August 2009


Food and Food: Edmonton10 Aug 2009 07:30 pm

While my parents have considerably trimmed back their raspberries bushes and apple trees and we do not have as much to pick, I know not everyone is in the same boat. With no time or simply too much fruit to get to, some home owners have buckets of fruit left to waste on their plants, once the animals have had their fill.

However, a new group of people in Edmonton have gathered to rescue your fruit: Operation Fruit Rescue! The team of volunteers representing OFRE comes to pick your fruit, and the bounty is divided into thirds. 1/3 to the pickers, 1/3 to the home owner and 1/3 to the Food Bank or other food centre. How great is that?

Food and Food: Home Cookin'10 Aug 2009 06:57 pm

A garden fresh dinner last night turned out to be a team effort.

Beets, raspberry vinaigrette, pecan and goat cheese salad. As a co-main dish, (pre-made) garlic mushroom ravioli in a brown butter sauce with sage, chanterelle mushrooms and brown mushrooms, and a sprinkling of pine nuts for crunch. Mike roasted the beets and made the dressing as well as sauteed the mushrooms. I boiled the ravioli and made the brown butter sage sauce.

Voila!

pasta

By the way, the Pasta Time frozen ravioli from the Italian Center was shockingly good. Tender, flavourful and easy to prepare. I normally shy away from frozen foods, but this is an exception. The filling was creamy, and not dried out or freezer burnt.

pasta

Brown Butter Sage sauce

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped sage leaves (fresh)

Melt the butter at medium heat until the milk fats separate and float on the top, about five minutes. Add the sage leaves until they just being to crisp, then remove. The butter should be darkening. When it is a darker brown, remove from heat immediately.

Great on pasta, mushrooms, chicken.

pasta

For dessert, I used some bits of chocolate from left over bars and melted it in a double boiler with butter and cream. Drizzled (more like clumped) it over vanilla ice cream and sprinkled super ripe raspberries on top. I lack the words to even describe to you how insanely good this was.

Travels09 Aug 2009 08:47 pm

I really took my time getting around to editing my photos from this last trip to Vegas. Maybe because it will probably be the last one for a while, and our trip was really laid back, so I didn’t take many photos. Mike and I mostly went for one reason and one reason only: UFC 100. Everything else was just icing on that cake.

I did take the time to visit a place I have been meaning to for some time, the Springs Preserve. I did so with the idea that I might scope it out as a wedding venue, even though the likelihood of a Las Vegas wedding is virtually nil. Still, the place is beautiful, affordable and is Vegas without being, well, too Vegas.

"cactus alley"

"cactus alley" My tour guide said they held a wine tasting there once.

garden path

garden path leading to the arboretum

The Springs Preserve is 180 acres of natural landscape, trails, gardens and educational buildings that came into being a few years ago. It’s just a few miles off the Strip, on historic land. The vision was to preserve some of Las Vegas history, but also to move towards a sustainable future. Although the land has been recognized as a historical site for 30 years, it was only recently that it was shaped into a museum of sorts. There is an actual natural spring on the land, and it was the reason people started living in Las Vegas to begin with. Because what does a desert need more than water?

main rotunda

main rotunda. oh, the photo potentials!

I can’t say enough about the place. I would revisit it again in a heartbeat to fully explore the trails and exhibits. I only got a forty-five minute tour from one of the party planners, but she was so luminous and exuberant (as were all the other staff we met) I can only imagine what fun it is to work there or have an event there.

They hold lectures and classes on desert landscaping and xeric gardening, yoga classes, bird watching tour, outdoor movies, as well as huge (Cirque du Soleil launch parties) and small events (a four person vow renewal). There is Wolfgang Puck catering on site, and an array of gardens and indoor spaces to hold an event. All guests get access to all of the displays and gardens when they attend events as well.

Oh, and the thing that I thought was the coolest? The desert organism exhibits which displayed tarantulas, scorpions and other desert lifeforms. If that isn’t Kelly, I don’t know what is.

Food and Food: Home Cookin'08 Aug 2009 07:18 pm

ham cheese baguette

It’s no secret that I enjoy the bread Cobs makes. For a chain, they make damned fine bread products. Their pane di casa italian rolls are crispy, light and airy with a hint of chew, and I’m a fan of the new Turkish rolls, with the same consistency of the pane di casa, but a generous smothering of olive oil and seasonings on top.

When I visited the other morning, one of the bakers came barreling out of the back. “Behind!” he shouted to the front clerk, before loading a wire rack laden with French baguettes into the display. He then rang a cowbell hanging above, and yelled “FRENCH BAGGGGUUUETTES!” while the other bakers cheered in the back. Turns out the French baguette is a brand new item at Cobs. It was amazing and it immediately brought me back to the first time my Mom brought my brother and I to continental Europe in the early 1990s.

We were living in England at the time, and caught the ferry over to Bruges, in Belgium for a day trip. The food had a huge influence on me, and I still remember every meal we ate that day. There was a serving of spaghetti bolognese that could have sunk a ship (and indeed sunk me, I was ill after overeating it) and the crispiest most delicious pizza ever eaten at an outdoor cafe on the main square of the town. But the best was a last minute picnic of fresh baguettes and some cheese and meats we found at a small market. God, was it ever delicious.

After I finished day dreaming, I naturally had to get a baguette and desired to fill it with ham and cheese. I swung by the Italian Center and loaded up on meats and cheeses. I wasn’t home two minutes when I was tearing into the meats, cutting cheddar and assembling a delicious rosemary ham and cheese baguette. So simple, so delicious.

Food and Food: Home Cookin'08 Aug 2009 12:58 pm

Two new beverages this week. One was a vintage sodie pop I had been saving for some time. Mike purchased it while on a road trip over a year ago, knowing I love to try new drinks, but I only got around to drinking it recently.

I had been saving it for a float, but I’m glad I didn’t. The ice cream would not have been good enough for it.

virgil's black cherry

The bottle recommends “no ice” but I did not listen.

Virgil’s was a flavourful cherry cream soda with a subtle vanilla taste, and very very creamy in the mouth. It wasn’t overly syrupy or sweet, either, maybe because they use cane sugar. I’ve heard good things about Virgil’s other sodas, namely the Root Beer, and after trying the Black Cherry Cream Soda, I can tell you I will be searching it out. Apparently their parent company, Reed’s, makes SIX types of ginger beer.

Although I’m not sure it’s available in Edmonton yet, there are two bottles of  Virgil’s Root Beer sitting in the fridge at work. I don’t know where they came from, but I will have to sleuth out the answer.

The other soda was a completely different story. I found myself at Sunterra one day, craving a soda as good as the Virgil’s Black Cherry Cream Soda, but faced with the same old soda selections. I saw the busy, eye-catching label for Jones’ “Jones Jumble” mixed flavour soda and decided to give it a shot. Jones are the people famous for oddly flavoured drinks like “Turkey & Gravy” and “Antacid”. I should have known better is all I can say.

jones jumble soda

The crazy label (one of three limited edition ones) serves as a wrap hiding the horror within: a grey/green/blue colour that is similar to that seen at sewage outlets on Thai beaches. The sewage blends into the gorgeous turquoise water making a colour distinctly recreated in the Jones bottle.

jones jumble soda

I did sample it before I saw the colour, so one cannot imply I let it put me off. The flavour is a “secret” blend of four different kinds taken from the stock of Jones Soda flavours. The overwhelming first grape flavour hid a later zazzy lemon lime, melonesque middle and FuFu berry finish. Of course, these are only my guesses. I’m not sure what the real flavours are.

I did not like this. I dumped it down the drain at work, but not before taking these photos at our copy photography set up area and attracting attention from nearby copy editors. “Looks like swamp water,” one said. Another stated, simply: “You kids will drink anything.”

The flavour was created as a novelty, obviously, and the makers challenged consumers to put their tastebuds to the test and identify the flavours hiding within. Are you brave enough to be a soda sommelier? The contest ended on July 15, but the flavour lives on, just like the lingering grape flavour my burps have.

Food and Food: Home Cookin'05 Aug 2009 12:08 am

When I was a kid I used to spend hours plucking the juiciest, biggest raspberries off my grandma’s bushes. We would eat them, freeze them in four litre ice cream pails, bake with them, and even play with them.

rasp2

raspberry hats

Food and Food: Home Cookin'01 Aug 2009 07:33 pm

rainier cherry

All year, I wait for this to happen. For cherries to flood the marketplace. The king? Rainiers. They’re approximately double the price of regular cherries, and a delicious hybrid of Van and Bing varieties. They’re incredible, and I eat them like there is no tomorrow.

rainier cherry

And there really isn’t a tomorrow. Friday night at Costco I got the last clam shell of Rainiers. Seems like the season may be coming to an end. Who knows when I’ll get to taste their sweet meaty flesh again, but I’m hoping it’s in a few weeks when I go to Kelowna to visit my brother. BC Cherry says they’ll be in high production when I’m there.

Maybe by then my stomach will have settled down again, and I’ll stop finding pits in weird places.

« Previous Page