Between brunch and dinner

Between brunch and dinner

It’s another slow laid-back Sunday with the kind of weather that makes me want to dive back into my heap of b-b-blankets. Which I almost did. But didn’t. Instead, I zombied my way to the kitchen to get my coffee going while crunching down my bowl of cereal.

If you ever wondered how much energy it takes to wash your hair, let me tell you the answer. It’s definitely more than one bowl of cereal. Because by the time I emerge from the bathroom, guess what, I’m crazy hungry again.

So I’m off to the kitchen once again at mid-morning to start making Big Breakfasts of spicy-mango-with-jalapeno smoked chicken sausage, egg, Portobello mushrooms, green bell peppers and tomatoes. All to be washed down with cups of piping hot Chinese tea. How random is that?!

Between brunch and dinner

Barely two hours later, I’m back in the kitchen – again!! – this time, to make us an apple-cranberry pie for tea. With weather like this, to go from brunch to dinner with nothing in between would really be stretching it. And why not bake a pie when I have all the ingredients for it, right? Fresh apples and cranberries, let’s go!

Between brunch and dinner

Fish and chips that tickle

Fish and chips that tickle

… our fancy, that is. Yes, we may just have found a fish and chips joint that we can wrap our fussy lil tastebuds around. We’ve been trying to sniff out an alternative source to the amazing fish and chips we loved so much in Vancouver, Canada!

But sadly, that’s been a long and disappointing road and we’ve been hard-pressed to find anything that comes even close. This new fish and chips joint we found recently – well, it’s pretty good as fish and chips go, but no-ot nea-arly as good.

Still I guess we’re happy we have a place to satisfy the occasional craving for decent fish and chips. But to match the one we know and love, this batter would have to be a lot lighter and crispier, and it would have to be served with a huge heap of light tangy coleslaw. Unfortunately, it doesn’t!

Fish and chips that tickle

Ah, but that’s the thing about eating out, isn’t it? You can’t always have what you want and you can’t always have everything you like on it. You just eat what they serve you, then pay and leave. Hopefully the tab doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket as it oftentimes does, just that few like to admit they got ripped off.

Frankly, if fish and chips didn’t involve the oily business of deep-frying, I might be tempted to try it at home. But you know me, and you know how much I cherish an arm workout from the cleanup that comes afterwards. So yeah!

I guess we’ll continue to reminisce about the little fish and chips shop in Vancouver that we used to visit every week, sometimes a few times a week because it was within walking distance from where we lived, and their fish and chips is undisputedly the best.

Whenever the chef saw us file in past the open kitchen, he never failed to wave, smile and double up our order. If we ordered 2 pieces of fish, the waitress would bring us 4 and we’d be like, umm but! Only there were no buts with this guy. He obviously loved us and our business, and the strangest thing was, he wasn’t even the owner!

After a 15-minute walk in the wet, freezing winter, that hot-off-the-fryer fish and coffee was truly something we looked forward to. The fish was always fresh and crispy beyond crispy. We could have unlimited cups of coffee to warm ourselves up, and ya, we knew everyone there and ya, we miss you, guys!!!

Flipping pumpkin pancakes

Flipping pumpkin pancakes

We’re having pumpkin pancakes for lunch today. Now that Halloween is over and those cute little pumpkins

Flipping pumpkin pancakes

have disappeared from the promotional aisle, I guess it’s time to do some other stuff with pumpkins. One night after dinner, we slapped together a big bowl of pancake batter (gorgeous color that!) and the next afternoon, I was flipping pumpkin pancakes.

Flipping pumpkin pancakes

Ironically, it was pumpkin pie that I first fell in love with back in college. But since I am lazy and haven’t figured out yet how to bake a pumpkin pie, I’m best leaving it to the pro’s. For $5.99, I can pick up a huge ready-to-eat pumpkin pie at the store any day. If not for the fact that it’d probably take me a month to finish eating the whole thing by myself, that might not be such a bad idea.

But for now, I’m sticking to what I know – pumpkin pancakes which we all agree is a terrific lunch idea. Making my own pancakes means I get to be boss of my pancakes. I like being boss. Can you tell? *wink*

Flipping pumpkin pancakes

Frankly, I’m not that hard to please. I want my pancakes thin, not thick. In stacks, not singles. With honey, not maple syrup. With butter, lots of butter, not any number of the needless stuff piled on to achieve a premium effect.

Flipping pumpkin pancakes

And I want my pancakes made with real pumpkin, not pumpkin flavoring or powder or whatever it is that you can’t confirm is in there. And with that, I’m off to make my pumpkin pancakes. See you later, guys!

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

What a week this has been! Had indigestion and lost my appetite Tuesday night. Woke up the next morning to nausea and a huge tummy upset. For sure, it wasn’t what I had for dinner. More like something toxic was in the air.

Well, I’m sorely disappointed that my appetite’s been slow to return. The weather report says the air quality is at its worst and won’t be improving any time soon. I figured if I was going to snap out of my misery, a well-deserved comfort dinner is just the thing I need.

See these gorgeous pork ribs? This was dinner last night.

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

We picked up this ready-to-eat rack of ribs off the shelf and carted it home, reheated it when we were ready to eat, mashed some potatoes and plated some veggies, and that was dinner right there. Go Cali!

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

These ribs were moist, juicy and flavorful but not fall-off-the-bone tender. In other words, perfection and exactly how ribs should taste.

Indigestion, disappointment and pork ribs

What’s the point of eating ribs if all the meat came off the bone and you’re left eating just the meat? Then you might as well be eating a piece of steak. Half the fun of eating ribs is being able to hold the bone like a caveman woman and strip the meat off it with your teeth. That’s the way you do it. Anyone else with me on this?

Pasta night with grilled salmon fettuccine

Pasta night with grilled salmon fettuccine

So we had another of those highly anticipated pasta nights. This time, it was pasta night with grilled salmon fettuccine and whoever created this amazing pasta (was it me?), thank you, you’re a genius! Because if shrimp scampi pasta is the new love in town, salmon fettuccine is definitely an unforgettable old flame.

We’ve been eating a lot of salmon lately. We buy a huge salmon fillet and technically it’s big enough for 3 or 4 meals. So it’s like we always have salmon sitting around and it’s really convenient for lazy nights and most importantly, there are no bones to contend with.

We heart salmon so much that it doesn’t even make sense any more to go outside for a couple of mouthfuls of salmon (?) which might or might not keep a cat full for, oh, about 10 minutes tops. C’mon!

At any rate, here comes our big ol’ dinner portion grilled to perfection with the moistness still intact. Oooh man, I wanna eat up this photo like right now! *droolzzz*

Pasta night with grilled salmon fettuccine

Sometimes it’s nice to pretend we’re at a fancy restaurant. “I’d like to have the grilled salmon with fettuccine please!” and have it served with my signature fettuccine in a red wine-red sauce with mushrooms and tomatoes. That red wine definitely ups the ante on flavor, I tell ya.

Pasta night with grilled salmon fettuccine

Yup, I could literally eat this every day. Not even kiddin’! Confession: sometimes we do this twice a week *breaks out into evil laugh*! After all, pasta is supposed to be good for you, maybe even better than your regular noodles but don’t look at me, I’m a die-hard carb freak either way. I just can’t help myself!

Pasta night with grilled salmon fettuccine

A laid-back weekend

A laid-back weekend

So here we are, on a laid-back weekend. After a full 10 hours of beauty slumber, we were up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning which was technically 7:30. I can’t complain about gaining an extra hour. But I don’t know why they even still bother with daylight saving because quite honestly, all it does is throw everyone’s timing out of whack. For the first few days, at least.

Between the time we’ve been up, we’ve had cereal for breakfast and a banana cake snack. We baked a kick*ss banana cake yesterday afternoon and we’re now enjoying the fruit of our labor. Literally. After one night in the fridge, the cake tastes even better.

Another laid-back weekend

Grocery runs are starting to get more exciting. Now that Halloween is over and the holiday season has officially begun, the sampling kiosks are dishing out new varieties of food and snacks to kick off the holiday gluttony. We had a blast flitting from one kiosk to the next sampling everything – croissants with ham and cranberry sauce, chicken sandwich (center), and sausages. Oink!

Another laid-back weekend

Some genius made these flavored cheeses – bacon jalapeno and wasabi – so yummy.

Another laid-back weekend

Oh and I love, love, love these sugar snap pea chips. Totally addictive.

Another laid-back weekend

We took our time going out for lunch at a new (to us) Korean restaurant, had a most leisurely meal of jampong and pork bulgogi rice, and came home to bake chocolate chip cookies. I’m sitting here inhaling the heavenly aroma of our baking and it certainly is starting to feel like fall. I’ll be heading to the kitchen soon to start the prep for tonight’s dinner – yes, bibim naengmyeon (spicy buckwheat noodle) again.

Tomato soup, clear and simple

Tomato soup, clear and simple

We have a soup on our family menu that’s called, very simply, ‘tomato soup’ . But this isn’t a soup made with tomatoes, tomatoes and tomatoes. That would be boring. It’s, in fact, a hearty combination of some fairly run-of-the-mill ingredients like carrots, onions, celery, chicken, sometimes pork and potatoes too.

So I’m not sure why it’s called ‘tomato soup’. It could be that the taste of the tomato is the most distinct. The soup itself is sweet from all the vegetables in it. But the tomato lifts it to a new level with its unmistakable tang which I find so comforting. So the star of the show here is really the tomato. The rest of you can sit down and be quiet!

Now I love cooking. Everyone knows that. But much as I enjoy dishing up tasty dinners like my poached/fried fish fillet and spicy buckwheat noodles that everyone spends all day looking forward to, I have my lazy days when, um, peeling my behind off this chair isn’t quite so easy. And here is where tomato soup saves the day, or the night as the case may be.

Historically, our tomato soup is served along with other dishes. But the way I see it, this soup is robust enough to stand on its own as a one-pot meal. It has no need to share the limelight with anything else. Yes, my humble tomato soup takes center stage.

Because this was to be a one-pot meal, I made a large pot with said veggies, country-style pork ribs and the one remaining pack of chicken wings in the freezer.

Tomato soup, clear and simple

When it’s getting cooler like it is now, a bowl of hot soup over rice is such a comfort. All it needs is my mandatory freshly-cut jalapeno to kick things up a notch. Everything else is in there – meat, veggies and a whole lot of warmth!

Tomato soup, clear and simple

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