Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lazy Deconstructed Cabbage Rolls

With time going as fast as the speed of light in these modern days it seems we have less time to spend in the kitchen so we have to find ways to still feed ourselves well whether it's getting take-out meals or cooking something up fast at home.

I attend a lot of events and most of the time the food is heavy on the fat, salt, sugar and light on the old home comfort food.  I have been craving old school comfort food more and more lately.  Maybe it's my age and the fact that I am surrounded by Asian Food in my neighbourhood so I just want a little retro food every now and then.

When I was living with my brother he found some recipe for deconstructed cabbage rolls.  My brother is very lazy and he made the recipe and kind of butchered it but it still tasted pretty good.  I wouldn't say that all of the things he made came out that well.  So it stuck with me as a great way to have Cabbage Rolls without all the boiling and rolling.  I call it Lazy Cabbage Rolls because when I told a coworker who is Eastern European she said they call it Lazy Cabbage Rolls.

I don't have the recipe and I decided to wing it my way this week and it turned out amazing so I decided to share it with you.

It's basically a One Pot meal.  If you have a Dutch Oven (Le Creuset) or similar that is ideal but I am sure you can find a casserole dish and make some adjustments.



1/2 head of White Cabbage (cubed)
1 can of chopped Tomatoes
1 pound of  ground Beef/pork mixture
2 Italian Sausages (uncooked and remove casing)
1 small onion
1 cup parboiled rice (uncooked)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp paprika
1/2- 1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 -1/2 cups water or stock
1 tbsp Canola Oil
1Tbsp butter


Cut the Cabbage into cubes about 1 inch and rinse and set aside.
Cut the onions into small diced pieces and set aside.  Chop garlic and reserve.
Open your can of tomatoes and set aside.

In a Large Dutch Oven heat it on medium to high heat on the stove,  I used my Le Creuset Pot because it's oven proof and you can brown the meat in it before putting everything in the oven.
When the pot gets hot add the oil and add the ground meat and the sausage meat and break it up into small chunks.  Let it brown on both sides but don't cook through.  Once both sides are brown add the onions and mix through.  Cook for a minute and then add the chopped Cabbage and the garlic and mix through again.   Cook for another couple of minutes and add the rest of the seasonings.  Then add the cup of rice and mix to distribute the rice throughout and coat the grains of rice.  Add the chopped tomatoes and then fill the empty can with water and pour that in.  Make sure there is enough liquid so that you can actually see it but it's not a soup.  You need enough for the rice to cook and spread.  You can use chicken, beef or vegetable stock if you have some instead of water.  I used a bit of beef stock and water.  Add the one can of water and see if you need to add more water once you mix everything through and the water comes to the top of the whole mixture.   Add the butter for a creamy flavour texture if you like.

Place the cover on the pot and put it in a preheated oven set at 350F for about 20 minutes.    You can check at the 15 minute mark and mix it through and see if there is enough liquid.  Add more if the rice isn't cooked and there isn't any liquid left.

It shouldn't take more than an hour from start to finish to make this and it's all in One Pot.

It makes at least 4 large servings.

I had some for dinner and lunch the next day and have at least 2 more portions left.

It's great the next day and you could probably freeze it if you add a tiny bit more liquid to it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Food Unites All of US - Food Bloggers Potluck in Toronto


I am a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada Community and although I don't participate in the Forums on a regular basis I saw a post by the people that run Food Bloggers of Canada, Ethan and Melissa, on the Facebook forum about a discussion they had about getting people together over food to combat some of the terrible things going on in the world.   Local Community Kitchen The Depanneur had some success with having some Syrian refugees use their kitchen to make their own food and it brought a lot of interest in their food.
So when they suggested that each City in the Canadian Food Blogger world organize small Potlucks to meet each other and share foods from their Ethnic Origin to get to know each other I thought it was a great idea.  I have always believed that sharing food builds relationships or in some cases not so much when it's families who hate each other forced together,  but that's not what we are talking about here.  My fellow Food Revolution Ambassador and Food Blogger of Canada member (Hema - Nomadic Nutritionist) has a membership at workshare space C.S.I. in Toronto so she was able to book a room that we could hold our Toronto potluck in that space.

After going back and forth on the date we settled on March 12th on a chilly sunday afternoon.  We were supposed to meet at Noon but a few got a bit lost so we waited as long as we could before diving into the food we had.  In total we had a total of 6 people but the diversity of backgrounds and foods was amazing.  We had Bloggers from Poland, India, Jamaica and with Japanese mixed roots and me who is all over the place.  

I decided to make a simple dish that my mom made because I wasn't sure about people's intolerances and allergies, so I just made a simple carrot salad with a simple vinaigrette.  My mom was from Europe and made this a lot especially in the summer when it was too hot to cook.  I just happened to have carrots and not a lot of time to make something so this was what I was able to do.

My fellow bloggers got a lot more creative.   We had fantastic cabbage rolls,  Cassava Pon,  Ackee and Saltfish and Festivals,  Pavlovas, a quinoa and something else mixed in latke and some great cardamom and chocolate cupcakes.  It was a fantastic lunch and it was great to get feedback on what everyone was doing and what was working or what they were trying to do with their blogs.

We hope to continue to do this on a Monthly basis or at least every couple of months if everyone is too busy and I know that there were many more Toronto bloggers that weren't able to make it but wanted to.  We hope that we can form connections and knowledge and try new foods at future Potlucks.  It's great to share a meal with people you have never met but still have something that connects you like food blogging.
Thanks to Hema for organizing and booking the venue and to everyone that took a chance and showed up,  with hangovers and time changes and all.

Now that we have done the first one let's see who turns up for the next one.  I am looking forward to trying some new foods and meeting the rest of the Toronto Food Blogger Community.

Thanks to Ethan and Melissa of Food Bloggers of Canada  for making the #FOODUNITESALLOFUS  suggestion for a Potluck event.  It got the ball rolling and we appreciate it.

This event really falls in line with the things I try and do with my Food Revolution participation.  It's all about sharing food and educating people about different food and eating real food.

See you all next time.  I will bring my Dish and a spare and my appetite and of course my camera too.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shamrock Green Irish Soda Bread & Avocados for St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day is on this week and I was asked if I thought about using Avocados for St. Patrick's Day.  Well I never thought of it before but hey they are green and tasty so Why NOT?   Since Avocado Toast is trendy these days I thought I would put my own spin on it an make some Green Irish Soda Bread for the Toast part.  I added super ripe Avocado slices and topped it with salt, pepper and  some great Dubliner Irish Cheddar and some Pea Shoots.  All of those things go together fantastically.   My spin on the Irish Soda Bread was to add freshly chopped Parsley and Green Onions, kind of a touch of Asian and French influence, but I considered adding spinach to color the whole bread but the Onions and Parsley were a lot easier and added lot's of flavour.  The recipe for my Shamrock Irish Soda Bread is below.  You don't need to activate yeast or knead it or let it rise so it's a pretty easy bread for a 1st timer or someone without a lot of time to make bread.  It should take about an hour in total to make this bread and that includes baking.

Think about adding Avocados to your St. Patrick's Day Menu.  It's not Traditional but it's Delicious and good for you.   

Shamrock Green Irish Soda Bread


1 - 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 egg
1 - 1-1/2 cups of buttermilk
2 green onions
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


In a large bowl sift flour and salt and Baking soda and set aside.  In a measuring cup add a large egg and add the buttermilk and chopped parsley and finely chopped green onions and mix well.

Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until the mixture mixes into a dough ball.  

Shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking tray or you can use a Dutch Oven to bake.

Score an X into the top of the bread with a sharp knife.  You can also use some of the buttermilk mixture to brush the top of the bread before putting it into the oven.

Bake at 400F for approx. 45 min or until the top and bottom are golden brown.

Let cool on a baking rack for a few minutes before slicing.   For a Avocado Toast, toast the bread slices in a toaster or on a grill and then add the toppings.
Top with Avocado Slices, Salt, Pepper, Irish Cheddar Cheese and a few Pea shoots and drizzle with good Olive Oil.   

I made Soda Bread last year but made it slightly different, I used half Whole Wheat this time and eliminated the sugar so that I could make it more savoury.

For that recipe and my IRISH STEW RECIPE click on my last year's post here:  http://starvingfoodie.blogspot.ca/2015/03/st-pattys-day-beef-stew.html

Did you know: 90 per cent of avocados consumed in Canada come from Mexico? Mexico is the world’s top avocado producer and currently, Canada is the second biggest importer of Mexican avocados.  
For more fun facts and recipes check out Avocados From Mexico .

#AlwaysDelicious #StPatricksDay #AvoHappiness #AvocadosFromMexico #AlwaysInSeason

* Disclaimer:  This post was suggested but I was not compensated for this post and the recipe, photos and opinions are my own.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Toronto's Sustainable Dim Sum Festival

Sustainable Food has become a top of mind thing lately because at the rate we are consuming our food sources we will run out of food to serve the World by 2020.  We must find other ways to sustain our food industry.

I was happy to attend the 1st Sustainable Dim Sum Festival at Toronto's City Hall on March 8th.  It took place in the Rotunda of City Hall it was kind of fun walking around the large column in the centre of City Hall with a passport in hand trying all of the various foods with a sustainable aspect to them.  Whether it was a dumpling that mixed cricket powder with pork to meat and eggs provided by Organic local farms, to ingredients not used extensively.  

It wasn't all Dim Sum though, there were fantastic soups, an Asian meatball soup and a great chowder,  and from my Pork Ninja friends a meatball wrapped in bacon.  My other favourite restaurant Hawthorne Food & Drink had tea smoked devilled eggs and there was Tuna poke from Daniel et Daniel catering, they had a huge line up for their poke.

My favourite Dim Sum bites of the night included new restaurant Lake Inez's fantastic dumpling, I loved the flavour of it.  I also loved the legendary PIG MAC from Dailo.

Food Vendors:
Cafe Belong, DaiLo, Daniel et Daniel, Kana Snack Bar, Lake Inez, Hawthorne Food + Drink, Bruce Wine Bar, Saturday Dinette, Pork Ninjas, C-fu Foods, Centennial College
Meat, poultry and eggs are provided by Rowe Farms and Yorkshire Valley Farms
Beverage vendors:
401 Cidery
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.
Brickworks Ciderhouse
Mill St. Brewery
Muskoka Brewery
Walter Caesar
George Brown College (Mocktails)

There was also a Silent Auction and live painting.  The silent auction benefiting the Environmental Defence which all of the proceeds of the event were going to.

There was a lot of fantastic artworks on display at the event.

It was a fantastic event for the 1st Sustainable Dim Sum Festival and it was organized by experienced organizers Drink Inc. Events.   As you may know from reading many of my event posts I notice the attention to details at events and at this event I really liked that there was a free self serve coat check.  No waiting and no tickets.  They also gave you a wine glass, passport and wooden chopsticks when you arrived.  The chopsticks were for you to keep and the glasses were returned to the rental company so there wasn't a lot wasted.  There were volunteers ready to keep things tidy at the stand up tables.  The only thing I would have like to see would have been an area to sit down.  We were all dying to sit on the stairs by the column but there was limited space so I can understand why and it was only a couple of hours but it was tough juggling the wine glass, passport, plates of food and of course trying to take photos with my phone.  I think I need more hands.  

Overall it was a fantastic event and it was great to see so many local restaurants participating in creating sustainable food.  This must be the trend of the future if we want to have enough food for everyone.

For more info about sustainability:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Great Big Crunch - Today for Food in Schools

I really suck at Selfies but I wanted to participate in the GREAT BIG CRUNCH for Food Share Toronto because they do good work bringing food to kids that need it in Toronto schools.

By taking this really bad selfie of myself and adding the Hashtag #GreatBigCrunch and #BrightWayForward and posting this at 2:30pm on Thursday March 9th, 2017,  I join a whole bunch of other people that want to make a difference in the lives of kids in schools today and tomorrow.

It's an easy thing.  Get your fruit and take a Big Bite and post it.. and with that done Tangerine Bank will donate $10 per post to schools for food for their students.

As a Food Revolution Ambassador this is the kind of thing I like to support because it could mean the difference in a kid being able to concentrate in school or not and falling behind.

No biggie for me but a big thing for a kid in need.

So Get Crunching or donate to FoodShare Toronto so they can continue the great work that they do.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trashed X Wasted Event

What:       Trashed & Wasted for Second Harvest
Where:     Artscape Wychwood Barns
When:      March 1,  2017
Why:        An event to divert food waste from landfills and raise funds for Second Harvest
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/trashedandwasted/

I was really looking forward to attending the 1st Trashed & Wasted event which was sparked by an idea from the Gourmet Soup Kitchen that Michelin Chef Massimo Bottura created from the excess food from the RIO Olympics.  I saw the documentary Theatre of Life about this story and thought the same thing as Trashed &Wasted founder Brock did.  I really wanted to do an event that used the excess food that was usually tossed out but my idea was to do a public event to educate and feed street people.  Trashed & Wasted was more of a curated event that used local Chefs and vendors to produce creative bites to raise funds for Second Harvest which is one of the best food recovery Charities in the city.  Held at the Wychwood Barns space at Christie and St. Clair in Toronto.  It was fairly small with about a half a dozen food vendors and a Brewery.  It was only the first one but I bet if there are more to come there will be a lot more vendors that will jump on the food diversion train.

 The good thing about it being a smaller event was the fact that there weren't any lineups for food.  Yes that might change if it grows but I think people are afraid of what they think is food waste because they don't know what they are eating.  Two of my favourite things weren't strange at all.

 From Arepa cafe they made a mixed vegetable like ratatouille mixture that they put on tostones (fried plantains)  and on mini Arepas.  It was delicious, and I wish I had asked them what the food waste part was because it just tasted amazing.
The other bite I loved was the pureed cauliflower on Bannock from Oliver and Bonnacini's Bannock restaurant.  The cauliflower was just the stems that people usually toss and they were pureed with cheese I think.  Nothing weird about it, just the stem that is tougher but totally edible.

The event was a bit expensive but I think that if they do more and get more vendors the cost might decrease.  It's always hard to launch your first event.  People don't want to jump in until they see something is successful usually.

I would say this event was very successful.  People seemed really happy about the food.  I even spotted Marion Kane long time food industry insider checking things out.

Oh my favourite dessert was of course the chocolates from CXBO Chocolates by Brandon Olson .  OMG, they are beautiful and delicious.  I think those were chocolates left over from special orders because there was nothing wrong with them, that's for sure.

Some of the other foods to try included Chicharons with whipped lamb brains, yeah this one sounds weird but it wasn't bad.  Pickled Lamb tongue on rye which was just like corned beef.  Fried chicken tails,  they tasted good but there is a bit of cartilage in them which wasn't as appealing.  Hooked made sushi with Pickerel and their own caviar.  There was also a curry carrot soup,  I am not sure if it had curry in it because it just tasted like carrot soup.  My friend really liked the mushroom on Bannock from O&B.  There was also a spent bread and whipped butter that tasted like amazing whole grain nutty bread.  And pictured above was a pickled Kohlrabi, who knows what to do with Kohlrabi?

The other cool thing about the event was the booths were made using recycled materials and they had a table that you could create a collage from old magazines.

Second Harvest was on hand selling raffle tickets for some amazing things in their silent auction.  I wish I had the money to buy a bunch of tickets.

One thing that was really smart was the grocery stand display at the entrance.  They had paper bags so you could take some of the vegetables home.  Smart no waste display and no junk to toss away when you get home.  I took home some tomatoes, potatoes and lettuce.  I really appreciated that little thing that really did a lot of good.  I have a BLT,  Potato Salad and Tomato soup with it so far.  I will use the rest of the lettuce later.

I think it was a great smart event that I hope carries on so that we can educate people to use their resources a lot better so that we don't run out of food in the future.

Follow them on Facebook and maybe you will be able to attend another event soon.

Twitter https://twitter.com/trashed_wasted

What's new at Restaurants Canada 2017

What:     Restaurants Canada Show 2017
Where:   Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto
When:    February 26, 2017
Why:      Restaurant Trade Show
Website: https://www.restaurantscanada.org/

I had a chance to attend the Restaurants Canada show at the Enercare Centre for the 2nd time.  Even though I was prepared for what the show entailed I was still tired from trying to see all the new things at the show.  It's a huge show. My friend noted that it was a one stop shop for anyone that might want to open a restaurant.  It's true, they have everything in one place.  From Restaurant equipment to food supplies, dishware, takeout containers, uniforms and software.  It really is impressive how many things are involved in the restaurant business and how many new innovative suppliers there are.

New this year was the Canadian Camp Tent.  It was pretty cool seeing a tent set up with pelts and hunting related things set up at the end of the Trade show floor.  I have a feeling it was the brainchild of Toronto Chef Michael Hunter,  yes his name really is Hunter and he owns the local restaurant Antler and is an avid Hunter and gatherer who uses local products in his recipes.  He was on hand on the Sunday and sampled some smoked bear and wild blueberry preserves. Yes I did try it and it tasted like corned Beef and was delicious.

You really need to go to this show wearing comfortable shoes,  and a big appetite because you will be walking around a lot and sampling a whole lot of food.

We started the show at the Coffee and Tea end of the show where they had a Tea Bot where I was able to get a custom blended tea that was assembled by a machine and served in a filtered lid cup.
My friend had a latte instead.  Then we headed over to the Canadian area and the first thing I ate was probably one of my favourite things lately.  I had Tuna poke from Sysco.  They have some new pre chopped tuna, salmon and other things in consistent sizes that would save Restaurants a lot of time and labour costs and retain consistent quality.  

Some of the trends that I noticed where the leaning to things that are a bit healthier and things that were in abundance at the show were Pizza, ice cream, all kinds of beverages, charcuterie and pickled foods and lots of sauces of course.

My favourite things included the fun Mood water which was just fun packaging where you could choose your mood like grumpy, happy etc.  I also tried Cannoli chips that were the best cannoli's that I have ever had and a great idea for a party for sure.  I also liked the new Sparkling Ice and coffees in a can,  I tried the coffee flavour and enjoyed it very much, (pictured second from the right at the bottom of the photo above).  I tried some great Cocoa Berry chocolates and all sorts of appetizers.

One of the other highlights for me at the show was a chance meeting with Lidia Bastianich.  We went to the media room to have a bit of a sit down and I got up to get something and noticed Lidia tucked into the corner sitting on a chair talking to a man.  I asked her for a photo because one of my friends loves her and I watch her all the time too.  The man asked if I wanted a photo with her so I took one of her and he took one of us together.  Check the Gallery for the photo of us together.  She is a very nice lady who happens to run a restaurant empire Eataly.  I told her that I was very happy about Eataly coming to the Manulife Centre because I go to see movies there sometimes.  I don't think she knew there was a theatre there.

I really wanted to get this post up sooner but there was a lot to talk about as you can see.
It's a great show that it's unfortunate that it isn't open to the public to see what goes into the making of their food at their local restaurants and what might be coming to them soon.

I felt fortunate as a blogger that I was able to attend this show and give you a sneak peek into the restaurant industry.  We spent hours there and we didn't even get a chance to attend any of the panel discussions.   We ended the show at the other end of the floor where there was a bar set up with flair demonstrations and of course it was the busiest part of the show.

There are so many people involved in the food business in Canada that you would be amazed how huge it really is.

Support your local restaurants because it's really hard work and they are all trying to please YOU.

Friday, March 3, 2017

#Dixonlicious 2017 for Dixon Hall


A Culinary Celebration in support of Vital Food Programs

When: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 from 6 PM  9 PM
Where: Daniels Spectrum at 585 Dundas Street East
What: An evening of delicious food and beverage pairings, musical entertainment, and a live and silent auction
How: Purchase Early Bird Tickets up until March 8th at special prices -- $90 per ticket, $60 for youth (under 30). Tickets include food, drinks, entertainment, and a charitable tax receipt. Purchase online via www.dixonhall.org or by phone at 416.863.0499 x 2066.
Why: Proceeds support vital programs that provide food for people in need

Join Dixonlicious 2017 and experience a delicious food event featuring chefs and restaurants from around our neighbourhood.
Guests will sample mouth-watering cuisine from an array of diverse and creative food stations set up around Daniels Spectrum.
Food offerings are paired alongside a selection of fine wines and refreshing craft beers carefully chosen to compliment each scrumptious bite.
All proceeds support our food programs including Meals on Wheels, Summer Camp, Homeless Shelter Programs, Out of the Cold, AIDS Programs and more.
Buy your tickets today and help provide nutritious meals to those in need!
Dixon Hall is excited to announce the return of Dixonlicious, a culinary event featuring some of Toronto's best local restaurants, chefs, and caterers. Now in its third year, the event raises funds for Dixon Hall's vital food programs and supports vulnerable populations in the city's downtown east. Dixonlicious 2017 takes place on Wednesday, March 29th from 6 pm – 9 pm at Daniels Spectrum.
Dixon Hall's food programs provide over 200,000 nutritious meals each year, serving a diverse mix of vulnerable populations. All proceeds from Dixonlicious benefit these vital food programs including Meals on Wheels, homeless shelter programs, Out of the Cold, March Break and summer camps, seniors programs, and HIV/AIDs programs.
The number of people accessing Dixon Hall's meal programs continues to increase, and demand remains high, especially from homeless and vulnerably housed individuals. Dixon Hall's two emergency shelters, Heyworth House and Schoolhouse, remain at 99% capacity and have maintained this rate consistently for three years. The Out of the Cold program, focused on providing shelter during winter months, has seen an 11% increase in occupancy since 2016. The Out of the Cold program serves over 15,500 meals from November through January. As community members continue to face tough decisions daily, juggling financial responsibilities of paying rent vs. purchasing healthy groceries to feed their families, the need for food programs remains constant.
"Dixonlicious is community helping community. It's local culinary experts reaching out to their neighbour offering their talents in exchange for hope where there is food insecurity. Food has always been the way cultures unite as a community." said Dixon Hall CEO Neil Hetherington. "There are far too many people in our community who don't know where their next meal is coming from and now thanks to Dixonlicious we can answer that unknown."
Dixonlicious 2017 will feature delicious bites by Food Dudes, Hooked, Longos, and social enterprise restaurants Show Love Café and Hawthorne Food & Drink. Guests will also experience live entertainment, and get to bid on a selection of silent and live auction prizes including gift baskets, restaurant gift cards, theatre tickets, and home accessories.
Last year, proceeds from Dixonlicious helped bring more than 20,000 healthy meals to people in need – homeless men and women, frail and isolated seniors, Regent Park youth, and many more. This year's goal is to raise $75,000 and increase the amount of meals served to 25,000.
About Dixon Hall
Dixon Hall is a multi-service agency located in the heart of east downtown Toronto.
For more than 85 years, Dixon Hall has offered a variety of supportive programs and services to seniors, at-risk youth, homeless men and women, the unemployed, and other vulnerable populations in Regent Park, Moss Park, Cabbagetown, St. James Town and surrounding neighbourhoods.
SOURCE Dixon Hall  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Toronto has a new Coffee & Tea Expo

What:   Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo

Where: The Glass Factory. 99 Sudbury St. #1, 
                 Toronto, Ontario M6J 3S7

When:   Saturday, April 8th - Sunday, April 9th, 2017 
Time:     11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Starting on Saturday April 8th, Toronto coffee and tea lovers will come together to experience Toronto's top brews at the first annual two-day Coffee & Tea Expo. 

Guests are invited to celebrate Toronto's best indie cafés with fresh brewed samples while discovering new beans and recipes. 
Coffee and tea lovers will immerse themselves into café culture by blending their own tea flavours and voting on Toronto's best coffee and tea of 2017. 

Tickets for the first Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo cost $15 and are available now at