Saturday, 22 December 2012

Fall / Winter Coffee Recipe: Star Anise Latte

Fall & Winter are great times for making specialty coffee. As the temperatures begin to drop warming spices are the way to go.

Star anise is a popular spice in China and Vietnam that has remarkable health properties. If you have a cold, rheumatism or seek good digestion, star anise in a beneficial spice for you.

Known for its licorice flavor, star anise pairs well with maple syrup and other fall spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon. Just remember, a little goes a long way with this potent spice.

Star Anise Latte - Fall / Winter Coffee Recipe for One

Ingredients:
Espresso
Star anise, ground ~1/16 tsp
Cinnamon ~1/8 tsp
Nutmeg ~1/8 tsp
Vanilla extract, 2 - 3 drops
Milk or almond milk

Method:
Fill your portafilter half way with espresso. Add star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add remaining espresso an make your espresso. Froth your milk. Although I consume dairy, I actually prefer to use almond milk in my lattes for its soft, nutty flavor. Add a few drops of vanilla extract to your espresso, sweeten with maple syrup and add your frothed milk. Garnish with a star anise star.

Alternate Method:
If you don't have an espresso machine, don't worry, you can still enjoy a star anise latte. Make coffee using your automatic drip or French press coffee maker. If using a drip, add the star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg to the coffee maker with the coffee. If using a French press, add the spices and the vanilla extract as well. I usually add a little more of the spices when making it this way (but not too much more). Pour your coffee and sweeten with maple syrup. Heat your milk or almond milk, froth with a hand frother and add to your coffee. Garnish with a star anise star.

Happy Brewing!



Thursday, 28 June 2012

Review: Wildside Grill, Tofino BC

A Love-Hate Relationship With Fish

Growing up, my parents tried in vain to get me to eat fish. I couldn't stand the stuff. It smelled fishy and tasted even worse. Eventually they gave it up as a lost cause.

It wasn't until I moved to New Zealand in my mid-twenties that I discovered I don't actually hate fish, I just hate fish when it isn't fresh. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean I was spoiled by all the fresh fish available. During the three years I lived there I tried many different varieties and relished fish several times a week.

One of my favourite memories occurred when I visited Paihia, near the northern tip of the North Island. I had fish 'n chips there that was so fresh, probably only hours out of the water, that it practically melted in my mouth. Seven years later I'm still raving about it!

My fish-eating experiences in New Zealand have basically ruined me for eating fish in most other locales and even in Vancouver I don't eat fish very often these days.


The Wildside Grill: Magnificently Fresh Fish 'n Chips

Recently Hubby, Baby & I were vacationing in Tofino, BC, a gorgeous place with awe-inspiring scenery, amazing rainforest trails and gorgeous beaches. I thought, being right on the water, that this may be a good opportunity to indulge in some fish 'n chips.

The locals recommended the Wildside Grill as THE place for the best fish 'n chips in town.

Hubby & I split two orders of fish 'n chips: the panko crusted salmon and the daily special, tempura battered and panko crusted halibut, caught right off Long Beach. Each order came with fries, house-made tartar sauce and their specialty coleslaw made with apple.

The Food:
Outstanding! Out of this world! Extremely fresh! Those are some of the words that come to mind when I think of this fish. This is fish as it's meant to be, so fresh that it's practically leaping off your plate. I expect I will be talking about this fish experience for years to come.

The portions are generous and the batter is crispy and not too thick. The apple adds a distinct flavour to the coleslaw that is very appealing. Even though I was overly full I finished every last bite. Fish this fresh is too good to waste.

If you're not in the mood for fish 'n chips they also serve a variety of other foods including fish tacos, shrimp 'n chips, pulled pork, salmon, tuna, beef & chicken burgers, seafood gumbo and more.

They are also open for breakfast.

Check out the Wildside Grill Menu.

One of the things I really like about Wildside Grill is that they use local ingredients and they catch the salmon, shrimp and prawns themselves so you know it's fresh.

The Service:
Even though there was a healthy line-up, our order only took ten minutes to prepare. The staff were very friendly and courteous.

The Verdict:
A 'must' when visiting Tofino. Very fresh and great value for money. I'm sad we only discovered the place on our last night in town.



Wildside Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Easy 3 Bean Salad Recipe

Legumes make an ideal healthy snack because they are protein-rich and high in fiber.

Make this easy 3 bean salad and you'll have a healthy snack that you can eat throughout the week.

Ingredients:
540ml (19 fl oz) lima or butter beans
540ml (19 fl oz) chickpeas
398ml 14floz navy beans
I orange bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 English cucumber
2-3 green onions
1/3 tsp each sea salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1/3c olive oil

Directions:
Thoroughly wash and rinse the beans. Dice the cucumber and bell peppers. Slice the green onion into small rings. Combine in a mixing bowl (I like to keep the butter beans aside and add them last. They break apart very easily so too much mixing will result in a butter bean paste). Mix the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder & cayenne pepper in a separate container then drizzle over your bean salad. Mix well and then stir in your butter beans.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Recipe for Mini Quiches

Mini Quiches - Spinach and Cream Cheese
I have been absolutely dying to try this recipe ever since I curated it for my Squidoo lens Recipe for Quiche: Delicious and Easy to Make. This recipe was created by Diane Denny of Jacksonville, Florida and presented on Howdini.com.

What I think is particularly clever about this recipe is that the quiche crust is make from Pillsbury Crescent rolls. You just spray your muffin tin, line each cup with one crescent roll pastry triangle, and off you go. How easy is that?

I decided to make these for brunch recently and I was very pleased with the results. I award this recipe five stars and will definitely be adding this to my repertoire. I served three per person along side crisp bacon strips and fresh pineapple.

Ingredients:

2 cans of garlic dinner crescent rolls (8 triangles each)
1 - 8oz package of softened cream cheese
3 eggs
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1 box - 9oz of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (you will have to squeeze out the water)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Note - I couldn't find garlic flavoured crescent rolls so I used the plain ones and added a little garlic power to the filling.

Method:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Seriously Good Baguette

I love baguette! In general I've been trying to cut back on bread but I've found a baguette that I'll make an exception for. 'Naked Appy Bread' by A Bread Affair is an incredible baguette that is as good, if not better, than any baguette I've had in Paris. My husband and I go through several a week.

A Bread Affair was created in 2006 by master baker Tanya Belanger. She had a desire to make the best tasting and best quality bread in British Columbia and she has succeeded. Each loaf is organic and is lovingly hand crafted by a small group of artisan bakers she has carefully selected and trained herself.

What I love about the Naked Appy Bread (in addition to the taste, of course!) is how versatile it is. It makes a great sandwich, top notch garlic bread, killer appetizers and, on the rare occasion if the loaf doesn't get eaten in the first day or two, it can easily be made into crostini. Lately I've been serving it with stew and it's a super yummy way to sop up all the juices.

The photo above features slices of the Naked Appy Bread with edamame-cilantro-jalepeno hummus, one topped with sundried tomato and artichoke heart, the other with slivered carrot.



A Bread Affair on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Recipe For Quiche

Quiche is such a versatile and easy-to-make dish that can be served for brunch, lunch, dinner or even a quick snack. While you can make the crust from scratch, I think there is no shame in keeping a ready-made pie crust in the freezer for times when you need to whip up a meal in a pinch. This is one of my favourite dishes because it is so easy to make and it tastes impressive.


Yam, Onion & Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients: 1/2 medium onion, 1 small to medium yam or sweet potato, 8-10 field mushrooms, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup milk, pinch of salt and pepper.


Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Thaw your pie shell if using a frozen shell. Chop up the onion, yam and mushroom. I chop the onion into strips, but you can dice it or finely chop it depending on what texture you like best. The yam should be thin enough so that it cooks at the same pace as the onion and mushroom. Heat in a skillet with olive oil until golden brown. Let your filling cool a little and then add to the pie shell. Whisk together the three eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour into the pie shell. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Serve with a salad & enjoy!

For a printable version of this recipe and many other fabulous quiche recipes please visit my Squidoo page Recipe For Quiche: Delicious and Easy to Make.



Sunday, 13 May 2012

What Is Pesto? How Do You Make It?

What Is Pesto?

Pesto is an Italian sauce from the Genoa region derived from fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt & pepper.

Pesto traditionally was used as a flavouring agent for soup but now is best known for use in pasta, sandwiches and wraps. You can use it on pizza, as a marinade for chicken or to add some colour to your scrambled eggs. Green eggs and ham anyone? Combined with yogurt it makes a creamy dip for artichokes (this recipe is cost effective using walnuts in the place of pine nuts).

Pesto was originally made using a mortar and pestle , a technique that was used to maximize the flavour of the basil leaves, but nowadays it is usually made in the food processor.

If you're looking for a traditional pesto recipe, then you'll find a great one at 101Cookbooks called How To Make Pesto Like An Italian Grandmother.

For a fun twist on the original, try Rachael Ray's Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto.


Photo used under Creative Commons from bloggyboulga

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad Recipe

This is one of my favourite salads and is so quick and east to make.  Cherry tomatoes are very flavourful and are also rich in lycopene. Defined as an antioxidant, lycopene helps to prevent diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cataracts while helping to keep skin looking vibrant and youthful.

Although it is not yet scientifically proven, some scientists suggest that the body's absorption of lycopene is increased when tomatoes are in contact with oil. That makes this salad a perfect source for lycopene.

Ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes (1/2 pint per person)
Green Onion (1 per person)
Feta Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Cracked Pepper

Directions:
Chop cherry tomatoes in half and green onion into small segments. Crumble the feta over the salad (I like to use goat feta, but you can use cow or sheep feta as well). Add pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Enjoy!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

What is Aioli? How Do You Make It?

Aioli is a classic French sauce typically made with extra virgin olive oil, egg yolks, garlic, salt and pepper. Aioli is often used to add flavour to sandwiches and wraps or as a dipping sauce for yam fries, veggies, fish or artichokes.

In culinary terms, aioli is an emulsion which is a mixture of two or more ingredients that normally don't coexist. Oil and vinegar or oil and lemon juice are examples of emulsions. In the case of aioli, it is the egg yolk and olive oil that wouldn't normally coexist. But, unlike the previous examples, aioli is a permanent emulsion - it won't separate after time whereas you will always have to shake your salad dressings before each use.

For a relatively quick (it does require a little prep time) and no fuss version using ready made mayonnaise and roasted garlic, check out my Cheater's Aioli recipe.


If you are looking to make your aioli from scratch, then a great article is 'How To Make Mayonnaise, Aioli and Their Derivatives'. Not only will you find out how to make aioli and mayonnaise from scratch, there are also some recipes for salad dressings such as Thousand Island, Blue Cheese, and Ranch Dressing.


Of course, you can also never go wrong with a Jamie Oliver Aioli Recipe.



Photo used under Creative Commons from jules:stonesoup

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Welcome to Embrace the Palate!

Simply put, this is a blog about food.  The enjoyment, appreciation and beauty of food.  In upcoming posts I will be chatting about food, posting some of my own recipes and providing links for some of the best recipes I've found on the web.

Enjoy!