I missed my late-night posting. But it wasn’t my fault! Miraculously I didn’t fall asleep.
It was an almost 6 hour drive home – it started to snow early in the morning and the highway (we take the Icefields Parkway shortcut to Calgary) was open but in poor condition; snowy, slushy and icy and you could rarely distinguish between the road, mountains and sky; it was actually a relief to our eyes to come upon a patch of brown gravel after all that white and shades of grey.
Anyway. We got home around 7, unloaded the car, turned up the furnace, put on a pot of oatmeal for W, attempted to unpack the way too much stuff we brought with us to Jasper, and Mike went to pick up Lou. Then we discovered we had no Internet connection, so I spent most of the next hour on the phone with Shaw trying to diagnose the problem, and another hour unplugging and restarting the computer and my laptop, which said it was connected but wouldn’t connect. At around 11 I conceded defeat – what else is there to do on a Sunday night? And planned to get up early and seek out a location with wireless interenet access. Fortunately, this morning it connected. Phew.
We packed some snacks (tiny Danish, bagels, fruit and banana bread from the buffet, some ham and cheese that was left in the fridge in our room, and mushroom empanadas from Emily and Elizabeth’s demos) for the car ride home, having already been more than sated at the Farewell Brunch, the Grandmother of all buffets. (During which they give away tons of prizes, like Kitchen Aid mixers and food processors and trips, including one back to Christmas in November next year.) So we sort of nibbled our way home and didn’t really need dinner when we got there.
So here is Emily & Elizabeth’s Mushroom Empanada recipe. It gave me an idea on the way home – because you know I think about food constantly, particularly when in the car for hours driving through a mountain pass with a sleeping W and white-knuckled M – Mincemeat Empanadas. Hey? Instead of mince tarts. Just fill them with mincemeat instead of the mushroom filling. I’ll let you know how they turn out.
I have become hopelessly addicted to the JPL’s hot chocolate this week, which is put out in the lobby in silver tureens with bowls of mini marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate shavings alongside. The hot chocolate itself is the Real Thing: chocolate shavings with warmed milk (likely whole, possibly some cream too) poured over. This is the way all of us should make hot chocolate – not with those nasty packets of mix, which are mostly high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated palm oil. (Yes there are some organic varieties that are better, but you know what I’m talking about). With them they served baskets of sandy rectangular sugar cookies – almost shortbread but not quite as heavy – coated in sugar to make them crunchy on the outside. We loved them. I was going to bug the chef again for the recipe, but their texture brought me back to a cookie I used to make years ago (like 15 or so) out of my Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook I bought at a used book store. They are called Marion’s Sugar Cookies and are made with a cup of margarine and a cup of Wesson oil, but I enthusiastically recommend butter and canola oil. (So really, these have a better ratio of healthy fats compared to other sugar cookies. In fact, I suspect they would do well with half whole wheat flour, which would add a nutty flavour but not weigh them down too much.) The dough is rolled into balls and then flattened with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, coating them on the outside with sugar. They have a lighter, sandier texture than traditional cookies or shortbread – it was one of my favourite recipes before I started in on the low fat cookies. I haven’t made them in at least a decade, but I’m so making them again as soon as possible.