Hello out there!
This week sped by; in fact it feels like summer whirled by in a blur. Not that it’s over, but out here it definitely feels a little like fall….cooler days now as well as nights, the light looks different around 5:00 pm and the trees are starting to shed – so is our cat (her name is Tax i) which always makes think a change of season is around the corner.
The farmer’s markets have been amazing this summer – and they’ll stretch into the fall too. Because of the cooler weather I’m already itching to braise big stews, make soup and whatnot. A few days ago, Heather dropped by some serious harvest bounty on my doorstop…..little apples, potatoes, some kind of greens (mustard I think), carrots and corn! Finally corn! Will have a corn feast tonight – just corn, a lot of butter, maldon salt and a roll of paper towel. Glorious!
It’s taken 24 years (since Geraldine Ferraro) for another woman to be nominated as Vice President of the United States. And now it’s finally happened! Forty-four-year-old Alaska governor Sarah Palin is John McCain’s running mate.
Sigh… too bad she’s under investigation in her home state for an ethics violation. Plus she’s staunchly into overturning Roe v. Wade.
Not that they have a chance against Obama/Biden anyway.
Maybe in another 24 years and maybe on the Democrat side this time. Chelsea Clinton for Prezzie, perhaps?
I finally met Dayna (Chatelaine’s fabulous web editor) when I was in Toronto last week. We sat and dished about everything food and web related. Chatelaine has always been the gathering spot for women to come to – whether it’s to talk about food, health or current events. And the web community is a large and welcoming place.
Originally, blogging for Chatelaine gave me a sense of connection and security – that I was still in touch with and part of my friends, family and Chatelaine’s lives back in Toronto while starting my own adventure out West. On top of that, I’ve been surprised and pleased by questions, comments and suggestions by other members of this amazing virtual community. In fact, my two good friends out here, Heather and Sara, found me through the blog. Granted, I met them both in Toronto – but that was many years ago – and it took a little cyberspace to get us reconnected! So thanks for your feedback.
And speaking of feedback……there are some foodie questions from Chatelaine’s food forum that need to be answered. I love this kind of stuff….cooking questions make for great debate.
Q: Is there any substitute for Chocolate Squares in baking? I very seldom have this on hand. — Buzz
A: Cocoa works wonders. In fact, many bakers prefer to use cocoa powder (mostly for cakes) believing it gives a stronger and richer tasting chocolate flavour. I double checked a few sources for substitutions and the general rule of thumb is for every 1-oz square of unsweetened chocolate use 3 tbsp cocoa mixed with 1 tbsp unsalted butter. For semi-sweet chocolate, use 1 tbsp + 1 3/4 tsp cocoa mixed with 4 1/2 tsp granulated sugar and 1 1/2 tsp unsalted butter.
Q:What is the best substitute for Crisco in baking. I use one half marg. and one half butter. What do you suggest? — Buzz
A:I think I need some more info here…..for example, is this for pie dough? If so, I personally like to use half butter and half Tenderflake. What are you making?
Q: My husband came home proud yesterday with too much orange juice! We won’t get through it that quickly! Can I freeze 2 litre cartons of orange juice (not from concentrate)? — plexy
A: Hi Plexy! I recognize your name – I’ve talked to you before on the blog! I LOL at the description of your “proud” husband coming home with the orange juice deal of a lifetime! YES! you can freeze orange juice and it will be fine to drink later. Just make sure it’s not stored in a glass container. I’ve had some bad experiences with broken glass in the freezer….not so good. Also, did you know, you can also freeze buttermilk? I’ve never understood why they sell such big containers of it when a recipe usually only calls for no more than 1 cup. Why not make smaller containers like they do for whipping cream and chocolate milk? Anyways, buttermilk freezes well too – but definitely use it for baking purposes only – the texture isn’t exactly the same after it’s been frozen and thawed…..but then again, how many people (besides Bob Hope) really drink buttermilk!?
Q:I want to use dried beans instead of canned in recipes, for cost and environmental reasons. How much volume or weight of dry beans should be measured prior to soaking to yield the same amount as one can of beans? — piggy_miss
A: Good question and great idea to cut out one more can for recycling. I remember talking about this one in the Chatelaine Test Kitchen. Luckily, I’ve kept all those kinds of crazy notes, so I don’t have to repeat that experiment tonight! It’ll take approximately 1/4 lb dried beans to equal a 14-oz can of cooked beans.
Now here’s where I’ll open up a can of worms (bad pun there)…….Canned beans are time savers. However, when I use them, I only buy organic, Eden brand to be specific, because it doesn’t contain any BPA in the lining of the cans. BPA is Bisphenol A – it’s added to the lining to prevent corrosion but is also toxic. Remember the plastic water bottle scare? This is that. I’ve ditched my sporty plastic water bottles and now I’m ditching any canned foods linked with BPA.
Am I just jumping on the scare bandwagon? What are you doing? What is your opinion?
For more info check out these links:
I’ve been hearing adds on the radio for Emirate Air, the airlines that services the arab emirates. It’s all about luxury. And more luxury. And still more. I finally had a chance to log on to their website today and take a look at how the other, well, not half, but maybe .1% live. And let me tell you, it’s nice!
This is the link to their top of the line, first class suites. They are apparently modeled on the old time luxury trains, iike the Orient Express, or maybe even total luxury travel of days gone by, as per the Titanic. (is it bad luck to even mention the T word in connection with travel?)
Here are a few visuals to drool over, as you make your way home from the holidays in the back row of economy coach:
This is nicer than most people’s homes! And you should check out their menu…
Cocktails and canapés
A selection of cocktails and cold canapés
Wild Iranian caviar
Served with traditional accompaniments, sour cream and blinis
A selection of traditional Arabic mezze, including labneh with sumac powder stuffed in cucumber, moutabel, shanklish salad, marinated loubieh in tomato cup, cheese sambousik, sujuk with haloumi cheese, kibbeh stuffed with ratatouille, coated prawns
Smoked tangerine chicken
Thin slices of tangerine-marinated smoked chicken breast, served on lentil salad, accompanied with zaatar dressing
Tomato and okra soup
Spicy tomato soup with baby okra slices, served with toasted croutons
Freshly prepared salad
Salad prepared by your crew to your liking with a choice of accompaniments offered with roasted red pepper mayonnaise or Italian vinaigrette
Marinated fillets of hammour served with orange flavored sauce, enhanced with jalapeno pepper
Braised beef in coconut milk
Shredded slices of tender beef, braised and served in a coconut sauce, garnished with cilantro and fried red peppers
Glazed duck breast
Duck breast glazed with wild forest honey, roasted and accompanied with a mild cherry sauce
Layers of spinach pasta and grilled aubergine slices, served with creamy mozzarella sauce, sprinkled with tomato flavored pesto sauce
Creamed fennel, broccoli soufflé, mixture of turned vegetables, parisienne potatoes with herbs and steamed rice
Baked banana and pecan nut pudding, accompanied with half whipped cream
Traditional homemade cheesecake with fresh strawberries
A selection of international cheeses, served with crackers, grapes and crudités
Selection of seasonal fruits
Beverages and Chocolates
Ceylon, China, Earl Grey, Chamomile
Freshly brewed or decaffeinated
I couldn’t get a sense of what a first price ticket from Toronto to Dubai might cost on one of these flying hotels, and really, I’m too shy to call a travel agent and ask. Any one want to hazard a guess?