Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pasta, but not really....

When I lived in Vancouver at the beginning of the '90's, September was fantastic! I would wake up at around 6am, the sky was cloudy, but it was still warm. By 10am, the clouds had begun to disappear. By noon there were no clouds in sight and it was about 20C, 68F. By 2pm, it was an absolutely awesome afternoon. This happened almost everyday. Now, here in Calgary, the sun pokes through the clouds for short periods of time, but that's about it. Now, I hear it's supposed to snow tonight! Son of a....

I went outside today for awhile, but drove instead of walked. I picked up Mrs. Urban Eater and went to her doctors appointment together with her. When she was done, it was lunchtime. We stopped at an Italian place which was on the way back downtown, La Vienna. Decent food, lunch pasta specials for $10. Decent sized portions but not too much to weigh you down if you eat it all. They make their own pasta everyday, which I love. I had the Linguini Tonno (tuna). Linguini, canned Italian tuna packed in olive oil, garlic, pepperoncino and Parmesan shredded over top. I make this at home all of the time. Not too many calories and good flavours.


Last night I baked off a spaghetti squash. I like doing this. It may take 1 to 1.5 hours or so to do it, but the reward is great. Just split it in half, spoon out the seeds and the fibrous parts and put it on a baking sheet. There are 5 or 6 different ways to bake them, of which I have tried 3 or 4. Just follow directions and whichever method you use will work. This time I put the inside of the squash upwards with a small ramekin half full of water on the baking sheet to make sure it doesn't dry out. Baked it for around 1.5 hours.


The sweet but slightly bland pasta-like strands, which look like spaghetti, come out easily by using a fork. You can add pretty much whatever you wish to add flavour to the mix. I usually go with fresh tomatoes, a little garlic, fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil and/or oregano. Use all in moderation or just a couple. They all add a nice flavour kick to the dish. Add a little nice EVOO, Parmesan, sea salt and fresh ground pepper and you have a pseudo pasta-like dish which isn't near as heavy as the actual thing. Some people add butter, but I try to keep the calories down to a minimum. Some chilies and cumin are also ingredients which go well in moderation. Any tomato-based pasta sauce will suffice as well.



I like the spaghetti squash mostly, but any type of squash is good to eat and good for you (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63). Squash is not a highly liked food by many people, especially kids. But if we can all change this thinking by showing how versatile they are, we can all benefit from them a great deal.

Little O's Menu

The past few days, Little O has been a bit under the weather with a plugged up nose. She's getting better, but the bug is still hanging around. She's taking it all pretty well as this is the first time in her 8.5 months she has been ill. She eats very well everyday anyways, but we are just making sure her menu is heavy on the fruits for the vitamin factor. For breakfast, she has been getting lots of apples, plums and bananas with her regular organic whole grain rice cereal.

For lunch and dinner we started to add more protein. Mrs. Urban Eater cooked a rib roast on Sunday night, so Little O has been getting some of that in small doses. She has also been getting protein from eating hummus as well. She likes it but looks like a dog eating peanut butter as she has to scrape the hummus off of her tongue with her gums. Very entertaining to watch. I think she knows I get a kick out of it. She keeps giving me the "What are you lookin' at??" expression. For lunch and dinner today, I fed her carrots, zucchini and some of the spaghetti squash. Went down in no time flat. For dessert she has been getting plums, saskatoons and apples mixed with yogurt. She seems to like this mix as well.

Now it's time to go outside to harvest the tomatoes and whatever else we can salvage in case it snows and/or freezes tonight. We have a few plants out there, but not too sure if they all were as productive as they could be. I think 3 or 4 of them did fairly well, but the 3 others not so good. We learned tomatoes grow well if they get sun all day long, not just 3/4 of it. Next year will be a lot better, guaranteed!

Today's quote:

"Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying."

- Fran Lebowitz

Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back At The Stove Again

Back in town and had some time today to work on a couple of more recipes seeing as it was another day to stay inside. Where did our summer go?? It hardly even came around! I think we have had approximately 20 days since the beginning of June which were over 20 C or 68 F. Not fun.
 
Today was the day I tackled a case of plums to blanche and freeze for Little O to eat at a later date. It took around an hour or so to take care of. Kind of tedious as the plums had to be cored, blanched and cooled off in cold water before being put into a bag for freezing. I didn't mind so much as I had a little help.


The trip back to the hometown was fun, but long. Golfing was great, the family was great and the garden was looking pretty good. Lots of corn came out of there this year as usual. My Uncle G gave me some to take home with me, so I had a cobb today. That is some of the best corn I have ever had. I wish he could send me some everyday. A little butter and sea salt and I'm good to go. Corn on the cobb is also quite healthy (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=90), which I never really thought about. We also shave off the kernels and cook them with various dishes. This always adds a nice, fresh flavor to whatever you are making.


I also took home a nice haul of fingerling potatoes, carrots and a Hubbard Squash. Can't wait to cook the Hubbard as I have never tried one before, especially homegrown. He threw in a couple of gourds as well, but I'm not too sure if there is anything I can do with them besides put them in the middle of the kitchen table like my Mom used to.


I also had the chance to cook a Spaghetti Squash as well today. Tomorrow I will talk about that and give you one of my recipes I use for it. This is a great way to enjoy a nice pasta dish without the weight of the actual pasta itself. Spaghetti Squash needs flavor added to it and that's always the fun part, as you will see.

Today's quote:

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four; unless there are three other people.
- Orson Welles

Until next time, good eating everyone.

Mark