Friday, August 31, 2012

village ice cream

Back in July, Julie mentioned the amazing salted caramel ice cream she had had at Village Ice Cream.  Located in Victoria Park, Village Ice Cream offers hand-crafted all natural ice cream. Of course we had to go to and check it out for ourselves and she was right.  The salted caramel ice cream was amazing!

This evening, we went back for more, and took our friends!  We enjoyed some ice cream and took over their outside seating area.

I decided to try something different this time, the toasted coconut, and it was amazing.  The shreds of coconut provided a great texture in the creamy ice cream. This time, I made sure to try the homemade waffle cones, which I regretted not trying the first time, and I'm so glad I did!  The cones were crisp and fresh and so delicious!  Hubby tried the cardamom ice cream which he throughly enjoyed, especially since it reminded him of chai.

Q decided to try the Guide's Mint and he loved it. Of course I had to have a taste. The minty ice cream with chunks of chocolate cookies was amazing, no wonder he loved it. His taste is totally like his mamma's!

It was a great evening with friends and some yummy ice cream. Looking forward to going back before summer ends.

Village Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 27, 2012

meatless monday: bruschetta pasta

We are trying our best to go meatless at least a couple of nights a week. This is a great dish where you don't really feel like something is missing since it is packed with flavour.  The bonus is that it is super fast to prepare.  Just take the ingredients that you would put in a bruschetta and toss with pasta. 
Measurements can vary for this, just add as much or as little as you want.  I cooked together a couple of tomatoes, an onion, some cloves of garlic and sauteed it in a pan with some olive oil.  I added a splash of balsamic vinegar, some basil and some salt and pepper.  I added some cooked egg noodles and sprinkled it with parmesan.  This took less than 15 minutes to prepare and was so flavourful and satisfying.  Perfect for Meatless Monday.

Friday, August 24, 2012

hector's casa (kelowna)

Well, it's back to reality after spending some time in gorgeous Kelowna.  The sun, the sand and even time to finish a book (!), it was a much needed break.

It was nice to have both sets of parents with us and Q was in heaven, being spoiled left, right and centre.  Both our parents have anniversaries in August so we celebrated with a meal at Hector's Casa.  We make it a point to stop in at Hector's every time we are in Kelowna.  The food is always amazing!

I love that every meal starts with complimentary tortilla chips and salsa.  The salsa was fresh and tasty.

Nachos are Q's favourite and he had the kids nachos with beef and a side of guacamole.  The nachos were great and very cheesy.  The guacamole was nice and creamy.  Q gobbled up his food.

Our meals were great.  Although I'm not a big fan of beans and rice, everyone seemed to enjoy it.  I loved my meal, the Enchiladas Verde.  Sauteed shrimp with salsa fresca rolled in tortillas topped with tomatillo sauce.

The other dishes included Enchiladas Rojas, Tacos Fresca and Taquitos.

Of course, we couldn't leave without having dessert.  We chose two to share since we were all stuffed.  The plantain sauteed in butter was a hit.  It was topped with cinnamon, sugar and chocolate sauce and served with ice cream.

The best dessert though were the churros.  These were rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with ice cream.  So yummy!

Looking forward to the next time!

Hector's Casa on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

cbc's food host search

In order to get things you've never had,
you have to be willing to do things that you have never done.

I stepped out of my comfort zone this month.CBC was looking for a new food show host and I just had to apply. I knew there would be a lot of great people applying (which there are) but I knew I would regret it if I didn't send in a video.  I had a lot of support from my hubby, friends and family, which was very encouraging.  A special thanks to J who edited the video for me.  Here it is!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eid Mubarak!

Happy Eid!
May your plate of life always be full. 
Wishing you and your families love, peace and happiness always.

Monday, August 13, 2012

mascarpone stuffed zucchini blossoms

I had been wanting to make stuffed zucchini blossoms for a while but it has been so hard to find the delicate flowers.  The kind folks at Michelle's Market were happy to help and picked some for me.  Check them out, they are awesome!
Most recipes for the stuffed flowers called for ricotta but when I saw Trestelle's Mascarpone* on the shelf, I had to grab it.  I had looked for mascarpone months back and couldn't find it so I was not going to miss this opportunity. 

The cheese mixture for this was so creamy and so flavourful, it's a wonder that any made it into the flowers.   The mascarpone was rich and light all at the same time, and is fast becoming one of my favourite cheeses. (In fact, I can't wait to try this vanilla mascarpone cream from Julie!)
The flowers were really delicate.  They needed to be carefully opened so the pistils could be taken out. After being washed and dried, I piped in the cheese mixture with a ziploc bag. As the flowers came out of oil, I sprinkled them with some fleur de sel.
I served these with some warm pasta sauce.  Hubby was surprised by how much flavour was in the petals.  The cheese completely complemented the flowers.  These are a definite must-try if you can find some of these beautiful blossoms.

Mascarpone Filled Zucchini Blossoms
Inspired by recipes from Anna Olson and Chuck Hughes, Food Network

8 zucchini blossoms

Cheese mixture:
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 TB grated parmesan
zest half lemon
1/2 TB garlic, minced
1 TB fresh basil
1/4 cup cream

1 cup flour
1 egg
1 cup club soda

Mix together everything for the cheese mixture.  Place in a ziploc bag for piping.
While the oil is heating for frying, mix together the ingredients for the batter.  Dip the filled flowers in the batter and fry until golden brown.  Salt the fried blossoms and serve with pasta sauce.

*I did receive vouchers from Trestelle to try out their cheese.  Opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dairyland Fresh is Never Far Tour

On Saturday, August 11, 2012, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Dairyland mobile team will be at the Calgary Wellness Festival. Festival-goers will have a chance to enjoy a free sample of Dairyland chocolate milk & white organic 2% milk so keep your eyes out for the Dairyland van!
Location: Murdoch Park, Centre Avenue and Ninth Street NE, Calgary, AB
Date: Saturday, August 11, 2012, 2pm to 6pm
On Saturday, August 18, 2012, the Dairyland mobile team will be at Calaway Park. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. the Dairyland team will be handing out samples of 250 mL cartons of chocolate milk and poured white organic milk. Their station will be fully equipped with a photo booth and participants are encouraged to pick their favourite Dairyland blue milk moustache, pose and get uploaded to the Dairyland Flickr page!
Location:  Calaway Park, 245033 RR 33, Calgary, Alberta
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2012, 10am to 6pm

For a chance to win a $50 grocery gift card, courtesy of Dairyland milk, let me know what you like to eat with a tall glass of milk.  Either leave a comment below or send me a tweet (@fareenjj).  If leaving a comment, please be sure to leave your email address or email it to me (foodmamma [at] gmail [dot] com) so that I can contact you.  Winner will be chosen on Monday, August 13th at noon MST.

Monday, August 6, 2012

fudge brownies

One of my new favourite shows is Bake with Anna Olson.  It's like a teaching cooking show, where Anna shows you a technique or a skill and builds on it, starting with simple to complex.  When I watched the episode with brownies, I knew I had to make them!

I had a house full of people coming in a couple of hours and had errands to run and cleaning to do, but I still had to squeeze in brownie-making time.  It didn't take long at all to put these together and all in one pot - a bonus!  I didn't have time to roast the pecans in butter and salt and just tossed them in but the brownies still tasted really good.  I opted to use a mini muffin tin and made them into two bite brownies.
The aroma of the chocolate filled the house and it was intoxicating!  They were easy to make and so delicious, I know I will be making these again and again.

Fudge Brownies
Adapted from Food Network, Bake with Anna Olson

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a mini muffin pan for 24 brownies.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a medium pot over medium-low heat, stirring until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar and brown sugar right into the pot. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the vanilla. Stir in the flour and cocoa powder until evenly combined.

Roughly chop the pecans and stir most of them into the brownie batter. Divide the batter into the muffin pans and sprinkle the remainder of the pecans on top.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops of the brownies lose their shine. Cool the brownies for an hour before removing from the tin.

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