The Daily EO: February 27th, 2013

And tonight was the dinner from yesterday’s dumpling extravaganza.

The hard part was done, now it was just the chiffonade of sage, browning the butter and frying them up.  I wonder how we could ever not like something that was made with white flour and fried in butter, topped with real parmesan cheese?  I am not sure.

Our dinner guest and my husband had some beer – I held off from the wine because I had to work on said project later that night – and we commenced with mincing, browning, frying and grating to finish off this recipe.  Oh, yeah, he threw some pork chops on too.

They were.. . . chewy, slightly sweet, buttery, sage, cheesy. ..  pretty damn good.

February 27th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  I wonder if I could buy these at Granville Island?  That was pretty involved.

 

The Daily EO: June 5th, 2012

About 2 weeks ago, I purchased a package of peeled garlic.  I really couldn’t tell you why, other than it had one of those 50% off stickers on it because it was approaching it’s best before date.  I found it in the fridge drawer today and it was now past its due date.  You know what you do with food that is nearly bad – you make soup.  I vaguely remembered a recipe for garlic soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but instead of following that recipe, I found two on the internet and combined those.  I’d like to point out now that these were legitimate sources.  One was from Epicurious.com (with almost 300 reviews, 91% would make again) and one was from Christopher Ranch – a garlic farm in California. (whom grew the garlic I was looking at).

How can you go wrong with roasted garlic, roasted onions, heavy cream and fresh thyme?  And essentially that is what the two recipes called for.  One had some potatoes, one said to leave some of the garlic raw and then boil it in the soup.  Both had thyme, both had broth, both had onions.  Most of the reviews said the soup only got better with time, so I planned to serve it for dinner the next day.

I coated the garlic in olive oil and then roasted it in the oven  And the aroma!  The house smelled so delightfully good.  And it only got better when I started frying the onions.   I threw it all into a soup pot with vegetable broth, salt, pepper and let it simmer.  Then with an immersion blender and a little milk (instead of cream), the tasting time was upon us.   Yummy, Yummy.

Tasting went like this:  Garlic. . .  Creamy. . . ouch garlic. …. punch of bitter in the throat. . . . ugggh.

Add Lemon Juice?

Uggh.

Add Maple Syrup?

Uggh.

June 5th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  How could the best ingredients in the world, smelling so good, taste so… bleeck?  I’m going to have to keep trying this.  Soup anyone?

 

 

The Daily EO: June 3rd, 2012

Many years ago when my husband and I were dating, I was making something using pine nuts.  Emile told me that he didn’t like pine nuts.  It’s not that I didn’t believe him, I was surprised.  Because during our courtship, he’d proven himself someone who enjoyed different foods and trying new things, but frequently stuck to the basics.  Meals were usually Meat/Veg/Pot affairs, fast food, quantity versus quality and generally totally different from my childhood and cooking style.   I asked him when he’d actually eaten pine nuts. He couldn’t remember, but he restated didn’t like them.  I put them in the salad anyways because I can’t fathom why anyone wouldn’t like them.  He could pick them out (after retrying them of course from his previous mythical tasting) and I liked them.

Turns out Emile loves pine nuts.  Not the price – because he is cheap.  Nor the caloric denseness – because he is focused on weight loss currently.  But they are now one of his favorite additions, because let’s face it, pine nuts are so so good.

I’ve had my things too.  I didn’t like bell peppers for years, and then one day I ordered a greek salad (not one of those that have lettuce – a real one) and decided to actually eat the peppers.  And you know what?  They were good.   (why someone who doesn’t like tomatoes, peppers, or olives would order a greek salad is a question I cannot answer – probably the promise of feta cheese).

Also, bananas.  Somewhere along the line, I decided I didn’t like them, or I had to be in a banana mood.  What the hell is a banana mood?  I don’t really even know myself anymore.  Now I know bananas are delicious – all the time.

I am always hoping that not liking tomatoes is a thing too, but from time to time I keep tasting that strange bitter fruit just to check.  And you know what?  I still hate the taste.  One day I will be able to enjoy a BLT.  One day.

When you are selling your house, you avoid doing messy things.  So, when someone invites you to dinner, you go.  Even if you don’t like the people very much.  But fortunately, in this case, we do like the people.  So, it wasn’t much suffering to keep our kitchen clean to eat free food with friends.  As I have previously blogged, I am a picky eater, so when people invite me for dinner, I try to eat what I get (exceptions:  fish and tomatoes and anything else that could be considered a side dish like olives).

This particular night we had barbequed pork loin, grilled bell peppers, broccoli, goat cheese and greens salad and a strawberry and rhubarb crisp.  Normally people look upon this menu and think “excellent” (well except the vegetarians/vegans, but . .)  I did too, with one exception.

Every year I hear people about go on and on about rhubarb season.  That and asparagus are the first spring products available here in Ontario.  People have these giant rhubarb patches and they are often trying to give it away, and there are those who happily take it all and bake every rhubarb item they can think of.  I do not like rhubarb.  I don’t like the grainy texture.  And the flavour.

But I was a guest in someone’s home, I hadn’t had desert in a while and they were serving it with good quality vanilla ice cream (you know, the one with the flecks of vanilla bean in it).  I decided that for courtesy’s sake and ice cream I would suffer through the rhubarb.

June 3rd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Why Rhubarb isn’t actually that bad.  Hmm.  In fact, it’s pretty darn good.  And with strawberries and ice cream and crumble topping, Holy Toledo!

The Daily EO: May 22nd, 2012

There are some days that I amaze myself!  But this can have unintended consequences.

I made a Barbeque Chicken Caesar Salad for dinner tonight.  It was one of the best caesars I have ever made.  The dressing was creamy, rich, garlicy and lemony, the croutons crunchy and delicious and the chicken tender and sweet..   The whole plate – and that was 2-3 cups of greens and a chicken breast each – was under 400 calories – with only 12 grams of fat, 9 grams of fibre and 40 grams of protein.  And how did I accomplish this miraculous feat?  The romaine was bumped by spinach (more iron my starving red blood cells), the croutons replaced by roasted chickpeas and the dressing base was soft silken tofu.   Yes!  Can you believe it?  I replaced the egg and the usual 1/2 cup or so of olive oil with TOFU!  That is crazy, crazy stuff, people!

And because I don’t want my inbox flooded with requests for the recipe, here you go:

Delicious and Healthy Caesar Dressing (unless you are allergic to soy, then delicious but not healthy)
1 cup soft silken tofu
2 cloves of garlic (or more because garlic is good!)
2 tbsp of Dijon or other spicy mustard
1 tsp olive oil (just a touch for consistency’s sake)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (vegetarian if you swing that way)
2 oz of grated/shredded parmesan cheese, I used the Kraft stuff, but you could use the good stuff or not (you could replace this with nutritional yeast flakes I suppose if you were a vegan, but it will lose that sharp and sour parmesan taste, but if you’re a vegan, you already gave that up ages ago)
1.5 tsp of wine vinegar (I used red because that is what I had)
salt and pepper
2-4 tbsp of lemon juice (I used the lemon juice to adjust the thickness to my liking)

Blend all the ingredients except lemon juice in food processor until smooth.  Then add enough lemon juice to taste.  You can also add more olive oil if gets lemony enough without thinning to your liking.  I found I only used 1/3 of this batch to coat about 5 cups of spinach and the chickpeas, so toss to your liking and the rest can be saved for another day.

Here is a link to the chickpea roasting method.  I took the time to remove all the chickpea skins (warning – only undertake if you need some quiet contemplation time, and you like chickpea-y fingers) .  I’ve done it both ways (skin and skinless), and I don’t think it really makes that big of a difference.  But I had some time today. Please note, you want to roast them until they are crisp, so they stay crisp in the salad.  As I was making a caesar, I used garlic, olive oil and italian seasoning as my spices of choice.  I still want to try a salt and vinegar version one day.

So, cook your chicken in some barbeque sauce and pour over your tossed salad while still warm, that is the best!  It wilts the top spinach pieces a bit (which incidentally helps our body digest iron from spinach more readily).

I know!  I know!  It is amazing that I am not cooking for a living!  Thank you for noticing.

Unintended side effect of healthy dinner:  The next day Emile weighted in at 160.2 lbs.  Although I still weigh less than him, the possibility of his number beginning with a “1-5” is disconcerting to me.  I am going to start sneaking in calories into every meal I make for him.  “Here’s your turkey sandwich, dear, enjoy that low-fat mayo I put on it.  It looks weird because it is low-fat, not because it is coconut oil.”  I want him healthy, but I don’t want him lighter than me.  Damn men and their metabolisms.

May 22, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Soft Silken Tofu, Hello!

Maintenance May Day 22:
Feeling no guilt at all for missing my friend Lisa’s birthday on May 21st.  It’s our “thing” afterall.  I might wish her a good day come June.  (soul, friendship)
Baking two batches of vegan brownies and not eating a single brownie.  (body)  Let’s not talk about the chocolate chip sampling.
Not killing the cat when he stepped in white paint I left out and walked all around the house (carpeted stairs and all).  (Kindness to animals)
Phone interview with company.  (career)

The Daily EO: April 18th, 2012

There are some nights when dinner is tremendously unsatisfying.  And there are those special nights that you create something that is so fantastic that you can barely believe that you are a Materials Manager and not a celebrated chef.

Last night was such a night.  I made pizza.  But not just any pizza.  This pizza started two nights ago when I was craving pesto.  But your average pesto has pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese, and that usually adds up to 250 calories for a 1/4 cup.  More than we could afford in Fit April.  Undaunted, I hit the internet for some ideas.  When I typed in “oil-free pesto” I got thousands of hits.  Weirdly, most of the top results were Vegan oil-free pesto.  I guess the vegans don’t want oil either.

Anyways, reading a whole bunch of recipes on-line I came up with the following mish-mash of them all (and a nod to Oh She Glows particularly) – absolutely delicious pesto:

1/2 avocado
3/4 cup of white kidney beans
1/2 cup of basil (the entire PC herb container)
1/2 cup cilantro
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (a weird vegan friendly item that I had left from Vegan January.  It adds a creamy cheesy taste with fewer calories and fat than cheese.)
2 tbsp lemon juice
20 g pine nuts (about 40)
6 walnut halves
and cilantro seasoning (a tube of cilantro paste with other seasonings that I had lying around – don’t know how much it added to it, but glad to be using it up).
salt and pepper, of course

Just throw everything in your food processor.  Done.  Serves about four.

The first night we had the pesto on Tofu Shirataki noodles and steamed broccoli coleslaw (all tossed together).  I sprinkled some parmesan cheese on mine, Emile went without.  It was delicious and the total dinner was 250 calories.

But now I had this 1/2 recipe of pesto in the fridge.  What could I do?  Well, I made pesto pizza.  I had some left over tofu which I marinated with balsamic glaze and dried oregano, 1 chicken breast cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce, red peppers, low-calorie pita bread cut in half (to make 2 rounds, not pockets), parmesan cheese, red onions, and of course, mushrooms and tomatoes for the boy.  Put them together, broil for 3 minutes and hello!  We ate it so fast that I couldn’t have taken a picture of it even if I had thought of it.  Two pizzas each and only about 350 calories total.  I am so good.  Want some now.  Sigh. . . no left overs.

Last time I bought mushrooms, it must have been from the oompa-loompas because they were gigantic.  In fact, for Emile’s two pizzas, he only used 1 mushroom.  That left just one mushroom which I threw into the fridge.   I was reviewing our calories intake for the day and noticed that with Emile’s low-calorie lunch and dinner coupled with his 5k run, he had not consumed enough calories for the day.  I told him he should eat something else.  He was annoyed by this.  Well, actually he was annoyed by this because I told him twice.. .  well. . . maybe three times.  He said he would get something to eat later.

Later that night, Emile pulled out that lonely mushroom, removed the stem, put probably .25 ounces of old cheddar cheese in it, turned on the broiler (apologized to me for wasting energy), and broiled his single – albeit large – stuffed mushroom.  Um, yeah, 28 calories wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, honey.

April 18th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Making the pizza of my life.  Watching my husband’s single-mindedness focus on Fit April.