Food for you, sent with love
Katelyn Sander

Food for you, sent with love

Spice of Life

It’s the season of love! Tomorrow we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Then, we celebrate Family Day. Both holidays will feel different this year – because what doesn’t feel different? – but different can be fun. While you may be missing your date night and favourite restaurants, this may just be the year to try expanding your culinary skills!

What we’re listening to…

Throughout 2020, many began cooking for the first time, while others wanted to really explore in the kitchen. Because of this, Samin Nosrat (chef & author of the cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat) & Hrishikesh Hirway (creator & host of the podcast Song Exploder) created a mini-series called Home Cooking, helping listeners figure out what to cook during the pandemic.

Enjoy these 50+ minute episodes, where you’ll get inspired and learn a few things. It’s a great and enjoyable listen for everyone – from the most experienced chefs to those with a newfound love of cooking.

Cheesy Skillet Hash Browns & Eggs

Start your Valentine’s Day on a delicious note with these amazing cheesy skillet hash browns and eggs. The recipe is easy and the entire thing can be done in a single skillet! The eggs are cooked so the yolks are runny, and the hash browns are nice and crispy. Recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon.

  • 4 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups frozen, shredded potatoes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced chives
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Place a 10” cast iron skillet into an oven preheated at 375F, for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully remove skillet from oven and add 2 tablespoons butter and oil, swirling the melting butter across the entire surface.
  • Add shredded potatoes and spread into an even layer and create 3 pockets within the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Dot 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over the surface and transfer skillet back into the oven for 15 - 18 minutes.
  • Remove skillet from the oven and dot each pocket within the potatoes with 1 teaspoon butter. Add a cracked egg into each pocket, top the potatoes with shredded cheese and return the skillet to the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until the egg whites are set, with the yolks still creamy and the top of the potatoes are golden brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper and finish with a sprinkle of chives. Serve.

Carrot Salad with Quinoa & Almonds

Looking for a light lunch this Valentine’s Day before your decadent dinner? Treat yourself with this simple, vegan, filling, and flavourful carrot salad! Our favourite part is that the salad has a wonderful crunchy texture! Even after a few days in the fridge, it retains its delicious crunch, making it a great addition to your weekly meal prep. Recipe from Feasting at Home.

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups water, pinch salt
  • 3 cups carrots, grated or matchstick (about 8 oz)
  • 1 - 2 cups celery, sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced at a diagonal
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (tender stems okay) or sub for Italian parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or aleppo chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp allspice (optional)
  • Salt, apple cider vinegar, and pepper, to taste

Raw Apple Cider Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (with the “mother” in it)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Place 1 cup quinoa in a medium pot with 1 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, simmer on low heat 12 minutes (or until water is gone). Turn heat off, let stand 5 minutes, then let cool uncovered.
  • While the quinoa is cooking make the Raw Apple Cider Vinaigrette. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk, or in a small jar, sealed with a lid and shaken.
  • Place carrots, celery, scallions, cilantro, garlic, and almonds in a large bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette and the cooled quinoa. Add more salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. Sprinkle in the cayenne and optional allspice.
  • Toss well and serve or refrigerate until serving.
  • Salad will keep 3 - 4 days in the fridge. If making ahead, be sure to taste right before serving and adjust salt and vinegar one more time.
  • To cool quinoa quickly, place in a strainer and run under cold water. Let it sit in the strainer for a few minutes, so it drains well!
  • Feel free to add chickpeas, or top with avocado, right before serving for extra heartiness.
  • Top with fresh sprouts or micro-greens!

Beef and Broccoli

Do your Valentine’s traditions usually include takeout? Now, you can enjoy the BEST beef and broccoli, made in just 15 minutes. Seriously. 15 minutes – start to finish! And yes, it’s quicker, cheaper, and healthier than getting takeout! Recipe from the Damn Delicious.

  • 2/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sriracha, or more, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, chicken stock, honey, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, sesame oil, cornstarch, sriracha, ginger, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup water; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add steak and cook, flipping once, until browned, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Stir in broccoli and soy sauce mixture until tender and slightly thickened, about 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

Pasta Puttanesca

If you’re looking to surprise your loved one with a delicious meal, pasta puttanesca is a great place to start. The whole process is ridiculously easy (even for those inexperienced in the kitchen), and you’ll both enjoy a high level of flavour in this classic. Recipe from the Food and Wine.

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • One 35 oz can whole peeled Italian tomatoes with their juices, crushed by hand
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 basil sprigs
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil.
  • Add the garlic, anchovies and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the canned tomatoes with their juices.
  • Stir in the sugar, basil, olives, and capers. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Simmer the sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and is reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes.
  • Season again with salt and pepper. Discard the basil sprigs and garlic.
  • This sauce can definitely be made ahead of times and can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Oreo Truffles

So, you’re in charge of the Valentine’s Day dessert? Let us help! These Oreo truffles are SO easy to make. No-fuss and they’re absolutely delicious. Recipe from Delish.

  • 1 (14 oz) package Oreos
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • Use a food processor to crush cookies into fine crumbs.
  • Add all but 2 tablespoons crushed cookies to a medium bowl. Add cream cheese and vanilla and stir until evenly combined.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, form mixture into small balls. Place on prepared baking sheet and freeze until slightly hardened, about 30 minutes.
  • Dip the frozen balls in melted white chocolate until coated and return to baking sheet. Drizzle with semisweet chocolate. Freeze until chocolate hardens, about 15 minutes. 

Neighbourhood Gems

We know Valentine’s Day feels different this year – like almost everything else. But just because you can’t celebrate the way you normally would doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate! Instead of getting dressed up and visiting your favourite local restaurants, get takeout or delivery and bring them home with you. Settle in on the couch, put on your favourite romantic comedies, and enjoy! Here are a few of our favourites that we’ll be supporting this weekend…

Jules Bistro: You had to order your specialty Valentine’s Day meal earlier this week, but that doesn’t mean you can’t order off their regular (and incredible) menu! Jules Bistro prepares southern French, homestyle, bistro cuisine, with specialty dishes for two! (Perfect for couples to share!)

Juxtapose: For those of us still finishing our Valentine’s Day gifts, it’s time to visit Juxtapose. Get your cards, candles, perfumes, and bath and body products from across North America and Europe. They also offer a wide selection of jewellery that has been carefully curated with a focus on design, craftmanship, and longevity. You won’t be able to find these unique and quirky items anywhere else! You can order your items for curbside pick-up, so it’s the perfect spot for last minute additions to your gift!

New Generation Sushi: If your Valentine’s Day plans normally include sushi, then you need to order from New Generation Sushi. They offer all-you-can-eat-rolls, nigiri, and other Japanese favourites. Enjoy fresh, flavourful, delicious options, no matter what you order.

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