Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24th - Bowling night

I had a work bowling tournament tonight. I felt really bad that I had to skip out on Ultimate frisbee but in the end it poured all day and we were scheduled to play on a notoriously soggy field. I found out the next day, regrettably, that they played anyway with no female substitutes. I'm soooooo sorry team!

We played at Rev's bowling out by Holdom Skytrain station. It's quite a lot of fun since we normally take all 45 lanes. It's not necessarily to do with the bowling at which I suck out loud. Though I think I did manage to break a 1oo and got a couple of strikes.

Dinner was bowling at the bowling alley. Their Veggie pizza isn't bad. They have a pizza oven and make them on site. It isn't the best but it's piping hot with loads of peppers and black olives. W on my team and I both ordered some cocktails too. It was called a 'Blue Maui': Pinapple juice, Malibu, Rum and blue Curcao. It was horrible. Really bad. Like blue sugar water. Actually, it came up on the counter as a shot and frankly W and I are not shot people, particularly not when it's a work event at 5pm in the afternoon :-P. So she mixed into a highball for us. It was nothing more than sugar water with a bit of pineapple. Blech. The rest of the folks mainly had pitchers of beer. No deals on pitchers of beer, surprisingly. They were like 17 bucks. The only deals were on the shots and coronas.

If you have to go bowling, this place isn't bad and it's right, right on the skytrain line.

Rev's Bowling - Burnaby
5502 Lougheed Highway
Burnaby, BC
2 on 7 for the Pizza.
V5B 2Z8
(604) 299-9381

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23 - Portobello Burgers and Yam Fries

D has beach volleyball on Tuesday's so I've got dinner. Actually, we've agreed that we let the other know on our sports nights whether we'll be home for dinner or not. And we'd let each other know if we wanted the other to wait. D's been really sweet though. Ultimate on Wednesdays usually ends quite late but he's got food waiting for me anyway.

Portobello Burger's with Blue Cheese and Chipotle Sauce

2 caps per burger
1 oz of crumbled blue cheese per burger
1/2 T of your favorite chipotle BBQ sauce

Stem and brush the mushroom caps. You can remove the gills if you want but if they look pretty clean then don't bother. Plus since they'll go on a scorching BBQ, it should be okay if you give them a good brushing. We remove the gills if they're going into something where it'll look 'dirty' when the gills break off like in a risotto or cream sauce...

Crumble the blue cheese with a knife and set a side. Prepare the buns with butter or oil before toasting as you like.

Brush with olive oil and season with Salt and Pepper. BBQ on both sides a few minutes until softened. Close the cheese in between the two caps, inward facing like a clam to trap the cheese and the juices. Top with chipotle sauce and serve with Yam fries. MMMMMMM These are so amazing. You could try to putting the caps the other way like the inards facing the bun so that the bun soaks up the juice. Upto you.

Yam Fries

1 large yam 1lb - 1.5lbs
1/4 c olive oil
1 T bay seasoning
1 t garlic powder

Wash and Peel the yam. Slice first in half lengthwise so you have a stable flat bottom to do the rest of the slicing.

Preheat oven to 375F or if you like make them chunkier and do them on the BBQ. I really craved shoe string ones tonight though.

Slice each of the hemispheres into lengthwise slices about 1/2 cm thick (1/4 inch). Slice those into 1/2 cm fries. Toss in a large bowl with olive oil until they are all thoroughly coated. Mix the Bay spice and the garlic powder in a small bowl. Toss a bit on top of the fries and toss. Add the rest slowly so that it doesn't clump on just a few of the fries.

Spread evenly on a large baking sheet near the bottom of the oven. If you have convection, turn it on 375 convection. Toss with tongs about 15 minutes in. They should be soft by 25 min - 30 min. If they aren't crispy enough then you can put them on a higher rack and broil them for 2-3 minutes. Watch them. The high sugar content will make them burn quite quickly.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21 - Garlic Scape and Portobello Mushroom Omlette and Pistacio Pesto


Driving Range - Greek Day - Spanakopita and Lamb Pita and Baclava

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Friday, June 19th - Israeli and Edamame Couscous and BBQ Salmon

We had a couple of filets left of the wild Copper River Salmon from Urban Fare. Since it was still quite sunny out D felt compelled to BBQ of course.

BBQ Wild Salmon with Maple Glaze

125 - 150 g per person is about right per filet
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Simply clean and dry the filets rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Oil the grill with a brush. Use an oil with a high smoking point. We bought a PAM for BBQ. It's meant to be better for high heat and keeping the grill non-stick. Questionable really but it's easy. I don't know that I'd buy it again.

Place the filets skin side down. The time to cook is thickness dependent. If it is less than an inch thick, you're looking at 3 minutes on the first side and a bare 2 minute when you turn it. Depends on how hot your BBQ is as well. I like it slightly pink in the middle.

Serve with the glaze on the side for drizzling or dipping. MMMMMMM

Israeli Couscous with Edamame

I am confounded by Israeli Couscous. I've tried to do it a number of ways and water proportions and it still comes out a bit clumpy. Actually, when I bought a 'fancier' variety from a super market, it turned out 'better'. But we're currently working through a bag of couscous that's slightly bigger per pearl that I bought on Commercial in a middle eastern shop and there was nothing but arabic script on the bag. So it was the real deal but it's been a bit gloopy. When I get Israeli Couscous salads in the market or restaurants, it's light, fluffy and separate. One day, I will sort it out. See for regular couscous whose grains are coarse salt sized, you can soak well ahead in cold water and it will soak up the moisture but stay fluffy and al dente but not crunchy. Israeli Couscous is bigger. Each pearl is about the size of lentil when raw. You can soak it all day and it will not work the same way. It is made from semolina as the other but I think the size makes it trickier. Still when it's done, even when gloopy has a great texture.

1/2 c Israeli couscous per person
double the water or stock
I used a vegan broth cube
salt and pepper
3/4 c shelled edamame beans

You can buy Edamame beans in the frozen food section of any asian shop. Most of the time in Japanese restaurants you'll have the served steam in the pod (similar to peas) with coarse salt. But you can also buy them shelled which I think is great. Why pay for and deal with a pod that you don't need or eat. Rinse them in warm water in a sieve and set aside.

Toast the couscous in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Turn down to a bare simmer for 15 minutes. Add the beans in the last 3 minutes.

Season with Salt and Pepper. YuuuuuuMMMM

Sunday, June 14th - Maple Glazed Salmon, Onion Tartlettes and Gazpacho

We went to golf today despite the D's boss coming over for dinner. I reckoned if he wasn't stress, I wasn't going to be. Of course we got home around 3h30 or so and D started to stress. I was in charge of the soup and I knew it wouldn't take long but that didn't matter. I could have said that we didn't need to golf but I didn't. :-P Anyhoo, we had some clean up to do before dinner as well. Ourselves and the place needed a bit of a tidy.

Sevilla Style Gazpacho with the fixings

I call it Sevilla Gazpacho because I had it this way when I was visiting there. My croutons didn't turn out as garlicy but not many people are as fond of garlic as I am. :-D

4 small or 3 medium tomatoes (fresh) diced and set aside in a small bowl.
1 small onion finely diced, set aside in a small bowl
1 quarter red bell pepper diced and set aside in bowl
1/2 c diced cucumber set aside.
cilatro, optional
1 c croutons, make more of this because everyone loves croutons :D

Cube some nice bread. I used some leftover foccacia that I had made.
Slice 4 cloves of garlic
Melt 2-3 pats of butter and 1T of olive oil in a pan on low-medium heat.
Add the garlic. You're not trying to brown, just infuse the flavour and take the edge off.
Add the bread cubes and toss and let toast for a few minutes. Take the pan off the heat and just leave aside until you need them.

Roughly chop the following
2 cup tomato diced, fresh or high quality tinned
1 red bell pepper (the part you didn't use for the garnish)
1 large cucumber
5 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
Salt and Pepper
Spanish Paprika
1-2 T olive oil
sprig of thyme and oregano (optional)

In a blender, puree. You can use a food processor but I never did in Spain and the blender does make it easier to pour as well. Drizzle the top of the soup with good olive oil.

Put in the serving bowl and chill until ready to serve.

Serve with the garnishes on the table for everyone to top as you like.

Savory Onion Tartlettes

6 small-medium yellow onions sliced (3-4 cups)
bay leaf
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bayleaf
3 gloves garlic
salt and pepper
butter and olive oil

6-10 oil cured olives pitted and chopped
6 filets of anchovies
3-4 small tomatoes chopped
We did both.

Puff pastry, we used store bought. Let thaw on the counter several hours ahead.

In a large pan, melt a few pats of butter and add the oil. Low - medium heat. Saute the onions with the salt and herbs until they're soft and start to carmelise. Stir occasionally. Add a teaspoon of sugar if you're worried. It will take awhile, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the dough to have to two legal sized pieces of paper 1/8 (2mm) thin. Place on parchment paper. Spread out the onion out equally on both. One one we added anchovies and olives. One the other we added only the tomatoes. If the anchovies you have are dry cured, drizzle them with olive oil.

Place the two pans in the oven with at least 2 rack levels between them to allow for heat circulation. At around mid way, switch the bottom to the top and make sure to turn each pan so the side that was at the back is now on the front for even cooking. Bake for about 30 min or until golden brown. They are YYUUUUUMMMMMM!

Maple Ginger Salmon

We've made this a few times. We had two large whole Copper River wild Salmon. If you can get this, you should try it. The texture is amazing and the flavour so deep and rich. We have the cedar plank as the original recipe recommends but it was a bit disappointing. Although we soaked it for a very long time, it still burned. So we reverted to our own variation where we put the cleaned scallions directly on the grill and place the whole salmon fillet right on top of the onions.

(Chef Eric,, D took an intermediate cooking class with him)
1 cup pure maple syrup
3 tbsps fresh ginger, minced
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced 2 tbsps soy sauce
2 lb. center cut salmon filet, with skin
Salt & pepper to taste
1 bunch of scallions

In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup, ginger, lemon, garlic, and soy sauce. Simmer and reduce to about 1 cup (about 30 minutes). Let cool. Brush the salmon filet a little while before grilling and again just before and while grilling. Reserve about half of it for drizzling.

Heat the BBQ. Arrange the scallions directly on the grill with tongs (don't burn yourself). Laid the scallions directly on the Grill. Placed the Salmon directly on the scallions on the grill and contined normally.

Season the fish with sea salt and black pepper. Using a large brush baste the salmon. Roast for approximately 25 minutes until the fish is cooked through. During the cooking process, baste every ten minutes, and baste again just before serving.

We served at table on a nice little cutting board. The scallions were all carmelly and absorbed alot of the nice fat from the fish. Very good. I'm always surprised when people don't just mow down the scallions. It's a very catalan bbq veg. There's always one that leaves alone. They're so so so yummmmm!

Grilled Veg

Cube some eggplant, zuccini, and small new potatoes. You'll want to par cook the potatoes. Toss in olive oil and put on the BBQ 10 minutes before the fish in a BBQ vegetable basket. It looks sort of like a wok with dime sized holes all over it.

We had Artazuri Rose to start. We then served a Pares Balta B 2008 and Chacra Pinot Noir our guests brought which was amaaaaazzzing. We had a bit of a Delta Pinot Noir which is one of my favourites. It so so full of raspberries you'd think it was a framboise.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday, June 13th - Pied a Terre restaurant

Breakfast was an Urban Fare muffin. Very filling. I think if I had them more regularly I'd be sick of them but as I only have them once a month or two, they're still a treat. They're about 3 bucks and quite large. Their Morning Glory is wonderfully chock full of fruit and nuts. D had an early morning errand but he left me some steamed milk and two shots of expresso for my capp. The whole day was a bunch of annoying errands actually. It's really hard to commit to that on such a nice day as well. That of course, is why they're not done. So we had to buckle down and get them done.

Dinner was at Pied-à-Terre on Cambie. Our friend J has wanted to try it out for ages. As she's currently in culinary school, she seems to have a constant pulse on the places to try. Course Pied-à-Terre recently won an award in Vancouver Magazine for best casual French and now it's booked all the time. We could only get a table at 6pm if we promised to leave at 8pm. That was fine. We were headed to K's CMA finally done party anyway.

The menu is simple and reminded me of a pretty authentic French bistro... except for the decor. I thought it was a bit to frou frou, all white with black acrylic chandelier. I like warmer and cozier for bistros.

They have a Table d'Hote with three courses for 36 bucks or so. Pretty good price given the contents but each of us wanted something on the special menu. As well, you could order all the sides as well, separately. I was tempted by the frites. People raved about them on Twitter. I decided to be more sensible.

I had the Brandade Fishcake with greens, D had Roased Cepes with greens and J had Foie Gras. They were all very nice. The Brandade wasn't at all salty and well held together. The breaded coating looked a little manufactured but I guess the cook is THAT good. D's salad looked fairly generic. He said it was nice but nothing to write home about. The Fois Gras looked alright, J and D liked it quite alot. I'm not a fan but I was told it was good. It was encased in what looked like white chocolate but I think it was rendered fat...hmm. and topped with aspic or other jelly.

I would recommend the Brandade though but next time I'll try the mussels. The table next to us ordered them and they came in a ol style crockery, quite large.

As a main I had the Halibut with mash and tapenade. It was very very nice. The portion was very healthy and it was seared perfectly. It was a tad salty. Given there was tapenade, I wouldn't have salted the fish at all. The tapenade was salty on it's own, so I expected it.

D had the Pork Chop in support of the Canadian pork industry. He's been trying to keep organic but when he doesn't have the option he justifies his predeliction for pork chops that way. surprisingly, Pied-à-Terre didn't have much organic meat, just the poultry. But on top of that, they seemed affronted by the question. I detected the repressed urge to roll their eyes. The porkchop came with spatzel and cabbage. That was YUUUUMMMMM, I must learn how to make spatzel.

J had the short ribs. It beat her though. She really wanted to have dessert so she left a whole rib. It looked delectable. I didn't photograph her food though, sorry.

Dessert was BC strawberries and sabayon. (an italian sort of creme brulee that isn't brulee'd :-P)
We had a nice bottle of Buxynoise Givry Premier Cru Bourgogne, Pinot Noir. It's the easiest choice when you have three different meats, Pinot Noir is the best compromise.

3369 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC
(604) 873-3131

(5.5 maples really)

Pied-à-Terre on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday, June 15th - Spin Roll Sushi

RIP OFF terrible Sushi at Spin Roll Sushi on Pender
Spin Roll Sushi downtown for lunch. I had to run an errand on Hastings so I thought I'd grab a box of sushi on the way back to the office. I passed like 8 on the way down and randomly chose a new one. Spin Roll. It has a competitor 3 doors down but this place had 6 more pieces of sushi for 50c more for the daily special...5.95 for 18 rather than 5.50 for 12 so I let that make the decision. I sat down on a stool after paying to read a local paper and only just settled in after 3 minutes and they had my sushi read. Suspicious.

I got back to the office and to my great suprise there were only 12 pieces. WTF!??? the other place had 12 pieces with miso. I had wanted only 12 that's where I would have gone. It said 6 Californa, 6 Yam and 6 spicy Tuna.... with an emphasis line saying 18 pieces. WHAT a rip off.
That said too. All of the rolls were fairly haphazard. No sushi training whatsoever. I'm not expecting Nobu or Tojo but come on! I don't want student kim bap either. I do not recommend you try this place. Horrible.

Spin Roll Sushi
535 West Pender St

If you want good cheap sushi... go to:

Ebisu on Broadway
601 W. Broadway #12
Vancouver, BC(604)
876-3388 (near willow)


Excellent Sushi Japanese Restaurant
1157 Granville Street,
Vancouver (near Davie)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12th - BBQ'd Copper River Salmon and Spinach Vermicelli Noodle Salad

D bought some Copper River Salmon at Urban Fare. It was on sale for a whole (headless) fish for 7$/lb. It's normally 3 times that. It is seriously a beautiful fish. The colour of the flesh alone says it all. Deep deep ruby. It flavour is richer and the texture, butterier. We had no veg in the house though. D hadn't expected me to be home before him and I think he had planned on sending me out for veg.

I was volunteering at a charity golf tournament out at UBC for the BC Women's Hospital and we finished setting up the dinner gala early so we were sent home at around 4. I had thought I might be there to early evening.

Anyhoo, I made due with the bell pepper in the fridge I bought randomly two weeks ago and some little chilis.

Spinach Vermicelli Noodle Salad

2 squares or half a packet of Spinach Vermicelli noodles
3 chilis (mild)
1 bell pepper
1/2 small onion
7 leaves basil
5 leaves mint
1/4 c coriander
2 t wasabi powder (this didn't do anything, I could have omitted)
1 lime juiced
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
1/4 c sesame oil
1T fish sauce
1t low sodium soy sauce.

I kept the sodium low because I didn't want to drown out the freshness of the fish.

Boil water (I do no go for the soaking of these noodles. I doesn't work!!!!). Add the noodles and boil for 5 minutes. Drain immediately to a fine sieve and douse in ice cold water. Let drain until really dry.

Meanwhile finely slice onion and soak in the lime juice and vinegar. I do this to take the edge off. I don't like raw raw onion in salad. Chiffonade the herbs: stack the leaves and roll into a cigar and slice thin like fine ribbons. Slice all the peppers finly thin too. I want them to disappear into the noodles like noodles.

In a salad boil add the oil and swirl. Add the noodles and toss with the herbs and peppers. Add the onion mixture and add the fish sauce and soy to taste. Top with the coriander and refridgerate.

Copper River Salmon WILD

D simply scaled and sliced into steaks.
Seasoned with Pepper and Salt and Olive Oil
Grill only a few minutes on each side.

Careful with the bones. Served with the Herbed Butter from Sunday and a side of grilled eggplant.

I have photos but again D's stupid IBM Thinkpad won't cooperate.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11th - Arts Institute and Korean Junkfood

We went back to the Arts Institute Culinaria on Granville and Georgia. Our friend J was working front of the house so we went to go laugh and point. Kidding.

We had a moscato to start because we wanted to cheers our friend K's survival of the CMA.

For a started we shared the Smoked Salmon plate. It came with three sliced of lox and a small salmon and cheese roll. It was nice, if a bit cream cheesy but I have to give props to whomever minced those red onions on the side. They were millet grain sized. I forgot to photo..

I had the Thai Green Curry as a main and D and K had the Butter Chicken. They aren't on the regular menu. They were daily specials. J raved about the butter chicken the minute we sat down. D and K really liked it. D normally hates butter chicken for the sickly creamy sauce but he really thought they did a fantastic job. It was served with a side of pilaf and naan. My green curry was yum with heaps of salmon and soft sweet scallops. It wasn't a traditional coconutty sauce thai though. It made sense when J said that the dude who made it was from Indonesia. It totally reminded me of the curries in Bali. Thicker, drier and lots of flowery lemon grass. It was yum.

J treated us to the dessert special of the day. Vanilla Panna Cotta with fresh fruit. It was really nice. Fresh vanilla beans and chopped fruit. Lovely.

This day was night and day to the last time. Seriously. I would reccomend you try going for lunch.

Arts Institute
Corner of Granville and Georgia (across from Holts)

Dinner on the other hand... well it was our last Korean class so we had a night of food planned. So D and I didn't bring any food. I know we only had a budget of 20 bucks but you could get duhk or salad but the girl charged with shopping but onion chips, Beh Beh Rol (Chocolate Prezels), Home Run cream puffs. H our teach made Kim Bap but she made them with ground beef. Kim Bap is Korean 'sushi' It's a very traditional home food or street food.

Sheet of Kim (seaweed or nori), rice, picked daikon, steamed spinach, julienned carrot and egg ... are staples. Mom will add crab stick or keep it veg. I've never seen it with beef. Sometimes mom will add kimchi or pickled spicy cabbage.

I didn't want to be rude so I pulled the meat out and ate a few. I think I had some beef and my stomach revolted against me later that night. We were full of calories but still needed food but we didn't. It would have been silly. We got home and had some Carmen Reserva Cab only.

Photos pending once D's stupid IBM Thinkpad starts to play nice!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9th - Burgoo Restaurant

Tuesdays has now become D's beach volleyball night. Once in a while, they decide to go to dinner. Not often. Unfortunately, they play in a vacant lot behind the Bus Terminal in an industrial zone. There is no where to eat nearby. Add to that, that during the summer the team wants a patio. For some odd reason, last year, the started to be regulars at the ghastly Red Robbins family restaurant on Broadway and Spruce. The drinks are terrible and the food is worse. The only good parts are 1) empty patio and 2) chunky fries are good and refillable for free.

I said that if that's where they were going, I'd soon sit at home and maybe go get noodles for myself. I suggested Burgoo on Main and 12th. I've wanted to go there for a while and haven't found occasion. See they have a nice patio but only useful in nice weather. HOWEVER, their menu is hearty comfort food which sorta clashes with warm weather. They don't take reservations BUT BUT what they don't tell you is that you can call ahead, day of, to hold a table. Grrrr. Since I wasn't playing I offered to ride my bike over to squat on the patio. It was full so we had to go inside. Not too bad but with the food, it was pretty intolerable.

3096 Main St

Burgoo is a south american (Kentucky) slow cooked stew.

We shared a FONDUMENTAL, (emmenthal and gruyere) cheese fondue. They serve it in a small, chocolate fondue sized fondue pot with bits of bread, grapes and grape tomatoes. SERVICE IS SLLLLOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW. The cheese sauce was a bit watery. No protein stringiness :-(. I don't know what they added to water it down. It didn't have that pungent nuttiness that is normal with those two cheeses. I had a J. Lohr Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice.

For a main, I had the Ratatouille and D had a Burgoo with Dumplings. The servings are very hearty and served piping hot. The ratouille comes topped with bread crumbs and goatcheese. Nice. However, it was a 'quick' ratatouille so I could identifiy the canned tomatoes. The eggplans and zuccini were great. Over all a tasty dish, I think mostly because of the topping. One of the guys on D's team, C asked which came first, the cartoon or the dish. We all held back but he was dead serious. Oh my oh my. Ratatouille is a traditional french peasant dish. It is a vegetable stew of veg of the marrow or berry family (zuccini, squash, eggplant) and tomato base. Simplicity and full of flavour if allowed to stew together. In a restaurant, harder to achieve.

D's Burgoo came with two herbed dumplings. Nice. They sort of tasted like the biscuites you get a an Olive Garden but heavier. I am not happy with the limited selection for non meat eaters. I mean, a vegetarian tagine would be so easy but the menu added two things just to sort of appease the tree huggers. Strange though. I can understand how they got away with that up in Lonsdale but in Mount Pleasant??

I wouldn't have their fondue again which was weak and watery. I would have the ratatouille again. I really wish the tagine had a non lambed version because as others ordered it and it walked by, it smelled awesome. Overall, 3 maples on 7.

Burgoo (Main Street) on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Monday, June 8th - Portobello Mushroom Risotto

Mmmmm I feel like it's been forever that we haven't had our staples. Green Curry and Risotto....

We bought a basket full of mushrooms at TnT yesterday when we bought the lobster. TnT is a great place for vegetable prices on several things, not all things. 2 to be sure are mushrooms and eggplant. I don't even know if I need an eggplant but I will always pick one up if I'm doing groceries there. They're like a third of the price at the Whole Foods. The mushrooms too, the King Oyster was easily a half to a third. We bought a stack of Portobello (confession: we bought them in the clearance area for 1 dollar. I mean we weren't planning on keeping them for more than a day). Also we picked up some shitake. Shitake are surprisingly fantastic for risotto and other non-asian application because they are very mushroomy. I mean, seriously, don't waste time on white button. They don't taste of anything. I think the only time they taste nice is when they're pan fried as a side in butter.

Portobello and Asparagus Mushroom Risotto

1 c risotto rice (2 people with a lunch portion)
4 portobello mushrooms, stem removed and gills cleaned out, sliced
5 shitake mushrooms, fresh brushed and sliced
8 spears of BBQ'd asparagus (left over from yesterday)
butter (we're using the left over herb butter from yesterday)
olive oil
1 shallot
thyme, fresh a few sprigs
rosemary, 1 sprig
1 c dry white wine (we had an unoaked chardonnay in the fridge)
1-2 l of veggie stock or chicken broth

In a small sauce pan, pour all the broth and bring to a boil then turn down to a bare simmer (what does that mean? small ginger ale sized bubbles that gather on the bottom of the pan and occasionally break to the surface)

In butter and olive oil in a large pan, fry all the mushrooms until browned and considerably shrunk. Set aside. We normally set aside on one of the dinner plates, normally mine because I like to retain all the flavoury goodness :-)

Add olive oil to the same pan (don't clean) and on medium-low heat, fry the minced shallot until softened but not browned.

Add the rice. Add more olive oil if needed. You need all the rice coated with oil so that it glistens. Cook until slightly nutty... or 5 minutes, stirring. Season with salt and pepper, perhaps a 1 t each to begin with.

Add the wine by pouring in circles over the pan. Some people who don't like to measure will say that a coup is a steady stream twice around the pan. Stir.

Always stir. With a wide wooden spoon. Risotto is all about stirring. Being involved with your food. Stirring will encourage the starches on the arborio rice to come off and make that creaminess known in risotto. Heat should be medium low (1-10, about a 5 or 6)

When most of the liquid is absorbed so that when you stroke the middle of the pan with a wooden spoon, it doesn't immediately gather back up, add a ladel of broth (about 1/2 cup). Stir and repeat. The whole process should take about 35-40 minutes.

When you get close to the time mark, taste the risotto to test the texture. I like it softer than D. D likes it a bit 'crunchy'. If you don't think you have enough liquid left, just add more water to the pot or dissolve another veggie stock cube or add a dash of wine. No panic. Season as needed. At about 20 minutes add the veg, in this case, mushrooms back.

When you are 1 ladel away, turn the heat off, add the last ladel and some dobs of butter over the surface and cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and freshly grate 1/2 c -3/4 c parmesan. Serve with more on top on the dish. MMMMMM

I have photos but D's piece of crap IBM laptop is slow on photos so I'll add them later. We had a gorgeous Hillside Estate Gamay Noir Old Vines 2007. It was wonderful!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Wednesday, June 10th - Elephant Walk Shanghai Noodles

Ultimate night and my team wants to eat at the tacky Elephant Walk pub again. I mean, I'm not sure that they could choose a more poorly located place to go to as a team considering some of us, ME, don't drive. Grrrrr.

It was the place, a couple of weeks ago, where I ordered wine and asked what they had and the server was stumped by the question. Red or White, and I asked which kind and she was confused. Well tonight they had highball specials so I had two double caesars. They were pretty good. Could have been spicier and they served it in a lowball glass.

We easily had the bitchiest server ever. She was downright surly, bitch is too soft an adjective. Granted K on our team was a bit demanding but still she was mean to all of us. E and S tried to cheer her up but I'm like, what are we tipping you for. Or not!

I had the shanghai noodles this time. The pad thai was a bit too aldente last time. The shanghai noodles were alright for filling pub food. A bit too soy and salty but thankfully E ordered a greek salad and didn't want her bell peppers. I threw them on my noodles. The noodles them selves were nice and chewy but he needs to work on the sauce.

I don't know what I gave the Elephant Walk last time but due to bad service, I am now going with 1 maple on 7.

Cost: $$
Staff: RUDE and unfriendly, caught them moaning about clients LOUDLY when I was at the bar.
Location: MFN
Ambiance: Dark, dingy pub.

Elephant Walk Pub (Killarney)
1445 E 41st Ave
Vancouver, BC V5P

Elephant Walk Neighbourhood Pub on Urbanspoon

No photos. I'm not sure my team would have understood why I was snapping shots of my mediocre pub food. ;-P

Sunday, June 7th - BBQ Lobster

D went sailing today and I had decided last night that I would bake focaccia. It took most of the morning. It was a gorgeous day so perhaps not the best use of my time. It did allow me to catch up on some of my writing though. I'm in experiment mode on my focaccia baking. I used half half unbleached flour and whole wheat breadflour last time and it turned out quite well. I thought I would go full on the whole wheat breadflour this time and it was alot drier than the last time. It's still a fantastic bread, no doubt but it's closer to a dense loaf than a focaccia. I will outline the recipe as I did it here. I will follow it with a combination of the last time that I think will land where I want it to. I'll try again later. I also used alot less olive oil in the bread dough than the last time. I misread the recipe and thought that all the oil listed in the ingredients were meant to go in but some of it was meant to be used for the pan. I thought that went without saying. Who lists lubrication oil in the ingredients?

The type of flour you use in a bread dough has a big effect on the bread in many ways. You may need more or less moisture, oil/fat or salt. I used the same amount of flour and the texture of the dough ball was the same as last time but it was chewier and drier. I also measured out the yeast this time instead of using the whole envelope. An envelope has 2t of yeast and I only need 1.25t for this bread.

Herbed Whole Wheat Focaccia with Oil Cured Olives and Anchovies
1 1/4 c warm (115 degrees C if you have a thermometer, quite warm but not boiling)
2 T honey (wet the spoon, it will help dish the honey)
1 1/4 t yeast
1/2 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 T chopped fresh oregano
2 T Olive oil
2 t salt
3 1/4 c whole wheat bread flour
1 T Olive oil for bowl during first rising
2 T Olive oil for cast iron pan during second rising and baking
1/4 c chopped pitted oil cured olives
6 filets of anchovies chopped in halves or thirds into 1 inch pieces.
In the mixing bowl, dissolve the honey in the warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast. Set aside for at least 10 minutes until it's all frothy on top like a capuccino.
Wash and finely chop the herbs. Add the herbs, oil and salt to the mixing bowl and start on a slow stir with the dough hook on the mixer. Add the flour 1/2 c at a time. It may be different 1/4 c either way but I have played with this and all that flour will work its way in. When you're at 2 c, turn up speed to a 2. When it's mostly in turn to a 4 for a few seconds. Turn it down to 2 for most of the time and turn up to 4 for a few seconds every once in a while. Turn off and pull dough off the hook as it climbs at least twice. It should knead for at least 10 minutes. 8 if you want it a bit more tender. In which case, you probably shouldn't use bread flour. Bread flour is developed with extra gluten.

By the end, all the flour will have been absorbed and the bowl will be cleaned of gunk. Turn off mixer and remove bowl from the stand. Form the dough in to a ball and lift with one hand. Pour in the 1T of oil into the bowl. Swirl the dough ball around in the bowl so the bowl is coated. Plop the dough ball back in upside down so the oily part is up. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm dark place for 90 minutes.

Oil a 12" cast iron pan with 2T of olive oil. Push down the risen down and put into the pan and spread the dough out into the pan with your fingers like you're massaging someone or playing the piano. Let rise for another hour. Now you can't really cover with a cloth or it will stick. Use a pot lid or a big bowl. Pre heat oven to 375 with a rack in the lower third.

After an hour, dimple in the olives and anchovies and sprinkle 1t of course salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes. You can let it sit in the oven with the heat off in the pan for 10 min while the pan cools down or immediately lift the bread out of the pan with a big silicon spatula onto a cooling rack.
It was flipping awesome. As it cooled down it was chewier than I had planned. SO HERE IS WHAT I WOULD DO after 2 goes at this.
1) use half all purpose, unbleached flour and wholewheat breadflour OR all all purpose, unbleached flour.
2) use 3.5 T olive oil in the dough. Same amount of oil for the rest of the steps.
3) I might uses 1/4 t more yeast but that's not a biggie.
Dinner was BBQ Lobster. It was on sale at TnT for 7.99 /lb for 4 lb or bigger. That is a crazy good price for Vancouver. Now 4 lbs is a bit nuts but there are two of us. I think a generous meal would be 1.5 lbs per person. Those smaller ones sometimes go on sale but quite rarely. We missed the sale a month ago. They're normally 2x that price. We grilled a whole bunch of asparagus with some olive oil, course salt and fresh pepper.

Breakfast while baking was an Crimini Mushroom and Pepper Omlette

2 organic eggs
6 crimini mushrooms brushed and sliced
2 peppers sliced

Fry off the veg and set aside.
Beat the eggs with one of the shells of milk.
Move the egg around as it cooks in the pan until barely any more jiggly on top. I used butter in the pan on low heat. I don't like to brown the eggs. I don't like that taste.

Celery and Blue Cheese salad

This is a super easy salad and nothing is written in stone. I like more blue cheese but play it like you like it. Slice a few stalks of celery on the bias thin. About 2-3 cups. Add about 1/2 c crumbled blue cheese. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of good olive oil. Sprinkle with course salt and black pepper.

BBQ Whole Lobster with Basil and Chive butter

(this is for the 4 lb, the time will vary depending on size. I've read 10 minutes for 1lb ones.)

Basil and Chive butter

1/4 softened butter (1 t salt if it's unsalted, if you want)
10 small leaves basil
1 T finely minced fresh chives
In a medium bowl chop the butter into cubes. If your butter is cold, nuke it for 10 s.
Wash the basil leaves and shake dry. Stack in a pile like sheets of paper. Roll tightly and hold firmly. Slice across the roll in 1mm thickness. (Chiffonade) You'll have ribbons of basil. Add to butter.

At your chive plant, grab the plant like you're making a ponytail. Give it a hair cut to the amount you want. Rince, holding the bunch and shake dry. Use the scissors to finly cut directly into the butter. Mix with a fork. Spread a large piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. Use a rubber spatula an mound it onto the plastic wrap. Clean as much out of the bowl and the fork. Bring up the edges of the plastic and form a ball and put in the fridge to firm up. This was more than we needed for the lobster but it lasts.



Remove the claws and crack with the back of the knife. Place on the grill. They'll take longer.
Run a large knife down the middle of the whole body. D did this. It twitched the whole time. I had to leave the room. Oil the whole lobster and sprinkle with course salt and pepper.

Place on the grill open side down for a few minutes only, lid down. Turn over and cook with split side up. Total cook time was slightly over 20 minutes. Slather with the basil and chive butter and dig in.
Leave the claws on the grill as you eat the tail and asparagus.


Serve with a white, slightly acidic and bright. Don't go too oaky. It won't play well with the lobster. Chablis, Unoaked Chardonnay or the like.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday, June 5th - Fuel Restaurant

Hallelujah it's Friday. This has been a horrible week work wise. I chose to be a professional, yes. I also chose not to be a banker or consultant where I'd have to work the hours I did this week so I can have the life I like and that includes the outdoors, eating well, and being social. The bulk is behind so now it's back to regular hours TOUCH WOOD TOUCH WOOD TOUCH WOOD.

We went to Fuel Restaurant on 4th Ave with some friends. I have been thinking about this dinner since Monday! Isn't that terrible? The chef at this restaurant won best new chef or some such magazine type award. Course that's not why we're here. It's because we walk by their kitchen all the time. The restaurant is set up in a way that their kitchen is the front of the house in a fish bowl. Nothing to hide but the the good food!

We started with a La Frenz Semillon which was really surprising and lovely. Very grapefruity and hints of lemon. With it, I had the baby arugula salad with grilled spot prawn. Funny thing was that the two girls had the salad and the boyz had the fois gras. The salad was sooooo nice. The prawns were barely grilled so the sweetness still came through. They cut the prawns in half so it was easier to grill and easier to eat.

Mains were varied and I can only remember mine and D's really. I had the fish of the day which was a Ling Cod. It was served on a bed of Wild Nettles with Spot Prawn with potato croquettes. The original dish came with a rice cake which I would have preferred but it had chorizo in it. The server had said that they could do it without but in the end, they gave me potato croquettes that came with the pork dish. Alright I guess. The fish was lovely, the nettles were interesting but by the end of the dish...a bit too much.

D had the 'Polderside Farms' Redbro Organic Chickenswiss chard, trumpet royale mushrooms leek pain perdu. I had a taste of his Pain Perdu. It was UNBELIEVABLE. Soooo good. He was disappointed by the chicken. We both expected Fuel to be a bit more down to earth and everything was a bit more fussy than we expected. The chicken was a roulade instead of a roasted chicken. D didn't really rave about it.

Oh... additional goodies. You are treated with a nice little shot of a cold squash soup topped with a fresh potato paprika chip. mmmmmm We were given a little slate of sweets, of fresh nougat, agassiz hazelnuts, chocolate and vanilla jelly. The slate was slightly warm so it softened the nougat and jelly nicely but melted the chocolate. It was a good thing we were all friends as we nibbled the bites because they cleared all the cutlery before we got the sweets so we couldn't cut them.

We had a Nicolas Potel Pinot Noir with our main. It was lovely. No dessert. We were so tired after this week. We went home and had a bit of cognac before hitting the hay.

I'd recommend you try it for the creativity of combinations and freshness of the ingredients. I would suggest you ask how something is prepared so you don't end up with a roulade if you're expecting a roasted bird. The wine list is fantastic. Really, varied, comprehensive... great!

The service was great, the decor comfy and the kitchen in the front was reassuring. It is a jewel on the edge of Kits to be sure.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday, June 4th - Mussel salad and Spicy Dubu

Night school. Second to last week. I'm a little relieved but I had also thought we'd be further along on the conversational pieces. I don't feel like we've had enough on the verbs either. Oh well. I guess I'll have to try hard to do some reading. Now that mid year planning is done, I might have some more mental freedom to do that. Hopefully.

I went to get Sushi on the way home. My favourite cheap place on Granville between Hemlecken and Davie. It's called... wait for it. "Excellent Sushi". It's a dive to look at and evertime that I've been there, there is a new waiter or waitress. The dude at the modest sushi bar is always the same but I'm always greeted by someone new. Strange. There are more 'cheap', run of the mill sushi places in downtown Vancouver than there are payphones. Seriously. A bento box mix of sushi of 18-20 pieces can run you from 6 - 10 bucks. The Excellent Sushi is 5. You might think, Ugh, that can't be good. You'd be wrong. This guy used to have a shop in Yaletown but he was forced out by rising rent and small space. He's had alot of the office workers in Yaletown follow him.

Now why would I say that, besides his Yaletown roots? Listen, I may live there but I ain't a Yaletown girl. As well, I never knew the dude while his restaurant was in Yaletown. I found him nearly three years ago when I saw his photocopied flyer in my gym. 5 bucks for 22 pieces? I'm there! At first, I thought it's just the same amount of sushi sliced thinner. It's not. You also get a nice bowl of miso soup and if you're taking out, they'll offer you some green tea while you wait. A good way to tell the average apart is how they handle the dynamite roll or yam roll. I do know that at the higher echelon of sushi, they way to tell the better from the best is the Egg/Omlette. That is the next level. But at the fat part of the bell curve where most of the sushi joints sit in Vancouver, it's the tempura. I've been to a couple that make a truck load of the tempura ebi at the start of the day and they get wilted and greasy. I've seen a few that the yam are cold and in a donut thick layer of batter. Not Excellent Sushi. I can hear the fryer going when I order a dynamite or yam roll. Also, the rice to filling ratio in many is ridiculously ricey.

I got the 5 dollar special and an extra Dynamite roll that was on 1.99 special. It was a lot of sushi but it was a craving I couldn't crack :-D. It was great.

Excellent Sushi Japanese Restaurant
1157 Granville Street

So since I was so stuffed from lunch and D had meeting pizza we went light for dinner. I only got a small dubu salad and a mussel salad from TNT. I really like the TnT Supermarket ready made takeaway. Everything is fresh and I see them mark it down at the end of the day.

Wednesday, June 3rd - Gorgonzola and Walnut Ravioli in Mix Mushroom cream sauce

Gorgonzola and Walnut Ravioli in Porcini and King Oyster Cream Sauce
Write up to follow. MMMMMM drool now. I'll catch up.
Wine was a Caliterra Reserva Merlot 2007. Beautiful, full curvy body, deep fruits. Medium dry. MMMMM

Tuesday June 2nd - leftover Artichoke Fettucini and Yam Gnocci in Garlic Sage Butter

I hope you're drooling from the title because I am and I've already eaten it. Both dishes were awesome.

I was so organised this weekend and we bought loads of groceries since I knew it was going to be a hell week at work. I've been keeping bankers' hours without bankers' money. grrr. Anyhoo, I managed to stay home today knowing that my end of the day call would likely run until quite late. What's awesome about that is that I get lovely lunches if, both because I'm home as well as since we've planned ahead, there is always extra dinner.

Lunch, I had a portion of the Lemon Braised Articoke with Spinach Fettucini with a chopped chilli ... the recipe for the artichokes is here:

I just took a medium spicy chilli and sliced it up. When I have the time, I prefer to heat food up in a pan or the oven so I don't kill all the nutrients and vitamins. YOu can loose more than 60% of nutrients in vegetables by microwaving. Medium heat with a little extra olive oil if there isn't enough left on the dish. It was wonderful and I love the little kick of heat from the chillis. D thinks I randomly add heat to everything. And to be honest, left to my own devices, I'll sneak something in. I do it less now with D since he's not a fan. And if I do, I'll warn him :-)

Dinner was

Yam Gnocci in Garlic Sage Butter

We bought 500g of fresh Yam Gnocci in the italian market on Commercial. To be frank, I was not impressed with it. The disappointment is not in the taste. The taste was amazing. I was fairly irked when after getting of a work call at after 7pm, I think I'm in for an easy put together meal. I grab the bag of the Yam Gnocci and it's all one gigantic lump. Only say 5 of the gnocci stayed in gnocci shape!!! Now gnocci is not difficult to make. It's just messy, time consuming and messy. Basically: potato, egg and flour. Well I guess they handed sufficiently floured because they were very soft and also did not want their independence from one another.

Last thing I needed. I had thought D was going to be home from volleyball at like 8h30 and I still needed to buy wine.

I got out the big cutting board, poured out all the lumps. I took a large dish and sprinkled the bottom with whole wheat flour. I dusted my hands with some extra flour and started to reroll each one. Then tossed the lot in the dish until each was covered in a light coating of flour. I put the whole dish back in the fridge. I normally like to bring fresh pasta to room temperature before cooking so it doesn't drop the temperature of the water. But in this case, to keep form, I left it in the fridge until the last minute.

Sage garlic butter

I cut a 1 cm slice off a pound of butter. I think that's about 4 good pats of butter. Use more or less as you like. I also augmented with a T of olive oil to prevent burning.

Medium to low heat. Add 5 cloves of thinly sliced garlic. Simmer on low heat to infuse the butter and gently brown the garlic. You don't want to over brown the garlic, the taste is entirely different and you don't want any raw garlic flavour dominating. When the foaming from water in the butter subsides, 5 - 10 minutes, add the sage. The sage should only go in a few minutes before you're going to serve. You don't want to burn it.


Boil a very big pot of water. Filled as much as you can with enough room for the pasta. That way the amount of water will be able to keep temperature when you add the cold pasta. I did stop boiling for a bit but it came back. Add a T of salt and a bit of oil. Since they're fresh, it should only take a few minutes. Gnocci (not ravioli as I've discovered) are done when they're floating.

Spoon the gnocci with a slotted spoon into the pan with the butter. Keep the heat on. YOu'll want to add a few spoonfuls of the pasta water you cooked the gnocci in until you get the lubrication you like. Top with parmesan cheese.

I had some crushed chili flakes on the side. MMMMMMMM from the Francis Ford Coppola winery. Nice kick. I need more!

We had a bottle of FontanaFredda Barbaresco (Italian Red, gorgeous)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sunday, May 24th - Drunken Poached Prawns and Greek Couscous

Breakfast was eggs over easy with cheddar and smoked salmon on a wholewheat tortilla wrap. I love eggs on tortilla wraps. It collects all the yolky goodness. As well, for those who care, wraps have less carbs than regular loaf bread. I just like it because it's clean on the lift if you make it an egg sandwhich and they last longer than loaf. I forgot until I saw the photo that there was a drizzling of lemon aoli. Recipe is here:

I took a walk down to the Granville Island Fisherman's pier for some freshly caught Spot Prawn. In season, the fisherman arrive on the pier near Go Fish! at noon. They sell out always. I've seen them in the fishmongers in the Public Market for the same price, but it just doesn't seem the same. The guys in front of me bought several pounds. I bought 1. I asked the prawn guy if BBQing would work and he definitively said not to do it! First, all the juices are lost into the fire and they scream when they're on the BBQ. YEAH, I DON'T WANT THAT!

So plan change, we're doing drunken prawns. The traditional means you have to feed them wine while they're still alive in the fridge. We're just going to poach them in wine as you would Mussels.

Drunken Poached Spot Prawn

1 lb live spot prawn
1 shallot finely minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 c vermouth or dry white wine
olive oil
chopped parsley... 2 handfuls

Soften the shallot and garlic in the olive oil. 3 minutes. Add the prawn and toss briefly and pour over the wine. Cover and do not touch for 3-5 minutes. Serve with parsely.

Save the shells in container or bag in the freezer to make stock later. YUUUUUMMM. Let the prawn juice ooze onto the couscous. So awesome. We also barbequed some of the sweetest corn I've had in a long long time.

Greek Inspired CousCous

1 c couscous
1/2 c black olives chopped
1/4 c crumbled goat feta
3 sprigs fresh oregano
3 sprigs thyme
1 spring fresh rosemary
1/2 diced red onion
7 baby eggplants
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small chili minced
4 cloves garlic
fresh parsley
1 vegetarian boullion cube.
1 lime juiced
In a large cup dissolve the cube in 1.5 c of hot water. In a large mixing bowl, combine the couscous and water, cover and set aside. Since this is a salad and not a hot side, you don't have to boil or steam it.

Quarter the eggplants, and peel the garlic. Toss in olive oil and salt with coarse salt. BBQ until soft. Set a side.

Take the leaves off the herbs and toss into the couscous. Don't salt. If you want to, add maybe 1/2 t but the feta is very salty so you won't really need more. Cut the cherry tomotoes in half and toss in. Add the finely diced red onion. I insist you finely chop them. You never know until you're chopping how strong it is. So if it is too strong, I would let them sit in a small bowl with some of the lime juice for a bit. I really don't like getting a sharp raw onion taste overpowering everything else. Crumble the feta. If it is quite moist, just slice it up like you're julienning and then slice the other way so you end up with 2-3 mm cubes. Toss, add some Black Pepper freshly cracked. Add the lime juice and eggplant. Set aside. It get's better as it sits for a while.

Strawberries with Balsamic Reduction

Slice strawberries
Boil 1/2 c balsamic vinegar into half.
Pour over strawberries.

Added a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream.

Monday, June 1st - Rundown and REAL tuna loin wraps

Lunch was soooo good today. We had the left over Wasabi Tuna Loin from the weekend in a wrap.

Tuna and Slaw Wrap ('kay so pay attention, this is very complicated. :-P)

Take a whole wheat wrap.
There are two portions of tuna left for a decent meal.
Slice into 8 slices.
Pile about 1/4 c of coleslaw (recipe on the same day above) along the centre like a hotdog, leaving 2 inches on each end.
Place two slices on top.
Fold in the top and bottom and then roll, like a burrito.
You should have 4 wraps.

I was so stuffed after the two but they were so good. One and half would have been perfect for lunch with nothing else for me but who leaves half a wrap.

Dinner was the Rundown which I made yesterday because I knew I had to work late. I was on a conference call until 8pm and then had to walk home. All I could think was, at least dinner is done and will not be pizza.

Make 1/4 - 1/3 (uncooked) jasmine rice per person.

Salt Cod Run Down is here. Reheat in the microwave for 90 s or in a small sauce pan on med heat. If you're eating on new rice, the rice will be quite hot too so you don't need it super heated.

Tomato Salsa

2 c diced tomatoes
2 chilis
1/4 c minced red onion
1/2 c fresh cilantro
1 1/2 limes juiced
1/2 t ground cumin
salt and pepper

Toss and let sit.

I served it along side the rundown with one of the leftover artichokes. MMMMM. I couldn't, for the life of me remember what vegetable side S, my old roommate use to serve. I thought about sauteed spinach to simulate Calaloo but we used it all yesterday in the pasta. The acidity and spice went well. D thought I added too much chili though but didn't render it inedible for him. That's the right amount for Jamaican night :-)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sunday, May 31st - Lemon Braised Artichokes on Linguini w Cucumber Mint Salad

Breakfast was eggs over easy on market loaf with roasted peppers and a capuccino. I roasted a handful of banana peppers (slightly spicy) on the BBQ yesterday when we were making the tuna. I charred them, peeled them and drizzled some olive oil and set them aside. D went sailing because I had work to do. D was so cute, he left me a note in the egg carton. But it was a piece of note paper with a chicken on it so at first I thought it was him then I thought it was the lady who sold us the Organic Eggs at the market the other day. I sliced the market loaf thin and gently placed the eggs on. I was very surprised that the yolks were so delicate. I broke both but rescued one. (Darn it. I could have sworn I took a photo of the eggs.)

Lunch for me was a couple of slices of fresh bread and the Baba Ganoush we made yesterday before running out the door to get some sun after working all morning on a flipping Sunday!

Salt Cod Rundown (for Monday)

1.5 lbs salt cod

You need to start this the day before. Place the piece of saltcod in a non reactive dish, glass or otherwise, submerged in cold water. Change the water three times right at the beginning. Run the water gently so as not to disturb the fish. Cover the dish and place in refridgerator. Change the water, every four hours or so. I changed the water 5 times in total over a day. If you don't have that kind of time, I'm told you can boil it in water or milk for 20 minutes before using the rest of the recipe. I wouldn't recommend this because it will still be too salty. Drain the cod and cut into small pieces.

1 Can Coconut milk
1 Can water
3 stalks escallion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic (optional, cuz I forgot it)
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper (use a very spicy habanero if you don't have a scotch bonnet)
3 sprigs thyme

Boil the coconut milk and water in a heavy saucepan uncovered until it looks like curdled custard and oil. It will take a while. It will separate. If you run out of patience, as I did, boil for like 15 minutes at least. Place in the cod and the thyme cover and simmer for 15 min on medium heat. Stir in the escallion, tomatoes, pepper. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes.

My old flatmate would make boiled dumplings to go with this. We'll have this tomorrow night with our leftover artichokes and some crusty bread. I made it tonight because I knew I'd have to work late on Monday.... I had a bite though. It is sooooo goood. I didn't have the full amount of cod so it wasn't as thick and fishy as I remember or like. But it was still lovely.
Cucumber and Mint Salad
Perfect for the summer. Light or as rich as you like to make it depending on what you use in the dressing.
1 english cucumber seeded
1 minced shallot
1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt
3 springs fresh mint chopped
Day before, cut the the cucumber down the middle. With a spoon scrape out the seeds. Slice about 1/2 cm place in a colander and and salt liberally. Place over a dish in the fridge over night or several hours ahead.
When preparing, rinse the cucumber slices of the salt and pat dry with paper towel.
Whisk the rest of the ingredients together and toss with the cucumber. Serve very cold.

Lemon Braised Artichokes
(based on a recipe from Michael Chiarello)

6 artichokes, trimmed to the heart, thistle removed and halved
3 lemons
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c broth (chicken or veggie)
3 sprigs fresh oregano and thyme
4 cloves garlic sliced (the original puts this in the pasta dish later with more oil but since we're making it all together, we've simplified)
salt and fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F. In an oven proof large pan, whisk the marinated. As you trim each artichoke, place each heart the pan and cover with the marinade. When they're ready bring to a boil. Place in the oven covered for 45 min until fork tender.

Spinach Fettucine with Lemon Braised Artichokes

Lemon Braised Articokes as above
2 portions of fettucine (1/2 lb for 2 people)
2-4 c washed fresh spinach (how you like it)
fresh parsley

If you're doing this right after making the dish this is how you do it. It is different if you've made the artichokes well ahead. You'd have to fry extra garlic and wilt the spinach.

Boil the fettucini as per instructions. Lift out of the water into a big bowl with a pasta fork. Toss hot with the spinach to wilt. Add a 1/2 c of the braising liquid and toss. Spoon on 3 hearts a piece on top and fold in gently. Top with a healthy amount of cracked black pepper and grated parmesan.

Seriously, if you can get artichokes, you need to try this. It is sooooo gooood. The lemon add a nice tartness that cuts the olive oil. And the artichokes still stand out.

Serve with a buttery, honey velvety chardonnay. Since you already have lemons, you don't want anything to acidic. I'd recommend the Poplar Grove or Meyers.