Tag Archives: scallops

Chew On This – If You Had $100, How Would You Spend It On Food?

4 Oct

groceries

Opinion # 1 By Stephanie Dickison

This depends on whether I was going to use it to splurge or not.  Would I treat myself and get more extravagant, expensive things that I’m used to or would I try and get the most for my money?

Let’s go with extravagant, just for fun.  Now the question is would I use it for a nice dinner out with my fella or for fantastic luxe grocery items to keep in the kitchen cupboard for little bursts of luxury?

I think I’d go with the dinner, because getting the stuff for at home is a wee bit more practical and this isn’t about being practical for once.

As for where we’d go and what we’d have, that’s a tough one as we’re both food hounds and other than reading, writing, walking and spending time together, going out to eat is one of very favourite things to do.  Also, I’m a restaurant critic so there are certain restaurants that make not make the list over others.

I’d venture to say that we would probably either go for Ethiopian, Brazilian or Portuguese – the thinking being that we can get Italian, Japanese or Vietnamese any ol’ time, but these places are fewer and farther between.

Scott loves Ethiopian a little more than I do because he can’t get enough injera – the airy bread that you pull away with your fingers and acts as a utensil to scoop out other items.  I find it too goopy, but I love the other dishes, so I do just fine with my fingers.

Brazilian is awfully sexy and I love the heartiness and spiciness of it all, but I’m in the mood for Portuguese these days, so that’s what I going with for this experiment.

There are three things that I think are superb standouts in Portuguese cooking – churassco chicken, piri piri sauce, and the way they prepare fish.

I love that somehow the food is infused with intense flavours, but never overpowers the meat, fish or vegetables.  How do they do that?

I would go to a place on College Street that I’ve been only once, but the memories and flavours have remained ever since.

I would start with the Lobster, Octopus & Shrimp in a citrus, tarragon aioli ($20) and then move on to Grilled and Gently roasted Filet of Salted Cod with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic ($38), while I’m sure Scott would get the Nova Scotia Lobster on risotto of saffron ($45).

I know I went over budget there a little, but I’d be happy to kick in the extra.  When you have food this good, it’s worth it.

Of course, Scott and I don’t eat dinners like this often.  Let’s face it – 2 freelance writers in one household does not an expense account make.   On a regular weeknight, I’m making  chicken and pasta and lots of veg, just like you

But it is nice to dream like this every once in awhile.  Especially while I’m off to make soup and sandwiches for dinner.

Opinion # 2 By Chris Garbutt

Every time I go to the grocery store, I wonder where we get the idea that inflation is low. Food prices have been climbing for longer than I can remember now. A hundred bucks almost doesn’t cover a week’s groceries for the two of us.*

But I think I’ll take another approach here. If I had $100 for one meal for two, then I could have a little fun. And the truth is, what I write today could change tomorrow. So with that in mind, here’s what I would do with that money today.

Now that barbecue season has begun, I think I would get grilling. I’m thinking maybe I would get some large scallops from my local fish market – Avenue Seafood on Avenue Road north of Lawrence. Then I would pick up some produce from Organic Abundance on Yonge Street. Perhaps some asparagus, potatoes, onions. Something in season for a salad – spinach, radishes? I would then walk down the street to The Friendly Butcher to pick up some locally raised bacon.

I would keep it simple:

–    Fry up some bacon for crumbling
–    Make a potato pouch with garlic and onions, and put it on the grill
–    Put some salt, pepper and olive oil on the asparagus, and grill that, too
–    Make up the spinach salad, maybe make a dressing with orange juice, shallots and olive oil
–    Sprinkle salt and pepper on the scallops, drizzle some olive oil and grill them
–    Use some of the salad dressing to create an orange sauce for the scallops
–    Crumble the bacon over both the salad and the scallops
–    Put it all on a plate and serve it with my sweetie

Now, that’s how I feel right at this moment. Give me a few seconds and I’ll start again. I’m starting to think that a lobster on that grill might be nice…

I think I’ve come well under a hundred here, so with whatever’s left, I’d buy the best sauvignon blanc I can find. What would you do?

* Well, I eat a lot of organic.

Review: Fresh Food Fast

1 Jun

freshfoodfastCooking Light’s Fresh Food Fast: 5 ingredient, 15 minute recipes

Edited by Mary Kay Culpepper

Review by Chris Garbutt

My wife and I have a new game  – I pick a cookbook, and I have to cook any recipe she chooses from it. When I gave her Fresh Food Fast, she had her work cut out for her. There are more than 250 recipes, which all look easy and delicious.

So, would it be the Turkey Burgers with Cranberry-Peach Chutney? Or the Scallops in Buttery Wine Sauce? Pork Medallions with Spicy Pomegranate-Blueberry Reduction?

Wait a minute. I didn’t notice that one before. That last recipe has both of our favourite fruits (pomegranates – hers, blueberries – mine). Well, some other time.

My wife settled on the Halibut with Quick Lemon Pesto, served with Grilled Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper with Corn. Our fish place didn’t have halibut, though, so we went with black cod. And we had run out of propane so our grill pan had to replace the barbecue. This was a quick and tasty meal, served on a weeknight, with little cleanup. My kind of meal.

I will say that very few of these recipes have the titular five ingredients (most have eight or nine). And some of the “ingredients” feel a little like cheating – calling for Parmesan and roasted garlic dressing “such as Newman’s own” doesn’t seem fair. I mean who just happens to have that exact kind of dressing in their fridge?

On top of that, I suggest that you never believe a cookbook that offers you 15-minute recipes, unless the instructions end with “remove from microwave.”

Still, our meal, while not ready in 15, was still on the table in less than a half-hour, and I can’t argue with the taste. Fresh food fast, indeed. This one is destined to be a regular on the kitchen shelf.

Monday Review: Appetizers

20 Oct

Appetizers: Recipes for First Course or Main Event by Shane Osborn (Photography by David Loftus)

Review by Stephanie Dickison

We have had 3 get-togethers in the last couple of weeks and I have to say that the hardest part for me is always the appetizers.  I can make 12 different mains and sides, but coming up with sexy and exciting appetizers just gets me every time.  I swear, if I make Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms one more time…

So I sought out this book to shake it up a little and also to take appetizers into the realm of mains.

The idea of  making them into mains stemmed from the fact that recently at restaurants, I’ve been finding myself ordering two appetizers instead of a main, as there are often so many exciting choices and combinations to be had.  So why not bring that excitement home?

The photos in this book are incredible inspiring.  I mean, if you can make your food look that tantalizing, you’ve done an amazing thing.  Some of them make me want to reach through the pages and just scoop up a little minestrone or crab croquettes with tomato dipping sauce.

And while the first section, Nibbles & Snacks, is fine with its Leek & Red Onion Tartlets and Roasted New Potatoes Wrapped in Prosciutto, I am thrilled by the possibilities in the next section, Quick & Easy. It’s here that I find Cepe, Artichoke & Fava Bean Salad and Roasted Skate Wing with Crispy Capers.

After perusing the Simple & Satisfying section though, I am wondering how I’ll be able to execute Tea-Smoked Salmon with Herb Mayonnaise and Sauteed Rabbit with Arugula Salad and Carrot jus.  They seem to be awfully fancy for this girls repertoire. But you’ll be pleased to find out, as I was, that the ingredient lists and directions are easy enough for someone like me to follow.

Phew.

My favourite section is Food for Groups.  This is where I tend to shine – cooking in large amounts, not scared of a lot of chopping and simmering.  And how good does Gazpacho Consomme with Scallop Ravioli and Oxtail & Lentil Ragout with Root Vegetables sound?  My mouth is watering already.

I have a feeling that Chris’ favourite though, will be the Posh section, with it’s Asparagus Tagliatelle with Morel Cream & Chevril and Breast of Squab with Beet Vinaigrette.

In other words, there’s something here for everyone.

Which is good, because next I’m planning some birthday dinner parties for friends and I’m going to have a heckuva lot of mouths to feed.