Thursday, August 30, 2012

Figured Figs Were a Good Idea

....And I was right!

But before we get to that... I must tell you: It is an end of an era. And I'm not talking about the Lance Armstrong debacle - seriously though folks, can't we just let the guy be? Hasn't losing parts of his manly bits been hard enough on him? His tests have been clean. Refusal to participate in on-going harassment doesn't = guilt, it does however mean he might not be willing to subject his life, energy, emotions, time, and money in what could possibly be an endless (and fruitless) inquiry into his abilities. And also, why do we care so much about whether he did or didn't juice? Is that going to determine if you get that raise next month? Or establish where your next vacation should be? Or what color you decide to highlight your hair? Let the guy alone for gods sake.

Wow. That one really got away from me. Uhhh....

Right. End of an era. I'm moving across the country tomorrow from Victoria to Toronto. Holy crap.

As I said yesterday on Gastronomical Sovereignty, everything is in boxes, the movers just came, and I will be sleeping on quality MEC camping gear for the next 9-14 days until my shit shows up at the new place. So I'm leaving you with two gifts over the next two weeks...

The first is a fabulous guest post next week from the ever amazing Courtney @ The Fig Tree. She's got a real gem in store for you! 

The second is a recipe inspired by the title of her blog.... because I figured figs were a good idea. And as I said above, I was right! But c'mon, let's be honest here - when am I ever not right?

Figs are just about everywhere right now. Soft, juicy, deliciously tangy yet tenderly sweet... I love me some figs!

When brother was in town visiting this week I picked up a basket at the farmer's market. And boy sure as heck as ants on a log I was happy that I did! This little dish is simple, quick, and fabulously sweet yet salty to boot!

I suggest you make some for yourself. Soon.

Stuffed & Tucked Prosciutto Wrapped Figs
(printable recipe) - serves 4.


4 Ripe Figs.
6 Oz Quality Soft Goats Cheese.
4 Big Basil Leaves.
4 Thin Slices of Prosciutto.
4 Tbsp Local Organic Honey.
'Lil Balsamic Reduction.
Small Handful of Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste.

What to Do:

Pre-heat your BBQ to medium-high heat.

As that warms, place the goat cheese and black pepper in a bowl and mash together.

Make a thin slit in the side of each fig to the center. Gently stuff with an ounce or so of peppery cheese and place basil leaf on top of the cut. Carefully wrap in a piece of prosciutto and carefully press to hold.

Place figs on the grill and BBQ for about 1 and a half to 2 minutes per side or until prosciutto is crisp and cheese is oozy.

Plate and drizzle with honey, balsamic reduction and sprinkle with a few chopped nuts.


Wish me luck, my lovelies!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

The Lowdown:

I'm not sure if it's because school is nearing, or if it's because summer is slowly fading away, or it's because some of my closest friends are moving away, but for some reason I have lost my drive and motivation to cook. It's almost as if a forcefield or warding spell was erected around my kitchen, like garlic to a vampire (not the fruity type of vampires that seem to be all the rage these days, the real vampires that used to cause nightmares). Not only have I stopped cooking, but shopping has taken a hit as well. My freezer is as empty as I've ever seen it. Who would have thought that a cooking funk was a real ailment.

By no means did this recipe get me over the cooking funk, but it was easy. Yes, that is the only reason that I did it. Although poached pears are delicious. Okay, so there were two reasons. Plus pears are in season now so their flavours are so much more pronounced. Okay, okay, so there was three reasons. Either way, it was easy and simple enough to get done despite a bad case of the cooking funks.

I'm not going to lie, I may also have a case of the writing funks too. So for that, I'm going to leave this short. Well, they say a photo is worth a thousand words, so I'll add a few of those to get my word count up. Enjoy. When my cooking/writing funks are over I will bless you with my regular sour wit. Cheers. 

The Playlist:

1 bottle Shiraz (minus a glass for yourself)
1 cup Organic cane sugar
1 tbsp Cinnamon
2 tbsp Vanilla
1 tbsp Allspice
4 Anjou pears, pealed/halved/cored

The Skinny:

  1. Combined all of the ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling add pears and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer to 8-10 minutes per side (or if fully submerged cook for 15-20 minutes).
  2. When pears are soft to poke with a fork, remove from heat and allow to sit. The longer they sit the more flavourful and colourful they will be.
  3. Reheat pears in liquid then remove pears and simmer the wine down to about half of the original volume.
  4. Serve pears with a bit of the wine syrup (apparently blue cheese goes well with this too).

Stay Rad -h

Featured on:  Chef in Training, Premeditated Leftovers, 33 Shades of Green, Food Renegade,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rippin' Another Blog: Sweetly Serendipity

Who doesn't love a good - and I mean good - side dish?

I've been saying for years that I think it's the sign of a good chef who can lovingly make the side dish as interesting, flavorful, and delectable as the main. 

And you know what? .....Taryn @ Sweetly Serendipity is a pro. Not to mention an awesome super babe. Hey - when a girl can make vegetables taste the way she did, a girl's gotta butter her up. Besides, how else am I gonna talk her into coming to Victoria to cook me dinner?

...Starting this week, "Post from Another Blog" posts are going to be a little different around here. Instead of simply (and separately) picking a recipe from any old blog we felt like, Haydn and I are taking turns choosing a blog from which we will both select a recipe from and see what we come up with. Will we choose the same recipe? Will we choose different ones? The suspense is killing me! Okay, maybe not. But I think it'll be more interesting, yes?

So for this week's blog, we're taking on Taryn. I chose Taryn because I know her from The Secret Recipe Club and after having made her fabulous rice pudding, I felt like the woman and her blog deserved more props because as I said earlier, she's kind of awesome.

And this time around, just as the first, she did not disappoint. I only have 3 words for you: Summer. Vegetable. Gratin.

The crunchyness of the breadcrumby salty Parmesan, sweetness of the caramelized onions, delicateness of the Summer friendly squash, and acidity from the tomatoes made this a highly enjoyable side that I plan on making again. For reals. Thank you Taryn darling!

Summer Vegetable Gratin
(printable recipe) - serves 4.


1 Lb Zucchini, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds.
1 Lb Yellow Zucchini, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds.
3-4 Large Ripe Tomatoes, sliced 1/4" thick.
2 Medium Onions, halved and sliced thin (approx. 3 cups).
2 Medium Sized Garlic Cloves, minced.
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, stemmed and chopped.
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1 Handful Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped or roughly torn.
1 C Panko Crumbs.
1 C Parmesan Cheese, grated.
Coarse Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

What to Do:

Toss the zucchini in a colander with a good helping of salt. Let sit for about 45 minutes and drain well - you may want to pat dry with a tea towel to remove excess moisture. 

In a separate colander (or lay on a towel on the counter) - do the same with the tomatoes. 
As your veggies de-moisturize, heat a couple Tbsp of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions. Stir well. Turn the heat down to medium-low and slowly caramelize them, stirring every few minutes or so until dark golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F and spray a 9 X 9" baking dish with non-stick spray.

As the oven heats, combine the garlic, 3 Tbsp of oil, a good helping of pepper and thyme in a mixing bowl. Add the zucchini and toss well to coat.

Pour the entire zucchini bowl into the prepared baking dish, topping with the onions and finishing off with the tomatoes, overlapping just slightly.

Place in the oven and bake 40-45 minutes or until the tomatoes are pulling away from the sides of the dish and the edges are just starting to brown.

In a bowl, mix together the panko, parmesan and a Tbsp of oil. Remove the dish from the oven, turn the heat up to 450 degrees and top with this mixture. When the oven is ready, place back inside and allow the top to brown and crust (approx 5-10 minutes). 

Remove from the oven, top with the basil, and serve.


What's your favorite part of a meal? Appeteaser? Main? Side? Dessert? The alcohol?


This post is linked up with Cast Party Wednesday; Whole Foods Wednesday; Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; The Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop; Showcase Your Talent Thursday; Keep it Real Thursdays; Full Plate Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday;

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Black Currant Scones

The Lowdown:

I am definitely not a breakfast person. I am definitely not a baking person. In fact, the amount of times I've that eaten a breakfast-style meal (other than the odd omlette) and/or baked can probably be counted using my fingers. Baking to me lacks creativity. Breakfast to me lacks about everything I like. More often than not I'll have a sandwich or last night's leftovers for breakfast. Breakfast and I are not best friends. Perhaps we are merely acquaintances that say hello as we pass by each other, but avoid the unpleasant small-talk.

However, with every rule there is always an exception. Like when a parent "counts to three," but then they add the halves and quarters of seconds to extend the amount of time. If you ask me, it's a great way to teach fractions. But in reality we all know that parents only do it because they have no idea what they'd actually do if they ever reached three. My exception to baking is the scone (pronounced skon). Similarly, my exception to my lack of interest in breakfast is the scone.

Scones and I go way back. No, we didn't ride tandem bicycles together; and when we are seperated I don't get the blues. But the thought of me using somebody else's recipe may strike a bit of discussion with my father. Every Sunday, and most holidays, usually started with scones. Our scones to be exact. That is, until I discovered that I could make a lot of poor decisions on a Saturday night and wake up hungover on a Sunday morning, making me unable to operate an oven. Either way, it was the easiest recipe to find, because the cookbook opened to that page on its own. Not that it mattered, I knew it off by heart. Even still, when I go to visit, we usually end up making them. By we, I mean my little brother, because that's about all he contributes to in the kitchen.

So, a big thanks for {Sweetly} Serendipity's Black Cherry Scones envoking that same feeling that I can almost remember from all those years back. Oh right, I almost forgot to mention. This week, Kristy and I are both re-creating a recipe from the same blog (normally we choose our own separate blog). Obviously, {Sweetly} Serendipity was the blog chosen. You forced me to bake this week Kristy. You win this time. Next time, I think I choose a goat only blog. Oh, how I love power.

The Playlist:

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking powder
1/8 tsp Baking soda
4 tbsp Shortening (or butter)
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Sour cream
1 cup Black currants

The Skinny:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*.
  2. Mix dry goods together in a large mixing bowl. Add shortening and, using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it is the size of rice grains.
  3. Mix the sour cream and milk together in a small bowl then add to the flour mixture. Turn using a wooden spoon until a solid ball forms. Add the currants and gently mix them into the dough.
  4. Flour a surface and push the ball into a 1.5" thick pizza dough shape. Cut into desired number of pieces (I made 8), then place on a parchment papered baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Featured on: Premeditated LeftoversChef in Training33 Shades of Green

Stay Rad - h

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thirsty much? Watermelon Salad = Good

Happy Thursday morning to you darling readers!

When you think of Summer, what comes to mind?...

Lazy days on the beach? Coronas* on a patio? Music festivals up the ying yang? (if there was a music festival up my ying yang I'd have one thing to say, and one thing only... "ouch").

Aside from the above, along with tomatoes, flip flops, and camping, Summer to me means watermelon!

I think it stems from my childhood. I distinctly remember sitting at picnic tables as a young'n with the sun smiling down at us, giant slice of watermelon in one hand, way messed up napkin in the other, spitting seeds directly out onto the grass beneath our feet. Those were the days. The days of Summer when the biggest responsibility you had was making sure the dishes you had to dry after dinner weren't still sopping wet when you put them away in the camper. Oh yeah, and watermelons still had seeds! 

I know it wasn't the classiest of endeavors - eating a watermelon. Bite, chew, spit. But it was fun. And the watermelons weren't franken-fucking-scary engineered products of some group of men hidden away in Monsanto's windowless labs. That being said, I still eat me some tasty watermelon from time to time and after the experience I referred to in this post, this dish just had to be done.

Watermelon Salad with Fresh Mozzarella & Marcona Almonds
(printable recipe) - Serves 4.


4 C Chopped Watermelon, 1" pieces, refrigerated & cold.
1 Ball Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella (If you can get your hands on Burrata, sub that), drained & roughly torn.
Small Handful of Marcona Almonds, lightly toasted.
Small Handful Fresh Basil.
1 C Creme Fraiche.
4 Tbsp Local Organic Honey.
Coarse Sea Salt.

What to Do:

First, toss the watermelon with a good pinch of salt and place back in the fridge until ready to use.
Next, mix the creme fraiche and the honey together in a bowl until well blended. Adjust to taste. You want it fresh yet slightly sweet.

Lastly, drizzle or spoon the dressing onto a plate, topping with the rest of the ingredients, finishing with the torn mozzarella (or beautiful burrata) and basil.

And that's it!


When you think of Summer, what comes to mind?


*I am well aware that Corona is a terrible beer and not original at all. That being said, I can hardly think of anything I'd rather have whilst camping, laying on a beach, or hiding in the back of my shoe closet** - the only place in my house that really feels cool when it's 35 degrees outside.

**I wish I had a shoe closet. What I really have is a shelf very much in need of a good dusting that has been kind enough to begrudgingly allow me to wedge it in between my collection of under-used hand bags and a skateboard that hasn't been ridden in 4 years. I don't actually sit in there.

This post is linked up with Cast Party Wednesday; Whole Foods Wednesday; Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; The Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop; Tastetastic Thursday; Full Plate Thursday; Showcase Your Talent Thursday; Keep it Real Thursdays; Foodie Friday; Fight Back Friday; Fresh Bites Friday; Wellness Weekend.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chipotle Pork Black Currant Burgers

The Lowdown:

With summer in full swing, and me spending the majority of my time off at the beach, I've been "forced" to reduce the amount of time I spend in the kitchen. By forced, I mean gladly spending time in the sun and not indoors. Despite the rest of the city's constant complaints on our summer thus far, I've found it to be quite nice. I'm sorry, three weeks of straight sun without all the hassles of forest fires shouldn't be complaint-worthy in anyones' books. Not to mention, we've been getting the cool ocean breeze that picks up in the late afternoon so you can actually sleep at night. To all you summer nay-sayers, STFU (to put it nicely). To everyone else, heck-yes BBQ season is still in effect! Well, not for me it isn't. My anti-fun committee... Err, I mean my strata council wont allow BBQs because they don't like the smell. Yeah, that's right -- the smell. Not because it's a fire hazard. Not because the building is not fit for propane to be escorted through the elevator. Not because there are no patios. The smell. Thanks anti-fun committee for robbing us of our summer once again.

As the saying goes, "when God gives you lemons; make lemonade." So when you're given black currants; make burgers? No, I'm pretty sure that is not how the saying would go if there were one. Call me rebellious, but I really don't care. I do what I want... Well, I do what I want, if my girlfriend agrees to it. But still, I do what I want most of the time! Yeah, so manly. I wanted burgers. I had black currants (thanks to my late night shopping habits). Ta-da, enough said. I'm making chipotle, black currant burgers because I want to (and my girlfriend is at work so she can't stop me)! Watch out world, I'm outa control.

Now, off to set up a BBQ illegally on my patio and cook these burgers the way they were meant to be cooked. Just kidding, my girlfriend said no. Now I shall rephrase my past statement, now off to cook these burgers the way they were meant to be cooked... on a Paderno, non-stick frying pan? Drats! Foiled again! You may have won the battle strata council; but the war is far from over! (Now if only I had an evil cat to pet as I devised my dastardly plan).

The Playlist:

1 lb Pork, ground
1 Egg
1/4 cup Brown rice flour*
1 cup Black currants, fresh
2 Chipotle pepper, dried/ground
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper, to taste

*Substituted for bread crumbs to make gluten-free (and because I was out of bread crumbs).

The Skinny:

  1. You all know how to make burgers, so do that.
  2. Damn you strata council. 

 Stay Rad -h

Featured on: Chef in Training, Premediated Leftovers, 33 Shades of Green, Carole's Chatter,

Thursday, August 09, 2012

RPI: Mission Pistachios

I'll be honest here... 

...and this doesn't happen too often...

...not being honest - in fact, I very much value and appreciate honesty. It's a quality I hold dear to my heart and I try to be as honest as possible in my life both in my relationships with people, the planet, and my food. Especially my food. I love my food. Yup, when it comes to eating, honesty is the best policy.

So, with respect to eating and honesty, here it is: I was totally befuddled by this week's Rock, Paper, Ingredient assignment. 

When Haydn selected pistachios as the key ingredient, I thought, cool. I like nuts. And let's be honest girls (or boys)..(or anyone who doesn't fit into the traditional gender binary), who doesn't like a good nut from time to time? And pistachios are some good nuts. 

haha! "nuts"....

But when it came down to crunch time - get it, "crunch" time? because nuts are crunchy - I was absolutely shell shocked. I did it again! Get it? "Shell" shocked! I'm sorry, I'll stop. 

...Should I do something savory and crust a salmon? Should I make dessert and try to whip up my own ice cream? Do I mix the two and make pistachio crusted salmon ice cream? Ultimately, I elected for none of the above. Thank god, most likely.

But I did land smack dab in sweet territory*. And I'm sure glad I did because pistachios were made for chocolate. And Chocolate for pistachios. Actually, I'm pretty sure both the nut and especially the chocolate trade were founded to increase white European colonial influence over "Southern" countries around the world at the expense and blood of poor racialized nations while increasing the profit of those at the top of the political, economic and social food chain. But nevermind, because that's a whole other can of worms. Stupid women's studies degree - why 'ya gotta' ruin everything for me?

* a special holla to John for his excellent espresso suggestion. well done, sir. well. done.

Chocolate Cake with Pulverized Pistachios and Espresso Icing
(printable recipe) - serves 8 - 12.

Ingredients for Cake:

1 1/4 C Ice Water.
2 1/4 C White All-Purpose Flour.
1 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda.
1 3/4 C Sugar.
2/3 C Butter, unsalted & at room temperature.
2 Free-Range Organic Eggs, room temperature.
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract.
5 Tbsp Cocoa.
2 Tbsp Butter, melted.

Ingredients for Topping:

1 C Confectioner's Sugar.
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract.
2-4 Tbsp Milk.
1-2 Oz. Fresh Espresso.
Handful of Bashed, Processed, or Chopped Pistachios.

What to Do:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F & grease & line 2 8X8 spring-based baking pans with parchment paper, or 1 9X13 pan.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the 2/3 C butter and sugar with medium-high powered beaters.

Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Add the cocoa and melted butter. Combine well.

Now add the flour mixture alternately with the ice water to the creamed mixture by thirds, starting and ending with the flour. Make sure everything is combined before going to the next step.

Pour the mixture evenly between the two pans. Place pans on baking sheets to catch any drips that might occur. Put in the oven and bake 35 to 45 minutes or until the cake slightly pulls away from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then release the pan(s). Carefully move each side and then, placing a cooling rack on top of the cake, tip upside down to remove the parchment/bottom. Allow to cool completely.

Topping: Beat the confectioners sugar with vanilla, espresso and half the milk until it becomes silky smooth, spreadable, but still thick. If needed, slowly add 1 more Tbsp at a time until it becomes the texture you want.

Position the cake on a serving platter. Top with the icing and finish with a good helping of pulverized pistachios.


What do you think? Is honesty the best policy?


This post is linked up with Cast Party Wednesday; Showcase Your Talent Thursday; Full Plate Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday; The Hearth & Soul Blog Hop via the 21st Century Housewife; Tasty Tuesdays; Tuesday Talent Show.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

RPI: Pistachio Crusted Schnitzel w/ Cherry Beet Chutney

The Lowdown:

I've come to really enjoy RPI. At first I always seemed to think of it as a contest -- shocking really -- everything seems to be a contest with me. I had the quirkiest desire to out do Kristy. Which, if you've read her posts you'll know it can be quite daunting. She is a lot more grounded when it comes to cooking. As in, she is much better at planning and executing her plan. Either way, I felt this competitive nature detracted from my over all experience of it. So, as of the last few RPI posts, I've tried to maintain a casual approach. By that I mean, leave it till the last minute. You know, let fear of not being on time kick in. It's a sort of primal instinct (?). Well, maybe not so primal. But whatever it is, it always inspires me to get my ass in gear.

I'm not sure where the inspiration came from for this dish. I had cherries that were over ripe. I had beets, as I always do. I love chutneys. I love pork. The RPI was pistachio. I love schnitzel. I love food that is easy and fast. Well, that solves that. That must have been the train of thought.

I love schnitzel. I love it for breakfast with eggs on it. I love it for lunch in a sandwich. I just love it any way really. But until now, I've never strayed away from the usual way of making it. RPI doesn't like the usual way though. In fact, the whole concept behind RPI was to get the back of your ears wet (is that really a saying?). Wow, if that is a saying it is really stupid. It's actually weirding me out. Furthermore, when did experience start to equal wet ears? Seriously. Way to think that one through creator of said saying.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention! I won RPI again! It seems ironic to gloat about winning when my first paragraph was about not making everything a competition. Bah! We've had a pretty well rounded set of ingredients thus far for our RPI missions. But one thing has been missing. A nut. Well, other than Kristy that is. So, it only seemed logical that one should be selected to play around with (that sounds so wrong when talking about nuts). I'm embarrassing myself now. I'm just going to stop writing.

The Playlist:

2 medium Beets, finely chopped
1 lb Cherries, pitted
5 cloves Garlic, minced
3/4 cup Champagne berry vinegar
3 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 tsp Cloves, whole
2 tsp Coriander, whole
1 tbsp Pepper, whole
2 Cinnamon sticks, whole
2 oz Port

1 Pork tenderloin
1 cup Pistachios, crushed
3 Eggs
1 cup Brown rice flour
1 tsp Mustard seed, crushed
1/2 tsp Pepper, ground

The Skinny:
  1. In a tea ball combine the coriander, pepper, and cloves.
  2. In medium sauce pan: combine tea ball full of spices and the remaining first tier ingredients. Cover and simmer on medium until beets are cooked thoroughly. Remove tea ball and cinnamon and allow chutney to set.
  3.  In separate bowls: beat eggs, combined flour and pepper, and combined mustard seeds and pistachios.
  4. Using a meat tenderizer, pound the pork (or chicken) until it is as thin as possible before tearing.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  6. Dredge the tenderized pork in the flour, then the eggs, then the pistachios. Ensure that it is thoroughly, and evenly coated.
  7. Place the schnitzel into the heated skillet and cook (usually about 1-2 minutes per side).
  8. Serve with the chutney.

Stay Rad -h

Featured on: Chef in Training, Food Renegade, 33 Shades of Green, Premeditated Leftovers,