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.

Dec
01

True Story: I grew up with margarine. There was NEVER butter in the house as we were Jewish and kept meat and dairy separate. Therefore it was easier just to use margarine.

However when I had my first apartment, I decided to have a dairy kitchen and ONLY to buy butter. I have baked exclusively with butter for the last three decades.

But the other night I was invited to a “Bake with Canola” event. Here’s proof that I was actually baking with Canola!

canola-vicky

Here’s another true story: In my cupboard at the moment is Vegetable Oil and Olive Oil.  No ideas why I have never considered buying Canola Oil. One could easily blame it on my mom – I have a good feeling she never bought Canola either!!

At the event, I learned a few reasons why I should be choosing Canola Oil.

  1. It tastes good: Canola has a neutral flavour that won’t take over. It actually absorbs the flavours of the herbs and spices thats’ in the recipe!
  2. It can “take” high heats: Canola oil has a really high heat tolerance which makes it ideal for frying.
  3. Canola is farmed right here in Canada. Here’s a cool fact: There’s over 43,000 Canola Farmers in the Prairies.
  4. It’s a healthy Choice: Canola Oil is a good source of Vitamin E and K, and is packed with Omega 3 fats. It also has the lowest amount of saturated fat.

The event took place at the Luxe Appliance Studio where we were divided into groups. Each group baked one item from this list.

canola-menu

The evening was hosted by Emily Richards who is a professional home economist, cookbook author, recipe developer and someone who I have been following since she was on TV back in the early 1990’s. Plus the recipes we used were from her new cookbook called Per La Famiglia: Memories and Recipes of Southern Italian Cooking.

At the end of the evening, there was a beautiful dessert buffet all made with Canola Oil!!

canola-final

I can’t wait to start baking and frying with Canola Oil. My pantry now has a 3rd oil to select from and I have a feeling that it will be used very soon. You see, next month I will be frying up some delicious latkes for Chanuka using Canola Oil!!

Fore more information:

Website: Www.CanolaEatWell.Com

Twitter/Instagram: @CanolaEatWell

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post however all my opinions are my own.

 

 

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Nov
27

A few weeks ago I had a lousy day which started off at 8:10 am when I dropped my car keys down the elevator shaft.

Don’t ask. Not my best moment.

Luckily I’m a CAA member. Therefore a CAA tow truck whisked my car to a Nissan dealership that was luckily only a kilometre away. I then discovered that it would take 1.5 hours to program a key for my beloved Versa – at a total cost of $232. It was still half the cost of an elevator technician so I wasn’t complaining.

nissan-key

During the 1.5 hours I had to kill, I ventured out out to walk along Avenue Road. I did some prospecting (as always) and then realized it was time for lunch and  decided to grab a burger at South St. Burger. This restaurant has always been a favourite of mine. Not to mention that this sign made me laugh. Oh how I love clever marketing.

south-st-sign

I had a burger that I believe is the “Better Choice”.  The fact that it contained a fresh 6 oz beef patty made from 100% Angus beef, raised without antibiotics, hormones and prepared without any preservatives or additives certainly appealed to me.  Definitely the “Better Choice.”

What I also love about this restaurant is that you can customize your burger (or hot dog, or chicken burger) with over 30 traditional and gourmet condiments. There’s everything from dill pickles to dijon horseradish, guacamole and mango chutney at no extra charge. Premium toppings include a selection of five real cheeses, grilled ginger glazed pineapple, Applewood smoked bacon, and sautéed mushrooms.#YUM

I always seem to select: mango chutney, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and dill pickles. Time in and time out!! There’s something about this combination that makes me feel like I’m getting spoiled.

south-st-burger

South St. Burger is the “better” choice – hands down!!

This time, I didn’t order the french fries or the onion rings (even though they looked really good). I also was tempted to try their milkshakes as they are made with 2 scoops of real ice cream. #next time

I must admit that South St. Burger cheered me up on a pretty lousy day.

Other fun facts about South St. Burger.

  • It is 100% independently Canadian owned and operated
  • There are more than 35 locations across Canada from coast to coast and two in Dubai.
  • They also offer Gluten Free Buns

Hope you get a chance to visit a South St. Burger one day soon as well (minus the hassle of losing your keys). LOL. With South St. Burger, dinner just got better.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all my opinions are my own.

 

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Nov
24

Two Great Side Dishes!


The other week, I tried TWO new side dishes and both were “blog-worthy”.  So here I am on a Thursday night sharing these two recipes with you. Both these recipes were not only tasty but I could make them in advance, which comes in handy when you work full time and have guests coming over.

Israeli Couscous Stuffed Butternut Squash Bowls (original recipe from A Communal Table)

Ingredients

4 butternut squash (I bought one and cut it into quarters)
6 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 cups vegetable stock (I used water)

1 cup shallots, sliced
4 cups fresh baby spinach, stemmed
1 Tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup shelled, toasted pistachios

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with foil.
  2. Peel the butternut squash and cut the butternut squash just above where the squash begins to flare out. (as you can see from the photo – I didn’t peel the squash)
  3. Using a small spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp as you would with a pumpkin. (NOTE: this was the hardest part of the recipe)

squash-bowl

4. Using a pastry brush, brush 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil inside the squash and over the outside.

5. Roast the squash in the 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the squash is just fork tender but not mushy! Remove the squash from the oven and cool.

TO MAKE THE COUSCOUS FILLING

7.  Place the dried cherries in a small bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and stir for 5 minutes to toast the couscous.
Add the garam masala and cook for another minute.
Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer for 10 -15 minutes or until all the stock is absorbed and the couscous is all dente – tender but still firm.

8. In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes or until the shallots are tender and lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook for another 3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.
9. Drain the cherries and add them to the spinach mixture.
10. Add the couscous and stir to combine.
11. Add the pepper and sherry vinegar and stir to combine.

12. Fill each butternut squash with the couscous mixture.
Place on the foil lined sheet pan and re heat in a 375 degree oven until the squash is heated through. Serve.

FINAL RESULT..isn’t it gorgeous? I got fancy and added some crumbled feta and pomegranate seeds too!

squash-final

Recipe #2:  Cauliflower With Pumpkin Seeds, Brown Butter and Lime  (original recipe from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head of cauliflower
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves with tender stems for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 450°.

1. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. oil.

2. Slice cauliflower and arrange cauliflower slices in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until underside is deeply browned, 20–25 minutes. Turn cauliflower over, season with salt and pepper, and continue to roast until other side is dark brown and crisp, 15–20 minutes longer.

3. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium.

4. Add pumpkin seeds, bring to a simmer, and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until pumpkin seeds are toasted and butter is browned and smells nutty, 6–8 minutes.  (it’s freakin’ delicious)

brown-butter

 

Remove from heat and add red pepper flakes; let cool 10 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

5. Arrange cauliflower on a serving platter and drizzle with dressing. Serve topped with cilantro leaves.

FINAL RESULT

cauliflower-final
I would make both of these recipes again but I know myself and will be scouring Pinterest for more recipes to try. What on earth is wrong with me? ARGHH.

In fact we have guests coming over next weekend and I’ve already started looking at Pinterest for new recipes. Please take a peek at my Pinterest Food Board and tell me what you think!

Happy Cooking!!

 

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Nov
20

St. Clair Ave West is now home to yet another fabulous restaurant. I’m not kidding I can count about 6 restaurants on this street that I adore

Ji opened about a month ago and is brought to you by the same owners as Pukka. Ji is described as an Indian Gastropub which means there’s a great cocktail list (Chutney Mary, Chai Flip, Tamarind Margarita  etc) as well as shareable plates/mains and desserts. This sign says it all!

ji-indian-grub

Not only am I fan of the food, but I think they did a great job with the decor as well.

ji-space

I usually pay no attention to the art in a restaurant, but this piece was noticed!!

ji-art

We went with another couple and shared a variety of vegetarian dishes. Every single dish was flavourful and I wouldn’t hesitate to order them on another visit.

CHILI TOFU – pan tossed with onions and peppers.

ji-tofu

SWEET POTATO CHAAT – with yogurt, tamarind and mint chutney

ji

SEMOLINA PUFFS – filled with chickpeas, potato, yogurt and chutney

ji-stuffed

CAESAR SALAD – Romaine hearts, roasted chickpeas, smoky coconut “bacon bits’ with a vegan cashew dressing

ji-salad

 

TRIO OF CHUTNEYS with Papadums

ji-papadum

I’m looking forward to my next visit at which time I’m going to order some non vegetarian dishes like: Hakka Shrimp, Naanchos, and Chicken Purris. Can you tell that I’ve been studying the menu? I really can’t wait to grab another couple and visit.

Congratulations Derek and Harsh for opening (and creating) yet another fabulous restaurant.

For more information about Ji. 

Address: 760 St. Clair Ave. West, Toronto

Phone: 416 792 5550

Twitter/Instagram: @HelloJiToronto

Facebook: Www.facebook.com/HelloJiToronto

 

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Nov
17

I’d like to take a bet that it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese. It’s comfort food at it’s best.

Plus it’s easy to make. I think it was probably the first thing I learned to make on my own when I was a teenager coming home at lunch time!!

These days, Italpasta has introduced a macaroni and cheese that has 100 percent Canadian wheat and real Canadian cheese. Added bonus: No artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. I’m all too happy to support this concept of using Canadian ingredients. Wouldn’t you agree?

italpasta-box

The other night I made macaroni and cheese and brought it to another level of yummy-ness.

Heres’ four secret ingredients: (which clearly aren’t a secret anymore{

  1. Add 5% cream instead of milk. What a difference. (or use both!!)
  2. Add panko and more grated cheese on top of the mac and cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes
  3. Add a touch of cream cheese.

Bingo, you will have a freakin’ delicious macaroni and cheese to serve.

italpasta-final

Trust me. Everyone will be digging into this dish.

Another tip I received on facebook when I posted the above photo included:

-try making the mac and cheese in a slow cooker. Apparently it comes out really really creamy. (which I’ve never done before)

The other tip I would like to share is that this dish freezes beautifully. This means, I always make a big batch and then freeze it for those nights when I come home and I’m too tired to cook (you know what I mean, right?)

Happy Cooking!

For more information: www.Italpasta.com

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all opinions are my own.

 

 

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Nov
13

I try hard to participate in Meatless Mondays and thought I would share what I made last week. This plate contains; arugula salad with shaved parmesan and tomatoes, wilted spinach, and cucumber noodles topped with sesame seeds. Not bad for Meatless Monday eh?

banana-healthy-meal

This meal should be called: Three Shades of Green!!

An hour later, I had a “not-so-healthy” moment as I had discovered a recipe on Pinterest (click on the link to see my Food Board. Hint)  that I always wanted to try: Banana Fritters.

Before I knew it, I was whipping up dry ingredients and mixing them into the wet ingredients. Then I was DEEP FRYING. I even brought out a thermometer to make sure the oil was hot enough!

banana-final

Here’s the recipe for this super easy but not-so-healthy-dessert:

Banana Fritters (recipe courtesy of OMG Chocolate Desserts)

Ingredients

Approximately 4 large bananas

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 egg white

Vegetable oil for frying

Powdered sugar for dusting…(I used cinnamon)

Instructions

  1. Peel bananas and cut into 1.5 inch long pieces .
  2. In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add egg white and yogurt into dry ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon until it’s smooth.
  4. Heat about 2 inch oil in a frying pan.( Be careful not to over heat the oil or the fritters will be too brown, it should be about 350F). This is an important step!!
  5. Using a fork dip each banana slice into to batter to coat it well and transfer it into oil and fry until it’s golden brown. Work in small batches because you have to work fast. (agreed – I had to work fast. Do not answer the phone or do anything else)
  6. Remove fried fritters to a paper towel lined plate to drain .
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve

Happy Meatless Monday Everyone!!

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Nov
04

Have you heard of Ozery Bakery?  Since 1996, the Ozery family has been inventing alternatives to traditional bread products that are made from hearty whole grains, fruits, and seeds.

I’m particular fond of their Morning Rounds which have been a regular part of our breakfast routine and can be found in my daughters lunch box too! They come in a variety of delicious flavours too: Muesli, Cranberry Orange, Apple Cinnamon, Date and Chia, and Multi Grain.

ozery-flavoursI’ve also been known to prepare myself a little snack which might look like this…

ozery-snack-1

Or like this.

ozery-snack-2

As you can see, I like to snack and these Morning Rounds by Ozery Bakery does the trick.

They are also “just the right size”. Do you know what I mean? Not too small and not too big…just right! Not to mention they freeze well in their reusable bag.

For more information:

Website: www.ozerybakery.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ozerybakery.pitabreak/
Twitter/Instagram: @OzeryBakery

Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post however all opinions are my own

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Oct
25

Lately, my favourite activity on a Saturday has been to visit Wychwood Farmers’ Market  (601 Christie St – Bathurst and St. Clair) and then head home to start cooking a storm.

Seriously, you are never going to find produce like this at your local grocery store.

cabbage

In between chopping, I will be honest – I spend some time on Pinterest. Click here to see my Food Board which has over 350 ideas!

I’m now going to share with you what I served for Saturday night. As much as I like going out to restaurants – I really do enjoy the simple pleasure of cooking and eating in!

Here’s what was served:

Roasted Carrots with Curried Chickpeas and Creamy Citrus Dressing (original recipe found here)

dinner-carrots

Side note: I’ve made roasted chickpeas before and they didn’t come out. I’m convinced this time the recipe turned out as I followed an important step to take them out out of their shells. Trust me, it wasn’t fun and it was time consuming but it was worth it.

dinner-chickpeas

Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce (original recipe can be found here) ps bought the chicken at Sanagans and we think it was worth it.

dinner-chicken

Squash Stuffed with Candied Walnuts (sorry, no recipe..just made it up).

dinner-squash

A Simple Salad made with veggies I bought at the Farmer’s Market.

dinner-salad

As you can see, dinner was delicious.

Happy Cooking!!

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Oct
21

Honestly I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to make this dish. I swear I make salmon almost every Friday night and I regularly scour the internet for new recipes but for some reason, I’ve never made a Salmon Wellington before. Till now!!

I’m so glad I tried this recipe even though my “braiding” skills could use some improvement, however the results came out pretty decent. There’s no question that I will make this recipe again.

All you really need is a few ingredients and poof – you have a pretty elegant main course.

Recipe: Salmon Wellington (original recipe from www.simplyhomecooked.com)

Ingredients:

4 (7 oz) salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, divided
1 shallot, chopped
1/4 cup white wine (I didn’t use any and it still came out delicious)
3 oz cream cheese
5 oz fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 (1 lb.) package puff pastry
1 egg (for egg wash)

Instructions:

1. Season the salmon with salt and pepper to taste.

2. In a pan, heat butter, chopped shallots, and garlic over medium heat. Sauté until the shallots become translucent.

salmon-ready-to-go

3. Bring the heat to high and add the white wine. Let the liquid cook out for about 5 minute, then add the cream cheese and sauté for 1 minute. (note: I didn’t add any wine)

4. Lastly, add the spinach, bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Sauté just until the the spinach softens.

5. Unfold the puff pastry onto a light floured surface and roll out the 2 sheets, then cut them in half. So you end up with 4 pieces.

6. Place each seasoned salmon fillet in the middle of each puff pastry sheet. Depending on the size of the fillet, you may need to roll out the puff pastry a little more or less. Leave about 2 inches around the edges.

7. Divide the spinach mixture into 4 equal parts and evenly spread it on top of the 4 fillets. Then brush the edges of the puff pastry with egg wash (1 egg + 1 tsp water).

salmon-fishspinach

8. Begin folding the the puff pastry over starting with the longer side. When folding over the short edges, brush more of the egg wash before folding.

9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the salmon wellington seam side down.

10. Make crosshatch slits on top of the Wellington with a knife. Then brush with more egg wash. (ok I didn’t do this stop either – I did a braid).

11. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Final Result!! – As you can see, I braided it and didn’t make the crosshatch. I guess I was feeling creative. LOL

salmon-finalI served this along with a salad, vegetarian stew and couscous. The stew was prepared in the slow cooker while I was asleep. Oh how I love my Breville Rice Cooker which also has a function to “slow cook”.

salmon-side-dishesNaturally I had fun setting a “fall inspired” table.

salmon-tableHappy Cooking!!

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Oct
12

Often when I bake or cook, I find myself posting a photo of the “final result” on Facebook. I then receive comments like “Recipe, please!!”.

Then it occurs to me that I should blog about these recipes and not just post photos of the final result. Here’s two recipes that I tried recently that are definitely worth making!

Recipe #1: I saw this recipe somewhere on the internet (for a change) and decided it would make a great vegetable side dish for a meat meal that was being served over the Jewish New Year. Several of my facebook friends also made it and we all had winning results

green-beans

Green Bean with Honey Tahini Glaze (recipe taken from www.MyJewishLearning.com by Leah Koenig)

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon Tamari or soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb trimmed green beans
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger

Directions
Preheat oven to 425. Spread beans in a 9×13-inch baking dish; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat beans evenly. Roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the tahini, honey, tamari, garlic, orange juice, and ginger in a small bowl.

Remove beans from oven. Pour honey-tahini mixture over beans and toss to coat evenly. Return beans to oven and roast for 10-12 additional minutes, until brown and starting to shrivel. Transfer to serving plate and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste.

PS I steamed the green beans and then poured the tahini glaze over them and it was still delicious.

Recipe #2: Apple Crisp Cookie Cups (original recipe on this video by www.delish.com). This video showed up so many times on my facebook feed that I just had to try it. Guess what? I will be making it again!!

recipes-oatmeal-cookie-cup

This week, I’m going to make something I’ve never made before. Once again, I found it on Pinterest.

So stay tuned for a more detailed blog post about my experience making Salmon Wellington!

 

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