Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #57: Say Cheese!

(halloumi, watermelon, anise hyssop, pumpkin seeds,
pickled onion at Beast Restaurant)

View my full Beast Restaurant photo set here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stir-Fried Pork and Pickled Watermelon Rind

I love the combination of sweet and sour. The taste buds see-saw back and forth between the sweet and the acidic before coming together to create a harmonious balance. The Chinese certainly aren't afraid of mixing together opposing flavours. Bitter and salty. Salty and sweet. And of course, sweet and sour.


I made a batch of pickled watermelon rinds late last summer and was delighted to come across a jar, forgotten, in the back of my fridge. They were still edible (yeah!), still crunchy (double yeah!), and delicious after having a whole year to soak up the flavours of the spiced pickling liquid. I couldn't wait to stir-fry these with some pork.

It's not very common to stir-fry with pickled watermelon rinds, although my mom has made it once or twice in my recollection when we had some on hand. More commonly though, a dish like this is made with pickled ginger or preserved mustard greens. However, give it a whirl if you do have some pickled watermelon rinds on hand. It gives the same sweet and sour effect, and the slight crunchiness from the rinds adds some great textural elements to the dish overall. It's a surprisingly delicious dish, and the sauce is fabulous drizzled over steamed rice.


Stir-Fried Pork and Pickled Watermelon Rind
Serves 2 to 3

For the marinade:
150 to 200 g pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing cooking wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup pickled watermelon rind, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of the pickling liquid
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 dried red chillies
2 stalks green onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Combine the sliced pork and marinade ingredients in a small, non-reactive bowl. Set aside and allow to marinade for half an hour.

Heat some oil over medium heat in a wok or a saute pan until hot, then add the sliced garlic and dried red chilli, breaking it apart as you at it to the pan. Cook until fragrant and the garlic begins to brown, about 30 seconds. Add the marinaded pork and continue to cook until the pork is just about cooked through.

Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, pickling liquid and pickled watermelon rind and stir to combine. Allow the rinds to just warm up and the sauce to thicken. Stir through the green onions and turn off the heat. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

raspberry lemon cupcakes_03

It was my friend's birthday this past week, and she's a huge fan of cupcakes, so naturally, I had to bake her a batch. While chocolate cupcakes kept creeping up in my mind as I was deciding what kind of cupcakes to make her, I opted for something lighter and fruitier to celebrate what is left of the summer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #56: Linda


Monday, August 22, 2011

#FoodTruckEats Part 2


It came upon us once again. Food Truck Eats. The inaugural event back in early July brought out over 3500 people to the Distillery District in Toronto to sample some gourmet food truck fare. The second one promised to be bigger and better and it did not disappoint. Thirteen trucks and fourteen vendors (plus a "secret" vendor) were on hand this past Saturday to feed thousands of hungry Torontonians.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peaches and Cream Pop Tarts

pop tarts_03

The peach love continues this week with some awesome breakfast pastries. Pop tarts have been on my list of things to bake for some time now. Yes, I admit to having eaten them as a kid. I remember the foil packaging, the variety of flavours, and the fake, fake taste. I think I liked the Strawberry flavour the best, mainly because of the rainbow sprinkles dotting the white icing. Yeah...I ate with my eyes back in the day...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #55: WVRST


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Eggplant is one of those vegetables that you either love it or hate it. I'm of the former camp. There's something so comforting about eggplant cooked down to a silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture. And because eggplant doesn't have much flavour itself, it's the perfect sponge to soak up any spices you decide to add it.

sweet sour eggplant_01

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sweet Corn Pancakes

It has been ages since I've made pancakes, which is odd considering I'd list pancakes in my top 10 list of favourite things to eat. It's one of my ultimate comfort foods, and I'm always eager to try out new flavours and different flour combinations.

corn pancakes_01

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #54: Soft Shell Po'Boy

soft shell poboy_02
(The #softshellsaturday special on Aug. 6, 2011 from Porchetta & Co.)

soft shell poboy

Monday, August 8, 2011

Taco Fiesta


I think most of us had the misfortune of being introduced to tacos in the form of those supermarket taco kits as a kid. I certainly was, and while they were a lot of fun as a kid, they certainly did not do any justice to the gourmet tacos I've been lucky to have in the past few years. Also, I much prefer a soft shell taco. Hard shell tacos can be a little awkward to eat at times, and when the shell breaks at the wrong place, then you end up with filling everywhere.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Sweeter Side of Peaches


The other day, I posted about peaches being highlighted in savoury dishes. Today, we take a sweeter look at peaches. I love baking with stone fruits. They hold up so well after being exposed to the elements of heat, and their flavours get intensified. Making the most of all the fruits I recently picked, I made a summer fruit crisp with peaches, apricots, cherries, and handful of blueberries for good measure.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #53: El Gastronomo Vagabundo

el gastro_01
(Check out El Gastronomo every weekend at Flat Rock Cellars, or at Food Truck Eats at the Distillery District on August 20th.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peaches Galore!


I have been basking in sweet, juicy Ontario peaches all this week. It's perhaps one of my favourite summer fruits and one of the representative fruits of summer in my opinion (along with cherries). My friend and I went peach picking in the Niagara region last weekend, which resulted in me coming home with 27 pounds of fruit. With so much fruit, super hot weather, no A/C, and only one person, I had to get through this fruit fast before it spoiled. So if I wasn't preserving peaches, then I was eating them or working them into my weekly menu.

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