The whipped shortbread recipe (with the cherry) is absolutely to die for!
After a long day of baking, this is the final haul I gifted for friends: Rosemary cornbread, buttertart squares, gingersnaps, coconut banana fruitcake, and whipped shortbread. Nothing was working out for me yesterday, though. All these recipes (save for the shortbread) I'd made before and after pulling them out of the oven, I was like, "this isn't supposed to look like this! What the hell!" which ended in me nervously sampling everything because THESE WERE INTENDED AS GIFTS; therefore, it's not ok to serve them the junk I'd normally serve myself and Idle Husband. Now, I am so sick of baking and baked goods, I can't even describe it to you. In a way, this is a good thing. I can get back on track and leave the sugar and the flour in the cupboard for...well...I'm hoping I don't want for these things until Easter, or past Easter, or never for the rest of my life, actually. But let's be realistic because I'm a total bread and sugar whore. So I'm just going to hope until February at the earliest.
The next day, I deconstructed this puppy.
As mentioned before, I went out to dinner last night with friends to a place in WEM (well, not technically in WEM but it is relatively attached to the mall) called the Cactus Club Cafe. I guess it's a pretty famous restaurant that has a bunch of creations from a pretty famous Canadian iron chef, Rob Feenie. I guess? I've heard the chef's name before, but I'd never heard of the restaurant until this week. The atmosphere was really nice, the service was ace, the food...could have been better? I think my dining out standards have drastically changed since I started making everything from scratch.
We started with the smoked cheddar spinach dip full of grilled chicken cubes (I don't like that chicken suddenly comes cubed. It immediately makes me think it's that fake chicken) served with white and blue tortilla chips. It was ok. I found it really bland and the chips were saltless making everything even more bland. My friends devoured it and loved it, so I don't know what was wrong with me.
I decided to try the (Rob Feenie created) BBQ duck clubhouse sandwich since I've never had duck before. It also came with chicken and prosciutto on pecan fruit bread and I had the seasonal green salad instead of fries. The sandwich was super salty. Probably because of the prosciutto, but one friend seemed to think that BBQ pork is really salty, so perhaps the same applies to duck. Who knows. It would have benefitted so much just by dialing down the salt a tad. It wasn't inedible, it just needed to be followed by lots of water. Anyway, because of that, I couldn't eat the second half. I'd filled my daily salt quotient with the first.
The salad was really great. I was impressed with that the most, actually. It had strawberries, almonds (I think), and curls of what looked like possibly beet -- something purple, anyway. Oh wait. Actually, take the -ies of the strawberries. I think there was only one strawberry cut in half (like the cherry tomato) -- that really helps you understand the extra $1.50 for changing out whole french fries for salad, hey? Oh well. It was something different than my usual idea of a seasonal salad, and it was so good and refreshing next to my salt sandwich. None of us had dessert, so I have no idea about that.
I'd only go back if the friends wanted to. I wouldn't suggest it for Idle Husband and I. It wasn't that amazing and honestly, looking at their menu again (online), I fail to see anything I really have to try. It doesn't help that I don't particularly like eating out, but you know, I do get cravings for things I can't make at home...then again, this restaurant isn't offering anything I can't make at home so it doesn't really entice me into going again. Sorray.
Idle Husband's dinner, eaten in front of the computer, of course.
I was worried about what IH would eat without me around to fix something, so I coached him on how to make his own personal pizza. Honestly, I really just wanted to see how my little mini-frozen pizza rounds would fare after having a short amount of defrosting time. It looks pretty good, hey? He was really pleased with the results (so pleased he produced pictures for me)! The funny thing is, though, that he couldn't find the BBQ sauce (we like that on pizza instead of tomato sauce) and he didn't see the tub of cooked hamburger I'd left for him to top his pizza with, only the turkey bacon (even though they were side-by-side). Silly boys. So he filled it with cheese, mushrooms, and the bacon. It looks pretty ace and I bet it was a smidge better than what I ate. He said the dough was pretty well unfrozen by the time he got home (4:30-6) so that was interesting. I really wanted to know how it would cook up when frozen. I'll have to test that this weekend maybe. Anyway, I'm so proud of how far he's come when it comes to cooking. Mr. Order-in is actually preparing his own dinner -- cooking it himself and cooking it properly (aka not burning it). Fantastic! Soon I'll have him preparing meals for me!