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ginger scallion steamed cod + Thai pesto noodles

3 Apr

steamed fish

For this dish I used Jindao noodles, they’re sort of a thinner version of an Udon noodle and they’re soooo delicious.  You should be able to find them in any Asian market or even some well-stocked grocery stores.  If you can find them, then do use them.  If not, just substitute some other kind of noodle.

Makes 4 servings

steamed fish8

Ingredients

Thai pesto noodles

  • 2 handfuls Jindao noodles
  • 3-4 large handfuls fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • sriracha
  • salt
  • olive oil

ginger scallion steamed cod

  • 1 cod fillet
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • parchment paper
  • kitchen twine

steamed fish7

Preparation

Thai pesto noodles

Bring salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, roughly chop the cilantro, green onion and garlic and put it in a blender or food processor.  Add the zest of two limes and the juice of one lime along with some sriracha, a pinch of salt and a generous amount of olive oil.

Blend everything, adding more olive oil if necessary to get a smooth consistency.  Add more salt and sriracha to taste.

Mix the pesto into the noodles.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

steamed fish5

ginger scallion steamed cod

Cut the fillet in half lengthwise and cut each half into four even pieces.

Rub both sides of each piece of fish with a little bit of olive oil and some salt.  Sandwich a few slices of ginger and some green onions between two pieces of fish and bundle it up in parchment paper.  Tie the bundle together with twine.  Repeat with the remaining fish.

Put the bundles in a steam basket for about 7 minutes or until the cod is opaque all the way through.

Serve with Thai pesto noodles.

steamed fish 2

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lemon + fresh herb pasta

5 Jan

lemon herb pasta4At some point in the morning on New Year’s eve I said ‘Everything’s going to be closed tomorrow, I should buy groceries today’.  At no point on New Years eve did I go buy groceries for New Year’s day.

So I had a day with a very very empty fridge and a very very empty tummy.  Luckily I found a lemon and some fresh herbs left over from something I had been making a few days prior along with just enough pasta for two.

Added a few things I found in the fridge and it turned out to be a delicious meal.  So, this is my stuck-with-no-food-on-New-Year’s-day pasta.

If you want to make the dish vegetarian or if you just hate anchovies, a tablespoon of capers would be a good substitute.

Makes 2 servings

lemon herb pasta2

lemon + fresh herb pasta

ingredients

  • enough pasta for 2 people
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons – zest + juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 1/2 c good quality green olives, chopped
  • approx. 1/2 c chopped basil
  • approx. 1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  • pepper

lemon herb pasta1

preparation

Cook pasta in boiling salted water and strain.

Return the empty pasta pot to the stove over medium-low heat.  Add oil and butter, heat until butter is melted.  Add garlic, lemon zest and anchovy then lemon juice.

Cook for about 30 seconds or until garlic is soft.  Turn off the heat, add olives and all but about 2 tablespoons of the chopped herbs.  Stir for a few seconds until the herbs are wilted then add the pasta and toss to coat.

Serve immediately, garnish with the remaining herbs.

lemon herb pasta

Sanagan’s Meat Locker : takeout counter + beautiful people

26 Sep

photo courtesy of postcity.com

When European Quality Meats left my Kensington market neighbourhood in favour of somewhere really far away that I will never go to (Etobicoke? maybe? I could probably look that up but… it’s just far) I felt a little betrayed.  They had been providing me with Meats of European Quality for so long, I didn’t know where to turn.

Sanagan’s moved into the space and they’re great; they offer high quality meats along with friendly and knowledgeable service.  They tend to be a little expensive for my poor ass but overall I’m glad that they’re there.

I’m particularly happy that they’ve carried on their predecessor’s tradition of having a takeout counter.  Instead of the former burgers, sausages and fries, however, theirs features rotisserie chicken, house made soups, sandwiches, salads and fries (still – of course).

sanagansmeatlocker.com

So far I’ve tried the rotisserie chicken – for $13 you get a whole perfectly seasoned chicken with crispy golden skin and tender meat – and the roast beef sandwich which, at $7, comes complete with pickled red onion, arugula, horseradish, and crispy parmigiano frico on a kaiser.

It’s some tasty.

Also of note: everyone on staff at Sanagan’s seems to be unreasonably attractive.  Go for that if nothing else.

Sanagan’S Meat Locker  on Urbanspoon

black bean + butternut squash chili

19 Sep

It sure is getting chili outside.

GET IT?

Because it’s chilly because it’s fall but I wrote chili because i made chili but chili is a thing you want to eat when it’s chilly…

there are just so many layers.

You’re welcome.

Makes 12 servings

black bean + butternut squash chili

ingredients

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 7 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash, diced (about 3 cups)
  • 550ml can black beans, strained and rinsed
  • 1200ml canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • sour cream

preparation

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until it begins to soften, add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Turn heat to high and add beef.  Cook until beef is browned.

Add beef to a crock pot along with peppers, squash, beans, tomato, chipotle and spices.  Cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Taste the chili around the 3 hour mark and adjust spices to your taste; please note that I am a complete pansy when it comes to spice so if you follow my recipe to the letter you will have a chili with just a little bit of heat.  If you like it spicy add more chipotle and chili powder.

Garnish with cilantro, green onion and sour cream.

toasted tomato sandwich

5 Sep

Yeah, it’s just a toasted tomato sandwich.

When was the last time you had one?

I thought so.

Have a toasted tomato sandwich.

It’s a great thing.

(A special toasted tomato sandwich thank you goes out to John & Deb for fresh tomatoes and amazing spicy arugula from their garden.)

toasted tomato sandwich

ingredients

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • mayonnaise
  • arugula and/or fresh basil
  • 2 slices of bread, toasted

preparation

Put all those things together, as a sandwich.

don’t we all have mixed feelings about Java House / chick pea + kale soup with cinnamon

22 Aug

If you’re from Toronto and are / have been at one point young and poor you’ve probably had the… not “pleasure”… the, experience of going to Java House.  I’ve been there a lot (not recently but that’s beside the point) and I have a tumultuous relationship with the place, as I believe many do.

There are some undeniably great features – it has a huge patio just off Queen West that’s always bursting at the seams yet always has room for you somewhere, even on the most patio friendly days of summer.  The beer is cheap, like 11$ for a pitcher of half decent beer cheap, and so is the food.  One must, however, consider that the place just feels like there are cockroaches running around the kitchen and under the kegs – I’ve never had a bad experience with that but I’ve heard enough stories to be wary – it’s fairly dingy.  The service is ok-ish but under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you try to get separate bills for your table.  Don’t. Do it.  Oh, and I mentioned that the food is cheap… it is, really really cheap.  It is not “good”.

With one exception!  There was (as I said, I haven’t been there recently so maybe it’s gone?) a tomato chick-pea soup that I believe cost about $3 a bowl.  It was not spectacular but it was really tasty.  It was especially good when, half way through an after-work session of “beer instead of dinner will be just fine”, I realize that no I need to eat at least once a day.  Probably more.

So I feel that an homage to that fine, fine soup is in order.  My soup is better.  In fact it’s unreasonably f***ing delicious, especially considering how simple it is.

makes 6 servings

chick pea + kale soup with cinnamon

ingredients

  • 6 c vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 400 ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of kale
  • 1 500ml can chick peas, drained
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • olive oil
  • salt

preparation

Cut the spine out of each kale leaf.  Rinse the leaves, bunch them together and roughly chop them; you should have about 2 generous cups of chopped kale.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and sautee until they just begin to soften.  Add garlic, turmeric and oregano along with the chick peas.  Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are translucent.  Add kale one handful at a time, stirring until it wilts.  Add tomato, broth and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick, add salt to taste and serve.

Java House on Urbanspoon

grilled corn salsa + chicken salad

13 Jun

Just a nice simple summer salad… Goes well with some beer and some being outside.

Makes 4 servings

grilled corn salsa + chicken salad

ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 ears of corn (in husks)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalepeno, seeds removed and flesh finely diced
  • 6 roma tomatoes, seeds removed and flesh diced
  • 3 small or 2 large avocados, diced
  • 4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

preparation

Combine diced red onion, jalepeno, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, cilantro and garlic in a large bowl with juice of half a lime and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Mix together and set aside.

Heat grill to medium high.

Place corn, in husks, on the grill and cook until husks are charred and corn is tender –  about 12 minutes.  Peel back the husks to let the corn cool.  Once they’re not too hot to handle, cut the kernels off the cob and mix into the salsa.

Meanwhile, squeeze juice from remaining half of the lime over chicken breasts along with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Rub seasonings into both sides of breasts.

Place chicken on the grill and cook – about 5 minutes on each side… maybe more maybe less, it depends how busty your chicken is.

Slice the chicken, lay it on top of a heap of grilled corn salsa and serve with some sliced baguette or fresh corn tortillas.

asparagus soup + lemon creme

30 May

Hey everybody.  Hi.  I haven’t posted in a long time… I’ve been busy…

Lazy, I’ve been lazy.

But also a bit busy.

But mostly lazy.

Anyway, I have for you here my most favourite spring soup.  It’s super simple – just asparagus, shallots, cilantro and a bit of butter – and it’s good warm or cold.  Also, it takes about 15 minutes to make, including prep.

The original recipe from Bon Appetit calls for the soup to be strained but I prefer not to do that, I like the chunks.  The key is to choose the thinnest asparagus stalks you can find so the soup won’t get that stringy, woody texture.  If you must use thick stalks and you’re not planning to strain the soup, just peel them before cutting them up.

Makes 6 appetizer servings

asparagus soup + lemon creme

from Bon Appetit, March 2006

ingredients

soup

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped
  • 2 pounds asparagus (thin stalks), trimmed + cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups vegetable broth

lemon creme

  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

preparation

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sautee until soft – about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cilantro – stir 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes.

Puree and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon peel together in small bowl. Divide soup among bowls. Top with a dollop of lemon creme and serve.

potato + leek + swiss chard soup with bacon wrapped seed onions

1 May

Because it’s raining and I have a hangover and this will fix all that…

ps. For anyone who came here via the ‘vegetarian’ tag and is all “wtf bacon”, it’s a perfectly good meat-free soup without the bacon wrapped onions.  That is why.

Makes 6 servings

potato + leek + swiss chard soup with bacon wrapped seed onions

ingredients

soup

  • 8 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 6 c vegetable broth

onions

  • 6 skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 24 seed onions

preparation

soup

Set a large pot with butter over medium heat.  At the same time, heat broth in a separate pot over high heat.  Once the butter has melted, add leeks, pepper and garlic and sautee until leeks are soft – about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes and hot broth.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender – about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, cut stalks out of the swiss chard and coarsely chop the leaves.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add chard.  Sautee for 1 minute, until leaves are wilted, then add 1 tbsp water and cover the pot for another minute.

Puree soup and stir in chopped swiss chard.

onions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut the top and bottom off each onion and remove skin.  Wrap about 1/4 of a slice of bacon around each onion and put it on a skewer, 4 onions on each.

Lay the skewers on something that will let the fat drip off and collect underneath (I laid them over a small cake pan) and cook until bacon is crispy and onions are soft – 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve immediately with soup.

thai green curry

28 Apr

I’m white.  I’m extremely Caucasian.  There you go, that’s a little bit of personal trivia for you.  So it goes without saying that I’m not even remotely Thai, therefore, I make no claims about the authenticity of this green curry.

That being said, it is super tasty, healthy, and easy to make.  Works great if you’re feeding lots of people too.

Makes 4 servings

4.85$ per 2 servings

green curry

ingredients

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into medallions
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3/4 c snow peas, tipped and tailed
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp thai green curry paste
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 12 shrimp, shelled and deveined or 1 c firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 c rice
  • fresh cilantro (optional)

preparation

Cook the rice.

When rice is almost done cooking, heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger, green onion and curry paste.  Sautee until curry paste is fragrant – 30 seconds.

Add carrots – sautee 30 seconds – add peppers and broccoli – sautee 30 seconds.  Add coconut milk, fish sauce and juice of half a lime and bring to a simmer.  Once the mixture is simmering add snow peas and shrimp / tofu.  Cook until the shrimp is pink and firm and vegetables are just tender – 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve vegetables, shrimp and liquid over rice.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.