Monday, August 31, 2009

Grapefruit Moon


Funky boxing themed decor

Egg, cheddar cheese, tomato and avocado sandwich

Brie and roasted red pepper omelet

Grapefruit moon: 968 Bathurst Street, Toronto, (416) 534-9056

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sam James Coffee Bar



I had the best Americano I've ever had on the opening day of Sam James Coffee Bar. This small coffee bar is packed with locals and you can witness some great barista action by Sam himself.
297 Harbord Street, Toronto

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sandwich Factory

prosciutto, pear, brie and pesto

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Brunch in Kensington Market

Popular family run Mexican brunch spot in Toronto's Kensington Market: El Trompo
277 Augusta Avenue, Toronto

Cinnamon infused coffee, salsa verde and chipotle salsa

Scrambled eggs with home made chorizo, bean dip and tomato/onion salsa

Mango pineapple smoothie at Tibet Cafe
51 Kensington Avenue, Toronto

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Zereshk Polo with chicken


Zereshk polo: dried berberis and saffron rice1

zereshk 1 cup (you can buy it from Persian stores)
butter 2 tbsp
saffron 1 pinch (grounded and dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water)
sugar 4 tbsp
chicken thighs 3
basmati rice 2 cups
onion 1/2

Zereshk: soak the zereshk in water for 30 minutes. Drain, cook in low heat in a pan with sugar and butter until soft and caramelized. Add 3-4 tbsp of saffron water mixture.

Polo: wash the rice. add to salted boiling water. once cooked (it should still have a bite) drain. add 3-4 tbsp of saffron water and some oil to the bottom of the pot, transfer the rice back to the pot. Let it cook, covered with a cloth for 30-40 minutes on low heat. This causes the rice in the bottom of the pot to harden and make a nice crispy "tahdeeg". Take a cup of rice and mix with some saffron water for garnish.

Chicken:
chicken, onion, salt, pepper, 4 tbsp of saffron water mixture in a pot, low heat. Let it cook for 30 minutes

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup raw brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add the coffee and mix well. Let the mixture cool down. Add the egg yolks one by one and mix well.
Beat the egg whites until you can flip and hold the bowl on top of your head!
Add the suger to the cream and whisk until whipped
Add 1/3 of the egg white to the chocolate mixture and fold gently. Don't be harsh! continue until the egg whites are all mixed in. Do the same with the cream.
Pour the mousse into individual cups. Put in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving.
This was the first time I made chocolate mousse. Next time I will try to tweak the recipe a bit and take more pictures of the whole process.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grilled chicken + potato and bean salad

Boil the mini red potatoes, starting with cold salted water. Cook until fork tender (not too tender). Once cooked, halve the potatoes and season with salt and pepper while still hot. Let the potatoes cool down. Steam the green beans for 5-7 minutes. Once done, shock them in iced water. Make the dressing: 3 tbsp of dijon mustered, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, salt and pepper. When beans and potatoes have cooled a bit, toss them together with dressing.

Marinate the chicken breast in olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper and cilantro. Fry in some olive oil, 3 minutes each side. Add a nub of butter and baste the top of the breast a bit. Roast in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes. Take out of the oven and let it rest.

Grilled cheese and salad

very simple: butter, gouda cheese, walnut multigrain bread and a side salad

Friday, August 14, 2009

Focaccia sandwich


Roast a red pepper
Get a couple of chicken thighs, bone and skin and all (or don't if you don't like meat!) ... dress with salt, pepper, olive oil, lime and cilantro. Fry (2 minutes each side) and then roast in the oven (300 degrees) for 15-20 minutes. Let it rest, then shred the meat (get rid of the skin and bone)
In the same pan, get rid of the excess oil, add some butter and fry some sliced portobello mushrooms
Make some charmoula (mayo 2 tbsp, lemon 2 tsp, cumin 1/4 tsp, parsley or cilantro 2 tsp, salt, pepper) and spread on a beautiful focaccia bread
Assemble the whole thing ... add some goat cheese, greens and tomatoes ... then eat and enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Persian Feast


Bottom to top:
  • Lavaash: Persian flat bread
  • Fesenjoon: rich stew made with ground walnuts, pomegranate molasses and chicken
  • Estamboli polo: a rice dish that has potatoes, green pepper, tomato paste, saffron, and ground beef in it, but my mother made it vegetarian and replaced the beef with button mushrooms
  • Rice with saffron
  • Sabzi: a mix of fresh herbs that we usually eat as a side dish
  • Kashk e bademjoon - see picture below

Kashk e bademjoon: charred or fried eggplant, garlic and walnut dip mixed with Kashk1

1. Kashk: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashk

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Burrrrito!

Ingredients:
Red pepper x 1
Corn x 1
Mushroom x 5 (you can use white, cremini or portobello)
Black beans x 1 can (or cook 1 cup)
Shallot x 1
Pork tenderloin x 200 g (optional)
Rice x 1 cup (I used white basmati, but it's better to use short grain rice)
Lime x 1
Cilantro x 1 bunch
Tortilla x 4
Cheese (Montray Jack or something else that you like!)
salt, pepper, smoked chipotle pepper, olive oil

Cook the rice according to the instructions. Once cooked, let it cool and then add some olive oil, chopped cilantro and half a lime juice + zest.

Chop all the vegetables. Cook in a pan (olive oil) with bell pepper and shallot in first. Season with salt, pepper and chipotle pepper. After 2 minutes, add corn and cover for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and let cook until the corn is almost cooked. Adjust the seasoning and also add some chopped cilantro stalks and lime juice/zest and the black beans.


I also made some chipotle rubbed pork tenderloin:
rub the pork with olive oil, salt, pepper, smoked chipotle pepper. leave in the fridge for a couple of hours, take out of the fridge and leave for 10 minutes. fry the loin in medium high heat to create a nice crust (2 minutes each side), bake in the preheated 350 oven for 15 - 20 minutes (if you are cooking a full tenderloin, cook for 20 - 25 minutes). Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Once everything is ready, assemble the burrito, bake in the 350 oven until the tortilla is a bit crunchy. Serve with a side of guacamole and some salad.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blue Bottle Cafe - San Francisco





Blue Bottle Cafe. The best cafe on earth! unfortunately we were late to taste the amazing coffee from the $20,000 Japanese siphon bar (read this article and check out the slide show: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/dining/23coff.html?_r=1). They stop making them after 4 p.m., but we could get some amazing latt├ęs. The communal table, the minimal decor and the laboratory style coffee machine made this one of my most exciting coffee shop experiences.