Crunchy Seaweed Snacks

I’m getting straight to business today folks because I have been totally addicted to these lately and I’ve been dying to share. Seaweed may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think “crunchy salty snack food” but trust me after a few bites of these, it will be. Inspired by this recipe by foodie god Mark Bittman.

Hot tip: buy your Nori sheets from an Asian market rather than the grocery store. They usually sell them in much larger quantities for a fraction of the price. Torontonians should check out P.A.T. Central or Sanko.

Crunchy Seaweed Snacks

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pastry brush
  • 10 sheets Nori
  • 1/4 cup or so of water
  • sea salt
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Fold Nori in half so you create a strong crease, then unfold.
  3. Using a kitchen brush, paint half the inside of the Nori sheet with a little water using your pastry brush.
  4. Sprinkle sea salt & toasted sesame seeds over the moistened side then fold and stick the Nori back over top.
  5. Slice the Nori into 5 pieces.
  6. Continue with the remainder of the Nori sheets then transfer finished pieces onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Very lightly brush some extra water on top of the chips before placing into oven.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crunchy.
Eat em up plain, dipped in a little siracha or crunched up and sprinkled on salads n’ stuff! NOM.
Variations: Try mixing a lil vinegar into the water for a salt & vinegar chip flavour. Or add a little onion powder and nutritional yeast for a sour cream n’ onion style snack. 
Advertisements

Weird Ingredient Wednesday: CAROB


I love preparing meals for my friends. It gives me the opportunity to combine all the things I love into one epic event. Namely music blasting, kitchen dance-partying, wine sipping, gossip sessioning & of course some SERIOUS snacking. But one thing I notice every time I make a meal for a crowd is that…well…I cook weird.

I know this because of how many times I have had the following conversation:

“Do you have any __________?”
“No, but I have ____________!”
Oh.”
[crickets. tumbleweeds. dead air.]
“What’s that?”

I forget that not everyone grew up on a hippie organic farm. Not everyone has a family history of diabetes. Not everyone has friends with gluten intolerances. Or a vegan big sis.  So what seems pretty darn normal to me is actually SUPER DUPER obscure and downright weird to the rest of the universe!

So here’s a new feature I’m going to try on for size where I put a spotlight on some of the more “specialty” ingredients I use in my cooking.

THINK: 

(healthy hipster edition)

On to today’s weird ingredient….

CAROB!

That's not cocoa powder in my breakfast bowl, that's toasty tasty CAROB powder!

Weird Ingredient FAQ:

  1. What is it?
    Carob is a tropical pod just like cocoa, so it comes in the exact same forms as chocolate! You can get it powdered for cooking and baking or in the form of carob chips which you would use just like chocolate.
  2.  What does it taste like?
    Sweet and toasty, just a little bit bitter…like a caramelized coffee & chocolate combo.
  3. Is it good for you?
    Yup! High in fiber and calcium, lower in saturated fat than chocolate.
  4. Why am I such a fan? I love that unlike cocoa powder, you don’t need to add sugar to carob because its naturally sweet!
  5. Ways to use it: I love blending it in smoothies or substituting carob for chocolate in my favourite desserts to change things up a little! I also use carob powder on its own or mixed with cinnamon as a topping on yogurt, cereal or oats.
Carob n’ Yogurt Breakfast Bowl
  • 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cherries
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup puffed wheat
  • 1/4 cup millet flakes cereal
  • handful of soynuts & pepitas
  • sprinkle of shredded coconut
  • 2 big tablespoons toasted carob powder
  • a lil’ cinnamon
Have you ever tried carob? Do you think you would give it a try? 

Good Music Addendum

After you listen to all that heartbeat blasting electro music you’re probably gonna feel like punching yourself in the ear. So as a public service I’m following my last post up with this good music addendum. Go listen to my friend Graham’s new record Shirts Vs. Skins. The whole album is streaming for free right now at Spinner.ca.

While Graham Wright is most likely known for his day jobs playin keyboards for Tokyo Police Club & yammerin about music and junk on CBC Radio 3 he’s also got top secret healthy tendencies including (but not limited to): overusing his jack lalanne juicer, mowing down on bowls of kale at Toronto’s Fresh Restaurant and….you guessed it….running like a pro! Keep your eyes peeled ladies, you might just find this one bombin down Bloor St. one day.

Baby We Were Born to Run

When I was a kid I went to school in a teeny tiny a one room schoolhouse. Most of the time it was great but if there was one area where our lack of money or facilities really showed it was in the “physical education” department. My teacher actually had to invent his own sport for us to play that did not involve running, because our parking lot playground was unpaved and covered in sharp pointy rocks. Needless to say this gave me a bit of a complex around the whole physical fitness thing once I got to high school as I had never played a single sport or run further than the distance from the door of the school to my dad’s car at the end of the day.

I’m telling you this to give you a little context for the fact that I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be a “runner”. However, I do run.

a serious sweat situation went down after my morning run today

I finally got into it about a year and a half ago when I was living in a very remote region of Northern Spain, desperate for a way to spend more time outdoors in my beautiful surroundings while building up my cardiovascular health. Soccer was out, since everyone around me was essentially a professional athlete when it came to that game, so I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement.

Interval training that combines jogging and walking in 60 second/90 second splits was what finally sealed the deal for me. I found this approach to be incredibly manageable even with absolutely zero experience, plus it was way less boring than straight running and I could feel myself getting less exhausted every time.

My ridiculously erratic workout stats. But all those dips and jumps are actually great for your cardiovascular health. Keep yer ticker tickin!

These days I continue to use a similar interval method called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) where you alternate but between low or moderate and very high (maxiumum exertion) sprinting.

5 Reasons to Consider Running: Even Though its Lame & Runners are Annoying

  1. You can do it alone, on your own schedule, with no equipment
  2. Its efficient (20-30 minutes is all you need)
  3. Regular interval training can be less straining & helps improve your stamina
  4. It gets your butt outside
  5. ITS 100% FREE
Okay I’m linking you to the running mix that I used back in Spain to get my butt in gear. Its part of the PodRunner series and the music itself is super electro and hilarious but theres a warm up/cool down and a chime to let you know when to start and stop thats basically foolproof. First timers give this jog/walk interval workout a try. I swear you won’t die and you might even like it. Experienced runners, try throwing this mix on and using it as a timer to switch up the intensity of your regular run! You’ll def get hooked.
So whaddya think? Do you run? If so how did you get into it? And if not is it something you’d ever consider?

Coffee of the Day

I am a coffee snob. No question about it. Growing up my mum owned a coffeehouse & I was pullin espresso before my 14th birthday. So when I say I know coffee you know its in my blood. And when I recommend good coffee, you best believe its time to listen up.

Though I was only in Halifax for a hot minute before I caught my flight home it was just enough time to pop into the newly renovated Seaport Farmer’s Market and snag some of my absolute favourite evaahhh Java Blend coffee.

Java Blend Coffee Roasters, Halifax NS, 1938

 

What’s so great about Java Blend?

 

  • Canadian & Independently Owned
  • Certified Fair Trade
  • Organic Options
  • Bike Delivered Beans!! (Halifax area)
  • Beautifully Bold & Richly Flavoured Coffee
I am currently luxuriating in my daily cups of  Dark Organic Aztec Blend. 

Java Blend Coffee Roasters, Halifax NS, 2011

…though the ones I make at home don’t seem quite as delicious as that first one I sipped, to the soundtrack of wind & gulls, on the Pier in Halifax.

To pick up a lb. for yourself, peruse their online shop. Here’s a link to my favourite blend.

Do you ever buy locally roasted coffee? How important is buying Fair Trade, Organic, etc. to you

 

 

 

Bizzy/Lifey/Sigggh

Home at last from my intensely relaxing vacay to the east & obviously I have already hit the ground running. I love my city but slow paced it is not. Today looked something like: sirens, coffee, groceries, laundry, lunchie, work emails, cleaning, errandz, visit with fam, dinz, more worky & now I’m off to a BBQ! At least a couple of those were fun…yeesh! A few days ago my day looked more like: sleep, brunch, sleep. walk on beach, read, watch a VHS copy of 10 Things I Hate About You. 

Anywhoo in the thick of it i still managed to whip up a halfway decent lunch salad. Nothin like a whole wacka green to keep you running at peak the whole day through.

In the mix:

  • 3 big handfuls red leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • 1 fuji apple, diced
  • 1 green onion
  • buncha toasted sesames
  • Dressed in a mix of: tamari, seasoned rice wine vinegar & sesame oil
AVEC: A hefty side of steamed edamame for proteeeein powahh.
Off I go again… Wee!

Refrigerator Remnants: Get Scramblin!

I don’t know about you, but in my house Fridays are the “laundry day” of cooking. After a whole week of preparing fresh, creative & absolutely inspired recipes, your fridge has become a shadow of its former self. The pile of fresh greens you loved on Monday look a lot more like a wilted pile of weeds by Friday. And yet you still wake up hungry. And have to make due wearing the proverbial “bathing suit bottoms” of last week’s groceries.

As we prepared to leave the cottage last week I embraced the scarcity of my fridge and made good use of the dregs by whipping up a quick and easy Tofu Scramble (aka. Tofu Scram). You can really prepare this with any combination of sad looking leftover veg that you like but here’s what went into my skillet:

  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 3 withered up mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sad floret of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • bell pepper remnants, diced (totaling about 1/4 cup of yellow, orange & a teeny bit of red)
  • 1/3 cup or so of leftover sweet corn, canned
  • 1 big handful of chopped wilty spinach (or any green leafy veg)
Tofu Scramble Tostadas
Ingredients:
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Approx 1.5 cups of mixed raw veggies (refer to suggestions above but feel free use what you’ve got on hand!) 
  • 1-2 tsps spice blend (I usually use: cajun spice, cumin, chipotle, chili powder, curry powder and/or paprika + extra salt & pepper)
  • 1/2 package firm tofu, drained & pressed**
  • 1/2 cube or 1/2 tsp of vegetable boullion powder (optional, but delicious!) 
  • 1/4 cup Salsa + extra for topping
  • corn tortillas (I used the sprouted ones made by food for life) OR pre-made tostadas 
  • Daiya (vegan) or any variety of cheese slice 
  • avocado slices (optional)
  • lime juice for topping (optional)
Directions
  1. In a large skillet, heat a small drizzle of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions & garlic, stirring frequently until fragrant (about 1 minute) then add in all veggies along with spice mix and stir fry until lightly cooked but still vibrant in colour. Note: if using a light wilty green like spinach, add it LAST after all the other veggies have softened.
  3. Crumble in tofu into the skillet & incorporate into the veggie mix. Keep the size of the pieces small. Approximately the shape & size of scrambled eggs!
  4. Add about 1/4 cup salsa + 2 tbsp water. If using, add boullion + an additional 2 tbsp water. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, until liquid has absorbed.
  5. Lay out corn tortillas on a foil lined baking sheet. Top with a layer of vegan cheese, some tofu scramble, more cheese if desired and a little salsa. Broil the corners of the tortillas are browned & crispy and your cheese has melted. Finish by topping off with additional salsa, avocado slices & lime juice. If using pre-made tostadas, skip the broiling stage – just layer cheese, scram & toppings then serve!
**How the heck to press tofu? Wrap it up in 2 layers of paper towel, place a cutting board & a heavy object like a book on top. Let it sit for as long as time allows (5-10 min). If you’re in a hurry like I always am, just use the cutting board & push down with all your might!
So long, Island life! I’ll miss you when I’m gone!

Mussels of a Different Sort

The first time I ever ate a mussel I was at a Movenpick restaurant with my parents. I was a pretty adventurous eater for a 10 year old, but even I was skeptical at first of the dark shelled, black tounged, revolting looking creatures in front of me. But once I tasted one, I was absolutely hooked (not a pun cuz technically mussels aren’t hooked, come on now). I must have eaten 3 whole bowls of the things…at the cost of my obliging parents. Belated thanks, guys!

The only thing better than the first time I ate a mussel, was the first time I ate a PEI mussel. They are impressive in size alone, but the flavour is what really sets them apart. My favourite preparation is the no frills version they serve at the Lighthouse restaurant near West Point beach. Here’s my interpretation.

PEI Style Steamed Mussels:

1. In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, add 1- 2 cm of water.
2. Discard any broken or open mussels.
3. Bring water to boil along with: 

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large tomato, diced

4. Once the broth has reached a boil add mussels immediately.
5. Steam until mussels open, 3-5 minutes.
6. Serve as is, with some bread for dipping. 

Hot Tip: Ditch the fork & use the mussel shell as a utensil. Not at all hip, but totally fun to do. Swearsies.

Am I the only one who has a passion for these bottomfeeders? Give ’em a try & tell me whatcha think!

Feelin Fab

Check out my cameo in Fab Magazine (a gossip rag for gay toronto scenesters) here.

Okay fine Toronto. I miss you. Geez, did you have to make me say it?

Malpeque Bay

Catch of the day, today.

The illustrious Malpeque Oyster shucked fresh to order at small family owned oyster bar right on the Bay.

This is Local Foodie Kryptonite.