Omnivores Ottawa Supper Club: Big Easy

Mike and Ron picked well again!

Big Easy's Seafood and Steakhouse, located on Preston Street, was the location for the 8th Omnivore's Ottawa Supper Club, where 45 or so of us gathered for good food.

Restauranteur Val Belcher greeted us with a glass of sparkling wine upon arrival (and I actually drank mine, though it took me the entire night to do so), while Chef Barrin Bruck and his crew put together a 5 course meal for us.

Warm bread was brought to our table with two butter choices: a "regular" whipped butter and a caramalized butter, which as divine. We had two of these at our table of four and could have used two more.

Appetizer Course: Madeira escargot on shitake mushroom with steamed leek, salmon flank frite with dill aioli and blood orange tuna ceviche.

The description of this course is what lost my husband's interest in joining me for this meal. Don't worry, I didn't eat alone. I went with a few friends, foodies themselves and we savored every course.

Salad Course: Jumbo blue crab, frisee, roasted corn, poached quail egg, sweet onion dressing, curry apple oil, sundried tomato confit and garlic oil.

You may have noticed over the last few years of my blog that I like to talk. I'm not shy with my opinions either.

When this course was over, we were asked by a friend at another table how we enjoyed it, and my boss, who was sitting beside me said, "It was so good that Jenny said nothing during that entire course!"

I had crab, I was happy.

Third Course, Duck and Shrimp: Duck-prosciutto-wrapped barbeque shrimp, White Stone Asiago creamed grits, with red-eye gravy.

Did you know you could replace the flour in red-eye gravy with ground kidney beans? I know I didn't. I didn't taste them, fortunately, but they matched well with the duck fat and the coffee to make a gravy that balanced the richness of those creamy grits.

This course was served with a Chardonnay, paired to match the smokiness of the prosciutto. It smelled very nice and didn't taste bad either. (You all know how much I love my wine, hehe.)

Happy Birthday to BC, who joined me for dinner! She waited until after dinner to tell me it was her birthday the next day.

Probably a good thing - maybe they would have made her stand on a chair while we all sang to her.

Or not.

Fourth Course: Where's the Beef? Chili pomegranate glazed tenderloin, gorgonzola pecan-stuffed croquette, smoked asparagus and caramalized chipolini onions and lattice cut potato chips. Served with a red wine (I have no idea what it was, I forgot to write it down, and I did not drink mine.)

Remember at last months dinner when I said the beef course was one of the reasons I will never be a vegetarian? Just take a look at confirmation of that belief. Melt in your mouth, rare tenderloin, paired with a croquette that was wonderfully crispy on the outside, but smooth and mellow on the inside. The onions were soft and beautiful, and when they said smoked asparagus, they meant SMOKED asparagus. So good, soooo good.

Final Course, Dessert: Sweet potato Canadian Maple Cheesecake with pecan-graham crust, Bailey's whipped cream, pepper tuile and spiced apple bourbon sauce.

Cheesecake that was so light it was mousse-like. The Bailey's in the whipped cream was so generous that we speculated how they managed to whip the cream. All of it amazingly good. We'd have licked our plates if it wasn't so rude.

This entire meal came to $85, including the sparkling wine, two additional glasses of wine, taxes and gratuity.

Many thanks to the staff, kitchen and dinning room alike, for a lovely evening. And thanks to Ron and Mike for organizing and setting up another winner.

Menu Plan Monday: Short week

Since I returned to work last fall, our schedule has been a little hectic. I've done plenty of cooking between now and then, but most of it quick stuff that I can throw together. I've rarely had time to just let loose in my kitchen and enjoy myself.

Yesterday I took some time.

Boy, did I need to do that. I needed to remind myself that I loved playing in my kitchen and making a mess.

And since I will have a bit of time this week to put towards dinners, I'm going to have a bit more fun in the kitchen with this week's menu plan.

Btw, it's a short week because of the holiday weekend coming up, Easter. We won't be home for the weekend, but I will be cooking at my mother's house as well.

Sunday: Bruchetta with rib eye steak in whiskey cream sauce, corn fritters and garlic aioli.

Monday: Lasagna and garlic bread.

Tuesday: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes.

Wednesday: Double coconut chicken with grilled pineapple and papaya.

Thursday: Make your own salad night (with left overs.)

Friday: At my mothers, possibly having nachos.

And that's my contribution to this week's Menu Plan Monday.

Menu Plan Monday: Ooops, think I forgot something

Seems I went and forgot to post my Menu Plan for the week, both here and at Menu Plan Monday.


I did make a plan, wrote it down, and posted it on my kitchen fridge. Then I forgot.

Oh well, better late than never....

Sunday: Pulled beef tacos with rice and refried beans.

Monday: Sausages with noodles and mixed veggies.

Tuesday: Penne with tomatoes, garlic and chili.

Wednesday: Fried chicken.

Thursday: Pork tenderloin stir fry with rice.

Friday: Left overs and/or pancakes.

Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman: Desserts

Muneeba's back this week, and found my weak spot for this week's theme: Desserts.

It's not that I don't like or make desserts, its just I've been forgetting to take pictures alot lately. Plus my tripod is broken, so when I do remember, my pictures aren't doing what I'd like them to do. (I don't have Ree's ability to keep my camera steady with my hip or arms, which is a pity.)

Patsy's Blackberry Cobbler, found on pages 212 to 213 of Pioneer Woman Cooks.

With blueberries instead of blackberries, cause I like them better.

My husband wasn't even interested in trying this, since it has blueberries in it, and my kids, who love blueberries, just said, "No thanks, can we have a cookie?" So I had the entire thing to myself.

I wouldn't call this a cobbler, but more a Clafouti. It certainly made a good breakfast, warmed up a bit. I never did try it with whipped cream or ice cream, just ate it plain, and I liked it - good thing since I am the only one who ate it.

I will make this again sometime, with a different fruit, but I will reduce the amount of sugar on top entirely as my sugar did not melt on top and make a golden crispy top, and really wasn't necessary.

And that's my contribution to Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman. Go check it out yourself.

Menu Plan Monday: It's March Break

For the first time since my children started getting March Break, I won't be home with them.

This makes me sad, actually.

Even sadder, though, is that I am breaking one of my own March Break rules this week, without the boys.

I've learned, over the last 7 March Breaks, that there are 3 things I should never do during that short week in March, and I learned these the hard way: Never go to a public swim (the pools and change rooms will be packed and loud,) avoid the museums, for the same reason, and avoid the IKEA restaurant for all I can.

Guess which rule I'll be breaking?

With this in mind, I'm anticipating a very tiring week. There may be take out involved by about Thursday. We'll see....

Pork Souvlaki with pita, tzatziki and salad (pork bought premarinaded from Costco)
Stew (made ahead)
Pepper and Garlic chicken (chicken bought premarinaded from Costco)
Slowcooker pulled chicken and tortillas (put frozen whole chicken in slow cooker with jar of strong salsa walk away and come home to dinner ready)

I know that is only 5 of the usual 6 meals I would post (and I'm leaving open the days for each) but I'm uninspired this week and also waiting to see how things go.

It's not much, but its some sort of a plan, and my submission to Menu Plan Monday.

Menu Plan Monday: Running late this morning

The image above is wishful thinking - I could smell someone bbq'ing on Saturday and it made me sad to know that I still have not replaced my broken bbq. I will though. I will....

Had a rough couple of nights in a row sleeping, so I'm not at my best this morning and still have stuff to do before I head out the door for work, so I'm going to just list my menu plan for the week rather than give each item a specific day.

hamburgers and salad
chicken thighs with rice
stuffed chicken breast (left over from last week's plan)
fish and chips

Hope you have your menu plan in place - you can find lots of ideas at Menu Plan Monday.

Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman: Meatballs for comfort

The theme for this round of Foodie Fans of the Pioneer Woman was "Main Courses" and there are so many good ones to choose from. A few I've even remembered to take pictures of.

My choice for this theme was Ree's Comfort Meatballs, found on pages 172 - 173 of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

I admit, the first time I made this recipe, I doubled it and threw half of it in the freezer for later. I just assumed it would be good and we'd all like it. How could we not? It was meatballs. With a sticky sauce.

I served this, the first time, with buttered Parmesan tortellini, and the frozen batch was served later with mashed potatoes. Yum, yum, yum.

Unfortunately, I have none left in my freezer now.

PS to Debby - I'm only now actually reading the last round up (my bad), and see you called for help. Sorry I missed that and have been unable to jump in an volunteer!

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome March

Before I even had this menu plan written, it had changed.

It used to be that my menu plan involved all the nights that I cooked, with one night where the hubby cooked, and I only planned for what I was making. Since going back to work full-time, I've needed help, and dinner is one of the things I need help with.

My usual plan involves my cooking everything Wed/Fri/Sat/Sun, with my planning and prepping for the rest of the week, but my husband finishing those nights. Sometimes I plan for something he is very comfortable making (like Sheppard's Pie or Spaghetti), and just make sure he has the ingredients to make it. Other nights I do prep in advanced and leave him detailed instructions. It depends.

Last week he was home sick, so dinner's were a bit off, with him not being in any shape to cook or eat, and my not getting home until after 6:30 most nights.

This week he is back to himself, back to work, I am fine, but my little sous chef is quite sick and I'm home taking care of him. I'd hoped it would just be for today (as I'm sure my boss did when I called in this morning), but it isn't looking good for a 1 day illness and as a result, I'm changing the menu plan to reflect my being home.

Oh, and Sunday night's plan changed when the kids and I found ourselves joining an impromptu hockey watching party and ended up eating at the restaurant. What a great way to watch hockey.

Sunday: Pub food. 3-2 final score.

Monday: Fajitas with homemade salsa.

Tuesday: Grilled pork chops with scalloped potatoes and roasted asparagus.

Wednesday: Chili Con Carne. Or something like it.

Thursday: Broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken breast, mashed potatoes and roasted corn.

Friday: No idea. I'm uninspired.

And that's what I'm submitting to Menu Plan Monday.