Sunday, August 26, 2007

Toronto FC

We decided it would be easiest to take the GO Train into Toronto for the game because there is a stop right at BMO Field.
Before we got to the station, it started raining and we got caught in a gigantic downpour running from the parking lot into the station to get our tickets. Jim & I were both soaked. I could have taken my pants off and wrung them out and probably gotten over a cup of water out of them. My shoes and socks were swimming and were squishy even after we got home. I wasn't going to let the bad weather put a damper on our day because I had been looking forward to it for weeks. Once we got onto the train and got past Oakville, the sun came out and it stayed nice for the rest of the day. Figures. There were a lot of Toronto FC fans on the train & there were some hard core fans sitting near us, so we got talking and it got us even more pumped for the night ahead.
Once we hit our stop at the exhibiton grounds, we showed our soccer tickets and got free admission to the
CNE. Since we had a couple of hours to kill, we decided to walk around and check things out. We were greeted by a little Oom-pah band.

There were a lot of people milling around.

We checked out some of the games, vendors & exhibits. One that was particularly interesting was a look at the CNE from years past. We were getting a little hungry, so we headed to the food building. Our first stop?

Had to get me a beavertail! Beavertails are a delicious Canadian treat. It's a piece of fried dough, shaped like a beaver's tail that is served warm, usually with cinnamon & sugar or maple. You can get all kinds of funky, weird toppings now like Reese's Pieces or cream cheese frosting, but I like mine plain & simple.

Jim & I both got cinnamon sugar. Mmmmmm! These are so freakin' delicious. They are not greasy or heavy at all. When made properly, they are light, crispy and heavenly.

We wanted to get into the stadium early so off we went.

When we got in, some of the players from DC United were practicing on the field. We walked around for a bit and found our seats then watched the teams as they came out to do a warm up. We had a great view. We sat in the lower section, row 9, just right of midfield.

At this point the stands were pretty empty.

Now it's getting better.

By the time the game was underway, the place was packed with loud, rowdy fans. It made for a very electric atmosphere.

Final score - DC United 1, Toronto FC 0. Didn't matter, we had a blast. We're now hoping to get to another game. There are only 4 home games left and the tickets are sold out, but there's always Ebay!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Recipe & Secrets

One of Jim's regular customers is Chuck Swirsky, voice of The Raptors. He called Jim a couple of weeks ago and asked him to to stop by for a service call. Since he just lives in Burlington, Jim was able to get over there right away. As a thank you, he gave Jim & his partner, Ron these -

Tickets for Toronto FC, Toronto's team in the Major Soccer League! I am so pumped for this! Dave that I work with at the LCBO went to a game last month & said the atmosphere is unbelievable. Woot!!

I found a recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook that sounded interesting, so I gave it a whirl. The recipe called for chicken, so I substituted with Quorn.

This was very easy to make and had a delicious sauce. I've included the recipe at the end if you'd like to try it.

I also made little tiny roasted potatoes with rosemary and some garlic sauteed kale. Mmmmm!

Crystal over at Cafe Cyan blogged about a barley dish she'd made and was nice enough to post the recipe. I really wanted to try it and made it the next night as a side for the left over Quorn & kale. The recipe called for quick-cooking barley. I'd heard about quick-cooking barley, but have never been able to find it. On our last cross-border shopping trip I bought some, but as of yet, hadn't tried it. Now was my chance.

This is weird stuff. It's not round like barley, but flat. And the bits were big. It's like they cooked barley, sliced the pieces thin, then dried it. It cooked up really fast, but didn't have much of a taste. Once I use up what I have, don't think I'd buy any more. But - Crystal's recipe was very nice. The day I went shopping, there were no snap peas to be had -very strange - so I used snow peas instead. I also didn't include the tofu this time, but would like to try it with.

The Quorn and kale reheated nicely, and round two of this dish was almost as good as the first.

The barley pilaf was still on my mind so I decided to try it with regular barley. I just added the vegetables near the end of the cooking time so everything would be done at the same time. I also really lazed about this time and used frozen peas

This turned out just as good! Barley is so delicious and I'd like to have it more often. It's not just for soup.

So here's the recipe for the "chicken" with a few simple modifications.

"Chicken" Braised in Red Wine

2 veggie bacon strips
2-3 pounds "chicken" (quorn, seitan, even tofu, cut, if necessary, into serving sized pieces)
2½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1¾ cups veggie chicken broth
1 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
½-¾ tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf

Spray a large non-stick saucepan or soup pot with non-stick spray and heat over medium-high heat; add the veggie bacon and cook until crisped. Remove and set aside to cool, then dice. Add some oil to cover the bottom of the pot and add the quorn. Cook until browned on both sides. Remove from pot & set aside.

Add mushrooms, onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their juices, 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the broth, wine, tomato paste, thyme & bay leaf; bring to a boil. Add the quorn & bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 30-40 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the quorn and vegetables to a bowl.

Discard bay leaf, then bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling, stirring, until it has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Return the quorn & vegetables to the pot & heat through.

Serves 4-6


One blog that I very much enjoy and that I'm sure most of you have heard about is Post Secret. People mail in their "secrets" on a post card and the blog owner, Frank, posts new "secrets" every Sunday. He's been the subject of newspaper articles, published books, done tours, and been interviewed on television by none other than former Much Music VJ, Kim Clarke Champniss. (You more "mature" Canadians will remember him). ;o)
Anyhow, this week is a special installment of Postsecret - it's a mini-movie. Check it out here. Once you start visiting this blog, you'll be hooked.