Sunday, March 18, 2018

Green Living Show Preview 2018


Last week I dropped by the Preview for the upcoming Green Living Show on April 6-8, 2018 at the Metro Convention Centre.  The preview was held at the tucked away coffee shop Propellor Coffee in the Bloor and Dundas area of town.

We sampled some of the International food that will be at the Green Living Show this year.  Some of the participating restaurants include:  Farm'r, Wafel Huis, Urban Acorn, 6ix Triangles, Cucinato Italian Culinary Studio, Paintbox, Santo Pecado, Lion City Restaurant, TC's MoMos and Propellor Coffee and various Beers and Wines.

I think I tried every other sample because we went to something else afterward but the things I really enjoyed were of course the waffles from Wafel Huis and the Chicken Tinga tacos from Santo Pecado.
And new this year was Cucinato Italian Culinary Studio's Ricotta fried dough with tomato sauce.


There were also some of the other vendors that will be at the show on hand to show off their products. I found the Soil Booster product pretty interesting.  It has microbes that will enhance your soil and I will be using my sample to refresh the dead earth in my balcony pots this spring and get some herbs and flowers planted again.

We also tried a non alcoholic spirit that was really good by Seedlip. There were skin care products from Province apothecary and reusable wax food covers, I have something like them and they work.

There is so much to see at the Green Living Show for everyone in your family.  Besides the Local Food and Drink area there is Health and Wellness, Eco Travel, Kids fun zone, Fashion and Beauty and Yoga and Fitness and a whole lot more.  You are going to want to try and buy lots of things so bring your walking shoes and your wallet because you will see things you might not have seen before and will want.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Green Chicken and Potatoes

 GREEN CILANTRO CHICKEN with Green Peas and Potatoes

 It's St. Patrick's Day today so I was inspired to make some Green Food and also because of a bunch of Cilantro in my fridge that I needed to use so I created this pretty simple nod to St. Patty's Day Dinner.

I started with a Green Marinade for a couple of bone in skin on chicken breasts.

Green Marinade:

1 bunch of fresh Cilantro
1 peeled shallot
2 tbsps olive oil
1 pickled jalapeno
zest of 1 lime and the juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender and then pour into a large ziploc bag and place the chicken in the bag and distribute the marinate around the chicken and squeeze out the air and seal the bag and place on a plate and refrigerate for about an hour or so.

I Baked it using a cast iron grill pan so that air would circulate underneath the chicken.  Preheat the oven to 350F and bake for about 40 minutes and check the temperature because of the marinade you won't be able to check by the color of the chicken.

Green Peas and Potatoes

I also peeled and boiled 1 potato in salted water and then just before they were cooked I added frozen peas to the water to cook.

Strain the potatoes and peas when cooked and then saute in a skillet with butter and salt and pepper.  I also aded some chicken smaltz and you could add bacon fat if you have some.  You could also add some garlic but I kept it kind of simple.  Cook until there is a bit of color on the potatoes and the butter is melted and browned.

I also made my new favourite pepper, some blistered Shisito peppers.
In a dry pan on medium heat place some Shisito peppers and cook until the skin starts to blister.
I poured some Sherry Vinegar on them when I took them out of the pan for some acidic balance.

And that was it.   My Green inspired St. Patrick's Day dinner can also be made to celebrate Earth Day too.   Either way it's a very flavourful and fairly simple dinner.   Even better if you have someone to do the dishes afterward,  sadly I do not so I have to try and keep it simple.   I charred the peppers before I sauteed the potatoes and peas to save a pan. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sustainable Dim Sum Festival 2018

Event:  Sustainable Dim Sum Festival
Date:  March 6, 2018
Location:  Rotunda at Toronto City Hall 

I had the pleasure of attending the SUSTAINABLE DIM SUM FESTIVAL again at City Hall recently.  It's a fun little festival full of creative Dim Sum from some of the Top restaurants and chefs in Toronto.  

It's a fun event where you pay one price and get a passport, chopsticks and a glass for the beverages and with the passport you go around to each station and they stamp your passport and give you one of their dishes.
It was great to see my friend Matt Dean Pettit there with his Mattys Seafood Brand serving up his crab dip on crackers.
I didn't try all of the different dim sum dishes because I was at another event before hand but I tried 
Some of the participating Vendors included Kanpai Snack Bar, Daniel et Daniel Catering, Earlscourt BBQ,  Centennial College, Just Craft soda paired with Northern Temple Vodka and Bar Reyna and more Breweries and wineries also participated.  I didn't keep the passport so I don't remember everyone but there were about a dozen vendors.  There is also an artist on hand painting during the event and it's pretty fun wandering around and finding out what each one is serving because they take sustainability into consideration in the products they use to create their dim sum dishes.
Kanpai Snack Bar Pork & Cricket Dumpling

Earlscourt BBQ Pork Spring Roll

Daniel et Daniel shrimp and sweet potato bun
Seared Tuna

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Kenzie's cupcake baking 101



From Vacuum pick up 
to cupcake baking with Kenzie

I asked my friend Adam if he would help me pickup a vacuum cleaner that I ordered.  It was at a hardware store about half way between where both of us live.  We talked about picking it up maybe after work and then just picking up dinner maybe but the vacuum cleaner finally came in on a friday so we made plans to pick it up saturday afternoon.  Saturday morning I get a text that his 3 year old wants to bake cupcakes because we talked about it the last time we baked and I guess she asked him about it.  She remembers everything.  We made plans to pick up the vacuum cleaner while she napped and then we went back to his place to bake up a batch of Vanilla Cupcakes.  He pulled a recipe out of Magnolia Bakery (NYC) cookbook and it seemed pretty easy to make.

 When I arrived at his house Kenzie was sitting on the couch with her Ipad coloring a cake.  So from screen to real life, time to get off the couch and bake for real Kenzie.

We propped her up on a bar chair in front of the mixer and we let her help dump and stir while her dad measured and got the ingredients ready and I took the photos and helped her put it all together and do the decorating afterward.

Here are the photos of her helping in the process.  

You are never too young to learn.  She is only 3 and this is the third time we have baked or decorated cookies together and she thinks it's like a fun party and takes it very seriously as you will see from the photos.  It's kind of funny since she is a very fussy eater and only ate half of the cupcake that she made but I think she likes the process of baking more than the actual eating which is probably good.

The benefits of baking with young kids as they learn how to take direction, to focus, to understand ingredients, to understand what goes in their food and most of all the develop food memories and baking and cooking skills that will serve them for their whole life.

Check it out.  I will post the recipe at the end.


Kenzie wanted rainbow icing and since that would take a lot of time and icing we settled on rainbow colored sprinkles.  This is the one I decorated and Kenzie is eating the one that she decorated.

 Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes with Buttercream Icing. (Food Network)


Vanilla Buttercream:



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.
In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream:

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
P.S.  The vacuum cleaner works great and I had the cupcake above after cleaning my carpets with the new vacuum cleaner.  I deserved it. :)

Dixonlicious 2018- Review

March 1, 2018
Daniels Spectrum

Dixonlicious had a fantastic fundraising event on March 1st at Daniels Specturm.  Dixonlicious is a fundraising event for Dixon Hall. Dixon Hall is a great Toronto non-profit organization that offers more than 60 programs for community members at different life stages. Dixonlicious fundraises for the agency’s food programs – including Meals on Wheels, meals for formerly homeless men and women living in transitional housing, and for March break and summer camps attended by youth in the Music School and Children & Youth programs.

This year's event was a great success with the event raising more than $80,000 through ticket sales and the silent auction and donations.  That will provide over 20,000 meals for people in need.

 The event had a fantastic lineup of musical artists that included a few of the music program students who were as talented as some great professionals so I think big things will come from them in the future.  The photo above is 2 girls from the band Monday Heart Attack,  a name you will probably remember and should because they blew everyone away.

The event had lots of great food from popular Toronto social enterprise café, the Show Love Café.

Some of the highlights for me were Paintbox's Gelato's and the Schnitzel and Choucrout from Biff's Bistro and I also really loved the Hokkaido Scallops from Hooked.  Some of the other dishes below included Smoothies from Freshed Right, Pasta from the Food Dudes, Coffee smoked chicken salad from Hawthorne Food and Drink, Cotechino sausage tacos from Skin + Bones, Guacamole from Barrio Cerveceria,  Hokkaido Scallops from Hooked,  Chocolate and strawberry gelato from Paintbox Bistro, Cabbage salad with satay dressing from Show Love Cafe,  Gnocchi poutine with braised short ribs from Daniel et Daniel, Schnitzel and sauerkraut from Biff's Bistro.

In the centre of the room were all the silent auction items with a whole variety of different things to bid on.  I bid on the 3 cookbooks but lost out but that's ok since they raised more money.

Dixonlicious is a fun event and you don't event and just by being there you help other people that are in need of assistance from seniors who aren't able to prepare their meals, to youth that are given music programs to give them budding careers for their future.

I would suggest if you have the time and some money to help out please check out their website for how you can help out and maybe you can go to next year's fun event too.