Category Archives: Dinners

Summer Slump?!

I’m half in a writers-block-food-slump and it’s NO good. I think it’s a combo of working a ton and this new ultra-cheapo-budget that my husband and I are giving a whirl. So I’m using this first paragraph to whine a little bit… $60 a week on groceries?! Resigning to eating pasta (without cheese or cream or any of those good but costly and lactose-filled delicacies)?! I am in a summer foodie hell.

Luckily, my friends can cook! I went into Kitsilano on the weekend where my hippie-dippy-lovely-veggie-headed friends made a scrumptuous tofurky feast! Before your turn your nose up in disgust, it was actually pretty great! The key, apparently, is all in how you marinate it. I am no tofurky expert but I definitely suggest you try some for yourself before you judge!

Along with the faux-meat came a spread of stuffing and mashed potatoes with garlic scapes which my host grew herself and was kind enough to send home with me! Home-brewed iced tea and lemonade. And a GORGEOUS salad of edible flowers and greens grown by this amazing woman! For dessert? Fresh strawberries and ice cream (lactose-free coconut ice cream for those with allergies) followed by a long walk along the ocean and then more dessert! A coconut-raisin-carrot cake topped with bourbon glaze made by yours truly.

It was a good weekend. A filling weekend. A sunny weekend. A weekend made all the better by Charles Francis Mordecai M.D. (pictured below). The memories are almost strong enough to pull me out of my slump… perhaps a trip to my garden this evening will quell the un-inspired-cooking.

Here is a recipe for Pickeled Garlic Scapes from beautiful blog Not Without Salt (which just so happens to be… drumroll… our featured blog of the day/week/whenever I think to feature a blog!)

Pickled Garlic Scapes

1       pound or more of scapes, whole

3       cups vinegar

5       cups water

¼     cup kosher salt

Fresh Basil Leaves

Chili Flakes

Boil the water, vinegar & salt solution. Pack hot jars with whole scapes, 1 fresh basil leaf, a pinch of chili flakes (depending on your spice tolerance) and then the brine. Put on lids, place in a hot water canner and boil for 45 minutes. Leave at least 2 weeks before serving to get best flavor.

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Meals in Minutes

I got a new cookbook. In fact, I got the all new Jamie Oliver Meals in Minutes cookbook!!!!!!! And I’m over the moon.

It’s a fantastic book with, as always, brilliant pictures. It is put together in a super unique way to. Rather then flipping through different meat, veg, salad, dessert sections and peicing together your own meal, all the recipes make up entire meals. The instructions are also laid out so by the time you are finished cooking, your entire meal is ready, hot and on the table (including mouth watering simple desserts and unique refreshing beverages!)

The book also includes fantastic advice on kitchen prep, a well-compiled list of kitchen musts, helpful hints on presentation, and always encouraging words on shopping for meat, eggs, poultry and fish. A ton of recipes also include instructional videos when you go to the website!

Jamie Oliver – Videos – Introduction to Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals.

I don’t know where to start with this one so I have decided it’s going to be a start from the first meal and work my way through, sort of deal.

My first Meal in Minutes?

Broccoli orecchiette, zucchini & bocconcini salad, and prosciutto & melon salad!


Now, I want to say right now, it’s not all good news for Mr. Oliver. His book, although being  “the fastest-selling non-fiction title of the year,” has been under fire. People are claiming that his meals are taking longer than 30minutes, sometimes up to an hour and a half. I love Jamie and so far, with the 6 Jamie Oliver cookbooks I own, the times I have been disappointed have been few and far between. So as well as cooking each and every meal in this book. I plan on posting the results to you as well as the total time it took me.

So if you aren’t sold on Meals in Minutes or if you just like spending time with me, keep reading The Supper Club!

And if you’re hungry, come over to my house.. there will be a meal waiting.

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My Obsessions Combine

Well, my obsession for certain British chefs and for fresh herbs at least.

When it’s summer (at least according to the calender) I am always in the mood for fresh flavors. My favorite are when things taste green… I hope that makes sense. If not, make this soup and you’ll understand. In the Fraser Valley we are lucky enough to be able to make a pot of soup any season (and yes, I consider us lucky to have the rainy days that we do because I am a soup lover, hear me roar!) So here is the recipe for the soup I made a couple of days ago, the soup that is almost gone, the soup that is a Jamie Oliver recipe from his food revolution, the soup that just so happens to be my favorite.

Pea and Mint Soup

Ingredients

olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

8 cups of chicken broth

5 1/2 cups frozen peas

a good handful of fresh mint

Instructions

Put your olive oil and chopped vegetables in a large soup pot over medium heat. Put a lid on, askew, and sweat the veg for 10 minutes. While this is happening, put your broth in a saucepot and heat till boiling. Add your boiling broth and frozen peas to the cooking veg. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add the mint. Blend. Eat and enjoy!

SUCH a simple and delicious soup. Top it with some grated ewe’s milk cheese, some mixed seeds or a nice piece of bread, add a dollop of greek yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche, tear in some soft fresh herbs… in the words of Jamie O. “Pimp up your soup!” I served mine with Joy the Bakers Garlic Knots (which just so happens to be… OUR FEATURED FOODIE BLOG!!!!) … only I used my own pizza dough recipe and made little buns instead of knots. Delicious!

Simple Pizza Dough

Ingredients

1 cup warm water

2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbl. spn. olive oil

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water for a couple of minutes. Add salt and olive oil. Mix in flour until dough is soft and elastic. Knead for 10 minutes. Oil a bowl, plop in your dough, cover and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Punch it down and let it rise slowly in the fridge for another 2 hours.

At this point you can either wrap it up and freeze it till later or use it for whatever your heart desires!

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It’s thyme for some tropical fruit salad!

I am a fresh herb freak. I just love it. Picking lemon thyme and fresh mint out of my moms garden to add to this and that… heaven. Getting that green, fresh, herby smell on my hands. Happiness. It’s gotten to the point where I now get sent recipes for herb infused popsicles and create my own recipes for herby-citrus sugar cookies, peach-rosemary rustic tarts and, you guessed it, tropical fruit salad with fresh thyme!

The feature blog today is Simply Recipes with their recipe for Blueberry Peach Fruit Salad with Thyme.

This recipe looked fantastic and I had my heart set on making it. I went to the grocery store and bought my nectarines and peaches but when I got to the blueberries the outrageous price ($5.99 for a cup?!) quickly reminded me that it is not the season yet. Living in a place where, once a year, I can gorge myself on enough free blueberries that I don’t have to eat dinner has made me appreciate the berry season and snub paying for overpriced, mediocre product. I decided to use frozen blueberries from my freezer and work them into the dressing somehow.

That’s when it happened. I got home and… sensing that my fruit wasn’t ripe yet, cut into a hard-as-stone peach and took a bite. It was not ready. It was sour and hard and awful. It was time for me to create my own fruit salad. So, I did! And it turned out amazing. In fact, there wasn’t a leftover forkful at the end of the day.

Here’s the recipe… go forth and fruit:

Tropical Fruit Salad with Thyme

Ingredients

2  mango

2  oranges

2  bananas

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

1 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Instructions

Put your water and sugar into a pot on med-high heat. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Add frozen blueberries and bring mixture to a boil. Boil until reduced by half. Cool completely.

Chop up your mango, oranges and bananas into bite sized chunks. Put in a bowl. Add your ginger, lemon zest and thyme. Mix.

Add your blueberry-simple-syrup. Cool completely in the fridge (fruit salad just tastes better cold.) Enjoy!

p.s. Here’s a cool herb chart so you can love herbs too!

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diet shmyiet!

For all of you who are on a diet (you know who you are… Amanda!) cut it out!!!! Okay okay, I applaud your efforts to try to look good and get healthy now that bathing suit season is upon us but…. let’s be real for a second… FOOD IS DELICIOUS. In fact, food is the most delicious thing that you’ve ever put in your mouth, I guarantee it.

This morning I was given some handy (and possibly life altering)  information that I am now going to use to make you drool, cook and gain some weight! I have in my hands a list of EIGHTEEN foodie blogs that I am going to be featuring recipes from. Prepare to get glued to the screen of your computer.

In order to ease you into it.. I’m going to start with a simple, fun blog with some delicious pictures called Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Good cooking. A gluten-free section. I can, and have, spent hours clicking through this handy little site which is how I found todays FEATURE RECIPE!

It’s cottage cheese cornbread and it’s not for the lactose intolerant (sorry husband.) Make it along side a bowl of spicy Red Texas Chili (which contains no beans… you’re welcome Alison) and you’ll be laughing! Cornbread and Chili on a sunny summer day, what could be better than that?!

My Spicy Red Texas Chili

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
 Directions
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Saute the beef cubes in the oil for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the garlic.
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin and flour. Sprinkle over the meat and stir until evenly coated. Crumble the oregano over the meat and pour in 1 1/2 cans of the broth.
Add the salt and ground black pepper, stir together well, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer, partially covered for about 90 minutes. Pour in remaining broth and simmer 30 minutes more, until meat begins to fall apart. Cool, cover and refrigerate to allow the flavors to blend.
Serve with cornbread for dipping and aged cheddar cheese for melting. Also GREAT on a baked potato.

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Slow Food Cycle Tour

Hey you all.

I’ve been waiting and waiting for summer to approach so I could tell you about this AMAZING event that’s been going on for the last five years here in BC. If you like to ride bike, eat food, shop local, get outdoors or just experience something really cool, you have to try to Slow Food Cycle Tour.

Essentially it’s essentially a slow-paced, lovely bike ride where, along the way, local farmers and chefs set up stands and stops where you can sample, savour and shop. Slowly fill up while forgetting about the time and the destination because, let’s be honest, we can all get so focused on the end goal that we take the trip towards it for granted.

This summer there are going to be two tours in the Fraser Valley.  One in Agassiz on Saturday, July 23rd and one in Chilliwack on Sunday, July 24th.  Come out and hang out with me… you’ll get to see just how much a little pale girl from Abbotsford can eat!

You have to register online because space is limited (we don’t want to overwhelm the farmers with masses of hungry bike-riding local yokels… such as myself…) so register NOW!

Ready… set… slow….

p.s. Don’t forget to attach a basket or wagon to your bicycle so you have somewhere to put your goodies!

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The List

My sister lives in sunny California and you would think that she would have so much available to her there that a trip to (mostly) rainy B.C. would bore the daylights out of her… not so! She sent me a list of things that she was craving to do when she comes out for a visit this summer and I thought that I would share it with you all so you can join in on the Fraser Valley fun.

Whether you are a health-nut, vegan, peace-nik hippie or a scotch swilling, redneck, meat-eating man-child… or just a normal person… I think you’ll have fun doing at least one of these things.

1. pick berries.

I know, I know, why pick berries when you can hire someone to pick them for you? Come on, people. We live in the Berry Capital of Canada… or something… and berries are delicious. And when you pick them, you can eat them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Plus fresh raspberry jam and homemade blueberry pie and strawberries with cream. Come on! Do it.

2. go to bard on the beach

This has nothing to do with food. Not everything does. But it’s so fun and if you go you can pick up a Japadog in downtown Vancouver. Worth it.

3. go to the fireworks downtown

There’s nothing quite like eating soft pretzels, drinking hot chocolate and watching the symphony of fire. Classic Vancouver summer.

4. go to cultas lake water slides

Slip sliding around downtown and, again, another reason to eat a hot dog?!

5. go to granville island and eat awesome tarts and oysters on the half shell

We live near the ocean. We can have fresh seafood whenever we want it. Oysters are a dream come true.Check out Tony’s Fish and Oyster Cafe. Also, there is an over abundance of delicious tarts on Granville island, stop by Terra Breads for an amazing peach-rosemary tart, you won’t be disappointed!

6. get a pie from Krause Berry Farms

Custard piled high with strawberries. So delicious yet, for some reason, it can’t be duplicated at home. Believe me, I’ve tried.

7. go for high tea

Serendipitea in downtown Abbotsford has a gorgeous high tea for any lady. Gentlemen, be warned, fine china, flowers and petite desserts may be enough to shake the manliest man to his core.Try either the ice wine tea or the strawberry fields. My favorite.

8. hang out in down town abby

I’ve talked about it before. I will talk about it again. I live in downtown Abbotsford and I absolutely love it. Small boutiques, used books, some of the best coffee that I’ve ever had. On a sunny day there is not much I like more than walking the short streets of my home town.. just don’t trip over a hobo while you’re doing it!

9. go to down town van and eat at a food truck and that place in gastown with the muscles and happy hour oyster bar!

FOOD! I love it.

And if you need help narrowing down your food truck choice… let me help you!

Re-Up BBQ: for slow smoked meat sandwiches

Fresh Local Wild: exactly what it sounds like with vegetarian options.

Eli’s Serious Sausage: Vancouver’s premium local sausage stand

Cartel Tacos: Korean fusion tacos

La Brasserie: A warm & cozy Franco-German bistro

Now be off. Go. Eat. Have fun!

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