Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘food’

Christmas_First

Happy Holidays, my dear blog readers. I cannot begin to thank you for all of your lovely comments and your beautiful support throughout this year. In 2016, Kitcheninspirations is in her 8th year and it’s been quite a joyous ride. Originally this little blog was simply a repository of recipes, an on-line cookbook of some of my favourites over the years. But then someone commented and the rest is history. I cherish each and every one of you and hope to meet you in person soon. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and cherished friends and JT and I wish you the very best for 2016.
MerryChristmasHNY

One of the things I’ve noticed as a child of immigrant parents is that my generation doesn’t hold as much to tradition as the previous generation did. Case in point, every Christmas my dear Mom would make Beigli, a traditional Hungarian Christmas treat; she would not make it any other time of the year, even though she loved it. I, on the other hand, will make anything as long as I can find the ingredients. Except Beigli. Beigli is an acquired taste; it’s not horrible or weird, it’s just not something Canadians are used to eating so, I generally only make it if we have other Hungarians around. This past Christmas was the second year we were invited to my cousin Lucy’s place for Angyal so I decided to make her Beigli. Beigli is a yeasted buttery dough rolled with a ground poppy seed mixture or a ground walnut mixture. My Mom put raisins in the poppy seed version but I don’t recall them in the walnut ones. This is only the second or third time I have made these treats, the two other times were well before this blog so it was more than eight years ago. Hungarian pastries are not sickly sweet and have only a little sugar in them, so if you are a sweet tooth, these are not for you. You may also wish to avoid the poppy seed Beigli if your work does any type of drug testing.

Beigli

Makes 1 30 cm (12 inch) each Poppy Seed (Mákos) and Walnut (Diós) Beigli

Original recipe from my dear Mom

Ingredients for the Dough:

  • 133 mL milk, warm
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 8 g instant yeast
  • 33 g icing sugar
  • 350-400 g AP flour
  • 167 g butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1 egg white
  • pinch of salt

Directions for the Dough:

  1. Mix the warm milk, granulated sugar and yeast in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Using the scraper paddle of your stand mixer, rub the butter into 350 g of flour. Switch to the dough hook.
  3. Add 2 lightly beaten eggs, icing sugar and the salt to the yeast and mix well. Pour into the flour butter bowl and knead for a few minutes until the ingredients are combined and the dough becomes shiny and smooth (you may need to add a bit more flour so it’s not shaggy). Cover with a clean cloth and set aside for 2 hours in a warm, draft free spot.

Ingredients for the Poppy Seed Filling:

  • 200 mL milk
  • 200 g poppy seeds, ground
  • 33 g semolina
  • 133 g icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 67 g raisins

Directions for the Poppy Seed Filling:

  1. Combine the ground poppy seeds, semolina, icing sugar and lemon zest and mix well.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil, remove from heat and stir into the poppy seed mixture. Add the raisins and mix well. Set aside to cool completely (don’t worry, it will thicken as it cools).

Ingredients for the Walnut Filling:

  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 200 mL water
  • 200 g walnuts
  • 67 g panko
  • 30 mL water
  • 1 lemon, zested

Directions for the Walnut Filling:

  1. In the bowl of your food processor, process the walnuts, breadcrumbs and zest until finely ground. Set aside.
  2. Combine the water and sugar in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a boil without stirring. Continue to boil until it reaches 110 °C (230 °F). Remove from heat and immediately stir into the walnut mixture, adding the water and stir well.

Beigli Assembly and Baking

  1. Divide the dough into two equal portions. Roll each portion into 1/2 cm thick rectangles (about 11 1/4″ x 12″). Spread the entire amount of the filling evenly onto each rectangle, leaving about 1 cm wide border all around.
  2. Roll the dough from the long side and pinch the side to seal. Turn the ends into the roll.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet. Repeat for the other filling, brush both rolls with the remaining beaten egg. Allow to rest for one hour.
  4. Whisk the egg white and brush the rested rolls. Set aside for 30 more minutes. Pre heat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
  5. Once rested, lightly poke the sides of the rolls with a fork to avoid the dough breaking. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and baked through.
  6. Serve the rolls sliced into 1-1.5 cm slices.
Diosbeigli_7888_

A delicious, not too sweet, Christmas treat.

makosbeigli_7884_

As a kid, I always preferred the walnut beigli, but I think I like the poppy seed better now!

Read Full Post »

We’ve been to The Good Fork a few times now and I thought it was time to do a Kitchen Inspirations review. The folks at The Good Fork were incredibly generous around the Christmas holidays when Toronto experienced wide-spread blackouts and JT and I were without charging power for our phones for a couple of days — they let us plug in! The Good Fork is located just on the cusp of the Western edge of Bloor West Village and because it’s on the cusp, sadly it’s pretty easy to forget about it; I’m glad that on that cold December day we didn’t!

It’s about 1.6 km from our house which makes a good walk but there is street parking usually close by. I would recommend reservations if you’re going with a group because it does fill up quickly and there isn’t a bar to wait at. If you’re going for brunch, like we did, make sure you arrive before 10am because you’ll have to wait for a table if you arrive later!

The folks are very nice at The Good Fork and we have found the food to be very good quality. I like that their menu is not huge but what they do is very tasty and the prices are not bad. The portions are a good size and if you’re not starving you may even find it enough to share with an extra salad. The Good Fork is fully licensed and serves VQA wines and beers from Canadian micro breweries. The decor is modern and simple and there are many spacious booths. Their second floor can be rented for events. 

JT and I visited The Good Fork for brunch; I ordered the Nova Scotia Benny ($13.00) which came with two poached eggs, a generous serve of smoked salmon, cream cheese, preserved lemon and fresh dill on Gordy’s gorgeous house-made bun (it was so good that even I found it difficult to resist eating the top!). I chose a side salad instead of home fries and although the salad was very tasty, it was over dressed for my taste which is a mistake I find many restaurants make (note to self, ask for dressing on the side next time).

A delicious combination of flavours.

A delicious combination of flavours.

JT ordered a slightly more decadent dish: The Pulled Pork Benny ($13.60) topped with crispy fried shallots and a delicious slaw on the same house-made bun. The pulled pork had fantastic flavour and the crispy fried shallots added the much needed textural contrast to the sweet and tangy pulled pork. JT also ordered the salad as the side and it too was over dressed. Overall, I would say that both dishes were winners and we will order them again (perhaps to share next time).

TGoodFork_2455

Succulent pulled pork and a very tasty house-made bun.

 

Overall rating of The Good Fork: Decor 2.5/5, service 3/5, food 4/5, Value 3/5, Noise: 5/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet).

Disclaimer: We purchased our meals for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

 

The Good Fork

2432 Bloor St. West
Toronto, ON M6S 1P9

 

Hours:

Monday and Tuesday 9:00 am-4:00 pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9:00 am-10:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am-4:00 pm and 5:30 pm-10:00 pm
Sunday 9:00 am-5:00 pm

 

Contact

647.352.5955
ALI@goodfork.ca
TOLGA@goodfork.ca

Read Full Post »

You’re probably thinking “she’s gone mad” bacon and eggs for a Super Bowl appetizer? What could she possibly be thinking? Well, once you taste these babies, you’d wish you had made more of them. Just the perfect size to pop in your mouth (or for more delicate mouths, ehem, one may need two bites). I bought quail eggs for an appetizer for our friend’s Paul and T (post to come soon and I don’t want to spoil it) but I had a few of these gorgeous little eggs left over, so I came up with this breakfast for appetizer treat, and since Super Bowl is on Sunday, why not serve it to your discerning guests?

IMG_4020_BLOG

You can see how small the quails eggs are in comparison to the large Grade A egg.

We spotted this sign walking up to a restaurant on Bloor for lunch last Sunday. Since this post had bacon in it, I thought it appropriate.

BaconIsMeat_Blog

A sandwich board sign in our hood which seemed appropriate with this post.

It’s really not a recipe, you can easily see all the ingredients, so I’ll just describe it. You’ll need 1 large slice of German seedy bread (we usually use this brand’s 7-Grain bread), 4 slices of Pancetta, sliced about 3.5 mm or 1/4 inch thick and four quail eggs.

First you want to fry the bacon until crispy, set aside in a warm oven, reserve bacon grease. Then cut four rounds of bread about 4-5 cm or 2.5 inches in diametre, and fry each side of the bread in the bacon fat until slightly toasted, but saturated in the bacon fat (you can hear your arteries bursting, no, wait, those are mine bursting), set aside and keep warm. In the remaining bacon fat, fry up each egg, trying to keep as circular shape as possible. Serve immediately, you want the yolks a little runny. To serve: take one slice of the bread round, put the bacon on top and then the egg, garnish with parsley or cilantro leaves. Serve with a napkin because you will have creamy yolk running down your chin.

Bacon&Eggs2_BLog

A one, perhaps two bite morsel

They turned out so pretty, I had to take two photos.

Bacon&Eggs1_BLog

Oh, you have a little dribble on your chin, let me get that for you.

Go Jays Go!

Oops.

Read Full Post »

It’s obvious I’m getting a lot of mileage out of our New York trip on the blog, but it was such a fun time, I just have to share a couple more fun things to do, and they are food related.

The Chelsea Market: Located in Chelsea at 75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16th Streets) it’s s bustling food hub. In fact, the Food Network US is located in this building. Although I can’t say that I’ve seen any one of my food network fav’s hanging around this market but I think I did spy Snooki on 6th Avenue earlier this day! (allow me to redeem myself, ordinarily I wouldn’t know what Snooki looks like or who she was, but literally the day before we left, I was standing at a checkout of a grocery store and there she was starring up at me on the cover of one of those entertainment rags. So really, it was by accident that I even knew what the woman looks like!).

OK, on to the market: there’s Buon Italia, an incredible shop that sells foods of Italy; I used to get my dried chestnuts there as I knew of nowhere else to get them.

Buon Italia an amazing shop selling Italian foods

And the pastas, all imported from Italy. I just love the simplicity of the packaging. I can close my eyes and imagine I am in Italy in this store.

This one is for John (Bartolini Kitchens)

Then there is Amy’s Breads, an enormous bakery that you can see them working all day!

Amy’s Bread is an enormous bakery

And I’ve already talked about the wonderful kitchen story, Bowery Kitchen Supply; you can literally spend an hour in this store. The Filling Station when I have bought some wonderful olive oils (but sadly, this time I was concerned about my luggage weight). Then we had a little wine tasting at The Chelsea Wine Vault. And of course you must check out all of the wonderful eateries that may be found in this market. It’s a great trip, but be warned, go to the bathroom before you get there, the line-up was about 100 people long (thank goodness I didn’t need to go!).

Eataly (yes, that is correct!); Eataly is a restaurant (or several) grocery store, bakery, coffee shop, wine shop, butcher and fish monger all in one convenient location at 200 5th Avenue, a short walk from our hotel.

Beautifully merchandised Italian products.

Sorry, a little blurry iPhone Photo

JT thought he saw Leonard Nimoy here

I would certainly recommend a trip to this destination.

I thought you might enjoy a little architecture too.

The Famous Flatiron or Fuller Building

Read Full Post »

Hi! Remember last fall I mentioned I had a surprise? Well, I can now talk about it! I was invited to participate in the taping of this episode of Canada’s Top Chef Season 2! The premise was a baby shower and the contestants had to make food representative of a boy and of a girl. We had to dress baby showery, pretty colours, heels (you know how I would hate that ;-)) and we were able to walk around and try all of the food. I can’t say that I remember much of the tastes, but the video sure brought back some memories and the opinions of the judges. Fortunately, I ended up on the cutting room floor, so I have no idea what I would look like on TV! Was that my 15 minutes? I thought this was a perfect segue into today’s post.

Second place on Top Chef Canada 2011, chef Rob Rossi’s Bestellen did not disappoint! Only open a month or so, the kitchen did not seem to exhibit any of the growing pains new restaurants are so famous for. The wait staff are friendly, professional and courteous and seem genuinely happy to work with Chef Rossi. Our waiter spoke very highly of Chef Rossi.

The décor is warm and comfortable with a huge meat mural on the west wall; there is a windowed meat curing room off to the right as you entre through the bar area. We were seated at the back near the kitchen, usually not my flavourite place, but we were curious on the workings of the kitchen; they were serious yet smiling, seems like a good place to work. Chef Rossi ever present checking and cooking! My only complaint would be the fluorescent bulb in the kitchen (yes I know they have to see what they are doing) which poured disgustingly bright light into the dining room; had they lowered the bulkhead between the kitchen and dining room about 30-40cm, it would have completely missed shining right into my eyes. Perhaps it still can be corrected! They played a great mix of the old jazz crooners and some cool old fashioned rock. For some lovely photos and an intro article, please click here.

Now the food. A decidedly meaty menu, I started with the grilled octopus; delicious, and perfectly cooked with a touch of char. I would have complimented it with a bit more sauce, as it was scarce, the little black olives (usually my favourite) were tasteless. My husband had the salad and said it was just OK. My main was the steak tartar! I exclamation marked it because it was most likely the BEST steak tartar I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot! Nicely seasoned and did I taste a bit of chopped pickle? A very European addition. The deep fried quail egg did nothing for my particular taste. JT had the burger and thought it was incredible! They served it with sweet potato fries (YUM) with a smoked paprika ketchup that was TO DIE FOR! We will be back, particularly when I’m in the mood for a perfect tartar, but next time, we will ask to be seated more toward the front out of the fluorescent glare.

I have reviews of this restaurant, and several others on Yelp.ca, Trip Advisor, Open Table and Google. Do you review restaurants and if you do, which website(s) do you participate in reviewing.

PS. I couldn’t help but think of one of my lovely readers, Lorraine, of famed Not Quite Nigella, who has blogged about a roasted whole suckling pig a while ago; Chef Rossi also serves a whole pig as a family-style feast and you have to order it three days ahead and enjoy it with a minimum of eight people.

Overall rating of Bestellen (in my opinion): Decor 4/5, service 4/5, food 4/5, Value 4/5, Noise: 2/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet).

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

Read Full Post »

My blogger friend Sharyn of Kale Chronicles recently bestowed the Food Bloggers Unplugged award to me; I am quite flattered and very touched that she has now given me two awards! Thank you, Sharyn. The Food Bloggers Unplugged is designed to allow the blogger to divulge a few personal details about their blogging motivation.

Awarded by Sharyn at Kale Chronicles

What or who inspired you to start your blog?

I started blogging in early 2007 as a chronicle of our renovation. It ended up being a bit of a venting place for me; we had issues with our renovator. But I enjoyed blogging so much that when the reno was complete and the party was had I decided to continue with Kitcheninspirations and document cooking in my new kitchen. I enjoyed blogging but I never really understood the value of commenting until I started to gain a bit of a following and in turn, get to know a lot of great people.

Who is your foodie inspiration?

I would have to say that my foodie inspiration were my parents. My Father had a very refined palate and my mother was a home cook, undaunted and unafraid of any recipe or ingredient. My father used to say, “why should I go out and pay for a restaurant meal when your mother can make it so much better.”

Your greasiest most batter splattered cook book is?

Five Roses Flour Cookbook. For $1 I sent away for this basic cookbook in the late 1970’s and it’s been my Go To cookbook for basics. That and the Fanny Farmer Cookbook which I was given as a wedding present 25 years ago!

The best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it and what was it?

Bouillabaisse in Marseille, France. I had never had the real bouillabaisse before but had read that it was invented in Marseille so I had to give it a try. I have never really been fond of fish soup, but I can tell you, that soup with the rouille and the crostini, sitting on a patio on a gorgeous fall day overlooking the harbour was breathtaking and unbelievably delicious. JT ordered the steak frites but had wished almost instantaneously that he had ordered the bouillabaisse instead. Fading into to dreamy land….

Another Food Blogger’s table you would like to eat at?

So many and so little time; but to name a few: Sawsan at Chef in Disguise, Ann at Cooking Healthy for Me, Kristy and Mike at Eat, Play, Love, John at from the Bartolini kitchens, Charles at Five Euro Food and Lorraine’s at Not quite Nigella (I would add Barb’s at Profiterols and Ponytails, but I have actually eaten at her table and enjoyed it immensely!) and many more.

What one kitchen gadget would you like Santa to bring you? (money no object)

A warming drawer; I wish I had worked it into my kitchen reno but alas it was not so.

Who taught you how to cook?

My dear mother taught me the basics of cooking. She also taught me not to be afraid of trying something new, if it doesn’t work out, start again. Years of watching Food Network and early TV cooks, I have honed my skills.

I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish?

Barley Risotto. I always have dried woodland mushrooms on hand, barley, stock and parmesan cheese. Flourless Molten chocolate cake for dessert.

What is your guilty food pleasure?

Escargot in garlic butter with lots of crusty bread. Or steak tartar.

Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

My favourite pet in the whole world was my gorgeous little brown bunny rabbit named Dustie. She passed away almost six years ago and I have been able to bring myself to get another.

Tag five other Food Bloggers to answer these questions:

  1. Hotly Spiced, Charlie Louie is a beautiful Mom with some very sophisticated recipes and a lovely way she weaves a story about her family into her posts.
  2. GenYFoodie, Dara puts together healthy, local ingredients into comforting meals. And she wrote a cookbook.
  3. Ichigo Shortcake, interesting food and travel adventures.
  4. Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, good down to earth recipes.
  5. The Big Fat Noodle, recipes and anecdotes.

Thanks again, Sharyn, I really appreciate the award. Now, I must contemplate some requirements for an upcoming giveaway! Very exciting…indeed.

Read Full Post »

I wasn’t going to review La Societé again as we have been there before and the food and service is always consistently good, but we had such an amazing experience on New Years Eve, I just had to blog about it.

Would you like to place your order all at once, or as the evening goes on?

We made our reservations for 9 so that we’d have half a chance of ringing in the new year at the restaurant; we didn’t make it, the food was so delicious we had a really hard time eating s l o w l y (and anyone who knows JT will attest that it is no easy feat!). We both got dolled up to celebrate the new year of 2012. We did the responsible thing by subwaying downtown so that we could imbibe. The subways were running well which really surprised me*.

The restaurant was not as crowded as I had thought it would be. This was their first year and to our surprise they did not take a deposit for our reservation (La Select took one last year and the year before; apparently Torontonians are famous for not showing up for a reservation!). We were seated quickly at a centre table for two — I hated it immediately and asked to be moved, the hostess said she didn’t have another table. Grumble, grumble, grumble. As we were settling in, and our waitress was pouring the water and I happened to say “wow, is it ever noisy” and it was. She immediately picked up on it and asked if we’d like a lovely little table tucked into the corner by the window. We jumped on it. She moved us and we settled in. Coincidentally, the following patrons at that same table requested a change of scenery as well! Note to restaurant: that little table in the middle is in the way, no one likes it, not even the wait staff — they keep bumping into the diners sitting there. It’s best to remove the offending table than risk your patron having only a so-so time.

The meal began with a little amuse bouche of toasted brioche with lemon scented goats cheese and tomato confit, it was lovely. Our lovely waitress paced us well, we just couldn’t pace ourselves! I ordered Spicy Tuna Tartar which was diced tuna, apple, ginger, pine nuts and fresh coriander — so delicious. The little bites of crunchy apple and pine nuts really complimented the smooth texture of the tuna, and the ginger was quite refreshing and added a bit of heat to the dish. I couldn’t stop eating, the portion was huge 150-200 grams of the tuna — they really could have cut it in half. JT had the Braised Bison Short Rib with smoked bone marrow and cauliflower purée. The short rib was braised to perfection, simply melting off the bone. The flavour was rich and satisfying. I didn’t try the cauliflower purée but it looked wonderful. Now I’m absolutely full, and I still have my steak to contend with.

Next we ordered our mains; I had the Grilled AAA 10 oz Striploin Steak, rare (they didn’t have my steak tartar on the menu so I had to go with this instead. Plus I NEVER order cooked steak so it was a lovely change. They served the steak with Delmonico potatoes with woodland mushrooms (an incredibly decadent dish of potatoes, a cheesy white sauce and buttered mushrooms) and a brandy peppercorn sauce. Let me start by saying the portions were incredible. I barely got through 1/4 of the 300-400 gram steak and barely touched the potatoes. But it wasn’t for a lack of trying. It was wonderful. The steak was cooked rare, melted in your mouth and the peppercorn sauce added that little bite. The potatoes were incredibly creamy and the mushrooms sooo delicious, I picked through and ate them before I gave JT a chance to try it. Fortunately I was able to bring my leftovers home! JT had the Pan-seared Pheasant Breast with roast chestnuts, apple foie gras butter and a celery root purée and brussels sprout leaves. The pheasant breast was cooked perfectly and paired well with the sides. It was a more manageable portion.

I didn’t have much room for dessert so I didn’t order one, but instead had a spoon of JTs Hazelnut Chocolate Bar with salted praline and caramel ice cream. WOW! Although I was glad I didn’t order one, I would have truly regretted finishing it off! 😉

The restaurant noise level was a bit louder than usual, people reveling and enjoying their dinners, and around 10pm they brought in a DJ who slowly raised the volume of the 1980’s music higher and higher. By 11pm we were no longer able to converse, so we decided to head home and bring in the new year by the fireplace and a glass of wine. I was a little disappointed in the music as I would have expected more Jazz instead of 1980s pop from a French restaurant.

The subway ride home was entertaining thanks to the inebriated passengers and fortunately, on time without issues. Had we stayed until mid-night, the TTC would have been free.

I have to say something about the service: exceptional. Our waitress was attentive but subtle and always around when we needed something. Our wine glasses were never empty, nor were our water glasses. My regret is that I wish I had gotten her name so I can pass along my great experience to the restaurant.

Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 4/5, service 3.5/5, food 4/5, Value 3.5/5, Noise: 1/5 (1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet). This restaurant is never quiet.

Disclaimer: We purchased our meal for full price and my opinions just that, my opinions.

In case you needed some more reading:

*On Friday night we also took the subway down, and just as we were coming home around 10:30, they announced that there was an issue which caused the subway to be shut down. The terminal was crowding quickly as passengers were accumulating, so we decided to surface and take a cab before they became extinct. Traffic was also brutal; as it turns out, there was a fire at St. George station which caused backups along Bloor Street – our route home! The 10 minute cab ride ended up setting us back $30, including tip! Yikes! To recap, we spend $4 for the car park at the subway station (ya, we live close enough to walk but it was raining!), $10 for the subway ($2.50 each way per person) and then $30 for the ride home! That’s $44 and we haven’t even had a bite!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: