Oh. Hey. Hi. PHOTODUMP. :)

Delicious, delicious photodump.

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1. Hello. Bacon, onion, and spinach quiche. I know, so fancy. I made these because my eggs were going to expire and these quiches were supposed to last me a few days. However, after they came out of the oven, they smelled too good. So I ate one. And then another.

And then I ate all of them.

No regrets.

2. My vegetarian friend made too much spaghetti sauce so she gave me a bag of frozen sauce and I finally got a chance to use it. It was so hearty with some things that I’ve never put in pasta sauce before, like zucchini. Hahah. I had gotten home from one of my ridiculous days and was just starving. All I needed to do was boil pasta, brown some ground beef, and then dump in some sauce. Thanks Zizi!

3. I had some leftover pulled pork that I had made from the day before and a nice organic brie loaf and some cheese. What else to make but an inside out grilled cheese filled with pulled pork? I made one sandwich and left the ingredients on the counter because I knew I was going to make another one. And then I did.

And then every once in a while my mom comes over and cooks me food. Which is amazing. I mean, some of this Vietnamese fare, you just can’t get at a restaurant.

4. Bun thit nuong. She made me all the things and I just assembled it. The grilled beef though, I think I used this recipe off the internet. It turned out really nice, especially with a bit of lemon tang. Other than that, we’ve got nem nuong, carrots (no daikon -sadface-), cucumbers, and green stuff and vermicelli noodles.

5. Bun reu cua. She taught me how to make this and this pleases me. :D It’s an egg, tomato, and shrimp-based soup with vermicelli noodles and served with mixed greens with chili pepper and salt on the side.

Not going to lie, it’s been rough. Working too much, not sleeping enough, and not enough time to eat! That being said, it’s rare that I’ll fully get to go out and eat at delicious restaurants, and I can barely afford to either. The first three photos are from Utopia Cafe on College, west of Bathurst.

6. Utopia Nachos With tons of awesome melted cheese, chicken, beef and other nacho staples. They also serve with a side of salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. But, as always, there’s never enough salsa or guacamole, and they do charge if you ask for more (which we found out on the bill). Though the middle of the nachos are great, the edges were sadly neglected crispy chips. The nachos are piled on top of this crispy baked pita which was really nice as well. $15

7. Steak & Cheddar Burrito The burrito was a bit on the smaller size (this coming from eating Burrito Boyz burritos, those things are MASSIVE), and was served with a side of spinach salad (even though I’m pretty sure I ordered coleslaw.. but didn’t realize this till right now), and black bean rice. The burrito, though, was really good. The mayo was excellent and tangy, the meat juicy. The burrito just seemed a bit sparse and empty, like there wasn’t a lot of filling inside. The salad was great and featured a nice balsamic dressing on top. I was sharing the plate and did not try the rice. Overall, this was an okay dish, I probably wouldn’t order it again, but I hear the burgers are amazing.  $12.50

8. Flourless Chocolate Cake The waitress had told us that they were newly just trying out desserts at Utopia but they got this cake bang-on. Definitely couldn’t have eaten this by myself (oh who am I kidding, yes I could have.) Flourless means gluten-free, which is great for the new gluten-free diet trend* and for those who are sensitive to gluten or have gluten allergies. However, being flourless means they replace the flour with… more sugar. So diabetics, hyperglycemics, and people with generally high blood sugar should beware. Other than that, it was really good, it was a flourless batter thing on the bottom (I’m guessing made out of butter and sugar primarily), nice and crumbly, topped with thick chocolate fudge. Served with a side of whipped cream and berries. Very delicious. $5

9. This is the Riverside burger from BQM Burgershoppe. They have 3 different locations in Toronto, and the one I’ve been to several times is the one on Queen, east of Spadina, right near my school. The burgers are great, nice and juicy patties that aren’t too small. I was craving burgers and onion rings so decided to kill two birds with one stone. It was great, with lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese, and garlic aioli, but while being great at the time, it did create some painful carnage on the roof of my mouth. BQM onion rings are really really crispy, which are great if you’re biting into them individually. Overall though, always a great experience here. Tiny seating areas though! Riverside Chuck Burger $9

*

Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback. ISBN 9780345529381

I’ve been seeing a lot of gluten-free diet books coming out at the bookstore lately, the most popular one being Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselback, who everyone has been telling me was on that Survivor show that I never watched.

Okay, so what is gluten? It’s a protein found in a lot of wheat, rye, barley and other things. So, obviously, people with Celiac’s disease can’t actually eat gluten products because it causes their intestines to go all kinds of painful crazy. But what people don’t know, is that there’s a lot of people who are also gluten-sensitive. Humans ourselves can’t actually process gluten and wheat that well. It has less nutritional value and is a pro-inflammatory. So basically, giving up gluten is a really healthy choice and great for people who don’t have Celiac’s disease or a gluten allergy. It’s just one of those trends that I’ve been seeing popping up lately.

**

In other news, I saw this new beautiful book on display yesterday:

Meat Free Monday Cookbook ISBN: 978-1906868697

It’s this huge campaign going on in the UK started by Paul McCartney and his family, showing us that just by eliminating meat from our diet once a week has great environmental and personal benefits and effects. I’m a meat person, I really am, but this cookbook is actually amazing. And really beautiful.

What they do is they create a whole meal-plan for you, for each Monday in a year. If I recall correctly, they provide Breakfast, 2 snacks, a lunch, and dinner recipe for each day, which makes it incredibly easy to switch over to a meatless day. I mean, I know one of the major excuses for not participating is, “I wouldn’t know how to cook meatless” and now you do.

They also sort the recipes by season much like one of my other favourite cookbooks, Martha Stewart’s everyday Food Light, which makes it great when you’re shopping for your ingredients because all of them are in season, which means they’re cheaper and they taste better too!

Everyday Food: Light ISBN: 978-0307718099

Other than that, my favourite food blogger is coming out with a new cookbook on March 13, called Food From My Frontier, which is chock full of simple recipes, and knowing Ree (not personally), everything is going to be delicious!!!! :)

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Simple, Scrumptious, Satisfying ISBN: 9780061997181

Cheerio and happy eating! :)

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Diet Round-Up

And by diet I don’t mean an “I’m-gonna-lose-weight” diet, though I probably should. It’s more like a “this-is-what-I-shove-down-my-guzzle” diet. How long can I go without blogging about food? Not very, evidently.

So, without further ado, what’s cooking over at my apartment??

For one entire weekend, I had these wonderfully thin and crispy crepes thanks to Mr. Alton Brown. I had them with (pictured above) nutella and (fake) maple syrup, I had them with ice cream, I had them with cream soup. I ate them all weekend long. Don’t worry, there was more than one batch. And there were more than one crepe on that plate (they’re hiding underneath. They don’t know that I know they’re there.)

Fry-up.

Maple bacon. Yum. Breakfast sausages. Yum. Scrambled eggs with green onions. Yum. (Cooked in bacon fat) Hello! Taco home fries.

I figured out how to make home fries. Well, not so much figured out as much as used common sense and logic.

  • Step 1: Cube potatoes.
  • Step 2: Boil potatoes a bit.
  • Step 3: Drain potatoes.
  • Step 4: Fry potatoes.
  • Step 5: Pour taco seasoning on potatoes. (Optional)
  • Step 6: Continue to fry potatoes.
  • Step 7: Eat potatoes.

I think I included more steps than is actually necessary.

A creamy primavera (which means spring vegetables) risotto (which means risotto) courtesy of Ree Drummond. That woman is my idol. This was pretty good, but next time, I’ll cook the veggies a little longer, and forgo the goat cheese. I don’t particularly like cheese, and I really don’t like goat cheese. I actually get a lot of recipes from her site, The Pioneer Woman. I like her. Her photos are great, they give a step-by-step and show how things are supposed to look as you’re cooking it. She’s funny. She’s unapologetic. She’s adorable. Her food looks delicious. However, on the butter scale, where 1 is lactose intolerant and 10 is Paula Deen, she’s probably an 8, but I think that just goes along with living on a ranch and cooking for a cowboy.

Wow I kind of want her life. Just for a second, though.

Risotto always reminds me of the lovely David Tennant and it makes me very very happy. Skip to 2:55 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing, but you should, because it’s very funny.

A split yellow-bean and cane sugar soup/che/dessert/thing that my mother told me to make this for my stuffy nose. Now, I don’t know how it works, or if it works, or if correlation equals causation, but all I know is that after I ate this soup, my horrible stuffy nose was gone in under 36 hours. Juss sayin’.

All it is is boiling some yellow bean things that I got at the asian supermarket. The beans are yellow on the inside, with a green shell on the outside. After the beans boiled up and absorbed all the water (20-30 minutes), I stirred in two big ass sticks of cane sugar. They’re brownish and come in blocks. It’s super sweet, super yummy, but I only like drinking the water (which has bean nutrients and a shit ton of sugar). You see, it’s all very scientific.

I’m lying.

._.

It’s Vietnamese voodoo.

Another Ree Drummond recipe. This cauliflower soup is TO DIE FOR. It is so good. So good that I made it twice in two weeks. The second time, I made 3+ litres of the stuff.

I kind of got sick of cauliflower after that… but really, it’s amazing. :) Unless you have some sort of deathly allergy to the ingredients, you NEED to eat this soup.

So after the cauliflower soup fiasco, I had so much broccoli leftover. Well, I had about half a head of broccoli leftover, but for one person, that’s a lot! No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get rid of it all and I didn’t want to just toss it in the trash. So, as a last ditch effort, I just chopped it all up with no plan.

I pulled out some other stuff that I needed to get rid of and got to work. Threw the broccoli in with some butter, got some onions in there, cooked it all up until the broccoli went soft a bit. Got my eggs together, whisked it up with milk, leftover goat cheese and green onions and a tiny bit of paprika and ground pepper. I poured the egg mixture into the broccoli mixture and made some sort of fake frittata/omelette/scrambled egg concoction.

Not bad.

Momma made home-made burgers! I followed this recipe, as it was my first time making burgers at home, ever. However, I only used about a third – half the salt that she used. Way too much! But my burgers turned out super juicy and super amazing. I also made the patties a lot bigger than she said (which is 2 pounds of ground chuck divided into 8 patties).

Doesn’t it look great? It tasted great too. I put a ton of garlic into those patties. Come take me now, Edward. MWAHAHHAHHAHAHHA.

More soup! Potato-bacon soup! I got one of those dime-a-dozen recipes. Doubled the onions. I love onions. It was really simple. Dice up the bacon and onions. Cook. On the side, boil some cubed potatoes. Drain. Add potatoes to bacon and onions. Then pour cream of chicken soup into the bacon-onion mixture. Pour in some milk and some water. Pour in some heavy cream if you’re feeling frisky. Heat to serving temperature.

Manger. Mange et soyez heureux. <3

Apartment Cooking

So, I have been doing some light cooking while at home. Man, do I love a great meal made with my own hands. Well, my own hands and the supermarket. One of the first recipes I made was this tomato-cream one from one of my favourite food bloggers, Ree Drummond. It’s so insanely easy to make, and so insanely delicious to eat, if you’re a fan of rosée ish sauces. Mmm. You basically just cook up some onions and garlic, then pour in some puréed or crushed tomatoes, cook till the tomatoes darken, then pour in some heavy cream. Mix it up, pour in parmesan cheese, and then mix in the noodles. Unfortunately, I don’t have my own photo to add here, too busy devouring. But it turned out more or less like that. So yummy. On non-lent Fridays, I’ll add some chicken breast in for more substance to the pasta, but even plain is good enough.

My first meal, with tomatoes tossed onto me from my friend Zizi after she cut up too much, I made some enchiladas. Just some taco beef and beans inside the tortilla, with melted Monterey Jack and medium Chedder, cilantro, and fresh tomatoes on top.

I do eat quite a bit of pasta, but only because I bought this one never-ending package of fettucini, 900g, and for 1.5 people, it’s lasted me a whole month. This one is an incredibly fresh pasta that is the easiest thing to make. There’s no cooking involved, aside from boiling the pasta. I basically took a bruschetta recipe that an italian mama taught me, but they’re a dime a dozen. It’s only 4 basic ingredients chopped and tossed in together with a bit of olive oil.

  • 2 small Tomatoes
  • 0.5 red onion (they’re sweeter, but you can use any, really. Depends on your preference)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (a fuckton)
  • 4 leaves of fresh basil
  • Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar (I decided to add this on a whim, experimenting with your recipes is the fun part!)
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

First, start boiling your water and cook your pasta. Remember to generously salt your water, as this is the only place you’ll be able to add some flavour to the inside of the pasta.

So, you chop up the first 2 ingredients. I only put a fuckton of garlic because I love garlic, so if you don’t like it, feel free to lessen it, but the garlic really does make a difference. These are the approximate proportions, but really, I go by what ‘looks right.’ If you don’t like that many onions, don’t put that many. The real workers of this recipe are the tomatoes, garlic, and basil. The onions are the least important ingredient, but is still kind of important.

I digress. Chop those first 2 ingredients. Mince the garlic. Chiffonade your basil aka cut it into thin-ish strips. An easy way to do this is to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, and start slicing. Take all of that stuff, throw them together, lube them up with a bit of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. The vinegar is optional. Add some salt and pepper to your liking, then allow this beautiful mixture sit for ten-ish minutes and the flavours will marry each other. A big, beautiful Italian orgy.

Make sure your pasta is cooked to however you like it. Strain the pasta. Let it cool a bit, but not too much. Then mix it all up together. Eat it. Die happy.

I cannot believe that I actually craved Vietnamese food. So I called my parents up to ask them how to make Thit Bo Kho (some beef dish), they explained it to me, and then I went to the grocery store and for some reason, bought pork. Ha! Luckily the recipe was interchangeable. First, I made some molasses-like substance (boiling sugar and water till it turns dark). This process is actually pretty delicate, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re clumsy or accident-prone in the kitchen. I basically dissolved a bunch of sugar in water, and then boiled the water out of the mixture. This potion turned into a caramel-like substance and then I put it aside for a bit in a small bowl.

I then boiled the pork to cook it slightly, sliced it up, then browned it in some shallots and garlic. Added some of the molasses, which had hardened slightly, into the pork for flavour and colour. Picked up the small bowl, without realizing that I had JUST poured boiling sugar into it. Boy was it hot. I picked it up with a cloth around it after that. Put in some salt and pepper. Didn’t have Nuoc Mam (fish sauce), but it was alright. It didn’t taste like how my parents made it but it’ll do in a pinch. I also hardboiled some eggs, tossed them into the pork mixture with some water and simmered it for a bit so that it would absorb the flavour of the pork.

The green beans are incredibly easy to make. Look at that heavenly glow. It’s something that my mom makes, and I could eat a whole plate of this by myself. So delicious. First, you cut off the ends of the beans. Wash them. Then blanche them. You just need to get a pot of water to a rapid boil and throw the beans in. The beans will absorb the heat of the water and the bubbles will slow down or stop. Keep them in there until the the rapid boil starts again. It is at this point that you want to drain the beans, they’re going to be so crunch and crispy. ^_^

Mince up some garlic. Throw it into a pan of some sort (people say wok, but I don’t have one so it doesn’t quite matter), with a bit of oil, stir it around for a bit (less than a minute), make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Toss your green beans in, and stir it around. Careful if your beans are still wet because this might cause your oil to splash back at you. Stir around your beans and garlic. Add salt. Pepper if you like (I’m a pepper kind of girl). You can leave it at that or add some oyster sauce. This is rather salty so you’ll want to serve it with rice. But if you like salt, just eat as is.

Crispy inside-out grilled cheese sandwiches. The recipe (really, it’s just cheese and bread) and how-to is found here at Foodwish’s youtube channel. I highly recommend this. Again, I used the monterey jack and medium chedder that I had in my fridge. I had some slices left of the country loaf, so here’s to using what you’ve got on hand! I paired it with Campbell’s tomato soup, to which I added cream to make it .. uh .. creamier.

Mmm.. so that’s that for this post. I am quite pleased with my recent culinary adventures. Now, I’ve got to plan my next dinner. :D