Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Eat Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Happy Dragon Year!
Like any good Chinese gal, I spent the weekend eating, cooking, eating, cooking and eating some more and ending the weekend with more eating. It was hard work but somebody's got to do it :P

The cooking part was a bit easier, if not more enjoyable now that I have my new double oven stove!
Sexy Beast
I used the money I made from selling handmade yarn at Craft Fair to pay for this baby. The months of working through my weekends to dye up endless batches of yarn and the weeks walking around with purple and green hands was totally worth it now that I have this lean, mean cooking machine in my kitchen.
I LOVE this range. I especially love the double oven feature. I've been on a roasted veggie binge these last few weeks. It took me only an hour or so to cook up what would normally take a good part of the afternoon. Now I have roasted veggies for the week. Wheee!
I've been doing a big cook-up every Sunday so I have a stash of veggies and flesh to feed off of for the week. Usually by the time I get done walking the girls, make dinner, eat and clean up it's usually time for bed. At least this way, I don't have to make, just assemble dinner and there's minimal clean-up.
It's a good thing I have this double bellied beast since Bill the Fruit Guy finally showed up in town this past week with the year's first shipments of fresh produce. I went apeshit buying vegetables. I almost cried when I saw these beauties:
Which got turned into a huge pan of yumminess:
It's been ages since I've had eggplant. Usually by the time it shows up in the grocery shelves  here it looks like an old hag all covered with wrinkles and liver spots.

In celebration of Chinese Dragon New Year, I wanted to whip up some lettuce wraps. I didn't have any dragon meat but I did have a couple of pounds of ground muskox.

Which quickly got turned into this:
What recipe? You don't need no stinking recipe for lettuce wraps. I browned up the musk ox, dumped in some tamari and 5 spice, tossed in some leftover spinach, piled a mess of it onto a lettuce leaf and called it a day. Actually I had three piles of it. It was that good. Especially with my lover, Sriracha. You can keep your puny, weak-knee sappy hoisin sauce, my muskox needs some of the red rooster.

If Sriracha is my lover, this is my crack LOL!:
Cupboard Crack

For the sake of science, I've been experimenting with different applications for almond butter. I think I've found my favorite...on coconut-bacon pancakes 
Almond Butter Delivery System
sopping up the eggy sunshine

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Another day in paradise

We're just finishing up a good old fashion blizzard!
The winds have been blowing steady at around 40-50km with gusts near 100km. All night the house shook and groaned and I prayed that the roof wouldn't blow away.
Apparently, somebody should have been doing the same for the Inuvik Airport. It's roof looks like somebody has taken a huge can opener to it.

The whole town, actually the whole Mackenzie Delta and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, was shut down yesterday. Many towns are still shut down.
We stayed home and had a fabulous blizzard day complete with coconut pancakes and lots of hot cocoa!

Later on in the afternoon, we had a nice family walk around the neighbourhood because that's what you do when the blizzard comes into town:
I walked to work this morning and it was still pretty blustery. If I don't make it home on time I'm probably stuck in a snow drift or something.

Stay warm!

ETA- It's Friday now and it's still blowing 40km with gusts of 60km. Now I know how everybody up here looks so young. They get their wrinkles snowblasted off them every winter .
To everybody down in Vancouver/Van Island area: Quit your freaking whining.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Muskox on a buzz

The sun came back this weekend for like 7 minutes before plopping back below the horizon. It's been snowing and cloudy for the last few days. I'll just take Environment Canada's word that the sun is somewhere behind those clouds.

The town celebrated the Sunrise Festival on Saturday with a pancake breakfast, games and a huge fireworks show. It was -30C that night and so we enjoyed the fireworks from the comfort of our kitchen. The girls were all excited because they thought all the booming was gunfire and they were eager to retrieve the fallen game. So cute.

We celebrated with nice chunk of muskox tenderloin. Yum nom nom nom

It gave me an excuse to use my NEW Crockpot:
Hubba hubba. Hey you sexy thing, where have you been all my life?

It was a Christmas present from myself. It has a metal non-stick insert that allows you to sear and saute on the stove top which means less dishes for me to clean! WooHoo!
I have been pining all year for this but it was just a touch too $$ for me to justify buying since I already had a perfectly good crockpot. Then it went on sale!

Muskox is a pretty mild meat in relation to other game meats but it is a tad gamey.  I figured instead of doing the usual drunken beast treatment, I would experiment with a spice rub.  I opened up the my spice drawer and basically pulled out stuff randomly and dumping whatever felt right into a bowl. I wanted something earthy and just a touch spicy.
I used coffee grounds as a base for the spice rub. I know, it sounds strange but it's sooooo good.

Here's my unrecipe for a Coffee Spice Rub:

2-3 scoops of finely ground coffee
good dose of sea salt
good dose of black pepper

If you want it spicy add:
chili powder (regular or chipolte or ancho)
smidge of cayenne powder
ground ginger

If you want earthy add:
ground cumin
ground corriander
ground mustard

If you want sweet add:
cocoa powder
dried orange peel

ground allspice

Other stuff you can add:
garlic powder
dried herbs
onion powder

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of what you can dump into your spice rub.  Of course, you could just buy a ready made spice rub but you miss out on the fun of playing mad alchemist dumping random spices into your cauldron of rubbing goodness. 

Mix your spice rub thoroughly and give your chunk a meat a good, dirty massage with it.

After I finished giving the muskox roast a good shiatsu rub down, I melted a dollop of coconut oil in the pan/insert over medium high heat and seared each side for about 3 minutes until I got a nice brown crust. I threw in a chopped onion. I also did the same treatment to a sirloin roast and cooked them both up at the same time since there's so much freaking room in my new crockpot!

I cooked it for 8 hours on low. We had it with oven baked sweet potato fries and spaghetti squash and chimichurri sauce. YUM!

Have a great week!