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Girl Interrupted, the sequel.

Dear followers,

I must apologize for the delays in posts here lately.  I am working with a super ‘web guy’ who is in the process of redesigning the entire site.  YAY!

But for now, I must take a bit of a hiatus – short one.  I survived the entire winter and on Thursday, first day of spring, I slipped on the only piece of ice on our driveway and fell.  I broke my leg.  Because it was the weigh bearing bone in my lower leg I am not weight bearing for the next several weeks.  Hopefully by then I’ll have a walking cast put on and will be able to get back into the kitchen.

Until then, I apologize to you – for not being able to cook/bake/create anything new for a little bit.

Please don’t  desert me!  Stick around and I guarantee it will be worth it when we’re back up and running!  Ah running – no pun intended, I think!

I will continue to post on our facebook page – great links to great places, ideas, people.  Be sure to follow us!

Who knows, when I get back on board, I think with the new website and a new(er) working leg, we should start with a bang and an awesome giveaway! Who’s in?

 

Until then,

Happy noshing!

Uncategorized

Girl, Interrupted.

I miss cooking.

I miss my kitchen.

How much longer?

Over 5 weeks ago I fell down a flight of stairs while on a business trip to Holland. Knocked unconscious. Broken arm. Trip to a Dutch Hospital. X-rays. CT Scan. Cast. Ready to go home….

Unfortunately, I required surgery – a plate, 7 screws, 2 pins….and 4 casts later…I’m still not able to do much. In fact I’m typing with two fingers on my left hand. My right (dominant) hand is immobile…and completely useless right now.  I’ve also been recovering from post concussion syndrome. Thus the ‘quiet’ blog of late.

Hope to get the cast off in a few weeks and get back into the kitchen.  Until then, thank you for your patience!

Happy noshing!

Cast change. Don't hurt me!
Cast change. Don’t hurt me!

 

Lessons from Culinary School, Uncategorized

2 more evening classes = 1 very tired chef wannabe

Well, I had my second and third class in the George Brown College Culinary Arts program.  So, with kit in hand (or in case) and my uniform all clean and beautiful, I put on my very glamorous shoes. I know… you’re jealous!  ha ha

Glam Shoes!
Glam Shoes!

I entered the massive kitchen, aka my lab, and began to meet my classmates.  I felt very fortunate to be sharing my space with a young lady who obviously had some background in cooking. And by that I mean she knew how to do things very well. We worked together very well and teamed up on some tasks like clean up! Thank you!!

So week 2 focused on knife skills, chef knife skills to be specific.  We learned how to finely chop herbs, dice tomatoes, peppers, onions.  Oh…. onions – WITHOUT tearing up!  I’m so excited about that!  Smart phones (or any phones) are not permitted in class because they are huge bacteria sources.  So, sorry can’t post pictures of anything I’m doing.  The best part is, we DO get to take home what we’ve made. But… I didn’t take any pictures when I got home either.    Oh well.
What did we do?  Read on!

Herbs:

Keys to Success in working with herbs (a focus from the class!)

  • never buy dried herbs in large quantities because the quality deteriorates with time.
  • Always keep dried herbs in air tight containers. This way they will last longer. That means, get them out of those plastic packages they come in, or those small jars!  Ugh.
  • Transparent glass bottles shouldn’t be used because light affects the quality of the herbs.  Oh dear!  All my herbs are stored in mason jars, a la Chef Michael Smith!  But, they aren’t stored out in the open, they are in a cupboard so maybe that will help!
  • When using dried herbs, remember that you won’t needs the same quantity as you would if you were using fresh herbs.  Really you would use about 1/3 to 1/5 less.

Go figure! Standard stuff, but it’s good to be reminded! Right?

But how do you cut fresh herbs? For a recipe?  Well, we needed some finely chopped herbs and so this is how it’s done!  We took some fresh herbs, in this case some nice flat leaf parsley, and removed the stems.  Stems are bitter, so why would  you want them? Stack the leaves and roll them. This process is called making a chiffonade. Once the leaves are rolled, you can slice them easily on the short side.  Then turn them a bit and slice again.  Voila!  Beautiful chopped herbs without destroying them – as in the way I pretty much used to do!

We spent quite a bit of time prepping the onions, tomatoes, and peppers.  Remember that uniformity of size promotes a better appearance to your dish!  Also, if you are cooking these veggies that same uniformity also promotes an even cooking time. Another key in prepping veggies is to match the size of the cut (cube, dice, etc.) to the size of the utensil you will be using to eat it!  For example, if you are making a soup,  you want your veggies to be able to fit into your spoon so you would cut them into small cubes. if you are doing a stew, you use a fork, so you can cube your veggies (and meat) into larger sized cubes.

Wrapping up this post, we made a Tuscan Bean Salad. It was so delicious and each brought home their creations!

Try it, it’s so yummy:

TUSCAN BEAN SALAD (George Brown College, Culinary Arts I, 2013)
6 oz  Navy Beans
4 oz prosciutto, julienne
3 Plum Tomatoes, seeded, chopped
4 oz Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 green pepper, seeded, chopped
1/2 red pepper, seeded, chopped
1/2 Yellow pepper, seeded, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, puree (oooh I did this with my knife!  So cool!)
4 1/2 oz EVOO
1 1/2 oz Red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 sun-dried black olives
2 sprigs fresh oregano
1/4 bunch fresh basil
3 sprigs flat parsley
salt/pepper to taste

Sachet:
1 sprig flat parsley
1 Bay Leaf (bah… use about 3-4 and break them up!)
about 6-7 black peppercorns (crack them using the base of a pot, don’t “grind”)
1-2 clove

Taking a 4″ x 4″ square of cheese cloth, place these herbs/spices in the centre, roll it up, tie it good and tight and voila, you’re ready to flavour your beans!

So, here we go….
Soak the beans overnight in a pot of water – make sure the water covers the beans by at least 2″.  Drain and rinse.
Place the beans  in a pot with enough water to cover by about 4″.  Add the sachet.Simmer until the beans are tender (approx 40 minutes) drain and let cool.
Marinate the peppers, onion, tomatoes in the oil, vinegar, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs – for about 30 minutes.
Mix with the cooled cooked beans.  Add prosciutto.
Adjust the seasoning (S & P)  and toss in the cheese.

Serve and ENJOY!!!  It’s aromatic and so delicious!

Scott and I were eating it for a few days until we finally used it up!

Next  post:  class 3’s soup!

Happy noshing!

Uncategorized

2012 in review

Thank you to all my followers.  For my first year as “Nosh With Nash” you made me feel special! Stay tuned for some exciting turns to the blog coming over the next few weeks, including my first ever giveaway!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 1,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Graduation and Chef Michael Smith

I’ve been busy… yes I know, what else is new?  But this time, I really HAVE been busy!

On November 20th I received my BA in English Lit from Queen’s University, Kingston ON.  To say I was excited, well I can’t begin to tell you!  I pretty much bawled through the whole Fall Convocation Ceremony.  Here’s proof:

But better than Convocation – if you can believe that there COULD POSSIBLY be anything better – was the party my amazing husband gave me this past Friday night.  While all you American’s were out shopping the Black Friday Sales, 60 of my closest friends and family joined us to celebrate what I loved to refer to as the “never-ending degree” – never-ending because it took 13 years to get it done.  After a delicious dinner (thank you babe) I shared the steps in my journey, the ups and downs, the difficulties, the distractions, the family joys and other family celebrations along the way including my younger sister receiving her degree in Nursing in 2007 and my daughter graduating from College in 2011 just two months before she was married.  Oh yes, and the weddings… so many, but all so wonderful.   All the joys and sorrows along the road added to my experience and played a big role in who I am today.  The fact that it took 13 years (ok, I did take about 5 years off in the middle there!) is ok.  My husband has always told me that while the destination is important, the JOURNEY is just as important!  Man, what a ride it’s been!

Speaking of my husband….  Scott is an amazing man and I am blessed!  We were married in 2003 and he has been my biggest supporter, encourager, and fan throughout the past 9 1/2 years.  My kids have also been amazingly supportive! All grown and gone from home, I couldn’t have done this without their support either.  But… back to Mr. Wonderful…er, Scott….

After dinner on Friday and after talked about my journey and  I thanked everyone for such love and support over the years, Scott pulled a rabbit out of his hat.  Okay, it wasn’t a REAL rabbit, but it was still a miracle and an amazing gift for me!  If you have read much about me, or who I adore in the world of culinary arts, you would know that I am a HUGE – H*U*G*E – fan of Chef Michael Smith.  Again, for you Americans (or internationals) following along, Chef Michael Smith is THE Canadian Chef!  His home is in PEI and yes, I stalked it this summer!  Quietly.  I didn’t want to be arrested!  🙂  I HAD to eat at the Inn where he had been Chef (Inn at Bay Fortune, PEI) and wasn’t disappointed by the new(er) crew!  I bought cookbooks.  I took pictures.  Really, my husband was probably very embarrassed!  But, meh, I was in Chef Michael’s stomping ground and I was enjoying every moment of it.  We even stopped at Myriad View Distillery and found out that Chef Michael frequents that place too… I didn’t know that before we purchased a small supply (he he he) of Gin!   Okay, back to the rabbit….

Making a very long story much much shorter….  I received a video greeting from Chef Michael that Scott played to me (and our guests) at the dinner on Friday night.  To say I was shocked, surprised, blown away, teary-eyed, beyond happy, excited… um, I’m running out of descriptors…  well, you get the idea!

So, for you I have posted a link to it here from my Facebook Fan Page (be sure you “like” it for more updates!) for you to see.  Chef Michael, thank you!

Happy Noshing!

P.S. I also announced the next stage of my journey – I start at George Brown College in Toronto in January, in the Culinary Arts program.  Yep. Making it official!  My blog will follow that journey in January and what I’m learning.  In the meantime, please continue to visit here and try out the recipes or restaurants that I discuss!  I appreciate each and every one of you!

Heather

 

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New Catering Company in town!!

Today I attended a beautiful baby shower that was catered by a brand new company from my home town of Uxbridge, ON.  Culinary Chops Catering served up a delicious cocktail party of such amazing delicacies as deep fried dill pickles – okay don’t judge! They were AMAZING!  These delicious spears were served with a delicious aioli that was packed with a burst of unexpected flavour.  

Other treats included pineapple-salsa cups, a beautiful display of fresh fruit, and my personal favourite from the afternoon – other than the pickles – stuffed mini bell peppers.  Oh my sweet pepper! A savoury blend of rice and just a touch of beef made these little flavour parcels just too good!!  Too many treats to name…. all were scrumptious.

Owner Stephanie-Lyn Robson did an amazing job for her first event!  I wish I took a few pictures of her food… but I didn’t.  Apparently I was way too busy eating it to stop and take pictures of it! 

Well done Stephanie-Lyn.  I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on her! 🙂