An Eggcellent Brunch.

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The first time I ever had shashuka was in the fall of 2016 at Jack's Wife Freda in New York City.  Most brunch restaurants that I visit don't don't offer this dish.  If you do recommend shashuka in Toronto, give us suggestions in the comments below!  My love for the dish returned last year when we had brunch in Toronto's La Palma and immediately, we knew we had to blog about how delicious it is.  When you search restaurants to try in NYC, Egg Shop is always at the top of the lists for breakfast and we managed to find a shashuka recipe in their recently published cookbook.  

It's incredible how at first glance, it looks like a simple dish: tomato base and eggs, but the shashuka is full of complexities that make it what is it: z'attar, harissa sauce, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, and who knew - honey!  The spices fused with the tomato sauce, topped with fresh cilantro and dill, then dipped with fresh bread, spread with greek yogurt and harissa sauce then coupled with a yolky egg.  So many things happening at once, but my stomach was a bottomless pit that kept on wanting more.  

These are the type of dishes I appreciate most.  The ones that can be shared, feel homey and appear simple to cook up, but there are so many components to making it what it is.  And of course we modified the Egg Shop's recipe a bit since we couldn't find some ingredients like fresno pepper.  Doing what we can under pressure!

Bon apetit!

- Robyn

I like pancakes berry much!

 

The beginning of August was the start of blueberry season and we couldn't wait to get our hands on some. We headed to Wilmot Farms and started picking away.  I've never picked blueberries before so here is a couple of my takeaways:

  1.  With our crappy rainy summer, the blueberries were huge due to water absorption.
  2.  Blueberries are sweeter in mid-August.  Early August harvesting results in a sweet-basil flavour.
  3.  Picking berries is hard work. I pretty much gave up by the end of our 2 hour harvest.  I swear I wasn't complaining like a 3 year old. 
  4. Blueberries are gentle - they fall off from the bush easily.  

After padding ourselves on the back for two buckets full of blueberries, we treated ourselves to their famed locally grown, organic blueberry ice cream was delicious.  Or, we were so exhausted that we needed any pick-me-up. 

What did we do with our two pails of blueberries?  Ate them as in, made a smoothie, or added them to a chia pudding.  The best one was making blueberry pancakes for brunch and enjoying the beautiful weather in the backyard. 

We followed  J. Kenji Lopez Alt''s The Food Lab's recipe on extra fluffy pancakes. The key difference between previous recipes and this one was beating the egg white separately until stiff peaks before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients.  The reason for doing that is to make the pancakes extra fluffy.  

The blueberries had the right amount of tartness, along with some decadent maple syrup on top of pancakes - we call that a successful Sunday brunch.  And of course, topped with the best of friends, what else can we ask for?

- Ken

 

How do you do avocado toast?

The first time I ate at Sqirl was probably over a year ago and it was love at first bite.  I ended up buying the Sqirl cookbook and showing it off to Ken a few months later, declaring that we have to feature some recipes on our blog some day.  Fast-forward to February 2017, when we visited LA, and of course, I took him to Sqirl and near the end of our meal, he confessed that his first impression of the book was just a meh, regular brunch cookbook and the meal completely changed his mind.  It was his favourite restaurant of the whole trip. So one, I’m proud of myself and two, thank you Ken for being open-minded and agreeing to come along.  But, remember to never judge a book by its cover.

Avocado Toast is the dish Sqirl is known for. Besides tasting delicious, its ability to incorporate ingredients I hate, and make me want more of it is the plus. That’s raw carrots, garlic and scallions by the way.  

This recipe gave us our chance to tackle pickling and after this, pickling is in our future.  The most annoying and tedious task was the prep work involved.  The carrots had to be cut thinly, and lengthwise, which led two of our vegetable peelers to RIP.  But hey, it was all worth it (well, Ken did most of the work).

Disclaimer: your breath will stink so take a spearmint after and do not try this if you want to own a house in the future.

We blogged a bit about Sqirl in our LA post here.  Check it out!

- Robyn