Thursday, February 28, 2008

Food-related songs (okay a band): Blancmange

Yes, I am a child of the 80s. I remember taping the video below off of MuchMusic, the Canadian equivalent to MTV. And for some reason this song has come back in my head, along with the visual of the band members standing on a pile of furniture. I had the strangest urge to see it again. With the VCR cassette long since taped over, or thrown out, I searched and found it on YouTube (whatever did we do before the You came along?). And it fit right in with this blog because Blancmange is a dessert. But I've never actually made it. And I probably won't. It doesn't realy appeal to me at this time.

Sidebar: I always thought the band Blancmange was a one hit wonder, but when I searched the band name, I found many many more songs and a bio that said they had a number of hit albums. Go figure.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

the red apron - 571 Gladstone Ave - February 2008

Well, here I am again, making excuses for being away so long. We have 2 kids now. The Bean is almost 3, and the Boo is almost a year old. The past year has been chaos.

But I'm back with a new resolve to try and be more consistent. Especially since in the past year, my appreciation of good food and good restaurants has grown. I've also expanded my culinary skills - new cookbooks, new sources for ingredients and attempts to experiment with a new recipe every week (more on that later).

But first - an entry to highlight a service (as opposed to restaurant) that has enriched many a dinner and made life so much easier for me.

The red apron describe themselves as purveyors of "sophisticated comfort food" and if you sign up for their meal plan, you experience their take on this three nights a week.

Each delivery has a main entree, a vegetable side and often a bread or grain. Ingredients are good quality and sourced as locally as possible. Past menus have included Berkshire pork, seafood chowders, multi-grain pilafs. Portions are adequate for people who eat a lot of food. (Two portions serve my hubby, my toddler son and me with almost nothing left over).

Here's a sample of the upcoming week:

Thai Style Salmon with a Basil Green Curry Sauce
Jasmine Rice with Vermicelli & Lentils
Sauté of Baby Bok Choy & Asian Vegetables

Roasted Chicken in a Tomato White Wine Sauce
Lemon Herbed Spaetzle
Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes

Chili Mustard Glazed Beef Brisket
Roasted Root Vegetables with Sea Salt
Crushed Cauliflower with Leeks & Cream
'Art-is-In' Multi Grain Rolls

Before they moved to their current location, they were a stone's throw (literally) from our house. At first, I resisted the temptation--but when I wanted to do something special for our wedding anniversary 6 weeks after baby #2 was born, I turned to them, and they delivered a special meal, even though I was not an official customer and was not signed up on the meal plan. They even threw in a dessert, not normally part of the regular meal. After that, we were hooked, and I think since then we've averaged one week a month, plus some of their freezer meals.

HIGHLIGHTS (both of these were from the freezer)

Bison Pie: the beef was very tender, as if it had been stewed before it was put in the pie. When I close my eyes, I can still remember the sweet tastes of the wine and berries infused in the gravy, and the finely chopped potatoes and carots that also filled the pie. The crust was flaky and light. I only wish I could do crusts like that. We bought two more after that, but maybe the preparation changed because although flavourful, the meat was just not as tender as the first time.

Lamb Moussaka: For New Year's Eve this year, we invited a family over and each provided part of the meal. I bought a frozen moussaka and served it up that night with a greek salad and couscous, which I made myself. Layers of thinly sliced eggplant, combined with the lamb and a multitude of other vegetables made this an instant hit.

Portion prices (for one week) $102 for 2, $144 for 3, $180 for 4. Always check the list of what they have in their freezer too.