Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

Pisco Sour

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Here’s a delicious (adult) beverage we discovered when we were down in Peru sourcing innovative and unique ingredients for our clients – the pisco sour. The main ingredient is pisco, a South American brandy widely available in Peru and Chile.

Pisco

Pisco is a Peruvian liquor distilled from grapes. You can think of the pisco sour as the South American whiskey sour, and in fact, it shares the pairing of liquor with a sour citrus. The similarities end there. Recipes abound, however we tried to make it in the true Peruvian fashion.

For the ingredients, we used:

  • Pisco (2 oz)
  • Lime juice (of about one whole lime)
  • Simple syrup (about a tablespoon)
  • 1 egg white
  • A dash of cinnamon

Pisco Sour Ingredients

The reality is that the proportions of ingredients is probably best done to taste, so consider the above a guideline to get you started. Adjust however you see fit, and don’t be afriad to experiment a little. Also, by rights you want to finish the cocktail off with a dash of angostura bitters. We didn’t have any around, so we substituted cinnamon, which we thought turned out rather well.

To make the drink, put some ice in a cocktail shaker, add the pisco, lime juice, syrup and egg white. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for twenty seconds or so. Strain the contents into a glass and top with a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy!

Pisco Sour

Here’s a video of the whole process!

Fun Fridays: Cupcake Cannon

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Here’s an interesting activity: get your friends to dress up in lab coats and fire cupcakes at them! It’s amazing what people come up with:

By the way, if you are looking to actually eat some cupcakes, we recommend Eini & Co. in Toronto and Cupcakes by Sonja in the Serendra Piazza, Bonifacio Global City, Manila. Tell them we sent you!

Cielito Lindo: Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Molletes CancunWe’re huge fans of mexican food. There’s a small mexican restaurant named Cielito Lindo in Pickering (just east of Toronto) that we’ve been meaning to try out for some time. We finally made it there for lunch last week. We were really pleased with the food.

We ordered an appetizer they call Molettes Cancun. Think of it as a mexican bruschetta. It was bread spread with refried beans, melted cheese and Pico de Gallo. It was good. It was lunch time so we opted for some “tex-mex” dishes instead of the larger entrees. ChimichangaThe spicy chicken chimichanga was delicious, afterall, it’s deep fried! We also tried the Enchiladas Suiza: Two corn tortillas with chorizo, smothered in creamy green tomatillo sauce with cheese and sour cream. Excellent.

The portions were a good size and the prices more than resonable. Given my recent feelings on portion size, next time I go I’m tempted to ask for a take out container with my meal so I can immediately put one half of it aside to take home – a practice that I might employ at other restaurants as well. If you’re in the Pickering area, we recommend dining at Cielito Lindo.

Cielito Lindo on Urbanspoon

Grilled Tilapia & Mango Salsa

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Grilled Tilapia
Fish on Fridays is a tradition we try to maintain at our house, if only to ensure we have seafood at least once a week. A perennial and simple favourite is to simply fry up a whole tilapia fish. Fish CounterWe splurged this past week and bought some fresh tilapia fillets (at our local fish counter, a tilapia fillet is $5.99/lb. compared to just $1.99/lb. for the whole fish – yes, we could probably fillet it ourselves, but it seems like a lot of work). It was very busy at the fish counter, presumably everyone was getting fish for their Good Friday meal.

With the abnormally warm weather we’ve been having, it was also time to put the fry pan away and break out the grill. A quick search on the internet yielded the following marinade for the fish:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Source: AllRecipes.com

According to the recipe, you whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, basil, pepper, and salt in a bowl and pour it all into a resealable plastic bag.  We added the tilapia fillets and made sure they were coated with the marinade. We sealed the bag and put it in the refrigerator for a little over an hour.

Mango Salsa IngredientsWe had to come up with our own recipe for the mango salsa based on what we had on hand. We combined the following ingredients in a bowl:

1 1/2 diced fresh mango
1 small tomato diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of one half a lime
Salt and pepper to taste

When it’s all mixed together, the salsa looks great:
Mango Salsa

After an hour in the refrigerator, we took the fillets out of the marinade bag. I’ve always had trouble grilling fish fillets directly on the grill, so we use a grill pan with some foil on it. We get the grill extremely hot before putting the fish on the grill pan. The high heat sears the outside of the fish, and the oil in the marinade makes it easy to get under the fish and flip it to evenly cook each side. It’s also critical that you don’t overcook fish. Once you can easily flake it with a fork, you’re good to go. The fish was delicious. Besides the mango salsa, we served it with coconut rice (we’ll save that recipe for another day). This was an easy dish to prepare. If you’re looking for a nice alternative to grilled meat, this is a great one.

Adding Value By Changing Perceptions

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I was watching a TED talk given by Rory Sutherland last night. In case you don’t know, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and is known for it’s conferences where speakers share “ideas worth spreading”. The lectures given at these conferences are freely available on the internet and I highly recommend watching them.

Rory Sutherland is the vice chairman of the Ogilvy Group. I’ve embedded the talk below. He speaks about how advertising provides value by changing our perception of a product rather than the product itself. His main point is that a change in perceived value can be just as important as a change in real value. I think this is manifest in the food industry where a change in perception often drives up (or lowers as the case may be) the demand for a given product. Think of the change of perception around fast food lately perhaps due to movies like Super Size Me having an impact on how we perceive it – the food itself has not changed.

I also like how Rory makes his point using a couple of food related cases: the adoption of the potato by the Prussians under Fredrick the Great, and Shreddies.

Portion Control

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

Japan Airlines DinnerSomewhere over the East China Sea, it occurred to me how perfectly a typical economy class airline meal enforces portion control. Although the quality of the food can be lacking at times, constraints on physical size and cost result in a portion size that could serve as inspiration for meals made at home. It reminds me of the Japanese bento: a simple, balanced, and some would say beautiful meal. Not too little, not too much: the bento is also a model for portion control and efficiency in a meal with a pleasing presentation. The bento (and perhaps the less noble airline meal) is an embodiment of the Japanese concept of hari hachi bu: eat until 80% full.

JAL AdoboFor the record, the meal on Japan Airlines that inspired these observations was actually quite good. It was a curry and rice dish which I thought was fitting to pair with Japanese beer. On the return flight they served an equally good adobo dish with vegetables, apple salad, fresh and dried fruit.

Product Photoshoot

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

We had a rather fun session at Ingredient Hotline a while back. We were getting some photos done of our products. One of our goals was to show clearly what our products actually looked like. While lighting an object brings out details and potentially provides some nice highlights, we wanted a method for uniformly lighting small quantities of our products. So we surrounded the product samples in a white box. It was interesting to see how effective a “white box” (or light box) was for white-background photography. Here’s a collage made from some of the photos:

Ingredient Hotline

Grocery Store Wars

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Our kids are really into Star Wars. We were surfing YouTube for Star Wars material and came across this one. The production value is great and it is really funny. The dark side of the farm and Darth Tater: