Who doesn’t like a good burger? I mean, really, who doesn’t like a good burger? I like a good burger. If you don’t, then move on… this isn’t for you.
I can picture the burgers that my dad used to make… ground beef, ketchup, sometimes worchestershire, onions, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper… Easy, simple, good. I have made those burgers without thinking. My mind following a recipe card that was never written.
These burgers are a bit different. I seem to get an idea for one thing (cook, enjoy, finish), then am left with bits and pieces of ingredients that I need to repurpose. I think that the launching pad for these burgers were bits of blue cheese and bits of basil left in my fridge, fast approaching their expirations. So, the blue cheese became the start of one burger… and the basil, the start of another.
Momma Rogerson has her own personal vocabulary. Not quite English at times, not quite anything else though either… a unique blend of Ukie-Yiddish particular to her alone. I have appropriated some of these “isms” into my vocabulary because, really, it is impossible not to and, well, they amuse me every time I say them.
One of Momma Rogerson’s “isms” is her love of Eggies. Eggies is infinitely more amusing than Eggs. Capital E or lowercase e. That’s probably why I love the Eggies so much… and why I think that eggs for dinner is so amusingly decadent. Hmmm… maybe I’ll have Eggies for dinner later.
In the interim, lunch looms. Dinner will have to wait for now. Egg salad, it is. I have some great pagnotta (bread) from the Italian Centre and everything else that I needed to get my dose of Eggies.
I am typically quite terrified of fish. In the past, I think I have rushed things. Maybe my pan was too hot. Or, I flipped a steak too soon. Or, I overseasoned. I don’t always know where I have gone wrong but I know that disappointment of a filet that fell apart or of drawing every bit of moisture out of something that was once completely engulfed in it. *tear*
I have pledged to become better at cooking fish. Slow it down. Think about things before I begin. Because once you put that fish to the fire, you really don’t have much time to fuss about and weigh your options before you’ve killed the fish a second time.
Well… this could have been a COMPLETE overly ambitious disaster. A souffle and I was making it with an audience… nothing like a good challenge. :)
The first time I ever attempted a souffle, I was around sixteen years old and was experimenting in my Food Studies class in high school. I had an incredibly supportive teacher who broke the financial restrictions on my “per student, per dish” budget and encouraged me to try more challenging and advanced recipes in every class.
I can’t quite remember what kind of souffle it was that I made. What I do remember was her coaching, my careful consideration of each step in the process, our excited anticipation and the complete thrill of a successful result.
So, just as with the fish, I just wanted to make something wonderful and didn’t want to over-think it.
This past weekend, I had two girlfriends over for a long overdue dinner and wiine dance party. Given that I had invited them over on the Friday, I needed to be able to get home from work (I work until 6pm) and turn something around relatively quickly for their arrival at 7pm. While time wasn’t necessarily on my side in terms of prep, I really didn’t want to just throw something together or, an even worse sin since starting this blog, order something in! They were so looking forward to something homemade.
So, this is what I came up with… Easy, fast and impressive enough for Friday night with the girls!
I am no master… I love sushi and can’t always find a buddy to join me. I go alone sometimes but the challenge is choosing only a few things rather than the greater number of options that you can choose when you have someone to share the eating.
So, on one occasion, I decided that I was going to try my hand at rolling my own. Cue: Ominous music.
This is Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Mousse Cake. It is unreal good and definitely needs to be part of your cake repetoire. In fact, you really should pick up, if you don’t already own it, Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. From cakes to cookies to puddings extraordinaire, this is a fantastic cookbook.
So, in her book, you will find this recipe as “Chocolate Mousse Cake” but for me, it will always be a cloud.
Sometimes desperation leads you to the most wonderful discoveries. This little snack, which I needed to tide my Mom and I over while our dinner was cooking, was exactly that… perfect, desperation-fueled satisfaction.
You can put just about anything on a little piece of toast, pat yourself on the back and call it a “crostini.” (Some Italian nonna is ready to smack me for that comment, I’m sure.) I guess that the crostini is just a happy little snack for me and I don’t stress too much about what finds its way atop the bread. I don’t think you should either.
This is the last of the trio of soups aimed at making even the most enjoyable of leftovers more palatable in repetitious consumption. Forget boring, tired leftovers that you end up resenting as much as a relationship gone bad. These soups helped me to consume every last morsel of the one dinner... not to mention leaving me with an entirely virtuous feeling in not having thrown any bit of food away.
The tortilla soup was not my idea but rather that of one of my mini-tour-mates, Sheena, who requested a more brothy soup versus the tortilla soups of the North that seem to be pureed within an inch of their lives. The tortilla soup was the challenge... so I hit the books. I read a great number of recipes and decided on what I liked and didn't like about each of them. Then, I surveyed Sheena for her "key components."
Last thing, before I get down to business, I think that there is something fundamentally enjoyable about food that comes with all sorts of opportunities to personalize it. This soup is no exception. You can tweak it throughout the cooking process... but you can also tweak it when you go to eat. Any number of different additions - lime wedges, sour cream, guacamole, avocado chunks, cilantro... and so on - could adorn or not adorn that particular portion of soup. It almost seems to make each bowl a new experience... an adventure of sorts. And one with immediate belly-filling satisfaction.
When I was out and about on my little mini-tour a few weeks ago, I was graced with full spreads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Despite the fact that I seldom eat a multi-course meal when I am at home, I found myself indulging in soups and salads, then mains, followed by desserts (and, yes, often in the plural sense).
In Winnipeg, I found myself stuck on the various soups that were coming out of the arena catering department. In particular, the Smoked Gouda and Sweet Potato soup caught my attention. A small bowl was more than enough, as this was more of a cheese soup than a vegetable one. Incredibly rich and unapologetically cheesy.
My soup definitely leans more to being a vegetable than a cheese soup... but I had three different taste-testers on this soup and they all raved.