Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekly Roundup - Getting Fresh This Patio Season

Pork Tenderloin with Moroccan Couscous - There's nothing that makes me more happy and inspired than collaborating in the kitchen. One of my favourite kitchen collaborators happens to be my boyfriend Chris, and lucky for me Chris has a roommate, Adam, who also loves to cook! I absolutely adore coming up with a new recipe to make and heading to St. Lawrence Market, which is literally right next door to their condo, and get inspired by all of the fresh produce available. For our most recent kitchen collaboration, Adam decided to try his hand at a recipe for pork tenderloin that the chef at his office told him about, and Chris and I had found a delicious sounding recipe for Moroccan Couscous by Chef Michael Smith. Adam's pork tenderloin turned out divine, perfectly cooked by searing in a pan on each side for about 3-4 minutes, then placing in a very hot oven for only 8 minutes, perfection! We were also thrilled at how well the couscous had turned out! Filled with lots of exotic spices, dried fruits, nuts, and orange juice, the Moroccan couscous was so incredibly flavourful! I will most definitely be making that recipe again...and again! Get the recipe and make it yourself here!

Happy Mother's Day - Mother's Day is always a special holiday, reminding us to take a moment to recognize all of hard work and love that our mothers bring into our lives. Mother's Day means a lot to many people, but I feel it means even more to me, because my mom is one of my best friends. So incredibly warm and loving, with a wicked sense of humor, and so many interests that we both share, my mom is one of my favourite people to spend time with. Here's my mom back when she was probably around my age, looking like the absolute goddess that she is. What a woman. I only hope I can be even a fraction as incredible as she is when I become a mom one day.

Happy 85th Anniversary Chatelaine  - I have been reading Chatelaine magazine for as long as I can remember, sneaking copies from my mom, other family members, and doctors offices to indulge and drool over all of their incredible triple-tested recipes. I have always admired their commitment to relating to the average woman, providing them with an incredible resource for easy, accessible, and reasonably-priced recipes that they would feel proud to share with their own family. It blows me away to think that this year Chatelaine is celebrating their 85th anniversary! To celebrate their anniversary, I decided to make their 10-minute crepe recipe and shake it up a bit but making them into an old family favourite, cheese blintzes! Check out Chatelaine's recipe for 10-Minute Crepes and my recipe for Cheese Blintze Filling

A Coffee-Themed Wedding Shower - I have been to several wedding showers before, but never before had I been to one quite as big as my friend Elisa's. Held at a hall with a multi-course dinner, appetizers, and open bar, Elisa's shower was as big as her and her fiancĂ© Chris' love for one another. Of course the food is always my favourite part of any party, but what really grabbed my attention was the theme. A big coffee addict, the theme to Elisa's shower was coffee! Each guest walked away with a package of espresso and also had the opportunity of walking away with all sorts of coffee accessories, thanks to the draw that had all the guests buzzing. And yes, perhaps I did match my outfit to the theme, wearing a coffee coloured dress. 
Shells in Arrabiata Sauce with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Ricotta - One of my all-time biggest pet peeves is using grocery-store-bought jarred tomato sauce. Sure there are some OK ones out there, but when you consider how quickly you can whip up a scratch-made tasting sauce from just a jar of passata, garlic, onions, and some basil, you just can't compare the two! To attempt to discourage my mom from ever buying stinkin' Prego ever again (which, let's be honest, tastes like tomato soup!) I decided to make an Arrabiata pasta sauce, using jarred passata as the base, and dressing it up with some oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and ricotta cheese. As you may know from reading my profile on the Dairy Farmers of Canada website, my trick to getting inspired in the kitchen is by seeing what needs to be used up in my fridge and pantry. With a package of starting-to-wrinkle cherry tomatoes and a bit of ricotta  cheese left, I couldn't help but toss the two into my pasta. Those two simple additions turned a very simple arrabiata pasta into something worthy of serving to guests! This tasty pasta definitely convinced my mom that passata is the way to go!

Terroni: Grilled Peach & Prosciutto Salad - There's nothing like a glorious, sunny long weekend...that is unless you're working almost every day of the weekend. Working at a pub, I had no way of getting out of my weekend shifts, turning me into one sour puss come my Sunday brunch and lunch shift. Thankfully I work in an area where everyone, with exception to myself, seems to have a cottage that they wisely escaped to for the beautiful long weekend. With hardly anyone on the patio, it was easy for me to hand over my one table to the bartender to serve, and sneak out to enjoy a little patio-lovin' of my own. I met up with my aunt Darlene and my mom to relax on one of the best patios in the city, the Terroni on Yonge upstairs patio! From the moment I walked in, as I watched a vibrant and fresh salad pass by my eyes to be served to another table, I knew exactly what I wanted in my belly! A special of the day, Terroni's Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Salad was just as incredible as it looked. To be honest, I find that Terroni can be a bit hit or miss. I've had dishes that were very "meh", and had me kicking myself for not ordering something else, but then again, I've had dishes that have absolutely blown me away! This salad was one of those dishes. I wish this was always on their menu!

Terroni: Pappardelle alla Iosa - Starved after working on my own patio all morning, my mom and I decided to split two dishes, so that we could indulge in some carbs as well as be healthy thanks to the grilled peach and prosciutto salad. I'm happy to report that Terroni's Pappardelle alla Iosa was just as mouth-watering delicious as their salad was. The delicate house-made pappardelle noodles were tossed in a savory house-made spicy sausage sauce, with button and oyster mushrooms, green peas, and parmigiano. So incredibly fantastic! I have always loved Terroni's Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, a traditional bolognese ragu, but their Pappardelle alla Iosa has won my heart as my new favourite! It's very similar to their ragu, but the addition of the mushrooms and peas makes it extraordinary! 

Caprese Salad - My favourite dishes always seem to be the most simple ones. Caprese salad is a perfect example of that. Last year, at the beginning of patio season, my friend Danielle and I spent a good three days out of the week patio hopping, wanting nothing more than fresh caprese salad and sangria. We had such a nice time basking in the sun and enjoying the simplicity of fresh, good-quality ingredients that one year to the date of our caprese and sangria marathon, we could think of nothing else but hanging out together and eating the classic Italian salad and patio-perfect beverage. Much chillier this year, not to mention or budgets dramatically shrinking, we decided to make our own caprese salad and sangria to enjoy in Danielle's cozy living room. It's amazing how quickly you can whip up such a delicious and satisfying lunch!

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE for my kick ass Creamy Clam & Vegetable Chowder recipe for the Dairy Farmers of Canada Creamy Seafood Challenge!

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Listening To:
Daft Punk - Lose Yourself To Dance (Feat. Pharrell Williams) [192]

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1 comment:

Velva said...

Cooking is all about sharing and that is what makes in collaborating in the kitchen so much fun. Thanks for sharing.