Sorry, the $125 Two Buckets of Chicken. The best Korean and Japanese fried chicken (not sure why that is even a category, so specific) was voted to be from Momofuku. Using NXNE weekend and having people over as an excuse, Brent decided this was a perfect chance to splurge (the two of us cannot eat 2 buckets of fried chicken, not by a long shot). Was it worth the hefty price tag? The chicken was tasty, there is no question about that (can’t go wrong with fried)… but $125? For two chickens? Nope. Not worth it.
Monthly Archives: June 2014
Lately I have been making long-forgotten recipes from the bottom of my Pinterest board. Given that we were having people over this weekend, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make cakepop, especially given I was on a roll in the kitchen as of late. I had a recipe for Tiramisiu cakepops, which required a mocha cake as the base. I just so happened to also have a recipe from Martha Stewart on my board for Irish Coffee cupcakes, but apparently the Irish whiskey icing was horrible… a perfect excuse to use the recipe as a base for my cakepops! Two birds with one stone!
The cupcakes tasted like pancakes which was weirdly good. I felt kind of bad wrecking the cake by breaking it into pieces and throwing it into my little food chopper. Things were going good, the cake had turned out. My chopper could handle the cake, albeit in small batches. Then came time to mix in the icing, I was wary of this given the cupcake recipe failed to give any measurements. I switched to another recipe for a similar cakepop. It said 1 cup of icing, which is about what I had guesstimated I would need (how do you measure out 1 cup at Bulk Barn other than guesstimating?). Then came the (first) moment of truth: forming the cake + icing concoction into balls. Success!!! It worked!!! I set them in the freezer for longer than the recommended 5-10 minutes just to be on the safe side, given how well things were going I did not want it to flop.
Then came the second moment of truth, the quintessential essence of the cakepop: the chocolate coating. I was about to screw this up so I followed directions from a cookbook for this part, it seemed foolproof. I set a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water and set the white chocolate to melt in the bowl. All was still going well… until I tried to roll the damn cakeball in the chocolate. Things fell apart, metaphorically, thankfully not literally. They looked awful! And I had nothing to hold them while they set.
Homemade cakepops are not a good idea. I will be avoiding chocolate-coated recipes from now on.
I did test eat one and it made my stomach hurt, but I am not sure if that was just my kitchen rage or the cakepop itself.
It is not secret that I dislike (despise? detest?) vegetables. We are not friends, not even frenemies. Veggies (save for a few good ones) taste bad and make me stick my tongue out and make horrid noises like AUGHSHAJKHHHAAAHHhH followed by a scrunched up face and finally defeat. I have tried in the past to make myself eat salad, everyone around me makes it look so easy, but I could not get past the horribleness of it. A while ago I had tried arugula (most likely crammed into a sandwich or baked onto a pizza- that is important) and so I thought to myself what better way to get back to being healthy than by eating an arugula salad with dinner! Genius! I was only able to find a giant box of it, they don’t sell it by weight for some reason. At the time I thought this was good- a week’s worth of salad, what a great Monday!
My Monday quickly fell apart as I tried to eat the arugula. Even bathed in honey dijon dressing and with mouthfuls of corn, red pepper and bean sprouts (the few veggies I like) I was dying. I could barely keep it down. Great, I thought, I have a whole box of this shit sitting in the bottom of my fridge. What the eff was I going to do with a giant box of these ungodly greens that only smell like I remember, not taste. What had happened? The internet suggested I douse them in anything strongly flavoured. Tuesday I soaked the arugula in a small amount of soy sauce and sesame oil (to match my chicken kebabs soaked in a marinade of those two base ingredients). The arugula shrunk and looking in the bowl, I thought surely I can eat more arugula than that and so stupidly I added more. This time I tossed the arugula in with my chicken and barley. A pseudo almost salad where the greens make up the smallest portion. Alas, the portion was still too big for me. Effin arugula, you cannot win against it! I say against, not with.
Day 3. I still had a lot of arugula in my fridge. I was actually mad at the thought of it going bad, even though that would give me the perfect excuse to not have to eat it. Back to the internet, apparently people have made it tolerable by turning it into a pesto (i.e.: mashing it up with other stuff). I found a recipe for pesto chicken, thankfully I just so happened to have some chicken in the freezer, because who doesn’t have chicken laying around their freezer. My little food chopper hardly counts as a food processor and it took me forever to chop up all the arugula (most of what was left, I am happy to report). The basil for some reason would not chop as well. I was not pleased with the chopped arugula and basil. It did not smell appetizing and it was then that I started to question if I even like pesto. Good timing for that no? I figured I would finish the pesto and just give it to my sister to cook with instead. Once I added the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper I changed my tune immediately. Somehow it now smelled amazing. I was flabbergasted at how delicious it smelled all of a sudden… while still looking completely and utterly disgusting.
I maintain my hatred of vegetables. Good riddance.
After a successful trip to the farmer’s market at the Evergreen Brickworks, I had worked up an appetite- bad news for the pint of strawberries I had just bought. After polishing almost half the container, I was ready to head back out again. On the agenda for our Saturday fooding: best butter tarts and best takeout sushi. I was finally in the mood for sushi again (my sisters and I had polished off a giant party platter of it back in May).
I was rather skeptical about these butter tarts, about butter tarts in general. Brent had never had one before and I tried to explain the taste to him: it’s like eating brown sugar suspended in a thick sticky almost-but-not-quite-syrup, sometimes with raisins, be careful if they are stale, they can be deceptively rock hard. My teeth hurt just thinking about it… and yet they are one of my top foods, it is too bad they are single serve. Andrea’s Gerrard St. Bakery had a chalkboard sign out front advertising their recent #1 label. That made me wonder, if it was all maybe hype? With a mouthful of butter tart,my eyes widened and nearly rolled back in my head. Brent: good? Me: you are lucky this is your first butter tart, don’t ever eat another one. Turns out what I had been eating all my life could barely be called butter tarts. This tart, this tart changed EVERYTHING. I have never been big on tarts. Changed. My teeth and stomach always hurt after butter tarts. Changed. These little heaven-tarts cannot be held in the same category with other run of the mill butter tarts, it’s just not fair- to either side. I was completely and utterly blown away. Migawd, I wish we had bought them all. I also wish they delivered. Or that I was capable of making butter tarts that good (assuming someone will divulge the secret, there has to be a secret). I wish I could say the same of the peanut butter chocolate tart that Brent got. It was not that good, in fact I traded back my half (missing one bite) for the last bite of butter tart.
Leaving the bakery we phoned in our order to Sushi Marche for lunch. I ordered a few random items, Brent ordered a meal. I really thought that because it said “2 pieces” beside some things, whereas others it said nothing that I would be getting single pieces of those. I was wrong. We ended up with a veritable sushi feast. There was so much sushi that we also had dinner covered. Well, Brent did. I was too full for dinner. The sushi was good, unagi for the win of course- but nothing crazy outstanding, but taht might just be my attitude towards sushi: delicious yes, but not craveable and not something I eat that often.
Chicken was on sale for real cheap, and against my better judgement, I bought yet more chicken (I still have a bunch in the freezer). I had recently finally managed to find sesame oil and was keen on cooking something with it. Waaaay down at the bottom of my Pinterest board I found a recipe for Asian Chicken Kebabs which called for 4 chicken breasts. For once in my life I had the right amount of meat and there was no complicated math involved.
Lacking a barbeque to grill the meat, I instead opted for marinating it overnight and then tossing it with the peppers and onions into a pan and just baking the giant sticky mess. It smelled amazing, from the moment I set the chicken to marinate until the day after I had cooked it, my house smelled tantalizingly delicious. How good was this chicken? Brent ate a full serving of it. THAT is how good this recipe is. Another keeper.
I am an unabashed coffee addict, I live for coffee, it fuels me and you do not want to see me without my morning coffee. Once summer rolls around however, my wallet loses few pounds. All my change goes to Tim Hortons for them damn-addictive iced coffees. They had me from day one when they first introduced them by giving away free ones. I was downtown, I hit up about 6 Timmies and did not blink the rest of the day and so was born my love affair with iced coffee.
That love affair only grew more a few months ago when I had the joy of sipping on a glass of cold brew coffee. One day recently, as I was paying for my iced coffee with my credit card,… maybe I should make my own iced coffee at home. Duh. I was not about to settle for brewing a lot of coffee and then just letting it sit and get cold- that is gross.
I found a recipe for cold brew that seemed simple enough. Except for the fact that I was lacking the key piece of equipment: a french press. I’ve never been big on french press coffee, too much work. All I had laying around was flavoured coffee (my secret weakness). I thought what the heck, might as well try it out. The first batch was about as strong as a regular cup of coffee- not quite what I was after. I wanted really strong coffee so I could add a lot of milk (no ice, ice is for suckers). I made the second batch stronger but combined it with the weaker one. I admit, it looks gross sitting in my fridge in a mason jar, and I worry it will fall over and spill.
But migawd, half coffee half milk with a dash of flavoured creamer (like I said, artificial flavours are my secret weakness)… and I am in iced coffee heaven.
I had been dreading best patio for vegetarian/vegan food for a while, it’s not secret: I hate veggies. Looking over the menu at Live Organic and Raw Bar there were a few things (well 2 only) that caught my eye: grilled portobellos and soup. The soup of the day however was mushroom. At the time I thought nothing of it, forgetting how many times in the past I ate too many mushrooms and got sick. I was distracted by my bright fizzy drink, Fairy Dust and the really nice patio. The patio was like a backyard patio and so quiet, you could not hear the traffic of Dupont back there. It was quiet… except when the train rode past.
The soup was pretty good. The grilled portobello was outstandingly delicious, well grilled, and brushed lightly with oil. We had learned from last time and skipped on the appetizer, leaving us with room for dessert. At a vegan/vegetarian restaurant dessert feels like a super win, how can it possibly be unhealthy? And such a healthy dinner too. We each had a nut square, mine was the clear winner, you can’t beat chocolate and hazelnuts, even with almonds.
Mushrooms are not my friends. I really wish I had not just made a whole jar of pickled mushrooms last week. I am afraid to try them and see if they even turned out.
There is nothing like an Inception-inspired night in the kitchen: making jam, in my jammies, while jammin’ to some old Backstreet Boys songs. This really happened.
Somehow I had gotten it into my head to make jam. Partly it was because I had found some old mason jars under the sink at my dad’s house (complete with Bernardin lids). Partly because I had not “attempted” to make anything in the kitchen in a while (unless you count the sticky chicken breasts I made in the slow cooker that I am still too lazy to write about- the chicken tastes good, easily the best chicken recipe I have made thus far). The clincher was when I found another container of strawberries in the freezer (such a nice surprise). I was not mucking around. I wanted a guaranteed recipe so I turned to the source for it all, my hero: Martha Stewart.
I was skeptical at first about her strawberry jam recipe. Just strawberries and sugar??? Strawberries are low in pectin, and I thought jam was always made with pectin. Shows what I know, I put my faith and the future of my strawberries in Martha’s hands and dove right in. I was at a loss at first, a “non-reactive pot“? What on God’s green earth was that? Would my Wal-Mart one suffice? Turns out at work I have photographed tonnes of these pots not knowing what they were for. Somehow I lucked out and my jam doesn’t taste metallic, but the bottom of the pan was burnt.
The jam is a tad labour intensive in that you cannot just leave it, you have to keep watch over it mostly the whole time it cooks. While I was making it, I kept thinking to myself that this is a fun novelty but there is no way this will be a regular thing. I shuddered at the thought of having to clean the counters afterwards (they were covered in strawberry goop from skimming the foam off the top). The house smelled like the pot pourri section of an arts and crafts store, I loved it, but Brent hater of strawberries was less thrilled by it. I had seen a thing on Buzzfeed about everyday products you are using wrong. Turns out the pot handle can be used as a spoon holder! What they fail to account for is the strawberry syrup running down the spoon handle and all over the stove top. My jam appeared to fail the freezer test, wherein you put a blob on a plate in the freezer and in a few minutes it should be “wrinkly”, but mine was not. I may have put too much. I had to stop cooking the jam , it was starting to smell like burning and indeed once I put it in the jar, the bottom had a small layer of burnt.
The prep of the jam takes as much time as the (super sticky) clean-up. I spent as much time scrubbing as I did stirring.
When it finally came time to eat it, l with peanut butter on a cracker, the best way to eat jam… it was a revelation!! I did not know that jam could taste that good. I thought for sure, between the failed freezer test and the burnt bottom, that I had fudged it. It is kind of sad to see 2 pounds of strawberries reduced to 3/4 of a medium sized mason jar- but so worth all the effort. Now taht I know the recipe works (I had done a half batch to test) I will for sure be making double batches on a regular basis.
The best sports bar patio, according to the list, is Scallywags. Here I could not agree more. The patio is located 2 floors above the bar and while the view is not much to look at (really, who wants to look at St. Clair West), the patio itself is really nice, almost a deck really. There are heaters overhead, which were a godsend given it was actually a bit cold on Wednesday (the weather has been nuts lately, hot cold, sunny rainy, every day is completely different).
Scallywags gets almost everything right (we will come back to that almost later). I hate sports, the only things I enjoy about sports are the mascots- the wackier the better (go Phillies!)- and the food. Nothing hits the spot like a big ol’ greasy bowl of french onion soup. So long as you don’t touch the bowl. Every spoonful of soup was a bit of umami, salty, greasy heaven. Easily the best french onion soup I have had in a long time. What else made Scallywags so great? Here is a point of contention one could argue: I love that all the TVs were off, read: no sports playing on the patio. That is my kind of sports bar: no sports playing therefore no drunk idiots yelling at the TV. Quadruple bonus points for that.
We had made the mistake of ordering a plate of nachos to split as an appetizer. We were going on a good streak, having remembered the golden rule: only order an appetizers if it is something super special (ex.: that time we went to Spago in Beverly Hills and ordered the appetizer version of the most expensive dish on the menu). Brent was so happy that the nachos did not come with beans that he overlooked that they came with something even worse: black olives! ACK! A lot of time was spent picking out olives, which was fine given we were both really full. We have certainly learned our lesson: nachos are a dinner in and of themselves, never ever an accoutrement. And these nachos did not hold a candle to Sneaky Dee’s.