So far, May has been a month of fine, fine foods. I’m sure having my birthday in this wonderful month has something to do with it, as I’m more apt to treat myself and have others treat me. I’m not complaining one bit. There have been so many wonderful dishes and meals that I’ll just have to create a list of standouts — one day at a time.
May 1: The month started out simply with one simple dish: a ready to eat salad that pretty much came out of the big giant box called Costco. 1 container of mixed salad greens, 1 ready-to-eat bbq chicken, 1 gigantic bottle of prepared salad dressing (honey french). Normally, I’m a bit of a snob and like to create my own dressings, but damn, this was fine and delicious over some shredded leftover chicken and those yummy salad greens.
May 6: After splurging ourselves with facials, my friend Carley and I went to the Boulangerie La Parisienne in Yaletown for after-spa treats. Carley had Tiramisu and I chose the Raspberry Tart. Mmmm, the custard was delicious and the berries were fresh. Perfect!
May 8: The big day. I woke early to start preparing for my birthday picnic with friends. I made some tried and true vegan chocolate cupcakes, a baked alaska (my first!) and some sandwiches…and it was the sandwiches that stole the show. Here’s what I did: I had fresh ciabatta loaf from our local Italian deli and made 2 variations of the same sandwich: vegan and meat/cheese. First I made some tapenade (blended a can of drained black olives, added a blob of dijon, some lemon juice, a couple cloves garlic, olive oil, capers) and spread it on one side. Then I added grated carrots, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, marinated artichokes and then smeared hummous on the other side of the bread and pressed the 2 sides together. I added swiss & feta and pepper salami to the meat sandwiches. Everybody really does like sandwiches!
May 9: For lunch I ate left overs from my birthday picnic. The standout was the pink goat cheese from Pan-o-Pan Foods. At the picnic, the cheese was piped into delicate wonton cups, but here at home, it tasted just as good piped onto a plain tortilla chip or just the tip of my finger! The ingredient list on the side of the package says: goat cheese, beet juice, and orange oil. I’m definitely going to recreate a version of this myself. C’mon now, it’s pink cheese!
May 10: More leftovers for lunch, this time, the featured dish was coleslaw from the Rebar cookbook made by my friend Anita. The salad was so colourful and crunchy with red cabbage, red onions, lots of cilantro, and yellow peppers. Just cuz I couldn’t help guild the lily, I added a small amount of crumbled feta cheese. Dinner? Well, that was free (tho not due to any birthday activities). To celebrate the end of our bowling league for the season, the lane owner bought us all chinese dinner. Was it great? Not the point. It was free and there’s nothing wrong with free dinner.
May 14: Cornelius took me to Vij’s for a belated birthday dinner and it was fantastic. It’s constantly being raved as the best Indian on the Westcoast and I didn’t know if it would live up to all the hype, but it does. We had a bit of a wait, so we went to the stylish lounge in back where were were served complimentary chai teas (delicious!) and yummy indian snacks that included crispy spicy potato “fries” and indian crackers toped with sprouted lentils and 2 kinds of chutney. When our table was ready, we ordered the grilled striped bass appetizer and shared 2 mains: the beef short ribs in spicy cinnamon & red wine curry that was served with honey naan and Vij’s signature dish, wine marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry. Although both dishes were great, it was the lamb dish that was a true treat. The sauce was pure goodness and fully complimented the smokiness of the lamb. We chomped every last piece of meat on the bone and soped up every bit of sauce with the warm naan bread til our plates were squeaky clean. I had an IPA & Cornelius had their ginger-lemon drink which I will try to replicate at home. It was a great place to eat & fully worth the splurge. It was also interesting to note that the entire kitchen was staffed by women!
May 16: For dinner I made the “Three Sisters Burrito” from the Rebar cookbook. I changed the recipe around to make up for what I had in the fridge and it was tasty. Here’s my version:
three sisters burrito
cube 1 small butternut squash (peeled & seeded)2 potatos, 2 small yams and throw into a cookie sheet with a squeeze of lime juice (1/2 a lime), 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder, dash of salt, 1 tbsp of maple syrup and a bit of olive oil. Mix well and put into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of corn (I used canned) to potato/squash mixture, mix and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Once everything is tender & carmelized, remove and put into bowl. Add 1 can of refried beans and mix with a 1/3 cup of fresh salsa. Add a large blob of the mixture into the center of a whole-wheat tortilla, roll and place onto lightly greased oven-proof dish. Top with fresh salsa and grated cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly — about 15 minutes. Serve with avocado slices and sour cream.