Unconcerned with Fire

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One of my co-workers remarked on my cavalier attitude towards the fact that I tend to start fires when I cook. And I’m very ok with the fact that fires happen. I’ve always put them out and I see them as a learning method. Fires with me are also semi-rare. They only happen when I’m trying something new. Like deciding that I can make a raspberry-whiskey sauce from a recipe that I half-assed remembered off the top of my head. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette, right?

Well, in my case, I need to break a few eggs and set them on fire in order to make an omelette. It’s just something I have to grow out of.

Eventually, when I learn how to cook properly, I’m sure I’ll stop setting fires. If not, I’ll have lots of fun with what I’m now calling EXTREME COOKING!

A Lesson in Fire

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Yesterday I decided that I wanted French Toast. Except I had no bread, or milk. What I had was tortilla wraps, and vanilla Greek yogurt. I also had raspberries. And whiskey. So I decided to make…French Tortilla. I don’t know what it should be called, but I mixed yogurt and egg together, drenched the tortilla in the egg mix and cooked it like French Toast.

I also decided that I wanted to make a raspberry-whiskey sauce because…I remembered seeing a recipe somewhere and thought it looked good and like I could handle it. Sadly, I couldn’t find the recipe so I just winged the recipe from what I could remember.

Except…I’m kind of clumsy in the kitchen and “winging” things is never a good idea. However, I really wanted to try the sauce so I went for it.

And then a fire happened. There I was standing in my kitchen in a sports bra and basketball shorts and flames were shooting up out of my raspberry filled pot. My first instinct was to run away screaming, but then I remembered that there was a fire in my kitchen. So I used a plastic spoon turn the heat off on my stove and push the pot off the element. The fire eventually went away.

That’s when I realized that I probably should follow recipes and not cook with alcohol. Ever. Unless I’m drinking it. Drinking alcohol while cooking might be ok.

P.S. I managed to make a raspberry sauce without the whiskey and the French…tortillas turned out fantabulous!

Eyes Wide Closed…while cutting an onion.

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I had a super productive day today. Sort of. Last night I cut up potatoes, celery, and carrots and stored them over night so I could toss them all in my crockpot this morning so I could have turkey soup for dinner tonight. And lunch tomorrow. And probably dinner tomorrow as well, just to be sure that I’ve eaten enough turkey soup for the week. So when I say productive, I mean I slept in an hour late, scrambled out of bed to toss all of that stuff and some frozen turkey leftovers into my crockpot, and then went about my morning in a slightly hurried pace.

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I got home from work tonight and realized that my turkey soup totally needed onions. So I set about chopping some an onion up to toss into the pot. There I was standing over this onion, hacking away at it while my eyes stung and teared up. I hate stingy onion eyes. But I also wanted to be done with chopping onions that I just kept hacking away.

Chop. 

Chop. 

Chop. 

It was only when I felt the cold and juicy blade press against my left index and middle fingers that I realized my eyes were closed. And not only were my eyes closed, my head was turned as far away from the onion as it could possibly be.

Oops.

Sort of oops. The concept seemed to work. My onion was getting chopped and I wasn’t getting stingy onion eyes. I just had to be extremely cautious about the next handful of times that I pushed my blade down so as not to lose any fingers. So yeah, my eyes stayed closed and my onion got chopped. I am now a master chef.

This is probably one of the reasons why I shouldn’t be left unsupervised for long periods of time…

Fried Penut Butter and Banana Sammiches

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One of my friends that I met back in my second year of university is a freak for friend peanut butter and banana sammiches. After learning that she was a practicing Catholic, an English major and loved the Backstreet Boys, I learned that one of her absolute favorite foods were fried peanut butter and banana sammiches. If given the choice of what we’re making for dinner/breakfast/snack, we’re probably making those in one variation or another. Now, over the years I’ve gotten used to them. We sometimes put strawberries in them, or roll them in cinnamon and powdered sugar or mix honey in with the peanut butter and sometimes we go a little crazy and dip them in chocolate sauce. They’re ok, but were never my first choice when figuring out “what should we make?”

Or at least they weren’t my first choice in “what should we make?” until my friend recently had me try a new variation to her favorite food. You see, she’s not the greatest cook and about 7 times out of 10 will burn her food. It won’t be so burnt that it’s inedible, but burnt enough that it’s…well, it’s burnt. The fact that I have to do the cooking between us really says something because my cooking skills aren’t the greatest either. Anyway, this time as I was digging the peanut butter out of her cupboard and she was slicing banana’s she said I should coat the sammiches in egg instead of using butter like we normally did.

Now let me tell you, these sammiches were Heaven on a plate. The difference between using butter and making them like you make a grilled cheese and using egg like you would on French Toast is pure peanut butter slathered up happiness. The first time I tried this my friend sat there watching me while I cut up my sammich and took a bite. It was this pure explosion of creamy good times on my tongue. There was the peanut butter that mixed perfectly with the banana. Then there was the French Toasty taste that rounded it off and melted the peanut butter and gave everything a toasty and tasty texture.

Now, if you’re ok with a zillion calories, a super rich snack that is more junk than health, this is what you should do:

  1. Take two pieces of bread and coat one side of each piece with the peanut butter of your choice and preheat a non stick pan – I’m Canadian so I like to use Kraft Smooth. I’ve found crunchy just doesn’t work well with this snack.
  2. Cut up a banana and place the slices on one side of the sammich – Use as many or as few banana slices as you like. I usually slice half a banana and put that on the sammich and eat the other half while I’m cooking. My friend on the other hand insists on having the whole banana sliced and stacked onto hers.
  3. Close up the bread slices so that you have a peanut butter and banana sammich – my friend makes me use this cutter thing that puts smiley onto the bread.
  4. Beat one egg with a bit of milk into a bowl or container (I once used a clean pot when all of my other options were dirty) and soak both sides of the sammich in the egg – Sometimes we like to add vanilla to the eggs or instead of milk we use that flavour coffee creamer that tastes like French Vanilla and other tasty shenanigans.
  5. Coat your pan in butter (Just in case it’s non-stick personality really is sticky) and cook your sammich like it was a piece of French Toast (You know, make both sides a nice golden brown colour) – It’s at this stage my friend stops helping and it’s all up to me not to burn our food. I like to experiment with different heats. Sometimes I turn the element up to max and quickly sear the outsides of the sammich to the right colour and other times I do it like normal people would do it at a medium heat. I’ve yet to have the patience to try and cook our food at a low heat.
  6. Serve and enjoy – Because my friend and I have sweet tooth’s we usually coat our sammiches in syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce and anything else we can find that we think would go great with our food.

Alternatives: Since discovering this delicacy, we’ve tried a few alternatives that include putting sliced strawberries inside of the sammich with the banana’s, as well as other berries and cooked slices of ham. Though to be honest the best thing that we’ve done so far is cooked up a few slices of bacon and stuck those in the middle with the banana’s. If I thought this was a yummy food before, the time we did it with bacon had both my friend and I swooning and glorying in the thing that was bacon in a peanut butter and banana fried sammich.

Seriously, if you don’t mind the calories and the overall fatty content of this food, try it. It’s rich, tasty and super filling. I call it Heaven on a Plate…or in a bowl depending the last time I did the dishes.

 

Note: I absolutely refuse to use the word “sandwich” in any of it’s forms unless I happen to be writing academically or in a situation where using “sammich” or “sammiches” would be greatly frowned upon. In the instance of this blog, well, this is my blog so sammiches will therefore rule the day.”Sandwich” is just a weird word.

 

Day 2.7 – Purple, Purple and More Purple

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My favorite colour in the whole entire world is purple. I currently have purple bangs, purple toenails, purple eyeshadow and purple potato’s. Yes, purple potato’s. I made purple hashbrowns today for my lunch and I was beyond excited to be having purple food. Naturally this reminded of about a year and a half ago when one of my friends/teammates brought purple vegetables to a fundraising lunch we were cooking. I remember purple carrots and purple potato’s that I freaked over. I was delirious to be making purple food.

And now that I’ve been reminded that purple vegetables exist, I want to make purple food. I actually have a great idea for the first thing that I’d make!

It would be Cream of Purple Potato Soup! I actually have a really yummy and easy recipe that I love and use every other week to make normal Potato Soup, so it would be really easy to make it with mostly purple ingredients and have PURPLE SOUP!

Note: This isn’t to be mistaken with “Purple Stew”. That’ has purple tomato’s which therefore makes it yucky.

I think as soon as I can find the ingredients, I’ll make this wonderful purple concoction. Interested? This is my recipe for Cream of Purple Potato Soup! Or can it be Cream of Purple Potato Awesomesauce?

Ingredients:

  • Purple potato’s
  • Purple onion’s
  • Celery
  • Purple carrot’s
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Pepper (and salt if you’re a salt user)

Prep:

  1. Dice up the purple potato’s, purple carrot’s and half the celery and toss them in a pot of hot water to cook – In this case I’d leave the potato’s with their skin’s for more purple awesomesauce
  2. Chop up your purple onions and the rest of your celery – you want these to be in smaller chunks than your other ingredients
  3. Mix together your flour and milk until all the clumpies are gone

Cooking:

  1. Cook your potato’s and other stuff until the potato’s are done – I like to cook my potato’s until they are very soft so they mash up in the later processes
  2. When the potato’s are as soft and done as you want them, strain your potato’s and stuff off into a separate pot – I put a put in the sink with a strainer on top then dump my potato’s and stuff into that
  3. In my now empty but still hot original pot toss in the butter with your celery and purple onions and cook until the onions are soft. At this point I add my pepper to taste to let that flavor incorporate into my onions and stuff.
  4. Add the milky flour mixture at some point during that process and really stir it all in there
  5. When that is all said and done, add your purple potato’s and stuff back to the mixture and stir it all in
  6. Slowly start adding what is now the purple potato and stuff mixture to the old pot until you have a consistency that you like
  7. Let that all sit for a little while to cook all together then enjoy whenever you want

Ok, so this recipe isn’t an exact science and it kind of turns out different every time I try it (Naturally it’s just normal veggies instead of purple ones, but it’s the same idea), but the general idea always turns out amazing. I love it.

Day 12.1 – Vera’s Burger Shack

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One of the many jobs that I’ve had is being one of the minions at the Vera’s Burger Shack down on South Granville in Vancouver, BC. I started working there in September 2007 and stayed there off and on until December 2009. It was a lot of fun, a lot of drama and a lot of good food. This was one of those jobs that I was more or less happy going to on a weekly basis. I rarely ever woke up and thought “I don’t want to go to work.” If I didn’t want to go to work, it was because I was feeling lazy.

It was while working at Vera’s that I got addicted to cold burgers and cold fries. I also got fairly good at making bacon, burgers and fries, but that’s besides the point. You see, while working at Vera’s we didn’t get real break times. For the most part our break time was when we had some downtime between customers where we were done most or all of our daily duties. Sadly, most of the time it worked out that you would get your food off the grill and customers would walk in and would walk in and would walk in. Unless you were on shift with someone who was the sauce like our stores manager, you had to jump back on the grill or back on the till and your food was left waiting.

A cold day at Vera's.

But you know what? The food was good enough that I was ok eating it cold. I like my food cold anyway, but burgers are better eaten hot. So are fries. Unless they’re made properly at Vera’s. It was great during the winter because my store got so cold that you could stand over the grill and still see your breath and sometimes our walk in fridge was warmer than our store. Yes, it got that cold in our store in the winter. So cold that I would wear tights under my jeans, my Under Armor cold weather t-shirt under my work shirt, a zip up hoodie over my work shirt, a toque and fingerless elbow length gloves just to stay warm.

The me in the picture is how I looked on a typical winter day at Vera’s (keep in mind this was winter 2008). I didn’t get the heater in the picture, but right beside the toaster that you can see behind me was where we kept a heater to keep us warm when we were in the back. I also used one of our tins that we used for our gravy and chili to make and keep hot chocolate on the grill.

The upside to all of this was the very simply fact that by this point I had really started to like my Vera’s food cold. Now, the downside to liking your food cold is the fact that you have to cook it and then you have wait for it to get cold. At Vera’s in that amount of cold, food got cold fast. This just meant that I could actually enjoy a cold Vera’s burger a whole lot sooner than I would in warmer months.

I actually enjoy cold Vera’s so much that I got irritated with a few customers when they would order their food to go and then call in 10 minuets later and complain that their food was cold. Normally I would point out the fact that they took their food home, so it wasn’t exactly fresh off the hot grill. Then I would try to talk them into eating it because I thought it tasted better that way and if they refused to see the light I’d tell them that next time they should eat in so they wouldn’t wind up with cold food at home. They’d bitch about soggy buns and I’d roll my eyes because that was part of the yum factor. When you have a properly made Vera’s burger, it’s actually pretty juicy and yummy. Topped off with sauces and then wrapped up hot and left sitting for a few minuets, you get a soggy bun full of yummy flavor.

Personally I think that these customers who didn’t like cold Vera’s were morons and in this case the customer was not right.

Obviously, I was not the greatest Vera’s employee, but whatever, I didn’t burn down the store so I give myself  +10 to awesome.

Day 3.1 – Just a lazy day

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Today was just a lazy day for me. The most I accomplished was making chili and homemade fries for dinner and giving myself a facial with a honey mask that reminded me exactly why I don’t like honey. It’s too sticky and smells weird. The only upside to it was that it made my skin feel super clean after fifteen minuets and gave me a bit of a fun glow. Otherwise I spent the day relaxing, doing little arm, leg and ab work outs while I tried to read one of my text books and stared at a character outline hoping that I would come up with something brilliant to write today.

Sadly, I got nothing.

Happily, I know that days like these are going to happen where I won’t have much of anything to write and so I’ll sing that song from “Annie”…

“The sun will come out tomorrow…”