Last week, two small pumpkins came in our Fresh City Farms bag and just like the concord grapes, I had never cooked anything with pumpkins before. Growing up, I saw my mom make pumpkin pie but had never really been interested in making anything with pumpkin because it always looked so complicated.
After looking at a few different recipes (thank god for Martha Stewart sometimes!), I got inspired to make my own pumpkin dishes.
The first recipe I made was a pumpkin, roasted garlic, beemster cheese, concord grape, tomato, avocado and cantaloupe salad. It really took no time to make. The only kind of preparation it took, was cutting up the pumpkin in small cubes and placing them on a cookie sheet. I drizzled a bit of cumin, maple syrup, olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also added a few fresh garlic cloves on the cookie sheet to bake with the pumpkin. I cooked the pumpkin in the oven for 40mins at 350F, I kept adding water throughout so that the pumpkin didn’t dry up. When it got nice and mushy, I took it out of the oven and peeled off the skin.
For the dressing, I just mixed freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and dijon mustard. Contrary to what I was expecting, the pumpkin tasted really soft and sweet. It was delish!
For the second pumpkin recipe, I made a pumpkin and tofu stir-fry with the left over pumpkin I cooked for the salad. I pan fried cubes of tofu, added pineapple pieces, garlic, pumpkin cubes as well as sweet and sour sauce. I cooked everything in the pan until nicely roasted and then placed it on a bed of fresh kale. I was also surprised by how amazing it tasted!
With the leftover seeds I had from the pumpkin, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzled a bit of olive oil on them and spices and baked them in the oven at 350F for 15-20mins. They were the perfect lunch snack for the next day!!
There you have it! Some quick and easy pumpkin recipes. What have you made with pumpkin this fall?
Last week we received our first Fresh City Farms local fruit and veggie bag. I challenged myself to use every single item they gave us, even if the bag contained some items I had never cooked with before.
One of these items was Concorde Grapes. I opted to try a grape spread to serve with cheese as an appetizer on the weekend. It’s super easy to make!
All you need is a big handful of grapes, rosemary, olive oil, sugar and salt.
Rinse the grapes and then place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle 2 teaspoon of olive oil over the grapes. Add a pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of rosemary on the grapes. Also add 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar over the grapes to cut the bitterness.
Place grapes in the oven and cook at 400F for 15-20 minutes or until grapes burst. Once they’ve cooled off you can place them in a bowl.
I opted to serve the grape spread with blue cheese on whole wheat toast but they can be served with burrata cheese, compté or any type of cheese you like. The strong taste of blue cheese fit perfectly with the sweetness of the grapes! It was a succulant appetizer to kick off a Saturday night meal. Hope you’ll enjoy 🙂
Happy Hump Day! What’s on the program for your Wednesday?
The weekend is approaching fast. I get to stay in Toronto again! This weekend is the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, basically a free all-night contemporary art event happening all around the city. I think what makes me the most excited about Nuit Blanche is all the food trucks that are going to be parked around the city. Though there isn’t a specific food truck event happening this year, I’m looking forward to checking out a bunch of different vendors for some late night snacks. Check out the list here. Any exhibits that you gotta check out this year?
The other night Offner came home with what he thought was pumpkin but turns out it was Asian Squash. I had never made anything with Asian squash or squash in general so I took it upon myself to find a way to make it.
I looked up a few recipes but ended up mixing a bunch of them together to create my own. Surprisingly, it turned out great!
Here’s what I did:
I pre-heated the oven at 350 degrees.
I cut up the squash in small 2 inch slices and put them on a baking sheet. I lightly drizzled 0live oil over them, added a bunch of different spices (salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thym) and also drizzle a bit of natural maple syrup (I put maple syrup in pretty much everything I make ;)) on top.
I then baked the squash for roughly 40mins, basically until they were soft.
Another super healthy snack idea or good vegetable to accompany any meal.
I love finally being home for a few weeks. This will allow me to start cooking a whole lot more. One of my recent favorite snacks, is homemade Kale Chips. Though I love getting some at the store, there’s nothing quite like making your own.
Wednesday I received a whole bunch of kale in my Fresh City Farms basket and decided to make some yummy kale chips to go with my dinner last night. They are SUPER easy to make 🙂
All you have to do is pre-heat the oven at 350, cut up kale in small pieces.
Drizzle olive oil or as I did, flavored olive oil (I went for the hot pepper oil) over the kale and add salt and pepper. Some people also add yeast to the kale to add a crunchier texture but I find that they taste fine without it too!
Put it in the oven for 10-15mins, until cripsy and dark green.
Yesterday we received our first ever Fresh City Farms vegetable and fruit bag, from local organic farmers in Ontario. I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this before. For $30 a week, they deliver right to your doorstep a bag filled with seasonal fruits and veggies. You can also add a bunch of extras to your bag: cheese, honey, fresh bread, etc. They also give you some sample recipes every week, recipes for the fruits and veggies in your bag. What’s great about getting a different bag each week is that it forces you to not only eat healthy but also helps you be more creative with the food you make. Plus, being someone who eats a lot of fruits and veggies every day, I find that this makes it a lot cheaper.
So last night, I used some of the veggies we had received to make my first ever homemade pottage. It really didn’t take long! I basically just boiled a bunch of veggies from the bag (leek, brocoli, mushrooms, tomatos, garlic), added a few spices, a bit of oil and olive juice, a touch of almond milk and blended everything up. Voilà! Perfect for the fall!
It’s now pant weather again! Feels good to take out some of my favs from last season. Seems like I’m not the only one who’s stoked about fall fashion. One of the things I’m most excited about this season, are all the rad jackets that are coming out. Here are some of my favorite jackets for the fall… Wish I could get them all! AHH they are so heavenly!!
1) MLLE Mademoiselle Rumi Leopard Biker Jacket (get it here)
2) VEDA x Pamela Love special collaboration (get it here)
Two weekends ago I was able to spend a few days in Miami. My last visit to Miami dates back to last November but I had only spent 48hrs in this tropical wonderland. Growing up in Quebec, Florida was always a very popular destination for my family in the winter. I think my first ever trip as a baby was to Orlando when I was just a few months old. I’ve done the Orlando/Disney trip a handful of times, stayed in West Palm Beach with my grand-ma, went to Fort Lauderdale a few times but hadn’t spent too much time in Miami before.
So I was really happy to have more quality time there to discover some of the city’s hotspots.
Summer isn’t necessarily the best time of year to head to Miami, that’s when it tends to rain a lot just because it gets so humid and hot. We got lucky with the weather, it only rained one morning out of four and a half days. It was 42+ celsius and sunny the whole time.
We spent most of our time at the beach, the water was SO warm! It is also really clear and the ocean floor is soft and sandy, so you can see all sorts of tropical fish swimming around you. It’s beautiful! Though a little pricey – $50 a day for two chairs and a parasol but you can come and go as you please the entire day, we made sure to protect ourselves from the hot sand and intense sun. There’s really nothing quite like swimming in the ocean. It’s oh so relaxing!!
I was able to do a little bit of shopping while I was there. My two favorite spots are: Collins Ave. (where you’ll find everything from Zara to LF, to Armani, etc.) and also the pedestrian outdoor shopping area on Lincoln Road.
I’m a huge fan of Art Deco so seeing all the different art deco hotels, buildings, clubs, museums, etc. are so amusing to me. We took the time to visit one of their Art Deco themed museum – the Wolfsonian FIU, located on Washington Ave. They had interesting collections on women and sports, Zeppelins, Art Deco, Architecture, etc. It’s only $7 per person and will take 1-2 hours of your time.
3 favorite places to eat:
The Dutch – is located in the W Hotel in South Beach. They offered a brilliant fall fixed price menu with one appetizer, one main and a dessert. Everything everyone had there was absolutely to die for! The wine selection was also top notch! The vibe of the place was cozy yet stylish, the staff was knowledgeable and super helpful. I loved my dinner there and can’t wait to go back!
Otentic – I officially found the best cheese platter in Miami. This small restaurant located on Washington Ave. makes typical French dishes. I loved drinking a Monaco (beer & grenadine drink), their charcuterie boards and salads are also killer. They make a mean chocolate mousse! I love their attention to detail, offering customers a free glass of white wine and tapenade as soon as you walk in. The owner Aurélien (yup, same name as Offner!) is super young and friendly. A must!
The Forge – Loved eating at this over the top Art Deco inspired restaurant. The atmosphere was young, hip and fun! The styling of the place was unreal. They had a special on Veuve Clicquot champagne the night we went so if you ordered a glass of champagne at the bar, they would serve you unlimited appetizers. Unreal! The food was also heavenly. They had very tasty bread baskets and a fabulous selection of wine. I had the soup and grilled cheese, Offner had the burger and his parents, the biggest steak I’ve ever seen! Their little dessert tray was also yummy. It’s a festive place with loud music so if you’re looking for a quieter spot, this may not be the place for you!
Now for something completely different, the 11th Street Diner located on Washington and 11th Street is also a superb place to grab some quick breakfast or lunch. It’s the original building that was constructed in 1948 in New Jersey that they moved to Miami in the 1990s.
A bar to check out:
The Broken Shaker – is located in the hip Freehand Miami hostel. Offner always loves checking out up and coming bars in every city we visit. He had heard of this place because of their original handcrafted drinks made from ingredients, herbs & spices directly taken from the place’s garden. We tasted their savory sweet and spicy homemade punch. They also had a tremendous outdoor garden/patio with a pool, lot’s of fun seating areas, little lights, trees, ping pong tables, etc.
(photo credit: The LA Times)
Finally, if you’re looking for a cool morning or afternoon excursion, I highly recommend taking a trip to the everglades at the Everglades Safari Park. I’m not one to do too many touristy things on vacation but this was really well organized, informative and fun. For $40, they take you from South Beach (the location of your choice) on a 40min bus ride to the everglade national park. You then go on a 45min airboat tour where they teach you about the different species of snakes, alligators, wildlife, etc. in the national park. That is followed by an informative alligator demonstration (no one wrestles with alligators!) and time to walk around their sanctuary where you can see all sorts of alligators, crocodiles, lizards, etc. They then take you back to your hotel in South Beach. Honestly, well worth the money and super amusing!
Our time in Miami went by SO fast! With it only being a 3hr flight from Toronto, it’s the perfect long weekend destination! Can’t wait to go back soon!
Last week, my boyfriend and I decided to do a raw food and juice cleanse (read a recap here) after our California adventure. The whole time I was cleansing, all I kept thinking about was cheese. I have a mild severe adoration for cheese and not just any type of cheese – the stronger and the stinkier, the better 🙂
During my cleanse, I asked the twitterverse to recommend the best cheese platter in Toronto. Though I’ve tried many cheese boards in the city, they’re usually always overpriced, aren’t that tasty or original and satisfying. The Terroni cheese platter is probably the best for quality vs. price and you know that you’ll be getting more than just an ounce of cheese. Plus, their accoutrements are always fantastic. However, Toronto cheese platters always fall short of what you can find in Quebec and obviously France. I still can’t get over the fact that you can get four full cheeses in France for 8 Euros and here, they charge $24 for 4oz of cheese! Absurd!
Blame my French blood, but if I’m going to dish out $24 for a cheese board it better be damn good or I’d be better off just making my own (which we do quite often…)
The top recommendation on twitter was Glas Winebar in Leslieville. A quaint little restaurant on Queen East. So I figured I’d give it a shot!
It was really easy to make a reservation for the restaurant, I was able to reserve just by tweeting at them. Though it may not look like much from the outside, the atmosphere in the restaurant is warm, welcoming and cozy. Right when we got there, the chef Danny Pantano came up and introduced himself and thanked us for coming. He explained the current menu, cheese platter, etc. He was very friendly and seemed like a really smart and business-savvy owner. He explained that he opened the restaurant last year after having spent several years cooking in Europe, he wanted to finally have his own place and bring Italian and French cuisine to the city.
The meal started with a free amuse-bouche: some roasted and seasoned nuts and olives. We both ordered a glass of local Ontario wine.
The meal continued with a citrus marinated kale salad with wine soaked raisins and parmesan shavings for myself. My boyfriend ordered a beef tartar. Danny carefully selects the products and items on his menu, making sure they’re either all local, sustainable and organic. He also changes his menu very frequently.
The long awaited cheese board then arrived with a selection of 5 local cheeses. To be honest, the cheeses all had an interesting and original taste, some were smoked, others were garnished with different toppings. For the price, 5 great cheeses for $20, you can’t really go wrong in this city! They were also accompanied by some delicious compote and jam. Yummy!!
Danny offered us a sweet homemade sorbet with blueberrys on the bottom. It was the perfect way to end the meal!
We spent more time talking with Danny at the end of our meal, he went around the tables of his restaurant making sure that everyone had enjoyed their meals.
Though it may not be France and strong original cheeses aren’t as readily available in Toronto, I can definitely say that Glas Winebar offered an excellent selection for a great price!
We will definitely be making it back to the east end for another platter someday soon! Thanks Danny and you all for the good recommendation 🙂
Since my cleanse last week, I’ve been staying as healthy as possible, making most meals myself and eating lot’s of fruits and veggies every day. Last night, I made a pretty great salad with apples, almonds, blue benedictin cheese, beets, avocado, cucumber, fresh mint and homemade dressing (olive oil, red grape vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper). It was absolutely delicious! Nothing more refreshing than a light salad in the evening!
I’ve been spending my Friday in meetings and shooting new promos for season 2 of BRBR. For the promos, I decided to wear the lovely new dress that Offner surprised me with earlier in the week. I’ve never owned any French Connection items, so I’m thrilled to finally have one of their lovely dresses in my closet. I’m not gonna lie, he has pretty amazing taste for a man. I’m a very lucky woman!
I’m off to Ottawa for 24hrs and then back for a few days before I leave for some more festival coverage in Northern Quebec. Looking forward to a nice dinner and brunch with friends on the weekend. What are your plans?
Happy Thursday! What a crazy day of shooting it was yesterday! I was completely exhausted after work so I headed to my favorite place for comfort food in the city – when I say comfort food, I don’t mean burgers and fries, I mean a good cheese platter 😉 Terroni has a great and affordable cheese platter with little jams and homemade croutons. I love combining that with their Giuggiolosa salad and a good glass of red wine, the perfect way to end the day!
Yesterday, the lovely ladies of Uranium in Montreal sent me some goodies from their new fall collection so it was only fitting that I wore some of them for our pilot shoot today. Love love my new “Tripple Thick Ring” and my “Glazing” necklace. The items will be available for purchase on their website very soon! Thanks to Lynne Ryan for the lovely makeup today, she’s the sweetest!
Uranium White Stripes tee (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)
Uranium Glazing necklace (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)
Uranium Tripple Thick Ring (from the upcoming Fall 2013 collection)