February 28, 2014

Great Green Gobs

Do you know what this is?

NO, it is not the brain of The Great Gazoo, nor is it a bioweapon.  It is not a golf ball covered in fungi and it is not a meteorite.

I guess you'll just have to read the rest of this post to find out!


Do you know what this is?

Or this?

This is a ten year old hooligan hard at work in the kitchen, cutting butter into pastry.  :-)

The kids and I have been watching MasterChef Canada (http://www.ctv.ca/MasterChefCanada.aspx) as of late and the boy is obsessed.  He has been begging to cook a meal for us for the past two weeks, and finally I have relented.  This is the boy who still wipes his mouth on his arm and who has been known to scoop gigantic mounds of Nutella out of the jar with his hand.  All BAD.

BUT, he loves sushi, smoked salmon (he steals it, the piglet!), rare steak and rainbow trout.  He's a mini-gourmand, I suppose.

The boy doesn't want to use a recipe:  "if the Masterchefs can do it, [without a recipe] so can I!"

Ahhh, youthful exuberance.

I tried to explain to Nathanimal that the cooks on Masterchef are professionals.  No dice.  Then I said that they had received culinary training before the show was taped.  No dice.  Then I said, "fine.  You won't cook then."  Why does it always have to turn fugly?

This is what Nath wanted to make for tonight's appetizer:

I wasn't feeling the yolk-stuffed ravioli with sage sauce... and I did not want to make fresh pasta so I convinced him to adapt his menu.  It was hard, but I did it.

And so we are making Jude's Chuck Roast out of The Four-Hour Chef (my new favourite book) by Tim Ferriss; Chinese broccoli from Fanny Farmer; steamed red baby potatoes with fresh dill; sautéed mushrooms in butter; a kale and cabbage salad with dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and a balsamic vinaigrette; and for dessert, Apple Crisp (out of my other favourite - The New Canadian Basics Cookbook) 

Here is Nathaniel posing with his Apple Crisp before it went in the oven

and after it came out:

We served it warm with Vanilla Bean ice cream from President's Choice.  It was delish.  Nath cut and juiced the lemon, and assembled, measured and combined all of the other ingredients.  The only thing he didn't do was cut up ALL of the apples.  I helped him with that.

Here he is cutting up the shallots for his beef.  He is carrying on about how the onions are making him cry, the big baby.

And here is the roast before it went in the oven.  

I want to say that it's a blade roast (we were supposed to use chuck or rump, but the butcher didn't have it).  

Here's the recipe courtesy of Tim Ferriss, in my own words:  
Dump roast in Dutch oven.  Dump in 4 cups of Beef broth, one can of beef consommé, and some chopped onions and/or shallots.  Cover cooker and place in 350 degree oven for 2.5 - 3 hours.  I think that this was a 3 or 4 pound roast and it was perfect at the three hour mark.  Make sure you serve some of the jus with the roast.  So tender and delectable!

Here we are, enjoying the feast:

Because I am NOT a food stylist, this doesn't look so great, and I had already eaten half, but trust me, it was!  In fact, I couldn't believe how good and easy it was to make this meal.  

don't forget the horseradish!
Because N's first dinner party was such a success, his sister Gwenzilla, who was feeling left out, has announced that she too will be cooking with Mumma (roast chicken, edamame, roast potatoes, green beans and little cakes for dessert).

All this writing about food is making me hungry!  Lunch break (chai tea, eggs and salsa on naan).


In other news, I have been sewing up a storm lately.  Today I finished my clamshell quilt:

Oh you can't see it?  That's because there is a giant poodle on top of it!  

Here, this is better:

It measures 48 by 60 inches, for those of you care about these things.  I cut out all of those clamshells by hand, pinned and sewed them together, then quilted it together with fluorescent pink thread.  I made the binding, then sewed that on by hand.  A true labour of love.

Speaking of labours of love, some of you may remember this quilt - Pop Crazy - that I made for my daughter's birthday:

See this post if you're interested in learning more about it.  The short story is that different blocks of the quilt were made by seven ladies across Canada.  I mailed fabric to them and they sent the fabric back sewn up in an improvisational style of their choice.  I made my own blocks, cut and sewed together theirs, added grey to the background and assembled the quilt to my liking.  I quilted it, made binding and sewed it on.  Here's a closeup:

At the end of last week, this arrived in the mail:

What a nice surprise!  Lysa, who is one of the Unscripted ladies, is a fabulous artist.  She drew one of the patches that she made for me, made a wooden base for it and attached a calendar.  What a thoughtful and creative reminder of our quilt collaboration!  Here's the calendar pictured below her block:

My crazy quilting has made her block look a LOT wonkier than it originally did, but I'm good with that.  Oh and the F is for February and not the first letter in my favourite curse word.  :-)  You can find more of Lysa's work at lysaflower.com .   Thank you, Lysa!

Oh yes, and now back to the green blob:

It is an Osage orange, named for its size and "peel" that emits a citrusy aroma.  I thought it looked very springlike -- I am so tired of snow.  I will be writing more about these "oranges" in my next blog post, which will be a review of Lucy Knisely's graphic non-fiction work Relish.

I will leave you with her recipe for chai (I've made it and it's awesome!), which I am addicted to and a music selection from the film Big Night - a wonderful film about cooking, eating and love.


image from http://www.lucyknisley.com

Soundtrack is Tic Ti, Tic Ta by Claudio Villa