Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Mother's Day Extravaganza

So this past Sunday was Mother's Day. Since my mom lives in Ecuador, I decided to lend a hand in the creation of a lovely meal for Sarah's mom. It was a great day of fun and all the young ones got involved. This is how the menu went down:

*Baby romaine salad topped with a dijon vinaigrette, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, goat cheese and warm panchetta

*Tortellini stuffed with a potato, romano, lemon, and mint filling, tossed with some butter

*Lemon sorbet

*Panchetta wrapped chicken breast on a bed of leeks and thyme

*Grand Marnier chocolate souffle

The salad dressing is just a simple vinaigrette. The ingredients are as follows:
- 1 glug white vinegar
- 3 glugs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 tbsp dijon
- 1 or 2 shallots, chopped finely
- salt and pepper to taste

I know, there aren't any real measurements in the dressing, but I've made it so many times off the top of my head I just sort of wing it. Just make sure to whisk it nicely so emulsify all the ingredients. If you feel it isn't coming together, put in some more mustard. If it's too sharp, add in some olive oil. The key to remember is that if you're going to serve it with goat cheese or some sort of dried fruit is that they will help to tone down the kick of the dressing. Just trust yourself and your tastebuds.

All the recipes, except for the salad, came from cookbooks lying on my shelf. Actually even the salad dressing was inspired by a book I had a while ago called A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke.

The recipes for the tortellini and chicken breast can be found in Jaime Oliver's Cook with Jaime. It's a great book that had a lot of information for beginner cooks. The good or bad thing about it is that it lets you have leeway with the recipes by not giving you specific recipes instead allowing you to make the decisions and in turn hone your tastebuds.

Finally the souffle recipe was from a culinary textbook called On Cooking that I bought last summer and never used. It's a great book with lots of basic recipes and it definitely goes into all the techniques needed to accomplish the dishes. It's a great resource and great buy, especially if you can get it used.

I failed to take many pictures of the meal, mostly because I was too busy eating, but below are some pictures of the entree and dessert. They worked out surprisingly well. I screwed up the souffle the first time and ended up with an orange custard, which isn't so bad.

Jaime's recipe was in a single portion form, where everything was cooked together in a single handmade foil packet/tray. Since we were making it for six people, I decided to just stuff it all into one pan and see how it went. The cooking time stayed relatively the same at around 35 minutes. The panchetta really helped to the keep the chicken moist and not being a very big thyme fan, I really liked it in this dish. I think next time I'll add some lemon rounds. I feel like the little bit of sour would make a really nice contrast to the salty of the panchetta.

Here it is plated in my favourite form. A tower. It seems every time I plate something, I like to go for the height. It looks a little bland in this picture. I suppose we could have used a couple sprigs of fresh time, or a little pop of yellow from a lemon.

And finally, la piece the resistance, the souffle. As a kid I remember watching so many cartoons about souffles and the need to stay quiet so that they don't sink. Now I know that it's just about keeping a good folding technique and making sure the eggs whites keep their air. I was very happy to see the rise to the occasion and taste just as good as they look. Although, after eating one of those, it's safe to say that I've hit my chocolate quota for the month.

I hope all you have a wonderful mother's day and perhaps even did some cooking of your own.

Happy cooking!
- Sandra

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sarah's super magic awesome special parmesan asparagus

I'm going to give you my super secret asparagus recipe.

It hath been passed down generations upon generations from Mother to Daughter. Unfortunately, because that sly witch Hazel has tricked me into giving her my first born daughter, I will have no one to pass this magical food item to.

1. So travel to the great beyonds to ye old supermarket

2. Picketh ye 25 asparagii of green variety

3. Pay?? (optional)

4. trek back to thine homelands, quicken thine speed verily

5. obtain thee from thine inventory these items:
1. baking tray
2. parmesan of cheese
3. oil of olives (mash with young virgins)
4. salt

6. aline thine asparagii along length of baking tray

7. drizzle thine oil of olives & young virgines upon the asparagii, and then salt

8. if this is salted and oiled to thine taste, place in the deepest darkest depths of Hel (enough to make the asparagii just as wrinkly)

9. apologize for the inconvenience

10. remove baking tray of oiled & salted asparagii

11. sprinkle with parmesan of cheese to thine tastes and shove thine baking tray of asparagii to the deepest darkests depths of Hel for TWO MINUTES

12. make thee a hasty escape with thine asparagii, plated for serving

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

End of school, beginning of summer...

Clearly this blog has been neglected for some time and set aside for other priorities such as exams and school. There is also the fact that we haven't really had the chance to spend time in the kitchen and really cook up some tasty meals. However, about a week ago, we gathered in our house and celebrated the end of another school year and the departure of some of our beloved roommates. It was a fun day of food, beer, and nice patio weather.

This is how lunch went down...
We made a bunch of pita bread pizzas. It was really easy, just some pitas, with some Fortinos pizza sauce, baby spinach, feta cheese, mozarella cheese, and red onions. You pop these into an oven that's about 350 degrees and bake them for around 10 minutes or at least until the cheese is melted on top. Ours looked like this:

That was lunch. It was merely a little taste of the true feast that was ahead...

For dinner I had my world famous beer-braised pulled pork, coleslaw and homemade bread. It's not really world famous, but my roommates love it and I love making it, mostly just because they love it and it's an excuse to cook a giant hunk of meat. Sarah also made some tasty oven-baked asparagus with parmesan cheese.

I'd share my recipe for the pulled pork, but...I won't. However, if you happen to be stopping by the LCBO in Hamilton, more specifically the one in University Plaza, there is a lady there what will more than happy to give you hers. The most I will say is that mine is made of magic, like that of unicorns.

I'd be happy to share all the other recipes with you though, but for now it'll just be all pictures with captions...for your drooling pleasure.

This is a giant hunk of tasty meat.

Roomie's hands, pulling at the giant hunk of tasty meat.

Nothing beats homemade bread...mmmm...

Asparagus covered in cheese. Cheese...

This is what my plate looked like outside beside a nice cold drink. I want to eat it now.

So yes, those are the pictures of the lovely meals we had to celebrate the end of another year of school and the moving on of roomies onto bigger and perhaps even better things.

I love summer.

Happy cooking!
- Sandra

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Guilty Pleasures and then some...

So I couldn't really come up with a much better title for this post. Excuse the lack of creative juices. They're currently being sucked out by one of my many political science essays. War on drugs anyone?

Anyway, I thought the best way to procrastinate would be to post a blog. Hoorah!
Let's do a little recap of the the past week...

First item on the list...*drumroll*

Sarah was attacked by the stairs in our house.

That's it.
She's doing better (hooray!), but I am afraid she will come home with a very strict vendetta against the stairs and I will have to find a new way down to the basement in order to do my laundry. Regardless, she will be up and back to her old self in no time. =)

On the show we talked about Guilty Pleasures and of course played those songs we're all guilty of loving and dancing to. Shame on you. Shame on me. It was all inspired by a great website I stumbled upon called This is You're Fat ( The foods are heartstoppingly, ridiculously, awesome. I'd love to take a bite of any of those, but I'd also make sure to have a bucket on the side. My personal favourite is the meatloaf with the macaroni and cheese in the middle and bacon wrapping. *drool*

On a similar note check this out...

The only other thing they need would be a Lays potato chip IV and we're gold. Although, I'd much rather be surrounded by scantily clad male nurses than female nurses, but that's just how my boat floats.

**If you're looking for a more local place to indulge your suicidal tastebuds and you live in the Hamilton area, make sure to check out Big Ed's. They got some greasy, greasy burgers and are made from home-made burger patties. If you're up to challenge, you should try their 3 lbs burger. On the other hand, you could also try their specialty called the Mootine. Picture a bowl with mashed potatoes, covered with gravy, toss in some meatballs, and top with some melted cheese. Mmmmmm...coronary.

I also promised that I'd post some pictures of those tortellini that Sarah and I had way back when. Just to keep up with the food trend of having all foods asian-inspired, they're made with wonton wrappers.

So I'll call them my:
Asian-Fusion Tortellini, with a Whatever-We-Had-In-the-Fridge-Sauce.

1/2 tub of ricotta
1 package of frozen spinach
tons of parmesan (1/4 cup-ish)
salt and pepper

Mix up all the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and spoon about 1 (maybe 2) tablespoon of filling onto each wonton square. Dab some water onto the outer edges of the wonton square and fold it in half to seal it. (I did it diagonally.) Fold the extra little bit of wonton wrapper over and pinch the corners together. (I know that doesn't make much sense, but maybe you'll see what I mean from the picture.)

Place in a pot of boiling, salted water. Remove when floating and sauce. Eat!

This is going to be really rough idea of what was in the sauce, because I don't remember it all that well...

3 honey garlic sausages removed from the casing
2 tomatoes
1 handful of chopped basil
2 tbsps of sundried tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, minced

Brown the sausage until it's cooked and toss in the tomatoes to add some liquid to the sauce. When the tomatoes are cooked, toss in the rest of the ingredient and stir it around, letting the flavours combine. Serve with the tortellini. =)

Finished product:

When I first looked at them, I was little weirded out because they look like the traditional Chinese wontons with the meat and veggie filling, but instead when you take a bite, it's CHEESE! So it ends up just being a good thing, unless you're lactose intolerant...and then that's just too bad.

That's it for the post. Tune in this week for...well you'll just have to listen to the show.

Happy cooking!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Food Poetry with Sarah

Dear Sheldon's Apple Crumble,

You're so sweet, and warm.
And even though you fall apart at my fingertips,
I pick you back up,
And there's no need to worry,
Because you will be put back together in the end,
As poop in my toilet.



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lazy meal munching!

Hey Folks,

Firstly let's start off with what's going on at CFMU this week!

The Raise Your Voice fundraiser at CFMU starts this Friday, so make sure to call in to donate, or even just give the blokes at the phones a happy word or two! They'll appreciate it, I assure you.

This is an annual fundraiser, and helps the radiostation out a whole bunch to fix old equipment, & provide an independent, local source of media. Without it, we wouldn't get to hear some of the awesome shows that are available... like our show... yay!!

You can make a donation online or phone in at (905)528 - 9888

Now that we've gotten that finished, let's talk FOOD.

You know those nights where you're hungry, but feelin' kinda lazy. Don't want to leave the house because it's too cold, or you're too busy procrastinating?

Sometimes this is best remedied with some crackers and FANCY CHEESE.

Sandra and I went on Tuesday to Hamilton's Farmer's Market on a whim, and picked up 3 different cheeses - Cambonzola, English Stilton & Canadia Oka. We did eat some of it on the Wednesday, but still had some leftover for some sophisticated snacking.

Also we made a couple sandwiches for ourselves - Salami, Swiss, and a mixture of arugula and spinach. I gotta say, one of the spiciest sandwiches we've had in a while. The dijon didn't help, either. But hey, a good sandwich all around. Did I mention this sandwich was also sophisticated?

We don't eat bread very often. In fact, we still had practically a full loaf of bread, so it may be a little past its expiry date. But that's nothing a toaster can't fix. MMmmm stale fridge-bread.

During our stint at the farmer's market, I also happened to pick up a pomelo. Certainly one of the largest citrus-type fruits I've ever seen, it was only a dollar and some change for something that's about the size of a child's head. Or, I dunno, an abnormally large grapefruit.

Don't let the size of the fruit confuse you though, the rind is really thick, more or less an inch. Peeling it can be quite a task. I'm sure there's some sort of technique to it, but ripping and tearing is most likely the general idea of it.

When you remove the pith, the inside is much like a white grapefruit in terms of texture, although pulp vesicles are much larger. For those of you who aren't a fan of the grapefruit aftertaste, this is a fruit you might like to try. The pomelo has a much milder, sweeter taste than grapefruit. Also, it's less acid. Certainly something to try if you're in the mood for something a little more exotic.

Anyway, make sure to listen to us this Monday! And give the radiostation a call!

- Sarah

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just pop them in your mouth...

This past weekend was Valentine’s Day weekend. A fabulous time to think about how to get into the pants of your significant other or that random sexy stranger you met on the street. I know the weekend is now over, but it’s never too late to find new ways to..well, get some action. I mean, we don’t only crave some booty on V-day, let’s be honest here. We crave it all year. So let’s talk sex. I mean, let’s talk aphrodisiacs.

Aphrodisiacs are foods that are known to have properties to enhance sexual desire. I mean sometimes, they even look like the equipment. Ever stared at an avocado real hard? Actually, I’ve never had to stare hard to have dirty thought. They just pop up. But you know what I mean. Essentially, even the name itself is pretty suggestive. Avocado, translates in Mayan, to water testicle. At least that’s what I read somewhere. Although it makes sense, in Spanish it’s called aguacate and it sounds a lot like water testicle. Ever wonder why avocados and tomatoes go so well together? Tomatoes were known to the Mayans to be like ovaries. Now let’s put two and two together, water testicles plus ovaries? It definitely sounds like a sexy combination to me. So let’s make it happen.

I know, guacamole is pretty easy thing to make, but making a mushy green pile look good, can be hard. Let me show you how. I made these little delectable items a couple years ago, but I always look back onto them with fond memories.

2 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 and half to two limes
3 table spoons chopped fresh coriander
Half a teaspoon of salt
3 spring onions, finely sliced

Peel the avocados and put the flesh into a bowl. Don’t worry about what size the chunks are, it’s all going to be mashed up anyway.
Dissolve the salt in the lime juice and toss in the green onions. Mix it around and pour it over the avocados.
Now for the fun part. Grab a fork and start mashing up the avocados. I suggest making it like a puree to make it easier to pipe into the little tomatoes. But otherwise, I like it slightly chunky.
Toss in the cilantro and give it a good mix.

And now it’s time to make them look pretty. Buy yourself a pint of cherry tomatoes. Make sure they’re a good size; anything that’s too small will just be ridiculous. Take the little guys and cut off the tops. Squeeze them gently and that should help to get the inner seeds out. Once done, pop them open side down onto some paper towels to help soak up some of the juices from the tomatoes. When you’re done with all the tomatoes, place the guacamole into a piping bag and pipe it into the tomatoes. Place the little cap on top. There, you have the insides of an avocado sitting nice and cozy inside of the casing of the tomatoes. How lovely. To add to the presentation, I also made some parmesan cups. They’re not necessary, but they’re fun. Here’s a picture. How cute. How delectable. Are you hungry? I am...

I’ll post some more pictures and recipes later on the in the week, but I thought I'd start with this for now. Happy cooking!