Wow…

So after starting our day at 4:00am, we made it into Belize! We filled our tummies, set up the space and sat under the stars in the hot tub.

Waking up this morning to the sound of the ocean is so amazing.

The team’s assembled and Colleen, Brett and I are so ready to take on Belize Feb 2013 yoga retreat!!,

  07:38 am, by katewmak  Comments

There’s something that’s comforting to me when it comes to a bowl of instant noodles. Reminds me of mom, grandma and home.

  04:51 pm, by katewmak  Comments

Recipe - Wild rice & Mushroom croquettes

cafe Liz
Photo credit: Cafe Liz (http://food.lizsteinberg.com)
Our wonderful karma supervisor, Lise (@902LMR) is an insanely great cook and a knitter extraordinaire. Really, her food is up there on a restaurant level and her knitting is something you’d see in a store.
Here is a recipe she has shared with me that I thought you might enjoy… AND it’s cleanse diet friendly (minus the mushrooms but as Lise said, there are so few it’s alright to indulge). Keep reading for Lise’s recipe below and her cliff notes along the way!
Let me or Lise know what you think!! :D
Wild Rice & mushroom croquettes served on a bed of pureed sweet potatoes with a roasted tomato sauce
 
Ingredients:
- 1c wild rice
- 2c water
- 5 or 6 large roma tomatoes
- 1/2cup chopped green onion
- tiny sprinkle of sea salt
- 7 brown or white button mushrooms
- 1/4 small red onion
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4c spelt flour for the wildrice/mushroom mixture
- 50g crumbled feta (or to taste… I probably would add more next time… or use Parmiggiano- Reggiano or Asiago)
- clove, allspice, pepper, rosemary, garlic for spices along the way
- 1/4c Almond milk for potatoes, and 1/2c almond milk for dredging croquettes
- 3/4c spelt grain bread crumbs
- 1/2c spelt grain flour for dredging  
- 1c frying oil: (I used sunflower)
- more chopped green onion for garnish
 
Step one:
1c wild rice
2c water
(bring water and rice to boil and then cover - simmer for 40minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed… remove from heat source and let stand for five minutes… uncover and fluff with fork
 
Step two:
One large sweet potatoe - peeled and chopped
- put into pot with water on the stove and boil until sweet potato is soft and mashable :)
- add 1 Tbsp real unsalted butter, and 1/2c almond milk, dash of clove and allspice (just a small amount)
- pepper to taste (no salt)
- mash and stir around until the potato mixture is smooth (or you can use a hand mixer to make it ultra smooth)
 
While rice is cooking
- cut 5 or 6 roma tomatoes in half and roast in a 405degree oven until skins start to peel back
-when done, remove skins and put tomatoes, green onions and touch of salt in a blender with about 1/2c of water… blend until smooth
- dice 7 brown button mushrooms and 1/4 of a small red onion: sautee in pan with minced garlic, pepper and rosemary… place in large mixing bowl when done.  Add about 50g of crumbled feta/parm/asiago when mushroom/onion mixture cools down
- when rice is done cooking and has cooled slightly add to mushroom mixture
- add 1/4c - 1/2c spelt flour and the 2 egg yolks to this mixture (you want it to be able to stick together)
- place frying oil in deep pan and bring to heat over medium high temperature…. you want everything to sizzle when you put it in the pan otherwise it will fall apart :) )
 
- form mixture into 1.5inch disks and dredge… first roll in spelt flour coating the disk… then dip into the almond milk and then roll in the spelt grain bread crumbs covering the whole disk…
- place into hot oil and cook until golden brown and then flip… cook until golden brown… remove from oil and place on a plate with a paper towel (to absorb excess oil)
- my pan can cook three at a time… you want to be able to cook the croquettes without one touching the other……
 
To plate:
 
Place about 2tbsp of sweet potato puree in the centre of the plate and smoosh to make a nice .5inch think circle…. place fried croquettes on top (two or three per plate depending on the size you actually get) and top with tomato sauce
Garnish with a beautiful green onion because otherwise the plate looks really yellowy and drab… lol not very rainbow like… I’ll have to work on that part
 
We ate this alongside a sliced salad of fennel, red onion and honeycrisp apple with a sweet lemon thyme dressing and sunflower seeds.

I think Ive covered all of the bases
 
Enjoy!!!
01:16 pm, by katewmak  Comments

Recipe - Masala Chai

tea

Here’s a story for you. 

Back in university, I started developing a serious fancy towards chai. That was getting to be an expensive habit… especially as a poor university student. I had an East Indian friend reprimand me for spending so much money on something and asked why I didn’t just make myself a to-go mug before leaving home. 

I thought, he’s right! So I went to the grocery store and bought myself a package of “chai” tea. The morning after, I steeped myself a tea bag in my to-go mug, added the milk and sugar and off I was to uni. Upon tasting it, it still didn’t match the Starbucks variation I was getting. Regardless, I was proud to show my friend that it was in fact a to-go mug and not a Starbucks cup. 

The conversation went something like this…

K: Look! I made my own cup of tea today… aren’t you proud of me?

S: Good. Now you don’t have to spend so much money. *double take at the mug with the tea bag string hanging out*

K: What?

S: KATE!!! Did you buy the pre-made chai?

K: How else am I supposed to make chai tea?

S: First of all, chai means tea. When you say chai tea, you are saying tea tea. Masala means spiced so you are referring to masala chai. 

Anyways… long story short… I was taught how to make Indian tea. ha! 

Here’s how you’ll do it… 

Masala Chai

  • Orange pekoe tea 1 tea bag
  • Cloves 4-7
  • Cardamon (the green pods) 1-2 (squished open)
  • Cinnamon 1 stick
  • Black peppercorns 2-4
  • Milk to taste
  • Sugar to taste

1. In a small pot, bring a generous mug of water to boil with the tea bag, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon and black peppercorns. 

2. When the tea is to your taste, add the sugar and the milk.

3. Strain off the loose bits and enjoy your masala chai!

tea2

10:52 pm, by katewmak  Comments

Shikiji

shikiji

Shikiji, a small restaurant tucked on the side of centre street and a hop, skip and jump from the transcanada highway… I’ve been coming here for years now. I wouldn’t list this as my “go-to” place for amazing sushi but I would list it as my “go-to” place for noodles ranging from soba, udon and ramen. I find it much better, actually way better, than Muku, Globefish’s second venture. 

The service has ALWAYS been amazing… always! In the years that I have been there, this has never changed. 

In terms of eating here at night, the prices go up substantially and while i wouldn’t mind paying but I don’t think the price matches the quality or creativity from places like Towa and Kawa (die-hard Sushi kawa fan). There have been only a handful of times I have come to eat here at night and usually it’s because a friend has chosen it. But, if I’m there for dinner, I will venture off their sushi menu and explore their other options like donburis and noodles. I do love their ten don and find the tempura perfectly cooked with the right amount of crunch. I’m still looking for the perfect katsu don that I used to eat all over in Japan… I still haven’t found anything similar but Shikiji probably has the version that looks like it at least. I’m probably much too picky and have glorified the authentic Japanese katsu don. Their noodles are spectacular and I would say this is their claim to fame! The udon, miso ramen and soba are wonderful. It’s the closest I have come to the noodles I’ve had in Japan in this city of ours.

There’s no hate for Shikiji of course… I am probably once or twice a month for lunch (sometimes more). It is the place to go for some of my co-working yogis after teaching given the proximity from Sanguine Yoga and Yoga Santosha. Their bento box is just about $12 for rice, miso soup, salad, two pieces of sashimi, two small sections of a maki roll and two pieces of sushi (salmon, tuna). While it’s not a lot, it’s enough and the quality is there as well as the convenience of the location. 

The rolls that I have ventured to get include the seasonal autumn crunchy roll which sports a tempura battered yam across the top, avocado and salmon (I couldn’t see or taste it). So for me, thumbs down on this roll… I will say however I am extremely bias and fiercely loyal to Sushi Kawa. I do love their calamari roll though… they have really perfected their deep fried items. It’s never too greasy, heavy, thick or soggy. So thumbs up for this one. The sushi itself is really fresh which I can’t say for other sushi places all the time… especially the bentos. Usually, I find restaurants will try to pawn off their old fish in the bentos which is definitely not appreciated.

So conclusion? 

I still go there… I like the convenience of the location… I like the freshness of the bento and I like their noodles. I would say this place is known for their noodles though and not their sushi. 

Bon appetit friends!!

Shikiji Japanese Noodles and Sushi on Urbanspoon

08:40 pm, by katewmak  Comments

Dairylane

dairylane

A long time fan of Dairylane, located in Hillhurst on 19th street and 3rd ave. During my days in the lab I often came here to take extended lunch breaks with fellow lab rat friends. Be prepared to arrive very early on the weekends or to wait 15 - 30 minutes for a table if you sleep in. The wait staff and the food is always exceptional! You can enjoy a coffee while you wait for your seat and enjoy conversation with your friends or catch up on some reading. Full parties must be there to be seated or you run the risk of losing your table to the one after you. 

Let’s talk food… pictured above is the breakfast burrito with the option of breakfast sausage or spicy chorizo to be added (I opted for the latter). The hash browns that come with it are great, I just wish there were more of them. 

I’ve had their carribean jerk vegan scramble after watching many people get it over the course of two years and finally decided to have it. I was pleasantly surprised that the vegan counterpart to the other breakfast options was just as tasty. You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy it and would suggest that everybody give it a go.

While the eggs benedict is good, I wouldn’t say that it’s my favourite thing to get at Dairylane. It doesn’t really stick out in my mind as something memorable.

However, what *IS* memorable to me and one of the reasons I keep going back is because of their burgers. They are absolutely amazing… while it is no longer offered, their three cheese pork burger used to be my absolute favourite! Their milkshakes are great and even good to share between two people as it is both rich and generous in portion. 

The prices run the same as other breakfast joints around town… $13 - 15 with coffee at ~$3. While the price is a bit higher, it’s also on par with the other peeps. 

In any case, enjoy the eats peeps!!!

Dairy Lane Cafe on Urbanspoon

10:38 pm, by katewmak  Comments

The Coup

whitechoco

More specifically… The Coup white chocolate cheesecake

It is my absolute favourite and I love how each time you go, it’s always going to be a surprise. You always have the white chocolate cheesecake base but from there the chefs get creative and change it up. 

I was hooked the first time with their blueberry white chocolate cheesecake with what seemed like honey drizzled over the surface. It was perfection down to the creamy texture and the perfect crunchy crust and while I’ve been waiting for it to come back again I have not had the luck to run into it again. I’ve also had strange flavours like their chocolate balsamic version with chocolate balsamic reduction drizzled over and garnished with a mint leaf. While this one was not quite to my liking, I have to commend them for thinking outside the box and trying two combinations that don’t typically go together. Their Saskatoon berry edition was also quite nice (berries and cheesecake are always good) but found it made the cake a little more on the wet side. I’ve also had the chocolate chip variation which is pretty plain but pretty good too. I’ve had their creme brulee once and believe it was lavender creme brulee but was disappointed for the first time when it came to desserts there… the portion was tiny (points for creativity in serving it in a tea cup though) and my main complaint was the creme brulee was seemingly cooked too quickly, didn’t have sufficient water in their water bath, didn’t get even heating (tea cup) or got contaminated with egg whites because it was really lumpy instead of the smooth luscious custard typically found under the shell of caramelized sugar.

I’ve also been in to get their messy janefalafel quesadilla, dragon bowl as well as rabbit pâté and yam fries paired with an iced maple macha. While their vegetarian fare has wonderful taste and variety for meat eaters, I would say that the prices are definitely a little bit more for what you get. I’m happy with what I order when I eat there with the falafel quesadilla as my favourite to order it is definitely the white chocolate cheesecake that continues to bring me back to The Coup.

A friendly note to you… they get quite busy and if your entire party is not present, your name is skipped and the next group will get your table. So to your tardy friends, tell them to show up on time! You can of course, always head into Meet, which offers The Coup appetizers, drinks and desserts while you wait for a table.  

Have fun! Bon appetit fellow hungry caterpillars! 

The Coup on Urbanspoon

02:08 pm, by katewmak 2  |  Comments

Vendome

Tucked away in Kensington is this renovated cafè (formerally, the Heartland cafè). I came here after having a few bites from a variety of sweet things a friend brought.

Pictured is their salted caramel chocolate tart. I generally do not like chocolate flavored things and for me sing praises should definitely help illustrate just how seriously wonderful this is. Decadently rich, perfectly smooth thick and luscious. You hit the sticky salted caramel as you dig the fork down into the buttery tart. It’s layered on the bottom layer but doesn’t cause the tart to lose the flaky texture.

Go! Have a cup of coffee and enjoy some decadence by yourself or with a friend!

  11:45 pm, by katewmak  Comments

Dough

donut1 donut2

The donut is certainly nudging the cupcake out of the spotlight and Dough is bringing that kind of donut to you.

From the outside, it looks like a quaint neighbourhood bakery. And of course it is, but bringing you a simple but well made version of the artisan donuts coming into the epicurean’s world.

They are priced at $2 a piece but it is a very generous size that probably equates to nearly two Tim Horton doughnuts. It’s been much to the delight of my tummy to try a few of these over the course of a few days. Dulce de leche, chocolate earl grey, cafe au lait, chocolate, lemon poppyseed and the lemon meringue. Out of those, I’d say the cafe au lait stands out the most and will be the one that keeps me coming back to Dough.

So let’s talk about it, the donut itself is light and so soft that even taking it out of the bag seems like a delicate task. The cafe au lait dipping was perfection with bits of cinnamon like crumble stuck on the top. The light plain donut plays nicely to balance the sweet icing which is definitely one for the sweet tooths out there. The dulce de leche donut was sprinkled with silvered almonds and much like it’s cafe au lait cousin… The icing is pretty sweet and having two in one sitting definitely does send you over the moon on sugar. This dipping reminds me of a childhood candy and is a very good representation to the dulce de leches I have had in Mexico and South America. I love the almonds on top for the texture and taste! The lemon meringue donut takes the cake… Piled high with drama and taste. The huge fluffy cloud of meringue lightly toasted on the sides and the tart lemon curd deep inside the donut. Yum! It’s not my first choice but it’s still very delicious. I’ll have to let my readers know of this strange tidbit about me. Maybe you’ll agree? I absolutely love chocolate to the ends of the Earth! But when it comes to chocolate flavored things, I’m not a big fan. Chocolate cake, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate cheesecake, etc… So, I got the chocolate Earl grey because the Earl grey is the flavor I was intrigued by. The hint of Earl grey was there in the chocolate but wish that it was more pronounced so that chocolate was the background flavor as opposed to the dominant. It was still good but my next visit will likely bring me back to good old cafe au lait. The lemon poppyseed is wonderful and slightly tart with poppyseeds sprinkled in the dipping. I would have liked to have the poppyseed in the actual donut as I have had in my own hometown Calgary. 

Other flavours I can recall off the top of my head include hibiscus, blood orange, nutella (presumably a fave since they were all gone), coconut, sugar cinnamon, plain glazed, lemon poppy, passionfruit and of course classic chocolate. Grab one with your daily cup of joe and you won’t be disappointed.

Dough on Urbanspoon

02:38 pm, by katewmak 1  |  Comments

Five Leaves

Five leavesBustling with people and delicious food! My friend told me that the late and talented, Heath Ledger, was a part owner to this place.

The menu is simple but when good food stands for itself, you don’t have to complicate matters… Do you? We went for breakfast and had the sage scrambled eggs. It was delectable! The eggs perfectly fluffy but creamy with parts of ooey cheddar cheese throughout. Sharp enough to distinguish but not so much that the egg gets drowned out. The bun the eggs were served on had a spread of this mayo-like concoction that added to the creaminess of the eggs.

It says panini on the menu but it resembled a crusty bun to me with the crunch and rounded crust with the soft bread on the inside. Served with homemade spicy tomato jam… It was perfect. I added a side of avocado while my friend got the side of kale. Both were great compliments to the sage scramble. You get the full avocado, lightly drizzled with oil and seasoned. The kale, perfectly cooked and lightly seasoned. They serve dinner too so hopefully I return one day again to make my tummy happy!

Five Leaves on Urbanspoon

03:34 pm, by katewmak  Comments