Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Adelaide Eats 2017

The Adelaide Eats food market is BACK for it's third year in a row, and I'm here to give you the inside scoop on what you should be checking out! Located right in the downtown core, on the second floor Terrace of Adelaide Place, Adelaide Eats is the perfect destination for those working in the financial district to grab a quick bite on the go. With over fifteen restaurant options to choose from, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the delicious choices. Having visited the market last year, I knew to try and come up with a game-plan this time around, so that I could be sure to taste as much as possible, without getting too full! 
After trying (almost!) all of the tastes that Adelaide Eats had to offer, I of course had a few favourites. Momofuku was a welcome addition to the market this year, serving up their famous pork belly and chicken steamed buns. Though I've had Momofuku's steamed buns before, they were just as wonderful as always, and stood out as one of my favourite tastes of the night. 
Though I'm generally pretty skeptical when it comes to brisket sandwiches, I was curious to try Toben Food By Design's Brisket Sandwich. I'm so glad I did, because it turned out to be one of the best brisket sandwiches I've ever had! It was particularly lovely when paired alongside their refreshing Compressed Watermelon Salad with corn, black beans, and feta. This duo is definitely a must-try! 
After enjoying two fairly heavy options, I was ready for something lighter before going back for more gluttony. Though I had never heard of Cassia before (they do Thai pop-ups throughout Toronto), I really enjoyed their Thai Papaya Salad. Not only was it delicious, each dish was prepared to-order, with our chef taking out a pestle and mortar to grind the herbs and spices right before serving! I highly recommend checking them out, as it may be tricky to find them anywhere else! 
I was a little shocked at how much I enjoyed Wahlburgers burger. I'm pretty picky with my burgers, and have been talking a lot of smack about Marky Mark daring to bring his burgers to Toronto to rival our dear Burger's Priest, Stockyards, Holy Chuck, The Drake, and more. I gotta give Marky Mark some credit, he does make a good burger (though no, it ain't no Priest!), and what's more, he completely won me over with his crunchy on the outside, and soft and tender interior tater tots! Man, were those ever addictive! 
Of course, no market would be complete without some refreshing beverages! While I chose to sip on a little sangria (they were serving both red and white sangria), my sister Justine chose to enjoy a few brews from The Mervchant Tavern, trying both the Goose Island IPA and Mill St. Organic. Fear not, wine drinkers, The Merchant Tavern has you covered as well, serving Peller Estates Chardonnay and Cabernet-Merlot. 
I'm really glad to have had the chance to try out all of the delicious offerings at the market and am looking forward to coming back throughout the summer! Be sure to check out the market from now until July 28th located at 150 York St. 

Listening To:

Friday, June 16, 2017

Raw Shaved Asparagus Salad Two Ways

Being such a food-focused province, the winter months have a way of taking its toll on us Ontarians, having to endure months and months of minimal options and repetition when it comes to local produce. There's no better sight than the first discovery of local asparagus at the market, as it has become a signifier for the beginning of Spring and all of the seasons big, fresh flavours for Ontarians.
With asparagus at its peak in the Spring, there's no better time to turn off the heat and play around with different raw preparations for this healthy and flavourful green. Serving asparagus raw allows its true flavours to shine through, as well as taking advantage of its fantastic  crunchy texture. This recipe lets asparagus act as the star, dressing it in a light vinaigrette that highlights asparagus's natural flavours, without overwhelming it. More than that, this recipe gives you the option of serving the salad two ways; standing along, garnished with pistachios and parmesan cheese, as a light accompaniment to lunch or dinner; or as an appetizer, using it as a topping for goat cheese crostini.

This article was originally posted in Fredi Magazine. CLICK HERE to check out the spread!

Tip: Save any remaining dressed salad to add into an omelette the next day!

Ingredients:
2 lb thick asparagus spears, trimmed & peeled into ribbons
Salad Dressing
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp mint, cut into very fine ribbons
salt and pepper to taste
Salad
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachios, lightly toasted
shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish
Crostini
8-10 thin slices baguette, cut on a bias
olive oil
about 1/2 cup goats cheese

Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, and mint, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a medium bowl, add asparagus ribbons. Add 3/4 of dressing and toss. Taste, and add remaining dressing as needed. 
  3. Divide salad in half. Plate half garnished with pistachios and parmesan cheese shavings and serve as a salad.
  4. Use the remaining half of the salad for topping the crostini. Lightly brush baguette slices with olive oil and lightly toast or grill. Spread evenly with about 1-Tbsp. goats cheese each, and top evenly with remaining asparagus salad. Serve immediately. 
Listening To:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How To Be A Food Hero - Make French Toast with Old Hot Dog Buns

The other day I posted an Instagram Story of me making Hot Dog Bun French Toast. That's right. No challah. No brioche. No fancy bread from some cute bakery. We're talking dirty, Wonderbread hot dog buns, bought on sale, and stale as shit. So appealing, right? 

I know it's not the most glamorous of dishes, but guys, this is straight up real life! This is how you live on that Budget-Life (can I get an *amen* emoji!), cut down on food waste, and get food in your belly when it seems like there's nothing to eat. This is also how I cook a lot of the time. 

I remember making this for Chris years ago when he first moved into the condo that we now live in together with his then roommate, Adam. They didn't have a ton of food in the fridge and pantry, and would often make due with cereal, cans of tuna, hot dogs, and takeout. When we would get hungry when I was over and I would offer to cook something, I was often met with "there's nothing to eat and nothing to make it with." Little did they know, they were dealing with a food hero! 

I remember seeing the look of amazement on Chris's face when I first macgyvered together french toast using old, stale hot dog buns. Just five minutes prior he was convinced there was no food, and was about to throw out those old hot dog buns. No, it was definitely not the best french toast ever, but yeah, it was good! Dunk anything in custard, fry it in butter, and top it with maple syrup and you'll be a happy camper! 
This time I also had some overripe strawberries that were about to go mouldy that elevated the humble hot dog bun french toast even further. Hell, I bet you can't even tell how shameful the bread is in the photo, it turned out so good! It's funny that I've been using these food waste tricks and hacks for years, but have kept many of them to myself, scared that people may shame me for breaking the rules or using less-than-popular food ingredients and products. I'm so glad that this time I decided to not give a shit, and just put my real self out there, because this seems to be what my viewers/readers really respond to! I was amazed at how many people replied to my story, telling me how much they hate food waste, how creative they thought that idea was, and encouraging me to post more! That was very cool! 

So the next time you're clearing out your kitchen, and tossing anything deemed "inedible," please take a moment to reconsider what you're doing. Ask yourself, "can I use this item in any other way before it turns to garbage?" Not only could you end up creating something delicious (and potentially genius!) you will also be able to rest easy knowing your hard earned money was well spent, and the good food that we are so fortunate to be able to have did not go to waste! 

What items do you find yourself wasting the most in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments below and maybe I'll have a solution for you! Also be sure to follow me on Instagram to watch more of my food waste tips and tricks on my Instagram Stories! 

Listening To:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Celebrating National Iced Tea Day with Teapigs

Photo courtesy of Craft PR
Alcohol and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship. While I love the taste and refreshment of certain cocktails and ciders, and love sipping on a good glass of wine or bubbly, alcohol doesn't always sit very well with me. Over the last year or so, I've had to get more selective about which alcohol I choose to drink and most definitely how much. With this being said, I've had to turn down a lot of events and promotions this year, knowing that I wouldn't be unable to fully take part. Long gone are the days of getting silly at Beer Fest with my sister, and tasting five drinks in an afternoon at a cocktail competition. In all honesty, other than causing shenanigans with my sister at Beer Fest, I really haven't missed all those other events very much. 

As the weather begins to (slowly) get warmer, I've found myself craving refreshing, summertime sippers, that feature just enough alcohol to relax me, but not enough that I don't feel like myself. As though the universe heard my cries for summer sippers, I was promptly invited to Teapigs early celebration of National Iced Tea day (which takes place on June 10!) at Figo last week. With Teapigs fragrant iced teas as the star of the event, I knew I would be in good hands to be able to enjoy the event and featured drinks, without feeling uncomfortable. 
With my favourite +1 in tow (my sister, Justine!) we walked into a very buzzing Figo and headed straight to the bar to check out the cocktail offerings. Just as I had hoped, the event featured very "Danielle-kinda-cocktails," meaning bright, refreshing, and low on booze...with one mocktail option to boot! The first cocktail I tried turned out to be my favourite! The Ginger Collins was a zingy and citrusy cocktail featuring Teapigs Lemon & Ginger Tea, St. Germain Elderflower Liquer, Benedictine D.O.M., lemon juice, and soda water. As much as I wanted to try the two other cocktails being prepared that night, I would have been perfectly fine just sipping on my Ginger Collins all evening, as it was exactly what I was looking for! 
I was glad that I branched out from the Ginger Collins once I tried the next cocktail, the Super Fruit Punch. Though it was slightly boozier than the Ginger Collins, it was just as refreshing and incredibly delicious! Featuring Teapigs Super Fruit Herbal Tea, lemon juice, Ketel One Vodka, and Peche de Vigne, I could definitely see myself sipping on this one on my balcony on a hot summer day. Though I loved the Ginger Collins the most, I can think of a number of friends who would go crazy over the Super Fruit Punch! 

Though I had thought that the mocktail may turn out to be my favourite, I have to admit...I didn't like it. The mocktail prepared was called a Marrakesh Mocktail and featured Teapigs Marrakesh Green Tea with Peppermint, apple juice, lemon juice, and pineapple and star anise bitters. While all of the flavours sound like they would create a drink I would like, I found the peppermint flavour from the tea incredibly overwhelming. Though I didn't like the cocktail prepared with the Marrakesh Green Tea with Peppermint, I have since tried brewing the tea on its own, and actually really loved the tea itself. I guess I just wasn't a fan of the mocktail as a whole...sorry to the mixologist. 
Photo courtesy of Craft PR
Thank you so much to Teapigs and Craft PR for inviting me to take part in this event, and for sending me home with a bag full of amazing-smelling Teapigs teas! I'm so excited to make the Ginger Collins and Super Fruit Punch at home for my friends and family this summer! To help you get your summer sippers on, Teapigs was kind enough to give me the recipes for their cocktails to share with you as well! Be sure to make one on June 10th to celebrate National Iced Tea day! 
Photo courtesy of Craft PR
Ginger Collins
Serve: In a pitcher
Glass: Collins
Ice: Cubed
Garnish: 3 lemon wheels down the side of the glass
Ingredients:
10 oz. Teapigs Lemon & Ginger Tea (4 tea temples) (chilled)
5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqeur
1 1/4 oz. Benedictine D.O.M. (or omit and add 1 oz. more simple syrup instead)
2 1/2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
Top with soda water to your liking

Directions:
  1. Brew 4 cups of Teapigs Lemon & Ginger Tea. Steep for longer than you would for a regular cup of tea to ensure the flavour stands out - 10-minutes. Remove tea temples and chill before use.
  2. Add all ingredients, except the soda water, into a pitcher filled with ice. Add garnish and stir until all ingredients are mixed.
  3. Top with ice and soda water. Pour into a Collins glass to serve.

Photo courtesy of Craft PR
Super Fruit Punch
Serve: In a pitcher
Glass: Collins
Ice: Crushed
Garnish: Half strawberry & sage leaf
Ingredients:
12 oz. Teapigs Super Fruit Herbal Tea (4 temples) (chilled)
2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 oz. Ketel One Vodka
3 1/2 oz. Peche de Vigne
2 1/2 oz. Simple syrup 

Directions:
  1. Brew 4 cups of Teapigs Super Fruit Herbal Tea. Steep for longer than you would for a regular cup of tea to ensure the flavour stands out - 15-minutes. Remove tea temples and chill before use.
  2. In a pitcher filled with crushed ice, add all ingredients and stir. 
  3. To serve, pour into a Collins glass and garnish with half a strawberry and sage leaf.

Listening To

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Fresh City Farms Ready-To-Eat Jars

Cooking is my thing. It's my stress reliever, my creative outlet, my pride, my joy, it's my world. While I love to cook as much as possible and share my creations with you all, it's not always a reality for me to get to cook every single meal. Short-cuts and quick-fixes are the only way I can get through a busy week without losing my mind sometimes. I'm often juggling a few different projects at once, which means a lot of running around, and bursting in the door well past dinner time, in a hangry stupor, searching for anything that can satiate me quickly! It's so easy to make poor choices when I'm caught in a hangry state like that, turning to my guilty pleasures (that always feel so good at first, and then inevitably leave me feeling disappointed) like a box of mac & cheese, a McDonalds meal, or just some good ol' peanut butter toast. Like I said, those options always seem like a good idea while I'm preparing them, but they always (and I mean always!) leave me feeling lousy and let down in the end. 

While I've been getting better at meal prep as of late, I still have those days where I need to have a meal on hand that's ready to go and will leave me feeling my best. With that in mind, an email from Fresh City Farms, inviting me to try out some of their new Ready-To-Eat meal jars came at the most opportune time!

Having visited Fresh City Farms two-acre Organic farm at Downsview Park (right in the city!) a few years ago, I knew first-hand the care and thought that they take in producing and sourcing some of the best produce you can find in Ontario. While they don't source all of their ingredients for their Ready-To-Eat jars from their own farm, they take great care to select almost exclusively certified organic ingredients, with exception of a few local producers who are not certified organic.
Beyond being impressed by the attention and importance that they place on having high-quality produce, I was also dazzled by the great selection of Ready-To-Eat jars that Fresh City Farms carries in their shop. With so many delicious sounding options (that fit a variety of different diets), the hardest part of the whole process was buckling down and getting decisive about my order. I wanted to try them all!! I ended up ordering the Butter Chicken Bowl (a total no-brainer!), Makhani Tofu Biryani, and Falafel Salad, with jars for Chris to try out as well for a second opinion. I also threw in some Tonica Kombucha, red beets, rutabaga, and Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Green Zebra Kitchen. What a haul!

With my order placed, I was a little concerned that I would run into problems with my delivery. Both myself and Chris were going to be out the day our order was to be delivered, and my condo clearly states that they will not accept any deliveries that include non-perishables. I left instructions for the delivery person to call our buzzer and leave the order outside of our unit door. Even still, I wasn't sure that either Chris or myself would even be available to answer the buzzer to let the delivery person in. I was stressed! Luckily my stress was completely unfounded, as the delivery process was as smooth as can be! I got a phone call from Fresh City Farms to confirm my order was being delivered, and they were able to get into my building without any issue. Chris came home to find a lovely Fresh City Farms cooler bag, expertly packed with temperature controlled lunch bags and ice packs. For someone who works in marketing, Chris was seriously impressed!

I came home from work that evening completely starved and ready to dive into my Butter Chicken Bowl! A quick trip to the microwave was all my bowl needed to be ready to eat. It was such a perfect meal to come home to. I loved the big, bold, and comforting flavours of the butter chicken sauce, and the chicken was perfectly cooked and tender. With the jars being quite large, I even had some leftover as a snack the next day!
While the Butter Chicken jar was definitely my favourite, the other two jars were really tasty as well. Though I have to admit, I did end up adding some extra ingredients to the Falafel jar to bump up the flavour a little bit. I added chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of tahini, and a little hit of cayenne pepper for heat. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I wanted a little bit more brightness, creaminess, and heat. I LOVED it after that! I have also been totally obsessed with kombucha since trying Tonica Kombucha from my order, and have been drinking it like a maniac ever since! My favourite flavour is their peach kombucha. I was also shocked by how delicious the Peanut Butter Cups were from Green Zebra Kitchen. My goodness, they were sooooo good! Not only were they tasty, they're also healthy and provide a quick energy boost thanks to the hit of protein in them. 

I am so happy with how my experience with Fresh City Farms went! It was easy, convenient, delicious, and at a fairly reasonable price-point considering the quality, organic certification, and delivery right to your door! I would highly recommend looking into their delivery service if you're anything like me and are looking for tasty and convenient options that will leave you feeling great in the midst of a busy week. Thank you so much to the lovely people at Fresh City Farms for reaching out to me and allowing me the opportunity to try their products!

This post was written in partnership with Fresh City Farms. All opinions and photographs are my own. 

Listening To:
Kendrick Lamar - XXX