Got my mojo back …

Well, at least my cooking mojo. It’s so bizarre. I’ve always loved to cook. For as long as I can remember, every month I’d drool my way through the latest issues of Gourmet, Bon Appetit and STIRFRYFine Cooking magazines. I couldn’t pass a cookbook store without stopping, looking and buying. I was addicted to the Food Network on TV.

Which isn’t surprising when you consider I grew up in a family who loved to think about, shop for, prepare, cook and eat food. And share it with countless friends, colleagues and family members. My mother was a fabulous cook — as were my grandmothers and aunts and cousins on both sides.

I loved to have dinner parties and enjoyed thinking about what I’d make as much as the eventual sitting at the table. Truth be told, I may have enjoyed the planning even more. Thumbing through recipes, consulting with my mother and yes, even my father, who was the ultimate shopper of fine foods. The best

Continue reading

Advertisements

Day 303. Bon Appetit

Do you ever get sick of all food?  Have no cravings for anything?  Stand in front of your fridge, staring into it, hoping for inspiration?  Willing your taste buds to kick eatingpillsin?  Flip through every cookbook you own, wishing something would cause your mouth to start watering?

Stare at menus, longing for something to jump out at you, screaming “Order me, order me, I’m really tasty, you’ll love me”?

It’s exactly where I’m at right now.  Have been for a while.  Nothing appeals.  Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  I can’t get enough nectarines.  Especially the white ones.  And those strange-looking donut peaches.  Gosh they’re delicious.  I could eat them three times a day.  For breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I do get urges for oysters and  lobster.  But not as often as I used to.  I love vegetables; and the sight of red Continue reading

Day 190. Xiang Shou

Between the snow storms throughout the East, the Grammys and the news about the Pope resigning, Chinese New Year has taken a bit of a back seat.  It started this snakepast Sunday.  This year we’re celebrating the Year of the Snake.

It’s interesting.  In North American culture, when we refer to someone as a ‘snake’, it’s not very complimentary.  And yet, ancient Chinese wisdom says a snake in the house is a good omen because it means your family will never starve.

In fact, this is the year of the water snake.  Water snakes are influential and insightful.  They manage others well.  They are highly motivated, intellectual and very determined.  They are success-oriented.  While they are affectionate with family and friends, they keep their private lives private.  So don’t expect them to be demonstrative when they’re with colleagues and business partners.

I read, somewhere, that snakes and pigs should avoid each other.  Which is unfortunate.  Because I am a fire Continue reading

Day 188. Soup’s On

I woke up yesterday morning with a craving.  For soup.  Really not surprising, given all the snow and cold weather.  Of course by yesterday, the storm had passed; chefand I woke up to clear, sunny skies.

But it was still soup weather, as far as I was concerned.  And what I hankered for was not out of a can.  Not ‘dust’, from a just-add-water-and-stir box.  Not store made.  I wanted home made soup.  Specifically, my mother’s chicken soup.  She made THE best chicken soup.

Which meant a trip to the grocery store was in my immediate future.  I looked outside and everything seemed to be all right.  At least as much as I could see from fifteen floors up.  So I fed the cats, had breakfast, read the paper, took a shower, emptied litter boxes; and waited to see if the urge would pass.  It didn’t.

So I made a list of all the ingredients I’d need, and got dressed.  And dicked around for a while.  Much as I wanted the soup, I was in no rush to leave the warmth and comfort of my abode.  But then I spoke to a friend and committed myself.   Continue reading

Day 186. Topsy Turvy

I do it quite often. It’s because I get bored, after a while, with the more conventional choices. Or because I start craving a different kind of comfort food. You have no idea french toastwhat I’m talking about, do you?

Flipping things around. Having breakfast for dinner.

Savoury sausages, cooked just long enough to have a crust on the outside. So they ‘snap’ when you bite into them. Chorizo’s my favourite. Soft, fluffy scrambled eggs. I do make THE best scrambled eggs, by the way. Just because I like you, I’ll share my secrets:

Add some cream or milk to the eggs. Don’t add the salt or pepper until they’re finished cooking. DON’T beat them. Whisk them. And DON’t over whisk. Unsalted butter is best. Melt the butter, in the skillet, over a high heat. But then immediately reduce it to a VERY low flame once you put the eggs in.

The idea is to cook them GENTLY. So they are not overcooked. So they are creamy. And soft. And light. And fluffy. Then add whatever seasoning you want. And eat them IMMEDIATELY. Don’t let them just sit there,

Continue reading

Day 98. Salad Freak

I’m the first to admit it’s bizarre.  When it comes to cravings, most people want chocolate.  Or hot fudge sundaes.  Pizza.  Or Chinese food.  But how many people do you know, who crave salads?

Now you do.  Me.  Yep, I have cravings for lettuce.  I kid you not. I like it so much, I’m happy to eat a hunk of head lettuce, or a pile of romaine leaves with no dressing.  Nothing on it at all.  I can just snack on it, as it is.  Au natural.

Yes.  I know.  I am strange.

Several years ago we had a very severe black-out in Toronto.  It lasted a couple of days.  Most people were lining up at gas stations to make sure their cars had a full tank.  And they were also heading for bank machines, getting cash before there was none left. Continue reading

Day 92. Delicious Distraction

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know that today is election day in the U.S.?  I seriously doubt it.  And, as I’ve said many times before, even though it’s not my election, I am involved.  Engaged.  And worried.  There’s a lot at stake, not just for Americans, but for the whole world.

And regardless of who wins, there will be an impact on Canada.  There always is.  After all, we’re not only neighbours, we’re trading partners.  We depend on each other, although sometimes I think politicians forget that.  Another story, for another time.

Anyway, I’ve decided I need a distraction.  It is going to be a long wait, I think, until we know who’ll be in the White House for the next four years.  We’ll probably be up quite late tonight, biting our nails.  A trip to the grocery store, yesterday, inspired me.

I’m going to distract myself with food.  Figs, in particular.  Fresh figs.

There’s a relatively short season for them.  In fact, I’m surprised I managed to find some.  Not that I was looking, mind you.  But there they were.  One more little package of four, Continue reading

Day 85. Mmmm Good!

I mentioned, briefly, in yesterday’s post that I had brunch, this past Sunday, with a friend’s daughter and her boyfriend.  We went to the Thompson Diner, one of the restaurants in the very trendy, luxury boutique hotel that opened not all that long ago, in Toronto.  I suggested it because they serve a good breakfast; and, in particular, their pancakes are outstanding.

Don’t believe me?  Think a pancake is a pancake is a pancake?

Well, feast your eyes on this stack.  That’s what I ordered.  Blueberry pancakes.  Yes, they are that huge.  The size of a dinner plate.  Each one is close to a quarter of an inch thick.  And you get three in an order.

Crammed, and I mean crammed full of fresh blueberries.  Topped with even more, and a light dusting of powdered sugar.  I had to have a side of crispy bacon.  After all, what are pancakes without bacon?  And good maple syrup.  Real maple syrup.

The Thompson Diner’s pancakes are the lightest, fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten.  Trust me on this.  But even so, it is impossible for one person to finish the whole order.  I’ve been there three times now, and the most I’ve ever eaten is half. Continue reading

Day 77. A Craving

I spent practically the whole day yesterday craving Peking duck.  Kind of bizarre, I know.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Peking duck.  I love it.  But it is an odd ‘craving’ to have.  Most people crave sweets, or salty snacks.  And of course we all know what weird things pregnant women crave.  This, however, is unusual.

But, at least in my case, it’s not so surprising.  Here’s what happened.  In the morning I got an email letting me know that a WordPress blogger ‘liked’ one of my posts.  Theirs was not a blog I had seen before, so I immediately clicked on the link.  What was the post that I zeroed in on?  A recipe for Peking duck.  And that was all it took.

That’s all I wanted to eat for the rest of the day.

Mmmmm.  The slivers of moist, yet still crispy duck.  The cucumber.  The scallions.  All wrapped up in those nice, little pancakes.  And the hoisin sauce.  Thinking about it now, it might be the hoisin sauce that I craved the most.  And because it’s me, I always have to add some hot sauce.  There’s one I really love.  Cannot remember what it’s called, but it’s the consistency of mustard.  It’s red, though.  I go through dishes of it.  I put it on everything.

Do you have any idea how easy it would have been for me to get some Peking duck?  There’s a very good Chinese restaurant,  within walking distance to where I live.  In fact, I walked right by it, on my way to get groceries.  So why Continue reading