Lime Leaf Smoothie Bowl

there are millions of smoothie bowls out there and I could probably spend the rest of my days eating a different variation (I love froot so much), but the addition of a single lime leaf to this one makes it exceptional. I have to give reid credit for first adding it to our smoothies. if it’s not in your freezer (ahem), go track some down for the 2nd time you make this smoothie bowl ;) and you’ll see the difference that it makes. you also won’t be sad to have it on hand to add to your curries, stews and soups.

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Alton Toast (Avocado Sardine Toast)

alton toast (named for inimitable alton brown who created the original version of this recipe) is our go-to breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack when we need something filling and delicious that feels good. it's easy to throw together as long as you keep a couple cans of sardines on hand and have an avocado ripening at home, and it's packed with all the best kinds of fat from fish and avocados. as a bonus, because they're low on the food chain sardines are super sustainable, so you can chow down free from guilt. if you're unsure about canned fish, this recipe will make you a true believer and may even turn you (like us) into an obsessive canned sardine hunter whenever you visit a new grocery store! for the least fishy flavour, try to find small sardines like brislings.

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Vegan Asian Caesar Dressing

for the past 4 months, I have had the opportunity to cook lunch 4 days a week at a local grocery store here in downtown kitchener (or as they call it, DTK). since it’s just me running the show (while the other cooks handle the catering side of the business), it’s been a huge learning curve; a really ideal way to test recipes and to get feedback for it. I get to share my experience through the food that I make while pushing people’s boundaries a little with asian inspired flavour bombs ;)

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Sautéed Chili Jam Kale with Crispy Fried Egg

tbh, this recipe came about when I wanted to make a colourful stir fry with lots of veg and realized I only had kale in my fridge. happy surprise! I’m glad to now have this one in my back pocket for an easy meal to whip up when I’m feelin’ something simple. hope you enjoy it too.

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Homemade Chili Jam

when I first discovered thai chili jam a couple years back, my mind was blown. I had finally found an all-in-one flavour bomb that could instantly transform any stir fry into magic. the store bought version looks like this, but it contains some added flavour enhancers and colouring (if you’re not into that).

traditional homemade chili jam requires deep frying your own garlic and shallots, but this recipe uses store bought versions of those - cutting your time in half. store in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 6, and use with veg, seafood, meat, rice, noodles - the possibilities are endless!

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Thai Green Apple Salad

do you love thai mango salad but live in a place where mangos don’t grow naturally? ‘cause I do! and green apples are a great substitute. they give a similar crunch and tanginess that green mangos have, plus, they don’t need to travel 11,000 km to get to your plate. pair this with our chicken and squash penang curry and maybe even this coconut chia pudding, and you’ve got a thai feast ready in no time.

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Sundubu-jjigae (Korean Spicy Tofu Stew)

hai everybadee! today we are going to make sundubu-jjigae, a korean spicy tofu stew!

I have to give full credit to maangchi, ‘youtube’s korean julia child’, for teaching me everything I know about korean food. with the addition of just a couple ingredients to your pantry, you can enter the world of maangchi too! for this recipe, you’ll need sesame oil, korean chili powder, some sort of asian cooking wine, and kimchi. all can be found at your local korean or east asian grocery store.

similar to mapo tofu, sundubu jjigae packs a whole lot of flavour in a short amount of time. small quantities of bacon make this dish flavourful, affordable and an easy weeknight option. serve with rice of choice.

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The Real Deal Kung Pao Chicken

it wasn’t too long ago that I had my first real deal kung pao chicken. I always thought of it as an americanized-chinese-mall-food-court thing, often looking way too electric orange for comfort, and always mixed with an assortment of previously frozen vegetables (including the dreadful baby corn) note: fresh baby corn is actually amazing but really difficult to come by in north america

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5-Ingredient Coconut Tom Yum Soup

this soup is as easy as combining 5 ingredients in a pot and waiting for 10 minutes! I highly recommend tracking down tom yum paste as this is the base of your flavour. plus, you’d need even more ingredients to substitute it in order to find the right balance. tom yum paste should be available in the international aisle of your major supermarket or at your local east/southeast asian grocery store. if you’re looking for a quick, and I mean rrreeaallyy quick appetizer with not much effort and all the gain, you’ll win with this one. add a little rice vermicelli to make it more filling, or a lot to make it a full meal. we all deserve an easy fix sometimes!

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Flavour Bomb Edamame

there’s not much to explain for this one. great as a quick snack or party app, this edamame is dressed to impress as it is packed full of flavour! this recipe makes about a cup of dressing, but you’ll only need about 1/3 of the recipe per 500 g pack of edamame. don’t worry when the dressing comes out a bit thin - you’ll just want to flavour the beans, not coat them. bonus for not having super greasy hands after eating these either! 1 pack of edamame makes about 6-8 servings, but I would lean closer to 6 since people tend to eat more than they think they will. serve with a nice, crisp cider or gluten free beer of choice.

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Simple Chinese Sausage and Dried Shrimp Fried Rice (JLo's 糯米飯)

even though I grew up cbc (canadian born chinese), cooking cantonese always seemed so technical and intimidating, until I realized that it can actually be pretty simple.

sure, some dishes can have a lot of components, but simple dishes are really simple. and that’s how my mom likes her food. hot and simple.

once I figured out that all it takes is a hot wok, I mean screaming hot, and a little flick of the wrist (practice makes perfect with uncooked rice in a pan), I knew how to make food that she’d truly enjoy.

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Miso Tahini Pomelo Slaw

one upside of it being the dead of winter is that it’s also citrus season!!! from pomelos to clementines, blood oranges to navel, we’ve got some beautiful, tropical imports that remind us that there’s still colour in the world. this slaw uses one of my favourite citrus fruits - pomelo! it’s a sweeter, milder grapefruit that’s less bitter. combine that with easily available winter veg and a dressing that’s shelf stable for a week, and you’ve got an easy, healthy option for lunch or dinner. for added protein, toss in some cooked chicken.

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Tom Yum Coconut Salmon

I have to pay homage to the thai-viet restaurant I worked at in montreal for this one, restaurant hà. this salmon is so damn flavourful, you’ll be shocked at how incredibly simple it is to make. the main ingredient is store bought tom yum paste (yes, I actually cheat sometimes), which you can usually find in the sauce or canned goods section of an asian market, or in the international aisle of a larger grocery chain. the salmon is even a bit forgiving when overcooked (but it won’t be!) as the decadent and luscious coconut sauce pairs beautifully coated on the fish. it’s a stellar contrast between vibrant and delicate flavours all in one bite!

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Mapo Tofu

growing up in canada, I never understood why my friends were disgusted by tofu. but then I realized that their version of tofu was often flavourless, dry, and firm. the tofu I grew up with was always a massive flavour bomb - this silky, soft vessel used for absorbing velvety, meaty sauce, turning any bowl of plain white rice, into the ultimate comfort food. reid was a tofu convert when he first ate this, and I think you will be too. the chili bean paste (doubanjiang) and the black bean paste can be found at your local chinese supermarket in the sauce aisle.

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Chicken and Squash Penang Curry

your mind will be blown the first time you make fresh curry paste. pounding each ingredient in the mortar and pestle and smelling the wafting perfumes that are released is absolutely intoxicating. even if you don’t have a mortar and pestle, the satisfaction of making fresh curry paste from your food processor, blender, whatever it may be, is well worth the effort. your curry will turn out more fragrant, flavourful, and luscious, plus, you can freeze portions of it for a quick weeknight meal! this does require some ingredient hunting, but most of it can be found at your local asian market. if you’re okay with store bought paste, skip to part 2 of the recipe for instructions. serve with steamed white rice, or try our coconut rice for some extra richness.

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Pressure Cooked Paella

This is one of my go-to recipes. As long as I've got frozen shrimp on hand and some arborio rice in the pantry, I can whip this up in under 25 minutes. And the best part about it is that the rice cooks in 7 MINUTES! Pressure cooking all the way! If you happen to keep fennel in your fridge feel free to replace the celery with it. You can also add more seafood like mussels or calamari. 

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Not Quite 'Pad Ka Prao' - Thai Style Minced Pork Stir Fry with Basil

When you ask a local in Thailand what they cook at home, the answer is often some version of Pad Ka Prao. This minced pork stir fry is made with 'holy basil' or ka prao, a peppery cousin of the commonly found sweet basil in North America, but since holy basil is difficult to find, feel free to substitute either Thai or Italian basil -- just don't let a Thai chef catch you calling it "Pad Ka Prao". We love this dish because it's super easy and packed full of flavour. Serve with steamed rice, a crispy fried egg with a yolk that oozes over and some steamed veg, and you've got dinner in under 30 minutes. We make our version farang spicy but if you can handle your chiles like a true Thai you can toss in a few more. 

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Smoked Salmon and Rösti

Potatoes with breakfast are indisputably awesome, unless they’re terrible. Unfortunately, most recipes take way longer than we’re willing to spend on breakfast and give mediocre results. We're looking for easy, crispy potatoes that can soak up the yolk from a crispy fried egg or a perfect soft boiled egg. Enter Rösti. By shredding the potato, these pancakes can be made in about 20 minutes including skinning, shredding, and forming. They only take 3 ingredients and they come out crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Top them with whatever runny-yolk eggs and extras you want - our favourite combination adds sour cream, smoked salmon, soft boiled eggs and our classic garnishes of cilantro and pickled onions. I just ate these this morning and I'm salivating just thinking about them.

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Buddha Bowl

I first made this for the family I've been personal chefing for the summer. I drew inspiration from multiple recipes online and combined them to achieve the ultimate buddha bowl! If you're body is craving a hearty and healthy meal, this is a great option. If you care for more protein, sautéed shrimp is a nice addition. 
 

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