Sunday, June 25, 2006


Tonight I'm attempting Falafels on the bbq. I've never made Falafels but I certainly like to eat them. I'm cheating and using a mix. I like the other products by Fantastic so I'm confident that their Falafel mix will be good. You just add water. Now anything that only requires that you add water is suspect at best. But I figure by the time I make up the Falafels into a pita wrap with Tzatziki, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, feta and maybe some hummus, it won't matter to much how the Falafel mix tastes... Next time I'll make them from scratch.

I'm going to mix them up then roll them into balls and cook them on the bbq. I'll heat it up to high then put on a rack so they don't fall through the holes. One of those veggie racks will work. The box says to either fry them or broil them. Broiling is like bbqing. So I'm either going to use indirect heat or grill them over medium-high, we'll see how they do. When trying something new, do one or a small amount first to see what will work best.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Cottage + Rain = Interesting Meal Choices

Today we head to the cottage for the weekend and it's forcasting rain. Cottage life isn't really designed for rain. And cottage cooking is definately not designed for rain. I try to keep it simple though. This weekend it's going to be warm and rainy which is an extra pain in the neck. Too wet to bbq but too hot to cook inside. Luckily tonight we have leftovers that we didn't eat last night. Curry chicken and tandoori veggies with rice. Tomorrow night I'll boil some store bought fresh pasta, either inside or on the bbq. Sunday night well have pizzas, hopefully on the grill but I could do them inside if necessary. For this type of weather, one must be flexible. I'll get some salad greens to round out each meal. Having a side burner on the bbq is a blessing. I find I get a lot of use out of it. I have a new Sou'wester (rain hat for you non-maritime types) which will be put to good use this weekend.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Midsummer, and I'm not talking Shakespear here!

Happy Midsummer! This is officially the longest day of the year. In some countries it is celebrated as the official start of summer. Tim and I celebrate it because it was when we decided to start dating. And today is our 5 year anniversary of that decision! We were in Sweden that year. Midsummer in Sweden is the most wonderful time of year. Everyone is out in the cafes. There are many boats on the water. It is truely beautiful. And the Swedes have peeled back their layers of winter clothing... It's not just for the men, ladies.... Trust me!

In the summer in Sweden the traditional meal is Salmon. At first I thought the Salmon was so delicious from the cold Baltic Sea but it seems the Salmon is actually farmed in Norway. I don't know what they do to them there but they are fantastic! And I know good Salmon, having spent a great deal of time in Newfoundland where the wild Salmon is magnificent.

Tonight we will start with Brie cheese grilled, well planked really, on a cedar plank on the BBQ. We'll have that with Champagne. Then we will have a traditional meal of Salmon, Asparagus and Small Potatoes with a side of Hollindaise sauce and a good Pinot Grigio. Skoal! (that's "Cheers" in Swedish and the traditional word used to toast) So celebrate the start of summer. May it be full of sunshine and warm weather!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back from the Rock!

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Canadian Landscape, "The Rock" is a reference to Newfoundland. It's an island off the east coast of Canada. One of the most beautiful spots in the world. And the food is quite interesting. The wild salmon will explode in your mouth. The river trout is like nothing else. And Moose! The island is practically overrun with Moose. Luckily they are tasty. Moose are not indigenous to Newfoundland. A pair of them were brought over by a New Brunswicker years ago. Which I thought was pretty funny when I first moved to New Brunswick... Moose have no natural predators on the Island so they multiply pretty freely. I like them made into sausages myself. Caribou too. Caribou is a lot like Reindeer which I have had in Sweden. It's a nice meat, not to gamey.

My uncle has quite the garden. It's a very short growing season in Newfoundland and root veggies do best. He put up 80 bags of potatoes last year! Newfoundlanders eat a lot of potatoes. They are a meat and potato culture.

While I was there I ate the oldest egg on earth. It was from my grandmother's fridge, sitting on the door, out in the open for god only knows how long. I boiled it for 4 minutes. When I cracked the shell there was water inside, I have no idea how it got there.... And there were chewy bits that I couldn't eat. My grandmother is a depression era baby. She buys things regularly because she 'might' need them. She doesn't eat eggs, she bakes with them. And she's 85 so she doesn't bake that often anymore. But she has at least 24 eggs on her fridge door. I suspect she's like most of us, goes shopping, doesn't write a list and then can't remember what she has at home, so she ends up buying the same things over and over.

On the subject of my grandmother, back when she was learning how to keep a kitchen, there was no refridgeration. She seems to be under the impression that there still isn't. She cooked up some chicken breasts the day we arrived but we didn't get in until almost 11 pm. So they were on the stove in the roasting pan she had cooked them in. They were still there the next morning. I dared my mom to eat one... Which isn't very nice since she has MS and the last thing she needs is to be projectile pukin'. The next evening the chicken was still on the stove but there was one less breast. Mom and I had taken pizza over to my Uncle's while Nan stayed home... And ate one of the offending bird breasts. The woman must have a stomach of steel. Or maybe that is why she has developed diabetes, pancreatitis, heart disease and high blood pressure. We are what we eat! The chicken sat out for 48 hours. For those of you not up on food safety, nothing should ever sit out for more than 4 hours at room temperature. And some things are more susceptible to bacteria growth than others, like chicken. I use the 2 hour rule for chicken. It's never out, cooked, for more than 2 hours. And when in doubt, throw it out.

I once went to a wedding in Newfoundland where they made up the plates for the dinner at 11 am and the dinner was at 5 pm! I didn't eat the meal. They say "no one ever get sick" but then the next thing you hear is that "everyone over there at so-and-so's house has the stomach flu". Real stomach flu is rare, food poisoning is not. And the symptoms of food poisoning include chills, fever, dizziness. It's not just about the pukin' and diarrhea.

I'll get off my soapbox now. Just as long as you use your refridgerator properly...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cooking For One

Again I'm all alone.... sniff, sniff. Tim is on a business trip. Everyone tends to eat poorly when they are cooking for one but taking the time to make a nutritious meal for one says a lot about how much we value ourselves. I enjoy making myself a healthy meal. And I'm going to share with you some of my quickies.

I have 2 all time favs for simple single meals. The first is a frittata. Also known as an omelet or a crustless quiche. I use egg substitutes like egg beaters or I leave out a couple of yolks to keep the cholesterol down. I also have a little problem with egg yolks, they don't always agree with me. You can make this frittata with whatever you like or have on hand. I like a simple cheddar and broccoli. But I may use some frozen spinach and Monterey Jack cheese. You can use fresh or frozen vegetables. Toss the veggies in the pan to saute first with a little cooking spray. Add some dried herbs to your egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let it cook. I often put a lid on it. That's it. Dinner is ready!

The other fav I have is pizza. I buy individual pizza crusts whenever I come across them. Currently I have some organic multi-grain and some regular multi-grain crusts in the freezer. I keep a squeeze jar of pizza sauce in the fridge that you can get in the italian pasta and pizza section in the grocery store. I put some on and then add whatever toppings I have. I use spinach, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, zucchini, whatever. Fresh or frozen works here too. I rarely add meat but you can. Cheese can be whatever floats your boat. I like mozza, parm, fontina, cheddar, Monterey jack, ricotta, or whatever else is in my fridge. Pizza crust is just a base. What it becomes is up to you!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Low Sodium Pasta Sauce

Sounds like an oximoron doesn't it?! But The Superstore has some low sodium pasta sauces as part of the blue menu line. And it tastes awesome! Even tim likes it and he's not a big fan of tomato based pasta sauce. We had the tomato and basil. For 1/2 cup there is only 270mg of sodium. Which is low for a tomato based, jar of sauce.

So tonight we're having it on pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese, actually it's grana padano which we find more tasty than parmesan regiano. And I have some rosemary hot dogs buns in the freezer which I'm going to turn into garlic bread.

And with it all we'll have some of our homemade Cabernet Savingon. It's been aging for 6 months now and is just perfect. We have such a collection of wine in the basement and we are patiently waiting for it to age properly. It's taking a small act of god to prevent us for drinking it all now but we're waiting. And as we are starting to see, it's worth the wait. Nothing is worse then a young red wine that is suppose to age. And good things come to those who wait!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Where did summer go? (and how do I cook for this?!)

We keep having this damn rain! It was a big 13 degrees here today (that's 58 for you non-metric types). On a day like this I would normally think of a chowder for supper but I had one for lunch. Not a great one either. Tasted like mushrooms which was odd because I couldn't find any mushrooms in it. The amount of seafood was decent but the taste just wasn't great. I like my own version best.

But about dinner tonight, I had Curry Chicken on the menu. See if it had been warm enough to bbq, I would have sprinkled the chicken breasts with curry, ginger, garlic, cumin and coriander and thrown them on the barbie. But since it's too cold and rainy, I'm going to turn it into a one dish meal. I'm going to steam some carrots and potatoes and then saute them with the chicken and some broth. For seasonings I'm going to add the above mentioned combo. I'll let it all simmer for a while until the broth reduces. I may add some yogurt in the end but I have Raita already made up so I may just serve that on the side. I could leave out the potatoes and make rice but I like the idea of using just one pot!

Actually, I'm going to add some turmeric to it too. My mom was telling me about an article she read about turmeric. It's suppose to have some great cancer fighting properties in it. In countries where it is used often in the cooking, there is a significantly lower cancer rate! We really are what we eat...

Off to peel!