Sunday, May 20, 2007

Aaarghhh - And I Mean That.

It's now 9:45pm on Sunday of a long weekend, and I'm in the office. I've been here since 9:00am, and I'm starting to feel a little crispy around the edges. My department has been working on a hyper-important yet still very silly project all weekend, and now I've had enough.

I'm tired, I ate WAY too much catered food, and I'm tempted to find a quiet corner in the nice air-conditioned computer room and catch a few ZZZZs.

They tell us that we'll out of here before midnight, but I really don't think THAT's gonna happen...

Despite the witty name of this Blogsite, I'm trying my best NOT to gallumph around the office like a grumpy grizzly bear that's been woken up from hibernation two months early. Ahhh... hibernation...

Speaking of the catered food, we got a bunch of potstickers and salad and submarine sandwiches and stuff for lunch. All very tasty, but the problem was that we didn't get lunch until about 1:30pm, and then dinner arrived (lots and lots and lots and lots of pizza) at about 5:30pm. It felt like I was eating solidly for about five hours straight. Did you know that you can get broccoli on a pizza? I mean, I knew that, but had never actually seen it. It just looks wrong somehow.

Oh, great. Now I'm babbling.

I don't think I'll have to come in tomorrow (holiday Monday), but again, at this point in the evening all bets are off. Thank god for taxi chits - at least my ride home is taken care of.

Whenever that may be.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gadgets & Toys Part I - Salad Dressing Cruet

At a miniscule 25¢, this is definitely one of the better bargains I have ever got from a yard sale.

Over the last year, I have been making a concerted effort to both drop some weight and to cut down on my spending. One of the easiest ways I found to do both of these things was to stop buying commercially produced salad dressing. Even the ones that claim to be 'Low Fat' or 'Calorie-Wise', still seemed to have quite a lot of fat and calories. I think I've said this before, but it's worth repeating - nothing ruins the good intentions of a nice green salad like a splat of creamy high-cal dressing.

Since I got the sweet baby pictured above, I have been making my own balsamic dressing. It's really easy. I know, I know, it's possible to make dressing without a Good Seasons salad dressing beaker, but I know I never did. It's foolproof. Well, as much as anything's foolproof. The lines on the side indicate where to fill each ingredient to, then you shake to mix it up. Um, after firmly snapping the lid on. Don't ask.

My favourite combination so far has been extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, water, a splootch of honey-dijon mustard and some fresh-ground pepper.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ready, Set, Cook! #34: Feeling A Little Chicken

...or maybe I was just feeling a little flaky.

The feature ingredients in this month's edition of Ready, Set, Cook! hosted by Anne at Cooking With Anne are:

* Chicken Breasts
* Onions
* Sour Cream

The rules for the event can be found here.

I approached this challenge a little diiferently from past editions, in that I didn't create the recipe before going to the grocery store for the ingredients. I decided to go to the grocery store, and just wait for something to catch my attention.

I was actually out for a walk after getting off the streetcar on my way home from work, and as I passed the ValuMart on Queen St. East, I remembered about the event, and that posts were due by Tuesday (which is tomorrow, as I write this).

As I wandered through the produce department, I decided that I wanted to incorporate puff pastry or something similar into the recipe. So after grabbing some nice-looking produce (mushrooms, onions, new potatoes), I was heading towards the meat department to find some chicken, when I noticed that they had Montreal Smoked Meat on special in the deli department. Smoked Meat is one of my favourite foods, though I don't eat it that much. It's the moderately fatty meat in addition to the spices that makes it good, you see. I made an exception this time, as it is second only to bacon on my Favourite Foods list. It's a large list, and the thing is that because of this blog it just keeps getting larger. The challenge is making sure my waistline doesn't.

So, the Smoked Meat was in, and I found some nice chicken breasts to go with it. Along with the onions and the sour cream that are the other theme ingredients, I decided to add mushrooms and some chopped cubanelle pepper. Not to mention the chili sauce that I seem to be using in everything I cook lately.

Despite making an entire chicken casserole, I decided not to bake all six shells as I would just have to eat them, and it's easier to store leftover casserole than it is to store leftover pastry.

These are some tasty sandwiches, or pastries, or whatever, but my point is THEY TASTE GOOD. I highly recommend them. Here's the recipe that I used:

Flaky-Bakey Chicken Sammies
Makes lots

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up into bite-sized pieces
100g (4oz) Montreal Smoked Meat, chopped up
2 medium onions, chopped
3 large white mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp light sour cream
juice & zest of one lime
2 tbsp honey mustard
1 good-sized splootch sriracha chili sauce (or any hot chili sauce)
salt & pepper
1/4 C water
3 frozen patty shells

450g (1 lb) small whole new potatoes - I had about eight of them
2 green onions, chopped
light sour cream
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the frozen patty shells on a baking tray, and bake for 18-20 minutes.
Remove from oven. With a fork, cut out removable tops and save to use as lids, and let cool on a rack.

Reduce oven heat to 375F.
Place the rest of the first group of ingredients into a medium-sized casserole dish, and gently mix to combine.
Bake at 375F for about 60 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, place the potatoes into a medium-sized saucepan and just cover the potatoes with water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and tip the lid. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and soft.

When chicken casserole is ready, spoon a healthy amount into each shell, and place lid on top. Cut an 'X' into the top of each potato and pinch the sides slightly. Top potatoes with a small dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions.