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Archive for July, 2009

Crab and Shrimp Quesadilla

Crab and Shrimp Quesadilla

I’m currently halfway through a trip through sweltering northern B.C. with a friend of mine, A., who is on a business trip.

We began in the Lower Mainland, heading to Vancouver Island via Nanaimo, where we drove north to catch the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. We arrived late in Prince Rupert on Saturday night and spent all day Sunday and half of Monday in the fishing town.

Before I left, I tried to look up restaurant recommendations for each of the major towns we’d be stopping in: Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers and Prince George. I was not very successful. So, I thought I’d make a few recommendations of my own, starting in Prince Rupert.

There were a couple of places that we heard about, but were unable to visit, mostly because of bad timing — they were closed when we wanted to go there. By the way, Monday is not a great day to try and eat (lunch at least) in Prince Rupert. Three places we tried were closed. Also, don’t try to hit up dinner after 9 p.m., unless you’re going to a hotel restaurant.

The place we spent most of our time was Charley’s Lounge in the Crest Hotel. First: Beautiful view. The deck, which has glass under the railing, overlooks the ocean and nearby islands. On a sunny day it, or possibly the Chances casino next door, is the place to be.

On the Monday night, we had a late dinner in the lounge after finding that our first choice, Rain, was closed at 9 p.m. A. had been there before and sung the praises of a $17.95 surf and turf. Some locals also recommended the food there. The seafood festival was on at Charley’s and it was open late, so we indulged in a half crab that came with garlic butter, corn on the cob, veggies (zucchini) and either rice pilaf or a combination of mashed yams and potatoes. It was a lot of food for $18.95, and very tasty. The crab was sweet and fresh, the garlic butter rich and delicious and the sides solid. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo — the aftermath was pretty messy!

The next day we went for lunch again after finding that our first choice — the Cow Bay Cafe, which A. had been to before and raved about –was closed on Mondays, along with our second choice, a sushi restaurant called Opa. Lunch was off the same seafood menu: a crab and shrimp quesadilla with a side salad. The quesadilla was delicious, with that same sweet crab and good-sized shrimp. Peppers added some kick and a bit of crunch. I admit, I asked for no cilantro because it has no place outside of fresh salsa, in my opinion. I have a photo of this that I will upload when I return home.

Next up, Terrace.

Charley’s Lounge in the Crest Hotel
222 First Ave. West
Prince Rupert

Rain Dining Lounge
737 Second Ave. West
Prince Rupert

Cow Bay Cafe
205 Cow Bay Rd.
Prince Rupert

Opa Japanese Sushi Bar
34 Cow Bay Rd.
Prince Rupert

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I haven’t tried this, but I had to post it because it’s such an awesome idea: Using a hot car as an oven.

Check out the method on Baking Bites.

I’ve had to park my car outside for the past month or so as I worked on the drywall in our garage, so any time I get in the car it’s like an oven! I’ll have to try this before we finish painting and the car is safely indoors again.

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Mushroom and Pea Risotto

Mushroom and Pea Risotto

After a long day of breaking rocks in the hot sun, as a former co-worker would always say — in my case, that meant spreading two yards of organic soil on my garden — the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner.

But, seeing as Monday is my Sunday I took the opportunity to make something that I’d always wanted to try and that takes more time than I generally have after getting off work and making the long transit commute home.

Risotto. Mushroom and pea risotto, to be exact.

My mom visited from Victoria on Sunday with two bottles of Cinzano Orancio (must try over ice — delicious bitter orange vermouth) and a box of arborio rice in tow. What else was I supposed to do?!

So I decided that since mushroom risotto is my favourite in restaurants and peas are a springy/early summery treat, I’d try to find a recipe in my pile of cookbooks, clipped recipes and computer bookmarks.

I glossed over the recipe for Risotto al Nero di Seppie (black squid ink) in the Trattoria Grappolo book and settled on the Risotto with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything — with a few changes.

It was awesome; just what I imagined it should taste like, and not as intimidating as it seems. The boy and I had it alongside halibut steaks cooked on the barbecue. Even better with a cold Corona with lime!

Mushroom and Pea RisottoAdapted from How to Cook Everything

5 T butter

1/2 onion, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup white wine

4 1/2 cups chicken stock [I used homemade turkey stock]

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced [I used portobello and white]

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Melt 2 T butter in a large, deep non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until the soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with butter, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then the white wine. Stir and let the liquid bubble.

3. Begin adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. When the stock is just about evaporated, add more. The mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Stir frequently.

4. In another pan, melt 3 T of butter on medium. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring until cooked. Add peas and cook until peas are warmed through. Remove from heat.

5. When rice is tender but with a little bit of bite [this took about 20 minutes for me, but Bittman says it can take up to 30 minutes], add mushrooms and peas with their butter, and Parmesan.

6. Serve immediately and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

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Welcome!

If you haven’t checked out the About page, allow me to introduce myself.

I am a media hack working in print and online for a newspaper in beautiful British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

Food is one of my many interests, and I hope this blog will be a repository for my successes and failures in the kitchen, as well as a place to air my opinions and interests.

Thanks for stopping by, and come back soon.

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