Friday, October 31, 2008

The Who, That's Who

I apologize for my absence. Both in posting and commenting. Time has a way of just slipping by too quickly & I have (luckily) had a rather busy social calendar. (And a busy work schedule, blah). The highlight of the past week or so was of course The Who concert. (which I did smuggle my camera into)

The opening act was some band from Winnipeg that was pretty shitty, so we just hung around in the lobby and ran into a couple of people we knew including Paul & John from Volume Water who informed us that their album has been nominated for an HMA. Congrats guys! They're in the Rock Recording category up against Daniel Lanois, so Paul says they haven't got a hope in hell. You never know...strange things happen in this world.

We had great seats for the concert & they went full-out, non-stop for 2 hours singing all kinds of hits, I Can't Explain, Baba O'Riley, Who Are You, My Generation and on & on. The crowd loved every minute of it, singing along, cheering Pete's famous windmills, Roger's mic swinging and just dancing & rockin' with the band. Jim & I had an absolute blast! The show got great reviews in the papers the next day. My only complaint - they didn't sing one of my Who favorites, Magic Bus. The rest of everything made up for it though.

Keith Moon, who died 30 years ago, was hard to replace, but Zak Starkey is a perfect choice. Not only is he the son of another famous drummer (Ringo), Keith Moon was his godfather & mentor. How cool that he ends up playing for The Who. And holy crap is he amazing! One of the best drummers I've ever seen. It was hard to get a good photo of him because he was always moving. Pete Townshend's brother was also on guitar. (in the Roger Daltrey picture above, on the left wearing a tuque). His name is...Simon!!

Here is a good fan made video shot at Copps Coliseum. Have a watch. This is what I got to experience.

I haven't had a whole lot of time for cooking/baking, so I've relied on old stand-bys & repeats, like Dreena's Cumin Lime Tofu.

Served with a rice pilaf I adapted from a barley recipe I got from Crystal over at Cafe Cyan. On the side I had some oven roasted broccoli with onions & red peppers. This is so freakin' delicious. I just toss the broccoli florets, onions & peppers with olive oil, some sea salt and freshly ground pepper and spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put into a 400F oven, stirring every now and then for about 10 minutes, maybe less - I go by look. When it's all done, tender crisp, I dump it into a bowl, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, toss and serve. YUMMY! Throw the parchment paper away, wipe off the baking sheet and clean-up is done.

I also dug out a recipe I hadn't made for quite sometime. It's from Campbell's soup and I have it in an old cookbooklet that I picked up somewhere years ago. It's also available on line. The recipe calls for steak strips, but I used this

Talk about making a fast work-night dinner even faster. These are already cooked, I basically just stir-fried them a bit to brown them up a bit.

8 ingredients totalled (including brown rice) and I ended up with this.

The soup used was Tomato with Basil & Oregano. It gives this a nice lift. Easy, tasty, minimal clean-up and enough leftovers for lunches = my kind of meal.

I wasn't too busy to bust out a batch of cookies though. This was a first time attempt at this particular recipe. Isa's Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies. I wanted chocolate something (big surprise) so I threw some chocolate chips into the batter.

These cookies are not overly peanut buttery, just a hint. Chocolate, peanut butter and oatmeal. Yea, I know what you're thinking. Awesome! And they were.

Things are really starting to cool down around here. There's a nip in the air, the leaves are turning colours and my thoughts are turning to wintery fare - soups, stews, chilis, pot pies....

I'm hoping everyone has a safe and Happy Hallowe'en. Oh, guess what I heard on the radio? So as not to offend anyone, some schools are not calling it Hallowe'en anymore. It's black and orange day. Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous? The nimrods who decide these things are playing up the "religious" aspect of the holiday, which isn't even an issue. To almost all of us, Hallowe'en is a fun day to dress up and get free candy. That's it! It's Hallowe'en. Call it what it is. By not doing so, you're offending me. And don't even get me started on Christmas.
Anyhow, play it safe and to my American friends, don't forget to get out there and vote on Tuesday. I'll be watching along with you on the TV.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thanksgiving & Election

Another federal election has come & gone and nothing much has changed since the last one. Stephen Harper won a minority government again. In my riding of Burlington, Mike Wallace was re-elected.

Not this Mike Wallace. ...................................... This one.

My cousin Larry also won in his riding. This is his 4th win in a row. Way to go Larry! He'll be sitting in The House on the side of the opposition. An interesting fact I read this morning - a record number of women were elected. Yea for Girl Power!

Simon could really care less. He doesn't know what all the fuss is about.
We walked over to our polling station after work - Simon came with us, so he was excited about that part at least - and by the time we got back home it was getting late. I didn't want to spend a lot of time at the stove, I wanted to watch the results on TV. So I made a super quick "election night" dinner.

Sloppy Joes! I softened some onions and peppers & used a package of Yves Veggie Ground Round. Then poured in a can of Manwich. I love that stuff! Not that great for you but I don't make it very often, maybe once or twice a year, so it's a treat. While I was getting that ready, I made some frozen fries. Jim wanted corn, I wanted carrots, so I did both. This was on the table in half an hour. What a 1960's meal! We even ate off TV tables. Ours are wood, not the old-fashioned metal kind. It made our meal more gourmet.

Since it was election night, we had Canadian wine. Yes, we opened a bottle of wine to have with sloppy joes & frozen fries. Why not? It elevated the gourmetness of our dinner. This is one of Jim's favorite wines. Made by EastDell Estates this wine is a blend of 3 red grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & Baco Noir. It's different & has a nice dark berry flavour. A decent price & available at the LCBO.

The day before the election, was Thanksgiving. But before Thanksgiving was another pub crawl!

Who's that goof pointing in the back?

Look at the people I associate with. What a bunch of degenerates.

On Thanksgiving Day, no one was really around or else had other plans, so it was just Jim & I. Since turkey is never on the menu, we were free to choose whatever we wanted for Thanksgiving dinner.

We chose Chinese take-out. We had vegetable fried rice, spring rolls,

These Shanghai noodles with vegetables. Holy were these delicious!

Jim got some meat thing and I got mixed vegetables with tofu & cashews. Yum!

For our wine, I opened this delightful German riesling. You can see on the label that this one is halbtrocken which means off-dry, so it's a great match with Chinese food.

I actually did a bit of baking earlier in the day. I took a few of the gazillion apples that I have and made turnovers.

I was originally going to make an apple pie, but in the end, decided on turnovers for something a little different. The pasty baked up to a wonderful golden brown colour.

Inside the apples were soft and cinnamony. It was a nice, lighter treat for the end of our Thanksgiving meal. Whew! That weekend pooped me out. I'm glad things are back to normal. Well, as normal as they can be around here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Alice a Go-Go

Monday night we went into Hamilton for the Alice Cooper concert. I'd been looking forward to this for weeks. The opening act was Canada's own Econoline Crush.

I don't know if they are known outside of Canada, but here's a sampling of their song You Don't Know What It's Like which they did sing at the show.

Their set was pretty decent and they played hard, but everyone was there to see Alice. Now, I love going to concerts and seeing bands play live, and you get the run-of-the-mill regular folks who may wear a band T-shirt, but some fans are so hardcore, it's weird. There were people with make-up on and some in costume. One girl had on a top hat, tails, gloves, make-up, a fake snake - it was like being at The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Anyhow, we had excellent seats. And Alice rocked the house!

For a while, he was touring and doing a "garage band" type of show. But now he's gone back to the Alice we know and love - shock rock with all the antics & drama.

He sang almost non-stop hit after hit, including some of my favorites Be My Lover, Feed My Frankenstein, Welcome To My Nightmare, School's Out, on and on. The encore was great, Billion Dollar Babies, Poison and a spoof on the upcoming election with Elected. (Click the link on any of the songs to see the video on YouTube.) The show was absolutely AMAZING!! The whole thing.

He was total pro and if you've never seen Alice Cooper live you MUST! This was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. I'm not kidding. We're all friends here, so trust me when I say it was fucking phenomenal. Just awesome! As we were leaving I was hearing only positive comments from the other concert-goers.

So what did we eat before heading off to an evening of live music to give us the energy to rock and roll properly?
Take what you see in this photo and make it into this -

Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta with Kalamata Olives & Capers from Vegan a Go-Go. What a yummy dish! And so easy. Served with a salad and some bread, it was a "rockin'" meal. This is another recipe I highly recommend you try. I added the optional vegan cheese, but it would be just as good without.
I hope everyone has a terrific weekend. To all my Canadian blog pals, Happy Thanksgiving. And don't forget to hit the polls on Tuesday and cast your vote for your favorite candidate. If you don't vote, you have absolutely no right to bitch about the government.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Some Fall Fare

Before it was put out for sale, look what I found in the back of the store -
I knew nothing of this wine or Claymore Wines, but based on the name alone, I HAD to have it. Late Friday, it was put on the shelves and low and behold, in Saturday's Globe & Mail wine writer Beppi Crosariol gave it a smashing review. (The price is wrong though. It was $2 less than what he quoted). I almost don't want to open it. But, I'm going to save it for one wintery day when it's snowing outside and I'm home all cozy. I'm going to open the bottle, pour a decent sized glass and put on the album. If only I still had a turntable, I'd whip out the vinyl just for nostalgia's sake. But, I'll have to content myself with a CD. Oh, it's going to be an enjoyable experience that I look forward to. One must have goals in their life and work to fulfill those goals. I think this one will be attainable.

Ah, the humble apple. My very favorite fruit. On average, I eat an apple a day. Sometimes 2. I have a frustrating time between late June and September because it's really hard to find a decent apple. Once mid-September hits though, fresh Ontario apples are everywhere. We quite often will go apple picking, but haven't made it out yet this year. There are so many varieties to choose from, with so many different flavours. The health benefits are an added bonus. If you have access to LCBO's Food & Drink magazine, the latest issue (Autumn 2008 - with salad and pear on the cover) has an interesting article about apples.

Of course, apples can be made into cider or hard cider. There are many different brands on the market. Most are imported from England, but I've had one from Belgium and Grower's is from BC. A great alternative to beer, cider is refreshing and unlike it's non-alcoholic version, it's not very sweet. When out at the pub, I'll usually get this. Try it, you'll like it!

Barb at work has a garden at home and she grew some low acid tomatoes as a bit of an experiment this year. She had loads of them, so she brought a box in for anyone who wanted to take some. I grabbed half a dozen and used them to make salsa. The tomatoes are orange and they gave a bit of a spin on traditional red salsa.

This is so easy to make. The time consuming part is the chopping, but a few tomatoes, onion, green pepper, jalepenos, lime juice, cilantro and some salt & pepper later....


One of Jim's customers is a farmer and his internet was down and he was in a panic because this is busy time for them. Jim went out the same day that the gentleman called and as a thank you, sent him home with some fresh veggies! Included in that were potatoes & a big head of cabbage. I had some Tofurky Kielbasa hanging around in the fridge, so I made Urban Vegan's recipe for A 30-minute Vegan Polish Meal.

Man, was this ever delicious! Even Jim, who is not that keen on cabbage, ate his whole plate. This is a great one pot dish and there were enough leftovers for lunches.

I added mustard seeds like her Babci did and I think next time, I might even throw in a bit more. I did the ginger carrots that Dynise supplied with this recipe and what a yummy way to do carrots!

I had baby carrots so I used those and they worked great. I nuked them a bit at first to give them a head start and they ended up perfectly done. The almond slivers were a perfect add-in. Served with little potatoes, this was a delicious, filling dinner. Cabbage is one of those odd foods that's hard to pair with wine, but I had the sausages which are a little peppery and the spiced glaze of the carrots so I picked this -

This riesling we picked up at Vineland Estates Winery about 2 or 3 years ago. The grapes are picked from 30 year old vines and this wine was superb. It went very well with our dinner. (Just a hint....if stuck for a wine to serve, riesling is the one of the best food friendly whites)

Jim & I've have never been a big fans of squash, but tastes change and we decided to give it another try. Since there are fresh, local squashes galore now, what a perfect opportunity. Earlier in the year, I was watching Food Network's show Licence To Grill and Rob Rainford was doing a vegetarian show. He smoked acorn squash on the grill with apple chips. Well, I didn't go to all that trouble, I just did them in the oven. After all, it was the glaze & filling that intrigued me.

Looks really good doesn't it? The squash was brushed with a margarine, maple syrup & cinnamon mix and the filling is dried cranberries & almonds.

The squash was very smooth and creamy and although not horribly bad, it's still not a favorite for either of us. We ate out the fruit and nuts and left most of the squash uneaten. If you like squash, I imagine you'd love this. If you're interested, you'll find the recipe for this here.

Have an enjoyable weekend. I'm gearing up for Monday night. We're going to see this guy - without the Muppets of course.