Friday, May 27, 2011

Who're you callin' horchata?

When the summer months arrive here in Montreal, the cravings for Mexican food kick in. Serious, serious cravings. Good Mexican food is, sadly, tough to come by here, and finding a good burrito like we used to get in Santa Cruz is practically impossible. Oh how I dream of burritos from Planet Fresh or Taqueria Vallarta. God don't get me started on $1 taco night at El Palomar. *weeps bitterly*

But I digress... through trial and error and a *lot* of bad Mexican food, I have found a few good places here in Montreal. There is a new-ish place at the Jean Talon market (El Rey del Taco, I think?) that has good tacos and a staggering array of fresh drinks, and there is Taqueria Mex. The decor is gaudy and kitschy, the waitstaff not always overly friendly, but the food more than makes up for it.They have amazing burritos. They have churros. They have a salsa bar *gets a little choked up*. There are other things on the menu, but honestly I've never made it past the burritos and salsa bar ;) Gimme a chicken burrito grande with chips and point me towards the salsa, thankyouverymuch!!!

They both also have homemade horchata. You know... this stuff:

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Classics: Chicken Divan

So I ventured into the BH&G Casserole cookbook for the first recipe to try. After flipping through a few times, I settled on Chicken Divan. I've tried a few "easy" Divan recipes before and have generally liked them... I like broccoli, especially if it involves cheese ;)

This recipe also appealed to me as it was one of the few that didn't call for process American cheese and/or a condensed cream soup. In fact, I was actually surprised that this one didn't, being a very creamy casserole. Of course, the Easy Chicken Divan recipe on the next page called for both. Plus curry powder. That worried me. Anyway, I went with the classic version:
The recipe

Friday, May 20, 2011


Tonight was the epitome of what I love about improvisational cooking... I had something on the menu that just didn't float my boat, so I looked in the fridge and wondered what I could throw together instead. I had bacon, green onions, bell pepper and a bin of spring mix salad (that was a heartbeat away from being a bin of black sludge)... I also had cheese and eggs on hand with the intention of making some quiche. Didn't feel like making quiche, however... all of those ingredients could also be used to make...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini bread

I had bought some zucchini intending to use it in a dinner this past week. Though for whatever reason it got passed over and caught my eye as I was going to make banana bread to have for breakfasts. Hmm... hated it to go to waste.... zucchini-banana bread, perhaps?

Ok, even for me, I admit that would have been a bit weird, so I changed gears and went for zucchini bread instead, as I haven't had that in ages. I used a recipe from my mom, and decided mid-mix that it would be chocolate zucchini bread (I like typing the word zucchini...) so threw in some cocoa powder to the mix.

It came out dense and moist and surprisingly dark... the dark of nightmares. Y'see, I have this thing...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

David's Teas... iced

Now that warmer weather is here, I'm setting aside the tea pot and trading it for a pitcher. Over the next few months I will continue to work my way through the David's Tea catalog, but I shall be making the teas iced rather than hot...

Easier than you thought: Iced tea and iced coffee

Summer isn't quite here yet, but that doesn't mean you can't indulge in some iced drinks. I think summer can be defined in many places by a tall glass of iced tea and the sound of tinkling ice cubes. Iced coffee is now enjoying some popularity also and can be found in staggering variety everywhere from Starbucks to McDonald's. :P

These are two drinks that are so ridiculously easy to make, with countless variations, why do we run out and plunk down good money for over-processed and over-sweetened glasses of the stuff when we could make it better at home?
Photo credit:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garbage Quiche

B teases me sometimes that I was born in the wrong era. I am completely incapable of cooking for two people... most of my experiments yield results better suited for 12. I get carried away, what can I say? ;) I also hate to throw out food... things will kick around the fridge or pantry until I either find a use for them or they walk off under their own power. With these two traits I probably would have made one kick-ass WWII era Quebec housewife with a brood of 12+ children.

A few decades late and 12+ children short, I am trying to learn to be reasonable in the amounts of food I cook, but still enjoy trying to use everything we buy. We do our groceries twice a month instead of once a week now and I find we spend less, strangely enough. It's also a bit more challenging to plan out, it seems I always forget some crucial ingredient, but it forces me to be flexible and creative.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Classics: Pineapple Upside-down Cake

My first attempt at one of the 'vintage' recipes turned out amazingly well. This is, by far, the best pineapple upside-down cake I've ever had. I strongly encourage you to give it a try.

The recipe scanned from the Betty Crocker New Picture cookbook (1961). Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Scary recipes

I have a weakness. Vintage cookbooks and recipes. Especially scary ones.

How can a recipe be scary, you ask? You obviously haven't seen these Weight Watchers recipe cards from the 70's. Seriously, look through those cards and I *dare* you not to laugh. And possibly cry. It's enough to put one off mackerel for life. 

Often when we go to B's parents' place, I will rummage through his mom's cookbook collection, and I can be found on the couch flipping through one of her BH&G cookbooks from the early 60's. They are both compelling and horrifying... I can't help myself. Some of the recipes seem pretty good... I mean, Better Homes and Gardens has made quite the name for themselves... the recipes can't be all bad ;) But then, there are ones like this: