April 01, 2007

Recipe: Chili Chicken Avocado Salad


After yesterday's really heavy meal, I'm eating lighter today. Plus I had some avocados that needed eating. The coolness of the avocados is perfect to moderate spicy chicken! Really, you can toss anything into this, it starts with a lemon vinaigrette that's not too acidic but very lemony. This doesn't take too long to make, maybe 15 minutes depending on how fast you chop!

Dressing:
1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt/pepper
1/4 tsp mustard
1-2 tbs sugar

2 avocados, peel at last moment (see below)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped, seeds removed
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup mozzerella cheese chopped or grated coarsely

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
chili, salt, pepper

With a rasp, zest the lemon zest into a large glass bowl.
Then, slice of the top 1/3 of the lemon and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Remove any seeds!
Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and whisk until thickened slightly.
Use more sugar depending on how acidic the lemon was or if you're serving to kids.

Peel and chop the avocados. I like to chop into slices and then remove skin, but you can use the big spoon scoop method if you like. Toss the avocado immediately in the dressing so that they don't discolor. Then, toss the rest of the ingredients in. A silicone spatula is great for gently lifting the dressing from the bottom of the bowl - you want to avoid breaking up the avocado.

Set the salad aside.

Put a heavy non-stick skillet to preheat over a medium high flame.
Slice the chicken thighs into strips.
Salt and pepper well and sprinkle with a good amount of chili powder.
Put a little bit of oil into the pan and add the chicken strips.
Don't stir, let the chicken get all nicely browned (4-6 min), then stir/toss to cook the other side the same way.
The nice thing about the thighs is that they won't overcook and become dry.

Serves 4 as appetizer, 2 as a main.

Posted by JAY at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2007

Restaurant Review: One Up

Style over substance. Form over function. One Up is a stylish (if overdone) red/white/black restaurant that offers pretty looking food with no discernable theme. Indian curry flavors, Canadian cedar and Italian risottos all appear on a brief menu. We visited One Up today around 7:30pm and had a pretty mediocre all-round experience.


I started with the Fritto Misto ($14), a floured and fried mix of seafood that was attractively presented on a platter with tzatziki and rose dip. There was nothing heinous about it though it was underseasoned (both salt and pepper). The rose dip resembled nothing closer than thousand island dressing. The rings of the squid were cut only partially through, making for an attractive fanned presentation but an inconvenient eating experience. A friend's mussel appetizer ($10) was much tastier, despite being pretty bland for a curry sauce.

My main was a muscovy duck breast ($27) seared and topped with black currant compote. It was served with an attractive mound of weakly grilled vegetables. Unfortunately, the skin wasn't crisp and, despite being cooked to a proper doneness (medium), the flesh wasn't juicy. Possibly the duck had been sliced before resting properly, leaving the juices to boil out. The breast also had a pronounced liver flavor and wasn't thoroughly trimmed, leaving some chewy fibrous bits that were difficult to cut, much less chew.

Service was marginal to unattentive. The restaurant wasn't all that busy - one other table and what appeared to be a speed dating service that was only snacking. Regardless, the wait for each course was on the long side and food wasn't quite to temperature when served. Coffee took forever but was delivered with a belated apology - it was comped, then charged, then comped (all without our request). Despite the fact that there was plenty of staff, we had to signal them whenever we needed something and Stan had to go to the bar to request the bill.

Not recommended.

One Up
130 Dundas St W, 2nd Floor
416-340-6349
www.oneup.ca

Posted by JAY at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2007

Training Jaunt

Just ended a training jaunt. The first 3 days were, of all things, on Windows XP. That was pretty boring. The last day was on SMS (Systems Management Server, not the messaging stuff) which was actually kind of neat. Too bad they couldn't have reversed the time spent on each.

Anyway, the training took place in downtown Toronto, just next to the Eaton Centre. The Marriot, where I stayed, had an awesome LG LCD widescreen, so that was really nice. I also ogled some All-Clad pans ($1600 for the set I wanted!) and bought and expensive electric knife sharpener at Williams Sonoma. Heh, I used most of my food expenses for it, leaving me very little to eat over that week!

Aaron and I walked down to the St Lawrence market. Lotsa cool foodstuffs there - fairly large, bacon wrapped pieces of filet mignon can be had for just $5! But I couldn't really buy anything as I didn't have a place to keep it refridgerated.

Overall, a fun week! Well, except for the hours spent hauling my luggage on the subway/bus on the way there and back.

Posted by JAY at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2007

Lazy

Yeah, haven't been posting lately... sigh. Lotsa food stuff going on, went to Martin/Fiona's house to play games ... uh... yeah. Think I have some photos to post. Just lazy.

Posted by JAY at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

Chow Mein


Mmm, noodles. They're nice and fast to make and easy. You simply pour hot water through the noodles and loosen them up. The extra firm tofu is marinated in a mix of soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Then, they're fried in a really, really hot wok to get a nice textured sear. I thought that I could do a tofu steak like this and made one for Dan, but tasting it afterward (sorry, Dan, should've tasted it before!) it was too salty to have that much at once.

Posted by JAY at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)

Fried Rice


Fried rice has an alarming amount of oil in it. It's best made with day old rice (something about the way the starch sets and doesn't turn to mush, like fresh rice would). Anyway, this is rice fried up with bay scallops and veggies. It was yummy, and I ate it all.

Posted by JAY at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)