Sunday 29 April 2012

The Food of France

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French Cheese

Call me crazy, but I really like my food to taste like food.  And France totally gets that about me, the entire country pulls together and delivers fresh, beautiful, tastes-like-food food.  And for that, I thank it.

Having just spent a week in rural France, I got to be floored by how awesome the food there is everyday.  It was a food lovers paradise.  In Canada (or Ontario, at least) vast amounts of food are discarded before even getting to the store because it doesn't look right (the tomatoes aren't round, or the carrots are too fat!) The waste breaks my food-loving heart. Mud on produce is okay (it comes from the ground!).  Misshapen produce is great (why do veggies need to be more perfect than people?).  France gets it, and that is devine. 

Just look at this bread. It's perfect. It's hearty. It's love.

This butter changes lives.  I don't generally butter my bread because I don't find it adds much.  This butter however I could practically eat by the spoonful.  It has chunks of sea salt in it that create the most drool-worthy taste.  The only way I can think to portray how good it is, is tell you that i would liberally spread this on my croissants in the morning - yes, even the freshest, most buttery croissant would be lathered in this stuff. I'm telling you, life changer.

 No post about french food is complete without cheese (and some saucisse l'ancienne thrown in for good measure!) There's the obvious brie (no trip is complete without!), the orange rinded fellow is a creamy and mild Port-Salut, and that gorgeous beast in the front is a stinky (but delicious!) Pont L'Eveque.  Any one, or all, of these and a baguette and I am good to go!

Seriously, look at that produce. Are those tomatoes not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen!?

You could smell these strawberries from across the store (literally, it was major). Naturally we picked up and entire crate of them.

Put it all together and you get lunch! The loveliest, simplest, most satisfying lunch.

Bonne Maman Yogurt! It was love at first sight. 

Aren't these beautiful? I didn't actually drink them, I just snapped them while passing by in a market, they are all lemonades and the colours are stunning!

I cannot believe I didn't get a picture of the (many) baguettes and croissants I ate each day.  Perhaps a testament to how tasty they were? But you should know that if you're ever in the region and happen upon the tiny little hamlet of Paizay-Naudouin-Embourie, may I recommend the croissants.  You'd be hard pressed to find better!

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Eating My Greens: Roasted Broccoli

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Roasted Broccoli

You guys, it's time we started to eat our vegetables around here. Seriously, there is a lot of sugar, and meat, and cheese, and that's about it. It's nearly summer, let's keep the beach in mind, shall we?

As far as cooked vegetables go, roasting is always my preferred method. They just taste so much better! Carrots, beets, parsnips, eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower, you name it I roast it. Except broccoli.  Somehow, I've managed to miss out on this entire idea. Until now.

Crispy. Salty. Nutritious. Delicious.

This roasted broccoli is all of those things. It is awesome.

I will emulate how simple this broccoli is, with a simple post. Make it. Eat it. Do it now. You will totally be eating your veggies more often. That's important, it's for your health. When you eat more broccoli, you get to eat more cookies, or magic squares, or chocolate peanut butter bars, right? That's how it works? No? Oh. Well ... at least it won't hurt!

Now, get to it!

Read more for the recipe...

Saturday 21 April 2012

Playing with my food: Pulled Pork Enchiladas

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pulled pork enchiladas

The strangest thing happened to me the other day... I was day-dreaming about the pulled pork I had recently made (that's right, I day-dream about food ... on a regular basis) and I thought to myself "mmm I would really like to make enchiladas with this." Then I remembered I've never made enchiladas before, and I had no trusty bookmarks to point me in the right direction.

Then, not an hour later, Best Recipes posted a link to their chicken enchiladas on twitter.  Obviously, at this point, I knew it was meant to be!

I didn't have the right ingredients to follow along with their recipe, or with the recipes I dug out in a few of my favourite cookbooks, sooooo it was time to start playing!

This was a lesson in how major improvisation in the kitchen can be such a good thing! Other Half also agreed by exclaiming "you're a genius." No biggie.

I wanted these to be saucy, cheesy and bursting with that irresistible pulled pork, so I didn't scrimp on the good stuff, and neither should you.

These are indulgent and filling and ooey-gooey goodness. Seconds, please! Read more for the recipe...

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Recreating Momofuku's Pulled Pork

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momofulu's pulled pork

 When Other Half and I went to New York last year, I spent hours developing a "must eat" list.  I even mapped it out so that we could maximize our few days in the city with great eats. Of all the things we ate that long weekend (and there were A LOT - we ate enough for about a week in just 4 days), there are three absolute stand outs.

One is the Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookie from Levain Bakery on the upper west side.  These were so good that I have considered flying back to New York specifically to get a cookie.

Another, is the food cart we encountered at 53rd and 6th.  This was our first meal in the city and after eating it, we contemplated ditching the food list and just eating there every day.

And the last was Kimchi Stew at Momofuku Noodle Bar. It featured kimchi (obviously) and the super tender pulled pork shoulder. Drool.

momofuku's pulled pork

I'm not sure that I'll be using this pulled pork in a kimchi stew, but I will be fondly remembering our days in New York as I devour all this delicious-ness.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

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Reese Bars
Zorra knows a good thing when she sniffs it

Welcome, friends! May I introduce you to your next obsession?

Bread and butter. Milk and cookies.  Peanut butter and chocolate.  Some things just belong together.

If I ever ask Other Half what kind of sweet treat he wants, he only ever responds with two things. These cookies or these chocolate peanut butter bars.  Without a doubt, it will be one of these two things.  And really, I can't blame him, both of these recipes are classic combinations.

Like many, my introduction to the glory that is the combination of chocolate and peanut butter was the humble Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  I used to eat them a different way every time.  Sometimes, I would eat all around the edge and save the middle, other times I would do the opposite. Sometimes I eat it as slowly or as quickly as possible. It was a fun food. 

This recipe may not look like a peanut butter cup (I don't have that kind patience), but it sure tastes like one. And I'm having just as much fun eating them!

reese bars

Thursday 12 April 2012

Staycationing: crafting in the city

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Views of the city - looking appropriately "springtime" on an epic walk about.

Every so often (but not quite often enough!), my friend Karen comes up to the city and we spend one really long day, walking all over the place, shopping, talking, exploring. Recently that happened again, and after one long day stomping around the city collecting supplies, we spent the next one crafting our fingers off. It was awesome.

The results

Monday 9 April 2012

Reliving vacations: Guacamole

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I've always liked guacamole, but after a trip to Mexico in December, it's a full on love.

We were staying in the Mayan Riviera and it was my first all inclusive vacation.  I was afraid I would be bored the entire time, little did I know how awesome lying on the beach with unlimited drinks and food could be.  My drink of choice became the Coco Loco and my food of choice, hands down was the guacamole. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Literally.

Just some of the visual delights to go along with my guacamole in Mexico!

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Zucchini Bread

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zucchini bread

What's better on a rainy spring day than a warm and comforting quick bread? Just about nothing. While the rain drizzles down outside, I love being inside whipping up something simple and soothing.  And my preference will always lean toward something that fills the house with smells that are oh-so-wonderful.

This was my first time making zucchini bread, and knew what I did and didn't want this bread to be. I wanted something simple, that featured the vegetable, instead of hiding it with chocolate or fruit and nuts (nothing agaisn't those, I just wanted my first loaf to be a classic one!).  I also didn't want it to be packed with an entire cup of oil (and I didn't have any applesauce on hand to substitute). So with my perameters in mind, I scoured my shelf of cookbooks, and the interwebs until I found roughly what I was looking for.


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