Archives for January 2007

The Artist Formerly Known as Russell

“Rez-on-8”, 12×24, Mixed Media, John Wimbush

He’s back and better than ever! Right now food takes a rare backseat as I shamelessly use UtHC to reach you all and give my dad’s wicked awesome art a plug. I can’t help it! He’s putting out some great stuff and these pieces are from his recent exhibit at the Smithers Art Gallery. Click here to view the gallery’s website and nine amazing pieces

from my dad’s collection. Hey, I get a commission if I sell any, so take a good look and decide if your home deserves an original John Wimbush.

“Hatian Fight Song”, 24×48, Mixed Media, John Wimbush

(Why is he formerly know as Russell? Ah, that is a long story for another time. )

50 Things To Eat Before You Die

When I ask people in their Foodie Facebook interview the question about their last meal and what they would order, I always get a wide variety of answers. Some list a dish they associate with a favorite memory, some list their dream meal, and others merely go with the last great meal they remember eating. Obviously and naturally, people have very different ideas as to what a last meal should include, and so I was curious when I came across a list of 50 Things To Eat Before You Die that was put out by the British BBC as a result of a nation-wide poll they did.
What a bizarre, disjointed, mess of a list; however, it gets one thinking!(I’ll expound afterward) Now before you go thinking that all this “…before you die” stuff is kind of depressing, do consider that it’s merely a way of earnestly encouraging a person to carpe diem and live a little. I’m sure you’ve seen the books like “Places to go before you die” and so on….
It is a suggestion of things that one must absolutely try in their lifetime, and if you live your life letting others tell you what to do, this is a list for you! Ouch! J/K. While the list is no longer on the BBC website, I had no trouble finding it on the web, and so, with no further ado, here it is.
Oh, one more thing: the items I have NOT eaten are in Bold. Have you eaten everything??
BBC’s 50 Things To Eat Before You Die

  1. Fresh fish
  2. Lobster
  3. Steak
  4. Thai food
  5. Chinese food
  6. Ice cream
  7. Pizza
  8. Crab
  9. Curry
  10. Prawns
  11. Moreton Bay Bugs
  12. Clam chowder
  13. Barbeques
  14. Pancakes
  15. Pasta
  16. Mussels
  17. Cheesecake
  18. Lamb
  19. Cream tea
  20. Alligator
  21. Oysters
  22. Kangaroo
  23. Chocolate
  24. Sandwiches
  25. Greek food
  26. Burgers
  27. Mexican
  28. Squid
  29. American Diner breakfast
  30. Salmon
  31. Venison
  32. Guinea Pig
  33. Shark
  34. Sushi
  35. Paella
  36. Barramundi
  37. Reindeer
  38. Kebabs
  39. Scallops
  40. Australian Meat Pie
  41. Mango
  42. Durian
  43. Octopus
  44. Ribs
  45. Roast beef
  46. Tapas
  47. Jerk chicken/pork
  48. Haggis
  49. Caviar
  50. Cornish Pasty

So, as you can see, the list varies greatly from the hugely vague (Chinese FOOD) to the very specific (Australian meat pie). You can’t just sum up an entire ethnic cuisine like that! And if one could, it’s a little sad that all we need to try is Mexican, Chinese, Greek and Thai.(You can tell where the British vacation!) What about Italian? Spanish? Eastern Europe? Moroccan? Skip them?
They left out a lot of my favorites, too, like bagels, maple smoked bacon, wild strawberries, and cherries picked right off the tree. Heck, there isn’t a single fruit or vegetable on the list. It’s pretty sad.
50 things to eat before you die should be just that: things. A dish or one item, a specialty of a country, but not their entire cuisine. For example, New York Pizza or Thai Green Curry. Hmm, I would love to write my own list, but I would never presume to know even 1% of all the fantastic dishes to eat all over the world, never mind pick the best ones. It’s not a bad goal, though. Travel around the world and taste the top five dishes of each country. Mmmm. Now that would be a list worth publishing.

DIY: Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

You can Do It Yourself! Vientamese Hot and Sour Soup

There is nothing like a plate or a bowl of hot soup, it’s wisp of aromatic steam making the nostrils quiver with anticipation, to dispel the depressing effects of a grueling day at the office or the shop, rain or snow in the streets, or bad news in the papers.”

Louis P. De Gouy, The Soup Book (1949)

Yesterday was minus 15 and snowy. Inspired by an old recipe my sister, Haidi, sent me a while back, I whipped up a Vietnamese noodle soup and it turned out to be the perfect antidote to the weather. It’s incredible how a bowl of soup can be the most comforting, soul satisfying thing. With a fully belly of soup and after a one hour massage from Sandra at the Concordia Physio Center, I was about as relaxed and content as can be! Sometimes creating an Asian style soup can be a daunting task as the list of ingredients is often long and usually requires various exotic, unattainable ingredients. This recipe is different; it’s so easy to make, I had to share it with you. If you haven’t yet tried a recipe from UtHC, this one is a perfect start. Feel free to play around with the vegetables, substituting bak choi or jullienned carrots for bean sprouts or whatever your fancy. Of course, the shrimp can be left out completely if you wish for a vegetarian soup.

Vietnamese Hot and Sour Soup

2 teaspoons oil 2 tablespoons minced shallots 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, cut into 3 inch lengths and bruised lightly. ½ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced, button or shitake 1 ½ teaspoons sugar 5 cups water ½ lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and sliced lengthwise in two. 5 tablespoons fish sauce 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice ¼ lb flat rice stick noodles, softened for 30 minutes in warm water and drained 1 ½ cups bean sprouts ½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or ½ teaspoon Thai chili sauce

Optional: 1 cup diced tofu ½ cup green peas

Garnish: Sliced scallions Chopped cilantro Wedge of lime Heat a heavy pot. Add oil and heat. Add shallots and lemongrass and stir fry lightly. Add mushrooms and sugar and stir fry for about 1 minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Add fish sauce, noodles, peas and tofu, if using. Bring to a boil again and add shrimp. Simmer 2 minutes more while you call everyone for supper. Discard lemongrass, add bean sprouts and chilies. Serve immediately. Top with scallions and cilantro and serve with lime wedge.
Note: If you don’t serve this soup right away, the rice noodles will absorb most of the broth and you will be left with a tasty (but soggy) noodle dish!

WFD? Citrus Duck with Thyme Crêpes

What’s For Dinner? Sour Citrus Glazed Duck Breast with Watercress in a Thyme Crêpe.

This was inspired by the traditional Peking duck wrap with Mandarin pancakes and Hoisin sauce that I had a wedding last summer. This dish just kind of evolved from a few things I had on hand and turned out to be a nice fresh mouthful, transporting us momentarily away from the snow and ice.
Thanks to Bobby Flay of the Food Network for the crêpe recipe.
Sour Citrus Glazed Duck Breast
2 14-16 ounce boneless duck breast halves, rinsed and patted dry 4 Tablespoons Sour Citrus Glaze (see below) Preheat oven to 450F.

  1. Score skin of duck breasts in a crosshatch pattern and season with salt and pepper.
  1. Place breasts skin-side down in a cold skillet. Place over medium-high heat until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is dark golden brown, 5-8 minutes. Pour off fat, and turn duck breasts, meat-side down. Brush skin with citrus glaze.
  1. Place duck in oven and roast about ten minutes. (or until the thickest part reaches 125F) Brush with glaze a few times during the roasting period.
  1. Remove from oven, remove from skillet and let rest on a wire rack for ten minutes. This is important to allow the meat to reabsorb some of the juices. If you slice into it right away, you will loose flavorful jus! Cover to keep warm. Your duck is now ready for slicing.

Sour Citrus Glaze:

2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cups fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns Place the juice, garlic, fennel and peppercorns in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 cups. Strain the sauce into a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
Thyme Crêpes:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan In blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Heat a small non-stick pan over high heat. Add butter to coat. Pour 1-ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl the spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove from heat. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all the batter is gone.

Now you can add the filling and serve, or refrigerate for a later use. They also freeze well.
To Assemble:
Brush crêpe with a little citrus glaze. Add a few springs of fresh, washed watercress, several slices of duck and an orange segment. Fold crêpe and serve immediately.

Top Ten Ways I am Making Every Day “Earth Day”

“It doesn’t feel hotter to me.”
— George W. Bu

New Years Resolution 2007: Reduce My Ecolog

ical Footprint.

If you talk to anyone out there, they will admit they could be doing more to save the planet. An overused phrase, yes, but after watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, it took on a new meaning. While I am certainly no expert in this area (that’s my brother-in-law, Kevin) I can still educate myself and make more of an effort to be environmentally friendly.

Here’s how:

  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    . I’ve always been a fan of 2nd hand stuff and always recycled of course, but now we are getting really serious. We’re recycling stuff like batteries and donating unwanted household items to charity instead of pitching them.

    We also got a second recycling bin for glass, metal and plastic so we don’t just recycle the various newspapers and flyers that come to our house.

  1. Cloth Diapers

    instead of disposable. These just use water, a renewable resource, and some biodegradable soap to stay clean and don’t contribute a thing to landfill. Here’s an article you MUST read before deciding to use disposable diapers, which highlights that they are in fact NOT disposable and are a leading contributor to landfills. I love my cloth diapers; not only are they eco-friendly, but they save us a ton of money and are better for Noah’s bum as they don’t have all the chemicals in them that disposables have.

  1. Push-Reel Lawnmower.

    In one hour of operation, a conventional gas lawn mower (two-stroke) pollutes as much as 40 new cars. Just imagine how much pollution is being created in a typical suburb on a summer weekend! I love our quiet, pollutant-free push mower and it’s great exercise too!

  1. Reusable Shopping Bags:

    Bringing along reusable cotton bags for groceries and errand running.

  1. Biodegradable Soap

    : both dish soap and laundry detergent. Fortunately, these have become easier to find and much more affordable in recent years. We like the brand Biovert.

  1. Composting

    : I compost kitchen scraps, leaves, and grass trimmings. This, combined with recycling, cuts my garbage output by 50% and helps fertilize my garden, too!

  1. Energy efficient light bulbs

    . Compact fluorescents use around 70% less energy than a regular bulb. This is an easy way to save energy for anyone.

    Just remember this – we learned that they burn out quite quickly when used with dimmers.

  1. Energy Saving:

    Using cold water to wash clothes to reduce hot water usage and by using a clothes line in summer. Also keeping thermostats lower and wearing a sweater instead of cranking the heat (which Danny always chides me for doing).

  1. Less a Car/Walking: Owning just one car for our family and leaving it at home more often for errand running and market shopping.
  1. Buying locally grown produce

    …in order to support local farmers and also eating more fresh, organic foods, which aren’t sprayed.

    According to the average meal in the US travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community. Also, frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.

Interested in making some changes also? Visit action