Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Trip to the Laughing Oyster Restaurant

I think the Laughing Oyster is the best value on the coast for food, ambiance and spectacular setting. Arguably the Alchemist in town may have equally delicious fare, but it doesn't have Desolation Sound next door.

This time we brought our neighbours Jill & Chris. They rode in our car for the 25 minute drive to the Oyster.

The view from these outside tables.

Fern digging in to the cabbage and jicama cole slaw and Chris in the baguettes.

At the carvery Chef Dave with his traditional prayer for peace, love and gravy.

Finish the evening with a little music. That's chef Dave in the centre.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

5 Spice Chicken

In another departure from Cajun I got out the Chinese 5 Spice powder and salted and seasoned the breasts with it. I then brushed the breasts with olive oil and BBQ'd them for 20 minutes or so over medium heat. The plate is filled out with new potatoes boiled and buttered and a stir fry of onion, celery, carrot and green pepper.

I browned the diced onion before adding the green pepper, so with soy sauce and a few drops fish sauce it looks rather dark but the taste is amazing. Once the dirty sock smell cooks off the fish sauce it leaves a wonderful flavour behind.

Oatmeal Date Cookies

I never thought to try dates in oatmeal cookies because date squares are the go to dish for oatmeal and dates. Just for fun I decided to try them in cookies. I used the oatmeal cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking and just added over half a cup of chopped pitted dates. A revelation! Light years better than raisins!

Oatmeal Date Cookies

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup or more chopped seedless dates

Cream butter, brown and white sugar together. Add wet ingredients, combine. Add flour, salt, baking powder and soda, combine. Add oatmeal and finally dates, combine.

Drop 2 inches apart on parchment covered cookie sheets and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes. I have two ceramic cookie sheets that Fern found at the second hand store for $5 and $3 respectively. They are $100 new. They make baking take longer but give far better results.  If you find one, snap it up, you'll be glad you did. Also I swapped the sheets up and down and front to back  halfway through so everything would cook evenly. I can't wait till I get a convection oven. The cookies should be uniformly browned so they have a nice snap when you bite them.

These taste so good I really don't know why they aren't more common.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rib Steak

Rib steak from Mitchell's. It was tough. I think it was Australian beef. Fern wasn't at all happy. He broke a tooth, which wasn't the steaks fault, but it didn't help the situation either. Potatoes with salt and butter, broccoli steamed, cooled and reheated in olive oil. 

The salad was lettuce, tomato, cucumber, celery with salt and pepper
The vinaigrette was 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp canola oil, 2 tsp red wine vinegar and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.

Pork Cutlet

Pork cutlets from Mitchell's fried in olive and canola oil. New potatoes finished with butter and fresh carrots with frozen peas also with butter. I was out of apple sauce so I recruited cranberry sauce instead. It doesn't go at all, don't try it. Otherwise it was a wonderful plate of food. The salad was another story.

I was given a gift box of infused olive oils and a range of balsamic vinegars. The first one I tried was Tuscan Herb infused olive oil. I mixed it with red balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then tasted it. I thought it was a hint of garlic that I tasted so I tossed the salad with it. When it came to eating the salad after a few bites that pleasant flavour was becoming unpleasant. About the third bite I said, "This tastes like truffle oil!" It was so unpleasant I threw away my salad. First time I've ever done that!

Truffle oil is not a food, it's a bad marketing gimmick.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Thyme and Rosemary Red Snapper with New Potatoes, Broccoli and Greek Salad

Red Snapper fresh at Mitchell's today. I finally found some live thyme for the garden and after Fern planted it, grabbed a few sprigs for the fish. I also crushed some rosemary leaves and scattered them on the fish. Otherwise it just had salt and mixed pepper for seasoning. I simply laid the herbs on the fish while it fried.

The new potatoes were boiled and finished with butter and salt. Fern said he likes pepper on his potatoes. I don't so he'll have to do it himself.

The broccoli was steamed and cooled quickly while still crisp, then reheated in olive oil and salt.

Greek Salad

4 roma tomatoes diced
2 inches English cucumber diced
handful black olives - pitted are nicer to eat 
chunk of cow feta - crumble into bowl
diced red onion or chives would have been nice - ran out of time
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt, pepper

Toss and serve.

The fish was really good. So nice to not taste hot for a change.

Cajun Chicken with Spring Garden Salad

We had a big lunch late in the day so a lighter dinner was in order. Chicken breast salted and dusted with Cajun spice mix. Brush with olive oil and put on the BBQ over medium flame for 20 minutes. Thicker breasts will take up to 30 minutes. Bone in, 45 minutes. Ordinary Basmati rice with salt, olive oil and a few drops rice wine vinegar.  I put a little soy sauce on my rice, that's the brown spot in the middle. 

Fern got a bag of spring mix garden salad so all I had to do was mix a vinaigrette and toss the salad. First I diced up a tomato and a stalk of celery and added that.

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp hot horseradish
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sweet pickle relish
1/2 salt
mixed pepper

Yesterday Fern said he would like more flavour in the vinaigrette so that's why I added the horseradish and mustard. I tasted that and it was interesting but bitter. I added a teaspoon of pickle relish which has lots of sugar in it to sweeten the vinaigrette. I tasted that and it was delicious, so I tossed the salad in it. The whole meal was quite good despite it's simplicity.