Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday, January 10th - Building an Arc

It is raining. I mean you don't know rain until you've seen this rain. It is coming down in sheets. Normally the rain on the sunroof will pitter patter at about a slow waltz count. Last night, the rain was hitting it like someone throwing buckets of water on it, incessantly. My throat hurt this morning so I had a glass of Cranberry and Orange Juice hoping the natural antibacterial agents in the cran and the vitamin C in the oj would help. I normally don't have juice first thing because I like to avoid the fruit carb to start with. Food combining generally tell you to avoid having Fruit closer than 20 minutes before a meal and 3 hours after. I don't buy into all of it but this is true. Your stomach produces different acids for carbs than proteins so the fruit will sit and ferment if eaten at the wrong time. The result for me is uncomfortable gas.

We're trapped. Now my cold is ramped up a bit. I'm not getting a heck of alot of sympathy from D. I asked him to get me some Vitamin C from downstairs and instead, he told me where it was. Though, at least he braved the rain and went to Apple Hill to get milk.... probably more for his cappuccino than for my need for white coffee. :-I.

So while he was out, I poached eggs. I lurve poached eggs. Without the oil or butter, they just feel healthier. I've been doing them the same fool proof way for ages and they turn out great. Though it's a bit tricky to get them medium. So it's easier if you eat as you make so the first ones don't over cook.

1. Pull out a medium sauce pan and a shallow dish or fry pan.
2. Fill both with water. Put the sauce pan on high heat and the fry pan on low....or melt
3. Put 2-3 tablepoons of white vinegar in the pot.
4. Pull out all the eggs you want to use. Room temperature eggs ensure the water temp doesn't cool off when you put them in. But then you risk varying your cooking time. So I pull them out a few minutes before starting (just be sure to do it the same way everytime so your results don't vary)
5. Crack one egg in a small glass bowl. It's easier to put the egg in the water that way.
6. When the water is on gentle simmer, just before rolling boil, take a whisk or spoon and rapidly stir in a clockwise motion along the outside, starting a tornado. Keep stirring until you feel the water isn't fighting you. You'll know.
7. Quickly,gently place the egg into the centre of the tornado. The egg will close in on itself in a few seconds, ideally will look something like a hershey's kiss because of the tornado. (No need for all that double spoon collecting of the white that never works)
8. Three minutes maybe three and a half for a runny to medium egg. Pick up with a slotted spoon and place in the fry pan or dish with water. Don't worry if it looks wobbly. While it waits, in the warm water, it will cook a bit more. If you're just doing two egs for yourself. Cook for four minutes and don't fuss with the warmer dish.
9. When serving, pick up with a slotten spoon and a paper towel underneath to sop up the water.

We fried some fresh Pumpernickel D picked up at Apple Hill. It looks like Pumpernickel. It faintly smells like Pumpernickel. It doesn't taste like Pumpernickel. I've not found decent Rye or Pumpernickel bread in Vancouver. They only thing that's good is those square appetiser type 'bread'/'cracker' that comes in foil packs in the deli or cracker sections of the super market. Of course, they are not made in Vancouver. But that's not a good fresh loaf though. I don't know why they can't do a flavourful rye here. I even bought this one in a fresh paper bag with caraway seeds on top called 'real rye' that was white bread with caraway seeds on top. And the white bread was bland and flavourless.

We fried the bread in a little olive oil with one plum tomato cut in half. We served the eggs with one piece of bread each, half the tomato and some avocado slices. The avocado was perfect. It was on the cusp of being too young so it had that really nice nutty flavour. We topped the dish with Truffle oil and fresh ground pepper.

D had a cappuccino and I brewed a pot of coffee. It's like noon so I guess it was more like brunch.

We skipped lunch but truth be told, we were snacking throughout the day on cashews and pistacios.

For dinner we had Carrot and Leek soup to start:

1lb carrots, chopped
2 large leeks, washed and sliced, don't keep the tough green parts.
2T of grated ginger
1 large potato, peeled and chopped
1 l stock, veg or chicken
1 c orange juice
1 T orange zest
salt and pepper

1. sautee the leeks until soft
2. add the carrots and potato and sautee for 5-10 minutes more.
3. add the stock. We used Campbells chicken, low sodium this time. Normally I don't mind chicken broth though I'm vegetarian (by taste, not morals) but this particular variety was very VERY chickeny. I didn't care for it. There is an organic local variety that's okay when just opened and Knorr is okay. Chicken broth adds a silkiness and depth you might not get from a vegetable broth. Also the base for alot of veg broth is carrot and that can interfere with some dishes like risotto. But for this carrot soup, it probably would have been fine.
4. let simmer for 20 minutes.
5. add salt and pepper to taste
6. blitz with a hand blender until porridgey or you can run in batches in a blender or moulee.
7. add orange juice and zest, season to taste.

Ymmm though I didn't care for the Campbells chicken broth.

While we had the ginger out, D made Madhattans, bourbon and sweet vermouth and a lemon peel. (I'll have to look up the porportions.) shaken with crushed ice. I added some slices of fresh ginger cuz i had a craving. It did nothing.

For the main, we had
Salmon and Shitake mushrooms in phyllo and
Steamed Cauliflower in creams sauce.

1. sautee 5-6 sliced fresh shitake mushrooms
2. sear the skin of a piece of salmon approximately the size of 1.5 portions (i'll have to check what size we used) you could use two if you're really hungry.
3. cut into pieces. not too small. don't want cat food.
4. 1c cream with 1T dijon mustard, 1.5t herbes de provence (or whichever you like) until slightly thickened (5-10 minutes) don't over reduce.
5. salt and pepper to taste
6. spread one sheet of thawed phyllo out on a cookie sheet and brush liberally with melted butter and sprinkle breadcrumbs inbetween sheets.
7. repeat with 4-6 sheets.
8. spread mushrooms and salmon out in a log down the middle.
9. pour over cream mixture.
10. bring short ends up like wrapping a package and lay down on salmon mix
11. bring long sides up and butter seal
12. roll over so that the seal is on the bottom.
13. bush with egg white and butter.
14. sprinkle with breadcrumbs
15. bake at 375 for 20minutes.

Steam cauliflour as tender as you like. I like it al dente or still crunchy. So 5-10 minutes.
Place in a small baking dish and pour over the same cream sauce as above. Grate fresh parmesan or pecorrino (very salty so don't salt). Bake under broiler when the salmon is done for 5 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

We had a Catena Malbec. This time there was quite a bit of residue on the bottom.

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