Happy Canada Day! Enjoying Picnic Food and a Giant Bowl of Potato Salad

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Before you go “Oooo!”, I didn’t make these myself!  This was just a cute cupcake display celebrating Canada Day and Canada Day long weekend!  I feel kind of silly for not thinking of this sooner, but I totally should have compiled a bunch of food posts related to yummy maple things in the city!  A d’oh! moment on my part now that it’s after the fact, but the idea has inspired me to be on the lookout for some sweet maple goodies the same way I want to find all the best Nutella items in town!  I have a few maple foodie items in mind already (maple cupcakes!  Maple crepes!), so hopefully when Canada Day rolls around again next year, I’ll be prepared. 

I hope everyone is having (and will have) a fantastic weekend whether you’re staying in the city, going to the cottage, or leaving the province all together.  I’m actually spending my entire weekend at home and I am so looking forward to it.  I’m a little bummed to be missing out on some awesome food events (the 1st gourmet food truck fest in Toronto at the Distiller District tomorrow!  Why oh why did it have to be THIS weekend at one of my fave neighbourhoods when I’m not going out??), but I know that the heat won’t be good for me and I know when my body is telling me to slow down and stop.  So staying at home it is.  I’ll be catching up on my ZzzZzzz’s, scrapbooking, cookie baking, reading, watching baseball (I’m still bitter that our Jays lost today!), and taking advantage of some much needed down time.  Hopefully I’ll be able to take new photos of some previous scrapbook layouts, update the Food Calendar, and pinpoint my next farmers’ market visit for next week which is expected to be quite the scorcher, eek!   

I was very excited about dinner today.  Canada Day = picnic food in my mind and we had a giant bowl of potato salad chilling in the fridge from this morning with the baby potatoes I bought at the Queens Quay market on Wednesday.  Carrots, cucumber, red bell pepper, green onions, hard-boiled eggs, julienned salami and ham, black pepper, and chives make for one yummy Canada Day summer salad!  Annnd we can’t forget about the ice cream 😉  A lickety good ice cream post to come tomorrow!  Happy long weekend and happy Pride everyone!

Chunks of the baby potatoes, diced cucumber and red bell pepper, sliced carrots, and green onions all mixed in together.

Adding the wedges of boiled eggs, YUM!

The finished potato salad dressed in some mayo and seasoned with black pepper, dried chives, and bacon bits!  I like eating my salad on bread, so here’s the potato salad sitting on a bed of romaine lettuce on French bread.

P.S.  My brother has recently discovered the joys of sticking bars of chocolate in the freezer.  He says it tastes incredibly good, much better than room temperature chocolate *chuckles*

Inspired by a Korean Bento Box: Sweet Potato Vegetarian Vermicelli Noodles

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My apologies for the photo of the crumpled empty noodle packaging.  This is all I could salvage!  I couldn’t get a picture of the noodles in its original packaging as my mum had already started dinner when I came home from school yesterday.  But I wanted to show you all anyway in case any of you are interested in buying some for yourself to cook.  I’m super excited to show these noodles off as they are delicious and so versatile!  What we have here: Korean sweet potato vermicelli noodles, made from sweet potato starch.  My mum and I have both eaten sweet potato noodles in Korean bento boxes and to my mum’s delight, she found a nice big package (seriously, this package could feed an army, there’s 400 grams of it!) at our local Chinese supermarket, Foody Mart (at the intersection of Hwy. 7 East and McCowan Rd.).  And did we ever go to town with it.

After boiling and rinsing the noodles under cold water, you can add a bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar and the rest is entirely up to you.  You don’t need a lot, just enough to give the noodles a bit of flavour.  These sweet potato noodles are awesomely amazing because they’re soft and thin and they remind me a lot of Chinese ho fun noodles.  They’re translucent, jiggly noodles with a chewy texture and they’re great paired with both vegetables and seafood and can be served hot or cold.  We kept our big bowl of noodles vegan with red and orange sliced bell pepper, sliced carrots, green onions, and some black pepper and chopped cilantro.  My portion was vegetarian because I added a dollop of garden vegetable cream cheese on the side (it makes it so creamy and yummy, eeee), but you can really do whatever you like with them.  We’re thinking avocado, shrimp, and alfalfa or sunflower sprouts for next time, yum!  Happy first weekend of April, everyone, it’s going to be a beauty in the city!

Happy First Day of March! To Celebrate: Lemon Thyme Porkchops and Veggies

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Happy first day of March, everyone!  I know for those of us living in snow land, it looks disgusting out.  Snow is melting, it’s kind of rainy, and it’s gray, brown, and black out.  Spring is just around the corner though and there’s so much to look forward to!  I was out and about today with my boyfriend and although it was a bit chilly this morning, it warmed up by the afternoon and it was beautiful out.  Maybe not aesthetically beautiful, but it FELT beautiful.  The sun was out, the air was breezy and fresh, and it made you feel invigorated just walking and being outside.  And given how I love seasonal things and celebratory occasions, March and April are full of them: Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day, the first official day of spring, and Easter.  Seeing pastel colours gets me excited and I’m SO looking forward to spring activities and outdoor farmer’s markets busting out, so I’m crossing my fingers that spring will makes its appearance sooner rather than later.  So, to kick start the month, a dish with vibrant colour: lemon and thyme porkchops with lots of veggies!

So much veggies they all covered up the porkchops except in the first photo, ha.  The porkchops were marinated with lemon juice, black pepper, and fresh thyme and served with lots of chopped red bell peppers, sliced button mushrooms sautéed with white onions, and a heaping handful of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley finished off the dish.  You can either marinate the porkchops overnight or do them first thing in the morning if you’re preparing them for dinner.  My mum tenderizes them real good with her butcher knife before marinating as the meat needs to be loosened up and softened before cooking.  I absolutely love the pairing of bell peppers and mushrooms, especially red ones because they have a bit of sweetness to it that complements the savouriness of the button mushrooms.  And thyme is our new favourite herb!  It smells and tastes amazing and we’ve been buying a lot more of it for things like pork and fish.

Enjoy every ounce of sunshine and breath of fresh air and I’ll see y’all tomorrow!

“Egg Sheet” Pancakes

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It drives me bananas when everyone in my family can’t agree on what they want to eat; my dad is anti-pasta (that’s just crazy talk to me!), my brother wrinkles his nose at most vegetables (that makes me have a sad face), and if it was up to my mum, she’d eat bread for every meal for the rest of her life.  And me?  I’ll eat anything they eat.  Pushover?  Maybe a little.  But loves food?  Damn straight.  Thankfully, eggs are one of the few things my whole family can agree on liking. 

The same way you would flip pancake batter with a spatula, we flip “egg sheets”! 🙂  There are two ways you can do this.  You can either crack each egg, on its own, into a bowl, whip it up with a fork and add your diced veggies to the mixture as well as any seasoning (we use black pepper), and pour the mixture into your pan to cook.  Once it starts to sizzle and you see the egdes browning, you flip!  Or you can whip up as many eggs as you plan on making in a large bowl with said veggies, and dividing it into separate “sheets” with your spatula in the actual pan. 

Depending on how big your pan is, you can do about 2 or 3 eggs at a time.  You can add a little bit of olive oil to your pan while the stove is heating if you want to prevent any excessive sticking, and just make sure you set your stove to medium-high heat as high/maximum heat will burn the eggs and that is just not sexy.  It differs slightly from an omelette as omelettes are made my folding over the egg mixture as opposed to literally scooping the pancake-like egg and flipping it on its backside. 

We use a bunch of diced vegetables: red, orange, and green bell pepper, shallots or cooking onions, and scallions.  Surprisingly we didn’t add mushrooms this time around; we eat mushrooms with everything, ha!  You can go all nutty and add shredded cheese to it, hot sauce, or kethcup!  Good lordy do I ever have a hoopla of friends who love ketchup with their eggs (and you know who you are!).  It’s one of those nice “breakfast for dinner” kind of foods that’s really simple and very customizable depending on what you have on hand.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far and I’ll see you all again tomorrow!

    

Rainbow in a Fish Dish

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Mum’s colourful fresh fish fillet dish!  My mum will often do variations on this one, sometimes including shrimp and other times making a dish with just the fish and lots of yummy vegetables like this one!  Flaky and soft pangasius basa fish fillets (a type of catfish) marinated, coated, and cooked with cornstarch, cooking wine, and lots of black pepper and basil flakes.  Served with white button mushrooms, celery, and red and orange bell peppers. 

They’re kept frozen in their packaging and many times we’ll find this fish in various Chinese supermarkets in our neck of the woods here in Markham, specifically in grocery stores such as T&T and Foodie Mart.  Given how they’re fillets, they are boneless and come in packages about the size of your laptop.  The black pepper really gives it a nice kick, the celery gives the dish crunch, the peppers are fresh, sweet, and juicy, and the cornstarch makes the fish very soft, and it contributes to a nice fish sauce while the fish and vegetables are cooking.  It’s like eating a rainbow for dinner!