It’s chili season!!! Oh cozy comfort food, how I’ve missed you.
So I’m not even going to go on and on about this recipe and just get right to it because I’m sure it’ll speak for itself.
SPOILER ALERT : It’s delicious and involves a slow cooker. Continue reading Perfecting Chili One Bowl At A Time
I don’t rave enough about how much I love cooking. How could I not? The sizzle of meat over a hot oven is practically carnal in itself. There’s this easy joy in the monotony of prepping; in chopping, trimming, peeling and slicing. Thinking is the steady rapping of the knife against the cutting board. Continue reading Thighs to Make You Swoon
I’m on a veggie kick lately. Maybe it’s the new urge to eat healthier or maybe it’s just a passing trend, but whatever it is, I’ve stumbled onto some gold! Potatoes are a tricky veggie because they’re starchy and filling and hugely delicious, which must only mean that it’s a trap. And sure, they’re loaded with carbs and some research has suggested that white potatoes (no matter the serving style) can be attributed to weight gain, but they’ve also proven to be a solid source of potassium, vitamin C and B and fibre. I’m a big fan of the potato, but above the normal, everyday russet potatoes, I have an even softer spot for sweet potatoes/yams. So allow me to amend myself a bit: when I say I’m on a veggie kick, it’s mostly a root veggie kick.
While craving fish and burgers like no one’s business Continue reading Salmon, Sweet Potato Sliders
Being Canadian, I got to celebrate Thanksgiving this past weekend. Thanksgiving, in my family, is an occasion to feast with the people who mean the most to you, enjoy great food and, consequently, slip into a turkey induced nap while still comfortably in the presence of those same people. We lack formality in other words.
This was my second year tackling the turkey on my own and it may be my bias taste buds taking creative liberty in saying this, but I nailed it. Last year, it was ok, but I definitely aspired to upping my turkey game on the next round. I’m loose and carefree when it comes to cooking, and recipes/directions have always been more guidelines than rules to me. So, with some swinging by the seam of my pants on this, I winged the prep and cooking of this 6.8kg bird, and was pleasantly surprised. Continue reading Turkey!! Turkey turkey turkey turkey
Heh, get it?? Mussel?
I’ve got a new recipe for you guys! I threw this together last night and it was a huge hit. No leftovers sort of success. And it was simple. Because, this is me. And I tend to love simplicity in my kitchen mid week. I have a confession: I’m not much of a pasta person. Generally speaking, pasta more than once every other week or so is considered too much for me, but when I do pasta, I don’t mess around. Maybe because of my general aversion to the carby overload, I feel the need to up the dish on the nights I give in. Last night was no exception.
Mussels cooked in white wine and transferred to Continue reading Put Some Mussel Into It
Hot dogs, mac and cheese, pb&j sandwiches and a total avoidance of the colour green on my plate. Those were my staples growing up. I was a picky kid to say the least. My parents would demand I not leave the dinner table until my veggies were gone. Luckily for me, I’ve never been short on stubborn flare and yes, I was THAT child; the one wrapping broccoli in paper towel and feeding the dog one pea at a time.
Fast forward almost a decade and I found a new cause for stubborn antics. It happened unceremoniously. On a trip home from my summer job before my first year of university. I sat at the dinner table with my family, a juicy steak fresh off the barbecue on the plate before me. Unenthusiastically, for no obvious reason, I cut a piece and put it in my mouth. Chewing slowly, something just clicked. I gently placed my knife back on the place mat and realized I wasn’t going to finish that steak.
For years I avoided meat. People would constantly ask me why, as though this choice were an insult to our evolution. I never understood the point in pressing for a reason…maybe it was the simplest conversation starter, or perhaps we just inherently seek cause or reason for choices – we seek validity through those around us. I stopped eating meat because I just did. I can list tons of reasons to back up why if I wanted. All I’d really have to do it point you in the direction of the shocking documentary, Earthlings, and it would all become a mute point. Sure, I disagreed with most farming techniques we use for our meat, and I feared what I was putting into my body due to my knowledge of the steroids and questionable diets my food had been raised on, and of course I love animals. I’d known all the facts before I put down that knife, but I hadn’t considered them in relation to my own eating habits. I became a vegetarian because I looked at the meat before me, and just didn’t want to eat it.
When I looked again years later, and I did want to, I did. There weren’t hoops to jump through or personal battles waged. I’m conscious about what I put into my body and like to consider most food choices I make to be, for the most part, smart. That said, I don’t turn my nose up to desserts all the time and I enjoy my cheat days to their fullest. One of the best lessons to learn in life is to enjoy yourself. To be true to who you are and follow the path that makes you happiest. You can let yourself explore all options and never feel criticized, judged or questioned. Never forget that you’re living for you.
Cheers to a year of keeping track.
It’s officially summer! I’m only a few skeptical weeks late in announcing it, but my birthday is what I personally use as a marker of the brilliant occasion that is warmth in the land of supposed igloos and dog mushers. (That was a just quick quip at the poor expectations the good old land of the brave have of the Canadian nation. – come on guys, obbbviiousslly we live in yurts).
Anyways, back to the summer celebration. Let me first introduce you to my food season reasoning. I am a huge supporter of sweet potato soup spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg in the fall, of hot chocolates topped with mini marshmallows on winter nights, corn and chickpea salads with a twist of lime and garnished with parsley in the spring and all the barbecued glories of the summer. Not that we can’t revisit some Continue reading Summer Salad For Protein Peeps
Toronto is a city that rocks an eccentric look like none other. Farmers markets shaded by skyscrapers, hiking trails and ravines that snake through central neighbourhoods into the core of the city, and an overwhelming amount of restaurants and bars to explore. Multiculturalism spills out of neighbourhoods such as Chinatown or Little Italy. Religious foodies, coffee fanatics, tree huggers, hipsters, professionals and everyone in between call Toronto their home with pride.
The freedom to support local agriculture and eat organic is a luxury that all Torontonians have at their fingertips but rarely monopolize on. I know over the years my excuse was centred around my living-at-home accommodations – my parents ruled the menu and swam in the habits of routine shopping trips to the nearby Metro. Now as the dining responsibilities land neatly on my shoulders, I have the opportunity to pursue more environmentally supportive food choices.
My new neighbourhood is flanked by Wychwood Farmer’s market to the west, Brickworks to the east and little AppleTree market just north. With some operating all year round I have no excuse to skimp on local purchases and have come to look forward to my weekly or biweekly trips to the busy, fresh scented kiosks. The aroma of fresh brewed coffee and earthy vegetation welcomes you in on Saturday mornings and the surrounding charms of the areas that house these markets offer scenic walking trails and new ways to live Torontonian.
Eating healthy is a trend that our city happily invites and these markets brilliantly portray our potential for smart foodie relationships. I’ve committed to being more environmentally friendly and healthier in general this year and I intend to excel in both areas. This isn’t unrealistic at all, thanks to where I live.
Cheers to a year of keeping track.
I’m not much of a baker. Elaborate minion shaped cakes dressed in colourful fondant is very much out of my reach. Dreams of one day being a celebrated boulanger have long ago ended and I’ve come to enjoy my small baking accomplishments.
One such accomplishment comes in the success of memorizing and mastering my own take on buttermilk tea biscuits. On days when fresh baked goods are only a few dry ingredients away, it’s best to give in and preheat the oven. This is my simplest recipe for days like those.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl. Slice the butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture. (I used my hands to coarsely blend the butter and dry ingredients). Pour buttermilk into bowl. If the dough mixture is still very dry, add a touch more buttermilk. Sprinkle your prep surface with flour and turn the dough out of the bowl. Using your hands, gently pat the dough to about 1/2″ thickness and knead it, folding the dough onto itself a few times. A round cutter or the lip of a glass cup will act as a stencil to cut the round biscuits from the dough. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes, until biscuits are a golden brown. If you like softer edges to your biscuits, pack them closely together on the sheet, otherwise an inch or so apart will let them get a little crispier. And last but not least, cool them off a tad, maybe split one open for some melted butter tastiness, and enjoy!
I’m not Italian, (contrary to popular belief), but I made one hell of meal to sway the general consensus in favour of the proud Nonnas and Nonnos last night.
I love one pot meals. They’re creative yet easy and so delicious. I also despise post-cooking cleanup so this is the way to go on any lazy Friday night. What is chicken cacciatore, you may ask? It’s a fancy way of saying chicken drowned in crushed tomatoes, any plethora of veggies and simmered down to a scalding Le Creuset pot of goodness.
- bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (4-8 depending on desired serving size – I only had Sam and I so it was 4 for us)
- swallow bowl of 1/2 cup flour + a pinch of salt
- seeded, cored and sliced green pepper
- fresh parsley
- 1 large, thinly sliced onion
- a few strips of cooked and crumbled bacon
- basil and oregano (fresh or dried)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- tomato sauce or diced tomatoes if you prefer
- 3 stalks of celery chopped and thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon of butter (or 2tbsp olive oil)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
Now it all gets easy. You’ll want to dry your chicken with paper towels before even rolling them around in your swallow bowl of flour and salt mix. (I added a bit of garlic powder here, but that’s just because I love having breathe that could potentially save me under a vamp take-over). Did you know that if you don’t dry the chicken it won’t brown? Well, if you didn’t, now you do. Now toss in some butter into your medium-large cooking pot and allow to melt down and warm before adding your chicken. It normally takes 4-6 minutes of cooking on each side of chicken thighs for them to cook through. Once your home smells wonderfully of browned chicken and butter, remove your chicken and place aside. Drain out the fat from your pot and add a touch more butter or olive oil. Toss in your onion and mushrooms and allow to brown. (If you crowd the mushrooms, browning will take longer). Then add your garlic, celery, pepper and carrot to the mix. Let simmer in their own juices for about 8 minutes. Pour in your tomato sauce (or diced tomatoes) and the chicken broth. Stir, picking up the vegetables from the bottom of the pot to combine all flavours. Using tongs, place your chicken back into the pot to gently poach and marinate in your saucy creation. Leave simmering for 20 minutes. Let cool, and maybe serve on a bed of rice, and enjoy!