Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Roasted Garlic-My One True Love

There's nothing more delish and inviting than the aroma of Roasted Garlic wafting throughout your home. That sweet, mild, savoury delight is a must in every fridge. Whether you're adding it to a dressing, pasta dish, chicken, fish, potatoes-Roasted Garlic adds that certain Je Ne Sais Quoi to every dish!

Grab your favourite tiny Corningware type dish. I like my tiny round Corningware dish that has a rubbery resealable lid (not for use in ovens) 

Grab whole heads of Garlic. Chop the tops off, cutting off about 1/4-1/2 inch to expose the flesh of each little clove. (it's ok if there's one or two tiny cloves hiding, don't get too OCD over this)

Place the heads of garlic cut side up in one layer in the dish. My tiny Corningware dish holds about 2-3 heads squished in tight. Pour about a Tablespoon or so of your favourite EVOO over each head. 

Wrap the dish tight with tin foil and slow roast in a 300F Oven for an hour or so-At least until your whole house suddenly starts smelling delicious. Turn off the oven and let the dish stay in the oven until it comes to room temperature. 

Cover with the proper lid and keep in the fridge until you're ready. 

You'll find the oil will solidify in the dish.. once it comes to room temperature, you'll see it liquifies. This oil is liquid gold! Add it to anything that calls for oil, only this stuff will taste garlicier! 

To extract the sticky, tasty cloves from the heads, you can use many methods:

  1. I use this method the most: you can pick out each clove, one by one with a fork
  2. I'll use this method when I'm down to the last couple cloves. Many people prefer this method: turning the head upside down, squeeze the head "toothpaste" style and all the gorgeous cloves will ooze right out
Add it to a fresh batch of mashed potatoes with butter and cream!

Add it to any pasta dish!

Add it to your next salad dressing!

Use it on your next garlic bread!

Make it into a compound butter!

Use your imagination!

Whatever you decide to do with it, keep me posted! I'd love to hear your ideas!!!


Thursday, 10 March 2011

App Few of My Favourite Things....

I like many things: the colour green; almond milk lattes from Whole Foods; Whole Foods; office supplies; all Dolce & Gabbana perfumes; roasted garlic; Hester Creek Cab Merlot (Thank you Mr. Z! You know who you are!); and of course, my iPhone.

My iPhone is my lifeline. It's my GPS, my Internet, my Email, my Alarm Clock, my Camera, my Tour Guide, and of course, my Communication Medium.

My iPhone is also my Sous Chef in the Kitchen! I use the Clock on it for a handy kitchen timer, I look up recipes, cooking instructions, ideal locations to grab the ingredients I'm looking for, and to keep me company while I'm waiting for "that thing" to finish cooking/boiling/baking/marinating etc.

My favourite iPhone app, one I think is positively invaluable to me and should become your new best friend is the StillTasty app. Download it from your Ap Store now! And for those of you lacking an iPhone/Android (GASP!) check out the website here: http://www.stilltasty.com/

This handy dandy little guy tells you if that "thing" is still safe to eat, or if it should be tossed. Don't know if that bottle of Miracle Whip in your refrigerator door is still ok? We've all been there! That internal conflict: It looks fine and smells normal, but the expiry date says it expired a month ago. What to do?! Well, according to the StillTasty app, that opened bottle of mayo is still good 3-4 months PAST the expiry date! Who knew?! Can you imagine how much money this information would save all of us?!

We all try to eat healthy and stay on top of our weight/health. This can be so hard sometimes! How many of us have a super healthy breakfast, lunch and then lose their willpower by 3pm and succumb to a mid-PMS Chocolate craving?! By the time Dinner rolls around, you feel you've already cheated, why not just go full boar and have pizza for dinner?! What we don't realize is if we cheat a little, it's ok! We just need to make sure we're on our game most of the time!

Last year, I lost 30 lbs. I have a fabulous iPhone App to thank for that! Everyone should have this app on their iPhone/Androids! Again, if you don't have either (EEEK) check out their website here: http://www.loseit.com/

The secret to losing weight is to eat less and move more. Easy in theory, but often difficult to maintain and keep track of! This amazing app allows you to track your weight loss/eating habits/calories burned. Start by telling the app how much you weigh and what your goal weight is and how soon you realistically want to get there. Then, our fabulous little app will let you know how many calories you should eat a day to get to your goal. You input what you've eaten, what exercise you've done (It recalculates how many calories you need to eat that day to take into account the calories burned with exercise)  It also helps you keep track of the water you're drinking. This way, you know you can cheat and have a couple hershey's kisses to sooth your PMS Cravings and still be on track! You check in regularly with your updated weight and it lets you know how you're doing and if you're on track for your goal date.

I have to say, the biggest challenge in losing weight is being honest with yourself. Writing down everything you've eaten forces you to take accountability for what you've eaten. Your mind my forget, but your thighs never do! This app lets you do just that, but is way more fun than a note book! You can eat out and this app will help you decide what you should eat when you're out. It includes lots of prepared products, restaurant foods and they are constantly updating.

I have a whole folder full of cooking related apps on my iPhone, including the usual suspects, Epicurious, Food Network, and Whole Foods Recipes. My new fave is the Cook It AF. Since I was diagnosed with a million food allergies and since Dennis is Celiac, I'm always looking for alternative ways to achieve tasty treats! If you or someone you know is in the same boat, or just trying to avoid certain allergens in their cooking (Gluten, Lactose, etc) this app's for you!

You can find the Cook It AF or Cook It Allergy Free app from your app store for iPhone/Android. If you (Agghhh) don't have either, you can check out their website here: http://www.cookitallergyfree.com/

The app is a tad primitive but gets the job done. I love how you can pick a dish, then some of the ingredients offer alternatives. Click on the red coloured ingredients (usually common allergens) and it offers you alternatives! Ok, for instance, take a look at the "You won't know they're gluten free" Pancakes. The recipe calls for 2 eggs. Since I can't eat egg whites, I'll look at the alternative suggestions. It says 3 tablespoons of mashed bananas work as a suitable substitute for 2 eggs for this dish!

There's a world of amazing food and wellness related apps out there! Take a leap of faith and try them out! If you have one you love, please pass it on! I'd love to try them out too!


Friday, 4 March 2011

Bombay Behl=Bombay Hell...Restaurant Bitchin'

Originally, the point of this blog was to discuss the adventures I was having in my kitchen. But I eat out often and always have an opinion to share, so I guess, herein-lies my bitchin'.

Since we're trying to get better use out of our Entertainment Book, I downloaded the fancy Entertainment Book Ap for my iPhone. It tells me where there are places near my location that have Entertainment Book coupons... FABULOUS!

On this particularly rainy late friday night, hunting for Dinner Ideas, we decided to check out Bombay Behl-found exactly 2.5KM from our place (Thanks Entertainment Book Ap!)-with our 2 for 1 dinner coupon. 

Bombay Behl is located on East Hastings in North Burnaby. It's between Gilmour and Willingdon and looks quite nice from the outside. I'd heard good things and wanted to check it out finally. 

We get there, the place is dark and sparsely decorated. Kinda felt like a super casual BBQ place with its bare tables. There are candle holders on each table, none of which are lit (despite the fresh tea light in each one). Every table has a red fabric napkin, but ours. We never got one either.

We order drinks, Dennis a beer and me, a nice, cool, sweet gewurtz (nothing says Indian Food, like a gewurztraminer!) Our server takes our orders and didn't have a clue what I was saying, even after pointing a couple times to the wine in question on his wine list. He states he has to go ask his boss, and walks away. He comes back a bit later, while we are reading the menus to let me know that yes, he does have it. (Who is this kid?! He must be a rookie, so I don't let it bug me)

The server doesn't ask if we were ready to order, he just stands there with his notepad and pen. Since Dennis is always ready to order right away, he orders right away. I'm never ready so Dennis asks the server to leave and come back. He comes back a few minutes later, stands next to me and barks if i'm ready yet and rushes me to order. I panic and order a Lamb Vindaloo. The entrees' come with a choice of Rice or Naan, so I ask for rice and then I ask for a side order of naan for Dennis and I to share with our meal. He never asks Dennis which side he chooses, so I clarify what I'm ordering. Keep in mind, though I can be a cranky chicky, I'm extra nice to him. It kinda goes a bit like this:

Me: I'd like my Lamb Vindaloo with rice please
Server: Lamb Vindaloo with naan, okay.
Me: No, Lamb Vindaloo with rice please, but I would like to also order a side of naan. (I know what you're thinking, I'm just getting crazy here)
Server: So you want Lamb Vindaloo with Naan?
Me: No, I want to order my meal with rice. Then separately, I'd like to order a SIDE of Naan. (Using grand hand gestures to help illustrate the point)
Server: So you want Lamb Vindaloo with two naan?
Me: Please bring me rice with my Lamb Vindaloo. Please also bring us a naan. (More pronounced hand gestures)
Server: ahh Ok, so you want one rice, two naans. 
Me:... ok, do what you can... don't worry (Dejected)

Then I realized later, he wasn't bringing Dennis rice, but naan instead. So, as he's walking by, I ask him 

Me: Excuse me, did you order my husband a rice with his meal or a naan?
Server: I'm sorry I don't understand
Me: Did you order rice with his curry or naan
Server: I don't understand
Me: ... It's ok, never mind (Dejected) 

The food arrived and sure enough, one rice, two naans...

The food was ok. Naan was quite chewy and hard to break down with your teeth, like they had been over man handled.  Rice was good-but generally difficult to mess up on. Dennis' Lamb Coconut Curry was ok, the Coconut felt like bits of dried coconut from the bulk foods section, mixed into a vat of tomato curry. Not very coconutty. The lamb was gamey and could have easily been goat instead of lamb. The texture was way different from mine. My Lamb Vindaloo had one giant potato in it.. weird... but lots of Lamb. The lamb here was tender and the curry was tasty and kinda lemony. The potato was abandoned in the bowl, untouched. 

When the time came to pay the bill, the server ignored our Entertainment Book Coupon on the table (Since we arrived, and pointed at it when we were ordering, and repositioned it around the table for him to see) and charged us full price. After that sad experience, there was no way! I dealt with the big boss at the bar, straightened it out and paid. 

Would I ever go there again? Maybe. But probably not until next year when we have another Entertainment Book Coupon for them. And even then, probably not! If I want good Indian food for dinner, I have a list of places I love! 

I certainly wouldn't recommend this place to a friend, or a member. If you're hungry and it's the only place open, then go ahead, at your risk. Hopefully next time I can end up in the smarter server's section, the one with the nice cloth napkins we never got!

Dennis, who likes to hate on everything I say and generally prides himself on holding an opposite opinion to my own, also agreed with me (SHOCKER) and said he'd never go back, even with a coupon!

Decor: C
Food: C
Service: (From our Server) F-
Service: (From others) C+

Overall Rating: D