Christmas 2014

I’m back! And it’s Christmas time! After a three month hiatus you get to read about what I am eating and cooking again. I know, contain your excitement. We have entered into that magical time that GC and I have been looking forward to for months: AFTER THE WEDDING. Yes, the wedding was magical, beautiful and everything we had dreamed of and we are so happy to be married but it was also all-consuming. So bear with me, you will be seeing foods I ate three months ago when it was warm and beautiful outside. But for now: Christmas!

This weekend I kicked off my Christmas 2014: Saturday was spent in Newmarket at the Santa Claus Parade, then in Bradford at the greenhouse followed by fondue which always makes me feel festive. Sunday was a lazy day of brunch,  another Santa Claus parade and then yoga.

Below are my photos from the Bradford Greenhouse. If you live in the area you have to check it out. It is a magical winter wonderland!

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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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The Merry Gentlemen Cocktail

The LCBO always creates such beautiful food, cocktails and recipes but they have always appeared daunting and ridiculous to me. Last weekend GC and I had a Friday night date-night: Christmas trees at the Gardiner Museum, dinner at Home of the Brave and then homemade cocktails. I had wanted to try the Holly and the Ivy, a drink that requires elderflower liquor that is $50 a bottle! Having never tried elderflower anything and GC’s words of wisdom, we opted for the Merry Gentlemen instead.

IMG_5052Recipe: To a rocks glass filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz. Crown Royal Whiskey, ½ oz. lemon juice,  and 2 oz. of pomegranate juice, top with 2 oz ginger ale.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds and a mint leaf.

This is one of the best cocktails I have ever had and it was made better by the fact that I had made it myself. If you don’t like whiskey, you will still like this cocktail. The fruity flavours mask the harshness of the whiskey but still allow that light, floral taste to come through. Despite having such light flavours, this drink is still substantial and has a very 1960s cocktail lounge vibe to it.

If you haven’t picked your Christmas nightcap yet, I would highly recommend this cocktail. If whiskey and pomegranate aren’t your thing, the LCBO has more festive cocktails here.

Happy boozing!

 

Mini Quiches in Prosciutto Cups

We all have those calendars in our houses that we get for free at fairs, medical grocery stores or with flyers in the newspapers that are filled with pictures of delicious recipes and produce. We look at them in our kitchens every day and think, help “Hmm. That looks good. I should make that.” But then January turns to February and the calendar pages gets flipped and the recipes get forgotten.

I am guilty of this. I have a Foodland Ontario calendar in my kitchen that each month I drool over the recipes but never make them. However, when November changed to December, I knew I had to make the recipe: mini quiches in prosciutto cups.

I made these a few weeks ago when our friends Al and Jamie came over for a couple of Christmas cocktails (that was the same night I made the “Evening in Kingston” cocktail) and they were a hit. These are the perfect bites of salty, creamy goodness.

They are extremely easy to make, the most difficult part being wrapping the prosciutto into tiny cups. I made the error of using regular sized muffin tins instead of mini, which required a last minute run to the store for more prosciutto (I feel like this is the definition of a #firstworldproblem). All other ingredients are simply mixed and then poured into the cups and baked for a few minutes.

This would be a great appetizer on Christmas Eve or a great way to ring in the new year next week!

Recipe from Foodland Ontario is below the cut! Happy munching!

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Cranberry Margaritas

Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

Feliz Navidad! If you are celebrating a tropical style Christmas or are just missing the warmth after Toronto’s insane ice storm this weekend, I suggest you trek out to the store and pick up the ingredients for this cranberry margarita. A margarita is a drink that will instantly sweep you away to a warmer place. The cranberry pairs naturally with the lime citrus tones of this cocktail and give it a more festive feel.

Recipe is from Gimme Some Oven (my latest find and newest crush) and can be found below the cut.

Happy boozing!

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La Carnita

Another visit (two technically) to La Carnita does not need a full write up, just an update on new menu items. In the past two weeks I have been to La Carnita twice and therefore have been very happy.

I have tried two new cocktails: the Big Daddy PumpKane and the Now’s the Thyme.

Photo Credit: La Carnita
Big Daddy PumpKane with bourbon, vanilla schnapps, muddled cranberries, egg whites, pumpkin spice

This is one of the best cocktails I have ever had. It literally tastes like a mixture of pumpkin pie and the entire Christmas season. It is sweet, and tart with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. It is only a seasonal cocktail, made specifically for fall, so it may be removed from the menu once we get into winter, so you should go and have a taste.

Photo Credit: La Carnita
Now’s The Thyme, a whiskey sour with Tromba tequila instead of whiskey, and ginger thyme syrup.

I didn’t love this. Tequila is a very strong flavour and thyme is not substantial enough to support the strong woody and nutty flavours that tequila imparts. It is fresh and crisp though, like drinking in a garden.

And I tried two more tacos: the Crispy Cojita taco and the Wild Crab Cake tostado.

Photo Credit: La Carnita
Crispy Cotija cheese taco with pinto bean cauliflower stew and pickled carrots

When our server came to tell us about the daily specials, the first words out of his mouth were, “A fried cheese…” and I stopped listening because he had me at fried cheese. Maybe I should have continued to listen because I didn’t love this taco. All the aspects are good, and worked together but what would have really put this taco over the top would have been to have the cheese extremely hot so it had the stringy consistency of a mozzarella stick. The cheese had mostly solidifed, so the taco resembled a bed of vegetables topped with a hard cheese string. Gross. Ok. I am over exaggerating the effect this taco had on me. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it and I wouldn’t order it again.

Photo Credit: La Carnita, so no, I don’t know this woman.
Wild Crab Cake Tostada with corn and tomato salsa, jalapeno dressing and micro greens.

YUMS. I loved this taco! The crispy base of the tostada, the creamy jalapeno dressing, topped with the flaky, crispy crab cake made a perfect combination of flavour and texture. The salsa added a fresh, fruity quality which brought out the natural fruity, light flavours of the crab. I think that it is a shame that this taco is one of their daily specials (only available on Thursdays) because it would be a welcome addition to the menu.

Another two nights, another two cocktails and another two tacos. Happy munching!

Eggnog Fudge

Eggnog-fudgePhoto credit: Skip to My Lou

I have never been into eggnog. It was always in the house around the holidays but it was primarily enjoyed by Theresa and JDL. This year, I stumbled across this recipe and thought, “Hey, let’s give it a try.”

Turns out, I am falling in love with eggnog! I sampled the new Natrel eggnog (delicious, but only available at Costco), finally tried the Starbucks eggnog latte (for years I have exclusive had the white chocolate peppermint mocha at Christmas time) and I made this fudge.

This fudge is delicious as fudge, but not as eggnog fudge. There is too much white chocolate that it completely overpowers the eggnog and the nutmeg. I am currently on the look out for other eggnog/Christmas fudges (and other eggnog treats!) – if you have a favourite, pass it along!

Recipe is below the cut – Happy munching!

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Fall Sangria and Tree Trimming

pageOn December 3rd, store we trimmed our Christmas tree. This year, prescription we stuck with red and green ornaments, dotted with personal ornaments we are slowly adding to the collection. Each year, we are going to buy one new ornament, and slowly, over the years we will have a tree filled with unique and personal ornaments. Last year, the lovely Le Faz gave me a donut-shaped ornament and my parents gave us two pinecone-shaped ornaments made from antique book pages. This year, I gave GC an ornament to commemorate his proposal:

icm_fullxfull.32810937_sju25nmlm8040ckcg8soOf course, no tree trimming is complete without booze and I made us an autumn inspired sangria. My favourite part was the cinnamon-sugar rim.  The cocktail was too citrusy and this did not compliment the strong seasonal flavours of cinnamon a cloves.

Recipe is below the cut. Happy festive boozing!

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Christmas 2013

Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. Not my favourite holiday but I do love the build up and the all encompassing, sovaldi sale consuming ability the holiday has. With only 18 days left until Christmas, here is a list of things I would like to do by then to get in the festive spirit!

1. Bake cookies – sugar, gingerbread and shortbread are a total must
2. Visit the Distillery District Christmas market
3. Look at Christmas lights
4. Make festive ravioli
5. Make a festive wreath
6. Trim the Christmas tree
7. Go ice skating
8. Have a Christmas movie marathon night
9. Drink festive cocktails and punch
10. Bake or cook with eggnog
11. Make the house smell like Christmas
12. Send Christmas cards
13. Look festive for Christmas
14. Participate in a holiday potluck – even just by eating!
15. Eat cranberry-filled things
16. Snack on Christmas treats – candy canes, gumdrops and hot chocolate
17. If it snows, enjoy the snow!
18. Celebrate the solstice
19. Buy a new ornament for the Christmas tree and start a new tradition
20. See everyone I love (and within a reasonable distance) and wish them a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” in person – cheesy but the perfect way to end the holiday season!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!