Gastronomy and Life's Other Pleasures

Follow me on my gastronomic adventures!

Posts tagged food

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Lunch at Yardbird, South Beach, Miami, Florida

Out of all the restaurants we visited while vacationing in South Beach, Miami, recently, I was most excited to dine at Yardbird. After reading lots about the restaurant in advance of our visit, I was pretty sure we were going to have a great meal and a lovely experience, and we were not disappointed. Known for its down-home southern cuisine, we were excited to experience something that is pretty much impossible to find anywhere in or around Ottawa.

Located just off the busy Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in South Beach, Yardbird sits on a more residential street, but isn’t far from the action.  As you enter the restaurant, you’re greeted by the relaxed, down-home, laid back decor, right down to the paper wrapped cloth napkins reminding you to “say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.” There is nothing pretentious about this place, and we felt immediately comfy and cozy despite the apparent buzz about Yardbird.

Having scrupulously perused the menu ahead of our visit, we were pretty sure as to what we would be ordering, but we were delighted when our waiter took the time to ask us if we’d dined there before, and to make some much welcomed suggestions and share some important info about the menu.

To start out, we sipped on a couple of Yardbird’s signature drinks: the peachberry smash (in the martini glass in my photo above) and the blackberry bourbon lemonade.  Both were a unique mixture of fine alcohol and fresh ingredients: all you need to know is that they were delicious and refreshing! We highly recommend sampling their cocktails if you have the chance.

Most of their plates are perfect for sharing, so that was what we did. We started off with the buttermilk biscuits, which came hot and fresh out of the oven with a side of honey butter and strawberry jam. I am a sucker for fresh baked biscuits and I could have eaten these forever and ever! We had no trouble polishing off these tender, moist and flaky biscuits.  These are what biscuit dreams are made of!

For our main, we chose to share what Yardbird is known for, their chicken n’ watermelon n’ waffles.  Described on their menu as “Yardbird’s signature old school fried chicken, hot sauce honey, chilled spiced watermelon, cheddar cheese chow chow waffle and bourbon maple syrup,” this is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten. First, the fried chicken, which was a full half chicken with two breasts, a wing and a leg, was ridiculously moist, and the flavours in the breading were perfect. Their hot sauce honey somehow made the flavours even better, if possible. Just when you needed a cool down, the chilled spiced watermelon came to the rescue. Have you ever had spiced watermelon? We guessed that there was a combination of spices, probably including some cumin, maybe chili powder, but, whatever they were, it made the watermelon that much more interesting and delicious. Lastly, the waffles.  The waffles! How could something so simple like cheddar cheese and green onion make a waffle taste so amazing, I’ll never know.  The bourbon maple syrup was certainly a treat! The plate also came with their in-house made relish, which added a lovely zest to everything with which I topped it.  We both agreed that this was one of the most expertly executed dishes we have ever eaten.

Lastly, we also couldn’t resist trying their macaroni and cheese, which is made with torchio pasta, five artisanal cheeses and a crispy herb crust. This was very much your basic mac and cheese without any of the popular nonsense that is truffle oil or bacon, and we loved it! You could really taste the strong flavours of the cheese blend and the torchio pasta (just the name of its shape) held up superbly.

Sadly, we did not have any room for dessert (what a pity!) so that was it for our visit at Yardbird.  The food, the service, the ambiance and the complete overall experience was fantastic. Check it out if you`re ever in South Beach and in the mood for some down home southern cooking!

See Yardbird`s website here.

Read this New York Times review of Yardbird here.

Filed under food lunch restaurant Yardbird Miami South Beach SoBe Florida fried chicken biscuits waffles chicken and waffles mac and cheese macaroni and cheese Yardbird Southern Table and Bar bourbon maple syrup eat Lenox Jeff McInnis southern homestyle watermelon

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Weeknight supper: cocoa sloppy joes
In continuing to cook my way through Jennifer Bain’s Toronto Star Cookbook, I have realized that I love this cookbook! The recipes are simple but also interesting and totally, lip-smackingly delicious.
In honour of Sloppy Joe Day on March 18, I took a chance on Jennifer’s cocoa sloppy joes, which, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about. Cocoa in beef? But it was delicious! The meat was moist and the flavours were unique.
Cocoa sloppy joes - from the Toronto Star Cookbook
Serves 4
Ingredients - 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 4 buns of your choice
DIrections
In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, cocoa powder, chili powder, mustard, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook onion and ground beef until beef is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off any fat if necessary.
Reduce the heat to low and stir the ketchup mixture into the beef mixture, and let cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes.
Toast the buns lightly and divide the meat evenly among the buns.  We added some and sliced pickles to our buns for extra texture and flavour. Enjoy!

Weeknight supper: cocoa sloppy joes

In continuing to cook my way through Jennifer Bain’s Toronto Star Cookbook, I have realized that I love this cookbook! The recipes are simple but also interesting and totally, lip-smackingly delicious.

In honour of Sloppy Joe Day on March 18, I took a chance on Jennifer’s cocoa sloppy joes, which, I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about. Cocoa in beef? But it was delicious! The meat was moist and the flavours were unique.

Cocoa sloppy joes - from the Toronto Star Cookbook

Serves 4

Ingredients
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef

- 1/2 cup ketchup

- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

- 1 tbsp chili powder

- 1 tbsp yellow mustard

- 1/2 tsp salt

- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

- 1 small yellow onion, chopped

- 4 buns of your choice

DIrections

In a small bowl, mix together the ketchup, cocoa powder, chili powder, mustard, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and cook onion and ground beef until beef is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off any fat if necessary.

Reduce the heat to low and stir the ketchup mixture into the beef mixture, and let cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes.

Toast the buns lightly and divide the meat evenly among the buns.  We added some and sliced pickles to our buns for extra texture and flavour. Enjoy!

Filed under food beef recipe cocoa dinner supper Jennifer Bain sloppy joes sandwich hot sandwich

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Pinkberry - South Beach, Miami, Florida

With a location just down the street from where we were staying while on vacation in South Beach, there was no way I was missing out on finally trying Pinkberry! America’s most talked about brand of frozen yogurt has intrigued me for years, so I was pretty excited to finally get a taste.

Pinkberry’s South Beach store is located on Ocean Drive, right in the middle of the chaos of the restaurants, bars, hotels and nightlife.  I’ve never been to another location, but the store seemed really small to me, with the only indoor seating being a long bar with stools against the windows with the order counter right behind.  Nevertheless, the store wasn’t too busy when we stopped in to check it out.

Known for its delicious, high quality (no bad stuff in this yogurt!), low calorie (per serving) frozen yogurt, Pinkberry also serves milkshakes and smoothies.  We decided to stick to the basics for our first visit.

The store’s staff was super friendly and patient as we both made the difficult decision of which flavour to order. I’m a total chocolate monster so I had to try the chocolate hazelnut yogurt (in a waffle cone, of course!). I kept it simple - no toppings from their ample toppings bar - and loved it! Not too sweet, but the flavours of chocolate and hazelnut were rich! The texture of this yogurt is incredibly velvety and smooth, which I loved. The husband tried the key lime flavour topped with fresh pineapple and yogurt chips.  His yogurt was tart, but lightly sweet, and he also gave it high marks for flavour and texture.

We didn’t have enough time to make it back to Pinkberry a second time on our trip, but we will not hesitate to return the next time we’re visiting somewhere with a Pinkberry location!  Sadly, the only Canadian locations are currently in BC and Alberta, so there won’t be any local PInkberry for us in Ottawa any time soon.

Filed under food snack treat dessert yogurt frozen yogurt Pinkberry chocolate hazelnut key lime lime pie key lime pie toppings pineapple froyo fro-yo treat yo self sweet tart waffle waffle cone cone South Beach SoBe Miami Florida

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Weekday lunches: quinoa salad served over spinach
During the last few grueling weeks of cold, snow and general yucky weather, all I was craving was the fresh, bright flavours of salad. I think my tastebuds were trying to demand that springtime get its butt to Ottawa and fast!
So I turned to my newest cookbook (see here) for some inspiration and found this delicious quinoa salad. It has colourful veggies, seeds and quinoa, all tossed in a fresh, homemade vinaigrette.  I decided to serve the quinoa salad on top of a bed of baby spinach to add some green goodness.  This salad totally quenched my craving for the fresh and bright flavours of spring!
Quinoa salad - adapted from the Toronto Star Cookbook  by Jennifer Bain
Ingredients
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup organic quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
For the Dressing
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp honey
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Make the quinoa: bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium and add the quinoa.  Cook for about 12 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and keep covered for about 15 minutes.
Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed.
Toss carrot, bell pepper, cranberries and pepitas in another bowl.  Add cooled quinoa and dressing and toss.  Serve on top of a bed of fresh baby spinach or as is.
I ate this over a span of a few days for my work lunches and the flavours got better as the mixture had a chance to rest and mix together.

Weekday lunches: quinoa salad served over spinach

During the last few grueling weeks of cold, snow and general yucky weather, all I was craving was the fresh, bright flavours of salad. I think my tastebuds were trying to demand that springtime get its butt to Ottawa and fast!

So I turned to my newest cookbook (see here) for some inspiration and found this delicious quinoa salad. It has colourful veggies, seeds and quinoa, all tossed in a fresh, homemade vinaigrette.  I decided to serve the quinoa salad on top of a bed of baby spinach to add some green goodness.  This salad totally quenched my craving for the fresh and bright flavours of spring!

Quinoa salad - adapted from the Toronto Star Cookbook by Jennifer Bain

Ingredients

- 1 cup water

- 1/2 cup organic quinoa (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

- 1 large carrot, shredded

- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced

- 1/4 cup dried cranberries

- 1/4 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)

For the Dressing

- 1 tbsp olive oil

- 1 tbsp lemon juice

- 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce

- 1/2 tsp honey

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Make the quinoa: bring the water to a boil, lower the heat to medium and add the quinoa.  Cook for about 12 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and keep covered for about 15 minutes.

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well mixed.

Toss carrot, bell pepper, cranberries and pepitas in another bowl.  Add cooled quinoa and dressing and toss.  Serve on top of a bed of fresh baby spinach or as is.

I ate this over a span of a few days for my work lunches and the flavours got better as the mixture had a chance to rest and mix together.

Filed under food salad lunch healthy quinoa carrot red bell pepper dried cranberries pepitas vinaigrette Toronto Star Jennifer Bain recipe cookbook

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Lunch at Spris - South Beach, Miami, Florida

I did a heck of a lot of restaurant research before the husband and I left on our South Beach, Miami, vacation this year, and I was glad that I did. There are so many places to eat, I don’t know how one makes any decisions!

One of our first lunches was at Spris (pronounced “sprees”), a little Italian place on Lincoln Road (South Beach’s famed pedestrian walkway/mall) known for its thin crust pizzas.  With more than 30 different kinds of pizzas from which to choose, it took us a while to decide!

I couldn’t help but start off my lunch with a cappuccino, which they made perfectly, and even served with two cute and delicious little almond cookies.  We decided we wanted to try an appetizer, so we settled on the $4 fresh rosemary focaccia (thinking it would be a small-sized treat). We were blown away when basically an entire pizza arrived! We were pretty hungry, so we had no trouble eating every last delicious wood-fired bite!

For our main we settled on the Salsiccia Gorgonzola Dolce pizza to share, which came topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, Italian gorgonzola cheese and crumbled Italian sausage.  This pizza was a delight! The crust was thin but not overly crispy, the toppings were ample but not overwhelming, and the gorgonzola added the perfect spike of flavour to the whole thing.  

This is a great spot if you’re looking for authentic, wood-fired, thin crust pizza.  Its location on Lincoln Road is also great for outdoor eating (they have a huge patio) and people watching!

Filed under food lunch Spris South Beach SoBe Miami Florida Lincoln Road Italian pizza wood-fired sausage gorgonzola rosemary crust thin crust focaccia patio

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A special treat: Flapjack’s Pancake Shack

Who knew that Ottawa would fall in love with a small shack serving up pancakes, panwiches (a pancake breakfast sandwich), and other delights like pancake poutine, all over the course of one the coldest and longest winters that we’ve had in quite some time.

I finally got my chance to try one of their most popular menu items, the Jimberrr! Watson panwich - a concoction of two of their buttermilk pancakes (secret recipe!), double-smoked bacon, a fried egg and a slice of gouda cheese, all served with a side of real maple syrup (and cutely named after our mayor, Jim Watson).  It was delightful! The pancakes are everything that pancake dreams are made of: they’re light and fluffy with that perfect buttermilk flavour.  The rest of the sandwich was just as excellent, and everything came together wonderfully. 

This is a fun little spot, and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their menu items!  Ottawa has gone pancake crazy, and I love it!

Filed under food food truck shack lunch snack breakfast brunch breakfast sandwich pancake pancakes panwich bacon egg maple syrup Ottawa Glebe maple Canadian

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Weekend baking: apple cinnamon oatmeal muffins
I like to keep a stash of healthy muffins in the freezer to toss in my work lunches.  Sometimes my craving for something baked to go with my morning coffee is just too overwhelming to ignore, and having one of these little gems on hand to satisfy my craving is for the best.
I came across this recipe on the lovely Steph’s Bite by Bite blog, and you can click on my photo above to link to her site.  I followed her recipe as written with two exceptions: I used regular milk (instead of almond milk) and I used vegetable oil (instead of canola oil).
These are definitely healthy muffins, but I think they’re great!  I like the flavour and texture (the texture is a bit more dense) and they aren’t too sweet, which I prefer.  A great snack and baked good to pair with your morning tea or coffee!

Weekend baking: apple cinnamon oatmeal muffins

I like to keep a stash of healthy muffins in the freezer to toss in my work lunches.  Sometimes my craving for something baked to go with my morning coffee is just too overwhelming to ignore, and having one of these little gems on hand to satisfy my craving is for the best.

I came across this recipe on the lovely Steph’s Bite by Bite blog, and you can click on my photo above to link to her site.  I followed her recipe as written with two exceptions: I used regular milk (instead of almond milk) and I used vegetable oil (instead of canola oil).

These are definitely healthy muffins, but I think they’re great!  I like the flavour and texture (the texture is a bit more dense) and they aren’t too sweet, which I prefer.  A great snack and baked good to pair with your morning tea or coffee!

Filed under food baking muffins healthy apple cinnamon oatmeal flour whole wheat flour recipe blog Steph's Bite by Bite

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Prep and bake: sausage lasagna
As I get older, I’m learning that prepping makes all the difference. Doing your prep work in the kitchen saves time, money and frustration. It helps to make weeknight dinners get on the table faster and without any stress.
I feel this way about lasagna: why not make it a head of time and bake it the night you’re going to eat it? It had been quite some time since I had made a lasagna, so, under my new initiative to prep, I made this on a Sunday but wrapped it up and put it in the fridge to bake off the next night.
The result was fantastic! It is delicious, cheesy, meaty lasagna. So hearty and belly warming!  I loved the single layer of ricotta - it was so fluffy and light.  I will be making this again!  The recipe comes from the lovely and talented Rachel of the Baked by Rachel blog.  Her recipes are always fantastic!
Sausage lasagna
Adapted from Baked by Rachel (click on my photo to link to her recipe).
Ingredients
- 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef
- 2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
- further salt and pepper to taste wherever you like
- 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (any colour would work)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 14oz petite diced tomatoes, undrained (I used garlic and olive oil flavoured tomatoes)
- 1 720 ml jar passata (strained tomatoes - or use a tomato sauce of your choosing)
- 12-15 lasagna noodles (not oven ready)
- 15oz ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
Directions
Prepare your lasagna noodles.  You can boil them, but because my lasagna sat in the fridge for 24 hours before baking, all I did was simply soak my noodles in boiling water for about 20 minutes.  It is up to you how you choose to do this. I think oven ready noodles might work here but I have not tried it with them so I cannot vouch for it.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Remove the sausages from their casing and break up in the frying pan.  Add the ground beef and cook until no longer raw.  Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook until softened, a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste, Italian herbs and red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Stir well to combine.
Now you can start putting together your lasagna! Start by taking a 9X13 baking dish and giving it a one over with cooking spray.  Now, put 1 cup of the passata in the bottom the dish.  Top with a layer of lasagna noodles (however many will fit - feel free to break some to fit in the ends).  Top this with all of the ricotta mixture, and then another layer of noodles.  Next, add half the meat mixture, then more noodles. Top this with half of the mozzarella cheese and then the remaining meat mixture.  Add a final layer of noodles, the rest of the passata sauce (it will be saucy! But it sinks down throughout the dish) and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
You can bake this at 375° for 30 minutes, or, let it cool (if necessary) and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you want to cook it. To cook from being refrigerated, remove lasagna from the fridge a half hour before cooking, and preheat oven to 400°.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until warmed through and the top is bubbling and slightly browned.  I would recommend placing the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any sauce that bubbles over.
Try to wait about 10 minutes after removing it from the oven before serving to let it rest.  Serve with salad, bread and top with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired!

Prep and bake: sausage lasagna

As I get older, I’m learning that prepping makes all the difference. Doing your prep work in the kitchen saves time, money and frustration. It helps to make weeknight dinners get on the table faster and without any stress.

I feel this way about lasagna: why not make it a head of time and bake it the night you’re going to eat it? It had been quite some time since I had made a lasagna, so, under my new initiative to prep, I made this on a Sunday but wrapped it up and put it in the fridge to bake off the next night.

The result was fantastic! It is delicious, cheesy, meaty lasagna. So hearty and belly warming!  I loved the single layer of ricotta - it was so fluffy and light.  I will be making this again!  The recipe comes from the lovely and talented Rachel of the Baked by Rachel blog.  Her recipes are always fantastic!

Sausage lasagna

Adapted from Baked by Rachel (click on my photo to link to her recipe).

Ingredients

- 1/2 lb extra lean ground beef

- 2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed

- 1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided

- further salt and pepper to taste wherever you like

- 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

- 2 tsp dried Italian herbs

- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (any colour would work)

- 4 cloves garlic, minced

- 14oz petite diced tomatoes, undrained (I used garlic and olive oil flavoured tomatoes)

- 1 720 ml jar passata (strained tomatoes - or use a tomato sauce of your choosing)

- 12-15 lasagna noodles (not oven ready)

- 15oz ricotta cheese

- 1 egg

- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

- 4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Directions

Prepare your lasagna noodles.  You can boil them, but because my lasagna sat in the fridge for 24 hours before baking, all I did was simply soak my noodles in boiling water for about 20 minutes.  It is up to you how you choose to do this. I think oven ready noodles might work here but I have not tried it with them so I cannot vouch for it.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Remove the sausages from their casing and break up in the frying pan.  Add the ground beef and cook until no longer raw.  Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook until softened, a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste, Italian herbs and red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Stir well to combine.

Now you can start putting together your lasagna! Start by taking a 9X13 baking dish and giving it a one over with cooking spray.  Now, put 1 cup of the passata in the bottom the dish.  Top with a layer of lasagna noodles (however many will fit - feel free to break some to fit in the ends).  Top this with all of the ricotta mixture, and then another layer of noodles.  Next, add half the meat mixture, then more noodles. Top this with half of the mozzarella cheese and then the remaining meat mixture.  Add a final layer of noodles, the rest of the passata sauce (it will be saucy! But it sinks down throughout the dish) and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.

You can bake this at 375° for 30 minutes, or, let it cool (if necessary) and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you want to cook it. To cook from being refrigerated, remove lasagna from the fridge a half hour before cooking, and preheat oven to 400°.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until warmed through and the top is bubbling and slightly browned.  I would recommend placing the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch any sauce that bubbles over.

Try to wait about 10 minutes after removing it from the oven before serving to let it rest.  Serve with salad, bread and top with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes if desired!

Filed under food dinner supper make ahead makeahead lasagna sausage meat ground beef beef tomato mozzarella pasta Parmesan vegetables onion bell pepper Italian herbs herbs Italian blog recipe Baked by Rachel adapted

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Weekday lunches: kale, bacon and white bean smash
Is this a pretty little dish or what?  I was looking to try something completely different for my weekday lunches recently, so when I stumbled across this recipe on the President’s Choice website, I decided to give it a try.
This dish is very simple, and uses many pantry staples like canned tomatoes and beans.  But its flavour also comes from a few fresh ingredients, like bacon, onions and the superstar veg kale! I have a rough time digesting raw veggies (TMI?) so I have been looking for ways to incorporate cooked kale into my daily diet. This recipe is excellent for that since, as you know, greens tend to wilt down quite a bit, so a LOT of kale becomes a little after being heated ever so slightly!
This recipe is fantastic! It is simple, quick, healthy and delicious.  I found that the flavours were even better the next and subsequent days.  I’d even recommend waiting to eat this until the day after you make it!  Click on my photo above to link to the recipe - I made it exactly as described on the President’s Choice website.  This is the perfect light stew for a cold late winter morning! (Yes, I know, it is spring, but not in Ottawa!)

Weekday lunches: kale, bacon and white bean smash

Is this a pretty little dish or what?  I was looking to try something completely different for my weekday lunches recently, so when I stumbled across this recipe on the President’s Choice website, I decided to give it a try.

This dish is very simple, and uses many pantry staples like canned tomatoes and beans.  But its flavour also comes from a few fresh ingredients, like bacon, onions and the superstar veg kale! I have a rough time digesting raw veggies (TMI?) so I have been looking for ways to incorporate cooked kale into my daily diet. This recipe is excellent for that since, as you know, greens tend to wilt down quite a bit, so a LOT of kale becomes a little after being heated ever so slightly!

This recipe is fantastic! It is simple, quick, healthy and delicious.  I found that the flavours were even better the next and subsequent days.  I’d even recommend waiting to eat this until the day after you make it!  Click on my photo above to link to the recipe - I made it exactly as described on the President’s Choice website.  This is the perfect light stew for a cold late winter morning! (Yes, I know, it is spring, but not in Ottawa!)

Filed under food lunch stew recipe President's Choice pc.ca kale bean tomato garlic onion healthy bacon

70 notes

Weeknight dinner: pork chop casserole
This particular dinner was something of a stretch for me: we aren’t much into casseroles around my house, but with some boneless pork chops taking up space in the freezer and the fact that it was too damn cold outside to bbq, I needed a solution, and this casserole was it!
I came across this recipe on the funny and lovely Bev Cooks blog and deemed it perfect for my pork chops.  It is very much a meal made up of pantry staples as the other ingredients are simply red new potatoes, a can of cream of mushroom soup, sliced onion and cheddar cheese. Click on my photo above to link to her recipe: I followed her directions exactly.
To my surprise, both the husband and I really liked this! It is very much a basic “meat and potatoes” kind of meal, but sometimes it is nice to have something simple.  We ate ours with a side of steamed green beans to balance the meal veg-wise.  I would make this again, but perhaps with thin chicken breasts (cutlets).  
A couple of recipe pointers - be sure that all of your ingredients (including the top layer of potatoes) are covered in the milk/soup mixture in order to cook properly and thoroughly.  No one likes undercooked potatoes!  
Enjoy!

Weeknight dinner: pork chop casserole

This particular dinner was something of a stretch for me: we aren’t much into casseroles around my house, but with some boneless pork chops taking up space in the freezer and the fact that it was too damn cold outside to bbq, I needed a solution, and this casserole was it!

I came across this recipe on the funny and lovely Bev Cooks blog and deemed it perfect for my pork chops.  It is very much a meal made up of pantry staples as the other ingredients are simply red new potatoes, a can of cream of mushroom soup, sliced onion and cheddar cheese. Click on my photo above to link to her recipe: I followed her directions exactly.

To my surprise, both the husband and I really liked this! It is very much a basic “meat and potatoes” kind of meal, but sometimes it is nice to have something simple.  We ate ours with a side of steamed green beans to balance the meal veg-wise.  I would make this again, but perhaps with thin chicken breasts (cutlets).  

A couple of recipe pointers - be sure that all of your ingredients (including the top layer of potatoes) are covered in the milk/soup mixture in order to cook properly and thoroughly.  No one likes undercooked potatoes!  

Enjoy!

Filed under food dinner supper recipe blog Bev Cooks casserole pork pork chop potato onion soup cream of mushroom soup mushroom cheese cheddar easy pantry pantry staples weeknight week night quick

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Brunch at the Scone Witch
Does it ever happen to you that a restaurant up and moves and you have no idea about it until you just happen to stumble upon the new location completely unintended?  Well that happened to me recently as I stumbled upon the new location of the Scone Witch while taking some out of town guests down to Winterlude a few weeks ago.
Granted it had been some time (well, a very long time) since I’d been to the Scone Witch’s location on Albert Street, but in all of my internet reading about the food scene in Ottawa, I had not heard of it’s move to Elgin Street to a beautiful new (and HUGE) space.
So it was a few Sundays later when I met some friends to give it a try.  I had also never been to the Scone Witch for weekend brunch, so it was a double shot of new for me.  
Their brunch menu is quite small, but just go with it: you’re there for the delicious scones anyway!  It is also kind of pricey, but worth it.  I ordered the breakfast plate, which comes with scrambled eggs and your choice of topping (I chose smoked salmon, of course), fruit, salad, a scone of your choice and jam (or clotted cream AND jam for a little extra).  I also ordered the largest cappuccino they could make for me to accompany my breakfast, which was fantastic.  All in all, a great brunch: light and delicious. I went with one of my favourite of their scones, the oatmeal, with wild blueberry jam.  It was heavenly.
I will definitely be back to the Scone Witch’s new location - it is bright, airy and much larger (read: more seating, less chaotic) than their Albert Street location, all which makes for a much more relaxing and enjoyable experience.  Plus, there’s no better spot to get a scone in Ottawa!

Brunch at the Scone Witch

Does it ever happen to you that a restaurant up and moves and you have no idea about it until you just happen to stumble upon the new location completely unintended?  Well that happened to me recently as I stumbled upon the new location of the Scone Witch while taking some out of town guests down to Winterlude a few weeks ago.

Granted it had been some time (well, a very long time) since I’d been to the Scone Witch’s location on Albert Street, but in all of my internet reading about the food scene in Ottawa, I had not heard of it’s move to Elgin Street to a beautiful new (and HUGE) space.

So it was a few Sundays later when I met some friends to give it a try.  I had also never been to the Scone Witch for weekend brunch, so it was a double shot of new for me.  

Their brunch menu is quite small, but just go with it: you’re there for the delicious scones anyway!  It is also kind of pricey, but worth it.  I ordered the breakfast plate, which comes with scrambled eggs and your choice of topping (I chose smoked salmon, of course), fruit, salad, a scone of your choice and jam (or clotted cream AND jam for a little extra).  I also ordered the largest cappuccino they could make for me to accompany my breakfast, which was fantastic.  All in all, a great brunch: light and delicious. I went with one of my favourite of their scones, the oatmeal, with wild blueberry jam.  It was heavenly.

I will definitely be back to the Scone Witch’s new location - it is bright, airy and much larger (read: more seating, less chaotic) than their Albert Street location, all which makes for a much more relaxing and enjoyable experience.  Plus, there’s no better spot to get a scone in Ottawa!

Filed under food breakfast brunch scone Scone Witch Sconewitch egg scrambled egg smoked salmon fruit salad jam oatmeal restaurant review Elgin

6 notes

Weekend project: slow cooker baked beans (round 2)
I loved making baked beans so much the first time (see here) that I have already made my second batch!  I tried a different recipe this time around - this batch has no booze and I soaked the dried beans overnight before putting them in the slow cooker.  Why eat baked beans from a can when you can make your own?
I was very pleased with this batch of baked beans.  They were so tender with a hint of sweet and smoke - perfection to me. This recipe is a keeper!  Click on my photo to link to the original recipe or see my adaptation below.
Slow cooker baked beans - serves 8-10 as a side dish
Slightly adapted from chow.com
Ingredients
- 1 pound dried navy beans (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 slices), small dice
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking the beans
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup dark molasses, also known as robust (not blackstrap)
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used grainy Dijon)
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
Directions
Place the beans in a large bowl or stock pot and pick through them, discarding any broken beans or stones. Cover the beans with at least 3 inches of cold water. Allow to soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander. Place the beans, bacon, and onion in the slow cooker.
Whisk the remaining measured ingredients in a bowl until combined. Pour into the slow cooker and stir with the beans, bacon and onions until thoroughly combined. Cover and cook on low heat until the beans are tender and the liquid thickens slightly (it will thicken more as it cools), about 9 hours (test them at 8 hours to see if they are tender to your liking.
These freeze really well; I like to freeze them in batches for the husband and I to enjoy on the weekends for breakfast.

Weekend project: slow cooker baked beans (round 2)

I loved making baked beans so much the first time (see here) that I have already made my second batch!  I tried a different recipe this time around - this batch has no booze and I soaked the dried beans overnight before putting them in the slow cooker.  Why eat baked beans from a can when you can make your own?

I was very pleased with this batch of baked beans.  They were so tender with a hint of sweet and smoke - perfection to me. This recipe is a keeper!  Click on my photo to link to the original recipe or see my adaptation below.

Slow cooker baked beans - serves 8-10 as a side dish

Slightly adapted from chow.com

Ingredients

- 1 pound dried navy beans (about 2 1/2 cups)

- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices (about 6 slices), small dice

- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice

- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more for soaking the beans

- 1/2 cup ketchup

- 1/4 cup dark molasses, also known as robust (not blackstrap)

- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used grainy Dijon)

- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more as needed

- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

Directions

Place the beans in a large bowl or stock pot and pick through them, discarding any broken beans or stones. Cover the beans with at least 3 inches of cold water. Allow to soak uncovered at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain in a colander. Place the beans, bacon, and onion in the slow cooker.

Whisk the remaining measured ingredients in a bowl until combined. Pour into the slow cooker and stir with the beans, bacon and onions until thoroughly combined. Cover and cook on low heat until the beans are tender and the liquid thickens slightly (it will thicken more as it cools), about 9 hours (test them at 8 hours to see if they are tender to your liking.

These freeze really well; I like to freeze them in batches for the husband and I to enjoy on the weekends for breakfast.

Filed under food slow cooker crockpot beans baked beans recipe chow chow.com molasses brown sugar vinegar Dijon bacon slow food side dish breakfast brunch dinner

5 notes

Weeknight supper: honey dijon baked salmon with walnuts
One of the quickest weeknight dinners that I know how to make is baked salmon.  Pair it with a salad, and voila: dinner is ready!  The other great thing about salmon is that it can be seasoned with so many different flavours to keep your taste buds interested.  
One recent weeknight (while the husband was filling his craving for a pizza) I decided to top my salmon with a mixture of honey Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and then top it with chopped walnuts.  I baked it at 425° for about 15 minutes (bake for more or less time depending on how well done you prefer your salmon - I don’t mind if mine is just slightly underdone in the middle) and served it with a side of Farm Boy’s freshly prepared Mediterranean orzo salad.  This is definitely one of my new favourite ways to season my salmon!  What’s yours?

Weeknight supper: honey dijon baked salmon with walnuts

One of the quickest weeknight dinners that I know how to make is baked salmon.  Pair it with a salad, and voila: dinner is ready!  The other great thing about salmon is that it can be seasoned with so many different flavours to keep your taste buds interested.  

One recent weeknight (while the husband was filling his craving for a pizza) I decided to top my salmon with a mixture of honey Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper, and then top it with chopped walnuts.  I baked it at 425° for about 15 minutes (bake for more or less time depending on how well done you prefer your salmon - I don’t mind if mine is just slightly underdone in the middle) and served it with a side of Farm Boy’s freshly prepared Mediterranean orzo salad.  This is definitely one of my new favourite ways to season my salmon!  What’s yours?

Filed under food dinner supper salmon baked walnuts honey dijon mustard orzo salad mediterranean Farm Boy artichoke recipe healthy quick

4 notes

Breakfast at Gabriel Pizza
When you have company visiting for the weekend, I always find that it is less stressful on everyone to just go out to eat, especially for breakfast. People have such different routines when it comes to breakfast (is it just me or do more and more people these days not eat eggs?) and appetites also differ.
It had been forever since the husband and I had been to Gabriel Pizza for breakfast, but we knew it was good and very reasonable, so off we went with our house guests in tow, promising many choices and low prices (and no dishes! haha).
A lot had changed in this particular location of Gabriel Pizza since the last time the husband and I went: a renovation made for a lovely remodeled space and an even bigger brunch menu. Our guests had no problem choosing something to eat and fuel up before we headed downtown to Winterlude.
I have been on a bit of an omelette kick lately when the husband and I go out for breakfast, so I ordered the Western, which comes stuffed with ham and onion.  Served with homefries and toast, this was one satisfying breakfast!  Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed their meals, and we all left feeling satisfied and ready to start our day. 
The husband and I will no doubt be back at Gabriel Pizza for breakfast very soon!

Breakfast at Gabriel Pizza

When you have company visiting for the weekend, I always find that it is less stressful on everyone to just go out to eat, especially for breakfast. People have such different routines when it comes to breakfast (is it just me or do more and more people these days not eat eggs?) and appetites also differ.

It had been forever since the husband and I had been to Gabriel Pizza for breakfast, but we knew it was good and very reasonable, so off we went with our house guests in tow, promising many choices and low prices (and no dishes! haha).

A lot had changed in this particular location of Gabriel Pizza since the last time the husband and I went: a renovation made for a lovely remodeled space and an even bigger brunch menu. Our guests had no problem choosing something to eat and fuel up before we headed downtown to Winterlude.

I have been on a bit of an omelette kick lately when the husband and I go out for breakfast, so I ordered the Western, which comes stuffed with ham and onion.  Served with homefries and toast, this was one satisfying breakfast!  Everyone else thoroughly enjoyed their meals, and we all left feeling satisfied and ready to start our day. 

The husband and I will no doubt be back at Gabriel Pizza for breakfast very soon!

Filed under food brunch breakfast restaurant Ottawa Gabriel's Gabriel's Pizza egg omelette western omelette onion ham homefries toast Gabriel Pizza