Archive for October, 2010

Eating in Ottawa

October 27, 2010

Cari and I spent the weekend in Ottawa, Ontario.  It had been many years since I visited my nation’s capital, and in an attempt to find an easy-to-get-to weekend getaway, all signs pointed to Ottawa for our last weekend away before the baby is born.

Visiting a new city or country provides a foodie with the great opportunity to discover the best eating and drinking a city has to offer.  At the same time, the opportunity is too often blown by the daunting process of finding the right places to eat.  Thankfully, as we had exercised on our latest trip to New York City, the right research will often lead you to some fantastic restaurants.  In the end, our food experiences in Ottawa were varied in that we were led our way by an Internet search, a word of mouth recommendation from a chance encounter in an elevator, a piece of hotel literature and an Urbanspoon search for “Bagels.”

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Penne with Poblanos and Chipotle Sauce

October 20, 2010

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After making and freezing many batches of homemade tomato sauce, we’ve been relying primarily on what is lurking in our freezer for quick weeknight dinners. In other words, we’ve had our fair share of pasta with tomato sauce. And while it’s tasty, we were a bit ready for something new.

Adam stumbled upon this recipe, and it fit the bill well. It’s a southwest take on a pasta dish – with great smokey flavours along with a nice creaminess of sour cream. It kind of tasted like combo of a fajita and pasta. In fact, perhaps next time we should throw in some grilled chicken and serve with tortilla chips and guacamole on the side. Mmmm.

Best of all, it’s an extremely easy dish to throw together, and one I’m sure we’ll make again.

The only substitution we made was to use whole wheat pasta penne in place of ziti, and we used light sour cream instead of full fat. It made for a much healthier dish, and the whole wheat pasta held up well with all of the flavour going on with the sauce. I think it would work well with a variety of flavours – so feel free to play with quantities and flavours.

Full recipe: Penne with Poblanos and Chipotle Sauce

Cake Decorating for Food Network Canada

October 6, 2010

I love television.  I also happen to work for one of the largest Canadian broadcasting companies, which means virtually everything I do at work has to do with TV stations and shows.  My job is still a desk job that deals with a lot of numbers and charts, but every once in a while a fun opportunity to get involved comes around.

American audiences have been watching Food Network since its launch stateside in 1993.  Here in Canada, it was brought to cable providers in 1997 before being supplanted by a partially Canadianized version in 2000.  As it happens, Food Network is one of our properties, and as part of celebrations surrounding the 10th anniversary of Food Network Canada, a cake decorating competition was held for staff to get involved in.

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Super Intense Garlicky Tomato Sauce

October 4, 2010

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October is here, which means our garden is slowly transitioning back to its fall/winter wasteland.  We ended up turning most of our tomato crop into tomato sauce this year, so it seemed fitting that I took whatever tomatoes were left and did another batch.  Rather than the Joy of Cooking recipe and sun-dried tomato variations we had already tried earlier in the season, we decided to give this Epicurious recipe a try.

My favourite thing about this recipe is that it allowed me to use four heads of garlic.  No, I don’t mean cloves – four heads of garlic.  It also didn’t use filler ingredients like carrots and celery, or even onion.  Beyond the tomatoes, all it calls for is garlic, olive oil and some red pepper flakes to provide a bit of heat.  This made it extremely easy to adjust based on the number of tomatoes we had.

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Meeting Mark Bittman

October 2, 2010

Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Frequent visitors to our blog know that New York Times food writer Mark Bittman has been a bit of an inspiration to us in the kitchen over the past year.  At this point we probably trust his How To Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian more than any other cookbooks.  As a mostly vegetarian household, we appreciate the fact that he has a place for meat, but one that is secondary to other food products like vegetables and grains.  This philosophy is further manifested in his book Food Matters and recent follow-up cookbook The Food Matters Cookbook.

We were thrilled to learn that Mark Bittman himself would be appearing at Wychwood Barns, the building near us that houses the Green Barn Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning.  In conversation with CBC’s Matt Galloway, Bittman explained his mentality about cooking, eating and food production.  He also took time to answer some of the audience’s questions and sign his books.  Bittman has a philosophy of eating vegan for most of the day and meat at dinner.  We told him that our meat consumption is mostly on weekends, and he seemed impressed.  Go us!

We haven’t tried any of the recipes in Bittman’s new cookbook yet, but we encourage you all to buy a copy.  We’ll likely post about what we try over the next few weeks.  I have a feeling this will be a very Bittman-heavy week.