Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Banff And Dinner With A Friend

This weekend, a friend came out from the Ontario and we met with a few people for business. Had some good meetings, saw some good ideas. He hasn't been here for awhile, so he said he would like to head out to Banff for a few hours. I couldn't see any problem driving out there for a short trip. Big mountains and cool little town means great scenery.


He took a couple of pictures with his iphone and sent them to me.


If you've never been to banff, you should go. It's a nice little town set in the Rocky Mountains only an hour from Calgary. Very scenic and lots to do. Lake Louise is only an hour or so up the road and is even prettier. And I believe they already have a 40 cm snow base as of today! With all the snow we are getting here, I would hate to try and drive up there now. Could be treacherous, but the road maintenance crews will have it cleaned up in no time.

On the way back in, I asked K if he wanted to come over for dinner. He said he had no plans, so game on! Called the wife from the Audi and cleared it with her, no problem there either. She was already cooking some baby back ribs in the slow cooker so all I had to do was make a couple of sides.

We don't eat ribs much, maybe once or twice a year, but they are good when we do. We might go out specifically for ribs once a year and cook them here once or twice. Either way, they always go down well.

When we got home, I looked around the kitchen to see what was there. I noticed red potatoes, Roma tomatoes, garlic (of course!), and an acorn squash. Alright, here we go. The game plan was to make potatoes and tomatoes along with roasted acorn squash with maple syrup. Normally, we wouldn't eat potatoes and squash together, but the squash had to get used and we were hungry. Besides, maple syrup and pork go well together.

Mrs. Urban Eater cracked open a bottle of red wine. It was from a co-worker of hers who brought it back from Italy with him because she gave him grief about them going (jokingly of course) and we weren't. He was nice enough to bring back a bottle of 2007 Alfeo Bolgheri Superiore, which turned out to be a nice drinking wine. While I prepared my dishes, we talked and drank. This is a great way to cook, as long as the drinking doesn't take over the cooking. This would be a good way to test your smoke alarm and run around the house while trying to keep your stay upright.

Potatoes and tomatoes is a nice dish with lots of flavour. It's more like a breakfast dish, a fancy way to eat hash browns, but I like to eat it mainly at dinner as a side. It's quick and easy to make and you will like the results. I have been making it for over 15 years now and plan to continue doing so.

Potatoes And Tomatoes

- 12 small potatoes, red or white
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- handful of parsley, curly leaf or Italian
- small handful of fresh mint. If you really like mint, just use a little more.
- 5 Tbsp EVOO
- 3 Tbsp sherry
- 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- pinch or two of sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper

1. Cut potatoes into bite size pieces and put into a steamer or just boil them in a pot for 10-12 minutes. They will be done when you can easily stick a fork into them. Try to take them just before this happens as they will keep cooking after you take them out.

2. Put the parsley and mint on a cutting board, one on top of the other. Throw the garlic and the salt and pepper in there as well.


Start to chop it all up so it comes together as one homogeneous green mixture with little white garlic chunks.


3. Quarter and slice the tomatoes. When the potatoes have been cooking for 6 or 7 minutes, put them in a frying pan with the EVOO over medium-high heat. The reason why you need a little more EVOO than normal is because you are making a dressing for the potatoes. Be careful as the tomatoes can make the oil snap and splash on you. Keep the pan moving a little so the tomatoes don't stick to the bottom of the pan.
4. Let the tomatoes cook for 1 minute then add the parsley and mint mixture and stir.


5. Let everything come together for another minute then add the sherry and stir. You want the alcohol to burn off, so turn down the heat and let it go for another 2 minutes.
6. Add the vinegar and stir. Let it cook for another minute. If you timed everything right, the potatoes should be done and you can put them in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and serve.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish.

Despite the extra EVOO and the sherry, this dish is fairly healthy with the parsley (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100), tomatoes (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=44), the garlic (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60) and the mint (http://www.suite101.com/content/mint-a-powerful-antioxidant-a108135). I have already talked about the parsley, garlic and tomatoes as being healthy, but it doesn't hurt to look again.


You may wonder why I use the http://www.whfoods.com/ link a lot. I do because the articles, as far as I know, aren't funded by any one industry in particular and there are good references at the bottom of the articles. I'm no doctor or nutritionist, so I make sure my sources for this type of thing are reputable.

We also had roasted acorn squash with maple syrup, EVOO and salt and pepper. Everything turned out great.


Sorry, don't have any pictures of the ribs. They didn't last long.

Little O's Menu

O ate some of everything we had with this meal. She just couldn't do it until the next day as her bedtime came before our mealtime. She ate up the squash. It was nice to see as we like it when she eats brightly coloured vegetable. This means she is getting a lot of beta carotene (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=125). This helps her little body form right from the inside out.

Today's quote:

"There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water and garlic."

- Louis Diat - French chef (1885-1957)


Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

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