Homemade Roasted Veggie Pizza

There is something quite magical about pizza. Whether it be a thin or thick crust, classic mozzarella or extravagant goat cheese, veggies or pepperoni, these ingredients create an irresistible combination.

I’m a firm believer that pizza shops don’t need any kind of marketing because the aroma that comes across as you walk by is promotion enough. Home-made pizza accentuates all the awesomenss of this typically fast-food item.

Plus, not gonna lie, rolling out the dough is a great time. This pizza creation has loads of veggie goodness complete with caramelized onions and mushrooms, fire-roasted red peppers and roasted broccoli and eggplant.

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Ingredients 

  • Store bought pizza dough
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Roasted red peppers
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 Chinese eggplant
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions 

Topping: 1)Slice eggplant and broccoli and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. 2) Bake the eggplant and broccoli at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes. 3) Grate/slice the mozzarella and set aside.

Sauce:  1) Slice the onions and mushrooms and saute in a pan with olive oil. 2) Once the onions are translucent/golden, add the tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Dough: 1) Flour your work space, hands and rolling pin and start rolling out the dough ( this prevents sticking). 2) Once rolled out to your desired thickness place onto a floured baking tray. 3) Bake the dough for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Assembly: 1) Pour the sauce evenly over the pizza dough, top with cheese and roasted peppers, broccoli and eggplant. 2) Bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until the cheese looks bubbly and delicious!

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Homemade Burritos

Burritos. A word that many associate with fast food. A quick grab and go, fully loaded wrap of deliciousness. Most don’t even consider making these bad boys at home. Though it might be a little extra work, the result is 100% worth it.

This recipe is courtesy of the Vegetarian Ginger and she describes them as the ‘Best Damn Burritos You’ll Ever Make at Home’. That’s definitely reason to give them a try!

The components of this burrito are re-fried beans, guacamole, pico de gaillo and mexican style rice that come together in a perfect tortilla parcel for one awesome bite!

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Ingredients

For refried beans:

  • 1 (450g) can of black beans, keep the liquid
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

For guacamole:

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 3 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • Handful of chopped chives
  • Salt to taste

For pico de gaillo:

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt to taste

For Mexican-style rice:

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Additional toppings:

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup lettuce, shredded
  • 4 medium-sized flour tortillas

Method

For refried beans:

Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized pan. Add garlic and cook for roughly 2 minutes. Add in black beans, chili flakes and cumin. Mash the beans with a potato masher, slowly adding in the liquid from the can. Let the liquid simmer and cook out so that the beans are smooth while still retaining some texture.

For guacamole:

Mash avocados, onion, lime juice, chives and salt in a bowl.

For pico de gaillo:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

For Mexican-style rice:

Cook rice as directed on packaging. Once done, stir in butter, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Take a spoonful or two of the pico de gaillo and add it in.

For assembly:

Preheat the sandwich grill. ( The grill is key because it helps to seal all of the ingredients into the tortilla and adds a nice crunch on the exterior)

Place one room temperature flour tortilla on a clean, dry work surface. Take 1/4 of the bean mixture and spread it in the middle of the tortilla, leaving plenty of space on the sides. Grab a large handful or two of rice and pat it down on top of the beans. Sprinkle some of the shredded cheese over top of the rice, then layer on the pico de gaillo and shredded lettuce. Layer the gaucamole on top as well as any additional toppings you prefer .

Fold the sides of your tortilla so that they cover the edge of the ingredients. Holding the sides of the tortilla in place, fold the front of the tortilla over your pile of ingredients and tuck them in as tightly as possible. Slowly roll it forward to seal the tortilla.

Place the burrito in the grill and press down lightly. Allow to grill for 4-5 minutes until the tortilla gets some nice grill marks and the ingredients have warmed through. Cut the burrito in half to view all the delicious components!

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Plum Cake

This is one of my favourite fall recipes and it features an amazing seasonal ingredient, the prune plum. Although similar to regular plums they have a more sour flavour and are oval in shape.

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Just as easily replicated with summer plums there’s something very comforting about digging into this warm cake with bursts of plum flavour that sweeten and intensify as the cake bakes.

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Ingredients 

  • 20 prune plums
  • 1/2 cup butter ( softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp each cinnamon and sugar

Method 

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan with canola oil ( Make sure you get the bottom and the sides)
  3. Prepare the plums by slicing them in half with a paring knife and removing the pit
  4. In a bowl beat sugar and butter together. Once creamed add the eggs
  5. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredientsg and mix until combined
  7. Place the dough into the pan and spread to the sides ( dough will be sticky)
  8. Starting from the middle and working into the center place the plums skin side up around the pan
  9. Sprinkle with lemon juice and shake sugar and cinnamon over the top
  10. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes

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Grilled Chicken Tacos

With the summer winding down (sorry to be depressing but it’s true), I’ve been trying to make good use of my BBQ .

The latest grilling creation was adopted from Bon Appetite Magazine. Here’s my version of grilled chicken tacos with salsa verde.

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Ingredients

  • 1 whole onion cut into wedges
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • 5 radishes thinly chopped

Method

For the salsa verde ( or as I like to call it, yummy green sauce!) :

1. Cut one bulb of garlic in half and wrap in tin foil with a drizzle of olive oil

2. Place wrapped garlic and onion wedges on barbecue and grill until tender

3. Grill  jalapeno until the skin is charred. Then peel away the skin and remove the seeds.

4. In a food processor combine the grilled garlic, onions and jalapeno, fresh cilantro and basil and a dash of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth

For the taco:

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and cumin and grill on the barbecue. Once cooked, slice into thin strips. ( The skinless boneless thighs are great because they cook quickly, and stay tender and flavourful.)

2. Warm the tortillas on the barbecue for a few seconds on each side

3. Now time to build the taco!

Get your warm tortilla, and spread the salsa verde evenly across. Then place the grilled chicken, sliced avocado and chopped radishes to top it all off

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I warn you in advance this will be a messy bite but the resulting yumminess will make it all worth it

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You get the grilled flavours from the chicken, creaminess from the avocado, and crunch from the radish, not the mention my favourite green sauce which brightness every bite.

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Check out the link to the original recipe from @bonappetit and try it out for yourself

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/grilled-chicken-tacos

Extra Fun Fact:

You can re-purpose this amazing green sauce to add excitement to many other dishes. I experimented brushing it on some fish and grilling that which turned out pretty spectacular

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Homemade Pesto Pizza

Pizza is a pretty glorious food item. You’ve got the yummy bready dough, tangy sauce, melty cheese and an endless array of toppings to choose from.

BUT in recent discoveries, if you have the chance to make your own fresh pizza it enhances the awesomeness level by about 1000%

This was the first time I tried making pizza and I was floored with the success that resulted.

For this first time pizza making recipe I created a homemade pesto sauce topped with grilled vegetables and delicious creamy mozzarella. Check out the recipe ( I warn you in advance that measurements are not exact because cooking is all about experimentation and I did a lot of this pizza making based on feeling and taste)!

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Ingredients 

For the pesto: 

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

For the pizza:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 1/2 Chinese eggplant
  • Mozzarella cheese

For the Dough:

  • You can buy fresh made dough from almost any supermarket

Method

For the Pesto

1. Wrap the four cloves of garlic in tin foil with a drizzle of olive oil and bake in the oven/on the BBQ until tender

2.  In a blender, combine basil, parmesan, pine nuts, cashews, and garlic ( start by pulsing the ingredients together, then blend and slowly). Drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture becomes smooth and consistent

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For the Pizza

1. Slice red pepper, red onion and eggplant

2. Grill veggies on the BBQ for approximately 10-15 minutes ( or until they are tender and you get some nice char marks)

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3. Slice mozzarella into rounds and set aside

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For the Dough

1.  Flour your board, rolling pin and dough to ensure limited sticking

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2. Roll until you have a desired thickness

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Putting it all together!

1. Bake the dough for about 5-10 minutes in a 400 degree oven prior to putting on the toppings

2. Remove the semi-cooked dough and spread the pesto. Then place the slices of mozzarella and the grilled veggies onto the pizza

3. Continue baking for approximately 10-15 minutes ( or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is brown)

…. And there you have it!

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Delicious ooey gooey cheesy pizza with mouthwatering herby roasted garlic pesto and hints of sweetness and char from the grilled veg

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( Even more exciting, you can re-purpose the pesto and combine with pasta for another expert level Italian meal … or even combine with the leftover grilled veggies and spread on some pita for a snack)

 

Home Made Dumplings (Momo’s)

In our family, my mom is the primary chef, and when I say primary I’m referring to her expert level skill that would make any cook bow down to her greatness.

I wish I was exaggerating.

My dad recently has been learning how to cook, putting together some really well made meals for all of us to enjoy.

Me and my brother however never really put too much attention into cooking. In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog with my partner was to learn more about cooking.

But if there is one thing we all share in our family, is the love for dumplings.

Dumplings, or as we call them “momo’s” are a staple of many cultures since it is simply a stuffing of meat, vegetables or any filling in a wrap which is either baked, deep fried or steamed.

We make ours a family affair, involving all of us to take up post and make a factory creating dozens of delicious momo’s.

First, let’s check out the few ingredients you need to make these momo’s a reality.

Ingredients 

  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Green Chili’s
  • 4 Green Onions (A small bunch)
  • 60 Wonton Wraps (Store bought, and if you’re feeling adventurous, home made!)
  • 2LB Ground lean pork
  • Dark Soy Sauce
  • Salt

Method

1. Begin by chopping the green onions into thin slices, as well as the green chili’s. Take the skin of the four garlic cloves and prepare a large bowl to mix all the ingredients.

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2. Place the 2Lb ground pork into the large bowl and throw in all the chopped ingredients. Once you place the items in the bowl, pour in roughly two tablespoons of dark soy sauce into the mixture. At this point, depending on how much salt you like, you can put just a dash of salt. (Remember: Dark Soy Sauce is already high in sodium.)

3. Combine together ingredients thoroughly, making sure everything is mixed together well.

4. Lay out your wonton wraps, 5-6 at a time to place the pork filling into. Take 1-1/5 teaspoons of filling per-wonton wrap and place inside. Anymore than that, and it might explode while cooking (Note: Not literally explode, but it will break apart)

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5. Place first set in steamer, 1-inch apart from each other and cook for 20 minutes.

6. Take out the dumplings once completed and cooked through, and repeat the process.

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With the ingredients, this would yield roughly 60 or so dumplings (Factoring in all the “taste testing” samples once completed)

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There you have it! The perfect dumplings/momo’s that you could asked for ready in about an hour (depending on how many hands you have helping you)

If you try the recipe out, make sure you tag us on Instagram or Twitter to show us how it went !

 

Dishing With DeMontis Launch Party

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A week or so ago, a friend came to me wondering if I was available to film a launch party to promote a new show.

As you get to know me over the next few months (and years hopefully), you will eventually figure out that I am a big videographer nut who just jumps at the chance to do anything related to film.

It also helps that this event was for the launch of a new show on Sirius XM radio, dedicated to foodies and newcomers everywhere.

“Dishing with DeMontis” is a new show that launched earlier in the year, but the weather this week was perfect enough to finally hold a proper launch party for it.

The host of the show, Rita DeMontis, is an award-winning writer who is a part of the Toronto SUN team as its resident food and lifestyle editor.

She is also the food editor as well as the National Food editor for Sun Media.

Marrying her love for journalism and food, each week her show brings listeners a mix of entertainment and food trends that will make your stomach grumble violently.

The beautifully crafted event was held at the modern and stylish 25 Liberty Restaurant located in Liberty village.

Sporting high-ceilings and 10ft windows, this venue was the perfect mixture of elegance and space to host such a party.

But really, what is the best part of any restaurant? The food! And you can take my stomachs word on this, the food was excellent.

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Chef Daniel and his staff crafted a beautifully presented and delicious menu with a diverse range of hors d’oeuvers, my personal favourite being the mini cheesecake bites.

I miss you, mini cheesecake bites.

Not only was the launch party a great success for a new show by a celebrated and successful foodie, the venue was the absolute perfect choice for such a launch.

A big thank you to both Rita DeMontis and the team behind “Dishing with DeMontis”, as well as 25 Liberty and Edana Integrated for having us there.

For more on DeMontis’s new show, check her out! – Dishing With DeMontis

On the amazing ambiance and menu, check out 25 Liberty – 25 Liberty

 

Support photography and videography by Nadia – @nadmaciel

Now, it’s time for a bunch of pictures of some really beautiful food!

Here’s a bonus! Some tweets from different people that night including the Toronto Sun!

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

This is one of the first desserts that my grandma taught me how to make.

The natural sweetness of the banana accompanied by significant amounts of chocolate chips make this a delicious classic dessert. Beware, one loaf of these wont last long!

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 butter ( or oil)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together
  2.  Add eggs, crushed bananas, and vanilla
  3. In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda, salt- then add to creamed mixture
  4. Bake in a 8×4 loaf pan for 60 minutes at 350′ ( start checking for doneness after 45 minutes)  . Place a tooth pick in the centre of the bread to check for doneness- if it comes out clean, it’s ready!

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