Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday Things

1)  Dinner the other day was chicken with two of my most favourite vegetables, Brussels sprouts and beets.

2)  This evening we went to see "The Sheepdogs: Have at It" in the theatre.  It was good!  Next movie on the list - "This is the End".  Have you seen it yet?  Is it awesome?

3)  I saw this in a convenience store and was really, really tempted to buy it.  I restrained myself, mostly because it wasn't crispy ... and we all know I like meat candy.  And meat cookies.

4)  Sandwich week is over officially, but there will still be plenty of sandwiches around these parts.  We have a couple of other ideas in the works ... but for now, see what sandwiches we ate for days: one, two, three, four, five, six and seven.

5)  The company Totally Bamboo has come out with a line of bamboo cutting boards that you can buy in the individual outline of any of the 50 States.  I need the NY one!  And Louisiana too!! 

6)  I am totally pizza'd out.  I've enjoyed too many pizza parties in the last few days, and don't want to look at another slice for a while.  Also, I'm aware that pizza'd is not a word.

What are your Thursday things?

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Week of Sandwiches: Homemade Veggie Burgers

I wish that we kept better track of the exact measurements of the ingredients in these burgers, because they were FANTASTIC.  Honestly, I don't think the measurements matter too much - if you mix together and cook the ingredients listed below, good things will probably happen.  Next time we invent a recipe, we'll try to be a bit more precise. 

Veggie Burger Patties

1 mashed sweet potato
1 cup or so cooked barley
1 grated carrot
bread crumbs
3-4 finely chopped mushrooms
garlic powder
Fresh herbs (a couple chives, a bit of thyme and rosemary)
Sea salt and Italian herb seasoning mixture

We mixed the above together and baked them at 350 F until they firmed up.  Christopher ate the leftovers for lunch today and said they were even better grilled in a frying pan, giving them a nicer crust on the outside with a soft interior. 

Also, I've decided that barely is my new favourite grain.  Why do I always forget about it!?

Do you like veggie burgers?  Have you ever made your own?  Do you like barely?

A Week of Sandwiches: Bagel Breakfast

Easy, filling, and satisfying.

We threw these breakfast sandwiches together on Saturday morning, and the only thing that took time was burning perfecting the bacon.  They included a toasted multigrain bagel, cheddar cheese (melted onto the bagel after toasting), bacon, an over-medium egg, spinach, tomato and leftover po boy sauce.  The po boy sauce totally made the sandwich.

Do you ever make bagel sandwiches? 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Week of Sandwiches: Bulgogi Sandwich

Bulgogi is Korean for grilled, marinated meat, but what makes it distinctly Korean is the delicious marinade.  It is easy to make, and I highly recommend it.  

We mixed up this marinade one evening last week and then let it do it's thing overnight.

Pork Bulgogi
(Serves 2)

Very thinly sliced pork (approx. 1 lb) (*easier to slice when partially frozen)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
3 T white sugar
1/2 Korean pear, peeled and chopped (or regular if you can't find Korean)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 white onion, minced
2 green onions, with white parts, thinly sliced
2 T sesame seeds
1/4 tsp Korean red pepper flakes
2 pinches black pepper
1 tsp ginger, minced

Marinate overnight.  Grill or fry in sesame oil on medium heat when ready to eat.

Since we are living on sandwiches these days, we used this pork to make bulgogi sandwiches.  In addition to the pork and bun, we also put Gochujang on it for the sauce (you buy this as a paste in any Korean aisle or grocery store ... you can add water to thin it if desired), and a Korean coleslaw.

Korean Coleslaw
(Serves 2)

1/4 cup kimchi, pureed
1.5 T vegetable oil
1.5 T rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp white sugar
1/8 of head of napa cabbage, grated (regular is fine too)
1/2 Korean pear, julienned
1/3 cucumber, julienned
1/4 cup kimchi, chopped

Toss together.  Amounts of veggies are estimates, and don't really matter - the sauce makes it :-)

The smell of the meat cooking was incredible, and it tasted even better than it smelled.  It was very tender, and paired perfectly with the slaw.  We used a very soft bun, and Gochujang as the sauce. 

This sandwich has a party of flavours going on!  We had enough filling for 1 sandwich leftover and it was just as good the next day for breakfast ;-)

Have you ever had bulgogi?  A bulgogi sandwich?
 If you were going to eat variations of one type of dish for a week, what would you choose? (soup? salad? macaroni?)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Week of Sandwiches: Fish Burritos

Yes, you've seen these here before.  Deal.

And in case you were wondering ... burritos are the new sandwich

Okay people.  I have problems.  I am going to go to bed and dream about the burritos that we just ate for dinner.  That's normal right!?

Annnnnyway.  What's up?  Any fun plans for the weeeeekend?
We are currently marinating pork for tomorrow's sandwich!  Stay tuned!

Oh, and if you haven't made the fish burritos yet, I'm sorry for your loss.  Here's the link again.  Don't waste it this time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Week of Sandwiches: Po Boys - Two Ways

This evening we made one of our favourite sandwiches - po boys!  We made a couple of shrimp po boys, because they are the best.  You can find the recipe here.  

We also tried making a roast beef po boy, since that was my favourite in New Orleans.  

Roast Beef Po Boy

- Approx. 2 lb beef eye of round roast, trim fat
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 T olive oil
- 2 cups hot water
- 1/2 bell pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 2-3 T flour
-1 tsp garlic powder
- Kitchen Bouquet or other darkener 

Make 4-5 slits in the roast beef.  Stuff the whole or halved garlic cloves into the slits.  Pat the meat dry with paper towels, and then season it with salt and pepper on all sides.  Put the oil in a dutch oven and heat on medium.  Once hot, sear the roast on all sides until brown.

Add the hot water, bell pepper and bay leaves.  Reduce, cover and cook until meat is done (approx. 1 hr).

Remove meat from liquid.  Strain the liquid into a separate pot. Whisk in the flour and a little Kitchen Bouquet for colour.  Add garlic power and salt and pepper taste.  Heat the oven to 300 F.  Put the meat in an oven proof dish and pour the gravy over.  Cook for 1 hr. until tender.

Assemble the po boy with a bun, mayo, gravy, roast beef, pickles, lettuce and tomato.

Maybe po boys are just sandwiches with a "fancy" name, but don't tell us that.  We bite.
We are thinking of extending our sandwich week for a while longer ... any sandwich recommendations?  Can you think of a "classic" that you'd like to see us re-create?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Week of Sandwiches: New Sandwiches at Bushwakker

Our second sandwich in our week of sandwiches, was at Bushwakker.  We took my dad out for a fathers' day dinner and also got to try some of the new menu items on the Bushwakker menu.  We were disappointed to see that the veggie burger was no longer available.  Christopher tried the new portabella burger instead, but didn't enjoy it as much as the veggie burger.  

I also tried a new menu item - the Cuban sandwich.  It was HUGE, and pretty good.  I ate just under half of the sandwich before passing it on to the men to finish.  I ate all of the delicious spinach salad though!

Has a restaurant ever removed your favourite dish from their menu?  (This seems to happen to me a lot).  
Do you ever order sandwiches in restaurants?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Week of Sandwiches: Lobster Grilled Cheese

Because sandwiches are awesome, and we love to eat them, we have planned a week centered around sandwiches (or variations of them - wraps, etc.).  I used to think sandwiches were boring, but Christopher's love for them, and his crazy creations have made me realize how fun sandwiches can be!

We decided to start this sandwich week out with a bang, and made lobster grilled cheese.  If anything could make grilled cheese more decadent, lobster would be it.

Lobster Grilled Cheese

I'm not going to give you a recipe for grilled cheese, because I'm sure you all know how to make grilled cheese, but I will tell you what we used for the 2 large sandwiches that we made.

- 4 slices sour dough bread
- butter
- 3 cheeses (garlic cheddar, Gruyere, mozza - grated)
- 2 lobster tails

We fried them on low/medium slowly so that the cheese would get nice and melty.

We had salad on the side, because we're not complete gluttons ;-)

What is your favourite kind of sandwich?

Warm Lobster Salad

On Friday evening we tried a couple new dishes.  We made a simple appetizer that was was colourful, crunchy and delicious.

Just layer the following:

- Raw zucchini
- Hummus
- Shredded carrot
- Avocado

Top with sriracha if desired (recommended).

Raw zucchini is so good - who would have thought!?

We also enjoyed some hummus with homemade pita chips.

For the main course we made this and it turned out really well.  The vegetable mixture included garlic, onions, jalapenos, bacon, zucchini, herbs and corn.

We then seared lobster tails and wilted some tomatoes in with them.

Ohhhhh yeah ...

We used the leftover vegetable mixture in a frittata on Saturday morning.  

I had no idea how good corn and zucchini is with eggs - we'll definitely be making both the lobster salad and the frittata again.

On Saturday evening we went to Christopher's work BBQ. There was a huge selection of food, and I tried a little bit of everything.  The stuff on the plate isn't even half of it ...

How was your weekend?  Did you eat anything delicious?
Have you ever had raw zucchini?  If not try it!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Looking Forward ...

I always like to have things to look forward to, however large or small.
Earlier this week I was looking forward to a lunch date at Flavours of India for a quick buffet.

Today, I spent the day looking forward to dinner at Afghan Cuisine, followed by seeing The Purge in the theater.  The movie was pretty good, and dinner was fantastic!  We started with an appetizer (vegetarian mento - basically dumplings):

I'll show you a picture of Christopher's dinner because it's more visually appealing than mine was, although just as good:

Other things to look forward to ...

Tomorrow - Cooking something new
This weekend - Relaxing at home & A BBQ out
Next week - A week featuring sandwiches (and trying the new bevvies I bought while in Manitoba)
In two weeks - Being done work for the summer 
Next month - A vacation
Some day - Trying this ...

What are you looking forward to, small or big, in the near future, or distant future?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken Biryani

I had no idea what to make for dinner tonight, so I decided to wing it, and ended up creating something great!  I'd say its very similar to chicken biryani that I've had in East Indian restaurants, so that's what I'll call it.  Don't you love it when throwing random things together actually turns into something worth making again! 

Chicken Biryani
(makes 1 large portion, or 2 small portions)

1 T coconut oil
1 chicken breast,chopped into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
2 T ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced

1.5 cups water
1/2 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup vermicelli noodles
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 star anise
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2-1 tsp salt (to taste)

Heat the oil on medium.  Once hot, add the chicken and cook.  Once almost cooked, add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for just a minute (you want the ginger to still have some crunch to it).  Remove from heat and set aside.  Combine the water, rice, noodles and spices in a pot, and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, cover and move to a burner that is on the lowest setting - time for about 10 minutes.  Check after 10 minutes, see if it needs a bit more water, and check if the rice is done.  It might need a few more minutes.

Once rice is done, stir in with the chicken & aromatics over heat until the chicken is warmed again.

Season to taste and enjoy!

Have you ever had biryani?
Have you made it?