Ra ra ras-poutine!

I love Quebec and I am in love with Montreal: the coffee, the croissants, the parks, the cyclists, the quirky cafes, the fun ice cream shops, the picturesque winter, the absolutely unbeatable autumn … but poutine? That’s another story!

Photo from foodology.ca

It all started when we had a little too much  beer to drink, local red beer, the kind you can drink a pitcher of without developing a bitter tongue. It was a young Thursday night and since we hadn’t had poutine yet, it was the perfect opportunity to try the famous greasy national dish of Quebec.

We left the pub and headed to Rue Rachel (yes, you guessed it) where the legendary La Banquise sits. By sheer luck, there wasn’t a long queue outside and there were empty tables on the terrace. The weather was very pleasant and hunger was peaking. Without consulting the menu, I ordered the bacon poutine (recommended on Urban Spoon) and an oval dish heaped with fries, cheese curds, Canadian bacon and gravy showed up on my lap (OK, table!) less than ten minutes after. Don’t get me wrong, it is the right food for a growling stomach after a pitcher of beer, but the amount of oil that enters your system is simply indigestible! The fries are laden with oil and the gravy just makes it more mushy. There’s nothing wrong with the taste; the cheese curds are actually yummy. I just had a problem with the floating fat in my stomach when it was time to sleep!

Bottom line: I can understand why you like poutine, but no thanks.

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The Perfect Bagel Sandwich

I don’t know about you guys but I can’t start my day and enjoy my morning without a happy and satisfied stomach! Whether it is a working day or a weekend, it is absolutely mandatory for my well-being to kick off my day with a happy sandwich (or a cheesy omelet). So, today I decided to share with you the perfect bagel sandwich that I usually treat myself to on the weekends (only because I wake up late enough to eat meat!).

For this happy sandwich I used light cream cheese with garlic and herbs (feel free to use the regular one), smoked French ham, slices of roma tomatoes and a few fresh basil leaves on a 12-grain bagel. Use these four ingredients and you can’t go wrong!

Have a happy weekend tout le monde!

“WICKED”

As my best friend (and wicked gifter) claims, it is much nicer being gifted an experience than an object. And I agree with her 100%, especially after my recent theater experience at La Place des Arts.

(Photo from the official website of the musical)

I was gifted a pair of tickets to watch the currently touring musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, and since my last theater watching was in 2002 in London, I was really excited to go through the experience again. So, last Friday night, R. and I went to La Place des Arts where were lead to our seats on the balcony overlooking a huge audience and an intricately designed stage. I will not go into the details of the plot (you can read the synopsis here), but I can definitely and confidently say (and R. wholeheartedly agrees) that it is a must-see, a funny and witty play that engages you for the whole 2 and a half hours. I mention the stage design because I couldn’t take my eyes off of all the colors, lights and different backgrounds; it was captivating to have all that stimuli for my senses.

Here is a photo that I took with my phone before the start of the show (photos were forbidden during the show) so you can how overwhelming the view was from the mezzanine balcony.

Vegetables and Chicken Stir Fry Noodles

I like Chinese food and I occasionally cook it, but I think this is the first time I post an Asian recipe. I prepared this for lunch on a weekend and it was a fulfilling meal. Here is the recipe.

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Vegetables and Chicken Stir Fry Noodles (serves 2)

Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

– 200g noodles of your choice, cooked according to packet

– 2 small carrots, sliced
– 2 cups of broccoli florets
– 2 green onions
– 2 tsp of diced fresh ginger
– 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms
– 1/2 a green bell pepper, sliced into julienne

– 3 Tbsp of sesame oil
– 1 tsp of olive oil
– 1/2 cup of Kikkoman stir-fry sauce

– 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat and cut into long slices

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Method:

1. In a large skillet (or a wok if you have one), heat 2 Tbsp of sesame oil and the tsp of olive oil and then add all the vegetables and give them a good stir.

2. In the meantime, in another skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of sesame oil and cook the chicken until it turns white inside and outside.

3. When the vegetables have softened a little, add the stir-fry sauce. Bring to boil then cover and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes (or until the chicken is cooked).

4. When the chicken is ready, add them to the vegetables and give it all a good stir so that the sauce coats everything evenly. Let everything cook for 5 minutes.

5. Finally, add the noodles to the skillet and mix everything well. The noodles will be a little sticky because we haven’t used much oil in this recipe, so you might need to add more stir-fry sauce. Mix the noodles, vegetables and chicken well and serve hot straight from the skillet.

Spinach and Avocado Salad with a Zesty Yogurt Cumin Dressing

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Today’s recipe is rather simple, but something that I desperately needed after a hot and humid weekend in Montreal. The main ingredient is the fresh spinach leaves which are abundantly found in supermarkets here, and then I added slices of organic red tomatoes and half a medium ripe avocado. The secret in this salad is the dressing, my very own concoction (that I am secretly very proud of!). For the dressing you need:

– Juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 2 tsp yellow mustard
– 2 Tbsp of plain Greek yogurt
– 1/2 tsp of red wine vinegar (optional)
– 3 Tbsp of olive oil
– 1/2 tsp of cumin
– 1/4 tsp of salt.

Whisk the ingredients well before drizzling on top of your fresh ingredients.