Month: March 2013

$55 for a three-course Italian meal for two (up to a $130 total value)

$55 for a three-course Italian meal for two (up to a $130 total value)

tappo

Dining in a historic eatery grants guests a chance to visit the past, an experience that is usually disappointing once they realize it’s just Dilbert‘s past. Revel in storied surrounds with today’s Groupon.

Choose Between Two Options

$55 for a three-course Italian meal for two (up to a $130 total value)

  • One à la carte antipasti, such as fried-mushroom-and-truffle-risotto balls (up to an $18 value)
  • One à la carte primi piatti, such as penne alla vodka (up to a $32 value)
  • Two à la carte secondi piatti, such as apricot-glazed cornish hen (up to a $40 value each)

$99 for a three-course Italian meal for four, which doubles everything listed in the previous option (up to a $260 total value)

Tappo Wine Bar and Restaurant

Evidence of toronto.com’s enthusiasm about Tappo Wine Bar and Restaurant’s “thoughtfully presented” dishes and decor that marry “the past with the present” can be witnessed immediately upon entering the history-laden space, a converted whiskey distillery built in the 1830s. As affable servers bustle about the rustic stone walls of the dining room, chef Tyson Lambert and his crew of culinary gurus dash about the kitchen, architecting dishes that, like an opera about baba gannouj, fuse Italian classics with Mediterranean influences. Chefs’ fingers deftly construct meals featuring ingredients such as fresh herbs, seasonal vegetables, and truffle jus. Bathed in the romantic glow of candles, chandeliers, and wall sconces, Tappo staffers replenish dwindling wine glasses with red and white libations selected from the 13-page wine list featuring oenological quaffs flown in from around the globe.

Pan seared halibut with corn & capers on sweet potato mash

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In lieu of Easter weekend, I made a trip to the St. Lawrence Market and stocked up on some fresh produce and halibut for a lovely dinner at home.  Halibut is one of my favourite fish dishes because of it’s mild flavour and flakey texture.  I put aside my cook books and decided to come up with my own creation for this home cooked meal.  I bought some asparagus and broccolini to steam as a side dish for the halibut, as well as sweet potatoes and garlic for a mash.

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To begin, boil a pot of water and add the one large sweet potato peeled, one red potato peeled and a few cloves of garlic.  Place two cobs of corn in a separate pot of boiling water and prep the asparagus and broccolini in a bamboo steamer and set aside.

Note:  There is nothing worse than a perfectly cooked meal and overcooked vegetables.  Asparagus and broccolini only need about 4 minutes at high steam.

Once the corn is bright in colour, take out of the boiling water and run under cold water.  Leave the water boiling so you can save some time at the end when you need to steam the greens.  Puncture the corn with a fork in the top and cut the corn off the cob, placing it in a separate pan with a bit of olive oil.  Add a few tablespoons of capers and salt and pepper to the pan and begin to heat, tossing frequently. Meantime, heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and add the zest of half a lemon.  Add halibut to heated oil and zest and leave for 4 minutes.  Place the halibut on a baking pan and leave the uncooked side up, zest the other half of the lemon and sprinkle on the top of the halibut.  Bake for about 10 minutes. (Or until the fish is cooked through and flaking)

Strain the cooked potatoes and garlic once they are soft and can be punctured with a fork.  Add a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cream and mix until they are smooth in texture with no lumps.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

The corn and capers should be sautéing nicely by now, make sure they are nice and hot and slightly browned.

For plating:

Start with a dollop of sweet potato mash, and use a pair of tongs to grab the halibut and place it along the potatoes.  Scoop some of the corn and capers and pile them on top of the halibut. Toss the steamed greens in a bit of olive oil and sea salt and lay them against the fish and corn.  Garnish with a slice of the left over lemon that you used for the zest and top with fresh cracked pepper.

Enjoy!

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A lucky streak for garbage finds

Diptic-7

This corner wicker patio chair was found last night in the garbage room of our condo.  This chair is in perfect condition, very well made and happens to be extremely comfortable,  fitting perfectly in the corner of our outdoor space.  We’ve always loved this outdoor wicker furniture but it tends to be expensive because of the high quality weather proofing and modern style.  This piece is the ultimate garbage find yet and will get a lot of use in the upcoming months.  Check out a similar chair below from Home Depot with a shocking $369.00 price tag, before tax.

Home Depot

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Hampton Bay Cibola Patio Sectional Corner Chair with Cushions

Model # FW-HUNCACHF-I2

Internet # 203018733

$369.00 / EA-Each

My latest garbage room find

ImageI found this vintage heavy duty copper bottom sauce pan yesterday in the garbage room of my condo.  After a bit of research online, I found that this particular brand is professional quality and very hard to find.  Pans of this quality and weight can last a life time and are a great investment to anyone’s kitchen.  Online, this exact same pan is selling for $150.00 and up.  How about free?…. Trash is treasure.

Zest up your dishes

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One of the easiest ways to infuse a citrus flavor into a baked good of some kind is to add lemon, lime or orange zest to it.  Zest is not the same thing as the peel, or rind, of a lemon, although it is a part of the peel. The zest is the colorful outer layer of the citrus peel. The soft, white part of the peel just underneath the zest is the pith. The reason that the zest is so desireable is that it contains lots of essential oils that make for a strong, pleasant flavor. The pith has a bitter flavor, with very little citrus taste when eaten on its own.

The pith can actually give your baked good a bitter or slightly unpleasant taste if you incorporate it into a recipe (there are some recipes that call for using a whole fruit, but those usually compensate with extra sugar), so it is important to remove only the zest from the citrus rind when you are using it. The zest can be removed very carefully with a sharp pairing knife, but the easiest and best way to remove the zest is with a microplane. Wash your fruit very, very well before zesting it – or try to buy organic/unwaxed fruit – so that you don’t incorporate any unwanted elements into your zesting. A zested lemon can be wrapped in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out, and stored at room temperature for several days.

Zest can be added to cookiescakes and all kinds of other recipes. Unlike lemon or orange juice, it doesn’t throw off the chemistry of the recipe (either by adding more acidity or more liquid), so you can feel confident adding a teaspoon or a tablespoon of zest to just about any recipe you want to make a little brighter. Adding zest to a recipe that already has citrus juice is a great way to enhance the flavor that is already there, as well.

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