Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I guess I'm a little late. Ooops! Let's try over a week late - but better late than never I suppose. While I'm at it, Happy 4th of July to my American friends. I trust we all had nice holidays. Luckily for those of you south of the border, you had your day on a Friday. Ours was on Tuesday. Pffft. Some people swapped and took the holiday on the Monday to make a long weekend, but Jim & I both worked the Monday so we were able to enjoy the same day off. We didn't do a whole lot. Mostly just relaxed and spent some quality time together. But, cooking did take place and I had to break in my new camera properly so I have a lot of pictures to share.

What says summer better than mojitos!

These are such refreshing cocktails. I prefer mine with a bit more lime than is traditionally used and since I was the bartender, I made them to my taste.

Occasionally, the LCBO will have little booklets full of cocktail recipes. This one came out to correspond with our spirits promotion and while I was browsing through it, I happened upon a drink that really struck my fancy and fit right in with Canada Day.

You can click to enlarge it if you like. It gives measurements to serve 8, but I just scaled it down to serve 2. Similar idea as a mojito, but using rye (also known as Canadian whisky) and ginger ale, along with lime and mint.

I liked this even better than a mojito. I always have been partial to whisky over rum, so that was probably the reason.

Now for food! I did a very small amount of baking earlier in the day. And I mean small. All I made was one batch of chocolate chip cookies. I know we've all seen a million pictures of different chocolate chip cookies, but look at this!

This is an almost perfect specimen. I used Isa's recipe this time around, but I cut back on the sugar a little bit because I find that by following the recipe exactly they are too sweet. I also scaled the flour down a bit too (by 1/4 cup) and it made the batter easier to work with and didn't make such a dry cookie. These babies have been squirreled away in my freezer and I take a couple out at a time. I have to do it this way, otherwise, things could get ugly.

A few days before the weekend, Jim & I stopped into Longo's. I don't shop there regularly because I find them a little pricey, but sometimes I'll stop in to snoop around because they carry some different brands that I never see anywhere else. One such item was this -

A new veggie burger for me to try. Yea! Since we were planning on having BBQ, I grabbed a box. They were $7.99 for 8 burgers.

They were large, but quite flat. The texture was good but the taste was just OK. I'll finish up the box, but I doubt I'll buy them again for the purpose of BBQ-ing. Chopped up for a casserole or stew could be a possibility.

I also made oven fries. These babies were cooked to perfection. Brown and crispy on the outside, soft pillowy potato on the inside.

For my birthday, back in April, my friend Michelle got me this.

I just adore Gordon Ramsay. He's an excellent chef who wants a job done right & doesn't put up with crap. (And he used to be a Glasgow Ranger.) I was excited to get his new book, but now take a look at this!!



You can also click this to enlarge. "To CARRIE Happy Birthday Love Gordon Ramsay"


Isn't Michelle fabulous?




I've looked through this book countless times. There is a small section for vegetarian dishes, but quite a few of the recipes could be easily adapted. Since we were having burgers & fries, I decided to make one of the salads. In particular, one called Italian Leafy Salad with Walnut Dressing.

This was sooo easy to make and followed Gordon's basic rules - keep it simple, keep it fresh. There are just a few ingredients and I thought this would be reminisceint of the salad I had at Old Winery restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

I followed the directions and measured carefully because I was making this for the first time. I'm assuming it was a typo, because it was waaaaaay too lemony. We couldn't finish it all. I made the entire recipe, which was to serve 4, and split it so we could eat half now and have the other half the next day. I fixed up the remainder of the dressing so it wasn't such an overpowering lemon flavour. When I make this again, I'm scaling that part back to almost nil.

Because Canada is a country of diverse cultures, we were really having a diverse day - so why not throw in some Spanish wine. I bought this at my store a couple of weeks ago and I thought it would be good to have with the burgers. This was superb! A really nice wine that was so soft & smooth and very reasonably priced. We both really liked this. If you see it, get some!



Dessert was also from Fast Food and it was what one would expect from Gordon Ramsay - DELICIOUS! I present Easy Tiramisu.

I really splurged on this - expensive lady fingers, mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, brandy, but it was all worth it. This was really, really good! Lighter than traditional tiramisu, but so tasty.

The ladyfingers were dipped in espresso laced with brandy and layered in dessert dishes with the mascarpone mixture. YUM-MY! And because the recipe served 4, we got to eat some again the next night.

Simon was ready to pass out before the fireworks even started.

Oh, I want to also show you this. Jim went out onto the balcony and wasn't out there 10 seconds and he was calling me "Carrie, come look at this."

We've got a mama pigeon nesting behind our satellite dish. She seemed nervous when we were out there, so I left her some bread crumbs and we've been staying inside. Every few days I'll peek out to make sure she's doing OK. Sometimes I hear cooing, but no babies yet. We don't know how long she's been there, but at least up here she's safe and well hidden. If at any point after the hatching I'm able to get out there and get some pictures without upsetting any of them too much, I'll certainly post them. I used the zoom for this picture so I wouldn't have to get too close and it turned out not too bad. I'm so excited for baby birds!


VeggieGirl said...

Happy belated Canada Day!! :0)

I hope the pigeon remains okay!! We have baby doves nesting in our garden :0)

Tanya Kristine said...

Man. you're an amazing photographer. did you ahve experience or seomting? what camera did you get? How much was that wine? that burger looked like shoe leather :) but the fries looked LOVELY! like whiskey over rum. you know? me too. I had my first ever manhattan the other night and the bartender made it perfect becuase i had another one somewhere else and it was too whiskeyey. simon, as always, makes me smile. give him a big fat-ass smack for me! and then a kiss xoxoxo

Vicki's Vegan Vice said...

What a sweet picture of mama pigeon! she's lucky to have you looking after her. SWEET pictures all the way around, Carrie - awesome new camera, what kind did you get? Simon is so cute & regal looking. And I'm jealous of your personally signed cookbook - that's cool. Cheers for Canada Day & Mojitos!

Liz² said...

yum yum yummy looking drinks! that gingersnap intrigues me, I love everything in it - do you have the measurements you could tell me? :DDD

and nice fries!

Wino Will said...

Just wanted to make sure you knew today's G&M had a photo and column re: Robert Plant. Alison Kraus also appeared in the photo. Cheers, Ww

Michelle Ann said...

WOW! Those are some great pictures... Did you get a new camera? Love the mojitos and Simon, of course!

Ellen said...

Great pictures! The cookies looked so yummy along with the other goodies. Mind sending me the recipe for the chocolate chip cookies? Thanks. Simon sure looked comfy on the couch.

Urban Vegan said...

Choco chippers, mojitos and Gordon Ramsay--looks perfect to me. (I have such a mad crush on Gordon Ramsay)

Have you read EB White's essay about baby pigeons? If not, you MUST. You'll realize how special it is to see one

A belly rub to Simon--little cutie.