Tag Archives: cheese

Poutine marathon

25 Mar

Warning: Do Not Attempt

Unless you’re into fries, gravy, and cheese—mmm, all foods fat and fabulous.  Someone in Geeks are Sexy coined poutine as “the ultimate geek food” and I couldn’t agree more.  One needs a correct amount and specific types of fats and proteins to maintain brain function; I suppose given all that neural activity occurring in a geek’s brain, it stands to reason why poutine would make a terrific snack (isn’t that right, babe?). Though nutritionists and dieticians probably do not classify poutine as brain food, but what the hey.

One weekend ago, we crossed the border for poutine.  When Mr. Border Patrol Agent asked us what our reason was for visiting Vancouver, we said, “Poutine.”  We were quite serious.  Perhaps he cracked a smile.  I’m uncertain.  At any rate, the places we hit are as follows:

The Templeton – 1087 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C.

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Our opinion:  Potatoes fried well-crisp that held up well to the generous smothering of gravy.  The portion is also pretty generous.  My only criticism about Templeton’s poutine is that the gravy, which is on the salty side, overpowered the dish, especially since there weren’t enough curds to give the dish a well-rounded flavor. 

Belgian Fries – 1185 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, B.C.

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Our opinion: Lovely gravy and large chunks of curds!  The potatoes though were more moist than crispy.  We actually reserved a batch for take-away—the result was a nice soggy mess that was wonderfully tasty which could have been due to the potatoes having sopped up the gravy’s flavor.

Fritz European Fry House – 718 Davie Street, Vancouver, B.C.

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Our opinion: We went to Fritz last because we knew that it would be a sure thing.  It was actually only last year that we discovered poutine and hence Fritz.  Fritz serves, what to us is, the perfect poutine. Potatoes fried to ideal crispness, with liberal dousing of gravy and sizeable chunks of curds.  

The whole purpose of our poutine marathon was to taste test other places and I’m glad to say that we weren’t disappointed.  Now we know that if we’re out of the way from Fritz, Belgian Fries and The Templeton stand and deliver. 

On our way home, we talked about not doing the marathon again for another year.  But I have a feeling (Ryan will start craving it again soon no doubt) it won’t be long before we do it again.

Tasty Mold

15 Aug

When life is pressing and inertia sets in before dinnertime, forget cooking… it’s cheese and bread to the rescue!  Luckily, we still had one more small wheel of vache de chalais which is a soft-ripened cheese with Provençal roots.  According to the information on the wrapper, vache de chalais is traditionally preserved by being wrapped in chestnut leaves that macerated in the local brandy.  Straight from the information on the wrapper:

 “The texture is creamy and the aroma fruity.  The cheese will keep on developing its flavors over time and spots of mould will start appearing as a natural evolution of the maturation and ripening process.  The mold is of course edible and enhance the flavor of this authentic cheese.”

It is really creamy.  So creamy that about a few minutes outside of the fridge, it began to soften rapidly, and in about half and hour, gave the appearance of melting as a photo illustrates below.

 

Altogether it was a tasty cheese, even the mold which gave the cheese a subtle pungency that I found addicting.  It’s a good thing Ryan didn’t, so more for me!

 

Mmm, yummy mold!

Saturday Night Dinner by Ryan

20 Jul

Ryan’s everything and he can make terrific sandwiches! He can make other dishes such as Chicken curry and Udon soup, but work can get overwhelming so it has been awhile since he has done any cooking. Oh okay, I confess… I’ve also been known to be a dominating kitchen overlord.

I was quite proud of Ryan’s sandwich-making deftness. It was impressive watching him assemble the Ryan sammich. It was his sandwich creation (mostly mine, but the credit is shared) and thusly (I) named (it) after him. Naturally.

To make your own, here’s the recipe (á la Alton Brown!):

Ryan sammich

Hardware:

Knife

Cutting board

Spatula

Non-stick pan or grill pan

Software:

Artisan bread (there are many options out there, Ryan chose Olive)

Roasted garlic (if not readily available, raw garlic cloves will do)

Sun-dried tomatoes, strips

Roasted bell peppers

Cheese slices (Ryan chose Muenster)

Deli meat (Ryan chose pastrami, however, feel free to omit if you’re not a meat-eater)

Butter, optional

 

Procedure:

1- Place the pan on top of the stovetop and set the heat on medium-low.

2- Top each bread slices with roasted garlic cloves. The number depends on how garlicky you want it to be. If you’re using raw garlic cloves, rub however many you want on the bread slices. Again, you choose how garlicky you want it to be.

3- Place cheese slices on top of the garlic spread/rubbed bread.

4- Top cheese slices with strips of sun-dried tomatoes.

5- Put strips of roasted bell peppers on top of sun-dried tomatoes.

6- Place deli meat on top of the bell peppers.

7- Enclose the paired bread slices.

8- Increase the heat to medium.

9- If you want your sammich to be nice and extra flavorful, put two pats of butter on the pan and allow it to melt. Then put the sandwiches on the pan and heat each side for 2-4 minutes each, or until the cheese slices melt. Pay attention and don’t let the pan overheat!

10- Serve with salad and a (non-)alcoholic drink of your choice. In our case, an herb salad (pre-mix) and Pimm’s® No. 1 Spirit Drink (mixed by Ryan).

The Ryan sammiches were superb! Sure one can say that I’m being objective. But there’s only one way to find out. Make a Ryan sammich for yourself.

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so I’ll let the illustrations speak for themselves. Cheers!