Hipster brunch: Skillet, Columbus

23 Apr

Skillet is a hipster spot  in Columbus’ German Village  that serves “rustic. urban. food.” Yes, with the punctuation. The place is a square room with small black booths, metal chairs like a classy diner, and wooden tables branded with the restaurant’s name. The menu changes daily but you’re sure to find something mouthwatering. We went on a Saturday for brunch, and found comfort foods like poutine, pain perdu, and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Skillet - Huevos rancherosHuevos Rancheros – a fried egg, black beans, cheese, and pulled pork  on two corn tortillas

Veggie pan roastThe Veggie Pan Roast – A  veritable garden of vegetables, including slices of patty pan squash, chanterelle and lobster mushrooms, tomato “gravy,” and topped with a poached egg.

apple galetteHoneycrisp apple galette with hard cider syrup and whipped snowville cream. This was my only disappointment -  it was more like a danish than a galette, and it wasn’t warm. I definitely expected more bang for my buck here.

 

IMAG1504The Final Word: Creative food with fresh ingredients in a simply decorated restaurant.  If you’re a visitor to the Columbus area, the German Village is a great neighborhood to visit, and Skillet should be your go-to brunch spot.

Info: Skillet, 410 East Whittier Street, Columbus, OH, 43206 USA
Skillet, Rustic. Urban. Food. on Urbanspoon

Chocolate-banana cupcakes (vegan!)

19 Apr

IMAG2456These are some decadent chocolate-banana cupcakes with chocolate-avocado frosting. They may be vegan, but they are delicious!

Chocolate-Banana Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners or parchment paper. If you’re making mini cupcakes, spray the tins with cooking spray, otherwise much of the cake will be stuck to the paper liners.

1) In one bowl: mash 1 very ripe banana.

2) Whisk in:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

3) In a separate bowl, sift together:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon

4) Make a well in the flour mixture. Pour in the banana mixture. Stir together until just combined. Do not overmix.

IMAG2434

5) Fill cupcake tins (only fill until they are 2/3 full)

6) Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If baking mini cupcakes, bake 9-10 minutes). Makes 12 regular cupcakes.

IMAG2438

 

Chocolate-Avocado Frosting

IMAG2442Cream together:

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and skinned
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Yes, at first this mixture looks like guacamole gone wrong. But keep on mixing, and you’ll soon get a creamy chocolate frosting.

I don’t like a lot of frosting on my cupcakes, so I usually only make half this recipe. It’s enough to cover the cupcakes, but if you want a tower of frosting, make the full recipe.

 

 

IMAG2445Nutrition
Per cupcake (with half the frosting)
Calories: 221
Total Fat: 12.0 g
Saturated Fat:  4.3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fiber:  2.6 g
Sugars:  17.0 g

By comparison, Starbucks’ “chocolate bloom” cupcake has 420 calories, 27 g fat (15 g saturated), and 32 g sugar. Yikes!

 

Perfect Pork Tenderloin Rubs and Marinades

12 Apr

IMAG0245

Here are four easy ways to marinate and bake pork tenderloin, guaranteeing a delicious meal! Marinate overnight, or even a couple days. I like to prep four tenderloins at once. Then, when I get home from work, I pop them in the oven, and there’s enough for dinner for both me and my boyfriend, and lunch for the rest of the week.

1) Cumin – Coriander Rub

For each tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pound of meat), use 1 tsp each:

  • cumin
  • coriander
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • thyme

Pair this simple tenderloin goes well with basmati rice, couscous, you name it!

IMG_00222) Chinese Five Spice Marinade

For each tenderloin, use:

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, sliced or mashed
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

Serve this tenderloin with Jasmine rice or sliced over noodles in soup.

IMG_01433) Moroccan Rub

For each tenderloin, use:

  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • salt, pepper to taste

The rub imparts a slightly crunchy texture to the outside of the pork. Shown here served with a sweet potato and bell peppers, but I also think this tenderloin goes well with couscous studded with raisins and diced carrots.

 4) Apple Cider Vinegar Marinade

For 4 tenderloins (about 5 pounds meat) I used:

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary

The apple cider ensures that the pork will come out extra moist!

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Place tenderloins on a flat rack on a roasting pan.
  3. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until internal temperature of the meat reaches 5-10 degrees below the final desired temperature.
  5. Remove from oven. Let tenderloins rest under a tented piece of aluminum foil. (Pork will continue to cook slightly).
  6. Slice and serve!

 

IMAG0250

Trendy Thai: Khao San Road, Toronto

8 Apr

A few months ago, we arrived at Khao San Road early on a frigid Thursday night. It was only 5:40 PM, and -20°C. Still, there was a 25 minute wait for the two of us. Wow, this place was popular!

We were seated at the bar. The menu offered the typical Thai choices. This was, after all, a place that prides itself on elevated Thai street food.

Khao San Road - Pad Thai Three Flavours Pad Thai with chicken

 

Green CurryThe green curry with thinly sliced beef could have benefited from more veggies, but it otherwise tasted good. The flavour of the bamboo shoots really came through.

 

IMAG1956I had the Khao Soi, a signature dish with egg noodles and crispy noodles in golden curry. It had many large chunks of tender beef I could pull apart with a fork.  The dish however, felt a bit incomplete without any vegetables.

This is definitely a place for 20 and 30-somethings, with long and high communal tables and plenty of bar seating. Khao San Road serves fancy street food that you can wash down with Thai iced tea, beer, or a selection from a wine list that is unexpectedly long for an Asian restaurant. The food is well-executed and nicely presented – nothing will catch you off guard, you’ll find the ingredients and combinations that you would expect.

Food: 4/5 | Atmosphere: 4/5 | Value: 3.5/5

Info: Khao San Road, 326 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 1R3

Khao San Road on Urbanspoon

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