“Not to sound too much like Christopher Guest in ‘Waiting for Guffman,’ but on Thanksgiving you’re putting on a show!” – Ted Allen

I’ve been away for a while, working on two other sites which took my spare time away from my own. But just because I’ve been away from the keyboard doesn’t mean I’ve been out of the kitchen. This past weekend, Thanksgiving, I created a dish, somewhat by fluke, that has become a side dish staple.

We cooked our turkey two days in advance and were having people over for dinner on Friday night (you guessed it, our T-Day was Sunday), but since I have so many food issues I couldn’t eat what was being served. So I started to make a mini turkey dinner for myself, which meant I needed some veggies. Rather than dirty several pots, I put the potatoes in the bottom and tossed a veggie steamer on top for the carrots. Originally my plan was to do up a batch of Make Ahead Potatoes, but the carrots gave me a better idea.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 small to medium sized potatoes (peel to preference)
  • 3-4 good sized carrots peeled
  • curry (to preference)
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Tofutti Sour Cream
  • margarine

I made this twice over the weekend, once with steamed carrots, the second time was done with carrots that were sliced into dollars and cooked in a pot all their own. Both worked quite well, the steamed, of course, mashed better and the dollars kept their form. How you cook the carrots depends on whether you want to have a completely smooth consistency or a more chunked, rustic, feel. I do prefer the latter and, as such, leave the skin on the potato and mash rather than use a hand mixer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll give the recipe with dollared carrots and then, if you’d rather, all you need to do is steam the carrots and use a hand mixer to marry it all together before tossing it in the oven.

Peel the carrots, halve or quarter the potato according to size and slice the carrots into dollars. toss both in separate pots to cook. Once the veggies are done, put in a large bowl, add in some margarine to make the mashing easier and have at it. After you get a good mash on the potatoes and carrots, add a couple spoonfuls of the sour cream, your preferred amount of curry and a handful of the Daiya Cheese. When the mix is mashed to your desired consistency, transfer to an 8×8 pan, flatten it out, layer on some more Daiya, and put in the oven @ 350 for 25-30 minutes.

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While it does LOOK like the Make Ahead Potatoes, it tastes completely different and an excellent addition to your dinner table.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

First off, I want to thank everyone who came to visit me last night at my booth during Afterglow. I had many great conversations with the lot of you and it was great to be able to share what I know about living dairy free, and very encouraging to have so many people excited to try my recipes.

Those who attended last night’s event got a bit of a preview that you folks have not yet been privy to, a few days ago I made Panko Crusted Stuffed Meatballs and posted a picture on both Facebook and Twitter. That resulted in several people asking for the recipe and I decided to include it in those featured at my booth.

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Since some of you were geographically unable to attend, and others either couldn’t make it out or the rain killed their copy of the recipe, I’ve uploaded a PDF version of the pamphlet I handed out with all three recipes included. Simply click the link and you’ll have access to them in all their glory. Tony’s Recipes – Afterglow

I look forward to hearing feedback from those who give these recipes a go and, as always, if you’d like to send me an e-mail with pictures of your creation and a write up on what you did, I would love to post them on here. My goal for this blog is to replicate the atmosphere found when sitting with a group of friends in the kitchen, swapping recipes.

Happy Cooking!

We’re like, in the end of “Die Hard” right now, only it’s our actual life! – Schmidt (21 Jump St)

To the answer the question you’ve all been asking, No, I haven’t forgotten about you. Not a day went by that I didn’t think “I wonder how those people who read about my life are getting on without me?” The answer to that query can be found below when you write a comment about how you’ve been doing since I skived off.

The past post was about a chicken cordon bleu roll-up, which was superb, but it was also eaten far too quickly to take pictures of. I switched out the ham that normally goes inside with fried onion and mushroom, and the pre-bread crumb dredge consisted of egg, almond milk, and dijon mustard. I’ll post the complete recipe in an hour or so when I get my computer back.

Two friends have come to visit from Vancouver for 2.5 weeks and since it is only 5:34AM Vancouver time, they are still asleep.

I obviously have some catching up to do, which means I’ll obviously miss some things and post them as I remember.

The Highlights:

It’s become far too hot for my morning coffee which saddens me, and I don’t always feel like making iced coffee so, I finally tried something that I’d been working on in my brainpan for a long while…I made coffee popsicles. But not just normal run of the mill popsicles because I knew it needed something sweet so they weren’t bitter. I took some popsicle moulds (I got mine at the dollar store) and poured a little bit of Hazelnut flavour syrup in the bottom, a little more than it takes to cover the bottom, and then filled the rest with coffee that I let cool down so it was warm, but not cold. The reason for this is I feel that once coffee gets completely cold, the taste changes and it can be rather unpleasant, so a little bit warmer than room temp is your goal, folks.

This was the result:

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I understand that coffee is not for everyone, and I also get where the coffee purists, snobs, are coming from as well with the mindset of “coffee should only be drank hot, and black!” That is all well and good, but in the dead heat of summer, I will take a coffee popsicle over a steaming cup of joe any day. I was even able to get my dad to try one and he really liked it, which surprised me because, other than milk, he doesn’t like much done to his coffee.

HERITAGE PARTY!

my good friend Ashton threw the First Annual Heritage Party on Saturday and I have to say, it was a lot of fun. We had a pot luck of Canadian dishes, and we had 5-6 people who were not from Canada so it was all new to them. Of course poutine was on the menu and, being lactose intolerant, I made my own version and brought it with me. It’s a very simple tweak on the normal recipe but at the same time quite different. (again, no picture, I’m sorry)

Rather than just bake the fries, I put some EVOO in my copper bottom frying pan and put it on low. Once it got up to temp, I threw in the fries and got them coated and let them cook for about five minutes, I then threw in my new culinary weapon…

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it’s great on everything, and it’s the perfect pick me up for fries without getting into prepackaged seasonings, not that there’s anything wrong with them, they just aren’t for me. I get this at the local farm market, and it is one of my culinary staples.

BACK TO POUTINE!

I kept the temp low and let the herbs imprint themselves on each and every fry, once they were about 5 minutes from being done, I went to work on the gravy. I didn’t make it from scratch, I used a can of heinz mushroom gravy, but I love the taste and a lot of people were very surprised it came from a can. Once again I used Daiya Dairy Free cheese and, since we live about 20 minutes away from Ashton’s, I mixed it all together in a casserole dish, covered it in tin foil and we were off. By sealing it all in, and reheating it later to eat, it became a poutine casserole and I got a lot of compliments on it.

When you’re a person with many dietary restrictions, it always feel good when people who have the option of eating “normally” and still choose your dish.

After the pot luck we all went into the barn where the screen was set up to get to the main reason we were all there, watching all 74 Heritage Minutes and having a Canadian Trivia night to prep for Canada Day, but also to prep those non-Canadians with the knowledge needed to make the transition. Important things like Great Big Sea, Stompin’ Tom, Alanis, Donairs and Dulce.

It was an excellent night and our team ALMOST won the much coveted Golden Inuk Shuk, hopefully the people will still know we were there.

Ok Emily, as promised, the recipe for Any Meal CasSurreal.

Yes, I had posted it before, but I’ve made several tweaks to it since then, and I believe I’ve got the best recipe/system for this beast. The reason it’s called the Any Meal CasSurreal is because it can be eaten at any meal because of the assortment of ingredients, and the bread that is on top, loses it’s “breadiness” through the egg wash and the cooking, kind of like french toast, which is where the surreal portion comes from. You want proof it can be eaten for any meal, you say? Fair enough, when I made it a few days ago, I realized around 10PM that I did, in fact, eat it for every meal.

You can put almost anything IN this dish, my staples are onion, green onion, mushroom, and a coloured pepper (normally red). The amounts also vary depending on how much variety you’d like your CasSurreal to have.

General rule of thumb is as follows:

8×8 pan

1/2 onion

1/2 pepper

3-4 mushrooms

1-2 stalks of green onion

This dish is also a good way to make use of last night’s leftovers. There was some chicken from supper that had been BBQ’d so I diced it up. I noticed it was kind of dry so I used science to rectify the situation. If mushrooms release a fair amount of liquid while cooking, and chicken tends to absorb the flavours of what it’s cooked with, then combining them in the pan should do the trick. I cooked the veggies at a low heat, onions and peppers first, and once I saw some colour on the onion, tossed in the chicken, let them mingle just enough for the chicken to take on some of the pepper’s red tinge and tossed in the mushrooms, mixed them all around and let them sit for a bit, letting it all cook down. The result was very moist chicken, and somewhere a Science teacher, who I told I’d never use anything he taught me, smiled to himself.

Once the veggies are all cooked place them in your 8×8 pan, now comes the egg and bread portion.

bowl

wax paper

8-9 eggs

4-5 slices of sourdough

small circular cookie cutter

sea salt and herbs

place a sheet of wax paper on the counter, big enough to rest 12-13 circles of sourdough and crack 7 eggs in your bowl. Add as much sea salt and herbs  as you wish to the eggs and beat the ever loving crap out of them. Once they are well mixed, start cutting circles out of your sourdough, the number of circles is entirely up to you. I tend to use 12 and place 3 rows of 4 across the top of the casserole, this makes it easier to cut as you can use the circles as indicators of portion size. For the sake of being artsy fartsy I used 13 today just to make a design, this is also completely acceptable as you’re the one you need to impress, I unfortunately can’t come over.

Once your sourdough is circled, take 3 at a time and place them in the bowl of egg and push them to the bottom, once they float back to the top, take them out of the bowl and place them on your wax paper.

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Now that they are all eggy and wonderful, pour the rest of your egg into the pan with your veg. This will ALMOST cover it, but not quite. Which is where the other two eggs you were wondering about come into play. Crack them into the bowl, whip ’em up, and toss them into the pan as well. Then it’s back to your handy dandy SS&H, henceforth this means Sea Salt & Herbs, it’s too long to keep typing haha. Sprinkle it across the top of the egg and veg, and them mix it all together so that it’s all laying somewhat evenly in the pan. Then comes the fun part, placing or tossing the bread circles on top o’ the feast.

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At some point during this burst of creative energy, you’ll want to set your oven to 350 degrees. I usually start getting mine to temp around the time I start dredging the bread. Now all you need to do is cheese your CasSurreal. As I mentioned before, I’m lactose intolerant, I use Daiya Dairy Free cheese which is soy, gluten, and dairy free and is tapioca based. It melts like cheese and tastes like cheese. It’s the only non dairy alternative that does cheese any justice. For those willing to give it a try, this is what you’re looking for.

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so what goes into the oven will look like this –

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and will come out looking like this –

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Hope you enjoy your Any Meal CasSurreal!

Let me know how yours turns out =)

in closing, I didn’t want a Grad Ring from NSCC, these are my Grad Chucks, designed by me. What better way to graduate from Business Admin – Marketing Concentration =P

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A father is someone who carries pictures where his money used to be.

I’m back! I didn’t forget about all you lovely faces I’ve yet to see, and some I have!

Father’s Day took roughly three days to plan, since Sam and I thought we’d be in Vegas. I must say, I’m honestly kind of glad it fell through because Father’s Day could not have gone any better. But I’m getting ahead of myself, Saturday came before Sunday, and that was a lot of fun too.

Our town has a Farmer’s Market, and I have a friend who plays music, when you add those together I had a friend who was going to be playing music at the town’s Farmer’s Market which meant I was going and so was Sam.

Patrick Thompson is a VERY good musician and one hell of a nice guy, I met him through a coffee house I hosted and he has been incredibly supportive and gung ho about the other events I’m working on within the town, which include a bi-weekly or monthly coffee house and a few top secret projects (deets to come). To the best of my knowledge he doesn’t have a music site, but this is his facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/patrick.thompson.144 His CDs are $10 and while there may be only 5 songs I haven’t taken it out of the stereo and they are all originals.

We didn’t go to the market alone, oh no, we brought one of our nearest and dearest, Ms. Brittany Francis, or B-Fran as I like to call her. She is an absolute gem and a recent culinary arts grad. We picked her up around 10AM, drove back into town, stopped at the parkade and walked the rest of the way (lots of walking Saturday) Apart from Patrick’s CD, I didn’t spend too much money, I bought some AWESOME homemade granola bars and some really awesome mint lemonade, heavier on the mint than the lemonade as they grow their own.

A lot of networking was done for the aforementioned top secret events, and I will be teaming up with B-Fran for some culinary expressionism for one of them. =)

Speaking of culinary, while intimidated, I like cooking for B-Fran because she is always cooking and its nice to give her a break. When we got back to my house I made the Any Meal Cassurreal (what I’ve decided to call it from here on out) that I posted in a past entry

MEMORY JOGGERNAUT

I used Sourdough for the bread this time around and I feel that it worked much better. It was a huge hit, and she wanted the recipe. I, of course, directed her here.

For Mother’s Day, Sam and I cooked for my mom, her mom, Nancy (back up mom) and Sam’s grandmother and the men were sent to Sam’s to fend for themselves (they didn’t make food, just drank rum and coke). But we ended up making the dessert while they ate their main, which stressed us out a bit. We wanted to make the dessert beforehand this time, we also wanted to make “Manly Cupcakes” so Saturday night we made Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with a Rum Buttercream Icing for…

FATHER’S DAY!!!!

psssssst, the one with the tie

Pete, Sam’s dad

True to form, I’d yet to get a card for either my dad or Sam’s and the presents we had got for them were still in transit as we were late to order them online, best children ever, so we hit the ground running once we rolled out of bed. We decided we needed to get them something that we could give at dinner along with the cards we were going to get. We got all the gifts no problem, the dads loved them, but the cards were a bit more difficult. Having done the same thing on Mother’s Day you’d think I would have learned and planned ahead, but if you know me at all, you know that I would do no such thing. We went to the Mall, we thought we’d have to fight off hordes of people to get good cards, but the mall was fairly empty. I was surprised, we were the only two in the card store, I don’t know if people are just better prepared for Dad Day because Mother’s Day comes first, or if dads are just more lackadaisical about the whole ordeal so people don’t put forth as much effort.

Regardless.

Sam and I spent a good 30-45 minutes looking through all the cards to get the perfect ones for our dads and dads-to-be. On that note, there are no damn Father-In-Law cards! Trust me, we looked, not even any backers for where they would be! They have Daddy from Daughter, Daddy from Younger Daughter, I’m sure they probably have Daddy from child who just discovered they were their own father. But not one single frigging Father-In-Law card. That meant trying to find cards that were Father’s Day cards without saying “To My Father” which is no easy task. We finally found the right ones, and stocked up for Sam’s mom’s b-day and my Dad’s  (July 15th and 12th respectively). Oddly enough I ended up with a Dad thank You card for my dad, but it was perfectly written for the relationship we have so I couldn’t pass it up.

The card store’s debit machine was on the fritz so we were there for a good chunk of time talking to the lady behind the counter about the dinner we were making, the dessert we had made, and what we had done for Mother’s Day. After she suggested that we should open our own restaurant, do catering, or come to her house anytime we want to cook but aren’t hungry, the machine came back online and we paid. As we were leaving she said  “just remember, 221B Baker st” (not her real address), waved, and went about her business.

We came back to mine and got all the groceries ready to go to Sam’s and cook, the dads decided we should do a big family meal rather than just them and have the moms go do something else. We had made enough cupcakes so that I could take some to the meeting I couldn’t attend due to cooking, so Sam iced those whilst I got my soapy soap on, showered, so I was presentable for the upcoming event. We decided to take two cupcakes to Anne, the lady from the card store, since we knew her address and figured she’d appreciate it. As fate would have it, we had found her street two nights prior while out for our nightly stroll.

She was elated to receive them as she was obviously not expecting us to show up, cupcakes in hand.

Everyone at the meeting seemed to appreciate them as well and Jason went so far as to describe them as “individual servings of life-changing deliciousness.”

The recipe was also requested, so at the bottom of this entry I’ll post the recipe to both the chocolate Guinness Cupcakes and the Rum Buttercream icing.

Supper was a rather grand affair, Pete, Sam’s dad, had been requesting that Lisa make tacos for at least the past month, so that was of course what was on the menu. We used extra lean ground chicken as the meat, and opted for soft tacos rather than hard shelled. He was also very happy to find out that if he buys “healthy stuffs” she’ll make him tacos.

Given that both Lisa and I are lactose intolerant we had all the usual topping choices, lettuce, tomato, onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream, plus Daiya cheese, and lactose free sour cream.

My mother and I share the curse of IBS and she can’t eat tacos so we made miniature versions of what we made for Mother’s Day, which were essentially mini shepard’s pie in muffin tins.

*this is where the picture would go, but I don’t have one*

Don’t they look good!?

We also cooked up a crap load of asparagus as everyone in the family loves it.

They seem to love mine and my father’s cooking method which is very simple, but has excellent and consistent results.

spread asparagus on baking sheet.

drizzle with olive oil, making sure to cover the tips as they’ll provide the best crunch.

sprinke with cracked black pepper and sea salt.

cook at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

devour.

The night was topped off by three rounds of washer toss, which Sam and I lost to our dads, and everyone sitting around the fire talking until almost 11.

All in all a good night and a great day.

And the Icing

Word to the wise, keep the icing refrigerated until use, the rum will melt the icing when it’s at room temperature.

Enjoy and most importantly, don’t cupcake and drive.