Restaurant Review- Radius

Standard

We’re new parents. Nice dinners out have been few and far between for the past year. I really didn’t notice, or miss them for the first 8-or-so months…we were too busy!!
Now that I’m back at work, and we’ve got a totally awesome babysitter, we decided to start date night once a month. Having moved around quite a bit over the past 10 years, something we’ve loved to do is sample the local restaurant culture. Living in Hamilton for 6 months, we’re just getting started!

So, my last day of work before Christmas vacation we decided to treat ourselves- a dinner out was our gift to each other this year. We decided to try Radius (151 James St. S, Hamilton). Located at James South and Augusta in a newly restored (circa 1874) building, items made, where possible, with locally grown foods and all prepared on site by Chef Walter. The dining room was recently opened adding to the existing cafe serving freshly brewed coffee and tea and treats.

31625_10100270643720515_604222232_n

Since I didn’t think to blog about this at the time, I didn’t take many photos…oops.
We started with wine and beer, and the selections were explained wonderfully by our friendly server. The atmosphere in the restaurant is really great- a mix of historical and modern. We chose crab cakes as our appetizer. I thought they were good, but I prefer my cakes a little more bready.
Moving on to main courses, I chose the Fettucine Carbonara, and Hubby chose the steak with wasabi mashed potatoes. Both entrees were AMAZING. The pasta was cooked perfectly ( I am a carb connaisseur) and his steak was exactly to his liking (he’s a meat connaisseur). I also tried some of his mashed and really enjoyed it.

540192_10100270642233495_579328873_n

We were sitting next to a group of 4 (two couples) and chatted with them. This is a total tangent, but another reason why I love Hamilton- people are for-real friendly. I can’t say that about the other places we’ve recently lived.

We decided to order dessert after watching a few come out of the kitchen. We chose a belgian chocolate cake to share. It was gone in 3 seconds flat. This after finishing a generous portion of pasta- hey we were celebrating!

All in all, we had a great evening. Considering the dining area at Radius has been open a couple months, I think they are doing good things. We definitely have plans to return. I love the local concept of this restaurant and I’m excited to see where the menu goes.

January Pickins’

Standard

This morning I had nothing better to do, so I packed up my little one and went down to the farmer’s market. We have a great year-round, local only market not too far away. I wasn’t sure what I’d find- I figured some onions, stored carrots and potatoes, eggs would be available.
I was pleasantly surprised. We didn’t need much, but I did buy eggs, local honey, broccoli, green onions and brussels sprouts (kind of a green day).

IMG_4995
What’s that you say? A real, non-instagrammed picture? The luxuries of the weekend.

If I were the type to strictly adhere to a local-only diet (I do my best, but I’m no purist), I’d be eating well this winter.
Available at the market today:
-Kale
-Leeks
-Carrots
-Onions
-Cabbage
-Countless varieties of apples, buckets of them! (benefit of living near Niagara)
-local beef and pork
-cider
-many varieties and sizes of potatoes
-Squash, many types
-mushrooms

The list goes on, I’m sure I’m forgetting some things. As winter drags on, I often forget to trek down to the market and build my meals around seasonal items. Sure, there are times when nothing but a banana will do (especially for Anneliese, who says banana more than she says mama or dada). But really, eating a watery, sour tomato in the dead of winter is depressing, when there are so many better things we could be eating.

Depending on where you live, the list could vary. I’m sure if I searched hard enough, I would find hothouse tomatoes and peppers grown in my region as well.
The benefits are countless- the carbon footprint of broccoli grown within 100km is minimal, and doesn’t that make you feel good? You’re supporting your local economy- go you! You’re a hero. Secretly, the best benefit? Tasty, vibrant food that didn’t ripen on a truck, boat or train from the southern hemisphere. Yum.
I won’t tell anyone you’re doing it for your tastebuds.

Real Food English Muffins

Standard

We eat a lot of english muffins over here. Don’t ask me why. We never buy bread. Only english muffins. I like to eat them with my poached eggs in the morning and Quinton eats them with anything.
Since this is such a major staple for us, I figured it would be worth it to try to make my own. I found the recipe on pinterest, so I’ll just link straight to it and add my commentary.

http://myfairbaking.blogspot.ca/2012/12/homemade-english-muffins.html

ImageProxy

The dough was straight forward- word to the wise: if your house is cold like mine, make sure you put the circles somewhere warm to rise. I covered them and left them on the counter….and…. nothing. So I turned on the oven and put them on top of it and sure enough, they doubled. Live and learn, my friends.
I did like the fact that the recipe used honey and not refined sugar. After tasting them I think I’d cut the honey in half next time.

ImageProxy2

I think next time I would use a larger circle, this time I used a water glass, which was ok, but I like the muffin to be wide enough to hold an egg and these are a tad small.

ImageProxy3

Ensure you do keep the skillet on medium low heat- otherwise they’ll brown up too fast and not cook on the inside.

ImageProxy4

Toddler approved!!!!

Real Food Habitant Split Pea Soup

Standard

Confession: I love canned soup. I know it’s disgusting and not very classy, but it’s tasty. Especially with a ton of soda crackers in it. I also know that most canned processed soups are full of a ton of ingredients I can’t pronounce, let alone identify. So processed, canned soups, you gotta go.
Luckily, it was easy for me to replicate one of my favourites- Habitant Split Pea. My American friends probably don’t know what this is, but Canadians do: its the one in the big yellow can!
Easy Peasy! (pun intended)

Ingredients:
-1/2 bag dried green split peas
– 1400ml stock (homemade or store bought) I used half chicken half veg
-3 finely diced large carrots
-6 1 inch slices turkey kielbasa, finely diced
-finely diced small onion

Dump it in the slow cooker. Set to low and come back in 6-8 hours.
When it’s done, it will require a good stir and won’t be as thick as you remember split pea. Never fear. In the fridge over night it will thicken up A LOT.
Serve with whole wheat soda crackers. I couldn’t wait to put mine in, thats why this picture looks like sludge. Trust me, it tastes better than it looks.

split pea>

Pumpkin Poppers

Standard

Last night I was preoccupied with a can of pumpkin I had sitting around. Then I thought of a donut….bam. Pumpkin Poppers. Don’t bother asking where the name came from. I was almost sleeping.

A note: I prefer to use as much whole wheat flour as possible, as well as unprocessed sweeteners. The reason I started baking for my family was to avoid processed junk and chemicals, so obviously I don’t want to use those things when I prepare food for us. You can find all of the ingredients at a regular grocery store, I swear!

For the donuts:
    •  3/4 cups organic unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup organic whole wheat flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup sucanat
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1/2 cup almond, soy, rice, or coconut milk (or skim milk)
For the Coating:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted (or earth balance)
  • 2/3 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin spice. In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, sucanat, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each cup. (You will have batter left over for about another dozen.) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. With the melted butter in one bowl and the sugar and cinnamon combined in another, dip each muffin into the butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

Enjoy with a hot apple cider!!!!

Navy Bean Kale Quinoa Soup

Standard

 

We’ve been a little under the weather over here. My seasonal allergies are out of control, and Anneliese has a cold which she has so graciously passed on to me. It’s been a lot of fun. Combined with not feeling so great, we’ve just been super busy, which has led to falling back on convenience foods. This doesn’t help us feel any better. So I knew we needed something warm and healthy. This calls for soup.

Gather:

1/2 package frozen chopped kale (like Cookin’ Greens brand)

1 can navy beans

1/2 cup Quinoa

2 900ml cartons of broth (I used veggie)

2 cups water

1 cube veggie bouillon

1 tsp pot herbs

1.5 tablespoons dehydrated onion

1 tsp garlic powder

3 tsp salt

Simmer all ingredients together until quinoa is cooked. Serve with crostini- I like Ace Bakery sea salt and olive oil. This will make enough for one meal and one meal to be frozen.

2 Bean Turkey Chili (Husband Approved)

Standard

2 Bean Turkey Chili

(adapted from Shrinking Kitchen)

Serves 6 generously

Gather: 1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 bell pepper (your choice of color)

1 medium yellow onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15.5 ounce can low sodium diced tomatoes, with juice

1 15.5 ounce can low sodium black beans, drained

1 15.5 ounce can low sodium pinto beans, drained

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder

1/2 tablespoon epicure taco seasoning

3 teaspoon salt

Step by Step:

  1.  Heat olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large, heavy pot.
  2.  Add onion, bell pepper , cook until softened.
  3.  Add garlic, cook for another minute.
  4.  Throw the ground turkey into the pot, break up and work into the vegetables.
  5.  Brown the turkey.
  6.  Add the cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir to combine.
  7.  Add the tomatoes and beans.
  8.  Bring to a low boil then reduce to a simmer for at least 20 minutes. You can simmer on the stove for a few hours if you’re so inclined.
  9.  Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings eg. low fat shredded cheddar and light sour cream. Cilantro, baked tortilla chips and avocado are also wonderful.

Leftovers are great made into a taco salad- pour chili over salad greens and some tortilla chips.