Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Valentine Surprise

 Valentine's Day is very special day in our household. The day of love also happens to be my hubby's birthday. So we have lots to celebrate. This year, for his 45th, he was surrounded by loved ones and Filipino food.
Lumpia Shanghai


We had Myrna's pansit (a traditional noodle dish for good fortune and long life), lumpia Shanghai (fried rolls) and fresh egg rolls (the gluten free, peanut free version wasn't quite what my Lola used to make), Melisa's adobo (marinaded chicken) and 12 pounds of slow-cooked pulled pork courtesy of our BBQ master, Neil.

Pulled Pork
For desserts, we had a healthy bibinka (coconut rice cake), chocolate quinoa brownies (thanks Anna B) and Ellen's fruit salad.
Assorted desserts

Bibinka baked in banana leaves


Chocolate sushi
The show-stopper was Tara's chocolate sushi.

I'll be off-line for the next three weeks, cruising the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. I'll take lots of shots of the exotic foods. Until then, eat well and be well.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Strange Brew

I made a strange brew this morning. I threw in some ground flax seeds, avocado, banana and various flavourings. It started off as a stick-to-your-esophogus pudding that had a detergent after-taste. After a bit of tweaking, the concoction morphed into an interesting smoothie.
Have a look:

Sure, it resembles a cup of sludge from the Alberta tar sands. But according to my youngest, it's quite drinkable and tasty. He downed two helpings.

I've decided to call the concoction AK's sludge. It contains a healthy dose of omega-3s, vitamins C and E, magnesium, potassium, and protein. The banana and avocado in the almond milk make this shake thick and satisfying. The ground flax seeds and avocado add a double dose of essential fatty acids. The cocoa helps everything go down. (It also camouflages the green colour from the avocado, and I'm not too enthusiastic about drinking anything green.)

AK's Sludge
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe banana
2 cups almond milk or regular milk or soya milk
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon maple syrup or your favourite sweetener
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds

Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Blend until smooth. If you find it too thick, just water it down with more milk. Try it and let me know how you like it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Superhearty Superbowl Jambalaya

Chill the beer. Fry up the finger foods. And put on your loose eatin' pants. There's going to be a whole lot of mindless eating this Superbowl Sunday. Just how much? Check out these figures from

8 million pounds of popcorn consumed on Super Bowl Sunday
28 million pounds of potato chips
53.5 million pounds of avocados
1 billion chicken wings
325.5 million gallons of beer imbibed by Americans 

Not surprisingly, there is a reported 20% increase in ant-acid sales the Monday after the game. And 7 million employees will not show up to work.

An estimated 105 million people will tune in to the Superbowl, including yours truly. I will be comfortably parked in my La-Z-boy watching the halftime show and the commercials. 

I'll take a pass on the chips and wings. Instead, just pass the thick and chunky jambalaya please. This is a Louisiana style , smokey stew recipe I've adapted by combining several other recipes. The key ingredient is the andouille sausage. The smoked pork gives a wallop of flavour. I found some excellent andouille sausage at the Butchery in Ottawa's Bells Corners neighbourhood. If you can't find andouille, try spicy cajun sausage. This recipe yields a lot of jambalaya, more than enough to satisfy your Superbowl munchies. 


4 links andouille sausage 
1  28-ounce can plum tomatoes
3 cups stock
1 green bell pepper diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 celery stalks diced
2 large onions diced
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup uncooked rice
24 raw shrimp (shelled and deveined)
24 raw mussels (cleaned well)

Brown the sausages in a large heavy pot. 
When cooked, place the sausages on a plate to cool and keep the pot on the stove.
Using that same heavy pot and fat from the sausages, fry the peppers, onions, celery, garlic.
Toss in the seasonings and stir.
Slice sausages and throw into the pot.
Add the canned tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the rice. 
Cover pot and let simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes.
Once the rice is al dente, add shrimp and mussels.
Continue to cook for about 2 -3 minutes or until the mussels open and the shrimp turn pink.     

This dish will be a guaranteed touchdown with your Superbowl guests.