Friday, December 26, 2008

The good, the bad, and the yummy.

The Good.

Xena is doing very well. The first day she was here she whined so much I thought even I would go crazy! She is just so insecure and any time you paid her the tiniest bit of attention she would just get so worked up. It broke my heart, but I had to ignore her any time she started. You can't reinforce that kind of insecurity with touching or talking of any kind, you need to just go about your business and demonstrate there is nothing to get worked up about. She has gotten immensely better and now only rarely gets into whining which only lasts a few seconds before she realizes it isn't getting her attention. I tell you though, that first day it was SO hard to find moments to reward the behaviour I wanted (i.e., quiet, calm).

Fortunately, I caught a couple excellent opportunities to give her lots of affection while she was relaxed. She soon realized that she got all kinds of lovin' except when she was stressing out about nothing. I really, really hope whoever adopts her will realize that coddling her is the worst thing you can do for her. She is still super submissive but is less nervous, more confident and much more playful. She really had no idea how to play with a toy. How sad is that?? Sasha told me how Hazel (our dog) showed Xena how to play by repeatedly throwing the ball at her. Too cute! Now it is her favorite thing to do.

I also did two 5-minute training sessions with her today, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. She knows nothing basically. She is like a 3 month old, not a 10 month old AND she is not highly food motivated. She will ignore a Kong full of peanut butter if she's the least bit stressed. I honestly didn't think it was physically possible for a dog to ignore peanut butter, lol. Fortunately, she is also smart and learns fast. She also likes my Zukes treats. I think roll-over or something would be even better for her.

Yikes, I gotta go right now. The bad and yummy to come...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Fostering Xena.

About a month ago, my husband came home from work, took one look at my face and said, "What?" with a slightly reserved tone. I asked if he would be ok with fostering a humane society dog for the holidays this year. I believe if you are going to do something like this, everyone involved needs to be on board. I'd be crazy to think a shelter puppy wouldn't effect both of us. I held my breath. Of course, he said "yes" without hesitation, I've been wanting to do this for years.

This is Xena.

She is quite a good girl, very timid with people. There really is no reason that I can see why a dog like her ended up in a shelter. I have my theories but don't know any of her history. It helps in a way; I get to know her based on her actions, not preconceived ideas I have based on what has happened to her. I have to go finish Christmas dinner prep, but I will post more photos later.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Meet Justine. I am in love with her. I've never ridden her, mind you, I just hang out with her in the paddock sometimes. I first saw her while getting Calico out of the field one day. She looked at me with her liquid brown eyes and snuffled my arm with her super-soft muzzle. I melted. She was calm as I pet her and looked her over. Not pushy, not skittish. Aww.

The next week, I wasn't riding Calico, but I went out to see her anyway. I just scratched her and walked around with her following me. Neat.

The week after that, I brought a carrot for her. And a camera. The pictures aren't very good, I know.

I started asking around about her. Apparently, they've tried to start her and she is "crazy". Really? Like, crazy as in she doesn't do flying changes, or crazy as in wants to kill you?? Somewhere in the middle should be do-able, right??!

Justine was following me around, so I turned around to kiss her nose. Isn't she cute? I am no conformation expert (always learning though!), but that neck looks pretty good to me. The rest of her is pretty good too, nothing spectacular, but not bad. She toes out a bit in the back, and clearly needs conditioning...but I put my hand on her and I just want to teach her things. Yes, the red mare is always by her side.

This one really is bad, in a cute kinda way. The funky markings on her back are just drips of water from her walking out of the walk-in to come say hi to us (my hubby was with me, told him he had to come see my other love, lol). Her head is lowered as she was approaching Sasha. I told the BO I'm in love with her, but even I don't think I'm really the best person to take her on, although that depends on the alternatives!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Look Ma, no reins!

Well, ok, there is nothing to look at for this post. My lesson on Monday was just awesome. After warming up for about half an hour, we did the rest of the class without reins. Now, I have posted before how I wanted to ride bare-back in a lesson but the other ladies in the class (who are quite a bit older than I am) don't like that idea at all. Fair enough. Instead, our instructor had us lose the reins. We did walk-trot-canter and some poles. I was pleasantly surprised that my balance was actually really good. I could post and two-point no problem and we did exercises like arms straight out to the sides, top of head, behind the back etc. Even at the canter! I was so excited after, I felt like I could take on the world, lol. This is the first time since I started riding again that I actually felt what it meant to deepen your seat. I didn't realize before how much this can help your seat, I was just focused on the saddle. I can't wait until next week.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pork tenderloin with mushrooms in cream sauce wrapped in puff pastry.

Served with a green bean-tomato salad. This is a very simple dish that seems to wow guests. I saute mushrooms in butter/olive oil until lightly browned, add a splash or three of sherry or white wine, some fresh thyme and s&p. Take off heat and stir in some heavy cream (half and half will do ok). Roll out one sheet of puff pastry, spoon some of the mushrooms down the centre. Lay pork tenderloin on top of mushrooms - season the tenderloin! - top with remaining mushrooms, fold up pastry and bake. Great, now I'm hungry.

Hello, October? We need to have a talk.

They say pink is the new black, and 30 the new 20. Now, apparently, October is the new January.

I actually like snow and prefer it greatly to the muddy-brown of late fall/early winter. But really, October? This picture was taken earlier in the week and I wish I had taken a picture the next morning as it was pretty incredible. Hazel was thrilled! Today was around 13 C so the snow is mostly gone, leaving a mucky mess behind. And so it begins.

Happy Halloween.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What I did this weekend

Friday after work, hubby and I went to the farmer's market and picked up tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, and chili peppers. We made a batch of blueberry jam, two batches of strawberry jam, and chipotle salsa. We had a lot of fun! Saturday morning, we were back at the market for red peppers, potatoes, carrots, and beets. Then we needed to go back to Canadian Tire for more jars :) We made another batch of salsa (tomato-peach), tomato sauce and pickled hot peppers. I swear we were meant to be farmers, it was so satisfying to watch the jars pile up!

After all that hot work, we took off to the cottage. This picture of the cat pretty much sums up the nice relaxing time we had. My only regret is that we couldn't stay another night, we were due at the farm early Monday. We drove back to town Sunday late afternoon and had a nice dinner at my Mom's.

Monday, labour day, was full of labour all right! We went to the farm and picked, husked, blanched, cut and bagged 70 gallons worth of corn! It was absolutely insane but extremely satisfying work. I am sure Maureen is thrilled she recruited Sasha and I for the job.

In the afternoon I excused myself to go exercise Cherokee. We had done most of the work by that point and I am loath to drive there without working that horse. So, I cleaned him up, tacked up and went out to my favorite field. We were having an excellent ride, he was responsive as hell. I really just had to think about what I wanted and he would do it, except for anything lateral, which he was unsure about, but I wasn't surprised by that since it's been more than a month since I've worked on it. We were doing a nice relaxing extended trot when Cher tripped. Bad. You know those times when things happen fast and slow at the same time? Ya, it was like that. It's somewhat funny that for a buck-y horse, I come off when he trips! To be fair, he went down himself pretty hard, so there is no way I could have "stuck it". We both came out ok, I landed pretty easy, Cherokee was a little stiff after but clearly nothing serious. My first fall in about 15 years, it was kind of interesting. And scary :)

Friday, August 15, 2008


I know it's been a long time, but since hubby has been out of town, I just haven't had the time to blog. I have composed at least a dozen in my head though, it just loses something if I don't write it right away.

Today, I want to talk about instincts when riding. Maybe instinct is not the right word, but I can't think of a better one. What I am referring to is when you are pretty sure you are doing something to make the horse react a certain way (as opposed to it just being the "stupid school horse"), but you don't know what it is.

During my lesson on Monday, Calico gave a few half-hearted bucks during the first half. I was immediately thinking "what am I doing to elicit this reaction?" I thought about my legs and hands, and my balance. I thought my hands were pretty good, she wasn't fussy with her head as I know she can be, she softened nicely and gave me some incredible bending. My legs were stronger than any other lesson on her, as they are progressively getting stronger. It had been two weeks since my last ride, so perhaps I was out of whack, even though I felt pretty good. During a relaxed walk, I mentioned the issue to some of the other students, again stating that I was looking for what I was doing to irritate Calico. Everyone said "Oh no, she's just like that." or something to the effect. Hmmm. To my credit, I didn't really believe them. So, I described what I was feeling and experiencing to my instructor, who did not witness any of the bucks - it would have been great timing for a show, but not for a lesson! She also told me it was nothing I was doing. I also asked how to signal for Calico to slow down properly -she rushes, especially when there are a lot of poles in a row at the canter. I tend to lean back because she is not very responsive to reins (she is usually ridden in a pelham with double reins -I hate them and only had single reins on the upper ring of the same bit). So I wanted to learn how to signal her better with my seat.

So then we start to individually go through this crazy course the instructor set up with poles and bending lines (on the flat). And, surprise surprise, Calico gives the best buck yet. I made her keep going - I know I wasn't hurting her, she was protesting to something on a small scale. We finished, although not prettily (until the end, where I think my determination made her realize she wasn't getting anywhere and she might as well pay attention).

My instructor realized that it was when I get behind the motion that Calico gets upset. Yay! Finally, I begin to get an answer. I knew it was me all along. The funny thing was that I guess I knew all along what the problem was. I was asking about the bucking and asking about how to not get behind the motion when she rushes. Duh! The two issues were really one and the same. So I guess my instincts are pretty good and I should learn to trust them more, even when others brush it off.

That leaves me with things to work on:
- I need to practice two-point position for balance and strength.
- I would still love to ride without a saddle. I won't do this on Cherokee because I always ride alone at the farm. The lessons at the stables are what they are. I will ask the instructor if she ever does this - when I took lessons oh-so-long ago, we would periodically have lessons bareback.
- I have certain gaps: although I am riding quite well and keeping up with the experienced class even though it's been 10 years since I had a lesson, I have gaps in my basics that I would like to deal with. I intend to ask Allison (instructor) if she does private lessons so I can focus on what I need to work on.

I have many, many other goals, but these are the ones at the forefront of my mind tonight. I am SO loving having this feedback. I think the others are a little mystified about me looking for constuctive criticism and joking about my faults. I'm pretty sure they think I'm insecure or something. Ha! Graduate school taught me to love hearing what I can do better and not take it terribly personally. Hey, if you really want to improve you have to put that aside, right?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Riding lessons two, three and four.

I promised myself I wouldn't blog until I sorted and sent the photos from the reunion in Toronto. Well, it appears that all went smoothly, finally, so I figured I'd better post about my lessons or I would lose it all together.

Lesson two was on a mare named Gina. It went well, but something was off. I just didn't feel right in the saddle. I'm not sure if it was simply muscle tone or lack of skill or something else. Gina is so different from Calico, she needs a lot of encouragement to keep going (i.e., lots of leg), so I was pretty tired 40 min in and my inner thighs were jelly. She was pretty good with the pole work we were doing, although she liked to duck her head when cantering poles and since I tend to ride with longer reigns than I should, or rather than my instructor likes, it was a challenge for me to correct this. I managed though, and ended up with several good rounds cantering over 6 poles in a row.

Lesson three, I was back on Calico and really noticed an improvement. We did some pole work, as before, but also a lot of leg yielding. I swear, I am so glad I didn't come see a class before I joined because I am sure I would have thought I was not good enough for it, but I'm doing just fine! Of course, much of the credit goes to the horses who are quite well-trained. Still, even a well trained horse won't do what you want if your cues aren't right. I don't remember doing much lateral work in my previous horse life, but I must have retained something because we were doing some of the nicest leg-yields in the class (again, thank you Calico!). Also, even though Calico is fast, I wasn't behind the motion as often as the first time I rode her. I am starting to get used to cantering again, which is something I need to work on with Cherokee. One of the ladies in the class mentioned that she was often out of breath when cantering and her son (who is a fitness freak, apparently) told her to remember to breath deeply. I thought about this in the couple days between lessons and realized I do it a lot, not just during the canter. I think I am still a little nervous at doing things that I think are advanced (for me) that I forget to breath.

Lesson Four. This was a make-up lesson since the fourth of August is a holiday and I paid for four lessons. I was back on Gina and there were only three of us for the lesson that day. I have to say, I never realized how much difference a saddle makes. Gina's saddle sucks, even more than Calico's synthetic Wintec. It just doesn't fit me, or her, all that well. Reminds me of clothing and how different you feel in something that fits like it was made for you versus the mass market brand. Anyway, regardless of all that, it was a great lesson. I admit, my legs still hadn't quite recovered from Monday's lesson, so half-way through they were screaming for mercy! No such luck. We worked on more lateral work, especially side-passes. I actually think we (Gina and me) did the best. Again, I'm sure I have Gina to thank for that, but a little goes to me because without the right cues she wouldn't have done a thing. We also did small circles at the canter, which was difficult because Gina kept wanting to break into a trot, no matter what I did. Gina requires a lot more leg than Calico, as I may have mentioned, so my legs were thoroughly exhausted by the end. It was intense and exhausting, but thrilling at the same time. I also have a nice blister/scrape from my boots, just behind the knee, which I'm sure will feel great in the lesson tomorrow :-\

I have to say, I am loving what this is doing to my body. Already I see a difference, especially in the last two weeks. How great is it that I can get back in shape while doing something I love?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Gilled Pork and Vegetable Lettuce Wraps

This was somewhat inspired by a restaurant in Toronto, Spice Route. The girls and I had dinner there last Saturday. I have to say, this place is beautiful, stunning really. The food; however, left us underwhelmed. Everything was ok, but nothing was great. Certainly not what you would expect from the place. The menu was misleading, the food itself just good to mediocre and not always well-balanced flavours. The service was quite good for the most part although even then, when we really needed the waiter's attention, it took some time.

So why use any of that as inspiration? Well, they had some good concepts. And it is really just a take on something I do anyway. Meet the lettuce wrap. Now, I have never done lettuce wraps, but I figure you are mostly just replacing rice paper wraps with lettuce and filling it with whatever you like as per spring rolls.

The pork was grilled simply with crushed chilies, kosher salt and pepper. I made a peanut sauce, which tends to vary depending on what I feel like. Today, I used: organic peanut butter, sesame oil, splash of tamari, minced lemongrass, garlic (microplaned), lime juice and zest, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, rice vinegar, bit'o cumin and I think that's it. Veggies were just julienned carrots and red pepper. I really should have had rice or rice vermicelli too, but it was too hot to heat anything indoors. A very nice summer meal IMO.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just one of those days...x 2

Yesterday I was determined to get some groceries done after work since I had discovered that morning that there was no coffee and really nothing to make for dinner. So, after walking Hazel for an hour and a half, I dragged my butt to the car and drove to the store. Once I got there, I realized my wallet was in my dog-walking purse. Grrrr! I drove home, got my wallet and did the groceries. Sigh of relief.

Once home, I fired up the barbeque, seasoned the pork chops I had just purchased and went back out to cook some dinner. Keep in mind it was 8:30 and I hadn't eaten a thing. I open up the lid of the grill and...nothing. No flame, barely warm. F*@#, no propane. Double Grrrrr. Fortunately, I had just purchased a frozen pizza in case of emergency. Fine.

At least I had coffee! I was smart enough to program the coffee maker to go off at 6am. It was my first day having to do the am walk since starting my job, so I needed the extra incentive to get out of bed early. Somehow, I forgot to set the alarm, so I slept in a little. Oh well, at least the coffee would be waiting for me, right? No, it was set for 6 PM. Seriously, how dumb can I be? Ok, coffee on. Brush teeth, etc. Pour coffee, put in milk...curdled. No, I am not making this up. There was one scant cup left and, thankfully, some cream left over from making ice cream. Ahh, luxury coffee!

Needless to say, I have not sorted photos, sent emails or much else. On the plus side, tonight I went to my sister's. She fed me good food, I played with my nieces and they tuckered Hazel out. Definitly helped balance out the last two days.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So much to blog about, so little time.

I have a lot to catch up on, but I've just picked Hazel up from the kennel and although I can tell she had a good time, it appears she also hadn't been let out to do her thing for awhile, so I have to take her out often. Also, I haven't eaten yet and promised myself I would deal with some outstanding household stuff. So, hopefully by tomorrow I can post about the TO trip, sort the photos and get permissions to post and post about my second riding lesson. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Whole grilled Arctic Char and spinach salad

Not much to say and no pics. Everything was super fresh and delicious. I have started my co-workers thinking about the fish they buy and what practices they want to support. I think at least one of them will be printing out my pocket guide!

First Lesson

I had my first lesson on Monday. Whew, it was HARD! I enjoyed it, but haven't worked so hard in a long time. I didn't expect it to be so intense for the whole hour, I am used to slowing the pace down whenever I'm tired or feel like I'm not "getting it". Well, it's more difficult in a lesson. Overall though, I think I will like it just fine. The only negatives are that I couldn't hear the instructors comments/directions all the time and that I wasn't able to get an idea of what to expect before hand. Oh well.

My mount was a little paint mare who was really very kind to me. SO much more get up and go than I am used to, super easy transitions (heck, it impresses me if a horse will do them period, lol). She also did a flying change all on her own. I had just asked for a canter, she took the wrong lead and I was about to correct it and voila! she just switched. I was so excited, it was silly. She was also quite sensitive which was a challenge for my inconsistent contact. But I survived and am looking forward to next week.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"Brian, what are you doing tied to Meg's pole?"

A quote from family guy, had to just record it somewhere.


We spent Saturday and Sunday at the cottage and it was fantastic! We did some work that C & G have been unable to do (vacuuming, mowing etc), but mostly swam, snorkeled and relaxed. We really needed a weekend like this. I haven't felt so good in ages.

Well, I did feel good, until I saw my husband getting the brick oven/grill ready for cooking our dinner, that is.

Hazel aka "the littlest hobo". She has no idea we are watching in this picture, she is just exploring on her own. I swear this dog is so independent, as long as she's outside, she will occupy herself.

Some kind of mushroom. Of the belladonna family, we think.

A little snake friend. There was a skink running around too, but it was too fast to get a picture. Both were gorgeous and made my day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sun-dried tomato pesto pizza

Homemade dough (of course) topped with this lovely pesto made from sun-dried tomatoes. Pizza was also topped with mushrooms, yellow pepper, arugula and TONS of feta. Super yummy.

Now, it's off to the cottage. yipee!

Friday, July 4, 2008

No more wild salmon

Sasha sent me this...

from washington gov't website:
Hybridization - The risk of escaped Atlantic salmon hybridizing with native salmonids is low. Research has demonstrated it is very difficult, even under optimal laboratory conditions, to cross-breed between Pacific and Atlantic salmon and produce viable offspring. Should this rare event occur in the wild, the offspring would be functionally sterile and incapable of reproduction.

but, if farmed pacific salmon escapes in the pacific (or atlantic in atlantic)

This is a very interesting article. Sorry, I don't know how to make it link. I'll have to figure that out another time.

Not exactly free willy.

On the way to work this morning I heard about 30,000 or so atlantic salmon that escaped from their open water pens in BC. I guess I can scratch pacific salmon off my list of "best choices" now.

The guy on the radio says atlantic and pacific can't cross-breed. I wonder if that is true.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Train the Trainer

I forgot to mention, I am starting lessons again on Monday. I checked this place out close to 2 months ago, it met spec and then some. I am SO happy to be starting lessons. I can't imagine what it will be like to 1) have a horse that does what you ask, 2) have someone critique your riding. It'll be bliss. I will probably show up an hour early like a little girl, lol. Do you think they will all laugh at my new boots, hat and jodhpurs? Probably, but I don't care :) Mwhahaha.

Canada Day in the Country.

I must have been the only person heading OUT of town yesterday. I had the day off work, so I took the opportunity to go to the farm and work with Cherokee. My brother-in law, his wife and kids were visiting from TO so I was unable to ride on the weekend (the weekend was a blast though, enjoyed it entirely!)

It was a good day, not quite as hot as last week and, best of all, I had a newly mowed hay field to ride in. This is a big deal since little dude is barefoot and a little sensitive on gravel and the only place I've had to ride are the trails through the sugar bush. Great trails, but not great for really working on things. Plus, I felt I had donated enough blood to flies and mosquitos for one month. So, I got to pay attention to my form, dude's form, and work in eights, circles etc. Very useful. I didn't realize before that riding straight was an issue with him since on trails there isn't much choice. More to work on :-/

I wish I could upgrade this guy. Not that he's got it bad at all, but there are quite a few issues that I am just not able to deal with. I've tried, and I'm learning all the time, but working with him at most once a week is just not enough. Sigh. It's a shame because he really could be quite a nice little pleasure horse. Instead his owner is afraid to ride him and I'm the only other person making him think/work etc.

Last night Sasha was a bit exasperated with all my worrying and finally blurted out that he didn't understand why I felt so bad about all these animals that are not mine, nor my responsibility. It's just not about that, you know? It's about the animal. He knows that, he just hates to see me get all worked up about things I can't change.

Plus side? I know at very least little dude has a forever home as a pasture pet. He has plenty to eat, semi-decent pasture (supplemented with hay). I know he will never end up anywhere that would treat him badly or anything. The worst "crime" here is being under-used and hence not very marketable, which would be bad, except that he will never be sold.

Oh, and the standing-for-mounting is going much better. Not perfect, but much better. For the record, smack to the chest worked WAY better than all the longeing in the world. Still, it is very hard to do even basic stuff with no arena of any kind, no round pen or indeed anywhere "safe" to work. Just big wide open farm and lots of cows :)

Enjoy the pics of lil dude after a good workout and shower.

With Hazel, who had an even better workout since she ran beside us the whole time. I W-T about 97% of the time, but that translates to a lot of running for a dog! Hazel still thinks Cherokee is just a big dog. The horse doesn't know what to think, but I can say Hazel has been the best trainer when it comes to de-spooking this crazy horse.

After cool-out, a shower and some "luxury grazing" (i.e., grazing on lawn that isn't pasture for anyone), set free to roll away. He often rolls while I'm still holding him, but he gets distracted by new patches of grass easily! I've noticed he prefers rolling on hills. What's up with that??

Doesn't this just look satisfying?


And now for more food!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The "Garden"

Some pics of our little balcony garden. It's not much, but it keeps us in lettuce and herbs very well.

Contents are:
one heirloom tomato plant - very finiky, my first time growing an heirloom variety which has no genetic protection against common tomato problems. So far, I have had to manage early blight and blossom drop. I've always been a fan of careful bio-genetics! Oh, it is also my first time growing in an upside-down tomato grower (topsy-turvy). So far so good as far as that goes, but it IS weird.
Lemon Thyme - smells sooo good and tastes like a dream. It's a bit pervasive and has spread like crazy which prompted us to take some cuttings and plant them in the front garden (which technically isn't ours but currently is growing my geraniums and thyme).
Oregano - lush and yummy.
Basil (reg.)- doing great, satisfying my love for pesto.
Bush Basil - tastes like regular basil, but grows in these bushy balls with the teeniest little leaves that are super cute.
Arugula (aka Rocket) - growing this from organic seed and it is amazingly good and spicy
Lettuces - both green and red oak leaf lettuce, plus some kind of leaf lettuce that is something like a greener version of iceburg.
Beets - grown from organic beets bought at the market. Currently just being allowed to go crazy.

Gilled Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon Mustard Sauce and Grilled Plantain and Sweet Potato

Pork was grilled with just kosher salt and pepper. Sauce was red onion sauted in butter, followed by tarragon, lemon thyme and oregano (fresh from garden), sherry wine, dijon mustard, a little lime juice and olive oil. Plantains and sweet potato were grilled with some spice mix Sasha created (corriander, mustard seed, chili powder...) Plantain was a little dry and starchy. I think I prefer it in something saucy - I made it in a curry once and it was great, tonight was just barely ok.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The best of BYBs (back yard breeders)

This is fantastic in a sad/sick way:

Thanks to for providing direction to it.

In the last 2 months I have gained much deaper knowledge of BYBs, horse slaughter, conformation, rescue and much more largely due to the fugly blog. The issues raised there inspire many hours of research on various topics. It is both great and disturbing.

It is too hot to write, but I AM getting to the farm tomorrow to ride and work with "my" fugly, Cherokee. Actually, although I am no expert I have yet to find any obvious faults with Cherokee's conformation, though he does need muscle building and has an old quarter crack line that looks like it should be a deal breaker but doesn't bother him in the least.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grilled Wild Chinook Salmon with Balsamic Reduction Glaze

Our friends at PD have a great fish counter. Tonight was exceptional - it took about 20 minutes to decide what to take home! We finally decided on Wild Chinook Salmon. It's not on my "best choices" list from Ocean's Alive but it also isn't on the list of worst choices, so I could only assume it was neutral. For anyone who cares about eco-friendly fish choices (at least relatively speaking), I strongly recommend the Ocean's Alive website at (see "Pocket Seafood Selector" for a mini printable guide, I keep one in my wallet at all times). The information on this site is comprehensive, easy to use and read. Fish are rated for environmental contaminants (e.g., PCBs, mercury etc.) as well as use of sustainable fishing practices (for both the fish and the environement). It's a fantastic site that has amazing, eye-opening information. Check it out!

The Chinook turned out to be a good choice. Yay! I grilled it simply with kosher salt and pepper and drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. Salmon was served with snap peas and corn on the cob that was par-steamed then grilled to finish. Not too shabby for a Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dock Diving

A few months ago I saw an episode of "Top Dogs" where the event was dock diving. I had never
seen this before and began to teach Hazel how to do it this summer. We tried while staying on our friend's waterfront property and it didn't go so well. On Friday, I found another area to take her swimming and found a perfect little dock to use. She whined at the edge a number of times, watching the cookie slowly drift away. It was a little sad and extremely funny at the same time! Once she discovered it was just like swimming (which she loves) but with a big splash we could hardly get her to stop.

Little dude.

Finally got some pics of Cherokee. It was actually difficult because he kept putting his nose right in front of the camera and I was alone, so I was lucky to get these.


To use up the leftover flank steak, I decided to make fajitas. Complete with grilled red onion and peppers and guacamole, of course. Served on crazy green jalapeno tortillas.

Teriyaki Beef and Vegetable Noodle

This was last week sometime. Used flank steak that was grilled to med-rare, rapini and carrots. Not the greatest picture, again...I'm gaining a new appreciation for food stylists. I'm sure I can do better than this, but as I've said, I'm usually pretty motivated to get to the business of eating!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rapini Linguini

From an episode of "Everyday Italian" with Giada deLaurentis. Yum. I really must start the photos again. I've started a new job so I need the blog to keep me motivated to not let my cooking slip. I've also been riding again more seriously in the last 2-3 months so time is a little tight.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon with Avocado-Chile Salsa and Jicama-Carrot Slaw on Rocket

Aside from the not so great photos, the meal was really good. It sucks taking photos before dinner - I am never patient enough!

"Russia meets Southwest" Flank Steak

Another one of Sasha's devine inventions. Couldn't have been better timing because I was home late and starving. Here is what I managed to get out of him regarding the steak marinade.

chipotle salsa
red onion
w sauce
sundried tom
tom paste

After marinading, the flank steak was then sliced very thin across the grain and fast fried in a non-stick skillet. The mixed veg was dressed simply with a touch of lemon juice, tamari, sesame oil, tabasco and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Everything was served atop plain brown basmati.


Ok, it's been awhile. Here is a list of what I can remember:

Gingery cod soup - title does not do it justice. One of Sasha's master creations. I had a cold and always crave tons of ginger. This hit the spot perfectly and I should have documented it better because Sasha will never remember...I remember thinking "fusion" but that is all.

Pizza - one pear and Roquefort; one mixed veggie (on two consecutive nights. Hey, we had to use the leftover dough, right?)

Beef short rib on pappardelle (ribs were originally cooked in a slow cooker and leftovers make a great pasta dish)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hot and Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles and Rapini. AKA Why I love Jamie Oliver.

Saw this on "Jamie at Home" and had to try it out. Honestly delicious. The rapini was a great match and didn't over-take the pork at all. So brilliant, Jamie called it pukka!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Canine component

Since I did not provide a dinner photo, I thought I would post a photo of the dog component of the blog. Meet Hazel, my young plott hound female. She isn't always so laid back, but almost. More to come on Hazel, no doubt.

Herb Crusted Barbeque Chicken with purple carrots and fingerling potatoes

Chicken (bone-in, skin-on) was rubbed (under and on top of the skin) with a combo of fresh rosemary and thyme, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. Fingerling potatoes and purple carrots were dressed simply with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Everything done on the grill (yay, spring!). I should have taken a photo. oops.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

lookin' sharp!

After soaking our whetstone for the last two days on the kitchen counter Sasha took the hint and is now making me very happy by sharpening our knives. Yay! I love sharp fingers, however, are a little less thrilled. Mental note: no distractions in the kitchen for the next few months.

Dinner tonight was a tofu and vegetable satay on a bed of quinoa. It had been planned for yesterday until we saw the arctic char which hijacked our dinner. The tofu benefited from the extra day in the marinade. Nice dinner but nothing special, it's sort of our idea of fast food.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Arctic Char with Edamame, family style

Tonight's dinner was a whole oven-baked Artic Char stuffed with dill, garlic and lemon and a side of edamame sauted in brown butter, kosher and Hawaian 'Alaea Red salt and finished with fresh dill. Yum. We both ate too much.

Virtual Memory

I probably should have done this months ago. Since finishing grad school and living the over-educated, unemployed, food-loving life, I've been cooking up some great meals. I have recently been running out of steam a little, and wish I could look over a list and photos of meals gone by. Well, I decided that this was the easiest way to do it...yes, at the risk of being yet another food blogger. I will likely include other tidbits of my life here and it might evolve into something else entirely. We'll see. I do like the idea of telling all the people I love who are scattered all over -with one post - about new things, as opposed to individual emails and phone calls. In all likelihood I am just lazy. In any case, this is basically for my own reference. If you've stopped by great, I hope you find something remotely interesting. If not, well, tough ;)