Although I'm not a vegetarian, I would happily choose a vegetarian restaurant over a steak house if given the choice. My husband—not so much. He compares beans, lentils, and tofu to cardboard and if ever forced into eating it, will beeline it for the closest burger joint afterwards to "fill the gap" and perhaps restore his "meat-eating manliness." After countless attempts to get my hubby to open his mind to eating vegetarian once in a while, I gave up and saved my vegetarian dates for my girlfriends.
Until the other night...
As busy new parents, we rarely get the chance to treat ourselves to a fancy dinner out. Well, thanks to Love Your Lentils, we got the chance to dine at the amazing River Cafe a few days ago. I'm telling you, this was unlike any dining experience I've ever had. We had been there only once before, on our 3rd wedding anniversary, and it was just as amazing this time as it was then. This beautiful restaurant is located along the Bow River in Calgary, on Prince's Island Park.
It is like no other—it's simply fabulous in every way. The service was beyond amazing and the food was to DIE for. Especially the dish that I chose.
As fully expected, my husband chose a red meat dish. I, on the other hand, chose the Wood Grilled Ocean Wise Albacore Tuna, Sprouted Lentil and Wild Ramp Fritter with Smoked Onion Puree and Fresh Dill Camelina Oil prepared by River Cafe's amazing Chef Andrew Winfield. This dish is among several lentil dishes prepared at fine restaurants across Canada, all competing in the Love Your Lentils competition.
If you go to the Love Your Lentils site, you can vote for any of these lentil dishes. When you do, you are entered to win an amazing trip to Prince Edward Island with Chef Michael Smith. But you only have a few more days to enter! The contest ends on June 4.
As I gazed at the masterpiece that was placed in front of me, I noticed that Jon, my lentil-loathing husband (who, for the record, had never even tasted lentils), was also admiring my meal. Huh. Interesting. I could tell that he wanted to try it, but I didn't push it. We clinked forks (a tradition we started way back when we were dating) and dug in.
It was delicious to say the least—the lentil fritter paired beautifully with the Albacore Tuna. I eventually did let my husband try a bite and he LOVED it. He couldn't believe that he was eating lentils. Cheers to you, Andrew Windfield, for converting my anti-vegetarian hubby into an open-minded and perhaps healthier eater!
And might I add, we (ahem) thoroughly enjoyed our culinary experience!
Some of the best lentils are grown right here in Canada! These little budget-friendly 'pulses' (the edible part of a legume) are super easy to cook and extremely nutritious. I use split lentils (the ones that you can easily find in the grocery store) for purees, dips, and veggie burgers at home (hint: they are toddler and kid-friendly too!) Lentils are high in protein, making them a great meat alternative. They are also rich in fibre, potassium, folate and iron. This is why the Nutritionist (and Mom) in me LOVES lentils.
Something that I didn't know about lentils is that they are a nitrogen-fixing crop, meaning they replace nitrogen in the soil that they are grown in, making them environmentally friendly!
YMC and Canadian Lentils are giving you a chance to win a $150 gift certificate to your choice of restaurants participating in Love Your Lentils!
Here is a list of the participating restaurants. Click on each restaurant for a peek at their featured lentil dish:
Diva at the Met - Vancouver, BC
Herons at the Fairmont Vancouver - Vancouver, BC
Fraiche - West Vancouver, BC
Locals - Courtenay, BC
Waterfront Wines - Kelowna, BC
CharCut - Calgary, AB
River Café - Calgary, AB
Rouge - Calgary, AB
Boxwood - Calgary, AB
Calories - Saskatoon, SK
Velvet Glove, Fairmont Lombard Hotel - Winnipeg, MB
West - Toronto, ON
FRANK Restaurant at the Art Gallery of Ontario - Toronto, ON
Bannock - Toronto, ON
TOCA by Tom Brodi - Toronto, ON
The Stone Road Grille - Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar - Ottawa, ON
Les Fougères - Chelsea, QC
DNA - Montreal, QC
St. John Ale House - Saint John, NB
Chives Canadian Bistro - Halifax, NS
Tempest Restaurant - Wolfville, NS
Sims Corner Steakhouse - Charlottetown, PEI
Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland - St John's NFLD
Bacalao - St. John's, NFLD
Just leave a comment below telling me which restaurant you want to go to and why! Yes, it's THAT easy.
You have until June 14, 2012 and be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win.
It’s Barbeque and picnic season! It’s a great time to enjoy delicious food and the outdoors with your family. However, you may also be in the company of some unwanted guests—bacteria and bacterial toxins that grow on your food can cause food poisoning, something that often gets passed off as the stomach flu. Did you know that about 11-13 million cases of food-borne illness occur each year in Canada? This is scary. These tips will help to protect you and your family from food-borne illness this summer.
Beef, pork, veal 71ºC (160ºF)
Chicken, turkey 80ºC (176ºF)
Rare 63ºC (145ºF)
Medium 71ºC (160ºF)
Well done 77ºC (170ºF)
Rolled beef roasts or steaks 71ºC (160ºF)
Pork chops 71ºC (160ºF)
Roasts 71ºC (160ºF)
Fresh cured ham 71ºC (160ºF)
Cooked ham (to reheat) 60ºC (140ºF)
Chicken, turkey - whole, stuffed 82ºC (180ºF)
Chicken - whole, unstuffed 82ºC (180ºF)
Turkey - whole, unstuffed 77ºC (170ºF)
Chicken, turkey - pieces 77ºC (170ºF)
Reheated 74ºC (165ºF)
What I hear (and what I find myself) is that supper is the most challenging meal of the day. By. Far.
By 5pm, your kids are hungry, you're exhausted, and the overwhelm of creating a healthy AND tasty supper is setting in. Fear not! Supper doesn't have to be gourmet or complicated to be healthy and yummy. Here are three ways to throw together an easy and nutritious supper!