Dana is the resident salad expert here – though I’ve been trying my hand at it recently with some mixed results.
Just a fun post for the start of a long weekend…
I have a pattern of burning myself unintentionally and in really stupid ways all at the same time.
When I was a teenager I used to lean on the stove, often putting my hand on the cool burner. It was a bad habit and one that my parents would frequently scold me for and try to correct. I burned myself 2 times in 7 or 8 years before I eventually burned my hand bad enough that I could see the small rings of the coil on my hand. It didnèt require the Hospital but it hurt enough to stop (hopefully for good).
I have burned myself twice in the last 2 or 3 weeks – the first times that I have done so in many years. Not a bad burn and I certainly didn ‘t enjoy it. The first time was on an oven rack (top of hand above) and the second was grabbing a roasting pot with a bare hand mere moments after taking it out of the stove – I just blanked out and grasped it with 3 fingers. Stupid move and one I am lucky to laugh about.
My question is somewhat morose – am I the only one who doesn ‘t like getting burned but considers it some mark of courage or a cost of admission for our passion ? I know it ‘s not logical and that I should wear mitts before something more serious happens – and I can‘t explain the feeling; I just dont think I’m alone with this one!
For starters, they`re sneakers with sushi on them. And just to take the wasabi cake, you can customize the colors online:
There is a lot of money being made in the industry of teaching and enabling people to become better cooks. Cookbooks, the Food Network and thousands of tools and gadgets. This isn’t meant as a complaint so much as an observation – there is a lot of excitement around food and so many ways to learn more about cooking and eating than ever before and I think all of that is very exciting.
In a world where one can spend almost $20 for a piece of rubber to peel garlic (and, yes, I own one ) there is a simple must-have in your kitchen – especially if you are from a place which goes through any type of winter.
There was a time (and I still suffer from it on occasion) that I cook with far too many ingredients. We have an exceptionally small kitchen that keeps us from acquiring too many gadgets. A good cutting board, a few knives and my trusty peeler and I’m mostly happy.
Michael Smith (I know I’m quoting a TV chef) changed my cooking for the better with a few simple rules – one of them being that you could through as much of any ingredient that you wish to as long as you had 5 or fewer flavors in the pot. His sage advice came shortly after I had cooked a pasta dish with more than 20 flavors including an almost whole bulb of garlic (I was nervous – one of my first dates and my first time cooking for Dana). I am thankful she thought it was cute (and that she liked garlic) and it wasn’t entirely bad – it was just one large giant overloading pot of a thousand tastes which, in effect, became one. Chef Smith’s understanding was (and is) far greater than mine and I have learned that less is indeed more – the pallet can discern 3 or 4 separate layers of flavor and simplicity can taste deeper than an overwhelming slam dunk of a Heinz 57 mash-up.
Let’s explore this another way – I know what a rum and Coke tastes like and I know it tastes different from a rum and Pepsi. If I mixed rum with Coke, Doctor Pepper, Orange Crush, 7 Up and Ginger Ale I’m not sure I’d know the difference compared to a rum with Pepsi, Doctor Pepper, Orange Crush, 7 Up and Ginger Ale. Perhaps I’ll test this theory out some time – for now I’m willing to trust my best guess. Less can indeed be more.
When you use fewer ingredients, you can use much more of each flavor than you would think possible. When using a small amount of different flavors, be bold and don’t hold back. If your ingredients are fresh and seasonal, all the better – which brings us back to where we started – how to overhaul your cooking for less than $6 a week…
Seasonal eating in Canada can be difficult if trying to eat somewhat local and fresh. Cellar-ed apples, squash and many root vegetables can survive through the winter a long time and preserving certainly cuts into the glut of the cold, dark days of winter but eventually cravings for variety and that “summer fresh” taste that you get in August beacon. Fruit and veg trucked from 2,000 kilometers or more can be hit and miss and moving that far South is a little extreme. What’s a boy to do?
We keep a Tupperware with 3-4 fresh bunches of herbs int he fridge at all times. They last a week or two (we put a damp paper towel in with them) and they are available on a whim. We stock the typical – basil, sage, rosemary, parsley and experiment with whatever you can find – marjoram, oregano and anything we can buy. They are available on a whim and when topping a familiar dish, added at the last minute or used in roasting, they add a divine and earthy fresh touch.
We tend to add leafy herbs (such as basil, oregano or sage) late in cooking (very close to serving) while the more hearty (things that look closer to evergreens such as rosemary and thyme) make good company for roasting or slow cooking soups (of course you can add those at the end as well such as topping roasted beets fresh out of the oven). There are other options of course – frying sage leaves crisp make a great accompaniment to pan fried fish (cook 15 or 20 leaves in a bit of oil or bacon fat for a party of two).
If using herbs as one of very few ingredients, pile them on heavier than you feel comfortable – less ingredients allow you to use more of them. If you don’t have a locker full of fresh leaves in your fridge, explore the local grocery store (many places buy them from local greenhouses though they tend to transport well compared to vegetables which are often shipped unripened).
Let us know your favorites or what you use them for and enjoy fresh food year round!
Saturday was the first home game of the year for the Toronto FC (Football Club). Dana and I have season tickets this year and we are most excited after having half-season tickets last year. Dana was busy on Saturday (camping with her God Daughter overnight at the Ontario Science Center) so our friend Kerry and I went to the game.
The food and beer at BMO field is really awesome for a stadium. There is a tonne of Carlsberg on tap but if you walk around the stadium you will find a few other beers from around the world (and very reflective of how multicultural our city and soccer/football is) and a similar rainbow of food options. Get to the stadium early, walk around and pay close attention and you will find Greek food, craft shitake sausages, macaroni and bacon fritters, steak pie and more.
I had heard of Chip Buttys last year – Kerry and I worked our nerve up to have one yesterday. This British tradition is basically a french fry sandwich. Picture an oversized piece of Wonder Bread buttered generously and covered with hot french fries. We added ketchup and mustard. It was too windy to pull out a camera but we will get a shot later this year to share (oh the sacrifices we make in the name of food). What a delight! It is nothing but bad for you and it is surprisingly excellent. The dough of the bread squishes to a glutenous match for the crispy potatoes that shine golden with butter.
See you at the Football match!
I recently have run out of a small bottle of truffle oil that we had. It was decent but not excellent – the price was right and perhaps that should have been the indicator.
We are looking to buy a new bottle and I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations? I’d love to have them posted in the comments but if you are more comfortable, email is fine too!
Writing for Well Preserved has been a lot of fun – a lot more fun than I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t new to the concept of blogging (we used to call it “ranting” on our first “blog” named The Happy Boat in 1995) and I wasn’t new to food. I hadn’t mixed the two with any amount of regularity in the past.
If you have checked out our ABOUT section, you will find that I am not a trained foodie. I have a diploma in Travel and Tourism that came tragically short of the emphasis on food and travel that I thought would be unveiled. There was an occasional wine tasting (usually at 7.30 in the morning so us student’s wouldn’t get drunk and drive home) that was usually accompanied by a cup of coffee and a mouth still fresh with toothpaste. That was enough to almost turn one against the grape. Read more
A dank and rainy night tonight – a cold wind is a harsh reminder of spring.
We rented a few movies and prepped dinner – a lovely combination of roasted red potatoes (with fresh oregano, onion and feta thrown in for the last 2 minutes of roasting) matched with a salad (including bacon bits from artisanal-smoked bacon) and pork cutlets with a tender crust matched to last weekend’s apple sauce. Cinnamon is a definite keeper when it comes to apple sauce – dinner was as good as we’ve had in a long time.
We rented a movie named Bottle Shock – we hadn’t heard of it but it was about Napa Valley coming of age and opened wine making to the rest of the world beyond France in the 1970s. It also featured Alan Rickman, so we jumped at the chance.
The movie features a story based on Chateau Montelena and Gustavo Thrace. The story winds around the 1976 Judgement of Paris - the Californians ambushed the French in a blind tasting and officially announced that they had arrived. Time magazine picked up the story and the world listened.
The movie is loosely based on fact – a fairly canned (but thoroughly interesting) video about the actual vineyard is a special feature. We found it in the new releases section of the movie store – this was from Sundance in 2008.
The story is sweet, charming and a great underdog story on several fronts. This is well worth checking out – lighthearted, fun and inspiring. It also reminded us of Prince Edward County – we are still “crushing” on it from our visit last week! Great movie for a rainy night with a bottle of wine (we swilled a few beer for the sake of irony).