25 October 2009


Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks back, and we had the good fortune of attending three different thanksgiving dinners, saving the final dinner for the one at our house on Thanksgiving Monday. We were ready this year!

Our lovely CSA providers, Coopers Farm, had delivered the goods on a fresh gigantic turkey, as well as a CSA box full of Thanksgiving staple veg.

And like the loser I am, I completely failed to take photos while things were cooking or just being served! I was so excited to try everything and to ensure that our guests were happy and contended (which included three children who we weren't sure what types of food they liked) that I just didn't get to it until after we had started eating. But like many Thanksgiving dinners, it centered on turkey and fixings. But started with G's fantastic roasted tomato soup...

Here's the pot cooking. Tomato soup is always a bit of a crapshoot. I love it, but not everyone does, so we were a bit nervous. But we had to use up the rest of our roasted tomatoes, so it fit the bill. There was no reason to worry. The soup went down a treat! Everyone loved it, even the kids, and this entire pot of soup was finished!!!

From there, things started coming to the table.


Not homemade, alas, but delicious.

We make our turkey in the oven bag... do you do this? Here it is out of the bag...

The bag gaves us all that juice that you see in our lovely new pan, a Demeyere saucepan that has a 7-layer InductoBase that makes it heat quickly and easily. I must confess, I was given this pan because I have the blog, and have had it for a bit. I now use it all the time. It heats so evenly, it cooks rice unbelievably, nothing stick to the stainless steel "Silvinox" bottom, and it cleans up like crazy. It's really heavy and the lid fits on seamlessly, so while you see it holding the turkey juice from the bag here, it's also made all sorts of bechamel sauces, rice, risotto, mashed potatoes, whatever else you can think of. It's not cheap, but I highly recommend this line and can't wait to try out another piece!

But back to the turkey... the bag just completely rules. We take the turkey, season it up, put it in the bag with some veg for flavour, and let it take care of itself. It cooks incredibly fast in the bag, and doesn't have to messed with at all. It's absolutely lovely and it makes clean up a breeze.

We also had a couple of stand-bys that you've seen before... the wild rice stuffing...

I shook it up by adding quite a bit of sauteed mushrooms to this mix. Really good. We also had my fresh cranberry sauce that I failed to take a photo of at all, but it was loved universally by the table.

We had mashed potatoes...

They were a hit! And some very "smokey" green beans (where smokey is nice speak for burned!)...

But otherwise, I just took fresh green beans and cooked them in a saute pan with a little bit of chicken broth. LOVELY until I burned them. *Smack on the forehead*

And then for my chanciest dish... a brussel sprout gratin.

I wasn't sure what to do. I really wanted to make something rich to have with dinner, as I always really like one kind of crazy heavy thing on the plate, but because I am trying to lose weight, I didn't want to make it crazy. So I mixed up a recipe for a brussel sprout gratin that I had found, and made the sauce with flour and milk (no butter) and added less gruyere cheese, but more parmesan, and salt and pepper with bread crumbs on top.

There it is, with people eating tons of them! I was shocked because I really dislike brussel sprouts, but I enjoyed them and everyone at them up! Good stuff.

But as with all things, the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner came with the leftover sandwich...

Oh yeah! Little leftover buns with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potato, and a little bit of mayo. I probably ate about five of these perfect sandwiches over the course of the week... They are such a lovely way to eat leftovers!

G's Mexican Journey.

G has had a long standing love affair with Rick Bayless. This love affair began long before his stint on Top Chef Masters, but that show really only solidified our love of this great chef.

At long last, and much prodding, G bought one of his cookbooks. So enthralled by the amazing things lying within the pages, she decided to invite her brother and his family (her brother had recently been to Mexico) our upstairs neighbors who are our tasting guinea friends, and prepare a full-on Mexican feast.

First came the salsas...

She made a green tomatillo salsa and two tomato salsas with home roasted tomatoes. She also made a bunch of sauces for her three dishes.

First up was the "side" dish, a vegetable tortilla pie that was like a spicy lasagna...

This pie consisted of layers of vegetables mixed with a spicy poblano tomato sauce, with mexcian cheese and fresh corn tortillas. Amazing. You'll see a shot of the insides down the post, but this was an amazing dish and one that I hope we have again.

G served this with two different chicken dishes. The first was a green saucy spinach chicken dish. It doesn't look like much, but it was very mild and delicious spooned into corn tortillas...

Much to our surprise, our 8 year old nephew loved this dish and ate two or three big servings in flour tortillas (the kids just couldn't be convinced that the corn tortillas were better than flour)... but the real star of the show was the spicy chicken potato dish... and when I say star of the show, I mean hands down major winner don't look any further I could eat it again and again...

Wowie. This is amazing. The potatoes are shredded and fried with onion then mixed with chicken and sauce and then covered in queso fresco for serving in tortillas. We initially ate them as tacos, but they are so delicious, you can just eat them up all on their own with G's homemade salsa....

Yes, because G is an overachiever, we did have both green and red salsa! The red had a little kick but was not crazy hot and the green tomatillo had a really sweet flavour that came from the roasted tomatillos. This was an amazing dinner. G outdid herself on all the fixings, and I am sure she was exhausted after spending two and a half full days in the kitchen making all this food!!!

Here's the plate of deliciousness....

I also made a quick side of black beans to share, I absolutely love black beans.

(As a note, I have a new camera, a Nikon D60 that I have absolutely no idea how to use! I took my first photography class only yesterday, and as these were taken weeks ago, we will have to see if time and teaching will improve my limited skills. I am open to any Nikon tips out there!)

23 October 2009

Me and Mad Men.

Yeah so I've never seen even a minute of Mad Men, but this is too cool...

It's a Mad Men Me!!!

05 October 2009

Gourmet -- RIP.

I can't believe that Gourmet magazine is ending it's brilliant run. It's been such a great magazine for me, lots of foodie news with politics and travel thrown in for good measure, good recipes and lots of solid food pictures. I am stunned that Conde Naste has thrown in the towel on it!

My only complaint with Gourmet, really, was that I felt that at some times it lost sight of what regular eaters and readers care about. (Alot like my feelings about Oprah Winfrey, but I didn't roll my eyes every time I saw Gourmet magazine!) But that being said, it's the gold standard, and I am really sad to see it go.

02 October 2009

Tomato Day at Chez Hunger Over Thirst

G and I headed up to Coopers CSA to pick up our weekly CSA box and to show me the farm (I'd never been before). It was so nice, and such an amazing day!!!

And goats!

How cute are these freaking goats? They just walk around, stretching their legs and eating grass. They come around and let you pet them, and they are too incredibly sweet. When we got there, we decided to do a pick your own tomato thing. You got tons and tons of tomatoes for only $6, plus you get to pick yer own!

Here's me picking my own!

There were tons and tons of tomatoes...

I highly recommend the tomatoes. They were so terrific, but we had tomatoes coming out the wazoo-y! G promptly came home and made a batch of gazpacho while I devilled some eggs...

That was a great lunch! We had the eggs as a side dish, and really enjoyed the zingy taste of my devilling. The gazpacho was terrific. Really fresh tasting, zingy, and full of good for you texture.

The next day, my friend was coming for dinner so we decided to make an all tomato dinner. I had a panic at the last minute that perhaps R didn't like tomatoes! No fear, she did. We cooked up a mean dinner.

G made this Spanish Jewish delightful eggplant and tomato salad with fried potatoes thrown in the mix.

Wow. It may not look good, but it is absolutely unbelievable. The veg are all fried slightly and just dripping in flavour.

I made an amazing stuffed tomato from my French Cooking School Cookbook...

Here's the grub, with some of our Cooper's Farm corn (which is 100% awesome).

(We also had some more gazpacho, but I didn't include it because you can just scroll down to see it....)

This was a really enjoyable lunch. R brought a bottle of bubbly, which was very refreshing as it was actually still hot that day (unlike today where it was 9C at 2pm!). It matched the lightness of the meal perfectly.

Having farm tomatoes really has ruined having grocery store tomatoes for me. We've made an effort over the last few years to try and eat things in season, though we will buy tomatoes in the winter at the store when it makes sense. But it's amazing how different things taste when you pick it from the vine yourself and you know it's been grown with care and likely harvested by hand. These were harvested by my own hands, so I know it was all good!

The last of these tomatoes were used to make a great bolognese sauce and we really just enjoyed the heck out of all of these tomatoes. The CSA box has given us such a nice taste of Ontario's all too short summer.

01 October 2009

The Best Grub in Waterloo is at D & P's!

A few weeks back, we went to Waterloo to spend a short stay with our good friends D & P. We had such a great time, I am embarrassed that I have not blogged about it before now...

We had such a good time. We went to the St. Jacob's Farmer Market and walked around having a great old time. It's really neat, with lots of veg and tasty foods to eat. I really was amazed at how much stuff they had on offer.

Especially these amazing cupcakes...

Red velvet is my absolute favorite, I really really love them! It was my first weekend away on Weight Watchers, and I was nervous that I would completely mess it up, especially when we had to buy these cupcakes (and I mean, we had too or else the cupcakes would have had hurt feelings). No such worries, Weight Watchers truly is something you can do everywhere and anywhere. (And I truly have found this to be true. We've had Jewish new year, conferences, fancy dinners out, and a gourmet cooking class throughout my four and a half weeks on WW. All that, and I have still lost almost 13 pounds.)

ANYWAY, this is not about WW (even though it will likely come up again, especially when I get to posting tonight's delish WW Cassoulet recipe). As we walked around, we immediately ditched any plans to go out to dinner and bought some goodies to have at P and D's, with some good times cooking in their excellent kitchen. We were really excited to have such a concentrated amount of time to spend with them!

So P and D wanted to get some fun treats for dinner, and D treated us to this amazing Sticky Toffee Cheese. You heard me right...

It was such a weird flavour. Sharp from the cheese, sweet from my all-time fave sticky toffee pudding. And just all around delicious, rich, and weirdly yummy!

They also got this amazing artichoke asiago dip that we had with cheese bread from the market...

Yum yum yum! We had some crackers too, but I don't seem to have taken any photos of that.

On the menu were Eggplant Parms, Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad, and Roasted Potatoes. AND P's amazingly fantastic SANGRIA!

The sangria was so nice. It was cold, fruity, juicey, winey... just like it should be. Really a nice accompaniment to our dinner...

Here's the delightful salad...

The tomatoes were farm fresh, skinned and chopped then mixed with balsamic and oil, goat cheese, and herbs. As it sat around, the cheese started to melt and it just became this amazingly cheesey gooey loveliness.

Here's the plate of delish dinner...

Really really good. It's not lookin' so hot, but it was really really good. The eggplant was so easy, you just dip the eggplant in bread crumbs, bake it was sauce and cheese, and then you put the amazing roasted potatoes in the mix, no pasta, nothing too terribly heavy.


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