Friday, July 31, 2009

Weird Weather and Mirdles,

The weather is sure screwed up this year, parts of the North America getting the highest temps on record, and parts getting cold wet summers - tomorrow is August 1 and everyone is saying maybe we will get some decent weather in August. The weather forecast is for better weather this weekend but rain again on Monday I believe. This map is just the States of course, but we are having similar weather patterns in Canada. Discussing weather, someone got me thinking about hurricanes and how many we lived through in North Carolina. The first one was the worst because we were without power for a week. After that, the electric companies got better at dealing with the salt encrustations on the power junctions, etc. and power was restored quite quickly. Of course we had to pump water and obviously couldn't do so without power. Luckily we knew to fill up both our baths so at least we had some water to heat up for various purposes or to use in toilets. We had a visitor from the UK the first time too. He arrived the day after the storm, and we had been expecting the carpet layers in but they too had been delayed. Place was a mess. That wasn't taking into account all the downed trees in the yard either. At least we don't have to worry about that kind of thing any more. Mirdles, what will they think of next. Actually men have been using girdles of one kind or another for centuries. They certainly wore corsets to hide their corpulence in the Regency period. Now they are being sold looking somewhat like a T shirt see GMA report including a video. Tide is turned. When I was a young woman a lot of us wore Playtex girdles or even worse tortures, however, these days women rarely wear such things. I would hate to try and force myself into one again. I love stuffed peppers, so when I came across this recipe I figured I should definitely try it. Eating Well again, that is a great magazine. Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers Makes 4 servings 4 yellow, orange and/or red bell peppers ½ cup whole-wheat orzo 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), chopped 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar ¼ teaspoon salt 1. Halve peppers lengthwise through the stems, leaving the stems attached. Remove the seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side down in a large microwave-safe dish. Add 1/2 inch water, cover and microwave on High until the peppers are just softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool slightly, drain and set aside. 2. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add orzo and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. 3. Mash chickpeas into a chunky paste with a fork, leaving some whole. 4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and oregano and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in the orzo, chickpeas, 1/2 cup feta, tomatoes, vinegar and salt; cook until heated though, about 1 minute. Divide the filling among the pepper halves and sprinkle each pepper with some of the remaining 1/4 cup feta. Have a great day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Blog, Suds Summit, Lyme Rage,

I have added a new Blog to my Bloglist. It is for Barrie's Asparagus. I hadn't realised Tim Barrie had started a new blog until yesterday. It is full of news about the food they are offering. On the principle of buying within 100 miles, they are a good place to go. In fact, we probably won't go except for the asparagus (in season) as there are places a lot closer to us selling much the same things. Sorry I can't support him, but its quite a long way to go. I can't believe all the fuss which is going on about the cop, the President and the professor. The country's at war, the financial situation is dire, and people are worrying about Obama saying "the police acted stupidly" - he didn't say they were stupid, just that they had acted stupidly. Now he is hoping to settle the whole thing over a beer, they are calling it The Suds Summit. Because of this, Obama's ratings have apparently plunged. I think that is stupid, but then nobody cares what I say, I'm not the President. I just don't think it was that bad and a stupid fuss is being made over something stupid. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, the story is here on GMA's site. A report this morning is talking about Lyme Rage, ostensibly caused by Lyme Disease. Apparently it can exacerbate people's tempers and even, in some cases, change their personality. Here is an article by a doctor which talks about it in detail. I must admit the very thought of ticks gives me the heebie jeebies. I guess we were lucky in the Carolinas, we never picked up any kind of tick, but it was always a possibility. For supper the other night, I just threw a few things together, I defrosted some chicken breasts and we had a good meal for two nights running. Not my usual kind of cookery, but it worked... Chicken Casserole 1/2 a large onion, chopped 1/2 lb button mushrooms, sliced 1/2 red or yellow pepper 2 stalks of chopped celery 4 chicken breasts on the bone 1 can each Campbell's mushroom and Campbell's celery soup 1 soup can water Seasoning to taste. I sautéed the onions, mushrooms and peppers then put everything in a casserole and cooked it for about an hour until the chicken was done. It was pretty good. I wouldn't have minded a dash or two of cayenne but Matt is not big on spicey foods so I didn't add it. Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Headlines, Medical, H1N1 Vaccine,

Two of the headlines making the rounds at the moment: was Michael Jackson's death involuntary manslaughter by his personal doctor? Also the pictures and news of the Bachelorette and her new fiancé. If you don't have the that programme in your neck of the woods, it's all about one girl and a bunch of guys trying to find true love. This current Bachelorette was also on the Bachelor (same type of programme) and, a year ago, was purportedly in love with the current Bachelor. I therefore wonder how long this engagement will last. Still she had at least three proposals on the programme!!! I have yet to discover that you can guarantee true love throwing a bunch of people together for several weeks or even months. People actually watch these programmes week after week. A more important headline is the H1N1 (swine flu) virus and whether it will be readily available when flu season really hits us. There is a video clip at GMA's site which talks about the situation. It appears that pregnant women and young children are most vulnerable to the illness so they are likely to target them first. Pregnancy is vulnerable to any flu virus, but this one is worse they report. We usually have a flu shot every winter, hopefully there will be plenty available by October or November. At least our granddaughter has had it and is fine. In fact it doesn't sound as though she was that ill from the way she was complaining on Facebook about not being at school for the last week LOL. This morning I was up at the crack of dawn to go to the clinic to have blood work done. I got a letter yesterday from a doctor I was referred to three month's ago. I now have an appointment for next March - 2010 that is. I have to have similar blood tests done before the appointment so I checked and they suggested I ask the docs if they mind copy reports. Yesterday we had the car serviced and Matt decided to have the transmission checked etc. so that was another $220 - we don't seem to be able to have work on the car without a biggish bill. Oh I forgot, we did manage to sit in the sun for a while yesterday, but this morning its raining and thundering again. We shouldn't have a water shortage any time soon at least, unlike some parts of the world. I like what Thai food I have eaten, not a lot I confess. I even have a Thai cook book which I have never even attempted to cook from, we do have lots of Thai restaurants in Kitchener though. This one is from Eating Well once more and I just might save it until I get some shrimp from North Carolina, it is fresher and tastes better. Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad Makes 4 servings 2 tablespoons lime juice 4 teaspoons fish sauce (see Note) 1 tablespoon canola oil 2 teaspoons light brown sugar ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 pound cooked and peeled small shrimp 1 cup thinly sliced red, yellow and/or orange bell pepper 1 cup seeded and thinly sliced cucumber ¼ cup mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, cilantro and/or mint Whisk lime juice, fish sauce, oil, brown sugar and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Add shrimp, bell pepper, cucumber and fresh herbs; toss to coat. Note: Fish sauce is a pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. Find it in the Asian section of large supermarkets and in Asian specialty markets. We use Thai Kitchen fish sauce, lower in sodium than other brands (1,190 mg per tablespoon), in our nutritional analyses. Nutrition Information Per serving: 170 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 221 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 1 g fiber; 652 mg sodium; 315 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Vitamin A (25% dv), Iron (21% dv). 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving Exchange: 3 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 1 fat Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rain, Murder,

The Canadian Open Golf Tournament was virtually rained off this weekend, there were pictures of them squeegeeing the greens with gallons of water on them, they finally managed to finish it on Monday although there had been talk of it running into Tuesday. We have had so much rain lately. Yesterday afternoon we couldn't see the park for rain it was coming down so heavily and the water pouring off the balconies sounded like hundreds of taps had been left running. Where, oh where, is summer??? Actually, we went bowling and when we came out of the alley it was sunny - we thought about sitting out when we got home, joke - that was when the rain started lashing down. A headline in our local paper this morning "Police: Texas woman accused of killing newborn son ate part of his brain, chewed off toes" a horrifying story. Read here unless real life gruesome would upset you. We can't imagine how any mother could do what this one did to her child although she says "the Devil made her do it". She will, no doubt, end up in a sanitorium rather than receiving any kind of prison sentence, she is clearly mentally unbalanced. Matt always finds it difficult to understand mothers killing their own children because he figures the bond between them is normally so strong. There is a video link on this page to a kayaker, Taylor Bradt, who plunged over the Palousie Falls in Washington State. There is also a link to an article about him. In our opinion he is totally nuts, the falls are close to 200 ft. high and he expected to be hurt when he got to the bottom. Why, pray tell, would you do something you expected to be hurt by?? In fact he was lucky and all that happened was he sprained his wrist. In the picture you can just see his kayak - I wonder who took the video for him. The inset is of him being interviewed by GMA and demonstrating something from a kayak. Carbonite logoI have mentioned Carbonite before, I use them as a backup system and they are, in my opinion, absolutely fantastic. The programme just runs in the background whilst you are using your computer. I have had occasion to restore my PC a couple of times and I have found it very successful. I highly recommend them. I have just renewed my subscription as I would hate to be without it. This recipe, which I found in my email from comes from Eating Well who's recipes I always enjoy. We cook a lot of them. This sounds an excellent way to do chicken and will be on my list for the next week's meals. Asian Chicken Salad Source: © EatingWell Magazine 6 servings, 2 cups each Crunchy vegetables and tender chicken breasts tossed in a tangy vinaigrette make a refreshing main-dish salad. If you poach the chicken yourself, reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid to make the dressing. Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the dressing (Step 1) for up to 2 days. INGREDIENTS For the Dressing: 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil 1 1/2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce (see Ingredient notes) 3 tablespoons canola oil 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon tahini paste 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or reserved chicken-poaching liquid For the Salad: 2 tablespoons sesame seeds 8 cups shredded napa cabbage (1 small head; see Ingredient notes) 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (2-3 medium) 5 radishes, sliced (about 1 cup) 1/2 cup chopped scallions 3 1/2 cups shredded skinless cooked chicken (about 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast) (see Tip) To poach chicken: Combine two 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth, 2 chopped scallions, 2 slivers fresh ginger and 2 cloves garlic in a large skillet; bring to a simmer. Add 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast and cook over medium heat until no longer pink inside, 10 to 15 minutes. The flavorful poaching liquid will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Ingredient Note: Chile-garlic sauce is a spicy blend of chiles, garlic and other seasonings; it is found in the Asian section of the market. Napa cabbage has an elongated head and is pale green in color with tender, tapered white ribs. Its tightly packed, crinkled leaves have a crisp texture. Discard the cone-shaped core. One small head yields about 8 cups shredded. FOR THE DRESSING: Combine soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil and chile-garlic sauce in a glass measuring cup; stir to blend. Heat canola oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan; bring to a simmer. Whisk in tahini and broth (or poaching liquid); cook until reduced slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Let cool. FOR THE SALAD: Heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add sesame seeds and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small plate to cool. Combine cabbage, carrots, radishes, scallions and chicken in a large shallow bowl. Stir dressing to recombine and drizzle over the salad; toss to coat. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Have a great day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tsunami, Probiotics, Drama and Sandwiches.

A storm in Tahiti caused huge 20 ft (2 storey) waves to pound the beaches in California, specifically Newport Beach at the Wedge which is at the mouth of the harbour - life guards spent the weekend hauling swimmers out of the water and one guy actually died. Normally they rescue about 30 people on a weekend, last weekend it was more like 500. There is a video on this page where someone says they hadn't seen waves this big even in Hawaii. Totally unsuitable situation for beginner surfers or anyone else for that matter. I gather the wave was a tsunami which travelled completely unhindered to the California coast. There was a segment on GMA this morning about some research done on probiotics. I don't know about where you live, but certain yoghurts promote probiotics for good health constantly. Trouble with the yoghurts in question they are, for me, way too sweet. I like my yoghurt as the original Mediterranean stuff, sour, refreshing and delicious. Anyway, the research, which was done by a Scandinavian company who sell probiotics, basically said that they are good resource for preventing flu amongst other health benefits. Apparently a lot of immunity problems begin in the gut so introducing good bacteria is supposed to help. To read the article click here. It also turns out that you can get probiotics in pill form and even added to your cereals. I just discovered, on Facebook, that granddaughter Beth (sinlaw Mike's daughter see Mike's Wildlife art) has been taking LAMDA exams. I immediately had to Google LAMDA and found it is the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (yes I know it's also the Greek letter). We knew she was a budding musician, but hadn't realised she was also taking drama exams. I wish her all the luck in the world - a very had profession to break into if that's what she decides to do. I wanted so much to go to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) myself as a youngster, but my parents gave me what they consdidered to be a test and said I wouldn't qualify. I guess I forgot about it in later years, or pushed it to the back of my mind except I spent a lot of time doing amateur dramatics which I loved. I am getting lots of recipes for sandwiches lately, but most of them are not what I call sandwiches. North America makes a very different sandwich to those I learned to make in the UK. A lot of sandwiches here are made with buns of one kind or another and they practically never butter the bread although mayonnaise might be used. To me there is nothing better than two slices of very fresh bread, buttered and surrounding a really good filling whether it be something simple like chicken and watercress or a more complicated recipe - I don't take the crusts off my sandwiches by the way. Then the recipes talk about no cooking for these sandwiches, well the filling has to be cooked at some time with most of them even if not when you are actually making the sandwich. I read one this morning which had roasted peppers and sautéed mushrooms, good, but certainly not cooking free. Then there is a tendency to overload the sandwiches, see the one in the picture and that is mildly overloaded compared to some. Below is a salad recipe, it certainly does include cooking but once chilled should be good on a hot day, if you ever get any, we certainly are not. We are beginning to think we aren't getting a summer this year. Creamy Tarragon Chicken Salad Eating Well Makes 8 servings, 1 cup each 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped ⅔ cup reduced-fat sour cream ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise 1 tablespoon dried tarragon ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 ½ cups diced celery 1 ½ cups halved red seedless grapes 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 2. Arrange chicken in a glass baking dish large enough to hold it in a single layer. Pour broth around the chicken. Bake the chicken until no longer pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast registers 170°F, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board until cool enough to handle, then cut into cubes. (Discard broth or save for another use.) 3. Meanwhile, spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden and fragrant, about 6minutes. Let cool. 4. Stir sour cream, mayonnaise, tarragon, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add celery, grapes, the chicken and walnuts; stir to coat. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Bake the chicken (Steps 1-2) and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Cover and refrigerate the salad for up to 1 day; add the nuts just before serving. Have a great day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Migrations and Movie.

Glenda Larke (Tropic Temper see link this page) drew attention to an article about dragonfly migrations which is quite something to read. I thought the Monarch butterfly did a long trip, but the dragonflies beat them into a cocked hat this is the article Glenda was talking about. Ruby throated humming birds do quite a migration trip too from Canada to Mexico and Panama spending a fair amount of time over the Gulf of Mexico. Another migration story is eels from the British coasts which migrate to the Sargasso Sea to breed; a trip of between 5 and 6,000 km. One wonders why these critters travel so far? There are many which return to the spawning grounds of their parents, salmon are a well known example. But to travel so far especially when they are so apparently fragile as dragonflies and butterflies are. Or tiny little birds like the hummer which also flies a long way over open water. We used to spend hours in the Carolinas watching them at our feeders. They are an aggressive little bird and very territorial "this is my feeder, move". We used to have a feeder hanging in our kitchen window and it was absolutely fascinating to see them. Friends were visiting one time and a hurricane was blowing up, the feeder was swinging quite wildly and the hummers were still feeding, the comment by one of our friends was "brave little sods". Well he was a Limey too. Watched a great movie last night, not famous and no-one well known in it - The Waking of Ned Devine - about a small Irish village - population 52 - where a couple of old guys realised someone there had won the lottery, they spend a fortune trying to find out who it is. They finally discover it was Ned Devine, only trouble is he has died of the shock. Then the main character had a dream that Ned wanted everyone in the village to share the winnings, so they had to con the Lotto Man that one of them was really Ned Devine. It was pretty funny and we really enjoyed it. There's a lovely scene where the two main protagonists are having a dip at the beach, skinny dipping that is, and the Lotto man stops by asking for directions. One hides behind the rocks and the other goes to show the Lotto man where Ned's cottage is and takes him all round the countryside to delay him, whilst his friend, unable to dress in a hurry, grabs their motor bike and rides stark naked back to Ned's home in order to pretend he is Ned. The shenanigans which went on were very funny. I did have a bit of trouble with the Irish accents, I am a bit out of practise. If you get a chance to see it, do - its good. In the middle of it all there is a wake for Ned himself and a eulogy is about to be delivered when the Lotto man arrives for a second visit and turns up at the church so they have to pretend to eulogise someone else. Got my medications changed by the way, so hopefully no more migraines. Here is another fish recipe from Eating Well. We don't buy cod a lot here but we used to in the UK where it was delicious and really fresh. I love Tapenade too. The reference to Monterey Bay is useful to follow up, they will tell you what fish is best to buy and which is from sustainable resources. You can even get a pocket card to carry with you. Roasted Cod with Warm Tomato-Olive-Caper Tapenade Makes 4 servings Ingredients 1 pound cod fillet (see Ingredient note) 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 tablespoon minced shallot 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes ¼ cup chopped cured olives 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. 2. Rub cod with 2 teaspoons oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet. 3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 20 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add olives and capers; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds more. Stir in oregano and vinegar; remove from heat. Spoon the tapenade over the cod to serve. Ingredient Note: Cod: Overfishing and trawling have drastically reduced the number of cod in the Atlantic Ocean and destroyed its sea floor. A better choice is Pacific cod (aka Alaska cod); it is more sustainably fished and has a larger, more stable population, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch ( Have a great weekend.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Migraine, Murder and Michael Bublé.

Having spent most of the last two days in bed with migraines, I phoned my pharmacist who recommended I quit using my new pill and see my doc. So didn't have a pill last night and missed the one this morning. I am seeing the doc this afternoon anyway so that worked out well. I actually woke up this morning without a sign of a headache. Whoopee. The pharmacist said was I functional, no flaming way, I couldn't see, couldn't think, just hid away from the light and any noise. I didn't do well with the latter, first the phone started ringing and Matt was in the shower so couldn't get it. Then they started mowing in the park. Normally they mow the park around twice a year, they already mowed a couple of weeks ago so what were they doing there yesterday other than bugging me? Terrible Canadian news story, three young women and a care giver were found drowned in a car in the Rideau Canal. The police couldn't figure how it happened because you would have had to really back and fill to get the car in the canal where it was found, you couldn't have just gone in accidentally. It now turns out they were murdered by the family. Read here, the family came from Afghanistan and police now think this was probably an honour killing i.e. the daughters wouldn't live by the strict standards of the parents and their brother. Along with many others, I am sick and tired of this kind of thing - Muslims come to our country and think they can still commit murder with impunity if it is for 'religious' reasons or part of their culture. This is by no means the first time young Muslim girls have been murdered by their families or just by the father or the brother. No, I am not being racist, I am merely pointing out that by Canadian law, murder is NOT permitted and anyone or everyone should suffer the full penalty allowed by the law no matter who they are. I forgot to mention, I wonder why, that the other day we watched a programme about Michael Bublé's last concert in his recent world wide tour, it took place in Madison Square Gardens which he figured was the pinnacle of his career. We have a couple of his CDs and I don't enjoy them although Matt does, however, I have seen him perform on two different occasions (TV) and I think he puts on an excellent show. He is rated as one of the top singers in the world at the moment. So I have no doubt he is crying all the way to the bank because I don't like his CDs. But then I'm a bit the same about Barbra Streisand, Matt loves her, I don't, but I enjoy her occasional concert and her movies. Nuts was one of the best movies I have ever seen. If you are wondering what I am reading lately, I am re-reading the Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey, I mentioned a blog or two ago. I also have Eclipse to read in the Twilight series which I have been enjoying. I read Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey last week. I thoroughly enjoyed that too. Yet another vampire book. I wonder why two authors have suddenly started writing vampire love stories? Jessica's Guide did have more humour in it than Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I basically do NOT enjoy canned tuna except for one recipe which Matt invented. I have shared this with you before. However, if you can get hold of some nice fresh tuna and you don't overcook it, there is nothing better. This recipe is from Eating Well. Grilled Tuna with Olive Relish Makes 6 servings Ingredients Olive Relish ½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley ⅓ cup chopped pitted imported black olives, such as kalamata ¼ cup finely chopped celery 1 small clove garlic, minced ½ teaspoon dried oregano 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil ⅛ teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper to taste Grilled Tuna 1 ¾ pounds tuna steak, trimmed and cut into 6 portions 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil ¼ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper Lemon wedges for garnish 1. To prepare olive relish: Combine parsley, olives, celery, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. 2. To grill tuna: Preheat grill to medium-high. 3. Rub tuna all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the tuna until seared on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve with Olive Relish and lemon wedges. The olive relish will (Step 1) will keep for up to 1 hour. Have a great day.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Me Again, Scams,

Well, just to keep you up to date, I am now on some new pills which may cause headaches, may, ha!! I have had a headache for about two days now. The blurb says they will go, I do hope so. Have to see my family doc tomorrow so I will see what she has to say. Trouble is I have always been a migraine sufferer and sometimes this is developing into one. I wouldn't have enjoyed seeing Camelot yesterday anyway because of it. My friend told me it was very good and the voices were excellent. Just what I needed to hear. There was a segment on GMA this morning about scams being practiced on desperate home owners. Companies which offer to re-negotiate your mortgages and ask you for money up front. In fact all they are is an office with a bunch of telemarketers and no legal or financial experts at all. One of the things to beware of is when they do ask for money up front. You can watch the video segment by clicking here and see all the warnings. Corn is now coming on to the market in Canada although it maybe available in the Southern States already. Here is a recipe from Eating Well which sounds pretty good although I really enjoy corn on the cob. Corn with Bacon & Mushrooms Makes 6 servings, about 2/3 cup each Ingredients 2 slices bacon ½ cup thinly sliced shallots 3 cups sliced mixed mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake and/or baby bella 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob (see Tip) ¼ cup water ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and chop. 2. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to release their juices, about 3 minutes more. Add corn kernels and water and cook until the corn is tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in chopped bacon and season with salt and pepper. Tip: To remove kernels, stand a cob on its stem end in a bowl and slice them off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. Have a great day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camelot, Eclipse of the Sun

The upshot of my TIA problem is I still have a somewhat numb face although its better than it was, also fairly high BP readings and the worst thing of the lot, for me, I decided not to go to the theatre with my friend this afternoon (yes I do realise there could have been worse results). We were going to see Camelot. My friend has managed to find someone else to take my ticket. I didn't want her having to hunt for a hospital in a rural area if anything happened; the theatre is 2 hours drive away from here. I did so want to see this show. The Drayton Festival group do these shows so very well and I have heard great reports of Camelot from everyone who has been. I am thinking of trying to get more tickets (not sure when the show ends - Oh No, Friday) and dragging Matt along, but probably not a good idea this soon, although I don't mind making Matt hunt for a hospital LOL. There was a solar eclipse yesterday all across Asia - I am staggered to believe there are still peoples who believe it is an ill omen or there is something different. It was apparently the longest eclipse this century and it won't happen again until the next century although there will be a shorter eclipse across North America in 2017. If you want to see a video clip about it go to this site where you can also read the article. When we lived in North Carolina, we had friends from Wisconsin who used to rave about custard ice cream. Then a store opened which sold it together with a lot of other forbidden and sinful desserts LOL. 7 Layer Chocolate Cake for one. Anyway, I loved the custard ice cream and was very sorry last time we were in NC to discover that the store had closed. However, yesterday I got an email from Recipezaar which included custard ice cream. I remember my mother making ice cream this way, freezing and stirring, freezing and stirring. Custard Ice Cream This is a beautiful recipe for ice cream...taken from The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Simple to make & perfect with Recipe#232629, Recipe#232579, apple pie, brownies etc..... NB: "This is a classic method for making ice cream. Avoid serving homemade ice cream to babies, toddlers and pregnant women, as they are at a higher risk for salmonella poisoning from undercooked eggs 284 ml single cream 1 vanilla pod 4 free-range egg yolks 125 g caster sugar 284 ml double cream 1 Pour the single cream into a medium saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod lengthways with a sharp knife and place it in the pan. Set the heat to medium and heat the cream until it just starts to steam a little. Switch off the hob and let the saucepan sit there. The heat will draw the vanilla flavour into the cream. 2 Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar for a minute, until they turn thick and a little paler. 3 Pour the saucepan of hot cream into the sugary egg mixture and whisk again until smooth. Pour it all back into the saucepan. 4 With the heat set very low, stir the creamy mixture constantly with a wooden spoon so it doesn't stick to the base of the pan but heats slowly and evenly. To see if the custard has heated enough, check from time to time with this classic test: take the spoon out of the custard and look at the back of it. The film of custard on the spoon should look noticeably creamier. Draw your finger across the back of the spoon and, if the line stays clear and distinct, your custard has thickened enough. 5 Turn off the heat and carry the saucepan over to the work surface. Carry on stirring for a few more seconds so the cooking process is halted and the custard starts to cool down. Strain the custard through a sieve into a jug. 6 As soon as the custard has cooled to room temperature, put the jug in the fridge for half an hour, then stir in the double cream. Either pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn it until it freezes or pour it into a plastic food container. 7 Freeze it for about an hour or until the sides start to get solid. When this happens, mash up the mixture with a fork, mixing the frozen sides into the liquid centre. Put it back in the freezer straight away for another hour. Repeat this twice more at hourly intervals and then let the ice cream set. Servings: 6 Have a great day.

TIA, Diet Pill,

I am teed off, as in miffed and fed up. We spent several hours in the local hospital yesterday - this time for me. They think (as did I which is why I went) I had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke. Damn and blast it, I was perfectly happy to leave those to Matt, I didn't need to start copying him. Actually we were pretty lucky, we walked right in, there were very few people in Emergency anyway which is a real change. Most of the time in the hospital was waiting for blood test results which always take hours to get. The blood pressure cuff in triage was so very painful and I was told later it was probably too small, OK but get a bigger one, I was in agony and it was giving readings of 226 or so over 90 I think. When I actually got into Emerg the readings dropped to a reasonable level and the cuff didn't hurt nearly as much. Grrrr. So they have put me on a stronger blood thinner and set me home, however, that has buggered up our health insurance for our North Carolina trip so I now will have to get on the phone and see what I can fix up. I need 60 days clear, we are currently at 53. What a bummer, couldn't have happened a week ago could it??? This morning on GMA they were talking about a new diet pill which it is expected will be available next year. It is called Contrave and is a combination of two existing drugs, one for depression and one for smoking. It is supposed to stop the food cravings. If you would like to read the article click here it is not exactly a miracle drug but it does apparently help, in trials the patients lost something like 8% of their body weight in a year. Here is another recipe from Mastronardi Produce using their Sunset Campari tomatoes. In the picture these look like ordinary tomatoes on the vine, but they are quite a bit smaller and certainly much, much, sweeter. Sunset® Campari® Tomato Chicken Creole 2 tbsp Olive oil 1 Large yellow onion, chopped 2 stalks Celery, chopped 1 Medium Sunset® red pepper, cored, seeded and diced ½ cup Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 2 cloves Garlic, chopped ¾ cup Chicken stock 3 tbsp Red wine vinegar 1 lb Sunset® Campari® Tomatoes peeled, seeded, and chopped 2 tbsp Tomato paste 1 tbsp Brown sugar 1 tsp Hot pepper sauce 6 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts ½ tsp each Salt and pepper ½ cup Dry white wine Heat olive oil in large heavy casserole over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes. Add Garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, vinegar, Sunset® Campari® tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until golden, 5 minutes. Add white wine and tomato sauce to chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Have a great day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

CDA Rodeo, BC Fires, Bowling.

We enjoyed our stint at taking tickets for the local Canadian Diabetes rodeo on Saturday, met some nice people - staff and volunteers and it was a fun few hours. However, when we went to watch the rodeo itself, it was a bit late in the programme and we didn't get to see some of the quarter horse work and saddle bronc riding I would have enjoyed. We did see some roping and steer wrestling, we also saw some barrel racing, a bit of trick riding and then a clown a couple of times, the second time the clown rode two horses standing on their backs particularly around fire which horses are pretty scared of normally. He was good. Later there was bull riding, however, we were not sitting in the best place for a lot of this, and certainly not for the bull riding which was taking place quite a distance from us and in a corner we couldn't really see so we decided to come home - there was a lot of clowning around during the bull riding, but didn't get to see a lot of it. We were really lucky with the weather, it threatened rain all day, but it never happened. Didn't know before, but they have a dance in the evening. We could have got free hamburgers or hot dogs, but we'd had lunch before we left home. Sorry, no pix. I was never really in a position to photograph anything although the horses were going past the entry gate all the time, if I hadn't been busy I could maybe have taken pictures of them, there were some magnificent looking animals. I wished I still rode horses, unfortunately I haven't done so since I was a youngster except once when we first came to Canada and we went to a dreadful place (as it turned out) to ride out - in the first place we knew nothing about the differences in guiding the horses (English and Western), in the second place, they told Matt not to let his horse's head drop but not why, later on the head dropped and the horse rolled. Matt was fit enough to jump off, I would have ended up with a horse rolling on me. They were comparitively small horses compared with those we saw at the Rodeo. There was one tiny tot riding this humungeous animal in the barrel race, she wasn't as big as the saddle she sat on. She rode very well. They were expecting 1,000 people, which surprised us, but I don't know if that many actually turned up. British Columbia is having some problems with wildfires at the moment, Sunday's news said the fires were out of control and thousands had fled their homes and many more were under evacuation alert. It is very dry in the Okanagan area which makes it ideal for fires. There are three fires burning at the moment but the weather with high wind gusts and not a scrap of rain in sight, is not helping - they are having temps of 30°C which is just what you need with all these fires. Today is our last day of the summer bowling league - we have our banquet (sandwiches in the summer) and awards, then play a couple of fun bowling games and then its all over until September. We will be playing a couple of times, a) to keep our hands in and b) because we will be away for some of the games in September. As it is, we miss bowling twice a week, not at all won't be good but the alleys take a break too in the summer. We have heard talk of renovations where we bowl, the place sure needs it. Here is another recipe I was sent last week, this time for Campari tomatoes. They didn't send me a photo, but I figured this looked similar. Pasta salads are very popular in North America. They probably are in Europe these days but I don't remember them when I lived in the UK. Campari® Picnic Pasta Salad Mastronardi Produce Always popular pasta salads are best mixed together just far enough in advance so the flavors meld but still stay bright and fresh. Makes 8 – 10 servings 8 oz dry, small shell pasta 3 Tbsp mayonnaise 1/2 cup high-quality Italian salad dressing 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/4 cup chopped parsley 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 3/4 cup frozen peas, defrosted 1/3 cup small-diced red onion 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, drained well 1 lb Campari® Cocktail Tomatoes, diced Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and drain well. In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, dressing, garlic and pepper. Gently mix with pasta and remaining ingredients. Have a great day.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jakarta, Rodeo, Chicken Recipes.

Yesterday morning I was thinking about the bombing in Jakarta, Indonesia. They said it was a suicide bombing and I was wondering what kind of idiot, yes idiot, could be persuaded to kill himself plus a number of innocent civilians in the name of his God by whatever name he called him. I cannot conceive of being brainwashed to think that my God, Allah or whoever, wanted me to kill and that I would get rewards in Heaven for so doing. I am not a pacifist as such; you can be sure that if the situation arose, I would shoot to kill if someone were going to kill me, but there is no way I would commit suicide in a fanatical frenzy. I don't understand how a person can be made into a fanatic anyway, they surely aren't born that way. They must surrender their free will to their religious leaders and become a cipher and no longer a person. It really is a frightening concept and one that most of us westerners don't really comprehend. Today we are going to a rodeo. We are actually going as volunteers for the Canadian Diabetes Association to collect tickets at the gate. We are then welcome to join in the fun. I have wanted to go to a rodeo ever since arriving in North America and this will be the first time I have managed it. The rodeo today is being held at J & J Quarter Horses Farm in Breslau which is not far from us and I am looking forward to it. I am told they do everything they do at the Calgary Stampede only smaller. We shall see. Last night we had Chicken Burritos for supper see my blog March 20, 2008 for the recipe. It is one of our favourites although we haven't made it for a long while. I also made a White Chilli which will be good for supper on Sunday - we have another helping of Burritos for tonight. I guess we will be a bit chickened out by then and will have to think of something else for Monday night. This recipe for white chilli I got from Joe Barkson's World Wide Recipes many years ago. It was sent in by one of his readers and it appealed to me. This recipe, too, I haven't made in some years, but it is a good one and somewhat different from the normal chilli recipes. I actually made half this quantity. White Chili 1 Tbs Butter 2 med onions, chopped 2 4 oz cans chopped green chilis (mild) 4 15 oz cans any kind of white beans (Navy, Pinto, Great Northern, etc.), un-drained 6 tsp chicken bouillon granules (or 6 chicken bouillon cubes) 2 bean cans water 2 tsp ground cumin 3 tsp chopped cilantro 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or more to taste 3 cooked chicken breasts, torn into bite sized pieces Shredded Monterey Jack cheese In a 4 1/2 quart (or larger) saucepan, cook onion in butter until soft, add bouillon, beans, water and chilies. Simmer till heated through (and bouillon cubes are dissolved if using cubes) - about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in cayenne pepper, cilantro, cumin and chicken and simmer again to let flavors mingle and everything is heated through. Serve with shredded Monterey Jack cheese on top. Servings: 4 Source: WW Recipes Serves 4 (hungry) or 6 (mildly hungry) people. OK to freeze leftovers to serve later. Have a great weekend.