There are two things I question the most when hosting a dinner party. Are my dishes going to contrast each other? Or are they going to taste the same? If I served potatoes and plain veg on the side, then it wouldn’t be a problem but that shit isn’t going to fly on a Saturday night with my friends. I based my last dinner party on a soy and sesame kale salad which was decent – it’s a work in progress. I wasn’t too impressed with the rest of the meal either; I cracked out on the soy sauce and everything tasted the same.
I did, however, redeem myself with these savory Miso Deviled Eggs. I’m obsessed with miso paste (fermented soybeans) which has become a staple in my kitchen. See White Girl Ramen. Miso is extremely salty and should be considered a small addition to something rather than a base. These are not your Grandma’s Deviled Eggs. Rock up to your next potluck with these and I promise all the high fives.
• 8 Eggs
• 2 TBSP Mayo
• 1 TBSP Grainy Dijon
• 1 TBSP Miso Paste (light or dark)
• Toasted Sesame Seeds
Bring eggs to a boil, remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes. Let eggs cool and peel. Cut them in half, remove the cooked yolk and place in a separate bowl. Add to the cooked yolk the miso paste, dijon and mayo – mix well. Pipe filling into eggs, sprinkle with sesame seeds and refrigerate for at least an hour. I make a ghetto piping bag from a small sandwich bag. This is an example but not my video.
This couldn’t be easier, guys: throw your sprouts in a food processor and chop that shit up. The first time I made this I thinly sliced every single sprout because sometimes I’m a daft bitch. The processor takes seconds. Get a nice glass bowl and toss the sprouts, walnuts, cranberries, pancetta and shallots with the dressing. I like my slaw well coated, so I often adjust the quantity of dressing.
• 1 Pound of Brussel Sprouts
• ½ Cup of Walnuts, chopped
• ½ Cup of Dried Cranberries
• ½ Cup of Cooked Pancetta, chopped
• 2 Shallots, chopped
• 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
• 2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
• 1 Heaping TBS of Grainy Dijon Mustard
• 1 TSP of Honey
• Pinch of Salt
It looks simple enough to make but Tabouli is surprisingly easy to fuck up and is a huge time suck. I once added too much bulgur, minimizing the freshness of the dish which is imperative. I also had to get over my compulsion to add garlic, it just doesn’t work. The lemon juice intensifies the garlic which overwhelmingly takes over the entire dish.
I only recommend preparing this if you possess enough patience to chop parsley for what seems like an eternity. That shit has to be finely chopped and stems are unacceptable so carve out an hour of your day and grab a glass of wine.
• 3 Bunches of Parsley
• 1 Cup Fresh Mint
• 1 Bunch of Green Onion
• 3 TBSP of Bulgur or Couscous
• 3 Lemons – juiced
• 1 Tomato
• ¼ Cup of Olive Oil
• Pinch of Salt
Prepare bulgur or couscous and set aside. Remove parsley from stems and chop finely until you reach the brink of insanity. Chop mint, tomato, and green onions then toss everything in a non-reactive bowl, which is anything other than metal – if you want to know why, Google it. Refrigerate for at least an hour, tossing it a few times. The idea is to soften the parsley by saturating it in lemon juice.
Eggplants are straight up nasty. They look weird, they feel weird, I’ve choked and gagged on the skin and they taste like sponge. But when you grill them and blend them with yummy shit – then eggplants are my jam. I wanted to replicate the smoky flavor in the Baba Ganoush from Tabule but I do not have access to a grill so I added Danish Smoked Salt. If you don’t have Danish Smoked Salt (also called Viking Salt which is pretty boss) you’re shit out of luck.
• 3 Medium Eggplants
• ½ Cup Tahini
• 1 Lemon
• 2 Cloves of Garlic
• 1 TSP Viking Salt
I was supposed to add olive oil but forgot. The Tahini made the dip creamy enough but go crazy, add a splash. Place eggplants on a baking sheet and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350° turning them every 15 minutes. Remove the skin. Blend all ingredients in a food processor and let cool in the fridge for an hour.
I disappeared again. I do that sometimes. I wish I had an exhilarating reason why but I don’t. I was merely off tormenting myself to complete my novel. It was awful but somehow fulfilling and of course still incomplete. My mother poetically calls me, “a tortured creative soul,” I call myself completely neurotic. This is getting dark. I digress.
This past weekend I made a middle eastern inspired feast for a few friends and I was damn impressed with myself. Chicken was bomb. Smoky Baba Ganoush was bomb. Tabouli was bomb. But the star of the show was by far this salad. If you are unaware, Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese with a high melting point so it can withstand frying and grilling. It’s dense, chewy and salty as fuck which pairs perfectly with the bitterness of the arugula and the sweet but tart dressing.
NOTE: the vinaigrette proportions might be slightly inaccurate because I free poured that shit like a boss. Please modify to your preference:
• ½ Cup POM Juice
• 2 TBSP Olive Oil
• 1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
• 1 TSP Honey
• ½ TSP Grainy Dijon Mustard
• 1 Small Shallot (finely minced)
• Salt and Pepper
Toss with arugula and serve with halloumi – pan fry, high heat for a 1 min per side.
Pesto is pretty easy to make – throw shit in a food processor and blend in olive oil. But in true fashion I succeeded to make a gigantic mess by deviating from the original method and using my NutriBullet. Everything blended well but into the consistency of baby food. I then used my mini food processor because I was too lazy to bring out the big bastard but it wasn’t powerful enough to chop everything finely. So I had one bowl of pesto slime and another of roughly chopped ingredients. After taking an essential wine and scream/cry break I combined the two concoctions into what passed as “rustic pesto.” I’m just making shit up now. Point is; use a proper food processor for this recipe.
2 Cups Fresh Basil
1 Cups Pine Nuts
2 Cloves of Garlic – you can add more but if you keep pesto in the fridge you will have regrets.
1 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese
1 Cup of Olive Oil
1 TSP Lemon Zest
Juice of Half a Lemon
Pinch of Salt
Add all ingredients except for the olive oil in a LARGE food processor and chop finely. Keep machine on while slowly adding in the olive oil until your desired consistency. You can add more oil later; you want a bit of a pool on top.
Creamy Pesto: This was so amazing, I can’t believe I’ve never done this before. Add half of a cup of half and half cream and two heaping spoons of pesto into a pot and warm it up. The cheese in the pesto will thicken the sauce but I strongly encourage adding more – cheese makes life better.
To save you the time and exertion from a rage-induced comment, I will begin by acknowledging that my ramen recipe is influenced by but not traditionally a Japanese technique. Ramen has such a vast and rich history there is an entire museum dedicated to it. I won’t bequeath you a history lesson today but want my appreciation for the antiquity of this tradition to be known before I fuck it all up.
People in Toronto are cracked up on ramen – I haven’t seen such a huge food trend since pizza bagels. I’m assuming this fad is rampant in other North American cities but I’m marginally poor and have no money to travel. Honestly, living in such a culturally diverse city like Toronto I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on ethnic culinary experiences. Take for example the plethora of Japanese noodle houses popping up everywhere with Kenzo as the leader of the pack. I’ve been overindulging on the Sapporo Miso Ramen with ground pork – the miso based broth has a beer “essence.” I use essence insecurely because I’m sure there isn’t beer in it but you know how I feel about beer in my food – I dig that shit. So, I based my recipe on this bowl with the intention of adding beer to my broth but I only had white wine in the fridge which is why I appropriately call this, White Girl Ramen.
- 4 Cups of Water
- 2 Mushroom Bouillon Cubes
- 2 TBSP Miso Paste
- 1 TBSP Soy Sauce
- 1 TSP Sesame Oil
- Big Ass Splash of White Wine
The idea is to make your broth first, separately cook your additions and noodles then put it all together in individual bowls before serving. This would be great for a group of people who have different palates as the possibility of ingredients is endless. I added:
- Instant Noodles
- Ground Pork (no I didn’t, but I wanted to)
- Cremini Mushrooms
- Pea Shoots
- Green Onions
As mentioned, you can add whatever you want – knock yourself out!
This Greek Bruschetta is a version of a version of an original recipe I’ve never tried. My friend Lee made her version a few years ago and naturally I adjusted it to complement my own palate. What I like about this recipe is how fresh it is. The Bruschetta mixture isn’t placed on top of bread but is scooped up with warm pita triangles. Fresh lemon juice rounds out all the complimentary ingredients that burst with salty and tangy flavours. I use shallots in this recipe because of my intense aversion to raw onions – especially red or purple onions. Yuck. There are so many ingredients you can add or omit – knock yourself out!
- 1 small pint Grape Tomatoes
- 10 – 15 pitted and chopped Kalamata Olives
- Crumbled Feta Cheese (as much as you want)
- 2 cloves of Garlic
- 1 medium Shallot
- 1 – 2 squeezed Lemons (add to taste)
- Tiny splash of Olive Oil
- Tiny pinch of Salt
Just chop, mix and serve.
TIP: I pit olives by cutting one side off then pinch out the pit.
I like to consider myself a dill pickle enthusiast. I was the gross kid eating pickles and olives out of jars while watching Jem marathons. My taste buds give zero fucks about sweets. So when my mother recently told me she made 30 jars of Polish pickles I booked the first train home. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the soft, meaty flesh of a huge stinky deli-style pickle. But to my horror she presented a jar of what looked like sweet pickles. Now, not to sound dramatic but my hatred for sweet pickles is real and has been deeply seeded since childhood, comparable to assholes people with olive aversions.
But the love I have for my mother exceeds any pickle variety so I agreed to try her concoction after I calmed down from my meltdown. They were crunchy, I liked that. I was mortified when I saw raw onions floating around the jar but was able to keep my cool. As for the flavor, I thought I was experiencing Ageusia. Is it possible for a pickle to be sweet and sour? My taste buds were confused similar to the time I tried hot and sour soup – I just can’t. It doesn’t make sense! But somehow I was intrigued; eating one after the other I finally concluded the unique juxtaposition of flavor was indeed delicious. I even ate and enjoyed the raw onion – when my mother wasn’t looking.
Colleen’s Sweet and Sour Pickles
Line up 6 sterile pint sized mason jars. Add a few onion pieces and 1 garlic clove to each jar. Fill half the jars with bite-sized chunks of cucumber. Add more onion pieces. Fill the jars with more cucumber, 1 clove of garlic and 1 stem of fresh dill. Fill jars with the below brine and seal.
Makes 6 pints – boil for 1 minute.
- 4 Cups of White Sugar
- 4 Cups of White Vinegar
- 1 Cup Water
- ½ Cup of Salt
While everyone is busy canning tomatoes, I’m freezing them. Why? Because I’m incredibly lazy and in denial; hence purchasing an enormous bushel of tomatoes with the expectation of canning all 54,681 of them. It’s also important to add that I do this every single year. Not only is canning a huge time suck, it’s messy and often dangerous. That’s my excuse, because honestly, caning freaks my shit out.
Stewing Tomatoes isn’t Rocket Science so I’ll Break it Down into Bullet Points
- Blanch tomatoes until the skin splits. The time depends on how many tomatoes you have in the pot so my rule is: as soon as it splits, take that shit out.
- Some people let their boiling hot tomatoes cool before they skin them but I have zero patience for that. I run one under cold water, skin it, cut out the green nipple and throw that hot bastard in a large pot.
- Once you have a full pot of tomatoes, add salt and stew for an hour.
- Let cool and double bag your batches. Sometimes I let the pot sit for 24 hours for more flavour.