Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review: Ateliers & Saveurs

A while back I had the opportunity to take a cooking course at Ateliers & Saveurs, so I booked two slots in the class and treated B as his Valentine's day gift. Now, rather than just tell him we were going, I decided to have some fun with it. The class was a few weeks after Valentine's, so to keep myself him entertained, I simply gave him a V day card telling him he would be getting a surprise on the date of the class. I then planned out a number of hints that I would give him every day to help him try and guess what the surprise would be. I started the hints off very vague, with things like "People will be watching" and "Dairy may be involved", then would be getting more specific the closer we got to the date. It took about a week or so before he managed to guess what we would be doing, party pooper... I didn't get to use all my hints! ;)

So on to the course...
Photo credit: ateliersetsaveurs.com

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Still hungies! A breakfast flow chart

Stumbled across this little gem this morning while, ironically, trying to figure out what to have for breakfast. If you're stuck for inspiration or just want to widen your morning horizons, it's worth a peek.

Found via The Kitchn, The (Healthier) Breakfast Flowchart (pdf) is both entertaining and educational. And that's a lot first thing in the morning before one has even had breakfast ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Well, grill mah cheese...

We've had a break in the heat and humidity today so figured it was now or never to finally use the lobster stock that's been waiting patiently in the fridge. I made lobster bisque according to this recipe and... meh, it was ok. It came out awfully salty so I had to dilute everything down quite a bit to cut the salt*. Considering all the work that went into making it, I'd say it was not really worth the effort. It was tasty and I'm sure B will enjoy the leftovers, but I won't go out of my way to make it again.

What do you serve with lobster bisque?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Not just for hippies: Veggie Pâté

Now before you curl up your nose and skip past this one, give it a chance. First things first... this pâté is not like it's meat counterpart. I am not a fan of meat 'substitutes'... I don't like foods that pretend to be other foods, and this is no exception. Meat pâté, made with a mixture of meat (often liver or kidney), fat and seasonings, has it's own virtues. Veggie pâté has a similar end result in terms of texture and presentation, but has a surprisingly unique flavor thanks to an unusual ingredient. 


Thursday, July 21, 2011

A collection of Tips and Tricks

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but below you will find a smattering of ideas and tips from around the web that I have found interesting and/or useful and thought it worth sharing:

Ideas and inspiration -
Tips and tricks - 

        Tuesday, July 19, 2011

        Participating in a jam exchange!

        I like jam. B also likes jam. This is good, because I tend to make a lot of it... far more than I really need. We go through a lot of toast in our house.

        So I was ridiculously excited to sign up for a jam exchange over at Steph Chows:


        This 1) gives me an excuse to make jam and 2) allows me to send it home with someone else! ;) I'm already plotting what kind(s) I'll make... maybe some white peach jam or some sangria jelly? Hmm... *finger wiggle* maybe some wild Quebec strawberry and blueberry preserves! I also encourage you to hop on over and sign up, yourself. No worries if you're not a jam expert, no time like the present to learn! ;) She provides some info on her own adventures in jam making, and you can find some valuable info on jam making over at PickYourOwn.org.

        Sunday, July 17, 2011

        Easier than you thought: Lemon Curd

        Lemon curd is one of those things that seems to signify 'fancy'. You won't normally find it in someone's fridge, but will find it served with expensive afternoon tea spreads and in the fillings of upscale cakes. Then again, if you're at my house, you will hear me refer to it as "lemon crud", which lessens the elegance factor, slightly :P

        But if you find yourself with some citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc) as well as some eggs, butter and sugar, and a few minutes to kill, you can make your own...



        Friday, July 15, 2011

        Pineapple sorbet (without an ice cream maker)

        Living with a lactoad is tough. B is lactose intolerant, so I have had to become proficient in finding ways around certain things like cheese, milk and ice cream while cooking. *le sigh* So no matter how much I think ice cream makers are neat gadgets, I just can't justify buying one. And if you can't use it to make ice cream, then really what's the point? ;)

        Wednesday, July 13, 2011

        Field Trip! Les Glaceurs

        I recently had my arm twisted into going to Les Glaceurs in the Old Port by some of my co-workers. Horrible, I know... I should probably lodge a complaint about it, but I don't want to be the one to rock the boat... I mean, I do have to work with these people every day. *heaves a sigh* Tough life, eh? ;)

        As we work not very far, we enjoyed a summery evening stroll through the Old Port (and summer construction) to get there. It is an unassuming little store front, tucked away next to Notre Dame basilica that sells some pretty amazing cupcakes and ice cream. Their website has the impressive list of flavors, though not all of them are available every day. There seem to be about 5-6 flavors on offer at any given time, often with a Flavor of the Month. (July's FotM is Strawberry Shortcake)

        We each made our choices and sat down to see what all the fuss was about. I had chosen Red Velvet:


        Monday, July 11, 2011

        Unusual ingredients: Lavender Lemonade

        I'm not generally a fan of lemonade. It's too sweet-tart for me, so I usually prefer just water on a hot day. Today was hot and humid, as Montreal summers tend to be, and in browsing through my bookmarked recipes, I came across Lavender Lemonade. Hmm... with lavender... could be interesting? And seemed quite simple to make. Certainly was warm enough for it... so I tried it out...

        Saturday, July 9, 2011

        Lobstah!

        The Jazz Fest just ended recently here in Montreal and the big closing show was the B-52s. B asked if I wanted to go (it was a free outdoor show) and I said I couldn't, because all I'd be singing all night was "Rock Lobster". So needless to say when I found cooked lobster on sale at the store and decided we would be finally having lobster rolls for dinner, it got stuck in my head and has been there ever since.

        Don't judge me.

        So say hello to dinner Shelly and Sheldon:



        Wednesday, July 6, 2011

        Good to know: Evaporated Milk vs Condensed Milk

        On a recent visit to my mom's, she'd made a dessert she was quite excited about after someone at work had brought it in to share: Key Lime Cloud Squares.

        Photo credit: kraftcanada.com

        At first she was all compliments for the one she had tasted, saying how good it was, but as we got talking about the one she'd made, the picture wasn't so rosy (or would that be lime-y?). Apparently it had put up a bit of a fight. When trying to mix the cream cheese and the milk together, instead of getting a 'creamy' result as the recipe stated, hers went all over the place (literally, she had to clean it off the cupboards) and remained slightly separated with small flecks of cream cheese throughout. But she finished it and it was in the fridge waiting for us to finish our dinner.

        We each had a small piece and upon tasting that first bite.... our faces puckered up like we'd both just sucked on a lemon. Wow... it was tart. Eye-wateringly tart. If you powered through a few more bites it was certainly edible, but how could this be the dessert she'd raved about so much just a few hours earlier? Turns out it wasn't... something was different. She was very disappointed and couldn't figure out why it had turned out so differently. She'd followed the recipe exactly, even putting a bit less lime juice in than called for!

        After asking a few questions, turns out she didn't follow the recipe *exactly*. She'd gotten everything on the list, exactly as listed, down to getting Honey Maid brand graham cracker crumbs and Jell-o brand lime gelatin. The one thing she hadn't gotten right was the milk.


        Sunday, July 3, 2011

        Tipsy Gazpacho

        Gazpacho is one of those things I can't say I've ever craved... not once have I said "Yanno what sounds good right now? A bowl full of mushed up cold vegetables." I'm not a tomato or vegetable juice kinda gal, either. Yet, at the same time, I've been tempted to make it. It's one of those recipes I'd like to be able to say I've made, even if I make it once and never again.

        We've had a stretch of decidedly sultry weather the past few days and I had originally planned on making chile verde for dinner tonight, but the thought of turning on the oven, or even the slow cooker, was just too much for me. So I asked B for ideas that did not involve heat and he said gazpacho. *blink* Well, it wasn't my first choice (going out to eat would've been nice :P ), but I did happen to have the ingredients in the fridge, so why not?