Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Cookbook a Day - Bernardin's Complete Book of Home Preserving

Hi folks,

Today's #cookbookaday post is a wee bit of a cheat. I'm taking a break from the kitchen today as we are heading out to see one of dearly beloved's friends play at the Options Jazz Lounge at the Brookstreet Hotel. Date Night! Woo hoo!

So instead of sharing a cookbook I used today, I'm sharing a cookbook that has seen a LOT of use over the last few weeks. My Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Believe me, there are a LOT of stained pages in this book! Here's one of them!

I haven't made salsa in quite a few years. But since I had purchased 75lbs of tomatoes just before Labour Day weekend I figured it was high time that our canning shelves were once again graced with home made salsa. The one change you will see noted in the recipe is that I use red onions.

So....I made salsa. Lots and lots of salsa. Below is just TWO of the pots I made.

Of course, I didn't stop at just two pots. I actually made four. The first two pots used jalapeno peppers but for the next round I used an assortment of peppers from our garden.

When your peppers look this tasty, how can you not?

So - we're stocked with salsa now for a little while!

Tell me, do you make any home preserves? If so, what do YOU like to can? I do everything - I both water bath AND pressure can. So, jams, jellies, pickles, stew, chili, curry, tomatoes, tomato sauce. The list goes on.

Thanks for stopping by again today!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Cookbook a Day - The Purity Cookbook

Hello there!

My ongoing quest to use a different cookbook every day brought me to this one that I picked up in Newfoundland back in June.

As a typical ex-pat Newf, I see the word Purity and I gravitate toward the object. It's a thing with us.

I had some ripe bananas sitting on the counter, just enough for banana muffins or banana loaf and figured I would find a recipe in this cookbook.

Unfortunately for me, I had forgotten that I had tried this recipe previously and was not a fan. One must consider that when this cookbook was originally compiled, times were a tad more frugal. Did you notice the very light hand with the sugar and the fat?? Blech! And the heavier hand with the baking powder. Double blech!

Now, they look okay when the come out of the oven.

But NOT to my taste. I like my banana muffins a bit sweeter, a bit more dense. I have a recipe from one of my Mom's elderly neighbours that I normally use for banana muffins. I think I'll be going back to it.

I DID try the muffins to be sure I didn't like them. AND....I was correct. But, inspiration came to me in the form of a couple of dollops of Nutella.

MUCH better!

And, so I don't make the same mistake again, I have made appropriate notes in my cookbook.

Does anyone else out there write in their cookbooks? I think it is a VERY important habit to adopt.

Thanks for stopping by today! Hope you visit again soon.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Cookbook a Day - The Joy of Cooking

Hi folks,

So glad that you are taking time to visit us as I have decided to forge ahead with my #cookbookaday idea.

If you know me in real life you have probably seen my cookbook collection. Not to be immodest but it is rather large and covers a wide variety of subjects. Like most people, however, I fall into a rut of cooking the same go-to meals. Not that there is anything wrong with that. We ALL have our favourite meals, correct? And, we ALL have busy lives and taking out the cookbooks to find something new to try just doesn't fit into the daily plan.

Well, I've decided I want that to change. I want to be able to answer the question "So, have you actually USED each one of those cookbooks?" with a (prideful) resounding "Of course!"

It has been a rainy weekend here in Ottawa and I was feeling in need of comfort food for Sunday dinner. And nothing says comfort food to me more than an oven roasted chicken. Growing up in Newfoundland, Sunday dinner (served at noon NOT 6pm) was always roasted meat of some sort (chicken, beef, pork, turkey, ham) with boiled veggies (potatoes, carrots, turnip, cabbage) and salt beef. As an adult, I must confess, I HATE boiled veggies. Actually, even as an older kid, I'd always take my veggies and mash them up with butter and pepper. Because, let's face it, butter and pepper make EVERYTHING taste better.

Anyways, after deciding on oven roasted chicken I pondered what to have as my starchy side. Hmmmm.....Risotto! I love risotto. I would be happy to JUST have the risotto. Give me the pot, give me a spoon, send me on my way. I'm happy.

I mentioned to the other half what I was planning for dinner and he went in search of a wine from his collection and came back with this 2013 Closson Chase Chardonnay.

His wine choice wound up influencing my choice of risotto recipe. I grabbed the two cookbooks from which I had previously made risotto and decided that the one with the least amount of wine in the recipe would be the one I made - leaving more Chardonnay for drinking with dinner! The winner of risotto recipe roulette?

Risotto In Bianco

from my much loved copy of "The Joy of Cooking". EVERY kitchen needs this cookbook.

And here is what we finally enjoyed for dinner. A lemon and herb oven roasted chicken with carrots, risotto and harvest kale salad from Farm Boy tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

The wine pairing was PERFECT! One of those rare evenings where we finished a full bottle of wine with dinner. A great way to cap off a busy weekend.

I hope you come back again for the next installment of my #cookbookaday series!


Forgive the tardiness of this post but it seems the "eat" half of this blogging duo never got around to actually publishing this post. So, better late than never! Correct?

Back in early Spring here in Ottawa, fiddleheads made their usual appearance at our favourite local grocery store, Farm Boy.

Having never cooked or even eaten them before, I decided it was high time to give them a try.

Our friend Google told me over and over to clean them, steam them and then saute them with a bit of butter and the taste would be reminiscent of asparagus. Sounded good to me so that's what I did - with a sprinkling of some lemon & herb seasoning (next time - fresh lemon!)

Here's dinner!

Sauteed fiddleheads, pan-fried haddock and couscous made with a touch of orange juice and a few chopped dried apricots. Not too shabby for a mid-week dinner if I do say so myself.

Now, what does a certified sommelier pull out of the wine fridge to pair with tonight's meal? He chose this Jean Geiler Réserve Particulière Riesling 2013

I'm hoping to be a little more consistent with posting over the next little while - I have a little project that's been sitting in the back of my head as a fun little way to work my way through my vast cookbook collection. Hope you will tune in to see what I'm cooking up!

Friday, 12 June 2015

The Black Chook Woop Woop Wines Syrah Shiraz 2013

I really love that many Aussie vintners are adding some Viognier to their Shiraz. Even just a little adds a lot of depth to the wine. In this case we get a big juice wine with lots of interesting aromas; cedar, blackberry, black cherry, tar, smoke, black pepper and mint. The taste is tart and black cherry with the high acidity coming through nicely. Long juicy tart cherry finish. This would be a great burger wine, but makes a wonderful sipping wine as well because of the depth.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Elyssia Cava

An extremely fresh, crisp, and tasty Cava, presenting aromas of apricot, green apple, and biscuit. The taste is brightly acidic and adds fresh lime to the equation as well. This is a perfect wine to have before dinner, with green salads, or all on its own. I also find the bottle and label very 'classy', making this an exceptional idea for a hostess gift, especially or those that appreciate a great sparkling wine.

Cava is the Spanish name for sparkling wine and is generally less expensive than the equivalent (Champagne) from France, not because of quality, but because of the cache in the name "Champagne".

Friday, 8 May 2015

Not your run of the mill Banana Muffins

Hello out there!

Since I was baking this morning, I thought I would pop in and share this recipe for our inaugural "Eat" post here at Eat, Drink, and Be Nerdy.

The base for this recipe has been with me for many years - since I headed off to university back in the late 80s. In fact, I STILL have the original, rather worn recipe card.

Over the years, I've added a few notes to the back of the card.

With my latest experiment with this recipe I should be adding  a new note.

The new ingredient? Coconut flour! After all, we all need more fibre in our diet, correct?

As with any high fibre flour, you can't just do a direct substitution of this flour for regular all-purpose flour. The label says that you can only substitute up to 20% of the all-purpose flour with coconut flour. PLUS you have to add an equal amount of liquid. So, my substitution? 1/3 cup of coconut flour + 1/3 cup of canola oil. If the batter still seems too thick, add a little more liquid. I often add about another tablespoon of oil. It depends on the ripeness of the bananas I used.

And here's the finished product:

The full recipe? Here you go!

Banana Chocolate Muffins - yields 15 muffins

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (or whatever temperature at which you usually bake. My oven runs hot so I typically set it to 25 degrees lower than recommended).

Beat together 1/2 cup softened butter + 1 cup sugar.
Add 2 large eggs (one at a time), mixing until combined after each addition.
Add 3 mashed, over-ripe bananas and 1 tsp vanilla, mixing until well combined

In a separate bowl, sift together: 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup coconut flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda and a pinch of salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until about half combined. Toss in some semi-sweet chocolate chips to your liking (I find 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup to MY liking). Mix until just combined. You DON'T want to overmix or you will have tough muffins.

Line your muffin tins with paper liners and, using an ice cream scoop, fill your tins about 2/3 full. I have several sizes of scoops and one of them is perfect for muffins.

Bake for about 20 minutes (check after 18) until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Remove from tins and allow to cool on rack. If you eat them right away those melted chocolate chips will be hot, hot, hot!!!

I find that since this recipe includes both butter and canola oil, the muffins still taste pretty good even after a few days sitting in a container on the kitchen counter.

Hope you enjoy the recipe! If you give it a try, be sure to pop back and leave a comment on what you thought of it - or if you changed things up a little! I also like to add pecans to mine!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Laboratory Beaker Wine Glasses

From Periodic Tableware come these awesome wine glasses. They're dishwasher safe borosilicate and are graduated to 200 ml (but will hold 300ml).

In Canada, a 'standard drink' of wine is 142 ml of 12% ABV wine, so this should help knowing how much more than that you're drinking.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Middle Earth Sauvignon Blanc

A great example of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with the usual grassiness, canned pea and gooseberry aromas, as well as lime, and more pineapple and honey than many other Kiwi Sauvignon Blancs. The mouth feel is also a little rounder than most but the high acidity is not sacrificed. A great summer sipper, although at 14% ABV, you'll have to pace yourself.

LCBO Vintages

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Klein Bottle Carafe

Awesome, yet not overly functional wine carafes for the math fan.


From Wikipedia:

In mathematics, the Klein bottle /ˈkln/ is an example of a non-orientable surface; it is a two-dimensional manifold against which a system for determining a normal vector cannot be consistently defined. Informally, it is a one-sided surface which, if traveled upon, could be followed back to the point of origin while flipping the traveler upside down. Other related non-orientable objects include the Möbius strip and the real projective plane. Whereas a Möbius strip is a surface with boundary, a Klein bottle has no boundary (for comparison, a sphere is an orientable surface with no boundary).