Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tonight we had lasagna with Italian sausage, beef, cottage cheese and spinach for dinner. My husband served it with garlic and parmesan pumpernickel bread. Unfortunately I wasn't home when he was making it, so I didn't get all the details and shots in between. Hmmm, I wonder if he did that on purpose! I did get a tidbit of why it was so flavourful. Lots of garlic and a little tarragon. It was heavenly, and the perfect comfort food on a cold rainy day.
Monday, September 29, 2008
We've got a bunch of tomatoes from our garden that will just not ripen. So tonight, my husband fried them up and served them with a cauliflower and cumin soup from The Red Apron. It was very easy (from what I could tell), and very yummy.
What you’ll need
Sliced green tomatoes
Herbs and spices
Salt and pepper
Blue cheese dressing
What to do
Mix the herbs, spices, cornmeal and salt and pepper together. Coat the tomato in the egg, then dredge it in the cornmeal mixture. Then cook them in the frying pan.
Sprinkle them with blue cheese dressing and some chives.
Total time, approximately 20 minutes.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ok, so the theme of this weekend is smoked fish. You've seen my lox breakfast. You've read about my smoked trout, mackerel and salmon. You didn't see the smoked fish platter my friends and I purchased at La Boucanerie Chelsea that was amazing, but that's ok. And now, my lunch for tomorrow is a maple smoked salmon sandwich on multigrain bread with cream cheese, cucumber, capers, sprouts and red onion. Hey, when you've got something good going why end it?
I've labeled this under Misc Food because my husband didn't prepare it for me. I know, it's hard to believe. And yes, I do actually prepare food for myself on occasion. Although it's very rare. I bought the maple smoked salmon at La Boucanerie Chelsea yesterday. God I love that place. Add a Montreal bagel, cream cheese, red onion, capers and sprouts and you've got an awesome Sunday morning breakfast.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Well, it took a while, but i've finally gotten my first Tip Jar submission. I'm sad to say the culprit is Café Soup‘Herbe. I've now removed them from my favorite places to eat right now list. I still love the food. And I will go again. But I couldn't for the life of me tip our server today. We arrived and were greeted by a girl who looked like she had arrived from a different planet and had no idea how to do her job. We asked how long it would be for a table and her reaction was like we had asked her to drop her pants. Ok, maybe i'm exaggerating a little. We decided to sit outside where there were some tables available and then that was it, they forgot about us. One of us decided to remind them we were there. It took a while but we finally got our order. After going inside to get our napkins, cutlery and everything else we needed we had to find our server yet again to get some bread and water. I had had a late breakfast so I only ordered the Peanut Curry Soup, which was delicious, so that, along with my drink and half of my friend's lunch cost (it's day 2 of her birthday) came to $20. It didn't even seem worth it to tip 10%. So 15% has now been added to the Tip Jar.
Did I mention my husband also cooks amazing breakfasts? This morning I got home from walking my dog and there it was, soft scrambled eggs with chives on whole grain toast with tomato from our garden and a piece of La vache qui rit cheese. I caught the drool forming at my mouth with my first bite. It was delicious. I don't have the recipe for this one as it's pretty obvious I think. But this proves right here that presentation is everything! Don't get me wrong though, if there was no presentation, i'd still love it.
Monday, September 22, 2008
We love to start our week on a healthy note. This week is no exception. My husband just finished cooking a bunch of chicken breast for our lunches this week. This is a very easy and insanely healthy lunch recipe. It's good for dinner too.
What you’ll need
Cooked boneless skinless chicken breast
PC arrabbiata sauce or any other flavourful tomato sauce
What to do
Season the cooked chicken breast with tarragon.
Place the quinoa, spinach and chicken breast in a plastic container and top it with arrabbiata sauce. Looking forward to tomorrow!
Total time, approximately 1 hour. Mostly spent on cooking the chicken.
I've been asked by a few people if I would include recipes for my husband's meals. There are never any exact recipes per se. He usually does them off the top of his head, or modifies recipes he's seen elsewhere. And he never measures anything. But, I've decided to stick to him like glue while he's cooking (he loves it, I know he does!) and ask as many questions as I can so that you can reap the benefits of his quick, easy and healthy cooking style.
A friend of ours recently came back from visiting her parents and brought us a gorgeous trout that her father caught. Tonight we had it for dinner and it was so tasty. Wild fish always has the best flavour. And this recipe really did it justice.
What you’ll need
Trout filet cut width-wise into 2 or 3 pieces (depending on the size)
Cooked wild rice
3 or 4 celery stalks sliced
3 whole garlic cloves
1 chopped red or green chili pepper (he used red to add more colour to the dish). You may want to use up to 3. We are not spicy people and with just one was pretty mild.
What to do
Place the celery, garlic cloves and chilies in the bottom of a skillet.
Set the trout on top. Sprinkle some coriander, a bit more celery, salt, paprika and olive oil over the top.
Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Bring the water to a boil then cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Serve over the wild rice and sprinkle with chopped chilies, coriander and salt – voilà!
Total time, approximately 30 minutes.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I used to eat here often when I worked in the market. I was in the area getting my hair done so all I could think about was grabbing a bite here afterward. They have a wonderful lunch menu where you get a soup, spring roll and vermicelli dish for $11.95. And I ordered exactly that. The soup comes first, hot and sour pineapple soup. It's a light and slightly spicy soup with sliced celery, tomatoes and pineapple. Really tasty. Then came my bowl of vermicelli, I got the vegetarian version which has fried tofu, a spring roll, lettuce, bean sprouts, cucumber and carrots with a bean sauce (I get that instead of the fish sauce). Vietnamese food is like comfort food for me. I have an obsession with vermicelli noodles so unless something is really wrong with the food, Vietnamese restaurants will always have a pretty good review rating with me. This one isn't my favorite, but it's good. The food is fresh and the service is good. One time a few years ago, I came here for lunch and although I was the only person in the restaurant, 15+ minutes passed with no one coming to see me. So I walked out and vowed to never come again. But I did, because I still really like the food. And the service has never been that bad again. I've never been for dinner. But the prices on the menu range from $5 to $9 for apps and $10 to $18 for mains. They also have a tiny little patio outside that's great for summer days.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
My husband makes the best ceasar salad dressing. It's got a strong kick but is very light in texture. In addition to the chicken, we had fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden and a piece of La vache qui rit cheese. So yummy!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
tip jar submission tonight (finally!) but a good friend of ours was in town from Montreal and picked up the tab – thanks Mark!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Below is my rating system for the restaurant reviews.
5 Stars: Amazing!
4 Stars: Excellent
3 Stars: Very Good
2 Stars: Good
1 Star: OK
Price symbols indicate the overall cost of an appetizer and main course and non-alcoholic beverage, per person, without tip, tax, wine or alcohol.
¢: under $15
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Well here it is, my lunch for tomorrow. This savory sandwich is one of my favorites. Turkey breast with green onions, cucumber and raisins folded in a curry, mayo, yogurt and dijon mixture, then topped with mâche, radicchio and frisée on potato and scallion bread. YUM!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I've been to this place more than I can count. It's a quaint little vegetarian restaurant in Chelsea that is the perfect spot to stop in for a bite after either hiking, biking, kayaking, or whatever your fancy when in the Gatineau Hills. It's usually my incentive to go do one of the above. Today, I went road riding, and Café Soup'Herbe was my destination. The first thing I do when I arrive is check what the soup of the day is. I'm always hoping it will either be Hungarian Mushroom Soup or Peanut Soup. Both are my favorite but they don't make it enough. Today was Cream of Spinach. No matter which soup you order here, you can't go wrong. They are all amazing. The cream of spinach was just the right consistency, not too thick and had lots of flavor. They also bring whole grain rolls to the table which are always fresh. If you go for breakfast, instead of rolls they bring you a warm cinnamon roll, which I would go for breakfast just to get that. For my main I had the Asparagus and Artichoke Heart Tartelette made with cheese, eggs and pecan with a zesty orange flavor. Basically it was quiche, with a light golden crust. You could barely taste the orange zest, in fact, I forgot about it until I read it in my Restaurant Notes book, and once I remembered and thought about it, I could taste it. My mother in law gave me a notebook specifically for taking notes at restaurants. I like it because I concentrate a little more on my food while i'm eating it so that I can think of new things to say. I think i'll need to get a culinary dictionary to get some more words into my vocabulary though – awesome, amazing and delicious are getting old. With almost every meal they serve you a mesclun mix salad with a delicious homemade vinaigrette and thinly slivered carrots, almost vermicelli-like. I tried to order the Three-fruit Crumble with ice cream but they were out of ice cream and their espresso machine was also broken, so I skipped dessert. The service here is good. My server today was especially friendly and i've never been disappointed with a meal here. The prices are good, my soup and tartelette with water came to $22.24 with tax. But everything is fresh and obviously worth it since I do come often.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Ok so my best friend named this dish. She was over for dinner tonight and the Mexican theme got to her. As soon as my husband told us he was making one of our favorite dishes of his, lime and chili grilled corn on the cob, excitement filled the air! With that, he served BBQ potatoes and chicken thighs grilled, then marinated in olive oil, garlic, fresh oregano, sherry vinegar and red wine.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Ok, i've been holding back on these, but after I saw this one made, I had to add it to my blog. And if you don't hate me yet, you will now. I'm talking about my lunches. Yes, that's right, not only does my husband cook me dinner, he also makes my lunches. Every day. Even when he doesn't make one for himself. What do I get to look forward to tomorrow? A roast beef and tomato sandwich with mâche rosettes, mayo and horseradish mustard on whole grain olive bread. Mâche, I learned tonight, is a delicate European salad green with a nutty flavor. I'm counting down the minutes until lunch tomorrow! And for the record, I do pull my weight around here. Just not in the kitchen.
I've been working a lot this past week and not sleeping very well. When i'm over-tired, that's when the pasta cravings start. And my savior is right there, waiting for me. Tonight we had cheese and broccoli ravioli with prosciutto ham and shitake mushrooms in an alfredo sauce. I'm ready to curl up on the couch now.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
This article was taken from the Saturday, September 6, 2008 National Post newspaper.
Taking a photograph of your meal can encourage weight loss, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their study found that dieters ate healthier foods if they took a photograph of what they were eating. The pictures appeared to concentrate the mind before the dieter ate, and were more effective than food diaries at causing people to watch what they eat. The researchers asked 43 people to record what they ate for one week in pictures and words. When they were questioned later, the photos appeared more effective at encouraging healthier eating and acted as a reminder of snacking binges. Lydia Zepeda and David Deal, who carried out the study reported in New Scientist, found that diaries were often filled in hours after the meal and were not as powerful in creating an impression of how much food had been consumed. The Daily Telegraph
Last night was my first time at Petit Bill's since I started my blog and unfortunately my food experience was not great. I ordered a dish I had had before, Pan Seared Sea Scallops with maple butter and salad; however, when I had it before, I believe it was Pan Seared Sea Scallops with pancetta squash risotto and bourbon maple glaze. My first experience with the dish was amazing and I never forgot it. This experience was ok, not great. It lacked the “wow” factor once it hit your taste buds. The salad was pretty generic too, nothing compared to a squash risotto. I then had the Cod with lemon and butter and frites. It was labeled as a “signature dish” and our server said that people would go there specifically for that dish. I find that hard to believe. There was nothing special about the dish. The fish was more fried than I expected too. They used to have a small plates menu, which I loved. But unfortunately they had to discontinue it as the kitchen was not large enough to support it. I spoke to one of the brothers who own the restaurant after dinner. He asked me how I'd enjoyed my meal. I was honest, which led to my finding out that the current chef is only there one more week and had only been there 6 weeks total. They have a chef from Newfoundland and who has been working in Toronto starting soon, at which point they will be updating their menu. I'm glad I spoke to him and found this out as I don't think I would have gone back. The service was wonderful and his eagerness to know exactly what I liked and didn't like during my experiences there leave me quite hopeful for the new chef. I'll definitely be checking it out once he's settled in. They're also having a tough time at the moment because of all the construction out front. They're sales have decreased by 75%. That's got to be tough on a place that hasn't been around for that long. The link to their web site is below, but don't get too excited, the menu on here is their old one and it's not the same anymore.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
My husband makes the best Cornish Hen. He splits the hen, then shoves a butter, garlic, thyme and sage mixture under the skin and throws it on the barbecue. He served this with local, fresh corn on the cob and green beans.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
My husband treated me to a golf package at the Fairmont Algonquin for my birthday this year. My father-in-law also happened to be in St. Andrews at the same time bringing a travel writer for a tour of the area, so he and his wife decided to take us all out for dinner at this fabulous restaurant, which comes in as my second 5 star rated spot. This inn was formerly a family home that burnt down and was rebuilt as a 3-storey manor house hotel, using moldings and other key pieces from the St. John Hotel that was being torn down at the time. The hotel wasn't very nice and didn't do very well until the new owners Chris and Graziella Aerni took over and changed it to an inn and restaurant. Their focus was the restaurant and they did so well that they were able to use the profits to improve the rooms. It's now a wonderful place to eat and stay. As usual, I had a terrible time deciding what to order. Everything looked absolutely amazing. My father-in-law fixed that for me by requesting a chefs tasting. I LOVE doing that! I was so excited I could barely sit still. We started off with a bottle of white wine and an amuse-bouche of lobster ceviche, then they brought us a salad of candied baby beets and shaved fennel figs with toasted pecans and warm chèvre fritter. Our next plate was the Wolfhead (local smokers) smoked salmon with chive-potato pillows, horseradish-caper mousse and pickled shallot. Then came the sweet potato crab cakes with beet-shallot salad and celery root-apple remoulade. Then we had a mouth watering pork belly dish with summer squash purée and basil-arugula drizzle, followed by the seared tuna loin and “corriander crunch” roasted corn-zucchini fritter and watercress-pickled red onion salad. Our final dish for dessert was a bee balm-vanilla poached peach and homemade blueberry ice cream. I also had a glass of port. A lot of their ingredients are local and seasonal so the menu changes regularly. Now if the descriptions above aren't enough to have you running to St. Andrews to eat there then you are just weird. The prices are insanely reasonable, starters range from $3 to $15 and mains from $17 to $28, the ambiance is relaxing and the service is great. We even got to meet Chris, the chef/owner after our meal was done because my father-in-law knows him well and brings many people through there on his tours. I'm not sure when i'll be in St. Andrews again, but i'll probably build another trip around it just so I can eat at this restaurant again.
While on vacation in New Brunswick, my husband and I did an 85 km bike ride through Memramcook, Sackville, Shepody Bay and Dorchester. As I always do, I ended the ride with a food reward which was the Bell Inn Restaurant, a spot my husband often went with his grandmother as a child. This house was built in 1811 and is the oldest stone structure in New Brunswick. It used to be a stagecoach stop in the 1800's and is now a highly rated restaurant. They serve traditional home-cooked comforting foods, which was exactly what we needed. We were lucky to get a table when we arrived. As we walked through the rooms of the house almost all the tables were reserved, and the ones that weren't kept getting the signs put on them every time the phone rang. I started off with a glass of lemonade, so refreshing and was my second choice to the beer I didn't get because they aren't licensed. Then they bring you the best homemade biscuits you've ever had. That is by far their specialty. I ordered the daily special, meatloaf with boiled potatoes, gravy, vegetables and coleslaw and it was delicious. I mashed my potatoes up with the gravy and mixed my veggies in with it, I've always done this with turkey dinner, it's how I love to eat them. My husband had the biggest lobster roll i've ever seen (I think it was a whole lobster in a bun), which came with potato salad and coleslaw and a side garnish of dulse - also delicious. And I know this because my husband can't order anything without me getting him to give me taste or splitting his plate with me (we often do half and half with our plates). The service was professional and prompt and the prices were very reasonable. I'll definitely be back when i'm in New Brunswick, but i'll make sure to make a reservation. I think we got lucky.
My husband and I have a tradition that the day we get home from a holiday, we go out for dinner to decompress. Last night we did so at Murray Street restaurant. We sat on their back patio which was beautiful. It was nestled in a pergola with grape vines and after the sun set the dim lights were very relaxing. I immediately started to get excited as I read the menu. They have three sections to their menu, small plates, large plates, and the section that makes them so unique, the charcuterie menu. They use regional and seasonal ingredients in their dishes which is even more exciting, and also have a selection of regional micro-breweries and Canadian wines; however, upon their recommendation we went with a Californian wine, the Waterstone Pinot Noir - dry and light. We started off with 3 meats and 2 cheeses from their charcuterie bar menu. We had the Smoked Ostrich from the slicer, Venison-hazelnut from the terrines and the Elk Liver-brandy from the pate. For cheese we had St. Benoit Benedictin from the blue section and Indiscretion from the semi soft. Our blue cheese selection was not too strong for a blue cheese and the semi soft one was very flavourful. For the meats, you have to get the Smoked Ostrich, that was my favorite, but the terrine and pate were equally delicious. As I was eating all of this I was thinking they would definitely get a 4 star rating for sure, these meats and cheeses were so delicious I didn't want my meal to end. Unfortunately tho, the small plates we ordered, although very good, didn't meet the standard that the charcuterie items did. They were slightly bland in comparison. We shared 2 small plates, the BLT, which is an in-house smoked St. Canut porcelait belly with North Gore tomatoes and basil on toast and the Wild Sockeye, in-house smoked salmon, cucumber salad and pickled mushrooms with goat cheese. The service was good, had our server not been so busy it may have been great, but I think she got a lot of tables in at once. The prices are reasonable for what you're getting too. The charcuterie plate was $25, the two small plates came to about that amount as well. Our wine at $65 brought the total up and we finished off with a vintage port and long espresso. I'll definitely be back again, even if only for the charcuterie menu.