Last of the Season Gazpacho?

Posted on Monday 1 September 2014

Some gazpachos say add canned tomato juice. Salty. A lot seem to take an hour or two but it can be a simpler faster soup than all that. This Food Network recipe has some adaptable ideas. My version:

4 tomatoes, seeded
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded
1 hot pepper, seeded

mix and soak:
1 new fresh season garlic clove, minced
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic 5-year-old vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons fresh basil
1/2 herb bagel (for body of the soup)

add to the food processor and puree.

It’s an interesting sensation to eat chilled soup that makes you sweat.

sheep cheese crackers
Water crackers with sheep feta, layer of radish and thyme. Great flavourful bites.

Grapes like Welch’s but better. Real food varies from bite to bite.

12:27 pm
Filed under: Bread andRecipes andSoups andVegetarian
Amaya, Rideau Centre

Posted on Friday 29 August 2014

Amara, Rideau Centre Food Court
Amaya. We had that in Toronto. Excellent vegetarian Indian food. Here, a cauliflower dish, a daal and a chickpea dish. Enough for 2 people for $10. Can’t really beat that.

It’s in Rideau Centre’s new and newly located food centre where the old Sears was. There’s a place that sells nothing but varieties of grilled cheese. A creperie. A gelato place that decorates the tops of ice cream like the better places in Rome do. A burger place. A chocolate bon bon spot.

The new space? Amazing ventilation system. People cooking over grills, flames and smoke shooting up 3 feet and not a whiff of odor a few feet away. It could be improved with some soft ceiling hangings maybe. 20 people could be in that hard surfaced space and it sound like a clatter. It’s pretty and good traffic circulation and good fare but at peak eating time, super loud. The new floors are slippery enough that my shoes were slidy. A few girls had their arms outstretched and were in skating postures and sliding along. Great surfaces for when it comes time to clean. Not so great to navigate otherwise.

1:10 pm
Filed under: All Posts
Oh my dhaalin’

Posted on Thursday 28 August 2014

I have news. I have a monthly cooking column at Centretown Buzz. Here’s the first column of Planet of the Scapes.


1 cup split peas
2 cups broth (in this case a cube of onion bouillon)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
pinch annatto

Cook that to a boil then simmer 45 minutes while covered stirring occasionally and adding more water eventually depending on the seal of your pot.

After half an hour start the next:

1 tbsp butter
1/2 large spanish onion
2 whole cloves
1 1/2 tsp cumin

Add that to the pot and serve, adding salt as desired.

The default spicing was pretty good. No personal genius here. The recipes is off the bag of Irresistibles Life Smart Split Yellow Peas

11:59 am
Filed under: Beans & Lentils andRecipes
Short Notice Shortbread

Posted on Wednesday 27 August 2014

Why make one cookie when you could make many. Some plain, some with edges rolled in coconut, some with a thumbprint of strawberry jam, some brushed with chocolate, some all of the above.

I found the recipe in All Stirred Up, 150 Recipes from the Women’s Culinary Network. I’ve been told the danger with shortbread is overworking it so I stirred minimally. It suggests all room temperature preparation but the room was too warm. It was sticky so I popped it into a freezer for a while to make the dough workable.

1 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour (I use unbleached white but I’d imagine cake flour would work better)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat to 350 degrees. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add the rest of ingredients. Roll into a log inside baking parchment. Put in the freezer. Cut disks with a sharp unserrated knife.

Add the jam before the oven. Only brush on the chocolate when they come out of the oven.

strawberry jam
a few squares of high cocoa chocolate bar melted on a double boiler.
a sprinkle of dried unsweetened coconut

The recipe said it takes 10-15 minutes to cook. The recipe lies. Every other shortbread recipe takes 25 minutes or so to reach golden on the bottom. At 15 minutes the cookie is liquid.

chocolate coated blueberies
Whatever shall we do? There’s leftover melted chocolate. Dip blueberries in it and sprinkle with lemon zest.

12:07 pm
Filed under: Desserts andRecipes andVegetarian
Sheep Cheese Spinach Tarts

Posted on Tuesday 26 August 2014

feta spinach mushroom tarts

I took this spinach and feta tart as a springboard but took out the eggs and salt (why add salt or olive oil to something with feta already?) and I added other things.

We used raw sheep milk from the MilkHouse in Smiths Falls which was at the Byron Street Farmer’s Market.
sheep feta

I basically mixed half a package of frozen spinach, well, this:

150g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
170 sheep feta
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/3 roasted onion, chopped
few sprigs of fresh rosemary (thyme works too)

Smooshed that all together and turned into pre-cooked tart shells. I used this 2/3 whole wheat pie crust

Double Pie crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose white flour
1 tsp granulated sugar
pinch salt
8 tbsp margarine

Pulsed in food processer until oatmeal-like then

add 4-6 tbsp ice water

until it clumps. Make two balls, wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer to chill.

feta spinach mushroom tarts
Served with barbecue roasted corn from the market, radishes, still not from our own garden. Worked wonderfully. Very delish.

grapes from Byron St market
Finished off with fresh from Ontario grapes.

12:56 pm
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How Chard Can it Be?

Posted on Monday 25 August 2014

rainbow chard
Sometimes the cooking mojo is on the fritz. What have we got? Whole wheat spaghetti, and some veggies. Mushrooms and rainbow chard. Add some olive oil to cook it and sprinkle with Japanese spice mix (which was made in China.)

12:05 pm
Filed under: All Posts
Pity the Poutine

Posted on Sunday 24 August 2014

The place which shall go unnamed blew my mind with their food.

Like many places that sell food, the menu claims a vegetarian burger. But, what do you know, they’re out. Back room said, “haven’t made it yet”, but it’s peak dining hour and the patio’s a quarter full. To the next person in line who asked for them, “we’re sold out”.

How many times have I heard, “We don’t sell enough of them to keep it on the menu.” Although never available on the menu. They’re more politically correct theoretical food to assure the meat-eaters that vegetarians have an option. Usually only one option against dozens for everyone else. But i digress.

The mind-blowing part is that they could screw up fries.

I have seen that once before when working a a restaurant on the line and the person over my head said its fine to refry the fries from yesterday. She demonstrated how good they were by eating a few. They came out burnt in the oil that I never saw changed in 2 years. It could have been my shift. Maybe it was done but the grill was grimy.

But these fries were cold in the middle. And made into poutine which was a weird sticky jelly of a gravy on top of the fries and chilled curds on top. Which didn’t melt. The serving size for one poutine could easily feed 3 or 4 people, about twice the size of a large at Smoke’s Poutinerie.

And being Canadian I didn’t take it back. But that would now bind my hands about back-smacking who when I didn’t address it at the time.

12:34 pm
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