Monthly Archives: January 2013

Salmon with Tartar Sauce

Growing up in a Vietnamese household I’ve tried a lot of different seafood. For some reason at an ambiguous point in my life I stopped eating lots of different fish. My mother became obsessed with salmon and so from a seafood point of view I was exclusively being fed salmon throughout high school. Needless to say I felt extra bad when I learned about the overfishing of salmon for the first time. On top of the new found guilt I had just grown sick of the taste. This was too bad for me because once upon a time all I knew how to cook was salmon when it came to fish. I did eventually discover how to cook other fishes. I experimented with as many different types of seafood as possible! Well I guess this post is really just an announcement to those who knew what salmon and I used to have. I may not be ready to settle down but we are getting back together!

Salmon on Asparagus w/ Tartar Sauce I must admit I don’t usually make tartar sauce or mayonaise by hand but after this experience I think I am going to have to. I’m not sure I can go back. When its homemade you have total control over the taste letting you get it to exactly how you like it.

As for the salmon I prefer cooking it with the skin on. The skin protects the salmon from the direct heat of the pan and to me is quite tasty when its crispy. Sitting this on top of a bed of asparagus spears and under a lemony tartar sauce was good enough to make me forget about the overfishing problem for a bit. Hey… at least this was Wild Caught Alaskan.

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Pasta & Meatballs

Starting out as a beginner cook, pasta seemed less intimidating. My old housemates and I loved pasta night. We had Penne and Sausage, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and even Chicken Alfredo whenever we felt more adventurous. We would eat until we were too full to move. Our friends were not impressed when they came over Friday night to hang out with borderline vegetables. I’ve come a long way since our carb inhaling days. Here is my more refined take on our old favourite…

Penne with Meatballs & Roasted Tomatoes

By only coating the penne in my classic white sauce finished with green onion, I make it easier to appreciate each ingredient involved. My inspiration was how much effort I put into making the meatballs. Right when I finished forming them I decided I wanted to actually taste them. Riddling them with sauce was not an option. Tomato sauce is often found accompanying meatballs but I decided to roast tomatoes on the vine instead. I love oven roasted tomatoes and since a lot of effort were put into them I decided to let them shine on their own as well. I sat both the meatballs and the tomatoes on top of the penne which I put on top of layers of onion. The layers of onion act almost like little bowls which I roasted in the oven with the tomatoes. I finish the dish with some black pepper and Italian parsley. That last part I kept from the old days.

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Why buy salad dressing when YOU can make it?

New Years resolutions notoriously fail eventually. But it is still January and although it may be late in the month, I still see the strongest of us trying to uphold healthy lifestyle practices. A particular friend of mine is hitting the gym with incredible frequency. One day I notice her pick up a pre-made salad from the grocery store with pre-made salad dressing. When I asked her if she was in a rush she said no and that she was going to go home to enjoy her salad. I smiled while I died on the inside a little bit.

Reasons to make your own salad dressing

Baby Greens w/ Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

1. Freshness

When you make your own it’s fresh. The ones you buy have been sitting in bottles for months not going bad because of all the preservatives that have been added. Homemade salad dressing will last months in your fridge but sadly not very long in a cupboard. Is it absolutely necessary to you to keep your salad dressing in a cupboard? Is this a non-negotioable? Don’t even get me started on the health related affects of additives that can be found in store bought salad dressings.

2. Nutrition

Store bought salad dressings often contain 3 times as many calories as a homemade one would. I admit this finding is a bit less scientific than I would like. It is based on picking up a few salad dressings at the grocery store and then measuring the calories that go into my own homemade dressings (most of which come from the oils I use). This is important to note the nutritional difference because pre-made salad dressing usually uses poor quality oils with little nutritional value. If you make your own however, you have the option of using a nice olive oil that, for example, has numerous nutritional benefits.

3. Economical

It is just cheaper when you make it at home. Again I won’t go into quantitative comparisons. I’ll let you verify this on your own.

So how do you make a salad dressing? Go on over to my “how to” section to find out!

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Rack of Lamb

Here we have one of the more expensive cuts you can get at your average grocery store, a rack of lamb. People have been known to avoid it out of fear of messing up such a nice cut of meat. Like any average student (even at Queen’s University) I can’t normally afford it. Why did I buy it then? If you are thinking it’s for you guys, get over yourselves. I was trying to impress a girl.

Lamb on Herbed Rice

She claimed she loved lamb so I let the meat do the talking. Just salt on the outside for the sear. The oven did the rest in creating this delicious flavoursome rack of lamb which I served on garlic herbed rice. I threw some garlic into the rice while it was cooking and then took it out right before serving. Fancy yet comforting at the same time.

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Honey Roasted Duck

I made this a while back. I’ve still yet to find a bird that can’t be made delicious with a honey and soy glaze. Cutting the richness with a cool cucumber helps every bite/this dish finish in a delightful manner. I haven’t stopped wanting more since finishing.

Honey Roasted Duck on a Cucumber Salad

Honey Roasted Duck on a Cucumber Salad

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