The thing about cooking is that you have to be willing to experiment—use a recipe as a guide, not the gospel. When you add a dash of this or a dash of that and turn your head away from the recipe for a minute, maybe, just maybe, you’ll create something as fabulous as Johnny Mac’s soon to be famous Corn, BBQ’d ham & Bacon Chowder.
When you have a food blog you take pictures of everything you make with the grandiose notion of writing witty blogs to accompany each of the many recipes. Other times you take pictures of your friend’s food—delicious things like Karen’s mind-blowing profiteroles (perfect with bubbly) or Steve’s creamy vodka-laced Puttanesca or Michele’s Amazing Kahula Tort. Inspired by their culinary skill, you snap pictures like the paparazzi. The morning after you check your photos and Karen’s profiteroles look like Mount Vesuvius after an eruption, Steve’s Puttanesca somehow resembles Lasagna and Michele’s Torte is a testament to the amount Kahula in the recipe. You have failed to represent the wonderful dishes you clearly remember eating. If they invite you again, you will make your husband take the photos, but for now these dishes will remain blogless. Continue Reading…
The best thing about flying first class, other than the comfortable seats perfect for writing, is the warm chocolate chip cookie which goes remarkably well with a glass of Chardonnay. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regularly fly business or first class or club or whatever other fancy name you want to tag on to what actually should be called, “flying with dignity, ” but I know a good thing when I see it.
Normally, I’m herded in with the rest of the “economy passengers” shamelessly jammed into tiny seats with no leg room between crying children and big guys toting bags full of smelly burgers.
I book tickets based on price and time, but lately, because the gods have taken pity on me, I’ve been coming up on the winning side of things.
When you order Indian food for a family of carnivores, carnivore-like behaviour ensues. Despite the fact that dishes like Chicken Dansak or Chicken Punjabi come surrrounded with crunchy, fibrous and nutritious vegetables, the carnivores at the table seek out the meat like starving alligators.
Wonderful dishes like Aloo cabbage or Baingan Bhartha are treated as condiments while the carnivores lap up meat and sauce with slabs of Naan. At the end of their pillage you are left with vegetables, lots of vegetables and approximately 4 chunks of meat.
The next day you decide to eat the left overs for lunch (all week) and plan to make some other carnivorous meal for dinner. But then you sit to write and you get carried away. You write for hours without taking the time to slaughter animals. Suddenly it is dinner time and there is no offering. You have only left-over Indian vegetables and a couple of chunks of meat that managed to save themselves by hiding under sauce and peppers. Continue Reading…
During a recent trip to Cape Breton Island, I was reminded of what a true lobster experience entails. In a previous “Nova Scotia Lobster” post, I simplified things, left out key steps like the shirtless fisherman and the beer keg that make a “Cape Breton Lobster Experience” unique.
All lobster is not created equal, but sometimes when you’re desperate for a crustacean fix you buy some lobsters from Sobeys where they cook them in their fancy-dancy steamer. You complain about the price, but you buy them anyway. You enjoy them, but something is missing. You add salt. That makes it better, but still it is not the lobster of your childhood.
Of course, your mother, who is a culinary genius, turns the leftovers into something mind-blowingly decadent, a Yarmouth style hot-lobster sandwich which is really nothing more than butter,cream and lobster, but heck, what else do you need? (Note: buried under that mound of decadence is a piece of toasted French bread.)
But then you are presented with a wonderful opportunity to eat Lobster like a pro. Your cousin John offers to give you the full-monty of lobster experiences. A trip to Main-a-dieu to buy lobsters straight off the docks from his friend, Kevin, the shirtless fisherman. Continue Reading…
I have officially placed a moratorium on early morning travel—specifically travel involving flights departing before eight a.m.
Possibly, I will place a ban on late evening travel, as well, but there are only so many things I can rant about at any one time. Although, as I sit on my flight to Bermuda from Toronto like an Oreo packed inside its plastic tray, listening to the squeals of the baby to my rear and the wails of the toddler to my right, I have also implemented a West Jet travel ban. It’s just that kind of day.
And on a related topic, I have discovered that “Tide-to-Go” doesn’t work and that sandwiches that cost almost twenty dollars are not worth it, even if you are paying with Canadian dollars. But I digress…
The die-hard carnivore is not easily duped. You can’t slather a slab of tofu in barbecue sauce and pass it off as a T-bone and expect this breed to dig in with gusto. No. He or she (although the true, unfaltering carnivore is often of the husband variety) likes meat, big hunks of juicy meat that have been skewered, seared, braised or grilled. The carnivore likes to gnaw meat off of bones and enjoys ribs, crispy and burnt.
When you present a steaming hot plate of chick-peas and oven roasted vegetables smothered in a delicious coconut curry sauce, the carnivore digs in, but after a few mouthfuls, he becomes confused. Fork as a spear, he hunts through the forest of cauliflower and squash for meat like a child searching for the toy in a box of Cracker-Jacks. Continue Reading…
When you live in a Frat, far away from your grown-up kitchen, sometimes you have to improvise, especially when you have a food blog and are trying to pretend that you’re some kind of big-time cook.
So when you decide that you want to bring your mother’s famous cinnamon rolls to your final writing workshop, your first challenge is rounding up the ingredients in your pathetically stocked pantry. When you finally find everything, you grab your too-small mixing bowl and cut your butter into the ingredients with a fork instead of a pastry cutter.
My sister, Brenda, wants me to smuggle Veri Veri Teriyaki Soy-Vay across the border on my upcoming trip from Miami to Ottawa. Knowing my affection, (or should I say, affliction?) for footwear, she’d hoped I was checking in a six-pack of luggage and could squeeze a couple of dozen bottles into the lining of my suitcases.
I’ve disappointed her in my decision to only bring a carry-on.
I’m considering a trip to the drug store to buy a set of those little plastic travel bottles-—fill them with Soy-Vay. How many do you think I could fit in a quart-size Ziplock?
Of course, if I get pulled over, Canadian immigration might wonder why I need 16 viles of dark brown sesame-laced shampoo for a 4 day trip. It might raise an alarm. I might get strip-searched and detained—(Do those officers wear capes?)
I could say it’s perfume or moisturiser, I suppose, but it’s a little sticky for that.
DISCLAIMER: DUE TO THE EMOTIONAL NATURE OF THIS POST, IT IS A BIT LONGER THAN USUAL—INCLUDES GRAPHIC SPROUT IMAGES.
Sometimes in life, there’s a certain food you would kill for, a food you would cross mountains to have, a food for which you would sell your oldest child (okay, there may be other reasons to sell your oldest child) but, suffice it to say, there are foods that sometimes you simply have to have. That food is not your momma’s brussels sprouts. What I’m talking about here are the brussels sprouts from Miami’s Eating House.