March 30, 2010

Pork Medallions with Asian Slaw

Pork Medallions with Asian Slaw

It's been one of those days where I wish I could have just ended the day earlier, gone to sleep and hope for a fresh, new start tomorrow. The anxiety was high and the hair pulling has nearly left me bald.

It's one of those days where even the most beautiful looking fruits and darkest chocolate taste foul. Yeah.

Sigh.

Spring break is here and the kids are off of school. This has added to my day. Oh joy, oh joy, oh joy. Plus, I caught the kids cold. Stay-home moms don't get sick days, unfortunately.

So, this is the perfect recipe to add to the pain of it all.

I made it a couple of weeks ago. I debated whether I should even bother posting it. Sure, it looks pretty enough but it was a lot of work and it wasn't worth the lot of work. It wouldn't have been worth even a small bit of work. It was disappointing. Fine Cooking let me down or I must have really missed something.

The flavors weren't exciting, the meat wasn't crispy and the dressing for the asian slaw was, well, blah.

Just so you know, I will not be posting the recipe. Not like I'll be making this again nor do I want to spend my time typing a recipe out that stinks. I think I'm going to have a glass bottle of wine instead right now.

Here's to tomorrow. May it be a better day.

Cheers!

March 26, 2010

I Squash You!

acorn squash

I offer you some more pretty food p0rn. I'm just too busy, busy to post anything else at the moment!

I took the picture about a month or so ago. It's one of the squash harvested from our garden that's been stored in our basement. The squash started developing "freckles".

How cute :)

Have a super duper weekend. I just hope I don't get "squashed" by the uber busy weekend I have!

March 24, 2010

Popovers

Popovers

I've heard of the term "yorkshire pudding". I never understood why they call it a pudding when it's a baked good. But according to wiki, pudding is rich, fairly homogenous starch or dairy based desserts. I'm not sure how blood pudding fits into that description but I think I'll have to ask my English friend to decipher this mystery for me. The name "popovers" came later, when special muffin-like tins were used and the breads would "pop over".

I have never tasted a popover before but have wondered what they are like. I watched an Alton Brown episode (did I mention I love Alton Brown-perfect blend of geeky scientist who loves food!) and thought to myself that I should try them out. I didn't have a popover tin so I figured I'd just use a muffin tin. Then I forgot about it.

Fast forward. I'm shopping and see a popover tin on clearance. Suh-weet! Time to bake! (Tip: You don't need a popover tin. My friend said her mother used to make it in a square baking pan instead.)

Popover Diptych

One thing that is great about popovers is that they are SUPER easy to make. I mean, stupidly super easy. Throw the basic ingredients in a blender, whirl and pour into the popover cups. If you can't breath and chew gum at the same time, then it might not be that easy for you. I'm just saying.

Secondly, they POP over the tins by a lot and stay tall! The structure is amazing to me, that they stand up so high! And, some of them have weird shapes to them. They are like foreign looking bread from outer space and the inside is HOLLOW! I'm just amazed by it all. I mean, there is no baking powder or soda in the ingredients list!

Thirdly, they are tasty. I'll definitely be making these again!

...

Popovers
makes 6

1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup (4 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

Spray a 6-cup popover pan with non-stick oil. Set the oven to 400F.

Put the ingredients into a blender and process for 30 seconds. Pour the batter evenly, filling approximately 1/2 full.

Bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes and do not open the oven door to check.

Remove the popovers to a cooling rack. Poke the tops with a knife to allow steam to release. Serve warm.

Recipe from: Basic Popovers, Alton Brown on Foodnetwork.com

March 22, 2010

Tips / Techniques: Don't Cry Over Onions

cutting onions

I used to would avoid cutting onions whenever I could. I love onions but the stinging and crying was just unbearable for me. I don't know if my eyes were just more sensitive to it but I just hated it. Hated it. Wouldn't you avoid the feeling of little daggers in your eye?

I've spent many years trying all the tips and techniques and I call bullshit on them. Pardon my "french" but most of those techniques just don't work. Lets run through a list, shall we?

  • Use a sharp knife to prevent slicing as many of the cells within the onion that cause the stinging reaction. - Uh, what?!? Onions cells are about 75 micrometers or 0.075 mm. That is small. A sharper knife will reduce how many cells from being broken? Not enough for me. I had new sharp knives to test try and it did nada in helping ease the crying and screaming (from me, not the onion). If this was the case, you might as well just forgo dicing or mincing your onions, which is how I need them most of the time. The more cuts, the more pain! Better just throw the thing in whole in your recipe - maybe that's a better tip.
  • Cut your onions under running water. Oh sure, why don't I just hunch over the sink and try not to cut off a finger while the water is running. Maybe I'll dream of waterfalls while I give my onion a bath and lose a diced onion or two down the drain along with a fingertip, but maybe I'll cry less. Don't think it's worth it. Not very practical.

  • Cut the onions fast - No kidding? Well, what do you think I'm doing? After the second cut, I start feeling the stinging setting in. After dicing a whole onion, it has taken me a good 20 minutes to recover, if not more. I'm literally blind because I can't open my eyes from the pain and I have once run into a wall running away from the devilishly laughing onion.
  • Wear goggles or eye protection. -Why don't you also take out your swimsuit and flippers while you're at it? Pina Colada anyone? I'm sure I'd cut off a fingertip due to lost peripheral vision of my goggles. Does anyone really do this? Anyone??? Maybe I should look into patenting some onion goggles.
  • Chew gum - Whoever came up with this idea must have an IQ of an ass or works for Wrigley's or Trident. Just you wait, commercials will be coming our way with 9 out of 10 chef's recommending chewing said gum while chopping onions.
So what tip or technique do I have for you today? It's super simple.

Put the onion to cool in the refrigerator.

Yes, that's all.

A cool onion never makes my eyes hurt or water. It's divine. I always have one or two in my vegetable drawer of my fridge and now I never have tears in the kitchen, except for tears of joy.

You'll thank me if you don't already know this tip.

You are welcome.

Power to the people.

March 17, 2010

Dinner and Q&A Date with David Adjey at NAIT

Me and David Adjey
(Picture taken by Marianne with my camera, processed by me)

The other day, I took my kids to the nearby McDonald's. With no seating in the play place area I sat just outside of it, with a big group of teenagers behind me, while I watched my kids. While sitting there, I overheard the teenagers keep trying to show off with stories of grandeur and swearing to constantly try to "one-up" each other. This was what the night with David Adjey was like, except, he was the only teenager and he kept trying to "one-up" himself.

A few of us local bloggers got the chance to have Dinner and Q&A Date with David Adjey at NAIT as he is this year's NAIT Chef in Residence. We were able to ask him questions while we enjoyed dishes from David's book Deconstructing the Dish. A youtube video of the evening will be released later for viewing on NAIT’s TechLife channel.

I was not expecting such a large tasting of food and Champagne was served too. We bloggers were very spoiled. Though, I found the food not to be very hot, which disappointed me a bit. But it was overall pretty good. I'm not a fan of seafood but I didn't shy away from it. However, I noticed my stomach bloating and feeling queasy and by the time I got home, the back of my throat and tongue swelled a bit. I was obviously allergic to something, though, I'm not sure what it was, since there were numerous things I've never eaten before.

Dinner Menu with Night with David Adjey

I had a preconceived notion of who David Adjey was before I met him and as I told him at the end of the night, he came across exactly who I thought he was. Pompous is the word that comes to mind. But he makes no apologies for it and I respect that. For him to get to where he's at in his career, he needs to have done something right and be hard working.

Chris and I came to conclude that "You can take the kid out of Scarborough but you can't take Scarborough out of the kid". (You'll need to watch the beginning of the video to get that.)

I enjoyed myself and am thankful to Diane, NAIT and David Adjey for having the event. Here are my fellow bloggers take on the evening. I will update the list as they post entries.

Cathy from Walsh Cooks
Valerie from A Canadian Foodie
Marianne from Loosen Your Belt

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March 16, 2010

Weekly Photos: Shrine Circus

Circus Acrobats

Dear Shrine Circus:

I really tried but I think we will have to split ways.

I was excited to take the children to see you. My children and my niece and nephew talked about you all week. This is why it hurts. I'm not a fickle person. I wanted to love you but it was just too many things.

The loud music and announcer that made us cover our ears so many times in pain. The lighting system that kept burning holes in our corneas or was set up to be visually in our way. The length of the program (2.5 hours) was WAY too long and that made most children not be able to sit in their seats. Not only to mention that my son kept asking "is it almost done? Can we go home?"

The clowns skit was a bit unbearable to watch and when I bumped into a friend during intermission, she stated that "clowns should never be able to talk". It just wasn't funny. The children in the row in front of me who looked bored during all the animal acts because really, how many times can one watch horses and ponies run in circles. Or the acrobats swinging back and forth. We got the point after the first 2 rounds.

Circus Animals

Between the "just kill me" and the "dear god, how much longer can they do this to us" looks from the adults, I regret I will not be back. I think all the money I spent that day would better serve us towards a new wii game that the family can bond over.

Maybe you haven't been able to keep up with the times, a world where fast-paced technology, video games and the computer offer more. I know you can't compete with that but your "good-ole fashioned fun" just wasn't fun.

I no longer love the idea of you anymore. We have grown in separate ways. Maybe it's not you, maybe it's me? But, nonetheless, I'm just not that into you.

How about we just settle with irreconcilable differences and leave it at that? I keep the house and kids, you get the circus furniture and animals. Ok?

Signed yours truly,
Maki

March 11, 2010

Chocolate Almond Torte, Gluten-Free

Chocolate Almond Torte, Gluten-Free

If I pick out a birthday cake for myself, it would definitely be chocolate cake. I absolutely am a big fan of chocolate.

This is one of the cakes my hubby made for me for my birthday. He's always looking for ways to reduce white flour in recipes but I'm not usually fond of it. I find these cakes or other baked goods do not usually hold the same yum factor as their carb-ful white-floured counterpart.

(We don't have wheat allergies but my hubby likes the "lower carb" lifestyle so he's always looking forward to ways of using almond flour instead of white flour).

So, when he said that he made me a cake with almond flour, I wasn't very impressed. It's MY birthday, not his! I want the full flour, full sugar, full fat type of bad for you but tastes so good cake.

But, I was wrong. So. very. wrong.

This was an awesome cake. It had a moist fudge-like texture center and lots of chocolatey-tasting goodness. I had most of my family members also comment on how good it was.

Tsk, tsk, on me. I guess one should not judge a cake by it's lack of white flour.

...

Chocolate Almond Torte, Gluten-Free

7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
11 tablespoons (150 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (100 grams) finely ground toasted almonds or almond flour
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Set oven to 375F and prepare an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a double broiler method or in the microwave. Set aside.

Separate the eggs yolks and place in a larger bowl. Set aside the egg whites. Cream the yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar until creamy, about 3-4 minutes. Pour the chocolate/butter mixture and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Fold in the almond flour.

Whisk the egg white until until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and remaining 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until stiff peak forms. Fold into the batter in two portions only until incorporated.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake has a few moist crumbs. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Remove from spring form pan and serve.

Recipe from: Chocolate Almond Torte from Joy of Baking

March 9, 2010

Mocha at Tesoro's

Mocha at Tesoro Caffe

Do you not want to bathe in that mocha? Oh my word. It was delicous. I kid you not.

I actually never started drinking coffee until I started a full-time job. And it wasn't often. My coffee consumption increased once I had kids. Yes, lack of sleep will do that to you. Now, coffee is one of the first things I look forward to in the morning. It's become a daily ritual, not necessarily that I need the caffeine (though it's a bonus) but more because it's become a wonderful way to start a day (ok, who's kidding, I do need that caffeine). The smell, the hot mug in your hand and that tasty flavor with every sip, love it.

I don't get out to cafe's enough. So, after dropping off the kiddo's at school, a friend and I popped into Tesoro Caffe Bar. I had read about it in the the Edmonton Journal quite some time ago and kept a mental note to try it out.

Tasty coffee, nice modern place with high ceilings and plenty of windows to allow lots of natural sunshine in. Worth the venture out.

---

Tesoro Caffe Bar
11244-104 Ave
Edmonton, Alberta
T5K 2X4

March 8, 2010

Weekly Photos: Birthday Flowers

Birthday mini-carnations

Sorry, no food post today. Next post, I promise.

Thought I'd do another weekly photos post. (I have to catch up on the ones I missed. tee hee). Had a busy weekend, celebrating my birthday! I can't remember the last time I had a warm, sun-shining day for my birthday. What a great gift!

My hubby made me TWO wonderful cakes (I'll post them in the coming month) and I had a big family dinner to celebrate. I not telling you how old I am but I will tell you that I did mutter things like "wrinkles AND zits, give me a break!!!" hehe.

red carnation

Growing up, I never really appreciated flowers that much. But, I have to say, I am enjoying them more and more every year. I think photography has also opened up my eyes to the beauty of flowers. I was a bit smitten with the petals of these mini-carnations I received. Just amazing looking. I would love a dress with red ruffles resembling those petals.

Also, Happy International Woman's Day, to all you wonderful ladies out there!

March 6, 2010

Weekly Photos: Glorious Weather

Blue Winter -  Edmonton River Valley

Oh my gosh people!!! If you live in the Edmonton area, get thee outside, don't be reading this!!!

The weather is phenomenal here.

If you remember my post from the past week, it was cold, snowy and misty, like the photo above. It was beautiful but freezing.

Things have changed.

There are massive wet puddles and the snow is getting soft and melting away. The other day, me and the kids headed out to a neighborhood park. The sun was out and warm and the skies were a beautiful blue. My kids had a blast climbing the massive pile of melting snow.

On Top of the World

Don't you just love my little posers? I took a long break from photographing them as they didn't like my camera in their faces. But, now they have taken to giving me 'tude when I snap. I'm not complaining though.

Have a fantastic weekend!


March 4, 2010

Edmonton Foodie Meetup #3

Edmonton Foodie Meetup

This is the 3rd meetup I have attended. You can read about my other meetups here and here.

Famoso's Downtown was chosen as the venue and they did a great job attending to our large group. We were in luck as it was Wine Tasting Wednesday and enjoyed a couple of samples of red and white. I love a good glass of wine with my meal. Complimentary dessert pizza was also distributed. Their pizza's were delicious and many of us all agreed it was a successful outing.

I have always enjoyed myself at these functions. Food, people, good conversation... what's not to like? Met a bunch of new folks, caught up with my fellow food bloggers that I met with before and sadly missed some of the others that have attended previously and could not this time around.

It was great chatting with you all!!! See you next time around!

---

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
11750 Jasper Avenue location
Edmonton, Alberta

March 2, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

baking soda biscuits

There is nothing better I love than baked goods right out of the oven.

First, you are teased by the wonderful aroma filling your kitchen and home while it is baking. Then, you have to wait until it slightly cools before you take a bite. I know that I have burned the inside of my mouth often, because I just couldn't wait for that cookie or some other baked good to cool down.

I also find that I eat way too many pieces. How can you just eat one slice of fresh out-of- the- oven bread? Impossible!

This is what happened with these baking powder biscuits. The kids and I stopped often in front of the oven, while it was baking, to check on them. And of course, many biscuits were eaten while still warm.

This is the first time I've ever made baking powder biscuits. They were pretty good. Not as good as some I have tried before but that didn't stop me from eating too many!

...

Baking Powder Biscuits
makes 10 biscuits

2 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces
3/4 cup milk

In a food processor, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse to combine.

Add butter and pulse to form coarse crumbs.

Pour in milk and pulse, just enough to combine.

Take out the dough and roll out to about 3/4 inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Cut out biscuits (I used a cup since I didn't have any round cookie or biscuit cutters). Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 425C for about 18 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove and let cool on rack. Serve.

Recipe from: Baking Powder Biscuits, Williams-Sonoma Essential of Baking.
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