February 9, 2008

Happy Year of the Rat!

Gong hei fat choi! ^__^ For New Year's Eve my Chinese friend and I prepared a small dinner for a few friends and it turned out quite well! On the menu we had cucumber salad, borscht soup, Peking duck, homemade dumplings, tea leaf eggs, and soy sauce chicken - I was quite impressed by what we pulled off! I took a bunch of pictures so I can show my parents... they won't believe it otherwise, haha.

This evening I was invited out to a new year dinner at a Chinese restaurant with a Chinese group I had just met. It was a bit weird for me though because they were mostly speaking Mandarin and Swedish so I couldn't understand anything unless they spoke to me in English o_O I was so fascinated though by how they just switched back and forth between Chinese and fluent Swedish, it was pretty cool. The dinner was my first taste of European Chinese food (something I had been really reluctant to try) but it wasn't too bad. The cuisine was more northern-China style so it was quite heavy and saucy, which I'm not used to.

So it's finally February, thank goodness. It felt like January would never end with all my endless nights slaving away in front of my computer. It was such a brutal month for me and I swear I almost turned into a zombie with the little sleep I had. But I did manage to squeeze in a few fun activities to keep my spirits up.

Dinner at Koh Phangan
For a friend's birthday we went to to a really great Thai restaurant called Koh Phangan. Right when you walk inside it feels like you entered a tropical paradise of beach huts, bridged walkways, waterfalls and caves. It even had a "rainstorm" in the middle of dinner. The food actually wasn't too bad. I just ordered a simple vegetarian plate of pad thai, but at $25 that was the most expensive pad thai I've ever had!

Colombian Night
My Colombian roommate gathered her Colombian posse over to our place one evening and cooked us a dinner of arepas, chorizos, and beans. Very yummy indeed. They continued the festivities into our living room by cranking up some Latin music and taught the non-Colombians some salsa dancing. That was great fun, but I was stepping all over people's toes :P

Konserhuset
I attended my first symphony concert here watching the Stockholm Philharmonic one afternoon. It was so nice and I got all nostalgic for my symphony-going days with Christina back in Toronto. The repertoire they played that day was a modern set - very punchy, playful and oddly rhythmed, which is something I wasn't used to hearing but I thought it was so fantastic.

Hawaiian Pub Night
Every last Friday of the month my office holds a pub night. This time it was a Hawaiian theme to bring some sunshine to our dark and dreary Scandinavian winter. Some people acted as bartenders all decked out in Hawaiian shirts and mixed colourful fruity drinks complete with umbrellas and pineapples. The Hawaiian island music and leis were the perfect finishing touches... totally made me want to go to Hawaii!

Riga Cruise
Last weekend a group of us took a cruise to Riga, the capital of Latvia. It was an overnight boat trip and everyone was prepared to party and take advantage of the duty free alcohol prices, but our tiny boat was hit by a storm by 9pm. With the extreme rocking and shaking, most of us ended up with pretty bad motion sickness, including yours truly. We finally made it through the night though and spent the next day exploring the city. Riga is pretty small so we were able to see most of the main sites within the day. It still seemed pretty European though... I was expecting more of a Soviet feel. We boarded the ship again that evening and for the ride back we armed ourselves with motion sickness pills. The storm on the second night was actually even worse than the previous but luckily we were already lying down in bed by that time. What an experience... I'll stick with bigger boats next time to Finland and Estonia thank you very much!

Posted by mich at 10:42 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 25, 2007

God Jul!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful white Christmas back home! I'm spending the holidays with my old family friend who's working in Göteborg (Sweden's 2nd largest city on the other side of the country). Here it's +6 degrees and rainy, yuck.

I arrived in the city on Christmas Eve and by the time my train came in at 2pm the sun had already disappeared! :( Paul took me back to his place and we snacked on different cheeses and knäckebröd (Swedish crackers) while catching up. It was wonderful to find out how much of a foodie he is and that's all we talked about until dinner when he made me a delicious dish of couscous with stir-fried veggies, raisins and walnuts. Then we relaxed by the TV and watched Sex and the City (I had never seen it before believe it or not) while pigging out on dark chocolate and drinking glögg. Mmm living the lazy life!

This morning we totally slept in and made crêpes that we ate with various combinations of nutella, cheese, honey, lingonberry jam, and butter. We couldn't really call it brunch since it was 2:30pm by the time we sat down to eat! There's a pattern that's starting to repeat itself: we just can't stop talking about food! Living in Sweden, it's so expensive to eat out that you don't really have the same luxury of eating out all the time as we would in Toronto or HK. So we just fantasize about all the food that we miss back home and just drool over the places we'd eat at when we go back to TO or HK... it's quite pathetic really! Paul however is a master in the kitchen so I'm hoping to learn some cooking tips from him during my stay :) He whipped up a simple but yummy Christmas dinner of Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Posted by mich at 8:09 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 24, 2007

One Confused Canadian

One of the ways that Canadians differentiate ourselves from Americans is our use of the metric system. But after living in Europe for a couple of months I've realized how much we still depend on the Imperial system. For example, even though we use Celsius for weather temperature, ovens use Fahrenheit. So when I used the oven here in Sweden for the first time I was scratching my head over how anything could bake properly if the dial only went up to 250°... it hit me later on that it was in Celsius, durrr! When I go grocery shopping all the prices are by kilos instead of pounds, and when people talk about their flat sizes in square metres, their heights in centimetres and weight in kilos I feel completely lost because I have no frame of reference those measurements. Even for shoes, girls talk about their 15cm heels. It feels like a whole different world out here, haha.

A friend gave me a great recipe for Mjuk Pepparkaka (soft gingerbread), but since it came from a Swedish recipe book the measurements use decilitres instead of cups. I bought measuring cups here (in metric of course) so now if I want to use my own recipes from home I'll need to convert everything to dL.

Anyway I tried out the recipe with Sandra and Fernanda and although it was a bit dense instead of fluffy (probably from over mixing) it tasted fabulous. The lingonberry inside added a really nice surprise to the gingerbread taste.

Mjuk Pepparkaka

100 g butter
2 dL sugar
2 eggs
1.5 dL sour creak
1.5 spoons gingerbread spice
1 tsp baking soda
3 dL flour
1 dL lingonberry jam

1. Preheat oven 175° C
2. Combine butter, sugar and eggs in one bowl.
3. Combine spice, flour and bicorbanate in seperate bowl.
4. Mix dry ingredients into the egg mixture and add in sour cream.
5. Mix in lingonberry jam.
7. Pour batter into a greased pan and bake 40-45 minutes.

Posted by mich at 12:06 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 10, 2007

Let It Snow

Over the past few weeks here the weather's been miserable. It turned really warm but the sky's been constantly grey and overcast. In Toronto now the temperature is sub-zero but I'm so envious of the snow! Here's it's just been raining, bleh. I really hope we get snow before Christmas. Speaking of Christmas, for the first time ever, I started my Christmas shopping a month early, so now I'm done! All I have to do is finish wrapping and packaging and then ship everything out.

Every last Friday of the month my company holds pub nights in the office, so two weeks ago we had a Polish pub night. I saw the cupboards completely CRAMMED with alcohol - it was nuts. I tried some really good Polish food like breaded meatballs and a sort of coleslaw dish. Afterwards I left for a friend's wine and cheese tasting party. He's French so his mom mailed over TONS of difference cheese from France. I liked the milder cheeses, but I tried one of the stronger ones and I had a hard time digesting it. As for the blue cheese, I just stayed far far away from that.

I got together with a friend at her flat to make homemade Christmas cards and baked a mjuk pepparkaka. Unfortunately I didn't get to taste how the cake turned out but it smelled heavenly, and it must've been quite interesting with the jam mixed inside. A traditional Swedish holiday treat I did try though was glögg, a mulled wine with spices that we warmed up and added in raisins (you can also choose to add in almonds.) I actually quite enjoyed it — the alcohol was quite weak and the drink was nice and sweet. I only had a tiny bit of it yet I still felt like falling asleep while I was crafting... I'm so weak!

Posted by mich at 3:21 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 22, 2007

Baking Success

I spent most of my Saturday in the kitchen baking. First up: Christian and I made a marble cheesecake for dear young Sandra's birthday. Neither of us had ever made marble anything so instead of slicing the chocolate parts through the white layers, we ended up kinda mixing and blending the 2 together. The cake started looking better as we built it up higher and started mastering the art of slicing. I might have gotten a bit too carried away with the knife because when the cake came out after baking, the cuts in the cake close up. After chilling, it was even worse as the cuts had become huge crevices! Half an hour before the birthday dinner I started freaking out because it looked pretty bad. I made an emergency run to Loblaws and decided to try some blueberry pie filling to cover the top. It was a great save and the cake tasted even more scrumptious with the topping.

Second up was pumpkin scones. I developed a huge craving for homemade scones ever since my stay at the Bruce Peninsula B&B, where I had the best scone ever. In the spirit of the fall season I went with using pumpkin. The scones came out pretty well, but I think it could have used some more ginger and cinnamon.

Pumpkin Scones

Marble Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Base

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons margarine, melted

Cheesecake

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate, melted

1. Combine crumbs, sugar and margarine; press onto bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan. Bake at 350°, 10 minutes.

2. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend chocolate into 1 cup batter. Spoon plain and chocolate batters alternately over crust; cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect. Bake at 450°, 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°; continue baking 30 minutes. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim of pan. Chill.

3/4 cup sugar

Source: Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cookbook

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup pumpkin (if canned, be sure there are no spices or sugar added)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix together flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into flour. Mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together (don't overmix).

2. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead gently 3-4 times, and then shape/pat dough into a circle about 1 1/2 inches thick. Slice in half, and then cut each half into 3 equal pie-shaped wedges. Brush with egg glaze (1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk), and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

3. Bake on a cookie sheet for at 375° for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 6 scones.

Source: Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea

Posted by mich at 3:48 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 12, 2007

Thanksgiving Road Trip

I went on another road trip last weekend, and surprise surprise, I did all the driving... again. This time it was 1500km, whoaa baby! Chris and I went down to Pennsylvania mainly to go to Grove City's crazy outlet mall. Since we made it a 3-day trip we headed further down south to Pittsburgh first for some sightseeing. Besides the Andy Warhol museum, where I learned that Warhol grew up in Pitts, there really wasn't all that much to see or do. The city is actually quite pretty- it's surrounded by rivers and each city block has a different styled bridge to cross the water. I only saw about 15 bridges along one river, but I read the city actually has 446!!! The downtown core though was so dead on the weekend and all the shopping was closed, so we drove 10 minutes out into the suburbs to hit up the big malls.

We stayed at a motel in New Stanton about 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh, which actually worked out well for us since we had decided to drive a little further south to check out Frank Lloyd Wright's renowned Fallingwater House, which is built over a waterfall. Because we didn't make tour reservations at least a few weeks in advance, tours were completely sold out so we just walked around the exterior of the house instead. It was still quite an spectacular thing to see, especially in the fall.

It was about a 3 hour drive back up to Grove City, so we were left with only 3 hours of shopping by the time we got in at 4pm. Unfortunately, the mall closed at 7pm on Sundays which was 2 hours earlier than the rest of the week, booo. We hit up the Banana Republic outlet first, where we bumped into everyone: my mom's friend and daughter (whom I had also bumped into the last time I was in Grove City!), Christian's friend Yit and his friends, as well as Cass & co. Funny how such random events get clumped all together. After shopping, Christian and I checked into the Super 8 (where everyone else was staying too) and were giving our card key for a room. When we opened the door however, there was someone in the shower and a girl walking around &mash; we were assigned to an occupied room. The receptionist downstairs was absolutely mortified and couldn't figure out the problem, so we headed out to dinner in the meantime. Yit was scaring us because he said that when they checked in without a reservation, the girl had told him he had the very last available room. We had a reservation online, but were starting to get worried that the motel was double booked. Luckily by the time we returned to the motel, they had everything sorted out.

On the last day we went back to the mall by 10am sharp to finish up the rest of the stores we had missed. I went to my favourite store, Jimmy'z, where everything was 40% off, so I went completely buck wild. They also had clearance items that were already marked down by 50%, plus had an additional 60% off. I ended up with some great pairs of jeans that actually fit me well, and even found one for $12! How could you go wrong with that? I think everything item I bought that weekend was < $35... most of them were actually less than $15. The only thing I was disappointed about was the fact that I only really needed new running shoes (my current ones are now 9 years old and counting, and have outlived 2 other pairs). I found a couple styles that I really loved (and were super cheap), but none were in my size :( Now I'll have to look for them up here, but they'll be at least double the price. And if you all are feeling sorry for Christian about my shopping bonanza, don't. 'Cuz he shopped more like a girl than me, having bought twice as much as I did!

---

Last Friday I made my own Thanksgiving meal since my family was still away in Asia. I slaved over the kitchen for 3 hours, but I must say I completely outdid myself. I made sweet dumpling squash stuffed with pepper and wild rice, provencal roasted chicken with honey and thyme, and maple sweet dumpling squash. It was only the maple squash that didn't really turn out — even though I left it in the oven for twice as long as the recipe required, it still wasn't fully cooked so eating semi-raw squash was blech (thus, I didn't include the recipe at the bottom).

Sweet Dumpling Squash Stuffed with Peppers and Wild Rice

3 small Sweet Dumpling squash
6 pablano peppers (a mix of green and red is nice)
1 1/4 cup uncooked wild rice/brown rice mix
veggie broth
1 small onion, minced
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper

Bake whole squash until tender-firm to touch, but not totally soft, about 40 - 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool.

Cook the wild rice/brown rice mix with veggie broth instead of water.

Blacken the pablanos either under the broiler or by holding over a direct flame on the stovetop. Get them evenly charred all over and close them up in a plastic bag to steam and cool for about 20 minutes. The skins should easily peel off. Remove the stem and seeds and cut the pablanos into strips.

Once the squash has cooled, slice off the top in one piece and scoop out any seeds and strings. Cut around the sides and top of the squash to remove the flesh, taking care not to scrape too close to the sides of the squash so it remains intact. Dice the flesh.

Add some oil or butter to a skillet and sauté the onion. Add the squash pieces and sauté until tender all the way through, 5 - 10 minutes. Add the pablanos and rice and cook for a few minutes together until the flavors mix a bit together. Adjust salt and pepper.

Source: vanesscipes

Provencal Roasted Chicken with Honey and Thyme

Chicken:
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, excess fat trimmed and giblets removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, sliced
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, zested in large strips
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Sauce:
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

For the chicken: Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper, to taste. Stuff the chicken cavity with the shallot, half the thyme, and lemon zest. Set a v-rack or regular rack in a roasting pan, and brush chicken with a bit of the olive oil. Whisk the honey and remaining oil in a small bowl. Dip the remaining thyme in the mixture and use it to brush the chicken all over with the honey mixture. Season bird with salt and pepper, to taste.

Tuck the wings under the back, cross the legs, and tie them with kitchen string. Place the chicken breast side down on the rack and roast until the back is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the chicken breast side up. Cut the string where it holds the legs together and open up the legs a bit. Baste the chicken with the pan drippings, using the thyme sprigs as a brush. Roast the chicken again until the breast is golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees F., 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a carving board, and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.

For the sauce: Remove the rack from the roasting pan. Put the pan over medium-high heat, add the water, and stir with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits that cling to the pan. Strain the pan drippings into a small bowl and spoon off the fat. Whisk in the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, shallot, thyme, salt, and pepper to taste. Carve the chicken and serve drizzled with the sauce.

Source: Food Network

Posted by mich at 6:49 PM | return | dreams [1]

October 5, 2007

Kooza

I went to see Cirque du Soleil for the first time ever and I was so blown away. I've always caught bits and pieces of shows on tv, but it always just seemed "meh" to me on the small screen. For Kooza Christian and I got front row seats and they were amazing.

My favourite act involved this huge long contraption with 2 big hamster wheels at either end. Two guys at each end spun the end wheels, which in turn spun the big machine. Chris and I were sitting right in front of that thing which was pretty scary because it felt like we were going to get hit and we could feel the wind blowing in our faces! These guys were doing the CRAZIEST stunts that had the crowd screaming and yelling in excitement and terror. That was definitely the most exhilarating part of the night. Other performances I loved were the contortionists (but they made me flinch the whole time), a couple who did a dance-like routine on a unicycle, and a guy who did balancing poses on top of stacks upon stacks of chairs. Another amazing feat was done by the tightrope walkers: 2 guys riding across on bicycles connected by a stick, and another guy balancing on a chair on top of that stick! The clown segments in between were hilarious and so much fun too, and the juggler was juggling in a way I had never seen before &mdash with his head and feet. Everything about the show was spectacular: costumes, set and lighting design, and music. I loved it, I want to see them all now!

---

I cooked myself a pretty little dinner two nights ago and it turned out quite nice and tasty. The next day though I tried rice pilaf again and ended up with sloppy rice because I added way too much water for too little rice :(

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Tomatoes and Thyme

2 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups red and yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 teaspoons capers (optional)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil (or lemon flavored olive oil)
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Thyme sprigs for garnish

Heat grill to medium high heat. Grill chicken breasts, turning once (about
7 minutes per side). Meanwhile, in large skillet add tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, thyme, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Heat only until warm. Spoon mixture over chicken breast; garnish with thyme sprigs and serve.

Posted by mich at 5:30 PM | return | dreams [0]

September 20, 2007

Sad Tales From the Kitchen

I'm home alone again so on Monday I attempted to cook myself some rice pilaf. I found myself a simple recipe in one of my cookbooks and starting whipping up the dish. It was starting to smell and taste great but the rice wasn't quite ready yet. I was getting impatient because it was taking too long and I just turned the stove a bit higher and left it for 5 minutes. When I came back however, all I could smell was burning and a 1-inch layer of burned rice had cake itself to the bottom of the pot. Most of the rice looked fine and unharmed, but it had absorbed all the burning scent so that it overpowered the nice aroma from the onions and spices. Even though the rice tasted like burning, I ended up eating a whole bowl because I had no other food in the house :(

The next evening Christian and I attempted to make our own butter chicken and ratatouille. The only reason I wanted to make ratatouille was because of the movie — I didn't even know what it was before. The ratatouille turned out great, but the butter chicken.... not so much. It didn't taste much like butter chicken but rather more like tomato sauce that left a sour aftertaste. Apparently we picked out a really sour yogurt that we used in the recipe. The consistency was too thick so it wasn't as saucy as the ones I've had at restaurants. Bah, how am I supposed to survive on my own?

I'll post up the recipes later but here are some nice pictures:

ratatouille_butterchicken_strip.jpg

butter_chicken_ratatouille_meal.jpg

Last night our hockey team, Puck Off, had our first game of the season. We won 6-3, with the first goal scored by yours truly :P I'm really looking forward to this season- Christian gathered all our CS friends from school so it'll be so much fun, plus we're actually not bad!

Posted by mich at 4:55 PM | return | dreams [0]

June 24, 2007

Happiness Is a Pair of Yellow Shoes

At the beginning of the month I promised myself these pair of shoes if I got my project management job.... and here they are! I'm glad I waited this long though because they just went on sale last week, AND I was lucky enough to find the last pair in my size. Double score!

This weekend was a pretty busy, but still a relaxing weekend: dragonboat practice, scored my 2 Sweden books half off at BMV books, walked along Bloor between Yonge and Christie (whew!), had drinks at the Madison, tried the famous Dante's Pizza (so amazing!), played tennis, did a mini marathon of The Office, and cooked up a Red Roast Duck Curry, which honestly could rival the curry at Salad King.

Continue reading for the recipe...

Red Roast Duck Curry

[For this recipe, we only used half a duck and threw in broccoli, onion, red pepper and potatoes]

1 tbsp peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
8 spring onions, cut into 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) lengths
1 tbsp red curry paste, or to taste
400 ml coconut milk
750 g Chinese roast duck, chopped
450 g can pineapple pieces in syrup, drained
3 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
15 g chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tablespoons chopped mint

1. Heat a wok until very hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, spring onion and paste and stir-fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

2. Stir in the coconut milk, duck, pineapple, lime leaves, coriander leaves and mint. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the duck is heated through. Serve with jasmine rice.

Serves 4-6.

Posted by mich at 11:46 PM | return | dreams [0]

May 13, 2007

Siren Sounds

Last night I was a photographer for the Siren Sounds benefit concert to raise money and awareness for Interval House, a shelter for abused women. The lineup featured Fefe Dobson and Melissa O'Neil along with a few local acts, but my favourite performance of the evening was by Goodbye Glory, who were so energetic and totally rockin' it with their awesome songs (although I don't know what songs they actually sang, boo). Not only was it great to be doing this for a good cause, but It was a pretty cool experience to get to shoot people doing makeup, performing sound checks, doing media interviews, and of course shooting the concert itself. It was a pretty long day for me though as I had biked out to the Beaches earlier in the afternoon, then to the Opera House where I was there from 4:30pm to 1am... my arm was so tired from holding up my camera that whole time! Thanks to Steve for hooking me up, and for making all those super awesome Viet spring rolls :P Here's a pic of Fefe Dobson- more to come!

A few days ago I tried making my first loaf of banana bread. It turned out pretty nice, but not as moist as I would have liked. Maybe it needed a bit more banana? Not too sure. But it was yummy enough that it disappeared in less than 2 days.

Continue reading for the recipe:

----

Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (5 medium)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9 x 5 x 3-inch or two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch loaf pans; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, bananas, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts (if desired). Spoon batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes for 9 x 5 x 3-inch pan, or 40 to 45 minutes for 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2-inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Makes: 1 loaf (16 servings)

Posted by mich at 7:45 PM | return | dreams [1]

November 20, 2006

Dance, Food, and Santa

Friday evening was a girl's night out. Christina and I met up after work to have a scrumptious dinner at Il Fornello, where we split a pizza with caramelized onions,smoked chicken, spinach and roasted pine nuts, a pear and strawberry salad, and tiramisu. Although we were pretty full already, the tiramisu was so delicious that we just had to order a second one, haha, oy! After dinner we went to the opera house to watch The Sleeping Beauty ballet. The performance was so beautiful and the costumes were absolutely stunning. The dancer in the role of Aurora was spectacular, having done a really difficult feat of both strength and balance (as was explained to the audience in an informative lecture before the show). Apparently the principal dancer goes through 2 or 3 pointe shoes every show; just goes to show you how much stress and pressure their feet must endure. The most surprising thing was that I didn't realize the Disney movie used variations of the music from the ballet, so I could recognize a lot of different parts the orchestra was playing. It was really quite interesting to see how the music was interpreted so differently in the ballet and movie: most notably, a piece that was played with a really sensual, playful and jazzy tone during a cat dance was the same piece used by Disney that became evil and menacing during a witch scene. I was kind of expecting a big dramatic climax when the witch dies, but all it took for her defeat was a simple cut of her string from the spinning wheel- like, where was the part when she's supposed to turn into a dragon?! Haha, j/k j/k... but still, that "climax" was kinda cheesy. Aside from that, I had a wonderful time and the 3 hours just flew right by.

Saturday night was Tony's birthday dinner so we went to the new Wasabi Japanese buffet that just opened in Richmond Hill. The place was so jam-packed that it was a struggle to get around the food area. But the selection was quite impressive- they even had a chocolate fondue fountain! I ate too much though (especially desserts :X) After dinner I made Christmas sugar cookies from scratch, which turned out surprisingly okay, considering how disastrous the dough was turning out. The dough was so dry and crumbly that I had to add in an extra egg and water to bind everything together. In the end only half the batch was successful, as I had turned the other half into rock-hard discs. What a terrible recipe; I'm not even going to bother posting it up this time.

The Santa Clause parade was yesterday and I with some fellow dodgeballers volunteered to help Sick Kids sell necklaces and toques to the crowds. The weather was so cold out that day, and after walking around from 10:30am to 2pm yelling out to the crowds, my feet were so frozen that I was limping and my throat was so sore. I think overall we were able to raise a lot of money for the hospital so that all made up for it :)

Posted by mich at 9:30 PM | return | dreams [0]

October 30, 2006

C'est l'Halloween, c'est l'Halloween, hey!

Does anybody remember that French Halloween song? I used to sing that each year from grades 4 to 6... oh, the nostalgia.

This evening I baked some Halloween sugar cookies, and my are they sweet (the frosting and sprinkles didn't help either). They were quick and easy to make. Well, I don't know if you can even call it real baking. I took a Betty Crocker package of cookie mix and mixed it in with some margarine and egg and popped it in the oven. Oh well, they're delicious nonetheless.

Did everyone have a fun Halloween weekend? I went to a party Saturday night, but didn't even have a costume until the very last minute. During the day on Saturday I had a floor hockey tournament and I was pretty beat and headache-y when I got home so I had to take a nap. Well, by the time I woke up it was time to head to the party... so I just went in my PJs. Cheesy? Yes. Was I comfortable and warm on that cold, blustery evening? You betcha!

Posted by mich at 11:53 PM | return | dreams [0]

Miss Chef

My parents abandoned the kids yet again for a Hawaiian cruise. Oh, the cruelness. So that leaves me to be the domestic diva for the week. And yes, that means cooking (scared yet?). I was pretty successful yesterday with my cinamon french toast for brunch and turkey casserole for dinner (continue reading for the recipe). I had a ball shopping at Loblaws- they have a $1.44 sale going on. Oh the savings to be had! One day down, 8 to go :/

Wild Rice and Turkey Casserole

2 cups cut-up cooked turkey or chicken
2 1/4 cups boiling water
1/3 cup milk
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
6 rice

1. Heat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients in ungreased 2-quart casserole dish.
2. Cover and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender. Uncover and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer or until liquid is absorbed.

Posted by mich at 9:55 AM | return | dreams [0]

September 3, 2006

Sushi!

I've become a big fan of California Rolls and today Christian and I rolled our own sushi for lunch filled. We stuffed our rolls with cucumber, red peppers, fake crab, avocado, and mayonnaise and topped them with sesame seeds. Surprisingly, it turned out to be really easy and fun to make.

Posted by mich at 10:21 PM | return | dreams [0]

August 28, 2006

Peach Crisp

Joy wrote about a recipe she tried and it looked delicious. If it's peachy, I'm all over it like a fat kid on a Smartie. It took a lot longer than I expected. I started peeling the skins off the peaches, which is pretty tedious (and wastes a lot of peach), and after doing 8, I realized that I needed 8 cups and not 8 peaches :X I was like, bahhh screw it; I'm keeping the rest of them fuzzy. And they didn't even make a difference in the end.

It was all worth it though because they came out absolutley delicious. I couldn't stop eating them- and they were even better with ice cream on top.

Continue reading for the recipe down below.

Peach Crisp

Filling:
8 cups fresh sliced peaches (free stone peaches)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour

Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Dash of fresh grated nutmeg
3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and gently mix.

3. Pour the filling ingredients into a 9 by13-inch baking pan and set aside while making the topping.

4. In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles large peas. Stir in the egg. Distribute the topping evenly over the peaches in the baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes.

Posted by mich at 6:02 PM | return | dreams [1]

May 11, 2006

Lovin' My New Skirt

<-- Look how cute! I'm still in disbelief over how much I had splurged for this skirt, but all the compliments I've been getting for it kind of justify the purchase :P Now I need to find some cute matching shoes to go with it, perhaps these super comfy Lacoste ones. Hopefully Sandra can help me find cheaper ones over in HK! :D

I finally put my Home and Garden Cookbook to use and tried the Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce last Saturday. I had put in too much curry powder and sugar rendering it too spicy, yet without too much flavour. I gave it another go this evening and it turned out a bit better; I added lots of salt to bring out flavour, but I was a bit short on the curry powder and coconut milk. Third time's a charm I guess? The previous evening I had Salad King's famous Golden Curry, and I must say, my own curry paled in comparison :( My mission now is to figure out the secret to making curry like Salad King.

This week I also went to see the Boygroove play/musical with Christian, Justine, and Janine. It was my second time seeing it, but it was still hilarious nonetheless with a few new bits added. Definitely recommended! *thumbs up*

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 large red onion, chopped (1 cup)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finley chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 13 1/2- or 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
a tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablesppons snipped fresh basil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups hot cooked rice

1. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Place chicken in a medium bowl. In a small bowl stir together the curry powder, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Sprinkle spice mixture over chicken, tossing to coat evenly. Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours to allow spices to penetrate meat.

2. In a large nonstick wok or skillet cook and stir onion, garlic, and jalepeno peppers in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Remove onion mixture from wok. Add halk of the chicken to wok. Cook and stire for 3 ot 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from wok. (If necessary, add additional oil.) Cook remaining chicken as above; remove from wok.

4. Combine coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to wok. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Return chicken and onion mixture to wok. Stir in basil and ginger. Cook and stir about 2 minutes more until heated through. Serve over hot rice.

Posted by mich at 10:29 PM | return | dreams [1]

January 22, 2006

Don't Vote. Eat Your Ballot!

Since I have a recipe theme running through my last few posts, and seeing how it's election day tomorrow, I found a few recipes for edible ballots. So go out and pick up your ballot!

Posted by mich at 11:07 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 21, 2006

Recipe(s) For Disaster

Oh boy. The family wasn't happy about the dinner Christian and I had prepared last night. The menu for the evening consisted of Sesame Broccoli, Vegetarian Curry, and Roast Duck (prepared by my dad). It was our first time attempting a curry dish, and given that we had no idea what was required for a delicious curry, we didn't give a second thought to our shady recipe that didn't include milk or water in the ingredients. First of all, we added way too much curry powder (1 tsp rather than the 2 tbsp would have been more reasonable) so it just tasted like spiciness. Our curry had to cook for almost an hour and even after all that time, some potatos and carrots remained a bit raw, and the veggies didn't absorb a lot of flavour. We only realized that our curry wasn't going to turn creamy without adding any liquid so my mom suggested pouring in some coconut milk and then some sugar to reduce the spiciness. Either way, the dish still turned out very very hot- I thought I could have breathed out fire.

While making the curry dish, my dad had the duck cooking on the stove. I didn't have any more space on the stove to make my broccoli, so my dad took off the duck a bit early, thinking that it was all ready. Cooking up the broccoli was a cinch, but it turned out either too sesame-ish or vinegar-y for everyone's taste (although I thought it wasn't too bad). So with the broccoli dish a miss and the vegetable curry (aka fire in a dish) gone wrong, we were looking forward to the roast duck to save the day. But right before dinner was ready to serve, we realized that the duck was still not fully cooked, resulting in a vegetarian dinner. My family ended up waiting until 9pm for dinner only to be presented with a couple of pitiful dishes. They opened a can of chunky stew to go along with the meal, and my youngest sister just settled on leftover "choi fan" that my mom made the night before.

Vegetable Curry

1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots; cook and stir until tender. Season with curry powder, turmeric, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

2. Add the cauliflower and potatoes to the pan, and stir to coat with spices. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally.

Makes 4 servings.

Sesame Broccoli

1 tsp vinegar (rice, white or cider)
2 tsp Asian sesame oil
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 bunch broccoli (about 1 lb/450 g)

1. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, chili flakes and salt.

2. Cut broccoli head into florets. Peel large stems; cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Steam or boil over or in medium saucepan of boiling water until crip-tender, about 5 minutes; drain.

3. Toss broccoli with dressing. Serve wamr or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 1:44 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 16, 2006

Spanish Treat

I found a Spanish recipe for Toasted Bread with Bittersweet Chocolate in the Toronto Star a while back and decided to test it out. It was quick and simple and I didn't mess it up this time! The olive oil and sea salt really add a nice twist to the chocolate.

I'm back at Extreme Fitness after a few months hiatus. I tried out Goodlife too but it just doesn't compare at all, especially when it comes to their classes (I love Extreme's yoga and pilates!) And upon going back to the gym, maaan, I found out how much fatter I got. I'm not talking like how all girls say they're "fat"- I was told by a computerized machine *sigh*. That's the ugly consequence of baking too many holiday treats.

Toasted Bread With Bittersweet Chocolate

16 thin slices (each about 1/2-inch) baguette
4 oz (120 g) bittersweet chocolate
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Spread bauguette slices on baking sheet. Bake 8 inches under pre-heated broiler until toasted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Turn slices over. Set equal portions chocolate on each. Broil just until bread is golden and chocolate is beginning to melt, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer toasts to serving plate. Generously drizzle each with oil. Lightly sprinkle each with salt. Serve immediately.

Posted by mich at 9:36 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 14, 2006

Buuurn!

I wish I had known what a slow cooker was before I attempted a recipe I found in my mom's slowcooker recipe book. When I asked my mom what it was, she made it seem like it was a crock pot. So that's what I used to make my Sweet and Spicy Cashews for the first 10 minutes of cooking, until it dawned on my mom that I was using the wrong thing to cook with. A few cashews were already burned a bit by the time I transferred them to the slow cooker. In the end they came out looking a little more than toasted:

Oh my goodness! After typing out the recipe, I just realized I did a huge boo boo in following the recipe: I added the butter in the beginning instead of mixing it in after the cashews were toasted. No wonder they burned. Noooooo! What a waste of cashews! I scrounged around the bowl for the lightest coloured cashews; once those were gone, I settled for the ones with only one side that was burned and ate the less burned side. When the only choices left were burned or very very burned, I was left nibbling at the tiny parts of cashews that weren't as burned as the rest of the nut. Yum yum, haha!

This afternoon I went for a spa treatment that was my xmas gift from my mummy. An hour and a half of soothing facial treatment and relaxing massage- I wanted to stay on that bed forever.

Spicy Cashews

2 cups raw cashews
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Sweet and Spicy Cashews: Substitute 1 tbsp butter for the olive oil and add alon with 2 tbsp brown sugar.

1. In slow cooker stoneware, combine cashews, chili powder, cayenne and cinnamon. Stir to combine thoroughly. Cover and cook on High for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until nuts are nicely toasted.

2. In a small bowl, combine sea salt and olive oil. Add to nuts in slow cooker and stir to thoroughly cominbe. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and serve hot or allow to cool.

Posted by mich at 5:21 PM | return | dreams [1]

January 8, 2006

Helloooo Nurse!

I made a pretty darned good chicken noodle soup the other day for my poor sick baby. It turned out a bit too thyme-y but we'll just overlook that!

Last night Chris, Sandra and I had dinner with Kris, whom we haven't seen in ages! As always, upon seeing her she bursted into laughter within the first couple of seconds. We had dinner at a sushi place, during which Chris^2 unwittingly ingested balls of wasabi tucked into their sushi pieces, resulting in flaming red faces and tears. Value entertainment that can be replayed on captured video :P Good times, hehe! Later on we trekked up to Williams for yummy waffle desserts. There goes my one dessert for this week >_<

This afternoon Michelle hosted a lovely latke lunch for a small bunch of us. Her potato pancakes were delicious and she also filled us up with salad, cheese & crackers, sandwiches, and veggies & dip. After getting all stuffed, she hauled out a fruit platter and apple pie, omg! It was a great lunch and a fun afternoon, but now I don't think I have space for dinner :P

Hearty Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

2 cans undiluted chicken broth
2 large celery sticks
1 onion
1-1.5 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 skinless, boneless chicken breats
1 cup broad egg noodles or 1/2-in. bundle spaghetti
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely or coriander

1. Pour chicken broth and 2 cans of water into a large saucepan or pasta pot and set over medium-high heat. Slice carrots into thin rounds, then add. Thinly slice celery. Finely chop onion. Add celery and onion to broth along with thyme. Stir. Cut chicken into 1-in. cubes, then stir into broth. Bring to a boil. If using egg noodles, stir in. Then cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. If using spaghetti, break into thirds, then stir in and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 min.

2. While noodles are cooking, chop parsley. Remove soup from heat and stir in parsley. Ladle into warm bowls. Great with pieces of french bread for dipping. Soup will keep well, covered and refrigerated, up to 4 days or freeze up to 2 months. Noodles will absorb liquid, so you will need to add more broth or water when reheating.

Makes 7.5 cups.

Posted by mich at 6:05 PM | return | dreams [0]

January 4, 2006

Happy 2006

It was a festive and, for a few people, a wild new year's eve party at Christian's. Let's just say that the few us that stayed overnight were up until 4am... the photos that will never see the light of day tell the story. However, I *will* put up pics of my oh so yummy Candy Cane Cake! It's actually an upside down angel cake because when I tried to flip it right side up, the whole cake cracked >_< Luckily my dad was around to help me flip it back without completely destroying it to pieces :) As per usual, continue reading for the recipe!

New Year's day was spent doing some cleaning up at Christian's before heading up to Pacific Mall to meet with my family and relatives for dinner. The rest of the evening was spent at my place playing mah jong and poker until 3am.

Reflecting back on 2005, this year turned out to be a huge emotional roller-coaster for me. A bit of it was of course school related, having been stressed with not only school work but with creating the CSSU yearbook. But those were just peanuts compared to having to come to terms with the fact that I was entering a new phase in my life and was forever leaving my student life behind me. Immediately following my convocation it all hit me- hard, and I fell into a sort of depression that I hadn't experienced since my high school days. It was a variety of different things that kept putting me in slumps. I had all these plans of things that I wanted to do after graduating, yet I didn't know exactly when I wanted to do each thing... it felt like I was being pulled in all sorts of directions and I couldn't focus on one thing. Even now I get anxious thinking about what path I should follow. I gave up the photography job on the cruise ship in the fall (and instead, landed a job from hell) and I don't know whether I should still go for it come summertime or just give up on it and move on. During my last year I never worried about going to those career fairs or applying to companies to get a job right after school. That wasn't my goal- I didn't want to feel stuck in a job so early on before I got a chance to do something adventurous and exciting. I figured doing my own thing would be satisfying and fulfilling, but in the end it was frustrating and I feel like it didn't amount to much. I hate to say it, but sometimes I regretted not getting a stable and boring computer job... at least I wouldn't feel useless and demoralized. Through it all, sweet BFF helped put things in perspective for me and lifted me up during my lowest lows, and for that I am so thankful ^_^

On a happier note, 2005 also had its memorable moments:
Bus driver losing bus keys during the CSSU ski trip and waiting a few hours for another bus to drive us home reading week trip to Montreal with Christian dogde ball games at Hart House salsa dancing for the first time experiementing with a Hasselblad seeing the CS gang all dressed up for the CSSU formal having my photographs published and exhibited completing a decent application for Capstone waiting 7 hours in line to see Coldplay at The Edge only to be completely shafted 24 marathons biking 50 km along the Gardiner and DVP camping trip at Algonquin Canada Day in Ottawa with Christian discovering the amazing gym classes at Hart House taking a fashion photography course leading to fashion shoots with models watching Kid Koala perform at the Harbourfront's Dim Sum festival seeing Nel on his summer visit back from HK spending a day at Centreville with Christian and winning stuffed toys for the both of us beach volleyball at Ashbridges Bay getting creamed with bananas sitting front row centre at the Blue Man Group show tennis nights with Dennis & co. seeing big stars while volunteering at the film festival hiking in the Cheltenham Badlands 6 days of Disneyworld "boot camp" dining at Canoe and Rosewater Supper Club having had the best Christmas holiday to date

Candy Cane Cake

Cake
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon red food color
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

White Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, if desired

Decoration
Crushed candy canes or crushed hard peppermint candies, if desired

--------------

1. Heat oven to 350F. Generously grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube (bundt cake) pan.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and egg whites with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.

3. Pour about 2 cups batter into pan. Pour about 3/4 cup batter into small bowl; stir in food color and peppermint extract. Carefully pour pink batter over white batter in pan. Carefully pour remaining white batter over pink batter.

4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn pan upside down onto wire rack or heatproof serving plate; remove pan. Cool cake completely, about 1 hour.

5. In small bowl, mix all icing ingredients. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until smooth and spreadable. Spread icing over cake. Sprinkle top with crushed candy.

Makes 12 servings.

Posted by mich at 7:36 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 26, 2005

Not Cut Out For Boxing Day Anymore

It's been a hectic few days this holiday weekend what with tons of shopping, eating, and more shopping; and it continues tomorrow with round #2 of boxing day :P

On the 21st I lunched with Dennis at Carnival Grill, a new Brazilian restaurant that opened at East Beaver Creek. It's actually a buffet/all-you-can-eat place there's not only a buffet table for you to fill your plates, they have waiters coming around to everyone with freshly grilled meats to anyone that wants. The best thing that came was the massive grilled pinepple coated in cinamon. YUM. Afterwards we visited Vaughan Mills to do a once around the block. The next day I had Christmas dinner with family and relatives at Pacific Mall. On the 23rd I took the car early in the morning and hit up the library to borrow a some DVDs like Nobody Knows, 21 Grams, Million Dollar Baby, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to name a few. I met up with Christian in the afternoon at Fairview Mall to buy a cute bonsai tree for my mom. We were only able to stay for 1.5 hours before I was beckoned by my parents to pick them up early from work. I got to my mom's workplace believing that she was all ready to leave, but we were left waiting for 45 min or so. The plan was to pick up my mom then pick up my dad from Hillcrest Mall, where he decided to go after work but didn't anticipate the extended stay... oops. When we arrived at Hillcrest, we spent around 20 minutes looking for him at the entrances of the Bay... it was like a game of hide and seek. I thought he just eventually fell asleep on one of the couches in the mall! But he actually meant that he was waiting for us at the Bay entrace *inside* the mall... aiya. Later that evening after dinner, Chris and I met up with Justine, Brad, and Jon for some dessert at Williams Coffee Pub waaay up north. The waffles were delish, although my milkshake wasn't too great >.< Stayed up until 3:30am working on some portfolio pieces.

Christmas Eve my family had to get to Pacific Mall for 11am to reserve a table for dim sum with Christian and his family at 11:30. Early in the morning and the restaurant was already so packed! The rest of the day was just spent walking around the mall and then grocery shopping at Loblaws for Christmas day meals that Chris and I were going to prepare. I found some really nice cookie cutters that were half price for a dollar, which was a much better deal than the cheap plastic one I got from Bulk Barn the day before. However, they were rung up at regular price and the cashier people had the biggest problem finding the proper price for them. Finally, 15 minutes later they resolved everything and they let me have one for free for all the trouble... so I got 3 cookie cutters for $2! Sweet! Haha, omg I'm such a nerd.

Christmas morning I woke up at 10:30 to make brunch for my family. Started preparing the food at 11am... and finished cooking at 1:15. I couldn't believe it took me over 2 HOURS to make a freakin' meal of homemade hashbrowns, cinamon pancakes, and omelettes with onions, peppers and cheese. And the worst part was... that it wasn't even enough food!! OMG. If a lazy sleepyhead (aka my boyfriend) didn't sleep in until 1pm, maybe a little help would've gone a long way :P But he did come to the rescue in the end by whipping up some yummy maple syrup covered sausages. So he actually *is* good for something (I kid I kid!) :P

After eating we all opened presents, then Chris and I went on to start preparing dinner at 4pm (because who wants to have dinner at 10pm?!) Anthony dropped by for a bit later in the afternoon so we had a nice chat with him. Then it was back to making our Herbed Roast Pork Loin and Gratin Dauphinois (but without the fatty cream that I used last week). At the same time we prepared the yummy Chocolate Chip Cream Chese Squares that we tried out last year. In the end, dinner and dessert all turned out great :)


At night we tried out our new mah-jong table and played until 1am. Christian and I played as a team, and having been our first real time playing the game, I must say, we kicked some serious butt :) Too bad we weren't playing with chips!

Waking up at 8am this morning was absolutely brutal. But that's the sacrifice one must make to land some great sales :P We all headed to the Club Monaco outlet at 9am where they had 50% off everything in the store. We shopped there until 11 then headed downtown to the Eaton Centre where Christian and I were almost killed >.< It turned out that there was a shooting by the mall right across from Sam the Record Man. We were right there only a couple of hours before the shooting! Scary man. We stayed at the mall until 6pm when everyone was totally shopped out and exhausted. It was so hardcore, it felt like we were back in Disneyworld.

Oh, note to everyone: NEVER go to Bubble Tease- it SUCKS. I normally would never go there for bubble tea, but today I was suffering from Shop 'Til You Drop syndrome and was craving some milk tea. I don't know what it is that I ended up drinking, but it did not taste like tea, or even juice. More like watered down sugary powder... YUCK!

Herbed Roast Pork Loin and Potatoes

1 boneless pork loin roast, about 3 to 4 pounds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 to 2 teaspoon freeze-dried or fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 to 6 medium potatoes
salt and pepper, to taste

Rub pork loin with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, then sprinkle with salt and pepper; place pork loin in a shallow roasting pan. Roast at 325 for 50 to 55 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter potatoes; cook in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain, let cool, and place potatoes in a large bowl; toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, chives, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Place potatoes around pork loin; roast an additional 45 to 60 minutes, or until pork registers at least 155 on a thermometer.

Cover roast pork loin with foil and let stand for about 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 8 to 10.

Posted by mich at 10:15 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 19, 2005

French Cooking

Last Thursday my sisters and I made a homecooked French dinner for my parents. The menu consisted of: french baguette, Chicken Provencale, Sauted Shrimp with Fried Garlic and Baked Tomato, and Gratin Dauphinois. Although parts of the chicekn were a bit overcooked, the whole meal turned out pretty nice :) And for dessert I made a yummy Tapioca Sago (not French :P) using a recipe I found at Bulk Barn.

Continue reading for the recipes...

    



Chicken Provencale

For Vegetables:
2 cups cubed peeled eggplant
2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium green sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup red or dry white wine, or chicken broth
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

For Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 pound total)
1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt

--------------------------------------------------------

FOR VEGETABLE: In a large saucepan combine the eggplant, tomatoes, onion, red and green sweet peppers, wine or chicken broth, basil, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 5 minutes more, or till vegetables are tender and nearly all of the liquid is evaporated.

FOR CHICKEN: Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place each breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Working from the center to the edges, pound chicken lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet to a 1/4-inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt.

In a large skillet heat the oil and paprika over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or till tender and no pink remains, turning once.

TO SERVE: Spoon vegetables on plates and top with chicken.

Makes 4 servings.




Sauteed Shrimp with Fried Garlic and Baked Tomato

4 tomatoes, about 1 1/2 lb total weight
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb medium-sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Cut the tomatoes in half and place them, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the tops. Bake until cooked through but still firm, about 15 minutes.

3. About 3 minutes before the tomatoes are done, in a saut pan over high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the shrimp and salt and pepper to taste and saut until pink and firm, 2-3 minutes.

4. Transfer the baked tomatoes to individual serving dishes. Place the sauted shrimp on top of the tomatoes, dividing them evenly.

5. In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the garlic and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and saut until the garlic turns golden brown, about 1 minute.

6. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan by stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom, about 30 seconds. Immediately pour the contents of the saucepan equally over each serving. Sprinkle with the parsley and cayenne. Serve at once.

NOTE: Tomatoes can be replaced with a bed of steamed spinach.

Makes 4 servings.




Gratin Dauphinois

3 pounds (1.5 kg) baking potatoes, such as russets, peeled and very thinly sliced
2 cups (50 cl) whole milk
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 bay leaves
1 cup (25 cl) creme fraiche or heavy cream
2 cups (about 5 ounces; 160 g) freshly grated Gruyre or Chedder cheese
Freshly ground nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with the milk and 2 cups (50 cl) of water. Add the garlic, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally so that the potatoes do not stick to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.

3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer half of the potatoes to a large, 14- by 9- by 2-inch (35.5 by 23 by 5 cm) gratin dish. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, pepper, half the creme fraiche, and half the cheese. Cover with the remaining potatoes, and sprinkle again with nutmeg, pepper, and the remaining creme fraiche and cheese.

4. Bake, uncovered, until the gratin is crisp and golden on top, about 1 hour. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.




Tapioca Sago

1/4 cup small sago
2 1/4 cup milk (or coconut milk)
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of salt

1. Soak sago in cold water for 2 hours, drain, then add milk. Cook in double boiler until clear.

2. Beat 2 eggs slightly. Add sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Mix in the cooked sago.

3. Pour into 7"-9" greased casserole dish. Place casserole in a pan of hot water and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

4. Serve with fruits or sauces.

Posted by mich at 10:04 PM | return | dreams [0]

December 1, 2005

Vegetarian Chef

Made dinner tonight for my sister and I while my parents went out dining for their anniversary.

Garden Vegetable Pasta

1 package (16 ounces) pasta
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
2 medium carrots, sliced (1/4 cup)
1 medium onion, diced (1/2 cup)
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices (4 cups)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook and drain spaghetti as directed on package.
2. While spaghetti is cooking, heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook carrots, onion, zucchini and garlic in oil, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients except cheese; cook until hot. Serve vegetable mixture over spaghetti. Sprinkle with cheese.

Posted by mich at 11:23 PM | return | dreams [0]

November 1, 2005

Better Than Demetre

My own improvised version of a smoothie. No more sour smoothies from Demetre.

FYI - Strawberries are on sale for $1.99 at Loblaws this week!

Pink Berry Smoothie

1/2 banana
1/2 cup mixed berry yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup strawberry kiwi cocktail
1/4 cup fresh strawberries

1. In a blender, on high speed, pure banana, yogurt, milk, fruit juice, and strawberries.

Serves 1.

Posted by mich at 11:02 AM | return | dreams [0]

August 2, 2005

I Said I Hated The Beach, But...

I'm hooked on beach volleyball now. I played it for the first time yesterday at Ashbridges Bay and it was so much fun. The only icky part was falling a bunch of times and getting sand stuck to my sweaty back. Played in the water, played some frisbee... good times :) After the beach, Christian came over and we made Vietnamese Beef and Herb Rice Paper Rolls for dinner. They turned out pretty well, but I forgot to take my food picture! The recipe is in the 'continue reading' section for anyone who's interested.

Hm, what else happened over the past 2 weeks? Went to the controller.controller concert at Lee's Palace, Summerlicious dinner at Innocenti, watched Kid Koala at Harbourfront's Dim Sum Festival (he was soooo amazing), watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on IMAX, Justine's b-day at Windy O'Neil's, lunched with Nelson on a stay from HK, BBT'd with San, Tony and Chris, casted a model for a fashion shoot, played at Centreville on Centre Island on Saturday (where I won a stuffed toy for both myself and Christian :P), went to the driving range on Sunday and had an evening of foosball competitions, and beach bummed yesterday. Whew.

Now back to learning how to Flash.

Vietnamese Beef and Herb Rice Paper Rolls

1 stalk lemon grass
2 shallots, sliced
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish or soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
500 g sirloin or fillet steak
1 tablespoon oil
12 rice paper wrappers
12 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
30 g mint leaves
20 g fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Other suggested veggies:
cucumber, bell peppers, bean sprouts, carrots

1. Cut off the thick bottom one-third of the lemon grass stalk. Discard the rest. Blend the lemon grass, shallots, garlic and sugar to a smooth paste. Add some fish/soy sauce if the mixture gets too dry.

2. Transfer to a bowl then add the remaining fish/soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, sesame seeds, onion and beef. Set aside to marinate for 1 hour.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Pan-fry the meat on very high heat for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until done to taste. (Instead of pan-frying, you can barbeque the beef on a table-top grill greased with oil.)

4. Transfer to a plate to cool. Once the meat has cooled, slice thinly.

5. Dip 1 sheet of rice paper in a bowl of warm water for 3-4 seconds. Remove and place on a tea towel, smoothing the rice paper with your fingers.

6. Place 1 lettuce leaf on each sheet.

7. Add some beef, mint, coriander leaves, and other vegetables you prefer. Fold one end over the filling, then fold the sides, and roll up tightly, pressing to seal.

8. Cut in half and place on a serving plate.

Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. Make sure the rolls do not touch each other or they will stick. Serve with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.

Makes 12 rolls.

Posted by mich at 11:12 PM | return | dreams [0]

July 11, 2005

Mmm.... Cheesecake

I made cheesecake for the very first time today *sees everyone running for cover*. It tastes alright, but it's very mushy in the middle of the cake, probably from the sour cream (?) that the recipe called for. I specifically looked for a cherry cheesecake recipe since we've got a whole batch full of fresh cherries. It's really a cherry cheesecake with chocolate almond crust, but I just used plain graham crackers instead. My graham crust wasn't moist enough so it got really crumbly. I think for the next time I'll try the Philly recipes and just add cherries in it.

Continue reading for recipe...

Cherry Cheesecake with Chocolate Almond Crust

For chocolate-almond crust
3/4 cup blanched whole almonds, toasted lightly
20 thin chocolate wafer cookies
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

For cherry topping
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
3 cups pitted picked-over fresh tart cherries (about 2 pints)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For cheese filling
two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
an 8-ounce container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup cherry juice reserved from making topping

--------------------------------------------------------

Make crust:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a food processor pulse almonds until ground. Add chocolate wafer cookies and grind fine. Add butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt and pulse until combined well. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up side. Bake crust in middle of oven 10 minutes and transfer to a rack to cool. Crust may be made 3 days ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

Make topping:

In a very small bowl sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand about 1 minute to soften. In a heavy saucepan bring cherries, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring. Remove pan from heat and reserve 1/2 cup juice for filling. To mixture remaining in pan add gelatin mixture and almond extract and stir until gelatin is dissolved.

Make filling:

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Beat in flour and add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in sour cream, vanilla, and reserved cherry juice until combined well.

Pour filling into crust and bake in middle of oven 50 minutes. (Cake will not be set in center but will set as it cools.) Transfer cake in pan to a rack to cool completely. Chill cake, loosely covered, 1 hour. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Spread topping evenly over cake. Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Makes 1 Cake.

Posted by mich at 11:48 PM | return | dreams [0]

May 28, 2005

Partially Unemployed Bum

I'm employed part-time as a photographer. Wooo! Should be fun going around Toronto to explore all the architecture, neighbourhoods, and attractions. Now I can put off buying an expensive digicam since the company will be lending me their Canon Rebel. I'll get to play around with the camera and see how I actually like working a digital SLR. I was considering dropping my Fashion Photography course at Ryerson in order to save money towards a Nikon D70S... but I think I can keep it for the moment :)

Yesterday afternoon I visited Sandra with Wensan, Chris Tang, and their friend. I baked Mrs. Field's Oatmeal Raisin cookies for San, but they didn't turn out as good as another recipe I usually use (I'll post the recipe later). But I'm glad San and her family enjoy them! :) And it was nice seeing Sandra looking well, lively, and back to her complaining self :P

I had a phone interview on Thursday with The Medea Group for a programmer/designer job, and now they want to interview me in person this upcoming Thursday. I'll be meeting with the CEO and President of the company- how intimidating is that?!

Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend. I went up to Montreal on Sat. with my family for a mini family reunion. Did the mandatory bai san on Mont Royale, then chilled out at my sister's apartment for a bit before going to dinner to meet up with my cousins from Boston, my cousin Lawrence's new Venezualan wife, and uncles, aunts, and grandma. The next day I went on a shopping bonanza at Simons. I was in the store right when it opened at noon (and it was already a zoo), and stayed there until 2:45 :O I don't think I've ever gone that crazy before. By 1:30 I was already starving, yet the shopaholic in me kept saying, "Must.... keep... going...". So after 2 rounds of purchases I ended up with 2 asymmetrical zip-up sweaters (one of which is Groggy!!), 2 tanks, a halter top, a white sheer t-shirt w/ asymmetrical neckline, socks for my kitten heels, and a black sheer sleeveless with a pink halter underneath. I was such a happy girl afterwards. But I had to restrain myself from buying anything else while walking around the downtown shops until 5pm. Over the weekend I was pretty productive (aside from the shopping mission). I read a short book that taught me how to create a web site in Flash, and I started reading my Flash Savvy book that I ordered from Chapters.

And speaking of productive, I finally got my portfolio site up and running. I still have to do some tweaks here and there, but here it is: www.elusiveness.org/portfolio.

[Edit: added Oatmeal Raisin Chews recipe]

Oatmeal Raisin Chews

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup (8 oz.) raisins
1/2 cup (3 oz.) walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking sodea, salt, and oats. Mix well with wire whisk and set aside.

3. In a large bowl blend sugars with electrical mixer set at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.

4. Add the flour mixture, raisins and walnuts, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 22-24 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool flat surface.

Makes 3 dozen without walnuts, 3 1/2 dozen with walnuts.

Posted by mich at 12:55 PM | return | dreams [1]

May 17, 2005

Bumming Around

Life as an unemployed bum is hard. Too much to do... I've become a busy busy bee. Aside from a full-time "job" of building my online art/design/photography portfolio and applying for jobs, a girl's got to have some fun too!

Last Tuesday was the CSSU handover dinner at The Keg, where I learned the hard way that prime rib is really steak instead of a rack of ribs (disappointment #1). The mashed potatoes were fabulous, but halfway through I decided to add butter. However, I had mistaken my small cup of horseradish for butter in the dim light. I mixed around the horseradish and practically choked on my first bite- it was utterly disgusting. I had completely ruined the rest of my scrumptious mashed potatoes (disappointment #2). After dinner a handful of us went to Dmitre's on Eglington for dessert. I was so tempted to get the strawberry milkshake, but learning from my lesson at the Keg for not diversifying from Chris' choice, I decided to try the strawberry smoothie. It was the WORST smoothie I ever had in my entire life. It was tasteless and SOUR. Should not have diversified (disapointment #3).

Wednesday, Christian came uptown to hang out for the day. We lunched with Chris, Tony and Sandra at Ding Tai Fong Shanghai restaurant at First Markham. Watched a few episodes of 24 in the afternoon and then made dinner for my family at night. This dinner was much more successful than our first attempt as we got no complaints from anyone (and had enough food for everyone)! The night's meal consisted of rice, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, BBQ spare ribs, and baked chicken breast. The rosated veggies and mashed potatoes were delish! Gotta love my Betty Crocker cookbook :) [continue reading for recipes]

Friday is known as couch potato day... really! I swear, Christian and I left permanent bum marks on the couch from sitting in front of the TV ALL day watching 24. Ok I exaggerate. We got up to make salad and perogies with onions for lunch. Then we plopped back down. 11 episodes in a day. 6 more to go!

On Sunday I was accomplice to a shopaholic spree at the Eaton Centre. I got to take Christian shopping for grownup clothes! He cleans up pretty nicely... from a bum to a lang jai all in one afternoon :P

'Twas a pretty long day today. Transported my bike downtown in the morning, grocery shopped in Kensignton with Christian for picnic lunch things, then prepared lunch. Early afternoon we went out with Joseph for a light lunch at a Tibetan restaurant where I tried some Momos (dumplings). On our walk back to Chris' place, a pigeon pooped on Chris' shoulder... yucky! (proof #1 that bad things happen to bad people). We took out our bikes and biked down Bathurst Street to Queen's Quay then along the lakeshore all the way to High Park. We biked around the park and in some forested areas then lunched on our yummy yummy sandwiches (I love that creamy Havarti cheese!). After that we visited Christian's best friend's family and socialized until the evening. During dinner, Chris sat on a stool that broke right when he sat down (proof #2 that bad things happen to bad people). Hm, I think I'm onto something.

Back to portfolio-ing.


Mashed Potatoes

6 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper

1. Wash and peel the potatoes, and cut into large pieces. Remove the margarine from the refrigerator so it can soften while the potatoes cook.

2. Add 1 inch of water (and the 1/4 teaspoon salt if desired) to the saucepan. Cover and heat the boiling over high heat. Add potato pieces. Cover and heat to boiling, reduce heat just enough so water bubbles gently.

3. Cook covered 20 to 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. The cooking time will vary, depending on the size of the potato pieces and the type of potato used. Drain potatoes in a strainer.

4. Return the drained potatoes to the saucepan, and cook over low heat about 1 minute to dry them. While cooking, shake the pan often to keep the potatoes from burning, which can happen very easily once the water has been drained off.

5. Place the potatoes in a medium bowl to be mashed. You can mash them in the same saucepan they were cooked in if the saucepan will not be damaged by the potato masher or electric mixer.

6. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or electric mixer until no lumps remain. Add the milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. You may not use all the milk because the amount needed to make potatoes smooth and fluffy depends on the type of potato used. Add the margarine, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Beat vigourously until potatoes are light and fluffy.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.



Roasted Vegetables

1 medium red or green bell pepper
1 medium onion
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound mushrooms
Olive oil-flavoured or regular cooking spray
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves, if desired

1. Cut the bell pepper lengthwise in half, and cut out seeds and membrane. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 strips.

2. Peel the onion, and cut in half. Wrap on half of onion, and refrigerate for another use. Cut remaining half into 4 wedges, then separate into pieces.

3. Cut the zucchini crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cut off and discard the end of each mushroom stem, and leave the mushrooms whole.

4. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray the bottom of the pan with cooking spray. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer in the sprayed pan. Spray the vegetables with cooking spray until lightly coated. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

5. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Turn vegetables over. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender when pierced with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 11:18 PM | return | dreams [1]

May 4, 2005

Back to Kitchen Madness

Now that school's out, that leaves some time for some cooking craziness :) So Christian and I made Chunky Broccoli Soup for lunch yesterday and it was marvelous! I've never had such yummy soup (except for New England clam chowder) :P

Continue reading for the recipe...

Yup I was a rabbit yesterday. The soup was so filling that I could only have a garden salad for dinner. We went out to dinner at Milestone's and bubble tea at Ten Ren's with Justine, Brad, Jon and David. Unfortunately, I almost killed someone with the pecans in my salad. Poor baby :( And all I can say about Jon and David is that... they're craaaaazy! :P

This week I'm gonna get so fat. I'm going out to eat practically every single night o_O I also found out that we have family friends from Ottawa coming in tomorrow evening to stay with us until Sunday for Jon's (not JD) graduation. So tomorrow we're going out to dinner for Mother's Day, since Vanessa is going back to Montreal on Sat., then dessert at Dmetre's with Darryl and Co., Friday is the CS grad BBQ (which means I miss out on dinner with our guests), Saturday is dinner with the CS gang, and Sunday is Mother's Day dinner with grandma. OK, I'm off to go jogging now... better start burning the calories off before they even arrive right?

Chunky Broccoli Soup

1 large or 2 small stalks of broccoli (about 3/4 pound)
1 small carrot
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) ready-to-serve chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup half-and-half

1. Trim the large leaves from the broccoli and cut off any tough ends of lower stems. Rinse broccoli with cool water. Cut flower end from stalk, and cut flowerets into bite-size pieces. Cut the stalk into small pieces, about 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. You should have about 3 cups of broccoli, including the flowerets, but having a little more or less is fine.

2. Peel and shred the carrot. Any size shreds is fine.

3. Heat the broccoli, shredded carrot, salt, pepper and chicken broth to boiling in the saucepan over high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat just enough so mixture bubbles gently. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until broccoli is tender when pierced with a fork.

4. Mix the flour and water in a small bowl or measuring cup with a fort or wire whisk until the flour is dissolved. Pour this mixture gradually into the broccoli mixture, stirring broccoli mixture constantly while pouring.

5. Heat to boiling over high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 1 mintue, stirring constantly.

6. Stir in the half-and-half. Cook, stirring occasionally, until hot. The Soup should look hot and steamy, but do not let it boil.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 9:27 AM | return | dreams [2]

January 20, 2005

If I Was Rich...

My house would be furnshed with some funked-out designs and colours like these:

   

This morning I made some yummy Cinnamon French Toast with Maple Syrup for brunch :) Continue reading for the recipe...

Cinnamon French Toast with Maple Syrup

4 eggs
8 slices extra thick sliced cinnamon bread with raisins
1 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
LOTS of 100% pure maple syrup (none of that yucky Aunt Jemima stuff)

In shallow bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add salt.

In larg skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter. Dip bread, 1 slice at a time, into egg and let soak for several seconds on each side. Lift out, allowing excess egg to drip back into bowl.

Fry soaked bread for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Add a little more butter to skillet as necessary.

Serve with a huge puddle of maple syrup :)

Makes 4 servings.

Posted by mich at 12:52 PM | return | dreams [3]

December 17, 2004

Crazy Kitchen Adventure #1

Christian and I were little iron chefs tonight cooking dinner for my family and Jon. We made stir-fried broccoli and pork with rice and shrimp scampi using the recipes from my Better Crocker cookbook :) The cooking took a lot longer than expected and we ended up having dinner at 9pm, but it was quite scrumptious nonetheless. For dessert we made yummy chocolate chip squares with cream cheese filling. Continue reading for the recipe...

Chocolate Chip Squares Din din

[Edit Dec. 19: Here's a couple of piccies of the food! :P]

Chocolate Chip Squares

2 rolls of Pillsubury Chocolate Chip cookie dough
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Mix in eggs and
vanilla/almond extract. Place aside.

Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Cut 1 roll of Pillsbury dough into 1/4-inch slices. Cover bottom of pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the
dough. Cover with 2nd roll of Pillsbury cookie dough.

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Posted by mich at 1:58 AM | return | dreams [0]

December 15, 2004

Let the Cooking Frenzy Begin!

Just picked up Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics: Learning to Cook with Confidence today! Gonna be cooking up a storm in the next few weeks! Be afraid, be very afraid :P

Posted by mich at 1:44 AM | return | dreams [0]