Monthly Archives: May 2008

pomegranate cod

Last week we had a very fun and delish dinner. Lindsay, Natalie, and Paige came over and we made a pretty delicious cod with pomegranate molasses and nuts. I thiiiink the meal was pretty impressive, but it was also shockingly easy. The hardest part, for sure, was the frying of the fish, which luckily Lindsay took on like a pro. I would say it would be better to bake them, but I love the way the nuts get a bit toasted and delicious when they fry. I think we probably should have ground the nuts a bit more, but for a first time, this fish was awesome.

We used this recipe, from tastespotting (also the only result if you search “pomegranate cod” on there…). Basically, while you marinate the cod, prepare the dukkah (nut mixture). We followed it closely, but maybe have used wayyyy more dukkah than was called for.

Now that I have most of a bottle of pomegranate molasses, i am going to try to find more amazing uses for it!

And, this is definitely not a recipe, but I am pretty much only eating baked (roasted? I don’t know the difference) asparagus with honey and lime mustard brushed on. Amazing.

raspberry scones

I love love love scones but everytime I make them I feel guilty about the many cups of serious cream. Generally, I am not concerned about such things, but the cream really gets to me and I don’t know why. It doesn’t hold for everything, because I definitely had some delicious profiteroles for dessert and didn’t think a thing of the 2 cups of cream involved.  I think I just want to pretend that scones are healthy, which is silly.

Yesterday I went to a clothing swap/tea event. I really hate clothing swaps. They always feature people I don’t know, and me showcasing all the clothes I don’t wear anymore. Embarrassing! But, yesterday’s was lots of fun, and I left with fewer clothes than I came in with, and two more samurai shorts than I came in with. Awesome!

Anyway, I thought I’d bring some scones for the teatime part of the day, and again I tried to go with a variation on this recipe. They worked out well – very very puffy, I would really squash them down, next time…

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (breaking the rules!)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • frozen raspberries

Almost everyone is very picky about how you make scones, and I am not.  But, I am almost always reasonably happy with my scones, though I do say that they were too puffy or too dense etc etc.  But! This is easy, and I was in a rush!  So, I just threw everything in a bowl (except the raspberries) and mixed it with my hands.  Then, I added in frozen raspberries as I made the scone shape (circles…).  I would say that the pros of simplicity and not-the-most-unhealthy-snack-ever far, far, far outweigh the con of maybe-too-dense which comes with such ease and such a lack of cream.  Worth it!

As you can see, these are some white scones.  Next time, I am going to try them with whole wheat flour.  If only for colour…   seriously.

pretzels

Mostly, I want to eat mustard. I love Kozlik’s mustards, all of them, they’re spicey and smokey and awesome. Ashley and I have just joined a softball team, and it’s fun but also stressful (three games in, I still don’t quite understand softball…) and unfortunately timed over the dinner hour. We brought chewy pretzels to last night’s game, and I think our teammates weren’t so into them, but I had three in seven innings. Whoa.

They’re mostly a vehicle for mustard, but still pretty good…

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Mix together the yeast, sugar, salt and water and let it sit for 10 minutes so the yeast activates.  Mix in the flour.  Roll the dough out and form into shapes (we opted for the traditional pretzel shape, but anything goes, as long as it can cook evenly).  Once the pretzels are formed, let them rise, covered, in a warmish place for half an hour.  I kind of thought they would rise, or expand, or something, but they don’t.  Or, I used the wrong yeast.  It worked out alright – they tasted fine.  Brush the pretzels with and egg and add some coarse salt.  Bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes.

barbecue!

I have been very very busy lately, working from the library, reading 1940s magazines (yes, I would like four pyrex bowls for $3.70!  no, I don’t want to remember all the things my husband gave up for marriage) and haven’t had much time for excellent meals.  Lunches had to be super portable, and dinner felt kind of rushed.  I guess, though, that this is how real life is…  Anyway, on Friday, we had an excellent barbecue at Amy’s house, with the most exciting green sausages.  Seriously!

Amy got the sausages at Segovia, and they were totally great – not super greasy (or, realistically, not greasy tasting…  I’m sure they were greasy enough…) and full of flavour, because they were stuffed with fresh herbs and spices.  In the green one there was spinach, garlic, and some other spices, and the regular one had a lot of turmeric in it – so good!

We also had roasted asparagus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and roasted squash with maple syrup and pecans.  The squash was a nice treat, but I would definitely recommend the asparagus…  But maybe I would just recommend asparagus all the time, since it’s my favourite spring veggie.  All in all, this was a very nice Friday night dinner.

Dinner was somehow improved with two bottles of mojitos, plain lime and raspberry.  Lately all I want to do is store things in Mason jars.  So lovely.  Also, so much rum.  Whoops!

victory!

Lindsay’s Iron Chefnic birthday party was amazingly fun. And, not only because Ashley, Zack and I were crowned Iron Chefs! More generally, the fun came from excellent company and wonderful food. I was too overwhelmed to take any good pictures, which is sad, because there were many delicious foods. The idea is that everyone assembles an entry for the picnic, and then we all eat delicious food and one entry is awarded the the Iron Chef prize (a super cute picnic blanket! Gingham on one side, kitties and puppies on the other! Or, as Lindsay put it, ‘business on the front, party on the back!’ Also, only Lindsay gives out presents at her birthday!) Highlights include: rosemary lemonade (in mason jars! gorgeous), a lemon-cranberry cake that was insanely good, spring skewers with prosciutto and melon, shrimp and pineapple, and stuffed peppers and tomatoes, springrolls (taking the “spring” theme literally!), amazing salads, empanadas, mint brownies, cucumber martinis (amazing! with berry ice cubes, the best summer idea ever!) and many other delicious treats that I just can’t name right now.

Zack and Ashley and I went with a theme of “little cups,” and we made so many cupcakes. We made the mojito cupcakes, some green tea cupcakes (subbing in steeped green tea for the liquids in a cake mix, and using matcha icing), and regular cupcakes with fondant flowers.

Fondant is extremely time-consuming.  It is ridiculous.  Also, it doesn’t taste good.  But, I really think all this is redeemed by the aesthetics.  Because it really does make just the cutest treats ever.

The savoury cups were also delicious, and totally easy, which is what we needed after rolling out individual blades of grass for two hours.  Anyway, we made gambas al ajillo (it sounds fancy, but it’s just shrimp fried in garlic, with a little bit of fresh chili pepper.  Everything sounds better when it’s said in anything but English…) and mango salsa.  For the mango salsa, we diced up a mango, some red onion, some garlic and chili peppers, a bit of coriander, and then added lime juice and fish sauce.  Everything is to taste, we just kept adding ingredients until it tasted right.  Then, we lined the mini cupcake tray with tortilla shells, and baked them until they were fairly solid.  Make sure to oil both sides of the tortilla.  We then diced up the shrimp, put a spoonful into the cups, and topped it with mango salsa.

These were pretty delicious, and fresh-tasting, not to mention easy picnic food.  They transported well, and required minimal serving, which is key at a picnic.  Our entries were pretty simple, but they were centred around the fact that they should be easy to eat, for a pretty big group, and they should be cute, because we know Lindsay, and she loves cute food.

All in all this was an excellent day, I’m so happy the weather held up.  That said, I am still exhausted from a very exciting weekend that was topped off with a Sunday Mother’s Day dinner in Kingston, which was an ambitious plan, though totally worth it.

black bean soup

Beans are totally my number one comfort food.  They work for all seasons, and I love love love this particular spicy, tangy, summery soup.  This is why I was having so much fun soaking beans, but Meg’s made the soup with canned beans and it’s turned out thicker, almost like a bean spread, which is equally delicious.  I think using orange juice as the base for the soup is what really makes it excellent, but this is generally an amazing soup.  It’s from the Moosewood Cookbook, which is one of my go-to books.

  • 2 cups black beans, soaked
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onion
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • pepper, to taste
  • cayenne, to taste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • handful of chopped cilantro

Once the beans are re-hydrated, put them in a pot with 4 cups of water, bring them to a boil, cover, and simmer for about an hour and a half.  Heat the olive oil and add the onion, half the garlic, the cumin, salt, and carrots.  Saute over medium heat until the carrots are tender.  Add the remaining garlic and the bell pepper.  Saute until everything is very tender, for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the sauteed mixture to the beans.  Stir in the orange juice, black pepper, cayenne, cilantro and tomatoes.  Simmer.  Puree the mixture until it reaches a consistency you like. (I prefer mine very pureed, which is weird because I usually enjoy a chunky soup.  I also hope to never use the word “chunky” on this site again.)  I add diced avocado to the soup, for extra delicious.

I’ve been loving this soup this week, it’s been a great lunch while I’ve been reading microfilm at the library.  My friends have noticed that this hasn’t been a busy week for me, but that’s just because I’ve been testing my recipes for tomorrow’s Iron Chefnic!  For Lindsay’s birthday, she’s organized a food competition in the park.  I am really in it to win it this year, but instead of a secret ingredient, the theme is “spring.”  Very exciting, but very broad: so many possibilities!

embarrassing confession

I am totally a nerd but I really think re-hydrating beans is just the coolest thing ever.