Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour, Dinner, Beef Tri-Tip,

From what I read on the internet, Earth Hour seems to have been fairly successful last night. Our lights were, of course, off, because we were out, but our host and hostess turned out their lights, even the fish tank and lit candles. We sat there eating our cheese course in candlelight, very pleasant. Our hostess went out for a drive with her son and found a lot of lights in the area were out but although MacDonald's had turned out some of their lights, Tim Horton's (a Canadian coffee and donut chain) had not. The street lights didn't go out either although Burlington, which is where we were, had committed to Earth Hour. Canada was, however, one of the biggest participants so three cheers for us. I read that in Alberta the cafes and bars did not turn off their lights as there was a big hockey match taking place - much more important to make money than to do anything for conservation. On the left you will see two photos taken in Toronto before and after the lights went out. They were taken from the CN Tower which also went dark.

We had a very enjoyable evening with our friends and an excellent dinner. Our main course was beef steak done on the barbecue, the cut was a beef tri tip which didn't register with me or my friends, but a very good piece of meat and beautifully cooked. I have just found this article about the cut, I must see if there is anywhere I can buy it locally. With it we had a salad which had an Egyptian dressing of olive oil, lemon and mint. The dressing had been made up specially for our hostess by a restaurateur. We also had baked buttered asparagus, baked mushrooms in garlic and butter, mashed potatoes, a relish tray, in fact a stack of food. Having eaten all of that, we turned out the lights and ate Brie, Havarti and other cheeses with assorted crackers. Matt went nutty on a rosemary flavoured cracker and has brought the packet home to see if he can find them. If not I will have to nag my friend in to buying me some.

Our host is Romanian and last night he introduced me to the Romanian plum brandy which is called Tuica. His mother had brought him some when she came to visit. I was enjoying it, maybe a little too much. Matt couldn't try it because he was driving. The Tuica we were drinking was virtually colourless and we certainly didn't drink it in such large quantities as shown in the picture. Apparently a lot of Romanians distill their own Tuica although the government has cracked down on this somewhat I'm told. We also drank some wine, starting with a Barefoot Shiraz which was one Matt bought and we hadn't tried before which I enjoyed, but Matt thought wasn't full bodied enough. We didn't leave there til pretty late and got home around 2 a.m.

Another recipe I got from a friend and don't know the source. Sounds pretty good though.

"Drunken" Pork Chops

4 1 /2‑inch‑thick center‑cut pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1‑1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
1 /2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup canned low‑salt chicken broth
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium‑high heat. Add pork; sauté until brown and just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Add onion and fennel seeds to same skillet and sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in paprika; stir 15 seconds. Add wine, broth and lemon juice and boil until sauce thickens slightly, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over pork chops and serve.

Apparently pork is one of the most widely eaten meats in Romania I was told last night.

Have a great day.


  1. Jo,

    Sure do enjoy your blog. I will try the scallops and leeks as I have a friend in my bagpipe band that loves them. Also I enjoy the fact that you love the earth and its aniamls. You're a nature lover too. Have a great rest of March. Cheers, Robin

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Robin and I am glad you are enjoying my blog. The scallops are absolutely delicious, we have made them a couple of times. I hope you enjoy them.

    Bagpipe band? I have just been watching Celtic Thunder on TV and they had some bagpipes as part of the show. If you haven't seen Celtic Thunder, they are great.

  3. Good for Canada respecting Earth Hour. I only wish I can say the same about those Canadians killing baby seals ... (I presume the hunters are Canadians.)


  4. Sorry Jo; I don't know how that went out as anonymous...


  5. You are right Marilyn, I think they are Canadians. It is something of a disgrace isn't it. I have heard all kinds of pros and cons for seal hunting but nothing seems to stop it. I just make sure I don't buy anything which is a seal product. Same as I once had a wolfskin handbag which I wouldn't give house room to any more.

  6. Hey Jo - the article on Tri-tip was really interesting, I didn't know all about that. I do love it tho, and love to keep one around for the BBQ. It was a perfect night to fire up the flames tho...

    So glad you enjoyed it - we did too! Looking forward to next time!