Tuesday, August 28, 2012

VIMWAC Made it Into foodgawker!

It is now time for the world to rejoice for I have had one of my photos accepted by foodgawker.
Wait, "what is foodgawker?" you say? Oh sweetie, foodgawker is a well known and hugely popular website devoted to displaying the best, and only the best, photos from the foodie blogger world. A few months ago I learned about foodgawker from one of the bloggers I met at a Manitoba Food Bloggers gathering at Bistro 7 1/4. After the event, I created an account on foodgawker and have since submitted what I believed to be the best photo from each post henceforth. Most of you who are fans of foodgawker or perhaps are food bloggers yourself will not be surprised to hear that all of my photo submissions were rejected for various reasons. Poor lighting, tight composition, over exposure, food composition...the list goes on. But just when it seemed as if all hope had been lost, one morning I woke up to discover that the view count on my blog had jumped up by the hundreds over night. How? Well my photo of a bowl of bi-bim-bap from my Make Your Own Bi-Bim-Bap post was accepted!
Because one of my photos has been accepted, I now have a foodgawker gallery and am planning to put a button on my blog that will allow my readers to easily access the gallery whenever they like.
Just in case you couldn't see it in the top photo, I surrounded my picture with a red box to help you.
From now on I shall do my best to continue taking visually appealing photographs of the food I make, and who knows, perhaps some day I will have a foodgawker gallery with more than one photo in it.
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hello Huevos Rancheros!

I've found a new love at Edna Fedya and it is called the Huevos Rancheros (also known as the Mexican Breakfast at Stella's). For months I have seen people order this gorgeous meal while thinking to myself "one of these days I'm going to have to try that", and yet it wasn't until today's Sunday brunch when I decided that it was the perfect day to take pictures of something new and finally ordered it.
OH MY GOSH! How have I lived until now? At first I didn't believe my server when she told me that she loved it so much, at one point it was all she had eaten at the restaurant for 3 months, but now I'm starting to believe that I will soon be following in her footsteps.
So what is the Huevos Rancheros? It's two soft corn tortillas covered in refried beans, sunny side eggs, cheddar cheese, green onions and tomatoes served with salsa, guacamole, cilantro sauce and either hash browns or a fruit salad.
Although the description says that it comes with sunny side eggs, my server told me that I could have any kind of eggs, even scrambled, so I asked for poached soft.
I loved the salsa because it isn't like the liquidy stuff you would find in a jar. It's also very mild.
Each bite of this meal was a perfect combination of savoury cheese and eggs, fresh tomatoes and salsa, a little bit of creaminess from the guacamole and cilantro sauce, all piled on top of the soft corn tortilla and delicious refried beans. The only sad part about this meal was that I barely had enough room to eat any of my hash browns!
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Make Your Own Ice Cream Sandwiches

So today's post is going to be nice and quick. My mom absolutely loves ice cream sandwiches and came up with a really simple way to make your own with just a few easy steps. All you need are some large, round, flat cookies from a box that don't have any chocolate chips inside or chocolate drizzle on top. We used Dare's Simple Pleasures almond cookies because they are the perfect shape and because the light almond flavour in the cookies really compliments the chocolate ice cream we used for the filling.
Once you have your cookies, put your ice cream into a piping bag with a rosette tip. For the ice cream you can use store bought ice cream or home made ice cream (I used the chocolate ice cream I made last week). Then slowly pipe the ice cream onto the bottom of one cookie, then squish the other cookie on top with the design facing the outside. Then place the cookies into the freezer to harden and enjoy later. As you can see above, you really want to put the sandwiches into the freezer as quickly as possible or else the ice cream will begin to melt. These ones ended up melting a little too much because I spent so much time taking pictures. : )
These ice cream sandwiches really do taste like authentic ice cream sandwiches from DQ or the freezer aisle of the store, but the beauty of this idea is that you can use what ever kind of cookie you like and whatever flavour of ice cream you enjoy the most.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eating at the RRC's Culinary Arts Buffet

Well hello there. Today I am excited to share with you some delicious looking photos from an amazing buffet I went to this past Thursday. The Red River College's culinary arts program decided to hold three lunch buffets this summer and my mother and I managed to slide on in to the last one. I've spoken about the college's culinary arts program before when posting on meals I have eaten at Prairie Lights restaurant, and have mentioned how eating food made by the students is an easy and inexpensive way to try new foods you wouldn't normally find in your local diner. Well, this buffet was no different from those other wonderful evenings (although I have to say the lighting was infinitely brighter) and here are some of the pictures to prove it.
In the buffet there was a huge variety of foods to choose from. There was sushi, cheese fondue, an entire table devoted to desserts, and even a make-to-order pasta section. It was almost too much for little old pescetarian me to handle. : )
These seafood cakes above were definitely the highlight of my meal. They were piping hot and crispy on the outside while being flavourful and flakey on the inside. If they hadn't been so large, I would have gotten more than one.
The fondue table.
I had never heard of "gravlox" before coming to the buffet, and I wish I could tell you how it tastes, but the truth is, I'm not a huge of fan of raw fish and decided to save my stomach space for dessert and pasta!
My mother absolutely loved this asian coleslaw saying that it was really refreshing and crisp.
And now the desserts!
And here was my dessert plate. A bear claw, some pistachio ice cream, a custard tart and a ball that tasted mysteriously like banana bread.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Rich, Home-made Chocolate Ice Cream

Well folks, I am now officially on vacation, which means that it's time to bring out that list of things I've been dreaming of doing while working with kids all day and doing school work all evening. That's right. I wrote the exam for my summer course a little while ago, and my last day of work was Friday, so now I have time to do things like pull out my ice cream machine from the back of the cupboard and make home-made chocolate ice cream!
Wow. No really, WOW! I cannot believe that I have owned this ice cream machine for over a year now and today was the first time I made honest to goodness real authentic ice cream. Sure I've made some other things with it, like vegan vanilla gelato and avocado ice cream, but today I feel like my ice cream maker has finally served its true purpose in making some of the most delicious, creamy, and decadent chocolate ice cream I have ever tasted. In fact, it's the reason why I am saying good bye to those store bought boxes and pails of ice cream forever.
Okay, mayyybe not Haagen Dazs. : )

Home-made Chocolate Ice Cream (adapted from the Sundaes With Cindy Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream)
-1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (1 wrapped square of Baker's Chocolate)
-1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-5 egg yolks
-1/2 cup + 2tbsp white granulated sugar
-2 cups of 2% milk

There are a lot of steps and transferring of mixtures when making ice cream, so I highly suggest getting all of your ingredients out and prepared before putting things together.
First, finely chop the unsweetened chocolate. Then put the unsweetened chocolate, semi sweet chocolate, and cream into a small pot and cook on medium heat until all the chocolate has fully melted and combined with the cream. In a large pot, heat your milk on medium for around 8-10 minutes until it starts to bubble a little. While the milk is heating up, beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl for two minutes with either a hand mixer or standing mixer. When the milk has begun to bubble, take it off of the heat and slowly add it to the egg and sugar mixture while continuing to use the mixer. When all the milk has been added, return the milk, egg, and sugar mixture to the pot, put it onto medium heat, and stir until the mixture becomes 170 degrees F. Once it reaches that temperature, you can take the mixture off of the heat, add the chocolate mixture, and then stir till well combined.
Allow the mixture to cool on the counter for about half an hour, then strain it to capture any pieces of chocolate and cooked egg. Let the mixture sit in a bowl in the fridge for about an hour. After an hour, bring out your ice cream maker (be sure to have let it sit in the freezer over night or for at least six hours). Turn the machine on, pour the mixture in, and then let it run for 20-25 minutes. When the ice cream has finished churning, it can be eaten straight away as soft serve ice cream, or you can transfer it into a container to harden for later.
I'm not going to lie, I definitely had a couple spoonfuls of this as I was putting it into the container. 
So that's how you make authentic chocolate ice cream. There are a lot of steps involved and it's very easy to end up making scrambled eggs (as I discovered the first time I tried making it this morning), but it is well worth it because the ice cream just tastes so good.
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Return of the Amazing Manitoba Food Bloggers Events

Well I hate to say this, but summer has almost reached its end. However, with the ending of summer comes the return of all the wonderful food bloggers from their vacations to far-away lands with their exotic fruits. And with the return of all the wonderful food bloggers comes the return of the monthly Manitoba Food Bloggers events. Yay!
The next event is scheduled for September 25th and will be taking place at Segovia Tapas Bar & Restaurant, located in Osborne Village. Oh gosh, I just love Osborne Village. Perhaps some of you may remember the wonderful festivities I spoke of that took place there on Canada Day.
Anyways, back to the event. Here's a short description that was given in the event details,

"It's time for tapas! And when I hear tapas, I think of Segovia Tapas Bar & Restaurant. And that's exactly where we're headed. Join us Tuesday, September 25 for an evening in the dining room, lounge and on the patio at this Osborne Village eatery." [source]

I don't know about you, but that definitely makes me want to go...which is exactly what I'm going to do. : )
So if you are a blogger who writes about food, a foodie who loves to talk about food, or a person who has ever eaten a meal, I hope to see you at Segovia Tapas Bar & Restaurant on September 25th. Here's the link where you can buy a ticket. In the mean time, I'll be looking at the restaurant's menu and trying not to die of dehydration from all the drooling.
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Amazing Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Remember when I made fresh blueberry pancakes that stole my heart, and then came up with the idea of making apple cinnamon pancakes? Well, this morning I did it, and now my heart has been given to another. To make this super easy recipe, I combined a little bit of my apple crisp recipe with the "griddle cake" recipe from my mom's high school cookbook. The result? Pure simplistic genius.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1 cup milk (I use almond milk)
-1 egg
-2 tbsp melted butter
-2 tbsp sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 of an apple (I suggest Granny Smith because they won't break down too much in the heat)
-1 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon

To create the batter, it's as simple as whisking all the dry ingredients together, then mixing all the wet ingredients together, then adding the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Use a hand mixer to combine well. To make the filling is even easier. Thinly slice the apple with either a knife or mandolin. Then cut the thin slices into smaller squares and rectangles. Then add the sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. 
I tried a few different ways to put the apple filling into the pancake. Pour some batter into the pan, then put the filling on top. Pour some batter onto the pan, put on the filling, and then add more batter. But for some reason that just didn't work out because either the pancake had difficulty cooking properly or the apples got burned. In the end I tried mixing the batter and filling together before putting it onto the pan and that seemed to work out perfectly.
The filling.
When the pancake begins to form large bubbles on the top, it is ready to be flipped over.
Ahh, such a beautiful colour. : )
And here's how the final product looked. I sliced up a little more of the fresh apple to top my pancake, and then added some agave nectar as syrup. Delicious. 
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Sleeping Beauty at the BDI

Yesterday was a civic holiday which meant that I had the day off from work! It was really important to me that I do something really special for my day off since it was going to be the only one I got all summer (the morning I missed for my university exam doesn't count!). So that's exactly what I did. A friend from my ultimate team and I drove out to the Grand Prix for an epic (and painful) game of mini golf. He won, I lost, but not before I gave him a good slug in the face with my club (I swear it was an accident!) and then of course the natural progression from mini golf was to get some ice cream from the BDI (Bridge Drive-In).
When we got to the BDI I told my friend that ice cream was on me, you know, because of the whole slugging incident. Originally we were both going to get sundaes, his hot fudge, mine butter pecan, but for some reason that just didn't seem special enough for my day off. So instead I suggested we get a specialty item to share, and in the end we both agreed on the Sleeping Beauty.
The Sleeping Beauty is a treat that consists of half a pineapple, two mounds of vanilla ice cream, strawberries and cherries in sauce, with whip cream, peanuts (optional) and a cherry on top. The cost of this beautiful thing was $8.80.
The first thing I need to say about the Sleeping Beauty is that you have to LOVE pineapple to want to eat it regularly. But really that's no surprise since the whole thing consists of half of a pineapple. I certainly enjoy pineapple a lot, but for me it seemed like the pineapple took over the entire dessert and at one point my friend asked if there was any ice cream in this thing, or just pineapple and whip cream. Eventually we did find the ice cream and all around it was a very enjoyable experience, but I don't think it will replace the Chocolate Chocolate Upside-down as my all-time favourite ice cream to order at the BDI.
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