Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Say that three times fast! This was indeed a salmon dinner perfect for summer entertaining. Lots of fresh vegetables, simply flavored salmon, and beatifully roasted potatoes and tomatoes.

I guess you could call this my take on the traditional “meat and potatoes” dinner. Salmon, standing in for the meat, delicious oven roasted fries tossed with a fragrant garlic/parsley oil, and well…I guess the vegetables don’t exactly fit, but that’s why it’s my updated version of the classic.

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, Rosemary and White wine (Adapted from this recipe)

1 pound salmon

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp dried rosemarry

2 lemons, sliced

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 cup white wine

4 tsp capers

Brush top of salmon with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemarry. Place in large baking dish and top the salmon with lemon slices, lemon juice, white wine, and capers.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until cooked through. Spoon extra juices on top when serving…it would be a shame to waste the lemony goodness in the pan!

For the tomatoes, I used this Cooking Light recipe. I think next time, to make this even simpler, you could roast the tomatoes along side the salmon. A one dish supper with less clean up? Sounds perfect to me!

To complete the plate and my updated classic supper, I made a simple and fresh snap pea and asparagus salad. Because when the spring and summer produce comes out, one vegetable on your plate just simply won’t do!

Snap Pea and Asparagus Salad

1 bunch sugar snap peas

1 bunch asparagus, cut into pieces

1 red pepper, chopped

grated lemon rind from 1 lemon

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 shallot, minced

handful of fresh basil, chopped

handful of walnuts, toasted

shaved parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Blanch snow peas and asparagus for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water and pat dry. In a large bowl mix together lemon rind, juice, oil, shallot, mustard and season with salt and pepper. Add the snap peas, asparagus, red pepper, basil and toss to coat. Top with walnuts and parmesan cheese.


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When I told people I was going for dinner to a restaurant that focuses on highlighting seasonal Canadian culture and cuisine, I was greeted with bewildered looks and many questions such as, “what is Canadian cuisine?” Excellent question! I myself was quite confused and unsure of what to expect when I walked into Keriwa Cafe with my dining companions. But after smelling the delicious scent of smoked meat and eyeing wooden tables and serving pieces, I knew we were in for a treat.

Homemade bread with butter, olive oil, and smoked pork fat

Keriwa’s menu is constantly changing and evolving to reflect the seasons and Canada’s heritage. Bison tongue, nettle soup, red wife wheat angolotti were ingredients and menu items that were intriguing and out of the ordinary. Our server was extremely knowledgable and took his job very seriously (maybe a little too seriously?) and I have not one complaint about the entire meal.

Bison slider on bannock bread with a fruit chutney

Wild mushroom soup

Red fife ravioli filled with creme faiche. Place in the soup and magic happened!

Being burger week in Toronto, this slider was a special on the menu…and we almost didn’t order it. What a mistake that would have been! That bannock bread was definitely a highlight and the fruit chutney really complimented the meaty bison flavor. The mushroom soup was another winner. I was expecting the typical cream of mushroom soup. Far from typical, the cream portion came when biting into the delicious creme fraiche filled angolotti. The soup was earthy, rich, and light all at the same time. This was definitely the winner of the night.

Spring chicken with buttermilk, rapini, farro, rhubarb

Rainbow trout with sea buckthorn, fiddleheads, nettles, celeriac

The mains were no slouches either. Perfectly cooked proteins, sauces and sides that were just so flavorful and really made you want to lick the bowl clean.

So now, when someone asks “what the heck is Canadian cuisine anyways?” I can reply, it is simply delicious!

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I was never really a fan of cabbage rolls. Boiled cabbage stuffed with a ground meat and rice mixture covered in a sweet tomato sauce…this was just never really my thing. The cabbage was too soft (and a little bit too smelly!), the sauce was always too sweet, and the filling a little too greasy and heavy for my liking. If you like these traditional cabbage rolls, then my apologies. But I do love making and eating stuffed vegetables so I figured there must be a way that I could transform these green meat pockets into something oh so appealing. I found my inspiration on a rainy afternoon, watching Giada make stuffed swiss chard rolls…I like goat cheese, I like lentils, I like swiss chard…and my updated take on the traditional cabbage roll was born.

To make these more of a “hearty” meal for Adam and I, I added some vegetarian ground round to the filling…my substitute for the usual ground beef mixture. I also may have added just a tad more cheese…I figured anything stuffed with goat cheese and covered in parmesan couldn’t be a bad thing. And right I was! If you think you don’t like your grandmothers cabbage rolls, give these a try! Side note: some times the most delicious food is the least eye appealing…these swiss chard rolls may not photograph well, but do not be turned off! Have I ever steered you wrong??

Lentil, Goat Cheese, and Soy Stuffed Swiss Chard Rolls (Adapted from this recipe)

1 head swiss chard (you want about 10-12 leaves)

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 package veggie ground round (I used Yves)

1 cup goat cheese, at room temperature (it should be soft)

1 cup cooked brown lentils

1/2 cup chopped mint

1 cup baby arugula leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce or homemade sauce

3/4 cup grated parmesan

Remove the thick stems from the swiss chard and cut in half lengthwise if very large. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add chard leaves and boil for about 10 seconds (you just want to soften them so they are easy to roll). Rinse under cold water and pat dry. They are a little delicate so just be very gentle with this step.

Mix together the brown rice, ground round, lentils, goat cheese, mint, arugula, garlic, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon about 1/3 cup of filling in each swiss chard leaf and roll up like you would a burrito. Spoon about 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish and layer the swiss chard bundles on top. I had extra filling leftover so I just baked it along the side but you could eat it just as is (it is very very good!)

Topped with the extra filling…quite good actually!

Spoon the rest of the tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, until bubbly and hot.

Served with a green salad

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While I may have journeyed from The Big Apple on a long 9 hour car ride north to Toronto, I still have a few more blog-worthy NYC restaurant visits to share. It was hard to keep up while eating out at least one meal a day for the past two weeks, rough life I know, so I have a bit of catch-up to do!


One of these meals was dinner with a lovely girl friend at what I now consider to be the most beautiful restaurant in New York. Salinas, a Spanish restaurant in Chelsea, is truly a stunning spot. With gorgeous high ceilings and decor, my friend and I could not stop looking around and staring…not only at the beautiful surroundings, but the beautiful people dining there as well. The menu items all sounded very intriguing and different, divided into tapas, small plates, and entrees, everything is designed to be shared. With help from our knowledgable server and some twitter friends, there was not one dish that disappointed.

Spanish flat bread, dry aged Mahon cheese, honey, thyme and sea salt

Fried Brussel sprouts, green cauliflower, citrus zest, mint yogurt, pimento

Blue fin tuna, tomato escabeche, pickled seasonal baby greens, chickpeas, red onion, sherry vinagrette

Fideos Negros: Crispy vermicelli, shaved sepia, watercress, roasted tomato, sofrito, and beet powder. It was then all mixed together into a creamy delicious mass of noodles!

The fideos negros was definitely my favorite and also the most unique dish we ordered. So richly flavored and richly colored, this intensely black dish just blew my mind! My friend favored the special of the evening…

Halibut with multigrain smoked octopus risotto

The smoky and grainy risotto paired with the flaky and melt-in-your mouth halibut was simply divine. And to think…we almost didn’t order this dish!

While this restaurant may not be as well-known or popular as another much talked about West Village eatery, I highly recommend you check it out! One of the best meals to date! On that note…stay tuned for a later blog post featuring “my best of” New York eats. But, if you can belive it, we have a few more meals to get to before that!

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Applewood is situated on a small street off 7th avenue in Park Slope. You actually wouldn’t even notice it from the main street if you were on a little stroll. But once you walk in, you can’t help but be taken a back by its very charming atmosphere and farmhouse feel. Which is very fitting as Applewood focuses on seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine. My friend and I planned a “date” night to have a nice dinner together before I left and headed north to Toronto. And it also happened she had her wedding at this restaurant…which I could definitely picture with all the candles and cozy setting.

Three spreads: lentils cooked in duck fat, soft and salted butter, spinach cream cheese

Spreads and breads were given to start. The bread was freshly made in-house (sorry no photo-but just imagine a two large pieces of white and whole wheat bread with crispy crusts and soft interiors). The lentils were definitely my favorite and I proceeded to eat them also as a side dish with a fork. Can anything cooked in duck fat every be bad?

Sautéed ramps topped with a fried egg and dill aioli

Squid salad with rhubarb and sunflower shoots

Lemon risotto with parsnips and watercress

Pan seared hake with sweet potatoes, arugula, and lemon fondue

As the blog title states, the fish was delicious. Perfectly cooked, flaky, and buttery and that lemon cream sauce was simply divine. Both apps were also a hit but I have to say, my friends lemon risotto was really just not good. The rice was cooked well but there was no flavor at all. Not just under-seasoned, but really no seasoning — quite disappointing. Overall, I really enjoyed the meal at Applewood and have heard really great things…maybe it was an off night for the risotto chef?

I know I said I was trying to get all my restaurant reviews out to you, but I simply HAD to share this chicken dish with you as I think it is perfect for a light summer meal. This recipe for chicken marinated in a fresh lime mixture and served over marinated red onions and a cilantro infused black bean sauce is a great way to jazz up that boring boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Baked Lime Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (Adapted from Simply Recipes)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 limes, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1 red onion, sliced thin

Black Bean Sauce

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 quart water

2 bay leaves

stems from one bunch of cilantro, chopped

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Combine lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper and place in a bowl with chicken. Let marinade for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

Place beans and remaining ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour or so until reduced and nice and thick. Remove bay leaves and puree with hand blender. Place onions in a baking dish and place chicken and marinade on top. Bake in 400 degree oven, covered with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for about 5 minutes until top is browned and chicken is completely cooked through. Serve chicken on top of black beans and onions.

Really delicious served with some guacamole and tortilla chips, and of course, a margarita on the side is always a nice touch!

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You may have noticed the lack of recipe posting in the latest posts. Well, that is because I am doing my darndest to eat my way through NYC…literally. We just did a walking food tour of the LES through The Big Onion (highly recommend) and we enjoyed eating our way through Red Hook during The Red Hook Immersion put on by Brooklyn Based. So you will have to bear with me…I do have many a tasty recipe to share with you but I feel like I need to first get through all the restaurants I’ve been visiting. This is all for you of course, to help you choose where on earth you should eat in a city FILLED with so many delicious food options. So let’s get back to business.

I had the pleasure of meeting Katherine for a wonderful rainy run around lower Manhattan. With constant chatter, the miles flew by and we actually didn’t even mind the rain that much. We also had brunch with Annie at Prune to look forward to, so the promise of their famous bloody mary’s and delicious brunch dishes also helped! Gabrielle Hamilton is the chef/owner of Prune and author of the best-selling novel Blood Bones & Butter, which chronicles her journey as a chef. After dining at Prune, I have now placed this book on my must read list.

Two classic bloody mary’s and a champagne with pear brandy

A 10am post run brunch is the perfect time for some booze, no? We had to try Prune’s famous bloody’s and I am so glad we did! Served with a shot glass of beer, they are fresh, spicy, briney and delicious. Katherine opted for the prune brandy champagne, also a nice way to start a Saturday morning! We ordered three different dishes to maximize our abilities to taste Prunes menu.

Dutch style pancake: One large pancake cooked in the oven with blueberries and sour cream. Served with Canadian bacon

Toasted caraway seed and sour cream omelette with a side of smoked salmon and potato rosti. Already cut and waiting to be shared. Yes, that is sour cream oozing out of the perfectly yellow omelette

Spicy stewed chickpeas: buttered crumbled eggs with spicy stewed chickpeas, preserved lemon, and warm flatbread

I think Katherine said it best, “it was less of a pancake, but more of a cake made in a pan.” But this cake, oh so good! Crispy outside and soft inside and so thick and dense. The omelette was perfectly fluffy and the sour cream and caraway was a surprisingly delicious combination. I wish I had time to try dinner at Prune, but alas, I definitely can not return to a restaurant as my last days in NY wind down. So it was on to a different type of boozy meal with dinner at Gwynnett St. in Williamsburg. Gwynnett St serves up modern American cuisine from a chef who used to work at WD-50, so think molecular gastronomy-esque.

Whiskey bread with cultured butter

This is a MUST ORDER at Gwynnett and where the boozy part of the meal comes in. Less like bread and more similar to a biscuit, the loaf of bread was warm and tender and left an aftertaste of whiskey that left you thinking and pondering that interesting flavor you don’t normally expect to taste in a loaf of bread. We decided to share a starter, two mains, and a dessert. Everything was plated very creatively and beautifully and we noticed the chef has a thing for only using half of a plate (you’ll see what I mean).

Spinach and chard, rhubarb and goat cheese. And no, we did not eat half the salad. This is the “plating on half of the plate” I was talking about

Sunflower tofu, artichokes, chicory, and moth beans

Sea scallops, fava beans, almonds, and stinging nettles

I love when a dish surprises you, and these dishes all did that. The menu reads more like a list of ingredients, with no hint as to how the dish is prepared or how the ingredients will be used. The most surprising was the tofu…made mostly of sunflower seeds it had a very creamy inside and crispy outside and was just, well, surprisingly delicious! However, the one bite I keep thinking about is dessert, where again, the menu did not give any hints as to what we could expect.

Coconut, malt, barley, pomegranate

So what was this exactly? A creamy and light coconut panna cotta with some sort of crunchy barley topping, coconut “snow” and pomegranate. To be honest, I’m still not exactly sure what I was eating but all I know was it was surprising and delicious. Nothing bad about that!

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My first almost wordless post. All I can really say about this dinner is…WOW! My friend had raved and raved about this 16 seat Spanish restaurant. And I too, can now not stop raving about this 5 course, 55 dollar deal of a dinner. I now consider Degustation, a tiny restaurant with all the seats placed around the open kitchen, the most under-rated restaurant in the city. So the secret is out…go and experience the fantastic food and flavors. All they have to do is just fix the semi cold service. Just add a smile, a bit more interaction, and you have an almost perfect dining experience!

First course: Fluke crudo with passion fruit sauce and pickled almonds

Second course: Spring salad with leaf lettuce, asparagus, poached quail eggs, some sort of fantastic goat cheese, topped with a parmesan crouton with whipped lardo

Third course: seared trout with chard leaves on a bed of corn, farro, and pea succotash with chorizo oil

Forth course: seared lamb loin on israeli couscous and pea risotto with greek yogurt and lamb bacon foam

Fifth course: cheese plate: some sort of delicious goat/brie with fresh honey comb

Fifth course: cheese plate: some sort of delicious spanish cheese with candied nuts. This cheese was our favorite

Front row seats around the open kitchen


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