Sunday, August 29, 2010

One Chicken, Three Meals and Stock

The best whole chicken is from Trader Joes. Free from harassment, it lived a happy life to become the most tender and lovely tasting poultry I know. I begin with stock. I like to have it on hand and it will be used in the three dishes that follow. Once it has cooked, cooled and strained, remove the meat and keep it ready.

Whole chicken
two bay leaves
poultry seasoning
3 carrots
3 small leeks (white only)
3 celery sticks including leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
salt to taste

Bring to the boil and let it simmer for an hour. I am using leeks because I want a milder flavor for the soup. If you need a more robust stock, throw in brown onions with the skins on instead of the leeks.

Melt some butter. Throw in one medium chopped onion. Cook until soft. Add 250 grams of Orzo (you can use Aborio Rice but I prefer the texture and flavor of Orzo). Slowly add hot stock, around a cup at a time and let it cook down. When the pasta is almost cooked, add salt, pepper, cooked chicken, and any seasoning that you like. You can also add frozen peas and fresh corn. If you want mushrooms, add them a little earlier. Add about a cup of Parmesan cheese and some Crème fraiche to give it a creamy consistency.

Add some butter to your pan and cook a small chopped onion until soft. Add your chopped vegetables (I use carrots and celery). Cook for around 5 minutes and then add the stock. When it is to a boiling point, add your noodles. We like Healthy Harvest whole wheat, wide noodles. 

When "al dente", add your chicken, salt and pepper. I use white pepper so you don't get ugly black floating things in your soup.

One of the kids favorites! It is an old Family Circle recipe with a few changes.

Melt a tablespoon of butter and add one chopped onion and a clove of crushed garlic. Add 1/2 cup of plain flour and stir constantly for 1 minute or until bubbling. Gradually add stock over medium heat until the roux boils and thickens. Add more stock as needed. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken, 2 tablespoons of Parsley, 2-3 teaspoons of tarragon, some peas. Combine 1/3 cream with 2 tablespoons of flour and add to mixture. Cook until it boils and thickens. Adjust your seasoning as necessary.

Pastry Topping. No, frozen will not be the same but if you are in a pinch, it will be ok.

To make the pastry place 2 cups of Self Raising Flour, a pinch of salt and 150g of chilled butter into a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds or so, until it resembles fine crumbs. Pour 2/3 cup of milk in and process until it just comes together. Turn onto a floured surface or pastry sheet and knead gently for a minute. Roll out to the shape you desire and cut into strips. Make your pattern, brush the strips with combined beaten egg and a tablespoon of water. Seal the edges and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 25-35 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven or until pastry is crisp and golden.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fancy a Fine White for Under $10!

Chateau Ste Michelle is gorgeous winery nestled in the Washington countryside. This is a full bodied Pinot Gris almost as voluptuous as a chardonnay but without the oak. For $9.99 it is a steal. Furthermore, it is rated with 88 points from wine spectator magazine so I guess I'm not the only one that agrees upon this one!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Salad A Day!

I eat a salad for lunch just about everyday. I tend to prefer the more Mediterranean style salads with arugula cucumber, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese drizzled with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar, or sometimes lemon juice. Occasionally, I throw in some salmon, meat or chicken. Today it's salmon!

When I'm feeling adventurous,and I have it on hand, I'll add this favorite Emeril Lagasse dressing...

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup walnut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Monday, August 16, 2010

Truely a 5 minute meal!

Peppered Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise. One of my favorite really quick meals which is also pretty healthy with only 7grams of fat and 1063 kj's. Of course, you should have the rub and sauce already prepared. I usually make a batch and store it. You can serve it with edamame but this night we had Bev's fresh green beans straight from her garden! You can also serve it as an hors d'oeuvre, just thinly slice it and serve with the mayonnaise and pickled ginger.

The rub...
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Wasabi Mayonnaise
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons wasabi paste

Tuna steaks

I use an old electric coffee grinder to grind my peppercorns. Combine the peppercorns with salt, coriander and herbs. Rub the tuna with the spices. Cook about one minute per side and serve with the mayonnaise. I liked my griddle pan until it broke into pieces. A grill or fry pan will do just fine.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


You cannot imagine how excited we were to find our favorite Scottish delights and in of all places, Uwajimaya. These digestives are fabulous served with cheese but the kids will simply sit there and eat them straight from the packet.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BJ Willy's Woodfired Pizza and Cafe.

This is perfect for date night! The ambiance is warm and inviting and unlike the young , brash servers of other similar establishments in the area, these attendants are experienced, well mannered with witty humor to boot!

We sat at the pizza bar and were promptly served by our attendant.The drinks were the usual except that I was able to get a decent glass of wine where other places offer the bottom of the barrel stuff.

I am not a big fan of pizza as it tends to be overstuffed and over topped. This was not the case and I had more than had my fair share of slices on this occasion. I will definitely be back...

B. J. Willy's Woodfired Pizza and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eating in Bend

What a delightful town! We stayed in a little cottage, walking distance from some quaint eateries. For a late lunch we stopped by Longboard Louie's where Halibut Taco's were the order of the day. The serving was quite large. Taco's were accompanied by beans, Mexican rice and corn chips with a wide selection of sauces and salsa's. One Taco would have been sufficient for the hungriest of people. The price was reasonable $9.50 for the plate, the taste, however, was not. These Taco's lacked that something special and definitely did not live up to my favorite (so far) Halibut Taco from BJ Willy's in West Linn. The restaurant was ultra casual. We ate outside on benches in the shade where I noticed that a bowl was provided for thirsty pets so clearly your family friends are welcome here as well as your healthy appetites!

Still feeling only mildly peckish after lunch but definitely in need of a well earned cocktail (an afternoon in the spa can be grueling), Joolz was the perfect solution. This beautifully decorated restaurant and bar provided small healthy Mediterranean plates and fresh happy hour cocktails. I indulged in a Mango Mint Martini whilst nibbling on grilled asparagus and falafel. Their wine selection was extensive and the healthy pours ensured that this restaurant was to become my favorite place to dine and drink in Bend!

With little for dinner, a healthy sized breakfast was in order.

We walked to the Victorian Cafe located at 1404 NW Galveston Ave. There was a wait for those that wanted to eat inside but it was such a glorious day that eating outside was the perfect option and we were seated immediately. (Besides, inside was a little stuffy for a warm summer morn.)

Service was quick but not hurried. Within minutes we had water, coffee and menus.

We had to try the award winning Bloody Mary's so these were ordered without question. Sadly, I was a little disappointed. It tasted a little on the watery side as though it had been sitting in a jug with ice for some time. I like my BM's a little more robust. 

Breakfast soon followed. I could not fault the service. 

My zucchini, spinach and pepper omelet was topped with a delicious pesto and served with a sweet apple sauce. Their wholewheat toast was perfectly crispy as I like it.

My friend enjoyed her bacon and eggs, (to a point. It seems that you can only eat so much bacon and at The Victorian Cafe they definitely serve a "healthy" amount) but her favorite was the potato hash that accompanied her meal.

I would have enjoyed an espresso but sadly, drip coffee is all that is offered.

You can also view what others have said about the Victorian Cafe at Urban Spoon.

Victorian Cafe on Urbanspoon