Breathe and don’t fall into shock, but I’ve never in my life made tacos! :)
Today, I decided to try my hand at it and deep fried some hake filet and calamari rings.
The salsa/salad/side is super simple, just 3 ingredients - green onion, yellow pepper and red heirloom tomatoes, tossed together with a little salt & pepper.
The calamari and hake filet are both deep fried in canola oil. Hake is just salted as I really wanted to taste the fish in its most natural form. The calamari is lightly breaded with flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
I used whole grain tortillas and topped it off with a little sriracha hot sauce.
For a first time experiment, it was a huge success and instantly became part of my ever expanding repertoire of simple and delicious culinary creations. At under a half hour from stepping into the kitchen to having it on a plate, borrow the slogan from Nike and just do it!
Restaurant review for Raaw Sushi in Liberty Village
I’ll just start with I come here often… very often. It’s easily one of the best sit-in sushi restaurants in the city! Very few sushi restaurants can match the freshness, creativity, selection, atmosphere or value in the city, hands down.
The lunch menu is spectacular with lots of options, all of them fantastic! The photo is of their $12 luch special, enough said.
A very serious aspect to note is that this place is fantastic for their sushi, not their appetizers or other dishes. I’ve only once ordered the non-sushi dishes and was not overly impressed. Considering this is a sushi restaurant, I treat it as such and stick to sushi.
For under $15, including tax+tip, you get an incredibly tasty selection of sushi and maki, with a simple yet tasty miso soup and a house salad (order it without dressing, for some reason, the dressing is WAY too strong for the salad). How can you go wrong with a price like that for sushi besting $50+/person restaurants for dinner?!
If you’re ever near the Liberty Village area and are in the mood for sushi, this is a place you wouldn’t want to overlook! Especially for lunch.
Some big news, which slightly explains my absence from the food blog, though should encourage a little more interest in my posts, I’ve recently decided to go vegetarian (pescetarian technically, I’m still eating seafood). Huge change as I’ve spent some time as a carnivore, which I’d never recommend for more than a day or two, you simply can’t survive off meat alone.
I decided to try out a few favorites in one dish and, as much as you’ve heard this before can’t change the fact, I’ve loved it completely. It’s a trend, I can’t help it, when you’re in love with food, and with cooking what you enjoy, it’s quite rare that you actually mess up. Sometimes you try something new and it doesn’t go over well, but generally, if you love to cook and can see/feel what would compliment or properly contrast the taste of the main ingredient, it turns out as something you enjoy eating. :) It’s the beauty of food, you grab an ingredient that you want to base your dish around, and just throw in the things that you think will bring out the flavors of that ingredient to create a dish you simply want to enjoy eating. :) It’s the art form of the function of cooking! I hold a belief that every dish, when prepared well could taste great and strive to achieve it!
This time, I’ve tossed together a few quick and easy favorites that can be prepared at the same time using an oven and 2 stove tops.
1) Deep fried calamari, lightly breaded in flour, salt+pepper, paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper.
2) Kale sauteed with shallots, garlic and crimini mushrooms. After browning the garlic, shallots and mushrooms, toss in the kale, spice with paprika, salt+pepper, thyme and basil. Pour in a little red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan and mix everything while pouring in some vegetable broth and cover to cook. The broth absorbs into the kale while evaporating off the bottom of the pan to make everything deliciously soft.
3) Broccoli is simply tossed on an oiled baking sheet (of course you’re using a high temperature oil like grapeseed) with garlic and shallots (or onions) and lightly salted. There’s nothing to it - 400F for 20 minutes, couldn’t be easier!
As these could easily be prepared at the same time, from walking into the kitchen to setting the table could take as little as 40 minutes for a meal that has me thinking “How could anybody think of food as fuel when food is a form of art to appreciate and love!”
So today I decided to indulge in cooking a rack of lamb, inspired by a recipe by Gordon Ramsay. :) Since I discovered this recipe, it has become one of my absolute favorites of all time; it’s a dream to prepare, looks beautiful, tastes delicious and offers a wonderful reason to eat with your hands.
The lamb recipe is quite simple actually, though does have a few tricks to it which begins with getting to a nice butcher or meat shop for the meat, it should be fresh.
In preparation, as with most meats, I left it out for a bit on the counter to get it to room temperature. Scored the fat in a crisscross pattern and season generously with sea salt and black pepper (Photo #1). It then went on a frying where the next trick comes in - you actually have to hold it in place with your hands to make sure all sides are browned. After about 8 minutes of this, it was nicely browned (Photo #2) and went off the pan. This is where I tossed any inspiration of Ramsay out the window and changed this to Fuzzy Rack of Lamb instead. Fully coated in mustard (Photo #3), it went into the oven at (surprise surprise as I’ve said it so many times) 400F in the same frying pan, fatty part down. About 10 minutes later I flipped it and left it in for a few more minutes and viola it’s ready. :) I like my red meat medium-rare, so cutting into it, I had a huge smile on my face, looking down at this beauty (Photo #4), I knew it was going to be incredible… the only surprise I had was just at HOW good it was! Writing this blog just after having finished it, my mouth is still watering at the thought of it!
For the side, I went with another delicious, nutritious and simple side - sauteed kale. This is SUPER easy to make and barely requires much of an explanation. I just threw some garlic, rosemary and chili flakes into a large sauce pan and cooked them in grapeseed oil, added the kale, poured in some vegetable broth, added salt, pepper and red wine vinegar, and cooked covered for about 5 minutes until it was soft, removed the cover and waited a few minutes for the broth to evaporate. 15 minutes from beginning to end and you have a tasty, super-healthy side.
Everything was SO good, I almost wish I could go back in time and relive the meal once again. Good thing for left-overs tomorrow’s lunch! :)
So today I decided to experiment with preparing a full pork tenderloin for the first time.
Having no clue on how it should be prepared, I started looking around online and having found a few recipes decided to take the basics - spice it, brown it on a pan, 20-25 minutes in the oven at 400F and decided to improvise the rest.
Into the spices, I went with olive oil, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, thyme, basil and of course sea salt and black pepper. After rubbing this into the meat, I threw it on a frying pan and browned it all sides for a few minutes, then into the oven it went at 400F for 22 minutes.
Seeing the wonderful pan drippings left in the pan from browning the pork, I added some grapeseed oil, red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan, threw in some shallots and the rest of the mushrooms I had from Monday (Crimini and Shitake), added salt, pepper and thyme and let it get nicely glazed/browned. A few minutes into it, I added more red wine vinegar to get it some extra color and deglaze the pan further. Once everything looked cooked, I poured in vegetable broth and reduced further for about 5 minutes, then added some butter and a little flower to condense everything to a wonderful paste-like texture to be served as a sauce with the pork.
On the side, I prepared mashed potatoes with a little dried dill on top.
Considering how it turned out and how much I’m enjoying the meal, I will certainly be adding pork tenderloin into my repertoire of dishes to prepare fairly regularly!
So today, being Monday, which is by far the most depressing day of the week, just as post-weekend work-week is setting in, I decided to indulge in some wonderful cooking.
Today I prepared one of my classic favorite recipes of all time - Feta-stuffed chicken breast. It’s a very simple recipe with TONS of room for improvisation, in fact, I don’t even remember what originally went into it! So in this incarnation of the recipe, I took Greek feta, black olives, shallots, shitake and crimini mushrooms, all finely chopped and mixed together with a little olive oil, spiced it with Spanish paprika, garlic powder, thyme, sea salt and black peppercorns (last 2 ingredients are a must to have fresh crushed). Split a pair of large chicken breasts (free range, grain fed, no antibiotics, you all know what’s good for you) down the middle, put the stuffing inside and closed it back up using toothpicks. Throw that on a frying pan on medium heat, make sure to turn every few minutes and cook covered to preserve the juices - 15 minutes later, it comes out BEAUTIFUL! :)
For the side, I chose to go with an instant classic for the ease of it - baked/broiled cauliflower with garlic and crimini mushrooms. Chop everything up, toss it into a baking pan, 400F in the oven for 20 minutes and you’re done - super quick, super healthy, absolutely delicious, what more could you ask for.
Last week, I decided to try preparing Monkfish for the first time. Knowing very little about it when buying it, I was told it’s similar to lobster, so I was instantly curious.
I decided to bake it on top of a layer of potatoes, spiced with rosemary and garlic oil, with slices of Monkfish on top. 20 minutes in the oven at 400F followed by 5 minutes under the broiler with butter added on top and voila! A tasty bed of potatoes with the fish on top.
I’d have to say the texture is very similar to lobster, with a definite resemblance in taste, though not nearly as juicy. Perhaps it was my amateur attempt at preparing it, but I wasn’t overly impressed. Take this with a grain of salt as I’m not generally a huge fan of lobster. I liked it, just didn’t fall in love with it.
Now this is what I would absolutely classify as world-class pizza! Great atmosphere, absolutely fantastic pizza and a $15 lunch special that is to die for! Feeling like treating myself to great lunch, I decided on the fresh and delightful Beet Caprese salad, the very rich and tasty lamb bacon marinara pizza ($5 extra for pizza substitutions) with a glass of Cabernet Franc, followed by espresso gelato. Everything was absolutely amazing! I could not recommend this place enough. Can’t wait to come back!
A delightful little lunch pizza at Marcello’s
The restaurant has a bit of an upscale look and feel for a pizzeria, the servers are friendly and the pizza was great. I wouldn’t rank it as one of the “top” pizza places in Toronto, but it certainly has its perks. :)
Another tasty dinner at sushi couture, mmm! Note that ocean snapper is not great raw, but the hamachi is a real treat.