Food Shopping: Iraqi Food Market

I have mentioned in one or my earlier posts that ethnic food stores make my heart sing.  I love to eat and cook dishes from all over the world and after meeting my husband I fell in love with Arabic food. His Iraqi side of the family are all exceptional cooks and they have introduced me to some amazing dishes that are now staples on my family menu. One of our favourites is chicken curry, which actually brings me to this post.

img_2779To make Iraqi-style curry you need Iraqi curry powder and I used to get mine from our relatives in Detroit, Michigan. For years it was one of my most treasured seasonings as I cannot get it at the regular supermarket here in Toronto and some other curry powders that I tried did not get the flavour quite right. Enter Baghdad Market in Vaughan, Ontario. Continue reading

Perfect (Garlic) Mashed Potatoes

You probably know by now that in my world potato is a magical vegetable. It can be cooked in so many different ways and used in such a variety of dishes that it is an absolute staple in my shopping cart and on my dining table (I do not have a kitchen table and we eat all of our meals in the dining room, in case you were wondering ;)).

img_0878

A bowl of yummy!

One of my favourite ways to eat potatoes is to have them mashed. I always make a big batch and use leftovers for a quick gnocchi meal or to make stuffing for pyrohy (AKA pierogie). I have discovered over the years that not everyone knows how to make perfect mashed potatoes: light, fragrant and creamy. They make a perfect side dish to anything and are great on their own as well (if you are anything like me). Continue reading

Maple Cottage Cheese Pancakes (AKA Syrnyky)

Who doesn’t like pancakes? Pancakes are always welcome at our breakfast table and leftovers (which there are rarely any) are eaten through the day as a snack. In Ukraine pancakes with cottage cheese called syrnyky (syr is cheese in Ukrainian) are very popular. I decided to give mine a Canadian twist and added maple syrup for sweetness and extra flavour.

img_3128

Perfect breakfast food

I consider syrnyky  a healthy(ish) version of a traditional pancake as the batter is mostly nutrient rich cottage cheese and there is not a lot of flour in it. And you can never go wrong with a little bit of maple syrup, right? Continue reading

Lazy Jerk Chicken

I fell in love with jerk chicken long time ago, shortly after my family moved to Canada from Ukraine. We came straight to Toronto and lived in a quaint little apartment building midtown, near Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave West. Just a short walk from home there was an always busy West Indian eatery, called Albert’s Real Jamaican Foods and it did not take us long to discover the amazing food Albert had to offer.

img_3029

I usually serve my Lazy Jerk Chicken with creamy mashed potatoes and coleslaw

The most divinely spiced chicken came on a bed of rice and peas, topped with ox tail gravy and served with a side of creamy coleslaw. We would pick up our jerk dinner from Albert’s every few weeks and savor every single bite. Continue reading

Smoky Sweet Potato Fries

Today’s post is quick and short and delicious! It is about sweet potato fries, baked version. Sweet potatoes are full of goodness and nutrients and taste amazing. They are also easy to prepare.

img_2753

So delicious!

Mine have a smoky flavour as I use smoked paprika as the main seasoning. I like to peel my potatoes, but you may want to skip this step, which will make the preparation even faster. A little bit of whole wheat flour gives potatoes a lovely texture and the quantity of oil is minimal. Perfect side dish all around! Continue reading

Korean (-ish) BBQ Pork, Lazy Cooking Day Edition

Today’s post is about a dish inspire by Korean cuisine, BBQ pork, to be precise. I first tried Korean food many years ago, at a run-of-the-mill Korean all-you-can-eat grill.

img_09291

Addictively delicious

They had me at the first bite. All that meat! All those side dishes! The KIMCHI!!! I could not get enough of it. I love eating out, but when I really love a dish I do my best to replicated it at home. Cooking from scratch is marvelous, healthy and satisfying, but sometimes it is nice to take a shortcut. Everyone needs a break every now and then, right?  In the recipe I use a Korean BBQ sauce (not to be confused with a regular BBQ sauce) and a Kalbi Marinade . I buy mine at the local Korean supermarket,  but have seen variations of it at the regular grocery stores as well. For those of you who live in Toronto, The Real Canadian Superstore has quite a few options. Continue reading

Easy Stuffed Potatoes

This is another post dedicated to my love of potatoes. These are stuffed with seasoned meat and baked in the oven.

img_2254

I admit, this is not the most photogenic dish. But it more than makes up for it in flavour. You will not be able to stop at just one 😉

My mom makes this dish for me whenever I come to visit her (my parents live in Ottawa while I am in Toronto) and it is only recently that I have cooked it for the first time on my own. Continue reading

Garlicky Mushroomy Chicken with Kale

I have been using quite a bit of kale in my dishes recently, mainly due to the fact that I put it in my morning smoothies and then must figure out what to do with the rest of the leaves.

img_1435

For some reason, grocery stores don’t sell just a little bit of kale but a huge bunch of it and I have no room in my fridge or freezer to store it (same story with dill, although space for dill is easier to find. WHY are those herb bunches so big???). I have also promised my husband to keep the freezer only 2/3 filled, which is proving to be quite difficult. He claims that the freezer is so full, there is no room for ice cream, should he want to buy some (it could also be a ploy on my end in order to keep his waist slim and trim). Continue reading

Leek and Potato Soup With Kale

Have you got some potatoes, leeks and kale kicking around? How about making some soup?

IMG_1796When I was growing up, I hated soups. My mom always made me eat them, as she is a firm believer that warm liquid keeps guts healthy. Maybe she is right, but I don’t mind eating soups any longer. I love them, specially when prepared by her. During my early cooking days I was quite intimidated by soups and thought that making them was a form of fine art. And then I discovered cream soups and everything got less scary. Somehow, pureeing the soup hides any imperfections, makes it look sophisticated AND even kid-friendly (all the lovely vegetables are hidden from the vegetable-wary eaters). Continue reading

Food Shopping: Korean Food Market

IMG_1894 (1)

Located in Toronto’s Korean Town, this corner store hides many gems behind its unpretentious facade.

As I have mentioned previously, I actually enjoy food shopping. Regular weekly grocery store runs put me in the ‘medium happy’ bracket, but any kind of specialty or ethnic food store sends me over the moon. Today was the day to visit a Korean Food Market.

P.A.T. Central looks like any other small ethnic supermarket, but wait until you get inside! It is not ‘new and shiny’ store with carefully arranged displays and immaculate rows of produce, but I am pretty sure that within its walls you will find anything you need for a night of Asian cooking.

Continue reading