Dinner at Edward Levesque’s (Toronto)

So my associate Peter and I had been working on a job for 7 days an average of 18-20 per day and were completely burned out.  The good news is everything turned out great and the client was very happy and so were we with the final results.  To celebrate I took Peter to dinner at a restaurant in the east end called Edward Levesque’s.  I have been there several times including a great brunch!

Getting there was tough as I found out enroute that the highway I was closed further along the way.  Needless to say it took an hour and a half to get to him so when we arrived at the restaurant, having a drink was the first order of business.

We had the “Tuesday Special” which is a great deal – a glass of wine and hanger steak served over spaghetti squash for $22.  Each week they are offering a new Tuesday special.  I recommend you try it if you are in Toronto.  The service was wonderful. the food delicious and it was the perfect way to unwind after such a crazy week. (Next weeks post will show you the other way I finished part of the week – in Boston for the day!)

We opted to add salad which came with crumbled stilton, toasted cashews, golden beets, apple with a basil honey vinaigrette (delicious!). We also added frites to the meal as I had a hankering for steak/frites.  They were hand cut and served hot and delicious!

Then there was desert (shared of course)….

A lovely brownie – not too sweet (perfect for sharing) topped with a salted caramel ice cream (also not too sweet).  Outstanding!

(Forgive me but the restaurant was dimly lit so the only images that turned out semi readable were the salad and the dessert)

Needless to say we left the restaurant feeling much more relaxed and happy the crazy work week was over.

 

kale salad

 

 

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Chicken and Pasta Prima Vera

This recipe started out as pasta prima vera but I thought “why not add some protein to it”? Turned out to be quite yummy and when a group of friends wound up back at my house all hungry I happened to have a big bowl left over from a food order I had just filled so was able to get everyone fed and happy in a very short period of time.

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Ingredients – serves 6-8:

Olive oil – enough to sauté vegetables

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite size pieces

4 cloves minced garlic

1 red and 1 yellow  pepper cut into thin strips

2 large handfuls of chopped raw kale

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half

1.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup fat free evaporated milk

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour, dissolved in 6 tablespoons water

Pepper to taste

1 large carrot peeled and sliced into strips with a peeler

Fettucini or linguini – enough for 6-8 people

3/4 – 1 cup grated Parmesan

A large handful of fresh parsley leaves chopped

1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

Salt to taste if you want to (I don’t usually cook with salt)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add peppers and cook until they begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes and kale and cook until softened about another 4-5 minutes. Add carrots and stir into other vegetables. Stir in flour/water combination and mix throughly with vegetables. Add stock, evaporated milk and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until liquid has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. If liquid does not thicken enough add another tsp of flour and water mixture and stir through.

While the vegetables are cooking, bring water to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta until it is al dente. Drain pasta and combine and toss  with vegetables and sauce. Serve garnished with Parmesan, parsley and basil.

Note: sauce thickens even more by the next day.

Shrimp and Kale on Pasta (Gluten Free)

Many of you that read this blog know that I like to use up whatever is in the fridge when I can. I had recently bought a big batch of kale as it looked so fresh. It had been a while since I had shrimp and pasta so I thought I would mix it up with the kale – how could it be bad? I also had some mediterranean black olives which I thought would give a nice saltiness to the dish.

Below is the recipe – it lasted me for three meals which in my book is a good use of leftovers. By the way – it tasted good too!

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Ingredients:

1 package of GOGO Quinoa pasta (I like this type of gluten free pasta) – penne style noodle

10 shrimp (frozen tail on)

1 bunch of kale with the stem and core trimmed off and the leaves chopped

10-15 black olives broken in half to take out the pit (easier to buy pitted)

2 tsp chopped garlic

Olive oil to sauté kale and shrimp

Directions:

Add contents of the pasta to a pot of boiling water.  Boil until softened (takes a bit longer than regular pasta).  When it is finished the water is quite starchy so I tend to rinse the pasta under water for a minute.

Add oil to a pan and put chopped kale till you have filled the pan.  Start to sauté the kale in a covered pan so the steam will help to soften it.  I also added about 1/2 cup of water in small amounts to aid in the steaming and sautéing process.  When the kale is wilted slightly add the chopped garlic and the black olives and mix – continue to steam/sauté until the kale is fairly soft.

When the kale is almost ready – throw in the raw shrimp, mix with the kale and garlic and cook until the shrimp curls and turns pink on both sides.

Add in the pasta and mix everything together.  Heat through and serve with crusty bread and grated parmesan cheese.

Chicks in Charge Retreat

I just love that name!  We just had our annual Chicks in Charge (women running their own businesses) retreat at Sheryls country home.  I always come back exhausted, stuffed with good food, invigorated and enlightened! This year was no exception.  Food always seems to be the key to getting everyone connecting – we eat like royalty when we are there starting with Sheryls initial lunch which was once again outstanding.

We had poached salmon, roasted green beans, mushrooms, walnuts and baby potatoes, pesto marinated tiny heirloom tomatoes and a kale and mango salad. That was just lunch!

poahed salmon

Kale salad

roast veg

tomatoes

Snack time (as though we needed more food….) Amy made an incredible flourless, sugarless chocolate cake (sugar was in the chocolate only – it was divine).

cake

Dinner was my turkey chilli (click for link to recipe) with toppings that included guacamole, shredded old cheddar cheese and low fat sour cream along side a great mixed green salad and home baked oatmeal cookies made by Victoria.

Breakfast the next day was a fabulous frittata with peppers, onion, mushrooms and zucchini (I forgot to take pictures again – forgive me,  we just dove into the meal) made by Nancy. We also had Eloise’s home made granola (click for recipe) and yogurt along with regular and gluten free muffins.

Lunch was leftovers of the day before but the main course was Mariannes fabulous coconut curry chicken – so so good. Below is the recipe. Well worth trying it was devoured by the chicks.

Coconut Curry Chicken

I usually DOUBLE this recipe, and freeze the extra portions.  Can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients                                                                           Substitute

¼ cup coconut oil                                                                Canola oil

¼ cup (or less) Dijon mustard

2 tbsps.  regular mustard (e.g., French’s)

½ cup coconut nectar                                                        Honey

½ tbsp. or more Curry Powder

1 tsp.  lime juice AND grated rind

1 tsp. salt

Garlic

1-1.5 lbs. boneless chicken thighs (~12)                        Boneless chicken breasts,                                                                                                             sliced

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a stainless steel saucepan.  Pour over chicken.  Cook for 45 mins. at 350 degrees.   Enjoy!

Believe it or not, we also managed to have a great guest speaker (Wendy) and business and life discussions from morning till night and then again the next day.  Now you understand why we leave feeling exhausted, stuffed with good food, invigorated and enlightened!

Till next year!

Shrimp and Kale

It was another night where I wanted to use up ingredients in the fridge but still make something interesting.  I always keep shrimp in the freezer because they can turn any meal into something a little more special.  Tonight I decided to use up a batch of kale I had in the fridge and a yellow pepper and some feta cheese.  Here goes:

shrimp and kale

This dish took about 20-30 minutes in total.

Ingredients: Serves 2-3

1 leek (white part only) sliced

1 bunch of kale chopped finely

1 pepper (any colour will do)

2 garlic cloves minced

10-15 shrimp (medium sized)

1 – 14 oz can finely diced tomatoes (you can chop about 4 roma tomatoes instead of using canned if you like)

Feta cheese for sprinkling over top

Directions

Sauté leeks and chopped pepper till soft (I add a small amount of brown sugar to help brown them a bit and to make the tomato flavour a bit less acidic.) Add chopped garlic when leeks are soft and sauté together for a minute or two.  Then add tomatoes and chopped kale and mix till the kale begins to soften.  Once the kale is soft add the shrimp and mix thoroughly. Cover and let it finish cooking for about 3-4 minutes.

Put in a plate and sprinkle with some feta cheese and serve.

Kale and Mint Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Here is an interesting recipe I came across from a blog/website called FOOD52.  They have some great stuff on this site.  I plan on trying it on the weekend possibly. (photo by James Ransom). I think the mint would be a great addition giving it a very “spring” feel.

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http://food52.com/recipes/18080-lacinato-kale-and-mint-salad-with-spicy-peanut-dressing?utm_source=FOOD52+Subscribers+List&utm_campaign=894e36be6a-midweek6_5_136_4_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_191568346e-894e36be6a-19304689

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

My friend Marianne sent me this recipe which she makes all the time.  Looks so delicious I plan to make it next weekend.  The recipe comes from epicurious.com recipes. As Marianne says; it is a salad of raw kale and brussels sprouts which tastes like a “super food”. It’s a great accompaniment to fish or meat and she says the dressing is so good she makes double the recipe and uses it on other greens as well.  See recipe below and let me know what you think if you decide to make it.

Yields 8-10 servings

kale+brusselssprout salad

Kale-Brussels Sprouts Salad

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.
Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Bon Appétit
November 2011
by Susan Spungen

Dinner with Friends

Well this is the second or third post I have done about dinner with my friends Ted and Judy (the fabulous cooks who years ago inspired me and my love of cooking).  The other night (the day after Judy’s birthday) I went over for a relaxing evening of amazing food, good wine and great company. Little did I know I was going to get a meal fit for a queen!  My mouth is watering just remembering it.

Here are a couple of pictures of the dinner along with a description that will make your mouth water too!

Dinner T&J

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Now for those of you who don’t eat meat – I understand the meat portion won’t be of interest but for those of you who do – what can I say….. I don’t eat red meat very often but this was outstanding.

Here goes….. Mashed sweet and white potatoes mixed with lobster meat and roasted garlic and a touch of olive oil (instead of butter).

Filet of aged beef  grilled to perfection (although Ted thought it was about 2 minutes too long – both Judy and I disagreed) topped with seared foie gras and au jus.

The beef was placed on a bed of baby kale, spinach and swiss chard sautéed with vegetable broth and garlic.

We all thought the idea of mashed potatoes with lobster was brilliant – I got to take home leftovers 😉 so you know I was a happy camper.

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

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I got this recipe from a website I follow called FOOD52.  It is a great site with tons of recipes. (Found out about it from the blog A Pug in the Kitchen).

Check out this easy recipe that looks healthy and tastes great!

http://food52.com/recipes/2434-one-pot-kale-and-quinoa-pilaf

Fabulous Cod Dinner with Friends

This time I put the picture large size and up front. I am not sure people will believe this incredible meal was prepared by my friends Ted and Judy.  This was what we had for dinner the other night.  I don’t think anyone is wondering why I love to go there for dinner. (They are good fun company too!)

Cod dinner

So the glorious meal showing above was as follows:

Umbria lentils – wonderfully nutty but take a bit longer to cook than regular dried lentils.

Cod – beautiful large meaty piece of cod seared to perfection and popped in the oven at about 350 degrees for a few minutes to finish it off.

Topping – Kale (cut into small pieces) sautéed with garlic slices and grape tomatoes in a light chicken broth.  Scrumptious!

Side of baked sweet potato fries baked at 400 degrees for about half an hour.

All topped off with a squeeze of Meyer lemons (these are my favourite lemon – a cross between a tangerine and a lemon, they are both sweet and sour at the same time).

What a meal – it was so good there wasn’t even a lentil left on the plate!