Father’s Day Tomahawk Steak Dinner

Father’s day may be over but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your loved ones a delicious Tomahawk steak dinner!

We picked this bad boy up at the Cheese Boutique out in Etobicoke. We originally wanted to go there to pick up some artisanal cheese but was pleasantly surprised when we found out this place was actually a grocery store too! We honestly expected to go in and only see cheese based on the name lol.

This place was like whole foods, but better because things weren’t crazily overpriced but you can tell the quality of their food was good. What really impressed us was while we were shopping, a guy came around and offered us espresso. The first thing that came to mind was “Do we have to pay for this?” but it didn’t seem like it would cost us anything so we just went for it. Nothing makes us feel more special than having espresso while grocery shopping, especially when it comes served to you in a saucer with a little shortbread cookie! How cute 🙂

They even came around with free sorbet after! This place was awesome. We got to sample all the cheeses and cured meats too. Love it.

Anyways, we ended up leaving the store with quite a number of things, the Tomahawk steak being one of them.

We prepared the steak using the reverse sear method that we learned from Serious Eats and it turned out delicious! The key is to generously season the steak with freshly ground pepper and coarse sea salt. It may seem like a lot of salt on the steak but trust us, it’s not! Continue reading

Caprese Salad

Caprese salad is my guilty pleasure. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t know what else I can do with all the fresh basil we’ve been growing in our garden other than making pasta sauce but this dish is pretty solid. I’ve been making it so much that I’ve been told to cut back on it because eating that much cheese on a daily basis can’t be good for you.

All you really need to make this dish is 3 main ingredients – some form of mozzarella cheese (we used Burrata), fresh basil, and tomatoes.

Usually whenever we make this dish, we use good quality extra virgin olive oil and a generous amount of freshly ground salt and pepper to season. However, since the quality of these tomatoes and cheese was so good, we were able to cut back on the seasoning quite significantly (which is better for our health!). I could eat this up for DAYS. I’m not typically a salad person but I could have this on the regular that’s for sure 🙂

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Burrata Cheese (Bocconcini or Fior Di Latte will work too)
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Cut your cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters (personal preference).
  2. You can roughly cut up your cheese to get that rough textured look and sprinkle it all over your plate for that spontaneous look and feel.
  3. Finely chop up some basil or rip them up into tiny pieces. Sprinkle generously across your salad.
  4. Drizzle with generous amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/06/20/caprese-salad/

 

Unicorn cupcake

Unicorn inspired food is all the rage now, and I can totally see why. From unicorn frappuccino at Starbucks to unicorn grilled cheese – they all have one thing in common – they’re super instagram worthy!

And what’s not to love about them? They’re so colorful they can brighten up anybody’s day.

Recently I noticed a lot of people posting about unicorn cakes. As much as I love decorating cakes, I cannot eat it all and I definitely do not have enough butter to make enough buttercream frosting to decorate it all. As a compromise, I decided to make unicorn cupcakes instead.

Ever since I made the hydrangea cupcakes, I’ve been obsessed with making buttercream frosting with mixed colors. These pastel colors are absolutely beautiful when combined!

In order to make the horn and the ears for the cupcake, I used homemade marshmallow fondant with some of it dyed pink for the inner part of the ears. To make the horn, I took some white fondant and rolled it into 2 thin cone shapes. Then, I twisted them around each other to form a horn. When it got too long, I just cut off the rest. I then dipped a toothpick in some water and inserted it into the ends of the horn so that I can insert it into the cupcake later. In order to make the golden horns, I mixed some gold lustre dust in a bit of water to form a little paste and painted it onto the horns. Allow to dry for an hour.

To make the ears, cut the white and pink fondant into circles. You can use a small cookie cutter to do this but since I didn’t have one, I used the opening of some piping tips instead. The white fondant circles should be larger than the pink ones because they form the main part of the ears.

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Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

If you want to make a side dish to impress your family and friends, this scalloped potatoes recipe is the way to go.

After a really long week at work, nothing takes my mind off the stress than cooking and baking. I feel bad for neglecting my blog for such a long time and I feel like I’m not updating as much as I could. This is partially due to my busy work schedule, and partially due to the fact that when the weekend finally rolls around, I’m so exhausted that all I want to do is relax and do nothing. Not to mention, adulting nowadays consist of hanging out with family and friends so we don’t cook at home as much since we usually go out to eat.

I guess you could argue that we could cook for them but our condo is pretty small and it’s hard to accommodate a lot of people.

Since we were entertaining family this weekend, I was motivated to think of a dinner menu which we don’t normally cook. Instead of having mashed or baked potatoes with our steak, I decided to make scalloped potatoes instead. Besides, we bought all this whole milk as it was on sale last week that it made sense to use it up before it went bad.

To find out how to make this dish, refer to the recipe below:

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of smoked paprika
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper (season to taste)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux. Stir for a few minutes unill it thickens and turns as light nutty brown in color.
  3. Add the cold milk, stirring with a whisk to eliminate any lumps.
  4. Season with salt, nutmeg, freshly ground pepper, and smoked paprika.
  5. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the cheese.
  6. In a lightly greased 13 x 9 rectangular baking tray, layer the thinly sliced potatoes all over the bottom of the baking tray.
  7. Pour a thin layer of the sauce over the potatoes. Then, repeat with a second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Continue until you've used up all your potatoes/sauce.You may top the rest of the potatoes with an extra layer of grated cheese if you wish.
  8. Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350°F or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and serve immediately.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/06/10/scalloped-potatoes-recipe/

Rosemary Garlic Focaccia Recipe

Father’s day is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am scrambling to figure out how to celebrate with my dad. My parents hate celebrating mother’s day/father’s day on the actual weekend because restaurants are always super busy and service is generally not as good as normal due to the additional patrons the restaurant has to attend to.

So instead of fighting the crowd, I always have to end up celebrating with them a week in advance. Since I’m busy next weekend, I have to celebrate 2 weeks early. My dad loves it whenever I make him anything from scratch – I guess he appreciates the extra effort and care I put into the dish other than just giving him something material…. Which works for me because this gives me an opportunity to practice my cooking and baking skills.

As part of the full course meal which I planned for him, one of the starting dishes was of course, warm bread 🙂

Since the weather has been getting warmer, we bought a lot of starter plants to build our herb garden. As they continue to grow, I needed an excuse to use them so I can trim them back to increase their yield. I immediately thought of making this Rosemary Garlic Focaccia because I had it in the past and it was delish.

The great thing about focaccia is that it is very versatile – you can add whatever toppings you like.

Prior to allowing the dough go through a second proof, use both hands and dimple the dough with your fingers to evenly spread the dough out and give it its signature dimple appearance. Then, generously season the dough with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I thinly sliced up some garlic and sprinkled it all over the dough, along with some freshly chopped rosemary. Finally, I generously drizzled the dough with some olive oil. The bread cooks best when the herbs are coated in olive oil.

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Hydrangea Cupcake

A few weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I stumbled across one of those short cooking/baking tutorial videos. I generally don’t pay too much attention to those videos but that video caught my eye because the Hydrangea cupcake they were making was so gorgeous and stunning. Most of all, it looked pretty easy to pipe. The only tricky part was figuring out how to get those beautiful colors because each flower consisted of two colors.

I was actually really excited to learn how to make this because I was starting to get bored with what I was baking. Don’t get me wrong, I love to bake but sometimes it feels like I’m always making the same thing. With cupcake or cake decorating, at least I can be creative in terms of how the final presentation looks. Besides, people always eat with their eyes first and even if my baking is horrendous, I can always compensate with a visually appealing dessert 🙂

For this type of flower cupcake, they usually call for a 5 star closed tip piping tip. Unfortunately, I purchased the wrong one a while back because I didn’t know enough about piping tips so I had the 8 star closed piping tip. In the end, it achieved a similar result but I don’t think it looks as nice as if I had the 5 starred one. I will have to get myself a Wilton 1B piping tip next time!

To find out how I was able to achieve the mixed color buttercream, check out my upcoming post on how I make unicorn cupcakes.

Yuzu Sorbet

Nothing is more refreshing and cleansing than having sorbet as dessert. The great thing about sorbet is that it’s perfect for those that are lactose intolerant, and it typically enhances the flavour of whatever fruit sorbet is being made.

Continuing with our posts for #JapanWeek, we are making Yuzu sorbet today.

I’ll start off by saying that there aren’t that many yuzu sorbet recipes out there… And when there are, they all require the use of fresh yuzu fruits (which are extremely hard to find here…. and when found, are crazy expensive). I’m sure this would’ve tasted a lot better if I used real fruit and yuzu zest but even with bottled yuzu juice, it still turned out really good. I was pretty impressed with myself when I made it the first time.

Mind you… this sorbet could be better had I improved the texture. I think the next time I make this, I will use corn syrup as I read that will make it less grainy and more scoopable. I’ll be sure to post an updated version when I make this again.

Yuzu Sorbet

Yuzu Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1.2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup yuzu juice

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pot over medium high heat, bring water and sugar to a boil to make simple syrup.
  2. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  3. Then, stir in yuzu juice. Taste it and adjust sugar as required.
  4. In an ice cream maker, add the sorbet mixture and mix until it's in a scoopable texture. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do what we did and just put it in a glass container in the freezer, and stir it around every hour to hour and a half to help it slush up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/27/yuzu-sorbet/

Ochazuke recipe

I love Ochazuke… Maybe it’s because I’m always cold regardless of the season but I love how this dish always warms me up. It’s such a simple dish but it tastes so good. This post is part of the #JapanWeek series.

I’ve always wondered how people make this – what goes into the tea or broth? How is it so flavourful?  Is it really just green tea over rice because when I drink green tea by itself, it sure doesn’t taste as good as this.

I took a pretty big risk when I decided to make it for the very first time the night of our anniversary dinner as I have no idea how it would turn out. Surprisingly, it turned out better than expected! We even made some slight modifications to the original recipe to try and enhance the flavour of the ‘soup’. The sour taste of the picked plum along with the salty nori, green tea broth, and rice, was a really nice combination. It’s also a good way to use up leftover Japanese rice!

This was the green tea I used for my Ochazuke:
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Chirashi bowl

Chirashi bowls have become a thing in our household now. Whenever we want to make Japanese food, our default answer is to make Chirashi.

I guess the reason we tend to default to this is because:

a) We’ve found a pretty good sushi rice recipe

b) We can make numerous Chirashi bowls with a single cut of fish.

Although the cut of fish isn’t cheap, if you consider how many portions you can make out of it, it’s pretty worth it as it’s much cheaper than what we’d be paying in the restaurant.

As part of the #JapanWeek series, I decided to ball a little bit since it was for a special occasion. I chose Blue Fin Tuna (please don’t go extinct – you’re one of my favourite fishes for sushi), Uni from British Columbia, and Scallops from Hokkaido, Japan. I learned that the best way to make this bowl even more visually stunning is to include fish with different colors, top it with a generous amount of pickled ginger to cleanse the palette, and finally garnish it with a dollop of fresh wasabi.

If you want to make a simple dish that would impress your friends and family, this is it. It’s really not that hard to make but the presentation is just stunning. I would say the hardest part was slicing the fish evenly ^_^”

 

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod Recipe

I love miso black cod. Everytime I go to a Japanese restaurant, this is the default dish that I order. When it came to me brainstorming what I should make for our anniversary dinner this weekend, this dish immediately came to mind as it’s one that I think we’d both enjoy. Besides, I wanted to learn how to make it so that I don’t have to wait until I go out to a restaurant to have it. This post will be part of an ongoing series called #JapanWeek

While searching for a recipe online, Nobu’s recipe was clearly the most popular one. As always, I cross referenced this recipe with several others to see if there was a significant difference in terms of proportion of ingredients and method of preparation but it was pretty unanimous. All recipes required me to marinate this fish 2-3 days in advance to get the most flavour out of it.

And boy was it worth it. The fish was so flavourful… and after searing it in a hot pan and baking it the oven afterwards, it left this nice golden crust which was soooo goood.

I’d make this more often but the fish itself was pretty pricy –  I paid $20 for 2 pieces of fish… mind you it was a very generous cut of fish but still…

To view the recipe, keep reading

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