Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Caught up for the week!

Seeing as it's Wednesday, and a new dinner is about to occur in mere hours, I thought I'd catch us up for the week. It must be said, it's been a foodie week - if you count the previous Sunday's baking, there've been four times we've cooked together in the past week. Crazy! We're just so foodtastic. Great job on the Pad Thai recipe, Meg! I especially like the direction at the very end.

So we had a "card-making" get-together on Meg's last Sunday, and oddly, lots of food managed to be created. Puff pastry was much in evidence, and Delia came out again, this time for mulled wine and cheese-pancetta palmiers. Alisha upped the veg quotient with some sorely-needed healthy crudité, and we finally saw YoonJu cook - even if it didn't involve confectioners' sugar! Also, some cards were made.

YoonJu mixes with gusto:

Michelle & I make cloven oranges:

Meg's toasty puff-pastries with potato and goat cheese:

The tea cosy that was soooooo twee it was cool again:

Palmiers pre-cooking:

YoonJu & Alisha cruditéing:

Resultant artistic shavings:

The finished crudité plate!

More toasties:

Arty clove orange photo:

Adding the sugar to the mulled wine (with the cool teaspoon set!)

Mulled wine with clove oranges in:

Michelle's Nigella-type mulled wine mug:

Friends in the kitchen! Raisa, me, Sean, YoonJu, Meg & Alisha.

The YoonJu cake-icing series (Part 1):

Part 2:

Part 3!

Alisha and Raisa contemplate making actual cards:

Meg and some joyful potatoes:

Erin arrives for some much-needed tea:

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pad Thai Recipe

Here's the recipe we used for our gorgeous and delicious pad thai last week.

Pad Thai with Prawns and Tofu
(adapted from New Thai Cuisine by Nathan Hyam)
serves 4

1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup tamarind water
1/2 cup palm sugar
5 tbsp fish sauce
1 lb dried rice noodles (medium or wide)
8 tbsp peanut oil
1 pkg extra-firm tofu, diced
1 onion, diced
2 tsp (or more!) chopped garlic
prawns (as many as you like!), shelled
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups mung bean sprouts
6 green onions, chopped
2 tsp sambal oelek
4 tsp lime juice
2/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts

1. Combine the stock, tamarind, sugar and fish sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups and set aside. [This sauce can be made in advance and will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge]

2. Soak the noodles in tepid water for about 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a wok over hight heat. Add the tofu and saute until it's slightly browned. Remove and set aside.

4. Add another 2 tbsp of oil to the same wok. Add the onion and garlic and saute until onion is softened. Add prawns and cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, then move the ingredients to the edges of the wok. Pour the egg into the centre of the wok and scramble. Remove the egg-shrimp mixture.

5. Heat the remaining 4 tbsp of oil. Add the noodles and cook over high heat briefly, about 1 minute. Return the egg mixture to the pan. Add the sprouts, green onions, and tofu. Saute on high heat for 1 minute, then add the sauce and sambal. Cook until sauce is absorbed. Add the lime juice and serve immediately. Garnish wih peantus. Eat while watching skinny models try to speak spanish and kiss boys for the first time.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

A meal without water

So on Friday we visited Raisa's new (well, new to me, anyway) and beautifully co-ordinated home in Burnaby, a mysterious place to the east. Seeing as the greater Vancouver area is experiencing a water purity issue (we're turbid!), and there's a don't wash, don't tell veg warning in effect, we decided to prepare our meal without the use of water (if at all possible).

So we used a lot of Raisa's giant can of olive oil instead. And it was yummy. The vegetables were roasted with lemon and garlic and picked rosemary (and of course oil), the beef was grilled, and the potatoes were parboiled and then oiled. Mm. And there may have been alcohol involved in the meal (only to make up for the lack of water, of course!). Results:

Marination taking place:

The apples prior to the cooking (they remind me a little of the picture of the stuffed peppers):

The potatoes:

The veg:

The beef:

My plate at dinner:

The beautiful light fixtures made by Raisa's uncle (I think, correct me if I'm wrong):

The lovely baked apples Raisa made:

Amazing amaretto. And macaroons.

Michelle's special dessert. For the cooked-fruit impaired.

What remained of the bacon at breakfast - sorry to say there aren't any pictures of the bacon. Or the scrambled eggs I cooked. Breakfast was yummy.

Vivid apricot jam. Not for the cooked-fruit impaired:

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Last Wednesday as blogged on Sunday: I'm getting it together! Really!

Last Wednesday we made pad thai, which Alisha had been wanting to make for some time. I jumped on the bandwagon after seeing my culinary-geek hero Alton Brown devote a whole episode of 'Good Eats' (not 'Goodies,' which is what Meg thought I'd said!) to the dish. He also said that every Thai cook has their own version of the recipe, and we realized that there could be lots of variation and room for improvisation.

But we eschewed ketchup! Though some recipes called for it. However, we did use flat rice noodles, mung bean sprouts, peeled shrimp, scallions, semi-crushed and roasted peanuts, and fried egg (am I forgetting anything, guys?).

I learnt: peeling prawns is kind of therapeutic; we have tamarind paste in our fridge (who knew?); fish sauce does actually go bad (good thing we got that new fish sauce!); and the baby on the fish sauce bottle is still scary (and mind-blowing - the baby is holding another bottle of fish sauce, on which is ... another baby, holding a bottle of fish sauce! Disturbing!).

Anyway, some photos.

Alisha shows off her incredible skills in cutting tofu (and scallions):

The selfsame tofu, cooked! (with crispy bits, which are, according to who you ask, delicious or not)

Shrimpy exoskeletons:

Michelle contemplates her next Scrabble move:

Meg in the chair that's briefly residing in the kitchen - it would be cool there, if only the kitchen was a mite larger...

Moody eggs (prior to cracking):

Zen eggs - for some reason they look mellow to me:

Cooking the eggs:

Noodle testing:

Combining ingredients:

The final dish!

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Baking Addendum

Just some more photos from last Sunday's bake-a-thon that I liked
and wanted to comment on.

The grated butter that looked like cheese. This reminds me of Roald Dahl's 'square sweets that look round' in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a great book, that coincidentally happens to centre around food.

I can't believe it's butter!

What the counter looked like at one point (tentatively titled 'Baking 'splosion'):

An example of that famous sifting technique:

Magnetic chocolate shavings!

Alisha starts her melting moments:

Grandma Gordon's ginger snaps prior to baking:

Dueling rasps - you can tell Meg is grating chocolate faster, as her hand is a blur! Clearly I'm worried about possible finger loss - I wouldn't make a very good chef, if the chefly ideal is to be able to pick up red-hot pans with your calloused, bare, thumb-stitched-back-on hands.

I took this photo because I liked the contrast of Flora's cold juice and Meg's hot tea - don't know if you can see the condensation and steam - but the reflections are pretty cool too.

Yummy snausage rolls! Some are already missing:

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