Secret Supper Soiree

Today I was happy to find out I had won a contest courtesy of Good Life Vancouver, Cassandra Anderton, and Swallow Tail Supper Club.

Here are the deets:

Swallowtail Canada holds a yearly sold-out culinary event in Vancouver.

From their website..

Last years sold out event is back! Vancouver’s culinary speakeasy tour. Imagine being a guest in a 30′s underground bar, a room of unsolved mysteries, perhaps, an urban winery. A sommelier serves you stunning sips of wine. Chef Andrea Carlson formerly of Bishops sizzles up fresh, wild BC canapé creations. A classic double decker chauffeurs to the venues. The best way to explore the secrets of the city!

Five Courses. Four Wine Tastings.
Two Secret Locations

YOUR CHAUFFEUR

Classic Double Decker

DRINKS

1 Pims Cup a la Boardwalk Empire

3 Tastings – BC boutique wineries showcased

FOOD CREATIONS

Executive Chef Andrea Carlson of Bishops

5 tasting plates – BC Wild food inspired

Vegetarian option available

MEETING LOCATION

…secret until ticket purchase

All new secret locations this year!

DRESS CODE

As fancy as you like, the fancier the better.

We encourage 1930′s speakeasy attire!

Don’t forget your umbrella for rainy days.

DATES

Saturday – Jan 21, 28, Feb 4

4pm & 8pm shows
Trolley leaves promptly, so don’t be late!

Jan 21 & 28, Feb 4 8pm Shows SOLD OUT

TICKET PRICES

Early Bird rate (pre Dec 24th) – $99 w/ wine

$99 Group rate 10+ w/ wine

$89 w/o wine
$129 w/ wine

Information from Swallow Tail website here, where you can also find out how to purchase tickets for yourself.

Thank you Good Life Vancouver & Swallowtail! I am looking forward to Saturday!

Also, Dine Out Vancouver is beginnig soon! January 20-February 5. I have been trying to decide on a restaurant.. and keep changing my mind! Have you dined out at a restaurant on the list? What would be your pick? The restaurants are divided into 18/28/38$ menus in three or four courses. Last year we went with Adam’s family to EBO, and it was absolutely delicious. I saw their menu this year, but I’m not sure if it’s something I wanted to try.

Happy New Year! + {No Bake} Granola Bars

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had a relaxing holiday season and a splendid New Years Eve.

{Stanley Park Christmas Train for our Anniversary Tradition 12/23} (also note the colour difference between this and my ‘about me’ picture. Summer vs. Winter. *sigh*)

Our Christmas was busy, between my family and Adams, we had 5 events between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that we attended. Christmas eve, I did the Italian thing with my Dad’s side of the family, as mentioned here. My Zia made a delicious Cioppino, an Italian fish soup/stew.

We enjoyed it along with anchovy + olive oil pasta, and a third course of Italian cabbage, baccala, and salad. On Christmas eve, we spent the night at Adam’s parents, so I drove over there after my dinner, and woke up with them to do the present thing. Something I had never really done before last year, when we first spent Christmas together.

When my brother Nick and I were little, and we were the only grand-kids for a good while on my father’s side as we are the oldest, we would have to stay up until Midnight on Christmas Eve before we could open presents. We would literally be falling asleep on the couches at my Nonna and Nonno’s, full from a huge seafood feast, waiting until my Nonno or Zio would dress up in a Santa suit. So, Christmas morning I really never had that ‘wake up santa’s been here!’ deal. But, we had the advantage to wake up and play with our toys immediately. So, when Adam and I spent our first christmas together last year, I got to experience ‘waking up on Christmas morning to open presents’ for the first time. I’m 23. Last year however, we woke up while it was still dark outside to open presents, I think we were all a little excited. But, this year, we woke up at a reasonable time of 9 am. Next year will be even better, as the first grandchild of the family will be born in just under two months! Adam’s sister is expecting their first, and Christmas will definitely be even more exciting with a little one around!

After Christmas morning with Adam’s family, we came home, got changed, and headed to my moms for more present opening and turkey dinner. The dinner was so good, and we both got spoiled this year. After dinner and visiting with everyone, we headed back over to Adam’s aunt’s house for some more dessert and drinks, and ended the night chatting with his cousins. It was a very busy Christmas, but we are both so thankful we have a large family who love us.

A few of the many gifts..

{Pasta hanger from Adam’s Parents! No more using clothes hangers for me!}

{From Adam. He understands my obsession with Seinfeld, and is constantly adding to my collection :)}

{My own ‘A’ mug from Anthropologie! Gifted by Adam’s mom :) You may remember my lamenting about it here ;)}

{Some delicious sea salts! Cannot wait to use these}

New Years Eve, however, did not go so smoothly. We decided to head to the States for a few days, shopping in Seattle on the 30th and staying with his parents at their little vacation place just over the border. It was cold, but nice to get away. Certainly not as cold as last year, when it was -10.

{We hit up West Elm and Z Gallerie! One happy girl. PS West Elm may be heading ot Vancouver..}

On New Years Eve I woke up feeling not so great, and thus, the idea of going out and celebrating was less than appealing to me. I slept til about 1:30, showered and got dressed enough to go to Trader Joe’s and a hardware store Adam had been dying to visit.

{I pretended I knew what things were, and Lainey and I waited patiently. Apparently little dogs are a big hit in hardware stores. She was quite popular.}

{One happy guy}

We were going to meet up with my friend who also happened to be in the States for New Years, and just 10 minutes away. But, I still wasn’t feeling it, so we stayed in and made ourselves a nice steak dinner.

{Lainey, my dog who you’ve probably seen before here, herehere, here, here & here, and Chubby, Adam’s parents wiener dog}

We celebrated at midnight with these two, who did not make it to watch the ball drop.

Wow, this post is getting long! My apologies, but one last thing. 2012. This year is going to bring some exciting things for me! This will by my last semester as an undergrad, and I will be officially graduating with my Bachelor’s Degree, Major in English, Minor in History, in June!! And I am planning on going travelling to Europe this summer, before returning in the Fall to hopefully begin my PDP to become an Elementary School Teacher! Adam is also going back to school this year, as he is finishing up his Electrical Apprenticeship! It’s his second degree, and second career. So, we’ll both be students! And both be graduating this summer!

I couldn’t help myself, and had to make a ‘back-to-school’ recipe. We were shopping and granola bars weren’t on sale, and I said I could make some. Adam was not about to argue. I wanted something simple, and these no-bake bars are perfect.

I even set some of the dry granola aside before adding the honey-sugar mixture, to sprinkle over top of my yogurt. You can add in whatever you like, or whatever is on hand. This is actually so easy, and I love that the ingredients are simple and requires no baking. I would definitely make these again, maybe once a month and keep them in the fridge/freezer. They will warm up by lunch time.

No-Bake Granola Bars

Recipe from Kitchen Simplicity found here

  • 2 .5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups nuts (I used leftover Pistachio’s from Christmas Bark)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  1. Toast oats, nuts and coconut in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, stirring often. Remove to a large bowl and toss with raisins.
  2. Place butter, sugar, cinnamon, and honey in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir into oat mixture until evenly coated. Let sit just until cool enough to handle.
  3. Spoon mixture into 8 1/2 x 11 pan, pressing down to compact. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. Remove from pan, peel away plastic wrap and slice into 16 bars (half lengthwise and then into 8). Wrap individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, if desired. Store covered at room temperature.

Makes: 16 servings

Chocolate {Honey} Truffles

{looks like a gold nugget rock, but it’s much softer and delicious}

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write a post, mainly because of school. But, luckily this past weekend I wrote my last exam and I am now officially on Christmas holidays. I have received my grades already as well, and {brag} I got A’s and B’s, so that was a nice early Christmas gift in itself! I’ve already been to two christmas events, and have two more before christmas eve this weekend.

I have always looked forward to christmas, seeing friends and family, and sharing stories of the past year. The minute I am finished exams is a giant relief. I am most looking forward to Christmas Eve with my Italian side of the family. We have the traditional ‘Feast of the Seven Fishes,’ you can read about it here on Saveur. Italians do not eat any meat on Christmas eve, instead we ‘feast’ on delicious dishes like Baccalà, shrimp, mussles, clams, and calamari. It is all so good. Although I will be looking forward to it, it is also a sad reminder that my dad is not with us. He was always the head of the table, he loved talking to everyone and being the ‘head’ of our family.  He so loved christmas, he was always happy to have a big dinner with everyone and would make the Tuna Sauce for the pasta on Christmas eve. It is delicious. Those traditions have been passed on to my Zia {aunt} and Nonna {Grandma} and so we will be spending Christmas eve with them, and we will have Dad in our thoughts. When I am older, and have my own family, I will carry on the tradition and make the seafood feast myself. For now, I offer to bring a side dish and of course, the desserts.

These truffles are perfectly simple and delicious. Sometimes simple is good. These are no-bake and perfect for the season. They can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Here’s some pictures of what our condo looks like right now, all dressed up for Christmas.

{Peace, Love and Cupcakes ornament from my aunt}

{an ornament from our first christmas living together last year}

{manger set we bought in Mexico when we were there in October}

{our mantle all decked out}

{personalized monogramed wrapping paper}

{chocolate ganache for the truffles}

Chocolate {Honey} Truffles

Recipe adapted from here (which was adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Ganache:
1 1/2 cups bittersweet/dark chocolate, chocolate chips/melting wafers are fine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons room temperature butter, cut in to small pieces
Coating:
Dutch-processed cocoa
Confectioner’s sugar
Edibel Gold Glitter (optional)
Directions:
To Begin, gather all your ingredients so you will have them on hand to be used. Small prep dishes make this easier.
Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper using two sheets so it covers it entirely.
Over a double broiler, melt chocolate in glass bowl sitrring occcasionally until completely melted. Remove from heat. Alternatively, you can use a microwave in 40 second intervals stirring until melted.
Microwave the heavy cream, honey and vanilla for 30 seconds in small bowl. Pour over top of the melted chocolate and cover completely with wrap. Allow to sit in it’s ‘sauna’ state for about three minutes.
Using a wooden spoon stir the chocolate and cream mixture until it is entirely combined and begins to thicken. It will look like small ‘strings’ of chocolate when seperated with the cream, but don’t worry,  continue stirring until it combines and it will become smooth and shiny.
Continue stirring, adding a small piece of butter one at a time until it disappears and combines with the chocolate.
Transfer the chocolate to your 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment. Cover the dish, and place in fridge for at least two hours, up to four hours.
For the coating, sift cocoa and powdered sugar into two ramekins or other dish using a fine strainer.
Remove ganache from the fridge, lifting the parchment and placing it on a cutting board. Using a long sharp cake knife, cut into eight rows horizontally and vertically, to create 64 small squares. It may be a bit soft still, so I just used a spoon, and scooped off a small portion of the ganache each time. If it is hard enough, roll each square into a ball with your palms, a coating of sugar/cocoa on your hands makes this step easier so it does not stick to you as well.
Using a sugar coated finger, push it off and plop the ganache into the cocoa or confectioner’s sugar and cover completely with the powder to coat. Use your hands to roll into a small ball, though if soft they may be more mis-shaped like my own.
Place on dish with parchment paper, repeat with the rest using cocoa and confectioner’s sugar, you can also add some sparkle with edible glitter.
Store in tins, or tupperware and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 1 week.
Let truffles sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Something to think about this holiday
Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what it sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I have
Is someday gonna be gone - Taylor Swift Never Grow Up

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