A Meal out of Three Cookbooks

A great selection of three cookbooks with themes are used to build a wonderful 3-course meal.

The internet is an infinite source for recipes, no one can deny that, but sometimes sitting in your favorite chair and leafing through a cookbook can be really relaxing and gratifying. Cookbooks also have a great knack for gathering a whole bunch of recipes on a specific theme. Today I will give you a brief introduction to such three cookbooks I received recently: Spiralizer, Slow-cooker and Vegetarian Thai.

A Meal out of 3 great Cookbooks

I have savored my time leafing through these cookbooks and testing out some of the recipes lately. I am including the main description of the books, a recipe and a “my-2-cents” paragraph for each. Bon Appetit!

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Maritime Road Tripping and Lobster Overdosing

A glorious pictorial Maritime Road Tripping tour of Nova Scotia & New Brunswick via fishing villages, spectacular coastlines, seafood galore and libatious finds!

I know, my title is technically false. How can anyone overdose on lobster! I was so happy to devour luscious lobster in some form for 6 out of my 9 travel days. I would have to say instead I had to face lobster withdrawal once back to routine and reality!

The docks of the fishing village Peggy’s Cove NS

cover

Today I plan on overdosing you on pictures! Very few wordy paragraphs, instead you will get loads of pictures with a quick commentary. Enjoy!

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Strolling and Eating our way through New Orleans and Louisiana

Finally my long promised post with clicks, stories and foods from my trip to New Orleans, Louisiana back in March 2014. Wow does life ever get in the way of goals. My friend Karen and I set off for on a 7-day vacation and a visit to our friend Raquel, who moved to New Orleans from Montreal this past summer.

This was my second time actually in the Big Easy but a good 10 years had elapsed since my first trip. I was really looking forward to my trip as the first one was a short blitz. I knew what foods I wanted to eat again…and try the ones I missed out the first time around. Still in 7 days on location I did not cover the whole list. So when is trip three going to be? Oh well not right away but let me reminisce a bit, this is but a sliver of all we did, ate, saw and experienced.

intro

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

From the Sea Stew

Well if you think I was going to make my lobster broth and move on without another word you were oh so wrong! Of course I was planning on using a good amount of my many liters pronto. And my first use of the lobster broth will be for a delicious fish stew.

I am not normally a big fan of fish stews or soups but I came across a flavorful recipe with good potential. I gave it a go and I was very satisfied with the results. It makes a big batch and I live alone….3 days 3 bowls an I am still in love. Today for lunch I topped it of with a hard boiled egg and it was a lovely addition. So if you are also not a big fan of fish soups I would keep an open mind and give this one a shot!

Fish Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb, green tops and core removed, white part chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • 14 oz canned tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups of fish or lobster stock
  • salt and pepper
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 24 ounces of any assorted fish scraps: lobster, shrimp, salmon, halibut, haddock, cut into large chunks

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot, sauté the fennel, onions and garlic in the olive oil until they soften.
  2. Pour in the wine and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, fennel seeds, hot pepper flakes, saffron, bay leaves and stock.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the orange zest and fish to the simmering soup and bring back to a boil while stirring gently.
  6. Lower heat again and let simmer for 15 minutes and serve immediately.

A Wolf in Tenderloin’s Clothing Pork Tebderloin

I really really really think (I hope) I am on the last leg of this laryngitis. Yes I still have some symptoms. I went to the clinic finally on Friday when I woke up with a terrible sore throat, nasal passage…spare you the details. So it is officially laryngitis, the viral no antibiotics but not contagious kind. I was given a nasal spray with cortisone and steroids. My nose and throat will soon be powerful.

Now one of the MAJOR drawbacks of such an illness is the NO ALCOHOL rule, one I followed as best I could. Yeah alcohol is bad and dehydrates. But I LOVE my booze! OK before I sound like a drunk let me precise I like the occasional wine glass with dinner even on a week night and and drinks can be part of a weekend outing too. And as Murphy’s Law likes to have it, I was recently sent a bottle of Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2009 to try. I stared at it day in and day out for 2 weeks…it was torture.

Not only did I want to be able to truly enjoy and critique this wine fairly but I also wanted to cook something appropriate for its flavors…but I have been too tired to cook lately. Well I had enough yesterday and stuck with a simple yet delicious meal to accompany my long needed pleasurable glass of wine. My simple affair was a lovely pan pork tenderloin served with ready made salad and corn chips.

I have been a fan of Wolf Blass wines for quite sometime. I think the Shiraz was the very first Australian wine I bought year ago. Wolf Blass Wines was established in 1966 by a German immigrant named Wolfgang Blass in South Australia’s Barossa Valley. Today it is owed by Beringer Blass. White wines are sold under the White, Yellow, Green and Gold labels, where as the reds are sold under Red, Yellow, Brown, Grey and Black labels. Yellow Label and Red Label are considered everyday drinking wines.

Chardonnay is what I would call the safest bet for a white wine as it tends to be neutral in flavor compared to some other grapes. Chances are a Chardonnay will please all palates, especially the wine novice. This is not to say there are no complex Chardonnays that will enthrall the connoisseur. Quite the contrary. But this Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2009 is a safe buy. The color is a light yellow-green and the taste has notes of white peaches, melon and nectarines. The oak taste is not overpowering and it leaves a buttery texture in the mouth. It is crisp without being to acidic.

Again this wine is not meant for a major WOW factor but is more of a lovely everyday white wine, in my opinion. I really did enjoy it and would have it regularly for non special occasions. Now what to serve with it? Well this particular Chardonnay goes well with fish, seafood, white meats, spicy Asian dishes, as well as earthy foods like mushrooms and aged cheeses. I chose to go with a pork tenderloin that I marinated and then pan fried. I thought it was a perfect combination. Just marinate for a good  hour and then cook in a pan with a bit of olive oil. I like my pork with a very pink shade personally. Here is the marinade I used, just mix it up and put on the meat:

Wolf in Tenderloin’s Clothing Marinade

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp Dijon mustard with seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Vacation Eatz: Sanitary Beach

No, Raleigh is not by the beach as most people seem to think. Depending on which beach you decide to go it can be anywhere from a 2h30min drive to 5h. Going to the beach for me was a priority so my host was accommodating. We went the first and last day. I may not enjoy spending the whole day on the beach but for me a holiday without sand in my toes and a swim in the ocean is just not complete. First day we went to Wilmington beach and the last day we went to the Fort Macon State Park near Morehead City.

On that last day we decided ultimately to have dinner in the area before heading back home to Raleigh. Being by the sea I had a hankering for some seafood. We went to Morehead City where we checked out about 3 restaurants. We settled on Sanitary Fish Market (a fave of my friend’s dad apparently). Sexy and appetizing name, I know! But there is a story behind it…

On February 10, 1938, two partners, Tony Seamon and Ted Garner, opened a fresh seafood market on the Morehead City waterfront. A small building had been rented from Charles S. Wallace for $5.50 per week with the understanding that no beer or wine would be sold and that the premises be kept clean and neat. The name “Sanitary Fish Market” was chosen by the partners to project their compliance.

By the spring of 1938 it had 10 stools in the market to serve seafood. Sanitary Restaurant opened in 1942. Since 1969 they can sit over 600 people! You don,t actually sit in a room with 600 people though. it is split up into 3-4 rooms. You can tell each room was a built addition. Of course it is located on the waterfront. The atmosphere is very reminiscent of a coast seafood shack…just a big one.

When you sit down you get a basket of hush puppies. Apparently hush puppies are a normal thing here because in 6 days this was my 3 or 4th free basket of hush puppies. These were the best! I am not going to tell you more about them…this will be a future post! One thing I will say: they may taste good but the shape (which is the common shape) is way too similar to a small turd!

We shared a starter of Peel-& Eat shrimps. The concept is fun – you have to shell them – but they were rather tasteless. Rich had a fried combo plate of shrimp, scallops and clam strips. The scallops were amazing. I opted for a daily special of a full Flounder stuffed with crab. The fish was very good but it really needed more seasoning in my opinion. I ate like half it was a huge portion. One of my sides was a stuffed baked potato which was awesome but I was so full my friend had most of it. He can be a bottomless pit lol.

I have traveled extensively over the US and restaurant, service, customs can vary greatly. There are a few things I noticed here in the South that stood out for me…coming from Montreal, Canada:

1) Waiters are always in a good mood, always give their first name and will usually bend over backwards to get you what you want.

2) Restaurant food in North Carolina is dirt cheap! Most of the bills for us two were not far off what in Montreal would be per person.

3) Service is wayyyyy to quick. Like you order and 5 to 10 min later you have your main meal. For me a nice Montreal dinner outing is a good 2-3 hours spaced over time. In no way did the staff ever make me feel rushed to leave the table but you can tell the general mentality is get in, eat fast, get out. Eating out should be an event, and experience…not a chore to get over asap. But I digress, that is the European side in me talking perhaps.

And so you have it. I hope you enjoyed this little Vacation Eatz series of my summer holiday. We will soon be returning to our normal program. Actually first thing up will be a restaurant review: Bofinger. This Montreal restaurant (a chain now with 4 addresses) specializes exactly in the Southern food I ate for 6 days while in NC. Did I think they measured up to the real deal? Tune in to find out!

Hellish Weekend and Indiana Exchange

I had a weekend from HELL. After an absolutely lovely dinner with the Cheap Ethnic Eatz group I went home. After the initial shock subsided and I confirmed I had not been robbed I realized there had been extensive water damage to my apartment.

I live in a high rise with a pool on top on the 20th floor. I live on the 18th. Apparently a pool pipe burst (actually heard rumors now some opened the wrong valve) and leaked in the building. Apparently visible damage in apartments were felt all the way down to the 6th floor. When I got home 3 area carpets where thrown in the bathtub, the bathroom still had 1 cm of water on half the floor, there were to mystery mops in the hall way, 2 pans where taken from my cupboards to collect dripping water from my pantry in the kitchen, and worse was the bedroom: the bed was pushed across the opposite side of the room, the mattress was standing up pushed against the commodes, my bedding (ALL OF IT) wet AND they used the cat’s liter box as a water collector to for water dripping from the ceiling…a dirty wet liter box!! Thank god my mattress has a plastic wrapping on it. It smelled of dirty pipe water and half my place was affected.

Its 9h30pm on a Friday night. No one even tried to contact me about this during the day! I call the landlord and am told what happened…apparently 6 firemen and 3 employees where mopping up my place for a while. Nothing can be done till Monday we’ll see then. Cats are hiding terrorized. I wanted to cry! Neighbors I met in the hallway over the weekend told me what they witnessed. The guy upstairs had his place destroyed and the firemen had to break down his door to get in.

Tally: I took pics and will see with the Quebec rental board before contacting the building owners. I only lost 10$ worth of food. Everything else is laundry or cleaning. But the apt is damaged in the kitchen, my bedroom floor has buckled up on 1/2 the floor surface, etc.


I was not alone with bad news. One friend had her car stolen Saturday night and my other friend was over for dinner last night got a call and got fired at 10pm from her part-time job. This week-end SUCKED! I twitted to death about all that was going on this weekend. Matt from Menu Musings sweetly offered to help.  Thanks, Matt, that was really sweet!

We actually just did an exchange I did not have time to post yet but this is appropriate now. he had told me before hand, but funny enough instead of getting local products I got all Asian products (not that he is Asian either). I got quite a package from him with unusual items. I got a spice mix to make Kimchi, chop sticks, a spice  mix to make a hot pot…and Jelly Fish.

Yes jelly fish. I have actually already eaten jelly fish before in my life but its the first time I have some in my house. This will be interesting! I had posted a recipe for it a long time ago. It is mostly used for salads. I found this recipe to find out what I had been served at this restaurant…I guess now I can actually do it myself!