Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

Follow me on my gastronomic adventures!

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Weeknight dinner: mustard grilled pork tenderloin and stove top cauliflower mac and cheese

I love a good meat marinade. There is just something about knowing that a delicious hunk of meat is sitting in the fridge and absorbing all those delicious flavours. It is the anticipation of what the end result will taste like, all those herbs and spices and various liquids…mmmmm. So when I came across this marinade on the lovely Pink Parsley blog, I was dying to give it a try! 

The ingredients in this marinade are among my favourite things: grainy mustard, garlic and smoked paprika. I had a feeling I would love the results, and I did! Click here to link to Pink Parsley’s original recipe, or see my slightly modified version below. Don’t be afraid to play with the amounts of the ingredients a little bit depending on your taste buds.

I had also been craving mac and cheese, but I wanted to try something a little bit different than what I have made in the past (see here). When I saw this recipe for a cauliflower mac and cheese on Pip & Ebby, I was intrigued, and decided to give it a try. The result was good, but don’t be fooled: this is NOT a luxurious, rich mac and cheese. I knew it wouldn’t be, but I’m convinced that most people’s eyes glaze over when they see the words ‘mac and cheese’ and visions of ooey gooey cheesy deliciousness fills their minds. We enjoyed this cauliflower mac and cheese, but it might not be for everyone. Give it a try and let me know what you think - click here to visit Pip & Ebby’s website to see the recipe. I followed it exactly as described, except that I used tubetti pasta instead of elbow macaroni.

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Mustard grilled pork tenderloin

adapted from Pink Parsley, who adapted a recipe from Bobby Flay: Grilling for Life
serves 2-3

 Ingredients

- 1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard (I used a mixture of whole grain Dijon and honey Dijon)

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

- 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

- 1 Tbs maple syrup

- 1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs

- 1 tsp smoked paprika

- pinch of red pepper flakes

- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

- 1 pork tenderloin

 Directions

Whisk together all the ingredients (mustard through black pepper). Reserve a small spoonful or two of the marinade, then get the meat marinating however you prefer (In a bowl, in a ziplock bag – whatever is easier). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours (I let my tenderloin marinate for the full 4 hours).

Pre-heat your bbq to medium-high. Try to let your tenderloin sit at room temperature for a few minutes while preparing your bbq. Grill the meat, turning every 5 minutes, and brushing with the reserving marinade every time you turn it. Cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees.  

Remove from heat and cover loosely with foil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Filed under food dinner supper pork pork tenderloin recipe grilled bbq barbecue mustard blog Pink Parsley Pip & Ebby Pip and Ebby mac mac and cheese cheese cauliflower marinade meat

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Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for my family, my friends and so much more. 

I’m also thankful for the amazing freshly prepared foods at Farm Boy, including their mind blowing apple cranberry stuffing, cranberry ginger sauce and turkey gravy. The husband and I made the rest (turkey, mashed potatoes, squash and green beans), but we were happy to have a bit of help from Farm Boy!

Happy thanksgiving wishes to all!

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for my family, my friends and so much more.

I’m also thankful for the amazing freshly prepared foods at Farm Boy, including their mind blowing apple cranberry stuffing, cranberry ginger sauce and turkey gravy. The husband and I made the rest (turkey, mashed potatoes, squash and green beans), but we were happy to have a bit of help from Farm Boy!

Happy thanksgiving wishes to all!

Filed under food thanksgiving dinner supper Turkey mashed potatoes gravy cranberry sauce squash acorn squash stuffing Farm Boy ottawa fall holiday feast thanks beans

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Lunch at the Dirty Gringo, Ogdensburg, New York State

While doing a little bit of cross border grocery shopping recently, the husband and I decided to venture into the town of Ogdensburg, New York, to track down the Dirty Gringo, a little Mexican restaurant that we had read about online, and had heard about from friends and coworkers.

Once we found the place, which we thought was a little weirdly located a bit far from the main downtown area in a seemingly residential area, we went in and got a table. The set up is similar to a fast food restaurant in that you place your order and pay first, but different in that your food is then delivered to you at your table. 

I chose the burrito, which comes on a 13” tortilla with your choice of meat (chicken, beef, chorizo or steak), and is loaded with your choice of black or refried beans, rice, lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomato, onions, peppers, jalapenos, black olives, salsa and sour cream. I asked for chicken and all of the toppings except for jalapenos, and added guacamole on the side for dipping. The husband ordered the steak quesadilla, which came with cheddar cheese and was served with a side of salsa and sour cream. The food was indeed simple, but it was honest and delicious. The kitchen is open, and you could see everything that was going on (in a good way). A lot of their items were made in house, like the salsa, which we really enjoyed.

You can tell that the proprietors were really trying to run a great little restaurant, and I think it showed: it was quite busy the whole time we were there with both people dining in and getting take out. Everything on the menu was also very affordably priced (well, in U.S. dollars) - my ginormous burrito was just $6.99 and the husband’s quesadilla was $8.29.

I think we would go back to try a few of their other menu items - I really wanted to try their pineapple habanero salsa and the unique sounding black bean cakes. Overall, I’d recommend it - check it out if you’re ever in Ogdensburg!

Filed under food lunch Mexican burrito fresh quesadilla cheese steak chicken Dirty Gringo restaurant take out Ogdensburg New York State review

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Weeknight dinner: slow cooker chicken carnitas tacos

It had been quite a while since I had used my slow cooker, and I was also craving my homemade corn tortillas, so I went looking for a good slow cooker recipe for chicken tacos. I remembered I had seen an interesting recipe on the Closet Cooking blog, so I decided to give it a try.

What intrigued me the most about this particular recipe was the citrus flavour infusion in the chicken (your choice of boneless skinless breast meat or boneless skinless thigh meat), which is cooked in a mixture of 3/4 cup orange juice and 1/4 cup lime juice (along with other herbs and spices, of course!). The end result is incredibly tangy and moist! We loved it on our corn tortillas, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, peach mango salsa, lettuce and sour cream (but top them however you like!)

I followed the recipe exactly as described (using boneless skinless chicken breast) except that I skipped the final step of crisping up the chicken by putting it under the broiler, since we were fine with ours straight out of the slow cooker. Head on over to the Closet Cooking blog to see how to make this easy and delicious slow cooker chicken carnitas tacos! (Click here).

Filed under food dinner supper meal chicken slow cooker crockpot taco carnitas recipe blog Closet Cooking citrus orange lime spice

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Happy National Coffee Day! (and a final Starbucks update)

I love coffee, so why not join in on today’s celebrations for National Coffee Day? While I am not an addict (I rarely have more than one cup a day, and I don’t need it to wake up in the morning), I thoroughly enjoy the taste of coffee and I love savouring my one mid-morning cup at work. I also love a good espresso-based drink, be it a latte, a cappuccino, an Americano - you name it, I’d drink it.

What better way to celebrate National Coffee Day than with the opening of the brand new Starbucks location near my work!! Yes, I can finally end my Starbucks updates posts because it is finally open for business. I visited the new location during my lunch hour today, and was very pleased to see that it is a good-sized store, meaning it is not too small, and not too big. One big bonus: they have a HUGE patio due to their location at the front of the building. This will be amazing for next spring/summer! (Also, it is pretty magical for the amazing late summer weather we are currently experiencing - the patio was completely full of people!) For my first visit at this new Starbucks, I opted for an ice coffee to enjoy while taking my lunch time walk. 

How did you celebrate National Coffee Day today? (If you did, that is!)

Filed under coffee drink beverage National Coffee Day Starbucks iced coffee brew Ottawa Holland Cross new starbucks

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Dessert from Three Tarts
My in-laws were visiting us last weekend, which gave me the excuse I needed to pick up a pie from Three Tarts to serve for dessert. It had been so, so long since I had been to Three Tarts! As well, my parents-in-law are huge fans of pie, and Three Tarts is one of the best bakeries in Ottawa for pie.
I chose the apple pecan crisp crumble pie, as I knew it would please both the in-laws and the husband for its many merits, including the beautiful thinly sliced apple filling and the sweet, crumbly crisp topping. Everyone loved it, of course! 
What is your favourite place to buy a pie in Ottawa?

Dessert from Three Tarts

My in-laws were visiting us last weekend, which gave me the excuse I needed to pick up a pie from Three Tarts to serve for dessert. It had been so, so long since I had been to Three Tarts! As well, my parents-in-law are huge fans of pie, and Three Tarts is one of the best bakeries in Ottawa for pie.

I chose the apple pecan crisp crumble pie, as I knew it would please both the in-laws and the husband for its many merits, including the beautiful thinly sliced apple filling and the sweet, crumbly crisp topping. Everyone loved it, of course! 

What is your favourite place to buy a pie in Ottawa?

Filed under food sweet dessert pie apple apple pie apple crumble dough crust Ottawa Three Tarts Wellington West Hintonburg

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Weekend baking project: one hour (ish) bread

Making bread is a rare thing in my house. Well, any yeasted bread-type recipe really! (Save for my quick rising pizza dough recipe). Most days I just don’t have the time to wait for the dough to rise multiple times. Its not that I don’t have the patience (because I do), it is more the waiting and timing and scheduling of the rising of the dough. I like to enjoy my weekends, people! 

So when I came across this recipe for a supposedly “one hour” bread, I was intrigued. Could a tasty, good quality loaf of bread really be made in about an hour? I decided to find out for myself.

After assembling all of my ingredients, I got to work. I decided to make this manually (i.e., to not use my stand mixer) for my first try, but I would definitely use the mixer next time. Kneading is tiring for the arms! The dough came together fairly easily and quickly, then it was time to rest for a mere 30 minutes in a warm spot.

After a mere 25 minutes in the oven, I had bread! We waited as long as we could to let it cool before cutting into it, which was tough! This is definitely a dense bread, with an excellent crisp crust. We thought it was great for such little effort and rise time.

You can click here to see the recipe, which I found on the funny Cravings of a Lunatic blog.I followed the recipe and the directions as best as I could, with the only difference being that I added about a tablespoon of olive oil to the liquid mixture before adding in the flour. I believe the key to what enables you to make this bread so quickly is the instant/quick-rise yeast (I used Fleischmann’s). This yeast basically eliminates the need for the first rise according to Fleischmann’s website, which makes sense in terms of how quickly this bread comes together in this recipe.

I would definitely make this again! We gobbled ours up within a few days and it stayed fairly fresh after the first day, which was good. It was also nice toasted when we ate it with some homemade soup. If you’ve ever wanted a quick bread recipe, look no further!

Filed under food bread baking bake recipe cook cooking crumb crust breakfast lunch dinner blog Cravings of a Lunatic one-hour one-hour bread yeast rise Fleischmann's

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Weekday lunch idea: kale, ham, mushroom and feta frittata

I am always looking for ways to spice up my weekday work lunches, so I thought, why not a frittata?

I came across this recipe on the lovely I Breathe…I’m Hungry blog, and loved the simplicity but deliciousness of the ingredients used in this frittata. To round out my lunch, I decided to serve the frittata slice over a bed of chopped kale, which would wilt nicely when microwaved at work. 

The result was great! A filling, healthy lunch that was speedy to make ahead of time, and easy to put together each night for my lunch the next day. I will definitely be making more frittatas for my work lunches!

Kale, ham, mushroom and feta frittata - adapted slightly from I Breathe…I’m Hungry

Ingredients

- cooking spray for the pie dish

- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms

- 1/2 cup chopped deli ham

- 4 Tbsp finely chopped kale

- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

- 4 eggs

- 4 egg whites (we buy the ones in the carton, but you can use regular eggs and keep the yolks for a later project)

- 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)

- 1/4 tsp nutmeg

- 1/4 cup light feta cheese, crumbled

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions

You have the option to first fry the mushrooms or you can leave them fresh. Giving them a quick fry makes them more flavourful, but it is up to you.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray your pie dish with cooking spray.

Mix the eggs, egg whites and milk in a bowl until the yolks are completely combined. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir again.

Pour into your prepared pie dish (I used a 9” pie dish). Evenly distribute the mushrooms, ham, kale, parsley and feta into the egg mixture. Press the veggies/ham/feta down if they are sticking out too far for your liking.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the mixture is set, and the edges are beginning to brown gently. Serve warm, or cool and cut into four (or more) slices to be used in your weekday work lunches. Serve on a bed of chopped kale!

http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/2013/07/ham-cheese-mushroom-frittata-low-carb-gluten-free.html

Filed under food cooking breakfast lunch dinner meal frittata egg egg white kale feta feta cheese parsley ham deli ham recipe blog I Breathe...I'm Hungry I Breathe Therefore I'm Hungry fresh healthy easy easy recipe

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South Beach Creamery, Bells Corners, Ottawa

I am actually a bit embarrassed to admit that I partook in this humongous sundae! The husband and I had driven past this little truck in Ottawa’s west end a ton of times before we finally decided it was time to stop and check it out. 

I was kind of hoping for some homemade ice cream, but was disappointed to learn that they served Nestlé ice cream. Nonetheless, as we perused the menu, we were immediately drawn to their crazy sundaes. Bonus: everything was on sale because it was the end of the season, so the sundaes were basically half price! (SCORE!)

We ended deciding to share the poutine sundae, which sounds really weird but was actually quite genius in its presentation. Two generous scoops of your choice of ice cream (we chose pralines and cream - there were limited choices as they were closing for the season the next day) came topped with caramel sauce (to mimic the gravy), vanilla wafer cookies (to mimic the french fries) and mini marshmallows (to mimic the cheese curds). There was also sliced banana and generous flourishes of whipped cream, both of which weren’t there to mimic anything but to make the sundae more decadent and delicious! Obviously this was one super rich sundae, and we weren’t able to finish it all, but it was pretty creative. 

If you like simple, run-of-the-mill ice cream, this little truck is for you. From our experience, they are also good at turning these simple ingredients into something fun with their creative sundaes (there was a whole menu of them - at least 8 or 10 creations!). However, if you prefer a homemade product, this is not the place for you (check out Carp Custom Creamery - see my review here). I’m not sure if we’ll revisit this truck, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for a quick, cheap, basic ice cream cone.

Filed under food dessert treat ice cream food truck Ottawa Bells Corners sundae vanilla wafer cookie marshmallows caramel sauce praline pralines and cream whipped cream sweet

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Lunch and treats at Holland’s Cake and Shake

I get so pumped when a new shop or restaurant opens close to my work because it means that I can get out at lunch time for some adventures and try some new things while I’m at it! This was just the case with Holland’s Cake and Shake, which I patiently watched and followed on social media since the spring when they first started getting the shop ready for opening day.

They finally opened their doors on July 15 of this year, and I was there within a few days! Owned by Chef Michael Holland, known for his work as the pastry chef at Ottawa’s popular Atelier, the shop offers a selection of mini cakes, tarts, muffins, scones, cookies, in-house made soft serve ice cream, milkshakes (including the cake shake: take one of the mini cakes and blend it with soft serve and milk), sundaes and sandwiches. But don’t let your eyes glaze over: these are not your average desserts. Chef Michael Holland’s specialty is to be quirky and playful. An example of one of the crazy cake flavours featured in the shop so far is the orange Kool-Aid cake with Red Bull pastry cream, lemon icing, streusal and raspberries (see here).

I have tried a few of the treats from the shop (a future post), but today I wanted to tell you about their lunch special. Each week, the shop offers two different sandwiches two times a week (Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday to Saturday), which can be purchased alone or bundled into a brown bag lunch combo by including a drink and your choice of a cookie or a brownie for $8.50. So far, the sandwiches have all looked so amazing, and all have been served on in-house made bread. WOW! I have only tried one sandwich so far, but it was so great: simple, fresh ingredients that made for a delicious lunch. The sandwich I tried was a combination of roast chicken, gravy mayo, mozzarella, spring mix, and potato chips on their homemade bun. I made mine a combo, and chose the brownie. and house made lemonade. The brownie was mind blowing: rich and soft, almost like fudge.

I highly recommend Holland’s Cake and Shake: everything is made in-house, which I love, and you can really see the love in all of the treats and food items they produce. Bonus: there is currently a pop up Ministry of Coffee counter, offering everything your caffeine dreams are made of. I wish this little shop all the best and I hope that it sees success!

Stay tuned for a future post on the wild and wacky treats of Holland’s Cake and Shake!

Filed under food Ottawa restaurant shop Westboro Wellington West Hintonburg Chef bake cake shake sandwich bread homemade brownie review Michael Holland dessert lunch chicken in-house made homemmade