Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: Green Door Restaurant, Ottawa ON

My mom lives in Ottawa, a nice, dull 2 hour drive from Montreal. I don't get out that way to visit often, but when I do, we always try and go to the Green Door restaurant on Main street.

Their premise is simple: a cafeteria-style restaurant that offers a wide variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten/lactose-free items, including desserts. Everything is labeled clearly so even B, who is lactose-intolerant, can confidently load up his plate without having to take any lactaid. The one drawback is that they charge you by weight for each plate, and it's easy to get carried away ;)

Photo credit: The Green Door restaurant

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cooking with clay

While it has become fashionable again with the resurgence of 'peasant style' cooking, clay is not something you often find in the average North American kitchen. Or rather, some of us may have a clay pot kicking around somewhere, but we probably don't use it much.

I've come to own a clay bean pot and a conical Umbrian pot (similar to a tagine), both courtesy of my mom, though until recently really didn't know what to do with them. I have made traditional fèves au lard in the bean pot once for a trip to the cabane à sucre with B's family. They came out amazing, but since I don't usually make huge batches of beans for just B and I, it had been sitting on the shelf since. The Umbrian pot came with no directions, no recipes, and quite frankly just confused me, so it has kept the bean pot company on the shelf.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Things I love: David's Tea

I've toyed with tea in the past, but always come back to coffee. First thing in the morning or relaxing in the evening, a hot, sweet cup of coffee just sounds good. Unless I wasn't feeling well, I never really craved a cup of tea... that is, until I met David.

Well, ok, I haven't actually met the eponymous David, but I'm mighty friendly with his teas! You can find them online or at one of their bazillion retail locations, and I strongly encourage you to do so.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bananananananananana bread

I've somewhat fallen off my smoothie-for-breakfast kick lately, which means the bananas I was buying every week have sort of exceeded their best before dates. My mom will only eat green bananas and won't touch the things once they have so much as a freckle on them.... she'd run screaming at the sight of these ones. They looked pretty sad, but figured I'd make some bread or muffins to use them up.

I stumbled across a recipe for Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Banana Bread over at Chocolate and Tea and figured I'd give it a whirl.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Muffins and Jam, together at last!

If it's one thing I have too much of, it's jam. I have tons of it. Every year I say I won't make any until we've used what we have, but then I stumble on some amazing deal at the market and before I know it, I have 52 more jars of the sticky sweet stuff crammed onto the preserves shelf. I wonder if there is a 12-step program for obsessive jam making...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Amazing Strawberry Mango Crisp

This is one that I actually didn't cook, or even find the recipe for. I found a super deal on mangoes this past week and bought a case of 9 large ones. No clue what I'd do with them, but there are worse dilemmas in the world to have to deal with. Then, stopping at the store on the way home, B picked up three large cartons of strawberries that were super cheap, probably because they were mere minutes away from being overripe. I was happy to have them, but realized I'd have to use them and quick like.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happiness is a warm pancake.

Today is Pancake Tuesday, so for dinner we had, what else?, pancakes! I'm a big breakfast fan... my favorite weekend activity is enjoying a leisurely breakfast with lots of coffee while planning what to do with the rest of the day. Breakfast for dinner is a close second, and these pancakes fit the bill perfectly.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

DIY Vanilla Extract

When considering making something yourself, it's important to ask yourself why you want to make it from scratch instead of buying it.

If you want to save time or money, be careful... for many items, the cost of getting the raw materials can often eclipse any savings you were expecting. There is also the cost of time you'll need to invest in making it. Not to say this should discourage you from doing it anyway, just go into it having realistic expectations. Some things are a big savings when done DIY, some not so much... do your homework first.

If you just want the experience of making something by hand and/or you want to control what goes into it, then carry on!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Things I love: Bulk Barn

This will probably make me sound like a bit of a dork, but few things in day to day life make me as excited as having a reason to go to Bulk Barn. It's a store that basically has everything you could think of, from nuts to beans to soup base and muffin mix, for sale in bulk bins. You can buy as much or as little as you like... you don't have to buy a giant jar of ground cinnamon when all you need is a little bit, and you don't have to buy half a dozen small boxes of baking soda when what you want it a large tub of it.

I have a good time just wandering the aisles, thinking of all the things I could do with all of the various ingredients. Ground flax seed, turbinado sugar, blanched almonds or adzuki beans. Hee! Don't get me started on all the herbs and spices! I buy my steel-cut oatmeal here, which I have for breakfast every morning. Last time I got a huge bag of the stuff for less than $2, woot! B was not nearly as excited by this as I was, oddly enough ;)