Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An Uninvited Dinner Guest

It has been a particularly rainy summer in New England, but finally we have gotten some serious heat and sunshine. My arugula was not doing so well with getting drenched everyday, so was starting to look very sad, but with the steamier weather was starting to perk up a little.

Suddenly one morning this week, I went outside to water all my babies and found this!! Eeeeekkk! At first I thought we might have had some hail in the night that shredded the leaves, because this happened to one of my co-workers, but all of the other plants (tomatoes, basil, green beans and various flowers) looked fine.

So I took a closer look and found the culprit. Here is his mug shot.

I think he may be a Cabbage White Caterpillar, but does anyone have any other guesses?

Only one and he devoured all the arugula! He tried to escape the next morning. How rude! At least he can have the decency to stick around so I can see what he turns out to be! So I knocked him gently back into the container and laid some tomato leaves that I had pruned and some basil flowers to see if he would like to sample that buffet. He seemed to be quite picky and went right back to what was left of the arugula, so I guess it must have been pretty tasty.

Oh well. To drown my sorrows I went to a restaurant this week with a co-worker and ordered a crispy calamari, arugula and avocado pizza which was delicious.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Homemade Belgian Waffles

Waffles often fall into the category of things I want to go out for instead of making at home. This is for several reasons:

1) I don't own a waffle maker and think it is one of those kitchen appliances that is more trouble than it is worth in the cleaning department
2) I thought that it would be too hard to figure out how long to cook them without burning the outside and leaving the inside raw
3) I tend to be more of a savory cook than a sweet cook

But things have changed for the better! We were recently watching a food/travel program on the Travel Network called "Extreme Fast Foods", which featured a place called the Waffle Cabin., which is situated halfway down a ski hill in Vermont. Ski a bit, stop for waffle. Hold waffle in one hand while skiing down rest of hill!!

Now even though I grew up in Canada, my family was never a downhill skiing family. I tried snowboarding a few times, but my butt has never wanted to go back. Seeing the waffle cabin, I seriously considered taking up skiing next winter just so that I could get some of these in my belly! E was even more excited about it than I was, which led to him talking about waffles almost everyday until we happened to go to Karl's Sausage kitchen and found the special ingredients for Belgian Waffles.

Then he started talking about waffles everyday, several times a day until we went to Target and got this waffle maker for $18.99. I gave in because really if it was a terrible, useless contraption, less than 20 dollars was not that much to sacrifice.

The key to this type of waffle is the pearl sugar. It creates a nice crispy and sweet outer shell to the waffles and aids in giving the nice caramelized colour. Also key to decreasing the mess factor is following a Belgian waffle recipe which makes more of a moldable dough rather than a batter. This means there is no batter pouring and much less mess in the waffle iron and thus much less clean-up duty. We made three varieties: plain, chocolate chip and cinnammon chocolate chip.

I'm quite surprised that waffle cabins haven't caught on in popularity in New England as I imagine it would be a great cold weather food. E and I have been joking that should our careers not work out, we would consider opening up our own waffle cabin somewhere in Boston!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hot Chorizo and Salad with Mustard Sprouts

My mustard sprouts have sprouted and we finally got around to cooking the rest of the sausages that we got at Karl's Sausage Kitchen.

The mustard sprouts were surprisingly mustard-y which is a good thing since my favourite condiment is mustard!

The hot chorizo were not so much hot as they were nicely seasoned, but went very well with the curry ketchup and Sparkling Lingonberry and Apple Juice that we got at Karl's.

Nothing like a weekend to catch up on all the things that you actually want to do/eat!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Karl's Sausage Kitchen - Saugus, MA

It's usually very difficult to get E to go food shopping with me. The exceptions to this rule are:
1) if he has run out of cereal or
2) if it involves serious Euro foods such as with this field trip to Karl's Sausage Kitchen! It helps that this store is only about 20 minutes from our place in Boston and that it had some very tempting Euro-treats listed on their website!

I must admit that this place is awesome! At first it seems very small inside but I immediately found at least 10 things that I wanted to buy. Euro candy, Euro condiments... even Euro beauty products and Euro romance novels. E was drawn immediately to the tasty looking sausage collection and we bought some Hot Chorizo and some Weisswurst.

The people working behind the counter were extremely helpful and would give all the shoppers advice on what were the best meats to buy for what occasion. As an example, there were two guys going on a camping trip, so one of the employees advised against the blood sausage as it explodes on the grill. A very useful bit of info I'm sure that they appreciated as their camping trip would have been less enjoyable with bits of blood sausage splattered all over their gear.

We also bought a crazy selection of Euro treats which it will take me a while to sample and tell you about.

Here is the Weisswurst post boiling and grilling with one of the pretzels we bought. I'm not a huge sausage-o-phile, but these were possibly the most tender and juicy sausages I've had that were not consumed in Germany.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sprouts update

I'm pretty impressed at how quickly the mung beans have grown. They have already been harvested, cooked and enjoyed and it has been less than one week. The mustard sprouts are still growing their way into a sandwich so I'll give you another update on those later. I also recently received a Zesty Salad and Sandwich Mix, so that is next on my list to grow.

Here is what the mung beans and mustard sprouts look like after having soaked under water in the jars for night and being cozy in their new sprout home.

Then check out the mung beans after only 24 hours!

36 hours later...

And 96 hours later being showered before they meet the stir-fry pan.

Here they are featured with some grilled scallops that the hubbie grilled on the BBQ because he likes to think that grillin' is a man's job.

I probably could have waited a few more days before harvesting them so that they would get longer, but I was too impatient and wanted to taste them ASAP. Nice and crunchy and no worries about pesticides, fertilizer and dirt residue!

I think this would be a great science experiment/kitchen activity for kids. You could put them in charge of the twice daily rinsing of the sprouts so that they don't go funky and then they could be very proud of their involvement with meal prep. The added bonus is that the results are super fast which appeals to both the level of patience of me and that of a toddler!

Friday, July 3, 2009


I never like to buy alfalfa sprouts or most other sprouts from the grocery store because I am paranoid about all the outbreaks of E. coli and Salmonella that are reported from not being able to wash them properly. This combined with the fact that I am a sucker for weird kitchen/gardening implements caused me to buy this Seed Sprouter contraption from an online garden store called, Hirt's. I was pretty impressed by the rapid service and prices so I would recommend them from that point of view. Don't know if the thing works yet because I am just on Step 1 of the included instructions, so stay tuned!

I have started to soak the mustard sprout

and the mung bean sprouts.

Tomorrow I will transfer them to their new sprouting environment and in at most one week, I'm hoping to have some tasty results!