Unboxing & Recap: Miss Fresh #7

Two months has gone by since I’ve ordered a Miss Fresh box! Wow!

We are working on cooking meals more and totally enjoying it. There’s also the factor of having meals that appealed to us. This box really worked for that. Let’s take a look!

Kung Pao Shrimps
with Calrose Rice

Miss Fresh

Kung Pao Shrimps

Kung Pao Shrimps was good. I’m not exactly sure about using Calrose Rice. Its okay, not my favorite. However, it is a simple and balanced meal even if it lacked a bit of spice. There is quite a bit of preparation for this one with a lot of cooking. Anything with a lot of chopping usually takes more time for myself just because I’m incredibly clumsy so take much more time to do it.

Chicken Marbella
served with couscous and spinach

Miss Fresh

Chicken Marbella 

Chicken Marbella is an interesting recipe. I mean this in the best way. While I’m not a huge fan of the couscous and I cooked the spinach which was supposed to be a salad, the highlight is the chicken itself being paired with dried prunes and green olives. I’m not exactly a fan of olives but this combination worked together really well. It takes a little longer, and was listed as more than 30 minutes to make and that is because the chicken needs to go into the oven for thirty minutes or something. I can’t remember as I don’t have the recipe in front of me.

Ginger Turkey Meatballs
on a bed of Sesame Noodles

Miss Fresh

Ginger Turkey Meatballs 

I love sesame noodles. The sauce they make here is very delicious. The meatballs have turmeric and curry spices so it has a spicy taste to it, along with some veggies, this ginger turkey meatballs is really good and quite easy to make. It has sparked a desire to stock up on sesame noodles. Beware for smelling like curry and onions though. I cooked this one morning and I had to change afterwards.

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas
with Pesto

Miss Fresh

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas 

The meal in the box that only my husband could eat, however was quite the blast to make except its crazy with all the chopping. Its chopping up jalapeno and green peppers and then there is an ear of corn to strip off the kernels. Aside from the chopping, its easy to put together and a vegetarian meal solution. Even with that, my husband enjoyed it.

Overall…Ginger Turkey Meatballs and Chicken Marbella are the stars of this box. I loved those two recipes a lot. I’m hoping to see more sesame noodles added into the meals eventually. There’s not much to say because everything was fresh and the box was delivered safely and securely as usual.

Dinner: Pork Tenderloin Roast

Time for another recipe time! Today its all about dinner.

Last week’s new recipe tryout was for a Pork Loin Roast. We don’t tend to make loin roast, just because they take a long cooking time and we don’t plan our meals that extravagantly, like marinate the day before or whatnot. However, we did buy it so we decided to give it a go. I often find the best recipe book for dinners with cool, fun and quick meals are in my Looneyspoons book and I’ve done a lot of those recipes over here for it, especially in the earlier recipe days. Now I have more choices and Pinterest is always a good place to find all sorts of recipes.

Here we go!

Pork Tenderloin Roast
(‘The Loin King’ from  The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet & Greta Podleski)

Pork Tenderloin Roast

Ingredients
Makes 10 servings

Marinade
1/4 cup each brown sugar and ketchup
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp curry powder, ground coriander and ground ginger
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 boneless pork loin roast (4lbs/1.8kg)

  1. Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Place pork in a large, heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat roast with marinade. Marinate overnight in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F. Remove pork from bag and place on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan. Reserve marinade. Roast pork, uncovered, from about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Meat thermometer should read 155F.
  3. While roast is cooking, pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 minutes. Brush roast generously with marinade during last 20 minutes of cooking time.
  4. Remove roast from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

To be fair, other than the marinating part overnight, making this one was pretty easy. Plus, it helps that this recipe also turned out pretty good. I’m one of those odd people who do love adding ketchup into marinade and liking that tangy taste it gives. Adding onto the fact that the spices are pretty good as well, it loved it a lot. We did end up skipping the bring the reserved marinade to boil in a saucepan (#3 of instructions) mostly because my husband said that the marinade will heat up in the oven. Which I can’t really argue with especially since it all worked out in the end.

Do you like to make roasts? How do you like to make them? What spices do you like using?

Breakfast Dinner: Portobello Mushrooms & Eggs

2017 is going to be a huge goal of trying to get back to a healthier lifestyle. With that said, cooking is going to be a bigger part of our life. At least we’re really trying to do more homecooked meals.

In the last few months of 2016, I started having a huge love for Portobello mushrooms. Add into our love for breakfast food and eggs in general, I thought about doing something like this for a while and decided this past weekend that with the remaining two Portobello mushrooms left in the pack, I could try this one out. I took some inspiration from the site below for cooking times but I didn’t really season with anything fancy.

Portobello Mushrooms & Eggs

Portobello Mushrooms & EggsRecipe inspired by: http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2013/11/04/eggs-baked-in-portobello-mushrooms/

Ingredients
Makes 2 servings

2 Portobello mushrooms
2 eggs
Salt & pepper to season
a dash of Herbes des Provences
olive oil, to spray

How to make it

  1. Preheat broiler, setting temperature to high. Set oven rack in the middle and line the baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spray the mushroom caps with olive oil cooking spray on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove mushrooms from oven. Switch oven from broil to bake, setting temperature at 400F.
  4. Break an egg in each mushroom. Sprinkle with Herbes des Provences.  Bake 15 minutes, until egg whites are cooked.
  5. Sprinkle the egg with a dash of salt and pepper. Serve.

If you follow the link above, you can see the variation is to sprinkle with cheese. Which would be our first choice except we ran out of lactose-free cheese (for myself) so I used herbs instead. And that worked out quite well. A note to remember would be to avoid sogginess to wipe clean instead of washing the mushroom. I only remembered that as I turned on the faucet and tried to soak up the water as much as I could. It wasn’t too soggy luckily.

Overall, simple and easy. I really loved the taste of this one and to be honest, I’ve been thinking about heading out to get some more portobello mushrooms and adding cheese to the mixture and it should taste even better.

How do you like to make mushrooms? What variety do you use?

Restaurant: Portus 360

It feels like a while since I’ve gone out to explore some new restaurants. After a lovely Christmas Eve meal with my foodie friends, they asked me out for a Friday night out for dinner. I could never say no especially when good company and food are the combination, along with their little one, who just steals everyone’s heart. Let’s just say, I needed a hug that day and the first thing I got was a hug. The restaurant we decided to go to was Portus 360, which is new and takes over the restaurant previously there when it was the Delta Hotel which is now EVO, a student housing building or something like that. Portus 360 is located on the top floor of a tall building. The floor rotates 360 so that as you eat, you can drink in the views of Montreal and on the windows, it also marks where you are looking out into. We’ve all never actually eaten at the previous restaurant but its something we’d like to try out, especially for the 360 view of Montreal.

Portus 360 is a portuguese restaurant and we shared a few tapas plates. Unfortunately, my pictures of the 360 were blurry so nothing to show here except for the food.

Portus 360 

Bread and Olives

Portus 360

Wine

Portus 360

Via Latina is the white wine that our waitress chose for us when we requested something sweet and fruity (I believe). It is a sparkling wine and while we weren’t too sure about it at first. My friend who is the harder one to please in terms of wine approved, we took it. It tasted pretty good. I’ve never had portuguese wine before and its a pleasant experience.

Soup & Portuguese Tapas

Portus 360

Sopa Alentejana (Salted Cod Soup with Poached Egg)

Portus 360

Pasteis de Bacalhau (Cod Croquettes)

Filetes de Sardinha Grelhados (grilled sardine fillets, bread croutons)

Filetes de Sardinha Grelhados (grilled sardine fillets, bread croutons)

Portus 360

Polva Grelhado (Grilled Octopus)

Portus 360

Lulas Recheadas (Stuffed Calamari)

Portus 360

Costela Curta Estufada (braised short rib)

The only thing out of this meal that I didn’t try was the soup. I’m no connoisseur of Portuguese cuisine and I rarely eat tapas but as pricey as Portus 360 might be or as gimmicky it may also be to have the 360 view of Montreal and probably the price tag is for that, the food here is really good. The cod croquettes were delicious. The grilled octopus was perfectly chewy and tender (unlike the last experience I had at another restaurant a few months ago). The stuff calamari was so awesome. The braised short rib was a little salty for my taste but the texture of the dish itself was great. Now, I think that when a restaurant can transform something that someone doesn’t particularly enjoy into a good experience is one of the best feelings ever to the person eating. I personally am not a fan of sardines. It has too many bones and I don’t like the texture but somehow as I took my piece of the sardine fillets and bread croutons, there was a really nice balance. I’m still not a fan of the tiny bones that sardines have but I couldn’t help wondering what they put on the bread croutons and the lovely cooked pepper or tomatoes or onion touch on the top. It was really tasty and a great Portuguese dining experience. I do want to go back one day and try out their actual main dishes. Some of the items look particularly interesting.

Portus 360

Some other things to mention is that the decor is very nice. At one point, we turn to this seafood market sort of thing and we can look at the fresh seafood they have. Its a very nice touch. On top of that, our waitress was great. She chose a good wine and she was polite and very helpful and patient. She made sure to remind me a second time about what had dairy products and that I should stay away from, which is always appreciated, when the dishes arrived on top of telling me when we ordered. It is these little things that make a dining experience feel complete. Sure, Portus 360 is a tad pricy, but sometimes I think its nice to have special occasions to celebrate where we have great food, good service and beautiful views, add on the awesome company and it makes it worth it.

With that said, I’ll probably post again when I go another time (when I do). I believe I might take my husband and my mom next time.

Have you had Portuguese food? What do you like?

Unboxing & Recap: Miss Fresh #6

Remember last Unboxing/Recap of Miss Fresh I said I had another box coming soon? Here it is!

Miss Fresh
(Week of November 29th)

Miss FreshNote: There is as usual 4 recipes but they forgot to include one of the recipe cards. Luckily, the recipe is available online.

GNOCCHIS WITH BRUSSEL SPROUTS
pine nuts, red onions and parmesan

Miss Fresh

Gnocchis with Brussel Sprouts (without cheese)

I’m going to admit that I’ve only ever had gnocchi maybe once before this time so I wasn’t exactly sure how to cook it and my version was the cheeseless version. My husband had the actual version with cheese sprinkled on top. I can’t say that I’m particularly happy with this recipe. I think the flavors were a bit complex or maybe I just didn’t make it correctly. However, my husband’s actual version tasted good so I think the cheese adds a nice balance to it. If I were to make this again, it might be without apples and more finely chopped onions. Other than that, the brussel sprouts and gnocchi itself was perfect, plus, pine nuts added a really nice touch to it.

The take away from this recipe other than making gnocchi is that brussel sprouts are fantastic made in the simplest way possible: over-roasted seasoned with salt and pepper.

CHICKEN BREAST WITH APRICOT SAUCE
served with Squash Couscous

Miss Fresh

Chicken Breast with Apricot Sauce

If you all know me well, you know that I love chicken. It is one of those things that determine why I could never be a vegetarian. I have to admit that I chose this box for having this apricot sauce recipe because I just wanted to learn how to make it. I don’t use couscous ever unless its in these boxes. This one uses a Israeli Couscous and actually, much to my surprise, the squash couscous had a bit of heat that matched well with the tarragon and apricot sauce on the chicken. This is really tasty! I love the recipe a lot.

Biggest takeaway from this one: Chicken breast covered in foil baked in oven helps retain a lot of tenderness in the meat. We have always struggled with chicken breast being too dry after its cooked, so this could be a good solution in the future.

SAUSAGE AND POTATO PAN ROAST
with Spinach and Tomatoes

Miss Fresh

Sausage and Potato Pan Roast

Both my husband and I deem this the favorite recipe in this Miss Fresh box. The sausage tasted great. Its a normal everyday meal but super easy to put together as its just putting everything into a pan, seasoning a little, very little preparation as well and pop into the oven. I love efficient recipes and I ended up actually making this one for lunch one day over the weekend and it was super great. Even better because my Saturdays are always busy running around taking care of stuff so making something that tastes good and is quick and easy is extra plus.

SWEDISH MEATBALLS
on Basmati Rice and Napa Salad

Miss Fresh

Swedish Meatballs

The highlight of the main reason of why I got this box was for Swedish Meatballs! Sometimes, it is the reason I head out to IKEA. I was hoping that it’d turn out as it should. To be honest, these ones didn’t taste great but I have a feeling it is my own fault. In these recipes, the biggest issues I have are when it explains the simmering and whatnot. I feel like its hard to judge how much sauce is there and the portions and time frames sometimes don’t work well for me. However, this recipe could be just because I chopped the onions a little too big and there was just too much. I’m not an onion fan to begin with and the only way I enjoy a dish is when the onion is chopped really fine but I’m not good with preparation in the kitchen. It is a work in progress. I honestly blame myself if this didn’t turn out as it should.

Overall…This box turned out okay. I mean, we had two really great recipes and two that were decent but could be better because I pinpointed where my flaws were and I honestly think it is my approach that needs to change than anything else. However, if the lovely team at Miss Fresh do read this. Please remember to triple check that all recipe cards are enclosed. I was cooking the chicken via my phone. Its a bit more hectic because my phone’s screen will shut off after a certain amount of time and I don’t have the best memory so I like to triple check before doing anything. Just a minor detail, you know, but improves the experience when it isn’t overlooked.

Unboxing & Recap: Miss Fresh #5

*Technically, it should be #4 but I did get a box in October but was so busy that I didn’t end up putting up a post or taking pictures of any of the meals.*

 Its been a while since I’ve posted a Miss Fresh recap. I usually do about one of these per month. Mostly when it has a meal that appeals to us. The experience so far is pretty good. I’ve had a few little things but then I’m adjusting myself to the experience and making better choices. Box #5 (aka this one) has to be one of my favorites. One of the best parts about Miss Fresh is learning all the different recipes and a lot of them are pretty multicultural. This box in particular has that perk and its probably why I loved it so much. Meals are shown in the order that I prepared them.

Miss Fresh
(Week of November 14)

Miss Fresh

Recipes

Miss Fresh

RUN DOWN CODFISH
poached in a spicy coconut sauce with orzo salad

Miss Fresh

Run Down Codfish, Spicy Cocnonut Sauce, Orzo Salad

Run Down Codfish is a Jamaican dish. I’ve never made any Jamaican and I’ve only ever eaten Jamaican food once before. I have no idea what this is supposed to taste like but this meal was so good. I personally can’t spicy food but that time that they gave was so good for the codfish that it was perfectly cooked and the spicy coconut sauce had just the right amount of heat and delicious blend with tomatoes and jalapenos and coconut milk that I just loved it. It was burning my  mouth but I just kept eating. I try to avoid gluten and raw foods but I did eat a bit of the orzo salad which they have the recipe to make the dressing as well. The coolness of the salad contrasts well with the heat from the codfish. I liked this one a lot.

CHICKEN KORMA CURRY
with Basmati Rice

Miss Fresh

Chicken Korma Curry, Basmati Rice, Green Beans

Indian food! Personally, I don’t go to eat indian food for the sheer fact that curry usually is made with yogourt and being lactose-intolerant that kind of makes it hard to enjoy an actual meal at an Indian restaurant. With that said, my husband had this entire meal to himself. He isn’t a fan of tomatos but he liked it alright. The curry definitely has a good kick and was a tiny bit spicy. I didn’t eat it but my kitchen was smelling like curry for at least twelve hours later.

MAMA YU’S WONTON NOODLE SOUP
with Broccolinis

Miss Fresh

Mama Yu’s Wonton Noodle Soup

Possibly the quickest Miss Fresh meal I’ve put together. Generally, the meals take about an hour to put together but I guess seeing as this is a Chinese dish, I was already a tad more familiar with it and had a lot more confidence with it so it took less than an hour. I love wonton noodles. Sadly, I never have time to make it anymore and I don’t eat at Montreal restaurants that serve this in fear of MSG since I’m a tad sensitive to it. This one gives you the broth and the veggies and the egg noodles and the recipe for making the wonton from scratch. They give you the wrappers. It makes 12 wontons so six per portion. Yet again, I liked it a lot. Its easy to make something like this more on the salty side but this one worked really well. It gave us the liberty of seasoning the shrimp and minced pork mixture for the wontons with pepper and I might have put just a dash too much, but it tasted really good. On top of that, the portions are really generous. One portion wontons and with the egg noodles and the broccolini was a filling meal.

CAULIFLOWER TACOS
with lime crema

Miss Fresh

Cauliflower Tacos

The last recipe was put together by my husband. He left me the pieces to compile to show. He did add in some tuna to have some protein in his version and had the lima crema. Unfortunately, no photo of that. This is the version with the lima crema but generally the same. The bottom portion is something of a makeshift coleslaw which was pretty good. The cauliflower uses indian spices which I think is what made me not like it so much. It had a weird flavor that I’m not accustomed to and didn’t quite acquire the taste of. However, it does seem to be a relatively quick recipe to put together.

Overall…one of my favorite ones to put together. The meals here are delicious, especially the first three caught our attention. What is really nice is that in the last month, it feels like they have changed the food packing style and I like it better especially placing the ice pack and cardboard at the bottom to separate the meat ingredients to the fresh ingredients. The recipe sheets always were improved and I like the design of it more. Its been rather multicultural which also is something I enjoy to try new flavors and also experiment with new spices and new ingredients that I personally wouldn’t use in my cooking. A great experience!

November is a pretty busy month so we’ll be having another box coming in soon to ease on the dinner cooking duties, plus, it looked like a nice meals for the next one as well. Probably will be up in two weeks or so!

MTL a Table: Restaurant de L’Institut-ITHQ

The weekend is here again! MTL a Table entered into the final few days of the event.

Next up on the list is a restaurant that comes recommended from my friends who was organizing this whole thing together. Restaurant de L’Institut – ITHQ is pretty much a student-based restaurant. Its a training ground for culinary students under the watchful eyes of their professors to create fine dining for their guests. It is located in the Hotel de L’Institut.

Let us look at the menu for MTL a Table ($31).

Restaurant de L’Institut

*A note for those looking for this restaurant on Google Maps, search Hotel de L’Institut instead. We searched for Restaurant de L’Institut and it was completely different location. Our fault that we didn’t look carefully but just a friendly note in case you decide to go.*

Restaurant de L'Institut

Starter tasting

This starter tasting thing was a salmon, spicy mayonnaise and olive oil thing (if I remember correctly) and I thought it was delicious!

First service: Appetizer

Restaurant de L'Institut

Crispy Arctic Char, apple gel, radishes, green apples, marinated onions

Restaurant de L'Institut

Variations on beet, roasted pine nuts, goat cheese, honey-maple vinaigrette

Restaurant de L'Institut

Parsnip velouté, caramelized onions, sherry vinegar, hazelnuts and smoked bacon

A recap of the appetizers: My husband took the Arctic char along with my friend. Funny enough, they had opposing views. While my husband didn’t like it, he didn’t exactly hate it either. It was more the texture of the fish he wasn’t too sure about. I took the Variations on beet as that was the only choice that worked with my lactose intolerance and yet they had to remove the cheese. While it didn’t feel like anything super special, the different types of beets made it rather unique and it was refreshing to eat to say the least. Only one person on our table took the parsnip velouté and he said that it was interesting and tasty.

Second service: Main course

Restaurant de L'Institut

Braised veal shank, butternut squash, roasted cipollini onions, Romanesco broccoli, Canotier de l’Isle shavings

Restaurant de L'Institut

Guinea fowl, fingerling potatoes, oyster mushroom, Jerusalem artichoke, Brussels sprouts

Restaurant de L'Institut

Catch of the Day (Halibut), barley pilaf, dulse, tomato confit, fennel, sweet and sour sauce, mullet roe

Recap of the main course: two of my friends took the veal shank and their significant others had a tasting of it. It seems that for one couple, it was bland and really nothing to call home about in terms of taste. However, it was braised very well. I took the guinea fowl along with someone else also. We talked about it and agreed that it was very good. Although, there was a comment about it tasting like turkey, which I can’t really disagree with. However, one point to note is that the sauce was really good, potatoes and Brussels sprouts were very good. It was the first time I tasted oyster mushrooms and that was super tasty as well. Only thing I’m not so sure about is the artichoke. Last, we have the catch of the day which was halibut. My husband took this choice and it seems fish shouldn’t be what he orders anymore because he felt like it wasn’t cooked enough. However, I did have a taste of it and it was done well although the onion or perhaps fennel taste was a tad strong.

Third service: Dessert

Restaurant de L'Institut

Cherry soup with kirsch and candied oranges, dark chocolate cremeux, gingerbread tuile

Restaurant de L'Institut

Apricot and buckwheat honey tart, lemon thyme ghost cheese cremeux, raspberry cube

And we got to the dessert. Cherry soup had the white pieces on top that seemed like it was meringue. I’m not exactly sure about the verdict of the cherry soup but the cherries tasted a little like maraschino cherries as one comment I remember but I can’t tell if that is a good or bad thing. However, the apricot and buckwheat honey tart was quite good. I got the version without the goat cheese on top and was compensated with more raspberry cubes. That part is awesome because the raspberry cubes were absolutely heavenly. The dash of sour fruity taste is just perfect. Its rare to find apricot desserts and this definitely had a nice taste to it. I can’t say it was the best tart (or more streudal) I’ve had but it was memorable because the thyme taste was also quite apparent adding an extra level of taste.

Overall…Restaurant de L’Institut is pretty decent. The service was very good especially seeing as we had myself with the allergies and while they kept forgetting to remove the goat cheese, they were always gracious enough to take care of it immediately. They offers a good wine service and nice explanation. We did have a glass of white wine that they recommended but I forgot to take a picture of it and the waitress described it very well also. The meal itself looked pretty and represented the fine dining aspect quite well. The food was pretty tasty.