2017 July #1

Tuesday night, we were tired and sleepy, so we ordered some Pizza Hut. They had an online special, so we divided a large. I find Pizza Hut to have 90% crust, with only about 10% toppings, and their tomato sauce doesn’t taste very flavourful. Not like Pizza Nova… but ah so expensive. We still have to go to Pizza Libretto some time. I’ve yet to try, and Serena wants to show me what they’re like.

Wednesday’s lunch, we ordered some Mapo Tofu from Some Time Chinese Restaurant.

What a name, only Some Time… Makes you wonder what they sell at other times. Better not to ask.

It’s actually quite good. We’ve ordered from here 3 times already, and it’s been consistently good.

 

I cooked some eggs with fresh peas, but my photos were out of focus…

We went and got some water filter after work. For some reason, we thought our filter lasts 1 year. But ha… it’s just the regular Brita, which is supposed to get changed every 2 months! Oops…

For dinner we cooked the beef cheeks with the pressure cooker. It came out okay, but I’ll need to remember to do these things differently next time:

  1. Set the pressure to High. I forgot the left it on Medium, so after one hour, the collagen didn’t melt as much as I was expecting it to (not that I’ve ever cooked this before).
  2. Use beef stock. That should add to the flavour more than just soy sauce and water.
  3. Add onions and carrots. That should add to more flavour.

On Thursday, I went to the Ryerson Farmer’s Market. There aren’t that many vendors, but one of them is this Ryerson Urban Farm, which grows vegetables on the rooftop of the Engineering Building.

So I bought a pint of Gherkins. Nice crispy ones to eat raw.

I bought some chicken legs from Sanagan’s, and tried to make a simple teriyaki chicken. I deboned and deskinned two legs, and marinated a bit with salt. The cooking was fairly fast and easy.

I also added some baby potatoes, which I microwaved to parcook. I shouldn’t have done that, because the waxy potatoes actually ended up drying up too much.

In the evening we went to see Spider-man: Homecoming in IMAX 3D. It was really good! There was good humour throughout, and the acting was wonderful for both the young Spider-man and Michael Keaton playing the Vulture. The cameos from Robert Downey Jr. adds good character, too, playing the father figure.

I went to Sanagan’s again, this time for ribs. Looking online, side ribs (spare ribs) are said to be more tender, as it has more fat content than back ribs, which are leaner and have more meat. So I bought a rack of side ribs (11 bones). We ended up finishing the entire rack in one meal.

I was scared to use the short cooking time of 16-25 minutes on the recipe, because that seems too fast! So I pressure cooked for 45 minutes. The meat fell off the bones… Yeah, maybe next time I’ll just cook for 30 minutes.

After the pressure cooker. I brushed on BBQ sauce and baked in the oven for 15 more minutes. The sugar in the sauce caramelized a bit and concentrated into a drier glaze.

It turned out pretty well. I paired it with some cucumbers and pomegranate.

After work, we went down to the PATH and grabbed another piece of Nadege. The strawberry cheesecake this time. Fairly good this time.

Since we cooked at home for most of the week, we went out to eat for dinner. We splurged at a Chinese seafood restaurant because Serena has been craving lobster for a while.

The Golden healthy soup was gritty and didn’t have much taste. We didn’t like it much.

The battered fish fillet was quite nice though. The pepper sauce was good but would have been better with less salt. Broccoli paired well with it .

The lobsters were… Serena enjoyed it, but I thought the texture was tough and tasted bitter. I was not a fan… The claws were about the only parts I thought were okay.

We were actually full after that. So the fried rice and honey ribs we packed to go home, and had them for breakfast the next morning.

A little dry, but okay.

For dessert, a sweet green bean soup. I really like those as a summer dessert!

On Monday night, we went to Kinka for their version of Summerlicious.

For $29 per person, it was very reasonable, given the variety.

They had a special welcoming greeting card for making a reservation! Super cool!

 

The cold tofu salad was pretty good. Nice and refreshing.

The chicken skewers were nicely done too. A little salty for Serena, but pretty good.

Ah, the scorched boxed sushi. We’re spoiled from JaBistro for their aburi oshizushi, but these were pretty good too. Still scared about worms from that eel documentary, but ah…

Takoyaki. I actually prefer deep fried frozen ones, as opposed to fresh but gooey ones.

Their karaage was on point. Very crispy and flavourful! Greasy yes…

The sashimi platter. I like how they present the lobster shell. FYI, I tried keeping a lobster shell I cooked at home in one piece, and kept breaking it.

This was the only dish we didn’t like. Mushroom risotto. I found it too buttery, while Serena didn’t like the seaweed.

The kakimayo. Oysters with cheese and mayonnaise. I thought it was okay. Serena likes the oysters raw, so didn’t quite like this.

Lastly, the matcha ice cream for dessert. Not bad at all.

It was a nice meal, and a good way to finish the week!

2017 June #3

I went to Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market to get some beef cheeks (face cheeks, not butt cheeks), but they didn’t have any fresh ones at the shop. Beef cheeks are fair cheap cuts of meat, sold at $4.99/lb. It’s cheap because it has a lot of connective tissue, which means it needs a long cooking time, or else it will be very tough to chew. This makes it ideal for slow cooking and pressure cooking, because that will render the connective tissue collagen right into gelatin, giving it very nice body.

But like I said, they sold out of it, so I settled for the $7.49 brisket. It’s similar in terms of connective tissue, and is also relatively cheap.

Also picked up a pineapple. Looked really ripe. The way I’m picking pineapples now is to look for ones that have many many small leaves on top. It tells me that it’s been on the tree for a long time because it has many leaves. The leaves are also small, which means that the fruit hasn’t been watered down with heavy rainfall.

Well, I retrospect, it was kind of sour. I’m sure relative to other pineapples at this time of year, it was a good selection… Right? Right?

I ended up roasting them in the oven to inactivate the bromelain. My taste buds were numb when I ate it raw. Roasting made it sweeter and didn’t destroy my tongue when I ate it.

The brisket was so dry, that even after 90 minutes of pressure cooking, it was still so fibrous… Never buying it again.

I made it using high pressure and flavoured with BBQ sauce. It was just dense and dry… I’ll need to try another cut next time.

And for some vegetables, Brussels sprouts and mushroom stir fry.

While at Marshall’s, we spotted a three-legged wooden coffee table.it was pricey at $129.99. It looked so good… It was nice solid wood and was sturdy. The height was perfect for putting dishes or cups on it while we sit on the carpet, and also doubled as a foot rest!

We ended up lugging it home.

For dinner, we cooked the meatballs again, but instead of pasta sauce, we bought tomato passata instead, as recommended by Nagi’s blog, Recipe Tin Eats.

The Longo’s brand tomato passata lacked… body. It was sour but not enough tomato taste. We’ll try adding tomato paste to it next time.

Definitely not as salty as the pre-made sauce, which is good. But also not enough herb flavour. We’ll need to get some fresh parsley next time.

Friday

I tried to make this chili shrimp pasta for lunch.

It was okay, ┬ábut once again, lacked flavour from spices and herbs. I added the garlic a little too late, so the shrimp didn’t absorb that flavour. I’ll need to time that better.

The tomato passata was also too watery this time. Really need to combine it with tomato paste…

It turned out okay. Needs to be better next time.

For dinner we went to Buk Chang Soon Tofu. It was fairly mediocre because of stingy serving of appetizers (4 mini plates shared by 3 people, not refilled) and the tofu had very little flavour.

I offered item #1 on the menu, which was the assorted. It had tofu with one shrimp, one mussel, and beef. I picked mild spiciness, but should have picked medium. Not just because it wasn’t very spicy, but because the tofu soup had no other flavour beside spiciness…

Serena picked the dumpling tofu soup, which she didn’t like the dumplings.

My classmate picked the seafood tofu, which had 3-4 pieces of shrimp. He picked not spicy, and go didn’t have much taste.

Afterwards, we went to the Poop Cafe across the street. They feature toilet and poop-themed menu and interior decor.

We had a bubble waffle with ice cream.

My classmate had the Thai ice cream, served in a bathtub.

Saturday was Canada day! I have never seen this many pedestrians and vehicles! Even the Loblaws was so full of shoppers…

We toured around city hall and got a hotdog. There wasn’t too much yet, so we ate and rode to Steam Whistle Railroad museum. There were tons of people, because in addition to Canada Day, there was also a baseball game at the Roger Centre.

We went down to HTO Park to squeeze in a shot of the $120,000 dubber duck.

There were a lot of food stands, but even then, there were even more customers, so the line-ups were 10-15 minutes long.

We order another bubble waffle. Hmm, we had one just a few days ago, didn’t we? Taro and Mango ice cream. It was quite nice.

Serena wanted some, but they sold out of the blackened stinky tofu. Phew.

As it started raining, we went to Loblaws then cooked. Almost every cash register was open, and the lines were still about 15 minutes long each.

We grilled some steak.

And roasted some vegetables (tasted very sweet)! To be honest, we overcooked, and couldn’t finish.

The next morning, we had brunch at Eggspectations. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a seat, and for good reason.

High-Rise Pancakes ($13.95). It’s normally stacked, but the server asked for the pancakes to be separated for us, so the sweet and the salty don’t mix.

The pancakes had the chocolate chips on the outside. It was actually quite good, and we ate it all.

I ordered the teriyaki salmon ($18.95), which was quite well done. I ate the salmon and the salad, whereas the whole grain pilaf was dry and hard to chew.

It was a good meal, and we wouldn’t mind going back again.