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Sautéed Mushrooms

Sauteed Mushrooms 1

Sautéed mushrooms may seem like a fairly pedestrian recipe for a blog post but, the truth is, I have been served so many poor renditions of this simple side dish that I thought I might share my basic technique for producing a pretty delicious result. The general theme can easily be ‘riffed’ on the inclusion of various herbs or other additions but, for this post, I will keep things fairly straightforward. Tonight, this particular effort will go as a topping for some lovely strip-steaks I bought for supper… Read more

A Blogging Milestone….

Views Shot 1

This morning, at 8:06am, I finally hit 100,000 hits to my blog. It took me about 16 months to accumulate that many page views but it certainly made my day.

Back in January, I announced that I had completed a whole year of writing posts every single day and mentioned that, henceforth, I would be taking it a little easier so as to leave me time for other endeavors. I have finally settled in to a routine of a post every three days, which is certainly a lot easier. In fact, I have actually completed sufficient food-related posts to keep me going up until mid-August already, with the result that I can occasionally do other posts on non-food matters when the fancy strikes me. Under this new regime, I can occasionally say to heck with writing anything for a day or two and not feel like I am neglecting my readers.

Anyway, I suppose the next goal will be a quarter of a million hits. I hope you will all still be reading…

Grilled Melon with Prosciutto

Melon Prosciutto 1

Serving slices of Cantaloupe wrapped with thin slices of Prosciutto is a pretty well-known Italian appetizer. It is usually served cold, however, and I wanted to try doing something a little different. Wrapping all sorts of different things in Prosciutto and then grilling, baking or frying is not that uncommon, and I have used the technique in a number of posts, including: Prosciutto Wrapped Prawns, Chicken with Prosciutto and Asiago and Prosciutto Rolls stuffed with Shrimp. Fruit is sometimes given the same treatment, and for this experiment, I decided to grill prosciutto wrapped slices of cantaloupe, chill them, and then serve them as a cold appetizer along with a suitable sauce… Read more

Source: Manphong Supermarket – Ottawa

Manphong 1

775 Somerset St W, Ottawa – 613-230-9934

Whenever I get to make an excursion to Ottawa’s Chinatown, I always make a point of visiting the Kowloon Market and Wa Kiu Foods to purchase food supplies for home. Depending on how much I have purchased at these two aforementioned places, I also usually stop in to Manphong as well. Very probably, this post will not be particularly interesting to my non-Ottawa based readers, but for those of you who live in the capital, or will be visiting sometime, this place is really worth a look… Read more

Lemon Pesto Chicken

Lemon Pesto Chicken 1

This particular experiment was inspired by not much more than a need to use some basil I had in the fridge before it wilted away. I had a couple of chicken pieces set aside for supper and I decided it would be nice to bake them with a nice pesto marinade. A little lemon zest, I thought, might add a nice little sparkle of flavor… Read more

Notable Nosh: Octopus

Octopus 1

I first ate octopus aboard a Portuguese Navy Destroyer back in 1981 and I have loved it ever since. It is a shame, however, that, although I have eaten it many different times, and many different ways, I have yet to have had an opportunity to cook it in my own kitchen. I’d love to try my hand at it sometime as I gather that can be a bit of a challenge. Apparently, it is a delicacy that requires considerable preparation (such as prolonged pounding) to tenderize it before cooking.

One of my favorite ways to eat octopus is as sashimi as this really allows the delicate sweetness of the flesh to shine. Sashimi is generally associated with raw fish or shellfish (even meat occasionally), but there are a few specialties, such as octopus, that are exceptions. Octopus, I can only assume, would be far too tough and chewy to be eaten in its natural state, although, in the interests of culinary experimentation, I’d probably be willing to give it a try sometime…

The slices of octopus sashimi pictured above was served to me at Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa a while ago. The knife work really wasn’t very expertly handled on this occasion (and this can make a surprising difference to almost all types of sashimi), but the flesh was still nicely tender and very sweet as well. Normally, in these ‘Notable Nosh’ posts, I just feature a single dish, but I thought that this time I might also share a couple of other octopus preparations as well… Read more

Nunavut: Pangnirtung Again…

Whaling 1

Does anyone care to take a stab at identifying the purpose of those rusted metal receptacles pictured above?

The picture was taken early this morning up in the remote community of Pangnirtung, which I have already featured in a couple of posts this year. I was up there, as always, for the regular thrice-yearly Court sittings and, while I usually enjoy these trips, this one was a bit dismal… Read more

Tienjin Baozi

Tienjin Bao 1

I have published quite a number of posts featuring the Chinese dumplings commonly known as ‘Jiaozi’, all of which are comprised of fillings of one sort or another wrapped in a dough made simply of flour and water. The similar sounding ‘Baozi’, on the other hand, are formed with a leavened dough and are more ‘bun-like’ generally, although the steamed variety (as opposed to baked), are very like steamed or boiled jiaozi except in the texture of the skin.

I wanted to try using some of my Tienjin Pickled Vegetable in some sort of ‘bao’ after having used it with some pleasing results in jiaozi and I discovered, while doing a little research, that Tientsin is actually famous as the birthplace of a particular class of bao known as ‘Goubuli baozi’ (狗不理). The name has an interesting origin, which you can read at in more depth if you follow the preceding link, but it is commonly translated as ‘Dogs-will-ignore Dumplings’, and typically contains pork. For this experiment, I am not actually trying to reproduce any of the many varieties that exist (chiefly as I have never eaten them anywhere), and so I am simply calling this experiment ‘Tienjin Baozi’… Read more

Foodstuff: Mangosteen

Mangosteen 1

This curious object, which looks for all the world like a little wooden apple, is yet another of those obscure culinary items that occasionally turn up in our local Co-op from time to time. They were identified as ‘Sharron Fruit’ on a hand lettered sign (a name which meant nothing to me), but each of the little fruit had a tiny sticky label on them bearing the name ‘Mangosteen’ (which was at least familiar). The appellation ‘Sharron Fruit’, it turned out, was actually the name of the Company from which the fruit had been purchased so it was obvious that the store employee stocking the shelves was not too familiar with the item either. In any event, whatever the name, I had never seen these before and naturally had to investigate… Read more

A Death in the Family

Fluffy 1

Not a happy tale today….  Yesterday, one of our older cats had to be assisted in shuffling off this mortal coil. That’s a difficult thing at the best of times but, it was probably made a little easier in this case because it was something we had actually been expecting for quite a while.

When my wife and I bought our farm in New Brunswick back in the late 90’s we inherited two cats who were abandoned there by the previous owners. These two cats were very much ‘barn cats’ and, although we left food out for them (to supplement their diet of mice) they didn’t come into the house very much at first and, accordingly, we simply named them ‘Barn Kitty 1’ and ‘Barn Kitty 2’.

Gradually though, the pair began to sleep inside the house and thereafter continued to hunt for amusement rather than sustenance. Over time, ‘BK1’ was transmogrified into ‘Big Fat Kitty’ as her girth increased with the soft life, while ‘BK2’, now immortalized in the above picture’ had her name changed to ‘Fluffy’. When we sold our farm in 2000 and moved north, the two old cats moved with us, and our family eventually included 5 cats in all… until yesterday, of course.

We have no idea how old Fluffy was as she was clearly a fully grown adult when we inherited her. She was with us for about 16 years and was, at our best guess, well over twenty. About two years ago, it became apparent that she was almost totally deaf and her eyesight was obviously beginning to fail as well. She was never a big solid cat like BFK, quite skinny in fact, but over the last year or so she became scrawnier and scrawnier and we got used to the fact that she probably wouldn’t be with us much longer.

At the end, Fluffy’s final decline was very rapid. A few days earlier, she began walking very awkwardly and it was obvious that, if she could see anything at all, her eyesight was just about gone. She was reluctant to lie down and would half stand, half crouch with her head almost resting on the floor, sometime panting, sometimes deathly still. It was, I recall thinking, disturbingly like the last days of Elizabeth I, who reputedly refused to take to her bed and remained on her feet for hours upon hours before finally giving out. It was obvious the poor cat was not having a happy time and thus we knew we had to make ‘the call’ to the vet.

Anyway, no moralizing or philosophical musings on euthanasia here… I just would like to say that we were very, very glad to be able to see our pet off more easily than she would have gone otherwise…

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