Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Their Was Food, Booze, Dancing, Fire, and Good Times Did Abound

First thing is first, I apologize for the quality of the pictures, something was split on my camera lens and I didn't notice till after I had uploaded the photo's. I guess the big problem with being the cook and camera man.

Anyway, more to the point, this Tuesday, yesterday, my friend Matt entered his 29th year of existence. In order to celebrate we took him up to Lake Scugog (Scugog being somewhat fabled, since we first passed it on the highway, and I exclaimed the name out loud in the car in a seemingly random fashion. Picture minding your own business and then having the word Scugog shouted for no apparent reason.) for a BBQ. Chris brought a portable BBQ borrowed from work and I prepped and cooked the food. Renars was on Fire duty, of which he went right of to work.

First up, Creole shrimp with a remoulade. (5 stars)

Course 2, blackened frogs legs with Asian dipping sauce (soy sauce, black vinegar, chili garlic sauce, flash fried minced garlic in sesame oil and chili oil, and chopped fresh cilantro). (3 stars, slightly overcooked and most of the seasoning fell off)

As the frogs legs were cooking, a skunk decided to come visit.

Matt decided to greet it.

Finally the first potato package finished cooking.

Along with the frogs legs.

Some lamb burgers. (Another 5 star, very tasty burgers)
The finished product being enjoyed.


Where he finds this shit sometimes I just have no idea.

The grand finale, Sausages! Picked em up from the Sausage King vendor at the St. Lawrence Market. 2 Hot Italians, 2 Honey Garlic, 2 Farmers Pork, and 2 Spicy something sausages. (4 stars, although all I can take credit for is cooking technique, the rest goes to the Sausage King)

Yeah we made a bit of a mess. (Don't fret, it was all cleaned up)

It never ceases to amaze me what a bit of fiddle music, and a lot of beer can do.

Or what an open fire and a lot of beer can do for that matter.

Finally back in the city we hit a few pubs and a Chinese restaurant before calling it a night and crawling home for dawn.

I feel, as this is a food blog and all, that I am required to mention the Chinese food a bit. I haven't the faintest idea where we ate, but it was on Spadina, about half way to Dundas from College. I don't recall ever having been here before, so I can say it was a new experience. We ordered 5 dishes, an order of Cantonese Chow Mein, a Oyster Beef, a Sichuan Beef, a Shanghai Noodles (which turned into Singapore Noodles upon being informed they were out of Shanghai) and finally a General Tso Chicken. In my opinion the winner was the Cantonese Chow Mein, a hearty portion of beef, chicken, BBQ pork, shrimp and scallops, on perfectly balanced crispy and soft noodles (best of all no fucking imitation crab!!). The Oyster Beef was great, but the portion was too small for me to highly recommend it. The Sichuan Beef was a little disappointing (as most Sichuan food tends to be outside an actual Sichuan restaurant. One day I may even learn to stop ordering it outside them) but still had enough flavor to be consumed with great speed. The General Tso Chicken was quite good, nice and crispy, and the sauce was great. And finally the Singapore Noodles came, quite good as well, however it was a little lacking in spiciness, the onion was a bit too thick and over powering at times, and it seemed to be lacking in pork and shrimp. All in all though it was a satisfying meal at 3 in the AM. Will go back (if I can remember which place it is) if for nothing else then to take Christina for the Cantonese Chow Mein.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Putting Subway Out of Business, One Sandwich at a Time

Ok, well in all likely hood, I won't put Subway out of business with my sandwich recipes, but sometime's I like to think I could (and lets face it, even helping to minimally reduce their income is a personal pleasure).

This recipe is for anyone with a bit of spare time on their hands, and likes a meatball sub. I decided to make it almost as if it was a calzone. Which is to say the all the ingretiants are baked into the bread.

The bread was a simple baguette recipe, 1 tbs sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp yeast, 1 cup luke warm water, 2.5 cups bread flour, and 1.5 tbs olive oil. Add sugar yeast and water to a bowl, let stand for 5 minutes, and the salt and flour, mix, and olive oil, and knead until no longer sticky. Let rise for 10 minutes.

As the bread was rising, cooked off some frozen meatballs (using fresh homemade is ideal, however I lacked the ingredients) heated some tomato sauce, and started chopping my vegetables. For vegetables I was using garlic cut into sticks, julienned onion and red and green peppers, and mushrooms. When the meatballs finished cooking I added them to the pre heated tomato sauce and cooked for 5 minutes further, whilst stir frying the veg.

When the dough had risen, I formed it into thing baguettes, and then thinned out to look like an oblong pizza.

Tip: When folding the dough over near the end, its much easier to make the dough wider then you need. It helps to avoid the ingredients trying to burst out and the dough weakening with sauce. With it a little wider you can almost wrap it together.

The sandwich building went as such; add a thin layer of parmesan;

followed by meatballs and sauce;

the veg;


and wrap.

When this was finished I topped with a layer of egg yolk mixed with water, more parmesan, and some oregano.

Bake for roughly 25 minutes at 375 degrees, and enjoy your sandwich (just a hint, place sandwich on a baking sheet sealed side down).

WARNING: Do not over fill or this will happen:

Unless this is how you like your sandwich, they were still very much edible, and very much tasty.

The King of Dumplings

Their really isn't quite anything like dumplings to order. This notion is exactly what the unassuming Dumpling King offers up. The closet sized restaurant at 15 Northway, is one of the most un-noticable, hole in the wall places I've gone to. Needless to say if you didn't know it was there, you probably wouldn't find it. With only 4 or 5 tables, and a big billboard menu (including everyones favorite "Seefood Dumplings") with pictures of there 9 or 10 varieties of dumplings, one may be left wondering how this place manages any business at all. It still lingers in my mind why they needed pictures on the billboard as they all looked exactly the same, except for 1 was of fried dumplings, and the other steamed.

However the key to success here, was the hand made, made to order dumplings. The chef, and from all I can assume, proprietor of Dumpling King, comes out, greets you, takes your order, and then goes hard fast to work. Shortly going to the back he appears to bring you some tea. We kept our order simple, 1 order of fried chicken and vegetable, and one order steamed pork and napa (each order containing 16 dumplings).

In preparation we mixed our sauce, they offered, black vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, and what looked to be some delicious home made chili and garlic oil. Keeping the sauce basic and to the point, we mearly combined soy sauce and the chili oil.

First to arrive was the fried chicken and vegetable dumplings.
My dining compatriot was a little skeptical on ordering the fried, being a traditionalist and all, he tends to keep to the steamed variety. However they hit the table, and not only looked delicious, but tasted wonderful as well. Perfect hand crafted dumplings dredged in oil that couldn't be changed more then once a month. Some oil that is used heavily suffers in quality, but oil used for the purpose of just 1 item only gains flavour. We made short work of the fried dumplings, and moved on to the pork and napa.

Again perfectly crafted, wonderfully juicy, and very tasty.

For a meager 14$ check, my only complaint after this meal was how my camera washed out the photo of the steamed dumplings. I highly recommend this joint to anyone in or passing through North York. On a side note, from what I'm to understand they also sell frozen dumplings for a dollar off menu price for anyone looking for something for home.

Bon appetit.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So I finally got back to cooking some Indian food tonight with some curries. I made curry chicken and curry prawns. I marinated the chicken and prawns in yogurt and ginger garlic paste overnight. I then started by sauteeing finally chilies and diced red onions till pink, then adding more garlic and gigner, stirring and then adding a hot curry paste. I then added some tomatoes and the chicken as soon as the tomatoes finished cooking. I placed a lid on the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, at which point I removed the lid and let the sauce thicken. I finally added some chopped coriander, mixed, and served on rice. The shrimp were done in a similar fashion except simmered until just cooked and did not thicken the sauce. I also did a side of stir fried vegetables in about a teaspoon of black bean sauce. I served the curries with mango chutney and sliced banana.

The chicken was great, as were the vegetables. The shrimp could use a different method of cooking, even leaving the shell on they still shrank more then I wanted and were just a little overcooked.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quesadilla Night

Now, I had an idea the other night of turning my favorite sandwich's into quesadilla's. Tonight, I decided to give it a very basic approach (as I lacked the more authentic ingrediants that would go in the sandwich's). I was transforming a chicken Parmesan sandwich, and a Philly cheese steak sandwich. The result was more like rather ordinary quesadilla's, but they were tasty all the same.

For the Philly cheese steak, I put on mozzarella, cheddar (I wanted to use a blend of mozzarella and provolone, but I lacked the provolone), sauteed onions, mushrooms, and sliced rare steak.

On the chicken Parmesan, I put mozzarella, cheddar (again I wanted to use Parmesan instead of cheddar but I'm out), sauteed bell peppers, onions, and spiced chicken. I wanted to add some spicy tomato sauce, but I also lacked this.

All in all, I suppose you could say I should have waited for a day where I had everything I wanted to include, but hey it was a good meal. I am planning on further transformations in the future, as well as re-visiting these with the proper ingredients.

Feelin' Like Somethin' Fried

So last week I was having one of my many pub food cravings. Now the cravings less for the food itself and more for the experimentation involved.

This particular go, I decided to do mozzarella sticks, zucchini sticks, chicken fingers, and curry battered mushrooms. I also did a very light chicken and vegetable stir-fry (which will not be featured as it was nothing overly special, nor my main focus)as to not fill up on unhealthy fried food.

The experimentation in this case was left to the chicken fingers and curry battered mushrooms. Typically when I make chicken fingers, I go with the southern approach, which is to say I soak them overnight in hot sauce and buttermilk, then coat with flour and fry. This time however I decided to bread them in the same stuff I was breading my cheese and zucchini in (a mixture of bread crumbs, fresh Parmesan, oregano, and garlic powder). For the mushrooms I made my standard beer batter (flour, corn starch, beer) and added a small touch of cumin and about 1-2 teaspoons of hot curry powder. I paired the zucchini and mozzarella with a sweet basil tomato sauce, the chicken fingers with hot plum sauce, and the mushrooms with mango chutney, and chili sauce.

Chicken Fingers

Zucchini Sticks

Mozzarella Sticks

Fried Mushrooms

Everything turned out well, I'm interested to try the mushrooms again but with a variety of different mushrooms, IE; shiitake, oyster, portabello, etc.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Their just ain't enough smells like a boiling pot of Jambalaya!

I feel in love with this savory spicy dish down in New Orleans where it was an accompaniment to many dishes I ate there. This was the first time I have cooked it myself, and had it since being in New Orleans (barring one occasion at Big Daddies Crab Shack last October).

I was down at the St. Lawrence Market last week buying some sausages, from the Sausage King vendor, for lunch that day when I happened by some Andouille Sausages. I picked them up right away as they aren't the easiest things to find, and knew right then and there, Jambalaya was in my future.

So last night I cooked some up, with some herbed potato wedges and stir fried broccoli mushrooms and garlic.

Turned out well except for the rice in the Jambalaya was slightly undercooked. I tried tasting it ahead of time, unfortunately it was so hot I burnt the living shit out of my mouth and was no closer to tell if the rice was done. So I eyeballed it, and judged by the time that it should be done, in retrospect, it probably could have used another 5 minutes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'll Have a Burrito, Everything on it.

So for the first time in a long time I had a burrito. I enjoyed it considerably more then the last time I had one. So as with all culinary treats I enjoy, I try and replicated them at home.

The big road block in my way was having relatively little idea of how to reproduce the barbacoa they used in their beef (even though I was using chicken). The barbacoa at this given place being beef braised for hours (apparently) in a seemingly glowing reddish orange sauce.

So inevitably I jumped in head first spread a Mexican spice blend over my chicken breasts, and browned them in a pot. After browning them all, I deglazed the pan with a bottle of molson ex, and added about 2 cups of chicken stock, followed by 2 chipolte peppers, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tomato, and 1 can of tomato paste. I re-added the chicken breasts till fully cooked and shreddable then removed them. I simmered the sauce down till thick, shredded the chicken, removed the chipolte, and garlic from the sauce, and added the chicken.

Meanwhile I made a roasted tomato and chili salsa, spicy black beans, and some guacamole. Followed by cooking some yellow rice (turmeric and cumin). Now almost ready I shredded some cheese, some lettuce, and made a mix of diced fresh veg.


Spicy Black Beans

Diced cucumber, tomato, and scallions


Yellow Rice

The building process ended up looking something like this;

Add Yellow Rice;

Followed by Spicy Black Beans;

Followed by the Chicken;

Some Diced Veg;



Sour Cream;


And finally the lettuce, wrap in tin foil and place in the oven at 400 for roughly 5 minutes.