dinner party yvr #dpyvr

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last night, my friend lisa and i attended dinner party yvr, one of the best charity events that i’ve ever been to. the concept behind it: chefs volunteer to make a meal at their house for a group of strangers, everyone donates at least $50 (which goes to each chef’s charity of choice), and dinner is served. this happens all around the city at various homes, with each chef cooking a different style of dinner for a group of six people or so. the dinner that lisa and i went to had a “dining like at vij’s” theme, which consisted of homemade naan, amazing indian dishes straight out of vij’s cookbook, wine/beer pairings to go with all the dishes, and masala peas (think wasabi peas, but with indian spices) along with a yummy bourbon cocktail while we waited for dinner to be served.

every picture posted on instagram/twitter from the event with the hashtag #dpyvr got an additional $5 donated to charity by one of the sponsors, blueshore financial.

spaghetti squash with sausage and kale

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ingredients: spaghetti squash (get them to cut it in half for you at the grocery store – if they’ll do it, it will save you a lot of hassle), sausages, kale, garlic, onion, pine nuts, fresh parsley, sea-salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

pre-heat oven to 400°, scoop out the spaghetti squash seeds, place the pieces of spaghetti squash on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper, and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

while the spaghetti squash is in the oven, chop up the garlic, onion, sausages, kale, and parsley. put the garlic and onion in a pan first with olive oil – eventually add the sausage pieces to the mix, then the kale, pine nuts, and parsley.

once the spaghetti squash is ready, fork it out into a bowl and then add the sausage and kale mixture to it. season with salt and pepper.

make your leftovers taste different the next day by adding different spices to it – i recommend rubbed sage.

crockpot coconut curry chicken

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i took the recipe from here and modified it as i saw fit. i love crockpots because they fit in so easily to a busy, work-filled schedule.

ingredients: coconut milk, chicken, olive oil, garlic, onion, ginger, black pepper, sea-salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach, and whatever other vegetables you’d like to throw in there.

the night before work: place the ginger, onion, and garlic in a blender, and blend together until it forms a paste. heat up a pan with olive oil in it, transfer the paste into the pan, and add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper, and sea-salt to it – cook for a few minutes. chop up all your vegetables as well – put everything away in the fridge.

the morning before work: place the chicken and vegetables in the crockpot – cover everything with the coconut milk and paste. turn it on low, and let it cook while you’re at work.

the evening after work: come home to a delicious smelling place, make some rice, and enjoy a dinner that essentially made itself!

bucket-list item 101. try all the salmon eggs bennys in the world

to add to this list

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aphrodite’s organic cafe (vancouver, bc) – good food, shitty service.

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charlie’s little italian (vancouver, bc) – perfect hash browns, amazing benny, and they also do $4.50 caesars/baileys + coffee on weekends.

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cafe zen (vancouver, bc) – pretty ordinary, nothing special.

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oliver bonacini (toronto, on) – love how the eggs benny came on buttermilk & cheddar scones.

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rustic cosmo cafe (toronto, on) – hit the spot, and also came with a nice side salad.

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forage (vancouver, bc) – not usually on the menu and one of their specials of the day, so obviously had to get it.

simple salad dressing

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ingredients: olive oil, honey, lemons, shallots, garlic, dried cranberries, sea-salt, pepper, and mushrooms (optional).

mince garlic, slice shallots, and heat up both in a pan with olive oil. add the cranberries (and mushrooms), squeeze fresh lemon juice in, add a bit of honey, then season with salt and pepper.

pour over your greens of choice – i usually opt for kale and add a bit of avocado in there as well.

sensei sushi

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while i was in the philippines last december, i met up with bea (an old friend that i went to school with in jakarta), who took me to sensei sushi. she always had such great foodporn from this place on her instagram account, so i was excited to check it out.

the place isn’t that fancy, just a little hole-in-the-wall, but their food was amazing! really high-quality japanese fusion food. we ordered a bunch of dishes to share, so we could try a little bit of everything the foie gras nigiri (picture #1) was one of my favourites, along with the tuna tartare on kang kong crisps (picture #5). we were allowed to bring our own bottle of wine in, and they didn’t make us pay a corkage fee, which was nice. our bill still ended up being over 2,000 pesos between the two of us (around $45 – $50), which shocked me since we were in asia, we weren’t paying for any alcohol, and the place wasn’t located in an upscale area or inside a 5-star hotel.

it’s crazy how expensive the philippines is becoming, especially since the average wages are so low! according to this article, the TOP, best paying salary for a recent grad there is around 23,000 pesos (which is $500) a month. the top, best paying salary for an oil and gas ENGINEER that has 1 – 4 years of experience is around 40,000 pesos ($900) a month and the top, best paying salary for those in the IT industry with over five years of experience is 55,000 pesos (roughly $1,200) a month.

According to Jobstreet Philippines, the average monthly salary of a fresh graduate (based on the list of jobs posted on their site) is P16,524 (roughly $372). So if you are earning more than P16,524 you are already earning more than the average of your peers.” – http://www.pinoymoneytalk.com/biggest-paying-jobs-philippines/

crispy gnocchi with spinach pesto

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the spinach pesto recipe was taken from one of my favourite food blogs, frugal feeding.

ingredients: spinach, garlic cloves, feta cheese, walnuts, lemon juice, olive oil, canola oil, gnocchi, parmesan cheese, sea-salt, and black pepper.

place spinach, garlic cloves, feta cheese, walnuts, lemon juice, and olive oil in a blender – blend until it’s at a consistency you like and tada… homemade pesto in seconds! boil gnocchi in a pot until done and then drain; pan fry in canola oil until slightly crispy. place in a bowl, cover the gnocchi with the homemade pesto, garnish with chopped walnuts, sprinkle parmesan cheese on it, and season with sea-salt and pepper.