Best Ethiopian restaurant was recently re-voted to Rendez Vous. My sister had been right all along. After a long day of work, school and bootcamp I was looking forward to sitting down to huge plates of beef tibs and various veggies. We ordered the vegetarian special that way we could try all their offering. The beef tibs, it was not contest, last time I had them they were amazing. This time we ordered them spicy and were they ever. Everything was served on one giant plate. The plate was lined with a giant piece of injar (bread) and in the middle were the beef tibs surrounded by various veggie piles. It was a lot of fun to eat, breaking off pieces of injar and scooping up stuff at random. The injar under the beef was soaked through with sauce… making it incredibly spicy. The only dish I did not like was the regular salad. What was that even doing there? I could have totally eaten more chickpeas in place of that salad. Hands down the beef tibs were by far the best.
Monthly Archives: January 2015
It turns out that the secret to making cookies and brownies that little extra bit better: pudding. I have been subbing out 1/4cup of flour for pudding and been having amazing results, it has yet to backfire me. Up until now I was cautious, only adding it to cookies. Today I ventured out and added vanilla pudding to my blonde brownies and the results are amazing. I am currently getting crumbs all over my keyboard.
This goes without saying, I am adding pudding powder, not pudding from those ready-to-eat cups.
After many failed sad attempts to make cookies last year, I got fed up. I decided to go back to basics, to my trusted Nestle Tollhouse Cookie cookbook. I decided that oatmeal chocolate chips cookies must surely be healthier than just regular chocolate chip cookies. Right*? What I failed to take note of was the batch size (again). I wound up with two whole platefuls of cookies, all well and good if you are having people over. Alas, it was just Brent and I… and a whole bunch of cookies. Even after I had eaten quite a lot of dough, I still had at least two dozen cookies. Within two days they were all gone.
Best peameal bacon sandwich was recently revoted, yet it is still within the confines of St. Lawrence Market. It leads one to wonder: do all the places in St. Lawrence Market source their peameal bacon from one hallowed butcher in the Market?? Does Carousel Bakery simply have better bread than Paddington’s Pump? I don’t know. It was so long ago that I last ate a peameal bacon at St. Lawrence Market that I do not for the life of me remember.
We got there right before closing, thank god it wasn’t one of those days when I am slow and sluggish and cannot seem to get myself together. I was starving when we got there. This sandwich was lunch and dinner. As soon as we placed our order we received our sandwiches. Turns out they know what is popular and make a bunch in advance of people ordering them. They get major bonus points for the efficiency.
The sandwich was amazing! A good tasty bun, that was not cut completely in half thus maintaining structural integrity and ease of eating. There was no extra fluff in the sandwich. Just layers and layers of peameal bacon in all its salty and fatty glory. One recommendation if you go, do get a drink. I was dying halfway through, desperate for soda to counter the salty and fatty.
This is not an everyday sandwich. It is more of a once-in-a-while because-I-was-in-the-neighbourhood type of sandwich.
I had promised to kick off the new year in the kitchen by following recipes more accurately and dumping the low-fat margarine in place of regular butter/margarine (that was what had made my cookies so poofy and cake-like). Turns out I took “following the recipe” with a grain of salt. I had found a recipe for cookies & creme squares, and it was so easy. One look and I knew how to make it. No more need to go back and check quantities. Right?
Sort of. It seemed simple enough: crush up some Oreo cookies, melt a bag of marshmallows with some margarine and combine them and press them into a pan. The ratio of marshmallow to cookie was off. Too much marshmallow. I know, I know, you are thinking “that is because you probably ate half the Oreos before you started.” Wrong. I only ate 2. And a few crumbs. Really I needed about half a bag more of Oreos.
Not to say that they were ruined. They were delicious and we wolfed them down in no time. They were so unbelievably decadent, yet not that heavy. What few were left made for a great breakfast the next day.
Another plus is that the recipe took me less than 20 minutes to make. Great for when a sudden craving hits you and you just have to have cookies and chewy at the same time. Even better if you have some stress to work out, you can crush the cookies by hand instead of using a chopper.
I have to get out of the habit of agreeing to going out for heavy food after bootcamp. Turns out I learned nothing the first time around when we went to Pukka for best butter chicken. Yet again I found myself, barely able to walk to the restaurant, the pain slowly setting in, hitting me in waves. This time thankfully we did not have to walk as far. We were heading out to Taste of China for best Chinese food which was on Spadina, i.e.: not far from Hart House.
Taste of China being known as a seafood restaurant, we had to order something seafood. For starters we each ordered a crispy shrimp roll. It was tasty but nothing special. Just shrimp inside a flaky roll with some sauce on the side. No fanciness, no nothing. Just shrimp.
I had been looking forward to this all day, it was all I could think about. This may have been because I was hungry. Maybe. At the last minute I changed my mind from getting the sweet and sour chicken with pineapples (pineapples? blech!) and instead got sesame chicken with minced shrimp. I was expecting a gooey sticky mess of sesame oil sauce. I was also not expecting such a large portion. Who can possibly eat three chicken breasts?? Keep in mind each one was layered with shrimp, then wrapped in breading and sesame seeds! It was delicious yes, but after a while I got tired of eating it. Shrimp is one of those foods that cannot be eaten in large quantities. The stuffed crab claw that I was so looking forward to was less than stellar. It fell flat, it just did not taste all that good to be honest. Brent was the clear winner, ordering a tried and true favourite that I have yet to see go wrong, General Tsao’s chicken.
I’ve learned my lesson for next time, don’t order the wacky specials. Stick with the tried and true, saucy sticky favourites.
I’ve fallen behind on reporting on my various and varied kitchen escapades, so in no particular order here is a run-down of what’s been happening since… October? Oh God I fell really far behind…
It turns out that when you’re making mini-cupcakes you should pay attention to the yield of the recipe. Having an abundance of mini-cupcakes is much more daunting, you eat three… and it barely makes a ding in your inventory. The cupcakes turned out delicious, that was not the problem. I had made the mini-cupcakes for our Halloween party. The plan was to decorate them and make mini-pumpkins, cute right? Well by about a quarter of the way through I was sick of it. Halfway through I ran out of icing, having used up an entire can of it! Needless to say, this is a labour-intensive process, save it for fancy parties. The base recipe however is simple, as the title implies.
Again, I made these for the Halloween party. These are time-consuming, as you have to leave them in the fridge and wait while the filling sets. Cutting the red pepper and green onions into the decorations is tedious yes, but it looks really good afterwards. That being said, once these have been out of the fridge, say on the counter for serving, they will start to turn into a mess as the filling slides out and onto the plate. They are also a mess to eat, a very tasty delicious mess.
Don’t use unripe avocados for this, they may be easier to cut but damn do they taste awful. Well, to me they did, everyone else seemed to not notice. This salad takes a long time to chop, only make it if you have time or better yet: a slap chop. I think next time I will swap in green peppers for the avocado.
I was going to have my wisdom teeth removed, in preparation I made sweet potato ginger soup. It was a disaster. Lacking fresh ginger, I just assumed I could sub in ginger powder instead. What I did not know is that 2tbsp of fresh ground ginger and 2tbsp ginger powder are nowhere near the same. It was overly powerful and unbearable. I ended up making a second batch, which worked out well given I ended up using the rest of the carrots. This time I added no seasonings and mixed the two together… it was still a little too ginger-y for my tastes. However I like the base of the soup, carrots and sweet potatoes. The recipe is a keeper if modified with much less ginger. Even if it looks like baby food/mush.
Ground turkey was on sale one day and I found myself with two pounds of it. Not wanting to make chili again, I opted for making a turkey meatloaf. I turned once again to Martha Stewart for help. I found a decent sounding recipe… which I only barely followed. First off, I only used turkey as opposed to beef, pork and veal. I also lacked Worcestershire sauce, so I added some more salt. Rather than making a glaze to put on top, I just mixed the ingredients in. Instead of making bread crumbs I used the ones I already had. At some point I was wary of how it would turn out, there are a lot of shredded carrots in the recipe. It turned out delicious, a little bit sweet (the carrots did not help in that department) but it makes for a good dinner. A lot of dinners actually. I cut it up into easy-to-serve-for-one slices and wound up with about 10 dinners worth of meatloaf. Not bad for under $20.
Lessons learned? Of course! For one thing you cannot sub out fresh ginger and use ground ginger in the same amount. Even if you freeze an onion and then chop it, it will still make you cry. Meatloaf is so easy to make! Not fully ripe avocados might be easier to chop but they taste horrible.
Bonus! A recipe from my kitchen! Made up (mostly) by me! In the spirit of trying to eat healthier I endeavored to cook up beans as a side dish for my dinners.
Slow-Cooked Taco Beans
Mix together Taco Seasoning:
- 2 teaspoons hot chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
Add 2 cans of beans (800mL total)
2 cups of chicken stock
1 yield of taco seasoning
Slow-cook on high for 4 hours or so. Enjoy! Am I not a brilliant genius?
We usually tend to go out on Wednesday nights, its conveniently in the middle of the week and hence not too busy. Not much will keep us from going out… not even an extreme cold weather alert. We bundled up in layers upon layers topped with scarves wrapped around our faces and braved the Canadian cold. All in the name of going out for… best veggie burgers. There is more to it than that. You see, I have passed this BBQ joint on the Danforth a few times before, and it smelled to high heaven of slow-cooked meat. I had been wanting to go there for a while, and now we had even more reason! If it had been a vegetarian restaurant I would have said let’s go on the weekend when it’s not as cold. But the promise of going to Greenwood Smokehouse (even though it is not near Greenwood, it is nearer to Pape subway station, odd) was enough to get me out from under my blanket cocoon (I had been snuggled up warm and watching, ok binge-watching, Revenge).
It was a pretty quick decision what we were getting as our other dish: ribs of course! As soon as we walked in, we were hit with the warm inviting smell of barbecued meat. It was intoxicating and just what we needed after a grueling 40 minute walk in -16C weather (made all the colder with the damn windchill). I had my heart set on ordering a smoked lemonade with Four Roses bourbon, alas they were all sold out of the smoked lemonade (to this day I am still curious about what it tastes like, so I guess I will just have to go back there again). I settled for a bourbon sour and migawd it was delicious.
After we placed our order we were sitting and talking when Brent realized, the kitchen staff (not hidden off somewhere, but upfront in the restaurant) were bemused by the veggie burger order. I laughed at Brent, at the predicament of going to a smoked-meat bbq restaurant and ordering a veggie burger. I joked that he should have ordered a side bowl of meat. The veggie burger was delicious, it was a patty made up of ground mushrooms (as opposed to tofu, which I doubt I will ever end up liking) and topped with pineapple avocado salsa. We had decided on a half rack of ribs, and if we were still hungry then we could just order more food. Thank goodness we only got the half rack, it was enormous. And not just enormous in terms of ribs-enormous (i.e.: giant bones), no, the bones were relatively few and small. There was so much meat on those bones, it was unbelievable. I have never had such meat-y ribs in my life! It made up for the glaze being average.
Even though I was fairly stuffed, I could not turn down a chance to eat: deep-dish pecan bourbon pie. It was amazing, I did not know that pecan pie (of which I already had a high opinion, it being my go-to pie) could taste that much more delicious!! The only downside was that I was way too full to go a few doors down to Von Doughnuts for a secondary dessert (something whihc is not completely unheard of).