On July 5, 2016,the Flavour Your Life program, which is funded by the European Union and the Italian government, hosted an extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) tasting event in Toronto. The event was held at Buca Osteria & Enoteca on King Street West, where the food and drinks were incredible, by the way. It’s my new favourite Italian restaurant and I can’t wait to go back! I usually only purchase Greek EVOO, so I was very excited to learn more about Italian EVOO. A HUGE thank you to Gordon from Confessions of a Toronto Foodie who told me about this opportunity.
Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’
The timing of my discovery of this recipe was perfect, because I was looking for winter-friendly cold salads, I had all of the ingredients on hand, and it helped me clear out my pantry. I’ve made this for pot lucks, picnics, and packed lunches. I hope you’ll try it for yourself.
John and I are lucky enough to be apart of a community garden down the street from our home. We grow kale every year and we love making salads with the young tender leaves. But you don’t need a garden to enjoy kale salads. You can use the older bunches of kale that you find in grocery stores. The trick is to massage the leaves with citrus/vinegar and extra virgin olive oil until the leaves darken in colour and soften in texture. What I love most about kale salads is that the leaves maintain their texture despite being doused with salad dressing.
I was first introduced to peperonata at a restaurant that used it as a topping for bruschetta. I then learned that peperonata is either served as a side dish or with sliced bread. I adapted an authentic, Italian (Sicilian) recipe to recreate the version that I had at the restaurant, so that I could serve it on top of toasted baguette slices for a party. If you prefer a more authentic version, cut the bell peppers into large chunks, add tomatoes, simmer longer, and allow it to be more liquidy.
In Korean cuisine, small flavourful side dishes are often served with each meal. This broccoli is one of those delicious Korean side dishes that can also be enjoyed as a cold salad. This would be a great accompaniment for kalbi (BBQ beef short ribs) (see recipe here), or jap chae (see recipe here).
One of the hors d’oeuvres that I made for John’s housewarming was Korean BBQ beef in lettuce cups. I used my Korean kalbi (BBQ short ribs) marinade on thin slices of prime rib, but lean pork would work well too (see the kalbi recipe here). The sweet and savoury marinade contrasted nicely with the sour and spicy kimchi. These were flavourful, easy to eat, easy to make, carbohydrate-free, and everyone’s favourite of the items that I made. If you wanted to serve these as an entree for a sit down meal, serve the beef with white rice on the side and allow your guests to assemble their own lettuce wraps.
Let me count the ways that I love hummus: It’s healthy, easy to make, cost efficient and you can eat it with pretty much anything you have on hand. You can spread it on a sandwich, wrap, and baguette slices for crostini, or you can serve it with dippers (ie. vegetables, crackers, pita, bagel chips (see recipe here), bread sticks, etc.). It’s perfect for entertaining, because it can be made in advance and it makes a great vegetarian / vegan option.
I’ve compared hummus made with fresh garlic, roasted garlic, and garlic infused oil. Garlic lovers will enjoy the roasted garlic and garlic infused oil in hummus, so instructions have been provided for both. This is my favourite basic hummus recipe. Enjoy it plain or experiment with different variations. For example, you could add fresh parsley, or cilantro, and/or dill. Also, I use limes instead of lemons when I have them on hand. See my sun dried tomato hummus recipe here and my cilantro lime hummus recipe here.
My family and I LOVE Japanese sushi. In fact, sushi is my all-time favourite food. California rolls are, by no means, our favourite roll, but they are the ones that we make at home the most often, because the ingredients are affordable and easy to prep. The first time I made California maki for my family, I couldn’t make the rolls quickly enough to keep up with the rate at which they were eating them. I finished that dinner feeling rushed, exhausted, and hungry! So I stopped making sushi for a long time after that. Luckily, one life-altering day, my then-boyfriend’s mom made us dinner by serving all of the ingredients for California rolls and allowing us to assemble our own hand rolls at the dinner table. It was genius! It had never occurred to me to make hand rolls before, because my family Never orders them from the restaurants! The best part is that the cook only has to prepare the individual components, which requires minimal cooking – perfect for weeknight and summer-time dinners. The guests have fun assembling their own hand rolls to their own taste. I’ve since done this countless times for myself, my family, and guests. It’s also makes for a great and easy food station at larger parties. If you don’t like artificial crab meat, I’ve done this using smoked salmon instead.
Seaweed salad is my favourite Japanese side dish. The seaweed salad is bold in flavour with the naturally salty seaweed paired with toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar. Seaweed salad is, in my opinion, very expensive when purchased pre-made. Luckily, it is very easy, and much less costly, to make at home. Although, many different varieties of seaweed can be used for salad, it can be difficult to find the most popular type. After years of searching, I finally found some at the Asian grocery store chain, T & T. Check the refrigerators and the freezers. Also, I haven’t been able to figure out why the restaurants’ seaweed is always so much greener in colour. If you know the reason behind this, please let me know in a comment! Thanks so much!
Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 7)
Abalone is a luxury shellfish that is often served at Chinese weddings and other celebrations. Although preparation of abalone starts several days in advance, it is surprisingly easy to make, as long as you have a slow cooker. In fact, I like my mom’s abalone much much more than the ones I’ve had in high-end Chinese restaurants. I’ve shared her recipe below, just in time for Chinese New Year.
Mini polenta rounds are a great base for a large range of meaty or meat-less hors d’oeuvres. They’re also cost effective and easy to make for a large crowd. For my dad’s surprise 60th birthday party, I topped these mini herbed polenta rounds with sauteed cremini mushrooms tossed in balsamic cream. They were one of the party favourites.
I love cooking lentils in the fall and winter months. Here are just some of the many reasons why I almost always have some in my pantry: they are very economical, they store well and are great to have on hand when I’m out of fresh vegetables, they’re easy and forgiving to cook, they work well in side dishes, one-pot main courses, or soup, they make freezer friendly meals, and they’re hearty, nutritious, and high in fiber. This is my favourite red lentil soup recipe.