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KalbiBenny_Blog

Last Friday night we went out for dinner but finding a spot was a much more arduous task than usual because it was Winterlicious. Winterlicious/Summerlicious theme was originally developed by the City of Toronto to encourage residents to go out for meals after the unfortunate SARS breakout in 2002; it’s a participation event where restaurants offer prix fixe meals for standardized rates (Lunch: $18 • $23 • $28; Dinner: $25 • $35 • $45). This year there are over 200 participating restaurants! What’s really cool is that some really high end restaurants participate where you get a three course meal for $45 Canadian (in some of these places $45 is usually just the main course!). It’s a great way to sample some expense account restaurants. But don’t think the restaurants aren’t making money because as one restaurateur once told me that because people perceive they are getting a deal on their meals, they will splurge on the bottle of wine, or two (in Ontario our restaurant liquor is usually marked up 3 times)! Getting a reservation this time of year is no easy task, even in non-participating places, but participating places it’s next to impossible. One year, I was on the phone for over an hour trying to get connected to a highly demanded Summerlicious restaurant, it was like calling a radio station for a prize, you just keep calling and calling and calling until you were connected. One year I gave up after 45 minutes of re-dial!

These days, I just couldn’t be bothered trying to get into the popular places plus we’re still trying to cut back consumption so three courses just isn’t what we want to eat, no matter how good the price. So Friday night we went to the newest addition of the Playa Cabana restaurants on Bloor, Playa Cabana Barrio. It’s part of a small Mexican group in Toronto and we have found (at their three other restaurants) the food to be exceptional and reasonably priced. This one was in Little Korea and the menu read more Korean than Mexican. I usually preview the menu but I was busy and didn’t this time. I was really in the mood for Mexican. The narrow restaurant was very crowded (imagine the width just wide enough for one table on either side, one parallel to the wall and one perpendicular). The tables are very close together so it’s difficult not to say ‘Hi’ and chat with the table next to yours (impossible for JT, that is). We were very fortunate as we had two young women from each end of the country (Victoria, BC and St. John, Newfoundland) reuniting for a girls weekend and we hit it off, weaving short conversations between courses about places they should go to in Toronto and their lives at the polar opposites of Canada.

One of the courses they ordered was BBQ’d Kalbi Ribs which came out “Fred Flintstone” style, piled up on a plate. When I say piled, it must have been 20 cm (8 inches) high! And I’m not exaggerating! It was difficult not to comment (for JT, that is)! But here’s the most unusual part: they insisted we take the last mammoth rib home as they were staying in a hotel (it was served family style, so it wasn’t handled). So we DID! Is that not the best story EVER? How many times have you wanted to give your uneaten food away while on holiday? It’s really a shame to throw away perfectly good left-overs (as long as they weren’t handled)

This inspiration is the result of that donated doggy bag of “Fred Flintstone” proportion Korean BBQ’d beef short rib!

KalbiBenny2_Blog

Although the yolk doesn’t look as runny, it really was!

BBQ’d Kalbi Benny

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 left-over BBQ’d Kalbi Short Rib with kimchi
  • 2 crêpes (recipe can be found here)
  • Hollandaise sauce (make your fav, healthy or not)
  • 2 poached eggs

Directions:

  1. Reheat rib and once hot, shred with two forks.
  2. Fold crêpe into fourths and spread the shredded rib meat in the centre.
  3. Top rib meat with a little of the left-over kimchi, then the egg and pour hot hollandaise over.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  • This inspiration ‘recipe’ would work famously with any shredded left-over meat.
  • If having ribs for dinner, set aside one or two so you can have this fabulous breakfast.
  • Coleslaw may be substituted for the kimchi or omitted, but it was a tasty addition.
  • English muffins or any type of bread, for that matter may be substituted for the crêpes, I just wanted a slightly less heavy carb.
KalbiBenny3_blog

Lighting is everything.

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There were too many candles to put on the cake so I just used one

It was JT’s birthday last week. It’s just the two of us, so we usually keep it low key, but we do like to fancy it up with the food. Lobster was on sale at our local market so we took advantage and bought two for his birthday dinner. We love lobster and rarely indulge due to its rich and pricey nature so a birthday celebration is the perfect time to take advantage of this delicacy. We dined in our outdoor dining room under the early evening sky. It was wonderful.

JT didn’t mind, because this entire cake was his. Of course, he didn’t eat it in one sitting 😉

When I asked what JT would like for dessert he said cake. Now that stopped me in my tracks because he is more of a pie person than a cake person. But then again, I had just shown him Charles’ recipe (Five Euro Food) for Kladdkaka and he knew I was dying to make it so he said ‘cake’ or kaka in Swedish. He is so thoughtful and generous. Oh, but wait…this generosity may have some selfish motivations ;-)!

Night-time photos are not the best

I knew I would like this dessert from the name alone. Kladdkaka. Kladdkaka, kaka, kaka, kaka, kaka, Kladdkaka. Giggle, giggle, giggle. But I digress; I knew I would like this dessert because I LOVED his Tuppkaka dessert (that, for the record I have now made about 6 times). Plus Kladdkaka is very easy to make, one bowl is all you need. In fact, I was lazy and made the entire cake in the food processor. I didn’t even bother to change the blade to the plastic ones. Just processed away. The cake has an intense chocolate flavour without being sweet; don’t be too afraid of the sugar quantity, you need it to mellow the bitterness of the cocoa powder. Next time I think I’ll add a tbsp of espresso powder and a good pinch of cayenne pepper! I may even try to make this gluten free, using almond flour instead of white flour. Stay tuned.

Caster sugar is plain sugar that is much finer than regular sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar. It is supposed to melt a lot easier. I just put my regular sugar in the food processor with metal blades and I pulsed it until it looked significantly finer than original but now powdery.

Kladdkaka

Such a moist and chocolatey cake, but not as sweet as you would think

adapted from Charles at Five Euro Food

Ingredients:

  • 200 g Caster Sugar
  • 140 g unbleached Flour
  • 50 g Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 120 g Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam, heated until runny

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder and baking powder to the bowl of your food processor. Plus few times to incorporate evenly.
  2. In the microwave, melt the butter slowly so it doesn’t overheat. Add melted butter and vanilla to the food processor in an even stream. Mix well, scraping down the sides as required. Lightly beat the eggs and add to the chocolatey mix until a smooth thick batter forms.
  3. Lightly grease a round tin about 20cm in diametre (I used a spring form tin). Spoon the batter into the tin and smooth out to the edges (it is rather thick). Resist the urge to try this batter, it’s seriously good and you won’t be able to stop.
  4. Take a knife and draw a spiraling circular pattern into the cake top (dig in about 1/2cm). Using a fine tip cake decorator, squeeze the slightly warm but runny seedless raspberry jam into the cut pattern. Don’t worry about how it looks on top, it will be dusted with confectioner’s sugar so it doesn’t matter. I wanted the raspberry jam to seep into the cake, which it did very nicely.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes before removing and allowing to cool for ~10 minutes before carefully removing from the tin. Try not to over-bake the cake. If you do, all delicious gooeyness may be lost!
  6. Serve with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, or just on its own, for a gooey, chocolatey delight!

Thanks Charles for another winner — hope you don’t mind my creative license!!

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