Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Leftovers in all their glory

Well there was some spaghetti sauce left over. We still had some potato salad. There was a little chick pea stir fry, but just a little. So we had pizza toast and salad, with the lovely fresh green garden salad. The best part was we ate it outside. Warm but not too hot. After eating we called my older sister to sing happy birthday to her. Then we went for a family run. My son rode in the bike stroller with the push bar and front wheel attached. My daughter rode her bike, and my wife and I took turns pushing the chariot. Now that was outstanding family time. I am knackered and get to have the third shower. It is warm enough I am going to enjoy the lack of hot water. In the mean time I think I may just crack a beer. We will be eating on the road this weekend. We plan to take the camera but that doesn't mean we will remember to bring it to the meal, and if we do remember, there is no promise that we will take a picture. But we'll try.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Don't forget the Pumpkin

Well lets start where I forgot. The potato salad was made with pumpkin, yam, mayonnaise, boiled egg, potato and a little feta cheese. You will not be able to see it on my plate as I totally forgot to have some the first time around. I had it on the second trip, right before the second wrap. Strangely enough I am uncomfortably full right now. Yup, potato salad for seconds seems to be a sort of kiss o' death for me. It could be the beer with dinner as well. More research is definitely necessary.

Aside: There is no food content in this next part.

Currently my wife is scaring my son with a the loud arabic souffi yell that we learned last night to cheer on the belly dancers. He is running away from the kitchen. When he comes near again she does the yell and he runs off laughing and screaming. He tanks head first into the couch and starts the process again. This may go on all night I will keep you posted.

Now back to our regularly (no comments required) scheduled Post

... The complete dinner this evening was vegetarian. A heavy garlic influence was noted in the chick pea and bell pepper stir fry. It was served in a wrap with rice and home made salsa. The miso soup was very rich this evening and practically overflowing with bok choy. A perfect compliment to the lighter flavours in the wrap. Our garden keeps producing and this evenings dressing, dijon mustard, honey and lemon was a perfect sweet yet sour accent to the evening meal. The dark rich flavour of the Guiness acted as a foundation from which the other dishes could spring. I should be paying rent here. Did I mention I have five non-teaching days in a row coming up. Who the hell am I? Dang.

PS. The kids have moved on to dressing a pillow in a cardigan. No idea where this is going. See you tomorrow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dinner and Dancing

As my wife put it, this evening's dinner was a classic. And it was. Our classic spaghetti and meat sauce. I don't know how we got to the point where we have a classic but here we are. We both consistently hit the same notes when we make the sauce. It could be that the ingredients are generally always the same but I think there may be something more. I think we are becoming the same person. I realise this happens to people when they get married but I didn't think it would happen to us. But it has. Back to the meal, I just love this sauce. It isn't over powering in flavour or anything unusual. When I eat it I am not salivating or commenting on it. But there is an urge, a craving. It took a good chunk of will power to not go and have a second plate. And I was quite full. Just knowing there is some in the fridge right now is a little unnerving as it is almost midnight and the last thing I need is a pile of carbs and protein before turning in.

The other high point of this evening was watching my daughter perform in her first recital. It was tap. She and her classmate did a Bob Fossey number, steamed heat from the pajama game. Choreographed by their teacher. They brought the house down. The 150 + people watching oohhed and ahhed at their cuteness and the dancing was more or less synchronized. The daughter had fun and my son watched most of the show in relative quite. Good times.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Start your Engines.

Well the garden is in. We finally got the tomato/ cucumber/ bean/ squash supports in and planted the peppers and the tomatoes in the trench. As for tomatoes I have to give a shout out to my gardening guru. Through his largess I am now planting speckled roma, yellow cherry, red cherry, beefsteak, amish paste, Graham's Keepers, and Oregon. All seed I saved from last year but it originated from his garden. On the pepper front I had no luck saving seed so the peppers this year are almost exclusively from bought seed or bought plants. I have jalapeno, habanero, chile, green bell, yellow hungarian (hot), red pimento, and sweet long yellow. For the peppers I have four of each and for the tomatoes I have either two or four of each variety. Oh what a great day for gardening. It was hot today, not quite Africa hot but middle of summer hot. From pounding posts this morning to cutting through weed matting this afternoon it was the complete garden day. Fortunately the lawn was mowed yesterday so I was free to worry about the plot. The kids even played on the trampoline with the sprinkler today. The dripper hose was connected and looks like it will do the job just nicely. I would like to get another 50 ft of hose so that I can get rid of the current weak white hose that is connecting to the water source. The new length I will run through the little flowerbed and possibly over the grass hill. My worry is that I do not have enough water pressure and I will lose out at the very end of the first section. This is where my hot peppers are and they definitely need and want less water than everyone else. However, they still want some water. I really do not want to buy another 50 ft of dripper hose just to find out if I use it then half my garden will die for the benefit of a few perennials. My neighbour, the same kind neighbour through which the tomato supports were made possible, teased me with the offer of some dripper hose. Only it didn't have a connection a the end I needed and I was too far advanced to swap with the first hose I bought. Just a teaser. In the end I will probably just change the current connector hose for another in my collection and be done with it. The final touches to the garden will entail setting up the other water timer for watering the lawns. Look at how far I have come. Worrying about the lawns. Strange but true.

Coulda been Curry

Well at least that was the plan this morning. However, after and exhausting day in the garden (more about this later) we decided to just barbecue some pork and eat it with salad. With barbecuing I am always leery of undercooking the meat. I imagine all of us dying some unimaginable botulism death where we start expanding and then explode all over the house. I have no idea what actually happens when one dies of botulism but I know that cans of meat that get it swell up, so that is the picture in my mind. With this thought lurking, I almost always overcook pork and chicken. Last nights dinner was a case in point. This evening wasn't so bad but I really need to get some enlightenment on this topic so I can start really enjoying juicy chicken and pork barbecue. The salad was once again compliments of the garden. Except of course for the tomatoes. Plain rice on the side was a gentle settling touch. We pigged out on chips with guacamole and salsa before dinner so there really wasn't any need for anything else. We are currently waiting on a rhubarb and apple crumble. I don't need to eat it. I want to eat it. Long live over consumption of home made food.

Blackened Chicken

Well we barbequed last night. I had marinated the chicken in barbeque sauce all day after taking off the skin. Unfortunately, I wasn't patient enough and ended up turning the heat up at the end of the barbeque session. Thus the blackened exterior. Patience, patience, patience. I had it started right but just couldn't wait for the final result. Well live and learn. The baked potatoes were awesome and the salad was amazing. We have finally made it over the hump and are getting some really good produce from the garden. Our spinach is buttery and crisp. The beet greens are rich and earthy. Tonnes of lettuce is in production. Today I have a big gardening day. Tomato supports are going in. I will be transplanting most of the green house stuff. I will also be planting the third wave in the square foot garden. If it gets done I will try to remember to take pictures.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wrap it up I'll take it.

This evenings dinner was brought to us by the letter W. For wrap. We had, a bean dish, similar to chili but not quite there. A pasta salad with various veggies and some hard boiled eggs. There was some left over feta cheese and spinach from the weekend. You put it all together and voila, as the French apparently say, the fixings for a wrap. Not your standard wrap innards but tasty all the same. I had some chips with the last of the crazy hot salsa. Man is it ever crazy hot. I actually think I will have a beer now to settle my dinner. Oh yeah the daughter had her dress rehearsal for her big recital on next Monday. Talk about cute. Of course after watching all the other dances she now wants to do Irish dancing and Belly dancing as well as Tap. Its just money I guess.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Not Mick

This evenings main dish is called niku jaga. Rhyming quite well with the famous lead singer of the Rolling stones. It is the Japanese version of beef stew. I love having niku jaga. The salad made good use of the left over alfalfa sprouts and my daughter's home grown radishes. Fresh and lovely. The taki komi gohan was rolled up in some nori and served as onigiri. So light and refreshing.

I unfortunately didn't have any of it. I was at school, eating the cheese and crackers, meat tray, anti pasto and cheese dip. It just doesn't compare. Alas, there is nothing to be done about the work commitments.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back to earth

So we had a killer weekend and then on Monday night we had some more simple fare. Note, there will be no Tuesday night entry as the perogies were gobbled up without much fan fare. However, this picture of Monday's dinner shows that the sausages that were not cooked Monday morning for breakfast were cooked for dinner. This was hit number two for meat from Overwaitea. The steaks on Friday were wicked good and the sausages today were flavourful, not salty and almost fat free. The plumped when you cooked them and each sausage ended up being twice the size of an extra food sausage, post cooking. No wonder the Extra foods sausages are half the price. They are half the food. This evenings rice was take komi gohan. Rice cooked with mushrooms, vegetables and some flavourings. Nice. The green salad was not completely from the garden but did get a good hand up. The noodle salad was left overs and the miso soup was ... well miso soup. Clear clean and refreshing. Just what one needs after a weekend of gluttony and excess. Until Wednesday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Fi-est-de-resistance.

My newly coined french word for a feast that tops off a day. We had a huge salad from our volunteer garden. It was topped by the now classic, home made dijon dressing. Of course this evenings variation had lemon juice instead of vinegar. There were three types of pizza. Kids ham and pineapple. A pepperoni, mexican salami, onion and mushroom affair came second. The third pizza was a vegetarian bearing tidings of red pepper, onion, mushroom, spinach and feta cheese. All the pizzas were great however a grate loss was suffered by our kitchen. The pizza oven is officially dead. The stone still heats but the broiler doesn't broil. It makes a fine crust but the top just never gets fully cooked. So if we have to use the stove anyways we may as well do the whole pizza in there. Best five dollars I ever spent on that pizza oven. Can't imagine ponying up the $100 and something for a new one. Oh let the garage sale gods shine on me again.

Rounding out there meal there were veggies and dip, chips and salsa, miso soup and a final offering of not one, not two but three types of ice cream. I didn't even eat dessert though as once again I was stuffed to over flowing.

Now since our Somalians (sommelier + aliens) were over for dinner we had wine. It was a Syrah, from Dessert Hills. 2005. Smelt of cherry, very even. I thought it had a lot of flavour and would have accompanied a red meat very well. But what do I know.

The beginning

In the beginning there was french toast. A lovely nine grain from our friendly neighbourhood baker, his fluffiest loaf not spoken for. It was lovely with fresh whipped cream and syrup or even better with ketchup. Some poor suckers just don't get it. Fruit salad rounded out the breakfast. Always drizzled with lemon juice to keep the apples white and and a little zing to all the flavours. You will note the coffee (which was commended). It was made for a guest. The service here is just amazing. Well I am being called to finish bath time. More to write when I get back.

(Note: Three weeks later I have no idea what I was planning to write here. Couldn't be that important. Maybe I had Fermat's last theorem rattling around in my head. Who knows)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Queen's BBQ

Thanks must be given this evening to our good friends in Midway. They were kind enough to invite us to a fantastic feast. Even allowed us to bring a bunch of relatives. All they said was bring something to bbq, something to drink, and a pot luck dish. This may seem burdensome to some but the payoff feasting on others potluck ideas and enjoying the generally festive nature of something this grand is easily worth the effort. My intrepid wife also took on all of the potluck task producing some of her finest Korokke yet. Just the right amount of curry and not too much salt. I was in charge of marinating the steak. By the way we paid a little more for the steak this evening and it was out of this world. Have we learned are lesson. Not likely, I love it at the track, all my friends are there. Anyways back to the marinade. We used fresh grated garlic (not really grated but I don't know how to say when you scrape it around on the thing with all the little bumps and it becomes a kind of mush), soy sauce, golden syrup, pepper and oregano. It sat in that for about five hours pre-cooking and was then cooked on a nice high flame, about five minutes on either side. Easily the best steak I have ever cooked, by a mile. The salads and sides were all special in their own way but as they were not made by yours truly or his wife I will not go into details. Suffice it to say I have pains down the side of my torso and I am not in labour. It was that good. My sis and bro-n-law are here for the long weekend so we have guests choice for dinner tomorrow. After a day at the lake and a possible hike (this has not been mentioned to them yet so we will really have to see) it may end up being take out Chinese. Only time will tell.

The First Lady of Salads

On the left is a bowl of mac and cheese. I am surprised that I have come around to the ubiquitous dish. I never ate it as a kid but as an adult I have slowly been won over by its bland flavour and ease of cooking. However, I didn't come here to talk about mediocre noodles. On the right of the picture you will see the first salad of the season to be created completely from our own garden. Red and green leaf lettuce, spinach, chives, parsley and cilantro. It was awesome. Some basic home made oil and vinegar dressing. The lettuce is still really young. We had a bunch self seed and now we are eating it as it comes up. When it is small it is so tender and delicious. The parsley is in year two. Gotta love biennials. Of the stuff we have actually planted the swiss chard and the beet greens are doing well. The first set of carrots are coming along. Today I am going to move some chrysanthemums out to the second square and then transplant some more cilantro. It feels like summer is here but with a full moon just a few days away, I am worried about another frost. It has been such a weird weather year that I think waiting one more week to transplant peppers and tomatoes won't hurt.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dazzling Dinner

My daughter came up with this evenings title. She was right. The summer sun shone bright this afternoon and we barbequed and ate outside again. It was awesome. Almost too hot. The chicken breasts were succulent and juicy. The rice was great all on its own. I couldn't believe how much flavour the fried bok choy and mushrooms had. They were also bursting with juices. The corn on the cob made a come back from a few days ago and was still delish. To start and finish we had chips and salsa. Mmmmm. There was an unfortunate incident this evening. As my son reached for the last corn on the cob he pushed the chip bowl into the rice bowl, a wedding gift from my big sis, and knocked it off the table so now we are down to one sunshine and blue skies bowl. They both have lasted through almost seven years of daily and I mean daily use. My cereal bowl. Microwave bowl for soups and leftovers. Serving bowl for rice or other side dish. We love these bowls and now there is only one. A moment of silence shall now be observed. ....... . Not a dry eye in the place. Well off for a bike ride. Ahh summer.

Wednesday May 14th

Well I was out drinking with the boys after the AGM. It was a good time. However, dinner was not done. Just letting things slip left right and centre. Thunderbirds are a go for this weekend with sis and bro'n law. Ohh I love a long weekend.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This evenings dinner was salmon, corn on the cob, coleslaw and rice with pickles. The salmon was fried with garlic, probably our favourite way to do salmon, easy and tasty. The corn was done to perfection. Cooked yet still juicy and fresh. Our coleslaw was made with the fresh dill we have and man does that every bring out the flavour buds. But this evening I want to talk about the pickles. I always thought of pickles as those green cucumbery things. Some sweet, some dill end of story. However, in Japan they pickle just about everything. These little brown numbers are kind of a tangy sweet combination and they go just beautifully with rice. Which leads me to a gripe I have. When living in Japan I was often chastised for putting soy sauce on my rice. Rice is too good tasting on its own and the soy sauce spoils the flavour. Yet they have hundreds of different rice toppers, from pickles to something called furi kaki. How can I be the bad guy here. Everyone else is putting something on their rice to liven it up. Why was I, the soy sauce guy, left out. Perhaps someone can explain it to me cause I don't get it. I am away for dinner again tomorrow night. We have our Annual General Meeting. Can't wait to see what will be had.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My best guess.

Judging from this evenings pictures and some information I was given this afternoon, it looks like this evenings dinner was miso soup, beef stir fry and salad. I was away working on union bargaining business and had my dinner out. Life is just a little too busy sometimes. I know things would carry on without me but I do feel a responsibility to do the things I do. Anyways, there were also candy necklaces made at our house this evening. I was the lucky recipient of one and feel truly blessed. I plan to eat in tomorrow. Looking forward to it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Light Lunch

The birthday party season is in full swing so we had our dinner out this evening. Fortunately, we had the foresight to take a picture of our lunch. Green salad with some daikon spears covered in the wife's dijon, vinegar, honey, red onion, salt and pepper dressing. Another home run. I think she may be a salad dressing savant. She pooh poohs my praise but honestly, these dressings are killer. I threw together a black bean and tomato sauce for bow tie pasta which was generally quite well received. I felt it was lacking in Gusto but no one else complained. Well we are going to watch transformers and let the post party eats digest. Almost Sunday here.

The Garden Grows

After a marathon session of shopping which included fishing rods, oil filters, birthday presents and a new swimsuit for mom (Wow! that works) we finally made it to the mexican place. Good food, the pork burrito and beef taco were much more flavourful that the chicken enchilada and we will definitely be back. As we are driving back home my daughter says, "we didn't take a picture of the dinner" Doh! Too many things in my head and not enough organization.

On the garden front here are some picks from this morning. The big plants in the garden are the garlic I planted last fall. They are going gang busters. The squares with the small plants are green and red lettuce, spinach, daikon, carrots and cilantro. Most of the bigger plants were volunteers from last year. I let everything mentioned except carrots and swiss chard go to see last year. Now the dividends are being paid. One more reason not to till the soil every year. The blossoms are the apple tree and what you can't really make out in the back ground are the cherry blossoms. Very late for both. It has been a weird weird spring. In the green house the individual pots hold peppers and tomatoes. The big pots are actually flowers. I am trying to branch out. I will try for more pictures in two weeks when everything is getting ready to go in the garden.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

BBQ chicken, hold the colour.

So we had a really nicely marinated chicken for dinner. I didn't get the facts on the marinade but it sure tasted good. We also barbequed some eggplant brushed with olive oil and basil. This was served with rice. It was already 7:30 and we had been snacking on nacho chips and salsa. I guess it just wasn't a vegetable night. You may also note that we did not take a picture. I had the plate ready and everything but we also had a friend eating with us and it just slipped my mind. One of the kids is sick so that doesn't help either. Stay tuned tomorrow for some garden pics. Things are growing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Even the boarder ate it.

This evenings dinner was oyako don(a kind of chicken and egg stirfry/stew). There was also some tofu in the mix and it was great. Our boarder, who isn't he most adventurous eater, even enjoyed it. The miso soup had lots of daikon and the salad was green with onion and daikon. I did not have the salad as by the time I got to having dinner there was guacamole and salsa. My favourites. The key issue this evening was going for a run before eating dinner. The sprained ankle (9 days recovered) gave me some grief but sitting down to a meal after getting a good run in was great. Well it is time to hit the hay. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Late for Supper

So I arrive home to this amazing smell wafting out the door. Just a rich, drippy, saucy smell. Seconds later in am knee deep in the facts of the day. Our son has managed to realise he needed to go pee and used the toilet today. It is a milestone. Pulled down his own pants and everything. So much excitement ensues. I get to see the lake that has accumulated in the little plastic kiddie potty. We all watch as he flushes it down. We say a fond farewell. From here we proceed outside, all the while I am wondering when the dinner bell will gong and I can begin. We start to trampoline a bit and then check out the garden and so on and so on until finally I ask when dinner will be. To which my wife blithely replies, "we already ate, remember you were going to be at a meeting tonight." Well I finally went inside and ate my steak and it was great. Marinated and pan fried. The sprouts were stir fried with the beans and rice was resoundingly defeated so that potato salad could play another night. Tonights lesson: Always ask when dinner will be ready as soon as you get home.

Monday, May 5, 2008

She wanted them Saladized

So this evenings original plan was pan fried salmon, mashed potatoes, with stir fried zucchini and green beans. We (the parents) make these plans on a Sunday evening when the world is calm and the little ones are safely asleep dreaming of horsey rides (I always wondered why the knees are the first things to go). What we don't consider are the whims of the little people when it comes time to prepare the meal. And lets face it. If they want to eat vegetables in a certain way it would be parental suicide to try and force them to do something different. So we had potato salad, really a close cousin of the mash, instead. I noticed the zucchs morphed into cauliflower. As of press time we don't have any details, I am guessing it was a crunch time shopping decision. Dad loves zucchini, kids love cauliflower. Once again my wife made the prudent decision and I get the shaft. Wait. Did I really call coming home to this dinner the shaft? Sometimes I have to give my head a shake. I am living the dream. And yes, I try to say thanks for it everyday.

Staff meeting tomorrow but I want to make it home for dinner. Wouldn't you.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Oh the heat. The heat is lovely. We hit 26 degrees today. My daughter had to change her clothes twice going from a long shirt to a tank and then from pants to shorts. I of course choose the hottest day of the year so far to dig the tomato trench. 60 feet long, 12 inches wide and deep. I filled it with compost and manure. The returned the soil. I lay a 100 ft soaker hose down the length of the trench and the remaining 40 ft will feed our raspberries. Then I covered the filled in trench with weed fabric. The remaining task is to erect the tomato/cucumber/bean/ cantaloupe supports and then I just start planting. This is all based on the Square Foot Garden. A lovely book that has me down sizing the garden and upsizing expectations.

Oh yeah we had dinner tonight too. It was left over chili on rice. I added some of the hot green salsa to mine. We also had a light green salad with a (just a sec...) okay listen to this dressing, peanut butter, lime, vinegar and honey. It was really nice. The dressings continue to keep me satisfied.

We have planned this week and it is looking good. See you tomorrow.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Eatin' Outside

With the warm weather comes the desire to eat outside. We broke out more home made salsa, cracked a beer (or two) and whipped up some home made pizza. I went out on a limb this evening and did not use my regular crust recipe. My baker friend said that using oil in your crust is nonsense. If you want it to be flavoured then add spices directly to the dough. He is also a proponent of not putting spices in the tomato sauce. However, I could not bring myself to take that radical a step. I did however forgo using oil in my dough mix. The crust was indeed lighter and crispier however it was lacking in flavour. We barbequed the chicken for our topping as the amount of salt and nitrates in the salamis we use is something we think we need to take into consideration. The kids had pineapple and we had all the veggies. Sitting outside eating dinner it could have been July. Unfortunately, it is still just the beginning of May. Gotta stay focussed. Lets hope for rain. By the way there may be some new video up on the old youtube site soon. Take care.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Simple Plan

Beans on toast. Usually a Saturday afternoon lunch but having it for dinner this evening has been in the plans the whole time. Specifically the beans on toast with pork soup combination. What I had not planned on was the wife thawing some chicken and having that added into the mix. I ended up just pan frying it and then adding a little barbeque sauce at the end. With a little left over green salad it made for a visually appealing meal. I fried up some garlic and onions to go with the canned brown beans in tomato sauce. The bread was the wife's homemade loaf cut thick and toasted. Just the kind of thing one needs to let the week go and begin the weekend. Stay tuned for some gardening pictures.

Up to no good

Arriving home last evening I, still hungry after the meager crackers and cheese that were brought forth at our meeting, was deflated to find that things on the home front had not been much better. There was a nice pork soup and some seki han (rice with red beans) but as for an entree I was shut out. So I went to the cupboard to get some nacho chips to make a plate of nachos. Bag empty. Oooh, so I got in the car. Drove to the store. Bought the chips. Back home. Whipped up some guacamole. Grated some cheese. 24 seconds later we were sitting down to a nice hot plate of cheesy nachos. We used the last of the second to last jar of red salsa last night. Now down to one jar of each type of salsa from last fall. Will we make it to July and the beginning of fresh salsa season. I sure hope so. Anyways, good dinner, soup was great and I am making beans on toast this evening. See you then.