Friday, March 7, 2014
Recently my sister Jamie shared a link to this Creamy Vegan Navy Bean & Tomato Vegetable Soup recipe because she really loved it. Jamie has awesome taste and I trust her opinion. I decided to once again try a vegan dish to see if I could walk that walk, even a little.
I hate using canned legumes so I got out my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and cooked the navy beans ahead of time.
The recipe called for 1 large leek which was supposed to give me 3-4 cups…??? What?! So I added 2 chopped leeks but started to get a little nervous.
After cooking the leeks, carrots and garlic, I added the diced tomatoes and tomato paste.
Instead of adding just water or vegetable broth (I was really starting to get nervous) I used chicken broth to add more flavour.
The recipe called for 1 tbsp of dried dill. One TABLESPOON?! That is a hell of a lot of dried dill. I added just under 1 tbsp and kept my fingers crossed.
I let it cook down for 15 minutes until the veggies were soft.
I added the kale and beans. Then I saw I was supposed to add 3 tbsp of honey. OMG, that is a lot of sweetener!
I started to feel a little more comfortable when my immersion blender actually did a good job of breaking down the soup and making it creamy.
Foodie Results & Problem Solving Techniques
Many times I find vegan dishes pretty flavourless but not this one. So dilly and sweet! Yet, the bones for a good soup were there. This recipe made a lot of food and was not a super cheap dish for me to make so I went about problem solving to try and tweak it.
First, I added some cayenne to cut the sweetness. I had some the next day and nope, it was not enough of a change. I added sour cream. Nope, still good enough. I tried adding goat cheese. Nope. Then it hit me. To cut the dill, which was just too strong for me, I would add fresh lemon juice. Yes! Success!
I told Reg that I finally fixed the soup and was going to share it with him. Then, I fell down the stairs! I got the soup all over me and smashed my back on the stairs. I have been couch-bound ever since.
OK Universe, I am listening.
I know that veganism is all popular right now but it just is not my way. It is way too much work to make something taste good for me and Reg. I know who I am. I left my vegetarian roots a long time ago now. I am glad vegan dishes make other people happy but I know now to no longer tempt foodie fate. I am not vegan and that is OK.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Last night we were introduced to three new Recipe to Riches contestants who brought their entrées to the judges' table.
The Contestants and Their Food
Winslow is an army reservist from Mississauga, Ontario, and brought his Jammin' Jamaican Lobster Bisque to the competition.
Marjan brought her Iranian heritage to her dish. She lives in Guelph, Ontario, and introduced us to her Persian-inspired turkey kabobs.
My First Impression
I can understand the turkey dinner being considered an entrée but soup and kabobs? Not so much. Also, President's Choice already has Easy-Carve Turkey Breast Roast with Cranberry Stuffing and Gravy which is just like Melissa's. The only thing missing is the bacon!
I really wanted to get into this episode but for some reason I just knew who should win right away and it was more of a waiting game than a contest. Only one product stood out to me as being a total winner.
I am still not sure how I feel about the introduction of the Kitchen Commander replacing the chef mentors. There were many issues once again this week: from uniformity to assembly issues to price points. All valid but at the same time, it felt a bit contrived since all the contestants so far all have had to change something in order to comply with mass production standards. I miss the chefs being involved as helpers in the kitchen. This year the contestants are really left on their own to sink or swim.
There were lots of challenges for the competitors and they all did very well. I am so glad they are not focusing on competing with each other, just letting their dishes shine. When it comes to marketing for this show? I am learning it is best to follow your initial instincts and vision than listen to the PR companies.
I can not wait to try the winning product! Review to come soon.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I will be live tweeting again tonight as I watch Recipe to Riches!
Jesse, you mentioned you are an actor. How did that dream come to you? Is there anything we might have seen you in?
Throughout my childhood, I grew up playing all types of sports; from soccer to hockey, basketball to baseball, and everything in between. I was never really good at any sports, and was only doing them because I thought that is what young boys were supposed to be doing. Then in middle school, I got my first dose of acting in drama class and I fell hard for it. From there on out, I slowly weaned out sports and followed my passions, like baking, - and let me tell you, once you start following your passions you become a million times happier for it. Who knew that as a result of my pursuit I would see my face on the PC(®) Mini Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Cups at Loblaw stores across the country?
As a stage actor who just recently graduated from Simon Fraser University, I haven't had a chance to do much work yet - especially with the hustle and bustle of Recipe to Riches. Hopefully something soon though!
One of my favourite moments of the Desserts episode of Recipe to Riches was when you saw Arlene Dickinson and recognized her from the Dragons' Den. What were you thinking at that moment?
Oh man! Well what you did not see in the episode was my reaction to Gail Simmons at first. They kept us in the dark about the judges because they wanted our "honest" opinions when we saw them. When I walked out and saw Gail, I was thinking GAIL SIMMONS - IS THAT "THE" GAIL SIMMONS? As a big fan, I was especially excited to see her there. Then when I put down my bite in front of Arlene, and looked up, I didn't recognize her at first - 1) because I was so focused on Gail and 2) because I was so used to seeing her with bright red hair. When it finally sank in, I was super nervous because I know how tough she is.
You mentioned your winning PC(®) Mini Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Cups were inspired by your sister and her health issues, which is wonderful in and of itself. I am curious, do you have a sweet tooth too?
I do have a sweet tooth, which is a good thing because it encourages me to bake, not only to put smiles on people's faces, but also to satisfy my sweet cravings. My sweet tooth is also beneficial in coming up with new flavour combinations as I've sampled a lot of sweets in my travels. This helps me get a better sense of what flavours work together, and which ones don't.
Have you always been a foodie or is this a new pursuit?
I have always been a foodie - which one would not guess by looking at my stature! One of my favourite things to do is to travel, and one of my favourite things to do while travelling is to try new food. If I could just drop everything and eat my way around the world, I would. I also like to check out my local Real Canadian Superstore to see what kind of new treats the team at President's Choice(®) is coming up with - it's a great way to be able to try the latest flavour combinations at home.
Tough question here... What do you like more: food or acting? (Devilish grin...)
Hahaha, you are really going to make me choose? They both have their own merits and both have their way of making people smile. If I had to choose one to do for a career I would have to combine them both - perhaps a baking show in which I can entertain and bake at the same time. Sorry for taking the easy way out, but both rank too high on my list of pleasures to choose!!
I can not imagine what it must have been like to discover that typo in your sign. Did you get a chance to proofread it? Did you think it would cost you the competition?
I unfortunately did not get the chance to proofread it. I showed up at the event, and everything was there for me. Because Erica and I did so well on the batch up challenge I knew that it was going to come down to the marketing challenge, which put a huge amount of stress on me. I was trying not to let it show, but I knew the event needed to go off without a hitch - and it almost did. I was running around getting everything ready, and before I knew it the event was already underway. Then Arlene came by, and she seemed to love everything. From the crowd I was pulling in with the Dancers, to my name change on the bites. Then she saw the typo, and my heart sank. It even took me 3 re-reads of the sign to realize that it was there. In the car back to the studio, I convinced myself I had lost because of this one mistake - this is where you get that intense bit of emotion for me. I wasn't just doing this for myself, but I was also doing this for my sister, and I was convinced that my lack of perception was going to cost me/us the show - that's why I looked so in shock when I won the competition.
What's also great is that I still have an opportunity to win the grand prize - which is very exciting for me. In order to win I need your votes - so please try my PC(®) Mini Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Cups which are available at Real Atlantic Superstore (®) and Loblaws(®) locations and I encourage your readers to vote for me come the final week of shows to win $250,000! Their votes would be extremely appreciated. (You can vote online at www.cbc.ca/recipetoricheswww.cbc.ca/recipetoriches starting on March 26.) Thank you so much Suzie for having me on your blog!!!
You are welcome Jesse! Good luck!
If you are curious about Jesse's winning recipe you can find it here. You can also click here for Erica's Maple Butter Tarts recipe and here for Brad's Co Co Nut Nut Bars.