bits and bites

As you all know, things can get pretty busy with life sometimes and stuff just gets away with you.  I especially notice this with blogging.  Sometimes I've got great food pictures or little snippets about restaurants to share, but not quite enough to bother blogging about it.  Or, sometimes I've got something planned for a post, but it doesn't quite come together.  Rather than feel like I'm "wasting" this kind of stuff, I've decided that every so often I'll combine it into a "bits and bites" post.  A melting pot of all the foodie tidbits from my life.

Without further adieu, here's the first "bits and bites":

Proof of my title "messy little cook".  Yes, sights like this one are not uncommon in my kitchen.  But like I tell Trev: the more mess, the more love in the food!
This overflowing pot contained broccoli soup.  It's so easy to make, you just boil broccoli, diced onion and a bit of garlic in chicken stock until the broccoli is soft.  I blend it with the immersion blender right in the pot, then add in about 1 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt & pepper.  Quick, tasty and nutritious.  

I was on my own one night when Trev was at a hockey game, so I picked up take-out at Mini Mango for dinner.  Trev and I had recently visited and I had been eager to try more of their menu (check out that post here).  Again, it was a tough choice, but I decided to go for the Five Meat Vermicelli Bowl.  Overall it was pretty tasty, but I thought the chicken and beef could use more lemongrass & charcoal grill flavour. 

This 100% whole wheat loaf was my first attempted recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, and as you can see, it did not come out as planned.  The problem wasn't the recipe, but our busy weekend schedule.  I had been working on the dough all day and during it's final rise we had to go out.  I wasn't sure what to do...if I left it on the counter it would over-proof and probably collapse.  Trev suggested putting it in the fridge to slow down the rise - I tried it, and as you can see it was a mistake to chill the dough during the final proofing.  I think (avid bread bakers, please feel free to correct me!) that you can refrigerate dough during the initial ferment to slow it down.  Oh well, lesson learned!  We ate it anyways with stew and also with cheese and sausage from the Italian Center.

We had a few gift cards for the Keg that had been hanging around for ages, so we finally planned a date night.  I had sirloin steak with Alaskan king crab legs - soooo good.  I love seafood, and living in a land-locked province means that I don't get to eat as much fresh shellfish, crab and fish as I'd like so I'd have to say that the crab legs were my favourite part of the meal.  Unfortunately Trev's lobster tail was overcooked and disappointing.

Trev was headed out on a snowboard trip last weekend and he asked if I could make granola bars for him.  He found me a recipe for a peanut butter bar topped with chocolate.  The recipe called for the bars to be pressed into an 8 x 8" pan, but I doubled the batch and pressed it into a 9 x 13" pan, which resulted in much thicker bars.  The taste was great, but they were a little harder than I had wanted.  I'm going to play around with the recipe and I'll share the results once I get what I'm looking for!