Sunday, May 31, 2009

Looks like summer

It feels like summer too -- the air is warm and sweet, so, a summer supper it is. The Dear Man cooks up his usual magic on the barbie. A 'mixed grill' of pork, chicken and sausage just about fill the left-hand side. On the right, the vegetarian items: asparagus, tofu dogs and fake-chicken-breast units.

When it's ready, everything gets piled onto the counter in the kitchen, where everyone serves themselves whatever combo they might be interested in -- potato salad, rice salad, even corn on the cob.

Then we take our plates outside to where the tables are set, out on the deck. Bread and homous and green salad, along with mustards and condiments await us there too.

And this is how my plate looked, just before I dove in. End of May, end of spring, and on into a summer of fun and good eating!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quick bite

Running out the door.

Even though I've already been out-the-door nearly all day, I'm home just long enough to grab a bite, then head back out again. Rice salad and salmon from last night, along with a bit of bread, homous and mushroom pate.

Next stop, an outdoor concert!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shrimp on the barbie!

Okay, prawns. Whatever. The arrival of out-of-town friends meant an evening for celebration.

On the red platter, next to the seafood, there's salmon that was marinated in a blend of olive oil and maple syrup (the real thing), then also cooked on the barbecue. With a baguette and a few salads, we were set.

The rice salad (dark blue bowl, upper left) is one I usually make with brown rice. This version is from an interesting Thai rice, 'red cargo'. Although that name sounds like something from a Tintin comic, its flavour is seriously delicious.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Because I have to catch an afternoon bus to get into Vancouver for a meeting, a bowl of last night’s leftovers seems like the best solution for a quick (and very early) supper. What did we ever do before microwaves for speedy hot-ups?

And what an elegant salad, eh. Peanut butter schmooshed into a celery stalk. Martha Stewart, eat yer heart out!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Turns out, I remembered how to cook up some supper.

It helped that the D.M. had stocked the fridge so well -- plenty of vegies and fixings for salad.

It also helped that we'd never got round to eating the 'beef teriyaki' portion of last night's meal.

I must have been hungry for garlic, as I don't even know how many cloves I tossed into the pan -- nearly an entire bulb. Then onions, followed by mushrooms, yellow pepper and green onions. A bit of hoisin and chili sauce, and then the leftover portion of beef. Over top of egg noodles, it tasted like home.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Welcome home treat

The Dear Man picked me up from the airport and suggested a supper of sushi. Despite the variety of foods I've been eating, sushi is probably the single item that hasn't been on the menu. But then, maybe the prairie isn't really the place for fish you intend to eat raw.

He ordered from the place where we get our occasional Friday night feasts, but added a new item to our order, the romantic-sounding French kiss roll.

At the top of the picture, you can see how beautiful the roll was. Made of black rice (more purplish than black), it was filled tuna, salmon, tempura prawn and one of my favourite treats: flying fish roe (crrrrunch!).

And yes, going away is good. But often, one of the best parts is coming home again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Farewell dinner

Tonight's meal certainly can't be called 'supper'. Dinner might not even be classy enough. I'm thinking: full-on, exquisite banquet.

We sat down to a beautifully laid-out table, where each person's place was set with the starter, a layered spinach salad.
Once those plates were cleared, we were presented with an array of tidbits, no doubt all lovingly prepared.
I had to try some of everything (who could blame me?). Clockwise from bottom, vegetarian spring rolls, avocado-stuffed cherry tomatoes, zesty chicken drumettes, a mini-quiche, salmon with dill sauce, and a beef empanada. The table held bowls of salsa and creamy sauce, plum sauce for the spring rolls (and of course, I used a few drops of hot sauce).

As if this wasn't enough, there was an unbelievable cheese course. Our choices included camembert, a gorgeously runny brie and a blue cheese with cranberries that was amazing. Accompanying breads ranged from a multigrain baguette to focaccia and an olive-studded crusty loaf.

So who, after all this, needs dessert? We waited for a while, but later by the fire, the Boston cream minis (basically, profiteroles) were little bites of perfection.

The kitchen staff have been so great to us, accommodating vegetarian, even dairy- and gluten-free diets. They've even been willing to dig in the fridge until they could find a bottle of hot sauce, just for me. They've promised to save it for next time I'm here. The tricky bit now is going to be getting back into my own kitchen. I just hope that I remember how to cook.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Yet another feast

Usually the staff here get Sunday evenings off. But because there was another group using the facility today – and they’d ordered food – we got lucky.

The salad was spectacular: romaine and saskatoon berries in a saskatoon-berry-vinegar-based dressing. My tongue turned kind of purple, but I didn’t care. The taste was worth it.

Rice pilaf made a base for chicken breasts in a nicely tart lime sauce. Besides seasoned green beans, there was a wonderful veggie medley of carrots, pea pods and fresh asparagus. As for the dabs of red, they’re from my trusty bottle of hot sauce.

Dessert? I’ll let Sandy’s photo* speak for itself. Just know it tasted every bit as gooey and good as it looks.

*Because my camera’s decided to take a sabbatical, tonight’s photos are courtesy of Sandy Pool.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday night, scallopy goodness

Not the ocean-dwelling scallops (I’m waaay allergic), but cozy-up-comfortable scalloped potatoes. They were creamy as could be and were served with their traditional accompaniment, thickly sliced ham. I did my usual interfering with things, taking mustard for the ham and sprinkling grated cheese on the potatoes. Of course, there were vegies and fresh bread, as well as the usual array of salad fixings.

Dessert was assorted fruit and a platter of what looked big doughnut holes (sorry, no photo, but I think it's easy enough to picture what they looked like). The sign near them said ‘Lost and Found Doughnuts’ and some of us wondered what this meant. Turns out they’d lost the recipe for a while, but luckily, found it again.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dinner, transformed

The focus of this little blog isn’t dinner, it’s supper. So tonight when it looked like a full-on roast beef dinner, I decided to do some fiddling.

A basic piece of bread provided the foundation. To that, I added slices of beef, potato on the side, lots of gravy over top of it all.

With beans and Caesar salad, I had it, my Friday night supper - open-faced roast beef - a sandwich for the ages if ever there was one.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feels like Thanksgiving

We never know in advance what our supper will be. Aside from smells wafting out of the kitchen, it’s always a surprise.

A Thursday evening in May doesn’t seem like cause for turkey, especially not with stuffing and all kinds of trimmings. But that’s what we had – a Thanksgiving feast, right down to the mashed potatoes and gravy. There was a sweet potato casserole, green beans, buns and even Greek salad. And oh yes, cranberry sauce.

Last night, a friend and I were talking about an excursion we might take – in November, at American Thanksgiving. Maybe someone overheard, took our conversation as a hint. That, or might they have determined today as the halfway mark to the U.S. holiday?

Whatever the reason, no one’s complaining, especially after dessert. What better classic treat for our stay here in Saskatchewan than saskatoon berry crisp.

Yes, we are thankful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Salmich night

As always, we can pick and assemble our meals however we wish. Chicken strips and salmon squares were the primary choices tonight.

I took a fresh bun, spooned on tartar sauce, then added a salmon patty and lots of lettuce. Presto, a fishburger.

Fries were lots of fun, but the noodley salad made me think of parties in summer -- that Asian salad loaded with sprouts and cabbage and almonds and love.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Roast beast with trimmings

When my kids were little, we called it roast beast, no matter the type of meat it was. Small wonder they aren't vegetarian.

Tonight's supper was lean pork, roasted and tender and juicy. Roasted potatoes and homemade applesauce; pea pods and carrots for veg. Natch, the fabulous greens bar, made more fabulous with a spinach and strawberry salad.

Dessert tonight was too hard to resist: fruits and ice cream and chocolatey chocolate cake.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Holiday Monday, sweet 'n sour

Or maybe, sour 'n sweet. Who determined the order of that pairing anyway? Do you suppose it's just a sound thing -- along the lines of Hardy & Laurel?

And though it probably has something to do with the fact that it's a long holiday weekend (Victoria Day), supplies in the kitchen seem to be dwindling. No matter how I searched (or asked) today, I couldn't come up with an apple. Still, there are plenty of other fruits available, so I guess I should shut up and stop being so picky.

As always, our faithful staff came up with a tidy meal for us tonight. A nicely herbed broccoli and cauliflower casserole, plus steamed rice and a pan of nice big meatballs -- complete with the aforementioned sweet 'n sour sauce. As usual, I arranged my salad on the side.

You'll see that I embellished my meal by adding salad bar bits (peppers and carrots) to the main course. I also dug out the old hot sauce and drizzled that over top.

Thankfully, the food is wonderful here. Still, that touch of spice tonight made me lonesome for home.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A flash from the past

The little town down the hill from us (pop. approx. 1200) has a family restaurant/Greek food/pizza joint. That's where the group of us had our supper tonight, as Sunday's when the kitchen staff gets to take the night off.

It felt something like stepping back into the 1950s.

I ordered 'grilled' fish, but breaded/fried is how it arrived. Still, it tasted fine and even came with a chunk of lemon. The choices of side dishes were easy enough for me: green salad or coleslaw (I ordered greens, though as it turned out the slaw looked better). Mashed potatoes, fries or onion rings. Well, how often do I get a chance to eat onion rings!? A complete no-brainer in the decision department.

In keeping with the tone of the place, a strawberry milkshake (which I split with my friend, Susan) seemed positively neat-o.

PS The dinner even included dessert: little cubes of red Jell-O or a serving of chocolate pudding. And served in those small glass dishes I still associate with kid-sized chocolate sundaes. Really, Andy Griffith would've been comfy joining us.

Saturday Night at the Abbey

Only now it’s Sunday morning.

We really did have supper last night. Only trouble was, our Internet cut out. That sure makes it hard to do a posting. Funny how that changed the evening, how reliant we are. So, slightly belated, but true as ever.

Suppers here are a help-yourself operation. There’s plenty to choose from and nobody makes you take anything you don’t want. The salad bar offerings let everyone pick and arrange, as do the main courses – chicken, creamed corn and Schwartzie’s hashbrowns.

Unfortunately, nobody who works in the kitchen is named Schwartzie. When I asked why the potatoes were called that, one of the women told me, “That’s just their name.”

So be it. God bless. Amen.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Home-cooked homely

As I’ve said before, when I use that word, homely, I mean it in the sense the Australians (and, I think, the English) do. Meaning homey and comforting, rather than our more common usage, not very pretty.

We had beef, formed into patties, smothered in onions and mushrooms – they were almost like individual meatloaves. Baked chunks of potatoes, a combo of zucchini and tomatoes, a pitcher of mushroom gravy and of course, our salad bar.

I must admit to not being quite the adventurous eater I usually am. One of the bowls on the salad table held a conconction built around miniature marshmallows. It was only after the side table had been cleared that I realized the mix was ambrosia. Really, I should have remembered my mother’s admonishings and at least tried a bite’s worth.

Besides the usual offerings of ice cream and cut-up fruits, servings of cherry crisp were on the dessert table. Sweet!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Local treats

Only the second night here and the kitchen staff has already surpassed last night’s meal. Once again, the side table was filled with many choices for us to assemble our salads – bowls of lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, cukes, grated carrots – even coleslaw.

The main course was perogies, only anything but ordinary (as if perogies could ever be called ordinary!). Instead of the usual potato or cheddar cheese filling, these contained spinach and feta. Served with them was a beautfully firm sausage made by the local butcher shop. Yellow beans with lots of butter, mmmm.

And because the dessert was just so darn beautiful, I had to include it. Really, these women are spoiling the heck out of us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“Get thee to the nunnery!”

That’s what a group of my friends told me last night. They said that because they knew I was coming to Saskatchewan for a two-week retreat.

They weren’t all that far wrong, though the place I’m staying is more of a ‘brothery’ than a nunnery.

Tonight’s supper was roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and buttery carrots with what I’m pretty sure was parsnip. Salad consisted of do-it-yourself assorted greens though I concentrated most on the spinach salad. It had a deliciously sesame-ish dressing and lots of bean sprouts and mushrooms in the mix.

I managed to say no to the Black Forest Dessert, though couldn’t pass up the fresh canteloupe.

I can see I’ll have to take lots of long walks while I’m here, so I don’t end up gaining another not-needed ten pounds.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Last supper?

Well, that's maybe a little drastic. Still, this is the last supper I'll be having at home for a while.

I'm off to a retreat -- a place where someone else does the cooking. I'm not sure yet how reliable (un-?) online access might be, so who knows whether I'll be able to do postings. Tomorrow we'll know.

Tonight it's a barbie -- with the Dear Man cooking lamb chops and eggplant. I made a cheese sauce earlier and poured it over last night's leftover noodles. I saved a bit of the sauce for over top of some steamed cauliflower. Salad and black-bean homous (because there weren't any chick peas in the pantry) make it complete!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Everything but the kitchen sink

Too much on my plate today, so supper had to cook itself.

It started out smelling promising, with onions and garlic cooking slowly in the last dab of some red curry paste. But then I started tossing in too many other things. A bit of celery, the lone carrot hanging about, some sliced-up eggplant, a few mushrooms. A tin of tomatoes, two baked potatoes (chopped up), red pepper and then some tofu.

The Chinese noodles made a good base, and the frozen peas I added to them were good. Still, this was one of the less-successful meals of the year. Happily, the cabbage salad was tastier.

Nonetheless, filling, so who can complain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day supper, lucky me!

After a game of bocce in the backyard, we had a burgers done on the barbecue. These were special, deluxe Mother's Day burgers: turkey and ground pork, blended with a peanutty Thai sauce and lots of cilantro.

Steamed potatoes tossed with chives, freshly picked, and a crunchy cabbagey salad with big curls of carrots.

Even an apple cobbler for dessert, topped with walnuts and other crispy bits. Big scoops of vanilla ice cream over top.

It's more than once a year I am glad to be a mother. Still, such a special day is a great treat.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I've got Greeky friends...

And, I suppose, a few geeky ones.

Tonight's supper gets bumped up a notch, and has to be called dinner. And more than just dinner, it's a dinner party with Greek food on the menu.

The photo above is only the appetizers. The rest of the meal filled an entire table. There was spanakopita, lemony potatoes, pita and homous, Greek salad, and wonderful skewered things done on the barbecue -- mushrooms and peppers and hunks of sweet chicken.

There were also two choices (nearly all of us took both) of cakes for dessert.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Mystery in Mission

In other words, I have no idea what tonight's supper is. I'm gone to Mission (B.C.) for an overnight. Will report when I can!

- -
And the mystery is solved! My darling friend Marion made us a lovely supper of eggy egg noodles, topped with a creamy clam sauce. Salad was fresh greens, red peppers, and pear. Such a treat to have a night out with a pal.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Homer Simpson Thursday?

Homer might love meatloaf, but he might not go for this one -- not enough fat, as it's made with ground buffalo. I also baked a couple of potatoes, then heated up some stewed tomatoes and frozen peas. The salad wasn't really a salad, just raw carrots and celery with homous.

I guess tomorrow I will actually have to go to the store and get a few things.

For now, it's off to the Gallery, where I'm pouring wine for guests at an opening!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


It's another of those ladies' nights, only it isn't here this time. Because it's always spontaneous potluck (I nearly wrote 'combustion'), we never know what supper will be.

Tonight's no different in that respect, so I'll have to write later to fill in the blanks and add a picture.
- -
Well, the potluck supper worked, in the mystical way it always does. There must be a law about that someplace or other. There was sushi, a satisfying Mexican corn bread, a scalloped salmon pie and lots of appie-type tasters, plus a green salad filled with treaty bits -- fresh fruit and cheese. Marilyn's table-setting only enhanced it all. As usual, a terrific evening of laughter and great conversation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bit of this, a bit of that

A combination of foods from the pantry, the fridge and the freezer, this supper is a fusion on many levels.

On the far right is a dish of Palak Paneer, something I would never make at home unless I could suddenly sprout a huge spinach patch. Contents of the bowl came from the pantry, one of those magical packets that spend a few minutes in the microwave and are ready to eat.

Next to it, in the skillet on the stove is a dish that's a combo of fridge and pantry ingredients. I stir-fried some garlic in a bit of oil, then added chopped up celery, onion and yellow pepper. Next, I added the last of the pork from Sunday's supper. After that, I added a packet of pre-made food, this time a vegetarian Korma. As if it wasn't contradictory enough to add meat, I also added some red curry paste. If it's going to be dish of contradictions, let's go whole hog.

The dish in the centre is the one that doesn't belong, but it sure added a comfort-food factor to the meal. These are from the freezer, pork dumplings from the local produce store. Steamed for the same time it took the rice to cook.

And yes, last is the rice, perked up with frozen peas, cumin seed and a sprinkling of chicken bouillon powder.

See what I mean? A bit of this, a bit of that? And oh yes, the 'salad' was a cut-up green pepper with a dollop of homous for dipping.

Lots of good flavours, and heaps left over for beautiful lunches tomorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Using things up

I like nothing better than using up bits of food. Really, I hate tossing anything (unless it's into the compost).

Tonight's supper saw me using up all kinds of things, starting with the salmon from Saturday. I drizzled a bit of hoi-sin sauce onto the leftovers and put them into the microwave for a heat-through. Sadly, even with a lid, some of the fish managed to explode out onto the sides. Probably needed a clean anyway, still...

I saw a jar of white pasta sauce in the pantry and realized it was getting close to its date to be scary, so I used that as a base to get me going on using up more stuff. First in was a partly used container of ricotta cheese, followed by a small red pepper, chopped up. A few crumples of dried coral mushrooms from last fall, and I left the pot of sauce to simmer while I cooked linguini.

Schlurpy goodness.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Po-po stew

That's the name this cooked-in-the-pot supper was given. Fair enough, as it's a POt roast of POrk tenderloin, with onions and garlic and carrots and POtatoes and some spinach tossed on at the last second.

Comfort food for a comforting family supper.

Complete with the gift of fresh lilacs to put on the table. Inhale.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Early, early

Today it was a case of lunch being supper, even if it was a few hours early. It was one of those fabulous potlucks among friends.

There was salmon, a salad of fresh garden greens, and some fabulous cheese-laden breads, topped with broccoli or asparagus.

A little early in the day to count as supper, maybe, but really -- this was the real meal deal for the day. Heck, there were appies and even a chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert. If that isn't a full-course meal, I don't know what might qualify.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Early early, quicky quicky

Even though there's a group eating here tonight, I can't be part of that meal because I'm off into Van again.

My share towards the supper is a casserole, mac 'n cheese. I'm having a quick little tester bowl before I have to catch the bus into the big smoke.

A little crazy, but then, what else is new?