Battle of Ingredients #2: Maple Syrup

Welcome to Round 2 of Battle of Ingredients!
If you missed the first round, you can find it here. I will be putting something on the side or above so that it’ll be easier to track soon.

This month’s Battle of Ingredients is all about maple syrup! Why? Because here in our lovely province of Quebec, we have the cabane a sucre (aka sugar shack) tradition. Maple syrup is a big deal around this parts (and apparently also in Riverdale according to the new TV series). It was a no brainer for myself and Phoebe that it would be our choice ingredient as well as trying out a new formula of doing a collaborated full course meal. All our dishes had maple syrup so lets just say, we were in for a sugar rush.

Let’s check out our menu, along with the wines we used to pair with it (although one of them we didn’t end up drinking…yet).

Wine

Wine

We drank the Kung Fu Girl which is one of my favorite wines. Apparently, it has somewhat of a sour taste which I never really thought about but always found it smooth. Regardless, hopefully we’ll keep the Fetzer in our fridge till the next Battle.

Appetizer – Kim

Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken Wings

Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken Wings

Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/bourbon_maple_glazed_chicken_wings/

A very simple recipe to put together in general although you do need to simmer the sauce before putting it on the chicken wings and then have to simmer again to thicken it. I somehow managed to get it thicker the first time so that it wasn’t necessary to simmer again. I did have extra sauce however it was covered enough so I put it to the side in case anyone wanted anymore. This one was delicious and definitely a hit. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I used our good bourbon without knowing it. Whatever the reason, these turned out much better than I expected and honestly, I kind of want to make another batch already.

From our friends: Not dry at all with the sauce, and it matched well. No extra sauce needed for me!

Main Meal + Side – Phoebe

Prosciutto Maple Salmon

Prosciutto Maple Salmon

Recipe via Pinterest: http://gardeninthekitchen.com/prosciutto-maple-salmon/

Phoebe chose this recipe off Pinterest. We don’t usually get the chance to use prosciutto frequently and never had thought to use to wrap around fish and yet, it came together really nicely. She hadn’t worked with dill before and I haven’t been a fan either, however we do have dill lovers at the table. This came together really nicely. Phoebe was a little nervous about the whole grilling part before baking it and we timed it all very nice to serve this and the sides, which we will talk about below.

From our friends: I personally find the dill to match well with the fish. Again, not dry the way it was made, the only slight annoyance was that the prociutto is hard to cut through, so putting any sort of pressure would crush the salmon under… But with patience of sliding your knife back and forth, it’s perfect.

Maple Syrup Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Maple Syrup Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.thewholesomedish.com/maple-syrup-roasted-brussels-sprouts/

Huge fan of brussel sprouts here, I found this recipe for Phoebe and she was totally into it, which is great. I’ve always wondered how maple syrup in Brussel Sprouts would work and actually it was the one the absorbed the maple syrup enough to actually taste it the most. It was much more subtle in the salmon for example. However, in the balance of the meal, it worked well.

Dessert

Chewy Maple Cookies

Chewy Maple Cookies

Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.cleverlysimple.com/chewy-maple-cookies/

I decided on making these cookies very last minute. Like an hour before our cooking meet-up. Fact is, I was going to make Maple Ice but that needed Maple Water and Ice Cream Maker, both things that I don’t have or haven’t figured out how to use yet. Then there was the idea of making little maple syrup tarts but that was really complex with heating the pizza stone plate in the oven beforehand and the worry that it would just fail because I was changing this complicated tart recipe from a pie pan to little tarts. Anyways, point is cookies are the safe bet and thankfully, it worked well to not hog up the oven and we were able to get everything we needed done and ready on track.

From our friends: Cookies were good! Wasn’t dry, but wasn’t butter fest either! Maybe it would be even better with some nut in it like cashew, but then again, might alter the taste… But it was great.

Maple Flavored Popcorn (Bad Monkey)

Bad Monkey Maple Flavored Popcorn

In addition, Phoebe brought this Bad Monkey brand Maple Syrup flavored popcorn to match with the theme. I don’t eat a lot of popcorn for health issues but I did try a few and it was pretty delicious. Phoebe did find it a little on the sweet side however our friends did like this one as well. they actually put the popcorn and the cookie together and apparently, it went well together particularly because of the contrast in textures.

That’s it for this Battle!
Maple Syrup was a fun adventure and on all fronts this was a win.
We learned some new recipes and had a great time with friends.
Next month’s Battle is still deciding what will be the star(s) of the show! 

Perhaps this will be the structure from now on as it is easier to get together an acceptable meal but we will shift the courses around to who is responsible next time.
We will see…like I said in the first round, a work in progress. If you have any suggestions, do share with us. 🙂

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Dinner: Ultimate Garlic Bread

I’m a little behind on Sunday’s post all the time so I figured that I’d go for a quick and fun post: a new recipe post!! They are making a comeback slowly but surely, which is good because I like the feeling of having accomplished good food or trying out new stuff.

I’m not sure about all of you but my husband LOVES Garlic Bread and I mean like cheesy garlic bread. The moment I saw this recipe, I knew it was one I had to do. Plus, we had just bought lactose-free cheese so for once, I can actually get in on the lovely snack/meal. I ended up using this for lunch a few times.

I saw this recipe on Popsugar Food in this video. They take full credit for the attempt of this recipe.

My recipe does have a few modifications and it will be at the bottom as usual.

First of all, here is how it turned out.

Ultimate Garlic Bread

Now for the modifications to the recipe:

  • Melba Toasts turned into breadcrumbs instead of Panko breadcrumbs
  • Lactose-free Cheese (Allegro brand) instead of all cheese ingredients
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk instead of whole milk

The recipe says that it makes two servings, however I made smaller portions and ended up with double the amount. These Ultimate Garlic Breads are a little more complicated to make than then regular bread because you have to first make the chicken, let it cool off before cutting and then make the dough, put it together and back into the oven. It is incredibly cheesy and I have to say grating cheese is something I am the worst at (but that is really just my own problem and not the recipe’s fault). However, if you happen to want to give up halfway and just pull out the chicken breasts and eat that, I can totally understand that because I kind of wanted to also because they look delicious alone.

With that said, this recipe did take me a little while because I paired it with another recipe. I’m a fantastic multitasker in many many other scenarios in life except for two places and that is cooking (not baking) and gaming. However, I did manage to get this recipe done in a really long time and I blame my skills on it. However, this is a much more time consuming recipe but the payoff is worth it. This Ultimate Garlic Bread is packed with a ton of flavor from the chicken to the extra cheesy filling and topping. It isn’t a light meal so I’d suggest to cut it in strips or something and eat it like that. The video suggests to use marinara sauce to go with it. I haven’t tried it with that pairing yet.

Bottomline: The Ultimate Garlic Bread takes a little more time to put together but is well worth the effort.

Dinner: Restaurant Le Fagotin

We’re back to Groupon season! Its been a while since we’ve had a fun little friends gathering with my good friend Starry Traveler and her family.  Luckily, Groupon had a neat little offer for a place we’ve never heard of called Restaurant Le Fagotin, so we both decided to buy, reserve and give it a go this past weekend.  Le Fagotin is a bring your own wine French fusion restaurant.

Restaurant Le Fagotin

Decor

Le Fagotin

Right when you look at Le Fagotin to the outside to walking into the main dining room, its extremely homey. Its comfortable and ambient with some light-hearted jazzy music playing softly in the background. Its tidy and has a decent amount of natural light from the outside.  My favorite was looking across onto the fireplace in the wall with a mantel with a sign saying “Bon Appetit”. Part of eating is the atmosphere and Le Fagotin does a great job at setting it right.

Appetizers

Le Fagotin

Bread

Le Fagotin

Spring Salad (with the Table d’Hote menu)

Le Fagotin

Soup of the day: Potage au Broccoli (with Table d’Hote)

To start our meals, we got a delicious baguette.  It was warm and soft.  We loved it.  Everyone took the Table d’Hote Menu at our table except me.  The main reason being my health restrictions.  Potage au Broccoli usually isn’t a problem but at Le Fagotin, they told me that they add a bit of cream in there so it was off the table for me. Another issue I have is with eating raw vegetables so I couldn’t eat the salad also. With that said, I ended up getting a main dish in the menu.  However, without knowing my inability to eat raw vegetables, they were really generous and gave me a spring salad.  I think its a nice gesture which my husband benefited from. The general liking was towards the spring salad which I could agree with since I dipped my baguette in some of the vinaigrette and it was tasty.

Main Course

Le Fagotin

The Chef’s Platter: Pork Chops with Homemade BBQ sauce ($28)

My dish was the Chef’s Platter.  This evening, it was pork chops with homemade BBQ sauce. It had some (what I presume is) scalloped potatoes because it was made with some cream.  The waitress forgot about my lactose-intolerance along with a few veggies. This plate smells delicious.  I don’t know what they used in the sauce or cooking it but it smelled wonderful. It was a little on the salty side and maybe the pork chop had some dry bits but it was overall acceptable.

Le Fagotin

Table d’Hote: Pork Fillet with Apple and Brandy Sauce

Next up was my husband’s plate, the pork fillet with Apple and Brandy Sauce. I had a little taste of it also. So, my main issue with this dish is that the sauce is like eating applesauce and the brandy is not really apparent so doesn’t elevate the taste buds. The pork itself was done well. I just wish the sauce could’ve been done a little bit more flavorful.

Le Fagotin

Grilled Chicken with Apricot Glaze

My friend’s husband took this Grilled Chicken and Apricot Glaze which would have been my choice if the appetizers worked out. I didn’t get a taste of this one but he didn’t say much other than the glaze didn’t really taste of apricot much. However, the presentation does look nice.

Le Fagotin

Rainbow Trout Fillet with Tarragon Aioli

Last dish is my friend’s.  Hers is the Rainbow Trout Fillet with Tarragon Aioli. So, she’s not a fan of aioli so she had asked for it to be put on the side which probably forgotten. I’m not opposed to aioli but since it seemed that Le Fagotin added cream to a lot of dishes that doesn’t normally have, I just tasted the fish.  It had a rather fishy taste.  I can imagine that the tarragon aioli would have masked it and elevated the whole dish but, just the fish was a little lacking.  My friend didn’t like the aioli much so she put it aside and just ate the fish.

Dessert

Le Fagotin

Lime & Coconut Sorbet

My only choice is their sorbet which had various flavors. The choices given was a citrus and pomegrenate or blueberry & basil.  I love sorbets with blueberry and basil however it was sold out right when I ordered so they offered me this choice here: lime and coconut sorbet. Let me tell you, I had doubts about this working but they were able to balance the sour/tart flavor of the lime and combine it with the coconut except they also included coconut shreds which is a pretty nice touch since it added texture to it.

Le Fagotin

Chocolate Pot with Homemade Crumble

My friend had originally the panna cotta (that is coming up) but proceeded to swap with her husband who had the chocolate pot with homemade crumble. This looks delicious and I think for the most part, they enjoyed this one quite a bit. I think the crumble is made out of shortbread but I think the men were arguing that it was graham crackers.  I still disagree with it even if I didn’t taste it.

Le Fagotin

Creme Brulee

My husband had the Creme Brulee, which probably is the show stopper here.  The nice crack of the sugar glaze and the texture looked good. He thought it was the best part of the entire meal.

Le Fagotin

Lemon Panna Cotta

Last up is the lemon panna cotta that I mentioned before. It seems that this might be the lackluster choice of the four. There wasn’t much talk or discussion and it was bounced around. Not a lot of comments on it.

Overall…

While it seems like I was picky about Le Fagotin, it has its pros, plus my meal was pretty good.  I really love the atmosphere they set and the plating looks great. The desserts are for the most part outstanding and there’s still a lot on the menu to explore that peaks my interest. If I were to go back a second time, it’d be for the Honey and Five Spices Duck Breast and Flank Steak with french shallots and cognac sauce. The concept of Le Fagotin for putting together different flavors is a good one, it just needs to be executed a little better. Obviously, tastes are subjective and you can’t please everyone but there lacks a bit of complexity that I would’ve hoped for.

Putting that point aside, if anyone at Le Fagotin was to read this: an even bigger point would be to find a way to make sure that there are always alternatives for sides or appetizers that can accommodate a rather decent amount of people like myself with food intolerance/allergies. I always feel that service is elevated at any restaurant when I know some restaurants have put that extra thought in making sure their food can appeal to a wide variety of public, something I’ve learned even more after I’ve had to deal with all these allergies and can rarely find restaurants that have selections I can eat. That isn’t to say that the service at Le Fagotin in bad because our waitress was very pleasant, maybe a little forgetful in our little details like food allergies or putting our requests of sauces aside, but she was still very nice to talk to.

Point is, I want to go back to Le Fagotin.  There are aspects of it that truly appealed to me.  Just you know, little tweaks, right? Or else I wouldn’t have bothered to write all of this.