Wednesday, July 29, 2009

what to do with chicken

even though i was off from work all of last week, we did not have much in the fridge...
that usually results in me emailing simon with the question: what to do you want to eat for dinner?

in another world (or another couple) that would be the ideal question.
-i'm sorry, are you asking me what i would like to eat, as in, anything?
-yeah, go crazy, what do you want to eat?
-i can pick anything?
-go right ahead.

after that many years together, it does not make simon giddy anymore. he finds that it is like a task... what does he really really want to eat?

I usually give him a starting point. some leftover, something frozen (i tend to buy bigger cuts of meat and divide + freeze). Today, it was chicken.

Chicken. so vast. so many possibilities. and i blasted him with all of them.
it's like playing guess who. you eliminate. you get closer to the answer.
spicy? spicy asian? spicy mexican? with what side, rice? pasta?

tonight, we couldn't agree. we were sitting in the car and it was just not happening.
simon: spicy mexican, like jalapenos. oh, i picked one in the garden!
marysol: great!!! do you want cheddar with that? like a fajitas type thing?
simon: no.
marysol:what then?
simon: um, i don't know.

we stopped at the grocery store and i said i wanted cherries. a few people around me mentionned cherries and i was lost under a tree of them. so we tried a happy combination of cherries, chicken, goat cheese.

I started by putting the sauce on. about one cup of balsamic vinegar, 1 cup of cherries (more would have been great!!), honey, rosemary, thyme, pepper. simmer, reduce until syrupy.

then i caramelized some onions.

mixed goat cheese with chopped rosemary, thyme, cream, s+p. stuffed the chicken with it.
I quickly seared the chicken breasts in my onion pan with some olive oil, then into a deep dish, onions on top, and then carefully poured the sauce and cherries on the side. In the oven at 425.

served with a potato mash (much simon love here, see The Pile! we are quite fond of tiny raw onion bits mixed in, with chives... as long as we have some in the yard.) and a salad.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

little bites

when i came back from work yesterday, i was... somewhere else. lost. tired.
i did not feel like cooking a meal, but rather, having fun.
we looked around for leftovers and frozen bits that we could combine with our garden veggies and the market's veggies that i bought during the day.
we had a piece of leftover frozen salmon, some hot italian sausage, leftover spicy shrimp from our lunch the day before.
and, like simon said, so many veggies.

i can't help myself. i love veggies. i love seeing my bags overflow with them, little carrot tops in the wind, radishes smiling at me. nothing could stop me yesterday, not even simon constantly saying: assez de légumes! assez!

i did some awesome zucchini bites. for those who don't like zucchini, this will be a hit anyways:
heat a bit of olive oil in a pan, drop in some thick slices, salt and pepper, roast until caramelized, turn, repeat on the other side. set aside. in the same pan, cook some chopped garlic with butter, then add the juice of one lemon. serve the sauce on the zucchini. soft, crunchy fresh and crunchy caramelized.

we also roasted some cauliflower on the bbq as we did the sausage. I simply rubbed it with butter, then dipped it head first into the lemon garlic sauce for the zucchini.

the highlight of our 'pupu platter' were the fish cakes.

crunchy soft yummy.
mixed a 4oz piece of salmon with 1 large potato, lemon zest, scallion, chives, italian parsley, capers, 1 egg. then rolled the little balls in breadcrumbs (i would have preferred panko, mmmmmmm panko. but we had none). in the pan with a bit of oil. we dipped the pieces in a sour cream based dip, lemon, garlic, chives.

this was our other 'leftover meal' yesterday...

i conveniently had frozen shrimp, edamame, and bits and pieces of veggies. voilà. healthy lunch of jasmine rice, spicy lime shrimp, peppers, onions, celeri and crunchy edamame & cucumbers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

saturday night treat

once in awhile, simon gathers up the courage to prepare a meal for me. this was the case last night, i was so delighted that i even skipped the afternoon nachos with friends in a nearby pub not to ruin my appetite.

i was famished (after a lengthy walk in the neighborhood in search of houses for sale with our friends) and reminded myself of a vulture. I was snooping around the kitchen, waiting for scraps of food - isn't this totally guy behavior?

luckily, simon was working in the corner, so i couldn't get my hands on 'his' food.

he made delicious pasta (fresh) with red onion, baby yellow tomatoes (from our garden), serrano ham, italian parley (also from the garden), in a yummy creamy garlic and parmesan sauce.

i ate so fast i thought my tummy would burst. and then we still had pie.

i made a pie with rhubarb and raspberries from our yard, and added some blueberries. we scooped some ice cream over it and it was heavenly. then, i fell asleep on simon lap :)


Friday, July 24, 2009

pub food at home

because i am a mildly obsessive person, i 'lost' more than 2 hours of my day on my knees, making all the cracks and holes disappear in the basement... then, no fancy dinner could top this day, it had to 'manly'.

we realized that i had never done chicken wings at home.
i am not one to pick that on the menu when we go out... i despise fatty ones, don't like the greasiness of others, the fake red sauce.

when a very long relationship ended some years ago, my friends had a plan to lift my spirits... every friday we went out for wings at a different pub. oh, i had enough. big ones, mammoth ones, tiny ones - i mostly remember ending the evening pretty tipsy as i never ate many, they really grossed me out, so did the fake fries in most of those places. (but i really appreciate the effort guys!!)

we aimed for pub.
veggies and dip (blue cheese), potatoes and spicy wings.
simon was true and drank beer - i was girly and went for rosé.

i suspect simon could live off potatoes alone for about two months.
mashes, smashed, scalloped, pavé, roasted, bbq'd...
i usually make these with regular yukon, not baby ones - and serve them with a really garlicky dip.

just whiz together olive oil, rosemary (we have an unlimited quantity in the garden it seems!), garlic, s&p, garlic powder, breadcrumbs. coat and cook turning frequently.

for the wings, i whizzed together: a tomato, 4 cloves garlic, garlic powder, part of a crazy dried hot pepper from a mexican shop in montreal, dried chipotle, cayenne, brown sugar, siracha, s&p. when they were almost done, i took them out, coated with some diana sauce and some more siracha. crunchy and gooey.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

quick lunch

yesterday we decided to make an effort and finish off the basement.
lots of hard work... thank goodness our new house is so small.

we had a quick lunch, carrot salad, roasted red pepper hummus, veggies and coooooookies.

the carrot salad i had done the night before to accompany our bbq ribs.
it was a very refreshing mix of freshly ground cumin, lots of mint, lemon juice, yellow raisins, green onions. quick, easy.

the hummus i did because i craved the one on the Manx menu.
we went to the Manx on friday and it was closed!!! i wanted that hummus so bad!
my friend Amy, who was with me the first night i had it, has said that she has gone back for it too and it has gone from the menu, so sad.

i remember her saying, why take hummus? let have something else that we can't do at home or buy pre-made... little did we know that we would fall in love with it.

my version of it:
1 can of chick peas
juice of one lemon
2 roasted red peppers
4 cloves garlic (you could put more...)
half a cup of olive oil
smoked paprika
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
salt and pepper
siracha to taste

put everything in the blender, voilà. it was great with pita. would have been better with pita chips!

and for dessert, chocolate chip cookies. i made a huge batch and froze it. i am well known for a packed and portioned freezer - full of surprises! these are the crunchy style, although they were soft coming out of the oven. you can also freeze them once they are baked (but who can resist temptation to eat them all?

my usual recipe is in a book that i lent to a friend - but i don't remember who has it! eeeeeek! oh i hate that. i'm so scared of not getting it back - who has my cookie book?

these i did in a restaurant some years ago, they called them cow cookies and they were of the huge type. kids love these, they love the fact that they are bigger than their head...

2 cups flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, soft
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 Tbsp yoghurt (not diet)
1 cup chocolate chips (or more...)
1 cup chopped pecans (i had none but put hazelnuts...)

mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. in a separate bowl, mix the butter with sugars, then alternate adding the dry ingredients with the eggs, extracts, yoghurt. leave enough space between the cookie dough as you bake.

Monday, July 20, 2009

scones - real ones

i'm a scone snob.
i love them, so i am constantly tempted to try some in restaurants, little bakeries and such...
they are always so deceiving. like those 'bread bagels' you find in grocery stores - they are not bagels. i think the same of scones you find at Bridgehead, Second Cup and the likes - they are scone-like-pastries, not scones.

i like my scones fluffy. buttery. layers of melt in your mouth goodness.

i've worked in a tea house, and i made tons of scones when i was there.
light hands. cold butter. cold ingredients. hot oven.
and Devon cream. and fruit.

i was home today and what better to start the day than such a treat.
Simon likes his with jam. i am a butter and fruit girl.

if you ever need a recipe for scones...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

i want pasta!

i've worked the past two evenings. that means:
a) i don't really eat during the day because i try to do my office work in the most efficient way
b) i eat after the event, when the clients are gone. cold. and sometimes, that turns me off. and i'm grumpy.

a + b applied to yesterday.
i forgot my lunch in the toaster over in our office because i was in such a hurry to go to the cooking studio, did the set-up for the night event, survived the evening, then got to my crazy steak sandwich and didn't feel like it. I ate a nectarine instead, and blue cheese leftovers.

when i got home, simon was really hungry and actually made himself some pasta. i was so surprised... but too tired to eat any. and grumpy still.

so i slept. woke up. ate some banana bread that i had done the morning before. then had a melon soup for lunch. came back home, went for a bike ride to enjoy the sun and the marina, pulled out weeds... and was starving.

i was craving pasta so bad.

so we had veal (is it piccata??) in a white wine and lemon-caper sauce with pasta (fresh peas and smoked bacon!!!! ... and shallots, green onion, white wine, cream)

i get so excited when i see fresh peas on the market. i bought a ton today.

that makes me smile.
that and guinea pigs eating watermelon, eh Candice?

i personally ate a lot of bacon caramels.
and i longed for the different grilled cheeses... but i just wasn't able to produce them fast enough, even with 2 presses (thank you amy and andré!!!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

a week off... where did it go?

Going back to work today and I don't even want to think of the pile of emails, recipes to correct and calls to return... I think this is mostly because I didn't feel like I had a week off. I planned on gardening, painting, having drinks in the sun - but, as always, unexpected guests, and unexpected events.

I weeded out the garden late afternoon as we bid goodbye to our guests...tomatoes growing (roma are getting big!)

and lebanese cucumbers (the only ones that matter!)

We have so much lettuce, even though we have given some to friends, that I had to compost some... so sad.

So I finally sat down with a martini after playing in the garden and had the moment I had been dreaming of all week - plain old doin' nothin'. We slowly prepared dinner, a great plate of fresh veggies, garlic from Jean-Talon Market. We love garlic - we eat it raw.

Then made a nice bowl of pasta with all the lovely herbs in our garden. Our raspberries bushes are red red red... so we ate berries with cream for dessert - delightful.

It is incredible to be able to eat so many little things that come from our backyard. This house is slowly becoming our home, room by room, and flower to vegetable.

did some food for the girls at Victoire on Saturday, they took a lot of pictures, i am guessing they will post those soon. here are the bunnies as i was decorating them

and the only picture i could manage that evening - i was in a dark basement... and could not plug in the light and the grill at the same time!!!

some yummy watermelon gazpacho with homemade chili oil.
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