Battle of Ingredients #14 BBQ in the Thunderstorm

The summer is officially here and the weather has been beautiful with a heat wave of sort, more like humidity that swept through this past week as the thunderstorm just refused to roll in. Of course, Phoebe and I ended up choosing the day for the Battle of Ingredients on the day that the thunderstorm did hit. The thunderstorm did give us the perk of having a nice cool breeze. The husband was a champ and toughed out the rain under our car port to be the grill master. Summer BBQ is always a theme with us and we did try to keep things a little different and give some variety.

Drinks

Smirnoff Ice

As a change in pace, especially since I also found out that I had overtime on Sunday, my friends brought in the lighter coolers for our drinks and chose a mix pack for Smirnoff Ice which had the Classic, Wild Berry, Raspberry and Orange. These ones are always light and fun. Its been a while since I’ve had a Smirnoff Ice so it definitely brings me back to the early days when I first got introduced to the whole drinking alcohol business. Back to this choice, it was really refreshing and fruity and suitable for the general shindig.

BBQ Food

Phoebe

BBQ Mushrooms

Mushrooms, Corn & Zucchini

Coca Cola Chicken Drumsticks

Coca Cola Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Phoebe bought over some mushrooms (mini bella & fresh shiitake) along with zucchini and corn to grill as our veggies. At the same time, she did a take 2 on last year’s coca cola chicken wings except this time she used drumsticks and had marinated them for 2 days beforehand to hopefully get the coca cola flavor more prominent. While the drumsticks still didn’t have the cola taste being exceptionally standout, it still had a really nice flavor to it.

Kim

Chicken and Veggies Skewers

Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Bacon wrapped sausages

Bacon-wrapped Sausages

My contribution went to two very basic options. The first was the bacon-wrapped sausages which I had planned for last time but didn’t end up doing so here we go. It turned out as it would to be quite good since you can’t really go wrong with sausages and bacon combo (at least to me). Chicken and Veggies skewers composed of chicken thighs, zucchini, bell peppers and Spanish onion. We also decided to try a new barbecue sauce and bought the Joe Beef one. They turned out really good as well.

Dessert

Nothing for dessert tonight and we chose the healthy route of having fruits which I obviously forgot to take a picture of. Next time, I’ll have some other plans.

That’s it for this Battle of Ingredients!
July is a busy month (as explained in the last Weekly Adventures post HERE), so we are working out some place to dine out instead.
Battle of Ingredients should resume in August (we are working out availability…). 

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Goodfood Recap #39

goodfood

Welcome to the next Goodfood. Its been probably about a month. This is definitely back to a monthly basis at this point. This time’s picks are fairly summery in my opinion, at least getting into the more warm weather foods that we tend to learn towards. There are some repeats and some that feel like a little twist added to something we’ve done before.

Let’s check it out!

Shrimp Boil
with Summer Corn, Roasted Potatoes & Green Salad

shrimp boil

As always, seafood meals kick off the Goodfood meals. This time, we start with our repeat meal. The last time we had this, I believe my husband made it so it was a new experience for myself. Other than the fact that I’d love to know how you break corn into 3 parts (my husband says the cleaver is how to do it) by hand, this meal was pretty good. The shrimp was nice and its pretty simple to put together. It has a few steps to it like boiling the corn and potato first before putting it in the oven with the shrimp. The sauce that they say to make with a butter base (which I replaced with margarine since we don’t have butter at home) was really delicious. The green salad also had a good oil-based dressing to it and was a refreshing side.

Glazed Korean Chicken Lettuce Cups
with Sticky Rice & Carrot Salad

glazed korean chicken lettuce cups

My favorite meal of this meal kit goes to this recipe. I’m always a big fan of the Asian foods here. They usually are pretty decent. Its been a while since I’ve tried some lettuce cups and such although I did end up eating it all separately in the end. However, the chicken is really good although it takes some attention. At the same time, the carrot salad is a bit like preserved style so has this sour flavor to it but it matches really well to balance out the flavors here. Plus, the sticky rice is one of the fave parts of these meals whenever it appears since I don’t buy Calrose rice but I definitely should just to be able to eat more sticky rice, not to mention the sauce the blends in with it from the chicken is just delicious.

Curried Tofu
with Coconut Rice, Roasted Vegetables & Thai Basil Salsa Verde

Curried Tofu

Tofu meals are usually hit and miss for us however we keep trying them out because its a good source of meatless protein and its always nice to add a vegetarian option every once in a while when we get a chance. While I can’t say the tofu itself was anything great (I’m not a fan of the extra firm tofu), the curried sauce was pretty good. The roasted vegetables are also pretty good and the thai basil salsa verde was also surprisingly a good addition to add some different flavors to the meal.

Beef & Shiitake Burgers
with Miso Mayonnaise & Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

beef & shiitake Burgers

Burger choices are normally for my husband because he likes trying now types of burgers. This menu feels familiar and yet also feels like a past one we have had but maybe with changes. I can’t quite remember right now. It was a pretty good one although, I have never had uncooked bok choy so was a bit skeptical and after this, learned that I prefer it cooked. It is somewhat of a messy burger so I ate it all separately. Everyrhing was alright except note to self, with miso based sauces, it already starts off quite salty.

Thats it for this Goodfood recap!
Any meals that peak your interest?

Goodfood Recap #38

goodfood

Welcome to the next Goodfood recap! Its been about a month since the last box. This time is mostly all new recipes, except for one but I think that one had changes but can’t be too certain.

Honey-Glazed Salmon
with Roasted Pepper & Corn Salad

honey glazed salmon

Easy to make and very delicious. The husband loved this meal a ton as did I. There’s a freshness to it especially with the spinach mixed into the rice and then having other parts of it cooked separately and put together in the end. Its always a nice little addition when the rice is spiced up with whatever ingredients. Plus, we love salmon but don’t usually eat it a lot since its still a bit pricey. To be fair, I have a hunch its only supposed to be one fillet usually but we got doubles for two of our recipes. If thats a case, a happy accident for us and a huge thanks to Goodfood for giving us more food. If not, the portion was extended a little for us which is always nice. 😉

Fresh Shanghai Noodles
with Peanut Sauce, Yu Choy & Cucumber Ribbons

fresh shanghai noodles

I’m always attracted to making the more Asian style meals. Its mostly because I understand the flavors but not usually sure how to execute it myself. While my mom has great cooking skills, she hasn’t been very articulate on how to replicate it. Its why a lot of Chinese cookbooks don’t really work. However, we have had the Shanghai noodles before. however, it feels like this one changed a little as well. I can’t be certain if its actually different but it feels a tad different but its still really good. I like the thick noodles used in Shanghai noodles as well as the peanut sauce mixture. The cucumber ribbons were the part that took the longest to do.

Korean-Style Fried Chicken Thighs
with Kimchi-Cucumber Salad & Sticky Rice

Korean Style Chicken Thighs

Our spicy meal of the box! Korean-style Chicken Thighs are pretty awesome actually. I’m not sure the husband agrees since he only said that its good. However, I thought it was pretty nice. I did however tone down the sauce because in the recipe it specified to only use half of it for medium spicy and I followed that and it turned out to be at the borderline of where I found it acceptable. The rice adds in the spice blend as well and boy, did that work out great. Plus, I love Sticky rice and this time was probably the time that it turned out in texture as I like my sticky rice. Everything else was pretty good here. The sauce was a bit of a hectic job since its a bigger pan (should have used a saucer) and the oil was just hopping everywhere. Either way, at least the hard work reaped this really delicious outcome.

Crispy Pork Cutlets
with Homemade Ranch Dressing & Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

Crispy Pork Cutlets

I can’t say that Goodfood has given out some spectacular pork chops/cutlets recipes yet. They never are my first place This one was okay. The salad was alright and the salt and vinegar potatoes were pretty decent. The pork cutlets were decent as well but nothing that will make me want to do this recipe again. However, my search for more pork chop recipes are in the horizon. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still good. I’m just not a huge fan of panko crusted anything so its more of a personal preference.

That’s it for this Goodfood Recap!
Have you been trying out any new recipes? Do you order meal subscription boxes like Goodfood?

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.

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!