Foodie Fridays: Feast Your Eyes
One of my closest friends (who is my age) has loved Canadian Living for as long as I’ve known her – so we’re talking early 20s. Not that there’s anything WRONG with that, but you might argue it’s a little unusual, since she’s not exactly in the brand’s target market. Apparently that love was passed down from her own mom, who hooked her up with a few Canadian Living cookbooks around the time she moved out. Curious as to what all the fuss was about, I myself have used a few of CL’s recipes from their website, and I don’t know if they shackle their chefs to the test kitchen stoves or what, but every single recipe I’ve tried has not only been phenomenal, but supremely easy to make, with easy-to-source ingredients, and full nutritional info. May I actually direct you to one of my most frequently made recipes (as recently as this week?) Try the vegetarian chili fries. They are phenom.
Apparently all of the Canadian Living readers out there can’t satiate their appetites (or those of their families) with the few recipes included in each new issue, so for the last few years the brand has pulled together collections of tried & tested recipes on various themes – from BBQ favourites to slow cooker options. The latest entry is hot off the presses and available in stores this week, focusing in on ‘Affordable Feasts’ that stretch small budgets to create memorable meals.
Like all Canadian Living titles, the book is extremely easy to navigate, with five general sections focused in on Red Meat, White Meat, Eggs, Beans & Tofu, Pasta, Noodles & Rice, and Hearty Vegetables. All of the sections feature a mix of recipes for weeknight dinners as well as special occasion ideas, along with tons of helpful tips, and special features like vegetarian options and slow cooker selections to accommodate your culinary preferences. And the recipes? Well of course they all sound yumtastic! Meat eaters will drool over spicy Sri Lankan Devil’s Chicken, hearty Pork Chops with Peppered Apples, and the fancy schmancy Steak Alla Pizzaiola, while vegetarians or those looking for some Meatless Monday options will find plenty to like, including Sweet Potato Perogies, Grilled Peanut Tofu Salad, and Couscous & Cheese Stuffed Zucchini.
I personally would EASILY add this cookbook to my gift list for at least half-a-dozen people, ranging from my mom (who is a cookbook fanatic) to my sister (who is saving for a house / isn’t one for fussy eating) to of course, my Canadian Living diehard pal. And at $26.95 (list), I’m already getting a head start on not breaking the bank. As a special gift for all my readers, I’m giving you a quite literal taste of the Affordable Feasts contained in this book, with a sample recipe for ‘Beef Bulgogi’. On the table in quick order, this Korean-inspired dish is sure to whet your appetite for the rest of the cookbook!
Quick Beef Bulgogi
Bulgogi, a Korean marinated beef dish, is traditionally served with rice and spicy kimchi pickles. Use whatever grilling steak is on sale – a single pound (450 g) is plenty to feed four people. If you can’t find Asian pears, use any firm pear.
3 tbsp sodium-reduced soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin or white wine
1 tbsp each granulated sugar and sesame seeds
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Half Asian pear, peeled and grated (about 1⁄3 cup)
1 lb (450 g) beef grilling steak, thinly sliced
1 tsp vegetable oil
1) In bowl, whisk together soy sauce, mirin, sugar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and all but 2 tbsp of the green onions until sugar is dissolved.
2) Stir in pear and beef; cover and let stand for 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 hours. Drain off marinade.
3) In wok or skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat; stir-fry beef mixture until beef is browned, about 3 minutes. Garnish with remaining green onions.
Makes 4 servings. per servIng: about 204 cal, 24 g pro, 9 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 6 g carb, 1 g fibre, 53 mg chol, 293 mg sodium, 361 mg potassium. % rDI: 2% calcium, 19% iron, 1% vit A, 3% vit C, 6% folate.
Finally what would a Foodie Friday be without some sort of giveaway? I’ve got five copies of this sensational new book to giveaway to five of you. Here’s how to enter:
1) Leave a comment by February 15th with your favourite cheap & cheerful go-to dinner dish + who’d you give this cookbook to if you won (or if you’d keep it for yourself – I won’t blame you).
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around February 16th to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible to participate in this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: Share this contest on Facebook and leave a link to your ‘Share’ in the comments below so I can credit you with a bonus entry! Hint: there are Share tools on every single post that make it easy to spread the word about your favourite gift ideas.