Eggs in a Cloud

photo 1 photo 4It’s Friday night and I am dreaming of weekend brunch. A few weeks ago a co-worker stumbled across a beautiful, yet simple recipe, Rachel Ray’s Eggs in a Cloud.

How could I not make this recipe? Bacon, cheese and eggs and no bread needed? Giving the illusion of being healthy due to a lack of carbs? Of course. This recipe would be perfect for a brunch – it is simple but looks impressive and would be nicely accompanied by a simple, garden salad. The recipe is straightfoward and the flavours are simple but completely connected and fresh.

Recipe is below the cut and happy munching!

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Steak Salad

In our house, we can be accused of not eating enough vegetables. We are carnivores and proud of it. We will never give up red meat, avoid salty, fatty deli meats like prosciutto and I will never substitute tofu/veggie-something where meat is meant to be. All of that being said I am making an honest effort to get us slightly more healthy and fit.

A few weeks ago I started this effort by making Giada De Laurentiis’ Steak Salad.

Food Credit: Food Network

I’m sorry, I had to work meat in there somehow.

In theory this is an easy meal to make. However, because I don’t know how to cook (apparently) I sliced deep into my thumb with a serrated knife while cutting up the lettuce for this salad. Yes, that’s right: I did not injure myself while cutting steak but while cutting lettuce. In retrospect, I should have gotten stitches as one should do with all deep, serrated cuts but now I will proudly sport my first cooking scar.

I absolutely loved this salad. The flavours worked together nicely, from the subtle blend of greens (romaine, endive and arugula) to the kick of blue cheese and the juiciness from the steak. The dressing added a nice tang and citrus taste to the salad. I can’t wait to make this in the summer and enjoy it in the backyard with a nice cold beer.

The perfect salad to make you dream of summer and forget how bloody cold it has been lately! Recipe from the Food Network is below the cut and happy munching!

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Food & Drink – Beer Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Every three months another Food & Drink magazine is released and I rush to the LCBO to covertly grab a copy for myself and one for my mom. I pour over the pages filled with beautiful photographs and recipes for cocktails and other yummy things. Although this magazine is basically my porn, cialis I had never actually cooked anything from its pages until the other day. GC started a new job (yay!) and for his first day, buy I made him a congratulatory dinner: Beer-glazed pork tenderloin with cranberry gruyere risotto.

201306046This recipe immediately jumped off the page at me. It combines so many of my favourite ingredients (cheese, check beer, pork and risotto) into a truly unique dish. The flavours are seasonal and this meal would make a great dish for a holiday party. The fruity tastes of the cranberry cut the rich, nutty flavours from the cheesy risotto.

The pork is perfectly cooked because it is cooked to a specific internal temperature using a meat thermometer. I had never used a meat thermometer before and it is now my favourite kitchen utensil. The glaze is fruity and delicate, and works in tandem with the fruity risotto.

We absolutely loved this dish and I would suggest making it again and again. The recipe from Food & Drink is below the cut – happy munching!

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Barrio Coreano

The holidays have come and gone and that means life can return to normal. Normal to me means eating good food with good people: on Wednesday night Cynthia and I went to Barrio Coreano.

Barrio Coreano is Playa Cabana‘s fourth restaurant that is Korean-Mexican fusion food. The vibe is the same as their other locations: funky, eclectic and a mix of found items and repurposed items. The menus are written on the wall without descriptions, a trend I hate, but we have an overly excitable server who explained every menu item in depth. We started out with cocktails and guacamole, a must at any Mexican restaurant. We then had three tacos each ($5/taco, pretty standard) and more cocktails.

The Yuzu Tuna taco.

Yuzu Tuna TacoPhoto Credit: Toronto Life
The Yuzu Tuna taco with tempura fried ahi tuna with jicama, purple cabbage slaw and yuzu dressing.

The fish was flaky, tender and slightly sweet in a gentle covering of batter. The slaw was sweet and crunchy. The jalapeno peppers added a kick of heat that added a deeper layer of flavour and cohesion to the taco. This was tasty but still, my favourite fish taco is still at La Carnita.

The Grilled Octopus with Wasabi Salsa.

Octopus TacoPhoto Credit: Toronto Life
Grilled octopus taco with wasabi, daikon and avocado pico de gallo.

The octopus was tender and citrusy, grilled lightly to ensure it wasn’t rubbery and tough. The wasabi added a unique heat to the taco which added a deeper level of depth of flavour then your traditional heat inducers don’t add. The avocado added creaminess. The flavours and textures of this taco were complex but working in perfect harmony together.

The Korean Beef Taco Beef TacoPhoto Credit: Toronto Life
Korean Beef taco with Korean barbecue beef with house-pickled pears

This was my favourite of the three tacos. The beef was tender and easy to bite into. It was juicy and the sauce was spicy but sweet. Korean flavours start of as sweet and then hit you with a subtle heat that builds through the meal. The house-pickled pears reinforced the Korean theme of the taco and add a fresh, cool, crispiness that helped ease the spicy burn with every bite.

I really enjoyed my meal here. The cocktails were different and unique, but still well priced. The tacos had a real depth of flavour that made them complex but still enjoyable and not too overpowering. And of course, the company was unparalleled.

Definitely worth the trip to Koreatown – happy munching!

 

Infused Vodka

This is completely stolen from Toronto Life (original article can be found here) but need to be re-posted her because it is about infused vodka. I am planning on eventually making all of these and needed to have a record of the recipes.

1 | It’s Kosher (pictured)
Infuse vodka with two handfuls fresh dill. Shake 1?½ oz infused vodka, cialis ¾ oz Becherovka liqueur, remedy ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 slices muddled cucumber and 3 drops Bittermens Burlesque bitters. Double-strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh dill.

2 | Flip Flop
Infuse vodka with three or four vanilla beans. Shake 2 oz infused vodka, ½ oz Devil’s Cut bourbon, ¼ oz cinnamon syrup, 5 drops Bittercube blackstrap molasses bitters, ¾ oz puréed apple and 1 beaten egg without ice. Add ice and shake again. Double-strain into cocktail glass. Grate fresh cinnamon overtop.

3 | BellHop
Infuse vodka with one sliced yellow or orange bell pepper. Shake 1?½ oz infused vodka, ½ oz agave nectar, handful of fresh sage and ¾ oz freshly squeezed lime juice. Strain over ice into a Collins glass. Top with 1 oz club soda. Garnish with a bell pepper slice.

4 | Voodoo Chili
Infuse vodka with one stemmed jalapeño pepper, cut lengthwise. Rinse coupette glass with mezcal. Shake 1?½ oz infused vodka, ½ oz Cointreau, 1?½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice and ½ oz agave nectar. Double-strain into coupette. Garnish with cilantro.

5 | Flower Child
Infuse vodka with two handfuls of fresh lavender. Gently shake 2 oz infused vodka, ½ oz Martini Bianco vermouth, 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice and ½ oz chamomile syrup. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Float ½ oz green Chartreuse on top and garnish with chamomile flowers.

6 | Not Grandma’s Cobbler
Infuse vodka with one sliced peach. Muddle 5 strawberries with 2 oz infused vodka, ½ oz Galliano liqueur and 1 oz fresh lemon juice. Add 1 beaten egg white and shake without ice. Add ice and shake again. Double-strain into a cocktail glass. Grate nutmeg overtop.

The Queen and Beaver

#47 on BlogTO’s Brunch list – The Queen and Beaver. We checked out this pub after a Treat Yo’ Self style day – we went for massages at the Elmwood Spa, followed by brunch at The Queen and Beaver and then we went to the movies and checked out American Hustle.

The Queen and Beaver is a British pub in every sense of the word: it is cozy, has bookshelves, walls lined with paintings of fox hunts and decorative plates depicting royals, mismatched china and fireplaces. It is the perfect place to enjoy a pint or traditional British food. Don’t be scared of by British food, it is delicious. Since Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver British food has been revolutionized and is absolutely delish.

I ordered the Traditional Full English.

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photo 5The Traditional Full English with 2 eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, black pudding (not available the day I ordered it), baked beans and toast.

This is one of the most straightforward, simple breakfast I have ever eaten at a restaurant but it was perfection. I got my eggs poached which is the first time I have ever ordered poached eggs and they were wonderful. Runny, but still creamy and soft with a little kick of vinegar which you all know I love. The bacon was the best bacon I have ever had. It was salty and sweet, with hints of maple. The sausages were juicy but well seasoned with sage. The mushrooms were sautéed and slightly caramelized, maintaining their fleshiness and meatiness. The tomato was grilled and slightly charred, but tender and juicy.

The black pudding was not available on the day I ordered this dish and I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. If it had been on my plate, I would have tried it but since it wasn’t, we don’t have to worry about that. Maybe one day I will try black pudding… maybe this is something I should save for England?

GC ordered the Scotch Woodcock.

photo 1photo 2GC and I had never heard of Scotch woodcock so obviously one of us had to order it. Scotch woodcock consists of creamy, softly scrambled eggs served over toast that has been spread with anchovy paste. An interesting combination that can be a little daunting and off putting but it is salty, creamy and fluffy. GC said the eggs were almost as good as my scrambled eggs but I think he is biased.

We followed up our breakfast with an order of homemade ice cream each. I ordered the Stilton and Wild Cherry, GC ordered the Whiskey Gingerbread. The Stilton and cherry worked in contrast with one another but it was too much contrast. The flavours did not work in tandem together but instead against. The whiskey gingerbread ice cream was unreal. The whiskey picked up the natural spicy, earthy flavours of gingerbread. The texture of the gingerbread versus the ice cream was key to the success of the ice cream: there were completely pulverized pieces of gingerbread that gently infused the ice cream and bigger chunks of gingerbread dotted the ice cream to ensure real gingerbread flavour.

This is easily one of my favourite brunches so far off the list and I suggest you all try it. If you love breakfast, pubs and/or Britain you should check out this pub for a pint or a meal. And invite me!

Happy munching!

2014

photo 1 photo 2As 2014 begins, I am thinking about resolutions and goals for the year, both food and life related. My life resolutions list is a small list:

  1. Knit more. Last year, I only completed 3 knitting projects: two infinity scarves: one for me and one for my friend Julianna and a baby blanket for my friends Nicole and Andy’s beautiful new baby girl. I unraveled GC’s neck warmer yesterday in an instance of frustration which I immediately regretted. But this year, I will knit more and learn how to fix mistakes rather than unravel them. I want to make GC a neck warmer, myself a pair of mittens, a head band and a pair of slippers.
  2. Exercise more. I don’t have specific goals of fitting into a specific size or being able to lift a certain amount of weight; I am just trying to be more active and healthy. I have started the 30-Day Plank Challenge and plan to gradually work my way through all the 30-Day fitness challenges (ok, I might avoid the squat challenge).
  3. Read more. I don’t read as much as I should. In 2013, I read between 15-20 books which is good but I want to read more. I will continue my “Best Adapted Screenplay” project and I also want to try and read all of Jane Austen’s books (because that’s something everyone should do, right?).
  4. Write more. I need to get better about writing more and writing regularly. My writing is sporadic at best and when I do write, it’s an overload of posts. Since I am planning on eating out less, I also need to work on other things to write about besides recipes and restaurants reviews but avoiding the mundane drama of my own life.

My food resolutions are:

  1. Bake more. At my old job, I would bake on almost a weekly basis. Between actually having to cook my own meals and travelling on the subway with baked goods, I have let this hobby fall by the wayside. After doing all my Christmas baking, I decided I should bake new things more often: cookies, pies, cakes, whoopie pies, and cupcakes.
  2. Use cookbooks more. I have way too many cookbooks I have never used before. My goal is to cook at least one thing from each of my 51 cookbooks this year.
  3. Host more. The dinner party is something that is dying out with our generation and this is something I want to rectify. I am a good cook, a good baker and I make a pretty mean cocktail. Therefore, people should come over to my house more. My only request: bring wine.
  4. Try more. I want to try more foods. Types of cheese, sauces, spices and cuisines. There are so many foods that I have never tried and I need to change this. I can’t claim to love food if I have never eating a weird type of meat (the weirdest I have eaten is bison? Even my sister who hates food has eaten camel) or even eaten pho.
  5. Read more. Read more about food! I have tons of cookbooks with great types and advice about ingredients and cooking but I have never cracked a spin on them. I have autobiographies of great food writers and chefs and have never peered into the lives of them.
  6. Master more. Every good chef/home cook has an arsenal of go-to recipes and this is something I need to go. I would like to master this list by the time I am 30 – 4 ½ years, I think I can do it.

10 things – I think I can do it! 2014 will be a year of adventures, food, cooking, love and friendship and I am really looking forward to it. If you are looking for more food goals check out this list from the Huffington Post.

Happy munching!

 

Christmas Baking

Christmas has come and gone and of course, there was excessive amounts of baking. This year I made 7 different types of cookies.

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1. Peppermint Oreo Truffles
2. Caramel Stuffed Soft Gingerbread Cookies
3. Triple White Chocolate Peppermint Blossoms
4. Eggnog Cookies
5. Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Pudding Cookies
6. Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
7. Chocolate and Maraschino Cherry Shortbread Cookies

This were the most successful batch of Christmas cookies I have ever made, every recipe was good! The easiest were the peppermint oreo truffles and my favourite were the lemon ricotta cookies with lemon glaze.

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to bake cookies more often to try out new recipes and techniques – why save it only for the holidays?

Happy munching!