The “Unintentional” Food Blog

Ok ….. so…….it looks like I am doing an “unintentional” food blog leading up to our European adventure. Ooooops!

This past weekend, after much internal debate, on how I was letting the kids (and myself) down, I decided that I would NOT be doing a themed dinner with the kiddies…..  ugghhhhhh ………seriously…….. the guilt…. this was my goal leading upto the trip!  So with Mike still away on business, I really couldn’t (now you should really read “didn’t want too”) muster the energy to try and pull off  a European themed dinner.

On Friday night, the kiddies and I were lucky enough to be invited to a friends house for dinner.  Tandori chicken was served. India……. Closer to Europe than Canada,  yes……but, alas, not on our trip itinerary so…..

On Saturday we spent the afternoon, and  well into the evening at 3rd beach in Vancouver. So really, “THE ONLY” thing we could do, was order sushi, and do a “pick up” enroute home.  I did however, once we returned home, boil water for a bowl full of edemame, and then added some super nice sea salt, but really, that is where the cooking ended for me on Saturday night.  Sunday night we were with “Grammy”, and cooking once again, was thankfully, out of my hands.

That brings us to today.

Since Mike was landing at YVR in the late afternoon after 10 days in Europe, my thought was, what better way to celebrate him being home, than with a European inspired dinner!

With my culinary training being mostly French, I decided not to stretch my comfort zone too much, and to once again look to France for inspiration.  I decided it was going to be a relatively easy meal….. Quiche Lorraine.   It’s a dish I thought both kids would enjoy, and, you know…..  it’s not overly complicated.  Brodie IS getting more adventurous with food, and Sydney… well she LOVES eggs…. win-win!

Hahahahaha…..

While shopping for the dinner I saw “THE BIGGEST ARTICHOKES” I had ever seen…..I  then proceeded to think of all the hundreds (and hundreds) of itty bitty small artichokes I cleaned over the years working in a professional kitchen for Artichokes Barigoule…. Now don’t be fooled people….. its “super fun”  cleaning 100’s of baby artichokes!….. you really should try it!  😉

At first I didn’t think too much about the artichokes, but then thoughts kept coming back to me and how much they remind me of France!  I do, however, think it’s mostly from photographs and cookbooks…… and not something that I remember from being there in  April 2000 while on my honeymoon.

It was right then I decided that we would have steamed artichokes and lemon butter as our vegetable accompaniment to our Quiche. YAY!  I also picked up some fresh kale as I knew the kiddies would love to help out with the prep for kale chips.

I had the kiddies pick and wash the kale.  They then helped splash the kale with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and placed it on the trays for the chips.  They were in heaven!  I prepped the artichokes and got them steaming as I knew they would take “a long time to steam” given their size.  The quiche was straight forward. Bacon, eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper…… I decided to add Gruyere Cheese to the recipe even though the “cookbook” I have didn’t call for it…… the “recipe” that I know has cheese, and that was confirmed by many online searches…… just to make sure.

Dinner took a bit longer to bake then expected, so the kiddies ate the entire bowl of kale chips….. YAY!  Once dinner was on the table, Brodie looked intrigued by the steamed artichoke and lemon butter for dipping, as well by the “slice of egg pie” in front of him.  Sydney however, came to the table, and proclaimed with the most “sour” looking face…… “I don’t want that” and with tears in her eyes, she sat on the floor with her “Playmobil” doll house and sulked.

It turns out that Brodie actually LOVES artichokes… I actually think its a “butter and salt” thing, but I am willing to give it to him since he ate over half of the artichoke leaves! Sydney…. well she has no idea on the “awesome-ness” that she is missing out on!  She refused both the Quiche Lorraine, and the steamed artichokes with melted lemon butter…… and not to mention, SALT!  Since she is “THE BIGGEST” salt fiend around,  I know, she will one day be remorseful….. HELLO…….all that SALT!

Quiche Lorraine….. well……she was delightful and super tasty!  Everyone in the family was in agreement except for “Little Syd”…. hopefully next time little lady!

In the  cookbook I have, it states that Quiche Lorraine is traditional dish served it on “May Day” also known as Labour Day.  It is a French National Holiday and will be held on May 1 2012.  Looks like I’m jumping the gun a bit here, but that was “unintentional”….. pretty much like writing a food blog….. hmmmm…….. interesting.

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Saturday night at Third Beach in Vancouver….. no…. I wasn’t going to cook!

Hello Lorraine!

The “LARGEST” artichokes EVER…. seriously…..no joke.

The “Little Chefs” cooking’ it up!

Fun with Kale!

The makings for our Quiche

Hello Lorraine… nice to “finally” see you!

Simple and delicious…. Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Butter

The little man is LOVING artichoke and I am super happy….  😉

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With all the craziness we actually pulled it off……

…… a “themed dinner” that is!

I  wasn’t even sure if we would be able to pull off a “themed dinner” this past weekend as there was much to do……multiple birthday parties to attend, as well Mike had a 12 hour turn around between coming back from working in San Fran and then having to hop on a plane bound for Europe.

Friday night had the kids social calendar filled with the celebration of their friends 3rd birthday (Yay!).  With much socializing to be done, and great food being served, I took it as a sign that the themed dinner could wait a day (Yay!).

Saturday had Brodie and I attending another birthday party and saw Mike back, seated on a plane, bound for Heidelberg Germany, destined for a room at the hotel that we will all call home while we are there in June.

On Saturday, with all that was happening during the day, I definitely would have LOVED to have opted out of the “themed dinners” for one week and call it a sushi night with the kiddies at our favourite spot in Yaletown, but Brodie had a different idea.  At the end of the birthday party Brodie proclaimed that he wanted to make “homemade pizza”. OMG….. really….. I just wanted a menu plopped down in front of me knowing that both kiddies would have tummies full of sushi and no dishes to wash or kitchen to clean up.

With that said, after the party Brodie and I  made our way to the grocery store to purchase a few nessecities for the pizza. The whole time I was thinking…. “Pizza… but how does that fit into our themed nights of Gremany, France, and Spain, this trip does not include Italy….. Uuuggghhhh!”

Thats when my “aaaahhhhhh” moment happened! During my days in a professional kitchen, I was fortunate enough to work with a pretty awesome French Chef (Fabrice Rossman), at the Four Seasons in Vancouver.  One of the first dishes he put on the lounge menu when he took over as Executive Chef was Tarte Flambée…. an Alsatian version of Pizza!  Ha…. I could totally do pizza, and have us stay with our “themed night” after all.  I was super stoked!

I found it pretty funny that I actually had all of the ingredients at home for Tarte Flambée, all  while picking up the nesecities for Brodies and Sydneys pepperoni pizza (ironic…. no?).  Brodie and I  then made our way home to get started on the dough.  If its one thing Brodie likes to make …. its dough!  He loves the flour, rolling it out, and then creating little dough balls that he can come back to after a bit of time has passed to report “Look Mom ….. look how big its gotten because of the yeast” and then give the balls a good “smush” and start again.  Gottta love the little man!

I prepped the caramelized onions, rendered the lardon, got the cheese ready, and picked the thyme leaves for my tarte, all while Brodie rolled out his pizza shell and dressed his pizza with pepperoni and shredded mozzarella (we did the same for little Syd…. her FAVOURITE!).  It  looks like Brodie wanted to visit Italy and not France this past weekend……. well thats for ANOTHER trip “little Chef”!

I was really happy with how my Tarte Flambée turned out.  Not only was I super excited to keep with our weekly themed dinners, but the whole time making the “pizza” I thought about my career as a Chef, and all the Chefs, Sous Chefs, and fellow cooks that I looked upto, and what an impact they all have had on my life. I tell you it is nothing short of complete awesomeness!

The Tarte Flambée was amazing, super tasty…. something I think Chef Rossman, Chef Knaubert and Chef Bain would have been happy with……the flavour was super delicious  and I was in heaven. YUMMERS!  Brodie… ha……well….. not so much. He took a bite (and swallowed), then proclaimed it “wasn’t for him”, and that he “didn’t like it”.  I’m still so proud of the little man for trying something new and interesting.  Syd…… well……. she is still a “work in progress”. She didn’t even eat the pepperoni pizza offered to her let alone the Tarte Flambée. Looks like I really need to get farther into my book “French Kids eat Everything”……that is my goal for this week!

So I guess our family weekly themed dinners have turned out to be so much more than just a “themed” dinner after all. Funny how Brodie’s request for “pizza” actually turned into a night of refection and MY 10 year career as a professional Chef (and everyone involved in my journey).  There are sooooooo many Chefs to thank…… they are all so amazing (you all know who you are and the impact you had on my career!).  I am so proud of my time spent professionally cooking, and the people that I was so fortunate to have met and learned from.  So glad that I can now call you all friends……  Wow…… so freaking AMAZING …..you all totally ROCK and I so love it!

I love how this whole night turned out with Brodie asking for  “Homemade Pizza”

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

The “little Chef” at work

The “littlest Chef” getting in on the action

My Tarte Flambée

Au revoir l’Allemagne, Bonjour France

Bonjour France!

In keeping with our weekly themed dinner nights, our second dinner took us to France, where our inspired menu consisted of Poulet Roti, Pommes Anna, and Ratatouille. Our “French inspired” entertainment was the most amazing animated movie….. Ratatouille.

Now, the one thing these dinners are teaching ME, is that I am lacking in some basic (and not so basic) kitchen equipment to do what I want to do.  I really could have used an amazing, well seasoned, cast iron frypan for the Pommes Anna…… oh well….. next time!

Kitchen equipment aside, our French inspired dinner turned out great.  The chicken was roasted perfectly, super juicy, with seasoned, crispy, golden skin.  The Pommes Anna was super delicious, although it could have been a touch crispier, and the Rataouille  was so so good. I’m sure that making it from an authentic French recipe (and not deviating  from that recipe) probably helped!

I picked up some French beer, which I thought was going to be harder to find than it was, (although it sounds German to me), as well as a super yummy Viogner from  France.

Brodie has been a real champ when it comes to these dinners.  He has been curious and wanting to help out with everything, and wanting to learn about the country where the food is coming from.  Brodie was great on trying the pommes anna, and the chicken was a no brainer (hey….. it tastes like chicken!), but he was hesitant on trying the ratatouille. With his first bite, and his eyes opening as big as his smile, I knew it was one dish he was super keen on. The little Miss is a totally different story. Sydney so far, has showed no interest in the food (surprise, surprise) but was however, super excited by all the pictures of the Eiffel tower…. it seems to be the only thing she likes to talk about, and the one thing she can hardly wait to see!

With all the pickiness that I deal with, with the kids, the timing of a new book (which saw a hand full of people tell me about since they know the Sydney/food situation) seems to be right on cue for me and the planning of this trip. Its called – French Kids Eat Everything (and yours can too).  I have yet to crack the book open but hopefully it can shed some insight on getting the little lady to eat.

We will arrive in Paris on June 23rd after our first week in Germany. For 2 weeks we will  be in a rented apartment in Paris.  It is in the 17th arrondissement and is close to the Arc de Triomphe, Mikes office, and the metro for all of our daily excursions around town. We will then spend close to 2 weeks in the French countryside on “vacation”.

Living in France for 4 weeks…. I will be able to cross it off the “bucket list”

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

My kids would not starve if we were travelling to Japan

So my kids don’t eat.

Well, they do, but they just don’t eat a “variety” of foods.  The kids however, LOVE Japanese food and sushi, so I know if we were travelling to Japan they would find plenty of food they love to sustain, and nourish their little bodies. This could be partly due to the fact that we have “Sushi Fridays”, almost every Friday, since before they were born. It’s a fun little routine we have gotten them used too.  Since planning the trip, Mike and I have decided that the kids needed to be more adventurous when it comes to food.  There will be a lot of amazing foods that they will encounter being in Europe, (some they most likely would not encounter in our day to day lives here in Vancouver), so Sushi Fridays have now been replaced with our own “Culinary Tour of Europe”.  Every Friday I will be cooking a menu consisting of foods from one of the countries we will be visiting while we are away.

This past Friday we visited the foods of Germany.

The menu consisted of Schweine-Schnitzel, Grainy Mustard Spaetzle, and Brodie decided he would make Kale Chips.  For those of us over 19, I  picked up a German Riesling, and some Becks beer.

I went to a butcher on Main Street with the intent to pick up veal for the schnitzel, but it ended up that they didn’t have veal.  Really? Because that’s why I SPECIFICALLY went to a butcher… ’cause I knew they would have veal!  Since I was wrong on the veal, I decided to go with pork.  The kids like pork….. well, sometimes anyway.  I also thought it would be fun to have soft German pretzels on the menu.  I did a bit of research to find a bakery that made authentic ones, and was directed to The Swiss Bakery just off of Main Street.  I popped in just after 2:00pm and was told they were sold out….. I guess I didn’t realize how popular (and hard to find) authentic soft German pretzels would be!  For my own curiosity,  I now have to get there one morning before they sell out just to see what all this hype is about, and to give myself something to compare to while in Germany!

I headed home to make the mustard spaetzle and organize my “mise en place” needed for the dinner.  Now, I’m pretty sure, that with all my days spent in a professional kitchen,  I must have made spaetzle at least two dozen or more times.  Well I have obviously forgotten the finer points of making spaetzle dough….. and I had to make it twice…. I am slightly of embarrassed about that, but at least I knew when to throw in the towel, and start again!  I am a huge fan, while working in the kitchen, of “using the right tool for the job”, it just makes life easier.  Well for the spaetzle I did not have the “right tool”…….so, if in the future, I decide to make spaetzle again, I will go out and purchase a spaetzle maker to push the dough through…. would have made making spaetzle so much easier, less messy and much more enjoyable for me!  For the veggies, it was going to be just a simple sauté of garlic, shallots and kale, but Brodie said he REALLY wanted to make kale chips, and since I love having him help me out in the kitchen, we set the oven and he began to tear and wash the leaves. For the schnitzel, the butcher pounded out the meat for me so all I needed to do was set the breading station up and get the pans at the right temperature as to cook the schnitzel and have it golden brown.  It was cooked perfectly, the breading not sticking to the meat, instead, creating a “crust” around the meat, then garnished with lemon wedges.  It was simple and super tasty.

In the end, I would say our first stop on the “Culinary Tour of Europe” was a huge success. Brodie ate all the schnitzel saying “its kind of like chicken fingers”, devoured his kale chips and seemed for the most part to like the spaetzle. Sydney wasn’t as adventurous preferring only the schnitzel and kale chips, and not touching the spaetzle, all while making “that face” and shaking her head no.

I addition to the food we also printed off maps of our drive to Heidelberg from Paris, printed off a page of useful German words for us all to try to learn, and used those words to converse through dinner.  It was a great night and I can’t wait try authentic German Fare,  use our limited knowladge of the German language all on the streets of Heidelberg.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Windsor Meats

My little “sous chef”

Spaetzle

Kale Chips

Schweine- Schnitzel

German Refreshments