11.12.2011

Brunch : Pancakes with Apple, Walnuts and Brie



This one was so easy, I could make it while half-asleep.  Dice up a couple of apples and toss into a saucepan with a pat of butter, a cup of water, a teaspoon of Chinese five-spice powder, and two tablespoons of brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the apples become soft and mushy.  If the mixture becomes too dry during the process, add more water to keep it from burning/sticking.

When the apples reach the desired consistency, prepare pancakes according to package directions.  If you're one of those talented people who can make pancakes from scratch, knock yourself out.

To assemble the dish, top one pancake with a few chunks of brie, a spoonful of the mushy apple, and a small sprinkle of chopped walnuts.  Place another pancake on top and repeat.  Keep going as high as you dare (I stopped at 4 pancakes) and serve with real maple syrup.

After consuming, lick the maple syrup off your lips as you gently slip into a pancake coma.

8.25.2011

When life hands you lemons.. or rather, when life hands you overcooked tuna

I planned to make a lovely Asian-themed meal the other night: soba noodle and edamame salad with ponzu dressing, topped with ruby-red slices of barely seared tuna, crusted with sesame, poppy and mustard seeds. Well, the salad was perfect, but thanks to a myriad of electronic distractions, I managed to overcook the tuna. It wasn't burned or anything, it just ended up fully cooked, rather than seared, and was not at all suitable for the application I had in mind.

So, we enjoyed the salad by itself, while I grumbled about messing up a recipe that I'd prepared successfully many times before, and contemplated what to do with all that tuna. The solution - Asian tuna salad! I just shredded the tuna, seeds and all, mixed it with mayo, wasabi paste, and a bit of chopped radish for crunch, and the result was utterly divine!

Easily the tastiest food mishap that I've ever had!

Sorry there are no pictures. I had to tuck it way back in the fridge to hide it from myself. If I were to unwrap it now, I would just scarf down the entire bowl in a matter of seconds.

3.27.2011

Dinner : Pumpkin and Corn Soup


This is so simple and quick.  Ideal for a chilly evening.

In a large, heavy pot, sautee a few handfuls of diced onion, carrot and celery, and a couple of minced garlic cloves, with a few sprigs of thyme.  Keep track of how many thyme sprigs you put in, since you'll need to fish them out later on.  When the vegetables have softened, add 2 or 3 cups of diced pumpkin, preferably the West Indian variety (sometimes called calabaza in North American markets), and pour in some stock, or water to just cover the vegetables.  Add salt to taste.

Cover and simmer until the pumpkin is soft.  If the mixture becomes too dry, add more water or stock, being careful to only just cover the vegetables, since you don't want the finished product to be too runny.  Remove the sprigs of thyme and puree the soup with a stick blender, or in a regular blender until smooth.  Add a bag of frozen corn kernels to the soup and continue to cook until the corn is heated through.  Serve with some crusty bread.

Notes:
You can add a dash of your favourite hot pepper sauce near the end of cooking to spice things up a bit.
If you don't have a stick blender, or any blender for that matter, it's perfectly fine to have this soup chunky.

3.20.2011

This Bud's For You


Spring has sprung!  And with it, comes the promise of renewal.  Springtime always makes me feel hopeful, and stirs thoughts of unexplored potential. It's a time to scrape away the debris of a long, cold, and exceptionally brutal winter, and show our new faces to the world.

Today, a weight loss milestone, a reassurance that my efforts of the past 6 months have not gone unrewarded, and encouragement to go forward.  To spring forward!

Today's magic number : 49.6

2.02.2011

Dinner : Salmon with Fennel Salad



This dish has loads of flavour payoff for very little effort.  Right up my alley.

Season 2 salmon fillets with salt and pepper, dust with flour and sautee, in olive oil, in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side, depending on thickness.

Remove salmon from pan and wrap in foil to keep warm.  Add a handful of cherry tomatoes to the pan, along with, the juice of half a lemon and a splash of white wine.  Cover and simmer until all the tomatoes pop.  Add a tablespoon of capers, cover and cook for another minute.  Remove from heat.

Thinly slice a fennel bulb, and toss with the juice of an orange, a tablespoon of olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper.  Toss the fennel mixture with a couple handfuls of fresh salad greens (arugula or mixed greens)

Serve the salmon topped with the tomato-caper sauce, alongside the fennel and mixed green salad.