Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekly Roundup - Pigging Out On Macarons

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce - Everyone has their go-to recipes to turn to when they need a quick and delicious fix with minimal ingredients. One of the recipes that I turn to most is poached or fried eggs in tomato sauce. Quick, satisfying, versatile, and low on ingredients, this dish always leaves me with a smile. I love how simple it is to adjust the quantity of this recipe, making it super simple to whip up for unexpected guests at lunch or for a midday snack. I also love experimenting with different cheeses, sauces, herbs, and spices. This time around, making a single serving for myself as my breakfast last week, I decided to kick up my tomato sauce with lots of crushed red pepper flakes to turn it into an Arrabbiata sauce, while also adding a layer of rich smokiness thanks to the addition of smoked mozzarella. I always serve this dish alongside fresh bread to dip into the cheesy and spicy sauce and egg. Check out the recipe here.

Macaron Making Lesson - After enjoying my Parisian Macaron making class at Le Dolci so much, I seemed to have caught the macaron bug! Although a sprained ankle kept me off my feet and out of my kitchen for a couple weeks, this week marked the first week of me being "back in action" in the kitchen! No longer having the macaron class fresh in my mind, my friend Danielle over at Sweet & Splendid Bakeshop was kind enough to invite me over to her house last week for a personal macaron making lesson! I was happy to see that Danielle had chosen to make cocoa macaron shells to be sandwiched in between her heavenly homemade chocolate peanut butter buttercream. It was interesting to learn how the recipe should be adjusted based on the addition of cocoa. I also found it very interesting to learn Danielle's tips, tricks, and advice being a home-baker. I learned a lot from Le Dolci, but getting that other perspective from Danielle made me really feel ready to try my hand at macaron making myself! Check out Danielle's incredible custom cakes here and her new and adorable olive oil soap line here (my favourite is the adorable sprinkled doughnut!). 

Porchetta & Co. - With so many great eats popping up in Toronto, it's hard to keep track of them all, not to mention actually find the chance to get out to try all of them! Porchetta & Co. is one Toronto favourite that has been on my radar for a while now, despite the fact that I haven't got myself out to Dundas West to try their decadent porchetta sandwiches until last week. What is a porchetta sandwich you ask? I'd say it's the ultimate in piggy deliciousness! A piece of pork shoulder is marinated for 24 hours in a medley of spices including rosemary, sage, garlic oil, and lemon zest. The shoulder is then wrapped in prosciutto (I'm sure I've already got you salivating), and then all of that gets wrapped in cured pork belly. The layered creation gets roasted at a high temperature for just long enough to get a nice crispy crust on the outside, and then turned down to get slow roasted for several more hours. Finally, the meat is carved and put on fresh sourdough bread from Caldense Bakery and topped with Kozlik's grainy mustard.

Porchetta & Co. - Porchetta & Co. totally won me over from my very first bite thanks to the high quality of every single aspect of the sandwich. Perfect meat, on a perfect bun, with perfect mustard. Perfection! I especially loved the crunch and saltiness from the crackling (the crispy crust from the outside of the roast, which is sprinkled on the sandwich), adding another layer of flavour and texture to the sinful sandwich. I'm interested to try some of the sides that Porchetta & Co. serves alongside their sandwiches such as roasted potatoes, rapini, and seasonal daily soups. I look forward to coming back, but next time when the weather is warmer so I can take my sandwich to a nearby park to enjoy in the sun! 
Ruelo Patisserie - During my macaron making day with Danielle, I asked her where her favourite places are in Toronto to get macarons. Danielle eagerly mentioned both Petit Thuet and a new shop I had never heard of Ruelo Patisserie, right near one of my jobs just off Yonge, near Yonge and Eglinton, on Erskine Ave. After a particularly tiring day of work, on a beautiful mild day last week, I couldn't help but treat myself to one of Ruelo's macarons on my way home. I was impressed by their unique array of flavours, with one standing out to me as though it had blinking red lights around it, a chocolate balsamic macaron! Although the single macaron was a whopping $3 (their macarons range from $2.25-$3) I simply couldn't resist the sweet and tangy combo. Although I did enjoy the chocolate balsamic macaron (I mean, how could I not?), I couldn't help but compare the appearance and texture to my favourite place in Toronto to get macarons La Bamboche, which still remains in my top spot.

Ozery Bakery Crispy Pitas - It was as such a delight to come home last week to a delivery at my doorstep from Ozery Bakery, sending me each one of the flavours from their line of Crispy Pita products. Although the Rosemary Garlic and Cranberry Pumpkin Seed sounded like the most enticing flavours, I decided to go for a more basic flavour for my first taste, opening up a bag of their Organic Spelt with Flax Crispy Pita's to serve alongside some hummus. Right away I became addicted to the crunchy and flavourful snack! With great texture, flavour, and health benefits, I can promise you that you too will become addicted to this savoury snack! This healthy alternative to potato chips (they are 50% less fat than regular potato chips) are trans fat free, contain whole grains, and are a source of fibre and contain 6g of protein per serving. I can't wait to try all of Crispy Pita's tasty flavours! 

Rawlicious - Being a lover of comfort food, I wasn't exactly jumping for joy when my friend Rommi wanted to meet up at Rawlicious in Yorkville for dinner last week. On a freezing cold day with a blizzard, uncooked, healthy food was the absolute last thing I wanted, but out I went to give it a shot with, I'll be honest, very low expectations. Curious to try zucchini noodles (raw zucchini made into noodles using a spiralizer) both Rommi and I ordered their pad thai with zucchini and kelp noodles, shredded romaine lettuce, carrots, and bell peppers mixed in a tangy Thai sauce topped with green onions, crumbled cashews, and fresh cilantro. I was absolutely shocked to find the vegan and raw dish so delicious! With big flavours, textures, and portion size I found this dish very satisfying and enjoyable. Who would have thought that I would walk away curious to come back and try more vegan, raw, and organic dishes on their menu, not to mention try my hand at creating raw food dishes in my own kitchen! 

Mojito Night At No One Writes To The Colonel - Is there anything better than enjoying an icy and herbacious mojito on a cold February night? Ok, so maybe a mojito is a bit out of season, but the sweet and minty drink was a delicious reminder that Spring is just around the corner (next month!). With an intriguing name like "No One Writes To The Colonel", my friend Robin and I were expecting an interesting evening when we went out on Friday to celebrate my friend David's belated birthday and "retirement" party. With an awesome bartender (ask for Evan!) passionately shaking up mojitos behind the bar, I dare you to go to NOWTTC and not order one of their many mojito flavours. Although their flavoured mojitos (such as strawberry and peach) were tempting, both Robin and I were happy to have chosen the original, allowing the bright flavours from the fresh mint to shine through. I rarely order mojitos due to a pattern of disappointment with the drink that can so easily be too watery, too boozy, or too sweet, but NOWTTC's mojito had the perfectly balance leading Robin and I to order perhaps one too many...or not enough!

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Listening To:
Twin Shadow - Five Seconds

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