Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekly Roundup - September 9, 2012

The Last Pool Party: Salsa Verde - As the summer days dwindle down it's become painfully clear that our time in our beautiful home is coming to an end. Although it will be most certainly be with a heavy heart that we say farewell to the place I've called home my whole life, my sister and I wanted to send it off with a smile (and alcohol) by hosting a pool party in our backyard with some good friends. Of course no Rose family party would be complete without some tasty offerings to serve to our guests. Because my sister and I had a budget to worry about, we decided to make our party BYOM (bring your own meat), with myself and the rest of the family helping out with making and buying additional snacks, hot dog and hamburger toppings, buns, and my sisters killer sangria. One of the snacks we made was nachos on the BBQ. It would have been plain cruel to serve nachos at my party without making my favourite salsa, so I quickly whipped up this vibrant Salsa Verde the day before, which party guests raved over! Get the recipe here!

Pool Party Potato Salad - Another classic BBQ side that I quickly made the morning of our pool party was my Sweet Pepper Potato Salad. Unfortunately I didn't realize that all the dill in my fridge from my grandmothers garden had already gone bad, so I had to sub the herb for basil from my garden, which turned out to be a happy accident as it was delicious! Get the recipe here!

Playa Cabana - Nothing like a little heat on a rainy evening. Last week on a rainy Tuesday by friend Rommi and I met up for margaritas, mojitos, guacamole, and tacos at Playa Cabana, one of my favourite Mexican restaurants in Toronto (although I still have a few that I need to check out). Because their margaritas and guacamole are just so darn incredible, there was no way I was leaving without at least one order of both! I loved my margarita so much and am still kicking myself for not ordering another, and the guacamole was just as spectacular as I remembered from my last visit. So incredibly creamy, spicy, and vibrant, the guac tasted incredible dunked into Playa Cabana's fresh house-made  salty nacho chips.

Playa Cabana - The last time I went to Playa Cabana I tried their Fish Tacos (market fish of the day) and Crispy Short Rib Tacos, which were absolutely incredible, but I wanted to try something new this time around. I love the Tacos Al Pastor from El Trompo in Kensington Market with braised pork and sweet pineapple, a match made in heaven, so I wanted to do a little comparison by trying out Playa Cabana's take on a Mexican classic. Playa's Al Pastor tacos were delicious with super tender pork,  perfect seasoning, and lots of pineapple for that burst of sweetness. Because Playa's tortillas held up better than El Trompo's corn tortillas, they got my vote as my fave!
Churrasco Villa - Just when you thought the party was over, my sister and her boyfriend started up round two, a mere two days after our first pool party. Although it was only a few friends, it felt like a party with lots of alcohol (or what we called "Boozy Fruit", a blended drink made with the leftover fruit from my sisters amazing sangria), loud music, snacks, and a delicious feast of party leftovers and Churrasco chicken wings. Don't get me wrong, chicken wings are great, but chicken wings from Churrasco Villa are in-freaking-credible! You have got to give them a try!
Pool Visitor - This big guy decided to go for a little dip in the pool Tuesday morning, and let me tell you, he did not want to come out!

Hot & Spicy Shrimp Pasta - One of my favourite go-to dishes to turn to when I can't think of what to make for dinner is Hot and Spicy Shrimp Pasta. I love turning to this dish because it is not only delicious, but also features ingredients I always have on hand in my kitchen. I always like to keep a bag of frozen uncooked shrimp in the freezer as well as a package of fresh fettucini in the fridge for emergency dinners. With those two ingredients on hand, some fresh lemon juice, and parsley from my garden, I was all set to make this delicious pasta dish. The recipe is great on its own but I have a few minor adjustments to make this dish extra delicious. Check out the recipe here and add my adjustments!
  • Add the zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • Add more cayenne and red pepper flakes for more of a kick
  • Reserve about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to add to create more of a "sauce".
  • Make fresh breadcrumbs with lots of fresh garlic.
  • Serve with lemon wedges for diners to squeeze over their portion right before serving.
  • Use fresh pasta.
Home - I'm going to miss my backyard in my home most of all. Here's a picture of the entryway to the path in our yard which we call "the secret garden". When I was little I loved the book and movie The Secret Garden and always dreamt of having my own secret garden in my very own backyard. Always one to try and make my dreams come true, my dad created just that for me, a beautiful, secluded secret garden pathway which leads past our pool and into the back of the yard. I'm going to miss this secret garden walk.

Delivery from California - One of the best parts about my trip to Israel this past Spring was getting to meet so many interesting and inspiring people. One of the people that I became closest with is my friend Jacqueline Geller. Jacqueline and I bonded over our love of blogging and unconventional dreams, with Jacqueline passionate about gaming. Another passion of Jacqueline's that I found fascinating was her postcard collection and post card writing goals. Jacqueline loves sending and receiving postcards to/from both friends and strangers from around the world. She sets goals for herself for the number of postcards she sends over various periods of time, and does pretty darn well at fulfilling those goals. At the time of our trip, Jacqueline was feeling uneasy about her future in gaming media and seeing progress come out of all her hard work. I was so incredibly inspired hearing about the work she was doing and knew in my heart that her break was coming. Sure enough, only a couple of months later, Jacqueline was offered her dream job in sunny California as the eSports Network Coordinator for Blizzard Entertainment. Still keeping in touch through letters and postcards of course, here is the stamp from Jacqueline's most recent letter to me. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter to learn more about her exciting work!

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Listening To:
The XX - Coexist 

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