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Archive for March, 2010

This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama‘s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, from the past week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

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It’s really hard to take an appetizing-looking photo of puree. It’s one of those foods that tastes so much better than it looks – like a puddle of baby food (or worse). My thanks to Joshua for a much, much better photo of the puree than my attempts were!

Yam & Apple Puree with Lavash Bread

Based on an appetizer from The Foundation restaurant here in Vancouver, this simple and mildly sweet dip is fabulous with chewy lavash bread, which you can find in Middle Eastern markets. It’s also great with warm tortilla chips.

2 large apples (Gala or Braeburn work nicely) – peeled, cored and roughly chopped
3 large yams
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 – 4 tbsp water, as needed
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Poke some holes in the yams with a fork, wrap each individually in tin foil and bake for 40 minutes or until very tender. Let cool until you can handle them without burning your fingers. Peel and cut into medallions. Put yam medallions into a food processor or blender.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook another 5 minutes, or until golden. Add onions and apples to the yams in the blender. Add water as needed and puree until, well, nicely pureed! Serve with the sliced lavash bread or tortilla chips. Enjoy!

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Our majestic kitchen unicorn – in all its sparkly glory. (Photo by Joshua.)

Happy Spring! Doesn’t this time of year just bring out the giddy? When spring hits I always feel like tearing about in a grassy field or park with my arms out airplane-style, squealingwheelingreeling around. The pink cottonball-y cherry tree blossoms are popping out everywhere around here. Ever since the Equinox on Saturday, though, it’s been cloudy and/or rainy, whereas before that it was quite balmy and heralding-of-spring. Go figure.

I had a personal sewing triumph recently when I made this little bag – based on the Zip Pouch in Amy Karol’s wonderful book Bend the Rules Sewing – for my friend Janis’s Unbirthday present (her birthday is February 29th). She’s a rock chick, so of course I had to embroider this electric guitar on it (from Sublime Stitching). This little pouch represents my first time (successfully) using the zipper foot on my sewing machine. Yes, I sewed in a zipper, and it actually worked! I realise that for most crafty folks this project would be something they could whip up in about 10 minutes, but for me, it was a pretty exciting event. Okay, so I didn’t quite get the lining sewed in – I made one, but I guess I must have done the seams on the zip pouch and the lining differently, because the lining was a way different size than the pouch itself. Oh well. So I ironed some fusible interfacing over the wrong side of the embroidered bit, and called it done. I presented it to Janis at our writing group meeting this past Friday (with a bar of organic dark chocolate inside, cause you can’t give a pouch with nothing in it). I think she liked it!

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Haiku for a Gooseberry

little gooseberry, you are
so eyelid-flutteringly
good – a mouth’s delight.

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Abiding by our new “What’s For Dinner?” schedule, Monday was Mexican night. I didn’t feel like going to the store to buy ingredients, so I decided to just invent something with the Mexican-like stuff that we already had in our cupboard and fridge. It’s kinda like a rice lasagna, and all the flavours blended in a very tangy, cheesy way – and it was even better the next day! This is a good foundation recipe – you can add more veggies, replace the refried beans with black beans, or any manner of variations.

Layered Mexican Casserole

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can chopped stewed tomatoes (28 fl. oz.)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
dash cayenne
dash salt
1 can refried beans (19 fl. oz. – sorry, I can’t remember if that’s the exact measure – a medium-size can will do!)
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup crumbled tortilla chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 x 12 baking dish. In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onions until golden. Add the mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, cayenne and salt, and let bubble for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Ladle half of the tomato mixture into the baking dish, followed by a layer of one cup of the rice, then the refried beans (use the whole can – there’s only one beans layer) and half the cheese. Top the cheese with half the crumbled tortilla chips. Ladle the rest of the tomato mixture on top, followed by another layer of rice, then the rest of the cheese and tortilla chips on top. Cover with tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the tin foil and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Extra-good with a dollop of salsa, plain yogurt and/or guacamole on top!

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Colcannon, broccolini with cheese sauce and green Rock Creek cider. The requirements were that all aspects of the meal must be Irish and/or green.

Keaton’s meal, unfortunately, did not fit this criteria – he’s really into carrots right now. He was, however, wearing a “The Leprechauns Made Me Do It” bib. (And looking a little stunned.)

Listening to: The Pogues – because it is St. Paddy’s Day after all (not that you ever need an excuse to listen to the Pogues), and we just couldn’t stomach the Clannad

Reading: Poetry. Various authors, mostly contemporary. After I’m done crackin’ my W.I.P. on my latest children’s novella, I’m going to go back to writing some poetry – my first love.

P.S.: I am officially declaring this Food Week – because it seems like that’s all I want to write about this week. More to come tomorrow – Recipe Thursday.

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Adventures in Cauliflower

This is a Romanesco cauliflower, also known as Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflower (according to Wikipedia). It came in our organics delivery bin today. Looks like something from The Dark Crystal, doesn’t it? I used it in a Thai green curry (very tasty), but I feel that its gnarly beauty would have been better showcased in a variation on Mollie Katzen’s classic The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, the rice casserole where you stick the broccoli florets in so that they resemble – what else – a tiny broccoli forest. Except that this one would be the The Fantastical Romanesco Cauliflower Forest Where Everything Is Somewhat Askew, Dark and Quirky. Where the beasts live, the misunderstood ugly things, in those secret places in your heart.

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