links for 2007-05-31

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Quote of the day

Food No Comments

“He grills the steaks upstairs in the fireplace, and they’re bloody inside and charred on the outside, and the juices run down your face, and you’re drunk, and your face is greasy, and everything is right with the world.”


Things that are yummy (aka: what I just made for dinner)

Food No Comments

No recipes because it’s all stupid-simple:

  • Pan-seared lamb chops
  • Steamed cauliflower topped with a lump of gorgonzola cheese
  • Wild rice

I love food.

Salmon baked in foil

Food, Recipes 4 Comments

The first time I cooked salmon at home (not on a grill) I pan-seared it and lived to regret the clinging stench of fish in the condo for the next 2 days. That put me off for months, but today I turned to my pal shaver who imparted some wisdom that essentially boiled down to “wrap it in something and bake it”. So that’s what I did, cribbing a recipe from notes from the internet, and it turned out perfectly.


  • 2 salmon steaks, 1″ thick or so
  • 1 can artichoke hearts (you only need 2 or 3, so be prepared to deal with the leftovers)
  • 1 fresh vine-ripened tomato, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Lemon wedges to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Chop 3 artichoke hearts into quarters. Mix artichoke, tomato, thyme leaves (discard stems), 2 tbsp olive oil, salt + pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Lay out two sheets of aluminum foil, large enough to completely, but loosely, wrap the salmon.
  4. Use remaining oil to rub down the salmon steaks, and place those on the foil.
  5. Top each salmon steak with half of the artichoke/tomato mixture. Fold foil loosely around steaks and seal, so each steak is in its own little foil packet-pod.
  6. Place foil pods on a baking sheet, and put in the oven. Bake for 25-30 mins.
  7. Unwrap, remove from foil, and plate, serving with lemon wedges.

That’s pretty much it. I served these with steamed snap peas and baked sweet potato.

Before I forget it — Spinach-Hummus recipe

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes No Comments

I’m actually not a huge fan of regular hummus unless it’s so jacked up with lemon juice and garlic that most other people won’t eat it, but I made a hummus today that we both like a lot.


  • 1 19oz chickpeas, drained and well rinsed
  • 5oz baby spinach, wilted (I just tossed it in a non-stick saute pan with a tsp of water until it was more cooked than raw — 5 mins on med-high or so)
  • Zest from a whole lemon, minced
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4c extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste — the canned chickpeas probably have a lot of sodium in them already, so be cautious with the salt at first
  • 1 md clove of garlic
  • 1/2 md shallot


  1. Toss it all in a food processor and puree until more-or-less smooth. Should be a nice rich green colour. Add warm water a little at a time if it needs thinning.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings — add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice as you see fit.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and, ideally, let sit in the refrigerator for a while. The flavours will blend and develop over time, although it’s perfectly good straight out of the processor.

Serve with whole grain pitas or whatever.

It’s possible that this might be a touch lemony for some people, so if you’re not a huge fan of a big citrus punch, only use zest from half a lemon.

links for 2007-05-28

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Dulce de leche brownies

Food, Recipes 2 Comments

I suck at baking, but these turned out brilliantly (after an initial false start…turns out chemistry makes me panic). I followed this recipe more-or-less exactly, but I have a few tips if you’re going to try it.

  1. Making dulce de leche is more complicated than it sounds and takes longer than you think. A glass bowl won’t cut it — you really do need a glass pie plate for it to work properly. I’m also pretty sure that cooking it at a lower temperature for longer would be better — mine developed a darker brown crusty top which, while tasty, sort of made it look gross.
  2. Let the chocolate/butter/cocoa mixture cool before adding the eggs. Don’t freak out if the butter starts to separate out after adding the second egg — just press on regardless and it’ll work out in the end.
  3. Switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon before adding the eggs — just trust me.
  4. Don’t be an idiot and forget to add the pecans you carefully toasted and chopped like I did. Pewp.

They nice, thick, moist, yummy, crazy brownies. I expect one warmed and topped with a tiny scoop of vanilla Hagendaaz will be even better.

New chili recipe

Food, Recipes No Comments

Yet another variation on chili…I tend to just make these up as I go. This one’s more beans than meat and has the added nutritional bonus of barley. The ingredient list is longish — I might try a simpler variant next time.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lg spanish onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 19oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 19oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 14oz can butter beans (lima beans)
  • 1 14oz can black-eyed peas
  • 1 12oz can corn niblets, ideally peaches + cream corn
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 14 or so white or cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 lg red peppers, chopped
  • 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 c cooked hulled barley
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup chili powder (I used 1/4c today but will reduce to 1/8c next time)
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a large stock pot (6.5 quart or bigger), heat oil over med heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5-7 mins or so. Toss in ground beef and stir occassionally until the meat is thoroughly browned. Add chili powders and some black pepper, and continue cooking for 5-10 mins.
  2. Add mushrooms and stir, cooking for 5 mins or so, then add the red peppers and celery chunks. Stir and cook for another 5-10 mins.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, open, drain, and rinse all 4 types of beans and the corn niblets. Add to the pot, stir, then add the crushed and diced tomatoes.
  4. Turn down to minimum heat, cover. Let this sit on the stove stewing away for 45-60 mins.
  5. Remove from heat, stir in barley, let sit for 15 mins or so.

Serve topped with fresh grated cheddar cheese and fresh, thickly-sliced and lightly buttered bread and/or tortilla chips. Serves a lot of people, or 2 people for about a week.

Easy asparagus soup

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes No Comments

I had some slightly wilty asparagus left over from last week, so I decided to make asparagus soup. Very simple and really good.


  • 2 lb asparagus, washed, tough end bits snapped off, cut into 1″-2″ chunkies
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 large-ish stick of celery, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 c low-sodium chicken stock (Knorr-in-a-box)
  • 1/4 c table cream (totally optional)
  • Salt + Pepper to taste


  • Basic soup method – melt butter in a good sized stock pot. Toss in onions and celery and saute until all translucent and yummy. Add a few grinds of pepper.
  • Toss in the asparagus chunkies and chicken stock — bring to a quick boil, then reduce to minimum and simmer for 20-30 mins or so (I went to 40 and it makes no difference at all).
  • Remove from heat, blend with an immersion blender.
  • Stir in the optional cream (I probably won’t bother next time — didn’t do much for the texture and didn’t add anything but unnecessary calories). Taste and add salt and additional pepper if necessary.
  • Serve in nice big bowls with fresh 12-grain bread.

That was lunch (with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch). Dinner is 4 bean chili.

Road trip photos

Photography, Pictures No Comments


Rob and I took an extended Victoria Day Weekend and booted down to Watkins Glen, NY for a quick mini-vacation. There’s a state park there with an absolutely gorgeous gorge that you can walk through. We took many, many pictures. I’ve posted some (not all yet, but most) here:

Dria’s Watkins Glen Roadtrip Photoset.

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