Monthly Archives: July 2013

Food in Mississauga is Cheap | Soy Chicken

This week I do something I have never done before on this blog; I use an ingredient I did not make from scratch. I did not plan to blog about this however in the end I decided that it would provide some insight to  my relationship with food. One of the best arguments for free market enterprise is the food economy in Mississauga. After living in Kingston for the past half decade I constantly find myself in awe at how cheap the food is in Mississauga. Mississauga happens to be much more culturally diverse than Kingston which might explain why the price of exotic ingredients in Kingston pretty much forced me into learning how to cook more western dishes at first. In Mississauga however, it is the Asian and Eastern European supermarkets which are the most affordable.

Food in Mississauga is Cheap

For example, last week I went to Whole Foods and got a pre cooked chicken for $13 ($14.69 after tax). This chicken lasted me 4 meals (two breasts & two legs). For those who are keeping track I’m spending about $3.67 for meat per meal on protein alone. What you see below came to about $1.10.

 

Above is some Soy Chicken pre cooked by Oceans Fresh Food Market. It is essentially oven roasted chicken leg basted with soy sauce once in a while. The rest I did in fact make. I serve the chicken atop some nappa (similar to cabbage) in the midst of some sautéed king oyster mushrooms. I finish the dish with some chives and dill flowers from my garden. The only thing better than a delicious meal is a cheap delicious meal.

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Halfway Loaded Potato Risotto

The idea behind this dish just came to me while I was trying to figure out what to make with just chicken, potatoes, and carrots. At first, I was just going to roast the potatoes, boil the carrots, and pan fry the chicken. However, something came over me and I decided to experiment! I knew that the technique used to make risotto is possible due to the starch inside of arborio rice being released during the cooking process. The released starch allows for the rice to gain a creamy consistency which is one of the lovely elements of a risotto that people enjoy. Knowing this, I decided to try and use the same cooking technique but with potatoes instead. Potatoes are quite starchy so I figured that it would also be possible to make a risotto with potatoes instead of arborio rice.

Potato Risotto

 

It turns out it was indeed possible! As I was cooking this dish with the three ingredients I had I thought to myself that perhaps I should try flavours that work with potatoes. So, instead of finishing with green onion I decided to finish the dish with some chives. I also finished the risotto with some sour cream although I don’t think cheddar cheese would have melted into the risotto the way parmesan does. This is something I still need to figure out. Moreover, I’ve yet to decide how I would want to incorporate bacon into this dish. Last, a fully loaded baked potato goes best with a steak which is also something that needs more thought. In the future I will blog about a more finished product perhaps called the fully loaded potato risotto. Until then, I will be experimenting as always!

Power Outage Caprese

Last week, Canada was hit by a thunderstorm. It didn’t seem too bad from where I was standing however, flooding occurred in some key places near me. Unfortunately, one of these places was Hydro One which meant that my cooking options were now limited. On top of finally having an excuse to eat copious amounts of ice cream, I was also tasked with using the rest of some ingredients. The first two things that caught my eye were the Costco batches of mozzarella and tomatoes.

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Salads don’t get much easier than this. The only ingredients are tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Drizzle on a bit of balsamic vinaigrette and you are good to go!

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Timing

The tricky thing about cooking more than one ingredient is that they often do not take the same time to finish cooking. For instance, in this dish I serve carrots, asparagus, and potatoes along with the steak and all three cook at different times. This makes timing difficult as the goal is to have everything finish around the same time. This way nothing becomes dry or gets cold.

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Little things to note when calculating when to start what ingredient are things like the time it takes for meats to rest, the time it takes for potatoes to reach an edible temperature, etc. When everything finishes at the same time you get the maximum flavour out of every ingredient. Timing is often overlooked and underrated. Getting it right makes a massive difference.

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Affogato

There is not as much to say about what an Affogato means to me or how it came into my life. I just saw it being made on a show one time and decided it looked tasty and easy enough to make.

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Affogato

Ideally I would have liquid nitrogen to make the ice cream as the quick process liquid nitrogen provides turns the cream mixture into ice cream so fast that there is no time for ice crystals to form. Unfortunately the best equipment I have at home is just your normal Cuisinart ice cream maker. The process is slow but I did not feel like ordering liquid nitrogen as you can really only economically order it in bulk. Nevertheless here it is with espresso poured over it and finished with some mint. So simple but so good.

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