Fish


My oh my, it certainly has been a while. In fact, this blog hasn’t received love since the beginning of the year. Now I could list you a whole bunch of reasons (some valid at that!) as to where I’ve been but it’s neither here nor there. What does matter is that I’m back just in time for the summer. Now while nothing may have shown up on here, I’ve definitely kept this blog ever-present on my mind and continued to take photos, try out recipes, go out to eat and thought about food in general so that when I did return there would be plenty of content to make up for it.

I’ve also endeavoured in running a tumblr featuring food that has taken up a lot of my time and effort. But while I love looking at food photography and showcasing the works of others on that blog, it’s time for me to get back to what I originally got into blogging for.

I’m often left responsible to make dinner each night for my family during the summer time and while I do get a lot of feedback and suggestions from my family, I’m often left to my own devices to somehow come up with something edible to put on the table. I had been inspired by a chickpea salad photo and decided to make my rendition. Chickpeas are so delicious and healthy. If you have the chance to cook them yourself, it would be even better but I never have enough foresight to soak them in advance to accommodate for my craving. So for those pressed for time like myself, canned chickpeas work just as well.

My parents had recently returned from a trip to the Philippines and they brought with them numerous cans of tuna and fish in various flavourings. In keeping with the inspiration photo, I decided to take a can of chick peas and picked one of the cans of tuna to combine to make a super quick and easy side salad. Having not previously tried any of these before, it was a tough decision as to which one would accompany the chick peas the best.

I ended up deciding on afritada which in Filipino food refers to a tomato based stew. Upon opening the can, I realized how much sauce/oil was in the can which worked in my favour as that allows sufficient coating for my chickpeas. I don’t know how easily you can find this particular product in your local grocery/asian grocery store but of course you can use any flavoured tuna. You could also use plain packaged tuna and add a dressing/sauce of your choice to toss in your salad.

To add freshness, feel free to add whatever vegetables that you like to accompany the chickpeas. I added cucumbers and red onion to bring freshness. I considered tomatoes but since the sauce was tomato-based, I opted out. Bell peppers, corn, carrots, fresh herbs…whatever you had on hand would be great. Don’t forget to season to taste and get creative with the salad.

My family had this alongside chicken burgers that night as a healthier alternative to fries or chips.  I’m not necessarily a big fan of tuna or canned fish in general but I thoroughly enjoy this. I also certainly loved the ease of this recipe combination. Try it out one night and of course, Happy Eating!

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The eating habits of a student can turn for the worse really easily and soon enough, you realize that you’ve spent the last few weeks chowing down on some seriously unhealthy food: pizzas, wings, chips, chocolate, baked goods. Even when you have the best intentions, you find yourself slipping back into those reliable favourites and that freshman 15 turns into a yearly 15 (yikes!). I try to combat it whenever I can by making something simple, delicious and fairly healthy (certainly a lot healthier than a bag of chips)

Cravings come often for me and some are fleeting while others stick around for a while. Eating corn was one of those lasting cravings. While grocery shopping one day I decided to pick up a can of corn just to add it to my pantry and from there got hooked. Generally speaking I’m a big fan of corn but it’s not easy to come by past the summer months hence the reliance for canned or frozen. But hey, the stomach wants what it wants and I ain’t about to start denying it the deliciousness of life.

Tilapia is another star of this dish. This fish is sweet, flaky and filling. I get the frozen filets from Costco at the beginning of every school year so I can stock up on fish in my fridge. One of my favourite ways to cook it is lightly breading it in seasoned panko crumbs and then pan-friend until golden brown. Balanced out with the corn and tomato salsa this was an extremely delicious dish.

Ingredients:

  • Filets of tilapia
  • panko crumbs
  • cooked corn niblets, room temperature (fresh, frozen or canned variety)
  • ripe tomato, chopped into cubes roughly the same size as the corn
  • spring onion, chopped
  • oil for frying
  • Ziploc bag for mixing
  • salt, pepper , taco seasoning mix

Recipe:

This is the method I went through to create this exact dish as plated in the picture. Substitutions and alternatives will be mentioned in the review section.

  • In a skillet, turn it to a medium heat and put enough oil to evenly coat the pan
  • In a large ziploc bag, fill it up with about 1/2 cup to a cup of panko crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and taco seasoning to crumbs according to tastes. Close and shake bag well to properly incorporate the spices into the crumbs.
  • Take a fillet of tilapia and place inside of bag. Shake to coat fish with panko crumbs evenly. (Essentially the shake-n-bake concept)
  • Once the oil has heated, place the fish gently into the pan. Turn over after a couple of minutes. Ensure that fish is cooked completely through and that it has turned opaque.
  • While that’s cooking, combine the corn, tomatoes and spring onions into a bowl. Season with pepper and some salt.
  • Plate together once the fish has finished cooking.

Review:

As you can see this is a totally simple recipe that I made on the fly one lunchtime. Variations come in every shape and form. Use whatever fish you’d like and season it however you’d want.  A lemon & pepper seasoning would go great with this as well. As for the salsa, use red onions if that’s what you’ve got on hand or opt out of them altogether. Chickpeas (another fav of mine) would be a nice addition to the salsa. Mix it up however you want with whatever you’d got on hand. Let me know what you decide to add to it or any other suggestions you think would go well with this. Also to clarify, the corn in my cooking prep was room temperature as I had bought already cooked canned corn so it was just a matter of adding it to the mix. However you can definitely opt to have warm corn with the tomatoes as that would work as well.

As for my opinion on my own creation, I adored it. Frying tilapia this way had already become a standard for me so the real novelty of this dish was the salsa. It only heightened my love for corn. A great balance of (semi) freshness to counteract the lightly fried fish. This would make for a great lunch or dinner for the family as it involves minimal cooking but great flavour. Try it out when you get the chance and as always, Happy Eating! :)

I apologize for the lack of posts going on for this blog. It is certainly not from a lack of material. I’ve just gotten so backlogged on my photo editing that I just haven’t gotten around to posting anything on here. Also, I’ve tried to focus my attention to my other blogs which for the majority of them, post on a regular basis (every other day). So as not to leave you out in the dark, please check out those other sites of mine in the Blog Roll on the side as well as conveniently collected on my main site Jara Mae. From there you can be updated on all my blogs, my twitter and various social media sites. Please also support my site by joining the Facebook page (Jara Mae Inc) to receive updates on everything that I’m working on.

In the meantime, I decided to start up a new series called Meal of the Day. Often times I cook/make simple meals at home consisting of leftovers or food that I have around the house. Food that I wouldn’t necessarily devote a whole blog to as it normally wasn’t created by me. I think it would give some insight about what I was eating every day, maybe record some memorable meals. I will try to do them as often as possible, though don’t hold your breath on getting it on  daily basis but I’ll work towards it. If you have meals that you’d like to share feel free to leave a link so I can take a look. It’s always interesting to see what people eat regularly besides all the creative recipes/dishes that you see on food blogs.

This is what I had for dinner last night. A fairly well-balanced meal if you ask me. It consisted of:

  • Half a plate of salad: mixed greens, dried cranberries, feta, almonds, red onion, fresh button mushrooms, lemon citrus dressing
  • quarter plate of white rice: I normally eat brown but this is what I had on hand at the time
  • a few slices of smoked salmon
  • 2-3 tbsp of giniling: Filipino dish of ground meat with potatoes, tomatoes and peppers
  • for dessert: 2 yogurts, vanilla & mixed berry

A very filling meal. I ended up eating a banana as well later in the evening to tide me over for the night. Not bad for student eating :)

I first heard about fanatics in my freshman year of university. I had just signed on to be a an executive member of the Filipino club on my university campus and was supposed to head out with the newly appointed group for dinner. Unfortunately, I had a calculus midterm within the next few hours that I desperately needed to study for (I didn’t do well in the end :P hehe). Fanatics didn’t come back up as a possibility until just this past year. I’ve gone several times and tried several things. I tend to go on Sunday’s when there’s the promo student discount. Can’t pass up a 25% discount. Almost every night has some type of promo that caters to everyone’s favs. I tend to forget to bring my camera whenever I head over there  or I don’t remember to take photos. I managed to take some on one of my visits.

I am always happily greeted by someone at the front whenever I enter. They promptly show me or us to a table and hope that there’s something good on. Gotta love the millions of televisions, projectors and screens with something visible at every angle. A highlight is their complimentary chips that are pretty yummy. I have a bit of a chip addiction. I don’t actually like chips but it’s one of those things that if you put in front of me, I could mindlessly eat (never good for a diet). They’re freshly made, well seasoned and there’s certainly plenty of it. Apologies for no picture.

Off the menu I’ve tried the Fanatic Burger, Southwest Burger, Crispy Chicken Fingers, Brew Battered Fish & Chips, Garlic Bread and Fries.

This particular visit I had the southwest burger ($9.99) and shared in some of my friend’s fish and chips. I tried their fanatic burger and was deeply disappointed mainly because I had such a craving for this juicy,  flavourful, meaty burger in my head and they just didn’t deliver. I decided to give their burgers another try and was disappointed once again. (Side note: I was so saddened by my failed search for this ultimate burger that I was forced to make some homemade ones that were exactly what I was looking for.) The burger, although quite sizable for my appetite, lacked any flavour. Maybe someone could correct me but it tastes like unseasoned ground beef cooked and stuck between some buns. It wasn’t as juicy as I had hoped and should had the misfortune of eating the patty alone or with the just the bread, there would be very little taste. Luckily burgers come dressed which helped to greatly improve the dish. I opted for a salad this time and was pleasantly surprised with the salad. The house salad was fresh and dressed perfectly. All the vegetables went together well and filled me up better than the burger.

My friend ended up getting the fish and chips ($12.99) and I ate some of it. Fries at Fanatics, just like their chips, are pretty darn good, some of my fav in fact. The fish was a little disappointing this time. I’ve had better so it’s a hit and miss. My friend got a chicken breast along with it and surprisingly, the chicken was really good. It was juicy, tender and very flavourful. The fish comes with a tangy mayo sauce and coleslaw.

In the past I’ve also gotten the garlic bread along side my meal. Not a wise choice. The bread itself is delicious but there’s hardly any garlic flavour to it. Maybe I’m used to more greasy, garlic ladened bread from other restaurants but that’s what I expect when you advertise garlic bread especially when its accompanying fries and chicken fingers.

Speaking of which, Crispy Chicken fingers ($10.99) whether dressed in buffalo sauce or not, is pretty good. Nothing extraordinary but definitely hits the spot when it’s what you’re craving. They give 5 sizable pieces which is nice as I know of some places that only give about 3.

Fanatics also does take out and delivery. I’ve never tried their delivery service but I have done their take-out which was a smooth and quick process. I’ve never had a problem with service in house despite what I’ve read in some reviews. However, their food just isn’t flavourful enough for me to enjoy too often. I go at the request of friends but don’t venture there on my own.

371 Princess Street
Kingston, ON K7L 1B9
(613) 542-3267
http://www.fanaticssportslounge.com/
Cash/Credit/Debit

Fanatics Sports Lounge on Urbanspoon

I often get sushi cravings considering there isn’t a multitude of good places to go in Kingston which is real shame. So when I manage to make the trip back to Toronto I instantly think of certain foods in hopes of satisfying my cravings until I finally come home for the summer. I have a definite fav place to go for my sushi craving which is out in Whitby (Sushi Mountain, yum!) but I’m always open to new suggestions especially ones closer to where I live. A friend of mine, J suggested heading to a place in Markham for All U Can Eat and I was happy to accompany. I had limited amounts of time to spend so we decided to go for lunch.

I had come to this specific plaza several times to visit other surrounding places but had never noticed the Japanese sushi place on the side. J often came here with friends for crazy feasts from what he described. I was certainly eager to see what they had and definitely hungry.

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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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I know I am terribly over due for a post and I have several (decent) reasons. First is the fact that I went home for my Christmas vacation and although you make think that I would have more time to update since I have no school to distract me, its actual more time-consuming as there are more responsibilities and duties while at home. During the holiday season there are several parties to attend, a lot of shopping/errands to run and many attempts at cleaning the house. Second is the fact that although as readers, there are no new posts, I do work on the behind the scenes stuff. For example, I’ve really been working on generating more readership that is stable. I’ve been joining other blogging/food networks to promote the blog because my secondary goal for this blog is to gain a decent amount of readership. I think I’ve done very well for only 3 months of publication and I hope that things only get better from here on out. I also spend a lot of time uploading/editing photos. My lighting and camera quality are not always the best so I do take the time to edit photos to make them as appetizing as possible. I’m trying to do the research needed to improve my photography skills so that I can cut down on editing. So I’ve caught up on editing, done a good chunk of promotion and gained more readership so now its time to get back to what it’s all about; food posts!

We’re gonna go way back to feature the main party food for this Christmas season. This is what a Filipino feast is like during the holiday season, in particular my home for New Year’s. Warning: this post is picture heavy!

For the annual Christmas day party, our family friends take turn on rotation deciding who will host it. This year it was held at my uncle’s house in Whitby from lunchtime until dinner. It was a potluck event and everyone was required to bring something. My family had decided to bring shrimp & vegetable tempura. It was also our opportunity to open our gifts with everyone else. Shortly after, I fell asleep from just exhaustion of the past few days. I awoke in time to eat a little bit of dinner, picture taking with the family and then headed home. But back to the food. There were tons and I wanted to feature all of them.

This was a black forest cake made by a family friend who specializes in baking. I’m not a huge fan of black forest cake, primarily because I’m not a fan of cherries. However, I was informed by my all-cake-loving sister that it was delicious. It was a beautiful cake fit for the season.

This was the tempura my family had brought. We used shrimp, eggplant, sweet potato and green peppers. It was a hit at the party and there were hardly any left overs. My favourite is always the sweet potato. It wasn’t as crisp as it could be since it was cooked earlier in the day but it was still very delicious and very easy to make.

Click to see more photos!

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