Monday, November 30, 2009

It's a picnic!

Overall, it's been a miserable November. So tonight we're breaking the dread of it with a picnic.

Somehow, one of those pre-cooked supermarket chickens snuck in here and tonight we've heated it up in the oven so it's cozy and warm. Into the pot with it went some mushrooms the D.M. found yesterday. The crossing-over of flavours is excellent: chickeny mushrooms, mushroomy chicken.

I used the last of the 'found' cabbage to make a slaw and whipped up a plate of devilled eggs (how else could it be a picnic?). Fresh homous and some sliced up bread and we're happenin'.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Grey Cup Par-tay!

It was one of those get-the-gang-together times, celebrating the annual Grey Cup festivities.

Aside from the bizarre twist of events in the last few seconds of the game, it was great, though I suppose folks back east might view things differently.

After every kind of appie imaginable, about all I could manage for supper was a dog and some Caesar salad (with a bit of artichoke heart balanced on top).

Though I'm not much of a football fan, it's a tradition to get together with friends for Grey Cup Sunday. Besides, this year's halftime show was Blue Rodeo. Reason enough and then some for me!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cooked at home

The scenery from the ferry didn't seem anywhere near as spectacular as it had yesterday on the ride over to Vancouver Island. But then, the sun was shining yesterday; today was back to this November's drenching rains.

As soon as I got home, I stopped at the stove and started up a little roast of pork, nestling it in with some garlic and carrots as companions. At the end, I added cabbage, and at the same time started a pot of perogies (not homemade, just store-bought frozen).

In honour of the pork, I put an apple into the salad.

There's something sustaining about a pot roast on a rainy day. And I love the way the chunks of food in the pot seem curled up against each other -- a reflection of how it feels being home again.

Too-late posting

My friend Steve had a launch of his new book and took us out for yummy supper. And then, oops, there was a party after the reading which resulted in my not connecting with the Internet until after the magic midnight hour. I guess it will look as though I had two suppers on the 28th. But then, that's a good pal's birthday, so maybe the date is deserving of something distinctive.

Pic to follow once I'm home from Vancouver Island.

Beauty, eh! This soup contained just about everything you can think of: flank steak, tripe, oodles of satisfying noodles -- and really, it tasted even better than it looks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Plain 'n simple

With the Dear Man out at a Canucks game, I'm on my own, so you can bet it'll be an odd combo.

Not to disappoint, I opened a tin of beans and another of B.C. salmon. Two pieces of toast, and I'm set.

The rest of the beans will make a good breakfast. The remaining salmon should moosh up nicely with some mayo for a salmon and lettuce sandwich for tomorrow's lunch.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


After last night's feeble fare, tonight we're having lusty canneloni from the freezer. Besides being stuffed with lots of spinach, the filling also has ground turkey in it. Chunks of turkey are also in the sauce. So, I guess it's foreshadowing for the leftovers our American cousins will be eating this weekend and maybe into next week.

The little tomatoes on top are the last of the cherry tomatoes that finished ripening in the laundry room. Aside from parsley, chives and rosemary, we're about finished as far as fresh produce from the yard goes.

Lots of cheese (even a sprinkle in the salad) make this a satisfyingly subStantial make-up meal.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


What a contrast! Especially after the substantial meal we had last night.

The D.M. still fixed himself something real. Me, I am stuck with clear broth. At least I have a good excuse to use my wonderful cup -- the one with the little lid to keep things hot.

Is this a pre-holidays diet? Not exactly. A medical procedure tomorrow morning requires me to clear out my system. Ahem.

But really, I shouldn't whine. If my dad had been better about getting such tests, who knows, he might still be around to join us for supper now and then.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A square meal

Good solid food tonight, though the only square-shaped part might be the meatloaf, which is actually more rectangular than square.

There's cheese for pouring over top of the broccoli or baked potato or even the cabbage (or for that matter, over the meatloaf).

The salad is full of spinach and peppers and onion, and has bits of bacon (left from what didn't go into Saturday's sandwiches) -- even a few sprinkles of shredded mozzarella.

Solid food for a night that's cold and dark and miserable.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Late and light

We went out for late lunch with a friend this afternoon. So neither of us had much of an appetite tonight. Still, there's always the comfort that comes from something warm.

Broth from the pantry goes with wontons from the freezer. A few sliced up mushrooms and some chopped up baby bok choi make it a meal in a bowl.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


A rainy Saturday night is a good time for a bowl of soup and a sandwich.

Even though you can't see them, down at the bottom of the soup bowl are all sorts of tiny letters, swirling around and spelling who-knows-what. It doesn't matter that the soup didn't simmer on the stove all day, that it came from a tin and needed water. It's hot and it's just the right match for the rest of the meal.

The sandwich, on fresh sourdough bread, is the alphabetically arranged BLT.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vitamin C, Omega-3, and Penicillin

Scratchiness at the back of my throat might have been from too much talking yesterday. Still, there's no point in taking chances. After a day of sucking on zinc lozenges, further combative measures against the flu seemed like a good idea.

The vitamin C comes from the tomatoes and lemon in the pasta sauce, and the orange chopped as part of the salad. The Omega-3 from a tin of sardines. As for the penicillin, it's pushing it some, but that's the hunks of blue cheese in with the lettuce.

Plenty of garlic is in the squished-up avocado that goes into the pasta, so there's another boost to the immune system. The pasta's healing virtues? The fact of its always-comforting qualities.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Something restauranty

It's another of those evening literary readings at our local coffee house. Because of our reno, the kitchen/dining area isn't the best for hosting guests. As a result, I'm taking our author out to a local restaurant of her choice.

Menu and photo will appear post-event.

Not exactly what I'd planned to post. Between ordering and chatting and relaxing, I managed to forget to take a picture of my supper. Trust me, it was good. This bit of homous is all that remains.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ordering in for someone special

If she’d been able to be with us, she’d have wanted to take us out to supper. But with the early darkness, complicated by today’s rainy weather, she’d probably have been just as happy to have the restaurant come to us. So that’s exactly what we did –ordered in.

The family together, sharing food and memories - had she been alive, that’s exactly the kind of supper my mother would have loved. One year since she’s gone, we’re keeping our love for her alive.
And even acknowledging her Christmas Day birthday with treats from the freezer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hurry-up lazy

Last night's squash was easy enough to turn into a curryish soup. While that cooked a bit to blend the flavours, some pre-formed (pre-chewed? I hope not) broccoli patty-unit-bites baked in the oven.

Although I restocked supplies of produce, etc. today, there was no time for a salad. Instead, a chunked-up tomato and some cottage cheese.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Bits 'n pieces

It was a pretty scrimpy salad tonight -- a bit of lettuce, about a quarter of a pepper, two scraggly green onions, and a tired-looking apple. But once it was all chopped up and doused with a bit of dressing and grated cheese and walnut pieces, it worked just fine.

The main course was also constructed from pieces of this and that. A container of buffalo chili from the freezer, filled out with leftover black beans, the butt end of a jar of salsa and two large mushrooms (ordinary, store-bought variety). Left to cook slowly for a while, it turned out to be much tastier than I remember the original version being.

A squash sitting on top of the fridge couldn't have been getting any fresher, so it went into the oven and made the house feel that much cozier. Natch, I toasted up the seeds from it too, adding a bit of chili powder while they baked. We even sprinkled a few of them over top of the chili. Pretty good for thinking there wasn't 'anything' for supper.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Odd combo

But then, odd combinations always happen around here when I haven't been shopping for a while.

Between the freezer and the fridge and the pantry, there's usually the possibility of an interesting meal.

From the freezer came chicken wings, as well as a dessert. The fridge had a jar with the tiniest bit of homemade quince syrup, too small an amount for pancakes or French toast, so that's what went onto the chicken -- along with a bit of olive oil and soy sauce. Sort of a sweet and sour, but not really.

The veg crisper had a single lonesome carrot, so that got grated into a pot of quinoa (pantry food). The stub of cauliflower steamed up as the side veg. And there was still enough pepper, onions and lettuce to make a salad.

The dessert must have been one I made with leftover filo from a spanokopita. A sort of strudel/pie filled with blueberries, blackberries and a bit of nectarine.

If nothing else, an interesting combination of flavours and textures and colours.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What a treat!

After spending the day in Vancouver at a workshop, the last thing I'd have wanted to do was figure out something for supper. Happily, I didn't have to.

The D.M. greeted me with news that he'd just filled the bath and that by the time I was cleaned up and relaxed, supper would be served.

He took a page from my book and started with one of our reliably-good packages of au gratin style potatoes. He then added another variety of the mushrooms we'd found the other day (this time, a bolete) to the mix and topped the dish with a few of those delicious sausages (bockwurst) that he'd made with our friend John back in September. Along with a salad filled with chunks of pepper and onion, it made for a beautiful meal.

Must admit, I do love being pampered.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sanity in the midst of chaos

Life has been pretty crazy here, because we're doing renos again. Thankfully, even though he isn't well, the DM had the sense to suggest that we order in.

Tempura and sushi, complete with trimmings, made for an easy in-front-of-the-tv Friday night supper.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A quiet pan of comforting food

The DM came home from work feeling terrible. I'm hoping the rolled tortillas stuffed with last night's chicken will bring him some comfort. I'm glad I added the last of those chipotle peppers, as I always think hot, spicy food helps bring a cold or flu under control.

Here's hoping.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In honour of... of the many people I learned to cook from, Kathleen, a person who should have been celebrating her birthday today.

Instead, I honour her memory by making a poor imitation of her chicken stew, which she always served served over rice.

"For supper, cut-up chicken,
the comfort of stew, thick
and flecked with golden carrots."

In keeping with her traditions, the salad should be made from iceberg lettuce. Since I don't have any, the leafy green stuff has to substitute. I did at least slice the greens into almost-shreds as she would have. I also topped it with the dressing she would have made -- plain oil with a dash of white vinegar, then salt and a whole lot of black pepper.

This supper has a couple of additions -- horseradished beets, the way she would have made them, but something else that's our own distinctive addition. When we went for a walk this afternoon, we found quite a few parasol mushrooms. Fried up as a side dish, they're a treat worthy of a birthday commemoration.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Long distance birthday celebrations

Today is the birthday of our friend Kim, or as she's called these days, Chim. She's just back from Greece and seems so heartsick over missing her friends there, we've decided to salute her birthday with our take on Greek food -- even though she's about a province and a half away.

Moussaka (Canadian-style, with buffalo, not lamb), homous, feta, bread and salad. The green olives don't look quite right, but it's all in the spirit of things.

Long life, Chimmy -- Opa!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sometimes being lazy pays off

At least it helped make up for something foolish.

Last night I hadn't much felt like cleaning up after our supper. The plates got scraped into the garbage and that was about it.

Then today, it struck me -- I'd tossed the bones from those lamb shanks, the ones that would have made such a beautiful Scotch broth.

But even though the garbage was gone, I still had the pot with the last night's gravy (the payoff for laziness). I added a litre of pre-cooked chicken broth (those Tetra-Pak things that live forever in the pantry) and cooked it up for a little while to get the flavours blended. I added the tortellini that were lingering about and tossed in some parsley from the batch of it still braving the weather out in the garden.

We rounded it out with open-faced cheese melts with tomatoes sliced and broiled and accompanied it all with a couple of cherry tomatoes that have hanging in the laundry room and ripening for just such a night.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One pot wonder

Slow cooking for most of the day, tonight's supper is built around a pot of lamb shanks. Late additions to the pot included onions and parsnip and carrots. With a salad, pita, homous, and a hunk of beautifully runny goat cheese, although the lamb's from New Zealand, I'm calling this supper Greek food.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pump up the iron!

Saturday's a night to slow down and take our time fiddling in the kitchen and assembling a supper. Tonight that means chicken livers with bacon and onions, perogies and cheese on the side.
Food that makes you want to go bowling...

Friday, November 6, 2009

A relative of Friday night pizza

Her fat litte cousin, Tortellini.

This was almost as easy as pizza, as making the sauce meant pulling out one of those squared-off milk containers (their shape makes they fit well in there) of sausagey sauce from the freezer.

Fresh bread, grated cheese and along with the tortellini and sauce -- and we didn't even have to wait around for the delivery guy.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Anything can happen

Going into the city to attend an event meant another night of restaurant food. Because it's en route, we headed for an old favourite, an old-timey cafe that serves good solid food.

It felt like the first night of winter in Vancouver, in other words, a miserable night.

I did my best to park near as possible to the restaurant, but since our last visit the place has gone considerably upscale with a refit. As a result, I marched right past it. Since this was during the worst of the downpour, both of us managed to get completely soaked. When we finally retraced our steps to the place, we were grateful to get inside. Hot food to warm us was key.

I ordered the traditional open-faced turkey sandwich, complete with traditional trimmings. I love the fact that it's always real turkey served here -- big chunks of both dark and light meat piled onto the sandwich. None of that pre-chewed stuff that comes in a tube, the kind they have to shave so it looks like you're getting a pile of meat, even if it's mostly just air.

The DM had pretty much the same, only he opted for fries instead of mashies, and pork instead of turkey on the sandwich.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quick stop supper

An evening for a school concert, so we needed to grab something fast. We tried a new Vietnamese place and were both very happy with our piled-high bowls of vermicelli, topped with grilled pork. The real treats were buried at the bottom of the bowl -- slivers of vegies, the most recognizable being cucumber and fennel. Quick, delicious and satisfying.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mixed-up Mexi

That fat little chicken we started on the other night was sitting in the fridge, waiting for a second chance. There was still quite a bit of the mixed rice I'd made as well, so I broke up the breast meat, blended it with the rice, and stuffed the mix into tortillas. The result? Sort of wraps, sort of burritos.

I added a little tin of chorizo peppers to the 'Coq au vin' sauce from the chicken, cooked it a bit for the flavours to blend, then poured that over top of the roll-ups.

I opened a tin of refried beans (not worth cooking them from scratch for two of us) and put those into the oven to heat through at the same time, then topped both pans with grated cheese at the last minute. Because we'd spotted a few fresh helvellas on a late afternoon walk, those went over top of the beans too.

Not really Mexican, but close enough for a Tuesday.

Monday, November 2, 2009

All-in-the-oven supper

I saved a bit of sauerkraut for just such a supper as this -- a night of using things up -- and managed to cook up all of it in the oven.

Because I'd decided to use at least some of the insides from the Halloween pumpkins, tonight was the night for that too. Improvising some, I made three loaves of pumpkin bread, and since those meant the oven would be on, I put the supper in there too.

Those 'au gratin' scalloped potatoes are part of the meal, and a pan of baked sausages (the homemade bockwurst) goes with it. That sauerkraut I mentioned cooked again with the sausages.

Instead of a salad, a few beets from the fridge (ones I'd marinated the other day) plus a dollop of good mustard, and we're set.

Hot food, a warm house, and three loaves that I hope will taste as good as they smell.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


This morning I finished reading a book called Trauma Farm.
It’s a memoir of living on a farm on Salt Spring Island, but also a rambling treatise on what we eat and how it’s grown.

We still had some of those windfall Brussels sprouts I wanted to use, so the whole idea of foraged or pure foods gave me my theme. I must have had the sound of the clucking chickens from Salt Spring in mind, as I decided tonight was the night for one of the free-range birds from the freezer.

I wanted to make something different, so browsed through a couple of cookbooks. Coq au Vin sounded like a dish worthy of these special birds, so I set about compiling a reasonable facsimile of the ingredients and cleared out a jar of last year’s dried chanterelles in the process.

Two cups of wine sounded like a lot, but then I remembered a less-than-successful batch of port from a few years back – something I wouldn’t mind using as much as a bottle of drinkable wine. I figured that using it might also solve the problem of adding bourbon, as specified in the recipe I’d found.

And then wouldn’t you know it, rinsing out the empty bottle, I remembered helping with bottling it. Where else, but Trauma Farm.