Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A tribute to a dear old frying pan

A new frying pan is like a crisp, blank sheet of paper. I stood for a few minutes just staring at mine. What should I cook first? Risotto, eggs, crepes?

A Frying pan lives a hard life. Especially in our kitchen. One lonely non-stick pan has graced our stove for a full year now. It was a normal occurrence to wash it 2 or 3 times a day, only to have it dirty in the sink the next morning. I can tell just by looking at it, how much food has passed through its curves. The scorching of grease on the left side, the slice through the Teflon,even though I was trying to be really careful. The pan was a gift from a great cook and friend, but the Teflon is peeling so life must go on.

a few moments of silence..

Such a great frying pan, I had to replace it with two! One is deep, for risotto's and doubles as a wok, while the other is smaller for pan frying meat and frying up some eggs for breaky. Tonight I have left over Pad Thai, and I can't think of a better dish to start with.

Cooking or "adventuring into the culinary unknown" is my stress relief. When there are spice combinations buzzing around my mind and veggies sizzling in a pan, I am in heaven. But once and while we pack up our appetites and hit the road. Last night our favorite Viet-Thai place called to us, so we drove! Heaping plates of noodles and the best spring rolls in town became our delicious Monday night dinner.

By "culinary unknown" I mean going without a recipe. I think everyone should, at some point. I started when I was really really young, so I got alot of the mistakes and mismatched flavours out the way early on. I only make terrible dinners once and a while now. And I will admit it openly, when I think a creation of mine, isn't all that good. That is all part of cooking. Cooking takes practice like everything else.

This week, on Friday, Steve and I are going to try Vegetarianism, just to see how we feel. Maybe our bodies with have more energy, maybe we will sleep better, or maybe we will simply eat alot more tofu than usual. Who knows, life is an adventure, and my adventures always have a little food in the background!

This is going to be a good week!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


“In Mexico we have a word for sushi: Bait” - Jose Simon

Bring me plate after plate after plate! I never lose my appetite for sushi, even after nights when I cringe at the thought of putting another piece in my mouth. Somehow, somewhere, the craving sneaks up on me. From the faintest aroma of rice cooking, I have crispy spicy rolls dancing around in my head. Words like 'Spider roll' 'Green dragon' bring drool to my lips, the colour of pink ginger and bright green wasabi, tease the soy sauce out of hiding and into my dipping bowl.

Sushi to me, began in Taiwan. I was teaching English there, and fell in love with a place we liked to call "The Sushi Train". You walked in and sat down on a stool in front of a large conveyor belt. The magic began in the kitchen where plates of fresh sushi were placed on the belt, with little clear lids, which wound their way around the small space, passing by everyone with wide eyes. Everything was on the same small, white plates and each plate was the same price. You just take what you want as it passed by. On your way out, the cashier simply counted the plates in your stack, which for me was usually 7, and with some simple math, you were out the door. Fresh, hand-made and delicious.

Sushi is an art, and one that I can appreciate even more, after Steve and I began rolling it, one night for dinner.

For Christmas, our beloved, sushi loving friends, gave us almost everything we needed to begin. All we needed was fresh ingredients and a rice cooker, because sticky rice is serious business! A quick trip out-and-about and we were ready. 4 hands and a small counter top made it kinda tedious but with a little patch work, we had some surprisingly excellent looking sushi.

Laughing and frowning our eager eyes gazed at the pages of photos and descriptions on how to roll the perfect roll. Inside out roll? Why not! California rolls and smoked salmon/avocado rolls revealed themselves before our eyes. The rice was sticky, the technique was tricky, but it was so much fun!

Gigantic was to put it mildly...next time...less rice!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday Night in the city

Sometimes nothing can be better, than an astonishing dinner, made out of now where.

This is where I was tonight, whilst staring mindlessly at a half eaten stale loaf of chibatta bread.

What I didn't know, was that my mind was secretly stiring up a delicious recipe, gathering information, from my years of recipe hunting.

Side note: I hunt every day for recipes, on line, in newspapers, inside labels and boxes of my favorite pantry supplies. I believe, I am searching for the perfect recipe, the one recipe to rule them all. But enough about that...

There I was, chopping the bread with my chef knife, wishing I had a chainsaw instead, damn this bread gets hard! Whisking the 5 eggs and 4 cups of almond milk. Chopping a medium sized zucchini, 7 stalk of asparagus and 2 roasted red peppers. Thyme, pepper, sea salt, cayenne, cardamom? oh yeah!Salt, pepper, garlic you know the drill! Were all lunging off the shelf and basking in the milk and egg mixture. All mixed together, and poured into a spring form pan, 350 degrees later I was setting a timer for 1 and half hours! Oh My Goodness! Dinner had begun!

Chicken thighs haven't always been my favorite, but skinless and boneless, looked tempting at the market. And it was quite exciting when brandy and marmalade made their way into the mix. A simple baby spinach salad and balsamic dressing, my astonishing dinner had arrived.

I call it Chibatta veggie 'souffle' (that word sounds fancy), and I will relish it for lunch tomorrow as well!
I never thought very far ahead when I quit dairy. But if I had, I probably would still not have known how simple it is to remove and replace dairy from every meal.

The possibilities are endless, and this is where I begin.