Olé

I’m such a poser. I have Rosetta Stone Spanish, but i end up thinking about enchiladas and bail on my lessons…

Had a Mexican craving last week and wasn’t sure where to go with it – Tacos (especially the ones we buy in a box) weren’t going to cut it. I have been inspired by fish tacos from the creatively named “tacos and beer” in Vegas; but I can’t seem to do a good ceviche. Fajitas are better when someone else bring you a sizzling hot plate of death.

Mexican- Canadian Salad… and fish tacos!!

A nice crispy lettuce, some sharp zesty cheese, beans of your choice (Black, red, etc..) limes, cilantro, tomatoes, onions of your choice (I heart red), avocado on the ripe side and crunchy crushed tortillas if so desired… and of course, a shit load of chillies. I should have added bacon. and Maple syrup… My OCD came out on this one and I organized the salad.

i can’t find the damn photo for this. moving on…. Fish tacos!

pretty photo of Salsa and stuff…

I have nothing more to say. Except this would be great with lime chicken,  or poblano beef. Which I don’t make. Yet. I’m a pro at lime fish.

So I went for fish tacos. I ADORE mango salsa. Why is this not a thing for facials. Splat it, eat it.

I chose a tilapia – boring, but so good at sucking up neighbouring flavahs! Cilantro – can’t get enough of this stuff. Light flour tortillas – corn ones are good, too – if you are gluten intolerant (in your mind or actually for real – I’m looking at you, fakey McFake)

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I’m not sure what this edition was about. If you can figure it out, let me know.

fish tacos. amazeballs.

 

CUKES, mo fo.

I have only grown one cucumber vine in my little veggie boxes and have still managed quite a haul – 6 and counting. Not bad for one little shaded plant. However there is one cuke, I kinda missed and it turned into CukeZilla.

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An underrated watery tube, this cucumber. They come in endless varieties and shapes, although, admittedly the flavours are all fairy similar.

Good thing they taste like crunching into summer!! Super nice when it’s 35 degrees and 95% humidity. (That’s Celsius, folks – believe me, it’s nice and sticky)

I have yet to find a cucumber casserole recipe, but have still managed to come up with quite the Bubba Gump list of options:

Cucumber water – light, refreshing and ever so easy. Cut the cuke, put into jug of H2O. Rest an hour or a day. Consume. It’s a really good way to use up cukes that may be on their last vine.

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Cuke Salads – spicy, or sweet, or creamy! I’ve done a nice yogurt/sour cream/mayo mix, red onions and grape mix. Poor mans’ Waldorf salad? Perhaps. Yummy as hell. Fresh.

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Of course, the Cucumber sandwhhhhich. ( i didn’t make any) Can you really say those words without a gentle British accent? Whip some of those crustless white bread wonders, reach for the white gloves, your best feathery fascinator and call it a party.

I have recently observed someone drinking a *gasp* cuke margarita! I KNOW RIGHT?! What? Looked good – I just wasn’t partaking in the tippy teas at that time. Next time fo-sho.

Cuke Soup – so easy. (made some, ate it before i had a chance to take a pic, but it looks like a glass of Soylent Green) Blender the cukes up, mix with yogurt, or cream (sour or fat) and salt and pepper to taste. A nice cool treat – and add mint if you wish, too. That led me to make a smoothie out of the little green tubes. I used about three mini cukes, a whole avocado (without the pit, duh) , fresh mint, a bit of honey, ice, and some coconut almond milk and protein powder – yuuuummmmmmmm. A really good after yoga hydrator – and actually a nice lunch.

Good thing about these veg, they are often found in the “expired” veggie rack – so yep – cheap. Goody for us, for we know what to do with them now, right?

Bubba could totally have had a cuke farm…

Cucumber soup, cucumber yogurt salad, cayenne cucumber slices, cucumber water, cucumber cocktails, cucumber smoothies…. You get the idea. Please say it in your head with his voice, please. It’s so much better. But always say cucumber sandwich in your best Windsor words.

Stay fresh; she’s a hot one out there.

fridge door chaos

Fridge Door Crap

So years ago, I received this charming cookbook about how to be a good wife/mom/submissive/secret alcoholic. The photos involved colourful jelly molds; somewhat phallic shaped cakes and I do believe the ‘steam’ coming off the supposedly piping hot dishes was indeed just the photogs’ cigarette smoke.

I reveled in the culture that thankfully has gone mostly to the wayside. Better than a smut novel, I imagined the poor woman behind these dishes as a combination of sexually frustrated and given up on herself. The type that wears a black lace thong under her frumpy apron and oversized curlers, forgetting that her external appearance may indeed make her ‘man of the house’ snub his nose and wander over to the tight-sweater-wearing secretary named Greta or Sophie, or better yet, Alesandro.

All right – one of the recipes in the book had something called ‘fridge door meat loaf’ yummmmm…. What? Sounds vile. Anything in the fridge door would do for this concoction – it could be red, yellow or green. Anything goes..you got it. Ugh. How gross.

So fast forward to ten years later. I’m looking at my fridge door with a brand new fondness. You see, I have recently had very minor surgery that recommends me not to lift anything heavy for a while. Or reach. Or stretch. Or exert my core in any way. I’m typing like a cricket right now – arms and elbows tucked in tightly like an upright chaturunga posture.

Curses.

My victim for this mess? The poor little piggus maximus and his little tenderloin.

I’m going to list off what I *think* I put into this “marinade”…

Franks’ red hot

Some generic BBQ sauce

Ketchup

Jalapeno ketchup

Pickled onion juice

Maple syrup

Leftover grainy mustard

previously squeezed lemon juice

A vitamin C caplet – hey – it’s in the fridge door (just glad I couldn’t quit reach the anchovies)

So there you go.

I let the little meat dong wallow in my mess for the day and then cooked it to the recommended internal temp. (OK, maybe a few degrees below)

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I used the sauce for braising and basted as much as I could throughout without stretching too much. I debated if I was strong enough to lift it out of the oven or would I have to eat it straight from the source. I managed.

served with lima beans – because i can… and a poor acorn squash that’s older than one of my cats.

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Smothered the thing in cracked pepper (don’t ask how long it took to grind that) and popped a few Percocets after my effort.

You know? Those boozy housewives could still see a good thing through their resentment for life. This tasted like a high class diner or truck stop meal! No,wait –  that’s a good thing! Have you been to the big truck stops lately? Them’s Fancy eats.

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Enjoy – and when life limits your options – open the damn door and just grab stuff.

Hang on to your Love and pants

Right well…. Hmmm… what to title this one? Stuff? Scrapings? This was a toughie.

I’m solo tonight – having returned from the glamorous East Coast of Canada while my husband withers away in Rome. I’m home – I’m happy. I have three cats, a garden almost ready to burst and a few good friends to text (really – texting can be cool if you don’t do it while you’re actually with anyone).

So I got hungry – not surprising. It’s a tad chilly here today compared to what is has been recently – so comfort food was on my mind, but i had limited resources at my disposal.

Lots of fresh veg withering away here, too:  A squishy avocado, shriveled up red mini tommies, a red onion ready to sprout legs and head to sunnier climes and a freezer burnt puff pastry package.

Well, as I knew I’d have leftovers from whatever i made, I needed meat for this foray to guarantee it being eaten by the approaching carnasaur scheduled to arrive tomorrow (husband).

Needed to thaw a ¼ kg of beef. Conveniently already had the sink full of lukewarm water to thaw the cat food – won’t get those mixed up ever, I hope.

Cast iron frying pan – tossed in the toms, the diced onion, and the smashed avocado and for good measure I added frozen peas. Salt & pepper to taste.Beef is simmering in another pot as the puff pastry is thawed and being rolling pinned into submission for my square baking glass. Drain liquid as much as you can. Then I just smashed all of that stuff together into the baking dish and then plopped the pastry on top – grated a cube of dried out old cheddar I had in the fridge (don’t waste cheese! Bake it!) Hang on to your cheese! Hang on to your love? sure!

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LOOK AT ME!!!! I’M BAKED!!! WOOHOO!!!!

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OK – this was good – I even got a second helping BEFORE touching my wine. Unheard of. Un. Heard. Of.    And i may have plopped a bunch of sour cream on the second helping 🙂

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Now if I could only think of a name for this casserolly thingy. It’s pretty yum.

Give you any ideas? Whatcha got in your fridge? Do It. It feels good to use up food that you might have thrown out otherwise. Throwing out food sucks. Ooooh – there’s the title, maybe….

Plop a bit of puff pastry on anything and you’ll feel instantly like a mega fancy pants. Even if you’re not wearing any.

(no pants casserole?)

Workin’ my mussels

Shellfish night is Tuesday nights!

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I plan on a mussel night I’d say once a month – hopefully on a Tuesday if I have my thoughts organized and know what day of the week it actually is  so the compost peeps can scoop the shells up on Wednesday and I don’t have to have stinky shells in the bin for a week. Sometimes this doesn’t happen and science happens in my bin. Science is fun, but not ideal in your compost bin.

OK – so I’m always asked ‘how do you know if the mussels are good or not?’

Mom taught me these methods:

If they stay shut after being cooked, chuck ‘em. No good. That’s the easiest way, but I’m not a fan of having things that are ‘no good’ in my plate so i attempt to divert the bad ones to the compost prior to cooking.  Here’s what I usually do:

Mussels – uncooked ones- can be tested individually by tapping them – if they shut their little bivalve faces on their own, we’re good. If they stay open in the pre-cooked stage, chuck ‘em. Basically, the mussels should think you are a seagull trying to pry their fleshy body from the shell and close up shop. If they don’t close up shop, they are either dead or have given up on their little life and you don’t want to eat their sad little non-faces anyway.

Aromas: If they smell like anything other that the sweet and sexy oceany embrace of an East Coast sailor, then chuck ‘em! (They should smell like the ocean, not the crap the seagulls are eating behind the surf shop).

Don’t buy them if you doubt their freshness at all and express your concerns to the fishmonger. I just wanted to write fishmonger.

Flava-flaves!

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So far my favourite is the curry/white wine/leek and tomato mix broth.

Also good is the amber beer, onions, garlic and leeks… i like leeks.

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Also yummy is a sweet spicy Thai mix – although watch the spice. It nearly killed me one night.  I’ve also done a lemon cream sauce once, and that was cool, but was really heavy at the end of the evening after eating an entire baguette.  I prefer the broth with a white wine base – then *you* can some have wine, too! Now how fun would that be!?

They are done and ready to be plucked out of their shells when all of them are open and no glossiness remains on the interior of the mussel. Use your first mussel shell to pick out the others like a little mussel shaped chopstick. You’ll be a fancy Belgian “moulles” master with this method.

Cook safely, try new stuff, and love lots…also, fishmonger.

Two hotels, two months, two pans

So it’s been a while, I confess, but I have a new job! I’m still flying, but if all goes well (pending the on the job inspection of what I’ve learned for the past two months) will be flying farther, faster and louder. If all does not go well, i’ll be blogging a hell of a lot more. My training has been in hotels pretty far from home, so I haven’t actually been home to cook anything. Boooooo HOWEVER, the provided hotels had a mini kitchenette (do I need to say mini with ette?)  Without wheels, i relied on the hotel staff to get me to and from the store. I found out that one grocery trip, carefully planned, can last for the whole month at each hotel.

Despite my planning, though, I did have leftover food. I donated it to fellow employees continuing their training once mine was done.

My 4L milk jug went off, too. i found out it soured after i poured it on the last of my favourite cereal. Boo hiss.

I digress.

What can one do with the basics: plate, spoon, one spatula and only two little electric cook tops – no oven. College mode. But his time, Mr Noodle can find his own date.

So you can: Boil stuff. Sauté stuff. Fricassee stuff And…. Burn stuff, I suppose. I opted for the boil, sauté and stir-fry stuff. I totally made the hallways smell good. No TV dinners for me! (OK –one Salisbury steak hungry man dinner – because I HAD too!! Memories of my childhood “TV night” came rushing back… *sniff* – I remember actually getting TV – and that tiny little dessert looking at you the whole time daring you to eat it first)

Anyhooooo, here’s what I made with one pot and one pan:

A Beef Mediterranean thing. Flank steak (cheap), spinach (massive box) mini toms and onions

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Lime and coconut chicken thing with mucho peppers (and the cheater Jasmine rice – 10 minutes and she’s ready! woohoo! – note the emergency procedures manual – see, i WAS studying, too)

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And accompanied by a jet engine schematic and a chicken tomato (mini toms, onions and more spinach) on top of those cute little seashell pasta shapes.

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I admit, i was sick of eating after a while. You can’t exactly go out and buy a whole stash of your regular seasonings, spices and oils. Well, you could, but you won’t go through everything by the time you leave. So there were things i missed, like the spontaneity of last minute meal prep based on what you had in the house, or what you craved after perusing the cook books. I had to do more planning that i ever have in regards to grocery shopping. Waste not, want not. I did OK, but could have done better. Honestly, though – i don’t ever want to spend that long in a hotel again, even though they were both lovely.  I was also on a ‘dry training’ kick, so no booze for 2 months. Not bad. You loose the ‘cravings’ for cooking with wine after a while. It’s quite shocking. I’ll put an end to that nonsense. bottoms up! Time to bond with the cats and my kitchen. Go figure, the husband’s away when i get back. Damn aviation.

Bottoms up!

BOTTOMS UP!

The holiday season is upon us like a pinching helmet made out of lead that is slowly shrinking the closer the 25th trundles it’s way towards us. Mostly. I chose to work, so I will miss most of the trundling this year, but this does not mean I am short on merriment this season. I have three cats! They are pretty much Christmas with tails. True story.

I will quaff eggnog or three (non boozy) and enjoy seasonale ales from micro breweries, no doubt. (Beaus for sure)

My 2 days off before the official Christmas day I have decided to mull a wine. Yummmmoh and yay me!!

I wasn’t sure how I did it the last few years, but I am never sure how I do Sangria and that always tastes divine.

Do what feels right – with a guide.

Traditionally mulled wines were made using claret and/or port – but I went for brandy to mix with my fruity red wine.

Mulled wine is most often drank at yule time, or Saturnalia and All Hallows eve. Guess we don’t do that anymore as we drive the kidlets about begging for candy– being sloshed isn’t such a wise idea. Can’t have your 6 year old as DD, now can we.

I guess we kept the mulling to Christmas for safety’s sake.

Historically, the Romans were the first ones who warmed up the vino and spiced it up. Fine – what didn’t the Romans do? I’ve been to Rome an have yet to figure out why they came up with such new ideas all of the time – everything is just sooo olde… lol & and a hahah ha

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my mulled wine: a bottle of moderately dry and fruity wine – I chose a fairly inexpensive shiraz on the 2 scale of sweetness, then a dollop of good brandy (keep in mind, Brandy makes the Gobi desert look moist) and then one soft apple (been in my lunch bag for way too long) 2 tangerines, peels mashed to release the Florida, cinnamon; ground and sticks, nutmeg, honey and vanilla to taste. Keep some brown sugar on standby to adjust the taste after the boil.

Mix’er up, boil briefly! (don’t boil the booze away!) add the brown sugar as you see fit, if at all. Santa/Snowman mug required regardless of your leanings for faith – this is universal – a warm cup of love.

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That’s my foray this year, and I was pleased.

Very Merry, y’all, cook lots, eat life, love always, stay safe.