Friday, August 31, 2012

Pickled Onions and Oodles of Vino

Red Onions.  Capable of so many things at the dinner table.  We're going to pickle some.  It takes only minutes and it's soo very worth it.

We are headed to a friends cottage for the long weekend and wanted to bring something homemade as a hostess gift, amongst oodles of yummy wine of coarse.  Who doesn't like pickled red onions with just about any meal at the cottage?

3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of sea salt
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 dried bay leaf
4 whole cloves
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Place the vinegar, cloves, bay leaf, maple syrup and salt in a deep pan.  Bring the liquid to a slow boil over medium heat.  When bubbling, add the onions.  Stir for 1 minute and remove the pan from the heat.  Let the onions and liquid cool to room temperature, then pour into containers and put in the fridge.  The onions will last a month or so, but are best at one week.  Put them on anything.

Dress the jar up with a label and pretty paper and you have a perfect hostess gift everyone can enjoy for days.

Happy Long weekend!  Enjoy a BBQ or two, and lots of warm sunshine.  Happy summer.

bon appetit.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Veggie Curry and Organic Lager

Tonight was "clean the fridge of all our veggies before we go away for the weekend" night.  My favourite.  Veggie Curry.  Nick was skeptical.  He doesn't jump up and down for veggies and tofu like I do, but he played along with a smile.   It all started with the huge bag of colourful swiss chard we had in the fridge.   We'll give you the recipe we used for our dinner tonight, but know that you can start with the curry onion base, and then add whatever veggies YOU have in YOUR fridge.

1 White Onion chopped
2 Garlic Cloves chopped
4 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil + more as you go along in case you need more moisture
1 heaping spoonful of turmeric powder
1 heaping spoonful of curry power
1-2-3 (depending on your taste) chopped whole chillies
rice - of your choice (we used brown and wile rice mixture)
Loads of veggies (what we used is listed below)
a chopped handful of cilantro (optional)
1 package of organic firm tofu
1 can of coconut cream
1 lime
Put the coconut oil and sliced onions in the pan to sweat the onions.  This means cooking them until they are moist, or 'sweaty.'   Add the garlic, turmeric and curry powder and stir until the powders make a thick paste around the onions.  Add the chilli.  This is something you have to play with a bit, adding more oil if it's too thick, and more powders if it's too runny.  You don't want anything to resemble liquid in the pan, but you don't want it so thick that it's not a paste.  Above all, don't worry too much because it should taste yummy no matter what.
Cook a pot of your favourite kind of rice to serve underneath the curry.  Follow the directions on the package.  We used a brown rice and wild rice mixture.
Now start adding veggies to the delicious curried onion mixture in your sauce pan.  We chopped 2 sweet potato (and cooked the pieces in a bowl in the microwave for 4 minutes to soften them first), 1 chopped zucchini, 1 chopped bell pepper, a whole bunch of swiss chard, a handful of cilantro, and 1 package of fresh peas.  Put the hard vegetables in first to give them a head start, and then add the rest of the veggies and a package of cubed firm organic tofu.  Then finish it all off with the peas and leafy greens.
Once all the leaves have wilted down, add one can of coconut milk or cream, and one can of water.  Let it all bubble away for 15-20 minutes on low so all the flavours can infuse the veggies.
Nick has been waiting a long time to say this next step with a serious face.  Squeeze the juice from one lime and "you put de lime in de coconut."  He laughed out loud.  Nick's been waiting to do that since he laughed at a moment on Top Chef Canada when Trista said that to Carl during the season finale.  Honestly.

We have traditionally always paired our meals with wine, but tonights dish was screaming for ice cold beer.  We went with Mill Street Organic.  Light, crisp, refreshing, organic, and local!  Beer tends to cut the spiciness of curry quite nicely (maybe because you can take a much larger gulp than a sip) but a cold white sweet wine will also pair with any spicy curry.

sprinkle with toasted coconut if you have.
bon apetit.
dinner is served.

Friday, August 3, 2012

lake kezar, lobstah clam bake, and alagash

We went to a very close friends wedding in Portland, ME.  It was perfect.  Everything about it.  The vows, the lights and linen, the dress, the family and friends, the food and wine...  The day after the wedding we all travelled up to Lake Kezar for an afternoon lobster bake, lawn games, swimming, boating and Alagash.

The wedding guests were separated into cabins by the water.  The cabins were specially outfitted with details that would appeal the each guest.  There was lots of Canadian literature in our cabin.  This is a couple that pays attention to detail.  It was incredibly special.

The sunset was gorgeous, despite the rain that day.  Everyone that spends a significant amount of time there will tell you that Lake Kezar has been deemed by National Geographic as one of the top three lakes in the world.  I searched online and couldn't find any evidence of that, but who's counting.  I'll let them have it.  It's a pretty special place.

 What a beautiful fresh simple dinner.  Fresh lobsters and clams and corn on the cob, boiled till cooked, with a little potato salad on the side, and you have a traditional Maine feast!

My most favourite potato salad
3 pounds of little baby potatoes
1/4 cup of chopped dill
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
1/2 cup of chopped basil
1 lemon - grated rind and juice
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of plain fat free yogurt
dash of hot sauce
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon of dijon
olive oil for cooking
-cover potatoes in olive oil and salt and oven roast them.  For the baby potatoes I use, I roasts them on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 450 degrees for half an hour or so.  Stick a fork in a medium sized one and you know it's done when it slides in easily.  Combine yogurt, garlic, dill, onion, basil, mustard, honey and lemon juice.  When the potatoes are cooked, let them cool to room temperature.  Add the lemon rind to the potatoes and then the dressing, chill and serve!

Alagash White, a beer you see almost everywhere in Portland, on tap and in bottles.  A white wheat beer that's light, crisp, spicy and fruity.  As far as I know you can't get it in Canada.  It's local to Portland ME.  Pairs incredibly well with lobstah.  Then again, what doesn't?

bon appetit
dinner is served.