Every summer my mum comes to visit for a few weeks. We start our morning by brewing delicious Dominican coffee and having café con leche, while we make breakfast and talk about our plans for the day and tidy up. By tidying up, I mean she goes into full cleaning mode ( honestly, I've never know of someone to love cleaning as much as my mom does)
We have also been walking around the city quiete a bit, and showing my stepdad, on his first visit to Canada, a few of the places that make me love Toronto so much. I had been looking forward to taking him to the St. Lawrence Market because of our shared love of cooking. We got pasteis de nata at carrousel bakery that reminded me of the ones in Belem, and spent a few hours in food heaven. From seeing squid ink pasta being made, to trying fresh watermelon juice, St. Lawrence Market is my idea of paradise.
I'll admit it. I'm the biggest chocoholic. I think it started when I was a kid and after my Friday piano lessons, my mom used to take me to this little bakery near by where they had the best chocolate cake I've had in my life. Isn't it something how we can recall memories like these? Those evenings were magic.
Back when I spent a few years at Le Cordon Bleu, one of the things I loved to bake the most was Mille- Feuille - or Napoleons. Cedric, our teacher and pastry chef was a perfectionist and when teaching us how to make puff pastry, guess what he expected? Perfection. That was also the case when it came to macarons, but that's another story.
Eating out while traveling is definitely one of the things I love the most when I'm visiting a new city. After all, I've often said that you get to know a city trough its food, trough its markets, and little hole in the wall places serving authentic dishes.
But as much as I enjoy discovering new and exciting restaurants all over the world and trying new dishes, nothing beats making a simple meal at home. A meal made with those ingredients that are always present in your kitchen, the ones you can't live without (hello avocados and halloumi!)
I had my first real crab cake while visiting family in Baltimore. I say "real" because nothing I had before compared to how good these ones were. After all, this city takes its crab cakes seriously and eating them in the summer is like a pastime (one that I would gladly like to adopt).
There's something about black beans and rice that I just love. Maybe it's the fact that growing up in the Dominican Republic and having it for lunch any given day of the week reminds me of my roots, of my childhood. Maybe it's the fact that my girls go crazy over it when my mom comes to visit and makes it in a way that is just pure food for the soul. Isn't it amazing how food translates into so many emotions? How it brings people together?
There was a time when tofu got very misunderstood. I think we've all heard it called flavourless or something that vegans only would enjoy. It took some time but but tofu finally got the praise it deserves.
So how do you cook tofu that turns out golden brown and full of flavour? I find marinating it in sesame oil, tamari, miso, garlic and ginger, a marinade that I often use at home, makes for a simple, yet delicious way to get it going. Usually, I roast it with vegetables, especially with eggplant, zucchini and asparagus then serve it over quinoa, farro or zucchini noodles. Comes summertime, for a weeknight meal, these tofu burgers come to the rescue.
I was that kid who loved mushrooms. As a child, I remember on Sundays my parents and I used to go out for Chinese food , and I would order the dish that had the most mushrooms - and eating them first.
Fast forward to when I became a vegetarian and my love for mushrooms only grew. Especially for Portobellos.
Every summer I think how lucky I am to live in the Niagara region. This area has some of Ontario’s Every summer I think how lucky I am to live in the Niagara region. This area has some of Ontario’s best wineries and it's also home to countless farmers markets.
What's that one thing you can't start your morning without? For me the answer is simple. COFFEE! I simply can't function without it. If I have to track where my love of coffee began, I would have to say it started in Dominican Republic, where I grew up. My grandmother used to wait until I got back from school and make me a latte before I could get started on homework. A coffee lover in training since I was 10 :)