Cookin’ Canuck: Fisherman’s Soup

A few days ago, I found a picture of a very interesting-looking soup (Pinterest Alert!) originally from a website called “Cookin’ Canuck” – hence the title of today’s post. It is run by a lovely lady named Dara. 🙂

Credit: http://www.cookincanuck.com/2012/10/fishermans-soup-recipe-with-tilapia-shrimp-tomatoes-capers/#comment-1082464

I gave this recipe a try last night, and I am telling you, words cannot describe how delectable, how tantalizing this was!

It took very little time, the ingredients weren’t horribly expensive, and the directions are easy to follow. The long and short of it is this: if you like seafood and tomato, this is the soup for you! Please do take a look at Dara’s recipe in the link above.

What I changed:
– Not much. It calls for “firm whitefish” and recommends tilapia. I ended up using salmon because I wasn’t able to find a good, firm chunk of tilapia. Rest assured, although I have not tried the recipe with tilapia, I fully confirm that it is absolutely delicious with salmon. 🙂
– As per usual, I used pre-minced garlic that comes in a jar instead of chopping fresh cloves. Would fresh cloves have tasted better? Probably. Fresh anything is always better.
– It calls for dried oregano. Well, because I had…um…a little help obtaining these ingredients, I realized during preparation that I, in fact, did not have dried oregano. >_< Now, sometimes I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to following a recipe (sometimes! I am not above swapping fish), so I was a little flustered when I realized I didn’t have dried oregano. I ended up using powdered oregano, which obviously turned out fine, since I was raving about the deliciousness of the soup.
– Needless to say, I did not put any chile flakes in this. XD It might not have done much harm, but I prefer to be safe than sorry.
– Last little extra thing I did was throw in a shallot (one I didn’t use with a previous recipe. Yes, the pumpkin one.)

Other than that, I followed the directions down to the last word, and ended up with an extremely satisfying result. 😀

Picture time! It was great fun watching the colors develop as I added more ingredients.

Picture time! It was great fun watching the colors develop as I added more ingredients.

I prefer my carrots chopped into larger bits – though, because I was feeding two other people, I tried not to cut them too large. ^^

With fish and shrimp.

With fish and shrimp.

Now, one thing I ran into was that the soup didn’t seem…well, “soupy” enough. The more ingredients I added, the thicker and more stew-like it was getting. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I like keeping my stew in a crockpot. XD Not sure if the recipe was supposed to end up that way, whether it was my fault and I somehow added more ingredients than I should have, e.t.c. Either way, I ended up using more vegetable broth than the recipe called for, which didn’t ruin it in any way.

Like I mentioned, this doesn’t take as much time to cook as it seems.

I want more just looking at this.

I want more just looking at this.

Last, but certainly not least, I encourage you – no, I implore you – to top it off with a nice slice of rustic bread. We used roasted garlic bread (not actual garlic bread like the kind you eat in Italian restaurants, but bread that is flavored with garlic), and if possible, it just made the whole meal that much tastier. While eating this, I was surprised to find that the bread actually had thin slices of garlic inserted into it. (+50 points! I am a huge garlic-lover.) The best part about this was eating the bread after it had been soaking in the soup. :O I mean, wow. Our bread happened to be very delicious, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the bread choice had a lot to do with it.

All in all, I was way more satisfied with this recipe than I thought I would be. I’m not even a huge fan of tomato in soup, but this was a major exception! I will note, too, that the capers really added that extra touch of flavor that the soup…well, didn’t exactly need, but it sure wouldn’t have been the same without it. You recall that I mentioned really loving capers in my last post? I’m gonna bring the spotlight back on them and insist that you put capers into this soup when you make it! 🙂

This recipe will definitely go under my “Favorites.” Once again, please go take a look at Dara’s recipe and give this soup a try; as always, you will not regret it!

That’s all for now. ^_^

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Why Is The Rum Gone?

Because it went into the cake, that’s why!

You guessed it: my latest endeavor resulted in a very moist, delicious rum cake. 😮 Out of this world!

A while back, I found this tasty rum cake recipe (for once, not on Pinterest), and as usual, it was the finished product that had me sold. The credit goes to a woman named Monica who shared her recipe on a lovely blog.
Credit: http://lickthebowlgood.blogspot.com/2010/12/think-harder-rum-cake.html
-As you know, folks, I never take credit for inventing any of these recipes. I just follow them and, at best, modify a few things.-

It’s not every night that I cook, but when I do, I try to make it as special as possible (sometimes even going so far as to “artify” the dishes I present my food on.) Yet, as my mother wisely pointed out to me one night, it’s just as well that I don’t cook all the time, otherwise it would be harder for us to maintain our “girlish figures.” 😛 Haha, bad joke.
It’s never an issue of time so much as it is money.

Anyway.

This will mark the second time I have made this cake. I followed the recipe almost precisely, except that I substituted the nut topping with raisins (walnuts hurt my moms’ mouth.) Can’t say I’ve ever actually had rum cake with a nut topping, but I assure you that raisins and rum go together like bread and butter!

It’s also a lot of fun, if you like baking.

Easy to sprinkle at the bottom (really, the top) of the bundt pan.

Easy to sprinkle at the bottom (really, the top) of the bundt pan.

It’s a pretty straightforward recipe – and, as I always say, if I can do it, anyone can! >o>
My mom and I loved the pan we saw in the recipe and scoured the Internet to find it. While we found a few close seconds, we didn’t find the exact one that Monica used. We are artists, and therefore, picky. But the end result was, we bought an average-looking bundt pan at the local Kitchen Store. ;_; Waah.

rumcake_3

Couldn’t resist sharing a few of these pictures, for your viewing pleasure (like I said, artist! Gotta have pictures!) The way the mixture falls into the bundt pan always reminds me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – you know the beginning when they’ve got that delectable chocolate oozing out in silky ribbons? YUM.

rumcake_4

If this bad boy is screaming your name, go check out Monica’s recipe on the link I provided above (I’d post the recipe here, but I’m afraid that’ll make it look too much like I’m stealing it or something.) In my opinion, one of the best parts about making this cake – aside from eating it, of course – is spreading the rum glaze over the top. I used coffee-flavored Kahlua for all the rum in this recipe. I’m telling you, it is to die for!

Last but not least – and I am pleased to say I actually did invent this little addition – try topping off a slice of the cake with whipped cream! I got me a 2 for 1 deal of french vanilla whipped cream at the store. It goes amazingly well with the rum cake, in fact I wouldn’t dream of eating it without the cream on top. 😉

I encourage all of you rum-cake-lovers to give this a try, I’m sure you won’t regret it. 😀

 

 

Post-Halloween Perfection

The title may sound a bit puffed up – and although the recipe I tried may not have contained what I would call amazing flavors, I’ll go so far as to say that the finished product was visually entertaining. 🙂

About a month ago, I found a recipe called “Roasted Pumpkin Sage Soup,” from skinnytaste.com (never heard of the website.)

Credit: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/10/roasted-pumpkin-sage-soup.html

Naturally, what really attracted me to this recipe was the picture of the soup in those awesome pumpkin bowls. Weeks ago, when I vowed to make this with the leftover Halloween pumpkins, I decided that that’s exactly what I was going to do – make the soup and serve them in nifty little pumpkin bowls.

I was looking forward to making it all day (more, I think, because I was anxious to play with the pumpkin bowls rather than because I wanted to eat it. Are you tired of hearing “pumpkin bowls” yet? My inner child has overpowered me yet again.)

Well, I followed the recipe down to the last word, and ended up with a pretty satisfying product.

 

pumpkinsagesoup

Trying to be artsy with the pumpkins in the background, lol.

I’m telling you, I think the creation of this blog inspired me to remember to take pictures of the dishes I make. 🙂 Like I mentioned in my intro, 5 times – 5 times and not a time less! – I tried to snap pictures of my cooking, and had failed each time. I’d be halfway through the meal when the light bulb went on: “…Oh yeah, the picture… >_< ”
Not that it means anything to you folks, but this will mark my first successful attempt at photographing the food I make. (Haha, they said it couldn’t be done!)

…Ahem.
All in all, the soup was very tasty.
The recipe suggests garnishing it with sour cream and chopped sage (at least I think it was chopped.) What I tried and found out – which you may or may not agree with – is that the more sour cream you mix into the soup, the tastier it is.

Would I would have done differently: I am a person of robust flavors and often enjoy very rich-tasting food. Not to say I’m the type who would travel to a foreign country and try the world’s hottest pepper or something – but I mean I enjoy fairly strong flavors, such as garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and capers, e.t.c. Very few people in my family appreciate good flavors the way I do, so I’m always on my own when it comes to appreciating those robust flavors I enjoy so much.
Back to the soup: it was tasty, creamy, and “pumpkiny,” but I would have enjoyed it more had it contained a stronger flavor.
When I garnished it with sour cream and sipped a sample, I was under the vague impression that the soup might have been good with some grated cheese on top – maybe Parmesan or some other type of stronger cheese. Do cheese and pumpkin go well together? I have no idea, and if there’s a professional chef out there who’s reading this and tugging at his mustache, by all means, correct me on that. :/
I don’t have a specific idea of how I would change this soup were I to make it again. But to liven up the flavor, I’d err on the side of adding more herbs, maybe some spices to it (aside from the salt and pepper that’s called for in the recipe), and I’d even go so far as to try adding that cheese as a garnish.

Right off the bat, all this soup really had in it were shallots, garlic, chicken broth, and pumpkin. And the sage, too, of course. By my standards, that just isn’t enough. XD

But, if you’re the type who thoroughly enjoys milder flavors and prefers to taste more of the natural, raw ingredients, I’m betting you’ll enjoy the soup – as the original recipe has it – a lot more than I did.
Or, if you’re like me and will sacrifice some of those natural flavors to make it (in our opinion) tastier, I’d try to improvise a little when making this.

I certainly don’t regret it, though! I ate my entire bowls’ worth, and it proved to be a very unique and satisfying first course for the night. My mom enjoyed it immensely, as she isn’t as fond of bold flavors as I am. To quote the Three Bears, I think it was “just right” for her.

All you pumpkin-lovers out there, I’m sure you won’t regret giving this a shot. 🙂

End of this months’ pumpkin story.

 

Intro From A Wanna-be Chef!

Hi everyone,

I like to start things out simple and to the point, although I’m not above using flowery and frivolous speech on occasion. 😉
As always, let’s come straight to it: I’m not a chef, but I love to cook. I’ve been experimenting with recipes ever since I was a young teen, and like to think that I’m only getting better as time wears on (you’ll have to ask my mom, she’s my “guinea pig” of choice. Love you, mom!)

If I had to rate my skill level, I would call it “a little above average.” I’m not yet to the point where I can whip up a meal out of thin air (although I have done this.) I label myself as a “Recipe Hunter,” looking for delicious things to try (primarily on Pinterest, which is just as good as saying from all over the Internet), and often modifying the recipe to suit my taste. I suppose if I had a motto, it would be “I always cook with a recipe.” Not very exciting, but it sure sums up the way I do things in the kitchen. I had a friend who was just the opposite: he disliked using recipes and always did his cooking from scratch, trying to come up with something on his own without any written aid. I always thought it sounded like fun (after all, what kitchen-lover wouldn’t want to come up with her own recipe?) – but, like I said, I’m no chef! I’m just a treasure hunter who experiments with the stuff she finds, and enjoys sharing it with others who have the same passion.

Mind you, I have absolutely no desire nor aspiration to be a restaurant chef or owner. If anything, I actually strongly dislike working in the food business. It’s within the comfortable confines of the home where I can truly enjoy and appreciate cooking. Not to mention the fact that I am serving it to people I love, not a bunch of strangers (no offense to all you strangers out there!)

It’s my hope that I can use this blog as an outlet for my cooking adventures, creativity when it comes to experimenting with new things, and – hardest of all – sharing pictures of the finished product. Yes, it is time for me to be honest: I have tried unsuccessfully 5 times in a row to photograph the dishes I’ve made. Why has it been unsuccessful? Well, combine having a flimsy memory with an insatiable desire to devour all your time and hard work, and you’ve got yourself a problem. 😦 But not to fear, I am heartily determined to make this successful for me, and for all those who enjoy following the adventures of a wannabe chef! Let’s get hunting and see what we can find.

 

Don't worry, I don't cook with my hair loose...or with earrings. >.>

Don’t worry, I don’t cook with my hair loose…or with earrings. >.>