Food | Kale Chips

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach."
Tony Robbins


I used to be a chip monster. In my tween and teen years, my lunch consisted of a slushie and a bag of chips; unbeknownst to my mother, whose rendition of lunch was tossed in the nearest bin. Chips to me, their nutritional devoid nature aside, are a perfect snack food- intensely flavored and easy to eat. The grown up me knows that chips for lunch everyday are the reason behind my tween and teenage skin; so the grown up me avoids them. Bad skin or momentary “culinary” satisfaction? Life is about choices; and I choose health.

Then kale chips happened.

I love kale, it’s one of those leaves that I was initially very frightened of; and then I had it sautéed with butter and sea salt. I was amazed at how this green, with little cooking intervention, could be rendered into such a flavorful dish. Since, I’ve put it in smoothies, pastas and soups; but chips were the final frontier. I honestly didn’t believe that kale could rival Old Dutch; but I was wrong. It happens sometimes.

With a quick toss in olive oil and a light dusting of salt, kale bakes up to be stiff opposition to the chips of my yesteryears. If you, like me, are frightened of kale; don’t be. And if you, like me, think that kale chips can’t possibly rival real chips; I say to you, trust me.


Kale Chips
1 bunch (about 6 ounces) kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 300°F. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove the stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil in a bowl then sprinkle with salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crisp. Place on a rack to cool.


Food | Tomato and Olive Salad

"Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet."
~Bob Marley

Tomato Oregano and Olive Salad EDITED

Well folks, it is officially the dog days- it’s hot; and I love it. I spent the weekend lounging by a pool and sneakily sipping lime beer; if that isn’t part of a quintessential twenty-something summer, I have no idea what is.

Right now produce is something to be marveled at; and enjoyed. With tomatoes being a special kind of wonderful right now; from the moment I saw them, whispering to me at the market, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. The bounty that is summer produce is so much more conducive to ease and simplicity; with tomatoes being the leader of the pack. Tomatoes are incredibly versatile; lending themselves well to slow roasting on a cold winter day; yet making a light and refreshing summer salad.

This tomato salad is the picture of ease and simplicity- completely no cook; and perfect for the dog days!

Tomato and Olive Salad
Makes 6 starter size salads
2 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cups olives stuffed with garlic in brine
1 ½ tsp oregano
2 tbsp chives
¼ cup brine
¾ cup olive oil
1 cup bocconcini pearls
½ tsp sugar
Halve the tomatoes; drain the olives and set aside the brine. Halve the olives and remove the garlic. Mince the garlic and oregano; and mix with brine. Slowly add the olive oil while mixing with a fork. Sprinkle the tomatoes with sugar and combine with olives. Add the brine vinaigrette and bocconcini pearls and toss until coated. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.


Food | Basil, Mint and Cashew Pesto

Basil Mint and Cashew pesto 1

It was about a month ago that I made this pesto; and I had fully intended to post about immediately- it’s so good and I was inspired to share.

But then summer happened; it seemed to come out of nowhere. Summer started slow here, but then it really began to pick up speed; and just like that, this lovely little pesto fell to the bottom of my to do list. What, with patio season being a blink around here, sitting at home and writing about my emerald wonder seemed preposterous.

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After an amazing week in Montreal, spent sampling some of the best that North American food culture has to offer, I came home revitalized and ready to get back to blogging business; or semi business really. Although temperatures are soaring, I can feel the denouement of summer dawning; so despite my renewed blog vigor, I am going to keep this brief.

This pesto features cashews, one of the butteriest nuts out there; and this said buttery-ness lends itself so well to this sauce. I slathered this on toast and I was adding it to my tuna salad- I was hooked. I was using it in almost every cooking endeavor I undertook. Believe me, it really is that good.

Basil Mint and Cashew pesto 6

To keep this on the summer side of things, you could use this as a part of marinade for grilled meats or slather it on freshly grilled corn; this is the time to go wild people! My love for this pesto runs deeps, so don’t be surprised if you see this lovely little concoction making a winter cameo in my soups and stews.

Cashew Pesto

1 cup cashews
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup basil leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
¾ cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
In a food processor blend the garlic and ¼ cup of oil; once smooth, add the cashews, mint, basil and pepper flakes. Power on the processor and slowly add the remaining oil. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice and pulse for 5 seconds. Store in an air tight container, and enjoy for for 1 week.


Food | Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta and Almonds


Brussel Sprouts are one of the most misunderstood vegetables- they’re like Charlie Sheen minus the rants. Brussel Sprouts, given a bad rap by kids with turned up noses and perpetuated by poor cooking technique, are a lovely green jewel; and they have been sold short. They are incredibly healthy, filling and delicious; and I am here to elevate this vegetable to its proper standing.

I mean, I get how brussel sprouts have gotten negative press; when cooked poorly- by over boiling in water- they’re DOA. Because of its pungent raw aroma, boiling them in water alone, makes for an acrid side dish- at best. But when blanched quickly in flavorful broth and then sautéed until the edges are golden brown, brussels sprouts become the food of the gods. Yeah, they’re that good.


I speak to you as a convert, a former loather of the brussel- I’d had them in many ways, none of them good; but after two years of culinary school, I came away with a few lessons- never catch a falling knife, season appropriately and brussel Sprouts are amazing- when done right.

Brussel Sprouts are really good- seriously good; and if you naysayers still have your noses turned up I say, with love, grow up; and, trust me. There is no way to describe how delicious this recipe is and how much you will like it; but I’ll try. The result of these flavors in one bowl is nutty, salty, robust and romantic- if that’s at all possible. Why romantic? I don’t know, likely because everybody enjoys a little romance. I digress, brussel Sprouts with pancetta and almonds is perfect- plain and simple. Trust me on this one.


Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Almonds
makes 3 servings

2 cups brussel sprouts, trimmed of the woody outside pieces and halved
4 pieces pancetta
½ cup sliced almonds
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pancetta in heated oven and cook until crisp- approximately 7-10 minutes. Cool and crumble.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil- feel free to use chicken or vegetable stock; add the trimmed brussel sprouts and cook for 2 minuts or until they turn a vibrant green. Drain and set aside. In a dry non stick pan heated to medium high heat toast the almonds. WARNING: do not walk away during this point; once the nuts start to brown, burning is only seconds away- keep your eyes on them.

Heat olive oil to medium high in a non stick pan, add the brussel sprouts. Cook for 7 minutes or until they start to brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and sprinkle with toasted almonds and crumbled pancetta.


Pictures | Montreal Food Crawl

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."
~St. Augustine

I spent the most amazing week in Montreal. We biked. We swam. And we ate and drank- a lot. I find myself drifting off into my own utopia periodically and recalling the amazing meals I enjoyed during my visit.

Montreal food crawl 5

Breakfast at B&M is a must. It’s located in the Mile End of Montreal; and not only is it delicious, it’s cheap. The first two days of my Montreal adventure were very expensive and by the third day I was hoping to reign in my spending; which is why I love B&M so much.

A breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, tomato and bacon served with roasted potatoes and a coffee; or waffles with fresh fruit and chocolate milk will run you less than $15. I call that a breakfast win!

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Another thing I like about B&M is that they serve soda in glass bottles. In fact there were a handful of places that served soda in glass bottles- how Euro of them!

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B&M Restaurant
120 St-Viateur West

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Weekend brunch at Le Brasserie Les Enfants Terribles, located in Outremont, is a must do if you feel like feeling chic as hell while dining on a pretty amazing meal. I ordered the plain egg omlette served with roasted potatoes and bacon; and it was the best omlette I have ever eaten. It was perfectly cooked and well seasoned- egg heaven. And the specials were to die for- banana waffles with Chantilly cream, homemade raspberry pop tart with Quebec pears and more. We were spoiled for choice!

And of course a cappuccino. When in Montreal, cappuccinos are a daily indulgence.

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Le Brasserie Les Enfants Terribles
1257 Avenue Bernard
Outremont, QC H2V1V8
(514) 759-9918

And speaking of cappuccinos; for me, no trip to Montreal is complete without a visit to Café Olimpico. It was here, last summer, that I had the best cappuccino of my life- and I’ve worked at a number of coffee shops, so I know my capps. The café is decidedly euro, with soccer paraphernalia strewn about and Italian grandpas sitting outside for hours sipping espressos. If you do one thing in Montreal, let it be Café Olimpico.

Montreal food crawl 1

Café Olimpico
124 Rue St-Viateur Ouest,
Montreal - (514) 495-0746

During this trip, my friends and I were determined to eat poutine at least three times. Mission accomplished. Poutine is the newest IT food, with poutine only establishments popping up everywhere; but poutine ain’t easy baby. Because poutine traditionally only has three ingredients, those three ingredients need to be on point; and as much as I enjoy a well place turkey dinner or a deliciously flavored chorizo sausage, I must say I do not enjoy them on a poutine- what can I say, I’m a purist.

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Almost the entire week I spent in Montreal, the weather was sweltering, pausing only momentarily for rain; so I still find it hard to believe that it took until my last night to finally find myself in the company of gelato. God, I love gelato. Nutella and pistachio gelato is what a mouthgasm is- complete with mmhhmm’s and ahhh’s. It’s the best. If you haven’t had a mouthgasm, I suggest you get your hands on some artisanal quality gelato.

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We ate at so many wonderful and note worthy restaurants; and although they aren’t captured on film, there are some other eateries in Montreal that merit a word.

L’Academie Restaurant on St.Denis has a moules (mussels) special from Sunday to Wednesday; where for $11.95 you get your choice of soup or salad and a monstrous bowl of mussels with eight flavors to choose from; and you can bring your own wine- no corkage fee!

L’Academie Restaurant
4051 Rue St-Denis, Montreal
(514) 849-2249
4051 St-Denis, Montréal

Le Petite Italienne in Outremont was one of my last meals and what a great meal it was. We enjoyed a lovely bottle of Sangiovese that was reasonably priced; and I had the pasta with fruit de mer and garlic cream sauce, the serving was generous with giant pieces of seafood- it was positively tops. Also, they offer half sizes for most of their pasta entrees which is nice, if you happen to have a modest appetite. And the atmosphere is super charming; dimly lit with soft music playing.

Le Petite Italienne
1265, ave. Bernard coin Champagneur
Montréal, QC, H2V 1V8

Restaurant Thailande in Mile End was just what the doctor ordered. After a night of excess and the resulting hangover, spicy thai was exactly what I needed. This restaurant is where you will get cheap thai food, plain and simple; and you know it’s cheap if I’m making a point to mention that it’s cheap- I mean thai food is already really well priced. Between six people we had wine and eight dishes and the total came in under $20 each.

Restaurant Thailande
88 Rue Bernard Ouest, Montreal
(514) 271-6733

As a final note on the service style in Montreal; it’s relaxed- very relaxed. Don’t expect to be doted on. As I said before, it is very Euro in Montreal, and that happens to be a more laid back approach to hospitality. But on the plus side, they always offer to split the cheque; which when travelling in large groups, is a bonus.