Canteen

Over the past week I have had the opportunity to celebrate a very important milestone in my life…Convocation! And as we all know, no celebration is complete without food and drink to indulge in with friends and family. I called Canteen the day of and they were able to fit in my table of three at 5:30 pm. To our surprise, we were seated at the chef’s table at the back of the quaint restaurant. After browsing over the menu (even though I’ve looked it up a million times online) we decided to share a few of the small plates. Chickpea fries with romesco and chorizo stuffed, bacon wrapped dates with red pepper sauce were at the top of my wish list and my mom and Alex agreed.

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The fries were quite neutral in flavour but they had a great texture and crunch. As for the dates….I just love dates… especially wrapped in bacon and stuffed with sausage. Enough said.

We ended up getting a range of entrees so we could have the opportunity to taste as many things as possible. My mom went for the feature of the day, duck breast served with a risotto cake, grilled pear, braised red cabbage, asparagus, and sour cherry jus of some sort, Alex had the pork chop with crispy pork belly with a roasted beet BBQ sauce and gnudi succotash, and I chose the halibut topped with preserved lemons and tempura sea beans (one of my FAV ingredients) served with white beans, ham hock, and escarole in a smoky broth. There was not one unsatisfied person at the table, in fact we were all blown away. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was served with an adorable retro bottle of diet coke!

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The whole experience was exceptional – from the server to the decor to the unique menu. Our night was finished off with a personalized explanation of the desert menu which led to a full belly of chocolate terrine with creme anglaise and chocolate, orange, almond bread pudding.

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I would absolutely recommend Canteen for any occasion or a spontaneous night out. The prices are reasonable (compared to their sister restaurant The Red Ox Inn) and the food is interesting and tasty.

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Sensational Summer Salads

The last few weeks, Alex and I have been experimenting with some new recipes (as usual) and we have come across some real winners in the salad department.  Alex’s boss was even requesting the recipes for the “delicious looking salads” he was bringing in his lunch. Plus, mother nature decided to skip spring this year so it is officially fresh summer salad season. Unfortunately, I haven’t fully wrapped my head around the idea of taking photos of my meals before devouring them so 3/4 of these recipes are sans photo. BUT, I can assure you they are delicious and boyfriend, dad, mom, and step-mom approved (which is not an easy feat in my family, trust me!).

Chicken Bulgur Salad – Make 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 cup bulgur
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup boiling water

3 medium tomatoes, diced

1/2 a cucumber, diced

4 green onions, chopped

3 thin sliced chicken breasts, cooked, diced (if you aren’t using thin sliced breast I would cut this in half)

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

black pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Mix bulgur, salt, and boiling water in a large bowl. Let stand, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until water is absorbed.

2. Add tomato, cucumber, green onion, parsley, and chicken to the cooked bulgur.

3. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar together and pour over salad. Mix all ingredients to evenly coat in vinaigrette.

4. Add black pepper and additional salt to taste.

 

Oriental Salad with Broccoli – Makes 6 Servings

Oriental Broccoli Slaw

This salad was paired with Mushroom and Chicken Kebabs (sans skewer) and Quinoa.

Ingredients

6 cups cabbage, finely chopped or shredded

2 cups broccoli, florets

1 cup carrot, grated

1 tablespoon coriander, dried

1/4 cup green onion, chopped

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, grated

1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Blanch cabbage, broccoli, and carrots by pouring boiling water until covered and allowing to rest for 1 minute.

2. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

3. Add green onions.

4. Whisk together rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and coriander.

5. Combine with blanched vegetables and toss to coat.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped peanuts.

 

Tomato Salad with Balsamic and Basil Vinaigrette – Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 cup green beans, steamed

4 tomatoes, cut in wedges

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

2 green onions, chopped

2 cups spinach, raw

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Combine green beans, tomatoes, mozzarella, green onion and spinach.

2. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and basil.

3. Pour over salad and toss to evenly coat the vegetables in vinaigrette.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Warm Chickpea and Artichoke Salad – Adapted from The Taste Space

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

juice of 1 lemon

2 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups chickpeas

1 can artichoke hearts, quartered

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add chickpeas and artichoke hearts. Cook until golden brown (about 10 minutes).

2. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, basil, oregano, and garlic.

3. Toss chickpeas, artichokes and vinaigrette until evenly coated.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

ENJOY 🙂