Food


Mom Who Runs...runs so she can consume some extra calories. I am passionate about entertaining, trying new recipes, tasting new products, exploring new restaurants and of course...I will be telling you about it RIGHT HERE. So if you are a foodie like I am, keep clicking on this column.

Jan
28

My neighbour gave me a recipe from the Toronto Star that she thought might interest me.  I figured: “why not”? I was actually curious if this recipe would turn out and it did! Please note – this is a 2 step recipe that requires you to bake the potatoes and then stick them in the fridge overnight!

White Potato Nest Frittata (Star Tested – Toronto Star, Jan 3, 2015) written by Michele Henry

INGREDIENTS

2 large russet potatoes

6 eggs

salt and pepper

6 tbsp diced red pepper

6 tbsp diced shallot (I didn’t have any in my fridge…oops)

6 tbsp grated cheddar (I used OKA).

DIRECTIONS

1. Bake potatoes in preheated oven at 350 F for about an hour

recipe - pototatoe

2. Let cool for 20 minutes

3. Place in refrigerator overnight.

4. The next day – grate the potatoes over a bowl and then season with salt and pepper

recipe - grate

5. Generously spray the muffin tin with PAM or grease with vegetable oil. Then pat the potatoe mixture into the muffin tin to form a well. Note; the two potatoes were exactly enough for a 12 piece muffin tray.

recipe - nests

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 F for 15 to 20 minutes or till golden brown. (yes – the edges turned golden brown). I placed the muffin tray on the top rack!

7. Remove from the oven and then place a tiny amount of red pepper and cheese and shallot – into each potato nest.

8. Crack open an egg on top of each nest. I swear I thought they would overflow but they didn’t. PHEWW.

recipe - crack egg

9. Bake in a pre heated oven at 400 F for 15 to 20 minutes.

FINAL PRODUCT

recipe - final

I then sprinkled each one with dried dill. Next time I would use add fresh dill or fresh parsley AFTER they were cooked

Again – I thought that they were going to spill over but everything worked out. Pheww!

Note to self…I really need to have company over for brunch one day soon.

 

 

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Jan
13

On Sunday morning, I made a perfectly good lookin’ French Toast to serve to my daughter. However I was still staring at half a loaf of challah and then said to myself: “Vicky…now is the time to try that recipe for Individual French Toast Muffins that you saw on Pinterest 3 years ago!!”.

french toast - rebecca

Here’s the recipe that I used from the website: Two Peas and Their Pod

INGREDIENTS:

1 loaf French bread, cut or torn into 1/2 inch cubes  (I used half a loaf of a whole wheat challah)
2 1/2 cups milk
6 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Streusel Topping:

1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Butter and Maple Syrup, for serving, optional

DIRECTIONS

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

french toast - bread and eggs

2. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Add a handful of bread cubes to each muffin cup. Carefully pour egg and milk mixture evenly over each muffin tin. You may need to press down on the bread cubes after you pour a little mixture and then pour more. Pour slowly or you will have a mess. Cover the muffins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to overnight. (I refrigerated it for 2 hours)

french toast - muffin

3. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the cinnamon streusel, in a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with your hands, until you have a crumbly mixture. Remove the muffins from the refrigerator and sprinkle the muffins evenly with the streusel topping.

4. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve with butter and maple syrup, if desired.

FINAL PRODUCT

How cute? I can’t wait to serve these at a brunch one day soon. I have a feeling they will be a hit!

french toast - final2

Happy Brunching!!

 

 

 

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Jan
07

At one my point in my life I was a Food Sales Rep. This meant I was visiting 12-15 grocery stores a day. However my fridge was ALWAYS missing something.

I really do have a love/hate relationships with Grocery Stores. Thankfully Loblaws has introduced a program called Click & Collect, so I can “love” grocery shopping more than hating it!

Here’s my experience using it:

1. I sat on my couch one night and ordered my groceries online using this website: https://shop.loblaws.ca/

After a few clicks, my online cart was full of things I needed…ie Kale, Almond Milk, frozen spinach, and other goodies!

2.  I then clicked on a convenient time for me to pick up my groceries. Sweet.

3. The next day, I drove to Loblaws (there’s 3 locations that are offering this program). When I drove thru the parking lot I saw these “Click & Collect” signs so I parked and followed the instructions. i.e I made a phone call where a friendly customer service rep reviewed my bill.

For more information about substitutions, pricing, etc. please click here: https://shop.loblaws.ca/faq

loblaws - sign

4) The friendly customer service rep came out with my groceries and put them in my car.

loblaws -cart

5) See me smiling from the comfort of my car? I was SO happy with the service and the fact that I didn’t have to leave my car!!

loblaws - bill

Things you should know;

a) There is an additional service fee depending on the time slot you choose. I must have picked a great time, as I only had to pay an additional $3 for the service.

b) You need to spend a minimum of $50

c) There’s 3 locations in Toronto that are offering the  “Click & Collect” program.

Loblaws: 17 Leslie Street, Toronto

Loblaws: 11 Redway, Toronto

Loblaws: 301 High Tech Road, Richmond Hill

Would I use the Click & Collect program again?  YES. YES. YES!!

Happy Clicking and Collecting!!

Disclosure: I was compensated to try the Click & Collect program however all opinions are my own

 

 

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Jan
05

It’s a new year which is code (for me) for checking out some new recipes! So here are 3 recipes that I want to share with you that I recently tried. I hope you like them as much as I did.

a) PERSIMON MIXED SALAD:

I was recently introduced to PERSIMONS for the first time in decades. This particular variety from Spain has completely changed my mind about this gorgeous looking fruit. They have a sweet, delicate flavour similar to a peach or a mango and are only available for a short period; usually from mid-October until January/February. I think their limited availability makes them even more special, which is why you must seize the opportunity when they are in market!

Here’s a fabulous salad that I whipped up one night wtih just a few ingredients that were hanging around my fridge.

For more information about this fabulous fruit: www.persimonsays.com, Twitter: @PersimonSays

INGREDIENTS:

-Salad Mix

-Persimon

-Toasted almonds

-Pomegranate

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

2. For the dressing: take the pomegranate juice, add oil, dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Whisk together.

FINAL PRODUCT

recipe - salad

b) APPETIZER: Mediterranean Ricotta fritters

I couldn’t believe how easy this recipe was to make. I will be making these again but probably going to add a different topping. ie fresh sasla or a spicy ailoli or mango chutney or a pesto. Clearly this a versatile recipe!! ps if you are looking for more amazing recipes please check out www.dairygoodness.ca

INGREDIENTS

1 egg

1 cup Canadian Ricotta

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper

1 cup Canadian Swiss Cheese, grated

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1 tsp black or green olive tapenada

2 tablespoons fresh herbs..ie parsley and/or chives

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 425 F

2. In a bowl, whisk egg with Ricotta, flour and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and pepper. Incorporate Swiss Cheese and half the herbs

3. Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven on top rack for 10 to 12 minutes or until fritters are puffed up and golden brown.

4. Place fritters in wonton soup spoons (which I own of course..LOL), with hot tomato sauce, tapenade and remaining herbs.

FINAL PRODUCT

recipe - fritter

c) DESSERT: Cherry Vanilla Blintzes (recipe from Food Network courtesy Wayne Harley Brachman)

I generally buy blintzes from a box but I was in the mood to make something from scratch and came upon the recipe while searching on the internet. It’s a winner. Next time I’m going to make a blueberry filling though!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
Nonstick vegetable spray

Cherry Filling:

1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1 -teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 scraped vanilla bean
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 pound (2 cups) farmer’s cheese, pot cheese or cottage cheese

DIRECTIONS

Put the milk, water, eggs, and flour into a food processor or blender and process until smooth, about 10 seconds. If necessary, scrape down any solids that stick to the sides. Add the butter and process for a few more seconds to blend. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight. (I let it sit overnight)

Set a 10-inch, non-stick crepe pan over moderately high heat, then spray with non-stick vegetable spray. When the pan is hot, remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of batter, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes and lightly browned. Set aside on a plate, cooked side up, and continue with the remainder of the batter.

To make the Cherry Filling:
In a small saucepan, cover the cherries with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let rest. In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and egg until blended. Gently mix in the pot, farmer or cottage cheese. Drain the cherries and fold in.

Place 2 tablespoons of Cherry Filling in the lower center of the blintz. Fold up once from the bottom then fold over the sides. Roll up the rest of the way. Repeat with the rest. Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan. In 4 small batches, fry the blintzes fold side down until golden brown. Gently flip to fry the other side. Serve with sour cream or yogurt.

FINAL PRODUCT:

recipe - blintz
Happy Cooking!!

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Dec
17

It’s Chanuka, which means it’s time to eat a few (just a few) potato latkes. I’ve been using the same recipe for Potato Latkes for years but this year I came across a new recipe (via Facebook) from Tori Avey  that I thought I would try.

The secret to my success was actually READING the entire blog post! Generally I just skim a recipe and this time I actually read it twice.

These tips really made a difference:

•I used Peanut Oil. Believe it or not , it was the first time I’ve bought Peanut oil!!

• I made sure the oil was actually the right temperature (I placed a popcorn kernel in the oil and it popped – so I knew the oil was ready).

• I grated the potatoes by hand. (not sure this made a difference but….LOL). Usually I take out my beloved Cuisinart for this job but since I moved I can’t find the blade. Don’t ask. ARGHH

• I used a cheesecloth (purchased from the dollar store) to really wring out the excess water.

Recipe for Classic Potato Latkes (from Tori Avey)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large white or brown onion, shredded  (I left this out – not sure why)
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal or bread crumbs (I used bread crumbs)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp potato starch ( I used baking powder)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Peanut or grapeseed oil for frying (about 1 1/2 cups) (I used peanut oil)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Grate the potatoes and immerse into cold water to prevent discolouring.  Drain and put the grated potatoes on a cheesecloth and then wring it out like there’s no tomorrow.

latke - cheesecloth

2. Grate the onions (again, I skipped this part – not sure why)

3. Add the squeezed out grated potatoes, onions and the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and mix the ingredients till everything is well blended.

4. Heat the oil in a large pot. I was really generous this time  with the oil and it made a difference. After a few minutes, I then placed a popcorn kernel in the oil. It popped which meant it was the right temperature. You could also use a piece of bread and when it turns golden brown ..then you know the oil is ready.

5. Form latkes into patties and then gently drop into the hot oil with a slotted spoon. After 2-3 minutes – flip over. Take them out of the oil and place them on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

5. Serve….with applesauce, sour cream or both!!

latkes -final

Happy Chanuka…to all who celebrate! ps these latkes are traditionally served at Chanuka but I have no idea why I don’t make them all year round. They are DELICIOUS.

latkes -table

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Dec
15

Last week, I went to 3 new restaurants in 4 nights. Im paying for it this week and will be eating a lot of Kale Salad this week!! However my week is nothing compared to a food writer I know that often goes to 3 or 4 media events each night!!

Here’s what kept me busy last week:

a) CC Lounge: This is a prohibition era-inspired cocktail bar and supper club that is in a stunning Ontario Heritage Building. CC Lounge is a 4,000-square foot lounge which is draped in crystals, velvet and gold and features private booths made of hundred-year-old whisky barrels, a custom 10-foot-tall birdcage for showcasing dancers and North America’s first whisky tasting tunnel housing over 100 varieties of whisky.

This is how I was greeted!! Talk about making a statement.

restaurants - cage

The cocktails and the whiskey tunnel, were impressive but for some reason that night I focussed on the food!!

restaurants - cc

b) Borealia: This restaurant has a menu that draws inspiration from historic foods of the natives, early settlers and subsequent immigrant groups who arrived in the 18th and 19th century. The media dinner was nothing short of outstanding. I would run back for the pine scented smoked mussels in a heart beat. Not to mention the whelk was another one of my favourite dishes. They are opened Tuesday to Sunday from 530 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

restaurants - borealia

c) BarFish: This is a swanky bar at Blowfish King Street West which features cocktails, sake, and some pretty fabulous sushi. Sadly I didn’t capture the space as it was kind of dark but I did manage to get a few photos of the specatacular sushi thanks to @foodsisterhood that provided me some light with her iPhone!

restaurants - barfish

For more information:

CC Lounge: Front St E, Facebook: www.facebook.com/CCLounge Twitter: CC_Lounge

Borealia: 59 Ossington,  Facebook:  www.facebook.com/BorealiaTO  Twitter: @BorealiaTO

BarFish: 668 King St. West Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlowfishRestaurant Twitter: #BarFish

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Dec
11

Well I’ve been to Ottawa a few times since the Fall and of course with each visit there’s some new discoveries! Here we go…

a) Equator Coffee (412 Churchill)  just opened last week so it was the ideal place to meet my Ottawa Food Blogger friend.   I have no doubt that the neighborhood is going to embrace this coffee shop even though there’s no shortage of coffee shops in the area! (which I found out from my other Ottawa Food Blogger Friend). In my opinion..the more the merrier.

ottawa - equator (right)b) The Bacon Factory Burger Emporium: (154 O’Connor) Well any restaurant that has the word “bacon” in it – has my full attention. My mom and I happily split the burger that had the most amount of bacon in it. Hee Hee. PS this restaurant could have been a bar as it was full of guys. (see photo on far right)

ottawa- burger

c) Red Door Provisions: (117 Beechwood) Oh what a quaint place. My mom ordered the scones which were light and fluffy and I HAD to order the pickled sriracha egg. I’m a total sucker for something different.

ottawa - equator

d) Ace Mercado: (121 Clarence) This new tequila bar that recently opened in the Byward Market is super cool.  The branding of this restaurant/bar is genius. You can tell that a lot of thought went into opening this restaurant.  If you are looking for a cool space to have a drink or for dinner, then this is your place.

ottawa - ace

d) Grounded Kitchen & Coffeehouse:  (100 Gloucester) Discovered them on Twitter (big surprise) and was happy to receive my first coffee on the house because I followed them on Twitter. I love when a restaurant “gets” social media.

ottawa - grounded

e) Holland’s Cakes and Shakes:  (100 Armstrong) Can you say “Red Licorice Milkshake?”. OMG.  Their sandwiches and pastries looked delicious but as always there’s only so much I can eat!! Will have to return one day soon.

ottawa - holland's

As always I love visiting Ottawa. I can’t wait to visit again and find out what else has opened up!

 

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Dec
09

I’ve been patiently waiting for the Istanbul Cafe and Espresso Bar to open for almost a year. This new coffee shop is located at 175 Eglinton Ave East between Mount Pleasant and Yonge St.

instanbul - store

Recently I noticed via Twitter that it opened and I quickly grabbed a friend to check it out. Yes..that’s the way I roll.

Upon entering we were ooohing and ahhing over the attention to detail. Everything from the lights to the fireplace is STUNNING.

instanbul - light

Take a peek at how they serve Turkish coffee. I’m a sucker for presentation so I ordered it!!

instanbul - turkish

This new coffee shop has already had a warm welcome from the neighbourhood and I’m sure it will get even more popular when their liquor licence kicks in.

On a side note: they do serve sandwiches, mediterranean treats and muffins that you would see in typical coffee shops.  However, I really hope that they serve more mediterranean food in the future.

For more information:

Istanbul Cafe and Espresso Bar: 174 Eglinton Ave East, Toronto 416 480 0303

Hours: Weekdays 7 am to 10 pm, Saturday 8 am to 10 pm, Sunday 9 am to 10 pm

PS Liquor licence  is pending….stay tuned for (much) longer hours

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Dec
01

I seriously don’t know why it took me so long to have a cheese fondue party! I guess it’s because I didn’t own a fondue pot till recently. I actually picked it up at Real Canadian Superstore for $5. What a score!!

fondue - pot

Then I discovered this product (PC Swiss Fondue) which makes throwing a Cheese Fondue Party even easier. Oh how I love PC Products!

fondue - cheese

Other items I served included:

-fresh fruit (raspberries, blackberries, and grapes)

-fresh vegetables (cauliflower and carrots)

-phyllo cups with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic…drizzled with a balsamic reduction

-a variety of olives

-nuts that I picked up  on my last trip to Ottawa (lemon almonds, smoked almonds and cinnamon walnuts)

-a cheese tray with Beemster and Empire Cheddar with Mustard Seeds that I picked up at the Delicious Show).

-PC Holiday Treats such as The Decadent Chocolate Cake and Candy Cane Chocolate Squares.

fondue - PC

-Smoked Parmesan Inferno Dip Mix. #YUM

-wine (white and red) and of course I showed off my new Soda Stream too!

The table looked like this!

fondue - table

I can guarantee you that I will be hosting another Cheese Fondue Party over the holidays. It’s a great way to entertain!

Disclosure: Several items that I served were provided to me, however all my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Nov
20

According to my blog, I haven’t attended the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo since 2010. Here’s the blog post! So I’ve decided it’s about time I return. I’m really looking forward to eating and drinking (my fav combo) and helping them celebrate their 20th Anniversary. This year’s expo offers more than 1500 wines, beers, sprits and gourmet foods to choose from. I took a peek at the exhibitor list and quickly came to the realization that I won’t be leaving the expo hungry or thirsty!

gfwe_logo_black_20thHere’s the details about the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo:

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/ ( a great place to buy tickets in advance – HINT)

Hours: 

Friday, November 21, 2014,       2pm-10pm
Saturday, November 22, 2014,  12pm-10pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014,    12pm-6pm

Location: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building

Hope to see you there. Cheers!!

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