It’s been a while since I posted anything that wasn’t cheap or quick. Now that we’ve settled a little bit in our new place and have ourselves a GAS stove, I’ve been really excited to cook. It’s so much easier to control heat with a gas flame, rather than the arbitrary electric coils – that are always too hot, and then don’t go down in heat quick enough. This weekend I decided to try a new pork tenderloin recipe, because pork tenderloin is almost impossible to screw up.
It came out fairly well – need to figure out my oven temperature still (it gets way hotter than what it says) –
Cumin and black pepper crust roasted pork loin
2lb pork loin
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp whole black pepper
1 tbsp brown packed sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste (I used 2 tsp)
Add the cumin seeds and pepper to a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Toast these spices for about 4-5 minutes or until they start giving off their aroma. Take away from heat and put into a bowl/spice grinder/coffee grinder. Let it cool down and then grind into a powder or you can use a mortal and pestle to crush into a coarse powder. Add the salt and sugar and mix with a fork. Cover the pork loin with these spices and let it marinate for about an hour.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet on medium high heat. Wait till the oil gets hot and then add the pork to the skillet, and sear on both sides – roughly 3-4 minutes per side. Take off stove and then place into oven. Wait 20 minutes or until there’s no pink left in the pork.
Take out of the oven and put on a plate and cover with foil to retain the juices. And you’re done.
I also threw a bunch of vegetables in a roasting pan with olive oil and rosemary for a side dish.
The Indie coffee passport allowed you to get one free espresso based beverage from 30 different coffee shops all around the city. It cost $25, and assuming the average cost of a cappuccino to be $4, you’d need to go to just 7 coffee shops to break even. We tried our best to go to as many places as we could, but at the end managed to just get to a paltry 12 coffee shops. Here are the ones we ended up going to
This was easily our best experience. Very good espresso. A little bitter, but amazing finish. Very nice looking cafe to boot.
Seven Grams (http://www.sevengrams.ca)
This coffee shop is in yorkville and I really don’t see many things that stand out in yorkville. Well, I learn how stupid I am everyday, and if it weren’t for the passport, I would’ve never walked in here. Really good espresso. It’s a little more expensive than usual places, but the standard cappuccino comes with a double shot. Excellent coffee.
Terrible. It looks cool, but the coffee is just awful. I think this was one was our least favorite.
Very mediocre to bad’ish coffee. Not worth going to.
Very nice barista, and she promised us that her lattes would be better than a cappuccino, but I didn’t know she was going to put a bunch of syrup into our coffee. English toffee and something else I don’t remember. All I remember was how sugary the whole thing was. I’d like to give this place another shot.
Si Espresso Bar
A very unassuming coffee shop. Very small, very cute and the coffee is kick-ass. It was so good, we sat there for 15 minutes and then ordered another one. Great place.
This place is a gem on Gerrard. The owner is awesome, and the coffee is pretty damn good too.
Merchants of Green coffee (http://www.merchantsofgreencoffee.com)
This place is kinda hard to find. It looks amazing. I just wanted to sit here and read books on the couch, but the coffee was ok. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I’d still go here, just for the ambience. Very cool.
Decent coffee, but quite forgettable.
T.A.N coffee (Queen location) (http://www.tancoffee.ca)
This place is hit or miss – I actually had cappuccinos twice here, and one time it was great, and the second time it was terrible. If you’re in the area – probably the best place to get a decent cappuccino.
I love this place. Really really good coffee and some of the baristas can make cool designs –
This place blows, sorry. The coffee is just terrible. Way too much milk.
I really enjoyed the whole passport thing. I got to see a bunch of neighborhoods I’d never go to otherwise, and I got to taste some pretty good coffee along the way. I learned a lot about how coffee can taste different and still good – and it’s made me change my ideal from Sam James as the holy grail. I see shades of greatness now. Here’s to next year’s coffee passport.
And the last day. We planned out the meals in amazing detail, but the plans fell through, but we still managed to stick to the budget. For the next time we do this, we might skip out on the chickpeas, giving us more money for maybe some more salad or veggies. We sorely missed veggies.
We ended up having oatmeal for breakfast for the last day, and then had the pork shoulder left over, which we pan fried with some potatoes and jalapenos to create our lunch and dinner and used the last of our precious salad. The funny thing about this challenge was that we weren’t craving a lot of food and go pig out afterwords, we felt absolutely fine, and maybe we had a bar of chocolate, but other than that, no big cravings.
What we DID miss was our life. Since we couldn’t spend any money on food/drink, we couldn’t really go out, we couldn’t drink beer, we spent a lot of time at home. There are good and bad things about this, but living on a food budget severely constraints the things you can do.
I don’t have a recipe for our last meal, because it was just left overs we cooked in a pan. Here are some pictures though:
It’s been a while since I posted. Leaving everyone wondering how the hell we managed to do on days 6 and 7. I spent the last 2 months looking for a new place to buy, and after 3 weeks, we found a place, and then it was moving madness. It’s been 2 weeks since we moved to the new place, and there are still boxes here. So posting on the blog fell way down in the priority list – shame on me, I know.
But the good thing is, I wrote up a draft for days 6 and 7, so at least I remember what I ate. Day 6, we had oatmeal again for breakfast because there was nothing else to eat. For lunch, we decided to finally make some beans. What happened to the chickpeas? We actually never got around to eating those things. TO think, I could have saved $2 on chickpeas and got myself some chocolate instead.
Kidney beans recipe
1 can kidney beans – drained
Jalapenos – 1
Onions – 2
1 can tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Another super easy recipe. Add oil to a pan, and turn up to medium heat. Throw onions, diced jalapenos and garlic in there and sauté for about 5-8 mins until the onions turn translucent. Add the chilli powder and then the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the kidney beans and a cup of water. Turn heat to low and cover and cook for about 15 minutes. And that’s it. Really tasty, maybe because we were starving.
We had this for dinner with some fried potatoes.
Day 5. Only 2 more days of this madness to go. For breakfast, we did the same oatmeal + coffee thing. For lunch we had the leftover chicken, rice and vegetables. For dinner, I cooked half of the meat that we had left. What meat did we have left? Pork shoulder. That’s right. You can get like 10 lbs for $2. Ok, that’s not right, but you get a lot of meat for very little money.
So how do you make pork shoulder? Easy. Throw it in a pot with a bunch of stuff and simmer for 3 hrs, or a crock pot.
Carnitas Recipe (courtesy of Allrecipes.com)
3.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks
2 tbsp orange juice
1 large onion cut into chunks
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup salt
1 tbsp whole black peppercrns
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
Throw all the above ingredients in a pot and add water to cover. It’s okay if you are a little over. Heat till the concoction starts boiling. Skim off any white foam stuff, and then lower the heat to simmer. Cook and cover for about 1.5 hrs. The pork should now be falling off the bone. Shred into pieces, add to tacos, rice and beans, etc.
So far the week was going ok. I think the secret weapon is almonds. Every time you feel hungry, just pop a couple of almonds. So by Day 4, we were out of eggs. So we decided to break in the cheap, healthy breakfast for a change. And so we had oats, with bananas and almonds. LOVE THOSE ALMONDS.
And coffee of course. That’s the one luxury we allowed ourselves.
For lunch, we made sandwiches with the last of the bread and the deli meat (chicken breast). The lunch wasn’t super filling and by the time I got home I was starving, so I immediately put on a pot of coffee and had 2 cups of coffee. After the hunger abated a little bit, I set to cooking dinner. We had the last of the chicken thighs to make, and this was going to be our last awesome dinner.
Chicken in Tomato sauce
1lb chicken thighs
1/2cup tomato sauce (depends on how saucy you want the dish to be)
1 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes
Marinate chicken in worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper for about 15 mins. Heat oil in a skillet on medium high heat and add chicken pieces. Let them fry for about 5-6 minutes and then flip them over. Wait another 5 minutes, and then lower the heat and cover and let the chicken cook for about 10-15 minutes until they are cooked. Once the chicken is cooked, add the tomato sauce and the crushed red pepper flakes and mix well. Let it cook uncovered for about 5 more minutes and you are done.
For the side dish, we took all our left over vegetables – Broccoli and green peppers, and then just sauteed them with onions. Add some soy sauce for flavor and done. We cooked some rice for this dinner. As you can see, it’s not a huge portion for 2 people (especially for 2 people who are starving). But we exercised restraint and left half the food for the next day’s lunch.
For day 3, breakfast was the last of the breakfast sandwiches. I wish I took some pictures, but getting up late, plus being in a hurry to get to work didn’t give me time to get the pictures. For lunch, we just had the leftover tuna pasta from Day 2. For dinner, we had to do an all vegetarian meal, just so we could save on the meat. I’d say this meal might’ve not been the healthiest, but we tried our best.
Yup. Those are fries. We just peeled some potatoes and Tina pan fried the potatoes. We drained a lot of the oil and then this might be weird for some people, but we ate them with yogurt. I think fries actually go great with yogurt, I guess it’s a little bit like the fries with mayo that the Europeans do.
Delicious carbs, but does the salad make up for the carb madness?