Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Billy's Gỏi Gà - Vietnamese chicken salad

My Best friend Billy is one of my biggest food idols. He cooks the way I love to cook - without a recipe. He's the one who really got me into cooking and appreciating different types of cuisine. I'll never forget years ago, back in the day of me being a picky eater, I was invited out with Billy's family for his birthday. They were going to the top sushi restaurant in the city and as a birthday gift to Bill he asked me to try everything the chef put in front of me. I was so nervous! Before that evening I thought sushi was cucumber and california rolls. I had never tried raw fish and sea food was totally foreign to me. I did as Billy asked and tried everything the chef offered. Each course was more delicious then the last and thus a monster was born! 

A few weeks back we were all up north for another of Billy's birthday extravaganzas. This year he decided to do a Vietnamese chicken salad which was a huge hit. Billy sent his dad to three different grocery stores to get the exact ingredients he needed. Do your self a favor and shop in kensington or the Loblaws on St. Clair as they have the best Asian selection of products.

chicken breasts - or whole chicken cut up if you prefer (skinless)  for poaching 
1/2 green (nappa or savoy) cabbage - thinly sliced (use cuisinart slicing blade if you have) 
2 carrots - turned in to matchsticks (use cuisinart shredding blade if you have)
1/2 onion - thinly sliced (use cuisinart slicing blade if you have) 
1 handful mint - torn 
1 handful Kinh Gioi / Vietnamese mint (you can always use more regular mint if you cant find)
1 handful cilantro - torn or fine chopped if you're not crazy about the flavor
1 handful Húng quế / Thai basil (optional) 
1/2 cup peanuts - toasted & chopped
1 cup shallots - fried 
flour - for dusting the shallots before frying 
canola oil - for frying 

1-2 red bird chili - fine chop (you may want to remove the seeds)
2 garlic cloves - minced
2 tbs ginger - minced
1 lime juiced
4 tbs rice wine vinegar 
2 tbs fish sauce
3 tsp sugar 
pinch of salt 

PREP: All veg. and layer in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix all ingredients together for dressing - put to the side.
Take your super thinly sliced shallots and separate them so that they look like tiny onion rings. Toss them in a few tbs of ap (all purpose) flour.  

COOK: To poach the chicken: In a medium heavy bottom pot place chicken with a few pepper corns (you can also ad some slices of ginger and garlic to the poaching liquid). Cover with water or chicken stock and bring to a boil. As soon as the liquid starts to boil drop the heat to a low simmer and partly cover the pot. Let cook for 10 minutes. Then turn off heat completely and allow chicken to stay in the hot water for another 20 mins. 

To fry the shallots: Have a tray with paper towel on stand by. In a shallow pan fill with about 2 inches of canola oil. Heat oil and test one shallot to make sure oil is hot enough. You will want small bubbles start to form around the shallot immediately. When oil is ready drop a hand full of shallots into the oil (about 1 min per batch) * The shallots will burn very quickly so if they start turning brown too quickly slightly drop the heat. Fry in small batches. Make sure you have a slotted spoon or spider to transfer shallots from the hot oil. As soon as they turn golden brown transfer to the paper towel and salt while hot. 

ASSEMBLE: Once chicken is cooked & shredded place ontop of the salad, then place peanuts fried shallots and  fresh torn herbs on top of everything. Drizzle dressing over before serving. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sibling Rivalry Sangria

Sangria is a delicious wine punch sort of concoction perfect for summer. It is commonly found in Spain, Argentina and Portugal although it has become popular all over the world.  Traditionally sangria is made using red wine but mine is a light delicious and refreshing white.When I saw Sibling Rivalry on the shelf on the LCBO I just had to try it.  I just loved the branding and the concept. Three brothers and three grape varieties per wine. The white is a wonderful blend of Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer  just perfect for my fabulous sangria. 
2 mangoes (I prefer the flat yellow ones as they have less of those tough stringy hairs and a smaller pit) - chopped
4 white peaches - skin removed &chopped
4 yellow peaches - skin removed &chopped
1 bunch green grapes - halved
2 firm apples - chopped I used Cortland
2 oranges - juiced
1L Gingerale 
2 Bottles fruity white wine or Sibling Rivalry white if you can find it. 
Vodka - a few shots (optional) 
sugar - a few tbs (optional) I used 1 tbs

PREP: Add all chopped fruit to a bowl with about a cup of vodka and sugar. Let this mixture sit in the fridge all day if possible. 

* to remove peach skins you will have to blanch them: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Keep a large bowl of ice water close by. Cut a small X in the bottom of the peaches. Place peachen in the boiling water for 1 minute then quickly transfer them to the ice water to spot the cooking. When they are cool the skins should easily peel off. 

ASSEMBLE: (2 parts wine to 1 part Gingerale) In a large punch bowl or in a pitcher add 1/2 bottle of white wine, ice, a few heaping scoops of the fruit mixture and about 1 cup of gingerale. Taste mixture and see if you want more or less soda. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mango salsa goodbye for the weekend

 I'm heading out of town tomorrow to Philadelphia for a few days for a visit with my friend Molly, and to catch the first leg of the Colonial Cup match between The Team Canada Wolverines and USA Tomahawks.  I wanted to leave you with a simple and delicious Mexican staple SALSA. I just love Mexican food. Fresh ingredients used simply that taste amazing what more could you want. This salsa in delicious you can eat it as a salad, mash the avocado and enjoy with tortilla chips, even put it on top of grilled chicken or fish. It's so good!
Mango - chopped
avocado - chopped
cucumber - about a cup chopped
red, yellow or orange pepper - choose which ever you desire and chop about a cup
1 garlic clove - minced * if you have one a mortar and pestle works best for this!
1 or two limes - juiced
tajin spice - to taste (I like about 2 tsp)
1 red bird chili (optional) or poblano - fine chop * I used the bird chili because thats what I had, but you can really use any chili you like
salt - to taste
mint or cilantro (optional) - mint is a nice twist if you don't like cilantro
PREP: chop everything and enjoy it - so bloody easy!

Have a great weekend yall, I'll be back with a new post on Monday. Off to try a real Philly cheesesteak. If you have any Philly insider info, or where to chow please post here!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fresh Fish please and thank you!

My pet peeve is when you go to a restaurant and try to make the healthy choice by ordering fish. I always ask the server how fresh the fish is and it's always the same answer. "it just came in today" yes,  it may have just came in today but is it fresh? By this I am asking you when it was plucked from the ocean or if it did come in "today" was it frozen when it arrived? Eight times out of ten the fish is frozen or it is not as fresh as they claim. I just don't freaking get it. When I go to City Fish  I get what I'm going to make for dinner that night. Then I season my fish for a little while before pan frying or baking it. It always comes out tasting fresh and delicious. When I eat fish in a restaurant it always taste fishy and gross. WTF Toronto? Unfortunately it's usually at Italian restaurants and occurs while everyone around me is scarfing down delicious bowls of pasta and gooey pizzas. One of those just shoot me moments!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pasta with ricotta and a fried egg

Heres a quick and delicious way to get a little extra protein into a carb packed meal. I like to use Tinkyada brown rice pasta with rice bran. It's a gluten free pasta with 4 grams of protein per serving. Adding the fried egg on top is just super delicious if you like runny yolk which I do, if you don't like eggs add a can of olive oil packed tuna like Calipo instead. This is just a simple tomato sauce with ricotta added at the very last minute garnished with parsley and then the fried egg well seasoned on top.
1 can plum tomatoes - I use whole and then crush them with my hands
2 cloves garlic - minced 
2 tsp - olive oil 
salt & pepper - to taste 
basil leaves - a few leaves 
1 tbs - oregano (optional) 
1 tsp - chili flakes (optional) 
chopped parsley 
COOK: Heat olive oil in a pan to medium high heat, add the garlic and chili flakes for under a minute (until you can smell it) then add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add Salt and pepper and oregano if desired let this cook for 30 mins to an hour. If the tomatoes are too tart add 1 tbs of honey or sugar - you can also grate a carrot or two to add sweetness. Add the chopped parsley at the very end so they don't turn brown. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Angry Birds Mooncakes?

If any of you have an iphone or any itype touch product I hope you know all about the beauty that is Angry Birds. I'm totally addicted to the app! I play every night before I fall asleep, and I can't go anywhere long distance without having my itouch close by incase I get bored and need my digital furry friends to keep me occupied. Yes I'm a kid at heart. By now I guess you're starting to wonder why i'm talking about Angry Birds on a food blog, well thats because I just heard via twitter that those damn birds are making their way into traditional Chinese Mooncakes. Mooncakes are a delicious dense custardy cake filled with lotus  seed paste and salted duck egg yolks in the center to symbolize the full moon. The cakes are enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival which takes place all over Asia and is considered one of the most important of the Chinese festivals. These little cakes are usually decorated with symbols for luck, longevity, or flowers. Recently a Hong Kong restaurant teamed up with Rovio the app designers to release the Angry Bird moon cakes for this years festival. They will come in flavors like chocolate and mango and sell for only a few dollars a cake. These little birds are taking over the world!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Let'us talk about lettuce - A requested post

My dear friend Elliot you may remember him from my Ready Set Blog post has recently requested a post about lettuce. He wanted to know which lettuce's were good? There are no good or bad lettuce's just lettuce's that are better suited for certain things. For example if you want to make a grilled salad - literally cut your lettuce in to two brushing it with olive oil s&p and throwing right on to a flaming grill your best bet is to use romain, raddiccio or treviso, endive (both Belgian and frisee), or kale. These types of lettuce have tougher leaves that can stand up to the heat without wilting too quickly. You would never try to put baby greens, arugula, watercress or spinach on the bbq. These are better suited for fresh salads because of their fragility. Their leaves are so delicate you have to dress them right before serving as they get soggy very quickly. You can wilt some of these by simple placing something hot on top of them, or a quick toss in heat, but be very careful and quick. 

Then you have your loose leaf lettuces  including butter and boston/bibb and iceberg that are constantly praised for their perfect plumpness best suited for sandwiches and wedge salads. The size and thick/thinness of the leaves helps to decide what type of dressings would work best. Sturdier leaves call for a heavier creamy dressing while the more delicate are better dressed in light vinaigrettes. You also have your super sturdy crunchy types of lettuce like cabbage, kale and collards. These are perfect shredded in soups or braised in liquid. They also stand up well to overnight marinating in dressing and can stand up for a few days without ever loosing their hearty crunch.  Well there you have it! An easy guide to lots of different types of lettuce. Chow for now!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Tipping Point

Today lets discuss the age old question of how to tip? 
I found this useful article on Zagat's website which should act as a great guide to tipping. To keep it simple you should A. Tip before the tax. 
B. Always leave a tip, unless service is absolutely horrible. Tips are usually split between the servers, food runners, busser, bartender etc... it's not really fair to penalize all of them if the waiter mixes something up. C. Tip more for meals then beverages, and consider tipping your barista.  At a restaurant it is pretty much just proper courtesy to tip between 18-20%, on drinks it's fine to leave $1 a drink or about 10%.  A friend of mine (yes she served in restaurants for a short while) once told me that bad tippers were bad in bed. Not sure it this is true but it's something to think about. Stick to these three guidelines and you should do just fine. Do you have any tipping advice or queries? 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poutine vs. Pootine

Following part deux of my Eating Drinking and being Merry in MTL post I thought it only right to write about poutine. Poutine (play /pˈtn/Quebec French pronunciation) is just about the best thing to come out of the beautiful city other then Celin Dion or Schwartz Deli. Poutine is something I take very seriously. In my humble  opinion it's just the ultimate indulgent sinfully delicious dish. Contrary to what you might believe it is not a simple dish to make good. You really need the perfect squeaky fresh cheese curds, proper brown gravy or sauce brun as the Quebecois call it with the right crispiness of yukon gold potato french fries. You can get a decent poutine pretty much anywhere in Mtl. including  fast food hot spot La Belle Provence. Yes it's a dirty late night poutine. In fact you'd probably only eat it if wasted out of your mind, but its better then many of the wannabes we find in Toronto.  The plethora of subpar poutine's in Toronto fall in the category I call POO-tine. Even the restaurants strictly dedicated to the decedent dish are a serious disappointment.  Both Poutini's House of Poutine and Smokes Poutinerie fell short in my books. I've yet to try Poutine Plus, I think it's new since i've only just heard about it or the blue chip truck that parks at Nathan Philips Square, which is said to have one of the city's best. Barque Smokehouse's brisket poutine bordered on putrid, and the truffled goat cheese poutine with seared foie gras at Trevor Kitchen  was fabulous but just too far away from what poutine really is. The best true poutine i've ever had (photo above) was at 1:30 am at La Banquise obviously in Montreal. It's just so perfect! The line up was around the block for both dine and take out and word is it doesn't slow down ever! This place is the BOMB and it's also opened 24 hours. There are like 20 different types of poutine on the menu, but I'm a purist so I recommend the original. If you're interested in eating your way through the cities best poutine check out this promising looking list

***update*** just watching Ricardo and friends on  Food Network Canada he mentions both Aux Pied and La Banquise for go to places for poutine in MTL 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chew on this - chewing more helps you eat less?

You've probably heard this many times before, that chewing your food will help you eat less and there for loose wight. I thought it was an old dieters tale - an anorexics urban myth, but The Globe & Mail's article brings some concrete research forth. I wont go into detail but chewing 40 times instead of the average 15 will trick your brain into consuming less food ie. less calories and eventually you will loose weight. Sounds so simple, but I dare you to try it. Chewing solid food 40 times sounds like a nasty mushy nightmare. As if you want to chew your food until it resembles baby goo and then expect to be satisfied afterwards. I tied chewing a bite of my double cheeseburger 40 times a bite, I got 2 bites in, then I puked in my mouth. Looks like it worked - I only ate 1/2 the burger. I kid. I would recommend chewing your food between 5 and 29.5 chews. Obviously the number of chews varies depending on what you are consuming. I will recommend chewing sufficiently but strictly for digestive purposes. If you're trying to loose weight watch what you freaking eat and go to the bloody gym! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Eating Drinking and being merry in MTL part deux

The second half of my ladies trip to Montreal starts off Saturday morning with the search for delicious greasy breakfasty goodness. It was a beautifully warm summer day, actually more like scorching hot almost to the point of unbearable and we decided to go on the wild goose chase to find the perfect place to eat. We first started out at The Sparrow which I read was a great brunch spot. The menu sounds awsome and the restaurant is super cute, but my fellow foodies just weren't feeling a prix fix menu for breaky that morning so we moved on.

I suggested we check to what the line up at L'avenue  was like. Not having been in MTL for a few years I had completely forgotten how far the resto was from were we currently were. My friends were all very patient with the promise of fluffy 4 egg omelets and herb de provence drenched yummy roasted potatoes and fresh buttery baked baguette. So we all happily trekked on for another 30 mins until we got to L'avenue only to see that the line up was about 40 people long. Much to long to wait after our death walk in the blistering heat. We decided to try the cute place across the street, I wish I could remember the name of the place. They had a pretty big menu only brunch thought. Everything on my shmorgishborg breakfast was delicious! especially the maple smoked beans and the crispy potatoes. We honestly weren't expecting much, we just wanted to eat, and have some cold water and shelter from the sun. Everyone enjoyed their meal, and now I can report if you are ever stuck in line at L'avenue and starving you have a cute little place with great service and yummy food a hop skip and jump away.

After lunch we decided to go back to the hotel and enjoy the weather by the pool only this time there were no sun loungers or sunny spots to sit. The pool was over run with families some weird old ladies in skimpy thong bikinis and a group of guys who were staring at us all afternoon, but never had the guts to say hello. Getting back to the weird old ladies in skimpy thong bikinis it was one of the strangest things i've seen at a hotel pool.  I was both shocked and impressed with their confidence. On one hand I was totally grossed out by their saggy ass's wobbling about, but  on the other hand I was like "you go girl". If want to let your old wabbly asses jiggling about in front of everyone to see then go for it!

Saturday night tappas at Santos restaurant. Yes we look happy very hungry but happy. Note the empty plates. My advice is you should totally go to this MTL sexy spot if you're not too hungry because they won't put very much food on your plate. When we arrived the waitress escorted us to a long bar table in the middle of the restaurant as if we were all on display. That didn't really bother me since MTL is all about seeing and being seen, but what was super annoying where the extremely uncomfortable bar chairs/ table height combination. Ok so i'm short and my legs weren't long enough to sit comfortably at this awkward display table. I would have much rather preferred a booth.  The vibe was very chic, cool music and funky decor. There are mirrors lining the ceiling which makes it easy to slyly scope out other people in the room without being too obvious. After asking what were the best dishes for sharing the waitress advised us that everything on the menu was designed for sharing. Obviously this woman doesn't really like to eat, or has no bloody clue what a sufficient amount of food is for dinner. No wonder she was so skinny. We decided to each order our own app then share a few dishes as well - the following  were ordered:
Mini Tuna burgers
Rice Pilaf
Tuna Tartar
Salmon Tartar
Cherry tomatoes ricotta cheese and grilled asparagus
Beef carpaccio with arugula and manchego
Popcorn shrimp salad
Fried calamari with saffron aoli
Beef short ribs with mashed potato
Lamb chops with pea puree and mint
Everything was pretty delicious. The popcorn shrimp was nothing special. I really enjoyed my salmon tartar which was pretty much the only dish I thought was suitable for sharing, and ironically those tar tars are what we ordered for ourselves.
The short rib(s) were almost comical for sharing as the was literally one rib. The asparagus was the size of my pinky finger and the lamb may have been the tiny tiniest chop I have seen in my life, but was absolutely delicious. The carpaccio was also the size of a mini post it - definitely not enough for 5 people to share. The service was very slow it took 30 mins for them to bring our dessert. We ordered the chocolate churros and the coconut balls with chocolate ice cream. Still being so hungry we attacked those desserts like vultures. Having just come back from Mexico the churros did nothing for me, but the coconut balls were unbelievable. If you do decide to try this place out do not listen to the skinny waitresses. Per person I would say 3 or 4 dishes would be enough. If you do decide to share bring 1 friend and order to the point were you think you are going to electric chair.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let them eat Barbie cake

As a follow up to my Bridal shower posts I just had to tell you all about the amazing desserts. There was Sara's famous carrot cake cupcakes with legendary cream cheese icing. Proper white cake (some of us just can't resist this  - Lance) mini cinnamon buns, chocolate cupcakes, almond squares, lavender short bread, the list goes on. This Barbie cake was just too amazing. It really was the prefect center piece for this special girly occasion.
I always knew Sara was an excellent cake baker and decorator but this was just a big WOW. I had never seen a cake like this before, and I was overjoyed when I walked into my beautiful shower and saw the very special Barbie cake. Sa even found a Barbie with auburn hair so she would look more like me. It's always the little details that make a party special, and this party was very special.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chewy oatmeal chocolate fruit and nut cookies - that's a mouthful!

I just love chewy oatmeal cookies, something about the added texture they have, plus they add something healthy and fiberous to a buttery treat. Some people like chocolate chip cookies, some oatmeal raisin. These cookies satisfy both plus a little something extra. I fed these to my family and everyone gobbles them up - even the raisin haters.  

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp bs
1 tsp bp
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins (thompson)
1 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped roasted almonds
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsalted butter (room temp)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS:  About 40 cookies
Preheat oven to 350
Sift flour, cinnamon, bs, bp and salt together 
set aside. Separately dust chocolate chips, raisins, oats and almonds in a bit of the flour mixture. Cream butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until fluffy and lighter in colour, add the corn syrup then eggs one at a time. Then begin to stir in flour mixture slowly until it is no longer visible (do not over mix - will result in tough cookies).  In batches fold in the raisin, chocolate, oat, almond mixture.  On a cookie tray drop tbsp of batter 2 inches apart and back for 10-12 mins (until golden around the edges) . Remove from oven and let sit after a few mins transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

From Spain to Ontario - my version on Ajo Blanco (white gazpacho)

Every time I watch Annie Sibboney on the Food Network I get inspired. Her show "From Spain with Love" is a culinary adventure covering all regions and traditions in Spanish cuisine.  A few weeks back I brought Spain into my kitchen for the first time with a traditional tapas dinner party. I'll keep you posted with all the delights we enjoyed that evening, but for now here's a delicious way to enjoy a refreshing summer soup and take advantage of cantaloup season in Ontario. Traditionally Ajo Blanco  is made with blanched almonds, left over bread, garlic, sherry vinegar and olive oil. It's a perfect way to start dinner on a hot summer eve. 

My version of Ajo Blanco / White Gazpacho 
1 english cucumber - peeled and rough chopped
1 clove of garlic - rough chopped
1 cup blanched almonds 
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup olive oil 
1 cup stale (white bread with crusts removed) cubed 
1 tbs sherry vinegar (I used Chianti vinegar b/c thats what I had)
cantaloupe (approx 2 cups) - diced into small cubes (or if you have a small melon baller even better) Honeydew melon can be substituted 
salt - to taste 
cracked pepper - for garnish 

Soak bread in cold water for a few mins. to soften, then discard water and ring out remaining liquids before adding the bread to the rest of the ingredients.  Add everything but the cantaloupe into blender (or use immersion blender) and blend until smooth. 

SERVE: in martini glasses with a few tbs of chopped cantaloupe drizzle of good olive oil and cracked pepper.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A bouquet of WHAT? and Lebanese garlic sauce

My husband brought me a very thoughtful bouquet of garlic last week. Not exactly the way to every woman's heart, but to mine fore sure. I'm not sure what I will do with so much garlic. My sister suggests mincing it all and freezing it in small cubes to toss into soups, stocks, whatever as I need it. I'm thinking some roasted garlic soup. Lebanese garlic sauce and a ton of garlic bread. Today I leave you with this recipe for Lebanese garlic sauce good on any protein (even tofu) salads, potatoes and just amazing on roasted (or fired) cauliflower. Traditionally this tasty sauce uses raw garlic however you can also use roasted garlic for mellow garlicky goodness. 

You need some type of blender or food pro (I used an immersion blender and it worked wonderfully).  

1 head of garlic - rough choped
1/2 cup lemon juice 
1 1/2 cup olive oil or grape seed oil (or mix of both) 
3/4 tbs salt (or to taste)
1 tbs white vinegar (optional) 

* place garlic, lemon salt and 1/2 of the oil in a tall plastic container  and begin blending, slowly continue adding the remainder of the oil. 

This sauce is also a great substitute for eggless aoli (ie. garlic mayonnaise)  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mexican must have seasonings

These Mexican products are so great. I love them because they are so versatile. The Tajin spice is a combination of dried chili's and lime. It's great in guacamole with olive oil on salads or on for grilled meats and seafood. Some even use it on fruit there's really no wrong way to use this spice. The Miguelito Chamoy (the one i'm talking about is the small bottle on the far left) is a mix of sugar, salt chili's, citric acid and soy. It has an intense sweet and sour taste and I love it on fresh tropical fruit like mango or pineapple or vegetables. It reminds me of the flavor of tamarind which is quite a popular candy flavor in Mexico.  

The first time I ever had 
this spice was years ago at summer camp. I'm not sure why, but there was a huge group of all male Mexican campers at my summer camp for a number of years. These young boys were real horn dogs - not sure what that has to do with the story but they were. They would always bring loads and loads of Mexican spicy candies that they loved pelting at all the little girls asses. One day my friend Alex Yanez (don't even ask how I remembered his name this was like 15 years ago) gave me this bright red super sticky seasoned looking lollipop. I was a fat kid so I stuffed the lolli in my mouth straight away and was horrified when my taste buds couldn't  recognize what the hell was in my mouth.  It wasn't like any other candy I had tasted before. The overpowering spicy and sweet and sour flovor was just too overwhelming for my underdeveloped palate and I spit the candy out and probably pretended to choke a little too - I was so melodramatic at that age. My friend Alex found this hilarious, but never shared his candy with me ever again. 

Stay tuned i'll be posting a few recipes using these spices soon. As a preview one will be a spiced cucumber martini, i've also got a great recipe of an avocado and mango salad. Chow for now!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pretty Pink Candy Party

Who says candy is just for kids. What a great decor idea for your next bash. 
Serving like coloured candy in glass vases on a beautiful silver tray. Tres chic. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

As promised Brunch with Becc's

In my post form last week about that delicious sandwich from Uncle Betty's I introduced a new character from my cast of food lovers and haters "Rebecca". She is an awesome jewelry designer, food lover and friend. She wrote a blog post about great places to go for brunch in TO, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I'll try my best to let you know my thoughts on some of these places.

The low down...

There are a few places I agree/ disagree on including:

Grapefruit Moon - not bad, cute patio great homemade chips, interesting curry club sandwich

Over Easy - Meh, nothing to write home about

Cantine - not my thing, but I know people who enjoy it. Good fresh baked bread.

Flos - reliable

Fire on the East side - Def. a fav! Breakfast poutine for ultimate hangover. Lunch menu good too - great pulled pork sammie.

Holts cafe - good pastries better for lunch - soups always good. Curry chicken yum

The Drake - Always great! Patio is lovely

Bonjour Brioch - Agree very good, take out baked goods to die for. Prepare for a line up on weekends.

The Homeway - Hit or miss... great caesar salad.

School - Very excellent, amazing savory cheesy french toast w/ bacon (makes me miss Xacutti thou)

Mildred's Temple Kitchen - love their pancakes... but usually hate pancakes.


Table 17 - love love love... plus they amazing jumbo sticky buns.

Frank @ AGO - $$$$ but amazing - their savory souflee is to die for.

Steve's Family Restaurant - Old faithful for greasy breaky

United Bakers Dairy Restaurant - another old faithful for kosher style place been eating pea soup there since before I had teeth.

Hersey's - ok - love the waffle cut fries

Patachou - excellent baked goods

Leslieville Cheese market - pick up an almond croissant and get out fast $$$

St. Lawrence market - Pig on a bung sandwich w/ egg and cheese - legendary

will let you know when I think of more and continue adding to the list.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Au Pied De Cochon restaurant a Montreal jem

Last night I received this photo in a bbm message from a friend of mine visiting Montreal. It really go my taste buds tingling and feelings of nostalgia rushed over me. Yes I know  I was recently in MTL, but unfortunately I couldn't get a reservation at my favorite restaurant Au Pied De Cochon. Also I know I've yet to post part two of my blog "Eating Drinking and being Merry in Montreal" but when I saw this picture I just had to tell you all about one of the best restaurants in La Belle Province and maybe even the world. 

Chef and owner Martin Picard is a culinary wild card and a true inspiration.  He was one of the forefathers of nose to tail eating in Canada. His menu is luxurious with out being pretentious or overdone. His food is honest and stemmed in tradition with a touch of whimsy.  Martin has a deep respect for local game which is obvious on his Food Network show the 
"Wild Chef",  which he hosts along side Hugue Dufour his business partner at the restaurant. 

Martain's greatest obsessions is foie gras which is the most commonly used ingredient on his menu, and he is the largest buyer of this delicacy world wide. For those of you who have never tried this luxurious product you really haven't lived. It literally mean "fat liver" in French and that's exactly what it is. Foie gras is the liver of a duck which has been fattened. Not the most humane food product it does come with a degree of controversy for the ethical treatment of the way foie ducks are farmed. But as a real food lover it is one of the most delicious rich things one can indulge in. Please for your hearts sake do not enjoy it too often. 

Au pied de cochon is famous for their foie gras poutine and it really is an out of body experience. I would 150% recommend this restaurant to anyone although it is on the $$$($) side. The service is also amazing, the last time I was there I unfortunately had to wait 30 mins for my table, but I was served free drinks and complimentary cod croquets as soon as we were seated. Everything i've ever tried there was top notch including their desserts. You will not be disappointed.