Tag Archives: rice

Toronto – Fresh Canteen – Garam Masala Seared Duck Breast Out of A Box

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Fresh Canteen – Garam Masala Seared Duck Breast Out of A Box

Fresh Canteen

A short while ago, I was pleased to be invited to join a handful of other blogger and food media guests for a hands-on experience with Fresh Canteen’s new ready-to-cook meal-in-a-box service. This awesome new food delivery service in town is really doing some exciting things. They offer up to the consumer a new version of food prep, giving you an assortment of recipes to choose from each week, and sending you all the ingredients you need to make the dish of your choice. Easey peasey – no shopping required (except selecting on their website) and creative editing allowed!

Refreshing Herbal Iced Tea

Fresh Canteen Flyers

Bloggers and Writers St. Lawrence Market

Table Set Up

We had our taste buds tantalized by some amazing appetizers from their recipe box such as their Asparagus Gruyere Tart & Lamb Kofta With Cucumber Yogurt .

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

 This service that caters to people who want to cook fresh, delicious dinners in their own kitchens but are often just too busy to shop or perhaps intimidated to shop for all the ingredients they need. They are very committed to using local food producers, focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible and that has a great appeal as I like to support local as much as I can.

 

#FreshCanteen

Working in teams, (my team consisted of @the awesome duo of @gavmartell & @DailyBreadBlog and myself @TraveliciousDee) and under the guidance of the Fresh Canteen team, we worked our way through the easy-to-follow step by step recipe for –  DUCK!  The dish to be made was Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Sautéed Grapes (no intimidation at all).  While it has been something I have rarely prepared myself, I do so love duck, I love Garam Masala, (yes I could stand and just sniff for a while) and fresh crisp grapes – mmmmhhhmmm. I think we all were impressed by the results of our efforts especially given that our fry pan had its temperamental moments with its heat source.

Duck Breast in a Box

pulling out the goods

Finished Duck dish

Each week you have a choice from a great selection of recipes online you can choose from by Friday and then on Tuesday you will receive an insulated box filled with all of the ingredients that you will need to make that dish. Each recipe is portioned out for two (or you can order a double enough for four) but easily the recipes that I have made would easily feed at least three or two with enough leftovers for someone to take to lunch the next day at approximately $12-$15 per serving (includes delivery to your front door) it’s a pretty amazing deal with no tip required (but better ask the chef at hand on that). The included recipe card shows its difficulty rating, estimated time and the step-by-step instructions which guide you through the cooking processes and there is also basic nutrition information – calories, carbohydrates, fat & protein info.

Fresh-Canteen-Menu

This is such a great idea for those friends who eat out or do take away at least 3 to 4 nights a week because of their busy schedule and when they get home from work the last thing they are going to do is go shopping. It’s also a great option for a weeknight dinner party or intro cooking lesson for your friends – you just come home from work, open the box, and create some kitchen magic with some amazing food and voilà. Having 4 brothers I know this would have been a great way to teach them some cool fancy meals to impress a girlfriend or partner, not break the bank and know that at least on few nights they were eating well.

The food is packed in an insulated bag with some reusable freezer packs and will stay cold all day in case you aren’t home when the box comes. If you pop the whole thing in the fridge, it will stay fresh for a couple of days too so you don’t even have to make it that night. Also, each recipe comes with a plastic covered recipe sheet with super detailed instructions and photos – kind of like DIY cooking for those not friendly with shopping and following a regular cookbook so even those who aren’t 100% confident in the kitchen are going to be able to finesse a meal and feel like a “TOP CHEF” in the kitchen. Most recipes can be made within 35-45 minutes with minimal prep of washing and chopping. Three new recipes are offered each week, and each recipe is available for 2 weeks. The minimum order is $60 with Fresh Canteen (so it’s 2 recipes serving 2 people = 4 servings total) and the maximum order is $180 (4 recipes serving 4 people = 16 servings total)

Right now delivery is only available in the downtown Toronto are but a great idea is to get it delivered to your office downtown and take it home at the end of the day(packaged in an insulated bag with freezer packs so you are safe to have a full day at work). Expansion of their delivery area is sure to follow the more people find out about the quality, value and ease of this great service.

At the end of the night our well-fed bodies left with some great goodies like our wonderful long red Fresh Canteen aprons, signature shopping bag, our box of our next meal and a lovely knife chef knife from Nella Cucina.

Take Home Package

What I got to come home with for our #recipe challenge was their Mock Butter Chicken of which I made a few additions and a substitution to the original recipe. I was very happy to open the box 2 days later and find that all of the ingredients were still super fresh and enticing.

Still keeping it with an Indian theme I chose to add in peaches to my Chicken instead of the recipe included ingredient of raisins (never been a big fan of raisins in my cooked food but understand their place in the original recipe), toasted coconut to the most amazing light and fluffy rice (think nutty pilaf) and the addition of pan toasted black mustard seed to the great crisp cucumber and radish salad dressing.

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So here is my mashup redux recipe from Fresh Canteen’s Mock Butter Chicken

Dee’s Peachy Chicken Remix

Recipe Ready

Ingredients:

2 Chicken Breasts

1.5 Tbsp Vegetable Oil (I prefer EVOO)

1 Tbsp chopped Garlic

1.5 Tbsp chopped Ginger

1 heaping Tbsp Tomato Paste

1.5 Tsp Cumin Seeds

1.5 Tsp Ground Coriander

1 Tsp Turmeric

1.5 Tsp Garam Masala

½ tsp Chili Flakes (I like mine hot so I did ¾ tsp)

1/5 tsp Brown Sugar

½ tsp Salt (this is always to taste but you do need some with all of these spices)

3 tbsp Plain Yogurt (I find if you are doing dairy free – plain coconut yogurt works)

½ Medium Onion chopped

½ tbsp Butter (optional – I use Coconut Oil)

1 small Japanese style cucumber

2-3 large radishes

2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1-2 tsp Olive Oil

1 cup Basmati Rice

1-2 Naan Bread

1.5 tbsp toasted unsweetened coconut flakes

1  tbsp toasted Brown Mustard seeds

1 medium peach diced small

What you need to cook:

1 small saucepan

1 frying pan

Instructions:

Prepare ingredients and read through the recipe noting what needs to be washed, chopped and sliced.

ingredients mustard seed

Chop the onion, garlic, ginger and cilantro. (I use my Cuisinart chopper for the 1st three ingredients and it creates a great chunky paste which is very traditional for Indian starters for recipes.

Cut chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Slice cucumbers and radishes into similar size pieces.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add ½ tsp of salt (sea or Himalayan preferred). Add rice, reduce the heat to minimum, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. When done, fluff with a fork and add in toasted coconut. (Coconut can be toasted in fry pan quickly over medium heat to a golden brown and leaves pleasant oil behind to sauté your onions etc. in)

Coconut Rice

In the fry pan head up your 1-2 tsp of Olive Oil on medium heat and add in the mustard seeds. When you hear the first popping of the seeds immediately take off of the heat and allow the oil to cool. This is the base of your dressing. In a small bowl, add the sliced cucumbers and radishes. Whisk together the Olive Oil, Mustard Seeds, 1.5 tsp of Red Wine Vinegar and add Salt & Pepper to taste. Set this aside.

mustard seed

cucumber radish salad

Heat the remaining oil on medium-high heat until shimmering (or if using a wooden cooking utensil it should start to bubble where it touches the pan). Add your chopped ginger, garlic and onion. Cook until the onions are slightly golden in colour. Add your peaches at about a 2 minute mark and cook for about 4 minutes.

onion garlic ginger

peaches in the mix

Remove the pan from the head and add in the cumin seeds, coriander, tomato paste, garam masala, brown sugar, chili flakes and turmeric. Return to the heat and cook stirring constantly for another 2-4 minutes to infuse the spice mix into the onion, garlic, ginger “paste” and releases the fragrances and flavours of the east.

spice mix

Add the chicken, stirring to coat all the chicken with the spice mixture. Add 1/3 cup of water and the 3 tbsp of yogurt. Cook until chicken is done approx.7-9 minutes. If your sauce is too thick add a bit of water while cooking and you can finish with a tbsp of Butter or Coconut Oil to put an extra shine on the sauce (totally optional)

Chicken Dish Cooking

Chicken Dish Cooking

Sprinkle with chopped Coriander and serve with the Toasted Coconut Rice. Enjoy with your Cool Crisp Cucumber and Radish Salad and your Naan Bread which can be heated and sprinkled with your Chopped Coriander as well on the side.

Finished products

Enjoy!

pot of chicken

As long as you get your order in by end of day Friday, you’ll get boxes Tuesday. They currently have a serious PROMO going on! Use code “FALL30” at checkout for $30 dollars off your first Fresh Canteen order of two recipes.

I know the next time I am trying to plan ahead I will have Fresh Canteen  bookmarked and on speed dial for easy access to order my next food experience to share! I’m excited to see how Fresh Canteen grows and develops as a local start-up and to see the recipes experiences they choose to create for your shopping and cooking pleasure!

 

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All Things Food: A Little Pimentón Anyone ?

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Pimentón – translation – Spanish Paprika

Getting an invite to joing a group of foodie bloggers for a short form visit to local resto shop Pimentón, brought the flavours to start this foodie traveller’s senses aflame. The décor of the lime green and hot tamale red walls entice you to feel a little caliente and ready to consume some Mediterranean and Spanish taste pleasures. One must give immediate thanks to Mary Luz Mejia and Sizzling Communications for the invitation to come and enjoy such an amazing experience on a blustery night in Toronto.

“Venezuelan-born Jose Arato started his professional career as an accountant. One bite (or two) of sumptuous pastries lead him to reconsider his career choice. Upon completely switching gears and diving head-first into the culinary world, Jose interned at the Fairmont Royal York, worked as a chef de partie the Park Hyatt Hotel in Toronto and created ethereal pastries at some of the best shops in Toronto including Rahier, All the Best Fine Foods and Dessert Trends. He later staged in a prestigious chocolate program with Chef Sander Koenen in Caracas, Venezuela allowing him to gain a wealth of experience in various pastry styles and techniques. Approximately one year ago, he took over the Pimenton business from friend and mentor Lola Csullog-Fernandez who left Jose with her coveted Spanish recipes that he makes today, proudly in her memory and with a lot of amor.” ~M.L. Mejia

Imagine the people gathered for the class were writers and bloggers – all who share a passion for food! Our teacher – Chef José Arato who actually became a chef by way of accounting, then the pastry route. Follow him at @PimentonTO or check out the website at www.pimenton.ca .

We started the class then with a demo of how to make our dessert, best things first but you don’t get to eat until last because of preparation time : Ice Cream Turrón. The base of the ice cream was a simple vanilla custard and Chef José, who has worked as a pastry chef, did something so obvious that it made most of us gasp at the simple brilliance of it. While he was scraping the vanilla pods, he did what you would normally do and then well here it comes – ahh the simplicity of it – to ensure all the little seeds were used, he agitated the pod with the same sugar that vanilla was going into. As part of the finale of the end of the night, the ice cream was served with a drizzle of Tuccioliva Olive Oil and Sal de Ibiza. Delicious beyond belief!

We all participated in some of the prep work for the Paella a la Valenciana. There was about eight of us were stationed at cutting boards with knives ready waiting on our instructions from Chef Jose. Some diced juicy red peppers while others chopped the tear-making onions. Inch by inch pieces chef instructed and I did so diligently but not everyone did exactly as chef asked throughout the prep time stuff but it all worked out in the end as we had 3 pans of Paella to be making and sorted sizes of peppers ,onions and chicken between them all.

Frequent dashes to the hand washing station to make sure we were food safe was a bit of a dance move in between sampling all of the yummy appetizers that had been made in anticipation of our arrival. When it came time to clean the squid it all had a bit of a sensual nature to it and perhaps reminded some of us of things better left until after a wonderful meal! Chef taught us to clean the squid tubes by turning it inside out  – a trick I need to ensure I tell my mother about for future reference when she gets a notion to try something new.

An unforgettable cooking tip from Chef: Soak the mussels in water with a little flour first while they are still fresh and alive. The mussels will eat the flour and excrete a lot of the sand they contain and this will prevent getting a lot of sand in your paella dish or anything else you are using mussels for.

When we moved into the kitchen and hovered around the range it became clear paella isn’t exact cooking science; you eyeball it and guesstimate when it comes to the Bomba rice. Watching with both the naked eye and behind the lens, we all followed Chef José showed us when to put liquid in the pan, how to agitate – not stir – and how to finish the dish with a slightly crispy bottom.

Bomba Rice: A Spanish short-grain rice that when cooked, expands in width, which differs from most rice varieties that expand in length. It is able to absorb three times its volume in liquid, so it is one of the best rice varieties for the preparation of popular Spanish paella recipes. When cooked, the grains remain separate and do not stick together. Bomba rice is expensive compared to other rice varieties due to the care required in cultivation and the length of time required for it to mature. It is most often available in specialty shops and through mail order and you can do either at Pimentón.

RECIPES:

Sofrito: A basic classic tomato sauce that is made all over Spain.

Ingredients:

Good quality Olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1x 28-oz tin crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Directions: In a saucepan, heat olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for 6 minutes until fragrant . Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until some of the liquid has evaporated. Purée with an immersion blender. This recipe freezes amazingly well.

Chicken and Seafood Paella (Paella a la Valenciana) by Chef José Arato (Serves: 6-8)

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped coarsely
Pinch saffron, infused
4 chicken breasts cut up
2 squid, cleaned, cut into rings
16 small clams, soaked to remove sand
16 shrimp, shelled and deveined
Spanish Oil as needed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
Sofrito * see recipe above
3 cups Bomba rice
6 1/2 cup Chicken or Fish broth, hot
1 tablespoon salt (or more as needed)
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 lemon
2 sweet roasted red peppers
2 dozen mussels, steamed
Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

1. Place 1/2 cup of stock in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, and add the saffron and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside. This step is only necessary if your saffron is not dried enough.

2. In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, mash the garlic, parsley and some course salt to a paste. Set aside

3. Heat 6 tablespoons of oil in a paella pan and add the shrimp. Cook briefly and then add the clams and squid. Remove from paella pan. Add more oil if necessary, as dry paella can result if there isn’t enough oil. Add the onions, pepper and when these are soft but not brown. It’s time to add the sofrito, and the garlic/parsley & saffron mixtures. Add enough stock to come up the rivets of the paella pan. Bring to a boil. Squeeze the lemon and season the paella at this point. Add the rice in one line and then stir to mix with the stock. Allow to boil hard for 8 minutes.

4. After 8 minutes, add the green beans, peas and nestle the shrimp on top. DO NOT STIR, as this releases the starch in the rice. Continue cooking at a high roll for another 2-3 minutes or until the rice is no longer soupy but enough liquid remains to continue to cook the rice. Now, turn the heat to low. Place the mussels on the top of the rice and arrange strips of roasted red peppers on top of paella. If your paella bottom does not fit properly on the stove burner, continue cooking in a pre-heated 350F oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven when the rice still looks a bit wet. Cover with foil and let the paella rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley and serve from paella pan.

When all was said and done and we were all salivating, we were allowed to dig into our hard work – the Paella was amazing and Chef Arato prepared an Escalivada (grilled eggplant and pepper salad)  in advance and paired it all with a nice fruity Sangria, a squeeze of fresh lemon and all was set for a wonderful meal with new friends sharing a common bond in the kitchen.We finished off the meal with our amazing Ice Cream Turrón with a drizzle of Tuccioliva Olive Oil and Sal de Ibiza and Santiago Cake -Gluten Free Almond Cake – delish!

We all left with a little memory of leftovers and a sweet little gift from Chef to take home to get us started on our own versions of Paella.A huge thank you to Chef José for his patience and teachings with our group of eager learners in the kitchen!

Stop by for a visit to tantalize your tastebuds, share a little humour and enjoy the shopping experience to come home and create your own Spanish & Mediterranean themed food experiments at home. Or put together a group of friends, family or colleagues and take a cooking lesson on your own and learn the simple pleasures of the tasty meal we enjoyed on your own and know that you are in great hands with the staff at Pimentón. Look for an upcoming Sip N’ Learn session with AYA Life and Chef José soon! Learn about the wonders of Spain and the Mediterranean from a travel perspective while learning how to taste your way through a country.

Pimentón Spanish & Mediterranean Fine Food

681 Mount Pleasant Road

Toronto, ON

Tel: 647.343.4870

© Deborah Peniuk 2012