A Proper Caesar Salad.

Last night’s dinner was AMAZING. I’m so excited about how well it turned out I don’t even know where to begin. So I’ll begin with a photo…

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We decided it would be a Caesar salad kind of night. When I got to the grocery store, I decided it was also going to be a shrimp and lobster kind of night too! Lobster tails were on sale…I can’t say no to lobster.

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Have you ever wondered about the origin of Caesar salad? (I do wonder about these things.) No, Julius Caesar did not invent this salad in ancient times. The salad is named after Caesar Cardini, an Italian immigrant and chef in the United States and Mexico. The earliest documentation of these salads was in the 1940’s. Chef Cardini never used anchovies in his original dressing, the anchovy flavour came from the Worcestershire sauce. I love a good Caesar salad with anchovies. If you’re going to make a Super Caesar, it has got to have the little fishies.

I’ve always wanted to make Caesar salad dressing from scratch, but never really got around to it. I wanted to find the best recipe to use. Tonight, I found it! I’ve heard such good things about the Caesar salads at Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse (Toronto, Ontario, Canada.). They do tableside Caesars right at your table, dressing and all! If you’ve ever been there, you must know what I’m talking about. I was determined to find Jacobs’ recipe. During my search, I came across this fantastic video on YouTube. (Watch it.)

There were no exact measurements in the video for the ingredients so I used my own judgement, and the salad turned out exactly how I wanted it! It’s a garlic-y vinaigrette Caesar dressing. My favourite kind. You must try this for yourself, it’s terrific! Here’s my take on the Jacobs & Co. recipe:

How To Make A Caesar Vinaigrette & A Great Caesar Salad (Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse Recipe)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
(You can totally adjust the amounts of these ingredients to your own liking/taste. Adding more olive oil will make it a bit creamier.)

  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • minced garlic (1 or 2 cloves, depending on how much you like garlic. I used 2 cloves.)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 or 2 splashes Tabasco hot sauce (out of the bottle)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used fresh lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (some extra to sprinkle on top if you like)
  • bacon bits (I made my own using 2 slices of smoked side bacon)
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce (Judge by your amount of dressing how much lettuce you want to use.)

If you’re going to make your own bacon bits, start by frying the bacon in a pan until it’s nice and crispy. Then chop it up. (It may even just sort of crumble if it’s crispy enough.)

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Wash, dry and cut your lettuce. Have it ready to mix into the dressing later on.

Use a large salad bowl. Start by grinding your pepper into this bowl. Next, add your sea salt, anchovies and garlic.

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Using a fork or spoon smash it all together. Your goal to mash the anchovies into a paste.

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Add in the 2 egg yolks, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Mix, mix, mix.

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Add the olive oil SLOWLY, bit by bit, while mixing. You want to emulsify all the flavours. The faster and longer you mix, the creamier the dressing will get. (If you’d like your dressing to be creamier, add more olive oil.) Mix in the 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, bacon bits, and croutons into the dressing.

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You did it! Now mix in the romaine lettuce and you’re done! Add more or less lettuce depending on how much dressing you have. Don’t overdress the leaves, but make sure they’re well coated. This is going to be the best Caesar salad you’ve ever had. You can add a little more parmesan on top of your salads once you’ve plated them.

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The lobster & shrimp linguine recipe shall follow! xx

Simple Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Oven-roasted veggies are always a super easy addition to any meal. I roasted some asparagus tonight. Asparagus is full of nutrients, anti-oxidants and fiber. A quick and healthy recipe!

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Now wash and trim your asparagus. I always snap the end off with my hands. This gets rid of the tough parts.

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Lay the asparagus on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (or foil). Drizzle olive oil over top, add some minced/pressed garlic (however much you like, I love tons of garlic) and season with salt and pepper.

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Bake the asparagus for about 10-15 minutes (until just tender). Baking time varies depending on how think your asparagus is.

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Ready to eat! Wasn’t that easy? You can do this with tons of different veggies! Sometimes I sprinkle a little lemon juice over top after baking.

Happy and healthy eating! xx

 

Key Lime Pie In The Sky!

I made a spur of the moment decision that tonight was a good night to bake my first pie. And for some reason, right after I thought pie…I thought key lime. I didn’t even realize until just now how fitting it is to make a lime pie over the St. Patty’s Day weekend (limes…green…get it?). So I looked up the simplest recipes I could find, picked one that seemed foolproof, and picked up a few things from the store on the way home. I stuck to a simple recipe just to be safe. I always start simple when I’m trying something for the first time. Everything was going smoothly until I discovered that the recipe I was trying to follow, that was supposed to be for one pie, actually made enough filling for two. So I had to save half the filling and make a second crust. (Who wants a free key lime pie?!) Despite the fact that I try to be Chef Vanessa: Master Chef of the Universe in the kitchen, things don’t always go as planned. Most of the time they do not. But that’s what keeps things exciting, right?

A fresh chilled key lime pie is so refreshing. I love it’s tart, sweet, creaminess. Here’s how I made mine. Hope you find this recipe useful. It was really easy. You can do it! 

Key Lime Pie (makes one pie)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I smashed them in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter (1/2 a stick of the small butter sticks)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk (that’s about 420 mL…I couldn’t find a 14 oz can at the store)
  • 1/2 cup of key lime or regular lime juice
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (about half of those small half-size sour cream tubs…about 125 mL)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (icing sugar)

Let’s Bake!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

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This part’s fun! In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with you hands! Just keep squishing til the butter’s all mixed in. You’ll have a crumbly playdough kind of texture.

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Take this crust mixture and press it firmly into a 10-inch pie pan. Really pack it down. And then bake until the crust is brown, about 20 minutes.

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Crust done! Remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Now in a separate bowl, you will make the filling. Combine condensed milk, lime juice, egg, and lime zest. Whisk until well blended.

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Place the filling into the cooled pie shell and bake in the oven for 15 minutes (at 325 degrees).

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The pie won’t look any different then it did when you put it into the oven. The filling is baked and solidified now. Chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. I chilled mine overnight because it was so late.

Once your pie is chilled, mix the sour cream and icing sugar and spread the mixture over the top of the pie with a spatula. I added a little lime zest on top to make it pretty. Serve chilled!

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Mission complete! So proud of my first pie! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And happy baking! xx

(Maybe I’ll add to this post when I’ve eaten the pie later tonight.) 🙂

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.
—Irish prayer

 

The Start Of Something Delicious!

This is my first post in my first blog ever! And I’m so excited!

For those who don’t know me, I’m the most perfect example of a food fanatic. I’m the girl that takes a picture of everything I eat, before I eat it, just in case I want to relive the memory later (this has led to an accumulation of a frightening amount of food pictures that I can’t bring myself to delete). I’m an artist at heart. I can never pass up the opportunity to capture a glorious moment of culinary beauty! My friends have been trained to sit and stare at their delicious meals so that I can get my perfect shot before they dig in, no matter how starving they may be. (Haha, best friends ever!) I’m the annoying girl on Facebook that’ll flood your newsfeed with photo after photo of everything I’ve ever eaten. It took me months and months (over a year), of my friends and family telling me over and over again to “Start a food blog!”, to finally realize how passionate I am about food, cooking, photography, and everything in between.

This Hungry Kitten is a blog dedicated to my love for food. It’s a place where I will share my favourite recipes, my favourite restaurants, and my favourite food photos. The internet has been an amazing resource to me for recipe hunting, reading restaurant reviews, and learning great lessons in cooking. Apart from the valuable cooking basics I picked up from mama and papa, I’ve pretty much learned everything else I know about cooking and food through cookbooks and websites. I’m so thrilled that now I’ll be able to share what I’ve learned with the rest of the world!

Growing up in Toronto with a Chinese mom and Scottish dad opened the doors to worlds of different foods for me. My mother usually opts for the Asian cuisine (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai food…she loves it all). My dad is a food adventurer and loves discovering new flavours. I grew up eating anything and everything from chicken feet at dim sum, sharing rotis with my dad, smoked meat sammies in Montreal, mix and match souvlaki skewers with my sis, to veggies and seafood of all kinds, in all forms. I eat what I love, and I love it all!

When I’m not at work in the lab (I’m a microbiologist), shopping, at the gym, in dance class, relaxing in the bath, taking naps, or doing whatever else I do, I am usually fooding. I may have made this word up, but for me, it involves cooking, dining, looking up recipes, ingredient searching, reading reviews, and finding new restaurants in Toronto where I can get my eat on. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely love to indulge, but healthy eating is also a top priority for me and I try new healthy options in my cooking all the time. I spent half my life training professionally to become a ballet dancer, I understand the importance of a healthy diet. I’ll be posting lots of yummy healthy recipes in the weeks to come! I often try vegan, gluten-free, low-carb or sugar-free/low-sugar recipe options. I don’t have very many dietary restrictions, but I take special measures when cooking for friends :). If it tastes amazing and I’ve made it healthier, then that’s a super plus!

Enough about me! I could babble on for days! Hopefully this first post has given you an overview of who I am, the focus of this blog, and why I’m blogging. Hope it’s a hit and that you’re as excited as I am! I’ll hopefully have some recipes and reviews up soon!

Happy eating! xx