Battle of Ingredients: New Year’s Eve Hot Pot

BATTLE OF INGREDIENTS

It seems we do about 6 Battles a year looking at things to land on our 12th session for NYE Hot Pot in our second year of Battle of Ingredients. We are definitely getting more organized, I can tell you that much. Most of the time, things don’t happen because we are busy with one thing or another with life. 2018 wrapped up in style with ourselves doing a New Year’s Eve Hot Pot session. There isn’t really much to talk about usually but here’s a little sharing on the stuff I put together and other vegetables and noodles we used.

Wines

Wines

We actually only got to drinking the J.P. Chenet Rose Sparkling Wine. It was a nice match for the meal. We mixed up some drinks for the rest of the evening with some people spiking their soda with tequila or Rum and Coke and myself, I had some Cranberry Ginger Ale spiked with Irish Whiskey or Apricot Brandy.

Hot Pot

Hot Pot

Our division of tasks for this battle of ingredients were Phoebe with the vegetables, fruits and other things necessary like noodles and she prepared a soup base (which we didn’t end up using because of technical difficulties she is still thinking about).

Hot Pot

She brought:

  • Bok Choy
  • Chinese Broccoli
  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Udon Noodles
  • Konnyaku Noodles
  • Egg Tofu
  • Apples and Oranges

I took care of meats and dessert. I forgot to take a picture of everything so forgive the incomplete bits.

Dumplings Pork Balls

  • Pork Balls (Homemade with minced lean ground pork and garlic seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • Dumplings (Homemade with the same as the previous and store-bought wonton wrappers)
  • Sliced Chicken breast seasoned with sesame oil, salt and pepper
  • Store bought Frozen fondue beef slices
  • Fish Tofu (from my mom)

Pumpkin Cookies

As for dessert, I had some dough left from the previous potluck so made some more Pumpkin Cookies.

Also bought:

  • Marshmallows
  • Lindt Dark Chocolate
    • 70% Madagascar
    • Swiss Dark

For soup bases, we had a divided pot borrowed from my mom. One side was with water and all the flavoring was from the ingredients added in while the other part was diluted Chicken Broth.

The hot pot went really well. Phoebe and I did most of the cooking and allocated food to everyone around the table. There’s always the worry of not having enough food and it all worked out. We even had leftovers. Definitely something to consider for the winter months to do as it makes it a lot simpler and actually quite nice to explore what ingredients to use and soup bases to make and such. It is an idea that we can discuss further to change things up just like how we slot in BBQ during the summer.

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Goodfood Recap 32

Its been a month since our last box and we’re back to recap on last week’s meals. We have gotten in a relatively good routine without the Goodfood box weeks so having the boxes is a welcome change in pace to just have something already set during the week. Not to mention, this week was completely new recipes and a lot of of the recipes were meals that we’ve never had before so it was a fresh new experience.

Sheet Pan Chicken
with Maple-Cranberry Sauce, Roasted Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts & Green Beans

Sheet Pan Chicken Goodfood

Just like bowl meals, one pan meals are the best. They are efficient and delicious. With that said, this one was exactly that. And also the reason why I chose it for the first meal in the box to prepare to get back into the goodfood prep routine. After all, its the prep time that takes me longer than the actual cooking process. This one turned out really good. I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of the maple-cranberry sauce but the whole sheet pan experience with the potatoes and brussel sprouts and green beans worked really well together with the spices and the chicken.

Pork Chops
with Mustard-Citrus Vinaigrette & Radicchio-Orange Salad with Farro

pork chops goodfood

The husband was a big fan of this one. His words, if I remember correctly, is liking the way the flavorful hot food is mixed with the cool salad having this contrast that works really well together. I’m glad he did because he had it fresh. I ended up reheating mine the next day so my veggies were all warm. The only issue with recipes like this being reheated is the citrus (aka the orange) turns super bitter and it ruins the meal a little whenever its near where the orange is. However, the pork had lovely delicious seasoning and the radicchio and the vinaigrette was really good. The vinaigrette to myself was a pleasant surprise. I was a bit skeptical when I was making it so I’m glad it turned out better than I expected.

Mee Goreng
with Fresh Shanghai Noodles, Crunchy Vegetables & Spiced Peanuts 

Mee Goreng Goodfood

I’m not sure what Mee Goreng is. I don’t think I’ve had it before. However, this one just like many noodle things are quite easy to do. The only deal with why this one was hard was that it wasn’t my night and I cut my finger and then scraped my hand on the knife within 10 minutes so I tried to work with one finger less on one hand while trying to not cut myself again until the husband came to the rescue after he was done his stuff. So thanks to my husband, this meal made it here. I like shanghai noodles so this was obviously my choice. My husband is not so much into thick noodles so he thought it was okay. I thought the meal came together well plus making Asian meals always have the perk of doing a one pan sort of cooking style and that always is welcome. Delicious and efficient!

Sumac-Spiced Pork Strips Winter Fattoush Salad
with Crispy Chickpeas and Pita

Sumac-Spiced Pork Strips

I’ve avoided Fattoush Salad for a while, mostly because I wasn’t sure what it was. I think it has to do with chickpeas since this one had chickpeas and I remember other recipes have it also. If you know what it is, do correct me. This one was really good. However, since we did have a recall on lettuce the past few weeks, we decided to cook the lettuce and all the veggies just to be on the safe side. However, I’m not sure it made such a big difference because this one still turned out pretty good. They have the bite from the chickpeas and then the pita. The veggies had a lot of crunch and the pork strips were seasoned really well.

Overall, I can’t say anything meal last week that I loved.
But, they all had their pros more than cons and worked out to be pretty flavorful and tasted good.

Goodfood Recap #31

Goodfood

As we catch up with the last box from 2 weeks ago, this is the recap with the rather interesting recipes and one familiar one that had a slight twist added to it.

Let’s check it out!

Roasted Nantes Carrots & Broccoli
with Lentils & Spiced Tahini Vinaigrette

Roasted Nantes Carrots & Broccoli

Usually we aren’t fans of lentils or such and this is a filler meal for this box that we thought that we would take a chance on since it had nantes carrots and broccoli and we like those veggies a lot, however, this one did turn out better than we expected. I have roasted carrots in the oven before but never broccoli and it turned out really good. These boxes may be convenient but I think what I love even more is how it teaches me new things that I haven’t tried before.

Sichuan Chicken Salad
with Chilled Soba Noodles, Cucumbers & Edamame

sichuan chicken salad

I can’t remember the last time I had soba before this meal. That is how long that was and it might even have been on a plane flying through Japan to go to China or Hong Kong or something like that. Sichuan chicken automatically means this dish packs in some heat. If I remember well, the spice pack for this was peppers and chili and so on. But the balance of the noodles and the chicken and the veggies balanced everything out quite well. It was pretty enjoyable to eat.

Vegetarian Spring Rolls Bowls
with Jade Rice & Crunchy Peanut Sauce

vegetarian spring roll bowl

The one thing I learned when choosing meals is that when you some kind of bowl option, its usually easy and delicious. Vegetarian spring roll bowl was the kind of thing that had me curious plus I had no idea what jade rice was and was slightly curious. As I was making this, the 20 minutes time was increased solely because there was a lot of prep work like cutting a ton of veggies and mangoes and such, so I took much longer than that, but then everything other than the rice and roasted peanuts is eaten raw, so it makes up for other menus and their cooking times. However, consider this one a surprise. Jade rice was good. The balance in the bowl with the peanut sauce was really delicious and the freshness of all the veggies and mangoes balanced each other out. It gobbled it up in one sitting (which is rare as some of these meals, I split them in two.)

Chicken Breasts
with Delicata Squash & Carrots, Chermoula Spiced Yogurt

chicken breasts with delicata squash

The reason I wanted this box was for the return of the chicken and delicata squash dish. Much to my surprise and slight disappointment, it felt that the menu did change. Now they have this yogurt dressing which we had to put on the side and then improvise so we just used the honey to drizzle over the dish. The chicken spice and a seemingly recent obsession of Goodfood is Berbere spices which is a really spicy blend. Luckily we drizzled honey on top or else it would have been worse in the spicy department. I get that the blend asks for the yogourt to probably soothe the heat but us lactose-intolerance folks can’t. Oh well… don’t get me wrong though. The meal itself other than the mouth on fire part is still really good. Delicata squash and nantes carrotd in the oven are awesome as always and the chicken is made so juicy and tender with the partially covered cooking method and such.

This wraps up this recap! Goodfood has added to its food with a smoothie menu and being a current client, they had a deal offer for the first one so we are going to give that a shot. However, my order was processed late so it missed the cutoff of this box, bumping it to the next one in December.

Sherbrooke Met La Table: Restaurant Persepolis

Another Sherbrooke Met La Table is upon us. As I’m writing this up, it is in the last few days of this restaurant week set in the Eastern Townships in Sherbrooke. This year’s menus were quite cool and we had a few choices that we had to decide upon, but we’re in an experimental mode and we always like to be adventurous when we head to this restaurant festival. Our final choice ended up being dinner at Restaurant Persepolis, which is Iranian cuisine. We’ve never had Iranian cuisine but only have heard about it here and there when watching food shows and such.

Restaurant Persepolis

Persepolis is a beautiful restaurant. It keeps its decoration on theme with what its serving to give you something of a feeling of where you are as you dine. The decoration is lovely, the ambiance is fantastic. Its a comfortable feeling to sit in there and eat.

Iranian Tea

For the menu, there were two options. A $25 and $35 options which changes in the main menu choices. The menu here has a lot of choices in general which is nice. The appetizers had 4 choices, the main menu had multiple choices, not only for the two different valued options but also in the fact that their menu changed from week 1 and 2. Something to note is that this is a bring your own wine restaurant. We didn’t know about that plus it is an almost 2 hour drive home so we decided to have some tea. Its a Persian tea which is perfumed and spiced with cardamom. I’ve never had this before but it is really good. I would gather that its a black tea variety which I don’t drink often as it keeps me super alive and a little too caffeinated. However, this one had this floral taste and it just tasted fantastic. I’m going to be looking for some of this somewhere.

Appetizers

Reshteh Soup Persepolis

Between a choice of the Ash Reshteh soup, Reshteh soup, broccoli salad and Shirazi Salad, we both vouched for the Reshteh soup. Its a chicken noodle soup with carrots, potatoes, onions, chopped parsley and green peas. It tasted a lot like minestrone soup but with some different spices in Iranian cuisine (I would assume). The pita bread that was served with the dish was delicious also.

Main Course

Persepolis

Baghali Polo with Lamb ($35 menu)

I had the lamb mostly because I don’t get to eat lamb much. I don’t remember where I watched it on which show but I had read about Iran and lamb in their food. Maybe I’m confused. Either way, I ended up choosing this dish and it was so good. The spices in particular and mixing the sauce and lamb with the rice tasted so delicious.

Persepolis

Chicken Barg ($25 menu)

My husband took the chicken kebabs. I had a taste of it and it also was very good. He liked it a lot as well. It was flavorful and very tender.

Dessert

Baghlava

For dessert, we got Baghlava. The other was an Iranian vanilla ice cream, which being both lactose intolerant was out of the question. This one was an Iranian honey baklava with rose water garnished with pistachios. I’ve only had baklava once before and this one actually tastes a lot better. I think its the portion and also the fact that it had this smooth honey taste. The rose water was enough and didn’t feel like it was overpowering which is usually an issue with anything infused with rose water. I like this one a lot. Actually thinking about it now, I want to eat another one.

persepolis restaurant

Before we leave, lets take a look at this lovely dessert display case. I almost brought home more dessert. Starting to have regrets to not have done that. It looks so beautiful and delicious.

Overall, I’d have to say that our first experience with Iranian cuisine is a success. I’d totally be glad to go for another round of this. Maybe I’ll see if Montreal has any and check it out.

If you want to check out Sherbrooke Met La Table and the last few days, you can check it out HERE. It runs until October 25th.
And for this restaurant in particular, check out the site HERE.

Goodfood Recap #29

And we are here with a slightly late Goodfood recap! But its a nice change in pace from the overload of movie reviews that I’ve been writing up!

No fancy picture today since the program I use is having some issues it seems. Either way, this box had some interesting recipes and one repeat recipe that I (of course) forgot to take a picture of. Let’s check it out!

Haddock
with homemade Romesco sauce & roasted fingerling potatoes

haddock

There’s this love we have for eating haddock which we only have when we make it in these boxes since the recipes are always so unique. This one is definitely outside of what we would usually cook at home. I had no idea what Romesco sauce is but it was really good especially when matched with the fish. Its nice also because everything were so nicely flavored but also nothing too strongly flavored also. We’ve been going for more normal flavors so this really did fit into our meals quite well.

Hoisin-Glazed Chicken Breasts
with spicy pickled vegetables, sticky rice & garlic peanuts

As usual, I’m always into the more Asian cuisine sort of meals. However, there is this fascination that Goodfood has with pickled vegetables. Its not a bad thing since its the alternative I have for eating raw vegetables. Although, I’ve built back the tolerance slightly to eating raw veggies here and there, I still prefer my vegetables cooked. However, other than the pickled vegetables, the chicken was pretty nice. Sometimes with hoisin glazed, it can get a little salty but this recipe worked pretty well.

Roasted Chicken Thighs
with root vegetables and fennel slaw

This is the repeat recipe and since I was so busy with the Festival du Nouveau Cinema, I had my husband do the cooking for this one. He did a fantastic job and gave it 5 stars simply for the cooking experience and how the house smelled. Plus, the recipe itself was a good one as well. You can see my first impressions of it back in this recap HERE.

Toulouse Sausage, White Bean & Cherry Tomato Cassoulet
with Salanova Salad

Finally, the first cassoulet in Goodfood that I think I’ve seen. I’ve never had one before so this recipe was the filler for the previous box but we knew that we needed it due to the busy week that I had anticipated. With that said, this one turned out pretty good. The meal is very tasty. The toulouse sausage in particular was the highlight of the meal. I’m not a big fan of white beans to begin with. Lentils and that sort of stuff is never my favorite food to eat but the spices and flavors worked well together so it was a pleasant surprise.

That’s it for this Goodfood recap! 
Some nice discoveries! I can’t say that anything in particular stood out as one that we would repeat other than the one that we did choose to repeat. 
The haddock however might be the choice for one I’d try again though. 

Recap: Goodfood #28

goodfood recap

We’re back with last week’s Goodfood meal box. This one has one repeat in it. However, a lot of them looked so promising that we decided to give it a go. Just a note that if you follow this series specifically, we’ve dropped from biweekly to monthly subscriptions of the box. The main reason is that this box was always structured to be a balance for when we were busy with stuff and event coverage season is pretty much done for this year except for one more in November so we are getting back to finding cool recipes to work on. I’ll share some of those here whenever we try something new on our own.

Let’s check out how this Goodfood went!

Fresh Tagliatelle with Chicken & Sundried Tomatoes
Portobello Mushrooms & Baby Spinach

fresh tagliatelle chicken

My husband loves to eat pasta. Honestly, I can get pretty picky about it. We have our definite fave recipes. Surprisingly, tagliatelle is never our first choice. My husband isn’t a big fan of the texture. He’s never been one to enjoy the thick noodle variety. As for myself, I actually quite like it but then stick to the more traditional normal stuff. Either way, I chose this recipe because it doesn’t have a cream sauce. Its so rare to find recipes, unless I make it up myself to not have that rose sauce or white creamy sauce. Lactose intolerance definitely doesn’t work with pasta so well so this recipe looked simple and delicious with all its ingredients. It lived pretty much up to its standards. Plus, I multitasked like a beast and even got the chicken perfectly cooked, which is super rare. I’m really not that great of a cook..more a baker at heart. The meal here works really well. Its nice and simple and everything blends so well together and has a decent amount of protein and veggies. Delicious stuff! My husband doesn’t admit it but he ate everything else but the noodles so I think it worked for him also but for us, we’ll probably go with some other type of pasta using the same recipe.

Braised Berbere Chicken
with Green Beans & Tangy Couscous

Braised Berbere Chicken

I’m not sure if you know what Berbere is but we sure didn’t. However, it apparently (if you didn’t already know), is a common Ethiopian spice blend. Its a tad spicy if you look at the spice combination. Matched up with the couscous which this time is made in water rather than just soaking in hot water in a bowl, it was such a difference in fluffiness. I liked it a lot more than usual. Plus, its more neutral flavor compliments well with the strong spices used on the chicken and there’s a decent amount of veggies to also make it a very tasty and balanced meal. This was pretty much our experiment new flavor of the box and it turned delicious.

Peanut Butter Dumplings
with Sesame Green Beans

Peanut Butter Dumplings

Our repeat menu of the box! Actually its the third time, that I’ve gotten this recipe. It shows how much we love it. Especially since I’ve been having massive dumpling cravings of late. This was the first time my husband had to help out with this one. It turned out every bit as good as I remember it. I imagine you will see this one again whenever it pops up as a choice. Right now, its just waiting for that veggie banh mi that we love so much to come back.

Pork Katsu
with Sticky Rice, Yu Choy & Wafu Sauce

Pork Katsu

The final meal of the box is Pork Katsu. I’m kept think that we had done this recipe before but I think its because I had almost gotten it once before but change it last minute. Either way, props to the husband for stepping up and getting the pork katsu done on point. Its pretty much the replica of the recipe card except without the sauce, because I just keep forgetting to put it. Its a Wafu sauce that goes on top and it would work great with it. Calrose rice is what’s here so it has that sticky rice texture. We like yu choy quite a bit and the pork katsu turned out pretty good. Its a nice contrast to the heavy flavors in the rest of the box, particularly the Berbere chicken earlier so this ended off the week with something a little more subtle in taste was nice. As good as this was, I might not exactly choose it again unless for a filler when something else I have comes up and its a choice.

Overall, no doubt that the peanut butter dumplings were my faves. But I think the surprisingly good discovery was the Berbere Chicken which was delicious. However, on an everyday cooking idea recipe, the tagliatelle is definitely in for an easy pasta night idea except with something other pasta.

Recap: Goodfood #27

goodfood

Welcome to the next recap of Goodfood for last week’s box! One repeat and a few that sounded pretty good. Bowls usually are surprisimg winners, burgers always have a nice twist and well, sometimes meatballs and couscous are the simple combo that we need.

Grilled Tofu Dragon Bowls
with multicolored carrots, snow peas & red rice

grilled tofu dragon bowl

Tofu isn’t our cooking specialty so a lot of it is either at my mom’s or when we get a Goodfood box. My husband isn’t a huge fan of it either. We ended up getting this because we have loves past meals in bowls. Granted, usually it is something I have generally tried before and this one, I haven’t. However, the tofu and the red rice is super nice. The sauce here is amazing. My only issue was the raw veggies which I went ahead to cook because I had a part of it raw and honestly didn’t enjoy it at all. I’ve always liked my vegetables cooked so that is honestly a personal preference.

Chicken Yakitori
with roasted carrots, chinese broccoli & miso butter

Chicken Yakitori

The repeat here is this chicken yakitori which still remains as delicious as what I remember. On top of that, I always forget to do it for the Battle of Ingredients but the recipe calls for roasting chinese broccoli in the oven and the leaves turns out like making kale chips. It comes out some delicious flavors and its mostly seasons with salt and pepper which is all very awesome. Plus, Jasmine rice is my favorite variety of rice so everything here really justifies why I like this meal a lot and enjoy making it also.

Paprika-Garlic Chicken Sandwiches on Pretzel Buns
with horseradish mayonnaise & green salad

paprika-garlic chicken sandwich

The husband took care of this meal and the next. Its been a crazy week for us so these meals had a lot of it just being myself eating it and him only tasting it. I’m not going to lie that I ended up skipping most of the salad because of the horseradish. They gave a warning of the spiciness of it and washing hands afterwards. Luckily, my husband put together only a little bit of horseradish so it worked really well without burning my mouth. The chicken spicing with the paprika and garlic is really delicious. I’m adding this recipe to my chicken burgers ideas whenever we ever think about it and want to change up from beef.

Pork Meatballs & Roasted Vegetables
with wild jungle peanuts & lemon balm couscous

pork meatballs & roasted vegetables

Finally, we wrap up with the pork meatballs and roasted vegetables on couscous. I have to say that the entire meal here is pretty well balanced. The tomatoes add a more acidic taste as tomatoes usually do with their more sour flavor but it works to give a lot of balance with the other vegetables added in here. The highlight here is the wild jungle peanuts which are specially picked from some region (Amazon, maybe? I can’t remember…) but taste pretty much like a peanut. The couscous is my issue as I had to pick out  the lemon balm because it was just too much in it and was so strong. Other than that, this was a pretty decent meal. I just need to remember to cut the onions into smaller pieces so the meatballs don’t have such coarse onions, making it stand out a ton. However, the spices are quite delish.

Overall, this was a pretty decent box. I liked everything fairly well. There were some issues here and there that makes me say that I love it with the obvious exception of the Chicken Yakitori. One more box next week and then we made the decision to drop the meal boxes to monthly basis for a while so we clear up some of our frozen meats in the freezer and eat some garden veggies from our garden and my mom’s garden, which she’s been sharing with us.