Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last post of the year...but Cathy will be eating over Christmas!

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Ahhh, I made it to the last Cathy Eats post of the year!( New post tentatively planned Jan 2nd 2012) I am getting ready to hit the road to visit family in the snowy Okanagan for the next 5 days. Truth be told, the P-Man and I have been out almost every night, and my cooking has been lacklustre to non existent. C'est la vie...It's the Holidays, and I am in the mood to be served.
My business life has been getting a bit busier of late.( a good thing! ) I have decided to keep my once a week every Monday blogging schedule for Cathy Eats, but wanted to let you know about a few other places you can read my writing about food. This Friday Dec 23rd at 4:30 pm, a new post will be published on an online magazine called GoodVeg. I have agreed to write a post a week for them as well, and as far as I know, they will be appearing on Wednesdays...but I will let you know! The GoodVeg posts will be about how I maintain my weight and stay healthy by incorporating more vegetables and fruits into my diet. Don't worry, I'm not becoming a vegetarian...there will still be posts including pork products at Cathy Eats...I'm just branching out a little. Stretching my writing wings! If you read this blog, you also know that I sometimes do restaurant reviews, especially when I am travelling. I have decided to move those reviews from Cathy Eats to Trip Advisor. I have been posting reviews for a year now, at and am really enjoying the format, the feedback, and the badges I get from them. I want to keep this blog pure and simple...It's about what I cook, and what I think of what I cook...and of course riffs on how to keep the P-Man happy with yet another variation of spaghetti with meat sauce!
So, that's it.
Another year is almost over, and I am still cooking, and eating and writing about it.
Pretty damn good life...
Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and a GREAT 2012!
Go crazy...leave me a comment once in awhile, would ya, Please?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Party Appetizer Extraordinaire!

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Isn't this a Pretty Platter full of Party bites? My building's annual Christmas party was yesterday, and it was a great excuse to try out a new appetizer recipe! I know...You're not supposed to use your neighbours as 'guinea pigs'...but this recipe is a tried and true combo! From the compliments I received...I know it was a good choice. I found this recipe on the net, and after about 5 minutes of assembly and 35 minutes in the oven, they were ready to be chopped in half and skewered. I didn't even get bacon grease on my new Christmas dress!

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees

3 tbsp cream cheese (room temperature-full fat- not a cream cheese'product')
3 tbsp goat cheese (room temperature-I used a BC goat cheese-plain)
15 big fat plump moist dates sliced to form a pocket-pits removed( mine were from California, and so big, I cut each one in 1/2 after they were baked and cooled a few minutes)
15 1/2 slices bacon(I used a 50% less salt one)

Put cheese together in small bowl, and when it's at room temperature stir to combine. Take pits out of dates, being sure to leave a nice pocket. My dates were so soft, I just poked my finger in, removed the pit, and made a hole big enough for the cheese. Stuff about a teaspoon of filling in each date. They should be full. Take a 1/2 slice of bacon and wrap each date and place them seam side down on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is nice and crisp. The original recipe said 20 to 25 minutes, but my bacon was not crisp until 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Stand back and receive the compliments! Looking smug is completely optional...
Happy Partying!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baked Pasta with Vegetables

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This pasta dish is really as large as it looks! It's a monster! A crowd pleaser! One of those things you bring to a pot luck, and people keep asking you for the recipe! I made this baked pasta while the P-Man was on a business trip to China, and a friend and her cute baby were coming over for lunch. We ate. The baby had her 'liquid lunch' and I gave my friend a container full to take home. The P-Man was due to arrive home 2 days later jet lagged and hungry...and when I pulled this out of the fridge, I couldn't tell what made him happier...seeing me, or seeing a big dish full of pasta! You will need about an hour to assemble the ingredients for this dish, including making a while sauce. Not a ton of time, considering how much of a bang you get for your buck! Feel free to substitute veggies of your choice. As usual, my choices were determined by my weekly fresh produce box, courtesy of SPUD.

Baked Pasta with Vegetables:

olive oil
1 lg white onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic,chopped
stems from 1 large bunch of chard, chopped fine
leaves from 1 large bunch of chard, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 14 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can Italian style stewed tomatoes
2 tbsp dried Oregano
1 head broccoli chopped into small pieces
1 500g box bow tie pasta
1 cup grated pecorino cheese- I used Pecorino Pepate(with black peppercorns)
basic white sauce- google it: 4tbsp butter/4 tbsp flour/2 cups 1% milk with cheese added
salt and pepper

Veggies first:

In a big skillet: olive oil to coat bottom. Add onion,garlic,chard stems,zucchini,carrot, oregano, salt and pepper, and saute until soft. Add garbanzos,tomatoes and chard leaves and stir until leaves are wilted. Check seasoning and set aside to cool. Be sure that the mixture is well seasoned.

White Sauce: ( Don't be scared! It's so easy!)

Make white sauce, and when it has thickened add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Taste and re-season. I didn't need to add much salt, and no pepper, due to the fact I used a well aged,full flavoured cheese. Always taste before adding salt, as cheese is quite salty. Stir the sauce every once in awhile to keep it smooth.


Put a big pot of water onto boil, and season with at least a handful of kosher salt. Boil pasta according to directions on the box minus 3 minutes. During the last minute of cooking, throw the broccoli into the pot, and after a minute drain, and set aside.


My dish measured 12X9, and was 3 inches deep. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.( I cooked the pasta for 1 hour, but could have gotten away with 45 minutes oven time.) Splash some olive oil into your dish, and coat the bottom and sides. layer equal parts veggie mixture/pasta-broccoli/white sauce. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 1 hour. This pasta is great re-heated the next day. It's a luxurious, and hearty dish, full of flavour!
If you make any substitutions, or get rave reviews...leave a comment...let me know!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter Vegetables...In a Soup!

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I have become quite the little soup maker in the last few years! I used to stick to the basics and look for soup recipes and buy ingredients I would never use again...that sort of thing. Now I simply boil up the remains of a roast chicken, add a couple of Bay leaves, and some peppercorns, and VOILA...chicken broth just dying to be turned into delicious soup!

Vegetable soup...How Many Ways...Let Me Count Them...

My latest pot of vegetable soup turned out extra yummy...and I think it's because I did a couple of things differently, this time...
  • I coarsely grated a carrot,a zucchini,and a sweet potato(Or yam...the orange one)
  • I added canned corn
  • I sliced the carrots on an angle,about 1/2 an inch thick
  • I used a HUGE bunch of fresh Rainbow Chard
Here's the rough recipe. Please feel free to go crazy,and add or subtract something and leave me a comment!

Chicken Stock:
Throw in a large pot...
I chicken carcass, cooked, 2 large garlic cloves peeled,whole,2 Bay leaves,6 Telicherry Peppercorns(I swear they taste better than regular peppercorns)
Cover everything with cold water,and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes,and strain.

12 oz can of niblets corn with 1/3 less salt
1/4 jar of mild salsa
1 small russet potato
1 zucchini
1 big bunch Rainbow chard leaves coarsely chopped, stems finely chopped
3 large carrots peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal
salt and pepper and an herb of your choice. I used dried Oregano...about a tablespoon

Into the hot strained stock add: salsa,grated vegetables, chard stems, and carrots. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the corn, the Chard leaves, and herb. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat, and after about 10 minutes taste and adjust seasonings. That's IT! DONE!!

This soup had an almost 'chowdery' texture from the grated vegetables. The corn and the sweet potato gave it a pleasing sweetness, but the salsa and the chard gave it a bit of a bite. If when you taste the soup, and have decided that it is seasoned well, but could use a bit of extra ZIP...Add a dash, maybe a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and taste again. This will allow you to get away with adding less salt, while adding MORE FLAVOUR!
The P-Man and I ate this soup all week for lunch, and it just kept getting better and better. I am going to definitely remember this combination of vegetables, as it seemed to make a satisfying and interesting soup. I am going to keep experimenting with grating other vegetables as well...because I personally like a thicker soup, rather than a 'brothy' one!

This soup is a winner! I hope you will try it!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Strong Lemon+Fearless Zucchini= Tasty Feminist Muffins

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I receive something in my e-mail box each week:" Latest Headlines from" I am constantly amazed at the variety of food blogs that are floating around in the www. I came across this muffin recipe from a blog written in the UK. The title of the blog is: "Food & Feminism" and the 2 authors are Agatha and Agnes. Well say no more. I am charmed and intrigued.

These muffins were 'fatless' and light and fluffy. There were just a few ingredients. I thought they were a cross between a cake and a muffin. The lemon was punchy, and the zucchini was enough to make me feel good about eating a vegetable and a muffin at the same time! I did not ice mine. I merely mixed a tablespoon or so of icing sugar with a few drops of lemon juice and drizzled that over the warm muffins! Mmmm...lovely with a cup of English Breakfast tea.
Thanks ladies!

Lemon and Courgette Muffins

200g self raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs
175 g sugar
200g uncooked courgette finely grated (zucchini)
finely grated zest of an unwaxed lemon

Grate the zucchini and lemon zest, line the muffin tins and preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Sieve the flour,baking powder and salt into a large bowl ( I didn't have a sieve-I stirred the dry ingredients)
Whisk the sugar and eggs together using an electric mixer. You need to keep going until the mixture is thick, creamy, and pale yellow. About 6 minutes.
Carefully fold the egg mixture into the flour using a metal spoon, then carefully fold in the grated zucchini and lemon.
Spoon mixture into the muffin tins ( I got exactly 12 muffins) and bake for 20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool for a few minutes before removing from muffin tins.

Enjoy a taste of spring! Even when it is dark and cold! These muffins will make you want to make a chain of daisies for your hair and dance around a field in a white dress...Wait, that's not a very feminist image is it?
Never mind...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cold Apartment,Hot Oven,Good Cookies!

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I have been in a baking mood lately. It seems like all the interesting recipes on are baked. I will not resist...the cookie gods are calling my name..."Cathy....Cathy....Cathy...for Gods sake try to bake something HEALTHY!"

Nothing says 'healthy' like PRUNES!

I found this recipe in the Fall edition of Edible Vancouver. Thanks to Debbra Mikaelsen for making a chocolate chunk/prune/oatmeal hybrid cookie that tastes delicious.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Prunes and Hazelnuts

1 cup(250ml) soft butter
3/4 cup(175ml) brown sugar
1/4 cup(60ml) granulated sugar or natural cane sugar- I used cane sugar in the RAW!
1 tsp(5 ml) vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups(375 ml) all purpose flour-I was a bit short,so I used about 1/4 cup of whole grain flour to make up the 1 1/2 cups
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 tsp(5 ml) baking soda
1/3 cup(75 ml) boiling water
2 cups(500 ml) rolled oats
1/2 cup(125 ml) pitted prunes,chopped
1/2 cup(125mL) hazelnuts, chopped
1 cup(250mL) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks- I used semi-sweet chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350F

Cream butter,and add sugars,vanilla,and egg. Mix flour with salt,and add to butter and sugar mixture, stirring well. Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water,and pour liquid into the batter. Stir in rolled oats and mix thoroughly. Then add prunes,nuts and chocolate, mixing to combine. Using a tablespoon, form balls of cookie dough and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a fork dipped in water. Bake about 10 to 12 minutes or until done.

I baked my cookies for 12 minutes and they came out lightly golden. I think the recipe made about 48 or 50 cookies. I froze most of them, and they taste great even right from the freezer...I took some across the hall to my neighbour, and sent some to work with my husband for his team...and they declared them SPECTACULAR!

I would agree...Perhaps I would even say "Prunealicious!"But that's just me...and it has been a long day!
 I hope you will try these! Leave me a comment...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Delicious Braised Red Cabbage

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I received the most adorable little red cabbages in my SPUD box last week. As the weather has definitely switched from warmish late fall to cold early winter, I knew the cabbage recipe I was looking for had to be hot. I found this recipe at Canadian Living, and it was unusual enough from my normal braised cabbage that I thought I would share it with you. The recipe can be found at:

As always, I made a few substitutions. Some based on the ingredients I had on hand and some based on personal taste. They are as follows:

I had no juniper berries or gin. I substituted a 1/2 cup of organic vegetable stock. As a result,when I uncovered the braise, it was quite 'liquidy', and I had to boil it for about 15 minutes longer to get the cabbage to a more dry consistency.

I used a small yellow onion, instead of a red onion.

I had no dried thyme so I substituted a bunch of fresh and picked out the thyme stems before I served the cabbage. 

I have made braised cabbage before, but if I could pick one thing that made this recipe so good, it was the red wine. The wine added a depth of flavour that I really enjoyed. I am a white wine drinker, so when I first tasted the cabbage, it had a whiff of old socks. I must admit, the smell of food is something I rely on almost as much as the for a minute I thought I had ruined this huge pan full of cabbage. The taste however was decidedly' un-sock-like', and I deduced  that the red wine, veg broth and fresh thyme in combination had contributed to the aroma. The first bite was so subtle I wasn't sure I had added enough salt. The second bite let me know that the seasoning was in my opinion, perfect. It tasted earthy, and 'herby', and slightly sweet, but not like the little piles of almost 'candied' cabbage you see on plates at German schnitzel houses.

Last point: The recipe says that this recipe will keep in the fridge for 3 days. I ate this cabbage for almost a week, and it just got tastier and tastier. I will definitely make this again.

Thanks Canadian Living!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fresh Basil Pesto- From SCRATCH!

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I have had a wicked case of strep throat. 10 days of antibiotics, multiple packages of sugary Neo Citran, and 9 disgustingly cherry flavoured throat lozenges later...I am feeling better. When your throat is on fire, nothing you eat is the least bit tasty. My warm morning oatmeal soothed my throat, but the milk further clogged up my few functioning taste buds. It was hell being hungry and unable to taste anything! Salvation came last Friday. My SPUD box arrived with the most vibrant green, sweet smelling bunch of basil I have seen all season. I decided to make PESTO!

It's Not EASY being green!

 Lying on the couch for a week watching re-runs on the Food Network has been quite inspirational. Jamie Oliver in particular LOVES to smash things up in this gargantuan mortar and pestle. It looked easy. I was inspired! During the next commercial, I staggered into the kitchen took the bunch of basil out of the fridge, turned the oven on to toast a few hazelnuts ( I HATE pine nuts!) and peeled a large clove of garlic. When the hazelnuts turned brown, I took them out of the oven and tried to rub off their papery skins. I roughly chopped the garlic, threw a bit of everything in my mortar, and started pounding away.( I only used the basil leaves, no stems.)

In about 10 minutes I had a nice mushy mixture. I covered it with olive oil, added some salt and pepper, and had a taste. Hmmmmm...I could taste the basil, and I could really taste the garlic!Triumphant, and exhausted, I had a little nap When the P-Man arrived home, I put some pasta on to boil, and in about 15 minutes, we were sitting in front of the TV happily slurping our delicious pasta with pesto.( I added a generous grating of Parmesan before the slurping began!)

The P-Man declared it 'the best pesto he has ever had'!

The Basil-Pesto Strep Throat heard it here!

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Empty Refrigerator

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This is the inside of my refrigerator the morning the P-Man and I left for Hawaii. I had made a valiant effort to eat all that was perishible, and I think I did a brilliant job! We returned from Hawaii (SOB!) on September 29th, and somehow in the last couple of weeks I have cooked very little, more to the point, I have cooked nothing REMARKABLE. I have been enjoying scrolling through the weekly blog roll of inspired food bloggers courtesy of 'foodblogs', and have discovered a few new favorite voices, and even printed off a few recipes. The refrigerator is filling up nicely, and my SPUD box is due to arrive in about an hour.
Inspiration is at hand...I can just feel it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Now for something completely different...

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This week is the countdown to a Monday departure. On Monday afternoon I will be flying to Hawaii, and doing absolutely no cooking for the next 10 days! Before that happens I will be playing a little game. The game is called: "Cooking and eating everything out of the refrigerator and cupboard with minimal trips to the grocery store." It's actually quite a fun game...and this dish was one of the winners.

Ow...I seem to have a kink!

I woke up on Sunday morning at 5 am with back spasms. Why don't you ever get back spasms on a Tuesday afternoon when the drugstore and Chiropractor are open? I ended up at the Chiropractor on Monday afternoon, and as he is usually late, I took some time to flip through his magazines. An issue of Canadian Living caught my eye, and a 'quick and easy' recipe fit the criteria for ingredients. After a bit of stretching, and the requisite snaps and cracks, I headed to home, the recipe tucked into my purse, the torn edge the only evidence of my crime.

Ingredients and Expiration Dates

I remembered I had an unopened bottle of black bean sauce in the refrigerator.I discovered my bottle of black bean sauce was best before April 2008! I needed rice vinegar and fresh ginger anyway so I headed to the grocery store. I splurged on a 33 cent  bunch of green onions and a nice young fresh piece of ginger with nearly transparent skin, picked up a smaller bottle of black bean sauce and headed home to cook dinner.

The Recipe

Black Bean, Ground Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry

3Tbsp black bean sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp rice vinegar ( I used plain-unseasoned)
Pinch granulated sugar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil ( I used canola)
1 lb (450g) lean ground pork ( I used extra lean ground turkey breast)
3 green onions, sliced ( white and green parts separated)
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
6 oz green beans trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths ( 1 used 1 lb of green beans)

In small bowl, whisk together black bean sauce,cornstarch,vinegar,sugar and 1/2 cup water; set aside.
In wok,(I used a frying pan) heat 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry pork until no longer pink,about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.( I had no fat to drain, so I left the meat in the pan.)
Add remaining oil to wok;(I didn't add this oil) stir-fry white parts of green onions and ginger for 30 seconds. Add green beans; stir fry for 2 minutes. ( I essentially threw everything in on top of the ground turkey, and as my green beans were already blanched, I just warmed them through.)
Add pork and black bean mixture; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add green parts of green onions; stir-fry for 1 minute.
Recipe courtesy of Canadian Living Test Kitchen- May 2011

Something completely different

I very seldom make stir-fry's at home. Don't ask me why. This was truly a quick and easy recipe to prepare, and I don't think any flavour was lost by substituting ground turkey for ground pork. I was a little skeptical about the complete lack of garlic, salt, and pepper but found the black bean sauce to be extremely flavourful without being overpowering. I thought the seasoning was perfect, and would definitely make this again perhaps substituting another vegetable such as chard, or broccoli, or carrots. I served the stir-fry with brown rice, and am looking forward to the leftovers tonight.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ribs and Coleslaw...Happy Labour Day

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My niece and her family are coming to visit the P-Man and I for the long weekend! I was 10 when my niece was born, and I have to tell you, the 10 year old 'me', HATED the just-born 'her'. The last baby to be born in our family was ME, and I was completely miffed by the arrival of the 'baby'! I  managed to tolerate her, and when we both grew a little, I liked having someone to boss around.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A New Baby...MFK Fisher...and Cookies!!

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Cookies headed to the oven.

Something out of the oven. Hint: It wasn't COOKIES!!

If you read this blog, you know that baking is not my thing. Too restrictive, too much measuring, father and brothers were bakers, blah,blah,blah. I have a friend however, who has had 'something in the oven' for the last nine months! It turns out on the night my friend was in labour for some strange reason I decided to make Chocolate chip cookies. It's all creation...albeit comparing cookies to babies...let's just say that she worked a bit harder than I did! I took a bag of these cookies with me when I went to see her 'creation', yesterday. Definitely less edible and infinitely more special than my contribution...

Experiences: Gastronomic and otherwise.

"The first time,on our way to Germany, we had sat downstairs while our meal was being made. There were big soft leather chairs,and on the dark table was a bowl of the first potato chips I ever saw in Europe, not the uniformly thin uniformly golden ones that came out of waxed bags at home, but light and dark, thick and paper-thin, fried in real butter and then salted casually with the gros sal served in the country with the pot-au-feu.
They were so good that I ate them with the slow sensuous concentration that pregnant women are supposed to feel for chocolate-cake-at-three-in-the-morning. I suppose I should be ashamed to admit that I drank two or three glasses of red port in the same strange private orgy of enjoyment. It seems impossible, but the fact remains that it was one of the keenest gastronomic moments of my life." MFK Fisher-The Measure of my Powers-1931-32

Cookies: The Recipe.

These cookies turned out better than I EVER expect anything I bake, to. From a Weight Watchers perspective they were a little heavy on:
  • the butter: 1 cup, and
  • the sugar: 2 cups.
When I calculated, 1 oz of cookie worked out to 3 points...completely manageable for a sweet,buttery treat. They were thin,with crispy edges, and golden brown. They cooled quickly,and froze beautifully. The recipe is courtesy of the:
 Harrowsmith Cookbook: Volume#1-Shirley Morrish-Devlin, Ontario

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla ( I used 1.5 tsps)
2.25 cups flour ( I used 1.75 cups of white flour,and .5 cup of whole wheat flour)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts ( I used 1 cup toasted slivered almonds)
12 oz pkg chocolate chips ( I used 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)

Cream butter,sugars,eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients in order listed. Mix well.
Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets (I used parchment paper-ungreased) with 2 inches between cookies. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. ( 9 minutes was perfect for my oven)
Makes 6 dozen cookies ( I believe I got 4 dozen)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cathy's Summer Vegetable Soup

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These photos illustrate the stages of this particular pot of soup. Preparing a vegetable soup is not difficult. The challenge for me is to make it flavourful enough without adding any meat. The flavours of vegetables on their own do not give the richness to the broth that I love. In this case I added Yukon Gold Potatoes, and a can of rinsed garbanzo beans, and kept the aromatics extremely simple: A single Bay Leaf, and some salt and pepper.
I started off wanting to blend the soup to a chunky-smooth texture but when my blender sort of 'blew-up' half way through the process, I was left with a bowl of blended, and a bowl of chunky vegetable soup! Surprisingly, to me...they taste quite different...but equally delicious, filled with strong fresh earthy flavour, even a couple of days later.

Cathy's Summer Vegetable Soup.

Olive oil and butter- 1 tbsp of each
2 large leeks white and light green part only, sliced and washed thoroughly
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 2 inch chunks
2 medium carrots-sliced into 1 inch coins
1 large bunch of rainbow chard-stalks and leaves separated. Stalks chopped finely/leaves chopped coarsely
1 bay leaf
1 540 ml can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Soften leek over medium high heat in a large pot with oil and butter approximately 5 minutes. Add all the vegetables and Bay leaf except for the chard leaves, and stir until coated with the oil/leek mixture for 2 minutes. Add enough water to the veg mixture to cover, bring to a boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes uncovered, or until potatoes are cooked. Turn off heat and add garbanzo beans and chard greens, and stir until wilted. Let cool for 15 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings/add salt and pepper. Either blend, or serve as is.

If you decide to blend, a mixture of plain yogurt and fresh herbs of your choice as a garnish adds a nice tartness to the soup. (I used fresh Basil and Chives.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Joy is Eating from the Garden.

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A Summer with NO HEAT!

Weather-wise,this has been a truly crappy summer. I have lived in BC for more than 30years now and I have seen my share of summers that were late to arrive...but this summer is like a pot of water on a fire that can't quite get up to temperature. Did I also mention that today is August 11th? Judging by the little herb garden I have been growing on my patio, and from the quality and variety of produce arriving in my weekly SPUD tub, I can conclude that this year's growing season has been one of the bright spots in this unseasonably cool summer. The exception for me have been the berries. Having grown up in Abbotsford, surrounded by fields of strawberries,raspberries,and blueberries, in my expert opinion this years berries have been some of the most sour I have ever tasted.


The one flavour I will remember from this summer is the taste of fresh herbs, namely Basil, Thyme, Oregano, and Chives. I have been religiously picking and snipping these herbs in a variety of combinations and adding them to soups, eggs, and pasta. I made a pasta dish for lunch yesterday that consisted of Swiss chard, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, and a handful of fresh Basil and Chives tossed in at the end with extra virgin olive oil, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. As I was eating it, the combination of fresh basil and zucchini took me back to last summer in Raito Italy, sipping wine and savouring a variety of antipasti with the P-Man. I have also been enjoying eating tuna sandwiches made with fresh Basil leaves mixed in with the lettuce. Try it, and you'll never think tuna is boring again!

A Summer Meal as described by MFK Fisher in " The Measure of My Powers" 1936-39

"First we drank a delicate broth made of chicken stock and white wine and fresh tomato juice, the three iced and mixed together just before we sat down. Then there were little hot cheese tarts, made in Vevey that afternoon. With them we drank a three-year-old Faverges from the vineyard across the road, a high thin white wine like all those of the coast we lived on. Then there was a tray of cold roast pigeons lying on a bed of herbs from our garden, and a big earthen tureen of all the small summer vegetables we could find, cooked whole and separately and then tossed together with sweet butter. There was bread, fresh and crusty." MFK Fisher.

Happy summer eating!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Toast 2 Ways: MFK Fisher and Me

Print Friendly and PDF I realize that writing an entire blog post on toast could be considered ridiculous,but I intend to soldier on...

Friends,Babies,and Brothers

I spent the other day with a friend who is three weeks away from motherhood and even in her delicate condition,she managed to make us lunch.Watching her cook reminded me that soon she would be responsible for the nutritional needs of a tiny baby,then a toddler,and so on.Somehow, sitting there in her dining room,chatting and watching her while she walked from counter to stove to sink to refrigerator,reminder me of sitting in the kitchen that I grew up in.I would wait patiently...who am I kidding, impatiently,for someone, my mother,father,or either brother to feed me. My brother David was always cooking,and always eating. Because he was usually hung-over and I just never stopped talking, to shut me up, he would make me toast. Sometimes it was covered with cinnamon and sugar, but my favorite was a piece of rye bread with onion or garlic rubbed onto it. The toast was always nice and hot,almost too toasted,and slathered in butter.Then he would chop the onion or garlic in half, and rub it into the toast until the toast was almost flat! I still remember lifting that ugly piece of bread to my lips, and before I could even bite it...the smell of the pungent onion or garlic would go right up my nose.There was always too much butter so it would dribble down my arm and I would have to lick it off, and by the time we had both eaten the first piece,he was handing me another one.

MFK Fisher speaks with candour about what she feels to be unreasonable dietary rules in post war America Especially around the new idea of balanced meals for children.

"And later, when they(children) begin to think of the automatic extravagance of most of our menus,and above all of the ghastly,stupid monotony of them,they too will cast off many of their habits,and begin like you to eat the way they 'want' to instead of the ways their parents and grandparents taught them. They will be richer,and healthier,and perhaps best of all, their palates will awaken to new pleasures,or remember old ones.All those things are devoutly to be wished for,now especially." MFK Fisher

Picture Perfect

I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. Over the last few years, I have made a choice to eat less bread and butter. The photo above has been one of my current food favorites.I have been stewing fruit with a little brown sugar,in this case plums and eating it on toast.Lately I prefer to taste butter when I take a bite of the hot toast smothered with the warm fruit.It makes me happy and satisfied.

MFK Fisher writes a chapter called: "How to be a Wise Man" One of my favorite passages I find hopeful and heart breaking describing sharing food with a child.

"It was a nice piece of toast, with butter on it. You sat in the sun under the pantry window,and the little boy gave you a bite,and for both of you the smell of nasturtiums warming in the April air would be mixed forever with the savor between your teeth of melted butter and toasted bread, and the knowledge that although there might not be anymore, you had shared that piece with full consciousness on both sides, instead of a shy awkward pretense of not being hungry." MFK Fisher

Memories of Relationships Past

Eating toast with my brother is something that I did for only for a few years.Our relationship changed.He got married and moved out,and my mom dad and I moved to another city. We were as close then as we would ever be for the rest of our lives. It was because for that 10 minutes,in the kitchen our house,we had something in common,something we both agreed was delicious.We didn't have to relate to each other or even talk, we just ate our toast.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Early Suppers and Taste-Blindness...More MFK Fisher.

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I am still reeling from almost a week of visiting relatives. The day to day feeding of these two people, both in their middle 70's nearly killed me. I take a few things for granted regarding my strengths and weaknesses. One of my strengths being my ability to create menus and prepare meals. For the last week,I have been unable to reconcile the fact that the people I was preparing food for were as described by MFK Fisher for all intents and purposes 'Taste-Blind'.

"Almost all people are born unconscious of the nuances of flavour. Many die so. Some of these unfortunates are physically deformed,and remain all their lives as truly taste-blind as their brother sufferers are blind to colour. Others never taste because they are stupid,or more often,because they have never been taught to search for differentiations of flavour."< em> MFK Fisher

I cooked this roast lamb the night before my guests arrived, anticipating re-heating it, or serving it cold for sandwiches the following day. I marinated the lamb in garlic,Dijon mustard,and chopped Rosemary freshly snipped from the pot on my patio. It slowly roasted for a few hours, surrounded by golden new potatoes, and 2 whole heads of garlic. I was very pleased I managed neither to overcook the lamb or the potatoes.
The day after my guests arrived I asked if we should have the lamb and potatoes for dinner. I was told that they usually ate a late breakfast,little or no lunch, and did not like to eat a large dinner...preferring to go to a chain restaurant that served very good borscht soup with garlic toast, or yummy potato skins...with a large slice of pie for dessert. If we didn't want to go out...their favorite 'meal' served between 4:30 and 5 pm in the afternoon would consist of some sort of chips and dip, and maybe some cheese,or pickles...with maybe some cake or pie. After the original shock, I realized that what MFK Fisher had written in 1937 in "Serve it Forth" was true:

"What is more tedious for us than an early supper? It thrusts itself into the gathering speed of a days life like a stick into the spokes of a turning wheel. It forces a pause,a stop,which acts as a kind of disequilibrium to the fine balance of the remaining hours of consciousness." MFK Fisher

My guests left yesterday morning. After another breakfast at the aforementioned chain restaurant complete with overcooked rubbery eggs,a doughy pancake the size of a hubcap,topped with maple 'flavoured' pancake syrup, and watery all you can drink coffee the P-Man and I staggered home almost giddy with relief, and spent the rest of the morning lounging on the patio reading. At almost 2 pm, we washed and dressed and wandered down to the beach for a luxurious long lunch complete with a chilled bottle of white wine,a seafood salad for me,and pan-fried oysters for the P-Man. We treated ourselves to another glass of wine and chatted with the owners while they ate their midday meal. After more wine the four of us shared a freshly baked pastry filled with almond cream and drizzled with rich dark chocolate. It was going on 6 by the time we slowly made our way back up the hill to our now blissfully quiet apartment. There was no need for supper, just a nice nap in the setting sun, and a good cup of coffee to end the evening.

"I too dine late by preference,and I too like my room clear and beautiful,and above all, my guests very few and even more selected." MFK Fisher

Amen Mary Francis...Amen to that!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reading,Writing,Eating with MFK Fisher.

Print Friendly and PDF I have spent an extraordinary couple of weeks. I feel as if I had both gone back in time,and met a new friend. I have just finished one of the best books I have ever read. It is an anthology of the American food writer MFK Fisher called:

"The Art of Eating"(
50th Anniversary edition.)

In Her Own Words:

"People ask me: Why do you write about food,and eating and drinking? Why don't you write about the struggle for power and security,and about love,the way others do?"
"When I write about hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth, and the love of it...and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied." MFK Fisher.

The Historical Perspective:

This book is a compilation of her books and essays starting in 1939,and continuing to well after WWII. The early writing deals with issues that I have never had to face in my lifetime,such as food rationing and shortages of electricity and heat. Some of the chapters deal with things such as how to cook in a bomb shelter, a chapter that she referred to as being as obsolete as a chapter on treating 'javelin wounds'after revisiting it a decade after it was written. More than one chapter discusses what options you have when you can't find enough food to eat. Her sense of humour masks the irony of being a 'food writer' during this period. One of my favorite essays is entitled:

"How to be Cheerful Though Starving."

"Of course it takes a certain amount of naive wit to cope gracefully with the problem of having the wolf camp with apparent permanency on your doorstep. That can be a wearing thing,and even the pretense of ignoring his presence has a kind of dangerous monotony about it." MFK Fisher.

Introduction to Food Writing:

I can't tell you how much this woman's writing resonated with me. The way she described meals and experiences involving food made me feel as if It was actually MY memory and that we had somehow experienced everything together. I loved the stories about her childhood spent in California learning to love food and learning to cook. I loved the stories about her frequent trips to Europe with her first husband,then her great love,and how much her life changed after his death. I simply could not put this book down. It was a full seven hundred and thirty three pages long...and for the first time in my life, once I read the last page,I found myself a pen and paper and started writing down passages that I not only wanted to read again...but I wanted to read aloud! Another surprising thing for me was that one sentence was not enough. Her writing flowed with such beauty and rhythm I found myself writing out her complete thought, sometimes 6 or 7 sentences,as the only way to thoroughly fix the picture in my mind.

May I Share?:

I am going to write my next few blog posts as an homage to Fisher's gorgeous food writing. I haven't stopped cooking or eating...but I need to share her words with you. I hope you enjoy,and I would love it if you were to leave a comment.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Hour:"Redefined" at Barolo-Seattle Wa.

Print Friendly and PDF As a Canadian,I am mostly' unfamiliar with the concept of Happy Hour. I know that the concept relies on the idea of 'special' drinks and sometimes greasy bar snacks being 1/2 price. Everything I thought I knew about Happy Hour went out the window...when my husband and I had the good fortune to wander into Barolo Ristorante.

Tired and Hungry.

My husband and I had left home at 5 something in the morning to supposedly get the jump on the border lineup, and ended up sitting there for over an hour. By the time we arrived in Seattle, we were starved. We ate a huge breakfast and threw ourselves right into shopping. By the time our stomachs started rumbling and we got checked into our hotel, we were desperate for a place to sit down and have a nice late lunch. The concierge at our hotel recommended we check out the Happy Hour at Barolo Ristorante.

A Very Happy Place.

It was a little after 4 in the afternoon,and the snug,stylish bar at Barolo was almost full. The restaurant is a real beauty, and the bar area is cozy in a friendly European way. The place smelled great, like garlic and olive oil, and that made me feel even hungrier. We asked the server what the happy hour was all about.She handed us a menu, and told us that all the food items listed on the left hand side of the menu, plus a few bottles of wine were 1/2 price, and if we wanted a glass of wine it would be $3.50!

The Main Event.

Everyone around us looked like they were having a great time. Even at this early hour,there were 3 or 4 servers and a bartender all buzzing around. It certainly didn't feel like 4pm. The menu also didn't look like a Happy Hour creation. In fact it was the restaurant's regular menu. The portions were also regular size. At first glance, there wasn't anything I wouldn't have ordered! After much deliberation we decided on:

Grilled calamari with olive oil,chili and lemon.
a mixed antipasto platter with eggplant,salami,olives,roasted red pepper and cheese.
Rigatoni with meat sauce.
A bottle of crisp white Pinot Grigio,plus an extra 2 glasses
Our total was $51.15 including tax.

We went back again the next night, and tried some of the other simple and delicious selections...Spaghetti with calamari, a truly delicious cheese plate, and a huge platter of some of the most melt in your mouth prosciutto I have ever had.


The 2 meals(this was not plates of Happy Hour snacks)I had at Barolo Ristorante were 2 of the best I have ever eaten anywhere. I must have told 50 people about them when I returned home. I believe that the value I received enhanced the experience...but certainly did not overshadow the beauty of the room, the quality of the service, or the taste of the food and wine. We live in a world where usually,when something is too good to be true,it is. Not this place.

Barolo Ristorante is my new happy any hour.

Barolo Ristorante
1940 Westlake Ave.
Seattle,WA 98101
Happy Hour is Daily: 3 to 6:30 and 10 pm to close

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A 'Chic' Pea Salad

Print Friendly and PDF Summer has FINALLY come to the rainy West Coast! To some people, summer means BBQ,to me it means fresh,crisp vegetables,not turning on the oven,and lunch on the patio...any patio.

Garbanzo beans/Chickpeas

I am a huge fan of these delicious beans. I like them in hot dishes,and in cold salads. I have never boiled them from dry I prefer the convenience of a can. I have tried a few different varieties, and according to my particular palate,they are all identical. A veritable blank slate! I created this salad when a lovely bunch of ripe,juicy tomatoes on the vine arrived in my weekly fresh produce box, courtesy of SPUD.

Chickpea and Tomato Salad

1 19 oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed.
1 large ripe tomato, cut into cubes
1 stalk of celery, finely sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley,finely chopped
dash of ground cumin/paprika

Mix all ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Taste again, and re-season if necessary. You may need to add more salt, or vinegar, depending on the flavour/acidity of the tomato. You can also buy chick peas with no salt added, and may need more cumin or vinegar to balance out the flavours.
Once the salad tastes good to you, either serve immediately, or refrigerate. Be sure to bring salad to room temperature before serving, and always taste,and adjust...perhaps adding more fresh parsley.

The P-Man and I ate our salad with a couple of cold leftover chicken drumsticks,and a nice glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. It was wonderful...and even better the next day for lunch on a bed of freshly picked mixed greens.

Let the 'dog days' begin

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scrumptious chicken thighs with carrots

Print Friendly and PDF I almost called this post:"Cathy's chicken thigh's with carrots",and then thought that maybe my dear readers would think I am half woman,half chicken.HA!

A couple of ingredients...Use generously.

I get my chicken thighs...there I go again with the INSULTS! I shop for chicken thighs at my regular grocery store. They have a small section of meat that is organic/no hormones/you get the picture. These thighs are more than twice the price but when you taste them, you will THANK ME. Besides the excellent taste and incredible moistness, I ended up with the most delightful YELLOW FAT in the pan. I believe it was a combination of olive oil,and chicken fat (schmaltz) and I just had to scrape it up and save it for something else. I came up with this recipe because I had a whole bunch of organic carrots in the fridge, and a half carton of chicken stock. I tend to throw too many ingredients into these simple braises,but not this time. In fact, after the P-Man and I had devoured the chicken for supper and then lunch...I took the leftover carrots/chicken broth mixture and stirred it into some whole wheat pasta with some freshly grated cheese, and it was creamy and rich and delightful...

The Recipe.

8 organic chicken thighs sprinkled with salt,pepper,and hot chili flakes (room temperature meat.)
1 bunch organic carrots(about 8)scrubbed but not peeled,cut about 1 inch thick on the diagonal.
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
olive oil
sprinkle of dried marjoram

Use olive oil to grease a pan large enough to fit the chicken. Chop the carrots and garlic and add to the pan in an even layer,and sprinkle with dried marjoram.When the chicken thighs are room temperature, rub them all over with salt,pepper,and chili flakes,and place them on top of the carrots.Pour the chicken broth around the chicken and place pan into a pre-heated 350 degree oven,uncovered,for 1 hour.
These are even better the next day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery- SPUD

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I started something NEW a couple of weeks ago. On Fridays, a strange man pushes my apartment buzzer, and I run down the stairs to meet him! When I open the door, he hands me a large plastic tub...we say goodbye...and I head for the elevator with visions of recipes dancing in my head!

I confess...I have become addicted to the taste,and convenience of a weekly organic produce box...and I couldn't be happier!


I am not a particularly 'time-starved' person.In fact,I am almost the opposite of busy.I like to live my life on the 'slow' side.I take time to do stretches, walk 1/2 an hour to buy a cookie, or have 3 hour lunches while reading a magazine on sunny patios at the beach. Why then,am I having groceries DELIVERED? I like to think that for the same reason I could not design a dress or a top until I saw the fabric, sometimes I like to cook with ingredients that are chosen FOR me. As a woman who has been married for 26 years, and as a daughter who did almost all the grocery shopping from age 11 on...I am not as keen to wander around the grocery store as I once was.I have also discovered that I have a habit of purchasing the SAME ingredients, and cooking them the SAME way.This weekly organic produce box has shaken things up for me, and I am loving it.


Last week's box contained some kind of green melon that was so flavourful and juicy my whole kitchen smelled like flowers and fruit. The P-Man and I ate that melon BEFORE supper, as sort of an appetizer, with chunks of Parmesan cheese and raw almonds. It was like that scene in Julie and Julia, where Julia Child is eating something spectacular in a Paris cafe and is temporarily speechless, it was just so good! The lettuce has also been great, as has the spinach, and beet greens (I completely INCINERATED the poor little beets that were on the other end of the greens...but that is another blog post!)

The other thing that I have noticed these last couple of weeks, is that I have been cooking MORE, and have been trying NEW recipes. I have also been eating more fruit. The new Weight Watchers Points Plus Program has almost all fruit and vegetables with a 0 points value! Snacking on delicious fresh fruit has been such a nice change to my diet. The pleasure of having something as simple as 2 perfect peaches ripening on my counter is a real novelty.
So...I am happy to keep my weekly liaison with SPUD, my guilty pleasure. No more wandering through aisles and aisles of lacklustre produce,or driving to a variety of small farm stands to find 1 item great, and 3 more not. Or trying to remember to drive up to the local farmers market on Sunday, when I would rather be lunching at the beach!


I would also like to share some excellent customer service I have received from SPUD. Last week there was an envelope in my tub with my customer code and my name on it. I opened it up and found a nice hand written card that read:

Hi Cathy,
Welcome to Spud, your local food movement. Please don't hesitate to contact us should you have any questions,concerns,feedback,or suggestions.
Happy Eating,
Vancouver Customer Care.

Good food, nice people, good service...It's going to be a beautiful friendship...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Alice Waters and spicy warm lentils.

Print Friendly and PDF It has been a very long time since I picked up a cookbook and learned something I did not know. I am a self taught cook, and am a little shy on technique. I tend to cook because I like to eat and if I am hungry,which I am a great deal of the time, I like to make things FAST. Learning a specific technique in the kitchen always seemed to take too much time and effort so I just kept cooking. I checked a book out of the library last week and not only enjoyed reading it, but I learned something. I learned some 'things'. Things like: If possible, you should season the meat you are going to cook with a day or so in advance with salt and pepper. The difference between stewing something, and braising something. A generous amount of salt and olive oil will make almost anything you cook taste amazing.

The book is called:

The Art of Simple Food-Notes,Lessons and Recipes from a delicious revolution by Alice Waters.

I liked the way the book was organized, as well as the way the techniques were explained. In addition, variations were given for nearly EVERY recipe. If you read this blog, you know I am BIG on variations!

One of the recipes I decided to try turned out beautifully and the P-Man and I ate the whole thing for supper the other night. He pronounced it: Absolutely Delicious...and demanded to know why I had never made it before! Cheeky Bugger...

Lentil Salad
4 servings

Sort and rinse:
1 cup lentils
Cover with water by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through.(adding more water if necessary),about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the lentils with:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar ( I used 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
Fresh-ground black pepper

let sit for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and vinegar if needed. Add:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot(I used 3 tablespoons of finely diced red onion)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Stir to combine. If the lentils seem dry and are hard to stir, loosen them with a bit of the reserved cooking liquid.

Even though a warm lentil salad in spring might seem a little strange...the fresh snappy parsley and red onion gave it incredible flavour.
This really is a great book...cook or not...I highly recommend it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A little too much of a good thing!

Print Friendly and PDF Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a pretty good life. I work, I lunch, I blog, I drink wine, I have my own business, I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. Speaking of Weight Watchers, I recently was hired as a receptionist. This means that 2 days a week, I am working at a meeting. This has me thinking about my weight. For a year now, ever since my trip to Italy last June, I have been slowly gaining a few pounds. I have decided to lose those few pounds and get back to my weight, pre-Italy 2010.

Delicious Vegetable Soup

I have been indulging a bit too much lately. My portion sizes have been creeping up, and some weekends the wine consumption has been a little too 'Briget Jonesish'! One of the ways that I get myself back on the straight and narrow, is to visit my local produce store, and fill up my crisper with a variety of fruits and vegetables. If I eat too many raw vegetables I get a stomach ache, so I decided to make a nice pot of vegetable soup. There really is no recipe. Just start by sweating some onions, garlic, and carrots in a pot. Add some no fat vegetable stock, and add veggies you like. I always add some cabbage and zucchini, as well as some fragrant dried herbs, such as basil or oregano. Simmer the soup until the veggies are tender, and presto...hearty, tasty, good for you, soup!

Soup Memories

I still remember eating a pureed vegetable soup at a friends house when I was about 16. It had a tomato base, and had the nicest, semi smooth texture. Do you have a vegetable soup memory? Leave me a comment, and a link to the recipe. Maybe we will start a vegetable soup trend!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2nd Annual Soda Bread SHOWDOWN...The RESULTS!

Print Friendly and PDF I was having too much of a good time on Sunday afternoon at Slainte by the Pier's 2nd Annual Soda Bread SHOWDOWN to remember to actually TAKE A PHOTO OF THE SODA BREAD!!! so these cute little Guinness Salt and pepper shakers is all you get!( For sale for $19.99...check the website for more info.)


I arrived a little after 2 pm, and the restaurant was HOPPING! Mother's Day is always a bit of a of those 'ALL HANDS ON DECK' situations! Nevertheless, the musicians were playing, the people were clapping and singing and eating...and the competition soda breads were arriving. By 3 pm, we had received 3 entries, and Jack had them cut up and placed on platters for judging. Everyone in the restaurant was invited to come up and have a taste,and to decide their favorite. Even though I did not have a large pink sash that had "JUDGE" printed on it in large black letters, or an official clipboard with one of those pens on a string,or a serious pair of black rimmed reading glasses to wear low down on my nose to enable me to scowl at the texture and 'uniformness' of each loaf of soda bread...I did admire the democracy of the Sunday afternoon pub atmosphere!


I am pleased to report that the loaf that was chosen as the winner, was MY choice as well. Chris was the big winner...and was his first attempt at baking soda bread!
Well done Chris! I thought your loaf was delicious, a bit sweet, and smelled as good as it tasted!
Hey...I believe that description could apply to most mothers as well!

I'm already looking forward to next year's competition...Chris will be defending his title, and it will give me some time to design my SASH, buy some glasses, and locate a clipboard...with one of those pens on a string...(I love those!)

Thanks Jack!

Slainte By The Pier
Contemporary Irish Restaurant and Bar
15057 Marine Drive
West Beach, White Rock, BC

Friday, May 6, 2011

2nd Annual Soda Bread SHOWDOWN at Slainte

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This lovely photo is the view from the patio at Slainte by the Pier Restaurant on Marine Drive in White Rock. The view is ever changing. Sometimes the tide's out, sometimes it's in. Sometimes the sun's shining, sometimes it's not. One thing that is constant, is the great food at Slainte! This Sunday, May 8th, is a special day for many reasons. It's Mother's Day. It's Sunday, so that means that Slainte is hosting it's weekly Irish Folk Session from 2 to 5's time for this year's,

The 2nd Annual Soda Bread Showdown!

This Sunday, myself and Maureen Robinson, owner of the Milsean Shoppe in Aldergrove will be part of the judging panel. From 2 to 5 on Sunday May 8th, we will be tasting what we expect to be MANY fabulous recipes of traditional, and non-traditional soda bread.

For more information, and to get your entry form...please visit
We hope to see you, and your mom, on Sunday!
I'll be the one with a smile on my face, and some tasty soda bread in my hand...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lamb. The GOOD News and the BAD news!

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I recently read a good online article at 'COPYBLOGGER': "4 Ways to Keep Your Lifeless Blog from Boring Your Readers to Tears." It inspired me to try a few new tricks to keep myself, and my HOARDS of faithful readers, always coming back for MORE Cathy Eats!

Boneless Shoulder of LAMB!!

I made a boneless shoulder of lamb for dinner last night. I have never cooked this cut of meat before, and am pleased to report that it tasted wonderful!
I found a recipe by Trish Magwood via Food Network Canada, and as always, made some alterations.( google: boneless lamb shoulder)

I had no onion
I didn't have 24 hours to marinate it...I only had 2 hours.
I had only about a quarter of a lemon's worth of juice.(I found more lemon in the fridge after the lamb was cooked!)
I used fragrant buckwheat honey from Chilliwack, and it was brilliant!
I had no fresh I used dried Oregano.

The recipe was for a 5 lb piece of meat. Mine was 1 and 1/4 lbs...and I cooked it only 15 minutes in the oven at 450 degrees...PERFECTLY medium rare!

Apartments and HIGH HEAT SEARING!( Why I NEED a BBQ!)

I live in an apartment, and have a galley kitchen, with no window, and a kind of wimpy hood fan. When I find a recipe that recommends SEARING meat on the stove top...all I can think is that my whole apartment will smell like that meat for the next 24 hours...even with the fan on high, and the patio door wide open. So I have to be creative! I thought I was being super smart by pre-heating my oven to 450degrees, with one of my non-stick sheet pans in there to get nice and hot. When the oven was up to temperature, I placed my meat on the hot sheet pan, and closed the oven door. 12 to 15 minutes later, after turning the meat over once...I took the meat out of the oven and covered it with foil to rest until the P-Man got home. Remember the delicious honey, I used in the recipe? Well, this morning, it was attached to that sheet pan like fur on a cat! I tried to soak and scrub...but in the end, scraped off most of it with a butter knife, washed the pan, and placed it in the bag for the Salvation Army.

Next time I will use tin foil...