Chicken


I’ve almost never written about my actual cravings which  was the initial inspiration for the name of this blog. I suppose it’s a good thing because for the most part if I’m craving something I go out and get it shortly after. I try not to deny what the stomach wants especially since you only get so many meals in a lifetime; why deprive yourself right?

Well I’ve had a serious craving lately for something similar to the photo below.

Photo courtesy of : Food Porn Daily

I’m really in the mood for crispy chicken tossed in a spicy sauce, perhaps a General Tso’s recipe. The spicer the better too as I’ve been really loving everything extra spicy these days.

If you have a recipe that you think I’d enjoy, please leave a link and I’ll definitely have a look and add it to my recipe list. I have yet to actually look and find a recipe I’d enjoy.

For those in Canada, you may have seen the new ad’s for McDonald’s latest McMini sandwich, the Zesty Mango McMini. This is the 3rd sandwich in the line, the other two being pesto and Thai. You get either grilled or breaded chicken. Upon first glance, it’s a rather strange flavour combination for a fast food chain like Mcdonald”s. Their efforts to briefly step away from mainstream burgers and fries to adapt to the diverse palette most people have these days is admirable. I want to first state that I have not eaten this sandwich or any of the other McMini sandwiches simply because McDonald’s is not a common item in my diet. In fact, other than a quick breakfast while moving into town, I can easily count on one hand my visits to McDonald’s in the last few years. It’s not just McDonald’s that I’ve stepped away from, but most fast food chains out there. But back to what I was saying.

google image

I haven’t eaten this but my mother has and she’s strongly encouraged me never to eat it. A simple question turned into a very heated review of her disappointing experience with the sandwich. I suppose she was hoping for something more flavourful. Instead she remarked that the bread was soggy, the chicken rubbery and the sauce of little taste. All in all a bad sandwich and one that should be avoided. She doesn’t have a total hate for McDonald’s so please don’t consider this her latest disapproval of the entire menu; she just really disliked this one. And since she and I have fairly similar tastes, I suppose I shall take her up on her advice and keep my $2.00 or so for something more appetizing (every cent counts as a broke student lol). However don’t take her word for it or mine. Go out and try it for yourself and if you do, please report back. I’d be interested in hearing other people’s reviews!

I seldom visit the Pickle Barrel restaurant, not because a lack of decent food or a dislike with the atmosphere but simply because it never springs as a go-to option when hunger strikes. I’ve gone a total of 3 or 4 times in the past, mostly to this exact location since it is the closest to my home.

My sister had just gotten another acceptance letter from another university so our family decided to celebrate by going out for the night and getting some food. After much deliberation as to where we could get what my sister was craving, we decided to head  down to Markville Shopping Centre and visit the Pickle Barrel for some dinner.It had been a long time since our last visit but we were excited.

The Pickle Barrel has a wide range of menu items for any meal of the day. Breakfast until late at night, there are many options to choose from. Although we had gone for dinnertime, my sister and I were drawn to their breakfast and brunch items (who could resist pancakes smothered in sweet goodness?) but we went the traditional route and stuck to dinner entrees. Pickle Barrel was also featuring new items on the menu as seen in the above photo. An adaption to the summer season, this menu has lighter, fresher options. I’m sure there’s something on the menu that would entice you. (more…)

Szechuan Szechuan is a pan Asian and Szechuan restaurant. It has two current locations; one in Vaughan mills and the other in the First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto. On a shopping excursion to Vaughan mills, my family decided to eat at the Szechuan Szechuan restaurant. We decided for quicker service and general convenience to stick with the takeout/express service as opposed to the sit down meal in the restaurant. I can’t comment too much on decor but it looks really classy and modern inside the restaurant. The website displays some pictures.

image taken from google

The food choices are quite extensive even for the take out. There are soups, salads, main dishes of every meat, sushi, side dishes, rice, noodles and set menus with the type of food ranging in the Chinese, Thai and Japanese flavours. Simply ideal if you ask me. We ordered 4 dishes, one for each of us and ended up with leftovers. The other bonus to the take-out service is that they provide take out boxes of all sizes if you’re unable to finish. There’s also water on hand so you don’t have to worry about buying tons of drinks if all you need is some refreshing water to go along with the meal. The take out service has certain special up on the board with enticing photos as well as the menu. It’s all very clean-looking and appetizing. I can’t really explain the thought process behind choosing what we did that day. We all wanted a little something different.

I remember choosing the Pad Thai ($9.95) simply because the other noodle choices didn’t seem appetizing at the time and although Pad Thai dishes in most places aren’t all that authentic, I’d settle for it over other options. It was surprisingly better than I had anticipated, certainly not super authentic but better than most. There was a lot of flavour and you could definitely tell that it was freshly made to order. I could happily live off of Pad Thai for the rest of my life.

My father got the General Tso Chicken ($10.50) since it was advertised as a house speciality. I can’t say it  looks all that appealing in this photo but it was definitely delicious. A little too much on the salty side so luckily we had some rice to go with it. There wasn’t as much spice and kick as you’d think there’d be considering all the dried peppers in the dish. I like my food spicy but I don’t mind either way. Definitely a hearty dish.

I’m not 100% sure what this is. Upon reviewing the online menu, I tried to figure out what this might be and was torn between two choices. I’m leaning more towards Crispy Ginger beef ($10.95) but someone correct me if I’m wrong. At my favourite Szechuan restaurant, they have a similar crispy beef dish so we decided to try this out. It was certainly tasty but a little salty as well. We might have ordered extra rice because of it. Again not as much spice and kick as you’d think considering you can see the big pieces of dried peppers. We had some of this left over in the end.

And finally, my sister decided she wanted Sweet & Sour Pork ($8.95), a Chinese classic dish. Also tasty but pretty generic compared to others you could find elsewhere. She happily gobbled it all up.

Overall, Szechuan Szechuan is a great place to grab a bite. There’s a wide selection and I certainly appreciate the takeout option as it is certainly much more convenient especially while on a shopping trip. The portionning is really good and great value. It’s a different level of fast food. Maybe one of these days, I’ll venture into the restaurant itself but in the meantime, I hope you try it for yourself and enjoy :)

1 Bass Pro Mills Dr
Vaughan, ON L4K 5W4
(905) 738-8398
Website
Take Out Menu
Cash/Credit/Debit

Szechuan Szechuan on Urbanspoon

After making the rice that day, I decided to make  a stir fry to go along with it. I kind of threw everything together based so ingredient amounts are unknown. I suggest you experiment for yourself. Just everything in little amounts untill it tastes right to you. It’s essentially a basic stir-fry. you could substitute the meat for any kind and use prepared sauces if you’d like. sky’s the limit :)

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • snow peas, chopped in half or thirds
  • carrots, chopped
  • chicken strips, frozen or fresh
  • few tbsps of soy sauce
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Instructions

1. Heat the pan up to medium to medium-high. Add oil. Stir in onions until slightly translucent

2. Add carrots and sauté with the onions for a few minutes.

3. Add the snow peas. Pour a small amount of water to generate more steam. Add soy sauce and season to taste. Stir often and ensure continued moisture in the pan.

4. I opted to use frozen chicken strips because they were what I had on hand and they were quick. I actually enjoy the taste of these chicken strips and it went really.

Review

This is the final product. The stir fry went really well with the pilau rice. A squeeze of lemon freshened everything up. It was fairly light, full of flavour and well seasoned. Looking at this photo makes me want to cook it up again. I hope you enjoy. If you have any further questions on the recipe, let me know :)

Every once in a while I buy a whole roasted chicken from the grocery store. Although roasted chicken isn’t too hard to make, I just opt to buy it as is to save me time. I normally eat it plain or with some white rice. Everyone has their favourite parts of a chicken and for the most part, people will choose the darker meats and breast meat can sometimes dry out. Besides the wings, I prefer the breast meat. It’s a good base flavour to work with and experiment with. Breast meat is typically the last meat I eat from a roasted chicken for the sole purpose that I can do more creative things with it than eating it plain. It can be used for salads, pastas, soups…etc. I choose to eat it as a sandwich. The breast meat actually lasted me a long while so I ate a few of these during the week.

A recipe isn’t exactly necessary but I will list the ingredients for those who are wondering. I toasted the white bread so that the bread was crispy and holds up to the filling. I used mayo for both sides (because I happen to like mayo), slivers or red onion, shredded chicken breast meat and cilantro leaves. I opted for cilantro leaves because a) it’s all that I had on hand and b) I happen to like the idea of using a strong flavour like cilantro leaves as opposed to lettuce or spinach but use whatever you have.

I just wanted to feature my photos l because I’m really working towards improving my photography skills, learning about composition, utilizing the light that I have…etc. So enjoy :)

UPDATED 01/12/09 @ 3:45PM — I forgot a few more dishes so for those who have already read this post, check the end to see even more food from the party

New Year’s is a huge event for my family because it’s a two fold celebration. In addition to the general excitement for the new year, New Year’s day happens to be my father’s birthday. My family throws an annual New Year’s bash, invite all of our family and friends and party from the afternoon until the wee hours of the morning. Because it is such a long event and there are more people than the normal get-together, there’s a pretty big spread on our table.

After a year of numerous parties, my family tends to feel like we’ve gone through the majority of the Filipino dishes out there. Therefore, we like to attempt to ring in a new year with different food that isn’t always typically seen at a Filipino party. When deciding upon the menu, we consulted a variety of sources for inspiration and recipes and came up with a menu that features some of our most favourite dishes, some experimental food and some tried and true Filipino food.

Recipes that I reviewed

Recipes from various sources

Click to see more food from the party!

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