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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cheap Eats!

I live in a part of town (Oak & Cambie area) where groceries are annoyingly expensive. So I am in LOVE with Choices' "about-to-go-bad-and-in-a-brown-bag" section. The bags sit on the floor directly to your left when you walk in the Cambie&18th store location. Featured in the pic is a bag of organic bananas for $1.98! 16 bananas in all...that's like 12 cents a banana or something! And note that the bananas are still in fine shape...they probably have a few days yet before they turn unappetizing.

I can hear you now: "So what? You think you're going to eat 16 bananas in a few days! Gfaw!" But I am one step ahead of the nay-sayers. I shall peel each banana, break them into chunks, huck them in the freezer, and have delicious smoothie fodder for weeks to come! Breakfast for 12 can't beat it.

Incidentally, I also bought a bag containing 2 beautiful eggplants for $1.28, and there were also plenty of bags of fresh herbs, which I've also stashed in the freezer. The other day, I got a whole whack of organic tomatoes for $1.98, which I stewed up into delicious sauce (the Cristina-Dann family method...we'll wait for her post on that gem, but it's already been referred to a few times on this blog!).

In conclusion, with a little creativity and a little time, you can eat like royalty from what you find lying on the floor at Choices. Hoorah!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Movie Review!

"How to Cook Your Life" at the Vancouver Film Festival

I'm going to keep this short because it's late. I really enjoyed this film which reminded me that it is worth the effort, energy and attention of preparing food...mainly because it helps you give love to yourself and others. I don't think they actually used the word love, but I think they meant it. A little love salad dressing on that carved radish salad, I'd say. Anyway, the film encourages us to use our hands and engage our whole selves with our food. The main zen-chef is clearly a recovering narcissist, but he laughed easily, cried about cheery battered teapots and basically had no tolerance for bread you can squish down to the size of a marble. A helpful tip I got out of the movie was to remember to dissolve your yeast in mildly warm water, not hot, or it will kill the yeast. Just a little advice for you there, when you thought you were just going to read a movie review.
If you've seen the movie, add your comments!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Fruit Platz
Any number or kind of fruits can be used in this traditional Russian Mennonite dessert.
I chose plums.

1 c. flour
1/2 c. pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. butter or oil
1/2 c. milk
Mix in butter or oil until crumbly.
Add milk.
Mix with fork until a ball of soft dough forms.
Press into a 9x13" baking pan.

4 c. assorted fruits (Cut into chunks)
1 c. sugar
Mix and spread over dough

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1 tbls butter
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
Mix and spread over fruit.

Bake in preheated oven at 375F for 30-45 minutes.

** Note: I substituted honey for sugar, which is why the top crumbly part looks more ploppy.