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It honestly seemed like a good idea at the time…….

So in the whole spirit of low carbing, sometimes I get these……..um…… “brilliant” ideas. Yes my dear readers, let me introduce you to “breaded” low carb mozza sticks!!

Yummmmy!
Easy Peasy, right?
Let me show you how!!

In one container large enough to fit your average mozza stick, place a few tablespoons of almond flour.

mozzasticks1
In another container, one beaten egg.

mozzasticks2

In the last container, place a few tablespoons of coconut flour, and season it really, really well. I used seasoning salt, pepper, and other seasoning that suited my fancy at the time…. cuz I AM fancy.

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In a nice, super hot pan with oil (don’t let it smoke), place your “breaded” mozza stick and keep an eye on it. Keep flipping OFTEN, so it can brown nicely on all sides.

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Yep. Goooooooooood idea on paper folks.

But really?………………………..

BIG FAT FAIL.

mozzasticks7
JUST DON’T DO IT..
Back to the drawing board.

Aunt Christine’s Household Hints! – VINEGAR!

If anyone knows me personally, (and I know those who don’t, I do believe you’re missing out..), they would most likely know who my Aunt Christine is as well. I grew up in the country, a half mile away from her, and spent hours upon hours at her house  playing with my cousins when we were kids. Now, as an adult I still adore her (possibly more than when I was a child), and as anyone who knows her can attest, she’s one of the most generous people I know.

Now keep in mind, generous comes in many different ways with her.  For instance, every time I go south to the States she comes over and gives me some “funny money” (US Dollars) that she had just “hanging around”. When she comes across a great deal somewhere, instead of buying one, she’ll buy a few and end up giving me one of whatever it is. For my last birthday, she bought me a purple wig. Yep… I don’t know why either, but she’s great that way! I mean come on, who gets a purple wig AND a helium “Happy Birthday” balloon that sings the birthday song to you whenever you punch it???? I loved it!!

Ok, so moving on. At some point a year or so ago, she came over and gave me a super cool series of small books that she bought God knows where. They are basically 3 separate books on different uses for household vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Alright, obviously these hints aren’t exactly MY AUNTIE’S HINTS as the title of this blog post suggests, because the vinegar book is actually written by Christine Halvorson (NOT my Aunt Christine) but I kinda like the idea that she gave me the books, so it seems like they came from her…. like my logic?

Here’s the vinegar book:

IMAG1310

The books have a bit of a retro/vintage type of look to them, and are full of super cool little “hacks” or hints, to make life easier, and cost effective.The book suggests using Heinz’s brand name vinegar, however, I’m SURE any brand name of vinegar would work if not your not feeling fancy. Just be sure it’s the 5% acidity kind.

So, I thought when times are a bit slow around here (aka, I have nothing new to post), you, my dear readers, will get a handy dandy hint or two on how to use one of these household staples in ways that you may not have ever dreamed of! Well perhaps you may have heard of a few of these, but you can always pass the info (as well as this blog post..ahem) onto someone who might not be in the know. That way, you could be the hero for the day and be a smartypants ALL AT ONCE!

Win win!

So, we shall commence the schooling with the household vinegar tips. For the most part, these tips are referencing your run of the mill, white, grocery store bought, 5% acidity vinegar. A few tips will use apple cider, but that will of course, be prefaced.

Ok. Here’s two handy hints to get us started:

For cleaning your microwave:  If you microwave is dirty and greasy with old food particles and other grossness, microwave a glass container with one cup of water, and a 1/4 cup of vinegar for about 3 to 4 minutes. After the microwave is finished, leave it there for about 10 minutes without the opening the door. Then, open the door and simply wipe clean!

Laundry: If you add 2 cups of vinegar to the rinse cycle while washing cotton or wool blankets, it will remove any soapy residue and leave the blankets smelling clean (not of vinegar), soft and fluffy!

If you have any uses for vinegar, let me know and I’ll post them here!

If you’re interested in buying these books, here’s a place you can:
http://www.amazon.com/Heinz-Distilled-Vinegar-Helpful-Household/dp/141271365X

This Happened.. with a Tomato.

TOMATO PATTIES
(pictures below)

“Tooooo many tomatoes!!!!!!!”,  said you.

Is that what you’ve been saying lately as you survey your garden? A little over zealous when you planted your little starlet seedlings, hmm? I can hear it now ” Ooohh, I’m going to can/freeze/dehydrate tons of tomatoes, and I’m gonna make stewed tomatoes, salsa, and TONS of healthy sauce!”.

I know, because I said the same thing.

While the tomato plants on my side of the world aren’t quite ruby-red globes yet, (and I can see I have a shitload coming), I know in other spots of the world they are screaming to come off the vine. What do to with all of them is what’s playing on every well-intentioned gardeners mind.

So when you’re all salsa’d out,  you can’t stand the thought of ANOTHER can of tomato sauce, and every neighbor in a mile radius of you pretends not to see you when you offer them a basket like a Price is Right model,…….. try this recipe.

Oooh I’m telling you, this recipe is fanfreakintastic! If you like the combination of bacon and tomato………. wait… what am  I saying.. “IF”???? EVERYONE likes that combo and if you don’t, well, I’m breaking up with you, because I can’t be friends with people who don’t like a bacon tomato combo, I mean come on!!!

In an effort to eat less carbs lately, (namely anything starchy and white) I skipped the BLT sandwich idea. Here’s the better plan:

A good size tomato.

Slice thickly (3 slices).

Dredge the slices first in coconut flour, then egg, then in seasoned almond flour mixed with shredded parmesan cheese. You can choose any seasoning your beautiful heart desires. I chose a bit of seasoning salt, rosemary, lemon pepper seasoning and some garlic powder.

3

Fry till golden on each side.

2

Plate.

Dollop on a bit of sour cream, bacon and then finish with chopped chives (I used dill, because I didn’t have any chives).

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Oh sweet momma. The rich, tomato-y freshness that contrasts off the salty bite of the bacon, mixed with the creaminess of the sour cream, is a combination that could make the heavens open  and harps play Queen’s “We are the champions”. … Ok, maybe not THAT song, but something just as triumphant. Seriously my lovies, this recipe is amazing.

I’ve seen a different version of this miracleness made by what has to be one of the hottest chefs in Canada. Like.. SUPER hot. If you’re thinking Chef Chuck Hughes, you’d be right. Clean the drool off your lip, I know.. I know….. he’s so sexy right?  His version was to dredge the tomato in your standard flour egg and panko mix, and instead of bacon, he used pancetta.  So yeah… pancetta, shmancetta!!! Bacon works just as well if you’re not feeling fancy.

You could serve these as the headliner on your plate with a side salad, or they can easily play co-star as the side dish. This is a fresh, cheap, SUPER TASTY way to enjoy your summer bounty.  If you brought these to a barbecue in the neighborhood, I’m pretty sure you’d be the one most talked about…………………………………….. in a good way.

What are some of the ways you’re going to use your summer tomatoes? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Million Dollar Thighs. Oh Yeah!

Yep….. I got’em.

Million Dollar Thighs!

Creamy white and juicy.

Meaty with that nice caramelized crust on top.

Huh?… What?…. Sigh.

Get your head out of the gutter, you perverted puppies! I”m not talking about MY thighs…..

…although I kinda wish I was.

NO no, my lovely readers. I’m talking about a recipe that I found on YOUTUBE, called Million Dollar Chicken, done by Chef John on his Food Wishes channel. (link below). I LOVE this man’s recipes, but his sing-song-happity-hap voice makes me want to drive rusty nails into my ears with a ball peen hammer for relief.

ANYWAYYY… he uses a whole chicken, but I had only thighs on hand, and you know how cool I am, I just subbed thighs instead. I’m sure you could use whatever chicken pieces struck your fancy, but be sure to adjust cooking time.

What makes it worth the Million Dollar name? Chicken, cream, lemon, fried bread… need I say more?

Trust me beauties, this little dish will literally blow your whole daily caloric/fat allowance to cholesterol hell in one little sitting… but it will be sooooo worth it.

Here we go!

bread

Use an old bagette or any other stale, day old bread. It MUST be day old, and kinda hard and crusty, or you will cry at the mushy, gross pablum-ness of it all. Oil your dish before placing a few pieces down. According the recipe, it asked to oil the top of the bread as well, but really, don’t. I did, but found you don’t need it.

Save the calories, honey.

rawchicken

The recipe asked to stuff the bird with thyme, garlic and lemon and then season with salt and pepper. I sprinkled a few pinches of thyme  and the zest from one lemon, garlic and S&P on top of the thighs to achieve the same taste. My way is soo much easier I think.

He puts the bird in a super hot oven (450) for an hour. I put my thighs in at 350 with an idea to roast them for 45 minutes or so.

While your waiting, make your sauce to smother those little cute thighs.

sauce

I used 1/2 cup of creme fraiche, lemon zest, the juice of one lemon, one GRATED shallot (that’s what the weird thing is that you see floating around in the cream), salt and pepper. The recipe called for one teaspoon of Aleppo pepper, that I COMPLETELY FORGOT to add in. And.. truth be told, I didn’t have any fancy shmancy Aleppo pepper anyway. But, assuming you won’t be a moron like myself, you’ll want to add the Aleppo pepper into the cream mixture at this point. If you don’t have Aleppo pepper on hand (who does, really?), an alternative to use is 3 parts sweet paprika to one part cayenne. Thanks Friend Kim and Chef Simon for the alternative pepper recipe!

At the 20 minute mark, move the chicken out of the way, and tong those little pieces of toasty love over to brown on the other side, and replace the chicken on top the bread……..

toasted bread

…..and then baste the living crap out of your chicken. Go overboard on the basting. If, while you’re basting, you think ‘oh that’s enough’, no, it’s not. Baste some more. Throw it back in the oven for ten minutes.

firstbaste

Ten minutes later, baste again and return for another 10 minutes.

At the last five-minute mark, throw on your flame thrower. If you are not skilled at using a flame thrower on your food – your broiler will do as well. Watch it like a hawk people, burnt bird is just so wrong.  When it gets all crusty and caramelized on top, take it out, and let it sit for a few minutes.

finished

Plate it up!!!

If there is extra sauce left over, slice the thighs a bit and arrange them on the bread, and pour the remaining sauce over the thighs.

plated
Sweet Mother of baby Jesus. The way this tastes is nothing short of beautiful, if it can be described that way. The thighs are super nice and juicy with a crunchy skin, and it loves up it’s best friend, the crunchy toasted bread. Salty tings from the seasoning and lemony twangs from the zest-infused sauce on a crunchy, but soft toasted bread that’s saturated with a chickeny-cream goodness, is delectable. It might even make your inner fattie, or I mean foodie, scream with glee.

So, if after eating this little bundle of everything right in the world,  you haven’t passed out in a creamy caloric induced snooze,
be sure to comment below or click the button to follow my blog! You’ll get a fan’freakin’tastic email ever single time I post something new!

Come on now,.. don’t be chicken! (haha……………….ha.)

Youtube link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHw67wim0Vk

Square One might need to start back at…. well…..

Square One
#32 993 Fir St
Sherwood Park, AB

Square One is a new restaurant opened in Sherwood Park recently. While there’s TONS of new, cool eateries that have opened that I still need to try in Edmonton, I’m the first to say that I’m a lazy ass driver and if I can meet with one of my besties for a long lunch on my home turf in suburbia…. I’m gonna make sure it happens. Lucky for Square One that they’re on my turf, yes?..

Hhmm.. maybe not so much.

The decor is nice, and well, based on the last few restaurants I’ve been too – is getting a bit copycatty. Dark woods, chrome, clean lines… blah blah, snore snore. I initially liked it with The Canteen, and with The Phork, but it’s getting old now. Please. Let’s inject some originality here. (IE: De Dutch). Oh, and by originality, I don’t mean the framed print of Darth Vader they have on the wall…….The ONLY piece of “art” they have in the whole place that I could see.

Really?

Anyway, the menu is “international” – a little bit of this.. a little bit of that, all from over this great eclectic globe. They use local ingredients that showcases the grower/producer which scores HUGE points in my book. Sadly, not a lot of mention of the big “O” – (ORGANIC, people…. come on now!).. but maybe that will change with time.

I have to mention that our server was awesome. Didn’t get her name, but if I ever owned a spot, I’d try and poach her from this place. Really friendly, thoughtful and accommodating. She was always there to refill and take away, and ask us if we were cool or needed anything without hanging around and being creepy.

My friend and I decided to share an appie (or appy, or, APPETIZER.. sheesh.. so many choices now a days.) to start. We decided on the Plaza Machado Tostadas – Crispy house tortillas, huichol, pork belly, spicy onions, crème fraiche, lettuce, lime… It was the recommendation of our server as one of the more popular items on the menu. She said she actually dreams about them because they are so good.

My expectations immediately raised a full point.

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They came three to the plate, all pretty and styled. Pretending to be ladylike, I sort of tried to use my knife to cut them into more manageable pieces so I wasnt so dork-like while trying to pick one up to eat.

Yeah…. the idea was great in my mind.

The actual effect was more….. land mine looking. (Our server said she forgot to tell us they’re messy…… Yeaaaaaaah….thanks). So now resembling more of a tiny bundle of nacho’s, we tried them.

Meh.

Yeah.. that’s about it, really. As my loving mother would say – “They didn’t twirl my beads”.

She actually says that. In private…. most times.

The pork belly was a monotone note of just a spicy heat and we tasted no hints of lime at all. The crème fraiche was basically decorative only and the onions were ok. The crispyness of the house made tostada was really nice though. I wouldn’t say I hated the appetizer, but it was just….*shrug*. I sprinkled a tiny bit of salt that it needed over it and that elevated it up a notch to “not bad”. FYI – for those who are spice scared, these puppies are a nice challenge.  They aren’t too hot, but there’s enough heat to make you say “phew! Those gotta kick!” (And you’d say it just like that, right?)

Our main meal for lunch was the Chicken Wrap- Grilled chicken, apples, Gruyère, raisins, greens, quinoa. My friend and I had decided to share the dish and the kitchen was incredibly awesome to actually split the order onto two plates for us with our own little cute bucket of fries.

chickenwrap
Let me tell you, friends and neighbors, this dish was MORE than enough for two of us. Given that we’d had the appetizer, the half wrap each was filling to the point that we both couldn’t really finish it.. never mind eat all the fries. ( We needed to leave room for dessert ok??)

The wrap itself was decent. The quinoa, being what it is, is fairly neutral in taste, so it only added bulk and a slightly weird texture, but the chicken was ok. The apples and raisins were a nice contrast off the chicken and actually, this is the first place I’ve seen that grills the wrap. Nice touch!

So anyway, the wrap was good, but you wouldn’t say it was AMAZEBALLS  good or anything. Again, you wouldn’t go home and blog about it…. (wait, what?) However, if you’re some burly dude who works at a crazy labor job that makes you eat like a hairy Sasquatch, – this would do the deed to fill that cavernous hole.  The fries were better than the wrap, hands down, and my spoiled self was disappointed that it seemed to be the ketchup was made by Heinz and not in-house. (I had a wicked smoked ketchup once and nothing has compared since.) Plus, the wrap left you with a heavy taste of garlic in your mouth afterwards.

Like.. HEAVY.

Like, ban you to the couch for the night, heavy.

Dessert – Saskatoon Berry crème brulee- arrived happy and inviting in a longish styled plate with a pretty brulee’d top on it perfectly sized for sharing.

saskatoonbrulee
The top was nice, warm and crunchy while the filling was lightly dotted with saskatoon berries. The texture of the filling was not what I was used to. Usually it’s nice and smoooooth.. like a luxurious pudding made for a queen. This filling was made for more for the person who gets to do the queen’s laundry because it was a bit lumpy… sort of.  Here, look:

saskatoonbrulee1
That being said, it won best of show at lunch today. The weird texture didn’t deter the decadent taste of the cream and berry mixture to show up. The brulee’d sugar on top was just as  François Massialot‘s 1691 cookbook said it should be (I’m guessing, anyway) – with a properly caramelized sugar taste with a crack-with-a-spoon crunch. I kinda doubt he said it like that, but you get my drift.

So, overall, Square One didn’t impress me to go back, sadly. I think they have awesome service and a super cool menu, but from what I sampled today, balanced with the cost of lunch with a few sodas and coffee (around $55.00 not including tip), they have to REALLY step up the taste train to twirl my beads.

Oh, and on a side note, they had the CUTEST cream containers for coffee!! Check it out:

milkcow

Square One on Urbanspoon

Phood at The Phork

The Phork
9710 110 Street Capital Place Building
Edmonton, Alberta

Phunny how things are spelled sometimes.

I owed my incredibly handsome nephew a meal and I had recently came across a Groupon deal for a new restaurant called “The Phork”. Usually, restaurants with spellings like this, or with kitchy names like The Crazy Giraffe or The Pink Zebra, usually make me roll my eyes. I just don’t understand that type of restaurant naming.

The Phork is a new restaurant that’s been open for 3 weeks or so, and had a Groupon “coupon” for $50.00 value if you spent $25.00.  If you’ve been reading my incredibly interesting blog at all, you’d be getting to know that my cheap ass can’t pass up a good deal, regardless of the name of the joint.

They’re located on the main floor of the Capital Place Building and parking is available underground. HOWEVER. Be warned.  If you have a somewhat tallish SUV, the clearance is only 6’1 and unless you want to cause by-standards to run to your vehicle door, flailing arms, mouthing STOP, STOP, and generally making a scene so you don’t slowly and painfully scrape the roof racks off the top of your ride,…. you’ll want to park on the street. Just thought,.. you know.. that I’d mention that.

Ahem.

Moving on, let’s chat briefly about the decor. Let’s just say, I loved it. They seated us by the window  with a nice view that sort of overlooks the river valley and the high level bridge with peeks of the skyline. Rich dark woods, a contemporary decor that’s comfortable and impressive at the same time.

thephork2 phork2

We were seated to the table, and our drink order was taken immediately. Our server came and gave us the info on the specials and what dishes have been popular, which is a nice tip for those who aren’t sure what to order.

phork1

We decided to share a half order of their Crisp Ambrosia Apple and Red Anjou Pear Slaw Salad (gathered greens, Canadian oka, orange and grapefruit & maple citrus vinaigrette) to start, and for our main lunch, I ordered the The Boar Belly Chicken Club (crisp greens, tomato, aged cheddar, bacon mayo) and my nephew ordered The Hand Formed Alberta Bison Burger (Caramelized red onion jam, chiffonade romaine, oven dried tomato, wild mushroom and truffle aioli, water chiabatta bun).

The salad:

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It was crispy and sweet from the apples and pears, and the tartness was nice from the citrus fruit segments. The way they cut the apple and pear in match sticks made it a bit awkward to eat as there’s no way to eat them and still look pretty. Thank God I wasn’t on a date and my nephew thinks I’m awesome regardless of how stupid I look when I eat.

Every bite was different – sweet, tart, and at times you’d get a hit of the Oka cheese, or a salty bite from what I think was finishing salt. All over, the salad was quite nice, but it was BEGGING for some sort of nut. Almonds or walnuts, whatever… please, hear it’s cry and add some nuts!

The Boar Bacon Chicken Club:

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Ok, so first, the crappy news. My sandwich was…….. ho-hum. You know, kinda like when u kiss someone you’re not sure if you’re into. It was nice… but no “wow” factor. The boar bacon was thick and tasty, but when everything was all combined between the bun, it was all one note. Nothing really stood out, the flavors just kinda huddled together and kept to themselves. I’m not saying it was bad, don’t get me wrong. It was nice, juicy, and a popular pick on the menu apparently, but it was kind of the under-achiever of the meal. It should be noted that the fries were damn good, though. Hand cut and not overcooked, sharp, cut-your-mouth-open, little spears – like some places make them.

Ugh.

The Side Ceasar:

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Garrett’s burger came with a side of caesar salad. The romaine was grilled in wedge style and had everything that should be in a caesar salad piled on top of the romaine. He loved it. He said that grilling the romaine added a great flavor and the dressing was rich and flavorful. At one point, he had a larger bite of an anchovy, but it didn’t deter him.

The Bison Burger:

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The burger itself was SUPER moist and juicy, which is impressive being bison – so easy to overcook into a puck. The red onion jam stood up with a nice tarty sweetness against the meatyness of the bison and the bun was soft and chewy. Almost too soft, as both my sandwich and his burger were falling apart as you ate them. No biggie tho. Being as cool as we both are, we rolled with it, and they were thoughtful to toast the bun which ALWAYS makes bread a bit more kick-ass. So honestly saying, with the exception of the fall apart bun, the bison burger was the BEST burger I’ve had in a VERY long time. It’s what burger dreams are made of,  know what I’m sayin’?

It also should be noted that The Phork is open early for us morning lovers (7:30 a.m.) who want breakfast out, and for those who are still awake after 10, they have a late night tapas menu that runs till 2am. Impressive right? Weekends have live music as well.

All in all, I can forgive the kitchy spelling because I REALLY like this place so far. I will definitely be back to check out their dinner menu, see that view at night with all the lights and soft music, and if I drink enough coffee, I might make it to the tapas menu for after ten.

Lastly, this place is perfect for a date night, people. Reasonably priced, great service, good food, and super sexy ambiance. SURELY the recipe to possibly pay off later…. wink wink :)

blueforkinfoodiestamp

The Phork on Urbanspoon

And So It Begins…..

I’ve wanted to start a blog like this for a while now (just ask my oh~so~tired~of~listening~to~it friend; aka Therealness Ross,….. and btw, thank you for listening till your ears bled babe!).

So I finally got off my ass and got my shit together to start this thing. My friends and I….. uhhhh .. yeah, I have friends *eyeroll*….. Sigh. Anywayyyyyy, we enjoy trying different cuisines and restaurants, so I thought, hmmmm…. I LOVE embarrassing the crap out of my friends when I take out my camera to shoot the food (yes, I’m one of THOSE), so why not do something useful with the photos?

Thus springs forth the magical spin of my incredible wit and stunning intellect, along with stunningly beautiful food photography, all combined to become this freakishly wonderful blog. (oh, and Facebook page as well. PLEASE, be a good person and do a good deed, go there and LIKE my page!).

I’m not gonna be a hero and promise to post something every day or even every week for that matter. I’ll post when I have something to talk about, but I hope that you choose to follow me so you don’t miss out on the mind blowing posts that they are…. or maybe they’ll just blow, but regardless, you won’t know unless you follow me, right?

*wink wink* **cheesy finger gun**…….. sigh.

Nevermind, just follow me!