Archive for January, 2011

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Black and Gold Steelers Hummus

January 30, 2011

Guess who’s going to the Superbowl!!

As you might have suspected after reading my last post, I was thrilled watching the Steelers trounce the Jets last Sunday—and their victory made my black and gold noodles taste all the more delicious. And now the Steelers are one game away from winning their seventh Superbowl title! Incredible. So to celebrate this monumental occasion, I’ve decided to whip up a big batch of Steelers-themed food: four dishes, to be precise, which I will be revealing one by one over the course of this week. They’ll all be continuing in the same black and gold theme, in honor of the Steelers’ colors—which, by the way, are not the easiest to cook with. Constraining myself to this visual theme has thus made me get a little inventive, but everything has turned out delicious nonetheless! I’ll be posting a variety of types of dishes over the next few days, so there should be something for everyone, and I hope some of them will find their way onto your Superbowl smorgasbord!

So without further ado, let’s get to today’s recipe, a fairly simple Steelers appetizer and dip: Black and Gold Steelers Hummus!

The black is from the black beans, which serve as this hummus’s base (as opposed to the traditional chickpeas), and the gold is from a generous smattering of corn kernels, which I mixed in at the end. I followed this excellent recipe in making my black bean hummus, but the great thing about this is that you could really use any black bean hummus recipe you have or can find. Simply follow those instructions, and then after everything is well mixed in your food processor, scoop out the hummus into a bowl and mix in your corn kernels (either fresh or frozen will do) with a spoon. And voilà—that’s all there is to it! It’s an easy and delicious Superbowl snack, and made even more festive when served alongside yellow tortilla chips (or even better, if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, these black and gold tortilla chips!).

So that’s today’s recipe. Come back throughout this week for more Superbowl party ideas. Unless you’re a Green Bay fan, of course; there will be no green and yellow food on this blog.

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Black and Gold Steelers Noodles

January 22, 2011

Who’s ready for some FOOTBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!

For those who don’t know (I’m looking at you, Canadian readers), this Sunday is the AFC Championship game of the National Football League (that’s American football, Canadian readers). It’s between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Jets, and I am pumped—five years of living in Pittsburgh really instilled in me a deep love for their team. Perhaps it was the fact that they won two Superbowls while I was there (in the 2005 and 2008 seasons), or perhaps it was the fact that both victories caused every Pittsburgher to burn the town down (literally, unfortunately) in celebration afterwards. Whatever it was, the Steelers are my team now, and probably will be for the rest of my life (certainly for as long as I’m still living in Canada, at least (though perhaps not, if our brilliant new mayor gets his way)).

Now, I should come clean here: Although I am a fan of football, I am no football fan. I do not tune in to watch the games every week, nor do I keep up with the standings or follow any sports news. Yet still, I really enjoy watching the sport when it’s on, and I do get excited when the post-season rolls around. Now maybe you’ll say that this makes me a poseur, and I wouldn’t deny it. But that’s not going to make me stop in my enthusiasm.

So, in preparation for tomorrow’s game, I thought I’d make a celebratory dish for my team—more specifically, a “black and gold” dish, in honor of their colors. Now, I’ve actually tried doing this once before (when they one their sixth Superbowl in 2009): that was a black and gold salsa, made with black beans and yellow peppers, which wasn’t bad, but not everything I’d hoped it would be either. This time I tried going in a totally different direction with a spin on Korean jajangmyeon, which are basically noodles with a black bean sauce. Well, that’s what I think jajangmyeon is; I’ve never actually made it or tried it before, I’ve only read about it online. At any rate, I wasn’t going to able to stick to close to the letter on this one anyway, given my aims. So here’s what I did:

First, I made some black bean sauce, according to this recent recipe on Closet Cooking. While that was thickening, I caramelized some onion slices and then fried up some ramen noodles on top of that, along with one hot yellow pepper. When everything was looking good, I stirred in the black bean sauce, and when that was all combined, I threw in some frozen corn and (nicely colored) curry tofu. And then I was done!

So overall, this was a fairly simple dish to make, and it came pretty close to what I was looking for visually. Unfortunately, the black bean sauce lost some of its blackness when combined with the noodles, making it look more brown than black, but so it goes; at least the yellow of the corn and the tofu came through nicely, I thought. And most importantly, this actually turned out very tasty! I’m excited to experiment with this sauce and other things using black bean paste in the future. But for now, I just hope it brings the Steelers some good luck tomorrow. Go Steelers!

Until we eat again,

Willie

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Restaurant Review: Bollywood Bistro (Guelph)

January 16, 2011

Hi all!

I’m embarrassed to see that this is my first blog post of the new year, given that January is already halfway over! But this time of year is always a bit hectic, what with all the festive celebrations, the travelling, and the new school term starting up. I’m finally getting back into the swing of things, though, and hopefully that’ll also mean getting back into the swing of more regular blogging!

Today I’m here to bring you a review of an excellent restaurant, one of if not the best Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to: Bollywood Bistro in Guelph, Ontario (about an hour outside of Toronto). I was lucky enough to get invited along with a couple of my friends last weekend, and although I was at first a little skeptical about driving for over an hour just to get some dinner, they assured me it would be worth it. And guess what? It totally was!

Bollywood Bistro is best described as a combination of perfect North Indian cooking and a more modern presentation and atmosphere. It is easiest the hippest Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to, which was a nice change of pace from the many loud, dark, and/or sketchy Indian places I’ve frequented in the past. Their menu is not gigantic, but offers a range of options, including a whole page of vegetarian entrees. They also have one of my favorite Canadian beers, Wellington, on tap! But enough talk—let me show you all the delicious food I had. First up, appetizers! Here we have some vegetable pakoras…

…then a couple of samosas…

…and finally a Dal Tadka soup!

All of these were excellent (well, I didn’t taste the samosas, but they looked pretty excellent). The soup, although it doesn’t look like much in its photo, was especially good, offering an amazing array of spices and flavors in every spoonful. After this lovely beginning, I was ready for the main course, which for me was this amazing Dal Makhni! (Can you tell I was in a soup mood this night? This is what happens when it’s -10 degrees C outside, Canada!)

Bollywood Bistro’s menu describes Dal Makhni as the following: “black lentils and red kidney beans slow cooked with spices to a delectable creamy soup garnished with butter and cream.” Anyway, this soup was wonderful! I was especially excited since this was the first time I was trying dal makhni, and it did not disappoint at all. Like my appetizer soup, this main course packed a lot of flavor, and was also deliciously creamy. And it went great with the generous (and complementary!) sides of naan and papadum as well!

My fellow diners’ entrees also looked quite excellent and seemed to satisfy, but given their non-veg status, I did not try them for myself. So here are some photos, with my best guesses as to what they were:

Salmon (pretty sure here)

Chicken Tikka Masala? (that’s what my memory is telling me)

Lamb something?! (no clue here at all)

After our mains, we could not pass up dessert. I went with my longtime favorite, Gulab Jamun (kind of like honey-soaked Indian Timbits/Doughnut holes…

…and was very happy I did. This was great! Everyone else at the table got Ras Malai (sweet paneer in cream):

And this was incredible too! I would definitely want to try this again if I went back.

UPDATE (August 2011): For anyone who’s curious, rest assured that Bollywood Bistro is also vegan friendly! Though your number of options is somewhat limited, a few of the vegetarian entrees are also vegan, and most importantly, the staff are able to advise you on what is and is not. The Bhindi Masala I had on my second visit was excellent, especially if you’re an okra fan like me. So vegans, don’t fear—Bollywood Bistro is for you, too!

So all in all, I was super pleased with Bollywood Bistro. Its only downside is that it’s in Guelph and not Toronto, but I guess that’s completely subjective and unfair of me to say. But even given its distance, it’s still definitely worth the drive. So try it out for yourself, if you happen to be one of our few readers who: (a) lives in Ontario, (b) has a car, and (c) isn’t strictly vegan and doesn’t mind having some cream and ghee sometimes.

Until we eat again,

Willie

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