Friday, December 28, 2007

American Thanksgiving

As the New Year waxes luminously before me I thought it high time I fulfilled my commitment to post and boast this most stupendous gastronomic occurrence. While American Thanksgiving provided the form for this culinary happening, improvisation was the rule of day as friends, local and international, created tantalizing treats both savory and sweet. At the risk of offering a less than complete rendering, our menu consisted of:
  • Stuffed Game Hens with Mushroom Miso Sauce
  • Fruit Stuffing
  • Butterflied Leg of Lamb
  • Roasted Salmon with Hoisin Glaze
  • Spicy Lamb sausages
  • Andouille Cajun sausages
  • Southern-style baked Macaroni & Cheese
  • Butternut Squash with Orzo and Sage
  • Green Leaf Salad with Blue-Cheese & Pomegranate
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Corn Casserole
  • Fresh Baked Bread
  • Mont Blanc
  • Pumpkin Custard
  • and yes, much, much wine

Stuffed Game Hens with Mushroom Miso Sauce

Unquestionably, this is the best mushroom sauce I've ever tasted, which says a lot given that I'm from the land of gravies and sauces. I used a combination of chanterelle, oyster, shiitake, and brown cremini mushrooms.

The sauce consists of:
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 8 oz wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or substitute vegetable stock)
  • 1/4 cup light miso
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  1. Heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Combine stock, miso, cream and soy sauce. Stir into mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  3. Drizzle sauce and sprinkle with chives.
Fruit Stuffing
All fruit stuffings are not created equal. Orianne chose a recipe from "A Matter of Taste" by Lucy Waverman and James Chatto. The recipe makes about 12 cups and can be cooked on its own in a greased baking dish, baked, covered for an hour at 375.
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 green apples, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cups fresh breadcrumbs (Ori used Challah bread)
  • 1 cup dried prunes, cut in half
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery and saute for 5 to 8 minutes, or until softened.
Add apples and saute for 2 minutes.









Combine onion mixture and breadcrumbs. Stir in prunes, cranberries, stock, orange juice, tarragon, ginger and marjoram. Season well with salt and pepper.


Roasted Salmon with Hoisin Glaze
Alright, for all you Salmon lovers out there, here's an easy and delicious way to prepare salmon. I prefer to cook the salmon at a higher temperature as it gives a firmer texture. The rule of thumb is to roast at 450 for 10 minutes per vertical inch when the salmon is measured at its thickest point. This recipe makes 8 Claire-sized portions (as opposed to Rochelle-sized portions which are 20% less). BTW, this dish is served well cold, room temperature or hot - thus making it ideal when struggling to land a number of dishes all at the same time!
  • 2 center-cut salmon fillets, 2lbs each (I always ask the seafood shop, or Capers, to cut off of a large fillet so as to prevent getting the tail end which thins out too much)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp hot Asian chili sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (yes, you absolutely must have a pepper mill!)
  1. Place salmon skin side down on an oiled foil-lined baking sheet.
  2. Combine hoisin, wine, vinegar, oil, chili sauce, salt and pepper. Spread over top and sides of salmon. Refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.
  4. Roast salmon for 15 to 25 minutes, or until white juices just bein to appear on the sides. Remove from oven - fish will continue to cook as it cools.
Spicy Lamb & Andouille Cajun sausages
The only advice I'll offer up for preparing sausages on the stove top is to butterfly them and garnish with sauteed onions & peppers.


Southern-style baked Macaroni & Cheese
Comfort food par excellence! While I have no images of this Southern staple - which I had for almost every Sunday dinner (which means lunch for you Canadians) while growing up in Tennessee - I'll include the recipe as so many have asked.
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese (I realize "orange" cheddar is a bit faux pas these days, but from an authentic Southern American and, dare I say it, aesthetic stand point I'd really suggest violating this unwritten social norm.)
  • 1 cup cooked Macaroni Noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of sugar (a key subtlety often missed.)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Enough Whole milk to mostly cover the noodles (ok, you can use 2% but really with all that cheese does another 1.5% of milk fat really matter?)
  1. Cut cheese into cubes in a 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 qt. baking dish, ungreased
  2. Stir in 2 eggs & add cooked noodles, salt and sugar.
  3. Cover with milk and put pats of butter on top.
  4. Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 - until top starts to brown nicely

Butternut Squash with Orzo and Sage

This here is a staple Claire dish, and once you've tasted it you know why. The recipe is included in the photo - contact C.M. to fill in the details.



Green Leaf Salad with Blue-Cheese & Pomegranate

Delectable greens prepared by Carla and Chris - wonderful souls (and skiing comrades to boot!)


Mont Blanc

Just take a look at Cristina's Dec 12 blog and you'll get the full low-down on this beauty (including the dessert!)

Until next Thanksgiving...
May 2008 be a year full of uplifting experiences with wonderful friends, great food and delicious wine (ok, and the occasional interloping next door feline).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tempeh Spinach Yummy Rice Bowl


Ever since I ate my first Naam Dragon Bowl, I've been in love with rice bowls.

In the last couple of years, I've learned to expect great things from Dharma Kitchen (a Buddhist-vegan restaurant near Broadway & Alma). In fact, one of the Kitchen's rice bowls (the Green Goddess, I think) is so memorable, I've tried making it for myself several times. It's been a long time since I've eaten the original, so I'm not sure how closely my version now resembles it. Nevertheless, my version makes me very happy.

Since this tempeh rice bowl is my only "made-up" recipe, and since I just made it tonight, I've decided to blog about it and record for posterity just how I do it.

Marinate the tempeh
I put the following in my marinade:
  • 2 inches grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 6 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 package of frozen tempeh (the one I buy is 227 grams)
Whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces. Mix the whole lot together and marinate for 30 minutes (stirring every once in a while).

Make brown rice or quinoa
I have always made this recipe with short-grain brown rice (cuz I love it), but I think quinoa would also be delicious.
  • 1 cup of either brown rice or quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
Steam a green veggie
I always make this recipe with spinach, but I think broccoli could also be lovely.

Bake the tempeh
After the tempeh has marinated, I place the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn the pieces over at half time.

Make a tahini sauce
The sauce consists of:
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • 6 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice from half a lemon
I mix these ingredients together in my food processor until it's all smooth. It's quite a thick sauce.

Assemble the bowl

The remaing ingredients required are:
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 pinches of sprouts
  • 2 tbsp pickled ginger
Once all the ingredients have been prepared, assemble the bowl! Rice at the bottom; spinach and tempeh next; several heaping dollops of the tahini sauce; sprouts, shredded carrots, and pickled ginger for a generous garnish/topping!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mont Blanc


This is a dessert that looks a little bit like chocolate worms chewing up clouds....or something odd and somewhat gross like that. DON'T LET THAT TURN YOU OFF! It's acually a French recipe called Mont Blanc (white mountain) and it's a old Dann/Keefer family favourite for any special holiday - namely Christmas. It's made of only divine ingredients: dark dark chocolate, chestnut puree (blended together and put through a food mill) then topped with whipped cream. Eh, Voila! I can post the full blown recipe if it is so desired. Claire will post the picture 'cause it's on her computer. Okay, there's my first every post!!!! More to come. xoxo

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday Group Dinner


It's about time group dinner got a mention on this blog. It's only my primary cooking inspiration.

Group dinner has been happening since 2002 (we think). There are debates about its gensis, but we all (Thomas, Orianne, Titus, and Rochelle) agree that it's a cherished tradition, one that will hopefully continue long into the future. The five of us try to meet on a weekly basis and rotate turns cooking for the other four.

Last night, Rochelle and I teamed up to bring the holidays to group dinner. Our menu consisted of some old favourites and some new experiments:

  • Baked camembert with hot cranberry compote

  • Buckwheat crepes with gruyere, portabello, carmelized onion, and swiss chard

  • Potatoe and kale galette

  • Spinach salad with apples, blue cheese, and shallot dressing

  • Christmas pudding with lemon sauce and whipped cream
I can't speak for Rochelle, but I am so delighted with how it turned out. Not only was the food delicious, but it looked beautiful.

Baked camembert with hot cranberry compote
Rochelle invented this one. She wrapped a camembert wheel in several layers of phyllo pastry and baked it at 325 for 15-20 minutes. Earlier she'd made an absolutely amazing cranberry compote that consisted of orange juice, sugar, and frozen cranberries. I hope I can convince her to write a post about it.


Buckwheat crepes with gruyere, portabello, carmelized onion, and swiss chard
This recipe is an old favourite from our much loved Rebar Cookbook. I think every group dinner eater owns a copy! The recipe is pretty involved: many steps and many ingredients. I started making the crepes early in the morning. I also marinated the portabellos for several hours before roasting them.

The carmelized onions often take more than an hour to cook as well. I was more efficient this time thanks to my new mandolin! I splurged on this little gadget yesterday after imagining all the onion and potatoe slicing I was going to have to do. Ugh. Anyhow, it's soooo handy. I definitely recommend getting one.


Of course, the most gratifying step in the recipe is assembling the crepes themselves. Rochelle bravely took this on all by herself. I think I was too focused on the galette at this point. Here's some video illustrating her exceptional crepe-assembling technique.


video

Potatoe and kale galette
The first time I ate this dish, I was at Cristina and Vince's (the origins of many great dishes). It hails from an issue of Gourmet magazine. It's so attractive, and not very difficult to make. The trickiest part is flipping the galette so that you can cook the other side, but I followed the recipe pretty faithfully and it all worked out.


Christmas pudding with lemon sauce and whipped cream
The Christmas pudding is a Johnson/Chapman speciality. I don't feel like I can really do it justice since I've never made it myself. The recipe consists of potatoes, carrots, raisins, flour, sugar, and lots of dessert spices. It's served with a tart lemon sauce and whipped cream. Unfortunately, my photos don't do it justice at all, but I do have some interesting video of Titus whipping the cream by hand, which I've been trying to add to this post. I've run into technical difficulties but hopeful they'll resolve themselves soon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Trip in Food

What better way to remember a trip than through what became part of you along the way...food! Plus, when you are on a trip people tend to be cooking for you which makes my stomach and heart full of appreciation.

I just spent a week in Virginia/Washington DC visiting my friends at the university I'm enrolled in (Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding www.emu.edu/cjp). I'm not going to get into the whole distance learning thing...suffice to say I spent the Spring 2007 semester on campus with fellow students from all over the world...and became particularly close to several friends from the middle east. Not just because of what they cook for me, but it helps :)

First when I landed in Washington I was hosted by Aaron and Susanna...Susanna made an awesome "wish-we-were-still-in-BC" hippy meal of delicious veggies & beans, tempeh and Bragg's sauce (right). Perfect.


The next day I headed to campus where Fadi (Palestinian, above) treated me to our traditional Arabic coffee ritual...a habit we had of procrastinating the papers we had to write and enjoying a chat and a coffee. Fadi finds the arabic coffee at the arabic store or brings it from back home and boils it with...wait for it...cardamom pods! He serves us in little mini tea-cups. Unbelievable.

Later in the week, Ruba (also from Palestine) made two incredible meals. One supper included vegetables and chicken prepared with all-spice, lemon and olive-oil (above). I leave my vegetarian ways behind me for such occasions. In case that worries anyone, there was also couscous. To top it off, she made fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies for dessert. I didn't stand a chance.
The "piece-de-resistance" was the Palestinian lunch (above) Ruba prepared for me the next day: Foule (fava beans which she heats on the stove directly in the can on the element!), Lebne (dehydrated yogurt) with zathar (dried thyme), Baba Ghanoush, Hummous, FRIED cheese, pita and arabic pickles. Everything covered with a generous layer of high-quality olive oil. Let me tell you, I thought I would never recover from the bliss. Pretty much all I could do the rest of the day was figure out how to enlarge my stomach so I could eat more next time.

And the bliss didn't end there. Oh no. On our way back into Washington DC, Ruba and I stopped off at my friend Esselle's house. An unforgettable feast awaited us. Esselle, living in the States but originally from Iraq, made us home-made Baba Ghanoush with smoked eggplant. And the MOST DELICIOUS DOLMAS I have ever eaten. For those unfamiliar, Dolmas are vine-leaves wrapped around deliciousness, namely rice and almonds and sultanas, and onions and cilantro and all manner of spices. I think he had been preparing it all day...when we asked him what went into the dish, he spoke for about 5 minutes, while I salivated all the more. A true work of art, that meal. I hope to get the recipe :)

Finally, I had a brief stopover in Hamilton, where I managed to once again take advantage of the hospitality of others and be cooked for. I was prepared a delectable stirfry with marinated tofu and Udon Noodles (featured at the top of this blog-post). Two words for you: comfort food! I have not often ventured into the world of Udon Noodles, but I have a feeling they will become a regular on my shopping list. Two more words: Delicious and Yum!

My cellophane packet of chili corn crisps on the flight home left me somewhat deflated food-wise, but I had my memories to soothe me. Here's hoping to spend more quality time travelling through people's kitchens! Cheers!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Food-i-licious Nights*

EVENING ONE: SAUCE, SCHMAUCE
Location: Claire’s home
Origin of food: Choices and the Liquor Store

Ms. Claire and I met up in the early evening to plan our meal and happily decided to make an eggplant parmesan for dinner. We had differing recipes so we divvied up the work – the marinara sauce to her, and the eggplant and assembly to yours truly. But first things first, we had to get groceries, which included a bottle of cava and a bottle of red (which, with the help of Kristin, we finished(!)).

Onto the food: First I sliced the eggplant and roasted them. In the meantime, Claire started her sauce… which includes no chopping. Now, I know that some readers on this site might be slightly shocked by her methodology (as I was), but I can tell you that it was surprisingly delicious and I will never doubt Claire again. She peeled the tomatoes, and the onions, and just stuck them in a pot along with some basil and spices to reduce (see below for pic). And that was it. While this may seem like no proper way to make a sauce, Claire has since assured me that the recipe “hails from Italy” – and really, who am I to argue with such pedigree?



Once the aubergine was roasted, we coated them with some benko breadcumbs and began the layering process of sauce, eggplant, and mozzarella cheese. I usually use buffalo, but Choices was lacking, and we used a less moist mozza, which still worked very nicely. We stuck it in the oven heated to 375 for about 20 minutes, and then turned it up to 450 for another five to get the top a little crusty. Once done, we sliced up some baguette and had a delightful (and slightly drunken) meal. Unfortunately, we do not have a photo op for the finished product because we were so hungry.

EVENING TWO: AN ODE TO GARLIC
Location: Claire’s home
Origin of food: Choices and the Kits Wine Cellar

Seeing the success of our previous encounter, we decided to have another fun-filled evening of cookery and wine. After a short debate between tomato soup and roasted veggie couscous, we settled on pan fried cod, garlic mash, sautéed spinach, with homemade aioli. The recipe for the cod, mash, and aioli are all found in Nigel Slater’s “Real Cooking.” This menu is one that I’ve done before, and can easily be multiplied for a lovely dinner party for large numbers.



First things first, we opened a bottle of 2001 Gran Feudo Temperanillo-Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend. Very yummy.

Aioli: We did all our prep (potato peeling and debating between washing the fish or not), and then proceeded with the first of two attempts at the aioli. Lacking a mortar and pestle, I finely chopped the garlic down to a clump of mashed garlic. Then we beat two eggs and added some salt and the mashed garlic. Now, here’s the tricky part. The first time around, something went wonky and we were stuck with a pool of yolk and olive oil. *sigh* But Claire, being the genius that she is, checked online, and discovered that we had to literally add the oil one drop at a time until the mayonnaise forms. So we started again with the whole chopping garlic process but this time were extremely cautious with the oil. It worked! And we had proceeded armed with the knowledge that the very least, we had a kick ass aioli to look forward to.

Garlic Mash: While the aioli was in process, we had put water on to boil and cooked the cubed potatoes (along with two cloves of garlic – hence “garlic mash”). We strained the taters, and Claire made an excellent mash. Adding butter and cream, she whipped (with a fork, no less!) the potatoes into a light and fluffy concoction that made me very happy *yay!*

Spinach: We made the spinach and cod last because they took the least time to cook. This was already 1.5 hours after we started (mainly due to the mishap with the initial aioli). Luckily, Claire was prudent with her decanting measures, and we had not run out of wine *double yay!* For the spinach, I smashed two cloves of garlic and browned them with salt in a super hot pan. Then I threw in the spinach, and added a dash of milk. I gave the spinach a toss or two, and once they had all changed colour, they were ready to go.

Cod: By this point we were starving, so no time was wasted. The recipe called for some oven time, but we got cod that had no skin, which meant less cooking time. We went for a pan-fried version. We seasoned the cod with salt and pepper. In a med-high heated pan, I added some oil and butter so that the pan was completely coated and then some. I placed the cod into the pan and let them sizzle for about 3-4 minutes on each side. We decided to take them out when the fish was just cooked (with a little pink in the middle, which was gone by them time we plated).



And voila! A decidedly garlicky and delicious meal for two.

*NOTICE: My apologies for the tardiness of postings. But I am technologically inept and therefore have just realized that it is possible to transfer files from my cellphone to my laptop via BLUETOOTH (which I now firmly believe is the best invention ever.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mindful Consumption 2007

"May the food we are eating make us aware of the interconnections between the universe and us, the earth and us, and all other living species and us. Because each bite contains in itself the life of the sun and the earth, may we see the meaning and value of life from these precious morsels of food."
-Thich Nhat Han

Thus began "Mindful Consumption 2007", an event that first piloted in 2002 and has since become a yearly tradition. In the words of Stacy (who hosted the event in her home this year):

"...we gather consciously, mindfully, to be present with each other as well as to share and contemplate our sustenance...the plants and animals that provide nourishment, energy, medicine, and health, complex flavors, pleasure...even bliss, reasons to gather and commune, intention for our days, traditions and stories for our families and friends.

If you've never been to a Mindful Consumption dinner before, each person brings a food or beverage to share (it doesn't have to be a full meal...just a taste for each works too...as we may have many dishes/courses). Catherine creates the order and in turn we each share our consumable with the community...and eat them mindfully."



This year, the event took place on Saturday, November 17th. 22 people attended, definitely a record number, including a very entertaining and beautiful 10-month old baby who certainly ate her share. To save time and for added yummyness, a few people combined their food contribution into one offering. For example, Brenda brought home-made jam and Shauna brought home-made bread, so we combined the two into one delectable item (which you can see us gnoshing on, below)!

Our menu for the evening, which began at 6:30pm and ended near 11:00pm was as follows (we ate one thing at a time, pausing to appreciate each flavour):
  • Cranberry and cinnamon goat cheese with crackers
  • Multi-grain bread with pesto and smoked tofu
  • Apples with cream-cheese caramel dip
  • Avocado halves with fresh lime and Himalayan salt
  • Home-baked raisin bread with home-made stawberry jam
  • Shaftsbury Cream Ale
  • Home-made radiccio pasta with tomato cream sauce and fresh parmesan (large photo featured earlier in this post!)
  • Falafel
  • Mandarin Oranges (whose peels we also mindfully played with...)
  • Local apples with red-wine infused cheddar
  • Buns with Chestnut Creme
  • Nederberg Pinotage Red Wine (Claire's wine decanting lesson below!)... video
  • Pumpkin-millet muffins
  • Home-made raspberry sorbet
  • Mocha-chip cheesecake (also served as Greg's birthday cake!)
  • Organic peanut-butter double-fudge chocolate-chip brownie-cookie frozen vanilla yogurt (John dictated this title to me, be mindful of it).
  • Local hand-picked berries: thimble, black, salmon, huckle and mediteranian strawberries that grow on UBC campus (featured below)
  • Rice-krispie dark-chocolate roll-up log
  • Cointreau (orange-infused liqueur)

It was delicious. And we had a lovely crisp midnight walk by the beach afterwards. Thank-you to everyone for your creativity and inspiration!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en Harangue


Claire's bit
I can't believe what an amazing meal I just ate while fantasizing about throwing pumpkin guts at firecracker-wielding teenagers. I'll let Carla fill you in on it. Let's just say that sage, cheddar, and pumpkin never made a happier polyamorous marriage.

Because I'm the only one who's keen about video, it's my job to post the following. Various unconventional uses for pumpkin, which is a food, lest ye forget.


video


video

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Weekend Brunch

Ah, brunch. There's so much to love about it. Anicka, Cristina, Catherine and I have brunching together pretty regularly for a while now. It's a tradition that greatly contributes to my sanity, and has been a forum for more than a few heartfelt and teary conversations. But don't let that mislead you, brunch is always fun and delicious. This week we had to brunch without Cristina, which is sad. So, Cristina, this post is dedicated to you. Now you don't have to feel like you've missed anything.

Coffee
So first thing's first. Coffee! In fact, I think "Can I have a coffee?" were the first words out of Anicka's mouth once she was through my door. My espresso maker is one tired old coffee machine, but it still does alright, I suppose. I'd love to get a new one eventually.


Scones
Anicka brought THE most delicious scones. I've been snacking on them all day. I hope I can entice Anicka to write a post on that recipe. They're spiced nicely and had dates and raisins. I think. According to Anicka, the key is mixing butter in with your hands in stead of a pastry cutter. She also recommends leaving the butter in biggish chunks.


Strata
My contribution was a stata that ended up being far more epic than it needed to be. It was cheese, sausage and sun dried tomato strata, which was pretty delicious although I would do a few things differently next time. I used Tofurky brand italian sausages, which really work well. Here's the recipe that served 4.

  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (not oil packed)

  • 1 package Tofurky italian sausage

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk

  • 2 teaspoons minced thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 11 slices white sandwich bread

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated mozzerella cheese

  • 1/4 cup goat cheese

1. First, soak the sundried tomatoes. Then cut the sausage into ovals and fry it up.

2. Grease a baking dish. Whisk eggs, milk, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add sun-dried tomatoes, sausage, bread, onion, and parmesan. Transfer into the dish.

3. Cover and refridgerate for 4 hours. We didn't do this obviously.

4. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle on mozzerella and goat cheese and bake another 5 minutes.

You couldn't notice the bread at all. I'm not sure if this is a bad thing or not. But you could experiment with adding more bread. Also, our strata was sadly burned on the bottom and top, so you might want to keep a closer eye on yours than I did.

Smoothies
Bargen the bargain hunter has discovered the joys of Choices' brown bag sales. Anyhow, she had bananas to contribute and made them into the most delightful smoothies - the perfect brunch dessert. I'm very sad to say that we neglected to photograph the smoothies. Dang. I think her method is pretty simple: bananas and french vanilla yogurt. She can correct me if I'm missing anything.