Monday, September 16, 2013

If it Swims... I Don't Eat it!

Dear Fish,
I'll cut right to the chase.  I'm just not that into you.  I've tried to like you, I really have, but the bottom line is, you're fish, you taste fishy and you smell fishy.  There's this mental block in my brain that just can NOT get over the thought of how you look all scaly and slimy and ugly swimming around when I'm about to put you in my mouth.  Yuck.

And then there's seafood.  All you lobster and crab lovers out there, I apologize, but I just don't get it.  It seems like an awful lot of work for a little bit of reward.  Not to mention it's messy and it isn't cheap.  

I recall going to Red Lobster once with a friend and her then boyfriend (you know who you are, SD) and watching the two of them devour the all-you-can-eat crab legs like a couple of savages.  While being subjected to the overwhelming aroma of the sea, I tried to choke down my pathetic and tasteless chicken counting the minutes till I could get the hell out of there.  

The hubs, on the other hand, loves fish.  He eats it every chance he gets (outside of our home, obvi) and doesn't understand how fish can taste "fishy". "It's fish!" is his response.  The teen isn't into fish at all but the toddler will gobble it up. I know it's good for you, blah, blah, blah, and I want said toddler to be open-minded when it comes to food.  So, over the years I've tried to like it and have attempted to cook it a handful of times. 

But... it doesn't matter what I do to it, I just don't like it.  I am pretty sure it's mostly a mind-over-matter thing, but the mind wins every time.  

Take tonight for example.  I made Fish Taco Bowls with a recipe I pinned from the blog, Pinch of Yum. Doesn't this LOOK good?

Black beans, corn, brown rice, onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, red peppers, tomatoes, Monterrey Jack cheese, avocado (my fave thing ever) - all delicious. Topped with some salsa and sour cream.  Even better, right?  But underneath all that goodness, there was the FISH.  The fish was a RUINER!  A ruiner, I say!  I should have stuck to a Meatless Monday and left out the fish.  Dinner FAIL.  For me, not for the hubs and the toddler, they both liked it.  The teen and me - not so much. 

Fish recipe ideas (that don't taste AT ALL LIKE FISH) for me or suggestions for types of fish I should try would be greatly appreciated - leave me a comment!

I should note that the recipe is fab and I actually might try it with chicken (surprise, surprise...).  No disrespect meant at all to Pinch of Yum.  It's not you... it's the FISH.  

Thursday, September 05, 2013

What in the World Has Penne Been Up To?

Wow, it’s been a few months since I last wrote a blog post – shame on me!  I am going to plead extreme busyness (wow, that IS a word…) over the summer both professionally and personally.  Obviously, summer is the craziest time of year for us at DQ Canada and with our annual Miracle Treat Day fundraiser and a Guinness World Records event in Calgary for world’s largestfruit sculpture, I barely had time to catch my breath and do the regular stuff.   

In my home life, we kept super busy this summer with day trips to places like Port Dover on Lake Erie and African Lion Safari for O's 2nd birthday. We mostly stayed local and enjoyed lounging in our back yard on warm summer days.   Jason and I also went on a one-night getaway to Fergus and Elora where we hiked, ate, drank and rode our bikes.  If you've never been to this little gem in Ontario, you must check it out! 
World's Largest Fruit Sculpture.  3.06 meters tall!

Brew House on the Grand, Fergus, ON

In the kitchen, I’ve been up to my usual antics.  I continue to meal plan religiously and try a couple of new recipes every week.  Boy, I love to cook.  Like, really, really love it.  Had I known this 20 (OMG) years ago, perhaps I would have went to culinary school.  Although, given that I am the furthest thing from a night owl there is, I probably would have had to specialize in breakfast.   And, given that I am not a fan of breakfast (eggs – no thanks, waffles – yuck, pancakes – oh no) I just don’t see it working out for me as a chef.  But I digress….

Here’s something super cool that I’ve been doing in the kitchen though!  It’s no secret that I love Chatelaine magazine and its recipes, so when I saw that I could apply to be a home recipe tester I filled out those forms at lightning speed.  And, guess who was chosen to be a tester?  Yes, that’s right – ME!  I have now tested recipes for both the November and December issues of the magazine.   I’m sworn to secrecy on those recipes until they are in print, but I will tell you this – the ones I tested were delicious, fast and easy, true to Chatelaine form.  I could potentially be quoted in the mags when the recipes are printed, so I’ll let you know if I’m now a famous home-recipe-tester when they show up in my mailbox. 

I’ve cooked several super delicious meals lately and I don’t have time to elaborate on all, but I will tell you about one from last weekend.  This. Chicken. Is. Unbelievable.
Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Reduction
The original recipe is from this blog and I followed it pretty much to the letter.  I did buy one of those mozzarella balls which I think is much better than the brick mozzarella, although more expensive.  Fresh basil leaves are essential and I used Roma tomatoes as they tend to be less juicy and more firm.  One thing I did that the recipe did not call for was to marinate the chicken.  I threw it in a bowl with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, S and P and garlic powder for a few hours before BBQ-ing it.  I think it was a nice touch and added more flavour. 

On the side we had grilled asparagus and a very rich and delicious (read: full of butter, cheese and calories) Parmesan and garlic farfalle pasta.   It was a great meal shared with wonderful friends that I will most definitely make again.  

September always feels like the time for new beginnings for me, so I am going to make a concerted effort to blog at least once a week.  Mark my words!