Omnivores Ottawa Supper Club: Allium

When Ron and Mike announced the location, and menu, for the February Supper Club, I was interested. I admit it. I'd never heard of Allium, but the menu, oh the menu, it intrigued me.

The price was higher than my budget was comfortable with, but I was able to find a way, so reserved a seat for myself and a co-worker to go together.

Then I met up with Don and Jenn from foodiePrints, who gave me a glowing recommendation of Allium, and I was even more excited to be going.

Nor was I disappointed at all.

I chose not to go with the optional wine pairing (I know, everyone is shocked by this,) but those around me who did have it were quite pleased with the selections chosen by Owner/Chef Arup Jana, Sous-Chef Luke Baxter. The staff were both attentive and unobtrusive, and knowledgeable when we had questions.

First course: Seared sea scallop, crispy Prosciutto tuille, Tuna tartar with shiso (and truffle oil), and Lobster Roll.

Every sandwich I eat from now on should have crispy prosciutto in it. And I could eat the tuna and lobster every day. For breakfast.

Oh the scallop was good too, but the tuna was divine....

Second course: Maple cured roasted duck breast, on top of a cauliflower and goat cheese puree (and hiding some lovely sauted mushrooms,) melt in your mouth pork belly, puff pastry wrapped duck leg, braised and shredded, and Foie mousse, on a scallion pancake, with truffle oil.

No one had issues with the Foie mousse at our table, but if they had, there were plenty of us who would have stepped up to take that problem away from them.

Third course: Herb salad with lemon dressing, honey, walnuts, tender micro-greens and a salty Allegreto cheese.

This worked best if you could get a bit of greens, cheese and walnut in the same bite.

Fourth Course: Flat iron sliced beef, braised shank (with a bright green and vibrant chimi sauce,) Angus tenderloin cube on top of tomato, and individual Tourtiere with a tomato ketchup/relish, served with a potato gratin.

A meat eaters dream, this course. I am not a vegetarian and will never be one, not if this is the kind of beef I can expect to eat in my life.

Oh and this Tourtiere has replaced all my memories of all the not so good pies I'd had growing up.

Final Course, dessert: Raspberry sorbet with blood orange slices, chocolate brownie on top of chocolate ganache, topped with vanilla ice cream, candied pecans, a drizzle of caramel and shaved chocolate.

I dislike pecans, unless they are candied and come with this brownie, the ganache, the ice cream....

And the raspberry sorbet was probably the best I have ever had, a bright fruit flavor, not artificial, not overwhelming.

Despite being very full, I ate every bite on this plate and would have done it again if another had been presented to me. You'd have had to roll me out afterwards, but it would have been worth it.

Menu Plan Monday: New, Midweek recipe

It's Monday morning, the sky is grey, and I have to go to work. Bleh.

My menu plans are not chiseled in stone, even though they are printed out here for whomever to see them. I've made a plan, but know that if something comes up, I can ignore it. Which is a good thing - cause if tonight my hubby comes home and confirms he has an ear infection, I'm making dinner and it won't be what I planned for him to make.

Sunday: Mac and Cheese.

Monday: Sausages with apple and fennel salad.

Tuesday: Sheppard's Pie (I'm out tonight and this is a favorite among my boys, all three of them.)

Wednesday: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with homemade tomato soup.

Thursday: Kumquat-garlic chicken with roasted asparagus.

Friday: Fish and chips. Not sure if homemade or if I pick something up yet.

This is my submission to this week's Menu Plan Monday. How about you? Have a plan for the week yet?

Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman: Wildcard breakfast

Debby pronounced it Wild Card for this rounds theme of Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman, my favorite theme. It lets me do whatever I want and this time, this is what I wanted:

Found on pages 36 to 39, this recipe for Cinnamon Rolls makes alot of rolls. We had 2 pans at home, I gave away 2 pans, and I still have one in the freezer. Think I'll pull them out tomorrow morning and surprise the kids with them for breakfast. (I foresee very happy children in my future.)

We like raisins in ours, so I added some in, and next time will reduce the icing and switch out some of the white sugar for brown sugar.

Menu Plan Monday: Family Day = Delayed Menu Plan Day

Happy Tuesday morning!

Yesterday was "Family Day", a government sponsored holiday with no real purpose behind it. It meant I got the day off to spend with my family, to sit and watch the Olympics, to do some cleaning, some cooking and some baking.

I liked it!

It also meant all the stores were closed, so I had to do my shopping on Sunday. I spent alot of money on groceries this weekend, but did not buy anything that I did not already have in my freezer, so my freezer challenge is still on.

Here we go, my menu plan for the week, being submitted to Menu Plan Monday:

Sunday: Nachos, picnic style (while we watched the Olympics together)

Monday: Pasta with meat ragu

Tuesday: Pork tenderloin with Hawaiian sauce and rice

Wednesday: Homemade pizza

Thursday: Meatballs with mashed potatoes

Friday: Out for dinner with my other Mom, who comes to curl nearby at this time every year and we go see her.

Happy Valentine's Day

I woke up to find this on my car earlier this week, left for me by my hubby. What a lovely way to start the day.

Valentine's Day is a commercial holiday more than a romantic holiday. Buy, buy, buy, buy.....
Thanks but no thanks. I don't want over priced flowers that will wilt in only a few days. I don't like or wear jewelery, and between my two children, we have enough stuffed animals in this house already.

My hubby did not get a fancy valentine's gift his morning - I made him breakfast instead. And this afternoon we will spend some time together making dinner (instead of my banishing him from the kitchen while I cook). I'll probably make something fun and filled with calories for dessert as well. Then we will spend some time together, with our children. I believe the plan involves playing Beatles Rock Band.

This week my children's school held a bake sale, with the proceeds going to Make a Wish. My boys brought in this fudge, cut out into heart shapes with a cookie cutter. My oldest tells me it was one of the first things to sell out, and that his silly brother bought a piece as one of his choices, despite the pieces at home in the fridge.

Ridiculously easy to make, perfect for making late at night when you get a last minute request to submit something for the bake sale the next day.

Valentine's Day Fudge

3 cups chocolate, chopped up (I used milk chocolate for this, but you can use semi-sweet as well)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use mint or raspberry or orange extract instead)

Any add in's you'd like, such as white chocolate chunks, nuts, marshmallows....

Line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper.

In a heavy pot, over low heat, melt the chocolate, condensed milk and salt, stirring constantly.
When everything is melted together, and smooth, remove from heat and add in the vanilla, plus any additions you want to make.

Spread into prepared pan, smoothing the top as best you can.

Chill for at least two hours.

Turn out fudge and parchment paper onto a cutting board. Peel away the paper and cut into desired shapes using a knife or cookie cutters.

Leftovers should be kept in the fridge (but really, who are we kidding about leftovers?)

Menu Plan Monday: How I did on the pantry challenge

I know this isn't the Menu Plan Monday banner (I put that below this time). I just wanted to put something different up, just because, and just for fun. This is my oldest son, being silly this past summer.

True story, rather funny, to tell about him and this past week's menu plan: Last week I planned that the boys were going to have club sandwiches using the left over turkey for dinner on Tuesday. I was going to be out here, enjoying myself, but expected to be able to have a sandwich when I got home, if I wanted one. Knowing we had all the ingredients on hand, I decided I wanted a BLT for breakfast the next morning and was going to gather them all together to make my morning a little less hectic the next day. No bacon to be found in the fridge. None in the freezer. Could they have eaten an entire pound of bacon in one night? Seemed unlikely. Hubby said no, there should be some in the fridge, our oldest had put it in a tupperware container. Checked again, fridge no, freezer no, just in case, pantry no. No bacon.

The next morning I ask him. He checks the fridge. He knows he put it in a container, but where did he put it? Checks the freezer. Next thing you know, there are three of rummaging through the fridge and freezer, where did he put this bacon!

Lightbulb goes off above my head - I checked the tupperware cupboard and voila! Bacon!

No, I did not have a BLT for breakfast that morning. Not with bacon that had been out all night.

So the pantry challenge.... It went pretty well. We had a few hiccups this week, the first being diner on Monday, the beef and broccoli stir fry I made. While the stir fry part was fine, for some reason the rice tasted odd to everyone at the table, and had a subtle, but again odd, texture to it. We ended up not finishing out meal that night and had an "emergency" chip run. But even with the chips added in, I still finished the two weeks with $2 left in my $100 budget.

My second little "bump in the road" didn't happen until Friday, when we did end up having take out for dinner, but it had less to do with the pantry challenge and more to do with my having worked a 12 hour the day before (open to close), followed by opening the next morning, and I was exhausted. This isn't likely to happen again, it was unusual circumstances, but it made me realize I am not as resilient as I used to be.

This week I've decided to continue with the freezer challenge, but had to restock several items in my pantry. I'd run out of canned tomatoes, which are a staple, and my stock of cereal, a very in demand item in this house, was completely depleted. The boys, big and small, could still find something for breakfast with what we had left, but I'm much pickier when it comes to cereal and we had not had anything I considered edible for the entire two weeks. Breakfast has been a bit rough on me, no cereal and no BLT's.

On to the menu!

Sunday: Turkey soup with biscuits (I took pictures and hope to post about this later this week.)

Monday: Chicken Korma with rice. Carry over from last week.

Tuesday: Sheppard's Pie.

Wednesday: Grilled steak with Caesar salad.

Thursday: Lasagna, from the freezer.

Friday: It's birthday time around here today, combination of my oldest son and my mother-in-law, as well as my father-in-law from the day before, so we will be out celebrating with them.

Ottawa Food Bloggers, Urban Element and the Chicken Farmers of Canada

Any where else, other than a gathering of food bloggers, this would seem odd. But when a bunch of food bloggers congregated together at the Urban Element on Tuesday, February 2nd, this was the norm. Amazingly, the staff didn't even bat an eye when asked to "pose" with the various hors-d'oeuvres!

We were all there at the invitation of Chicken Farmers of Canada, for a social gathering of Ottawa Food bloggers, with appetizers, cocktails, a cooking demonstration and to hear Ron Eade give a talk on sodium and writing about food.

Ron didn't spend his entire evening talking about salt, but touched on alot of little things about food writing: the time it takes not only to write a blog, but to read and comment on others, the passion that comes through in some blogs, picture size, links and recipes. And one I've been guilty of lately - frequency of blogging. (I owe my blog a big a
pology for the neglect it's seen over the last few months.)

Pulled pork with smoked tomato jam

Cod cakes

Mini chicken pot pies

Sundried tomato strata with C'est Bon goat cheese

Chicken dumplings with peanut sauce

Caramelized onion tarts and pear tarts with Bleu Bénédictine

I am allergic to penicillin, so fortunately I only took one small nibble of this tart, without any cheese, when I realized it had blue cheese on it and I really should not be eating it.

In-house pork rillette with Rochon farm zucchini relish

The food made for us by the staff was not only beautiful to look at, but pretty darn good too. I did find it ironic that an event hosted by chicken farmers had cod and pork as part of the appetizers, though the cooking demonstration for the evening was centered around chicken: chicken liver pate, made for us by Chef Candice Butler.

Not being a fan of anything involving liver, I pretended I didn't hear that part of the recipe and tried the pate anyways. It was tasty but quite rich, I had a difficult time finishing my piece.

The highlight of the evening, for me, was getting an opportunity to meet some local food bloggers. I admit, I had not known about all of them, or that there were quite so many in Ottawa, but it was a pleasure to be included in their company. Some, like Shari of Whisk: A Food Blog, I had been reading for ages and had exchanged emails with. While others, like Don of foodPrints, Rachelle of Rachelle Eats Food, Eva of Eva's Food World and Pearl of Eaten Up, I hope to make part of my regular reading and meet again at future events (which means I better stop neglecting my blog!)

Big thanks to Ryan of Fat Canary Communications for inviting me, to the Chicken Farmers of Canada for hosting this little party, and to the staff at the Urban Element.

Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman: It's a Wild Card

This week Debby called it a Wild Card, and Muneeba was absent, but probably enjoying her new baby and very short on sleep. Very good reason to be absent.

Since we could make anything we wanted from Ree's book or website, and Debby mentioned Muneeba having a baby, I was thinking back to when my boys were babies.

I used to make them alot of pancakes, something they still love to eat.

Recently we ran across a video clip of my oldest son, as a baby, sitting in his high chair, eating. Hands on, messy as can be, shoving his food into his little mouth.

And singing as he ate. "Mmmmmmm mmmmm mmmmmm mmmmmmmm......"

He's outgrown that habit, but still loves to eat pancakes. Breakfast is his favorite meal of the day. So last weekend I made them a double batch of these, Edna Mae's Sour Cream Pancakes, found on page 76-77 of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

He went back for thirds of these pancakes. His brother went back for seconds.

I admit, they didn't really "do it" for me - they start out so light and fluffy, but as they cool, they seem to collapse slightly. And I've noticed, over years of making pancakes, that the person making the pancakes never gets to eat them when they are at their best, fresh, hot and fluffy.

Hey Ree! Can I come visit the Lodge and have you make these for me please? I bet they taste even better coming from your griddle.

Omnivores Ottawa Supper Club: Liang's Village

BC and I were able to sneak away from our children and spouses for a night out last week, midweek. What else would we do but go eat?

Alright, we planned to abandon them and go try some funky and fun sounding Chinese food, the January choice of Ron Eade, Food Editor of the Ottawa Citizen, and his partner in crime, Mike McCracken, at Liang's Village, a family run business in the St. Laurent are (if you live in Ottawa and want to try it for yourself.)

If you are interested, here is Ron's take on our evening out.

Please excuse some of my pictures - I decided to try using my son's little point and shoot camera instead of my own camera. His has a food setting. Which uses no flash, great, but I had no tripod, the table wobbled, the lazy susan spun alot, and apparently I can't hold still for 1/30th of a second.

Marinated jellyfish, Five-spice thinly spiced beef, Sliced Pork Hock, Sliced BBQ Pork, Sliced Marinated Octopus.

Deep-fried Crab Claw

Crispy Duck Skin served with traditional crepes, hoisin sauce and thinly sliced green onions.

This is one of my new favorite things to eat. I could eat it for breakfast.

Duck Soup with Chinese Vegetables

Duck meat served in lettuce wraps

Bean Cake with broccoli, baby bok choy, bean sprouts

Except I don't recall any bok choy or bean sprouts. Oh well, there were mushrooms instead.

Green beans with shrimp and mushrooms

Szechuan-style boiled fish fillet (catfish)

Fukien rice (traditional fried rice dish with sauce, including squid and bbq pork)

See that squiggle of squid in the middle - I ate that piece. And the rice with the liquid from the Szechuan fish was a great combination.

Toffee Banana

The ball, a piece of banana, surrounded by the dough and deep fried, was coated in the toffee and then dunked in the ice water, at the table, before being served to us.

It was a lovely night out, meeting some like minded foodies. I thoroughly enjoyed trying new things, exploring dishes I'd never had before, and am so glad I went.

Imagine, Chinese food without a fortune cookie in sight.

Many thanks to Ron and Mike for a lovely choice, and for Liang's Village, for all their work.

Menu Plan Monday: The pantry/freezer challenge continues

Last week went really well for us. I had to make a stop at the store about Tuesday for milk and bread, and that was it. I had taken out $100 in cash for groceries and spent less than $7 of it.

My week usually runs Thursday to Thursday, for budgeting purposes. So when I got to Wednesday night and still had most of the $100 I'd budgeted, I decided to push this a bit further - let's see if I can go until this Thursday and stay within that $100. Considering I normally spend alot more than this on groceries, it could prove to be quite the challenge for me.

Thursday night I spent a little under $10 buying some fruit, as we had run out of everything but frozen blueberries and jarred apple sauce. Those items will get eaten, one way or another, but needed help.

Besides, frozen blueberries tend to leak in lunch boxes, no matter that container I put them into.

Sunday my little guy and I hit the bakery for some bread and then the grocery store for produce for the week. We came back with a fair amount of fruit for lunches, apples, oranges, bananas and grapes (very good sale price, the only time I buy grapes, some veggies, and $13 or so left in my original $100.

If I can go until Thursday without having to do more than pick up milk (I'll have to do that by Tuesday, I suspect,) I will be pretty happy.

So here is my menu plan for the week, which I am submitting to Menu Plan Monday:

Sunday: Turkey dinner with the fixins': mashed potatoes, stuffing, carrots and gravy. With a "fancy" dessert of angel food cake, lemon curd and whipped cream, all made from items I had on hand.

Monday: Beef, pepper and broccoli stir fry with rice. Beef from the freezer, pepper and broccoli from the fridge, not bought this weekend, rice from the pantry.

Tuesday: Club sandwiches with turkey soup. Left over turkey put to good use.

Wednesday: Steak and baked potatoes. Maybe salad too.

Thursday: Chicken Korma with rice. Chicken from freezer, Korma sauce from pantry, rice from pantry.

Friday: If we've made it this far, that's great! We aren't going to go out to celebrate or anything, but I think I will leave tonight unplanned and just make whatever when I get home.