{February happenings}

This past weekend I finally moved into a new place I’ll be calling home for the next few months. It’s kind of weird, I’ve always been an advocate of living close to downtown and didn’t think anyone could pay me enough to get me to move out in the suburbs. But now, I’ve not only moved out to the boonies, but I live OUTSIDE of the city limits. And you know what? I actually love it!

The stars in sky seem to multiply and appear much brighter out here. Staring out the large floor to ceiling windows at the multi-coloured sky with the mountains in the horizon in the morning while sipping on a cup of genmaicha tea makes waking up easier…even on a Monday šŸ™‚

I am no longer woken up by the sounds of the train bell ringing in the middle of the night or the roaring engines of the planes flying over our house that caused our windows to rattle. In fact…it’s like DEAD quiet out here….and it’s awesome. While I love the convenience of the inner city, for now I’m really liking my situation and I think I’ll settle in nicely for the next few months till I pack up for my month-long vacay in Paris.

Anyways, enough about my living situation. Let’s talk about more important things…like food.

During my absence from my blog, I have still been snapping pics of my eats. So here is a random compilation of some noteworthy eats (and drinks) this past month.

I picked up these sleek-looking bottles of soda a couple of weeks ago at Casel Marche..An impulse buy as the cashier was ringing in my groceries. I actually don’t drink pop…like ever. But the modern and fun packaging caught my eye. DRY Soda Co. is a Seattle-based company that uses only 4 all natural ingredients in all their sodas while keeping cane sugar to a minimum to let the natural fragrant aromatics shine through. Each 12oz bottle only has 45-70 calories and with unique flavours like lavender, vanilla bean and lemongrass, so I thought I’d give them a try.

Topping off my homemade meyer lemon infused vodka with the cucumber soda proved to be a deliciously refreshing combo. It’s a great palate cleanser between courses and also the perfect cocktail for a lazy Sunday brunch..I can’t wait to try out the other flavours.

What do you do when you want a fancy date night in but don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen? How about assembling a platter of your favourites cheeses and meats for a sophisticated dinner of nibblies. We stopped by Janice Beaton, our favourite local cheese store and picked up some yummy accompaniments for a quick and simple, yet delicious Valentine’s meal. Enjoyed with a bottle of Robledo Family Winery 2009 Seven Brothers Sauvignon Blanc (a souvenir from our Sonoma Valley trip) and an “oldie but goodie” film, When Harry met Sally.

The goods:

  • Soft cheese – Le Dauphin (my favourite soft cheese ever)
  • Hard strong cheese – Sylvan Star Old Grizzly Gouda + Keen’s Cheddar
  • Pungent blue – Roquefort Papillon (for the boy..I’m not a fan of blue mould on my cheese)
  • Thinly sliced cured bison

The sides:

  • Raincoast crisps
  • Sundried tomato triscuits
  • Manual Latruwe braided baguette
  • Sesame honey lavash
  • Brassica cranberry honey mustard (the BEST local mustard!)
  • Black olive tapenade

Extras:

  • Sun-dried tomato stuffed olives
  • Dried mission figs
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Toasted hazelnuts
And for dessert? A quick and easy dish that showcases these tender and succulent vanilla bean poached pears..
Paired with a few ingredients to compliment..a good quality vanilla ice cream, homemade valrhona chocolate sauce (a David Lebovitz recipe), crushed toasted hazelnuts. A couple pretty cookies from Brulee Patisserie on the side also doesn’t hurt.
Finished off with a sprinkling of rosemary toffee bits and voila..dessert is served.
Times two..
Vanilla bean poached pears
  • 2 Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc pears
  • lemon juice
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • vanilla bean, split, seeded
  1. Peel each pear from stem down. Sprinkle each pear with lemon juice to avoid browning while peeling the remaining pears.
  2. Place sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add pears and a split, seeded vanilla bean. Allow the pears to simmer, covered with a square of baking paper, in the liquid for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Turn occasionally to ensure even cooking. Serve pear warm or cooled with a little poaching liquid.
Earlier this month, I took the boy out for a nice dinner at Blink Restaurant and surprised him by making this classic German apple kuchen for his birthday. Topped with a generous layer of crispy cinnamon streusel.
Kuchen is a dessert his grandma (who will be 95 in a couple of weeks!) used to make for him growing up. Simple, comforting and filled with fond memories.
A crumble is also appropriate in these wintery months. Chopped up tart Granny Smith apples and fresh cranberries to clean out the last of the fruit in my fridge before my move..
Inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Pear Cranberry crumble, but instead of gingersnaps, I used Italian amaretti cookies for a nice almond-y accent. Best enjoyed warmed in the oven with a dollop of freshly whipped vanilla bean flecked cream or a scoop of ice cream and you’re good to go.
On Saturday, I had the help of three strong men to help me with my big move. When we were all done, I prepared a hearty brunch in my new home as a thank you for their hard work.
On the menu:
  • caramelized leek frittata with goat cheese and draped with salmon gravlax and fresh dill
  • warm chive and feta biscuits
  • roasted golden beet salad with white anchovy vinaigrette, wild baby arugula and crumbled roquefort papillon cheese
  • Valbella turkey Italian sausage
Washed down with spicy vodka caesars with pickled asparagus and bottles of Steamwhistle.
I caught up with a good friend at The Brasserie in Kensington this past Sunday and enjoyed this mouthwatering smoked salmon eggs benedict.
My lovely dining date had a classic breakfast plate: 2 medium poached eggs, smoked ham, crispy potato slices and toast.
On a non-food related note…This past month, I got to cross off two of my fitness goals I made for myself last year. After running ten half marathons the past 3 years, I FINALLY ran a sub 1:45 half marathon in the Hypothermic Half with a time of 1 hour 44 minutes and 35 seconds. I also placed in the top 3 in my division (goal #2! )
It was bitterly cold and I arrived late cause I had to make a quick detour to drop off my baked goods for the Food Blogger Bake Sale before the race. When I finally got there, there was NO ONE left at the start line and the clock was already at two minutes. I slowly weaved my way through the crowds along the snowy path and eventually set into my groove at about 5km. Besides not being able to feel my extremities from the cold, I felt good – no cramping and no walk breaks. The only setback I had was having to stop to tie my shoelace midway through which added a good 30 seconds on my time (fact: tying shoe laces with numb frozen gloved fingers in -16 weather is NOT an easy task). But overall, I’m elated with my results.
Now that I’ve settled in, I can’t wait to get back into the kitchen and share some new recipes I have on my to make list…Stay tuned.
Comments
11 Responses to “{February happenings}”
  1. What a busy month!! Congratulations on your marathon… wonderful that you still stopped by the bake sale even though it made you late.. and you caught up! I loved your Valentine’s dinner.. that’s the kind of evening meal I think I love the best, simple wine and cheese:)

    • Thank you so much! The best part of the race is always the finish..and the huge reward meal afterwards of course.

      I absolutely agree. Give me a fresh quality baguette, rich creamy cheese and a bottle of Valpolicella and I’m one happy gal šŸ™‚

  2. prairiesummers says:

    A month in Paris? Sigh sounds wonderful. I would probably stuff my face with baguette and nice chees šŸ™‚

  3. oh i got to savour some of your yummy offerings for the Food Bloggers bake sale and it was money (and calories) worth spending. The Momofuku Crack Pies are just that – crack! I tried to eat just a small slice but quickly learned that like crack, once you have had it, you can’t stop! LOL!

    I also had the brownie – loved the goat cheese!

  4. Mallory says:

    After hearing you rave about the dauphin cheese on multiple occasions, I decided to try it when we went to Farm back in December. I now understand your fascination. As for the pears, I much prefer them poached in a simple vanilla syrup rather than red/white wine and a variety of spices. It’s so much better when you just let the pear flavor speak for itself!

  5. coldprairiet says:

    That is a helluva valentines’ day platter, looks so tempting. And that brunch too. You got some great cooking skills, far beyond most people.

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