Saturday, August 28, 2010

Not Much Happening Here

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Today is Saturday. Pretty quiet around here as Mrs. Urban Eater and her mother went to a hair appointment. So O and her Grandpa  and myself are hanging out together. Nice day, sunny but not very warm, so we may opt out on a walk until this afternoon.

Believe it or not, no one was hungry enough for the Eggs in Purgatory. So, we'll just have to do it tomorrow, I guess. No problem. Went with the berries and granola again, except I added papaya and banana. The wife didn't want flax oil, but I snuck a little in there anyways because I can do that. Grandma liked it, or so she said. She ate it all, so I'm thinking she wasn't lying to be nice. She knows she could have anything she wants that is here, but she's a good mother in-law. No complaints. Olivia had the usual mix of berries and fruit. Today it was papaya, kiwi, peach and apricots. A little yogurt and organic whole grain rice cereal. She put a good dent in it, but couldn't quite finish it off.

We usually like to take the wife's parents out for dinner when they are here. They don't get the luxury of having a bevy of fine places to go out and eat if they want, like we do here. They are fine with a pizza joint or something similar. Sometimes we step it up a little and go international with them. The last time they visited, we took them to an East Indian place called Surahi (http://www.surahi.ca/). They have no experience with Indian food, virgins actually. We go there at least once a month or so. The food is decent and consistent. I like that. The in-laws, not so much. The food was fine, their stomachs weren't. I kept them away from the Lamb Vindaloo, thank God, but moved them more towards the Butter Chicken. The lamb is pretty heavy on the spice, but according to the lady who was serving us they cut back on the hot stuff. What?? Geez, good thing for that. I like it hot, but not that hot! We were thinking of taking them for Italian to Il Gallo Nero (http://www.ilgallonerocalgary.com/), but we went last Saturday with another couple instead. Nice place, been there a couple of times now, highly recommend it. We started off with the Carpaccio and the Antipasi Misto (a platter of meat and cheese). I had the Risotto Ai Funghi E Prosciutto for my main. Good flavor, a little dry for my liking. Mrs. Urban Eater had a Caprese Salad and then the Gnocchi Tartufati. All good, no complaints anywhere. While we were there, Cindy Klassen (co-record holder for Canada's all-time most decorated Olympian with 6 medals) and her spouse, I think, walked in with a guitar. What they were doing with the guitar, couldn't tell you. They ordered a pizza, watched as it was made and baked in front of them, and off they went. I think they are regulars there as the staff seemed to know them. A nice bottle of red wine, good food, good friends equals a great night out. I will make sure I remember the wines from now on as I will let you know wine parings as well. Wine can be somewhat healthy too, you know. You have to enjoy some of that once in awhile too. All the being said, we still haven't decided where to take the parents this time around, but I'm sure we will figure it out soon enough.

We are now off to the farmers market in search of tomatoes, cucumbers and some peppers for salads, and peaches, nectarines and whatever fruits we can find mainly for little O. We eat them as well, but she comes first. The out-of-towners brought us about 7 or 8 bags of veggies from their garden. Gotta love it!

We better hit the road before the day passes us by.

Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Out-Of-Towners

Today is Friday. August is almost over. Nice day yesterday, hopefully more to come as I'm not ready for it to be cold yet.

Started the day with some frozen blueberries and blackberries, as I didn't have time to go buy fresh yesterday, covered with organic granola and yogurt with a little flax oil. A nice hit of antioxidants is always a nice way to get going. Flax oil is a nice touch as it as various properties to promote a healthier body, if used properly (http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/flaxseed.htm). It is supposed to make your hair nice and silky too, if that floats your boat. Like anything, educate yourself before using it. You never know, it may not be right for you. Mrs. Urban Eater had the same. As a matter of fact, this was her idea. I used to have the same kind if thing all of the time years ago, but for some reason I just stopped doing it. Granola and yogurt are both quick, easy and healthy ingredients for breakfast as well, as long as your not celiac. Making your own granola is nice, but if I can buy organic for a decent price and let someone else do all the work, I'm good with that. The yogurt (I'm not going to try and make that) we buy is usually organic or is high in acidophilus. The low fat is a good idea, but if you have plans to make Butter Chicken or something with yogurt in it, you have to use 3% or higher as the low fat just doesn't work as well, if at all. Cooking is all about forward thinking. It's also about staying healthy.

Our little girl O, AKA Little Miss Urban Eater, had a little change up last night for supper. We opted out on the chicken with veggies for her and instead went with just veggies: carrots, sweet potato and zucchini with EVOO, sea salt, pepper, Italian parsley, rosemary and thyme. Dessert was a mix of apricot, papaya with half a fig mixed in. Yep, she likes figs. We finished the rest of them off after she went to bed by cutting them in half, shredding a little prosciutto over top and a little dab of Gorgonzola over that. Threw it in the oven under the broiler for 2 minutes. Done. If you have never tried figs, you don't know what you are missing. Very healthy (http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/fabulous_figs) and very tasty. A fellow asked me last week what a fig looked like, and I couldn't tell him really. The only thing I could think of was they look like a small pear kinda, sorta. Stumped me. They look like a fig, I guess. They are a natural fit with the prosciutto and blue cheese. A drizzle of aged or reduced balsamic vinegar is always helpful as well. O seems to have no issues with them and they seem to aid her little body in doing what it needs to do. The ones we get here usually come from California, but they are fairly numerous in Europe, usually around the Mediterranean and Adriatic areas. Don't ever walk past these without at least taking a look and considering a purchase.

This afternoon, my in-laws are coming to town. Nice people, always good visiting with them. They have to drive for about 8 hours or so to get here, so we have to feed them well, of course. Make work project for me. Gives the mom-in-law a chance to relax and visit with her daughter and granddaughter without having to worry about what's going on in the kitchen. It's always nice to take them to one of the many Farmers Markets in town. They are from a small city, so they don't get to see what we get to enjoy here very often. Farmers Markets are the best way to support your local produce farmers, buy organic or pesticide free items and help cut down your carbon footprint by buying local. There is a new one by our house. I have been there a couple of times now. Great selection, great quality. The big one in town is also a great place as it has more vendors and more selection. Oddly enough, they will be moving within 3 blocks of our house in January, so we can start walking there. We will be surrounded by farmers. Not a bad problem to have, if you like that sort of thing.

I was quite surprised they were as adventurous as they were when they started eating my food. They are pretty much meat and potatoes people, but when I started serving up salmon and asparagus poached in orange juice, they were pretty skeptical. Got 'em hooked now though! This weekend, I think we will venture forth with with eggs purgatory tomorrow morning (eggs poached on tomato sauce). Try this one sometime. Very filling, healthy and flavorful. Make your favorite tomato sauce (not buy, make) and just simmer the eggs over top on medium heat to your liking. The women both like the eggs well done, but us men like them a little runny, just enough to dip your toast in. Supper tonight will involve something from the garden. Zucchinis for sure, hopefully the flowers will still be growing and we can have deep fried zucchini flowers stuffed with a ricotta mixture. Awesome. We have 4 plants and they have been nothing short of spectacular this year. Couldn't keep up with the flower production. We've been giving zucchinis away like soup in a soup kitchen, non-stop. See the attached picture.
That's it for today. Breakfast time for little O.

Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Begining Of A new Path

Well, here we go.

My name is Mark. I am a food enthusiast, or foodie as the term is now widely used. I love food and everything it brings to the table: Health, passion, energy, taste and life. Cooking is really one of the only arts which utilizes all 5 senses, and I enjoy everything about it.

I started to cook at a decent level when I was about 22. I wasn't a healthy child growing up, so I thought I had better eat healthy every chance I could. After losing interest in food that didn't taste great, or, as I thought at the time, "this tastes like what a horse or cow should be eating", I decided to keep on cooking and eating healthy. But from now on, I will add whatever flavors I can to make whatever I am eating taste better. I have never looked back. I started looking into the health benefits of herbs and spices and how they can work with your body. I couldn't believe what I missed out on while I was growing up.

These days, I am married with one wonderful little girl, Olivia. I work out of the house and am a stay-at-home dad. I do all the cooking around the house and at other peoples houses as well. I have a small business on the side where I come to your house and take care of the cooking while you can concentrate on your guests. While my wife was pregnant, I made sure she ate as healthy as possible, while she was around me anyways. After O was born, I found out she was drinking a couple of pops a day at the office, among other unhealthy eating habits. But, the doctor said, "Whatever you are doing in regards to food, keep doing it! You are very healthy in that regard." I was very relieved to hear that from him. I plan to continue the same thing for our little girl. So far, she has ate everything we have given her, except parsnips. Can't say that I blame her!

The idea of this blog is to share our eating habits and all the good things which come with them. I also invite readers to share anything of interest to them regarding food. I am on a continuing path of education. The more I know about food, the better my and my families life will be. If you would like the recipes to anything on here which I write about, feel free to ask at anytime. Always glad to help and pass on the good word.

On with today's menu. Today is the second day in which O was able to try kiwis. I mixed them in with apricots, prune juice, rice cereal and yogurt. Seems to go over very well as all components are tasty, healthy and help the body perform all of the essential functions. So far, we have tried blueberries, plums, peaches, green and yellow beans, broccoli, the list goes on and on. All have been accepted without much of a fight. Lunch will consist of broccoli, carrots and yellow beans. Mixed in with that will be extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), sea salt, fresh ground pepper, Italian parsley, thyme and rosemary. The only thing in here she hasn't already tried is parsley, but I have no worries about this. Later on, supper will consist of sweet potato, chicken, carrots and will mix in the usual EVOO, sea salt and pepper. We usually eat after little O goes to bed. We will dine on whole wheat pasta with a tomato sauce consisting of Italian sausage. Living on the edge with the sausage, but I reduced the fat as much as possible without compromising flavor. All herbs were from our garden: Oregano, rosemary, thyme basil and Italian parsley.

Until tomorrow, good eating everyone.