Monday, December 29, 2008
Mama Rita & Jade also joined in the fun. One of things I served as an appetizer was bruschetta from Dynise's upcoming book, "The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal Free Recipes"
This earned rave reviews from everyone.
Michelle says "Yummy!"
Michelle & Joe helped with some of the dinner by making a couple of dishes at home and bringing them with them. If you notice a large cardboard box in the background of the photos (like here), it's not part of my usual decor - it's what they used to transport the food, which included a turkey that Joe roasted for the meat-eaters.
"Someone" who wasn't really in the mood to have a picture taken. HAHA!
Simon was excited to have everyone come visit, but very well behaved. Michelle & Joe both said he was the best behaved dog they had ever seen. He did his mom proud. Of course he had to have a cuddle from Jade.
And he wanted to show off one of his presents from Santa. A Leafs practice jersey. He is so ready for the next game.
Dinner was ready and everyone was anxious to eat!
The cranberry sauce on the table this year was also compliments of Dynise. Quince-Cranberry to be exact. This is a recipe I tested and it is so freakin' delicious, this will be my go-to cranberry sauce every year.
My plate, starting at 12:00 - stuffing (kept out of the bird) made by Joe, mashed potatoes with fake turkey gravy, Quorn roast, made by Michelle, quince-cranberry sauce, turnip puff made by Michelle, roasted carrots & in the middle, brussels sprouts with hazelnuts.
Everyone ate lots. Jade especially liked her dinner. Can't you tell by the look on her face. She's such a ham!
Michelle says enough is enough with the pictures already, let's just eat.
Jade's boyfriend, Aaron arrived to have dessert with us, which was yet another recipe test.
Berry Tart! Did Aaron like it?
Looks like it.
A great time was had by all and we looked forward to Boxing Day. It's so much more relaxing.
Simon spent a lot of the day chewing his new toy. "Santa" appears to be a Leafs fan. Let's hope the 2nd half of their season is better than the first. We've got tickets for the game on Jan. 3. Leafs vs. Ottawa. There's a big rivalry there so it should be wild!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
I've managed to get in quite a few recipe tests for Dynise's upcoming cookbook The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes. Here's a sampling of what I've made.
Sloppy Joes! These are freakin' delicious - better than any I've tried. Simple recipe, all ingredients are pantry staples & I had enough leftovers for lunch.
Here we have Risotto Milanese. I had a bit of trouble with this - mostly because I've never made risotto before. It's got a lot of saffron in it, so if you don't like saffron, this wouldn't be for you, but I like the flavour. I want to try this again & see if I can manage to get it right. So this is not a recipe issue, but the cook's screw up.
What kind of a tester would I be if I didn't sample some of the drinks?
John's Copacabana Caipirinha! I had a couple of sips out of the glass before I remembered to take a picture. Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. It's a mixture of limes, sugar, ice & cachaça. Cachaça is a clear alcohol that is made from sugar cane. It's usually found on the shelf with rum. On a hot day (or a cold one) this sweet/sour drink is really refreshing.
I took a bottle of this wine, mixed in a bit of sugar & some fruit, let it sit over night and voila!
John's Summer Sangria. This was really nice. I've had sangria's before where inexpensive wine is used. It's really not that great. I figured since the wine is the main ingredient in this, why not use something relatively decent. This bottle at the LCBO is around $15.
It's hard to see the fruit pieces because the wine is so dark, but trust me, when you drink this down, you'll have lots of alcohol soaked fruit to eat.
Cold weather calls for comfort dishes. How about Balsamic-Roasted Vegetables? What a great way to get in a few veggie servings in one dish.
This has been Jim's favorite so far Enlightened Vegetable Barley Soup. He raved about this and a week later is asking if I'd make it again. It is, by far, one of the best barley soups I've made. A secret little ingredient added to the broth makes it super-rich tasting. Want to know what it is? Ahhhhh! You'll have to wait for the book!
Friday, November 21, 2008
I've got 2 of these babies in my hot little hands. WOOT!! This will surely help us out of our post-Christmas blues.
Well, it finally happened. We got snow that stayed on the ground. Simon loves the snow so he was very excited for his first snow-walk of the season.
He still doesn't like his hoodie. When I put it on him, he just stands there. He isn't even lured to move by his doggie crack. He really likes his old coat, so he ventured out in classic style. Once the snow stopped, we had about an inch or so on the ground. Not a lot, but it's a start. I'm sure there is plenty more to come.
As much as I like winter and going for walks in the snow, I've been occupied in the kitchen. Dynise over at Urban Vegan has written a cookbook! It's called "The Urban Vegan: 250 Street-Smart, Animal-Free Recipes" and is slated for publication in the latter part of 2009, but the manuscript has to be submitted in the very early spring, so she put out a call for recipe testers. I had a great time testing for Dreena a couple of years ago, so I volunteered. Holy! Am I ever glad I did. I've been making some great stuff in the kitchen. I can't give you any details of course, but I can show you pictures of the finished products.
This is a sparkling wine from Jacob's Creek out of Austrailia. It's one of the better "affordable" sparkling wines that I've found. Made with the classic Champagne grapes, Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, it is also bottle-fermented following the Champagne method. Something to keep in mind if you're looking for a nice bubbly for New Year's Eve.
Another recipe I tried was the marinade for tofu. This is the best marinade I've made so far. The tofu was then grilled to perfection on my George Foreman.
Jim loves pasta and could probably eat it in some for or another every day of the week. When I reviewed the recipe for Spaghetti Con Salsa Fresca, I knew it would be a hit.
Simple, fresh, with vibrant colours & flavours -this was very good. I served it with another Urban Vegan delight -
Focaccia! I sprinkled a lot of rosemary on the top because most of it ends up falling off when I slice these breads, so I wanted to make sure I would have enough still stuck on.
I had a bit of trouble with my food processor in making this and ended up kneading some by hand. I'm not sure I kneaded it enough, but it was still super delicious!
Something else I dug out for this special occasion was this Barolo. What special occasion you ask? It was Wednesday!
It's great to buy wines to cellar and then enjoy years later when they have mellowed, evolved and reached their flavour peak. It doesn't have to be a special day when you open a bottle. Make a terrible work day end on a high note by uncorking a little gem that you've had stashed away for a while. Not that we either had a terrible day, I just felt in the mood to have a great glass of wine. Did you know that 9 out of 10 bottles of wine purchased in Ontario are taken home and consumed the same day? This one was purchased some time ago, but it's time to be consumed had come. Yum! We had it with the pasta & the foccacia.
Of course, every cookbook has to have a dessert chapter. Isn't that the finish to an outstanding meal? Here we have Double Apple Cake.
I can't tell you what's in it, aside from apples of course, but I can tell you that it is soft, moist & really, really tasty. Got you curious for the cookbook yet?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Cold weather always brings soup! There's a lentil soup that I started making years ago complements of Linda McCartney. This was one of the first vegetarian cookbooks that I bought - Linda McCartney On Tour.
The recipe doesn't call for black beans, but I had half a can left over from making nachos, so I threw those in too. Served with some oregano garlic flatbread it sure warmed our tummies.
I loves me some Angus and he definitely delivered! Old favorites like Highway To Hell, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Hell's Bells, and a sprinkling of songs off their new album - which is totally kick ass by the way. It went #1 in Canada the week it was released and had the largest first week sales in this country in 5 years.
The show was pure R&R. A few cool things thrown in - an inflatable, cannons, strip-tease - but for the most part, just a stripped down stage and LOUD music. Look at the stacks of Marshalls. That was on either side of the stage. We had such an amazing time, I'm trying to get tickets for their second sold-out Toronto show in January. It was that good. AC/DC - we salute you!