Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pool party

Well, summer is winding down (boo hoo!) but we sure have made use of our building's pool! We hosted a few parties, and I invariably went all out and made a heap of delectable food. Alas, this meant less time lounging by the pool in the beautiful, beautiful sun (yes, I was irked). But, food by the pool! I do love to eat food by the pool, and somehow this summer was all about Korean noodles and meat kebabs by the pool.

A caveat, I don't have a bbq, and cooking kebabs in the oven is tricky. So often my kebabs were overbaked and dry. Sniff. Oh well, they still tasted good - I just doused more sauce on them! And the Korean noodles (chapchae), once I figured out that I just had to use LOTS and LOTS of soy sauce (oh the sodium of them!) were sublime! Check them out:

To make chapchae you need sweet potato starch noodles - beautiful slippery glass noodles with a hint of chew. Sublime! To date, I have only been able to find them at the Loblaws at College Square. I am sure T & T Asian Superstore also has them! Here is the recipe I used:  Very easy, especially if you buy carrots that are already julienned (no, I don't own a fancy slicer that would do it for me, alas).

The other vital part of the dish is....shiitake mushrooms! Oh, how I do love thee, shiitake mushrooms! Chewy, exotic tasting (to my Western palate) and delightfully furled, I have been using them with stellar results in various East Asian dishes over the last few weeks. How have I lived so much of my life without shiitake mushrooms? And, I am also enjoying the chance to use up a full packet of spinach all at once. I frequently buy the healthful green, only to have it quietly rot away on me. No more, I will chapchae it all!

And, of course, we can't forget about dessert! The very easy and much beloved treat from my childhood - Busy Day Lemon Cheesecake!! My mother made it often and I always loved its light, lemony taste. This one was artfully decorated with local raspberries by my 4-yr old daughter.

The ultra simple recipe can be found here:

But do just make the graham cracker crust yourself, eh? Also super easy and tastes much fresher than premade.

Oh, you want to see a photo of my pool? Of course!

Happy Sunday!

Swedish delights

So I've been thinking about Sweden lately. Why? Well, because Ottawa and Sweden have one big thing in common - long, cold, dark, winters. And did I mention they are cold? My husband hates this aspect of Ottawa, so I have been prognosticating about how to improve winter for him. One way, clearly (could you guess?) is through food! Thinking about winter I naturally started wondering how Swedish people cope; they have longer hours of darkness than us, and their winter is long and cold. So I googled "Swedish food" and came up with this brilliant site:

Now the first thing that came to mind is, of course, fish! I must cook fish for my husband during the long, cold winter! Healthy fats, raise the spirit, etc. So I will herring away. I don't personally like pickled herring (though my mother does) but I will try. The fish dish on this page that does make me drool is "Jansson's Temptation". I need to get my hands on some Swedish anchovies! I have a lead - the Russian store on Carling (bien sur!).

The other thing that I thought of was, of course, meatballs!! I don't eat meatballs outside of the home as they are invariably made with beef (boo, Ikea!) but I can of course make them at home with any meat I like. So, a pound of pork and a container of sour cream and I was ready to go! Here is a photo of my delectable creation:

Swedish meatballs in cream sauce (I got the recipe from here:, mashed potatoes, leftover broccoli, and sliced cucumbers in a vinegar dill dressing. Droolicious!

Next up? Raggmunk! (no, it does not involve cute little nut-eating rodents - just some shredded potatoes and a heap of lingonberries!)

Keep on munching!