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The Laughing Cow Mega-Meatballs


Are we really being sucked back into the cold reality that is January 4th tomorrow morning? Although the holidays have been wonderful and busy, I feel like I haven’t spent quite enough horizontal time on the couch in my flannel PJ pants surfing food blogs and watching The Office and Flight of the Conchords on DVD. What I love best about this time of year is that no one expects anything of you – to answer your emails, even – for the week between Christmas and New Years’ Eve. Of course I was back at work last week anyway, covering traffic for the provincial shows on Tuesday and Wednesday – but any work done during the last week of December seems extra-productive somehow, sort of like working on a Sunday.

I also feel like I haven’t quite kept up with my end of the bargain here – over the past few weeks I let a good half the festivities slip through the cracks without keeping you abreast of what was being consumed, where and why; my synapses dulled by butter, cream, wine and Robaxacet. And now it’s not timely anymore. Spinning the tale of my gingerbread trifle the week we all get back to work is about as appealing as spinning some Bing and Bowie on Easter weekend. I do have paragraphs written (that truthfully sound more like an uninspired letter home from summer camp) – I do believe I’ll just go ahead and hit delete and get on with it. Out with the old and all that.
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January 03 2010 | beef and bison | 34 Comments »

Grilled Bison Steaks, New Potatoes, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad and Blueberry Galette

Yesterday was Food Day, and the world’s longest barbecue. I caught wind of it last week – too late to really organize anything – I pondered calling a few neighbours over for an impromptu dinner when it occurred to me that cooking a nice meal on the grill for the three of us is just as legit as pulling together a block party. So I thawed a couple of beautiful bison T-bone steaks from a friend’s brother’s farm, cooked up some tiny new potatoes (which were then drizzled with cold-pressed canola oil from Highwood Crossing – Canada’s EVOO), sauteed some chard, and tossed a salad of lettuce leaves plucked from the pots on my back porch (YES! I DIDN”T KILL THEM THIS YEAR!), roasted beets (from another friend’s brother’s farm) and crumbled Fairwinds Farm goat cheese, drizzled with honey-balsamic vinaigrette. The bison steaks were unbelievable – so worth a try – but remember that they are leaner than beef (although these came across not one bit as such – so tender and juicy) so they need less time on the grill. These got 3 minutes per side and then a rest in a foil tent on the counter while I made the salad and finished the chard, and were a perfect medium-rare.

(I should mention breakfast, too: my sister and her kids – plus one friend – came for waffles – this recipe, made with a shake of ground flax and drizzle of flax oil, which they did not notice at all, and in fact the kids declared them the best waffles ever – topped with grilled peaches, blueberries, raspberries from the kids’ backyard, Nanking cherry jelly, Rogers’ Golden Syrup and maple whipped cream. Maple whipped cream is just cream whipped with a drizzle of maple syrup instead of sugar.)

After dinner the plan was to head next door for some sangria and mojitos – a good excuse to bake a blueberry galette. BC blueberries are cheap right now, and when I was shuffling around my freezer for room to fit more in, out fell a roll of puff pastry. I kept it out, and it made a perfect galette with under 5 minutes of actual work. That’s my kind of fast food.

It had just come out of the oven when the windstorm hit. You may have heard of it – and if you’re in Calgary, most likely experienced it. For us it was a little unexpected drama between dinner and dessert; gale-force winds trashing the back yard and forcing us all to rush in for cover. It took the power out for a couple hours, which only meant we’d have to wait for our whipped cream, and W couldn’t watch The Incredibles. We heard sirens in the distance – not uncommon during a storm – and only learned later of the horrific accident downtown, and the stage collapse at Big Valley Jamboree. How do you endure it? I just can’t imagine.

So we ate our pie late, back outside, when the power came back on and we could whip the cream with some maple syrup. When I cut into it the juices ran out (I served it on a cheese board that was $6 at Winners) but not in an uncontrollable way – this is my fear, with berry pies, since that one I made as a kid that wallowed in a half inch of soup. This was runny in a way that kept it from being stodgy – although it was a bit of a trick to catch all the drips, I wouldn’t change a thing. The puff pastry wasn’t too puff, and was lovely pastry. (It was one of two rolled-up logs you get in a package of President’s Choice puff pastry from Superstore – easy because you don’t have to roll it out – and even though it was square, it still worked just fine. In fact, the points made it look even more cool and rustic.)

Blueberry Galette

inspired by this one.

1 pkg. puff pastry, thawed, or pastry for a single-crust pie
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. butter, cut into bits
1 egg, lightly beaten
coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil, parchment or a silpat mat.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch to get rid of any lumps. In a large bowl, toss the berries, sugar-cornstarch mixture, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt.

Unwrap the puff pastry onto the sheet, or roll regular pastry into a 10″ (ish) circle. Mound the blueberries into the middle of the dough, leaving an inch or two around the edge. Fold the edges over the filling, just enough to keep the berries from sliding out. It can overlap and look rustic, there is no need for neatness.

Brush the pastry with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden, 25-30 minutes. If it’s browning too quickly, cover loosely with some foil. Cool for a few minutes before sliding out onto a cutting board to cut and serve. Serve warm, with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup or vanilla ice cream. Serves 6.

Tonight’s dinner can be summed up in four words: SHAKEN’BAKE – DRUMSTICKS – AT – SHIRLEY’S.

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August 02 2009 | bison and dessert and on the grill | 23 Comments »

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