One of the trends in the kitchen of late seems to be cooking in a crock pot. I wrote about it in my local weekly column (you can see that post here). On of my readers requested vegetarian recipes that are made in a slow cooker, and as I don’t have one I couldn’t offer any advice at all. I found out there are whole websites and even an app devoted to this topic!
One recipe I found that I liked was from a British cook and it reminded me that we don’t all speak the same language in the kitchen, even when the words are all in English. I have included the recipe for Sweet Potato Stew in my archives with the required translations… Do you know what it means when it says “put the stoneware on the hob”? I am always charmed by these idiosyncracies, and I have become somewhat of a geek about learning the significance of different expressions. Many years ago when I wrote my first cookbook I had to research terms so I could cook recipes; for example, I had never heard of a dessert spoon as a measurement – I didn’t even know how big (or small) a dessert spoon was!
Research on the internet is a slippery slope, and this search was a good example. I started looking for recipes and found a Facebook page that has great information not just on recipes but also what they call “frugal living”. (Apparently crock pots fit that lifestyle.) Wise Bread’s list of slow cooker recipes for “Lazy Vegetarians” had a great sense of humour. Then I narrowly averted being swayed by shopping sites (it is the biggest shopping week of the year, don’t you know). I took a small detour to check out a few entertaining ideas, but then came back to my search and finished off with a recipe that isn’t vegetarian but does showcase a trendy veggie: Slow Cooker Kale & Chorizo Soup.
Maybe I’ll have to get a slow cooker one of these days… some of these recipes look pretty good Please let me know what you think if you try any of them! A word of caution: please remember to reheat any leftovers to boiling to ensure any bacteria is killed. If you’re like me and you don’t own one yet but are interested, I found a great first-timer’s tip sheet and a good review post from the folks at The Kitchn.
I wrote this in the movie theatre while waiting for my popcorn on my birthday a few days ago. There was no wifi to get it to post. I hope you will still enjoy the sentiment
Today is my birthday. I enjoy birthdays and in some years I have made a big deal about birthday meals. When I was a kid the cake was always important of course and I was lucky enough that my Mom was at home and liked baking. She made angel food, chocolate fudge, and any other whim I came up with. She wrapped nickels inside Saran Wrap and made sure there was one for every piece, for every kid. A few times we went out or restaurants and then there were always sparklers and singing and much fanfare.
Once I got older I did my own thing. I once made a checkerboard chocolate and orange cake I saw in a food magazine. It took half the day to cut out the checkerboard pieces of sponge and then put in the filling but it did taste amazing.
I’ve never had a surprise birthday party but my husband has surprised me with beautiful birthday treats. His chocolate Baileys ganache cake is one of the reasons I married him
We celebrate lots of occasions together; our life is full of fun. Like Tuesdays for example. They have been our date nights since before we were married. We go to a movie almost every Tuesday. Many of our inside jokes are linked to some of our screen favourites. So this year having a birthday on a Tuesday is just about perfect. I get to be spoiled, and have quality time with my guy while having popcorn. Maybe he’ll surprise me with a piece of birthday cake when we get home
I’m on the road, working. It’s nice to have the chance to experience different places and sample the local gourmand fare, but dining out alone has its drawbacks. Lack of conversation is one of them, which is why I am posting this “live”, as it happens. Beats staring out the window all night
There is a little alley in Nelson, BC called Hall street that houses not one but two funky little wine bar/ bistro type restaurants. It was tough to decide as both Bibo and All Seasons Cafe looked enticing – both even have charming patios nestled into the hill with lovely twinkle lights – but a peek at the All Seasons menu posted outside revealed duck on the menu a few ways and that drew me in. The cozy room with funky art and assorted antique chairs matched to equally eclectic wood tables made me stay. I sat into an old chair with a pre-formed leather seat (very comfy) and decided it was going to be a good night.
Being a food geek I can’t just have one dish on a night out so I sampled the Scallop Gyoza to start with my glass of Quails’ Gate Chardonnay. Nice to see it was Ocean Wise seafood, as I do like the feeling of supporting sustainability. I toasted my day’s work and settled in to enjoy.
The scallops were chopped fine as a filling so there was less texture than I expected but the taste was pleasant, with a bit of spice – was that from the jicama and carrot slaw? The menu did say it was spicy. The Dungeness and lemon aioli was delightful as well. I couldn’t eat all 5 or I won’t have room for the duck, though. I hope the chef won’t be insulted…
OMG! (I would never write that on my computer but on my phone it seems okay as a sentiment). I hope my wonderful husband forgives me for having this meal without him – duck is his favourite thing and cherry smoked, it’s out of this world! The truffle scented beets and fingerling potatoes aren’t too shabby either. Even the radish sprouts piled on top are inspired. And if I do say so myself, the pairing with the Chardonnay is divine. Thanks to Mr Grant Stanley (the winemaker for this vintage – no longer there, as a side note) for such a beautiful example of the varietal in the Burgundy style!
Another limitation of dining alone is that you lose the opportunity to share things. As much as I would have loved to have dessert, I now have no room. It’s a good thing I didn’t have more than a nibble of the focaccia the server kindly brought “for dunking in the sauce” . It was nicely charred on the grill but my deft work with the cutlery and potatoes enabled me to consume almost all of the sauce anyway. I’m not sure my Lab, Ella, could have licked the plate cleaner, quite frankly
I should point out that I raise my glass to the Chef at All Seasons not only for great food but also for great judgement on proportions of sauce to the dish. In both the appy and main course the Chef offered up enough sauce to enjoy a taste with every bite, allowing for the chance that I might actually eat the whole dish. Kudos! I am not one of those people who likes 3 dots of sauce on my plate – that might look artful but it doesn’t give me a real chance to taste the flavours. It makes me happy when I can enjoy the same flavours throughout the dish.
I’m satiated. I’m delighted. As a customer you have exceeded my expectations, All Seasons Cafe. I shall record my kudos on Trip Advisor as well, as after all that is where I found you (and your compatriot down the road). It’s nice to know when others enjoy an experience but it’s even nicer to come to my own decision. Maybe I’ll have a chance to bring my husband back here sometime – hopefully the duck will still be on the menu, and if I play my cards right I’ll even get to share a dessert
It’s harvest season in the Okanagan and apples are the feature at the moment. I asked my husband Martin to weigh in this week, as he is a chef and a big fan of apples. He even offers his recipe for apple compote, which he calls “goop”. Please feel free to offer your two cents in comments with a favourite apple recipe or variety!
Apples are a symbol of so many things – certainly autumn, as they fill the fruit stands by the bin and taste of the fresh crisp fall air; also good health, being the quintessential simple nutritious food that could “keep the doctor away”. They have become a symbol of technology too – Steve Jobs apparently liked the apple because of its simplicity and beauty. Maybe there is a lesson in all that symbolism, that life itself can be simply enjoyed.
Apples are one of the first foods ever recorded, being a symbol for not only knowledge but also temptation. Did you know that as far as the 17th century, all fruit and even some vegetables were referred to as a kind of apple? Tomatoes were “love apples”, and cucumbers were “earth apples”. Apples have been at the centre of many tales in history, both true and fictional… Snow White succumbed to an apple from the evil witch, Sir Isaac Newton is said to have come upon the idea of gravitational forces and apples abound in religious and mythological stories from Norway to Greece to Wales. They certainly seem to have an impact on our lives, so I think it behooves us not to make sure we enjoy them.
If you can’t think of anything better, perhaps a bit of apple bobbing is in order for Hallowe’en? At least a candy or a caramel apple seems appropriate this time of year. If you want festivities, check out your local events calendar for fall fairs and farmers’ markets. The Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market happens outside through the end of October. There are lots of great vendors featuring local products, including my friends from Westbank Harvest who have a delicious apple cider they only produce in the fall. The Family Pumpkin Fest is on at Davison Orchards in Vernon this weekend, and they have very tasty caramel and candy apples
Well, believe it or not the summer is over and apple time is back. Most orchards are just picking the last fruit off the trees and soon will be closing their doors until next summer.
My daughter is now 20 years old and like most kids that age, hanging out with dad at a fruit stand is not as much fun as it used to be. The good news is that I did that many times with her when she was younger so my hope now is that she passes it on to my grandchildren one day. Food values are not something that comes naturally to our children like many other values, we as the parents need to educate, show by example and even push upon them that eating one apple a day is still a good idea. Eating something that grew on a tree has to be more important to them, more so than eating any old thing – like frozen pizza pockets flushed down with a Red Bull.
Food values come to children just the same way as if you tell your children eat broccoli and don’t eat soap. Early on in their lives, you decide what is good for them and what isn’t and later on you hope that these short lessons stuck with them so that as they grow older they make the right choices. Guess what, eating dinner, sitting down at a table the whole family together is still the best place for those lessons.
If you are having a hard time selling this to your kids, try showing them the IPOD, or IPAD or even a MAC computer… and show them the logo… “yes honey, it’s an apple, and guess what there’re a bit missing in the apple to show you that apples are good for you, honey!”
Make Apple Goop with your kids this Sunday and show them that cooking is simple and good for them.