February 27, 2011

Pea Soup

If I were telling myself that in the four+ years since I moved out, I had never once attempted to make pea soup all by my lonesome, I would tell me I was crazy.  How is it that my second most beloved childhood soup would not have been made in my own kitchen?  Upon this realization I quickly remedied the situation, first with an embarrassed phone call to my mother (or three!) and then with her advice to the store where I promptly spent the best $12 of the month on the ingredients for this soup.

First, you find an awesome butcher shop that smokes their own ham hocks. (among many other wonderful things)  Then you get some split green peas, finally you raid the back of your freezer for that I-know-it's-gotta-be-in-here-somewhere-why-do-I-always-have-to-pull-apart-my-freezer-?-there-it-is-!- rookwurst from your Opa (who makes it himself.)  Grab yourself a big pot and get cooking.

Pea Soup

Adapted from the recipe my mother gave me, I'll go ahead and say it; this is the best pea soup I've ever had.

1 smoked pork hock, ask your butcher to cut it in half
1 small onion, small dice
1 carrot, small dice
2 strips of bacon
2 1/2 c split green peas
rookwurst, farmer's sausage, or any other smoked ring of meat

Sweat your onions and carrot in a large pot with a touch of oil.  Add your ham hocks and cover the pot with water almost all the way to the top.  Slip in two slices of bacon.  With a lid on bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

At this point add your split peas and cook for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.  Once the peas are fully cooked and the soup is getting thicker remove the ham hocks and shred the meat on them.  Remove the bacon slices from the pot.  Return the ham to the soup, as well as one ring of rookwurst cut up into bite sized rounds.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the soup is thickened to your liking.  If it's to thin take the lid off and cook off excess liquid.  If it's to thick add some water.  Season the soup with salt and pepper and enjoy.

February 26, 2011

February 25, 2011

Feb 25

So just a few hours ago I found my life list for 2010 and though you haven't seen it I thought I might let you know how I did.

My Life List 2010
  • Make a nice rice pudding
  • Make 3 loaves of bread-done
  • Attempt bagels once again-done
  • Make my own pasta-done
  • Can 4 types of preserves-done
  • Candy citrus 
  • Write down everything I eat for 2 weeks-done
  • Eat a BBQ pork bun-done
  • Make puff pastry from scratch
  • Sleep under the stars-done
  • Make gnocci-done
  • Make natasha a wonderful veggie burger-tried to at least
  • Make yogurt-done
  • Make my own ricotta-done
  • Try a falaffel

That's pretty good I'd say.  I didn't get to 4 out of the 15.  I'd like to point out that my list was very food heavy.  I need other hobbies.  Maybe I should think about making one for this year.  Natasha?  What do you say, are we making lists?


I would just like to tell you two things:

One.  The buds are coming out of the trees and the birds are singing again.  But it's -5.

Two.  I made these fancy lola cookies the other day.  I baked 11, and left them in a container on the counter.  I meant to photograph them to tell you but ran out of time, thinking that there would be a few left the following day.  No.  Turns out with a cookie snatching dog and a hippy-dippy coconut and chocolate loving husband there will be no cookies left.  They each ate 5.  I was glad I ate mine first.

Don't tell me he doesn't have cookies on his mind

Red Chicken Curry

This, my friends is the best curry to ever come out of our kitchen.  Red chicken curry it would be called.  Shane, as skilled in the kitchen as he is, made this dish last night while I was at work.  I ate some leftovers today and it was so fantastic I called him up and asked for the recipe right away.  Here is what he said, (shane measures nothing.  ever.)

A rough chicken curry

Sear off two chicken thighs.  When they've got some nice colour take them out and add to the pan some minced garlic, ginger and shallots.  Cook for a minute then add some thinly sliced red pepper and white onion.  Cook for a few more minutes before deglazing with a little bit of fish sauce. (Be careful here, a little goes a long way.)  Add a can of coconut milk, a can of tomatoes and 1/2 tbsp of thai red curry paste.  (Be careful here too, it gets spicy fast.)  Simmer the sauce with the chicken in it for 30-45 minutes.  To finish you can add some sliced green onions and the juice of a lime would really perk it up.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the curry over some rice.  YUM!

February 24, 2011

Feb 24

I'm sorry these posts are so boring and redundant!  We're just working our butts off, nothing interesting is happening, I mean other than the fact that we are leaving for europe in 52 days.  Every hour I spend at work I think about what that hour is buying me.  A cappuccino in Rome, sachertorte in Vienna, creme brulee in Paris, I can see the light at the other end of the tunnel.

It snowed two nights in a row here and since Big White I am so unimpressed, there was SO MUCH SNOW THERE.  This is just annoying, ha!  When my windshield wipers were frozen to my window I went for a walk and caught this picture.

February 21, 2011

Feb 21

I would just like to point out to everyone that it is 5:30pm and still light! 
Though it looks like this

and I would like it to look like this.

We're back from our winter vacation to Big White, you can find all our pictures here, on my flickr album.  We ate like a bunch of pigs, so I've come back with an extra few pounds to lose.

It's incredible to think that in less than two months I will be in Paris.  I can honestly say that the first thing I want to do (since our plane lands at 8:30 am) is find a cafe and order a cafe au lait and a pain au chocolat.  How incredible!

We've almost finalized the itinerary, which has been a source of conflict between Shane and I, since I want everything nailed down in stone and he wants room for spontaneity.  It's hard to find a balance because spontaneity does not go well with my anxiety.

We did, however splurge on a b&b in Paris for our first five nights in Paris.  Our budget is 45 euros a night for a room through out Europe, but as an anniversary present to each other we decided to stay here, for 72 euros a night.  Eek!

February 17, 2011

Apple-raspberry crisp

I am in love with this winter vacation. We're surrounded by a world of white, many cups of coffee and more alcohol than I'd care to admit.  We're eating awesome food, relaxing together by the fire and spending time soaking in the hot tub.  Does it get any better?  The views are fantastic and chalet is exactly what you'd expect here in the mountains, I'm so lucky.

I whipped this apple-raspberry crisp for dessert last night, after some amazing pulled pork tacos.  It was a hit.  Apples and raspberries belong together.  Please note that this is a crisp recipe, not a crumble and the top really is crisp, not crumbly.

Apple-raspberry Crisp

6 smallish apples
2 cups of summer's frozen raspberries
25 g (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

130 g (a scant 3/4 c) white sugar
120 g (1 c) flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, well beaten
115 g (7 Tbsp) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  

In a medium bowl combine all filling ingredients.  Toss well and dump into a 9 inch pie plate.

In another bowl combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  Pour in the beaten egg and with your fingers mix the egg really well into the dough, until little tiny clumps form.  Sprinkle over the apples.  Spoon the melted butter evenly over the top and bake for 30-35 minutes.  (Mine baked for 35 minutes, then I turned it down to 300 F for another 10 minutes, this way the apples were perfect.)  You want the top to be browned and the filling cooked.  Let cool.  Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.  

Serves 7 or 8.

February 16, 2011

Feb 16

Today I really love:
This view in the morning

These sticky buns

This spot by the fire

Valentines Day - #14

A late dinner out.

Right Now

Time: 4:34pm
In my mug: folgers coffee
On the stereo: Nothing, just the sound of the electric fireplace
In my belly: chorizo kale soup, bread and butter
In the fridge: slow cooker pulled pork
Last thing on the laptop: many many photos
On my wish list: tylenol for this headache
Looking forward to: the next four days of vacation
On the nightstand: Crete on the Half Shell

Recently satisfied: Learning (a bit) how to carve on my snowboard

February 14, 2011

Valentines Dinner

We indulged in a fantastic and cheesy valentines dinner.  We ate fondue at au petit chavignol (yes again) and it was absolutely wonderful!

February 13, 2011

Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

So I haven't told you about my second favourite cookie huh?  My tried and true, delicious and alway welcome?  Well darn, it just so happens I whipped up a batch a few nights ago, and hardly shared.  Truth be told it's because I finally realized the cost of a batch of cookies.  I've always told myself how inexpensive my baking is, I make something for the point of baking, not for eating, so I give it away and I do love to share it.  But I'm thinking I need to be more selective in just how giving I'll be.  This means I have to eat more to bake more, which could definitely be a problem.

Anyways, these are great cookies.  They are filled with oats (get the good kind, around here I'd recommend Anita's.  I love all Anita's products, most of their product is grown in BC, it's milled here in Chilliwack and best of all it's organic.  Try not to love them.  White chocolate is not something I usually like, but here it is delicious and the salt of course is a crucial part of the cookie.  If you can't get your hands on fleur de sel you need a coarse grain salt at least, not to coarse mind you, that wouldn't be good either.

Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This  was the original recipe I've made changes from it.

120 g (1 c) flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
200g (14 Tbsp) butter, softened
200 g (1 c) white sugar
44 g (3 Tbsp) brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
288 g good quality old fashioned rolled oats
6 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (or flaky sea salt)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Whisk first four ingredients together in a bowl.

Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add flour and mix until just incorporated and smooth.  Gradually add oats and white chocolate until evenly distributed.

Divide into 24 portions, 2 Tbsp each.  Roll into balls and place on silpat 2 inches apart.  Using fingertips gently press each ball into 2 cm thickness.  Sprinkle a little salt on each.

Bake until deep golden brown, about 13-16 minutes.

look mom!

This is what I did at 5 am this morning.

February 12, 2011


Does this look like a familiar meal?  Anyone?  I am looking at you sisters...dad.  I've been trying to clean out the freezer, (so. much. food.) and I have a pack of frikandels in there, while on my walk today I remembered eating this as a meal with dad all the time.  I decided to have it for dinner, homemade oven fries, dutch mayo and frikandels.  Yum!  It tastes just like when I was a kid.  Don't worry, I threw in a side of broccoli as well.

Mom-safe Brownies

I decided on a whim today I make a valentine's treat for my mom.  Gluten and dairy free of course, so here is the recipe before I forget how good these were.  It is not an exaggeration to say I couldn't tell these were mom safe.  I would have thought that they were to decadent and rich for an allergy friendly treat.

Gluten and Dairy Free Brownies

I found the recipe here.

3 oz margarine
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 oz semisweet chocolate
180 grams sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
53 grams gluten free flour mix
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coffee
1 tsp coffee liquor

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 8x8 inch pan with parchment, spray the lined pan with oil and then dust the whole thing with cocoa powder.

Melt the margarine and chocolate together, then set aside to cool.  Beat the eggs and sugar with mixer on med-high speed until they are creamed, light and a bit pale.  Add vanilla, coffee, coffee liquor, salt and flour to egg mixture.  Mix well.  Add the cooled butter/chocolate mixture, incorporate fully.  Pour the batter into the pan.  Drop the pan onto the counter to get rid of the air bubbles.

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 300 F.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out with only a few attached crumbs.  Cool in the pan, then you can flip it onto a wire rack to decorate, or a cutting board to cut.  I whipped up a margarine/icing sugar frosting with a little red food gel to make the pink frosting.

#11 and 12

#11 - a few packets of seeds and a foraging book

#12 - a chocolate bar rewrapped decorated by me

February 11, 2011

Quick Avocado Pasta for One

So hi, yeah, I made this and I need to tell you (me) about it now!  I apologize for the quality of the picture, but take it as a testament to how good this pasta was.  I couldn't even wait to set up the lighting correctly, I needed to eat it right away, nothing was more pressing.  It might blow you all away to hear this, but it's actually quite healthy.  It's creamy and rich but only from the avocado.  It's bright and fresh with lemon and a roasted some corn for an awesome texture and a lot of flavour.  I totally recommend you make this tomorrow evening, it's amazing.

Avocado Pasta for One - 15 minutes

This recipe doubles remarkably easy, but doesn't keep.  Only make what you can eat.

1/2 an avocado, pitted (rub some lemon juice on the remaining half and wrap tightly with saran and refrigerate to store)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 of a lemon juiced
1/4 tsp salt
3 oz pasta (your choice)
a handful of roasted corn
a poached egg if you like

Stick a pot of water on the stove on high heat to bring to a boil.  While waiting put the garlic clove, olive oil and lemon juice in the food processor and blend.  Add the avocado and salt, puree until smooth.

When the water comes to a simmer, add a splash of white vinegar and crack an egg in.  I let mine go for two minutes.

Heat a pan with a little olive oil on the stove, add the corn.  Roast over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

With a slotted spoon remove the egg from the water (and fish out the floating egg white.)  Add some salt to the water and bring to a boil, add pasta.  Cook until al dente.  Using tongs drop cooked pasta into frying pan with corn, dump the avocado sauce on top.  Mix well, season with a little pepper.

February 10, 2011

Cheesecake Nanaimo Bars

My husband looooves cheesecake, I mean he really loves it.  He also loves nanaimo bars, so for valentines idea #10 I made him cheesecake nanaimo bars.  They are actually quite good, but they don't top out my favourite cappuccino nanaimo bars (not to self: blog this recipe.)

Here is the recipe, incase you (or your man) is a cheesecake, nanaimo bar lovin' hippy.

Cheesecake Nanaimo Bars

I found the recipe here.

5 oz (1 1/2 c) chocolate cookie crumbs
1.5 oz (1/2 c) unsweetened coconut
2 oz (1/2 c) finely chopped pecans
125 (8 Tbsp) butter, melted
50 g (1/4 c) white sugar

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
24 g (2 Tbsp) brown sugar
50 g (1/4 c) white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

1/2 c heavy cream
24 g (2 Tbsp) white sugar
7 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil, on bottom and all sides, spray with non-stick spray.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix crumbs, coconut, pecans and sugar with melted butter in a medium sized bowl.  Spread it over the bottom of the pan and pat down firmly.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are slightly darker and the base smells toasted.

While the base cooks place the cream cheese and both sugars in a large bowl.  Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer  until smooth.  Once it is smooth mix in the vanilla and then egg.  When the crust is removed from the oven pour the cream cheese filling over top and spread to the edges evenly with an offset spatula.  Bake the bars until the edges are slightly puffed, about 10 minutes.  Remove the bars from the oven and cool for 1/2 an hour then place in fridge and chill for at least 2 hours.

Dissolve the sugar in the cream by heating it up on the stove.  Once the sugar is dissolved pour it on top of the chopped chocolate and let it sit while you fill the pot with an inch or two of water and bring it to a boil.  Place the chocolate bowl on top of the now simmering water and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate ganache over the bars and spread evenly.  Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving.

#8 & 9

#8 - A great grilled cheese, late at night

#9 - a cream egg and a little note

Erin's birthday!

Erin turned 21 today!  She is officially an adult in every country in the world (to my knowledge) and officially on her way up the hill.  Last week we (Natasha, her and I) went out to celebrate.
 We started in the afternoon with an espresso and ice cream concoction
 and a chocolate cookie thing
 We ate at au petit chavignol, a delicious proscuitto for us
 a butternut squash soup for tash.
 A cheese plate
with duck rillette, quince jelly and cornichons.  Natasha had macaroni and cheese.

To finish, 6 warm chocolate cookies and big americanos.  Perfect.  

A night in Spain

Holy geez, I've been intimidated by this post for two days now.  We had a night in Spain and in Spain they eat a lot of pintxos, or tapas basically.  So we had 11 different pintxos which were all AMAZING!  Then, I forgot to take a picture of my contribution, the blood orange and chocolate churros.  Damn.

We started here, with grilled flank steak and chimichurri sauce

Chilled melon soup with crisped proscuitto (ridiculously good)

and artichoke chips with lemon aioli.

We had a palate cleanser of white bean salad with gruyere, avocado, apple and basil.  This really was a phenomenal dish.

We continued with a potato and chorizo brandade

salt cod with piperade (a stew of peppers and onions)

and grilled ham and cheese bocadillos

another palate cleanser of snapper ceviche with lime and chilies

and finally chicken thighs with spicy basque 'ketchup'

white bean salt cod stew with peperoncini peppers

and pork medallion confit with curried apple and celery root stew

That was a lot, but so darn good.  We learned a few new techniques and ideas, we will definitely keep some of these on a regular rotation.

February 7, 2011

Valentines Ideas 6&7

#6 - ice cream for two.  chocolate dipped strawberry waffle bowl (+2 coffees)

#7 - his favourite drink, blood orange soda

February 6, 2011

Browned Butter Butterscotch Pie

I would like to talk to you a moment about something that blew my mind just a few days ago.  So much so, infact, that I actually sent it out of the house after just one piece, though not before saving another.  Browned butter butterscotch pie is SO GOOD, it's taking quite a bit of will power not to make this again tonight.  I am planning on making it during an upcoming winter vacation, but I can hardly wait!

I need to tell you that this is first and foremost a pudding pie.  Sweet, delicious, complex butterscotch pudding, in a flaky crust and a soft and light whipped cream.  But it's that flaky crust that I'm most likely to change next time, sure it's good, but I hate making pie crust, it just so happened I had one in the fridge waiting to be used.  Next time I'm going to easy route, graham cracker crust.  So simple, can't screw it up (which is a theme these days.)

I sincerely apologize for the picture, as you can see it is a sloppy pie, pudding after all.  Maybe next time I'll be a little neater.

Browned Butter Butterscotch Pie

For the filling:
1 pie crust, blind baked and cooled
125 g (1/2 c) unsalted butter
225 g (1 c +2 Tbsp) dark brown sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
22 g (3 Tbsp) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 c milk
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp bourbon whiskey (I didn't have this)

For the whipped cream:
1 c heavy cream
3 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

For the filling:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling regularly until lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the brown sugar to the butter, cook until sugar is completely melted and a paste is formed.

Combine evaporated milk and regular milk and pour a little into the sugar mixture.  Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Dump in the remaining milk.

In a separate bowl combine the cornstarch, flour and salt.  Pour about a 1/2 cup of the milk/sugar mix into the cornstarch and whisk until smooth.  Pour the now wet cornstarch mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil for not more than one minute, until just thickened.

Stream a 1/2 cup of the cornstarch/sugar mixture into the egg yolks, tempering them.  Pour this mix back into the pan and cook for 30 seconds and remove from heat.  Stir in the bourbon (if you have it.)  Allow the pudding to cool until it is just warm about 15 minutes, then strain the pudding through a mesh strainer and pour into cooked pie crust.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top so a crust does not form and refrigerate the pie until it is cold, at least two hours.

For the whipped cream:
In a stand mixer, or a medium sized bowl whip all the ingredients until soft peaks are formed.  Top the pie with whipped cream and stuff your face.