Monday, January 31, 2011

Evolution of Kathy's cooking

I was browsing through my old pictures yesterday and came across some serious porn that is :) The first pictures dated back from July 2007. When I looked at them, I realized how much my cooking has changed...for the best! Almost 4 years ago, my meals consisted mostly of processed and frozen food.

What you should know is, I've never really been much of a cook until recently. When I was at home, my parents did most all of the cooking. Apart from the occasional ramen, I never cooked. Yes, I was so very spoiled. When I moved out 1 1/2 years ago, I had no choice but to cook for myself. At first, I did what I did best: reheat canned and frozen food. Then, due to an unfortunate (or maybe fortunate) turn of events, I was forced to take one year off at school. It was during that year that I discovered my passion for cooking. With all the free time on my hands, I started to cook more complicated meals and experience with things that was unknown to me up until then, like baking (Because using cake mix doesn't count!).

I realized that you don't need much time and energy to cook a delicious and healthy meal. I can proudly say that now, I make my own pasta sauce and pie crust and unless I have no time at all, I don't cook with frozen or canned goods. Hmm...I lied. I just looked in the freezer and found the frozen tortellini I bought at Costco...Well, you know what? From now on, no more frozen tortellinis! I'll make my own from scratch. I'll definitely keep you updated and post a recipe once I have a good one. :)


Here is an example of a typical dinner that I would make 3 1/2 years ago. *cue horror music!* Reheated frozen chicken tournedos with a side of Knorr Sidekick chicken-flavored pasta and steamed veggies with parmesan. This is actually the first picture that I took of a dish that I cooked! I made this at my boyfriend's apartment (before we moved in together) and we would eat this (plus or minus a few variations) ALL THE TIME!


And this is a meal that my boyfriend cooked for me: grilled salmon and zucchini skewers. Yuummm! A few months back, he made pan seared scallops with a balsamic dressing as a surprise dinner for me on Valentine's day. Unfortunately, we didn't take a picture of that. :( He was such a good cook!...and still is. :) Except now, he is more of my sous-chef as I monopolized the kitchen.

Because everybody loves food porn, here are a few dishes I made over the last year...They are not in chronological order, but you can guess which ones are older (bad picture, doesn't look that appetizing, etc.)



*wipes off the trail of drool forming on the corner of mouth* lol As you can see, I came a long way from the girl who managed to burn water. I'll post some of these recipes when I'll be making them again...And I'll include better pictures! :)

No more dried basil!


The other day, I was complaining to my dad that I never get to use fresh basil in my pasta. It's always such a hassle to go to the store every time I need basil, especially when they sell them in a big pack and I only need a few leaves. I always end up throwing most of it away because they spoil after a few days. This is such a waste! And I hate wasting. Especially wasting food. So I stopped buying fresh basil and started using the dried kind. While much more convenient, it lacked the flavor and scent of the fresh basil. It failed to give that "ummm..." factor to my dishes. You know, that moment after you take your first bite, you close your eyes, let all the flavors invade you and reflexively let out a "ummmm..."? Only a true foodie can understand what I'm talking about :P


So the next day, my father being awesome as he is, came back with this marvelous plant! It smells so good and...fresh! The bad thing was I had to take it back to my apartment which means I had to take it out in the freezing cold. It seemed to have been shocked by the cold weather because when I brought it back, some of the leaves were drooping. I watered it and now, as you can see from the pictures, it looks a little better. The last time I owned a basil plant, it died miserably after only a few days. Well, given the fact that it was grown indoor in an apartment with almost no sunlight AND during the winter, it didn't stand much of a chance! This one will live in the same conditions, except that it will have much more sunlight. I hope that will be enough for it to last until the summer. *crosses fingers* I'll keep definitely keep you posted!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tortellini alla crema rosa


I went to Costco last week and while I was going through the rows looking for food samplers (yes, I love Costco for their food samplers, I can't say no to free food haha), something caught my eye: a 2kg package of Villa Ravioli 3-cheese tortellini...for only 7$! I couldn't pass on a deal like that! And what goes better with tortellini than sauce rosee? Yummm!

Tortellini alla crema rosa
Makes 6 servings

1 lbs dry cheese tortellini
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/3 cup mushrooms, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups canned tomato sauce
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream 35 %
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add tortellini and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
2. In large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add Italian seasonings and cook until onions are tender. Stir in mushrooms. Cook until liquid evaporates.
3. Add wine, boil for 30 seconds and stir in tomato sauce. When sauce is hot, stir in cream and parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over tortellini and toss. Serve with additional Canadian Parmesan cheese for sprinkling, if desired.


My boyfriend insisted that I post a picture of his manly dish on my blog. So there you go, a macho man's tortellini complete with 2 fat and juicy sausages. lol. (I ended up eating up pne of his sausage because it was too spicy. He's allergic to spicy food...or so he says haha).

cheese-tortellini-sauce-rosee (2)

On the pictures, I used vietnamese basil as garnish because I didn't have the italian kind on hand ;)

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three abandoned apples...


My boyfriend's mother gave us 3 apples a month ago (yes, ONE month ago!) and they've been sitting in my fridge since then. I have no idea what to do with them since I'm allergic to apples (unless they're cooked) and my boyfriend NEVER eats any fruits (unless they're in desserts). And since they still looked good, I decided to take these 3 lonely and abandoned apples and make something really delicious out of them so they could serve their lives' purpose. I couldn't make my faithful apple pie or apple crumble because I don't have enough apples on hand (and didn't want to go to the store to buy more). So I did the next best thing...Apple pie MUFFINS!


They came out really moist and tasted just right, not bland and not too sweet. Within a few minutes of being out of the oven, 3 were already our stomachs! Yummmmy!

Apple pie muffins
Adapted from
Makes 15 muffins (or 12 ginormous muffins like mine)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 1/2 cups diced apples
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate smaller bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar until sugar has dissolved. Pour into the flour mixture and sprinkle the diced apple into the bowl as well. Stir just until everything is blended. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin, filling the cups to the top.
3. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour and cinnamon. Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of melted butter while tossing with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle this over the tops of the muffins.
4. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.

The colors are a bit off in the first 2 pictures because of the flash.



Until next time recipe!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mushroom risotto


My first attempt at risotto for dinner yesterday! It came out so creamy and delicious. It was well worth the effort of standing and stirring for 40 mins (well, 10 mins for me, my fabulous boyfriend did the rest)! I only had risotto once in a restaurant (mushrooms and truffles) and this was better!

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from
Serves 4 (if served as main dish)

6 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives (I used dried chives because my supermarket didn't have fresh)
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
2. Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.
3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and stir in the shallots. Cook 1 minute. Over medium heat, add rice, stirring to coat with oil. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 35 to 40 minutes.


4. Remove from heat, and stir in mushrooms with their liquid, butter, chives, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kaïda Sushi Bar


Last week, it was my boyfriend's birthday and I wanted to treat him to some sushi. He is constantly craving sushi! (Well actually, me too!). I wanted to bring him someplace new and since there was a group deal on Tuango for Kaïda Sushi Bar, I thought it was a good place to try out. And good thing too, because we had a great night and amazing food!


As an appetizer, we shared the octopus salad (13$). Grilled octopus with iceberg lettuce, algae, carrots and caviar. The dressing was incredible! There was a party of flavors in my mouth haha.


Next came the Sushi Burger (12$), one of the Chef's specialties. It was served with a delicious mayo-teriyaki sauce. One of my guilty pleasures is fried food, so I loved these!


Another one of the Chef's specialties, Tentations (15$). This one was probably my least favorite of the bunch. We ordered it because it looked so pretty! There was honey inside so it was extremely sweet. Personally, I don't like my sushi to be sweet. The sauce was a coconut-honey sauce and was also very sweet. It tasted better with soy sauce than with the coconut sauce.

We ordered 2 kinds of futomakis, Miami (5 for 7.95$), Futo (5 for 7.95$) and a tartar maki, Atomic (2 for 6.95$). While all of the rolls were really tasty, I especially liked the Atomic. And the plate came with a crispy Taro chip.


For dessert, we had the sushi dessert. The sushis were filled with mango, guava, longan, carrots and cucumber and were served with a coconut sauce. As I've said earlier, I'm not really into sweet sushi, but these were actually pretty good. I was hoping for something other than rice in the sushi though. Maybe the exotic fruits wrapped in a soybean sheet and drizzled with melted chocolate? Yummm. Let's just say at the end of the meal I felt kind of cheated because this dessert was not nearly sweet enough for me. On the bright side, they gave us guava candies at the end and that satisfied my sweet tooth. :)

We went on a Tuesday evening and apart from another couple, we were the only ones in the restaurant. The waiter was very helpful and took the time to explain each dish to us and answer our questions.

The restaurant is situated on Parc Avenue, in the Mile-End area. There was no parking area available for the restaurant (which is, let's face it, a rarety in Montreal). There are plenty of parking spaces (with parking meters) on Parc Avenue in front of the restaurant.

Overall, we had an amazing time at Kaïda. The romantic atmosphere, excellent service, fresh and tasty sushis and fair prices made it an ideal place to have an intimate birthday dinner. I would definitely come back for more!

Food: 4.5/5
Service: 5/5
Setting: 4/5
Value: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

5261, avenue Du Parc
Montreal, Qc H2V 4G9
(514) 303-8162

Kaida on Urbanspoon


I hate writing introductions. It always takes me an insane amount of time to write introductions in essays. The first paragraph sets the whole tone of the essay and is the difference between the corrector wanting to read more and throwing away your essay after reading the introduction and giving you a C. So it takes me a million years to finish the introduction, which leaves me a only few hours to write the rest. It seems stupid but it worked so far because I never got a C. :)

So even though my blog seems pretty insignificant in the blog universe, it still deserves an introduction post. I'll try to keep it short and sweet. I decided to start this blog after finding the diary that I kept when I was younger, back when the only things that seem to matter was if that boy was looking my way or if I got permission to go on a class trip. They are trivial matters to me now but seemed like a matter of life or death to me as a 10-year-old. I wanted to start a blog dedicated to things important to me now as a 24-almost-25-year-old. I will blog about cooking, baking, beauty, food, books and will likely ramble about random stuff.

Thanks for reading and welcome to my blog :)