Tuesday, May 31, 2011

potluck at julie's

This weekend, we attended a community potluck at Julie's house.  Inspired by a potluck she attended in Tofino, Julie, from Dinner with Julie, bravely invited the internet (!) to her house for a fun little get together.

Julie and her husband Mike were gracious hosts and made everyone feel welcome.  It was great to meet her devoted readers and eat their delicious assortment of food.  It was also nice to catch up with fellow food bloggers, Cheryl from Backseat Gourmet and Gail from The Pink Peppercorn.

Q had a lot of fun with the kids in the back yard and hubby enjoyed himself as well.  The food was amazing!  Ranging from cookies, salads, vegetables and even fresh bread, it was nice to try a little bit of everything.  I especially loved the quinoa salad which we made tonight and had for dinner.  It will definitely be a regular at our house!

It was hard trying to decide what to bring to a potluck, and at Julie's house no less.  I brought along dhokra, savoury steamed cakes made with wheatlets.  I figured it was something different for everyone to try.  I also made some red pepper shrimp which I stuffed in to puff pastry shells.  For those that asked, the recipe for the shrimp can be found here.  For the shells, I cut little squares of ready made puff pastry which I put into muffin molds and baked at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes until they were golden.

Thanks again to Julie for the great gathering!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

anniversary dinner at teatro

Hubby and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary last month. We never got around to going out for dinner though.  It had been a busy few weeks and weekends never seemed to be working out.  We had planned this dinner so many times but something always came up.

Maybe not planning dinner in advance is the way to go.  We decided in the afternoon that it would be the perfect evening for date night and our belated anniversary dinner.  We had a voucher (yes, I love my deals) for Teatro and I had been itching to use it for a while.  I had been to Teatro once before but it had been so long since I had been there, I was looking forward to going back.

Our wonderful server Mitch started our evening off with an amuse-bouche, tuna tartare.  The tiny morsel tasted fresh and left us wanting more.  We were also served little chewy focaccia buns that we devoured with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

We chose to go with the Alberta Bison Tartare for our appetizer.  Topped with a quail egg, this was served with a tiny crostini with triple creme brie as well as a small arugula salad.  The flavours of the bison were incredible, especially paired with the arugula.  Our only complaint was there wasn't enough of the crostini to eat up all the tartare with.  Mitch happily brought us some focaccia bread which was a great accompaniment.

Our next course was also a sharable - the Pappardelle.  Noodles coated with a green curry mayo, tossed with avocado and topped with grilled lobster.  This was an amazing dish but very spicy.  Even hubby who can actually eat spice found it quite spicy.  The taste was amazing though and it would be a dish I would have again.

By this point, we still had our main course to eat, but we were completely stuffed.  For my main, I went with the Honey-Rosemary Seared Duck Magret.  This was served with polenta verde, caramelized cippolini, and fig fricassée.  There was also supposed to be some pancetta which they happily left out for me.  This dish was so delicious!  The duck was moist and the flavours were incredible.  The pesto in the polenta went really well with the duck.  I was very happy with my choice.

Hubby went with the Milk Fed Veal Striploin alla Milanese.  This was served with creamy spaetzle, green olive, spicy rapini, and fried capers.  The meat was moist and the tasted amazing.  We found that this tasted even better the next day.  Of course, there were leftovers!

Despite the fact that we were full, we couldn't leave without having dessert.  Tempted by the creme brulee, we decided on chocolate instead and shared the Chocolate Varieta.  This dish had chocolate three ways with chocolate marquis, milk chocolate semifreddo, and a cocoa ginger madeleine.  You have to love chocolate to enjoy this dish.  It was a great way to end a fantastic meal!

Teatro on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 23, 2011

meatless monday: red lentil curry

Red lentil curry is one of our new favorite dishes.  This hearty meal is perfect after a weekend filled with meat.  I'm not sure if the best part is that it's healthy or that it takes less than half an hour to make.  It also passed the Q test.  He ate this curry alongside some homemade yogurt and devoured it.  Both my mom and aunt have made this dish so I snagged the recipe last week.  A perfect dish for Meatless Monday.

Red Lentil Curry

1 cup red lentils
2 curry leaves
3 TB crushed tomatoes
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup water

Soak the lentils while you heat the pan.  In a saucepan, heat some oil and add 2 curry leaves.  Add the tomatoes, and spices and cook for a couple of minutes.  Drain the lentils and add to the tomato mixture along with 1/2 cup water.  Let cook until the lentils are cooked, approximately 20 minutes.  Check the water level after ten minutes, and add more if it has evaporated.  Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with warm chapati.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

fried fish tacos

The best thing about this nice weather we've been having is cooking outside.  The bbq has been on a lot lately and it's been great!  I felt like having Mexican food and the first thing that came to mind were fried fish tacos.  As much as I love fried foods, I don't like to fry in my house.  I took advantage of the warm weather and set up a frying station on the side burner of the bbq.  As the fish came out of the fryer,  they were sprinkled with salt and squirted with fresh lime.  The fish was crispy and tangy, the vegetables added were fresh and the combination was amazing.  They reminded me of the tacos we had on the streets of Ensenada a few years ago.  We rounded out the meal with nachos on the side.  It was a great fiesta!

Fried Fish Tacos

Sole, cut into strips
1 cup  + 1/4 cup flour
1.5 cups club soda

Toppings:  onions, tomatoes, avocado, salsa, sour cream, lettuce, cilantro, guacamole

Combine 1 cup flour, club soda, salt and pepper and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Dredge the fish in the flour and then put into the wet batter.  Once the batter turns golden, put on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and squirt with fresh lime. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

mother's day and grilled veggie lasagna

We had our mammas over for Mother's Day dinner this year.  We went totally simple this year with bbq'd burgers and fries.  With a wedding coming up in the family in just under 3 months, we grilled up some veggies for those family members who felt like being healthy.  Most went with the beef though so we had loads of roasted eggplant, zucchini, onions and red peppers left over. 

What better way to use up those extra veggies than make veggie lasagna.  I added the red peppers and onions to the sauce which was layered between the eggplant and zucchini and loads of cheese.  It was filling and a great way to get in our day full of veggies.  Q even finished off his plate which is always a good sign.

Mother's Day dinner ended with nutella ice cream and sticky toffee pudding.  My sticky toffee pudding is a recipe of my friends, who makes the best I've ever tasted.  I promised I wouldn't share the recipe though, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Hope all the mothers were spoiled!
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