Monday, September 24, 2007

Anniversary Dinner

Jim & I celebrated our anniversary last week and we did what we do each year - we both took the day off! Quite often our schedules conflict and we end up not getting a lot of time together, so this is one day we plan for. Another thing we do every year is have champagne.

When we got married, we had Dom Perignon and again on our first anniversary. There are lots of great champagnes out there, so we decided that every year, we would try a new one. This time around I found a new favorite.

My favorite so far has been Veuve Clicquot, but it has been toppled from #1 spot by this one. Absolutely lovely!

Even though it's September, the day was sunny & warm - just like the day we got married. In the morning, we took Simon for his annual physical and booster shots. How romantic! Nothing says I love you like sitting in a half full vet's waiting room with a Jack Russell Terrier. Simon got a clean bill of health and was praised for being such a good patient. They are always amazed at how well he co-operates for his vet visits. Then we come out of the exam room, and it's back on - full JRT mode.

After getting Simon settled at home, we took off for Niagara-on-the-Lake. We did a little bit of tasting, but it was such a nice day outside, we decided to walk around some vineyards.

Everything is lush & green. It's getting near the start of harvest time now.

Look at these grapes! So plump & juicy. In a month or so, these will get crushed and made into wine.

We went for an early dinner at a favorite restaurant in NOTL. Old Winery Restaurant is owned and run by chef Tony Deluca who, for years, was the chef at Hillebrand Winery Restaurant. He has a very good reputation in the area and we were glad to find out about this place a while ago. He has a more formal restaurant as well, but this one is considered 'gourmet casual' so no ties required.

They changed their menu recently and the gnocchi dish I used to get disappeared. There weren't any veg mains listed so I inquired about one dish that had a lot of vegetables in it, but beef tips. Could I get it without the beef? Sarah, our server said "Certainly!"

We got a lovely basket of home-made bread & EVOO for dipping. So delicious!

I had a wonderful salad to start. Arugala, beets & toasted walnuts in a lemon vinaigrette dressing. I want to try this at home. It was so simple and such a medley of tastes in every bite.

Of course we got a bottle of wine to enjoy with our meal. The wine list at this place is chock-full of Ontario wines. We chose Wildass Red. It's the second label from Stratus, which is one of our favorite (and pricey) wineries. Wildass is available only in restaurants (or for home delivery) so it's a bit of a treat.

Jim got a seafood linguine dish and here's mine.

Orrechietti with roasted garlic, rapini, sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary. They drizzled & tossed it with sun-dried tomato oil, so it tasted very rich & DELICIOUS!!

We saved just enough room for dessert. We decided to share a Lindt chocolate creme brulee.

This dessert was velvety and chocolately, but not sweet at all. Pure heaven! We relaxed for a bit after our meal and Jim enjoyed an 18 year old scotch, while I savoured a Grand Marnier. The best part for me was getting to spend a nice relaxing day with my husband, having his great company and nice conversation. Cheers!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm NOT an Addict & TO Veg Food Fair

Whew! I'm not an addict. Here's the proof.

I've been absent from blogging due to feeding my non-addiction and another busy work schedule. It's been almost a week since I went to the
Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair.

My friend Stephanie moved to Toronto last year and at the first of the month, had moved to a new apartment.

While she was moving, her dog, Jersey, was vacationing with an auntie in Burlington. It worked out that we met up and all went on the train together into TO.

This is Jersey riding the rails on the GO Train. He's a Miniature Pinscher & is just over a year old. He was wearing his winter coat because it was a little cool for him that day. Plus we were going to be down by the water & Steph didn't want him to get a chill.

He was very good on the train. In fact he was good all day. He came to the fair with us and was well behaved. He seemed relaxed and relished in all the attention he got.

Here he is looking out the train window & enjoying the sights. He is just too cute for words.

The fair was very similar to last year and I went this time with a limited amount of cash as I tend to spend too much money at these sorts of things. I put some into donation boxes,

bought some miso,






and got Simon some dog cookies.

They were packaged in a cute container that looked like Chinese take-out.


I also bought some cookies for us, but ate them on the train coming back home, so I don't have any pictures.


One of the great things about the food fair is trying food samples. Some places will charge a nominal fee and some just give tastes away. Two things stood out for me as being the worst veg items I have ever tried.

This was the first. I'd heard about hemp milk and was super curious. So much so, that about a week before the fair, I saw some at a health food store I frequent. It's was really pricey. A litre container was $4.99. I wish I'd waited until I tried it. BLECH! Even the chocolate flavour was gross. Steph didn't like it either. Jim wouldn't even try it. I was telling one of my sisters about it and she said that she'd gotten some and between herself and her husband they couldn't even finish a glass. So now I'm stuck with the container of Hemp Bliss (boy did they get that name wrong) that I don't know what to do with.

This was the other thing. OMG - this was so disgusting, I couldn't even swallow it! I had to spit it out into a kleenex and throw it in the garbage. Stephanie wasn't even as dainty as I was. She just spat it right into the garbage can. Jim at least swallowed his. I haven't had anything this gross in a long time. I can't even describe it to you it was so bad.

Mostly everything else we tried was good. Especially the Tofutti Cuties, but you all know how delicious those are. MMMMMMM!!

I saw this T-shirt and really liked it. I couldn't seem to find one for sale, then we got distracted talking to some of Stephanie's friends from Wild at Heart. We moved on and I kind of forgot about it until after we had left the fair. Has anyone ever seen this? Do you know where I could get one?

(click photo for a larger view)

The Toronto Vegetarian Association had tables and booths set up all around. One caught my eye and we went over to have a look. They had a poster set up with photos of celebs and we had to guess which ones weren't vegetarian. People were making guesses and were surprised to find out that Shania Twain, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Simpson, etc. were vegetarian. I guessed that Canada's Environment Minister, John Baird, was an omnivore. I was WRONG!
I've seen this guy ranting and raving on TV in the House Of Commons many times (that seems to be the norm up there) but I did not know he was a vegetarian. He's jumped up a couple notches in my opinion of him. The two celebs on the poster who were NOT vegetarian were George Clooney and David Suzuki. I have heard that Dr. Suzuki has taken the veg challenge, but don't have actual confirmation.

Even Jim had a good time. I think he was happiest about me now possibly liking a Conservative a little bit. Give it time honey, I'm sure it will pass.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pasta & Peaches

Summer is the busiest time for us workwise, but Jim & I had a rare day off together, so I wanted to have a nice dinner for just the two of us. I hadn't made this for quite a while so I dug out the recipe and got started. It's from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry and it's basically Tofu Parmigiana. Slices of tofu are dipped into a savory bread crumb mixture, baked, then baked again in pasta sauce & are smothered with cheese. I like to serve this on a bed of pasta. Tonight we had whole wheat fettuccine and I tossed some sauteed vegetables into the sauce.

This dish has never failed me and I've made it at least half a dozen times. There is a bit of prep involved, but it is really simple to put together and the baking time all totalled is 1/2 an hour.
We also had a lovely garden salad with Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette from La Dolce Vegan. Mmmm! So yummy!
For our wine selection of the evening, I chose this -

I bought this a long time ago and kind of forgot about it. I got it for two reasons - the vineyard is under conversion to be organic and the wine comes from Moldova. I've never had wine from Moldova, so I was curious to give it a try. I remember it wasn't very pricey either, so if it was crappy, then I wouldn't be out a lot of money. What a surprise! This was a really good wine! It was flavourful & smooth - very delicious.
***Just a side note here....strangely enough, after we had this, the new bi-weekly Vintages catalogue arrived at the store and when I was looking through it, the 2004 vintage of this wine was due to be released Sept. 1. The 2004 offering is fully organic & a great value at $10.95. There's no tasting notes in the blurb written, but our Product Consultant, Terry, said he'd tried it and it was a pretty good wine. So, if you're in Ontario, (or anywhere else) pick up a bottle.

I'd gotten a sweet deal on a basket of peaches & wanted to use them in a dessert dish of some kind.

I ended up making Peach Crisp from this recipe.

It tasted delicious, but I wasn't keen on the amount of flour added in with the fruit. But I figured Martha Stewart knew what she was doing. I know the flour was to keep the bottom of the crisp from becoming a soup, but the filling ended up being kind of thick & a bit glue-like. Hmmmm.....I think next time I will just add a couple of tablespoons.

It tasted heavenly with Cool Whip on top. Of course!
I found this article by way of Sarah Kramer's blog. The dog mentioned at the beginning of the piece ended up being OK. Last I heard the owner was trying to get him back saying he'd rescued Cyrus (that's the dog) from a shelter and he really loves his dog. Uh-huh. Maybe the man is just clueless. How can you leave a dog in your car in sweltering temps for hours? When Tre Smith found the dog, it was unconcious and foaming at the mouth. It was originally though it would have brain damage. Would you leave your child or another human being in a locked car like this? Of course not. The article also mentions a book called 'Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals and the Call to Mercy', by Matthew Scully. Has anyone read this book? If so, thoughts?
4:46pm - I just logged on the internet again and saw this. What the fuck is wrong with people??!! I'm sick of this "where he comes from" cop out. He's from United States and it's ILLEGAL!! Maybe I just don't understand, but considering I'm with the majority.......
I just don't get how anyone can defend him.