Mac & cheese

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I find that many restaurants and eateries attempt to make one of the more truly authentic North American dishes, the mac & cheese, but fail to make it actually taste good. Most mac & cheese dishes I’ve had in Toronto taste bland, sometimes too liquidity and not cheesy enough.

One of the best mac & cheese experiences I’ve had is at the Victory Cafe. The mac & cheese has a wonderful crispy top and gooey cheesy macaroni underneath. The flavours of sun dried tomato and caramelized onion are layered in. The texture is not too liquid or dry (this isn’t a macaroni pie!). This is definitely my favorite place to grab this type of comfort food – nothing beats it…yet ;)

Aside from the mac & cheese, the Victory also has great beers on tap! I don’t really see how you can’t go try it out!!

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The Last Meal

While enjoying a fabulous meal in France and feeling high off of our first course of fresh salad and pâté au porc with delicious french bread, I posed the question to Conan:

“What would you have served to you for your last meal EVER?!”

We cheated a bit and instead of incorporating the restraints placed on some US last meals, we had only a 3 course restriction. Let’s be honest, if there wasn’t, the night would never end. So here goes:

Conan

Entrée
Thai hot and sour soup

Plat Principal
Steak frites with ketchup and vinegar

Dessert
75% cocoa with blueberry chocolate bunny that is wafer thin

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Me

Entrée
Pork, chive and shrimp dumplings – a mix of pan fried and steamed with red vinegar (not the nasty kind)

Plat Principal
Creamy pasta from Piola (like carbonara)
Portion of steamed fish with soy sauce, green onion, ginger and sesame oil
Baked brie and roasted garlic

Dessert
Ras Malai

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If you could have a last meal of sorts – what would it be?


What’s for dinner? Snapper with a Southern Accent

This dish, like all the other ones Conan and I make, was conceived at the supermarket and because we felt we wanted to eat something different. We’re standing at the seafood section, looking at all the fillets they had laid out and even considered the lobster (except they were really small and expensive). While we were staring at the fish, I was thinking to myself, “I wish I was in a Chinese supermarket and I could buy a live swimming fish and steam it in a wok.” Which is my most FAVOURITE way of preparing fish. Simple and super delicious. Anyway, we didn’t have that luxury here. Conan went for the trout, which I also love, but it almost felt like we always get trout, so I suggested snapper – and snapper it was! WOOT!

We have no idea how we’re going to make this fish, but Conan suggested maybe a breaded bake thing. I think he was remincing about some shake and bake commercial over the weekend and well, here we are at the supermarket shopping for ingredients to make breaded fish fillets.

We definitely cheated on this one because we actually bought bread crumbs that were “southern” – so pre-seasoned. Meh! I don’t need a huge tub of bread crumbs I’ll never use and we didn’t have bread at home.

In short, Conan patted the fish dry then patted the seasoned bread crumbs on the fish and baked it until it was crispy. He also paired it with some steammed beans, yams seasoned with some sweet spices (cinnimon, nutmeg) and of course, a lovely salad with some Macedonian-styled feta. YUMMM!!!!!


What’s for dinner? Some random evening last week

Life takes a hold of me sometimes, so I didn’t post this right away. But I’m doing it now!

Both Conan and I felt we were eating a lot of chicken lately, so fish was on the menu. I wanted tuna, but at $29.99/lb, I thought “No, I’m not made out of money at this moment, salmon will suffice.” And keeping in trend with saving money, I bought some seasonal produce, mainly a buttercup squash. The rest of the stuff I had in the fridge.

Salmon topped with tomato salsa

Salmon fillet
Tomatoes (I had both regular vine tomatoes and some cherry pear tomatoes)
Green onion (1 stalk)
Garlic (1 clove)
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Wash and dry off salmon fillets
  3. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Bake until preferred doneness
  5. While salmon is cooking, dice up tomatoes and place in bowl
  6. Add salt and mix
  7. Chop up some green onion (I use the both the green and white parts, I’ve read some recipies where people only use the white – never understood why, makes no sense)
  8. Mince garlic
  9. Add to tomatoes
  10. Add in some olive oil and balsamic to liking
  11. Mix
  12. Serve ontop of salmon
  13. 

Buttercup Squash

Buttercup squash
Nutmeg
Cinnimon
Clove
Butter

  1. Steam squash
  2. Scrape out flesh
  3. Add some butter, spices and mash
  4. Serve

I also prepared some quinoa and Conan stir-fried some bean sprouts and celery.

Yeah I’m too lazy to write it all out! But come on!! It’s a stir-fry!! Like the easiest thing you can make – seriously!


What’s for dinner? Chicken, orzo, salad

Been doing some hardcore outdoor running lately – ok not a lot, just the past 3 days. It’s nice to get back out there. It was a welcome break, I think my legs needed it, but found myself craving for something better than starring across the street and at my own reflection in the gym. I hate it. Anyway, all this running has made me really hungry! LOL

It was definitely Conan’s night to do the brain work on this one. We’ve run out of real food in the fridge, so we lazied out and went to the supermarket I hate most. I’m not going to say which one it is…but I hate it because the food isn’t that fresh, it’s super expensive and the food selection is boring.

Regardless, we got our few ingredients and Conan went to work in the kitchen while I continued to read why Anthony Bourdain hates Alan Richman (very good reasons btw. Very good.)

Oh yes, before I begin – we cheated and bought a rotisserie chicken :P

It was a good meal!!! YUMMM!!! However, Conan did say there was a lot of prep work involved, mainly chopping things up – but you know what? So was my curry tofu noodles!!!! I julienned those veggies!

Orzo Salad

Orzo
Red onion
Olives
Red pepper
Cucumber
Macedonian goat cheese
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

  1. Cook orzo as per the instructions on the package
  2. Cut up your vegetables into bite-sized bits, including olives
  3. Mix everything together with lemon juice and olive oil
  4. Salt & pepper to taste

Seems easy – but Conan said there was a lot of prep work!

IT WAS GOOOOOOOD!!! Excellent Saturday night dinner! :) Thanks baby!


what’s for dinner? Curry tofu noodles

Tonight I was inspired to make some curried fried rice noodles. Was thinking of a common Singapore noodle dish (星洲炒米粉) and wanted to use up the tofu I had. Of course, being Thursday and having a full Friday/weekend schedule, I didn’t have too much in the fridge, so I did what I could!

Just a side note, one of my favourite ways to eat tofu is frozen. Well, not like a popsicle, but frozen, thawed and cooked. Freezing tofu creates this great texture and it changes the way it can be flavoured. Quite scientific if you ask me! Tofu is like (I’m making this up) 80% water, and water expands when frozen. When you freeze tofu, the water inside it expands and this stretches the tofu and makes “holes” in it, giving it a really nice texture when thawed and cooked.

Did I mention it’s one of my favs? :P

Curry Tofu Noodles

Rice noodles (I like the wider kind)
Soft tofu, frozen and thawed
Finely sliced red pepper
Finely sliced carrot
Bite sized celery
Minced garlic
Finely sliced ginger (alternatively, you could just slice bigger medallions)
Curry powder
Cumin
Coriander
Basil
Clove
Red pepper flakes
Chili sauce (I used sriracha)
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Lime
Olive oil or coconut oil…whatevs!

  1. Cook rice noodles. Place in hot water, cook until chewy or el dante. Just need to remember you’re going to be cooking them further. Rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. While noodles are cooking, prepare the vegetables, ginger and garlic. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil (I used a wok) and add in spices, ginger and garlic. In terms of how much I used, I used significantly more curry than any other spice. I suggest not too much clove, but other than that, go for it however you like!
  4. Once oil and spices have been incorporated into each other, dump in the veg and tofu. Stir.
  5. Add in some fish sauce and soy sauce. Toss around.
  6. Once finished, set aside.
  7. Add more oil to your cookware, add in the same spices (basically repeat step 3) and add in the noodles.
  8. Cook them up for a bit until the noodles are coated with the spices, then add in the vegetables again.
  9. Add some chili sauce to taste.
  10. Squirt in some lime. I used half a lime here and the other half when serving.
  11. Serve!

Yeah..so this was SUPER DELICIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Couldn’t stop eating it! YUMM! =9

One can always modify to their liking, adding different vegetables, spices, whatnot.


what was for dinner…last night? Roasted chicken with parsnips and carrots

Since I’m on a roll with this…what the hey!?

Roasted Chicken with maple-glazed parsnips and carrots

Chicken thighs
Parsnips & carrots washed, peeled and cut (we cut them into strips)
Coriander
Oregano
Maple syrup
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Season the chicken thighs with coriander, oregano, salt and pepper.  Place in oven.

Toss cut parsnip and carrot in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in oven.

Cook chicken for about 45 minutes, or until fully cooked.

Cook parsnip and carrots until almost cooked, about 20 minutes. Take them out of the oven and brush on some maple syrup and put back into the oven to crisp – about 10 minutes.

Serve hot!