Gourmet Club: Brunch

As I mentioned earlier, our most recent Gourmet Club was the best theme yet: brunch for dinner! I had been looking forward to this night for ages. Sipping mimosas while watching the sunset made this night beautiful and tasty ๐Ÿ™‚

Now for the spread…

There was supposed to be a baked mushroom omelette which would have added a nice savoury component to the meal — but the delicous rosti made up for it:

My friend Jaime did a wonderful job preparing the rosti — don’t they look perfect?

Next up, baked french toast:

Served with a side of glazed strawberries:

Then we had some coconut pancakes,

corn muffins,

fresh berries,

and last but not least, delicious homemade granola (courtesy of Ali ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Thanks ladies for a wonderful evening.

Yours edibly,

Elana

P.S. I prepared the sticky buns, which you can see in the picture of the spread.

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Kale Eatery

My friend Ali and I both share a special love for vegan, gluten-free, raw foods. When Ali told me about Kale Eatery, I was very excited to try it out.

Kale Eatery is probably the only place in Toronto where you can pile a plate high with stews, salads and slime, and feel great about eating it all.

We chose to eat from the salad bar. When colourful food stares me in the eye like that I just really don’t have the patience to order off an a la carte menu.

So this is Ali’s plate:

I am going to try my best to name everything on her plate from memory, from the top, going clockwise: green pea and cucumber salad, squash stew, cole slaw, portobello mushroom and egglant salad, steamed kale and broccoli with tofu miso dressing.

Now my plate:

Clockwise from the top: squash stew, tomato, avocado, and celery salad, portobello mushroom and eggplant salad, tofu, lentil, and leek salad, tofu miso dressing, herbed artichokes, and tofu curry salad in the center.

This place is delicious and nutritious — seriously. If you’re into this sort of thing then you should definitely pay Kale a visit. Although some of the salads were slightly under-seasoned for my taste buds, I have to cut the chefs some slack. It’s not easy making simple, raw food so tasty, and Kale’s selection of salads is pretty good.

You can find the menu on Kale’s website – check it out and let me know what you think.

Yours meatless-ly,

Elana

Birthday BBQ

In celebration of my friend Lynn’s birthday, we decided to have a pot luck barbecue. It was a nice, chilly evening with cheeseburgers, salads, dips, and lots of condiments.

Ali did a marvelous job on the grill, cooking all the beef burgers, chicken burgers, and chicken dogs until they were juicy and tender.

While waiting for our meat to cook, we munched on pita and some amazing dips — courtesy of Sofra.

Clockwise from the top: hummus, eggplant, mystery dip, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki.

Here is a delicious salad with mixed greens, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese — sophisticated and stinky.

Creamy coleslaw — so much better than plain old vinegar coleslaw.

And… more beautiful salads!

From the left: edamame and kale salad, mango salad — with big chunks of mango that everyone thought were butternut squash, and roasted red pepper chick pea salad.

And finally, a delicious quinoa salad.

What would a party be without quinoa?

Quinoa salad with black beans, edamame beans, red pepper, and broccoli — I packed some leftovers for lunch.

Some things I forgot to photograph: beer, condiments, cheese, buns, vinegar coleslaw, chicken dogs — sorry, I must have been so hungry I forgot.

Dessert pictures to come.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Toronto Bakes for Japan

I always say that homemade goodies are the best goodies.

Come show your support for Japan at any of these locations this weekend by buying a homemade goodie from the bake sale.

You can also come visit me at Cafe Amaranto on Sunday where I will be helping out and selling my homemade goodies!

Pictures of what I’m preparing for the bake sale will be up shortly.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Gourmet Club: Mexican Fiesta

I had a jolly ol’ time at the Mexican Fiesta.

Here are some pictures (as promised).

Please excuse the quality of these pics as lighting was poor and stomachs were growling.

Once again…chicken enchiladas!

Mexican salad: black beans, pepper, tomatoes, and corn.

7-Layer Dip: Refried Beans, Salsa, Sour Cream, Taco Seasoned Mayo, Green Onions, Tomatoes, and Cheese

Make your own Nachos: Sour Cream, Guacamole, Cheese, Salsa, Hot Peppers, and Olives

Cheese Quesadillas

Clockwise from the top: Chicken Taquitos, Jalapeno and Cheese Popovers, and Mini Beef Tacos

Stuff I forgot to photograph: Spanish Rice & Margaritas.

Life is just so much better when you eat like a Mexican.

Adios,

Elana

More Craic

On a day trip I took to Wicklow and Glendalough, where P.S. I Love You was filmed, our tour bus stopped off at Avoca. This place is unbelievable.ย  The company is famous for their handwoven scarves, blankets, rugs, and throws, but I loved their beautiful cafe and the amazing selection of food.

AVOCA!

and the Fern House Cafe.

Inside the cafe…

This is the gourmet cafeteria-style eatery!

Sugar Tree Cafe!

Not quite sure what these things are but they look fabulous!

Now for some elegant pastries,

Please take me back.

Where can you get profiteroles like this in Toronto?

Dying…

Drooling…

I can’t take it anymore. Last one.

Thanks AVOCA!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Home Sweet Home (NOT)

That trip just flew by ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But not before I could take some grand pictures! I’m going to be using some Irish slang in my post, see below for translations.

I had some good craic in Dublin.* But Irish food isn’t much to get excited about. To be honest with you, the only places you can really get some real Irish grub is in the pubs — but Dublin has 900 pubs!! So ya, I guess you can get Irish grub on every street corner, but I’m more ofย  restaurant gal and so I ate much more than Irish grub during my time in Dublin.

At one of the Irish pubs/restaurants I visited, I decided to be adventurous and order Clonakilty black pudding. For those of you who don’t know what black pudding is, it’s not at all what you think.

Those big round black things are made from dried pig’s blood! Definitely, one of the craziest things I’ve eaten – but quite tasty ๐Ÿ™‚

I also ordered Irish stew, made with none other than Guinness beer. This dish was good, but I have to admit, I didn’t think it was that grand.

All our dishes were served with Irish soda bread. This bread is very, very dense — it is made with buttermilk and baking soda.

Dublin is so brill! The city’s average age is only 25 years old, mainly because Dub is home to the country’s three largest universities.

Contrary to what you may think, or at least what I originally thought, Irish people aren’t wellied all the time. Irish people are extremely polite and very proper. They would never shout obscenities at women, as drunk Torontonians often do, and they are so friendly!

Now for some non-Irish grub.

This dish here is just an app — pan seared gambas (prawns), with sweet chili dressing, char-grilled courgette, tomato chutney, &ย  basil aioli. This is from a grand restaurant in Monkstown, just outside of Dublin, called Seapoint.

Mmmm, isn’t the presentation beautiful? This is the pan-roasted salmon, fennel fondue, crispy pancetta, tangy saffron mash, and sweet red pepper jus. My mouth is watering…

Especially over this next one…

This is the grilled sea bream, with saute leeks, tapenade mash, tomatoes, capers, and dill beurre blanc.

Finally, whoever said chicken was boring?

Corn-fed chicken, smoked bacon and lemon thyme risotto, buttered spinach, chili, coriander, and ginger jus.

Now I had to ask, why is this restaurant advertising that they use corn-fed chicken?

The chef informed me that they choose to use corn-fed chicken because it produces a juicier, meatier product, which yes, is very true.

After seeing Food Inc. though, I think most of us now know that when farm animals (cows, chicken, etc.) are fed corn, they become much fatter, therefore, producing more meat. However, these animals don’t enjoy eating corn. In fact, they hate it!

They prefer grass – which is why most people are opting to buy grass-fed meats. This is the sustainable option.

I guess Dublin chefs have a lot to learn about the food industry…

  • Brill (Brilliant) – Cool
  • Craic – Fun
  • Grand – Great
  • Wellied – Drunk
  • *I had some good craic (pronounced crack): I had a jolly good time!

That’s all for now, more pictures to come.

Cheers!

Elana