Battle of Ingredients #13 The First BBQ of 2019

Its been a while since out last Battle of Ingredients. As usual, we have our Winter through summer months of busy and crazy schedules so our off season if you can call it that. We are back to doing Battle of Ingredients in the home setting, which is always fun.

The First Barbecue of 2019 had a change of scenery from our previous barbecue settings and that had to do with the purchase of a new one on our behalf. Its still early in the season however with the long weekend, we were able to do a nice little meal to feed our 6 adults and a 1 kid crew.

Before we start, I’ll apologize that pictures are a bit incomplete so please bear with me as I try to add more in the description.

Wine

Petale de Rose

The wine for this Battle was provided by our friend as usual. This was the bottle left over from the previous battle. It was a nice match as a rosé wine called Pétale de Rose. Its a bit on the drier side but its pretty smooth in its end notes.

BBQ Food 

First up, this was my BBQ food ready to go on the grill. There’s some skewers of marinated chicken, some sliced zucchini and some baby Shanghai bok choy. Right before the grill, the zucchini got its seasoning of the simple stuff: salt, pepper and olive oil. Shanghai bok choy had no season other than oil to prevent sticking (unless the husband put some then I can’t remember).

Zucchini

Chicken Skewers

The Chicken Skewers were done fairly quickly. For the these skewers, I used:

  • chicken thighs
  • garlic
  • smoked salt (from Les As du Fumoir)
  • Plumée poultry spice (from La Pincée)

We marinated the chicken in the fridge for about 3 hours (at least) before we skewered them and got them cooking. The chicken skewers turned out really well. We hadn’t had a lot of luck with bringing out the flavor when we used the smoked salt but it works really well on the grill. I really liked this spontaneous marinade for the chicken.

Sorry for the lack of a more focused picture. Phoebe brought us the more intricate stuff with seasoned steaks which are under the Portobello mushrooms.

Mushrooms and Steak

Her steaks were marinated with:

  • salt,
  • oregano,
  • rosemary
  • homegrown fresh basil.

I don’t have the end result. We all forgot to take a picture and I thought I had taken one when I didn’t. However, the mushrooms were great and the steaks were also marinated really good also.

Non-BBQ Additions

Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

In addition to the BBQ food, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough food so I added a little carbs to our meal but making a pasta salad.

The ingredients are:

  • Rotini
  • Pedon’s More Than Pasta – Green Pea Rotini
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Orange and Yellow Peppers
  • olive oil

We kept an Italian salad dressing (normal Kraft one) on the side for anyone that wanted to use it.

The pasta salad is pretty straight-forward. It turned as expected. The only new trial here was the Green Pea Rotini which has a very odd texture. We noticed that when cooking it more, it actually got more rubbery instead of mushier (which is what happens with some gluten-free pasta when overcooked). The texture was really odd in the sense. Pushing that aside, everything else works well. I left all the seasoning and sauces to however everyone liked it so just kept it as a base salad to be modified as desired.

Dessert

Apple Muffins

No recipe for this one as this was brought by our friends who also brought the wine. They are attempting the world of baking and brought us some dairy-free soy-based apple muffins. It was pretty decent.

That’s it for this Battle of Ingredients!
We are working on the date for the next one so things are picking up again in the Battle front.

I apologize again on the rusty organization skills and forgetting to take pictures.

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Restaurant: Nom Nom Cantine (Montreal, Canada)

You can see the last visit to Nom Nom Cantine recap HERE.

Nom Nom Cantine

I recommended Nom Nom Cantine as our co-worker lunch spot last week and we ended up going there. I’ve never had the lunch menu before and only been there once before. The restaurant decor was still the same and the atmosphere is still very relaxing.

Appetizers

Nom Nom Cantine

Chicken Dumplings

The most impressed dish I had in my last visit was the dumplings so this time, I came back to try them again. These ones are steamed and the sauce is a little sweet and a think maybe a tad bit spicy. While I don’t have pictures, my coworkers also took dumplings. One of them took the pork and the other took the vegetarian. The latter is fried. I actually liked the chicken dumplings the best while the other two are pretty good also.

Main Meals

Nom Nom Cantine

Chicken Poke Bowl ($19)

Nom Nom Cantine

General Tao Chicken (They have another name but I can’t remember it)

Two of my coworkers ordered these two meals and shared it between them as they both wanted to try both of them. While I didn’t try the poke bowl (which wouldn’t matter since I’m not sure what its supposed to taste like as I’ve  never had it before), I did help them finish up the General Tao Chicken. The chicken here is done really nicely. There’s a nice flavor to it and a good texture in the bite of the chicken.

Nom Nom Cantine

Shrimps Soba Noodle

My other coworker and I ended up getting the Shrimp Soba Noodles which had some interesting ingredients like lemongrass and such that gave me the impression that in a soup, it would have this refreshing taste to it. Plus, its supposed to be pretty popular dish at Nom Nom. This noodle bowl did taste good and was quite the comfort food. The shrimps are done perfectly and the soba noodles done in a soup bowl is the first time that I’ve had it this way. Usually its served cold in my recollection. However, it was a little disappointing because the soup lacked a bit of flavor. It leaned a bit more towards the blander side. For myself, I’m used to it so it didn’t bother me too much but my coworker also didn’t quite like it as much because of that. On top of that, the disappointment came with the fact that it lacked all those flavors it seemed to have promised and turned into a very normal bowl of soup noodles.

After Lunch Tea

Nom Nom Cantine

Green Tea

I forgot to take the desserts that my coworkers ordered but I got myself a tea. Its always nice to see the care taken to present the tea and in this case, they had this whole thing. I believe the tea was sencha tea and had a fantastic flavor to it.

Overall, Nom Nom Cantine is still decent. It hasn’t really changed how I felt about it the first time around. The service is pretty good. The waiter was helpful and very friendly. The food presentation is very attractive. The flavors were mostly good except for the slightly blander soup base. The selection of food isn’t a huge amount but its a good idea to limit the options but offer a good quality of food in my opinion.

***As an ending note, the waiter did explain that Nom Nom would be changing form into an Italian restaurant later this year  because the restaurant was always meant to be more of a pop-up concept. You can see their first form was as a French restaurant called E.A.T. where we did go to in this post HERE.***

Restaurant: Cochon Dingue (Quebec City, Canada)

Spring is here and the weather is doing very nice. With the warmer weather coming in, we’re heading out more for hiking and visiting different places. Due to later vacation plans in the making, we’re taking it easy on the closer places while also getting our hiking body back into shape. While I’m working through the first location’s post, we went to Quebec city and I took my husband to try out a restaurant that I had gone with my girl friends’ a few years ago (but unfortunately, didn’t write about) and thats Cochon Dingue. At the same time, I wanted to see the change there.

There are various locations in the Quebec area. This is the one that we went to.

Lunch

cochon dingue

Let’s first start with my husband’s choice for our late lunch. We had the regular menu and he decided to choose the Tartine Croque Monsieur which has pulled ham, tomato and Bechamel sauce, melted Swiss cheese on country bread and fries and coleslaw. He hadn’t eaten this in a long while however, this was very delicious. There was a lot of cheese which made it really nice. The pulled ham was done really good also. Everything was done worked well together.

cochon dingue

As for myself, I took the Crispy Chicken Burger with curry mayo, lettuce and tomato. I’m usually not much for beef burgers so this naturally became my choice. The crispy chicken is done really nice. There’s a good crunch to it. Its a fairly big piece of chicken so I had to eat some parts of just the chicken itself. Together, the burger works pretty good because of everything adding in to the different textures and flavors. However, alone, the chicken could be leaning on the blander side. The fries here is also done pretty good as well as well as the coleslaw.

Overall, we didn’t really try out a ton of food here and we didn’t come for the breakfast or dinner menus which is one of the things I like about this restaurant that it doesn’t peg itself into one category, therefore limiting its opening and service times. Another very good aspect is the atmosphere which feels very casual but also very creative because of the little decorations from the lights having little whisks around them. Aside from that, the service is fairly decent as well. I think the only thing that left me a little uncomfortable was when we first got in, the hostess was a bit rude and felt like we were bothersome rather than welcomed. Its something that bothered us when we first sat down but the satisfying food here did make up for a good part of that.

Goodfood Recap #37

It sure feels like a while since the last Goodfood recap. We’re back to monthly instalments of these. To be fair, we only get the ones that we think we have time to cook and also the meals work to our liking. This week has two repeats and two new ones so it’ll be interesting to see. However, we took this box mostly because it was the week after some crazy work schedule and just needed time to not think about groceries and the like.

Let’s check it out!

Seared Steaks
with Lemon-Oregano Potatoes & Roasted Zucchini

seared steaks goodfood

A word of the wise to fellow cooks, at least for myself, I’ve learned that any meal with zucchini (or other leafy vegetables) should be the first to go in regardless of when the meat expires. I’ve experienced too many times of bad zucchinis due to my not getting to it quick enough. With that said, its why the random time that steaks got put forward. This meal is actually pretty good. The roasted zucchini is nice and I’d definitely try to do that again. The potatoes were a nice blend. We don’t like eating seared anything and like this cooked completely so the husband, who is almost always responsible for cooking meat, made sure to have it well done. That’s our personal preference, of course.

Chicken Yakitori
with Roasted Carrots, Chinese Broccoli & Miso Butter

chicken yakitori goodfood

The first repeat meal is Chicken Yakitori. I’m going to say right now that starting from this meal, the husband took care of most of 90% of the cooking and I only helped with small prep work and stuff due to work and whatnot. His first attempt at Chicken Yakitori and it still tastes fantastic. I love all the elements of this meal from the sauce to the chicken and the spices and the miso butter on the roasted veggies. I would redo this one on the grill any day in the summer. Works well because its one I’ll consider for the next Battle which is coming up in just a few weeks.

Fried Eggplant Sabich
with Mango Chopped Salad & Red Cabbage

Fried Eggplant Sabich Goodfood

Every box has a meal that we just add in to try out and this time its the eggplant sabich. The husband isn’t a big fan of eggplant to start and I’m not a big fan of this type of eggplant but I’m hoping to find an eggplant recipe which I can like and eat more of because eggplant is a healthy addition to our diet. This is supposed to be put into the pita as a pouch sort of meal but the pitas turned out to be too crispy so we just put everything on top of it. I think the meal still works because its like pita chips with hummus and then the freshness of the mango chopped salad meshes well with the flavorful fried eggplant slices. This was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Pork Chops
with Honey-Glazed Cipollini Onions & Shaved Asparagus Salad

pork chops goodfood

Last meal of the box is also a repeat, one that I was a bit more than lukewarm towards and the reason why it made it in. Under the helm of the husband, I actually think it tastes better than the first time. It could be the potatoes are seasoned really well and finally not burnt as it usually turned out for me when I put it in the oven. The sauce is done really well and I liked it so much that I ended up making some toast to eat the rest up. It all goes well with the pork chops.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!

Goodfood Recap #36

Goodfood (19)

Its been a month and time for another Goodfood box! This time had one repeat recipe and a few that I’ve seen but never found enough in the previous times to want to order the box. This time, we wanted to give it a go.

Let’s check it out!

Braised Cod
with Roasted Garlic Chickpeas & Blistered Cherry Tomatoes

braised cod

Kicking us off for any box is the fish recipe! This time we have braised cod. This meal was absolutely delicious. It would be paired perfectly with a baguette to just eat all the remaining sauce. I actually ending up making the closest thing I had: toast. The flavor is fantastic and the lentils give it such a nice bite. My husband cooked the fish perfectly. He actually took care of this one as he had a spontaneous day off. This is one that I’m definitely getting again if the opportunity presents itself.

Chipotle-Honey Chicken
with Pineapple, Cucumber & Tomato Salsa

Chipotle-Honey Chicken

This menu was pretty spicy. The chipotle completely covers any honey that was in there. To be honest, I think the meal works well because it has the whole rice and salsa so balance it out. Its still fairly intense (but that could be because I don’t eat spicy food a lot in the first place). My biggest issue of why I wouldn’t do this again was that I spent a good part of my time, extending the prep time a lot just taking out the seeds from the chipotle pepper and then chopping it up. That took a ton of time since it was my first time doing it.

Spicy Peanut Tofu Bao Buns
with Charred Miso Broccoli & Chili Mayonnaise

Tofu Bao Buns

Bring on the next fire-breathing dish. The chili mayonnaise was extremely spicy because of the sambal oelek which I only used half of the portion in the first part and then my husband also used half of the portion in the second part of when we had to use it. Props to the instructions for the broccoli being pretty accurate and it turned out to be pretty good. Plus they gave us much more than the recipe asked for. Bao buns are something that I don’t have frequently and a Taiwanese street food style and in this recipe, it is pretty decent. Its spicy but the different elements and the sauce and everything really pulls it together.

Fresh Udon Noodles
with Ground Pork & Napa Cabbage

Udon Ground Pork Napa

The last meal is the repeat meal that we’ve had before. I love udon noodle meals and this one is really easy to put together. Its almost like a one pan dish aside from the having to cook the noodles in advance and then it just basically turns into a stir fry. Plus, it tastes really great.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap!
Some new stuff and one repeat meal!
My favorite meal in box had to go to braised cod but then everything else worked well. 

Goodfood Recap #35

goodfood

We took a little break from the normal cooking so managed to order in 2 boxes this month for Goodfood. We’re definitely enjoying it while it lasts because if I remember correctly, we will be skip for the next month or so. This box has been some really interesting meals and to be honest, I saw most of them as being fairly successful.

Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles
with Yu Choy

Mushroom Dan Dan Noodles

The last Dan Dan Noodles weren’t awesome. I’m going to be honest that they weren’t but this one tastes fantastic. The two types of mushrooms used and the yu choy as the veggie base with the noodles and the sauce all turned out so great. I really enjoyed this noodle bowl a lot.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Meyer Lemon, Zucchini & Olives over Zesty Quinoa

Skillet-roasted chicken thighs

We rarely cook with quinoa unless its for one of these boxes so its always refreshing to eat it. Its something that I have thought about incorporating more into our lives outside of these meal boxes. This meal was pretty good in general. Chicken thighs are always super tasty to eat but then my biggest issue with it was the olives and that is based on preference as I don’t like olives but my husband loved this because he loves them and loves everything else about it.

Coconut Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew
with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Coconut Chicken Stew

So..this meal was considered somewhat of a fail on my part. I’m not sure if I just didn’t follow the recipe properly or the recipe didn’t quite work with my appliances but this meal took about 3 times its estimated time. Usually for me, if there’s more cooking involved, it might take almost double the estimated time. It tastes pretty good and stews are always very comforting to eat. The idea of coconut milk base and then having carrots and sweet potatoes is really nice as well. It just was an incredibly long time to cook..oddly.

Pork Chops
with Homemade Maple-Bacon Jam, Sauteed Bok Choy over Spinach Rice

pork chops

Welcome the star of this box. This meal is amazing! For one, the maple bacon jam is awesome. Literally, the best thing I’ve made from these boxes. Then the pork chops turned out good and paired with the jam is delicious. I like the spice blend that was mixed with the rice and the spinach. Then there’s the bok choy which always was great. I love this meal so much.

That’s it for this recap!
It was a pretty solid batch of meals.
It should be a month or so before we get another one of these boxes.
Just because of selection and time conflicts. 

Goodfood Recap #34

goodfood

And we’re almost back to normal on the Goodfood meals. Its pretty much back to every other week for this next little while until we hit April where it just wouldn’t work out for our schedule most probably. Either way, this box had a lot of recipes that we were trying for the first time both just by ourselves or even as a meal.

Cod Cakes
with Potato Wedges, Roasted Garlic Aioli & Green Salad

cod cakes goodfood

If we talk about fish, we eat cod so very little. I can’t say that this meal turned out very close to what the meal looked like on the recipe card. I always have issues with their instructions on making those oven-baked potatoes. The cod cakes didn’t really cook to what it looked it. The taste however was alright. I just can’t say that it reached exactly what I’d normally like to eat frequently. Plus, I have to say that cod cakes are really my thing.

Brazilian Chicken Stew
with Toasted Coconut Rice, Fresh Tomatoes & Wilted Spinach

brazilian chicken stew

My husband loved this meal so much. I can see why because it is a very comforting meal especially when we made this during some colder days. We don’t normally make stews especially when its Brazilian, its close to zero chance. The spices here along with the whole recipe itself was easy to cook and also tasted wonderful.

Chicken Breasts
with Roasted Purple Brussel Sprouts, Crispy Shallots & Spiced Jasmine Rice

chicken breasts goodfood

Both of us loved this one equally a lot. Everything jived so well here plus the taste was delectable. We have those crispy shallots which gave it this lovely texture. We had purple brussel sprouts which suffered a little in the over due to those instructions they give.  I need to adjust it next time. I say that every time but I just keep forgetting.

Steaks with Charred Cipollini Onion Petals,
Sauteed Green Beans, Snap Peas & Pearl Couscous

steaks cipollini onions goodfood

This meal was pretty good also. I get the onions and they are quite unique but I personally don’t eat onions that are such huge pieces. Its the only thing I’m picky about so I don’t think its a bad thing. Everything else here is great. I got this because it uses pearl couscous which is the type of couscous that I like the most but is not in a lot of the recipes here. I should seriously go and get some at the supermarket. The beef is pretty tasty as well and it has to do with the spices being very nice.

That’s it for this recap!
Our faves were the two chicken meals. They just worked out in the whole balance.
Plus they are on the easier and more efficient side to put together which also gets extra points.