Wild rice and quinoa salad

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes 1 Comment

I’m experimenting with different sorts of grains and just scored a bag of local organic quinoa from the Speerville Mill (local food + local business, woo). Invented this on the fly to go with a roasted chicken last night, and had leftovers for lunch today. It’s pretty tasty. Add more salt and/or vinegar if it seems too tame.


  • 1/2 c wild rice (before cooking), cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 c quinoa (before cooking), cooked and cooled
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 bulb fennel, sliced thinly
  • 3-4 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Splash of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

After cooking and letting the wild rice and quinoa cool, mix them together in a bowl. Add celery, fennel, and scallions, and mix.

Now put shallot, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper in a jar and shake well to make a basic vinaigrette. Pour all of this over the stuff in the bowl, and mix well.

Ideally, you’ll make this a few hours in advance so the flavours can blend, but you can just serve it immediately if necessary. Leftovers keep well and taste even better the next day. x

Seven things you probably already know about me…

Meme, Ramblings, Work 3 Comments

I got tagged by robcee, so here goes…

The Rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post. (see above)
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post. (see below)
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs. (see below)
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged. (you’ll just have to trust me)

The Seven Things

1) I figure skated for many years as a kid and was pretty good at it. I quit when I was 17.

2) I haven’t driven since sometime in 1994. Until this year I just never lived somewhere where I needed a car. My license has since expired, so right now I find myself in the interesting position of owning a vehicle (a second-hand van I got for a song) but not being able to drive it.


3) I used to collect comic books. I still have two decent-sized boxes, most of which are old X-Men and related mutie titles. I am an annoying person to watch the X-Men movies with.


4) I didn’t get interested in food until around 2001 and didn’t really start cooking at all until 2002-2003. In 2001 I was living in Montreal, and it was there that I discovered that food can be f&*%ing incredible. The combination of cheap rent, high salary, and a city full of insanely awesome restaurants expanded my epicurean horizons by several orders of magnitude. Until then I’d largely lived on ramen, kraft dinner, and boiled potatoes with butter. I am not joking.


5) I was addicted to the Asheron’s Call MMORPG (an early precursor of World of Warcraft), and played it with obsessive-compulsive fervour for two years. Funnily enough, the game is still going, having recently celebrated their 100th monthly update. I hope they leave it going forever, if only so I never have to completely say goodbye to Dereth. Holtburg, represent.


6) I was a total goth in highschool (more of an early precursor to goth since goth wasn’t goth then). There is no photographic evidence of this that I am aware of, and I would like it to stay that way.


7) I really love camping, but never get a chance to go any more. I’ve even gone winter camping, which is crazy fun although your feet are basically wet the whole time.



Seven People

  • Shaver – Because he introduced me to Asheron’s Call.
  • Lilly – Because he’s fun.
  • Melissa – Because she’s awesome.
  • Mary – Because she’s also awesome.
  • Zab – Because he’s Zab.
  • Peter Rukvina – To get this meme over to PEI.
  • Nicholas McDowell – Because I’ve known him since something stupid like 1994 but haven’t actually met him yet. Yay internet.

Black bean and sweet potato soup

Cooking, Food, Meatless, Recipes No Comments

The original intention was to make a fairly standard black bean soup, but after digging around a few dozen recipes settled on this. It’s really, really tasty.


  • 2 19oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 med onion, diced fine
  • 1 med carrot, diced fine
  • 1 rib celery, diced fine
  • 1 med sweet potato, peeled and diced to 1/2″ or so
  • 1/2 tsp salt (and more to taste, later)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (or so) chile powder
  • 3-4 c chicken or vegetable stock
  • Juice from 1-2 limes


Put oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions, carrots, celery, sweet potato, and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute, stirring frequently, for 10-15 mins or so. As the sweet potato gets soft, brown bits will start sticking to the bottom of the pot. That’s fine. By the time I finished this part there was a good thick coating of browned stuff on the bottom.

When sweet potato is mashably soft, turn the heat down to medium-low and use a potato masher to turn it all into a nice chunky puree right there in the pot. Add garlic, cumin, and chili powder and continue cooking for two or three minutes, stirring. Pour a cup or two of the chicken stock in and let that heat for a minute or two to loosen up the brown stuff that’s stuck to the bottom of the pot, then scrape all that up into the soup (brown stuff = flavour, it’s tasty stuff).

Add the beans and enough of the remaining chicken stock to cover, then stir well to combine. There should be enough liquid to make it soupy, but the mashed sweet potato should thicken it slightly. Turn heat up to high, bring soup to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes or so.

After it’s simmered for a while, get the potato masher and mash some of the beans in the pot. I probably mashed just over a third of the beans, stirring frequently to check the consistency. The mashed beans will thicken the soup, so just mash and stir until it’s thick, but still more a soup than bean puree. Continue simmering on low for another 5 or 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, squeeze in the juice from one or two limes. The potato adds a level of sweetness that you’re looking to counteract here a little. I ended up using the juice of 1.5 limes. Just add the juice a half-lime at a time and continue tasting and adjusting until it’s nice and bright without being too powerfully citrusy. Taste again then add salt if needed. I had to add about another 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of salt at this point.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a few gratings of fresh ground pepper on top, and sharp cheddar cheese and tortilla chips on the side.


Next time I make this I will probably increase the cumin and chili powder by a full tsp each, maybe using a blend of regular chili powder and chipotle chili powder. The nice smokiness would work well here, I think.

Some of my favourite food blogs…

Cooking, Food, Recipes No Comments

A little while ago I twittered about one of my favourite food blogs, and a number of people sent notes thanking me for the recommendation. I realized then that I may spend more time reading food blogs than many, and thus the inspiration for this post. Here’s a list of the food blogs I currently subscribe to, in not-quite-alphabetical order.

101 Cookbooks – I love this site. Phenomenal, inspiring, healthy, and straightforward food accompanied by great writing and fantastic photography. This is one of the first sites I will hit when searching for inspiration or recipes.

A Full Belly – It’s a little scattered in terms of content and frequency, but I keep it in my feed reader because it serves up bite-sized and interesting bits and pieces along with a smattering of recipes.

Arroz y Frijoles – This is the latest find, recommended by Melissa (who is basically awesome in all the ways someone can be awesome). It’s all about Cuban food, and while I’ve only dug through a smattering of the archives I can already tell it’s a keeper.

breadbasketcase – Marie started this blog on Dec 25th, 2005, in her attempt to bake her way through Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible. Upon completing that noble and worthwhile goal (which I have considered doing myself), she continued blogging and baking and making all sorts of lovely food.

Chocolate and Zucchini – This is one of the A-List elite food blogs, and is worthy of the accolades. Clotilde Dusoulier, the author, has gone on to write and publish two books (a growing trend among food bloggers) and her blog continues to inspire.

Coconut & Lime – Every post is a clearly written original recipe with some minimal post-script chatter and usually at least a photo or two. A handy page lists the published recipes by category if you’re just digging around trying to figure out what’s for dinner.

Culinate – This is a multi-author mega-blog that does recipes, interviews, articles, and all sorts of other stuff. Usually good for at least 2-3 good posts per day, and absolutely worth checking out.

David Lebovitz – Cookbook author with a penchant for desserts but who writes about all sorts of food and life in Paris, among other things. From his Amazon.com mini-bio: “David Lebovitz was named one of the top five pastry chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle and nominated for an IACP/KitchenAid Award for his book Room for Dessert. He has been featured on Today, as well as in Bon Appetit, The New York Times, People, Cooking Light, and Gourmet. David lives in Paris, leads chocolate tours, and teaches cooking around the world.”

Epicurious.com – This site is from the more traditional/corporate side of things, having partnered with Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines, but those partnerships are what makes it worth subscribing to, with its veritable barrage of recipes and interesting articles.

Frugal Cuisine – Cooking inexpensively doesn’t mean cutting quality. I don’t subscribe to this blog because of it’s money-saving tips, however, it’s just full of great, simple recipes, often with an Asian bent.

New York Times Dining and Wine Section – It’s all great and one of my must-have sites (this goes for the NYT site in general, if they ever tell me I have to pay for it, I will (within reason, mind…don’t get crazy)). The star of this particular show, in my opinion, is Mark Bittman, the “Minimalist” who wrote How to Cook Everything, which I turn to constantly for recipes and information. I have the original hard-back yellow-cover version of the book but will probably pick up the newly revised 10th anniversary red-cover version, as well.

Passionate Eater – This blog, as the title suggests, is really more about eating than cooking, but it’s well written and a fun diversion.

Michael Rhulman – Not just a food writer, but one of the great food writers. His best-known book is probably The French Laundry Cookbook (which someone actually cooked through at home, blogging all the while), with the more recent Charcuterie bringing up a close second. His blog is great and anyone interested in food and cooking should read it.

Serious Eats – Another multi-author mega-blog that publishes piles of interesting articles and recipes on a daily basis. Today’s surprise bit of wisdom? Animal Style Fries at In-and-Out Burger. Dear lord.

Smitten Kitchen – Akin to 101 Cookbooks and Chocolate and Zucchini, Smitten Kitchen is a beautiful blog with great writing, great recipes, and gorgeous photography. One of my favourite single-author food blogs. I am so making the Almond-vanilla rice pudding this weekend. Yum. Oh, and the Squash and chickpea Moroccan stew is on the menu as well. This is one of those food blogs you have to be careful about reading idly — it will make you hungry, even if you just ate.

Stone Soup – Posting is infrequent, but still worth subscribing to so you can catch the articles when they do come.

The Bitten Word – A couple of guys with a minor addiction to food magazines. The premise of this blog, in their own words: “We love food magazines and subscribe to Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Cook’s Illustrated, Food & Wine, Everyday Food and Martha Stewart Living. Over the last year, we only rarely put the magazines to use, instead allowing them to form a not so tidy pile in our apartment. Inspired by this post on Serious Eats, we’re resolving to put our food magazines to work this year, cooking at least one recipe from each magazine. We’ll post our results, and show you how it turned out.”

Zaiqa – All about Indian (specifically authentic Hyderabadi) cuisine. I’m trying to learn more about Indian cooking, and this blog is a great introduction that often goes beyond the recipes to talk about life and food in Hyderabad.

So, that’s what I have in my feed reader right now. There are tons and tons and tons of great food blogs out there, I just don’t have the time to follow them all. Do you have some favourites? Leave a note and a URL in the comments!


General No Comments

I changed my Twitter password a few days ago and for whatever reason that seems to have broken the Twitter plugin I used to have over in the right column here. I’ve removed it for the time being, but you can follow my twitters over here in the meantime.

Stuff I’ve looked up on Wikipedia…

Ramblings, Reading, Web No Comments

Gerv posted about his Wikipedia addiction, so I figured I’d follow suit, only slightly differently. I don’t read nearly as many Wikipedia pages per day as he does, and rather than pick a dozen random pages I figured I’d just give a list of 50 or so interesting ones I’ve looked at recently. For really no particular reason other than I’m sort of bored and looking at Wikipedia is fun.

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