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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vegan Lentil and Rice Salad

A friend of mine at work is on a vegan cleanse, so I made this for a healthy potluck lunch. It was a huge hit, even with the non-vegans.  The lentils, nuts and seeds made it extremely hearty and filling.  I sorted through a lot of vegan recipes on Epicurious to find this one and it's a winner.  I made it without the almonds at home too.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spatchcock Grilled Chicken with Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

I've spatchcocked a chicken before to roast in the oven.  I've even spatchcocked a turkey.    But this may be my favourite spatchcock yet!  Grilling the chicken is quick and easy and doesn't heat up the kitchen.  The skin is crisp and the meat is juicy and delicious.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Shrimp and Mango Salad with Glass Noodles

This was so beautiful to look at, and tasted great too.  I was nice and light, perfect for a hot spring day.  The recipe comes from Epicurious and I only made a few changes.  It's super easy and comes together quickly with just a little chopping.  

Here's what you need:

4 ounces very thin bean thread noodles (also known as cellophane or glass noodles)
1 pound large shrimp
2 large mangoes
3 green onions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil or cilantro or a combination
1 small red chili pepper
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Monday, May 20, 2013

Good Reads: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter

I love to cook and I love to read, but I don't read a lot of cookbooks. The Joy of Cooking is the only cookbook I consult regularly, and mainly for baking. I like its no-nonsense recipes and I've always had success with them.  When it comes to day-to-day cooking, I generally look for recipes online, then compare the techniques and ingredients in two or three recipes and either combine them or go with what looks best.  It's like crowdsourcing the recipe instead of sticking with an expert opinion, and it usually works pretty well for me.  Although I do favour a few favourite sources like Epicurious, Clean Eating and Serious Eats.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

San Diego - Taco Wonderland

Fish Taco Mariscos el Pulpo San Diego

I'm not going to say tacos are the reason we went to San Diego, but they're definitely one of the main reasons we'll return.  Taco shops in San Diego are as ubiquitous as Tim Hortons in Canada.  

Gaslamp Quarter San Diego

On our first night we lucked out with taco happy hour right beside our hotel, but the next day we went in search of authentic San Diego fish tacos and ended up in the Gaslamp Quarter downtown.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

San Diego - Day One: Getting our Beerings

La Jolla Cove

Matt and I have wanted to visit San Diego for a long time. One of our first trips together was to the Toronto Zoo and we have a very warm place in our hearts for well-run zoos.  The San Diego Zoo is world-famous so we were hoping to visit someday.  

San Diego's craft beer scene is among the best in North America.  It's constantly rated among the top beer cities in the USA.  They also have outstanding Mexican food.  Since Matt lives for craft beer and tacos, it wasn't hard to convince him to take this trip.

In addition to the food and attractions, the climate is fantastic.  It is generally 21 degrees Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) all year long.  Once we learned we could go snorkelling in the ocean with leopard sharks, we were convinced this place had everything we could possibly want in a vacation.  

Pizza Port Ocean Beach

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Short & Sweet Sunday - Pork Chops & Apple Sauce

Pork Chops and Apple Sauce

Pork chops and apple sauce is one of the meals I most remember eating as a kid.  We'd have "shake and bake" bone-in rib chops coated in breadcrumbs and baked in the oven.  

This is a boneless rib chop. I coated it in panko with a little thyme and fried it in a pan.  The oven would have been even easier.  I made the apple sauce (which couldn't be easier) and served it with thin asparagus.  If you like you could purée the apples into a smoother sauce, but I like the chunky apples.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Baked Chicken Parmesan

I'm not going to say this was quick and easy, but I did manage to whip it up in about 45 minutes.  There was some frantic running around at the last minute but it was an extremely tasty and satisfying dinner.  

Coat boneless chicken breasts in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji Sauce

Steak? Money's too tight for steak.  

We just got back from a vacation to San Diego where we feasted on sushi and tacos all week, so we’re the last people deserving of a fancy steak dinner but I saw some flank steak at the local market. It is delicious and economical if you have a little time to marinate it. And I did, so I did. 

This recipe comes from Epicurious. I made the aji sauce, which was an excellent accompaniment, easy to make and highly recommended. I skipped the guacamole though

Here's what you need for the steak marinade:

1 1/2 to 2 pounds flank steaksalt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
4 thinly sliced green onions
half a 12-ounce bottle dark beer

Friday, May 3, 2013

Food Truck Road Trip! (Guest Post)

We're in sunny California right now eating fish tacos - posts to come. Meanwhile, here's a guest post by Matt from his Niagara road trip.  

When I decided to visit the Niagara region to check out the emerging beer scene, I knew exactly what I’d be checking out for lunch. In her online food reading, Jen had stumbled across Gastronomo Vagabundo, which is a food truck in the St. Catharines area that specializes in fish tacos. Remember the “I believe...” speech from Bull Durham? Well, the way Kevin Costner feels about kisses is the way I feel about good fish tacos.

If you follow Gastronomo Vagabundo on Facebook, you can find out where their food truck is going to be. It is usually at Montebello Park in downtown St. Catharines, which, as luck would have it, was only a few minutes from my base of operations for my weekend road trip.

When I arrived with my brother-in-law Mike, we were greeted with this menu:

I decided to have the prawn tacos and the pork tongue fritters and in the name of research for Jen’s blog, Mike ordered one of everything. While we waited, we noticed everyone else who had ordered was also snapping pictures, so I didn’t feel too silly taking pictures of the menu and truck either. I’m sure they are used to the cell phone paparazzi by now.

So, how was it?