Restaurant: Brasserie Elements (Brossard, Canada)

Next up in the food adventures is a long-awaited Friday date night at a restaurant that we’ve been thinking of checking out for a while which has been only opened in the last few years called Brasserie Elements.

Brasserie Elements is for 18 and over as it is focused on its beers and cocktails while it has quite a limited but interesting menu also. You need to be aware of which days the kitchen closes at what time.

Elements Menu

I apologize that the menu is only in French but just to show you the limited choices. You can find the menu on their website. Either way, its to get an idea.

Let’s check out what we got!

Drinks

Elements Blonde Beer

Avril Sour

Avril Sour

When you go to a brasserie, it wouldn’t be right to not order some kind of drink. The husband likes beers to went ahead to try their house brew blonde beer. I had a sip (because I’m not a huge beer fan) and thought it was pretty decent. Its smooth and pretty good. I had a few items on the cocktail list that I was interested in but essentially got sold on the Avril Sour which is like an Amaretto Sour except it uses a Quebec-made almond-nut liqueur. its small and delicate and tastes really good. With any sours, its always good to keep them well-portioned mostly because its pretty acidic and sometimes the different liqueurs can be too much when the quantity is too much, which is why I’m pretty happy with their flavors, the balance and the size of the drink.

Appetizer

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings

Smoked BBQ Chicken Wings with peanuts and green onions

There were two things that caught my eye in the menu right from the get-go and one of those were this Smoked BBQ chicken wings with peanuts and green onions. They tasted really good. On top of that, I like the concept that they really promote the whole finger food thing so yeah, its casual and fun because there is no elegant way to eat wings without wasting a ton of meat. At least I’m not skilled that way.

Main Meal

Burger Elements

Burger Elements

The husband had the Burger Elements which has roasted shishitos, crispy shallots, cheese sauce infused with beer (not sure how to translate that). He really enjoyed it a lot but there was something in it that we couldn’t quite pinpoint.

Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich

I’m a huge fan of pulled pork sandwiches so chances are if they have that as an option, I’m going to choose it. This one had a lot of stuff in it or just very leaky coleslaw along with a good amount of pulled pork and with smoked BBQ sauce. It tasted absolutely fantastic even if it was a completely messy experience. I do say that the coleslaw was a bit too generous which made me not be able to finish up the also very generous portion of fries which was comparable to a mountain.

Overall

Brasserie Elements is a pretty nice place. Its laid back and casual which works very well with the menu it gives and all the kinds of beers that you can try. There’s a good selection of beers from all over and very unique ones that you probably won’t find everywhere. Other than that, the food menu is also pretty good with appetizers, main meals as well as desserts. For a brasserie, they had pretty decent service as the waitress is very attentive to make sure that we were satisfied with our food and drinks and anything else that we needed. However, with a brasserie experience comes a bit more of a noisier atmosphere. The music however was really good, at least to our tastes and the place was split a little bit more in half so the more drinking side definitely felt like they had more speakers than say the more restaurant side. Maybe it wasn’t deliberate but it definitely worked for the better for our preferences.

Battle of Ingredients #9: BBQ 2018 – Take 2!

Battle of Ingredients

Welcome to the next Battle of Ingredients! July was a busy month (you must be sick of me saying this if you follow all the different topics here) but we came back in August for another BBQ. Its almost tradition now that summer months are focused around more BBQ oriented meals. Its easy and fun and we can enjoy the weather. You have to live in Montreal (or the majority of Canada with the exception of maybe British Columbia or Vancouver, I’m not sure) to understand that we live half the year in winter and then another 3 months in rainy spring and autumn and then just like 3 months of warm/hot/unbearable weather. We did get a heat wave which also stopped a lot of the normal activities (notice the lack of hiking posts…). Anyways, we are back and the weather luckily after July’s heatwave is also cooling down a little.

Let’s just jump right in and see what Phoebe (aka Starry Traveler) and I came up for this battle!

Drinks

Sangria

Beringer

  • Pepito White Sangria
  • Beringer Rose – White Zinfandel

A sweet wine and a delicious white sangria that matched perfectly with the season and the event.

Dinner

Inspiration: http://moneysavingsisters.com/3-ingredient-soy-sauce-coca-cola-chicken-drumsticks-slow-cooker-meal/

Phoebe’s husband loves veggies so she added in some asparagus, corn and peppers to grill.

Aside from that,she found inspiration to make chicken that she used to have as a child and the recipe above was the one she used to change a crock-pot version to a BBQ version with this first platter of drumsticks. Normally, its easier with chicken wings but we have friends who don’t eat wings so she accommodated this one.

The drumsticks didn’t get the flavor quite so well. I would imagine that the crock pot would work better when doing drumsticks to get the flavor in it. It wasn’t not tasty by any means. To be honest, I love soy sauce chicken drumsticks. Its one of my fave things to eat. Simple but very yummy. My mom still holds the crown (because I’m biased) but Phoebe’s was pretty awesome also. Everyone enjoyed it. However, the goal was to have the cola flavor pop out and in that sense, it didn’t quite make happen.

Chicken Wings (left): Normal Biftheque spiced wings
Chicken Wings (right) inspiration: https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/betty-whites-chicken-wings-13707

Phoebe decided to do chicken wings anyways for everyone else. We made one normal variety with some typical steakhouse spices. It was delicious and a guaranteed success. For her second inspiration, it was to do the recipe above but adding in a fourth ingredient, white sugar. The recipe she saw above asks for brown sugar but she didn’t have any on hand. Chicken wings work better for BBQ and for this recipe, the cola flavor definitely did pop out much more. This recipe is an absolute hit. There may some freestyling with how the recipes are as most of the recipes here were inspirations and added in our own flair.

Chard Rolls

Inspiration for Chard Rolls: http://vegdept.com/asian-style-rainbow-chard-wraps/

My contribution was luckily a lot of my own harvests. I found this chard roll idea and decided to work with what I had. I scrapped the Asian way and didn’t simmer the leaves either but on the grill, they cooked everything through as it wrapped in aluminum foil. My version ended up looking like that and the size varied to the size of the leave. Inside, there were homegrown cucumbers, bell peppers and store bought carrots. I didn’t season it but let everyone add what they wanted. Chard leaves were a little overcooked so it was slightly bitter, bit still the whole tasted fairly good.

Dessert

Campfire Cones

Campfire Cones

Campfire Cone recipe: https://hip2save.com/2015/06/25/campfire-cones-fun-easy-summer-dessert/

When figuring out dessert, I searched up what we could do on the grill and it was this easy and fun idea. Mine had blueberries instead red berries because of allergy issues (not me but others). The cook time should have been longer so it would turn into a gooey delicious mess but still, it was a pretty good one. One that can be replicated in the oven, I would think also. I would do this one again with some raspberries and I’d imagine that it would turn out fantastic. Let’s face it..these are s’mores cones with a twist, right? How can you hate on that…well, unless you hate dark chocolate or marshmallows, I guess. You can see the ingredients that I used on the top. I used a local dark chocolate maker, Rochef and it had sea salt so added a different layer of taste.

And..this wraps up this Battle of Ingredients!
We are back to monthly editions for a little bit and see how things go from there.
September’s edition is still BBQ themed with some more look at what else to cook..seasonal and whatnot.
If you have any suggestions, go ahead and suggest away in the comments and we’ll take a look at what we could do next time.

Recipe: Maple-Bourbon Wings

It feels like forever since I’ve picked up the cookbook and actually did a recipe! Hopefully, it’ll happen more frequently in the near future. The plans are always there but somehow the time just isn’t.

This past weekend, I decided to try out a recipe from the latest issue of Food Network for October 2017. They have a Fried Maple-Bourbon Wings and frying is so annoying, including the clean-up work afterwards that I decided to use their recipe but modify a little to bake in the oven.

Here’s the recipe and how it turned out.

Maple-Bourbon Wings
(inspired by Fried Maple Bourbon Wings in Food Network October 2017 Issue)

Maple Bourbon Wings

Ingredients

2 lbs Chicken Wings
1 small shallot
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup bourbon
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles)
Oil

  1. Preheat oven at 375C.
  2. Mince the shallot in a small bowl. Add in maple syrup and bourbon and oil. Stir together. Then add in ketchup and dijon mustard. Mix well.  Add adobo sauce if you’d like (we didn’t).
  3. In a larger bowl, cover the sauce over the chicken wings. If you have time, its best to cover and let marinate it in the fridge for as long as you can.
  4. In a lined sheet pan, lay out your wings in a single layer. Remember to keep a little distance so it doesn’t stick together. Oil if using aluminum sheet as to not stick. Pour remaining sauce over the wings.
  5. Put in oven for 25 minutes, turning halfway or until cooked through.

With that said, that was still a diversion of the actual recipe. If you want to challenge yourself to the fried one. just drop me an email and I can send it to you. Or leave a comment or whatnot. Regardless, I did keep a part of the original recipe there in terms of ingredients although removing a few things you need to fry it, like flour and such. My substitutes here really came down to using green onions instead of shallots. Normally, we don’t have shallots here unless it comes with a box and in that case, we have already used it. Green onions are not only in our backyard but also frequently not always used up to the max in the meal boxes so we have left over whenever its for garnish or whatnot.

This recipe is pretty good overall. The maple and bourbon mixture is just right. However, you should use shallots and not green onion. We assume that gave it an odd taste that took time to get used to. Ours could benefit with marinating more than 15 minutes or whatever. I usually would take the time to do it or just simmer it in the pan to let the flavors seep into the meat. It was a last minute decision to put this together.

Now to think about what to do with our second batch of chicken wings? Any suggestions?

Battle of Ingredients #4 BBQ Edition

battle of ingredients

We’re back from our (previously unannounced summer hiatus). Due to all kinds of busy life things going on, we couldn’t find time to get together so we took a two month break. We still have a bit of mild weather here and there so we decided to get a dose of BBQ in there, all thanks to my co-host of this segment, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road who offered up somewhere to do this, also giving us a little break from holding the event at our place. The evening was nice and we each brought our own unique take and Phoebe did all the BBQ along with the event help from my husband. With friends in place, husbands there and a toddler in tow, we all got together for the next Battle of Ingredients, we present the Summer BBQ Edition!

Drinks (courtesy of our friends)
Drinks

Pfaff was a light white wine that worked well as we had chicken for the most part. It was quite good. Nothing beats summer like having a sangria and Pepito is a decent choice. I’ve never had the Sangria Blanc of this brand but it turned out really well, especially as it was used to end the evening and added in some summer fruits like watermelon and raspberries. We’ll show this in order we had it, so it’ll be a little later.

Cooking & Evening View

Downtown Montreal is a beauty especially when you can’t see the orange cones everywhere. The sunset and everything made it a beautiful night to BBQ with friends. Phoebe made the Chicken Wings marinated in Chinese Spices and grilled Bok Choy. I had the foil packets, portioned already for each person. In the foil packets were home grown zucchini and cucumbers along with chicken bacon and Mild Italian Sausages and spiced with Herbes de Provences, paprika and ground pepper. My packet was a little different because fancy sausages now all are made with milk so I picked up a pack of Lester’s Jumbo Sausages lactose-free. The extras were grilling on the top with the extra chicken bacon for the little toddler.

The Results

Battle of Ingredients

Chicken Wings & Grilled Bok Choy

Battle of Ingredients

Chicken Wings with Chinese Spices

Battle of  Ingredients

Foil Packets

Everything turned out great. The chicken wings were marinated well. The Chinese spices gave it a nice flavor. Grilled Bok Choy is a nice way to keep the Asian theme we had and it worked well although took a little longer to cook through. My foil packets went in for about 20-30 minutes. The lesson was to make sure that the cucumbers were not sliced so thin because they cooked to a very mushy texture. however, the flavors that I chose worked well. I was pretty pleased with them and I believe the general feedback for everything was very positive.

Dessert & Sangria & Fresh Fruits

S’mores Kit – Laura Secord

S'Mores

S’Mores

First part of dessert was the S’mores. Phoebe picked up the Laura Secord S’mores kit to give it a go. I had to bring my own dark chocolate to make sure it was lactose free. We used the remaining heat of the BBQ to warm it up. It took a little longer but during that time we sat down and chatted while finishing our wines and whipping together our sangria. The fresh fruit was cleverly used in the sangria (as it should). Watermelons and raspberries from our garden. We let soak while the s’mores were heating up.

White Sangria with Fruits

White Sangria with Fruits

The perfect way to end off the night. S’mores was like camping and BBQ and it was an awesome way to get back into the Battle of Ingredients. As hectic as it was (on my part) to get it all together, everything worked out really well.

And we got to enjoy it with a beautiful city lights of Downtown Montreal!

This wraps up this edition of Battle of Ingredients!
Our question to you: What do you like to BBQ?
What meals are particularly summer-y for you?

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. 🙂