Friday, March 16, 2007

Bits and Pieces: Part Two

Three Wednesdays Ago...

Three Wednesdays ago we were all here at ours, watching the two-hour premiere of ANTM. For this auspicious event we decided on some simple but healthy food – we made the popular mango-tomato salad I call Keith's salad (as it was introduced to me by Keith Tam, typographer and salad-maker extraordinaire) and chicken burgers. We met Erin at Choices, and picked up the ingredients for the burgers (chicken, of course; portobella mushrooms; two kinds of buns; goat brie (!); and basil for the basil mayonnaise (or the basil Miracle Whip, actually, but shh – don't tell Meg!)).

The salad needs butter lettuce, so accept no substitutes – for some reason its billowy softness (channelling a little Nigella there) goes particularly well with the other ingredients. The butter lettuce was a living lettuce, which meant it came in a little package with its root system still intact. See below.

The salad also demands cubed ripe avocados, mango and tomatoes (we like to use ones that aren't red and that have a lot of flavour). Here Alisha demonstrates proper cubing of the mango:

Make a dressing with lime juice, olive oil, palm sugar and fish sauce (use the bottle with the picture of a giant baby holding a bottle of fish sauce on the front). Here's the finished salad:

Meg cooked the portabella mushrooms in balsamic with chopped garlic, and they were bloody fantastic on the burger. Balsamic is so good to so many veg and fruit – mushrooms, tomatoes, strawberries. More on that later. The burgers were great. We sliced and cooked the chicken (Michelle did this, to perfection, I might add), and assembled the burgers with the brie, mayo and mushrooms. Finished dinner below:

Just a note on the goat brie: it's made by Woolwich Dairy Inc, which I discovered is apparently Canada's largest goat cheese producer. Their products include Goat Brie, Goat Mozzarella, Goat Feta, Goat Gouda, and Goat Cheddar amongst others. Which is very cool for my goat-product-loving friends. Do visit their website. But be prepared to be scared. Also, their tagline is "We've got your goat!," which I find mildly disturbing.

The Oscar Party

The following Sunday, much fun was had trying to figure out who would win, laughing at bad dresses, tallying up categories and generally eating a lot. Here are the essentials for the Oscars: the remote, the printed-out ballots and the food. Which included crudités, roasted red pepper dip, goat cheese, patés, avocado/goat cheese tostinis (with balsamic cherry tomatoes! Mm!), bombay hummus (as featured previously on We Dine), pita, olives, cashews...yum!

The tomatoes after their balsamic treatment:

Alisha brought blood oranges, kiwis and grapes and fashioned a beautifully-arranged fruit plate:

Flora made some gorgeous golden cupcakes (golden in honour of the Oscars) with yummy icing and smarties! Mine was the stoplight cupcake, as it had red, yellow and green smarties.

And here we are (Flora, Alisha, Sean and me) in hour two of the Oscars (but hour fourteen of the Oscar telecast). Sean's thinking 'Only 70% more packing left to do!,' and I'm thinking 'Whose idea was it to get on a bus and go to Victoria now?'. But Victoria was fantastic. We had a great time and some lovely food. And that will be my next entry! So stayed tuned.

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