Monday, August 31, 2009

Middle East and then some

It all sounds so lazy, especially after a night out at friends' -- but hey, it's still summer, so we're enjoying it.

I'd found some pre-marinated pork kebabs (souvlaki style) that were on mega-sale, so they were the base for our supper.

I used the last of the lettuce and a bunch of other good vegies in the salad, but I can't exactly call it a Greek salad. Not only because of the lettuce, but because it's filled with blue cheese, not feta.

We also had the fabulous eggplant spread, salata de vinita -- Romanian eggplant salad. Not quite Mediterranean, moving on towards the Black Sea.

Whatever, wherever. It made for a delightfully easy and enjoyable summer meal.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Evening with friends

Late this afternoon, we went over to see friends -- people who mean a lot, but who we just don't get to see all that often.

Although the day was hot, the evening turned cool, so hot corn and chicken enchiladas (with lots of vegies tucked in) worked out to be just right.

A blueberry crisp for dessert, along with a lot of good laughing and stories, made for a wonderful time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pampering myself

The Dear Man's gone off for a weekend boat cruise with the guys, so I'm having a Saturday night to myself.

I'm using a special tin of tuna, one I've been saving for just such an occasion. It's Pacific Coast wild albacore, packed in Nanaimo, B.C. so might even qualify for the 100-mile diet.

I've built myself a salad using all the things I love and even topped it with spiced nuts I made for this summer's camping. The mix is a luxurious blend of cashews, almonds and pecans -- not a single peanut in the gallery. There were even a few deluxe crackers left for a bit of bready crunch.

And as if that isn't enough, I rented a couple of DVDs and might even make myself popcorn (real, not microwaved) for a treat later on.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hallelujah, I'm a bum

Don't ask me why, but that song's been in my head for most of the day. It may have arrived in a dream last night, I don't know.

But because I'm on my own for supper, the 100-year-old tune must have played out some influence on me, as I decided on a tin of beans.

I didn't cook 'em in the tin over a campfire, the way a hobo might have, I poured them into a pot on the stove and added a whack of molasses. With toast, and a tomato plucked from the garden, they made a supper fit for a queen -- or at least a meal that was plenty good for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quick and early

I'm off to an event tonight -- one where I have to make a brief presentation. Since I don't know whether there'll be food there or not, I thought I better chomp on something before I head out (I'd hate to fall over in the midst of my talk!).

Shrimp from the freezer with the last chunks of Emmenthal, spread out on a bed of fresh vegies. Voila!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plain and simple

It's just me tonight. It's been a slow day, though a productive one. There's even a new row of jars, filled with jam from berries I picked out back just this morning.

A bowl of tomato soup. Store bought and out of a tin. Made with milk and served with crunched-up crackers.

Plain and simple and just right.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Using what's around

How lucky to have such great ingredients lying around, waiting to be used. Last night's supper left half an avocado. Plus -- because they'd been on sale -- there was another one in the fruit basket.

Three different kinds of pasta were lolling about in mostly-empty boxes, so those were the candidates who rose to the occasion.

Because two limes had already been cut, I used those instead of the usual lemon in the standby 'guacamole pasta' dish.

Sadly, the dish wasn't up to its usual standard, so the limes are about all I can blame. Still, neither of us seems hungry, so the food must've done its job.

Monday, August 24, 2009

All in one

Because we'd shared a big lunch, neither of us were particularly hungry tonight. Something light and something easy sounded like a plan.
A ripe avocado and fresh tomatoes all played their role in the decision-making. In the end, the traditional BLT had expanded to include not only the avocado, but slices of Emmenthal cheese.
It might have meant salad and main and starch were all-in-one, but it definitely took two hands to eat it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mediterranean tour

Earlier this summer, friends of ours went on a cruise of the Mediterranean. So tonight we were invited for Mediterranean food and a 'tour' via slides they showed on their tv.

I'd never associate mango with Mediterranean cooking, but I'm ready to become a believer. Marinated chicken breasts were roasted on the barbie, then sliced and tossed with mango, olives, grapes, lemon juice and olive oil -- then the whole dish was finished off with yet another salad dressing/sauce.

Even though we'd already eaten our way through cheesed bread rounds and tapenade, we happily chowed down on the chicken as well as spanakopita and a fabulous Greek salad. We needed to wait a while before the baklava, but that tasted mighty fine too.

The only sad part about our meal was the thought, as we viewed the stunning photos of Greece, that so much of that country is currently in flames.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sort of a farewell

It's a family do, a temporary farewell, as two adventurers are ready to head off for a month in Thailand. I figured canneloni might not be part of the everyday fare there, so off I went to the freezer in search of a sauce.

Turkey Cacciatore sauce from March was approaching its best-due date, so that determined the remaining details.

I found ground turkey thigh meat at the store, then cooked that in some leftover pesto. Combined with rictta and cottage cheese and eggs, etc., that made the filling for the pasta tubes.

With the sauce from March over top, along with some grated cheese, I'm hoping this'll be enough to ensure the Thai travellers eventually come home.

Green beans and bread and salad are part of the meal. And then for dessert, there's pie made from fresh-picked rhubarb and blackberries. Sa wah dee kha...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh, well...

At least it's Friday, so if the food isn't perfect, it doesn't really matter. Just the two of us, assembling a meal after a busy day, from what's around. Steaks from the beef we didn't use the other night, as well as onions and shrooms got cooked on the barbie. I had less success with items prepared indoors.

The potatoes (those packaged ones I'm known to fall back on) came out runny; clearly I'd mismeasured the liquid I'd added. And then, I felt too tired to even assemble a salad. Thus, the tomato and pepper with bowl of cottage cheese. Oh well, a night to do my best to stay awake through some movie on tv. And then, onward to the weekend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The 100-Foot Diet

Since the Dear Man is out tonight, it seemed like a good time to experiment. I've wanted to see what kind of meal I could make with only the ingredients on our property -- a vaguely 60 x 100 foot suburban lot. Though since the kitchen's pretty much in the centre of the house, I might be more accurate calling it the 50-foot diet. Whatever.

I cooked some freshly-dug potatoes and in a separate pan, stir-fried two little zucchinis (one green, one golden) with fresh oregano and lots of chopped dill. Oh yes, there was some cheating, I allowed myself the use of both olive oil and salt. Once the potatoes were cooked, I mixed them up with the stir-fry into a surprisingly tasty (and filling!) dish.

Salad was wild lettuce, tomatoes, lots of basil and parsley (along with the cheater products over top).

My drink may have been the most interesting part of the meal: iced tea made from mint, sweetened with the last two of this year's golden plums, with a couple of blackberries tossed in for colour.

There's even dessert for later, a bowl of today's blackberries. Though I must say, it sounded tempting when I heard the ding-a-ling song of the ice cream man going past. I was tempted, not only because the berries usually like some sort of topping, but also because his truck was just at the edge of the walk. So really, wasn't he within the boundaries of this evening's meal?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A culinary romance

He did the outside cooking. I did the in.

A summery night, so I made the salad mostly from tomato and two kinds of peppers, then filled it with big hunks of love -- er, blue cheese.

He did the barbie: thin slices of steak combined with the food of love, fresh oysters.

Homous and bread and another perfect summer evening, to sit outside and eat with the one I love.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The simplicity of summer

On Sunday, I set aside one ear of corn for just such an evening as this. With the rice salad from Sunday and a bright red tomato from the neighbour's garden, what could taste better? The topper is the fact that I get to sit outside in the still air and enjoy a meal with the Dear Man himself.

Monday, August 17, 2009

No-cook supper

The sandwich is such a simple idea, it's hard to imagine it might not have always existed. But apparently, it's credited to the Earl of Sandwich, who supposedly found it convenient to be able to eat and play cards at the same time. Imagine what he'd have thought of pretzels!

No royal lineage here, just an easy way to use up the bits of last night's pork tenderloin. With homous, leftover beets and some fresh tomato from the garden, a perfect Monday night no-cook adventure in summertime eating.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Family supper Sunday

Family suppers on Sunday are quite the tradition here. We don't manage them every week, but nearly. Those last few minutes always take a bit of doing. While I've been in the kitchen, luckily someone's been starting to set the table.

And while I've been in the kitchen, mostly taking coverings off the devilled eggs, tomato salad and rice salad (made with a satisfying Thai red rice), even more's been going on. The Dear Man's been on barbie duty, cooking up some chicken thighs, a couple of little pork tenderloins and a chunk of wild salmon for our non-carnivore guest.

It's funny, as this blog goes on, everybody wants their plate to get into the act. This week's prize for aesthetic arrangement goes to this one -- note especially the casually arranged bits of alfalfa sprout...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday night supper on Saturday

Because we had three rousing games of bowling, pizza seemed like the way to go for an easy supper. We'd even brought menus along so we could order and pick up the pizzas on the way home. Only it turns out once we got home, we discovered the vegetarian one had shrimp on it. Not a bad thing in itself, but the vegetarian who planned on eating it is allergic to shrimp, so another call went in to the pizza place.

Turns out it was their mistake, so some poor delivery guy will bring one out to the house, but here's where it gets weird: they phoned back and said we'd have to give back the shrimp pizza. Like, so they can throw it away? For sure they can't sell it again, and I doubt that health laws would even allow employees to eat it.

Closer inspection of the menu reveals we were supposed to get a free six-pack of pop. Not that I'd even especially want it, it's just the principle of it.

I have a feeling this will not only be the first time we order from this place, I'm pretty sure it'll also be the last.

Oh well, with a salad and an avocado on the side, I bet we'll survive.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Inside Outside

After a day spent mostly inside (making, can you believe it, Christmas cards), the supper's one that cooks partly inside and partly outside, and kind of a green and red supper at that.

The pasta and beets cooked inside; the sausage, tofu, and asparagus cooked outside on the barbie. Pasta was covered with pesto from the still-bountiful basil plants in the kitchen garden. The tofu was marinated in a combo of hoi sin sauce and soya.

As it turns out, on this day too cool to be August, we ate inside.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday night bonus

What an easy week of cooking it's been -- leftovers, restaurant food, and tonight, an invitation out.

Today was cool again, so I'd been dreaming about chili, but what we got was even better. A layered casserole of white corn tortillas, alternated with a combination of beans and corn and refried beans and topped with Monterey Jack cheese. Fresh local corn was juicy and sweet. The green salad was full of surprises -- bits of broccoli and a special vinaigrette.

We had to rest before we were ready for the dessert, a spectacular berry pie. The layer of pastry was filled with custard, then topped with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Really, how much better can summer treats be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

After-event treat

I still tend to think of summer as a time for being lazy. Not.

This morning saw us up with an alarm, then off to the berry farm to pick another round of blueberries. Then, this evening was a fundraising reading, so by the time that was over, it was a reeeally late supper.

Still, the wait was worth it, as we went out to one of our favourite restaurants (again). Tonight's menu was (clockwise, from left) Bombay style garlic fish, chili paneer, and tofu with mushrooms. Pretty spectacular end to a nicely full day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Can't complain

When the leftovers are this varied, everybody can find what makes them happy. Dolmades, homous, spanakopita, it goes on. How lucky to have all of this birthday Greekness as leftovers to chcoose from. The days of summer -- always the best.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hot food for a cold night

There's no other term for it, today is shockingly cold. Instead of having the leftover Greek food (so much of it is cool stuff), I went traditional and made us a mac and cheese. Because I had so much of that tomato salad left from last night, I piled it over top of the casserole.

And because my visiting sister's never had it before, I made the always-comforting Scalloped Salmon dish from the recipe book both she and I remember from when we were kids.

Double comfort zone.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The birthday request

We sure have a lot of birthdays around here. What a lucky thing, as birthday supper is when you get to choose the menu, or at least the theme. This time, the request was for Greek. So, with a few liberties, Greek it was.

The view above is just the condiments on the table: szatziki, homous, the D.M.'s famous eggplant dip, pitas, feta and three kinds of olives.

The mains were broader, with lots of vegie choices, as even the dolmades were meat-free. Spanakopita, tabouli, altogether too many choices!

But yes, the carnivores were happy too. Besides the (not very Greek sausage) and lemon/garlic chicken on the barbie, a leg of lamb had roasted in the oven.

Of course, no birthday would be complete without some sort of celebratory dessert. This time, it was Brenna's famous (and hard to beat) cake.

What's your request?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Welcome to a special guest

My sister's arrived for a visit with us, so we had to show off with some fresh West Coast halibut. I made some polenta and a nice mushroom sauce while the Dear Man cooked the fish and garden vegies on the barbie.

What a treat to get to share suppers and special times with a special sister!

Friday, August 7, 2009

A new kind of Friday night pizza

Corn pizza. To tell the truth, I wasn't sure what I was in for when I bought it, but I'm adventurous when it comes to food, so I figured, why not?

The only other topping (besides corn) was artichoke heart, a nicely surprising addition. But corn. Hmmm. I think I prefer mine on the cob.

Still, it made for a Friday night pizza unlike any other. Adding salsa as an accompaniment proved to be a good thing.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Warm food for a cool evening

Because I was gone to an art opening and the D.M. was out on the links, our supper is not only late, it's a thrown-together quickie one.

A pot full of pre-made chicken broth simmered for a bit with a few chopped-up garlic stems. They gave it just that hint of extra flavour. The addition of store-bought (frozen) won-tons make it a meal.

It's turned coolish, and somehow this seems just right.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Different kinds of magic

Having supper after 9 seemed a little bit magical, especially after seeing Harry Potter at a nearby cinema.

We ordered two dishes, both nicely spiced -- one with lamb, the other with those nifty skinny eggplants. With a bit of rice, we both had plenty to eat, and even have enough for tomorrow's lunch.

Full moon poking through the clouds on the drive home proved to be the most magical of all.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pasta Galore

No, that is not a character from James Bond, though this dish is embellished with enough varying tidbits, it could almost spin its own plot.

I topped the basil plants, as they're starting to bolt to flowers. Using flower tops as well as leaves, I made a pesto sauce. I did a stir-fry of garlic stems and zucchini, and cooked some mushrooms in with the pasta, then mooshed it all together for a summery comfort dish.

For sides, there was asparagus (lots of green in this meal!), the Dear Man's famous eggplant spread and, of course, a salad.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer bounty

Days like this make me feel so content. And a supper like tonight's only adds to the pleasure. Fresh corn, picked this morning from the same farm where I picked ten pounds of blueberries. Salad has lots of cucumbers from the neighbour, some little tomatoes from our front yard. Even the sausage is part of our bounty, as it's the last of the homemade sausage from September. Dessert? Ice cream and berries.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Belated celebration

Sushi at a local restaurant -- what a great way to celebrate a birthday, even if it is almost two weeks late. Some food is worth the wait. Pictured below, clockwise from front: two pieces of octopus, two pieces tobiko (flying fish roe) wrapped in seaweed and topped with quail egg, three pieces salmon and one of creamy sea urchin. Special treats for a special evening.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Burgers, almost to go

We're off to a party this evening, where there will be lots of snacky type of eats. But for fortification in advance, we're having a burger. Buffalo, to be precise. Condiments include an organic cucumber relish from Pam, a friend on Hornby.