Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Spring Veggie Risotto with Spot Prawns and Scallops

May 25th, 2010

Fresh seafood

I love markets.  I especially love springtime farmers’ markets – something that has been lacking in my life since I moved back to Southern Alberta.  While there are plenty of bakers, canners and meat producers who have things to sell in the winter, the Lethbridge market closes between October and May due to a perceived lack of shoppers.  No fresh produce seems to equal no market in these parts.

Appetizer board

When I got out to Vancouver, I spent an afternoon at the Granville Public Market, shopping for ingredients for a “thank you” supper for my sister and her boy.  After a preliminary cruise around the stalls, I settled on a nice springtime risotto with seafood to reflect my stay in the city.  Dinner was preceded by an appetizer board featuring olives, cheese, beer sausage, bread, fiddleheads and smoked mackerel from various stalls around the market.

Spring green risotto with scallops and spot prawns

(the following is the risotto recipe for 3 people)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cloves garlic, crushed and thinly sliced
1 cup white wine
3 cups vegetable stock
1 handful broccolini, tops separated from stems
1 handful asparagus, tops separated from stems
3 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced

1 tbsp olive oil
9 scallops, patted dry
6 spot prawns, rinsed and patted dry

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter in the olive oil until it melts.
Add the rice and stir until it toasts and turns a light brown.
Add the garlic and cook until soft but not browned.
Pour in the white wine, stirring until absorbed.
Add the first cup of vegetable stock, stirring slowly while it absorbs.
Stir the vegetable stems into the rice with with the second cup of stock.
At this point, heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan, and arrange the seafood in a single layer.
Add the veggie tops and basil to the risotto with the last cup of stock, stirring while keeping an eye on the seafood.
Turn the seafood once after 2-3 minutes – that’s all it should take per side to get a nice sear on the scallops and to make sure the prawns are cooked through but not rubbery.
Plate everything up and serve with the rest of the bottle of white wine.  (I think we went with a bottle of Naked Grape Pinot Grigio.)

Eating Out in Vancouver

May 24th, 2010

Last weekend, I took a couple days off work for my birthday and flew out to Vancouver to visit my sister and some friends from library school.  I spent most of the time wandering around Kitsilano and Granville Island and eating at some truly fantastic restaurants.  Here’s a recap of the best places I hit over the four days:

Dim sum

Friday’s lunch was at Pelican Seafood Restaurant where I ate enough dim sum to last me about three days.  It was the first time I’ve ever eaten dim sum, and now it’s something I’ll be seeking out whenever I’m in a big city.  Lovely stuff, especially the little radish cakes, pork sticky rice and steamed donut-y things.  We also had spicy tripe and tendon, which was a tasty surprise.

Bagel with dill schmear

My birthday breakfast was at Solly’s Bagelry in Kitsilano.  I haven’t had a good bagel in years – possibly since I left Montreal.  The bagels at Solly’s were chewy and yeasty and perfect when smothered in a schmear of fresh dill cream cheese.  Their cinnamon buns are also fabulous according to my sister’s friend.

» Read more: Eating Out in Vancouver

Vancouver Slideshow

May 19th, 2010

I’m back from a long weekend trip to Vancouver.  I’ll be blogging about some of the restaurants I visited in the next few days, but until then, here’s a slideshow of some of the food photos I took:

Great Food in the Rocky Mountains

May 3rd, 2010

I’ve just gotten back from a weekend conference in Jasper.  I stayed at the Jasper Park Lodge, where as always, the food was fabulous, but not all that exciting.  What really made me smile were all the other hidden gems I discovered on the trips to and from the mountains.

Breakfast at Cafe Mondo

A friend who worked in the park recommended a few places to visit while I was up there.  We had dinner at the De’d Dog Bar in the Astoria Hotel – I went for the extremely tasty bison/deer/elk burger with a side of the best fries I’ve had in ages.  Breakfast was at Café Mondo – a crispy ham and cheese croissant with a side of fruit salad.  Great coffee at this little restaurant, and a friendly, casual atmosphere.

On the trip home, we stopped in Canmore for an early dinner.  Our first choice, the Crazyweed Kitchen, was closed because it wasn’t yet 5:00pm.  Fortunately, we happened upon The Grizzly Paw Brewery which was most definitely open.  The place was full of families and groups of friends, both inside and out on the patio.  We ordered up a burger, a steak and a big plate of fish and chips.  Everything was perfect pub food.  I even convinced the bartender to mix their Nut Brown and Raspberry Wheat ales to make a PB&J – something we came up with in Halifax, that I had been craving for about two years.  It did not disappoint.  I’ll be on the lookout for some Grizzly Paw bottles the next time I’m at my local liquor store, since I’m sure it would go perfectly with some Valbella sausages (my previous favourite Canmore food export).

Spaghetti with sausage and arugula

Waterton Lakes National Park

March 2nd, 2010

Waterton

I just spent a wonderful weekend in Waterton.  I needed a break from “the big city” so I headed down to the mountains for two nights at the Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort.  The lodge is a grouping of small, multi-room chalets with a communal rec centre and a central restaurant and pub.  The pub has a fantastic second-storey view of Mount Vimy, one of my favourite mountains in the park.

Vimy’s is pretty much the only restaurant open in Waterton since the Kilmorey burned down last year.  They serve tasty pub fare, with a bit of an Alberta twist.  For dinner the first night, I had a bison, mushroom and red pepper stew that I’ll be trying to recreate later in the week.  Their house salad features a killer saskatoon and garlic salad dressing that goes well with sweet potato fries and big Olympic hockey games.

I’m looking forward to a summer visit, when the weather is warmer, the patio is open, and they have an expanded menu.

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