Sunday, September 30, 2012

running for mum

Today was the 2012 edition of the Run for the Cure - a 5K run/walk to raise money for Breast Cancer research and treatment. I signed up a couple of months ago and this morning I nervously paced, waiting for my support team (husband and boy) to drop me off near the start line.

nervous, at home
This week, the hardest part hasn't been the physical preparation, it has been the emotional impact. I've had a big lump in my throat all weekend. This year's T-shirt says - "who are you running for?" In my square, I wrote "Diana (Mum)". And today, I did, what at my current age, she would have been unable to do. I ran and walked a 5K course. Because when she was my age, she was in the last stages of her fight to live.

In a sea of pink, waiting for the start
Fortunately I started fairly close to the front, in the jogging section of the start. I ran for the first 5 minutes, slowly, as there was a huge mass of people. Gradually the mass thinned out and I was able to keep to my race plan - 1 minute run, 1 minute walk for 18 minutes. I pretty much walked the rest of the way, running a few more times - in front of the TV studio where my husband works and where he and the boy were camped out ready to wave to me. I ran down the bridge ramp into the home stretch of the run and of course, across the finish line. The only milage sign I saw, was the 4 KM sign in the middle of the bridge. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion, running and walking in a mass of people, running for and with cancer survivors and in memory of those who's lives were cut short by this disease - in a sea of pink. I've been so lucky to have my support team, who donated to the cause in my name and who texted, emailed, called and cheered for me, leading up to today. Thanks to all my cheering section!

I did it!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

weekend in seattle

A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Seattle. I left my guys at home and met up with a friend from college. We walked and talked, ate and shopped. We stayed at a lovely B&B in the University District, cheered salmon up the fish ladder at Ballard Locks, walked around Green Lake, walked around Seward Park, were wowed by Pike’s Place Market, visited book stores and yarn stores and had dinner with friends. It was fabulous. One of the fun things we did was drop by the Book Larder and listen to Bea Peltre, the TartineGourmande, talk about her book, her cooking and her life. And we got to sample one of her recipes. It was a lovely start to the weekend and the book is a wonderful souvenir of that weekend.

When I got home I made the recipe we sampled, using different vegetables and it was delicious. Although not nearly as pretty as Bea’s.

Eggplant and corn Clofutis (adapted from theTartine Gourmande)
1 medium eggplant, sliced thinly, lengthwise
1 small onion, sliced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Kernels cut from 1 ear of corn
3 eggs
½ c milk
1/3 c corn starch
½ c heavy cream
½ c grated parmesan cheese
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F.

In a heated sauté pan, add 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté the eggplant slices until brown on each side. Set aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and add the onion and thyme and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft but not brown. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook for a minute, then add the corn. Cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the corn starch to the milk to dissolve. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk slurry, cream, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Into the bottom of a greased baking dish, layer the vegetables, starting with the eggplant, then the onion mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Crumble the goat cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and beginning to brown around the edges.

We liked it so much I made it again, with zucchini instead of eggplant.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

bring appies

I don't know about you but this phrase had me sweating a bit a couple of weeks ago, especially since I think that most of the members of the household that were so kindly hosting the dinner, have issues with gluten. Most of my appies tend to be of the puff pastry variety. Although when people come over here, I often have a bowl of chips, some olives, spiced nuts and a dip or something similar. Anyway, so there I was in a sweat, rummaging through my recipe file trying to find a simple appetizer when I remembered a smoked salmon roll-up I'd seen a Food Network chef do once. So I googled. And in the end I came up with this lovely -

Smoked Salmon Roll up with Goat Cheese (inspired by Michael Smith)

1/2 lb smoked salmon (from our local market - yummy)
4 oz goat cheese
1 lemon's worth of zest
1 heaping tsp of capers
a handful of dill

Lay a largish piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Lay the smoked salmon pieces out into as close to a rectangle as you can manage, with as few gaps as you can manage.

In a food processor, whiz the goat cheese, lemon zest, capers and dill together until creamy. Spread this over the salmon as evenly as you can. Starting with the long end close to you, roll up the salmon and cheese until log shaped. Wrap tightly with the plastic wrap and roll to shape. Place in the fridge for at least an hour or the freezer for 20 minutes. Take out, remove the plastic and cut into pieces. I made about 10 pieces with this recipe.

I also made the easy, cheesy artichoke dip from Dinner, a Love Story to take as well. Both were delicious and a big hit.

Monday, September 3, 2012

emergency cake

kindergarden graduate
I loved the name of this cake when I came across the recipe, at the front of the cake section in the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. And one afternoon, the day of the boy's last day of school at the end of June, in fact, I turned to it to make the chocolate cake he wanted as a celebration cake. So I whipped it up, ignoring the strangeness of using a lot of mayonnaise in a cake. It was good. I whipped up some blue buttercream and then the boy found some baker's chocolate squares, food colouring tubes and chocolate chips. I drew the shark on the blue icing with icing gel leftover from the tank cake in January and the boy did the rest.

I avoided giving out squares with big hunks of baking chocolate on them when we first had the cake, complete with candles and accompanied by the song "Happy last day of school" sung, funnily enough, to the tune of Happy Birthday. My husband later snuck the squares off the cake, wiped them off and sequestered them in the freezer. (Which, if you've seen my freezer, you'll know is a fantastic hiding place for things, never to be seen again).

All to say, that if you need to whip up a quick chocolate cake and happen to have a cup of mayonnaise on hand plus a lot of cocoa powder, this is the recipe for you. And here, school starts back on Tuesday, so I had to post these pictures before then.