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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chocolate Honey Pecan Date Truffles


It's the holiday season, and what is better then making decadent chocolate treats (and have the excuse to eat them?)  They look and tastes great as gifts too.

Truffles, while not technically difficult, are really time consuming to make.  They are much easier to work with when the centers are chilled and firm.  So if it doesn't feel like they want to come together, stick the mixture back in the freezer and try again in 5 minutes.  They do present wonderfully and just look on so cute in small boxes.  :-)


Chocolate Honey Pecan Date Truffles
Makes approx 36 truffles
Approx prep time: 1h 30mins
Refrigeration time: 25mins


 INGREDIENTS:
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 3/4 cups of chopped dates
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract 
- 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
- 1 3/4 cups of Rice Krispies
- 250g of dark chocolate, chopped (I prefer Valhrona)
For Coating:
- 1 cup of unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (optional)

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Melt butter with honey in a medium saucepan set over medium. 
- Stir in dates and simmer for 3 min. 
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and cereal. 
- Chill mixture in the freezer until completely cool, about 10-20 min. 
- Scoop with a tbsp measure and press firmly into 1 inch bite-sized balls.  The mixture has to be cold to the touch or else it won't hold together, also, if you have warm hands, cool them in cold water and dry your hands before working.
- Melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on medium for 2-3 minutes, stirring every minute to make sure the chocolate on the sides don't burn or overheat.  
 - Once 80% of the chocolate has melted, remove and stir until completely melted, the bowl should not be hot to the touch. 
- Pour coconut into a small bowl and Cocoa Powder in another small bowl.
- Using 2 forks to hold balls (I used chocolate dipping tools), coat with chocolate, then roll in coconut or cocoa powder, or nothing at all and place on a waxed paper lined plate or baking sheet.
- Chill in refrigerator on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet until chocolate firms up, about 15 min. - Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
Recipe referenced from: http://food.chatelaine.com/recipes/view/chocolate-date-truffles/32936

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cornbread Muffins

 
Nick's been asking me to make cornbread muffins for a month now, and I've been trying to find the perfect one.  It's odd that most of the cornbread recipes out there seem to have very little cornmeal and a lot of flour.  This recipe has half cornmeal and half flour and uses butter rather then vegetable oil.  It's now a staple in our home and made weekly, and best of all... it takes less then half an hour to make from start to finish! 

Corn Bread Muffins
Makes: 12 muffins
approx prep time: 10 min
approx cook time: 15 mins



 INGREDIENTS:
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 cup of cornmeal
- 2/3 cup of sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2.5 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/3 cup of melted butter

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Brush melted butter on the muffin pan
- In a large mixing bowl, mix milk and cornmeal together, set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, mix flour, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt (the dry ingredients).
- Add egg and melted butter to the cornmeal and milk mixture, then add in the dry ingredients.
- Mix until combined.
- Spoon batter evenly into the greased muffin pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until sides are golden brown, top is golden yellow, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
- Serve with butter or a dollop of your favourite jam.  
- Store in room temperature for up to one week.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jam Filled Butter Cookies made with Egg Yolks


The holiday season is among us, and what better to celebrate then to make lots of delicious and not diet friendly treats!  I've been doing a lot of holiday baking lately, and while making french macarons (recipe that I will post later), there's always the problem with leftover egg yolks.  What do I do with them?  I had the option of turning them into creme brulee but I wanted something where I could make lots of them and that everyone could enjoy without feeling too much guilt.  

What did I come up with?  

Jam filled butter cookies made with egg yolks.

They were bite size, easy to make, keeps well for up to one week, a great way to use up leftover jam in the fridge, and accomplished my main goal, which was not to let egg yolks go to waste.



Jam Filled Butter Cookies
Makes 88 bite-sized cookies
approx prep time: 30 min
approx cook time: 10 mins (per batch)



 INGREDIENTS:
- 1.5 cups of softened room temperature butter
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2.5 cups of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of fruit jam with the large pieces of fruit mashed into small bits.

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, and white sugar.
- Add in egg yolks, salt and vanilla extract and mix together. 
- Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. 
- Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes until dough is firm enough to work with. 
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls.   
- Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. 
- Use your finger (I prefer the index finger knuckle) or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. 
- Spoon fruit preserve into a ziplock bag (I prefer a medium sized ziplock freezer bag as it is thicker and easier to handle).  Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag.
- Pipe or Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
- Store in room temperature in an airtight container for up to one week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fluffy Wild Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

"It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!!! It's so fluffy!!!"  
 -  says the little girl, Agnes, from the animated film Despicable Me. 

And I repeated that when I took my first bite of these pancakes.  It's SOOO fluffy!!!  Wild blueberries were in season so we put a few handfuls of that into the batter, but with or without fruit....these are definitely a winner for me.  I will never need another pancake batter recipe.  It generously feeds 6 very hungry people.


Fluffy Wild Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Serves: 6 very hungry people
approx prep time: 15 min
approx cook time: 45 min

INGREDIENTS: 
- 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons of white sugar
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 cups (1 liter) of buttermilk
- 2/3 cups of milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons of butter, melted
- 2 cups of wild blueberries, or normal blueberries, whatever you wish (optional)


HOW TO MAKE IT:
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs, and melted butter.  Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
- Heat a non stick pan over medium high heat
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, add blueberries now, and stir until just blended together.  Do not over stir.
- Ladle batter onto the hot pan (to whatever size you prefer, we like small pancakes), once the batter has bubbled for a bit, flip the pancake onto the otherside and cook both sides to a golden brown.  
- Serve hot, with fruit, berries, syrup, whipped cream, eggs and bacon, whatever you desire!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fresh Peach Pie

Nothing says summer like a fresh pie.  We prefer using local Ontario peaches that have best flavour...not just sweet and sandy, but tangy, sweet and juicy.  This recipe is as simple as it comes....just sugar, flour, and butter.   There's no spices to complicate the flavour of fresh peaches.  :-)  It also only takes almost no time to make as it's just so simple.  :-)  The pie, since it has so little ingredients, depends solely on the quality of the peaches.


Nick loves pie.  Whether it's Pumpkin Pie, raspberry, apple, blueberry or cherry, there just needs to be a pie each week or he's just not a happy camper.


Peach Pie
approx prep time: 15 min
approx cook time: 45 min

INGREDIENTS: 
-10 medium peaches, pitted and sliced
-1/3 cup of flour
-1/4 cup of butter
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup of sugar (depends on how sweet the peaches are)
- 1 tablespoon of coarse sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
- 1 Tenderflake deep dish double pie crust (thaw @ room temperature for 10 minutes)

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Set oven to 450 Degrees F.
- Mix flour, sugar and butter into a crumb stage
- Mix crumb topping with sliced peaches
- Pour peach mixture into 1 of the Tenderflake pie crusts and arrange accordingly so that the 2nd pie crust will be able to fit over it.
- Wet the rim of both pie crusts with water
- Top the 2nd pie crust over the filled pie crust, press down the edges a bit so the 2 crusts seal, then flute the edges with a fork
- Bake at 450 F for the first 15 mins, take out of the oven and sprinkle with some coarse cane sugar
- Put it back in the oven for 350F for 30mins.
- When the pie is done, turn off the oven and leave the pie in oven to cool and set for at least 2 hours.  I usually let it set overnight.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Steak and Veggie stir fry


Always a simple dish that's really quick to make and loaded with veggies.  There's always a reason to insert steak into a meal.  :-D

STEAK AND VEGGIE STIR FRY
Serves: 2
approx prep time: 10min
approx cook time: 10min

INGREDIENTS: 
- 1 medium size steak
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1/2 a head of Broccoli
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 stalk of celery
- 3 green onions
- 1 or 2 large handfuls of bean sprouts
- 1.5 tbsp Roast red pepper and garlic seasoning
       (substitute vegetable seasoning and extra garlic if you can't get this)
- Montreal Steak Spice
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Chop vegetables into large chunks and set aside (excluding bean sprouts).
- Chop green onion into small (1cm) chunks and set aside.
- Mince Garlic and set aside.
- Thinly slice steak, lightly season all the pieces with Montreal steak spice, and set aside.
- In a non-stick pan, over medium heat, warm oil, and when hot add Green onion and garlic.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the steak.
- Cook until browned, then add remaining veggies (excluding bean sprouts), and Roast Red Pepper seasoning.
-  Cook partly covered for 5-10min until vegetables have reached desired tenderness, stirring often.
- Add bean sprouts, cover and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bumpkin South Kensington- London, UK

Location: 102 Old Brompton Road, South Kensington, London SW7 3RD
T 020 7341 0802, F 020 7835 0714

I've long asserted that London does not have good food.  The city is dirty, it's old, it's overpriced.  During the entire 2.5 week long Eurotrip, I've been dreading going to London.  I thought it would be super crowded and I would just have to endure it.  I was wrong.  While we were there, we stayed in Millennium hotel in South Kensington.  The area was quite nice, wonderfully kept row houses, mother with the babies in strollers out for a walk on a fortunately nice day, not crowded streets but not empty either.  South Kensington has a great cluster or restaurants and one of the things I've always wanted to have was an authentic Yorkshire Pudding.  As we were walking, we found Bumpkin.  Bumpkin is restaurant that serves country food to city people.  All of their ingredients are British, fresh, seasonal, homemade and natural.  We walked in to a upscale casual and slightly rustic interior, their customers were everyone!  From young to old, families with children, romantic dates....it was Sunday night and the restaurant was packed.

 
It was a Sunday so of course  there was a Sunday roast special...and guess what it had?  A Yorkshire Pudding!  It looked so good we both had to get this dish.
Sunday Roast - Medium cooked beef roast, potato, watercress, large Yorkshire pudding with gravy, and whipped horseradish sauce, roasted veg (a large leafy green, roasted parsnips and carrots, roasted cauliflower with cheese) for 18.95 pounds.   The hand cut chips (potato french fries) were 3.95 pounds.

Everything was simply delicious.  It was such a simple meal but such a good one at that.  The Yorkshire pudding was light and fluffy, the beef was tender and flavorful, the beef gravy ladled on top was so delicious.  Nick loved the gravy even though he usually never puts gravy on anything.  The roasted vegetables were incredible and I wish I knew how to make it at home.  The parsnips and carrots were just slightly caramelized, and roasted cauliflower with baked on cheese is simple, but just divine.  Even the roast potatoes were done to perfection.   The hand cut chips was crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.

This was definitely not a fancy meal, it's a hearty simple meal done to perfection.  There were so many things on the menu that looked delicious, such as the meat pies and duck legs....too bad we were just too full to try them all.

I would definitely make the trip to Bumpkin again the next time I stop in London.  This restaurant proved me wrong, there is indeed good food in London.  :-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Chicken


You know the saying "Tastes like chicken"?  Well....chicken doesn't honestly taste all that special, so what we really should have is a better saying like "Tastes like BACON"!  Bacon is special, bacon is also the chocolate of meat.  What better then to wrap really good bacon on some plain chicken thighs.  You can use any cut of chicken, but we prefer chicken thighs as they are more tender and smaller, so there's more bacon to chicken ratio.  We also prefer PC thick cut bacon, it's the best out there, and it makes EVERYTHING taste like bacon...and you can't go wrong there.

BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN 
Serves: A many as you want!
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 15min

INGREDIENTS: 
- Bacon (1 strip per chicken thigh)
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (2-3 per person)
- Cheddar Cheese (extra old, or smoked works best), shredded or cut into strips.
- Italian Seasoning

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Open the chicken thighs up, so that they become a flat piece of chicken.
- Sprinkle the inside lightly with Italian seasoning
- Place a small pile of shredded cheese (or a strip of it, if cutting into strips) in the center of the chicken.
- Wrap the chicken around the cheese.
- Carefully wrap the chicken thigh with a single strip of bacon.
- Sprinkle the top with a tiny bit of shredded cheese.
- As you complete each one, lay them out flat on a non stick cookie sheet.
- Bake at 425 F for 25 minutes.
- Serve hot!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stuffed Pasta Shells


What else can you do with jumbo sized pasta shells?  We like them stuffed with veggies and chicken!

STUFFED PASTA SHELLS
Serves: 6-8
approx prep time: 20min
approx cook time: 30min

INGREDIENTS: 
- Large shell pasta
- 1-2 large boneless chicken breasts, or 3-5 boneless chicken thighs.
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 1 red pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 1 handful sugar snap peas
- 1 handful yellow string beans
- 1 small white onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2-3 green onions
- 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2tbsp vegetable seasoning
- 1tbsp olive oil

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Chop vegetables into small (1cm) chunks.
- Mince garlic.
- Dice chicken into small (1cm chunks)
- In a large fry pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. When warm add onions, green onions and garlic. Saute until soft (approx 5 minutes).
- Add chicken, cook until done (approx 5 minutes).
- While the onion and chicken cook, cook the pasta to al dente per the instructions on the package.
- Once the chicken is cooked, add the remaining vegetables, and vegetable seasoning and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
- Add approx 1 cup of pasta sauce, mix well, and simmer on low heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F
- Arrange pasta shells, face up, in a large oven safe dish.
- Carefully (or not so carefully, depending on how pretty you want your end result), spoon veggie mix into pasta shells.
- Drizzle with additional sauce
- Sprinkle with cheese
- Bake until cheese has melted and begins to bubble/brown. Approx 15 minutes.
- Serve fresh out of the oven!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Slow Roasted Beef Ribs


We love beef ribs, they are great in stew, but definitely awesome slow roasted.  This is a very simple recipe for nice tender beef ribs.  :-)  Have a happy and safe long weekend everyone!  Cheers!

SLOW ROASTED BEEF RIBS
Serves: 3
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 5 hours

INGREDIENTS: 
- 1 rack of beef ribs
- 1 bottle BBQ sauce of choice

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Fill the lower portion of the oven broiler pan with about 1/4 inch of water. If you're not using an oven broiler pan, any baking pan, with a wire rack for the ribs to rest on will work.
- Cut rack of ribs into 3 large pieces, evenly spaced between the bones. Each piece should be 3 or 4 bones wide.
- Brush BBQ sauce on all sides and place ribs on broiler pan.
- Using tinfoil, create a tent over the ribs. What you're doing here basically is creating a mini steamer out of the broiler pan. To keep the ribs moist and render, we're partly going to steam them while they cook.
- Bake at 400F for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, add more sauce and re-cover with tented tinfoil.
- Cook at 200F for 4 hours.
- Remove from oven, add more sauce, and return to oven uncovered.
- Cook at 400F again for 10-15 minutes to crisp up some of the sauce on the outside. Keep an eye on the ribs during this stage to make sure you don't burn them!
- When the sauce on the outside starts to crisp at the edges, remove from oven and serve!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Roasted Root Vegetables


This is a nice spin on roasted root vegetables, the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and Italian seasoning gives the roasted veggies an extra kick in flavor.  We like to use large carrots rather then small carrots as they are much sweeter and more flavorful.  This is a great side to any dish. 

ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES
Serves: 4-5
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 45min

INGREDIENTS: 
- 1lbs Mini red skin potatoes
- 1 Large Sweet Potato
- 1 Large carrot
- 1/2 large white onion
- breadcrumbs
- fresh/hard Parmesan cheese
- Italian seasoning
- olive oil

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Peel sweet potato and chop into 1 inch cubes.
- Chop carrot and onion into 1 inch cubes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine red skin potatoes, and chopped sweet potato, onion and carrot.
- Sprinkle the vegetables lightly with olive oil, tossing a few times, until well coated. Add more oil if needed.
- Generously dust the vegetables with Italian seasoning, and breadcrumbs. Finely grate a light dusting of Parmesan cheese on as well.
- Toss/Mix vegetables until well coated in seasoning and crumbs, add more breadcrumbs, cheese and seasoning if desired.
- Dump the mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet, spread out evenly, and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a casserole dish, and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
- Transfer mixture back to a baking sheet, and broil on high for 3-5 minutes until the edges of the onions start to crisp.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya


This would be the quickie version of jambalaya.  Not fussy, quick, easy, healthy, tasty and on the table with relative ease.  :-)  You can basically substitute with any vegetables or meats in the fridge.  Last time, we had roast beef jambalaya (recipe HERE) which was basically a bacon and beef version.  :-) A great alternative to pasta.  Try it sometime.

CHICKEN AND SHRIMP JAMBALAYA
Serves: 6-8
approx prep time: 20min
approx cook time: 45min

INGREDIENTS: 
- 1 large Red, Yellow or Orange bell pepper
- 1 zucchini
- 1 large white onion
- 1 large carrot
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1/2 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 cup of large shrimps, peeled, with tail removed
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 bottle of Tomato Sauce or Pasta Sauce
- salt/pepper to taste
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2tbsp olive oil

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Cook the rice according to the directions on it's packaging.
- Dice vegetables (Onion, Zucchini, pepper, carrot, celery) into medium size pieces and set aside.
- Dice chicken, and set aside.
- very finely chop garlic.
- When the rice is almost ready, heat two large non-stick fry pans over medium heat.
- In the first pan, add 1tbsp of oil, all the vegetables, garlic and vegetable seasoning, stirring often.
- In the second pan, add 1tbsp oil, and all of the chicken. Stir frequently.
- Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper while cooking.
- When the chicken is cooked add it to the vegetable mix and using the same pan cook the shrimp, along with a little more pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Add rice, pasta/tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, and if desired additional seasoning to the vegetables.
- Add cooked shrimp to the vegetables.
- Mix well, and cook for 1-2 minutes on low.
- Serve hot!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

BBQ Rotisserie Chicken


Nothing is better then rotisserie chicken.  No...not the Swiss chalet kind or the ones they sell in supermarkets, I'm talking about a fresh off the rotisserie dripping in BBQ sauce and that wonderfully crunchy skin.  It's definitely a treat and my favorite thing to do to a whole chicken.  Also, it's incredulously easy to do. Not a lot of recipe consist of 2 ingredients and come out tasting like perfection.  Try it out sometime.
 
BBQ ROTISSERIE CHICKEN
Serves: 4
approx prep time: 10min
approx cook time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS: 
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 bottle of BBQ sauce
- 1 rotisserie grill or rotisserie attachment for your BBQ

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- If your chicken didn't come cleaned and tied, do that now.
- Place chicken on rotisserie spit, and season lightly with salt and pepper (if desired).
- Rotisserie for approx. 45 minutes (likely a bit less if using a BBQ)
- Brush with BBQ sauce, and continue to cook for another 10-15minutes.
- Brush lightly one last time with BBQ sauce, cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Cut into quarters and serve HOT with extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Asian Legends Toronto

Location: 3636 Steeles Avenue East #152, Markham, ON, (905) 947-0370

One of my favorite Taiwanese restaurants is Asian Legends.  They food they serve is consistently delicious, they have lots of appetizers to choose from as well as mains.  My favorite things to get is appetizers (as I miss Taiwanese street food dearly)...and that's we did this time. 
First up:  deep fried tofu with garlic and hot soya sauce oil ($4.95).  The tofu was perfect, crispy on the outside, tender and fresh on the inside, the minced garlic added the necessary kick.  :-)  I love fried tofu.
This dish is called "Fan Tuan" in Mandarin ($3.95).  This is one of my favorite dish to get a Asian Legends, it's the best here.  Glutinous rice filled with a crispy dough fritter and dried shredded pork floss.   This is a very common lunch item to get in Taiwan, and it's oh so tasty.  This one is wrapped in plastic because glutinous rice is very sticky.  Chewy on the outside, crunchy on the inside, and the wonderful flavour of the dried shredded pork floss inside.  I can eat these all day long.  :-)
Hot and sour soup with chicken ($4.95).  Get this if you like it with a lot of white pepper because I think they overloaded on the white pepper a bit.  It was still very good and had a great kick though. 
The best "shao long bao" (steamed soup filled juicy pork dumplings) in Toronto ($5.50 for 6).  Thin dough skin wrapper, delicious seasoned pork juices that pour out once the skin is broken, and a juicy ground pork and spices nugget inside.  Amazing dipped in some red vinegar with thin ginger spears.
This is just "Har Gow" or steamed shrimp dumplings ($6.50 for 5).  I wouldn't recommend getting thisd at Asian legends, but my coworker really loved this dish and Asian legends is the only place that would serve Har Gow at all times of the day. 
This is a treo of cold taiwanese appetizer dishes. ($5.95 to $7.95 for each selection)  My coworker wanted to try things he never had before, so I picked the following:
Top left:  Jelly fish in a bit of seseme oil.  I LOVE jellyfish.  I just love the crunchy but chewy texture and I usually only get to have it when there is a Chinese ten course banquet dinner.
To Right: Marinated duck tongue.  Odd to most western cultures, common in asian cultures, just slightly salty and in a bit of seseme oil, it's delicious!  :-) 
Bottom center:  Smoked fish.  It's marinated in a sweet sauce, and it's been cooked for so long that you can eat ALL of the parts of the fish, including the fins and bones.  I enjoyed this dish...the marinated fish is kind of like eating a candied salmon (and I love candied salmon). 

Last dish that is also one of my favorites, is rolled onion pancake with sliced beef ($5.95).  I think they wrap it in foil so that the entire pancake doesn't fall apart as easily.  But this is so tasty, and slight greasy, that I have to order this every time. 

I highly recommend this restaurant.  There are other great Taiwanese restaurants in Toronto, but this chain of restaurants (with 6 location in Toronto) is one of my favorites and easily satisfies.  :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Home Made Double Down


KFC has a pseudo sandwich called "The Double Down", a bread-less sandwich described as "bacon, two different kinds of melted cheese, the Colonel’s 'secret' sauce... pinched in between two pieces of Original Recipe chicken fillets."  They brought it to Canada on October 18, 2010, but just a short month later, took the product off Canadian markets.  The Double Down's 540 calories, 30 grams of fat, 1,740 milligrams of sodium left most Canadians (well, at least my friends that have tried it), with intense headaches from overdosing on salt. 

Since neither Nick nor I had the chance to try the double down in Canada for the short time it was here, the thought of 2 crispy chicken fillets with cheese and good bacon sounded so good and bad for us that we had to try to make it for ourselves.  Here is our homemade Double Down, with a heck of a lot less salt, and a heck of a lot more flavor.  :-)


THE HOMEMADE DOUBLE DOWN
Serves: 1
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 10min

INGREDIENTS: 
- 2 fried chicken breasts. Using the recipe here.
- 2 or 3 strips of bacon
- 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Before making the fried chicken (Recipe Here), fry up 2 or 3 strips of bacon and set aside
- Shred 1/4 cup of Mozzarella cheese, and set aside.
- Make the two pieces of Fried Chicken. When finished let them rest on paper towel for 30-40 seconds before making the sandwich.
- Using the fried chicken pieces as bread, stuff with bacon and Cheese.
- Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Double Dipped Raspberries




Well, it's about time for another chocolate dipped thing.  To me, white and dark chocolate dipped raspberries are the ultimate king of chocolate dipped fruits.  Raspberry is just such a great compliment to both a creamy white chocolate, and a good dark chocolate.  When it comes to this kind of dessert, you really get what you put into it.  Pick fresh firm raspberries and really good dark and white chocolate.  I recommend Godiva white chocolate, and a Lindt or Valrhona dark chocolate for dipping.  What is the key to making these look pretty and presentable?  Having chopstick skills!  :-P  Yes, without chopstick skills you can still use your hands, but it may be a bit messier.

Double Dipped Raspberries
approx prep time: 10min
approx chill time: 20min


INGREDIENTS: 
70g of Lindt Bittersweet Dark Chocolate Bar (approx 8-10 pieces)
1.5 bars of 43g mini bar (6 pieces) of Godiva white chocolate
1 quarter pint of raspberries
1 pair of chopsticks (optional)


HOW TO MAKE IT:
1) Line a large plate or baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper
2) Break dark chocolate bar into chunks and crumble into a small bowl.  Microwave dark chocolate 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 second interval, until chocolate is just melted and smooth (do not overheat, chocolate can burn).
3) Dip one side of the raspberry into chocolate and place on wax paper.  Using chopsticks makes the least mess or you can use your hands, but they won't turn out as clean or pretty.
4) Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the dark chocolate has hardened.
5) Peel off the dark chocolate dipped raspberries and repeat steps 2-4 to dip the other side of the strawberry with white chocolate, shake off excess chocolate (or don't, if you like more chocolate).  :-)
5) Serve cold, don't let the dipped fruit come to room temperature.
6) Store leftovers (if there are any), in sealed containers in the refrigerator. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Canadian Burgers


Known as Canadian bacon in the US, in Canada, it is known as peameal bacon or back bacon.  It's delicious when made right, and like salted rubber jerky when made incorrectly.  To the rest of the world, they think back bacon is ham.  IT IS NOT HAM!  Back bacon refers to either smoked or unsmoked bacon cut from the boneless eye of pork loin.  Peameal bacon is back bacon, brined and coated in fine cornmeal.  I especially like my peameal bacon on a bun with a fried egg and cheese....however, paired with Nick's burger, it's adds a whole new dimension.
CANADIAN BURGERS
Serves: 2
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 15min

INGREDIENTS (Makes 2 burgers): 
- 1lbs Lean ground beef
- 2 slices of Peameal Bacon
- 1 small white onion (or 1/2 of a large white onion)
- 1/4 cup Bacon Bits (Simulated, or small pieces of crumbled bacon)
- 2/3 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Toppings of choice (Pickles, Tomato, etc..)
- 2 large kaiser rolls

HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Pan fry peameal bacon and set aside.
- Finely dice onion
- Mix ground beef, diced onion, bacon bits, and steak spice thoroughly
- Shape beef mixture into 2 patties, roughly 1" thick.
- Cook patties to desired doneness in a frying pan, on an indoor grill or BBQ.
- Serve patty with bacon, shredded cheese and desired toppings on fresh Kaiser roll.