Monday, August 23, 2010

More Neat Foods!


Hello all! I had a lot of fun with this topic last time, so I figure I should try it out again!

Here are a bunch more 'unusual', obscure, or infamous (in the case of haggis) foods from around the world, including right here in Canada!

1 – Kimchee (or Kimchi)

Kimchee is Korean fermented cabbage salad. I kid you not. But millions of Koreans can’t be wrong and kimchee is a main staple of any Korean kitchen. I’ve only had it a few times, but it’s got a very unique flavour. I imagine a lot of Western palates won’t be able to get past the… stinky(?) aftertaste, but if you can manage it, it’s totally delicious. Luckily for me, my tastebuds can pretty much handle anything, except fruity beer and cider.

Any Oriental supermarket worth its salt will carry jars of it premade, and definitely at a Korean grocer (which reminds me that I need to get some from the place up the street from me!). But, if you’re feeling daring, I got this recipe from

Napa Cabbage Kimchi


1 cup plus 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 heads Napa cabbage, cut into quarters or 2-inch wedges, depending on size of cabbage
1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger root
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 Asian radish, peeled and grated
1 bunch of green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 cup Korean chili powder (looks like you’re going to the Korean grocer anyway!) - substitute crushed red chili flakes if you have to
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Sesame oil (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)

1. Dissolve 1 cup salt in 1/2 gallon water. Soak cabbage in the salt water for 3 to 4 hours.

2. Combine garlic, ginger, and fish sauce in food processor or blender until finely minced.

3. In large bowl, combine radish, green onions, mustard greens, garlic mixture, chili powder, 1 tablespoon salt and optional sugar. Toss gently but thoroughly. (If mixing with your hands, be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid chili burn.)

4. Remove cabbage from water and rinse thoroughly. Drain cabbage in colander, squeezing as much water from the leaves as possible. Take cabbage and stuff radish mixture between leaves, working from outside in, starting with largest leaf to smallest. Do not overstuff, but make sure radish mixture adequately fills leaves. When entire cabbage is stuffed, take one of the larger leaves and wrap tightly around the rest of the cabbage. Divide cabbage among 4 (1-quart) jars or 1-gallon jar, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles.

5. Let sit for 2 to 3 days in a cool place before serving. Remove kimchi from jar and slice into 1-inch-length pieces. If serving before kimchi is fermented, sprinkle with a little bit of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Refrigerate after opening.

Note: Kimchi will be good enough to eat straight for up to about 3 weeks. After about 4 weeks, once the kimchi gets too fermented to eat by itself, use it to make hot pots, flatcakes, dumplings, or just plain fried rice.

2 – Cretons

Wow, it just occurred to me as I think of neat and unique bites from around the world, I was forgetting my own Quebecer heritage. My grandmaman was one of the best cooks I’ve ever seen and she would make her own chicken liver paté as well as cretons. So, what is cretons? Well, it’s basically a working man’s paté. Where paté uses duck, goose or chicken liver and cognac and other high end ingredients, cretons uses plain old ground pork and some basic spices. If you ever wondered what the difference is between a Frenchman and a Quebecer, it’s basically the difference between paté and cretons (this is coming from someone who's half-cretons). that isn't an insult though, I’d rather be the salt of the earth than the élite any day.

Cretons is available at pretty much any supermarket in Quebec or Eastern Ontario. Anywhere else, I have serious doubts you'll find it.

Luckily it's fairly easy to make!



1 pound ground pork
1 cup milk
1 onion, chopped
chopped garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs


Place the ground pork, milk, onion and garlic into a large saucepan. Season with salt, pepper, cloves and allspice. Cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, then stir in the bread crumbs. Cook for 10 more minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. Transfer to a small container and keep refrigerated.

3 – BBQ Pork Buns

If you’re lucky enough to have a Chinese bakery in the vicinity, these things will be well worth the trip! They’re cheap and delicious. Imagine taking the meat those old school American-Chinese spare ribs, but making it about 10 times better and stuffing it inside a fluffy bun. Add a BBQ sauce-like tang and, yeah, you're starting to see what I'm talking about.

My Taiwanese friend Shumin first introduced me to these at a cottage party back in 2001 and I was hooked from the start.

There are recipes aplenty on the 'Net for these babies, but they're sold at about a buck each, so, you do the math as to whether or not you want to go through the trouble! In Ottawa, they can be found en masse at Kowloon Market on Somerset Street.

4 – Vietnamese Subs

AKA Bánh mí, these are one of the best snack deals out there (well at least at Co Cham on Somerset in Ottawa who sells them at 2.25$ apiece!).

Essentially, they're subs served on French baguette (a little bit of colonialism cuisine, I guess) with standard ingredients being carrot, pickled radish of some sort, mayo, sprigs of cilantro (it was while eating these sammiches that I discovered the awesomeness of cilantro), cucumber, chilis and some kind of meat. The place in Ottawa serves chicken, shredded pork and a bunch more.

5 – Pickled eggplant

A fixture of the antipasto plate and one of my favourite sandwich toppings. It comes mild and spicy, I always go for the spicy, heartburn be damned! Once it was only found at Italian grocers, now most supermarkets carry it. The flavour can best be described as all briny deliciousness as eggplant itself has little flavour and takes on the flavours of liquids it absorbs.
Pretty much any Italian sandwich needs this!

6 -Haggis

Ah, haggis, possibly the most infamous European dish of all time!

From wikipedia: Haggis is a dish containing sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach.

I’ve only had it a few times, once at a wedding, a couple of times for Robbie Burns Day. I know, I know, it’s organ meat and other weird ingredients boiled in a sheep’s stomach; it sounds utterly revolting. But, it’s actually quite tasty! The organ meat is ground so fine that a lot of the nasty texture is gone and, luckily, you don’t eat the stomach! If you get a chance, step up and give it a shot. You’ll never have to prove your courage again.

And, for kicks, here's a recipe! I highly doubt you'd want to even try this. They sell haggis at better butcher shops around January 25th (Robbie Burns Day). Or better yet, find yourself a decent pub that night and take in some additional Scots culture. Too all readers actually from Scotland, completely ignore this section.

Haggis (traditonal)

1 sheep's lung (illegal?; may be omitted if not available)
1 sheep's stomach (or large sausage casing)
1 sheep heart
1 sheep liver
1/2 lb fresh suet (kidney leaf fat is preferred)
3/4 cup oatmeal (the ground type, NOT the Quaker Oats type!)
3 onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup stock

Wash lungs and stomach well, rub with salt and rinse.

Remove membranes and excess fat. Soak in cold salted water for several hours. Turn stomach inside out for stuffing.

Cover heart and liver with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Chop heart and coarsely grate liver.

Toast oatmeal in a skillet on top of the stove, stirring frequently, until golden. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Loosely pack mixture into stomach, about two-thirds full. Remember,
oatmeal expands in cooking.

Press any air out of stomach and truss securely. Put into boiling water to cover. Simmer for 3 hours, uncovered, adding more water as needed to maintain water level. Prick stomach several times with a sharp needle when it begins to swell; this keeps the bag from bursting. Place on a hot platter, removing trussing strings. Serve with a spoon.

Ceremoniously served with "neeps, tatties and nips" -- mashed turnips, mashed potatoes, nips of whiskey.

7 – Paneer

Paneer is a fresh cheese of Indian origin and features prominently in quite a few staple Indian dishes that we find here in North America. One of my all time favourites that seems to be readily available at any curry shop is saag paneer, which is a spinach curry dotted with chunks of paneer cheese. A more recent discovery that my friend Kari now swears by are paneer pakoras from a shop called, oddly enough, Indian Express here in Ottawa. It’s become a kind of bi-weekly, pre-geekout tradition. Thing is though, paneer seems like it isn’t too hard to make.

Here’s a "how-to" on making your own paneer from


1 L or quart of 3.8% whole cow milk
3-4 tbsp of an acid; lemon juice is used in this example but you can substitute with lime juice or vinegar

(or you can use yoghurt)


1 - Bring the milk to a temperature just below the boil then turn off the heat.Just like 80`C.Temp(176 f).
2 - Add lemon juice/acid (one teaspoon) at a time and keep stirring the milk after each addition, until the milk separates; the solid curds will separate from the green watery whey.

3 - Allow the curds and whey to cool for a half hour (or until still warm, but at a temperature you can handle), then strain through cheese cloth in a strainer. You may wish to save some or all of the whey; it can be used to make your next batch of paneer, producing a slightly more tender cheese than lemon juice. Rinse the curds with fresh water.

4 - Wrap the cheese cloth on itself in order to squeeze out moisture from the curds. The more you squeeze, the firmer the resulting paneer.

5 - Shape the paneer, still in the cheese cloth, into a block, wrapping it tightly with the cloth. By putting a cutting board or something heavy and flat on top of the paneer, you can force out more moisture, and make it into a firmer block, suitable for slicing and frying. To get a more rectangular shape, tie a knot and place the cheese cloth bundle in a box without closing it. Place something heavy like a pile of books or a brick on the cheese cloth to press down and give the cheese the box's shape. The longer you press the cheese, the firmer it gets.

6 - Soak the block of cheese in chilled water for 2-3 hours This is optional, as the intention is to improve appearance and texture.

7 - Use as required in whatever recipe. It keeps about a week in the fridge, by it must be well-covered.

As an added bonus, here's a recipe for Saag Paneer:

Saag Paneer


250 g (1/2 lb. paneer)
500 gm (1 lb.) spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 green chillies
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Half tsp turmeric powder
Half tsp garam masala
1 medium onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves and 1 inch ginger, pureed
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil (sunflower, olive or canola)

Cut the paneer into even, two-centimetre by one-centimetre cubes. Marinate them in the turmeric powder, half the chilli powder and half a teaspoon of salt.

In the meantime, microwave cook the frozen spinach for five minutes until thoroughly defrosted. Or tear fresh spinach into smaller pieces. Add in the green chillies and puree it to a smooth paste with a hand blender.

Now heat the oil in a thick bottomed frying pan over a high flame. When it is hot, fry the paneer pieces until pale brown on two opposite sides. Remove from the oil, draining them carefully.

Now add the onion, garlic and ginger into the same oil and fry until they are a pale toffee brown.
Then add all the spice powders, apart from the garam masala. Stir vigorously for about 10 minutes on a high heat until the pungent, individual smell of the ingredients changes to a more blended aroma.

Now mix in the pureed spinach evenly, adding salt to taste. Lower the flame to a gentle simmer and let the spices work their magic through the spinach for five minutes.

Finally stir in the garam masala, the paneer cubes and the lemon juice. Let the ingredients simmer together for another five minutes and serve hot. As a final tip, this tastes much better if it’s left sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours before being reheated.

And that's it for this edition of "Neat Foods!". As always, any freaky suggestions you have are welcome!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Classic Appetizers


Appetizers, gotta love ‘em! Today I’m looking back at some recipes I consider ‘classics’, things all of us have probably enjoyed at least once!

1) Curry Dip

I’ve made a lot of food in my day and consider myself a pretty good cook, but I am nothing, NOTHING compared to my mom. It’s a bit scary, actually. I still remember last year offering to make dinner for her and my step-dad, and she said “why don’t you let me do it, I’ll make something simple.” Next thing I know, there’s brandied cheese for an appetizer, this honey mustard chicken awesomeness for the main, and CHOCOLATE GOOP for dessert! (‘chocolate goop’ being the household name for this warm chocolate-walnut pudding that is simply he best dessert ever). That’s my mom’s idea of ‘simple’. Not sure what that anecdote is for other than to praise my mom I guess…

One of the first recipes I ever actually put together was my mom’s classic Curry Dip for veggies. Easy and SO TASTY. As a kid I used to eat so much of this I’d get a belly-ache, FROM VEGGIES! What kid does that?!?!?

Here it is:

Curry Dip (for veggies)

Mix the following in a normal-sized soup/cereal bowl:

- 1 cup mayo/Miracle Whip
- 1 tbsp minced/grated/pressed onion
- 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp tarragon vinegar
- 1 tbsp curry powder (more or less depending on desired zing)

Serve with cut-up veggies: celery, carrots, peppers, radishes, white mushrooms (my favourite with this dip), cucumber, etc…

2) Chicken Wings

When I was young, my dad wouldn’t have much time to cook (he was a head partner in a law firm, ‘nuff said!). But when he did, look out! His BBQ steak is still one of my favourite all-time feasts (basically a giant slab of meat marinated in Kraft Catalina dressing of all things!). He also made wicked spaghetti and meatballs. One of the things he did that was a little ‘before-its-time’ were his chicken wings. They were served chilled and coated in a kind of subtle teriyaki/soya sauce and not spicy at all. But BOY THEY WERE GOOD!!!

Now, I finally took the plunge and tried my own hand at making chicken wings for a family Xmas dinner a couple of years back. They were a hit! Now, I like my wings spicy, but not stupid ‘suicide’ level spicy (although when I was in university, me and a buddy would often get high as monkeys and see how many suicide wings we could stand eating. Good times…). These are tasty and not too hot, say medium? Feel free to play around!

Nick’s Wings

- 24-36 chicken wings/drums (plain, thawed, skin on)

- ¼ cup chili-garlic sauce
- 1/8 cup BBQ sauce
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tbsp finely grated ginger (or ginger powder
- 2 tbsp finely grated garlic (or garlic powder)
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt

- Mix all ingredients in a bowl and coat chicken with sauce
- Line a large cookie sheet with foil
- Bake wings at 375 F for approx. 30-35 mins., until skins are crispy (or grill at medium-low heat until cooked)

3) Devilled Eggs

I think it’s pretty fair to say we’ve all been to a relative’s party where Devilled Eggs were on the menu. I looked up Wikipedia for some background on this ubiquitous appetizer and apparently they hearken back to Ancient Rome! NEATO!

I found this some years ago in the newspaper, have fun!

Devilled Eggs (24)

12 hard-boiled eggs
½ cup & 2 tbsp mayo
3 tsp dry mustard powder
salt to taste
½ tsp cayenne
1-2 tsp Worcestershire

- cut eggs in half and remove yolk
- arrange egg halves on tray
- mash yolks until smooth
- mix in mayo and whip
- mix in rest of ingredients
- top egg halves with mix
- garnish with:
- smoked salmon and dill
- radish and green onion
- olive, roasted pepper and basil
- capers, red onion and dill

4) Bruschetta

Bruschetta is one heck of a way to use up stale bread and ripe tomatoes. Or at least that’s what it originally was. Bruschetta was once an obscure Italian snack that has become pretty much standard pub fare across North America. I used to make a ton of it when I worked as a prep cook. I updated it a few years ago to use fresh baguette, because, well, YEAH!


- 1 baguette, sliced & toasted
- 6 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped fine
- 3 tbsp olive oil (or more, depending on desired consistency)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (more if desired)
- 3-4 tbsp fresh basil, finely minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Parmesean cheese, grated

- mix all ingredients except bread and Parmesean in large bowl
- spoon mixture onto bread slices
- top with Parmesean to taste

5) Sweet Potato Fries (sort of)

Alright, more a side than an appetizer. It seems that a lot of restaurants and pubs have learned something I learned ages ago: potatoes, compared to their sweet/yammy counterpart, are kinda boring…

Now, I LOVE sweet potatoes. I make a pretty tasty curry with them (to be posted later) and I love them as hash browns in the morning.

The following is a recipe I tried for a friend’s Xmas party, and it totally works for the gluten free crowd (check your Cajun spice to make sure it’s gluten free):

Cajun Sweet Potato Fingers With Chili Mayo

4 small sweet potatoes, unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cajun seasoning


1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chili-garlic sauce or chili powder
1 tsp grainy or dijon mustard

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 fingers. Place in large bowl. Toss with oil and cajun seasoning to coat evenly; transfer to baking sheet. Bake in preheated 400F oven 30 to 45 minutes, turning once, until tender and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, for chili mayo, in small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, lemon juice, chili-garlic sauce or chili powder and mustard. Serve as dip with potatoes.

Makes 32 fingers.

6) Calamari

You’d think squid wouldn’t be all that delicious, right? WRONG! In Mediterranean cuisine, squid is a cornerstone. My dad once mentioned how, along the Amalfi Coast in Italy, there were little calamari shacks very much in the same vein as chip wagons here. And it was delicious (taking his word for it). Over the years, I’ve seen grilled variations and different cuisines applied (Thai, Indian, etc.). But the standard is basically deep fried in a light flour coating.

Now, as a fry cook in a couple of seafood places for about 4 years, I must have cooked a freaking ton of the stuff! So, using some of my knowhow, I cobbled together this version of deep fried squid rings! You can get them frozen in tube form at the supermarket. Just thaw them out and cut into ½ cm wide rings. You may have to remove the cartilage if there is any.


1 cup squid rings
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
*1 tsp basil (dry)
*1 tsp cayenne
oil for frying

- soak squid in milk for 1 hour
- mix flour and spices
- dredge squid in flour
- deep fry until done (30-40 secs) – you can also float cook in an inch or two of veggie oil, just be careful!
- serve with Tzatziki or cocktail sauce

That’s it for now. More fun to come as I write it!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

More BBQ awesomeness


Hi there!

I really only got into grilling when I moved in with my girlfriend (at-the-time) back in 1999. Before then I didn't have access to my own grill outside work, so it wasn't too often that I'd do it. But, I was trying my best to do more and more of it and get new and interesting recipes.

It wasn't until we got my Dad a new BBQ for Father's Day 2000 that I found my first really mouth-wateringly AWESOME recipe. I don't even know what cookbook it's from, but it's been a favourite amongst myself and my compadres for years. I even made a massive batch (in the rain) for my friends' Richard and Sara's wedding back in November 2001.

What is it, you ask?

Well, without further ado, I give you White Man's Tandoori!

“White Man’s Tandoori” (Marinade for chicken; grilling)

Mix in a large bowl:

- 1 cup yogurt (plain)
- 2-3 tbsp vegetable/olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 tbsp minced ginger (fresh)
- 1 tsp ground coriander (dry)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp salt

- mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, ensure spices are well blended into yogurt.
- add chicken to mix and allow to sit for 24 hours in fridge. I recommend using boneless chicken thighs, they're juicier and have more flavour than breasts (also fattier, but I'm not your dietician).

- grill until meat is cooked through.

Although I've never tried it, this could work for lamb, shrimp or fish as well! Not sure if the flavours would compliment beef or pork.

Dammit, now I'm hungry for this! Totally going to make it soon!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Alright, I’ve been giving you tips on how to make some awesomely scrumptious goodness, notably with the goal of “gettin’ some”. To be honest, I was somewhat inspired to write this blog after reading a book called Cooking to Hook Up, which, while being funny as hell and having some very good meal ideas, presumed that the average guy couldn’t read a recipe and yet would be up for cooking a 3-4 course meal.

I figured that most sexy nights shouldn’t involve massively bloated bellies from a crapton of food. Keep it light, except in the case of rib pig-outs. Ribs are more satisfying than sex anyway…

But some days, you just don’t want to cook! And you might not want to go out to a restaurant for a meal either, but you don’t always have to make everything yourself. Let someone else do the cooking sometimes!

So, with that in mind, I’m going to clue you in on some easy meal shortcuts I find quite helpful, listed by meal.


1 - Croissants – If you’re lucky enough to live in a bigger town/city, you’ll likely have access to a decent bakery somewhere in walking/cycling/bussing distance. Pick up a half dozen of these (or, even better, the chocolate ones!) and she’ll definitely be impressed. Pair with a fancier jam/jelly (gooseberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc.).

In Downtown Ottawa: Bread and Sons on Bank (near Laurier) make delicious croissants, and really good brewed coffee too, if your hands are free enough to carry it! Le Boulanger français/French Baker on Murray St. might have the tastiest croissants in the city, but not sure what their coffee’s like.

2 - Freshly squeezed OJ – fairly self-explanatory. If it’s not a working day, have a bottle of champagne around to make mimosas (basically just half champagne, half OJ). Your super-market or produce store should have some.

In Downtown Ottawa: Boushey’s grocery on Elgin St. always has a wide slection of freshly squeezed juices. Both the Fresh Fruit Company and Byward Fruit Market also sell freshly squeezed juices.

3 - Bagels – Bagel shops aren’t the most common phenomenon, but again, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your home town, take advantage! There really isn’t anything simpler than getting a dozen sesame seed bagels (or whatever kind you most enjoy), a small tub of plain cream cheese, and 200 g or so of nice smoked salmon or trout. Pretty impressive breakfast for minimal work! Heck, if you’re feeling ambitious, top with sliced red onion and capers.

In Downtown Ottawa (sort of): Kettleman’s Bagels on Bank St. across from Lansdowne Park make the city’s best bagels, period. And they offer a wide selection of cream cheeses and smoked fish.


1 – Italian Sandwiches – You’d think a sandwich would not be an impressive meal, but something about what the Italian grocers/delis do with meat and bread is so damn tasty it’s impossible to resist. Maybe it’s the pickled eggplant? Take the time to get to know the Italian section of your city, if there is one, and find out who makes the best sandwiches. You’ll score almost as many points as your would with the gourmet pork tenderloin dealie.

In Downtown Ottawa: Nicastro’s on the Market is where I first discovered the ‘two-day’ sandwich (I could only eat one half per meal). If you can get it on their whole wheat foccacia, you’re golden. DiRienzo’s, on the fringes of Little Italy (111 Beech Street), makes the toppings combos more specific, but maybe they use better ingredients? I’ve only been there once, so I’m biased in favour of the shop that fed me for many years while I worked on the Market.

2 – The Quicknic – The quick and easy picnic. Step 1: slice a baguette in half, Step 2: add your favourite cheese, Step 3: buy one of those whole roast chickens from the super-market and remove all the meat and add to baguette, Step 4: add whatever else you like to put on a sandwich, Step 5: pack a bottle of wine, Step 6: buy some sort of resilient pastry that can travel from wherever home is to a park/arboretum/etc. A bunch of grapes can’t hurt either. Step 7: have an awesome picnic!


1 – Pie for Dinner! – Alright, while tourtière might be strictly a Canadian delicacy, there are many variations on the same theme of savoury pies: chicken pie, salmon pie, so on and so forth… I’ve seen butchers, bakers and catering shops all sell savoury pies for something like 10-12 bucks a pie. Do yourself a favour and try one out some day. I’ll always be a sucker for tourtière, but I’m half French-Canadian so I was raised on the stuff.

In Downtown Ottawa: I used to partake of the tourtière from Lauzon Meats on Cumberland and St. Andrew all the time, but Saslove’s and Aubrey’s in the Market proper also sell them and other kinds. Also, the Red Apron on Gladstone at Percy sells savoury pies and other pre-fab dinners. No idea what they’re like though…

2 – Bag o’ Salad – I’ll give the folks at Dole credit, they make pretty tasty salads from a bag. They have numerous kinds: Southwest (tastes like taco salad, just add precooked ground beef or steak for a carnivorous meal), Asian Island Crunch (it has pineapple, oooh! The dressing kinda tastes like the kind you get at Japanese restaurants – toss cooked chicken or fish on top). There are many other kinds, but try either of those out. See your local supermarket. There are other salad makers out there as well, but this should get you started.

3 – Frozen Pizza – Screw it, it ain’t gourmet, but if your date is a casual “movie watching in your PJs” kinda night, a frozen pizza is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. Well, that or delivery…

In Ottawa: Alright, I’m cheating on a post about cheating, sue me! Best pizza places in Ottawa (for delivery): Gabriel’s, Season’s, Calabria. Call Pizza Pizza if you’re into that whole cardboard thing… *shudder*.

Anyhoo, that’s it for cheating. Fall’s approaching, time to start thinking about batch cooking! Chili anyone? ‘Til next time!