Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Savoury it is (to be loved by you)

     Lest anyone start to think that I spend every night slaving over the stove in high heels and pearls while the man of the house relaxes in the den with a cigar and the evening post, allow me to introduce you to Kyle's cooking:
Here's what I know: it's a roast, it was made our super retro crockpot, those round things are yorkshire puddings and that other stuff is gravy. Here's what else I need to know: absolutely nothing. Mother effing deeeeelish, and the only thing I had to do was eat it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekday Eats

      As evidenced by my infrequent blogging, I have been a busy lady as of late. I'm balancing school and work, still going to the gym 4 days a week and trying to have a wee bit of a social life too. Blogging-and cooking-fall a little bit down the list.
    Despite my lack of time, I still want to eat healthy. Last year I bought a lot of lunches at school. I would try to go for the healthiest option, which was usually a salad with some questionable chicken product that had fake grill marks on it. NOT tasty and NOT cheap. This year, in an effort to save my money and tastebuds, I have been bringing food from home. Because I'm short on time, I usually cook a big batch of something on Sunday and eat it throughout the week. This sounds like a tip out of a ladies' magazine you would only read at the dentist's office, but cooking food in large quantities really does save time. One week I made a big pot of chicken chili. Sometimes I'll do a few chicken breasts and cook some brown rice and vegetables to go with them. This week I made Turkey Meatloaf. I loosely followed a recipe from Oxygen magazine. The results were actually much better than I thought. The meatloaf wasn't dry at all, and had a dense burger-like texture.

Turkey Meatloaf
1.5 lbs Lean Ground Turkey
1/2 oats, coarsely ground in a food processor
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion diced small
1 red pepper diced small
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
3-4 large white mushrooms finely chopped
About 1 tbsp mixed herbs of your choice (basil, oregano, thyme etc)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the vegetables in the olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add all ingredients together and don't be a baby get your hands right in there and mix it all up. That's right squish it real good. Well, you might want to mix it a little bit with a wooden spoon to get it started-so your not sticking your had directly into a raw egg. Once it's all well combined pat it into a loaf shape on a parchment covered baking sheet. Cook for about 45-50 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Cut into slices and serve! It tastes good.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I can't afford culinary school, so it's up to Professor Martha to show me the way

     I would really love to say that I'm a real kitchen master and never need recipes when I cook. And I guess I could say that. But I'd be lying.-and Shorty don't play that game. The truth, more often than not, is that I need some help to figure out what the hell to do with my groceries. When it comes to meat-which I only started eating about a year ago-sometimes I don't even know how to cook it, let alone what to do with it.
    I pull from many different resources to help me out in the kitchen. Sometimes I need a full recipe, sometimes I just need an idea or a tip or technique. In any case here's a rundown of sources that I use in one way or another on a regular basis. There's more that aren't on the list, but these are a few of my favourites.
  • and these two sites are very similar to each other. They are made up mostly of user content. Members can create profiles and add their own recipes and photos as well as rate other people's recipes and write reviews. I like these sites because you can read about other people's successes and challenges with the recipes. What I don't like is that because they are user-driven, you come across a lot of recipes with ingredients like 'a can of cream of mushroom soup' or a 'packet of onion soup mix'. I understand that kind of convenience cooking has its place, but it's just not really my thing. If  you're willing to sift through that, you can find some great recipes on both these sites.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Much Love to the Hamilton Farmer's Market. And Martha.

     It's September, and I'm back in school so I've been slacking a bit in the blog department. We were definitely overdue for a great meal over here. Good eating hasn't exactly taken a backseat-I still cook every meal rather than eating out. My food just hasn't been that exciting or blog-worthy. Mostly just big batches of healthy food like chicken breasts, brown rice and roasted root vegetables and eating that throughout the week. I needed to be a real kitchen playa and step up my game.
     On Saturday I made one of my twice weekly trips to the Hamilton Farmer's Market, and I loaded up. There's some awesome vendors there, offering everything from homemade sausage to gluten-free baked goods, local produce, artisinal chocolates, and I'll stop there because I could go on all day.
    My farmers market dinner was a collaboration between myself and my lady Martha Stewart (we simply love working together). Martha supplied a recipe for individual Sausage and Feta Pies (actually in the book the recipe came from "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook" they were called "Hand Pies" but that sounded mildly peverse to me. Is that weird?). My coutribution was a Butternut Squash soup with ginger and fresh corn. The two recipes made a perfect autumnal meal. It was nice to get in some good comfort food before another week of the decidedly uncomfortable college experience. Woe is me.
Martha and I really nailed this one.

Butternut Squash Soup
with Ginger and Fresh Corn
(my first attempt at actually writing down a full recipe of my own creation. This soup is inspired by similar soups my mom makes, but I think I've seen lots of recipes like this.)
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2-3 Cloves Garlic, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp. Ginger, finely diced or grated
1 medium onion, diced
8 cups roughly chopped butternut squash (you can use other root vegetables too, turnips, carrot, whatever. I threw in a couple sweet potatoes)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup corn kernals (I cut it straight from the cob, but you could use frozen)
1 tsp. curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
a few dashes of hot sauce (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the onion and saute for about two minutes before adding the ginger and garlic and continuing to cook until the onions are translucent. Add the butternut squash/root vegetables and the broth. Turn the heat up to high until boiling. Lower the heat and let simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Take off heat and let cool for a few minutes. With a hand blender carefully blend the soup to desired consistency; I like to leave it with some chunks. Put back on medium heat and add corn, cooking the soup about 10 more minutes until the corn is tender. Add the curry powder, salt, pepper and hot sauce, if desired. Stir well and serve! This makes about 8 servings, and like many soups is extra delicious the next day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fatten Your Friends Up

      I tend to cook quite differently for other people than I do for myself. Earlier tonight, for example, I cooked myself a dinner of salmon, a portabello mushroom, and roasted zucchini. Right now I've got a pot of super healthy chicken chili simmering on the stove for me to eat throughout the week. But in between those two virtuous dishes, I commited a health food sin: I used buttah, baby.
     A friend asked me to contribute a side dish to a potluck tomorrow. I briefly considered bringing a quinoa salad.  But let's be real here. If you want to please a lot of people at once, sometimes you gotta play dirty. I chose instead to make red skinned smashed potatoes with goat cheese, roasted red peppers and garlic, carmelized shallots and butter. Delicious butter.
    It's absolutely possible to cook food that is both healthful and delicious. But it's also fun to be bad sometimes. I just hope someone brings a veggie tray.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Ultimate Alcohol/Food Pairing

      This Labour Day Weekend Kyle, myself and a couple friends headed up to his parents' cottage on Manitoulin Island.  We always have a great time there, fishing, riding the ATV, all the best cottage country activities.
      One of my favourite things about heading up north is the FOOD. There's something about being in the middle of the forest at the end of a dirt road that makes grilled cheese, fried fish and other not so healthy, not so sophisticated fare taste AMAZING.
      I did most of the cooking for myself and my travel companions, Kyle, Chris and Tim. Over the course of the long weekend, I perfected a cooking method that I can almost guarantee will make whatever you cook a huge hit. It goes like this:
                    Ingredients:  Three   6-foot, 20-something males
                                          One     2-4 of Beer (preferably domestic, nothing fancy)
                                          One     26er Fireball Whiskey
Instructions:   Sit back and enjoy a few caesars while watching the males drink the beer and whiskey. This works best if the alcohol is ingested at a medium pace throughout the day, starting around   lunchtime. Encouracge some physical activity, such as games of frisbee, or walking to the kitchen to fetch you a glass of wine. At around 7:00 you may start to notice the males looking for bags of chips or talking about  how much they love Mcdonalds. At this point you may feed them pretty much anything and they will be sure to tell you it's The Best Thing They've EVER Eaten.
Pasta Dinner. Homemade sausage from the local butcher in the sauce, along with some fresh herbs from Kyle's mom Carol's Garden. And a lot of red wine. In the dinner and the diners.

Hello Dollies that I made before the trip. They're a really easy layered square with graham cracker crust, chocolate chips, coconuts and pecans. I got the recipe from         

Chili, made with ground beef also from the local butcher-who is found in a store that also sells booze. And moccasins. I'm not kidding.