oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Procrastination left me in the kitchen, again. This time, it was in avoiding a short 4 page essay for my class on personality. Seeing that 1) our cupboard recently acquired a new bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 2) the no name PB has been sitting untouched because of its below average tendencies on bread, and 3) we still had about 1 cup of oats, I made a small batch of yummy yummy PB-oat-chocolate chip cookies. I used approximately:
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup br sugar
1 egg
1/2 - 3/4 cup PB
a (large) splash of milk
splash of vanilla
3/4 cup all purp flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup large oats
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Cream the butter and sugar until homogeny, then add egg. Combine the remaining wet ingredients, and add the dollops of PB. Stir in dry ingredients, then the oats and chocolate. Bake the (10 goodly sized) cookies for about 15 minutes at 350F (until golden). Enjoy with tall glass of milk.


food blog?

Why yes! We shall see if this is the beginning of my academic demise. I realised that I've blogging a lot about food related shindigs as of late, and thus decided to devote an entire blog to the subject matter. Plan of action #1 is to repost old restaurant reviews/schpeals, recipes, etc. onto this lovely blog so content will start rolling.

Though I may have been an Italian grandmother in a previous life (yes, my lasagna is fantastic), Asian upbringing of turnip cake and dumplings has left me beating eggs with chopsticks. Try it: it'll be a sure way to improve coordination.


cinnamon walnut swirl raisin bread

More baking! said the boy, so we now have a lovely raisin-cinnamon-walnut swirl bread.

cornmeal crusted bread & potato and leek soup

Ten whole dollars worth of smoked salmon was consumed within a six hour span on Friday - make that fourteen dollars, actually, as the prompt grocery purchase was spawned by a super sale. Decadent? Definitely. The first encounter was during lunch: smoked salmon draped on cream cheese on the boy's homemade bread pan bread. Yes, the boy baked again, much to my delight, and did something to the effect of this:

1 cup milk
1/3 - 1/2 cup water
1 heaping tsp yeast
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar
2 3/4 cup all purp. flour
1/4 whole wheat flour
1 heaping tbs cornmeal
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
Throw ingredients into the bread maker (on the dough cycle) - once the cycle is complete, take the dough, and thoroughly crust it with more cornmeal. In the meantime, warm the oven briefly so it is slightly above room temperature: this allows for the bread to rise in an ideal environment. Place the dough into a bread pan, into the oven, and allow it to rise until it is about 1 in above bread pan. Then, she is ready to be baked at 350F for 30 min or so, until crust becomes golden.

The rest of the smoked salmon was consumed during dinner - some more on toast, but more interestingly, some in the potato leek soup I tried to improvise. As a straight up potato leek soup, it faired okay, though I am of a belief that mediocre potato leek soups are easy to come by. I'm unsure of how to zing the soup, but certainly, duck stock will not be used next time: a little bit of a waste, since the stock itself was indiscernible (another grocery run will arm us with chicken necks and backbones again).


casa tapas

[reposted from chanlindsay.blogspot.com]

The boy and I went on a proper date Wednesday evening: having been finally released from opera rehearsals (and having just completed 8 of this semester's 20 credits) gave us an opportunity to venture to Casa Tapas (266 Rachel Est, between St. Laurent and St Denis). Spotting a funky mural on the side of the building, we arrived at 7:30 or so, and were placed at the bar because of our sans reservations. Certainly a good sign, if business thrived late on a Wednesday evening.

Standard bread bowl, and olives served in a demitasse: warm? (sorely lacking in knowledge base regarding olives, I did a quick search on "warm olives" when I came home: they were certainly endorsed by the NY Times in 1987.) Warm is good! They were pretty damn tasty, and I'm not usually an olive-out-of-hand eater (the boy even less so).

Their rendition of a "Spanish Caesar" was interestingly done with greens in lieu of romaine: served with a toasted slice of herbed baguette, and a surprise cherry tomato in the bottom. Do they do Caesars in Spain? We were unsure of the dressing's constituents (as the salad was severely underdressed) but were quickly distracted by the garlic saffron soup. Served piping hot (and still bubbling), it sported big chunks of fresh croutons. Stoneware definitely has its heat retaining benefits! In our excitement, lips and tongues were slightly burned, but no matter: the soup was fantastic, adorned with little bits of tomato and parsley. Note to self: splurge on saffron (time to do another run to Vieille Europe).

The tapas ordered were: 1) Grilled sardines with cumin - I've always loved sardines, and cumin's my new favourite spice as of 2007. It was subtle on the actual sardines, but the paired julienned zucchini/red pepper salad was very satisfyingly cumin-ed. 2) Filet mignon of lamb done in an almond-tomato sauce and colourful peppers - wow. Simply, wow. 3) Artichoke served with aioli - surprisingly citrus and hinting of orange, the aioli was an intriguing pairing with a vegetable that has yet to grace its presence in our own kitchen. Sidestepping the orange-garlic-mayo topping, the boy raved of its grilled texture, while I tried to parse flavour combinations uncommon to my pallette.

The waiter then suggested desert to us, and deciding on a more Spanish theme, we tried their churros instead of the crème brûlée. Sweet, deep fried goodness! I suppose each culture has its own rendition of fried dough: Spain decided on pleasantly dense batons (piped directly into the hot oil?). A demitasse of chocolate sauce was served on the side; I stared sadly at the remainder when no churros remained, longing to spoon the rest in my mouth. I suppose that would have been imprudent.

I certainly look forward to tasting the other menu items; until then, we shall have to try our own rendition of garlic saffron soup.


mondo fritz on st. patrick's day

[repost from chanlindsay.blogspot.com]

The glory of St. Patty’s day includes city-block-long line ups in front of Hurley’s at 8:30pm, so we ventured next door to Brutopia instead. Of course, the female bartender served the men before even taking our order, but I would have acted similarly if it meant more tips in my pocket. Drinks in hand, (chocolate stout! - the boy was proud) we agreed that venturing out was indeed a Good Idea. Besides - I now own a button with a shamrock!

Onwards, upwards: to St. Laurent, where poutine lay to be consumed. Frites Alors was suggested, and I politely turned it down, offering an adventure to Mondo Fritz instead – I found the former’s poute to be ‘okay’ the last (and only) time I was there, as the ‘meh’ quality of their fries became the limiting factor. My only other encounter with Mondo Fritz was a couple of years ago, when the line-up for Schwartz’s was too long for my grumbling stomach – I remember the burger being okay, but fries plus flavoured mayos definitely hit the spot. Yesterday, we ordered the Alpine poutine to share (serving size = massive for just the two of us): chevre, mushrooms, grated cheddar, topped with peppercorn gravy. The fries were fantastic in their ‘european-style’ goodness – not too thickly sliced (definitely not shoestring, either), skin-on potatoes, deep fried to produce fries with the perfect ratio of golden-crisp-outer-layer to layer-of-inner-softness. Water is served in label-less wine bottles, and the woman who took our order friendly and efficient. Moral of the story: if you’re going to have a heart attack in a bowl, you may as well go all out. I’m definitely going to have to try their other variations – topped with sausage, or steak… To my veg friends: rumour has it that their gravy is meat-less!


chu chai

[repost from chanlindsay.blogspot.com]

Vegetarian Thai dinner, for a vegetarian friend's birthday. Where else in Montreal, but Chu Chai?

Located at 4088 Saint Denis (between Duluth and Rachel), the restaurant was packed, naturally, on a Friday night. The restaurant is victim to the Chinese floor plan syndrome (I overheard the waitstaff in Cantonese): business mentality of cramming more people than allowed by fire regulation policies. Not only did I worry about knocking people (and their dinners) over while squeezing my way to the restroom, we were made to wait 90 minutes before our orders were taken. But I should backtrack slightly: the birthday girl made reservations for 7:30, for 11 of us - and half of our party was standing at the door for 40 minutes because they only had a 6-person table available. Do 'reservations' not mean anything? Half an hour of waiting later, the waitstaff mumbled something about compensating our inconvenience with free drinks. That offer, they quickly retracted. And we ended up having to barter for a discount: at first, they agreed to 10% off all drinks (what does that work to, 50 cents per person?), and finally 10% of the final tab. Role reversal indeed: aren't restaurant owners supposed to alleviate the situation and win-over their frustrated patrons? I've never heard of customers having to bargain for a discount when clearly they have been wronged.

Poor service aside, their pad thai was quite delicious, as was another noodle-ly concoction ordered by the boy: it sported generous amounts of thai basil, and imitation duck. I started with their tom yum nam khon- hot & sour soup with coconut milk, which was good, but I had slight doubts: I suspect that their broth sits in a giant vat, and the remaining ingredients of desired soup-type (soup with mock seafood/meat/tofu/etc) are tossed into the bowl of pre-ladled soup. Not impressed with the undercooked mushrooms, and wished the soup came piping hot. Washing the meal down with Tsing Tao, however, was definitely a good call.

Highlight of the evening, of course, was good company. And the backgammon and key lime pie: mmm.