Despite the cold weather in Toronto, nothing signals the arrival of spring like Opening Day at the baseball stadium. I've followed the Blue Jays since as far back as I can remember and can mark where I was for so many Blue Jays moments (many of them AT the ballpark). I've already got a half-a-dozen games lined up for this year and look forward to taking my kids down to the dome this summer.
As you know, I love getting my kids involved in my culinary adventures. If I can take them on a food-themed road trip, I will. If I can get them helping me in the kitchen cooking a new recipe, I will. In general, this has given my kids a fairly good breadth of knowledge when it comes to food. They've tasted things many kids haven't tried and they can do things a lot of kids can't necessarily do. When they come across something they haven't eaten before, they turn to me with questions. What is it? Where does it come from? Is it healthy?
Food blogs are my Pinterest. I love seeing what other people are cooking. I love finding inspiration through other people's food creations. Pictures of steaming stir frys, towering oversized sandwiches, massive cuts of grilled meat fresh off the barbecue. As a chef it all excites and inspires me to keep on making my own delicious food. Food porn at its finest.
One of my favourite things to do is cook up food for my buddies. Giant oversized steaks, smoked meats, homemade beef jerky. Backyard grilling or game day tailgating with beer, fancy dinners accompanied with bottles of flowing wine. It's all good.
Dinner from the wok always seems to be a winner in our home. Rice is a simple and quick side dish that the kids love and pretty much anything I throw together gets gobbled up with enthusiasm, as fingers struggle to make chopsticks work as a shovel to get food to mouth in as quick a fashion as possible.
The food industry as a whole loves its buzzwords. Go local! Eat organic! Buy sustainable! That's not to say that these aren't all worthwile or legitimate movements. Taking care of what we put in our bodies, or how we treat the precious natural resources our planet has to offer is no laughing matter. However, at the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that mega-store X or big-brand Y really have one thing in mind: that is, convincing you to spend more of your money on their products.
Valentine's Day can be overwhelming if you're cooking for someone else. You want it to be romantic, yet delicious. Playful, yet grown-up. One of the biggest no-nos is certainly giving your date bad breath on a night when you should be getting up close and personal, right?
New York City has so many fantastic culinary destinations. On a recent trip I took some time out of my schedule to head over to Chinatown. I had an incredible time just walking up and down every street and alleyway I came across. Stopping to talk with the merchants and explore the vast number of storefronts was a real treat. If you find some time to yourself, whether at home or on the road, grab a camera and head out the door. You'd be amazed at the treasure trove of food destinations that can be just beyond your doorstep.
Who doesn't love deep fried Chinese food smothered in a sweet, succulent sauce? That being said, the fast food/take out versions leave you wondering what it is that gives your dinner that florescent hue, and how much sugar was used in that sweet, sticky sauce that is gobbed onto your dish.
I probably get asked for slow cooker recipes more than any other type of cooking. I think people love the idea of throwing ingredients in a pot, and then enjoying the day-long steady build of delectable aromas filling the house, culminating in a delicious dinner that is ready to serve. A lot of folks have their tried and true recipes that they love and venturing out takes some level of risk.
We were obliviously blessed with a first child who wasn't fussy. She took her bottles cold and she ate every flavour of baby food we put in front of her. When she was a toddler I said "Emily, if you never tasted sushi (her favourite food at the time), you'd never know you liked it. If there is a new food you are given to try, taste it. Then decide if you like or don't like it. If you don't like it we will never make you eat it again." And Emily has since used this as her mantra in life.
Look, I get it. As a waiter or waitress there is very little you can do to make yourself stand out and be noticed. You work between very limited margins within which you need to 'wow' your customers in the hope that they open up their wallets and spend heavily on your tip. You make people feel welcome, take drink orders, serve said drinks, take everyone's orders, bring the food out in a timely fashion, top up the drinks—wham, bam, thank you ma'am—there's your 15 percent.
When I was a kid, dinner happened every day at 6pm around our kitchen table. It didn't matter if we had friends over or if my parents had work or a meeting. Family dinners were not optional. For most of my childhood, I took this for granted. I had a mom who never worked outside the home and a dad who worked from home or at an office within 5 minutes from our house. It was only as I got older, in high school, that friends started to comment how nice it was that our family all gathered together and sit down to have a meal together at the end of the day.
The Jewish holiday of Chanukah lasts 8 days and is all about frying delicious foods. A holiday I can definitely get behind! Jelly-filled donuts dusted in powdered sugar, known as sufganiot, are a typical treat served on Chanukah. Last year I merged two of our family favourites and made mini salted caramel sufganiot.
I've been tailgating at NFL football games for over twenty years now and I still can't get enough. If you've never been to a game south of the border, it's a little difficult to describe. Effectively a 4-hour pregame party for every football home game, the tailgate is something you really have to experience to appreciate. If you have the opportunity, don't pass it up!
In a country known for carnivorous delights such as beef stew, tripe, and drisheen, one might assume that vegetarian tourism in Ireland would be an after-thought at best. There could be nothing further from the truth. Not only is vegetarianism an option for tourists heading to Ireland, it is transforming into a reason to go there!
Let me start by proudly telling all the nay-sayers: you CAN grill an entire Thanksgiving dinner on the BBQ. I've got a lot of friends south of the border who combine two great U.S. traditions—Thanksgiving and football. For a lot of people this means kicking back in their armchair and putting on the television to watch a full day of NFL games, while taking a break just long enough to gobble down some turkey with all the fixings.