October 26, 2010

Tomato and Feta on a Brown Rice Tart Shell

Tomato and Feta on Brown Rice Tart Shell

You know that feeling when you are looking through cookbooks and you find a recipe that stands out and you must try it? It's that feeling of excitement and an eagerness to go to the kitchen, ASAP!

Well, that's happened with this recipe. The brown rice tart shell sounded so healthy and seemed like a novel idea to me. I also had an abundance of tomatoes. But the idea of the tomatoes, garlic, basil and feta, baked together for the flavors to mingle and exchange sounded so very wonderful. I kept imagining the aroma of it when I would first pull it out of the oven. Ahhhhh.

Too bad it sorta sucked.

I'm being too nice, it just plain sucked. My hubby was kind enough to eat one slice. But, it sucked enough that when it was wrapped up and put in the fridge for leftovers, neither him or I touched it. That is the true measure of success of recipes in my home. It sat there, haunting me every time I opened the fridge until I finally tossed it. I tried one time to reheat it for lunch, thinking I'll just salt the heck out of it, add some hot sauce and it won't taste bad but ultimately, even the idea of wasting food didn't get me to eat it. Too bad. Blech.

But it looked pretty.

I'm saving you by not posting the recipe. Wouldn't want it out there in the massive abyss of the internet for someone else to try and complain that it sucked too.

October 21, 2010

French Toast coated with Crushed Frosted Flakes Coating

French Toast with Crushed Frosted Flakes Coating

You know that Tv show on the food network, Dumpsters, Dives and Drive-Ins? errrr, wait, that's not right. Drives, Diners and Dives? Uh, nope. I always have to look it up. Give me a second here.

Talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic... Like Buttah, a stick of buttah. I always have to look up what amount in cups a stick of buttah is. Stupid recipes.

da da da da, da da da, da da da da DA da da da da da....

Ok, time is up!

Diners, drive-ins and dives. There we go. That's it.

Well, we (as in the hubby and I) were watching an episode and it was featuring french toast coated with crushed corn flakes cereal. It looked goooooooood.

So, one saturday morning, we decided it try it out but we don't always do things around here by the books. Nope, we punched it up. That's right. We know how to kick it up a little, BAM! Oh yeah, another notch. bam, Bam BAM BAM! Us West End Girls, we know how to do breakfast/brunch.

We used FROSTED FLAKES.


The crunchy, sweet coating, it will make you cry. Oh Mama Mia! Mama Mia.... Magnifico-o-o-o-o!

You must try it for yourself. After you dipped your bread into the egg mixture, dip it into the crushed frosted flakes and fry as usual. That's it.


October 18, 2010

Eating Out: Wok Box

Eating Out at the Wok Box

I was working on these photos when my kids came by and said "Oh, that was the stinky place." Funny. I was thinking how moments are locked away into our memories and how certain things come to be recalled to us.

My kids first response to these photos was that it was stinky. They didn't mention that it was a special day and they got balloons or that we had a huge group of family and friends show up to eat with us. Nor that mom and dad allowed them to each have a pop bottle to themselves, a special treat. Didn't mention that the food was yummy and it came in fun-shaped boxes or that there was a super cool fountain inside. Nope, just that it was stinky.

I just want to state, it was not stinky inside the Wok Box. It was a Saturday late morning on Whyte Avenue and we don't know if it was a nasty sewer just outside or if the bar night party spirit was just not washed away from the sidewalks from the night before, but it was definitely smelly. I also vividly remember since my kids scrunching up their faces, holding their noses and my son was even making gagging noises. Too funny.

Wok Box Butter Chicken

Nonetheless, the food was tasty. I like exposing the kids to different cuisines and the Wok Box is a great place since it is quick for my kids patience and has lots of choices. The kids had the Teriyaki stirfry, which they loved, and hubby and I enjoyed the Indian Butter Chicken stirfy complete with yummy naan bread. The service was really great and I loved the ambiance of the place. LOVE that water fountain!

Unfortunately, our memory is tarnished with the smell of stinky. All the good stuff isn't as vivid in the memory books to my kiddos. I guess we'll have to go by the same location and try to reprogram that memory out our minds by replacing it with another moment, but a good one this time.

...

Wok Box (Whyte Ave location)
10331 82nd Avenue
Edmonton, AB

October 15, 2010

Working through the Harvest

Pattypan Squash

I have been slowly working through our harvest. Unfortunately, my basement isn't cold enough to keep my vegies fresh long enough, so I gave away lots of produce.

I think the thing that is wonderful about growing your own vegetables is you come across so many different types of seeds that you can't help to experiment. We currently have a variety of tomatoes in our small "greenhouse" that I'm looking forward to eating the next month.

Until we grew our own, I don't really ever recall seeing a patty pan or sunburst squash. They are best harvested a bit earlier, when they are still smaller, because the insides are more tender that way. I think we will likely use it in a scalloped squash casserole, modified from this scalloped potato casserole recipe.

Pumpkin Patch Harvest

Last year, we had too many zuchinni's so instead my hubby planted a pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, since we had an early frost, we had to pick them earlier so we had many smaller-sized pumpkins. But, on a positive note, they are much easier to peel when making things with it.

I'm hoping to get my hubby to make some of his "famous" pumpkin soup. We've made a pumpkin chutney too (sorry, no photos!). And, a couple weeks ago, I tried making pumpkin fritters but I thought I'd save you from posting about them because they made me gag. Can't all be winning recipes, I guess.

Have a great weekend everyone!

October 14, 2010

Eating Out: Burger Baron

Mushroom Burger at Burger Baron

Holy Batman!

Has anyone else been a bit busy? I figured once my kids are back in school, things would be a bit quieter but it's quite the opposite. I'm currently staring at a mountain of coins that need rolling before they get deposited. I swear, almost every child in my kidlet's school paid their hot lunch fees with dimes and nickels. I HATE rolling dimes. It's worse than trying to get that pantry item that is just out of reach from the cupboard. You know what I'm talking about, you are reaching, jumping, stretching for that item, getting all red and annoyed until you finally lose it and just go grab a chair. Well, there is no easier way rolling those damn dimes into that little paper. Grrrr...

Suffice to say, with the busy-ness, I haven't been cooking. At all. We had sandwiches yesterday. Nothing wrong with sandwiches but it's been more than once a week we have been eating them for dinner. And we have been eating out more too.

I have lived in Edmonton for over 30 years and I have never been to a Burger Baron. The I actually didn't even know it existed most of my life and only in my recent years have I noticed the building and their drive-thru. (The buildings are not much too look at but neither is the highly popular Peters' Drive In in Calgary). But did you know it was the first Western Canadian drive-through chain and is now mostly concentrated around Edmonton and they use 100% Alberta high-grade beef? All that stuff blew my mind when I read about it. I had no clue.

We stopped into one during a day of running errands and ordered the popular mushroom burger. My hubby overheard some co-workers say it was a favorite amongst Burger Baron goers. I was pleasantly surprised by it's appearance. A large fluffy bun, good-sized beef patty and loads of mushrooms and sauce. It was all good except for the sauce. I know, I bet many of you would disagree with me but I have to say, I didn't care for it. I think I would have preferred a slice of swiss cheese. The mushroom sauce tasted like a spoonful of warm concentrated mushroom soup from a can. Not my thing. At least the fries rocked.

I drove by a Burger Baron the other day and it was advertising their Halifax-style donair. Anyone try that? I'm willing to give the Burger Baron another go, anyone recommend something else?

...

Burger Baron
9908 70 Ave location
Edmonton, AB

October 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Icing

peanut butter icing on chocolate banana muffins 2

Have you ever been caught eating peanut butter out of the jar? I have.

I try to be sneaky. Quietly opening the pantry door so there is no squeak to alert others in the house. I grab the big, heavy tub of peanut butter and slowly unscrew the top. I smell the heavenly sweet peanut aroma and with my spoon in hand, I dive in.

This is where it gets tricky. I hear someone approaching, so with the peanut butter-filled spoon jammed into my mouth, I quickly put the lid back onto the jar and into the pantry. The thing is, one must savor the smooth peanut goodness, slowly lapping it off the spoon as one would with ice cream, and not jamming the whole amount in one's mouth. I quickly rid the spoon into the sink and try to act normal with this big scoop of peanut butter attached to the roof of my mouth.

"Mom, do you know where my dump truck is?" my little guy asks.

"Nnnn, nnnn." I hum back, with a smile on my face.

"Can you help me find it? Is it upstairs?" he replies.

I shrug and mime that he be on his way and go on upstairs to look for his truck, as he looks at me curiously.

"Mom, what are you eating?"

"Nuffin", I reply with contorted, dry mouth, urgently needing a drink to liquefy the big, dry lump stuck to the roof of my mouth.

"I smell peanut butter." he says.

Busted.

"Les go look fer dat dum tuck" I muffle out.

Damn kids. Some days, I really am just standing there with a big bullseye on my forehead. Can I get more obvious?

...

peanut butter icing on chocolate banana muffins

If you remember my last post, I made those moist chocolate banana muffins. I was bringing dessert for a dinner get together with friends and I thought peanut butter icing would be the perfect accompaniment. Chocolate, Peanut Butter AND Banana. So awesome. Everyone agreed.

...

Peanut Butter Icing
makes icing for 12 cupcakes

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk

Beat the peanut butter and butter together until fully mixed and smooth.

Slowly add the icing sugar in intervals. Do the same with the milk. Add a little more or less milk, to get the consistency you like.

October 6, 2010

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Chocolate Banana Muffins

I'm quite the chocoholic and lately I have been craving it. I pounced on my hubby when he brought home a chocolate bar, pulled out some frozen chocolate chip cookies and ate them before giving them a chance to thaw and let's not forget, the handfuls of chocolate chips from the pantry the many times I pass through the kitchen.

I think the season changing has a bit to do with it because I've noticed I've been eating more too. Feel like a squirrel loading up for the winter. I wonder, do people in hot climates, where it doesn't snow, carb-load for the long winter? I really have to wonder because I don't usually have a strong appetite when it's blistering hot out. Maybe I should hurry up and become a snowbird.

Until then, I shall nosh on every fattening, carba-licious crumb I can find. That includes these chocolate banana muffins. Moist, people, it is moist on the inside, full of good chocolatey goodness and a good hit of banana. It's a nice way to start a morning. Or enjoy it with coffee as a snack. Or with lunch. Or dessert. Well, you get my point.

Enjoy your chocolate muffins because come spring, we'll be eating the way of rabbits, leafy greens and carrot sticks.

Actually, forget being a snowbird, I'll take my chocolate instead.

...

Chocolate Banana Muffins
makes 16 muffins

1-1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Mix together bananas and sour cream. Set aside.

Cream the butter with the white and brown sugars for a couple of minutes, ensuring to scrape the sides a couple of times. Beat eggs in one at a time.

Beat in half the flour mixture from above. Beat in the banana mixture until all absorbed. Beat in remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Bake the muffins, at 350F for 30 minutes, in prepared muffins tins (oiled or paper-lined). Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Recipe adapted from: Cocoa Banana Muffins, The Modern Baker.

October 4, 2010

Eating Out: Edmonton's Duchess Bake Shop

Chocolate Croissant and Mocha at Duchess Bake Shop in Edmonton

I had only heard great things about Duchess Bake Shop and was eager to visit the place. With my children in school and an invite for a coffee date from a friend, I finally found an opportunity to make it happen.

I was giddy just seeing the scalloped banner and all-glass store-front with some chairs and tables outside to people watch. I kept telling myself not to get excited, as sometimes it is a big let down if you come in with expectations but, this time, I did not have to worry, as it met all the pleasant things I had heard.

Walking into the all-white store, with gold borders and scroll accents, and dainty light sconces, has you whispering "Ou-la-la!" under your breath. The store's clean aesthetic and glass cases full of freshly baked goods is very inviting. I know it will be an especially wonderful place to visit on those dreary Edmonton winter days.

The pain au chocolate with dark chocolate called for me, as did the mocha. Dark chocolate on the inside and sprinkles of dark chocolate on the outside was a chocoholic's dream. I loved the fluffy, buttery pastry so much that I savored every bite. I'm not kidding, it was a sensational experience. Next time I will hit the macaroons.

The one thing I did notice was the need for art or photography on their walls. It would definitely feel more intimate if they added something. Hey Duchess, if you would like some food (or other) photography done... send me an email... we can definitely work something out :)

À bientôt Duchess!

...

Duchess Bake Shop
10720-124 Street
Edmonton, Alberta,

October 1, 2010

Eating out: Coffee on a Sunday night in Edmonton

Coffee and a Date
(Mocha at Block 1912)


Pros and cons about having coffee date on a late Sunday night in Edmonton

Pros:
  • Getting out without the kids after a long, frustrating day with them.
  • Free parking!
  • Delicious mocha. I (heart) coffee and hustle bustle of whyte ave.
  • Cream, milk, honey, sugar, sweetener, spoons, so much variety.
  • People watching - guy walking a big doggie and an itty-bitty doggie together. So cute!
  • Lots of choices for desserts, baked goods, sandwiches and gelato.
  • Chatting with an adult and not wee little kids. Miss grown up talk.
  • Window shopping
  • Lit-up trees lining whyte ave.

Cons:
  • Paying a babysitter - $10/ hour. Becomes an expensive coffee date.
  • Hard to find parking.
  • Wander forever to find non-chain coffee shops that are open on a Sunday night. (see babysitter point above). SERIOUSLY EDMONTON, get on it!
  • Spoons all have film and don't look squeaky clean ... no likey-likey.
  • People watching - stinky gentleman walks by as we sit outside. Hold my breath & cover my coffee cuz I have weird paranoia that the musk will settle on my coffee.
  • Am deterred when I see all baked goods wrapped in saran wrap - me thinks you have too much inventory or you don't sell quick enough. Pass. I like fresh for my dollar.
  • Can't hear hubby over motorcycle noises up and down street.
  • Can't buy stuff. Stores all closed, just bars open.
  • Almost getting run over at crosswalks. Watch out bozo!
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