Mangia Questo!

No purists beyond this point.

My Favourite BBQ Sauce March 30, 2009

Filed under: finds,grill/bbq,minimal effort — mangiaquesto @ 8:53 pm

Welcome to Busters Barbeque Restaurant

Photo from http://www.bustersbbq.com

With the warm weather coming and summer fast approaching, there’s no better time to discover a new BBQ sauce favourite.  This stuff tastes like no BBQ sauce I’ve had before.  It’s called Busters Blueberry BBQ Sauce, and it’s made in Northwestern Ontario.  It is to die for on grilled chicken, and I recently tried it on pork side ribs and was amazed.  The blueberry flavour is not prominent, but it is fruity and smoky with a little spice.  Word on the street is it’s now available at Sobey’s across Canada, so you won’t have to make the trek to Vermillion Bay to get some.  If you are lucky enough to be in the area, you can also enjoy it in-house at Busters BBQ Restaurant.  As an added bonus, it’s more reasonably priced than most of the “gourmet” sauces I see at craft and home shows.  It’s a must-have for BBQ season.  Mangia!

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Home-Made Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Walnuts January 18, 2009

Filed under: finds,grill/bbq,Italiano,one-dish,Uncategorized,vegetarian — mangiaquesto @ 1:23 am

Pumpkin and squash season is winding down, so here’s a way to use them while they’re at their best.  This recipe is more of a project than an everyday meal idea, but the good news is that it’s not something you can really mess up.  It might take a while, but you’ll like the results…and you’ll feel like a master chef.  I find this kind of cooking therapeutic, and more of a hobby than a necessity.  If you’re in a rush, but still want a similar end result, I’ve included some time-savers in case don’t want to make the recipe completely from scratch.  To make four servings, you’ll need:

Home-Made Pasta, 1 batch

If you don’t want to make your own pasta from scratch (I don’t blame you, it’s fairly labour intensive), you could use wonton wrappers, or buy the fresh lasagna sheets from the refrigerated pasta section.

Filling

One pie pumpkin or other squash (butternut, acorn, hubbard…whatever is available)

1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese

a pinch of nutmeg

salt & pepper, to taste

I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to use canned pumpkin puree instead of fresh pumpkin, as long as it’s not seasoned.

Sauce

1/3 cup butter

1 tbsp olive oil

40 fresh sage leaves

1/3 to 1/2 cup of walnut pieces

If you’re using fresh pumpkin or squash, the first step is to roast it.  Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Pour some water into a shallow baking pan (a cookie sheet with edges is fine, you just need enough water to cover the bottom).  Break off the stem of the squash or pumpkin, cut it in half and remove the seeds and stringy inside (this isn’t part of the recipe, but roasted squash and pumpkin seeds are delicious, so you could soak them in some water to clean them off, wrinse and drain them, then salt them lightly and spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes).  Back to the current recipe:  Bake the pumpkin or squash halves cut-side down for about 1 hour, until soft (you can tell they’re done when you can easily piece the skin with a fork)

Once the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the flesh and place it in a medium mixing bowl.  Mash it well with a fork or use an immersion/hand blender.  Add the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Now the real magic happens.  If you made your own pasta, I suggest flattening out one sheet of pasta at a time and laying it on your counter.  Use a round glass to cut circles out of the pasta sheet, making them as close together as possible.  Like cookie dough, you could roll the scraps into a ball when you’re done and run them through the pasta machine to make another sheet.  If you’re using wonton wrappers you can have square ravioli instead.  On every second pasta circle, place a little bit of the filling (about a tablespoon), leaving about a quarter inch of edging all the way around so you can close the ravioli.  Place another pasta circle on top and press the edges first with your fingers, then with a fork to make a good seal.

Once the ravioli are made, place them in a large container (or on a plate) lined with damp paper towel and cover it with damp paper towels as well.  Separate layers of ravioli a with more damp paper towel.

In a large pan, melt the butter in a pan over medium-low heat with the olive oil, sage leaves and walnut pieces.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it well.  Add the ravioli and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain the ravioli (don’t rinse!) and add it to the pan with the sage butter sauce.  Serve and enjoy all you hard work!

P.S…This is also pretty good reheated in the microwave.

 

Best Sushi in Toronto December 8, 2008

Filed under: finds — mangiaquesto @ 10:49 pm
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I’m a believer in giving credit where credit is due.  While I haven’t eaten at every sushi restaurant in Toronto, I’ve had a pretty good sampling.  A friend recommended Sushi & BBQ on Yonge (570 Yonge Street. Yonge & Wellesley), so I thought I would pass on the tip.  It’s just a tiny place, but it’s amazingly good, reasonably priced, and the service is great.  The salmon sushi was so fresh it pretty much melted in your mouth and the portions were huge.  They had a nice selection of bento boxes, too.  I had a bento box with salmon teriyaki and tempura, which I highly recommend!  My date and I also shared a spicy tuna roll, and it was great too.  To top it all off, the staff is extremely friendly, but not in that trying to be your friend kind of way, which is perfect.  If you’re downtown and you like sushi, try Sushi & BBQ on Yonge.  You won’t be disappointed!

 

Basil gelato? Si! July 16, 2008

Filed under: finds — mangiaquesto @ 8:22 am
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Ok…so I didn’t make this, but I tried it for the first time yesterday and it was amazing!  If you like pesto, and you like ice cream, basil gelato is for you.  I know it sounds strange, but it’s refreshing and delicious.  I’ve only seen it at one gelateria so far here in Toronto (Vici Gelateria and Café, downstairs in the Toronto Life Square @ Yonge and Dundas), but if you come across it somewhere, give it a try!