Wednesday, June 30, 2010

last A.G.E. girls' night...sigh

The former ESMC student council met last night at my place to have our final farewell dinner. Not since 1997 had we lived in the same city at the same time. It's been a slice, ladies. You have no idea how much your friendship enhances my life, humbles me and gets me out of my various funks and into the kitchen! I got to watch MAC's daughter grow from a tiny bump into a happy nearly 1 year old. Best of luck in Ottawa and I promise I will visit often!

On the menu for my special ladies:

-Quinoa Cranberry Salad
-Fried Halloumi with Mint
-Green Salad
-A selection of decadent deserts from 1ere moisson

First, for the quinoa. 2 parts water to 1 part grain. I use a coffee mug to measure. Bring the water to a boil, add a bouillon cube if you like and then add the grain. Bring to a boil, cover. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed and the grain is tender. Let this cool.

Then, transfer your grain to a nice bowl and add a big handful of raw sunflower seeds.

Next, add a big handful or two of dried cranberries.

Trust me, you want a finely died half of an apple in this here salad. Yes, you do.

These are the remaining ingredients. Some fresh mint, 2 celery stalks, half a red pepper, half a small red onion. Finely dice or chop and throw it in the salad. Yee-haw!

You're on your way to deliciousness if it looks something like this.

What about a dressing for this salad?

Juice a lime into a bowl. Add a glug (approx 1 tablespoon) of olive oil, and a splash of mirin (rice vinegar). Add honey to sweeten and salt and pepper to season. Then, add a good glug of orange juice and a twoonie sized plop of dried parsley. Whisk with a fork. Taste and adjust. Too sour? Add more honey and/or oil. To bland? Add more salt. Too thick? Add a couple drops of water. Go with it, you can't really go wrong if you keep tasting until it seems ok.

Now onto guacamole times. Get yourself 2 ripe avocados, 2 limes, a pinch of cumin powder, salt and pepper, and a spoonful of store bought salsa. Mash all that with a fork and enjoy with corn chips. Que bueno!

Halloum, I would like to introduce you to my friends. They like salty, squeaky, chewy cheese like you that can be grilled without melting.

Slice it up like so.

Fry with a little olive oil over medium heat until browned and crispy. Top with chopped mint. Serve with salad while still warm. You will practically die of happiness. This cheese hits many craving targets: salty, chewy, crispy, cheesy.

Mon assiette.

Let's eat dessert!!! I want royalties from Premiere Moisson for this quasi-advert. Holy mother of god raspberry chocolate mousse cake.

The next culprit. Mocha cake! Skulking in the background is the best dessert of them all. A pear vanilla mousse cake inside a chocolate bowl gilded with gold leaf.

Yes, yes, yes!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

dhal-ish doll

It was lentils with Lia night tonight...Food got cooked, almost burned the lentils but they survived. Here's what you do to make this super easy tasty dish. Is it considered dhal? I don't know but it does have some Indian inspired flavors.

To cook the lentils, I fried 2 big handfuls with olive oil and 3 bay leaves, just long enough to get them coated and hot. Add enough water to cover the lentils by a couple of inches and boil over a medium heat for about 30 minutes. Keep checking and adding water so they don't dry out. A veggie bouillon cube can really make lentils sexy and exciting.

Chop up some tomatoes like so.

Get yourself some yellow and red peppers and cut those up too.

Meanwhile, get some quinoa cooking. No stress, just 2 parts water and 1 part grain, simmer that like rice about 15 minutes.

The veggies go in the pot after sweating 3 cloves of minced garlic and a minced onion in a tablespoon of coconut oil. To make everything taste fantastic, you need spices. I added roughly equal parts (about a 25 cent sized plop) of ground turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala and a pinch of chili flakes. To season, add salt and sugar. Now you need some liquid. I used white wine, veggie stock and tomato paste.

The burning can be avoided by not getting carried away with a pre-dinner serenade. Check on this mixture to not let it dry out.

Asparagus are in season. Tasty stalks got quickly fried in olive oil and butter.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

reasons to cook, reasons to eat

Hunger combined with inspiration can result in some delicious meals. There are many reasons to cook, but none so fun as picnic creations you end up eating under fairy lights in the park. In great company of course.

dried wakame
and shitake mushrooms become alive again when boiling water gets poured all over

these become reconstituted and slippery to the touch. you'll like it.

ginger and seaweed best friends forever.

buckwheat soba noodles. i forgot you were in my pantry!

the base for tasty asian dressing: toasted sesame oil, soya sauce, rice vinegar, honey. keep tasting, you'll know when it's perfect. i added tahini and sweet chili sauce to this for the soba noodles.

can you tell i love chopping? veggies got added to both the seaweed and the noodles to make separate salads.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

lettuce rejoice

Here is a delicious way to stir-fry lettuce. When else are you going to consume a whole head of romaine in one go?

Get yourself a half pound of tofu, 2-3 cloves of garlic and a similar quantity of ginger, salt and pepper, and oyster sauce. Coconut oil for frying.

Cube the tofu and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Slice up the garlic and ginger. Cut the lettuce into one inch pieces.

Stir-fry the tofu first. When it looks golden, add the garlic and ginger and then when you're good and ready add the lettuce and fry for about 2 minutes. You want the heart of the romaine to remain crispy, oh yes you do.
Almost done! Throw down some oyster sauce up in there.

Top with black sesame seeds and large flakes of toasted coconut for the extra crunch factor.

My stir-fry is ready for its closeup.

Enjoy, then go lie down in a park and look at the clouds.