Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Home Made Beer Batter Cod

I had fish and chips on the brain so I decided to make me some home made beer batter cod...here's what i did.
  • Get a couple pieces of fresh Cod (roughly a couple lbs)
  • In a bowl mix 2 eggs, 1 cup of flour
  • add 1 can of beer (i used some cheap lager i had in the 'fridge...next time i would use a stronger darker beer

  • add salt and pepper to taste

Get a pot or pan with oil up to temp....drop the fish in the batter...get it all nice a gooey... and slowly lower it into the oil....then watch it bubble in the oily love for a few minutes and watch it puff up in beer batter goodness. (Note: drop a spoon full of batter in the oil first to test the taste...i had to drop a couple in to make sure the salt and pepper was right)
Add some fresh cut baked chips, coleslaw and.....ahhhhh...home made fish and chips.


This is also a very inexpensive and fast meal. Prep time is all of about 10-20 minutes.

Ham & Cheese Toastie - Food Mob Bites

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More bad news for Ramsay

Looks like all is not bliss at Gordon Ramsay Holdings. It is now being reported that his Father-in-Law and long time business partner has given up the reigns as CEO of his holding company:


Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law has sparked rumours of a fallout with the fiery star after he stepped down as CEO of the celebrity chef's business empire.

The Hell's Kitchen star has suffered severely in the recent economic downturn and in 2009 was forced to pump $8 million of his own money into his businesses in a last-ditch bid to keep afloat.

The company, Gordon Ramsay Holdings, reported a loss of $6.5 million last year and was dealt another blow in August when U.S. officials sent three outstanding tax bills, with one totalling $484,500.

And the strain has seemingly affected Chris Hutcheson, the father of his wife Tana, who has walked away from his job in charge of his son-in-law's dealings after 12 years.

A statement says, "We can confirm that Chris Hutcheson has left his position as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Ltd. He retains an interest in the business as a shareholder."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fried Cabbage

I just returned [again] from a last minute trip to China, and again, I managed to stuff my face with awesome food. Chicken, Shrimp, Beef, Frog, Noodles, Rice, et al. One of my favourite side dishes is the fried/boiled cabbage....it's a great veg filler !

Here's a quick a simple recipe:


Ingredients
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
6 cups cabbage, cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoons water
1 pinch white sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Directions
1.Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Remove bacon, and set aside.
2.Cook onion in the hot bacon grease until tender. Add cabbage, and stir in water, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cook until cabbage wilts, about 15 minutes. Stir in bacon. Splash with vinegar before serving.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Update

It looks like we're finally getting back to a normal grind. The new boy is just over 2 months and we've finished off the summer travel and wedding season.
We should be able to get back to posting (if only we had taken some notes and pictures of the meals over the last 2 months.....)
Now that we're getting into fall, we should be seeing more squash, pumpkin, vegetables, etc in our dishes...and since we're saving for an April wedding in St. Lucia, there won't be too many restaurant reviews on the horizon (it will all be homemade....which is usually better anyway).
Here's to finishing off 2010 with great food !

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Beijing = Great Food !

I just returned from a quick trip to Beijing. While I didn't get to see as much of the city as I would have liked I did get to eat a ton of great food. Here are a few pictures of what I had.

I would highly recommend China for a vacation destination. It is very inexpensive and the sights, sounds and food are amazing !











Thursday, August 19, 2010

10 ways to cut food costs

Here's a link to 10 easy ways to cut food costs.

Click here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hiatus

Sorry for the lack of posts...just a wee break for the birth of our new son. We'll start posting again very soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stampede Breakfasts

The best thing that pops up around Calgary during Stampede is the Free Stampede Breakfast. And, the fine people of Stampedebreakfast.com have compiled a nice list of many of the locations so you can plan ahead. Squeeze into the wranglers and strap the food bag on !

Head to their Stampede Breakfast website here.

YAAAAHOOOOO !

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Ramsay closes the Devonshire

The pub downturn has now hit Ramsay. It looks as though the Devonshire was not living up to expectations. so they've bolted the lock. It's too bad. I've been to this pub and it was in a nice quiet area and had a good vibe...even if it was more restaurant than pub. The food was very good (I had a chicken pot pie).

Well, I best get my butt to London to visit his other pubs before they close.

Here's the news from the Telegraph.


At the height of his popularity last year Gordon Ramsay, the colossus of the culinary world, could seemingly do no wrong.

His business empire had expanded across four continents. He was the toast of American prime-time TV. His Midas image was burnished with predictions in the summer that his turnover would exceed £100 million this year, astonishing for a man who opened his first restaurant in 1998. He has a range of Royal Doulton china, is said to be worth £67 million, and has appeared in The Simpsons teaching Homer how to cook. Jamie Oliver and Marco Pierre White, eat your heart out.

First his image was threatened by allegations of a seven-year extramarital affair. Then he failed to file accounts on time to Companies House for the second year running.

The long-awaited accounts for trading in 2007 were finally submitted this week, eight months late. The headline figure showed profits had tripled to £3 million. Ramsay appears to have granted himself a pay rise, taking his salary from £845,630 to £1,117,819. The accounts also showed that Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) is in breach of its banking covenants – promises made to lenders to secure a loan – and owes its suppliers about £5 million. The sheer size of the unpaid bills is reminiscent of Tom Aikens, the Michelin-starred chef, after the companies that ran his restaurants went into administration. Some 160 suppliers, many of them small businesses, found themselves at the end of a queue of creditors.

But GRH suppliers aren't necessarily complaining. Gavin Quinney, a spokesman for Chateau Bauduc vineyard, one of GRH's suppliers, said: "I'd think he owes below £20,000. We've been trading for 20 years and the situation has never been any different in terms of owing us money. We are in constant contact and try to keep the payments within 90 days of the invoice. Every supplier likes to be paid quicker, but his name is exclusive to us and we maximise on that and so cut them some slack when they take a while to pay."

GRH, which owns 25 eateries worldwide, has also renegotiated a £10.5 million loan with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Ramsay and his father-in-law, Chris Hutcheson, GRH's chief executive, have given personal guarantees of £1.6 million and £500,000 to secure bank loans.The truth is that the recession has taken its toll: the days when there were long waiting lists for a table at Ramsay's flagship restaurants, where dinner for two can easily cost £200, are gone.

The heavily hyped Gordon Ramsay at the London in New York, which opened two years ago, has stopped opening at lunchtimes. It now opens for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. It has only 14 tables. Ramsay's restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Wicklow, Ireland, stopped serving lunch last month. Verge in Dubai, his first restaurant outside Britain, no longer serves breakfasts or lunches. His Prague restaurant, Maze, has closed down. The Foxtrot Oscar restaurant in Chelsea is opening for lunch only three days a week.

Even the celebrated Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, where there could be a six-week wait for dinner, has lost some of lustre. An attempt by The Daily Telegraph to book a table early next week produced this response: "We have had a number of cancellations. We could fit you in on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday."

His touch even seems to have deserted him on his extraordinarily successful television shows. Three of the American restaurants "saved" by his advice on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares have closed.

The full extent of his fall from grace in the US was underlined by the waspish Steve Cuozzo, food critic on the New York Post. "Gordon was once a great chef. Then he became a great businessman. If globe-trotting 'rock star' chefs have become a joke, Ramsay is becoming the ultimate punchline … When one of the world's reigning culinary gods – a household name – can't fill a 14-table room for lunch a few days a week, look out."

But it's not just his restaurants that have come under attack. Even the family image has been under strain. Ramsay, who has been married to Tana for 13 years and has four children, was voted Celebrity Father of the Year in 2006, and the Ramsays were Celebrity Family of the Year in 2007. So his advisers feared the worst when Sarah Symonds unleashed her allegations last November of a seven-year affair. Miss Symonds, dubbed a professional mistress after she wrote a book about previous affairs, sold her story to the News of the World.

The public relations fixer Gary Farrow had been the guardian of the Ramsay image for the past five years as he powered ahead as the most popular celebrity chef on the planet. Farrow, whose clients include Sir Elton John, launched a damage limitation exercise. Ramsay and his wife said nothing and, after Farrow pulled in favours from a few friends in the tabloids, the story went away.

But, only a few weeks later, GRH dumped Farrow. The company could no longer afford his services. It was an expensive decision: a string of stories have followed that have dented Ramsay's image. Only last week it emerged the chef's claims in his autobiography Humble Pie about his early football career at Glasgow Rangers were inflated. Ramsay claimed to have "signed" for the Glasgow giants as a youngster and played three first team games. He has even singled out the Rangers coach Archie Knox for "dumping" him from the club.

No surprise then that Knox was more than obliging when asked about Ramsay. "He must be a very confused individual. I was the manager of Dundee at the time," he said. Ramsay was forced to issue a statement. "Any inaccuracies regarding the details of this period can be explained by the fact that all this occurred nearly 25 years ago." But the halo had slipped again.

In January the Daily Telegraph disclosed that Ramsay had been fined £1,500 for failing to file his accounts on time with Companies House. Questions were again asked when advertisements for his Chiswick gastropub, The Devonshire, and his private dining room, Sloane Street, appeared in the "for sale" section of the website Restaurant Property. They were removed hours later. GRH issued a statement denying it was closing them and saying that the adverts were an administrative error.

Even so, the expansion continues apace. A new restaurant is opening in South Africa in April, with talk of openings in Australia and Florida. The pursuit of celebrity status continues at an even faster rate. Ramsay has been filming in the US for most of the year. His celebrity status has been crucial to driving people to his restaurants. But these days the closest they are likely to get to him is on the television screen.

In fairness, other chefs have struggled too. Antony Worrall Thompson has closed four of his six restaurants and made 60 people redundant. Yet Ramsay is contemptuous of comparisons with Worrall Thompson, who he calls the "squashed Bee Gee".

A year ago he was master of all he surveyed but now the cracks are appearing in Ramsay's empire. Ramsay, who spends far more time in television studios than he does in the kitchens where he earned his 14 Michelin stars, has ignored the advice he gives on his TV shows: "When you start spreading yourself too thinly, you can fail to meet the same standards the second or third time round."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

UK Pubs

If you're going for a trip to the UK and love pubs like I do, a great place to start before you leave is the Good Pub Guide. It's a fantastic resource and will give you great insight into the pubs in the area you will be going. Things are changing dramatically in the UK with regards to pubs I would suggest getting over there sooner than later.

Enjoy !

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Choco Chunkies

Children's Cottage Cookie Book
Choco Chunkies

1 1/2 cups smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
8 squares semi-sweet chocolate chopped

Preheat oven to 350 f.

In a medium bowl, cream peanut butter and butter. Gradually beat in sugars. Blend in eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Mix in rolled oats and flour. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Drop dough on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Keep dough refrigerated between batches being cooked or it gets crumbly. Bake 9-10 minutes. Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Makes 4 dozen.

So when I made these I used natural peanut butter, the stuff where the ingredient list is peanuts and that is it along with whole wheat flour which makes me feel better about feeding to my son and eating myself. No ingredients I can't pronounce. The dough was a little crumbly by the end but they still came out nicely, I should have chilled the dough more I guess.

Ground Beef 4 ways - ways to save a buck

We're always on the look for ways to save when at the grocery store and one easy way is to pick up a value pack or family pack of ground beef. It's up to you whether you buy the regular, lean or super lean (we'll either by regular or lean...regular is cheaper, but you need to drain the fat when you cook it).

This is very inexpensive and you can do much more than just burgers. While these dishes are standard and sort of ground beef common sense, we spice them up by what we add to the dishes. Also, these can all be prepared in advance and put in the freezer so that you have meals ready to go. Here's my list of 4:
  • Meatballs. I know...simple right?...seems obvious. It's what you mix with them that makes it interesting. Also, what you're eating them with. We cooked up a bunch and flavoured them with different spices. Some went for spaghetti, some for meatball sub sandwiches (these were fantastic...we buttered and broiled some sub buns to crisp them up and then added the meatballs that had heated up in a tomato sauce and then added mozzarella and broiled again to melt and crisp the cheese...these and a side salad, awesome)
  • Tacos. Again, simple. But it comes down to the spices and don't bother with the prepacked stuff. Go out and buy a few packages of paprika, chili peppers, etc. It's good to have these handy. Try hard shells, soft shells, taco salads, even a taco lasagna !
  • Lasagna. Too easy. A nice meat lasagna is a great thing to prepare and freeze. We made 3 or 4 using some different ingredients and tossed them in the freezer for those days when you just don't feel like cooking or extra people show up. Use different cheeses, vegetables, etc to change the style.
  • Chili. Of Course ! Every man out there should know how to make a good chili !

This isn't super inspiring from a food perspective, but if you do the above you will notice a difference in your pocket book and how much time it takes to make super.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fried Calamari or How to make your house stink like a greasy spoon

I decided we would give home made calamari a try the other day. Do we pan fry, grill or deep fry ? Hmmmmm. DEEP FRY !

I don't own a deep fryer but I do have oil and I do have a pot. Really, that's all you need...right ?

Anyway, I had some ready to cook calamari in the freezer (I'm not yet ready to grab the fresh stuff and pull the guts and ink sack out) and I hit the interwebs to find a suitable recipe.

I came across what had to be the simplest one. Ingredients were

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder

I substituted chipotle for the chili and went to town. Immediately when mixing the goodies I thought - that's a hell of a lot of flour and not much in the way of seasoning....

So, I fired up the oil in a pan...heated that be-otch up and thought i would give one a taste test. I dropped the calamari in the mixture and then into the super hot oil. I was surprised how fast it cooked. The recipe said a few minutes...I don't think I had to wait even a full minute (the oil was HOT !)




I tried the calamari (which looked awesome) and as I suspected...couldn't taste any of the seasoning. So I added more and tried another. Same result. So I DUMPED in a ton of paprika and this time added a ton of chili powder (a ton = i have no idea....lots...the flour mixture was dark red by this point)....and, finally, a bit of flavour.

All the while I was perfecting my seasoning mixture, I kinda' didn't adjust the temp on my oil...which is why this post is titled, how to make your house stink....

I started getting the smokey come off the pot....so i kicked it into high gear and cooked up all the squid. Note to self, don't put so much freakin oil in the pot and be sure to have the splash cover on from the beginning, not at the end when you're on your last batch.


We added some fresh chives (from our garden) and the wife made fresh tzatziki. We also had a fresh salad with some shaved Parmesan (we scored a huge block of it from the states on our last trip...it was 8$...a block like that here would run upwards of 30-40$)

I was very impressed with the end result. I'll be sure to try a different/better batter mixture on round two...also, I'll be more aware of the temp and the oil...it's been two days and the main floor of the house still has this greasy spoon smell...like a low end British chippy....

Monday, May 31, 2010

Calgary Greek Festival

For the last 5 or 6 years...maybe more we have been hitting the Calgary Greek Festival. While I am not Greek and don't really get in to the cultural dance stuff I do love me some souvlaki and loukoumades AKA little bites of honey drenched wonderfulness. This year I am tempted to get the Arni Souvla...lamb cooked on a spit and ordered by the pound. Who doesn't love meat by the pound? I may have to bring along help eating that so I have room for lemon potatoes too. Alas this year I won't be able to wash it down with a Mythos but I am sure I will survive :)

Check out the menu here so you can plan ahead. Yiamas!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Pancakes

We are trying to get more vegetables into our toddlers diet and what better way than to 'sneak' them into pancakes !

Here's a quick and easy recipe for Sweet Potato Pancakes that worked out great. If you make more than you can eat, use up the batter and freeze the pancakes. They can be dropped into a toaster and ready to be gobbled up (FYI - our boy loves these!)


Ingredients:
•1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
•3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
•1 teaspoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•1 1/4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
•2 eggs, beaten
•1 1/2 cups milk
•1/4 cup butter, melted
Preparation:
Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Drop by tablespoons onto hot greased griddle or skillet and fry, turning once, until browned on both sides.
Makes about 24 pancakes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Should Fine-Dining be Kid Free ?

This is an interesting debate. Should kids be banned from fine dining establishments ? Here's an article from CNN on just this topic.


(CNN) -- First, it was babies in bars. Now, children in fine-dining restaurants are feeding a raging debate.

The argument is fueled by new efforts of some Michelin-starred New York restaurants like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Café Boulud to cater to the under-3-year-old crowd.

Not every patron of expensive restaurants desires to share a formal dining experience with young children who may be more interested in playing with their food than savoring it

Some are upset at the parents of the young diners, but others believe that even adults don't always behave in ways that allow customers to enjoy peaceful dining.

More than 100 people -- mostly against the idea of tots at upper-echelon restaurants -- posted their heated comments in response to Shivani Vora's recent New York Times piece, "Fine Dining Where Strollers Don't Invite Sneers."

"People who force their toddlers on others in enclosed public spaces like fine restaurants (and airplanes) are even more selfish than those who insist on talking on cell phones in such places," one Times reader said.

"If you object to 'howls' (based on your ridiculous presumption that all children inevitably howl), let's start by excluding all the adults who are yelling into their cell phones, are drunk and/or obnoxious, etc." another commenter said.

"I'm with the majority -- thanks for this list, because now we know which high-end restaurants we will never set foot in," another said.

World's 50 best restaurants list

That's certainly the customers' standpoint, but what about those manning the stoves and host stands?

Many chefs and restaurateurs with families are teaching their own children to be good restaurant citizens and are making accommodations for kids in their establishments.

Marc Murphy, chef and judge on the Food Network's "Chopped" series, created children's menus at all three of his New York City restaurants so his two children, ages 3 and 5, have dining options on their nights out.

At Landmarc, adult diners can enjoy Murphy's foie gras terrine or roasted marrow bones while their booster-seated offspring have the option of ordering orecchiette (a type of pasta), grilled lamb chops, peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches or petit filet mignon.

Michael Anthony, executive chef of Michelin-starred Gramercy Tavern and a father of three (including a newborn), is even more accommodating.

Chef Colicchio: Don't fear fine dining

"When my own children are in the restaurant, I've sent them soufflé crackers with what looks like little frogs' tongues. I've sent out a beet dressed as a mouse," Anthony told CNN.

Anthony also works with a New York public school, P.S. 41, offering lessons in table manners to first-graders. There are also hands-on cooking activities, a tour and lunch at his restaurant, as well as visits to the Greenmarket, an open-air farmers market -- all experiences geared toward establishing a fundamental understanding of where food comes from.

"They're very impressionable and starting to form their opinions about food. We want to impress upon the kids that food is fun," Anthony said of the program.

Teachers in the program particularly focus on younger diners developing a "restaurant voice," teaching children that restaurants are a busy place and that certain manners differ from when one is out playing tag in the park.

This notion is especially poignant at Gramercy Tavern -- which Anthony will admit is a fine dining establishment -- as there won't be stroller valet any time soon.

"It's not a restaurant adapted to children; it's a group of people who are warm and welcoming," Anthony said.

The haute tots are, after all, children -- with an average attention span of three to five minutes per calendar year of their age. Anthony says he has invited particularly antsy adolescents back into the kitchen to focus their attention after they have created a disturbance.

"As with any performance, practicing before a big event, such as going out to a restaurant, is a good idea," advises Sue Fox in "Etiquette for Dummies" in a chapter on Tips for Children and Teens. "I know of people who dress their kids up, sit them down at the family dining room table and hand out homemade menus to practice eating out."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mon Ami Gabi - Paris - Las Vegas



I was in Vegas for the weekend and had an early dinner at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. I just wanted something light so I went with the Pepper Ahi Tuna Salad. I tried a Blue Moon beer with it. It's a light tasting beer that you add an orange slice to for flavor.


After I ordered I was surprised at the speed at which I was served. The salad came before the beer made it to the table (this was nice since I was by myself and didn't have anything read to keep me busy). The meal was fresh, filling, tasty and just what I was after. The service in the restaurant was prompt, polite and attentive. I would recommend this place on a sunny afternoon. The patio is the best place to enjoy people watching along with the Bellagio fountains.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Crave Cookies & Cupcakes


Last weekend we were out for a walk and we passed by a storefront I've strolled by numerous times but never went in....well this time was different. Maybe it was the smell, maybe it was the fact that I was hungry, or maybe I just wanted something sweet.


Where you ask ? Crave Cookies & Cupcakes


The selection was great. They had all sorts of different flavours. We at first thought, we'd get one each and a mini for our little guy...but when they asked us we quickly said 'HALF DOZEN !'.


We selected a Lemon Lime Twist, a Crave-o-licious, a Velvet Elvis, a Princess (vanilla), a Dirty Blonde, and of course for me Just Chocolate.


And as you may have already guessed, they didn't stand a chance. The cupcakes were awesome ! the only warning is...they are not cheap....but...they are well worth it once and a while.


I would highly recommend Crave if you need a sweet fix !

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baked Pasta for the Lazy Man


Here's another quick meal for the lazy guy. Baked Pasta. It really doesn't get any easier.



  • Cook some pasta (any kind). This typically takes about 9 minutes....if you're searching the internet for recipes you really should know how to cook the stuff ;-)
  • Grab a big baking dish

  • Put a base layer of your favourite sauce

  • Add a layer of pasta

  • Add a layer of grated cheese (in this case we used mozzarella)

  • Continue until you reach the top of the bowl

  • Put the dish in the oven until the cheese on top is nice a cooked

  • Remove and serve (add some Parmesan & Pepper if you like)

  • Serve with a simple side salad or mixed greens

This only takes about 20-25 minutes and little to no effort or clean up time.



Enjoy !

Monday, March 8, 2010

Grolsch


My usual first choice when out at the pub is a local brew called Grasshopper. But when I travel I like to try whatever is local or found at the local pubs. And if I'm lucky and find one I really like I'll try to see if it's available at home. Today, you can pretty much find any beer if you're in a large enough city.


On one of my original 'man-cation' trips to the UK a friend bought me a pint of Grolsch. I wasn't sure about it. It sounded like something I would say when i drank 12 pints of it, or at least the noise i would make...after drinking 12 pints of it. But i was pleasantly surprised. By no means is this a high brow beer and I have received the side eye from some of my UK pals when I now order it (I give them the side eye back when they order Budweiser or Fosters...I mean COME ON....you live in the land of pints and you're drinking that swill ?)


It's a light tasting beer, a bit watery, that has a slight skunky smell. It's a bit stronger than a Grasshopper taste wise, but this is the type of beer that is good when sitting at a patio on a hot afternoon.
It's a bit pricey here, going somewhere in the neighborhood of 13$ for a 6-pack, but I'd say if you're looking to try something other than the usual and don't mind paying a bit more give this a go.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Easy Shrimp Salad for lazy men like me

My wife is a fantastic cook, and i enjoy doing my part in the kitchen as well. But, sometimes I'm just super lazy and don't have the energy to boil water let alone peel a carrot. So what to do ? A frozen pizza ? Hot Dog ? Order in ? Bother the wife to cook me something ? Nah...All of these, while good suggestions, are not a part of my new, I need to eat better and save some cash, mantra (along with the - don't bother your pregnant wife with stupid requests if you know what's good for you). So, here's a super simple thing to do for guys like me who just need something to eat and have zero energy or drive to make something out of a cookbook and also are trying to reduce spending cash and their spare tires - while maintaining good relations with the mother of your children.....

  • Pull out a bag or container of mixed green salad (I assume everyone trying to be healthy has this in their 'fridge....)
  • Chop a couple mushrooms and toss in...this will take seconds (wash them first) or don't add anything if you don't feel like 'chopping'
  • Pull out of your freezer a bag of diveined shrimp (I just tossed mine into the sink and threw hot water on them to defrost and then peeled them and pulled the tails off...this of course was borderline too much work but I went through with it anyway)
  • Toss the shrimp into a heated non stick pan with a bit of butter
  • Cook until pink
  • add a dash of oyster sauce
  • toss onto the salad

DONE!

This could be even easier if the shrimp didn't have to get peeled or if they were already cooked.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pancreatic Cancer linked to Soda ?


If you need another reason not to drink the stuff, it looks as though they have found a link between Pancreatic Cancer and drinking Soda. It looks as though drinking 2 or more sodas a week can result in a 87% increase in the chance of developing Pancreatic Cancer....yikes. I now think twice before ordering the Biggie/Super Size at the theater.


Click HERE for the link.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I'm so weak


I am incredibly weak when it comes to a few things. One being chocolate and the other cookies. God help me when you mash them together. Every time I go to the grocery store I purposely avoid the cookie isle. This usually keeps these evil things out of our pantry. BUT....every now and then I find myself standing directly in front of them. What's even worse is when they are on sale or there's some sort of point add on.
This is what happened two days ago. It was like I blacked out and when I came to I was standing right in front of the fudgem goodness. And, low and behold, a sale/point add on......well of course I had to buy them....and not just one....THREE !!!
These things never stand a chance in our house. We all (and I mean all of us) devour these things like we're a bunch of starving rats.....even if these things had legs they wouldn't get far. I think I'd give an Olympic sprinter a run for his money when we're dashing for the last one.
Evil evil evil.
Let's just say....the bag was opened on Tuesday night....and it's already gone (and we all feel shame)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Denver

I just did a quick trip to Denver for work and here's a quick summary.


We were booked in at the W ALoft in Broomfield (up in the NW of Denver, only a few miles to Boulder...it's a starwood hotel so I get points...yay points). These hotels are like W Lite. They're trying to be hip without the hefty price tag. (W's can be pricey....I've stayed in the Atlanta W a couple times and the bill at the end is usually eyebrow raising) The staff was good and the hotel was clean and comfortable. The only downside about this place is there is NOTHING near it. You need a car. It's in a new development and I would assume things are moving slow due to the current economic conditions. There is one restaurant, Proto Pizza , within walking distance. It's a quaint place that makes wood fired pizzas. It was pretty good...a little pricey. Their service was very attentive and friendly. I would recommend this chain.



We went for dinner at a couple places. The first was the Bonefish Grill. I'm always leery of seafood inland, but this place came highly recommended. It didn't disappoint. I had some starter bacon wrapped scallops, fried calamari and for the main I had lemon butter Rainbow Trout. All well prepared and tasty. I topped off the evening with a Creme Brule that was the size of my head.

The next night we went to one of Ted Turner's places called Ted's Montana Grill that specializes in Bison. I have found in the past that Bison can be very dry since it's a very lean meat. I'm not sure what they did at Ted's but my Bison Tenderloin was awesome. I had it with some Salt & Pepper Onion Rings and Butter Broccoli. I'm not sure that I like supporting Ted Turner, but this place had great food and good service.

We also grabbed a lunch at a Mexican place called Qdoba. This is a 'fast food' burrito sort of place. The burritos were huge and full of flavour. If you're looking for something spicy, filling and quick this is the place to go to.

All in all it was a productive trip. I didn't see much of Denver this time around (pretty much sat in a board room or my hotel room most of the time). But I did get to eat some good food.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sushi for the pregnant

I had been really wanting some California Rolls recently or really just Japanese food in general. Unfortunately we are also trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses which includes $50.00 sushi lunches. We decided to try making some homemade rolls. I had done this once or twice many years ago and haven't really thought to try it since. I will admit, making rice is not my forte. I manage to ruin it nearly every time...even in the rice cooker. Needless to say, I put my husband in charge of the rice and he rocked it.
The sushi rice recipe we used I pulled out of our Martin Yan's Asia cook book. This is a cook book we've had for a few years that I never seem to use. It's actually signed by Mr Yan Can himself when we met him at a book signing and demonstration at The Stampede. He was pretty entertaining to watch for the 15 minutes.

Sushi Rice

2 cups medium grain rice
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon mirin (cooking rice wine)
3/4 tbsp salt

1) Place rice in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover and wash rice well by rubbing between your hands, drain. Repeat twice. Pour into mesh strainer and let stand for 15 minutes.

2) Place rice and 2 cups of water in to a 2-3 quart pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for twenty minutes then turn off the heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes

3)In a small pan heat vinegar, sugar, mirin and salt until dissolved*

4)Turn cooked rice in to a large wooden or plastic bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over rice. Fold liquid in with a rice paddle. At the same time fan the rice to bring out he luster of the grains. Continue folding and fanning until rice absorbs all liquid. Cover with a damp cloth and let stand until ready to use. (Fanning and folding at the same time is easier said than done so recruit a helper here to fan while you fold.)

Makes 4 cups.

*Because I didn't feel like buying a large bottle of the vinegar and the rice wine I notice a bottle at the store of "Sushi Rice Seasoning". It is basically every thing in one. For 2 cups of uncooked rice use 5 tablespoons of this liquid instead, or as the package directs.

As for the fillings, you can use really what ever you want. We happen to live in a land locked province so fresh sushi grade fish isn't really available/in our budget. Besides as the title states, I am currently up the duff so chowing down on raw fish is frowned upon. Remember fresher the better and only buy from a reputable fish monger, sushi is not the time for side-of-the-road- 100-Big-Shrimp-9.99-next-right guy

I bought one can of crab meat. You can use pollack too but why? We had a bag of frozen shrimp that I poached a bunch off some for our sorry excuse at nigiri sushi and some for a roll. All the recipes for crab I saw online basically just said to add some mayo to the crab and mush it up so that is what I did, just enough to make a nice and spreadable crab salad of sorts. The shrimp, after poaching in salted water until cooked (1-2 minutes) I just rough chopped, squirted in some mayo and added some sesame seeds and a bit of wasabi. I was going for a spicy sesame shrimp roll. Next time I think I would add a bit of sesame oil too to this but I really like the taste of sesame. I had some avocado but it was woefully under ripe so I julienned some red bell pepper to add some colour and crunch.

The fun part...the assembling and rolling! A few tips, use saran wrap on the sushi mat and keep a dish of water handy for your hands-the rice is STICKY!

Place the nori down on the saran wrapped roll and spread about 1 cup of rice covering the nori evenly. I did it a little different with each roll trying to get the "right" amount. I am not sure I ever found it but I do think you should go all the way to the side closest to you and almost all the way to the side further...not really as pictured but that worked too. I also think I could have used a little less rice than pictured. Put your filling down. Try to picture what it will look like sliced.

I agonized over explaining how to roll but then remembered this is the interwebs, I can link you up!




Slice use as much pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi as you like and enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

BBQ on the brain


I seem to be having cravings for BBQ. It's possibly because my body knows it's a good 2 - 3 months until I can fire up the outdoor BBQ and have at er!
One of my favourite BBQ sauces is Bull's-eye from Kraft. Even though I tend to stick to the Original, I do plan to try some of their other flavours.
I can't wait for ribs, chicken, steak......Spring can't get here fast enough.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sad day in Calgary - Wildwood has closed

As you may know, Wildwood was one of our favourite places to eat in Calgary see previous post here.
I've just learned that Wildwood has closed its doors. I'm not sure what the reason for closing was (economy, staff, just time to close and move on). I am hoping that they open up in a new location as I thought their food was fantastic.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I will never eat at Nelie's again


There's a restaurant chain in Calgary that we used to enjoy going to and in our past form (pre-child, living downtown) we used to frequent almost every weekend. I was quite offended and disgusted to find out that these restaurants have had health citations for almost 10 years without any resolution or correction. Now, they have finally been fined.

Also what really bugs we is that the owner is playing the victim...she was on the news going on about how hard it is to be a single mom and to find good staff etc (like this excuses her for serving me food with mouse shit in it)...well dummy, then don't expand your cafes to the point where you can't control them...Also she said " I guess this is a wake up call"...WTF? some of these citations date back 10 years !!! wake up call ?!?!? AND SHE JUST NOW TOOK A FOOD SAFETY COURSE ????I don't buy her excuses for one minute. I've always heard she was a flake, but this takes the cake (mouse turd cake in her case). Sorry lady, I will never go to your cafe again...EVER !

Here's the article from CBC:


The owner of a popular breakfast chain in Calgary has been fined more than $60,000 for health code violations that span 12 years.

Roxanne Taylor-King pleaded guilty to 43 charges under the Public Health Act at five of her six Nellie's restaurants across Calgary, resulting in a fine of $61,870 handed down on Friday.

Citations handed out by health inspectors date back to February 1998 include notices for mouse droppings in food in the kitchen, said Rob O'Neill, a lawyer for Alberta Health Services.

Officials also found that perishable foods were being stored on the floor, not being kept at a proper temperature, or not being handled safely by staff.

Other violations listed utensils and equipment not being cleaned and sanitized properly, and the lack of soap or paper towels in kitchen areas.

Provincial court Judge Barbara Veldhuis said Taylor-King had been given far more opportunities to clean up her restaurants than she deserved.

Officials with Alberta Health Services admitted their own high staff turnover with inspectors led to delays in prosecuting the charges.

Nellie's locations cited:

Nellie's on 4th - 2308 Fourth St. S.W.
Nellie's on 90th - 209-2515 90th Ave. S.W.
Nellie's Kitchen - 738B-17th Ave. S.W.
Nellie's on Kensington - 104-1414 Kensington Rd.
Nellie's Cosmic Café - 1001 17th Ave. S.W.
Violations found at the Nellie's in Marda Loop were satisfactorily cleaned up, according to AHS reports.
Taylor-King said the height of Calgary's boom also meant high staff turnover for her restaurants and an inability to hire tradespeople to complete necessary renovations.

However, she pointed out that she has fixed several problems since prosecution began, such as personally passing a food safety handling course.

Outside of court, Taylor-King told reporters she would be working to keep all six of her restaurants up to provincial standards.

"I am sure it will be a wake-up call for a lot of people and it will definitely be a wake-up call for me," she said.

O'Neill said that any more violations at the restaurants will likely result in their closure

The violations at Nellie's were no worse than others found in other establishments, he added

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shrimp Salad


I was looking for something light for dinner tonight and I had suggested a shrimp salad so I thought I would look around and find a recipe to try. Here's one from my wife's favourite chef, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I'll let you know how it turns out.


Ingredients

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lemon cut into quarters
4 pounds large shrimp in the shell (16 to 20 shrimp per pound)
2 cups good mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 cup minced red onion (1 onion)
3 cups minced celery (6 stalks)


Directions
Bring 5 quarts of water, 3 tablespoons salt, and the lemon to a boil in a large saucepan. Add half the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Cook uncovered for only 3 minutes or until the shrimp are barely cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water. Bring the water back to a boil and repeat with the remaining shrimp. Let cool; then peel, and devein the shrimp.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, wine or vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and dill. Combine with the peeled shrimp. Add the red onion and celery and check the seasonings. Serve or cover and refrigerate for a few hours

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beef Stirfry

We had a couple pieces of Sirloin and we were feeling kind of lazy so we did a quick stir fry. We used this as an opportunity to do a fridge clean out (really, there's no need to let things go bad in your fridge, you should always look for an opportunity to use up what you have and this is a great way to do it).




Here's what we did.






  • We seasoned the sirloin with salt, pepper, cut into thin strips and cooked it until rare in a wok style pan


  • I cut up 4 carrots, a head of broccoli, some button mushrooms and an onion


  • Once the steak was at rare, we added the veggies.


  • Once the veggies were almost cooked we added oyster sauce


Very simple. Very tasty. Pour this over a bed of rice and in 25 minutes from start to finish you have yourself a great meal !

Friday, January 8, 2010

Results of the Spicy Breaded Chicken

Last night I finally got to make the Spicy Bread Chicken Wings . I think everything went very well. It's a very simple recipe that's easy to put together and has great results. We made a few modifications and I have a couple comments for when I do them again.



  • We split the full wings and tossed out the tips (this just makes the wings easier to eat and easier to dip if you want to add a ranch or blue cheese)

  • My wife doesn't like things as spicy as I do so we halved the cayenne pepper. To be honest, for future batches I may increase the recipe amount. The small amount we used was lost in the other flavours. The next time I may double the amount to see how that works (I may also add some Tabasco sauce to the mustard...I'll try and let you know)

  • I would add salt and pepper to taste

These are highly recommended for snacks while watching 'the big game'. Thanks again to the SimplyRecipes blog.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bacon and Eggs can do anything !

Is there nothing bacon and eggs can't do ? Taken from Mail Online

The traditional English breakfast is not normally associated with good health.
But scientists have found that eating a plate of bacon and eggs could help pregnant women boost the intelligence of their unborn child.
Women are usually given a list of foods to avoid during pregnancy and it is well documented that a pregnant woman's diet can affect her unborn baby.

Scientists have found that eating a plate of bacon and eggs could help pregnant women boost the intelligence of their unborn child
But the new study suggests that a chemical in pork products and eggs can help the baby's growing brain to develop.
Scientists at the University of North Carolina have discovered that the micronutrient, called choline, is vital in helping babies in the womb develop parts of their brains linked to memory and recall.

In a study of the effects of choline on the brains of baby mice, those fed small doses of choline while in the womb had genetic differences to those given large amounts.
Dr Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal, which published the research told The Telegraph: 'We may never be able to call bacon a health food with a straight face, but [similar studies] are already making us rethink what we consider healthy and unhealthy.'
Other foods that contain a high level of the nutrient include liver, milk, chicken and nuts.
Previous studies have suggested that large doses


Now, I think we have to be smart about what this says....it doesn't say run out and eat Bacon and Eggs for every meal...to me, it's like the health benefits of red wine. All in moderation. So, a couple eggs with a couple rashes of bacon on a Saturday morning should be just right (I'm no Doctor and I'm not pregnant nor am I a woman, so, I could drown myself in bacon...that's just how much I love the stuff)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sweet Chipotle Wing Glaze

The wings have been put off to Thursday so I figured I'd find one more recipe (I'll do 2 different styles). This one came from RecipeZaar


Ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5-10 dashes Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
Directions
1Combine all ingredients.
2Heat in microwave for 1 minute This is to melt the sugar and meld all the flavors.
3Cool. If you pour the glaze warm it tends to be thin and doesn't really adhere as well.
4Pour over cooked wings and toss

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings

Here's a recipe for chicken wings I plan to try out tomorrow night (I'll let you know what happens). It comes from the SimplyRecipes Blog. looks great !


Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings Recipe

Ingredients
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs* or panko
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
3 pounds chicken wings (12-14), wing tips cut off and discarded or saved for stock
*To make bread crumbs, take 2 or 3 slices of white sandwich bread, cut into 1-inch pieces, pulse in a food processor or blender until crumbly.

Method
1 Preheat oven to 450°F. Oil the rack of a broiler pan.

2 In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the Dijon, oil, vinegar, dry mustard, and cayenne. In another bowl toss together the Parmesan and bread crumbs. Working one at time, coat the chicken wings with the mustard mixture, rubbing the mixture in well. Then press the wings, thick skin side down, into the bread crumb mixture. Place the wings on the prepared rack and broiler pan, crumb side up.

3 Bake wings in oven for 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through and golden brown.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Can make ahead one day, chill, and reheat in 400°F until coating is crispy.

Just a quick clarification.....quick post to start the year !

Just to clarify...this blog was originally started by my wife who is a trained cook/chef. I on the other hand...am not (I just enjoy food and eating...I do enjoy cooking, but I'm much more of a simpleton...but getting better).
From time to time we both update this blog...I'm sure you'll be able to tell who's doing which post.

Here's to new food adventures for 2010 !

And a quick update,

Since I can't get enough turkey we started the new year with.....a roast turkey dinner. It was great. It consisted of my wife's turkey and my butter/sour cream mashed potatoes, Broccoli with the cheese sauce in the previous post, carrots and peas (our boy LOVES peas) and stuffing.....mmmmm...I should have taken a picture (I was too busy gorging myself).

Up coming in the next week or so will be Ribs, Taco's, Lasagna, Turkey sandwiches and pot pies and a couple reviews of some local places.

Thanks for reading !