Chicken Roast-off: Oven vs BBQ

I think I started this post in June. Now I am finally finishing it.  I’ve always roasted chicken in the oven. Time to try it on the BBQ. Bird to bird cook off. For ease of cooking, and less mess, BBQ wins hands down. When it is too hot in the summer to use the oven. Another win for BBQ.  Taste wise? Quite similar, actually. Both go quite well with sides of grilled red kale and mashed potato with cheese, green onion and bacon. I do like the brown skin on the BBQ chicken.

BBQ vs Oven Roast

BBQ vs Oven Roast

For the oven roasted bird, I used a version of Thomas Keller’s roast chicken recipe. For the BBQ, I used the following recipe, which is a meld of several approaches I found on the web.

Roasting Chicken on the BBQ

3-4 lb     roaster chicken

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Potatoes, carrots and oil if desired

This recipe uses a cast iron pan.

Take the chicken out 30 min before BBQing to allow to come to room temperature. Rinse if needed. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Tie the legs together. Get a large cast iron pan. Arrange the chicken, breast up and tuck wings under. If there is room you can add a couple of potatoes brushed with oil. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, you can insert an oven proof one at this time in the thickest part of the thigh.

Preheat the grill on indirect heat on high. If it is 3 burner grill, leave the middle off. When it reaches temperature, put the skillet over the middle burner. Close the lid, turn down the heat so the temperature is about 350-375F. Roast for 1 hour, 30 minutes. Use an instant meat thermometer if you have one in the thickest part of the thigh. Temp should be 170F.

Remove from heat when done, tent with foil and rest 15 minutes before serving.

Grilled kale, grilled raddichio and mashed potatoes

Grilled kale, grilled raddichio and mashed potatoes

Nourish Bistro

Continuing my search for unique food in Banff, I stumbled upon Nourish, which serves vegetarian food. I ordered the nourishment bowl, which was packed with textures and flavours. It was surprisingly substantial.

I tried their vegan cheesecake for dessert. It was pretty good, made with coconut milk. A warning though, the dessert is a bit on the expensive side.  If you like good quality vegetarian food, Nourish is for you.

Nourishment Bowl A quinoa, rice blend, hemp, flax and chia infused rice blend, sauteed with onion, red pepper, garden greens, seeds and nuts

Nourishment Bowl
A quinoa, rice blend, hemp, flax and chia infused rice blend, sauteed with onion, red pepper, garden greens, seeds and nuts

Vegan cheesecake with nuts and cinnamon

Vegan cheesecake with nuts and cinnamon

Nourish Bistro Banff on Urbanspoon

Tooloulou’s

Hubby had a conference in Banff last month. We arrived on a Thursday night, hungry and looking for dinner. Looking for something completely different, we decided to try Tooloulou’s, a Cajun and Creole restaurant. It was nice to go to a place in Banff and avoid the crazy weekend crowds.

We shared the Boudin balls to start, which was a tasty mixture of meat, veg and rice deep fried.  I ordered the seafood and sausage gumbo. It was flavorful with a medium spicy heat. The cornbread was pretty good too. It was a good sized portion. Hubby had the Creole jambalaya which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was nice that the chilies were served on the side, so you could control the additional heat.

We shared an ice cream sundae for dessert which hit the spot as it served to cool down our spiced taste buds.

Their menu is quite extensive, including many breakfast options. I will have to come back and try their breakfast someday.

Boudin Balls Blend of beef, pork, onion, rice, peppers and seasonings served with Creole mustard

Boudin Balls
Blend of beef, pork, onion, rice, peppers and seasonings served with Creole mustard

Seafood and Sausage Gumbo

Seafood and Sausage Gumbo

Creole Jambalaya

Creole Jambalaya

Tooloulou's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Scaddabush

Continuing my search for good grub in Toronto, we decided to try Scaddabush, on my sister’s recommendation. Apparently, it is well known for its stuffed meatballs.  Somebody was hungry post half marathon so we were looking for something substantial. Hubby helped himself to the spaghetti bolognese. I went straight for the stuffed meatball. The meatball was the size of a baseball and stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella. Their pasta is also fresh made in house. It was pretty good; the portions are deceiving filling. The tartufo made for a lighter finish to the meal.

Spaghetti and stuffed meatball

Spaghetti and stuffed meatball

Tartufo with strawberries and cream

Tartufo with strawberries and cream

Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Fresh on Spadina

Living in Calgary (Cowtown), I haven’t really learned to appreciate really good vegetarian food in restaurants, other than in Indian restaurants. Until I tried Fresh, on a recommendation from a friend. I had the Energy bowl, which had a coconut curry sauce with vegetables on top of soba noodles. It also came with marinated tofu, which had a rich flavour, with undertones of vinegar. It was quite large and substantial. The flavours were rich and satisfying. I would highly recommend it, even for non vegetarians.

Energy bowl marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea & vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower sprouts & tahini sauce

Energy bowl
marinated tofu cubes, rich coconut curry sauce, chick pea &
vegetable stew, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sunflower
sprouts & tahini sauce

Fresh By Juice For Life on Urbanspoon

Kenzo Ramen Queen West

I was craving some ramen when I went to Toronto last week. Since I’d already been to Kinton, my sister suggested Kenzo on Queen West. This is a relatively new location; she had been to the original location and enjoyed their house made noodles.

They had a nice variety of ramen on the menu. I ordered the ji su men, which had a thick broth due to the addition of egg. My sister commented that the noodles did not taste the same as their original location.  I thought they tasted suspiciously like Chinese egg noodles. We asked our server, and she said they did make their own.

Their gyoza, however was really good. There was a good quantity of meat inside and they fried it in flour paste water.

The service was quick and friendly. With so much to choose from in Toronto, it’s not likely that I will visit the same ramen place again.

Gyoza

Gyoza

Karashi Ramen Spicy ramen with japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.

Karashi Ramen
Spicy ramen with japanese Karashi hot sauce topped off with roasted pork slices. Seasonal topping: marinated bamboo shoot.

Ji Su Men A soy sauce base soup combined with chicken, eggs and sesame oil. Mixed with stir fried vegetables. Vegetarian option avilable.

Ji Su Men
A soy sauce base soup combined with chicken, eggs and sesame oil. Mixed with stir fried vegetables. Vegetarian option available.

Kenzo Ramen Queen West on Urbanspoon

Chef’s Studio Japan

We were in Canmore a few weeks ago, and visited Chef’s Studio Japan. We tried to get in on Friday night but they were full. So we made a reservation for the next night. We started off with the tempura fried cheese. It was quite an interesting combination that worked. It was served with a thousand island like sauce on the side. Hubby had the beef tataki followed by some assorted sushi rolls.

I treated myself to a hot pot. It came with a seaweed and salad and miso soup. The hotpot had an appropriate quantity of seafood, with tofu, veg and noodles. The broth was tasty and came with a side of spicy sauce. The service was a little slow, but the staff were friendly and they spoke Japanese. The food is worth coming back for.

Beef Tataki Rare cooked Alberta Beef served with tamari ponzu Gluten Free

Beef Tataki
Rare cooked Alberta Beef served with tamari ponzu
Gluten Free

5 Piece Cheese Tempura Cheese skewers in our house made tempura batter. Crisp, light outside, and soft inside. Served with spicy mayo dipping sauce

5 Piece Cheese Tempura
Cheese skewers in our house made tempura batter. Crisp, light outside,
and soft inside. Served with spicy mayo dipping sauce

Miso soup and seaweed salad

Miso soup and seaweed salad

Hot Pot Dinner Set Seaweed salad and miso soup to start, salmon, mussel ,scallop, vegetables, Starch noodle and rice

Hot Pot Dinner Set
Seaweed salad and miso soup to start, salmon, mussel,scallop, vegetables, Starch noodle and rice

Assorted rolls

Assorted rolls

Chef's Studio Japan on Urbanspoon

Reader’s Garden Cafe Revisited

Reader’s Garden Cafe certainly can’t be beat for atmosphere. This is a return visit, as I was originally here last year for my birthday. The food was good last year, but simply out of the ballpark this year. Thanks to a change in chefs.

We started with a complimentary appetizer from the kitchen. Popcorn mixed with flowers and herbs from the garden. A nice way to wake up the tastebuds. My friend and I split an order of eggplant soup and tomato & watermelon salad. The soup was flavourful and smooth. The salad was out of this world. The sharpness of the granita went well with the coolness of the watermelon. I could eat it all day. Hubby had the smoked salmon salad. It was beautifully presented. There were these tiny cucumber balls, and a mysterious olive shaped fruit. Hubby thought they were tiny watermelons, but I’m not sure what they are.

Onto the entrees. My lamb was succulent. It was nestled in tasty garlic broth. The cabbage rolls filled with lamb were delightful. My friend also enjoyed her lamb and hubby found his chicken tasty.

For dessert, we all shared the beet root mouse. I found the taste unique, and enjoyable. The meringue and sesame seeds added a nice contrasting texture.

I still love that their veggies and flowers are from their garden. I love their food even more now and expect to return.

Popcorn Appetizer with Herbs

Popcorn Appetizer with Herbs

Eggplant Soup

Eggplant Soup

Tomato & Watermelon Salad-Watermelon granita, pickled watermelon rind, chilli

Tomato & Watermelon Salad-Watermelon granita, pickled watermelon rind, chilli

Smoked Salmon Salad - Spring greens, cucumber balls, crisps and mysterious olive shaped fruit

Smoked Salmon Salad – Spring greens, cucumber balls, crisps and mysterious olive shaped fruit

Alberta Lamb Cabbage Rolls-Lamb & garlic broth, wild rice filling, roasted root vegetables

Alberta Lamb Cabbage Rolls-Lamb & garlic broth, wild rice filling, roasted root vegetables

Roasted Chicken Breast-Toasted barley & sweet onion ragout, seared Brussel sprouts, natural jus

Roasted Chicken Breast-Toasted barley & sweet onion ragout, seared Brussel sprouts, natural jus

Beet Root Mousse - Apricot, meringue and toasted sesame seeds

Beet Root Mousse – Apricot, meringue and toasted sesame seeds

Reader's Garden Cafe on Urbanspoon

San Remo Ristorante

Hubby and I happened to be in the deep south of town Monday night. On our way home, we were looking for a place for dinner. We decided on San Remo, conveniently located off the Deerfoot in McKenzie Rowne. It was also $10 pasta night, so their usual menu of five pastas blossomed into twelve. It’s good value as the pastas are half or more off the usual price.

Hubby and I shared the prosciutto and melon appetizer. They were nice enough to split it into two servings for us. It looked beautiful and tasted just as good. Hubby ordered the braised beef short rib. He really enjoyed it.

I ordered the lasagna for my main. The portion size looked small but it was surprisingly filling. It had a nice, rich flavour. The service was prompt and fast, but not rushed. I had a good experience here and would return if it wasn’t so far from where I live.

Prosciutto & Melon Thinly sliced prosciutto & cantaloupe, lemon, mascarpone, truffle cream.

Prosciutto & Melon
Thinly sliced prosciutto & cantaloupe, lemon, mascarpone, truffle cream.

Lasagna House made pasta layered high with meat, tomato and cream sauces, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, then oven baked.

Lasagna
House made pasta layered high with meat, tomato and cream sauces, topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, then oven baked.

San Remo Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Sundried Tomato Carrot Top Pesto with Pasta

I had a lot of carrots with their lovely green tops from my last few CSA deliveries. I found a great way to use them up. It can also be frozen for later.

Sundried Tomato Carrot Top Pesto with Pasta

1-2 bunches carrot tops
1/3 C sundried tomato, chopped into pieces
2 tbs chopped garlic
½ C pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 C grated parmesan + extra
½ C – ¾ C extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ C peas
I bag Olivieri pasta or 1 bag penne, fusilli or other pasta

This is a super quick, easy to make supper. Especially if you use fresh pasta.

Roughly chop the carrot tops. In a food processor, add all ingredients except extra parmesan, peas, pasta, salt and pepper. Puree. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Dump into a mixing bowl and add peas and pesto. Add parmesan to taste. Mix well and serve. Serves 6-8 people with a side salad.

 

20140827_213321 (480x640)