Tilapia w/ Kale and Caper Wine Sauce

tilapia header

I am so glad to be back up and running! I’ve had a stressful few days while trying to move my domain but hey, we’re here now, all is good and that is all that matters.

Back to cooking!

This recipe came as a surprise to me. I had some tilapia in the freezer, and it had to get eaten eventually. I really hadn’t had much luck with tilapia, so I basically told myself that this was tilapia’s last chance with me.

Verdict?

I can’t wait to make this again. Tilapia showed me!

Ingredients

  1. Two tilapia filets
  2. 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil
  3. 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  4. 2 tbsp. of butter
  5. 2 tbsp. of capers, rinsed and chopped
  6. 1 cup of kale, chopped
  7. Sea salt and pepper to taste

Season the filets with a bit of sea salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tbsp. of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the filets in the pan and sear until cooked through – approx. 2-3 mins. per side. Add some of the oil gradually while the tilapia filets cook to prevent them from sticking to the pan. When cooked, transfer the filets to a plate and tent them with foil to keep them warm.

Add the wine to the skillet (still at medium-high heat), as well as the kale and the capers. Whisk until the wine has reduced by half. This should take approx. 2-3 mins. At this point, the kale should also be cooked soft. Remove from heat, and whisk in the rest of the butter.

Pour this on top of your filets and enjoy!

tilapia 2

tilapia 3

 

 

Going through some changes.

Killingthyme.net will be back up soon!

Restaurant Review: Chile and Agave, St. Catharines

 

chile and agave

I’m not very seasoned when it comes to authentic Mexican, I’ll be honest. This is only my third time having authentic Mexican. The first time was in Raleigh, NC, and the restaurant was so dark that I couldn’t even see my meal, though it felt and tasted like I was eating a cabbage roll. Not sure there. I couldn’t even see the menu so, I got nothin’.
The second time was in Pittsburgh at a place called Verde, and this was my favourite experience of the three. I had Enchiladas de Pollo and, guys, a friggin’ habanero infused martini! WHAT. Amazing.

Anyway.

Tonight started with a well deserved Dos Equis. It didn’t make me feel like the most interesting woman in the world, but close.

dos equis

 

Also, I need to mention the free taco chips and salsa that are offered pre-meal.

taco chips

These are definitely the best taco chips I’ve ever had, and that salsa! I think there were little itty bitty leaves of cilantro in there, and though I’m one of those freaks who despises cilantro, I did all right with it because the body of the salsa was perfect. Tangy, not overly acidic or sweetened, and just downright dee-lish.

The taco chips offer a fragrance of guilty pleasures – almost like greasy fairground food, but with quality.

I was struggling with what to order for dinner. Doing restaurant reviews sort of puts the pressure on to try new things; review food that isn’t typical. Therefore, quesadillas were out of the question.

I decided on the Enchilada Suiza with salsa verde. It came with a salad, refried beans, and rice.

chile and agave

The chicken in the enchilada was a chipotle chicken, though I didn’t get any hints of chipotle or smokiness in flavour. The dominant flavor here was the salsa verde, as well as the cheese, due to it’s texture. Believe me, the salsa verde was incredibly tasty, but I was a little disappointed in the lack of presence from the chipotle chicken. What I did end up doing was cutting up some of the tomato and lettuce from my salad, and pairing it with forkfuls of enchilada. It tasted more like a taco/burrito that way, and I think that right there exemplifies my amateur palette when it comes to this type of cuisine.

enchilada suiza

enchilada suiza open

Though, as you can see, the dish was very well prepared.

The refried beans were really good! Best I’ve ever tried.

refried beans

That’s the thing about refried beans – they always taste better than they look…

The atmosphere and décor in the restaurant is fantastic, and the service was great. Any questions I had were answered thoroughly, and with a smile.

I can tell that Chile and Agave is legit when it comes to authentic Mexican; I think I’ve just come to the sad conclusion that authentic Mexican doesn’t knock my socks from off my feet. Being a food blogger, I feel like a jerk saying this, but pass me the pub-style nachos any day.

Chile & Agave on Urbanspoon

Cauliflower Cream Sauce

Caulifredo cream sauce header

HAPPY 100th POST, KILLINGTHYME.NET!

Well, I’m obviously pretty thrilled to be writing  up my 100th post right now. This means that this food blog is a success! I am so grateful for all of my followers/readers/Facebook-likers, etc. I wanted to bring something really cool and different to the table for this post, and hopefully you can all enjoy it and appreciate it.

I had originally wanted to bake an ombre cake, because cake can always be found where there is something to celebrate, but after a lot of thought I decided against it. I’m not much of a cake-eater myself, and I hate wasting food. Throwing food out makes me cringe. With that in consideration, what was I going to do with an entire three layer cake by myself?

Right.

So then I thought, “Why not rock a classic dish with a healthy, yet delicious, spin?” It seems more and more common that my friends are looking for healthy alternatives all while trying to not deprive themselves – and I’m all for that mindset. I believe in a healthy lifestyle, but allowing yourself to indulge once in a while - and when you get lucky, you stumble upon something healthy that can fully replace what you’d normally indulge in.

Like this flippin’ cauliflower cream sauce! Wowzers! How about that?

My original idea was to blog ‘Pasta Carbonara’ as the main dish, featuring a healthy cauliflower sauce but I changed my mind after tasting this sauce. Who was I kidding? This sauce is the star, and this sauce deserves the focus of this blog post.

Love. Kisses. Never looking back.

cauliflower sauce love

Most recipes out there refer to this as a cauliflower alfredo sauce, but I refuse to connect it to alfredo, which in my experience has always been flavorless whether in a restaurant, homemade, or from a fancy jar.

This cauliflower cream sauce deserves to be it’s own thing. It is packed with flavor, and the texture is incredibly smooth and creamy. The best part? The only real fat in this is the 2 tbsp. of butter. This recipe contains NO CREAM, but yet it’s SO creamy! It’s a mystery. NO, it’s SCIENCE!

Whatever it is, put it on my plate.

I formed this recipe by combining ideas from two different recipes I’d been considering.

Ingredients

  1. 1 medium-large cauliflower head
  2. 2 tbsp. of butter
  3. 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. Fresh squeezed lemon juice from half of one lemon
  5. 1/2 tsp. of onion powder
  6. 1/2 tsp. of sea salt
  7. 1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
  8. 2 900ml boxes of chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken, since the store was out of vegetable)
  9. 1/2 cup of unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk

First things first, chop your cauliflower into bite-size florets.

cauliflower

cauliflower chopped

Empty both boxes of stock in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Once the stock is boiling, add the cauliflower florets. Boil for approx. 7 mins., or until the florets are tender.

cauliflower boil

Mince that garlic!

garlic cloves 7

Caulifredo Sauce 6

While the florets boil, melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a saucepan, and add the minced garlic. Sauté the garlic until it’s soft, but not to the point where it’s browned. Browned garlic will add a bitter flavor, and that’s not what you’re looking for.

When the cauliflower florets are ready to go, transfer the florets to a blender with a slotted spoon.

cauliflower blender

Add the minced garlic and butter, almond milk, lemon juice, onion powder, sea salt, ground black pepper, and 1/2 cup of the boiled stock from the pot. Blend until smooth. You may want to gradually add another 1/2 – 1 cup of the stock from the pot to get more creaminess, but definitely add it gradually – you don’t want it to get runny!

When mine was done, I put it in cute little mason jars for safekeeping. I plan on making a huge batch next time. This would be amazing in rice – almost like a creamy risotto. Oh dear. I need to make that soon. A mushroom risotto with this sauce.

Caulifredo Sauce 5

Caulifredo Sauce 4

Caulifredo Sauce 3

pasta carbonara

 

 

Restaurant Review: Thai Dish, Welland

thai dish welland

I had a dinner date with my Mum last night, and she’s been wanting to try this Thai place situated in the heart of downtown Welland. I’d heard good things about it, and Thai is always good on a Friday night (Thaiday night?)

To kick things off properly, I started with a nice cold bevvy.

chang

Chang (the Thai word for elephant) is pretty mild in flavour, but crisp and refreshing with a light-medium body. More caramelized malt and less hop, which is all right by me. My first sip filled me with that “cool pints on a patio in the summertime” feel, but I’m not sure if that was the beer or simply my longing for some warm weather. Canada, eh?

The atmosphere in the restaurant was very nice and relaxed with appropriate décor, and the service was quick and polite.

My Mum and I each ordered a different dish so that we could play splitsies because…why not? Sharing is caring! Sharing is also getting more flavour flave on your platey plate! (I’ll never say that again).

I ordered the Cashew Nut Shrimp with a side of steamed Jasmine rice. This dish comprises sautéed tiger shrimp with oranges, onions, sweet peppers, and roasted cashews.

cashew shrimp

This was insanely yummy; nutty, sweet, and the chunks of oranges added a lot of freshness. And well, nothing beats the textures of crunchy cashews in a dish like this.

My Mum went with the penang curry, a coconut peanut sauce with Kaffir lime leaves and green bean, with chicken.

panang curry

This stuff is just amazing. I’m a huge fan of penang curry to begin with, but this one in particular is fantastic. The coconut and peanut flavours have a nice balance; not one overpowers the other. You have the choice of ordering this with chicken, veggies and tofu, shrimp, or beef. I’ve always found that chicken or shrimp is always the best way to go with penang curry, but that’s just me.

Needless to say, I had a very scrumptious plate in front of me for dinner.

split dinner

I will definitely be returning to Thai Dish with Thai-loving friends in tow.

Thai Dish Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Horseradish Roast Beef Melt

horseradish roast beef melt

Here we are, another ‘grown-up grilled cheese’! I don’t know what it is about grilled cheese sandwiches, but I just love taking them to the next level. The possibilities really are endless. If I ever ran a food truck, I’m sure you can guess what I’d be serving up.

I love horseradish so much, that sometimes I just open the jar, wave it in front of my nose, and take a big whiff.

I have no shame.

Also, sometimes I make things with roast beef just so I have an excuse to eat horseradish.

For example, this sandwich.

Ingredients (for one sandwich)

  1. 3 slices of deli roast beef, thinly sliced
  2. 2 slices of bacon
  3. 1 slice of provolone cheese
  4. Ground black pepper
  5. 2 slices of fresh bread
  6. 1-2 tbsp. of horseradish (depending on how strong you want it)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

When cooking the bacon, whether in a pan or the microwave, grind some fresh black pepper on it. I started doing this over a year ago and I’ve never looked back. Bacon is so salty, and who is salt’s best friend?

Exactly.

While the bacon is cooking, slightly sear the slices of roast beef in a hot pan, just to warm them up.

When the meat is cooked and ready to go, layer the beef, bacon, cheese and horseradish between two slices of bread. Be sure to spread the horseradish evenly, or else you’ll end up with “weak” bites and “clear your sinuses and cause you to slightly choke” bites. (They’re tasty chokes, though).

Once the sandwich is together, pop it in the oven for approx. 10 minutes, or until it’s toasty.

 

Yam Stuffed Shells

 

stuffed shells headerDifferent can be good, and this dish confirms it!

I’ve been wanting to do stuffed shells for a while now, but I wanted to try something different. When I originally thought ‘different’, I thought maybe a Mediterranean style stuffed shell, or sausage, vegetables – something away from ricotta and spinach, you know? (Not to knock ricotta and spinach, of course).

I looked around the Internet for different ‘stuffed shell’ recipes, and nothing popped out at me until I came across this recipe. Yams? Walnuts? With tomato sauce and cheese? You’ve got to be kidding me.

But, I love a good challenge!

I’ll be the first to admit that while I was making this, I was skeptical of how these components would work together (or if they would at all). I was trying really hard to understand how exactly the tomato sauce was supposed to compliment the yams. I think it would depend on the sauce. My sauce was pretty acidic to begin with, so I added some brown sugar to tone down the acidity. Also, since brown sugar typically goes with yams, I figured eh – no harm done! The concept made sense and in the end, it was a decision well made, because…

This recipe WORKS! Holy moly, I was floored. I really want to give mad props to the guy who thought this up (by the sound of it on his blog, this was total improvisation). I don’t know if it was luck, or super advanced knowledge of secrets in the culinary world. Either way, YUMMY.

 

This recipe called for a can or jar of tomato sauce, but I made a quickie from scratch and let it simmer all afternoon.

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

  1. 1 tbsp. olive oil
  2. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 3 basil leaves
  4. 6 tbsp. Italian seasoning (a blend of oregano, thyme and basil)
  5. 156 ml can of  tomato paste
  6. 796 ml can of crushed tomatoes
  7. 540 ml can of stewed tomatoes, drained
  8. 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  9. 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  10. 1 tbsp. garlic powder

Yam Stuffed Shells

  1. 30 large pasta shells, cooked al dente (I only baked 20 here, and packed the rest away for my BFF who gets my leftovers!)
  2. 2 large yams, boiled and mashed
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 6 fresh sage leaves, minced
  6. 3 tbsp. of butter
  7. 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  8. 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  9. 1/3 cup heavy cream
  10. 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  11. Entire pot of homemade pasta sauce as noted above, or a 28 oz can of tomato sauce – depending on what you go with.
  12. 1.5 cup of grated mozzarella cheese
  13. Fresh chives for garnish

If you are making your sauce homemade, start with your sauce a few hours before you start your shells.

Mince 3 cloves of garlic and brown them in a pot with olive oil.

fried garlic

Add the tomato paste, stewed tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Give it a good stir. The stewed tomatoes are lumpy at first, but they will fall apart as they cook. I find that they give the sauce a nice and thick texture, which I like. Add all of the other ingredients, stir well, and simmer on low for 2-4 hours.

Now, for the filling.

This filling is pretty darn versatile! I think it would be great in ravioli, and you could even use it in a vegetarian lasagna, or as a spread of some sort.

Peel the yams, and cut them into cubes. Boil them in salted water for approx. 15 mins or until they are tender.

yams

yam

When they are done, smash them in a bowl. I used a hand blender to whip mine.

mashed yams

Yum! Tempting to lick but…probably not a good idea.

mashed yams 2

Now, to flavour the filling: a white onion, sage, and garlic.

onionsagegarlic

Mince all of the above. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the minced onion, sage and garlic. Cook this at a low temperature to avoid caramelization. We don’t want to brown anything here, we just want to soften things up a bit.

When done, add this to the mashed yams. Then add the Greek yogurt, cream, walnuts and chili peppers. Mix it thoroughly.

stuffing mix

walnuts

stuffing 2

When cooking the pasta, you only want to cook the shells until they are al dente. They will continue to cook in the oven later, and you don’t want them to turn mushy. The mushy texture belongs inside the shell!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stuffing the shells is easy peasy. Prepare a large baking dish by covering the bottom with a layer of tomato sauce.

Then, stuff a few spoonfuls into the shells and set them down into the baking dish. When all the shells are stuffed, spoon the rest of the tomato sauce over the shells and top with shredded mozzarella.

stuffed shell

stuffed shells 2

stuffed shells 3

mozzarella topped

Cover loosely with tinfoil, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Remove the tinfoil, and bake at 400 for 15 mins.

Then, serving time! Garnish with some fresh chives.

Be amazed…

baked stuffed shells

stuffed shells complete

stuffed shells complete 2

stuffed close up

stuffed shells bite

Blueberry Banana Nut Smoothie

 

blueberry banana nut smoothie header

I’ve definitely been on a smoothie kick lately, and I’ve been playing around with a lot of ingredients to try and come up with the tastiest and smartest smoothie. By that, I simply mean that I’ve been doing some homework on the yay‘s and the nay‘s of smoothies, and learning to incorporate only what is best for overall health; the less sugar, the better. This certainly doesn’t mean a putrid concoction, don’t be fooled.

I try to follow a formula: Two fruits, one healthy fat, and a green.

In this one, I incorporated blueberries, a banana, spinach, psyllium husks, ground chia seeds, and walnuts. No sugar needed here at all, but if you did want to sweeten things up, you could use a tbsp. of honey or agave nectar, or a sprinkle of stevia. Stevia is a bit pricey, but totally worth getting if you’re trying to avoid sugar and don’t want to slowly poison yourself with the chemicals, aspartame and sucralose found in artificial sweeteners. Sounds harsh but…homework!

Ingredients (1 portion)

  1. 3 ice cubes
  2. 1 generous handful of baby spinach
  3. 3/4 cup of blueberries
  4. 1 generous handful of walnuts
  5. 1 banana
  6. 1 tsp. of psyllium husks
  7. 1 tsp. of ground chia seeds
  8. 1 cup of almond milk
  9. 1/2 cup of coconut water

blueberry banana nut smoothie

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

 

Lean Bean Salsa

lean bean salsa header

No! Don’t run. Honestly. I know a salsa without tomatoes may seem a little odd and unappealing, but I kid you not – I’d take this concoction over tomato salsa any day. This medley of flavours is savoury and, I’ll admit, unexpected.

I’ve never been a fan of corn in salsa to begin with, so the first time I was asked to try this, I cringed.

But, I have a rule as a “self-proclaimed foodie”: You can’t hate what you haven’t ate!

That’s actually really bad English, and I should probably rephrase that sometime.

Anyway, the recipe. It’s super simple to prepare, and believe it or not, it’s good for up to THREE weeks in your fridge! (It will be gobbled up in the first week, though. Believe me).

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup of diced red bell pepper (or yellow, or orange, or green…do your thing)
  2. 1 cup of diced green bell pepper
  3. 1 cup of diced spanish onion
  4. 1 cup of fine diced celery
  5. 1 cup of frozen corn (it thaws fast, no worries)
  6. 1 large can of lentils (drain and rinse)
  7. 1 large can of black beans (drain and rinse)

Mix all of this in a large bowl.

In a sauce pan, combine the following:

  1. 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  2. 1/4 cup of white sugar
  3. 1/2 cup of olive oil
  4. 1 tbsp of water

Bring this to a boil, and let it boil for about 30 seconds. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. Once cooled, pour it into the veggie bowl and mix well.

Serve with Tostito Scoups and you’re good to go! Fantastic for a summer potluck or just for a healthier choice of snack to have around the house.

lean bean salsa

lean bean salsa close up

lean bean salsa above

 

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

strawberry banana ice cream header

Strawberry Banana ice cream – one of my favourite ice cream recipes that I’ve thrown together since getting my ice cream machine.

I’ve tweaked this recipe since the first time I made it. The first time around, I used bagged frozen strawberries in syrup. I hadn’t cut the strawberries before throwing them into the mix (they were all soft and sloppy so I didn’t think I’d need to). The issue I had with that was that once the ice cream was left to set in the freezer, the chunks of strawberries basically turned into big hunks of ice. They still tasted of strawberries, but if you have sensitive teeth like me, it’s a nightmare.

This time, I used fresh strawberries.

strawberry

Tah dah!

I diced them (approx. 1 cup worth), and to make up for the lack of syrup from the bag of frozen strawberries, I used strawberry jam. Still a decent amount of sugar, but this recipe makes almost 2 quarts and it’s less sugar than the frozen bagged strawberries in syrup that the original recipe called for so…so there!

Anyway, dicing the strawberries did the trick. No ice blocks! Just smooth and fruity deliciousness.

I also added some crumbled Peak Frean LifeStyle shortbread cookies because…cookies.

Ingredients

  1. 2 large eggs
  2. 1/2 cup of sugar
  3. 2 cups of whipping cream
  4. 1 cup of milk (I used 1%)
  5. 1 cup of fresh strawberries, diced
  6. 1 overripe banana
  7. 1 tsp. lemon juice
  8. 3/4 cup of crushed shortbread cookies
  9. 1 cup of strawberry jam

Smash the banana in a bowl with a fork until you form a, well, a goo. Add the lemon juice to the banana goo.

Whisk the eggs until they are light and fluffy. Slowly add in the sugar and continue whisking until everything is completely combined. Add the whipping cream, and milk, and continue to whisk. Stir in the banana mixture.

Pour the mixture into prepared ice cream maker and follow your machine’s instructions.

Once the ice cream is close to being ready, add the diced strawberries and gradually add the jam one tbsp. at a time into the vortex of delight. Next up, 1/2 cup of crushed shortbread cookies.

Transfer the ice cream to a 1 quart freezer safe container (I got approx. 1 3/4 quarts out of this batch, but I guess anything can happen). Keep it in the freezer for about an hour before serving.

strawberry banana ice cream

strawberry banana ice cream up close

strawberry banana ice cream 2

strawberry banana scoop