Fried


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 first tasted this dessert in during my summer employments. Like many other office jobs, sweet treats are a favourite especially during those  long days where you need a sugar boost at 4 in the afternoon. Doughnuts, cookies, cakes, chocolates, and candy were prized at my office.  These sweet treats were no different. Given to us as a reward when we had zero errors on our reports, we were treated to this unique Greek dessert.

I will admit that when first offered to me, I refused due to just unfamiliarity. It didn’t look completely appetizing at the time that I first saw it, inside a box clumped as one big sticky mess. I finally got the courage to eat it and totally fell in love. It was definitely as sweet as it looked. The ball itself was like a doughnut but surrounding and absorbed inside is the honey syrup that bursts into your mouth when you bite into it. It’s warm and filling, definitely not something you could eat handfuls of.

I recently remembered eating the dessert and tried to find if any Greek restaurant in town had them on their menu. Sadly, there was none. My craving had grown and I just had to have some so I took it upon myself to find a recipe, gather the ingredients and give this dessert a try.

P.S. I apologize for the lack of photos during the creating process. I didn’t really know how it would turn out and I spent a lot of time checking things twice and ensuring things would go well to take the necessary pictures. Should I make this again, I’ll be sure to update with step-by-step photos (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

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

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!

(more…)

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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First I wanted to feature my kitchen at home. The lady in red is the head of the kitchen, my lovely grandmother. My kitchen back home isn’t huge but it suits our family fine. It’s hopefully going to get renovated in the near future to a more dark wood finish, granite top, better shelving within the cabinet, a bigger fridge and better lighting. My parent’s vision for it will be amazing I’m sure. During the summers and when I’m home in Toronto, this is where I cook.

To continue my birthday lunch coverage, I wanted to show you what a typical Filipino get together looks like. Despite the seemingly mass amounts of food, it’s still a pretty casual affair and the food choices are much more extensive during a really big celebration such as Christmas and new years. I only contributed by cooking the Prime Rib but the rest was cooked by my loving grandmother. I did all the set up and ensured that everything was warm and tasty with the help of my sister and father.

Click to see all the food!

(more…)

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