Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Pesto Mayo

Grilled Chicken and Club Sandwich

I know, I know, a chicken club sandwich; how boring. It's on the menu at about half of the restaurants in town and you almost have to cringe when ordering one because most of them get it wrong. Not too long ago I went out for lunch with friends and the restaurants menu was uninspiring so I dared to go for the chicken club and it had to have been the worst sandwich that I have had in a long time. The chicken was all dried out and flavourless which they attempted to cover up by giving the sandwich swimming lessons in mayonnaise. I thought to myself, "You know, this is basically a BLT, which is amazing, with grilled chicken. Really, how could this sandwich not be good?" With that thought I resolved to make a chicken club sandwich for myself.

Duck Tacos with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Goat Cheese

Duck Tacos with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Crumbled Goat Cheese

When I was growing up taco night made a regular appearance in our dinner rotation and taco night always meant ground beef, packet seasoning, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and tortillas. It was not until later that I realized that the world of tacos was so much bigger and since then I have been kind of obsessed with them. Gone ore the days of the boring plain old tacos as I joyfully experiment with new kinds of tacos. It is with that in mind that I present to you my latest creation, the duck breast tacos with chipotle cherry salsa and goat cheese.

Avocado BLT with Fried Egg and Chipotle Mayo

Avocado BLT with Fried Egg And Chipotle Mayo

Lunch is normally when sandwiches come out but the other week I was enjoying the fantastic poached eggs on toast with chipotle mayonnaise, bacon and avocado , an open faced sandwich, for breakfast and lunch sure was getting jealous! I was feeling a little bad about the whole situation and I had an idea about how to make things right; I could bring some of that chipotle lime mayo lovin to lunch by adding it to one of my favourite sandwiches the BLT. Just to make absolutely sure that there were no hard feeling I also brought along some avocado and a fried egg with runny yolk; which makes almost anything better.

Roast Asparagus and Caramelized Mushroom Quesadillas with Goat Cheese

Roast Asparagus and Caramelized Mushroom Quesadillas with Goat Cheese

When asparagus season started one of the ideas that I came up with to try was asparagus quesadillas. I figured that you could not go wrong stuffing asparagus in between two toasted tortillas along with a bunch of ooey gooey melted cheese! Unfortunately that is about as far as I made it with the recipe; asparagus, cheese and tortillas, and that just did not satisfy me. I wanted something more but for the longest time I was having recipe block.

Butter Chicken Burritos

Butter Chicken Burritos

You know me, I always enjoy experimenting with new things and while I was making the oh so creamy butter chicken I could not help but think that it would go well in a burrito! The basis of many burritos is some kind of meat, rice and beans. With the butter chicken I had the meat and that meant that next I needed some beans which is where the chickpea curry came in. I just went with some steamed basmati rice, though I was also contemplating cooking the rice with some turmeric and cumin to give it some flavour and make it more aromatic.

Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)

Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

When I decided to make the butter chicken I had an idea about what I wanted to do with the leftovers but the butter chicken was only the first component that I required. Up next I wanted a bean dish and I immediately thought about doing a simple chickpea curry or a chana masala . Having made a few Indian curry dishes I noticed that chickpea curries have a lot of common ingredients so I was pretty familiar with the base of the recipe already. One things that did stand out was the use of amchoor or dried mango powder which I had never used before. Luckily I was able to track some amchoor down but if you cannot find it, some lemon juice should work as a substitute. (The amchoor adds a sour or tart note to the dish without adding any extra liquids.) Once again, despite having a long list of ingredients, this recipe is really easy to make and it takes very little time to do so. This chickpea curry is amazing by itself and it could easily served as a main or a side dish. I made sure to make and extra large batch so that I would have plenty of leftovers to use in my next dish.

Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani)

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Joey restaurant at the Eaton center. While there I got to enjoy a lot of tasty food including sushi that was made right in front of you, a meat and cheese board made with local and international ingredients and a penang prawn curry bowl. The dish that stood out the most for me however was the bombay butter chicken and I took that as the perfect excuse to try making at home! (If you are interested in seeing some photos of the opening you can take a look at my flickr gallery .)

Mexican Quinoa and Beans with Pico de Gallo

Mexican Quinoa and Beans with Pico de Gallo

While I was enjoying my first batch of Mexican quinoa as a side dish I was thinking that it would also make for a great main dish if you bulked it up a bit. One thing that I commonly like to do with quinoa is to combine it with beans and the combination of the two gives any meatless dish a bunch of protein. I figured that mixing some black beans or kidney beans into the Mexican quinoa near the end of cooking it would be a nice and simple way to do it. Although things were sounding good already I was thinking, why stop there when you could top it all off with with some salsa or a freshly home made pico de gallo ? I was perfectly satisfied with things like this but some crumbled queso fresco would also be nice on top.

Mexican Quinoa

Mexican Quinoa

It has been a while since I last posted about a side dish! Although they are not the stars of the dinner table they play an important role and sometimes they are even my favourite part of a meal. With my new found passion for quinoa I have been trying to use it more often and that is not hard to do. An easy way to use it is to simply replace the rice in a dish with quinoa and it is with this in my that I undertook making Mexican quinoa.

Poached Egg on Toast with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Bacon and Avocado

Poached Egg on Toast with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Bacon and Avocado

Not too long ago I came across some poached eggs on toast with chipotle mayonnaise, bacon and avocado on Cookin Canuck which was great because it reminded me that it had been far too long since I had last made these tasty little breakfast sandwiches. Normally I would serve these sandwiches in English muffins but they are particularly messy with the egg yolk and avocado spilling out all over so I really liked the idea of serving them open-faced so that you could eat them with a knife and a fork! This really is a magical combination of flavours with the salty bacon, the spicy hot chipotle mayo, the cool and creamy avocado and you of course cannot go wrong topping it all off with a runny egg yolk! This truly is a breakfast to look forward to waking up to!

Asparagus, Halloumi and Chickpea Farro Salad

Asparagus, Halloumi and Chickpea Farro Salad

Not too long ago I did a grilled asparagus and halloumi salad and I particularly enjoyed the combo and I wanted to use it again. I often like to do salads that have a base of a whole grain, a bean and a seasonal ingredient and this time I was thinking that a whole grain salad with the grilled asparagus and halloumi would be the perfect fit. It had been a while since I last used farro so I decided to go with that for the whole grain and chickpeas seemed like the natural fit. I always like to include a fresh herb and I was thinking that a combination of dill and mint would hit the spot. Next up was the dressing and I was thinking that a honey dijon vinaigrette would help keep things nice and bright and summery.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Peas

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Peas

When I was at the farmers market on the weekend I came across some local summer peas and since I always enjoy fresh peas I picked some up right away. After too much good food over the long weekend I was looking for something a bit on the lighter side and since it was a weeknight I also wanted something quick and easy. Pastas are often my go to meals under these circumstances and it had been a while since I last did a carbonara pasta so I was thinking that a carbonara with peas would be just about right. A carbonara is a pasta that is dressed in a creamy egg based sauce along with bacon, romano cheese and a healthy dose of fresh ground black pepper. I often like to add seasonal ingredients to carbonara pastas like asparagus or zucchini and I figured that sweet peas would work wonderfully in the creamy and salty sauce. One of my favourite things about a carbonara pasta, other than tasting great, is that it literally comes together in less time than it takes to cook the noodles. This dish was definitely a great way to enjoy those summer peas!

Banh Mi Burgers with Vietnamese Caramel BBQ Sauce

Banh Mi Burgers

The long weekend was the perfect time to get some grilling done and I took full advantage of it! Burgers were on the top of my list of things to grill but I wanted to try something a little different. The last time that I made a banh mi sandwich I remembered thinking that a burger with all of the flavours and condiments of a banh mi sandwich would be a good idea.

I decided to go with pork as the meat and I built the flavour using ingredients from my favourite Vietnamese dishes including garlic, ginger, fish sauce, cilantro, green onions and a birds eye chili for some heat. I have been hooked on Vietnamese caramel shrimp ever since I discovered it and I find that the sweet and savoury caramel sauce works particularly well in a banh mi sandwich and I could not resist making a caramel sauce to both use in the patties and to smother the burgers in. I finished the burgers off with some pickled carrots and daikon radish , cool and juicy cucumbers, spicy jalapenos, cilantro and mayonnaise to complete the medley of flavours.

Mojitos

Mojito

Since I had all of the ingredients out for mojitos to make the mojito grilled fish tacos with strawberry salsa it was just the right time to make some mojitos to enjoy with them. A mojito is a Cuban drink consisting of rum, mint, sugar, lime juice and club soda. The lime juice gives it a tartness that the sugar or syrup balances out and the mint makes it super refreshing and when the glass is filled with ice it is a great drink for hot summer days. I certainly enjoyed my mojito last weekend with the tacos but it is also the perfect drink to be relaxing with this long weekend!