Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dum Paneer Kali Mirch

I love Indian food:  the rich, wonderful aromas and the varied  mixtures of spices and herbs.  I've had the opportunity to view quite a number of TV cooking shows over the past 6 months that have featured Indian cooking and techniques.  And with so many wonderful vegetarian recipes to choose from, it was a natural choice for this new vegetarian venture.  

A foodie friend of mine often grills paneer; so when I found this recipe -- Dum Paneer Kali Mirch -- I was happy to have an opportunity to try cooking it myself.  Paneer is a fresh, unripened cheese used in many South Asian dishes.  Although it's not hard to make yourself, I purchased mine from the supermarket.

It took time to cut and chop and then blend & grind the 2 pastes.  But once that's done, the cooking time is short.  
While the paneer simmered on the back burner, I prepared an easy potato and green bean curry, steamed some rice and added some spicy roti flatbread.

Unfortunately, the potato/green bean curry was a bit of a dud as the curry powder I used (discovered at the back of the cupboard during a recent clean) was old and, I believe, had lost its pungency.  Sad!  Edible but sad.

But the paneer was lovely!  The cheese itself has a delicate taste and texture, and the sauce was again quite mild and delicate. This went very well with the plain rice and roti.  Still, I think next time I will play around with the flavoring a little and see if I can bring out more oomph .... a touch more cumin, coriander and perhaps garam masala. (I'll scout around other recipes for comparison.) And I'd probably serve it next time with simple sliced veggies like ripe juicy tomatoes and red onions.

I'd give this dish a 7 out of 10 on the yum scale.  

Definitely worth a repeat!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Citrus Roasted Tofu

I'm now on week 2 of being mostly vegetarian and I must say, it's been surprisingly great.  I've had a couple of dud meals where they were fairly tasteless.  (Thank you, Siracha.) And I've craved meat once or twice (and was able to satisfy the cravings with adding a chicken breast for Nagisa and I or with adding something to my lunch.)  But Lena has been a most grateful veggie-child for all my efforts -- good or bad.

I've been the lucky recipient of 3 great new-to-me cookbooks from Value Village:  vegetarian slow cooker, a Thai and an Indian.  And I've found a number of great websites and/or blogs. But of course, with many of these dishes, you have to get your pantry stocked in order to prepare the food.  In the meantime, I experiment with what I have.

This weekend when I did my weekly cooking, I prepared a chocolate chili, a shrimp curry and my daughter's adapted beet burgers.  We all love tofu, and Saturday evening's  Citrus Roasted Tofu (Food Republic) was a huge hit.
The julienned carrot/almond side was delicious as well.

An excellent recipe.  And even if you're not a tofu lover, this one may convince you!  Give it a try.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Labor Day Weekend - Food, Friends and Family

Rabbit Rabbit everyone!

Happy September!  May this month be filled with the remainder of summer -- sunshine and warmth, laughter with friends and more barbeque. And don't forget to finish those cocktails as well; they won't last until next June!

I went to a wedding dance this past Saturday.  It was held
on the couple's property in the country, well off the main road, down a dark, narrow driveway lined with votives in paper bags. When you got to the end, it opened up, and there were lanterns hung in trees and bon fires on either side. The dance was held in the newly-erected frame of the barn, and the bar was in the old barn adorned with tulle and huge Chinese lanterns.  There were tressle tables laden with food and music playing and babies and dogs and people dressed in whatever way made them feel comfortable -- which meant a wonderful collection of glitter and bling was mixed with dungarees and vintage 70's pant suits.  It was quite magical! 
The bride was my daughter's best friend whom we've known for 20 years.  And although there were lots of people there who were my age, most of the time I was the only one gal on the dance floor with the "youngsters".  What's with that, over 50-yr-olds? Regardless, I had such a lot of fun!

Besides my own 2 kids being home this weekend, I also picked up my "foreign children". Nagisa returned for her last 5 months.  And I have a newbie: 15 yr old Lena from Germany, a petite little girl with a mass of lovely wavy hair, big glasses and a sweet personality.  

 She was delighted to jump into the very cold Atlantic ocean with me on Sunday (as Nagisa sat and snapped pictures of us).  
Then she was doubly delighted to walk the boardwalk and eat Canadian ice cream; she said that Germany just has the regular flavors -- vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, etc.  She ate "Grizzly Tracks", I had "Double Decadent Chocolate" and Nagisa "Peanut Butter Cups". I can see we have a lot of ice cream to eat together!

Lena's a vegetarian who (thankfully) eats fish, dairy and eggs.  This semester will be another adventure in eating as we mix lots of good, nutritious vegetarian meals in with the occasional meat meal. She doesn't expect anything extra from me and would happily make do with whatever we eat minus the meat.  But I love to try new recipes.

This weekend, I cooked Indian as I already have a good base of vegetarian meals that I've cooked before.  But bloggie friends: If you have any suggestions for tried and true recipes, please pass them along.  

I do love a good mouthful!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The weary have returned!

Part of my time back home was wonderful (having Amy with me); and part was quite stressful.  (I lost someone in Newfoundland.) But the parts that were good were soooooo good.  Here are some pictures of our first week.

Day 2: Marble Mountain Ski Resort hike.  This short but gruelling uphill hike overlooks the scenic Humber River Valley in Western Newfoundland, with the city of Corner Brook (my hometown) in the far right corner of the lower left picture. The blonds in black are 2 of my gorgeous daughters.

On Day 4, we travelled "down the bay" from Corner Brook as far as you can go:  Bottle Cove and Little Port.  There are lots of hikes to take in this area (as in most of NL).  We choose the "full" hike in Little Port.

The1st half of our hike was a gentle 1.8 km to Cedar Cove and its rocky, driftwood strewn beach. 
We rested for a while ...... and then we got creative with the driftwood.

The 2nd half of our hike was deceiving.  See that sign that says 1.8 km to the Little Port lighthouse site?  Hmmm! 1.8 of extreme trail? Well, we thought: you have to go up and across and then down again.  We can do 1.8 km of that!

The sign actually meant 1.8 km UP the side of the mountain -- not all the way to the lighthouse site.  The knotted rope was a necessity and NOT a suggestion.  We plateaued at the top and met spectacular vistas. It was breathtaking! Then we went down the mountain another 1.5 km or so --- backwards with the aid of knotted ropes -- to the lighthouse site. Then we went down on a more gentle slope until we once again reached where we had started.

That sign lied!  That half of the hike was about 6 km total.  

OMG!  Legs! Lungs! Feet! Hands!

Large quantities of beer and chicken wings were needed afterwards!  Thanks Wing 'n It and Libby!

And that's just Week 1.  Ahhhhh, Newfoundland.  You're grand!

Still, it's really good to be back home in NS.

After all, taking a vacation is pretty tiring work!  

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Oh the rollin' of the sea is beckonin' to me.
Sayin' come my son I'll show you things you've never seen before
Come set your spirit free on the winds of history
Hoist your sails & charge a course & go out & explore.
Oh the rollin' of the sea is beckonin' to me.

It's that most wonderful time of the year again. This year, I have my lovely Amy to share it with.  There'll be lots of driving, an overnight stay with friends, a 6-8 hr ferry ride, and then more driving before we even reach our destination.  She'll sit moose-watch (very important when driving in Newfoundland); I'll drive.  

We'll see family; I'll meet old friends and she'll gain new.  We'll eat and eat and eat and eat -- cod fish, fish & brewis, jiggs dinner, toutins, chips 'n' dressing 'n' gravy.  We'll have to make a concerted effort to put green things on our plate.  We'll surround ourselves with family ...... and run away to hike when they become too much.  (And vice versa!)  Then we head East for a 5-day 3-member family road trip, eat more, drink a little too much, stay at quaint places with odd place names.    

Yup!  It's vacation time.

See you in a few weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Old Friends ..... Bookends!

What's sweeter than an unexpected visit from a long ago, absent friend.  25+ years since we'd sat and laughed and shared.  And although we'd kept up via others, it was wonderful to wrap arms around each other in greeting, look deep into each others eyes and say "Hi!  Long time, no see."

The weekend also contained beautiful sunshine, a trip to my local Frenchies thrift store (where I scored this pair of Tom's for $10), brunch at the farmer's market, and lots of relaxation on the deck with my Saturday crossword puzzle and a beverage.  

One of those beverages was a cocktail made from soda water and the Strawberry Vodka that I made last weekend.  Look at that beautiful color.  And it tasted like fresh strawberries.  So yummy!

I used the "bleached" strawberries and a couple of quarts of fresh strawberries to make strawberry freezer jam ..... but all the strawberries floated to the top of the jars!  Sad?  No; not at all. I get strawberry jam on the top layer and strawberry sauce on the bottom. 

The weekend included a much anticipated, much desired visit to 
Hell's Bay microbrewery  in Liverpool NS where I picked up a couple of growlers (large, brown jugs) of beer -- one as a gift and one as a sampler for Amy and I.  There's a lovely relaxed attitude between us both concerning things like formal mealtimes, so that means plenty of opportunity for impromptu snacking on delicious treats.   
Do try these "Beanitos"; they are scrumptious ..... especially with a roasted red pepper dip.  

Sunday morning, I attempted to counter my weekend indulgences with a 1/2 hr walk to meet another friend for our monthly coffee chat; and then my return walk home was to be on the trail/old railway line which I'd never attempted before.  What fun! 

Note of advice:  Do not attempt to walk for 1.5 hr at noon on a hot summer day when your water bottle is only half full and the last half of the walk is uphill! Oy vey! Thank goodness for the A&W at the 3/4 mark. That ice cold root beer and padded swivel chair felt soooo good.  I made it home in one piece thanks in part to Albert and Walter!

This week has been much less adventurous as my shins and feet are still recovering.  How easily we forget our age and ability, huh!