Morning Hash

Weekends are the time when I usually clear out my fridge, and they're also when I have the time to make a decent breakfast. Making a hash kills two birds with one stone, and today I have:

- a single leftover yellow nugget potato
- leftover scraps of BBQ salmon
- the few remaining non-shriveled grape tomatos from a week-old box

To this I add:

- a free range egg
- a tablespoon of pesto

I nuke the small nugget potato until done, then dice it. I heat up a tablespoon of oil in a pan and lightly fry the diced potato, tossing them every so often. I then halve the tomatos, break up the salmon, turn down the heat and throw those in the pan. Whoops, should've turned the heat down sooner—a side of the potatos are a bit burnt this time. I break a free range egg into the hash and gently fold it in. The vivid orange yolk colors the hash a rich yellowy color. As the egg starts go cook, I turn the heat off completely, add pesto and keep gently mixing. Fresh ground pepper and a side of greens dressed with vinaigrette, and it's done.

Citrus in Season

Citrus fruits have been hitting their stride these past two months and Vancouver seems to be getting some great shipments of grapefruit. Red grapefruit—one of my favorite fruits—has been especially sweet and juicy lately, eclipsing even the navel oranges out right now. I stopped by Granville Island today and there were even some great looking batches of blood oranges.


Pumpernickel Mushroom Bread Salad

For dinner tonight I attempted the Pumpernickel, Watercress and Mushroom Bread Salad. This was one of those recipes that seemed so nonsensical at first that I just had to try it.

I made a few changes:

- I couldn't find any watercress at neither my neighbourhood Capers nor Safeway. No arugula either. So I tore up a few Romaine leaves and threw it in my regular Earthbound Farms salad mix.

- I forgoed (forwent?) the garlic in the recipe and simply used garlic butter. Yay!

- I used white mushrooms, dried porcini mushrooms, and the remainder of my oyster mushrooms.

- I had no idea where I could get Vidalia onions (I couldn't even find any fucking watercress...what, are they not in season? Do stuff like lettuce ever go out of season? Don't they just grow in greenhouses?). So I just used green onions. Close enough to leeks, maybe?

Anyways, it turned out delicious. At first glance I was like, all, Pumpernickel + Watercress + Mushroom + Bread + Salad = huh? But now it all makes delicious sense. The salad has a rich, earthy flavour and is surprisingly filling.


Saturday morning breakfast

So I said I would make my tomato & brie sandwich, but I decided to put a twist on it. Usually it's a generous slice of brie, a thick slice of tomato, mayo, lettuce and bacon. This morning I remembered I still had a little bit of cooked smoked salmon left over, so I replaced my usual salty bacon with the remainder of the salmon fillet.

1. Toast slices of french bread (I usually use whole wheat or dark rye)

2. Top one slice with brie and broil it until the cheese bubbles

3. Mayo, lettuce (I tore off a piece of Romaine today; ideally it would be butter lettuce), salmon and tomato.

This is my preferred order, as I want the mayo to adhere the lettuce to the sandwich, and the fresh tomato squishing up next to the hot, gooey cheese.

I nearly forgot to take a picture before it was all gone.


Today was a seafood chowder kind of day

Vancouver's having a dreary start to spring this year. Though the cherry blossoms are in full bloom on my street, the weather has been rainy and worst of all--cold. I left the apartment this morning wondering where I put my mitts. It's nearly April!

So I decided to get out of the pouring rain and cheer myself up with some seafood chowder. I had some leftover giant scallops sitting in my freezer as well as half a yellow onion, an opened package of cooked & smoked salmon, and a small carton of cream in the fridge. I went to the market to pick up a few more ingredients and I was set.

Seafood Chowder

(serves 2-4)

I took:

- 4 jumbo scallops
- 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 white button mushrooms
- 1 package of oyster mushrooms
- 1 small tin of smoked oysters (on sale for 79 cents)
- 1/2 can of baby clams
- 1/2 yellow onion
- a handful of cooked, smoked salmon
- 250 ml carton milk (I used 2%)
- 250 ml carton heavy cream
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt, pepper, pinch of thyme, 3 pinches of chopped parsley

I put the potatoes in the microwave to nuke and diced the onion. I only ended up dicing about 3/4 of the half onion (seemed like it was enough) and threw it in a medium sized pot with the butter. While the onions were saute-ing, I diced up the celery and sliced the white mushrooms as well as 2 stalks of the oyster mushrooms. When the onions turned translucent, I turned the stove down just short of simmer, and poured in the milk, cream, and threw in all the mushrooms. I opened up the can of baby clams and threw about half of it in the pot. I cut the smoked mussels and scallops into chunks, ripped up the smoked salmon, and tossed them all in. The potatoes were done by this point, so I peeled them (here's a novel way to peel them), diced them and added them to the pot. At this point, concerned with how thick it was getting, I added half a cup of water and turned up the heat a little...I wanted it bubbling, but not boiling. Last but not least, I put in the thyme and parsley. As for salt, I sprinkled some in, but not too much, as there's already quite a bit of sodium from the canned stuff and the salmon.

While it was all bubbling, I sliced up the french bread I had bought. The market had them at 99 cents, seeing as they expire tomorrow. And the best thing to do with old bread is to make croutons. I saved a few slices for toasting and a tomato & brie sandwich I plan for breakfast tomorrow, then cubed the rest of the loaf. I filled two cookie sheets with the bits and drizzled olive oil all over, then sprinkled some generic "Italian mix" herbs on them. Stuck 'em in an oven preheated to 375 for 5 minutes or so, and they're done. Now I've got a big box of croutons to use in soups and salads.

Chowder's also done now. I toast up 2 slices of french bread for dipping, sprinkle some fresh ground pepper, slice a few chive slivers for presentation...and I've got a fuckin' awesome meal for a rainy afternoon.