Thursday, January 27, 2011

2 for 1 at Swiss Chalet


If you live outside of Canada you’re missing out. For those of you who don’t know Swiss Chalet, it’s a restaurant that serves rotisserie chicken here in Canada. Canadians are big fans of the chicken and the “Chalet Sauce.” One of my friends (I won’t name names) will actually drink the rest of the sauce/gravy if there's any left over.

Leading up to Christmas they always do a “Festive Special”. That’s your usual quarter chicken dinner with a side of fries or some other potato, but this time served with stuffing and cranberry sauce as well as Lindor chocolates on the side. It used to always be a Toblerone chocolate but they switched it up a couple of years ago. I don’t usually like change like that but I approved.

I have so many fond memories of going to Swiss Chalet as a kid with my family. The five of us would squeeze into a booth having no need to look at the menus (who does?) because we already knew what we were ordering. I would start off with a Shirley Temple, have my Quarter Chicken Dinner and end with a chocolate sundae served in a stainless steel bowl that always felt sort of fancy.

When I told Phil last night I thought it would be a good idea if I picked him up after work and go there he was quite pleased. Last night was packed because everybody was using their Festive Special coupons that expire at the end of January. So if you haven’t gone yet and have a coupon you better go soon.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Honey-Marinated Pork with Gremolata

This pork tenderloin dish was so delicious! You can marinate the pork for two hours but I did it overnight and the results were great.

Originally I had forgotten to add the Gremolata; however, the pork I had without it was still so tasty you could have it with or without. The orange zest in the Gremolata really complimented the flavours though, so try both and see what you like best.

Recipe compliments of Bon Appetit. I adjusted some of the measurements to accommodate just the two of us. I’m now wishing I made more for sandwiches today.

Ingredients:

1 Pork tenderloin
¼ Cup of honey
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs of orange juice
Salt and pepper
¼ Cup of dry white wine (I used red)
1 Tbs of orange zest
2 Tsp of fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Tsp of Fresh sage, chopped

Whisk honey, garlic and orange juice in small bowl. Pour marinade over meat, season with salt and pepper, cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 375F. Transfer pork to plate and reserve marinade. Heat oil in large oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to skillet and brown on all sides, turning often. Transfer to oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until thermometer reads 150F. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil and rest for 5 minutes. Reserve skillet.

Pour reserved marinade into skillet and add wine. Boil gently until reduced to about ½, 3-4 minutes.

Mix orange zest and herbs in a small bowl to make gremolata. Cut pork, transfer to platter, pour sauce and sprinkle gremolata

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My most memorable meal…


That’s a tough one. My first instinct is to think back to restaurants I’ve eaten at, and there have been many, but none that really stick out. Phil and I have noticed that when we’re treating ourselves to a fancy restaurant our expectations are high and can’t help but feel just a little disappointed in the end on occasion. I’m talking about some of the posh restaurants that you’re really looking forward to trying and then you get there and it’s just okay. One that comes to mind that was ridiculously expensive and over-rated was Lee as in the well-known Chef Susur Lee.

It’s hard to choose just one meal. So I’ll choose components from a couple. The first thing that comes to mind are oysters we had in Victoria, B.C. a few years ago. They were so fresh tasting and maybe the biggest oysters I’ve ever had. I remember actually feeling light headed as I slurped them down with a glass of dry white wine. And no it wasn’t the wine!

I also remember a restaurant in Spain right on the beach that had no menus, just a table displaying the fresh catch of the day that you could choose your lunch from. I had the most amazing langoustines that I cracked into while juices were running down my arms looking out onto the ocean.

I realize both those times I was on vacation. So I wonder if the ambiance has something to do with it. There’s nothing better than the unexpected, stopping at a restaurant knowing nothing about it and then being pleasantly surprised. This photo was taken at a Tapas spot in NYC while in town for my girlfriend’s wedding two years ago. I think it was about 3:00 in the afternoon and Phil and I had been walking around sight seeing all day when we realized we were hungry. I also remember the prices were so reasonable for an NYC restaurant and that’s always a pleasant surprise too.

I also find Phil’s tuna melts are pretty memorable.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little Bit of Summer

The recipe isn't quite ready yet, but I couldn’t resist posting this colourful salad on a cold and dreary day. I think Meg said it reminded her of summer.
It was inspired by a citrus salad I saw in Bon Appetit magazine.  I used blood orange, roasted yellow beets, blackberries and cucumber. Delicious but it was missing some crunchy nuts or seeds and a salty cheese. I’ll make it again shortly once I’ve figured out the perfect combination. I'll post that, and how to segment an orange.

P.S. Those are my new counter tops in the background there.  Photo will come as soon as it's finished.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kitchen Reno

I just realized I haven’t mentioned that we’re renovating our kitchen!  For now I’ll post the before photo from the previous owners since it's not quite done.

We’re keeping the existing cupboards and floors so it hasn’t been too huge of a reno.  So far we’ve had a butcher block made, installed a quartz counter top, sink and faucet.  All that’s left is the backsplash, paint and curtains.    Stay tuned for the after photo!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Staying in

 So excited to read all my magazines that were delivered this week!  I heard on the radio today that Scarborough wasn't getting their mail because Canada Post was short-staffed but it looks like we had no problem.

I think my favourite part in Bon Appetit is the very last page where they interview a celebrity and ask them things like "what's your most memorable meal?" or "what meal reminds you of home?"  I usually turn to that page first.
 They interviewed Alfred Molina this month and he mentions how an English roast dinner reminds him of home, and I have to say I think Sunday roast dinner reminds me of home too... that and Cornish Pasties.

P.S. Meg, there are some brownies on the front page that I need you to make me please.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here's a Helpful Tip!

I know these days we’re not supposed to have drawers full of plastic bags - and I promise most of the time I bring my own bags - but there’s always that time when you forget to bring your reusable bags with you. So I’m sorry, okay!


Now that we have that out of the way I can share with you a helpful tip I read about. You can store about 15 bags in an old paper towel roll! So simple, but has really helped avoiding the plastic bag explosion when we open up that drawer where you store them.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maple Glazed Salmon


Isn’t the colour of this salmon beautiful? I haven’t had fish in awhile but when I walked by the fish section in Whole Foods I couldn’t resist. I had also recently read an article in Cook’s magazine about perfecting glazed salmon so I was excited to try some of the techniques. It was nice to read that I wasn’t only one who was struggling with keeping the maple syrup glaze on my protein. I didn’t have the article anymore so I had to go off memory and I think it worked out rather well.


Ingredients:
¼ Cup of maple syrup
1 Tbs. of molasses
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 Lemon, zest
2 Tsp. of soy sauce

We had a piece of fish suitable for two, so feel free to add more of the above ingredients if you’re making more.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat on medium-low until slightly thickened. Score surface of the meat to allow the marinade to stick and let flavour absorb. Marinate fish in shallow dish for 30 minutes in the fridge. Cook fish for 20 minutes or until it easily flakes with fork.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad


Okay here’s something a little lighter. A simple salad of mixed greens, roasted beets, goat cheese and blackberries.


If you know the simple ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1 you're well on your way to making dozens of delicious
dressings. As long as you know that you won’t need to follow any other recipes. If you confuse the two and put more vinegar in, when you taste it you’ll know what you did wrong. The best way to try your dressing is by dipping a lettuce leaf into the dressing and sampling. After that you can add whatever flavours and seasoning you like, or just keep as a simple oil and vinegar. For this recipe I used the following ingredients:

Ingredients:
3 Parts extra virgin olive oil
1 Part red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
Fresh thyme, finely chopped
Anchovy paste
Garlic, finely minced
Salt and pepper

Whisk all ingedients together.

I didn’t add measurements because it all depends on how much dressing you need. As well, you have to keep on tasting it to make sure it has the right flavour you want.

As you can see it’s quite easy to make your own dressing once you have the right ingredients on hand. Why purchase store-bought dressings?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Potato Croquette



So much for eating lighter after the holidays.  I made these to accompany Phil's mom's sauce she sent home with us the other night and they were delicious, and so was her sauce.

I made these waaaay too big so I think I'll make them into an appetizer size next time.  I also might try stuffing them with crab meat. 

Thanks David Rocco for the recipe.  He didn't give it to me personally (though he should have). I got it in one of my food magazine stocking stuffers from Phil.  So thanks Phil!



Ingredients:

1.3 Lbs of potatoes, peeled
1 Cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 Cup of parsley, finely chopped
2 Eggs
1 Half a mozzarella ball, cut into strips
1 Cup of breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil, for frying but not deep frying

For the Croquettes:

Boil potatoes until fork-tender and let cool for 20 minutes.  In a large bowl mash potatoes.  Add Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper, and one egg, and mix well until all the ingredients are evenly dustributed.

Grab a handful of mashed potatoes and create logs that are 11/2 inches thick by 3 inches long.  With your finger, create an indentation in the middle of the log and add a slice of mozzarella.  Close up the logs and make sure mozzarella is fully covered.  Reshape if necessary.

For the batter, dip potato logs in the second beaten egg and cover with breadcrumbs.

Fry in hot extra-virgin olive oil until potato croquettes are crispy and golden brown.

Let cool on a paper towel and serve warm. 

It’s a New Year!

Happy New Year you guys! I can’t believe it’s 2011, blah, blah, blah, I know. But really this year has just flown! I remember thinking how I would be getting so close to my due date come this time and now here we are. It blows my mind to think I have only two months left.

Phil and I have the baby’s room pretty much ready. We put together the crib over the holidays and I won’t lie I go in there at least twice a day to look around and think how we’ll have a real live baby in there! I’m holding off on buying every sweet baby thing I see.

Okay that’s it I promise this won’t turn into a baby blog. Just a few baby updates are okay – right?