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…). 

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.

Goodfood Recap #23

goodfood

It sure feels like a while since the last time I wrote a Goodfood recap. The only reason is that the recipes weren’t quite to our liking so we decided to just skip 2 weeks. Now its back generally to a schedule that we like. Without further ado, here’s the recap for last week’s meals!

Shrimp Boil
with Summer Corn, Roasted Potatoes and Green Salad

Sorry for the scattered look on this one. We kind of had this one in a scattered manner as well. This was a pretty summer themed meal and I loved the making the shrimps and corns and potatoes together. The spices were delicious. I didn’t get the salad but my husband did. I believe the dressing smelled pretty good.

Grilled Vegetable Bowls
with Ginger-Soy Sauce & Edamame Rice

grilled vegetables

I’m going to admit right now that last week was hell and we’ve had a whole lot of delays on cooking and just had a ton of leftovers and stuff. Its re-adapting to some things in life that has surfaced. It changed the routine I had and who knew that it would be delayed like this. When we got around to making the vegetable bowl, the zucchini was already done for, making this bowl slightly sad. However, the edamame rice was delicious. The veggies and the spices were really great as well. Its all very lovely along with the ginger-soy sauce also. Maybe we will remake this one day with the yellow zucchini.

Soy-Maple Chicken
with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Zucchini & Charred Scallion Salad

soy-maple chicken goodfood

The soy-maple sauce was quite tasty here. The oven-roasted sweet potatoes also had a great recipe. Simple and easy. I’m not much for scallion so I didn’t go and eat a whole scallion stalk. Well, surprisingly the zucchini here didn’t go bad so the grilling it turned out great. Of course, the grilled stuff is all my husband’s hard work. This meal does come together quite well.

Herbed Pork Chops
with Pistachio-Mint Salmuera, Grilled Peppers & Roasted Baby Potatoes

herbed pork chops goodfood

The last meal of this box is the herbed pork chops. The spices for the pork chop was absolutely delicious. I’m starting to see a theme in the spice blends and how good they are while all being quite different. My husband handled this meal. The potatoes turned out quite well. The grilled peppers was also quite good. Simple stuff is always the best method in my book. While I liked the idea of the pistachio=mint salmuera, I liked the pork chops without that topping.  I didn’t mind it much but the spices already had enough balance in flavor to make it all work. But then, I refer back to the simple things for myself that always work best that I mentioned before.

Overall…

It was a pretty decent box. Anything that didn’t go well was because of my procrastination. The spice blends in the meals were very good and gave these meals their own distinction. There are some simple elements here that worked very well too.

With that said, we have a new box this week and its already having its delays with all the events happening in town. 
I’ll be back with that recap next week!

Recap: Goodfood #18

Goodfood

Time sure flies and its time to recap another cooking adventure with a Goodfood box. We’ve been relying on these on a regular basis just because I had a really tough month. Its nice to see how it fits into our lives nowadays and actually encourages me to get into the kitchen more. I’m actually going to get back into some more baking soon so I’m pretty excited about that. Things are supposed to calm down a little so fingers crossed, because I do miss baking a ton.

Regardless of that, here’s the recap for the Goodfood box last week.

Thai Basil Chicken
with Snow Pea Tips & Coconut Rice

Thai Basil Chicken

There was a lot of great components for Thai Basil Chicken. For one, I loved that the rice was cooked in coconut milk so it had this lovely delicious taste and texture to it. The bok choy was great and I’m a huge fan of snow pea tips. The mix of the flavors was pretty good, especially since its also a fairly quick and easy meal to put together. My only complaint for this one was that it was a little diminished for this meal in particular because the snow pea tips weren’t really in season, I suppose so it was just branchy and I ended up not being able to eat a good part of it. However, if I were to replicate it with some decent snow pea tips, I would imagine this would be awesome.

Lemon-Herb Chicken
with Sweet Potato & Corn Salad

Lemon-Herb Chicken

This recipe would have been fantastic on the grill. We have a pretty basic range hood from the previous owners and haven’t had the money to invest into something better so when we do recipes which requires a lot of grilling veggies and meat and all that fun stuff, its inevitable that we need to air out the house or it just smokes up our house a ton. However, all that said, this was pretty delicious. For once, I did a lot of the grilling and it turned out pretty decent, especially my TLC for the sweet potatoes which were an absolute pain to chop into wedges. This one was the longer recipe with a lot of prep work and longer cooking times however in the end, it was pretty good. Something of a meal that reminded me of summer which I long to arrive soon. I’ve had enough of precipitation of any form.

Pork Chops with Pink Peppercorns
& Shallow-Mustard Pan Sauce

Pork Chops with Pink Peppercorns

Probably my favorite of this box. Its simple and tasty. I’ve never actually had pink peppercorn until in this recipe. I loved the sugar snap peas and the radish veggies here. I’ve always been curious how to make radishes since it seems to be a good one to grow here in Quebec in the summer and one I’m thinking about trying out this year if the garden center has it. I also love pork chops. The seasoning for this one was perfect. Highly recommend this one!

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

Beef & Shitake Burgers

The last meal of the box was done by my husband. He is the burger expert so he almost always takes care of the burger meals. I can’t say he was a huge fan of this meal. I however thought it was really good. We went a little nuts with the salt here by accident so it was a little salty for me, however, if we notched down the salt, it was really delicious. The bok choy was supposed to be raw here but I’ve never had raw bok choy so I asked my husband to give it a quick cook so that it still had the crisp but was edible for me. The miso mayo also probably contributed to it being salty. Either way, its one I’d probably make if I had a chance although maybe not order again in this box since my husband wasn’t a fan. I think the compilation of the burger and the bun they gave also had issues since the bun took 3 seconds to be soaked at the bottom so wasn’t too great to pick up. Not too bad but I’d have some modifications to it if I was to make this again.

That’s it for this box! 
Which meal appeals to you the most?

Battle of Ingredients #5: Fall BBQ & Moon Festival Edition!

I know its a little early to take a break from the horror marathon and it’ll resume tomorrow. However, Battle of Ingredients is our monthly segment and our gathering just happened this past weekend. I promise it’ll be a short and sweet one and one that matches perfect with today which is Midautumn Festival, mostly referred to as Moon Festival!

A warm and maybe slightly cooler welcome from me and my cohost, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road to the next Battle of Ingredients. Due to our love for the previous BBQ session and the weather being still decent, we decided to do another BBQ event. battle of ingredients

This time, we took it to mostly basics. Mostly because we realized quite last minute that no actual plans were formulated. Also, we were both busy with personal life stuff so the final menu looked like this.

I made burger patties. Actually, because I was in a lot of pain that day, my husband being the champ that he is helped me make the patties. We got medium lean minced beef and used eggs and spices and he made the patties. He also took on the grill master role in the evening. So our event became a lot more relaxed than it usually would be. We bought the Italiano burger buns and got some cheese, gouda and lactose-free swiss.

Phoebe pulled the stops this time and brought her take on the veggie foil pack that I had tried out last time. This time, her’s had bell peppers, zucchinis and also added in two to three slices of prosciutto. The prosciutto being on the top spread its salty flavors to the veggies, making it no necessary to spice it at all.

Phoebe also found on Pinterest a way to roast corn on the grill. It simply required snipping off the top part. It turned out perfect! She also brought on to try roasting eggplants on the grill as well. Most of us weren’t very into eggplants and didn’t normally cook them so in my opinion, they weren’t done too good. Definitely something to further into bettering our skills at or maybe its just better to cook them in another way.

Aside from that, this time was almost like a potluck as our friends also brought some chicken breast along with tzatzki sauce (not sure how you spell it).

We ended with our dessert.  Our friends,who is always responsible for beverages, brought the Pepito Rose Sangria and some light fruity coolers. While I forgot to take pictures of it, I brought some garden fruits like raspberries and a lot of ground cherries. Aside from that, we also had an early celebration of Moon Festival, or Midautumn Festival which most people know for eating moon cakes, a little chinese pastry with lotus paste normally.

moon cakes chow's

Phoebe found a pastry shop in Chinatown called La Patisserie Chow that makes their own moon cakes and we were interested to see how they were so she bought the box with their bestselling four flavors.

  • Double yolk White Lotus Paste
  • Double Yolk Green Bean Paste
  • 5 Stars Mix (5 different nuts, sweet melon and tangerine)
  • Golden Double Yolk Paste

Our biggest issue was that each one wasn’t labelled. We easily could identify the white lotus paste one which was a win for both me and Phoebe. The nuts got an okay where it was good but not great. Then we have a mystery one which I personally suspect is the Golden Double Yolk Paste that my husband and our friend liked. Then there was one that unanimously was pretty bad. I’m guessing its the green bean paste but it wasn’t labelled so I don’t really know.

Chow Pastry Shop is pretty commendable to have their own moon cakes. Huge applause for that. However, its better to label the variety one way or another even if the ingredients are also labelled super vaguely. I think this one could be hit or miss. Its definitely not like the ones you’d buy from the big brands. Phoebe posed a good question about how we usually do eat from the big brands and maybe traditional moon cakes with any preservatives and in their natural state would taste more like this. Perhaps one time, I’ll be in Hong Kong where actually smaller bakeries also make moon cakes or I’ll attempt it myself and we’ll see.

That’s it for this Battle of Ingredients!
Thanks for joining us!
November might be skipped because our crew usually does the MTL a Table event.
However, we’ll find a festive return in December for the holidays!

Recap: Goodfood #3

Welcome back to the next Goodfoods recap!

We are trying out this new eating healthier and more balanced thing so Goodfoods is a nice step in that which means also that we’re trying to order twice a month if the menus work to our taste. We aren’t sponsored so we just do these as we see fit. Regardless, Goodfoods has been a great addition to our lives. We’re starting to see what weeks it works best in our routine. Plus, the different recipes make for some delicious culinary adventures.

In this third box, everything came well. The box was less dented than last time but still a little scarred from the journey. I still say that they need to find a better, at least more careful courrier company to take care of these deliveries. So far, nothing damaging has occurred with the food so I’m still okay with it.

We’re all hear to check out the food and here it is!

Vegetarian Paella with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

Goodfoods

Vegetarian Paella

The first meal we did was the vegetarian selection, Vegetarian Paella with Grilled Portobello Mushroom. I love portobello mushrooms and the Spanish spices used for this dish is awesome. I’d have to say that this is my favorite out of this box. It did however (somehow) take longer to make than I expected. I’m still not quite a fan of making rice in a pot. Being Chinese, making rice in the rice cooker is how I’m used to. This was a true collaboration between me and my husband as I had the rice ready and he wrapped up by making the portobello mushrooms to add in. There’s a little bit of heat and there’s a nice balance of rice and veggies. The portobellos had a beautiful texture. I really like this one a ton.

Blackened Haddock with Herbed Rice & All Dressed Corn

Goodfood

Blackened Haddock with Herbed Rice & All-Dressed Corn

Kudos to my husband to taking care of this one. We modified this one and removed the cheese that was supposed to be on the corn. I can’t remember if there was yogurt somewhere else also in the sauce but if there was, my husband took it out also. This one was okay. Nothing really spectacular. It was still very tasty. The seasoned corn was the highlight for myself. The fish was good and the herbed rice was interesting.

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches in Pretzel Buns with Broccoli Salad

Goodfoods

Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

My husband’s winner in this box was this sandwich. The chicken was really delicious especially with the barbecue sauce. The broccoli was a nice addition. Looking back at the picture, the broccoli was supposed to be added to the sandwich but we left it on the side. I actually even had extra chicken to eat. The pretzel bun is also a lovely touch.

Mazemen Pork Ramen with Grilled Carrots & Yu Choy

Goodfoods

Mazemen Ramen with Grilled Carrots and Yu Choy

With the increasing love for ramen, it was inevitable that it would reach one of these boxes as well. Unfortunately, this meal had to be modified as we were so busy that we waited for too long and the pork had expired so we went the vegetarian route here. However, the taste here is really amazing. The veggies they use are great. I like Yu Choy a lot and particularly the multicolor nantes carrots are also something I personally love to use all the time also. They use a Japanese spice blend which is rather unique. It added some heat but never too overpowering.

Overall, this box was a win. The haddock was not a fave but it still turned out well.
We can’t wait for the next subscription box. Coincidentally, the menu in 2 weeks looks fantastic.