some cinnamon, salt and pepper. When you can't take it anymore throw it into a blender and puree until smooth. I like my soup thick, but it can be thinned out with some more stock.

Last weekend I had a visit from an old friend who I hadn't seen in 6 years to the week. Last time it was Valencia. This time, it was Montreal, jazz, brunch, tons of reminiscing and piecing together entire nights spent together in Dirty old Dublin...and EGG TARTS.

These were so ridiculously yellow, which begged the question: food dye? turmeric? or just a whole lot of yolk? The answer: who cares, it's yummy.

Blue turned to red upon the arrival of some of the Sudbury crew for impromptu dinner and drinks on a Tuesday. Thanks friends!

It was a Tuesday that felt like a Friday.

This was a Friday that felt like a Tuesday.