Shrimp Ceviche

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Once upon a time I tried to squeeze the juice out of 15 limes with a fork and I died. Before embarking on this heinous endeavor, do yourself a solid and buy a citrus juicer. I use the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, because it’s tots durable and my mom bought it for me.

After juicing five million limes and chopping the ingredients mix it all together in a non-reactive bowl – that would be anything other than metal. If you want to know why, Google it. Tightly seal the bowl and let sit for at least two hours. The lime cooks the shrimp and will be done when they turn pink.

• 1 – 2 lbs of Tiger Shrimp, Raw
• Half Pint of Cherry Tomatoes
• 15 Limes – seriously
• 2 Cloves of Garlic
• 1 LRG Shallot
• Handful of Fresh Cilantro
• ¼ Thai Pepper or Other
• Pinch of Sea Salt

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Beer and Butter Shrimp Boil

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It’s summer and in true Toronto style, I’ve been drinking in parks like a hobo. I also like to invite myself over for dinner to whoever will have me because I rarely cook in the summer. But this weekend my mother and aunt came to visit my cousin and I, so I hosted a dinner and card night which turned out to be quite the ladies night avec sangria and a kitchen dance party.

Cooking with beer is totally underrated. Its hops and barely add new and interesting flavours. It has tenderizing properties valuable for meat and marinades and it’s versatile in numerous cooking techniques. I based this recipe on my favourite dish served at the Portuguese restaurant Bairrada Churrasqueira. I prefer the College Street location in the summer. They have an enormous back patio and often grill sardines for free. Hint: The sardines taste better than they smell!

Beer and Butter Shrimp

  • 1LB of Large Shrimp. Cooked.
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP Cajun Seasoning 
  • A Shitload of Butter 
  • 1 Tall Can of Light Beer (Pilsner) 
  • Ground Pepper 
  • French Bread for Dipping

1/2 squeezed lemon could work too. I forgot to add it.

Sautee butter, shallots, garlic and seasoning in a medium pot. Add half can of beer, ground pepper and shrimp. Boil for five minutes, 10 if shrimp are raw. Remove shrimp. Add the rest of the beer and boil for 10 minutes. Pour sauce over the shrimp and squeeze half of a lemon over top.

Pomegranate Margaritas

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Other than an impromptu night in the village sharing a mic with a drag queen singing show tunes, my weekend was relatively chill. Saturday was the warmest day we’ve had all season and we needed it. I hate talking about the weather though. For one, I’m terrible at small talk. Someone could be talking about how excited they are that Target is coming to Toronto and I could reply with how tripping on Ayahuasca in Peru might bring me closer to understanding my existence.

Another reason why I don’t like talking about the weather is because I truly don’t give a shit. It’s snowing – so what. We live in Canada, it snows, it rains and sometimes it gets super hot and guess what? People will complain about that too. But I will admit this has been a very long, depressing spring so I took advantage of the sun and made celebratory Pomegranate Margaritas which while tanning with a great friend was nothing short of perfection.

Pomegranate Margaritas

Serves 2

  • 4 ounces of POM juice
  • 3 ounces of Tequila (white)
  • 2 ounces of Triple Sec
  • 3 ounces of Simple Syrup
  • 4 ounces of lime juice
  • 5 cups of ice

Blend.

The Best Reuben Sandwich

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I’ve mentioned before I consider myself quite the Reuben enthusiast, not the classiest of obsessions but definitely suitable. I’m surprised how little I’ve written about the almighty Reuben, but like most enthusiasts, I rarely find a notable Reuben that has met my aggressive standards. So naturally, I was surprised to find the best Reuben I’ve ever had in my own hometown, Wallaceburg Ontario.

Although we moved to an entirely different area when I was 8 years old, my mother, step-father and I frequently travelled back to visit my Grandparents and I, my father who has always resided in this area. My best memories live here, which is a kind of nostalgia that never escaped me. I’ve always called this place home. Luckily, my mother and step-father recently moved back so my visits are more common and I can finally appreciate in (my hesitating) adulthood the local cuisine. There isn’t a fancy restaurant to be seen, but that’s part of its charm. Everyone can cook and summer is abundant with local ingredients so cuisine might seem too posh a word for a place that’s characterized by its coveted simplicity.

Chez Denise Bistro & Café, is where I discovered this epic Reuben. It’s messy as hell and difficult to hold – exactly how I like it. But the surprising element is the homemade spinach dip they generously slather on huge portions of corned beef, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. It’s greasy, it’s juicy – it makes you feel brazenly guilty for wanting another.

Chez Denise Bistro & Café, 153 Nelson, Wallaceburg, Ontario. 

Roasted Garlic, White Bean Dip

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I finally used the Cuisinart Smart Stick my mum gave me for Christmas – it’s amazing. I haven’t been inspired to cook in quite some time. In fact, I haven’t had much motivation to do anything at all the past few months. February, is that special time of year when I’m so lethargic from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I convince myself I’m spiralling into another bout of self-inflicted depression. But once I realize I’m likely suffering from SAD and Spring is around the corner, inspiration begins to resurface from that mystical place where it comes from.

Roasted Garlic, White Bean Dip

  • 1 Whole Garlic Head
  • 1 LRG Can White Beans
  • Juice of 1 ½ Lemons
  • 1 TSP Cumin
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt to Taste

Roast Garlic by placing the head in a muffin tin, coat well with olive oil, tightly cover with tinfoil and cook for 35 minutes at 400 ° Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.

Potato Leek Soup With Dill

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I don’t have a picture of the final product but I do have to say, this soup was kickass. I didn’t think it would hold as much flavour as it did hence the “pinch” of Italian seasoning – I often worry my recipes will be bland so it’s natural for me to go overboard with spices and potentially ruin anything. If you choose to try this, make sure you have extra broth on hand, I had to add more liquid before I blended this, it was super thick.

Potato Leek Soup With Dill

  • 3 Leeks
  • 1 Carrot
  • 3 Celery Stalks
  • 6 Potatoes (Yukon) 
  • 5 Cups of Vegetable Broth
  • Olive Oil 
  • 1 TBSP Butter (optional) 
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • Pinch of Italian Seasoning 
  • Fresh Dill
  • S&P

In a large sauce pot, sauté leeks, carrot, celery, garlic, Italian seasoning and olive oil for 10 minutes. Add chopped potatoes, fresh dill, broth and simmer for 25 minutes. Blend and add more liquid if necessary. I used my new hand blender that I can’t shut up about.

New Orleans, Getting There

This Pretty Much Sums up my Trip to New Orleans

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I have no idea where to start! I suppose since this is a food blog I should just stick to food but in all honesty, I didn’t eat that much in New Orleans. Granted, we were only there for 3.5 days and since we hit the tail end of Mardi Gras, we mostly drank. Peach Sangria Daiquiris and brown bagged tall cans were my staple. Being from Toronto, it was so liberating to put a fat ass can of beer in a fitted brown bag then drink it wherever I wanted. In and out of bars, hotels, down the street – wherever.

On Monday, our flight was delayed an hour and our new plane was TINY, making the flight longer. But we had booze, so we were entertained – mostly by turbulence/screams and the drunk people behind us pissing off the old people who were constantly shooting them stink eye.

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When we arrived in NOLA, we waited over an hour for my luggage which apparently was still in Toronto but arriving the next day. At this point we were parched so we hopped in a cab to our hotel but were dropped off four blocks away because there was a huge parade so we couldn’t cross the street. Really, it could have been worse. So we grabbed some beer and caught some beads – Happy Mardi Gras!

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After a while we were pretty exhausted so we asked a police officer to let us through and he kindly did. Well actually a super drunk/cracked out lady helped us get through by yelling at said police officer. After we checked in it was pretty late so we roamed around our neighbourhood (Warehouse District) for a bit and grabbed some red beans and rice then hit the sack to get some rest for Fat Tuesday.