Tuesday, April 26, 2011

an appetizer party for easter

Our friends and I had such a great time with our Progressive Dinner a couple months ago, we were looking forward to our next dinner party.  The theme for the party was appetizers.  A whole meal of just appetizers!  I could not wait.  We took advantage of the long weekend and made a lunch of appetizers to celebrate Easter.  Each couple were responsible for two appetizers, none of which were coordinated.


Salted steamed edamame as well as cocoa spiced pecans were placed on the table for munching.


Q helped me make these shrimp gyoza.  These were stuffed with shrimp and loads of ginger, pan-fried and then steamed.  This was served with my new favorite sauce - ponzu!  How did I not know about this sauce earlier?  Ponzu is a citrus-based soy sauce and is delicious!  In the past week, I've had it with every possible food item, the bottle is almost done.


The boursin stuffed prawns wrapped in beef bacon were something I definitely wanted to share with our friends.  Even those who weren't really seafood fans enjoyed these.


Hubby made up some beef shortribs in three varieties - East African hot, Korean bbq and a fusion of the two.  These are usually served up at any gathering we have and they were delicious!  The fusion ones were my fave.


Our friends brought over two different kinds of flatbread - cheese and herb.  These were served with bruschetta and a spicy hummus.


One of my favorite appetizers to order at a restaurant is the chili chicken.  Our friends made this without the crispy coating and it was delicious.


Chicken kabob skewers with veggies were grilled up and they were oh so tasty.


Our friends also brought over Aloo Tikki.  These are basically Indian patties made with mashed potatoes and herbs and spices. Served with various chutneys, it was a great addition to our meal.


We rounded out the meal with a bowl full of nutella almond ice cream.  It really was the perfect meal - little bites with amazing friends.  A meal of appetizers is something we'll definitely be doing again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

beef bacon wrapped boursin filled prawns

Rob Rainford was on CityLine last week and he made these amazing looking stuffed prawns wrapped in bacon.    These looked like the perfect item for our upcoming appetizer party.  I made a few changes, using ingredients that I had in the house.  Trying to stop the cheese from oozing out while wrapping the prawn with the bacon took some effort.  After making only 8, I decided that these may be more work than they were worth.  I was wrong!  These tasty bites were so amazingly delish, I wish I had made more.  The creamy garlic from the cheese, the sweetness from the soy, the grease from the bacon - they just made us wanting more.

Beef Bacon Wrapped Boursin Filled Prawns
(Adapted from Rob Rainford's Stuff Jumbo Prawns with Goat Cheese Wrapped in Bacon)

8 jumbo prawns, peeled and deveined
8 tsp boursin cheese
4 strips beef bacon (or any bacon you wish to use)
4 TB sweet soy sauce

Butterfly each prawn and fill with boursin cheese.  Take half a strip of bacon and wrap around the prawn, holding it together with tooth picks.  BBQ until prawns turn pink, basting with the sweet soy sauce on both sides.  Gently remove the tooth picks before serving.

Friday, April 15, 2011

fuji yama sushi

My 2 year old loves sushi.  So much so, that when any of the various websites featuring daily deals has a sushi deal, I grab a few.  We all felt like sushi last weekend so I turned to the vouchers to help us decide where to go.  We headed to Fuji Yama on 17th Avenue.

We were greeted with a familiar face - a sushi chef who used to work at Kinjo, one of our favorites!  He started off our meal with an orange, segmented and turned into a great little creature.  Q loved it!

Because there were four of us, we were able to use two of our vouchers ($40 for $80 worth of food...yay!).  We started with shrimp tempura which was really good.  The batter was light and crispy and it was a great way to begin our feast of sushi.

Some of the nigiri sushi that we sampled was the salmon, tuna, scallops and unagi.  All were very fresh and tasted great.  We also had many rolls - spicy salmon, california, dynamite and yam tempura.  All of them were so delicious.  We definitely got a lot for our money and Q had a lot of california rolls to take home for lunch the next day.

Service is huge for me and I was very pleased that it was amazing.  Our server checked on us often and made sure we always had our drinks refilled.

We really enjoyed our meal at Fujiyama and look forward to our next visit.

Fuji Yama on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 11, 2011

nutella ice cream with almonds

As much as I enjoy chocolate, I can't eat plain old chocolate ice cream.  I need add-ins, like roasted nuts or coffee or chocolate chips.  The combination of this chocolate ice cream with nutella (yum!) and roasted almonds is divine.  This is an easy recipe, perfect for those nervous about making ice cream with eggs, like me.  I am determined to try that one of these days, but for now, the simplicity of this creamy concoction will do just fine.  This is the perfect dessert to end a meal, even my parents agree.

Nutella Ice Cream with Almonds

3 cups whipping cream
1 300 mL can sweetened condensed milk
4 TB cocoa
4 TB nutella
1 cup roasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Whip together the first four ingredients until everything is well incorporated.  Place in the chilled canister and follow the directions of your ice cream machine.  5 minutes before your ice cream is ready, add in the roasted almonds.  Chill for a couple of hours and enjoy every heavenly bite.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

cocoa spiced pecans

These nuts just came out of the oven and I can't stop eating them!  Not sure there will be any left by the time hubby gets home.  I wanted a snack but was craving so many things - chocolate, sweet, salty - I just couldn't decide what I felt like.  I remembered a bag of pecans I had sitting in the pantry and figured it would be the perfect vehicle for all these flavours.  This didn't take long to make and the baked nuts made the house smell delicious.  I figured I would post this right away so I don't forget what I added.  Next time I'll definitely be making a bigger batch, I just can't stop eating them. Enjoy!

Cocoa Spiced Pecans

1 cup pecans
1 TB butter, melted
2 TB brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake just until you smell the pecans.  Combine all the other ingredients and toss with the baked nuts.  Place the nuts back on the baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes.  Let the pecans cool for a few minutes before you devour them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

five guys burgers

I had been hearing about Five Guys Burgers for a while now.  People raved about how great these made-to-order burgers were, how big they were and all the toppings they had.  I just had to go try it for myself.  I stopped in a couple weeks ago and picked up some burgers to take home for dinner.  I had expected a line but was happy to learn that I just missed the rush.  Five Guys is located in Deerfoot Meadows, just across from Fat Burger.

The fresh burgers came in two sizes - small and regular.  Luckily I did my research and avoided the regular sized hamburger which is made with two beef patties.  The little hamburger was the perfect size, especially when all the toppings were added.  The burgers were great and we will definitely be going back!
All toppings are free and there are many to choose from:  mayo, relish, onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, steak sauce, bbq sauce and hot sauce.  I especially liked the grilled onions and mushrooms. 

The fries came in regular or cajun and you can expect a lot!  No matter what size you order, they toss another scoop of fries into the bag.  You are left with lots to share.

The one thing that people should be aware of are the open boxes of peanuts around the restaurant.  As much as I love nuts, growing up with family members with nut allergies makes me very uneasy having nuts so openly available. 

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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