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Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day 1

Greetings Everyone….

Aside from wishing all my followers a very Happy Canada Day, I also wish to announce that I will heading to Edmonton on Friday (hence the photograph showing Iqaluit as I hope to be seeing it a few days hence). Once again the National Criminal Law Conference is being held and this year it is out west (it was Halifax last year, and Charlottetown in 2016). I have blog posts in the publication queue for each Sunday that I am away and, on my return, I will be posting a whole new series of restaurant reviews.

Anyway, as I have learned on a couple or previous visits, Alberta is the place for steak in Canada. I have not been to Edmonton before but I have already picked out a couple of interesting looking steak-houses near my hotel. I always have at least one steak meal on my travels but, this being Alberta, I will be trying three or four places at least. I have a pretty decent list of other interesting restaurants in the downtown area that I wish to try but if any of my readers are aware of any particular places I should visit, please drop me a line…

Back soon…

 

 

Experiment: Scallion Pesto Grilled Scallops

Scallion Pesto Scallops 1 I put together this little dish to try out another use for some of the Scallion-Garlic Pesto I posted about recently. The pesto is actually quite flavorful and can be used at full strength with very bland ingredients (such as pasta), or else ingredients that are very strong tasting themselves, but for more delicately flavored items, especially white fish or shellfish, it is probably wise to tone down the scallion effect a little. For these scallops, I used a little the pesto as just the base for a creamy sauce. First, I melted a little butter in a small pan and then added the extra liquor from the scallops and a small splash of white wine. When the liquid was reduced I added couple of tablespoons of the pesto (the variety without cheese added) and then enough cream to make a nice sauce. As soon as the sauce was ready, I quickly grilled a couple of scallops (large ones cut into two pieces horizontally). I needed no seasonings here and as soon as the outside were seared with grill marks (leaving the center still slightly rare), I poured a little of the sauce into a dish, plated the scallops, and spooned some more sauce over the top. I garnished with a couple of strips of lemon zest and ate them right away. They were good J

Simple Roast Cauliflower

Simple Roast Cauliflower 1

Cauliflower is not a widely appreciated vegetable. This is perhaps understandable given that many people’s experience of it is the boiled article, whose bland taste is faintly reminiscent of old cabbage water and not much improved even with lashings of cheese sauce.  Steaming is only marginally better, in that some of the original fresh taste is not leached away as it is with boiling, but it still does not curry much favor with a lot of diners, particularly children.

Roasting, on the other hand, produces a cauliflower treat that even confirmed haters can warm to… The subtle notes of the fresh vegetable are enhanced, instead of diminished, and the process gives a rich, in some ways ‘nutty’ depth to the vegetable. Mostly, I have usually only included cauliflower as just one item in a mélange of roast veggies, but I recently put together the following preparation as a ‘cauliflower-only’ side-dish for a steak dinner… Read more

(Sigh) …

Iqaluit June 19

After several nice sunny days in the past week or so, many people were saying that summer may finally be upon us… then this!

It’s only 7:30 in the morning as I write this and whatever snow falls will almost certainly be gone by mid-day (one hopes), but, still… the white stuff is getting a little old, I have to say.

As you can see, the ice on the pond known as ‘Dead Dog Lake’ has receded but not yet gone. On a brighter note, though, the day before yesterday I spied a couple of ducks paddling about near the shore. I have seen plenty of geese here in the Arctic but never any ducks and I have no idea what breed they might have been. I wish I had thought to take a picture of them when I had the chance. Anyway, when I mentioned them to my wife (who is enjoying much nicer weather in Nova Scotia) she also expressed surprise at the presence of ducks up here and suggested that maybe it has something to do with climate change. Who knows?

Anyway, in a little over a week I will be heading south (and west) for a conference in Edmonton… I suspect it isn’t snowing there.

 

 

Scallion-Garlic Pesto

Scallion Garlic Pesto 1

The inspiration for today’s post came from my fellow blogger Daisy (aka Baconbiscuit212) who recently posted a recipe for her own creation, Ramp Pesto. Ramps are a vegetable product that have not made it to my corner of the world thus far, unfortunately, and I wondered if I could make something similar using scallions. Actually, the result I came up with is really two sorts of pesto as you can make a version that includes Parmesan, and one without…

Basically, you can use my scallion pesto anywhere that you would use a more traditional basil Pesto. Daisy suggests using hers as a pasta sauce, a steak topping and as a dip for bread. To the latter, I would also add that it would be a good topping for bruschetta as well and, especially using the non-cheese variety, as a sauce base for fish or shellfish. Read more

Experiment: Crackling Bites

Crackling Bites 1A

I was recently thinking about using those commercially packaged pork rinds as a substitute for crackers or bread in canapé type appetizers and it struck me that one could probably use the lovely crackling from an actual roast of pork to good effect. Today, I am going to show you what I did in my very first experiment along these lines. I’m not going to provide you with a proper detailed recipe just yet because, though interesting, the result needs a little more work… Read more

Iqaluit … June First

Iqaluit June 1

For most of Canada, June 1st pretty much is the start of summer…

The above picture is taken from the hill behind my house that overlooks Frobisher Bay. The ice on the bay doesn’t usually break up until July but, usually, the snow has pretty much gone by now. This year it seems to be hanging around quite obstinately. Some will always be visible in the hills in the distance, but I’d say we still have a good few weeks before the ‘town snow’ has completely disappeared. Naturally, the weather forecast for tomorrow is calling for 5 cm of snow to fall :(

 

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Veal with Peppers and Mushrooms

Veal with Peppers and Mushrooms 1

I put together this little recipe to use up the last of the Marinated Peppers I made and posted about a few weeks ago. I followed that original post with another one featuring a dish I called Pasta with Pork and Peppers and that inspired me to do something somewhat similar using veal as the combination of veal with peppers is very popular in Italian cuisine. Since the marinated peppers and their oil are already very robustly flavored with garlic and thyme, I have added little else to this dish by way of seasoning other than some lemon juice, lemon zest, and a little salt and pepper.

You could easily serve this over, or tossed with pasta, but I am just going to serve mine for supper along with just some crusty bread…  Read more

Black Bean Steamed Clams

Black Bean Steamed Clams 1

I don’t recall actually ever seeing steamed clams as a dim sum offering in a restaurant, but this combination of clams and salted black beans, along with other typically Chinese seasonings certainly does make a nice ‘small plate’ delicacy and that’s what I had in mind when I put together today’s recipe. I am using the Mirabel brand of small frozen clams as these are deliciously sweet and look very pretty for this sort of dish, but you can use fresh ones of any type…  Read more

Experiment: Pasta with Pork and Peppers

Pasta with Pork and Peppers 1

Last week, I posted the recipe for a batch of Marinated Peppers I made and I mentioned that I planned to use some the result for a Roast Pork Sandwich project I was working on. Well, I did, in fact, do up a pork roast and I played around with my sandwich Idea using the peppers as well. The result, however, though delicious, was not especially photogenic so I haven’t reproduced a picture here…

Anyway, I used some of the leftover pork and more of the peppers to make the pasta dish you see above. I fried some strips of pork just to brown them and then I set them aside and added a healthy one-third of a cup of the marinating oil from the peppers into the pan. I quickly sautéed about a half-dozen chopped cherry tomatoes in the oil (for a little acidity) and then tossed in some of the peppers and little chunks of garlic that were also in the marinating oil. After sautéeing for just a couple of minutes, I added in a batch of freshly cooked pasta, tossed it well, and then served with grated Parmesan Cheese.

The result was a very pleasant meal. Other than a little salt, the dish needed no other seasoning as the marinated peppers and the oil already pack a flavor punch alone. I have decided that keeping a batch of these on hand at all times is a great idea, not merely for a snack or appetizer emergencies, but also to add a flavor fillip to all sorts of dishes…

 

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