Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm Baaaack!

I have now returned to Canadian soil after eating and drinking my way across South East Asia with my two girlfriends. It was an incredible trip full of adventure, relaxing, and truly enjoying life. I learned a bit about Asian cooking (that I will share soon), but boy have I missed my favorite dishes back home. Don't fear, I will be getting right back into the swing of things with Vanessa's Bazaar. For now, enjoy a few tid bits from my trip!
Gabbs-Me-Carly {Luang Prabang Waterfall}

Pigging out on the best food of the trip {Cafe 43: Hoi An}

Fresh Herbs at the Market {Vietnam}

{Margaritas by the Pool} 

Fresh Crab on the Beach {Served with a Lemon Pepper}

PHO on the street....where pho was created {Vietnam}

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Adios Amigos!

My life has been busy busy busy as of late. (Sorry for the LACK of posts....I know). I have been applying for schools, am in the middle of ending my current job and have been preparing for the trip of a lifetime! In a few days I embark on a six week adventure to Southeast Asia with one of my best girlfriends (eeek!). I bid you Adieu and promise many exciting pictures of the adventures I have and of course, much of the food I eat. Until next time, xoxo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sardines Anyone?

Grilled sardines may seem like a strange thing to eat and love and crave. And I would have agreed with you a year ago, but oh how my tune has changed! My Italian boyfriend has introduced me to many a new food, but I think one of my favorite things that he is AHH-mazing at making is his bbq'd sardines. Those little tiny fishes are PACKED with flavour and are oh so good for you (zero fat- plus fish makes you smart!...can't you tell?).

He marinates those little guys in lemon juice, olive oil and salt- keeping it super simple and delicious. On the grill, the skin gets a nice crunchy salty char to it and is actually one of the best parts. So open your mind, ignore the wee eyes, start with an empty stomach and be prepared to fall into fish heaven (yes that is a place).

We also made some truly spectacular grilled calamari. And for the sake of keeping it super simple- grilled portobello, zucchini and red pepper salad with goat cheese, sliced almonds and fresh parsley. A truly perfect meal to kick off your summer eating- I mean it was 34 degrees yesterday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fish Tacos

So my cravings a few weeks ago turned into a reality. I met up with some keen girlfriends and together we made, devoured, and extremely enjoyed some fish tacos. And let me tell you, these were restaurant quality fish tacos (watch your back Grand Electric). We whipped up a simple beer batter (2 cups flour, 1 bottle of beer, salt) that we dipped our pieces of cod in. We daringly fried the fish in a big pot of oil- and what a great call it was- the fish turned out perfectly crispy while remaining deliciously soft and flaky on the inside.

We piled our fish tacos high with avocado, chopped green onions, cilantro, shredded purple cabbage and lime crema (lime juice, sour cream, dash of milk). For a more in depth review, check out my girl Tay's blog Love In Spoonfuls

Adios and have a great weekend!

Beer battered cod being fried in canola oil- 2-3 minutes per side

Lots of yummy greens: lime, avocado, green onion

I'll have another please!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chick'N Caesar

I'm pretty much always craving a caesar salad. There's something about that creamy, salty, crunchy salad that makes me go ga-ga. Have it as a starter, have it as a meal, have it in a wrap- I'm in. My new thing lately has been attempting to perfect the home made caesar dressing. And I think I've almost got there. 

I made this Panko Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine the other night and it was an easy peasy meal to whip up after work. The chicken roasts at a super high temperature so it cooked quickly. I threw a couple of the romaine halves into the oven for a few minutes to get a different texture on the lettuce (some warm and soft, some with a nice crunch). While everything was in the oven I whipped up a caesar dressing- anchovies, raw egg yolk- the whole shebang!

 And let me tell you, this chicken was incredible! It had so much flavour and a really nice crunch from the golden panko mixture on top- I could eat this everyday. 

Panko Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine
Inspired by THIS recipe from Bon Apetit and THIS Caesar dressing recipe
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped flat lead parsley
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 large romaine hearts, halved lengthwise

For the Dressing:
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste (from 2 large, grated cloves)
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets, patted dry with paper towels, minced fine, and mashed to paste with fork
2 large egg yolks
10 tablespoons  olive oil
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place chicken on sheet and season chicken with salt and pepper . Combine cheese, panko, 2 Tbsp. oil, parsley, and 1 garlic clove in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Pat panko mixture onto breasts. Roast chicken until crumbs begin to turn golden, about 14 minutes.
Drizzle 1 romaine heart with 1 Tbsp. oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet from oven; place romaine around chicken. Roast until chicken is cooked through and lettuce is browned at edges, about 5 minutes. Chop uncooked romaine heart and put in a salad bowl. Take other romaine heart out of the oven and chop; add to bowl. Toss lettuce with dressing, serve alongside chicken.
Dressing:  mix first five ingredient in a bowl. In a slow, steady stream, whisk in olive oil until the dressing is fully emulsified. Add 1/2 cup of Parmesan and pepper to taste, then whisk until completely combined.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day Dreaming

Dreaming about going on vacation? I know I sure am. I stumbled across these photographs of the truly unique 'Treehotel' in Sweden. Sign. Me. Up. The experience is supposed to be all about connecting with nature. "All of the rooms harmoniously blend into the natural environment with the aim of making a minimal ecological footprint. Each room is located four to six meters above the ground and they all share the magnificent views of the surrounding natural environment." -Yatzer, article found here.
Happy Day Dreaming!


All photographs from Yatzer.com, article found here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Appetizers: Get Stuff'd Edition

Next time you're thinking: "what should I make for an appetizer?", think about getting stuff'd. Whether you're in the mood to keep it healthy...or to do the exact opposite, I've got just the thing for you. Exhibit A: Stuffed Mushroom caps, Exhibit B: Stuffed Jalapenos. Both amazing, both fairly easy, and both delicious. So what's it going to be? I'd really suggest trying out both...you won't regret it.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
12 Cremini Mushrooms (or however many you want to make)
Goat cheese
2 slices of Bacon (cooked and chopped)
Chives (chopped)
A few sprigs of Thyme (chopped)

Preheat oven to 350. Wash the mushrooms and twist out the entire stem. Place the mushrooms on a foil lined baking sheet.  Chop up mushroom stems and add to a bowl. Add goat cheese, bacon, chives, and thyme to the bowl and combine. Stuff mixture into mushroom caps (there should be a good sized hole once you take the stems out). Pop them in the oven until cheese is all melty and delicious (20 minutes). *NOTE: you can really add anything you want to stuff your mushroom caps, so go wild!*

Stuffed Jalapenos
12 Jalapenos
Cream cheese
Shredded Mozzarella
Salt and Pepper
12 slices Bacon (partially cooked, cut in half)

Roast whole jalapenos in a 350 oven until soft and slightly blackened (10-15 minutes). Cool. Cut off tops, cut in half and remove seeds and the membranes. Mix cream cheese, mozzarella, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined. Place jalapenos on a foil lined baking sheet. Stuff with cheese mixture and wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around the jalapeno. Roast in a 350 oven until cheese is melty and delicious.*NOTE: next time I think I would chop the bacon and mix in with the cheese mixture instead of wrapping it!*

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This Little Life

Photo courtesy of This Little Life

My friend Rye has a lovely blog, This Little Life, where she posts beautiful photographs and writes little tidbits about her life. 

I had a brunch this past weekend (photos to follow) and I was lucky enough to have Rye join me all the way from Vancouver (Yes, she came all the way JUST for my brunch). She's featured some pictures of the food on her blog, which is very exciting for me! You can check out her blog and the photographs here.  Thanks Rye!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Morning Food Porn

What better way to start this Monday morning than drooling over a little food porn. In this case it's the Mcbeastwich from Beast Restaurant in Toronto.

buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken thigh, pimiento cheese, 2 fried eggs, pork sausage gravy and house potatoes... Not bad.

Beast Restaurant
96 Tecumseth St.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weekend Cravings

Right now I’m SERIOUSLY craving some homemade fish tacos. I’ve had so many good ones while I’ve been out to eat lately that I’m ready to try and personally conquer them in the kitchen. 

I want the fish battered and fried, I want warm authentic corn tortillas. On top;  I want purple shredded cabbage, I want Whole Foods Lime & Avocado dressing, I want thinly sliced raddish, I want creamy crema, and I want a sprinkle of cilantro. And maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t mind some mango salsa too. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? I also want to eat them with a big heaping side of homemade guacamole and chips. 

To get some inspiration and encouragement to make all the things I want this weekend…I’ve put together some drool worthy photos with recipes of fish tacos. Enjoy!

Recipe and Photo from the Blog "Drizzle and Dip".

Recipe and Photo from the Blog 'What's On My Plate'.

Recipe and Photo from the Blog "Patio Daddio BBQ".

Recipe and Photo from the Blog "There's a Newf in my Soup!".

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Ultimate Comfort Food

On V-day my man was out of the country, so instead my sister and I celebrated our parents love and the love in our family by cooking a massive, and totally delicious, feast. The recipes were some that have been on my “must make for dinner” list for awhile now so I was so excited to try them out. And wow, they definitely dazzled and impressed!

The perfect comfort food for a chilly winter’s evening: Steak with a Chianti butter sauce served over olive oil mashed potatoes with a side of creamy endive gratin. Enjoy it with a massive glass of red wine and you’re all set for a comfy night spent indoors.

The Chianti butter sauce was so lovely and had a bit of a sweet accent from the shallots. We really couldn’t get enough and pretty much drenched our potatoes with it. I mean…why not? The endive gratin was a hit (you can never go wrong with something baked in cream, Gruyere and bread crumbs!) and can be made with so many different vegetables- definitely going to try some different varieties before the winter is over.
Creamy, cheesy, breadcrumy, bubbly delicious Endive Gratin
Yumm...to me this is a perfectly cooked medium-rare steak

...Why not gaze at it from another angle?

Jamie Oliver's Pan-fried Steak with Chianti Butter Sauce and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
For the olive oil mash:
4 potatoes, peeled and halved 
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil 
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
For the steak:
2 7 oz sirloin steaks, 1 inch thick, fat scored 
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons butter 
2 shallots, peeled and finely diced 
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 cup chianti
a few sprigs watercress 
good quality extra virgin olive oil

Put the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain them in a colander and allow to sit for 5 minutes to steam away any excess moisture. Return the potatoes to the pan and mash, stirring in a large glug of olive oil, the cheese, and butter. Taste, season with the salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
Heat a heavy frying pan, large enough to cook both steaks at once without them touching. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Massage with olive oil. Using a pair of tongs, hold the steaks fatty-edge down in the frying pan to render and colour the fat. When the fat is golden, fry the steaks for eight minutes in total for medium-rare, turning them every minute. Remove from pan to rest and tent with tin foil.
Turn the heat down and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. Fry the shallots and thyme for 4 minutes. Pour the wine in and reduce it by half. Pour in the juices from the resting steaks. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and remove the pan from the heat. Stir briskly to emulsify the sauce. This will make a simple red wine sauce.  Taste and season.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


It's New York Fashion week and I've truly been enjoying drooling over the Fall 2012 collections on the runway. 

One of my favorite things about Fashion Week anywhere is checking out the street style that occurs outside on the 'real-world' runway. In my opinion Tommy Ton (of Jak&Jil blog) never dissapoints, and takes such vibrant photographs of the totally wacky to the absolutely gorgeous. Here's a few of my favorites that I wanted to share. Loving all the colours and patterns!

All Pictures by Tommy Ton and featured on Style.com, found here.