Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ideas for dinner—a la Julie and Julia with "How to be a domestic Goddess” by Nigella Lawson.
That movie, by the way, is an excellent one, not only for foodies, but for movie buffs, as well in general .. and surprise for me!!!, a cookbook that was given to me while in rehab in 2009 proves to be a real gem. I collect cookbooks and was thrilled with this one, by Julia Childs and Simone Beck… come to find out it’s the very book the movie “Julie and Julia was based on.
I’m flipping through the pages now: Cake as the entrée? (oh, right, I did say we eat very healthfully, However, some habits learned in university are hard broken!
There will be an idea somewhere there Muscat Mascarpone Cake , sounds like supper to me! H ha ha, muscat- grapes-fruit; mascarpone – cheese – dairy; cake – flour – grain. I can rationalize almost any thing into one of the food groups. You can test me if you like. The only food group not covered is Chocolate!
 I know a certain AVR man who swears his wife insists chocolate is a food group unto itself. No names mentioned, but you know who you are! perhaps, it doesn’t pay to let me into anyone’s past. Remember the Karaoke introductions?, eh Len? (I definitely like her thinking), or perhaps wine and cheese party - maybe we’ll skip supper tonight. As for the wine and chocolate: both are now considered heart-healthy given the right kinds, and always in moderation for both (I think).  I was at a conference at the Westin in Halifax a couple of years ago.  It’s a beautiful hotel with all the amenities.  In an attempt to heighten “after-five” traffic in the Lounge, the hotel hosted several special events, one of which was a wine and chocolate pairing sampling. (Lots of really good dark, dark chocolate, -- my favourite). I’ve had the privilege of being a guest at some of the most beautiful hotels in Canada and I do recommend a stay at the Halifax Westin. Make a mini-vacation of it in the Summer, and take in the activities at the waterfront.  Kent and I enjoyed a tour of the Corrvette docked there (I don’t recommend wearing heals for that tour, though. The ladders are somewhat tricky!!).
This night will be a test.  Kent isn’t the most adventurous when it comes to his meals.  Finally, I can hear you all saying, a recipe. Okay, this started out as a Spanish Torta, but, turned into an Italian Fritata. I didn’t have any chorizo sausage (A Spanish pork sausage, seasoned highly with paprika, and serious hints of garlic). Growing up we would often have breakfast for supper, and I love it but, it’s not something Kent favours … we must entice him to be a little more outgoing in this department This recipe was inspired by an episode of The Food Network’s “Jamie at Home”.
For the two of us, I used two Italian sausages, cut into bite-size chunks (if the fridge had had chorizo in it, I would have used a similar quantity, two med. russet potatoes, also chopped into bite size chunks, eight eggs, mixed lightly in a bowl.. Add a generous handful of cilantro, which, for those of you who haven’t had it  is a very strong herb, which I happen to love. And have ever since I discovered it as the defining flavour in salsa (I remember telling a friend at the time it’s the cilantro that IS Salsa).
As you continue with my blogs, You will likely say to yourself, “What food doesn’t this girl love?” And, you know what?  There are precious few.  You can substitute flatleaf parsley, but the flavour won’t be as distinctive. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan.  Fry, (ok you got me, consider that a point, my Anna!!!) stirring frequently, until potatoes are golden brown. (watch that they don’t burn, the paprika gives the potato a nice colour).  Although, Kent denies being a meat and potatoes only man, he really is!  This dish sorta fits the bill, and he loved it, by the way .We had frozen mixed veggies with it, but, it would be superb with a salad or steamed asparagus or fiddleheads, another wonderful vegetable that we indulge in when we can get them.
If you’re using the chorizo, omit paprika from this recipe. There is sufficient in the chorizo paprika from that will leach out into the oil and give the potatoes. and the entire dish quite a commandingcolour.
Now to address a request from one of my followers: Here it comes, Donna, –  Ahhh Spring fair spring, Oh, it’s Summer, now.  But, there’s still time for my all-time favourite vegetable: asparagus.  When single and living alone, I would often sneak some from my neighbour’s patch. He always caught me, but never stopped me. I think, maybe, he thought if I ate it all, he wouldn’t be subjected to it, (or maybe, it was his way of thanking me for the endless games of crib I would play with him). Actually that man, I would find out, was Kent’s father, who would eat any green plant including dandelion and marsh greens. I’ve never had either, but am pretty sure I would like them, too!  Here’s how to make my favourite meal with asparagus It is  a  kind of open-faced asparagus sandwich.  Lightly steam a bunch, don’t be stingy now. Meanwhile make a plain, white sauce, Then, add a chopped hard-boiled egg (which I kept on hand for on-the-run snacking And  I was constantly “on-the-running”. Toast, then, liberally butter a piece of whole grain country or sourdough bread.  Drain, then pat dry the asparagus. Transfer to the bread and cover with the sauce. There are people who like only hollandaise sauce with their asparagus but, trust me, this is delicious!!
Many years later, Kent and I would buy and move into his father’s home …and that luscious asparagus patch was mine, all mine (he he he!). As fate would have it, though, by then we would have the restaurant and rarely ate at home. I did share my coveted little goodies with patrons until there were none of the little green spears left! The rolled asparagus sandwich is a party regular for one of my nurses. I love them, too. Typically, you take a piece of white sandwich bread sans crusts, butter it, then roll up an asparagus spear and place on sandwich platter. My version sees a piece of country-style whole-grain rye bread spread with s light skim of butter and good store-bought or homemade mayonnaise ( the sandwich won’t taste as good with the salad-type dressing, such as the popular Miracle Whip. Top a piece or two (depending on its dimensions) of Speck, prosciutto, or good deli ham. Top that with a thin skim of grainy, whole grain mustard. Roll up the asparagus in the bread. At this point, you can place it with the rest of the sandwiches ,or carefully slice the roll crosswise with a serrated knife, making little asparagus discs, and put the cute little sandwiches with the others on the platter.
   I would love to hear about your version of this party sandwich staple!!! This hot, bright sun is making me home sick for Barbados, our backyard fruit trees, Mrs. Brown, our apartment property manager, our friends and the food, yeah , the food.  I’d love to share some of all the things I love about this Caribbean Island with you…. Well, maybe I can.

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