Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chicken stuffed with collard greens carrots and parmesan on celery root apple puree

This was a delicious meal I made for my friend Molly a few weeks back. Most of the time when I cook I just go for it, I don't follow any recipes and just allow myself to be inspired by what's in the fridge. I've always wanted to do a chicken dish like this, and i'm kinda peeved I didn't write down a recipe for this because it was gorgeous in taste and aesthetic value. I used purple carrots from my farmers market, and they looked amazing next to the collard greens. The flavors worked so well together. The chicken was marinated simply with salt and pepper. I sauteed the collards in some olive oil garlic chicken stock and apple cider vinegar. Lightly roasted the carrots, and then threw them in with the collards. I cut the celery root down and boiled it like a potato with two apples with their skin removed. Once tender I purred them with some butter and a bit of the stock from the veggie mixture. These liquids were also used to create a jus for the chicken. I took the chicken and wrapped it around a handful of the veggie mixture, as well as some thick slices of parmesan cheese.  I secured the chicken with a wooden skewer. I then lightly pan fried the chicken  on both sides. Added some of the jus and placed the mixture in the oven for a few minutes to finish it off. Remove the skewer before serving. If you have a feeling for food, and can cook blindly please feel free to use this recipe as an outline for a delicious dinner of your own, but be sure to tell me all about it. 

Arugula Antipasto Salad with Callipo Tuna & Toast

I really love an easy meal salad. At our house we eat a lot of olives, tuna and cheese. These ingredients are always available, somewhat inexpensive, and have a longer shelf life then most other ingredients. This is a great  family style meal for lunch or a light dinner. You can use any marinated antipasto item, any type of lettuce, I like to stick to Callipo tuna because it's just the best! Most grocery store now have an antipasto bar which usually carry a variety of olives, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and other goodies. You can also find these items in specialty cheese shops or gourmet stores. 
They can be bought by the pound packed in olive oil.  
Arugula Antipasto Salad with Callipo Tuna & Toast INGREDIENTS:
Arugula salad blend 
moroccan olives
marinated  artichoke hearts - cut into strips
marinated small mushrooms
fresh mint - tear into pieces
olive oil - drizzle
salt& pepper
splash of lemon 
PREP: In a bowl add all ingredients and toss with hands. 
SERVE: With toasted bread or crackers put the tuna down off to the side or right on top of the salad. Serve with different cheeses. These are Parmigiano-Reggiano, gouda and creme cheese.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Leslieville Cheese Market

The Leslieville cheese market is one of my favorite little spots on Queen west, and lucky for me it's right around the corner from where I live. They have the most amazing croissants the almond ones are to die for. Their breads are magnificent crunchy and soft perfectly baked. Some of my favorites include the french baguette or their black olive loaf. Their cheese selections can be a bit expensive, but are well worth it. When I want to splurge on Quebec cheeses I can't resist this place. LCM has two locations both on queen street, the second one sits comfortably in its namesake neighborhood Leslieville (Queen St east). What I also love about this place is that I can get my Organic Medow dairy products. I'll be doing a post on them soon, because I'm a huge advocate of their products. I buy my milk old school in glass bottles, and I just love it. LCM hold a $2.00 fee for the bottle that is returned to you once your done, or you just trade it in next time you buy milk. The Healthy Butcher a few doors down from LCM also provides this service on Orgain Medow milk. Another thing I love about the LCM are their  house made salamies and pepperettes. They also hold nightly cheese classes, and private tasting parties as well as a tour of their cheese cave. In the summer I love this place for a quick picnic. 
Picking up a baguette some yummy cheese and a few pepperettes, then heading to Trinity Bellwoods park for for an afternoon outside. All the spring things to look forward to on this snowy day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Restaurant Review Capocaccia - Mid town Italian eateries

If your looking for decent Italian restaurant around the Young and St. Clair area this place is happening. There are three Italian restaurants in the neighborhood one of which being Terroni, the other Ilfornello. If your looking to have a delicious regional Italian meal served up with pretentious snobbery and absolutely no changes to your order, no diet soda or butter for your bread then go no further then Terroni. If you are the type to ask for a tomato sauce on your gnocchi instead of a gorgonzola cream sauce then this place is probably the last place you should ever go for a night out. You'll find yourself frustrated, angry and alone. Although the food is great  the opinionated servers and stick it- to-ya attitude is downright ridiculous. This is still the hospitality industry, and this is Toronto, not your Nonas kitchen at a big family meal. Get over your selves.  Restaurant #2 Ilfornello is the McDonalds of Italian food in my opinion, I've avoided the place since I was just a young Tomato Snob working a the Gap at Bayview village, every meal I ever had there was unsatisfying, although the service was always top notch. For a Saturday night party of six Capocaccia was hustle bustle! A little to loud and hectic for my liking maybe Saturday night at 8:00 wasn't the best time for this place, however I would go back. The waiters were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off, but the customers all looked happy. The service was slow, but attentive. I tried my friends margarita pizza which was chewy and crunchy everything you want in a basic pizza. My Capellini Simona was yummy - it came with sundried tomatoes and black olives in a tomao sauce. The gnocchi was also quite nice and was hand made with fresh ricotta and basil. All in all we were happy campers, the wine list was pretty good, however nobody ordered wine, except for a friend who wanted white, so I opted for two glasses of the Pinotage which ruined any chances of a cheap and cheerful bill at 13.00 + a glass. My only complaint was the dragon breath I had in my mouth for the rest of the evening, maybe not the best choice for going to a house party afterwards.  

Spicy carrot coconut soup

The lost post... Sometimes I write a bunch of posts and don't publish them right away. Friday afternoon I wrote a great post about feeding a vegan or vegetarian lunch without putting too much effort into it. I described one of my favorite Kensington bakeries and dished about using spices like ground toasted coriander and fennel using a mortar and pestle. I saved the post and returned back to it yesterday when I had time to upload my photo and add it to the article. However in doing so I ended up deleting the entire thing, making my boyfriend and I very late for a dinner with friends on the other side of town- GEEZE. Now i'll just have to save if for another post. The most important  part was all about the recipe for this delicious soup anyways. Spicy carrot and coconut soup. Great anytime 
of the year, and a real hit with the vegan crowd. 
8 medium carrots - shredded
1 sweet onion - rough chop
3 cloved garlic - rough chop
1tbs ginger - minced
2 tsp toasted coriander - ground
2tsp toasted fennel - ground
6 cups water or veg stock
splash citrus - orange
1 can coconut milk 
olive oil
crushed red pepper - pinch or more if you like it hot
salt & pepper - to taste 
COOK: Sautee onions garlic and ginger add the spices s&p and cook until translucent. Add the carrots cook 5 mins. Add water or stock bring to a boil, then add the coconut milk. Let cook for another 5-10 mins. Reduce heat - puree everything transfer back into the pot, adjust seasoning and cook for 25 mins. Let sit for an hour before serving or overnight for best taste. Serve with chopped parsley or cilantro. 

I love a jerk!

Chicken that is. Jerk chicken is one of my favorite Jamaican delights and was up for dinner tonight. I was having a guest for dinner, and no clue what type of food she liked/ disliked. I thought fajitas would be a safe bet, but I wanted to give them a bit of a twist. A few weeks back I made the most delicious jerk chicken, and I thought this would be the perfect way to spice up boring fajitas. This meal was a great idea - easy fun and yummy. People always love making their own creations, so do yourself a favor and give them lots of options.
Jerk chicken fajitas INGREDIENTS:
Jerk chicken spice - I bought mine premixed from the bulkbarn
3 chicken breasts - cut into long strips & rubbed with jerk spice - marinate minimum of 1 hour or overnight
splash of citrus - onto the chicken marinade
grated cheese - whatever you like
sour cream
green onion - chopped fine or sauteed onions
peppers - grill/roast/char em right on the gas stove. Cool then remove skin, cut in strips 
cherry tomatoes - chopped marinated with olive oil s&p - or salsa avocado - or guacamole the list goes on... basically whatever you want jerk chicken taste good with everything. Try this meal in a pinch, its fast and fun - let us know what toppings you come up with.
Cook: grill chicken on bbq, grill pan or even 
on the George Forman ;) once cooked cut the chicken into bit size pieces. Sever everything separately in little bowls and go wild.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The fight for good food BEST MOVIE Food Inc.

If you still haven't gone out and rented this movie or watched it online I urge you all to do so. Now nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary this movie examines the farming industry and exposes many of the awful truths about where our food comes from. Why it is that fast food has not only become part of our cultural makeup, but why many North American families choose to buy processed instead of fresh. This movie is shocking, and will really open your eyes to the problems of consumption and the ethical treatment of the animals we eat. One of the contributors from the film is an amazing best selling author Dr. Michael Pollan. He has written a bunch of books on this issue, and breaks it all down in a simple way.  He believes that we all have a choice, three times a day we can vote. Vote for healthy whole food, or mass produced, manufactured crap. In his new book Food Rules he had outlined some healthy guidelines for feeding. An example of these rules include: 1. Eat the colours in the rainbow, but not colours that can change the colour of your milk. 2. Shop the pereffery of your supermarket 3. Don't buy your food where you buy your gas. 4. You want to eat foods that will eventually rot. 5. It's not food if it arrives through the window of your car. 6. You can eat  all the junk food you like, if you make it yourself. Pollan's other books include In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, The Omnivore's Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You EatSecond NatureThe Botany of Desire, and A Place of My Own. To all the tomato Snobs out there the first key to cooking and eating is learning. A true tomato snob not only cares about the taste of food we care about the well being of the animals and foods that are being put on our plate. In the words of Michael Pollan eat food that has eaten well. Touche ;)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dinner for two

Happy Valentines day yall. I know lots of couples think going out to a fancy restaurant on Valentines day, and sharing a romantic candle lit dinner is the only way to spend this Hallmark occasion. Just to let you all know there are pretty much two nights of the year you'll want to stay in and refrain from supporting the hospitality industry. The first being Valentines day, and the second is New Years Eve. Why? you ask. Well on these oh so special occasions restaurants usually are fully booked, and have a set meal for a certain amount of money - called a Prix fixe menu it sometimes includs wine pairings. These set menus are designed to be alluring and marketable, they should be easy for the kitchen to turn out, because orders are coming inn all night, and sometimes all at the same time. This puts a lot of pressure on the chefs, and most restaurants let quality slide because they staff know, the meals are pretty much paid for. They know exactly how much your going to spend, or not going to spend.  The kitchen turns out the same couple of dishes all night, leaving much room for laziness and a lack of quality assurance. There is also a different feel to the otherwise buzzing restaurant now only filled with couples, or small tables, which does tend to drain the excitement out of the staff. If your lucky enough to get decent service then the sub par food will be easy to overlook, but no promises can be made! One thing thats for sure at least you won't have to do any dishes at the end of the evening. If quality and service don't concern you then by all means take your chances. For me and my valentine it's take out chinese. Last year I went all out my version of Giada De Laurentiis carbonara using zucchini  instead of asparagus. This year I want to relax and enjoy some asian delights delivered to the comfort of my own home. I don't know what it is, but Chinese always tastes better on a Sunday. 
Photo: Found 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen - ladies night out - table for 3

Alright, so this post is a long time coming. Sorry Jill's and Hal. I know I was going to boycott winterlicious this year, but seeing as nobody responded to the post and recommended anything or reviewed anything I felt it was my duty to do some eating. We went to Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village. I had heard excellent things about this place, and I was not disappointed. As soon as I walked into the the very chic resto I knew it would be a fun evening. My dear friend Hayle treated us to pear mimosas. I think It was a combination of pre drinks and the sexy chica chica music that was playing when we got there, or perhaps it was the super cute bartender with suspenders - immediately put us in the mood. The interior of the place was really cool, high ceilings, industrial with modern flair. The open kitchen and overall airyness makes this place special, not to mention the service was stellar. We started off with an amuse bouche  cheddar and thyme biscuits (more like croissants) with sweet butter - to die for. We asked for a second round, and with out hesitation the waitress rushed over another basket. I had the Handmade ricotta gnudi with garlic spinach & Berkshire smoked pork - the flavors were fantastic, the pork was a bit too much fat, not enough meat. For the main we all had the Short rib pot roast with fondant vegetables & mushroom chips - tasty comfort food, meat wasn't cooked perfectly, but delicious none the less. Although I hear their chicken Biryani is amazing.  For dessert I had  Bildred’s classic profiteroles with lindt chocolate ice cream, caramel & chocolate sauce. Not a classic profiterole, but I love lindt chocolate so I was still a happy camper. No I wasn't 100% happy with the food, but the service was great, and there was lots of promise, Yes I would 100% go back!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All dressed up and no place to go

The man was supposed to be home tonight, but leave it up to Thomas Cook Airlines for delaying 16 hours. I should be in a food coma right now. Dinner is still marinating in the fridge, I had planned a delicious feast for my loves return, and now it will al have to wait until tomorrow night. On the menu: Roasted squash and coconut spiced soup, Israeli kebab with braised purple cabbage and sweet potato fries. And for dessert a strawberry galette with chantilly cream. It will be my first pie venture, and I'm super stoked about the whole wheat puff pastry I picked up at Fiesta Farms one of my favorite down town grocery stores.  For those of you who know me well, the first pie, very exciting... wish me luck ;)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Seasonal Eating... keeping up with what's in harvest

I found this great blog about seasonal Ontario food, something a few 
so called Tomato Snobs know little about. I have a good group of friends - foodies that love going out to sexy restaurants and yapping about the food and wine and bla bla bla, but they don't yet understand the real fundamentals of farming, growing and harvesting food. These are the foodies that respect food, and dining and enjoying a meal, but are just learning their way around the kitchen. And while I do applaud them for learning and exploring, but one of the first things to know about cooking and truly understanding what makes your food delicious is when to eat what! This is the beginning of a much more important issue - the issue of sustainability, something even more foreign to people, but we'll get into this later. Baby steps. 
In Canada we are lucky enough to have 4 seasons, winter spring summer and fall, and let me tell you there is something exciting about each and every one of them. The Food Network Canada which is one of my favorites sites for watching full episodes and looking up ingredients organize their recipes by season. What a great tool! Learning more about seasonal eating and cooking will make your food taste and look better, not to mention you'll be more "green" and your skin will probably look better as well. Remember on it's most basic level food is fuel. We eat it and our body uses different parts of it to gain the maximum benefits all of the nutrients. Water and great quality fruit and vegetables in season will be at their perfect point of consumption - their most nutritious and delicious. 
PHOTO: Found

Monday, February 1, 2010

TFMN - Toronto Farmers Market Network

The TFMN is a great resource to know where and when your local farmers markets are open for business. Over the next few months I am going to scope out as many of them as I can, and let you all know where to go for the best _____! 
Appletree Market
Birchcliff Village Farmers’ Market
Brick Works Farmers’ Market
Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market
FoodShare Toronto
Guildwood Village Farmers’ Market
Harbourside Organic Farmers’ Market (Oakville)
North York Farmers’ Market
Riverdale Farm Farmers’ Market
Sorauren Farmers’ Market
Stonegate Farmers’ Market
The Stop’s Green Barn Farmers’ Market
Trinity-Bellwoods Farmers’ Market
Withrow Park Farmers’ Market

Also Blogto has a great list of the best FM in the city. I usually agree with what they say - may be something worth checking out!
PHOTO: Found