Meal #22: Mentorship Meal

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I was so lucky to be part of the Arts and Science “Alumni Experience” course this past semester. Through it, I was paired with three amazing young women: Stephanie, Sabrina and Sam. (In my books – the S-Crew!) While I was the “mentor” and they the “mentees”, I’ve never better appreciated how fluid a mentoring relationship can be. I have learned so much from each of them over the past few months. They are incredibly clever ladies, full of inspiring ideas about the world and their roles in it. I have also learned a lot about myself as having intentional conversations with the S-Crew about my journey thus far has reminded me to think critically and ambitiously about where my path is taking me next. They have helped me internalize, now more than ever, that each path has worthwhile experiences to be exposed to, and always has the potential to link to another, provided you keep walking.

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I made Fresh Rolls with Peanut Sauce and a Buddha Bowl with Avocado Cumin Dressing. I found that both were actually delicious! I made both recipes again that weekend because they were so tasty. My fresh rolls were far too fat, so roll them much skinnier than the photo and use less tofu in each one, and you won’t need to use a fork!

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Fresh Rolls with Peanut Sauce (from Lauren)

For the rolls:

  • Rice paper
  • Marinated tofu
  • Cilantro
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced avocado

For the sauce:

  • 2-4 Tbsp chicken/veggie broth (or water)
  • 3 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or lime juice)
  • 1-2 cloves crushes garlic
  • 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp curry paste (optional)

Take one sheet of rice paper and soaked it in warm water for 5 seconds. Let it sit on a flat surface for 30 seconds and then fill it with a melange of the roll ingredients. Wrap it like a burrito and voila! Dip it in the peanut sauce and it’s yummmyyy.

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Buddha Bowl with Avocado Cumin Dressing (adapted from the Crazy Sexy Diet Cookbook)

For the bowl (serves 2 ):

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/2  head broccoli
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup diced oil-cured olives
  • dash of cayenne

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  •  1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Black pepper

Cook the brown rice first (2:1 ratio). Lightly fry the vegetables until the broccoli is soft. Prepare the dressing separately by mixing all the ingredients together until smooth. Add it to your rice mix and hurray!

With love,

Caitlin

Meal #21: Frat Life?

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My blog went abroad for Meal 21 and got a little taste of life in a fraternity! I never thought I’d be sharing a big plate of lasagna with TU Delft (the largest technical school in the Netherlands) engineers, let alone those from one of the most prestigious frats at the university. But the Corps boys reminded me to always challenge stereotypes before getting to know them. Yes, the house was covered in Heineken and posters of scantily clad women, but there was a genuine warmth to each of the 12 boys living in Mike’s temporary home. Dinner with PierreBuurman, ScruffyStrip, Pipo, Dolly and Mike (I only learned their frat names!) was hilarious but honest, crude yet kind. Over my 4 day visit this group, and the rest of the boys in the house, showed me a much deeper meaning of the word fraternity: they really are like brothers, growing up together knowing they unconditionally have their friends by their side.

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Unfortunately, the picture is blurry (cell phones aren’t allowed at the dinner table, so we needed special permission!), but I think it perfectly captures the chaos and fun that resides in the house.

Mike and I made a eggplant lasagna… we were nervous to feed the boys no meat but they scarfed it down regardless, and still considered it a meal! (The trick was likely in the cheese.) They also surprisingly loved their salad, gleefully entering a competition of who had last seen a raw vegetable on their plate.

Frat-friendly eggplant lasagna (serves 6 hungry boys)

  • 12 sheets of lasagna pasta
  • 1 cup of shredded Gouda
  • 1 cup of ricotta
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 L of plain tomato sauce
  • 2 medium-sized eggplants, cubed
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of spinach, shredded
  • oil, salt, pepper, oregano

Add olive oil to a sauce pan on medium heat. Once warm, add the garlic for 30 seconds, followed by the eggplant. Fry until soft but not fully cooked. Turn down the heat and add the spinach, stirring consistently until the eggplant is brown and the spinach is wilted. Add the spices to taste. At the same time, whisk an egg with the ricotta cheese. In a casserole dish, add one layer of pasta sheets and cover the pasta with the shredded Gouda. Spread a 1 cup of the eggplant mixture over the cheese, and cover with another layer of pasta, followed by a layer of the ricotta cheese. Alternate until the casserole dish is full. Cover the top with a layer of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

With love,

Caitlin

 

Meal #20: Ain’t no party like a kimchi party!

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I’ve become obsessed with kimchi. I blame this partly on Rebecca, who is the owner of the fabulous Alchemy Pickle Company that sells at the Wychwood Barns, but largely on the salty sourness that adds such awesome flavour to everything you add it to. A jar of Daikon Kimchi purchased from Rebecca on Saturday morning inspired my meal with Jeanette, Sarah, Crystal and Marie. All these women are impressively generous in the work that they do. Each are support workers in their own way – working with troubled youth in intense outdoor environments (especially intense this winter), providing job hunting support for people requiring greater social services, supporting vulnerable men in a community-based setting around the clock, and acting as a clerk in medical school. Hearing their stories was a real reminder that we should celebrate much more the work that people such as these girls are giving their time and energy to.

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I made Kimchi Fried Rice for the meal, as well as steamed bok choy (drizzled with sesame seed oil). Sarah brought an awesome desert – “cookies and cream” popcorn! I am currently not eating sugar so didn’t get to enjoy it, but everyone else thought it was so good there wasn’t a kernel left. I’ll ask her for the recipe.

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Kimchi Fried Rice (adapted from Herbivoracious)

(Serves 2, so I doubled)

  • oil
  • garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup raw vegetables (I used onions, carrots and chickpeas)
  • 3 cups cooked and and cooled rice
  • 3/4 cup drained and chopped kimchi (squeeze out most of the moisture)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 fried egg per person (sunny side up, runny yolks)

In a pan, add oil with the garlic and green onions. Stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add vegetables and stir-fry until cooked through. Add the rice and toss to coat with the oil, continuing to fry over high heat (toss occasionally, allowing brown crispy bits to develop). Add the kimchi, sesame oil and salt and stir-fry for one more minute. Serve immediately, topped with the remaining green onion and the fried egg if you are using it.

I was also able to add Blair’s homemade red pepper jelly to the dish, which made it all the more excellent! If you can find an equivalent I’d highly suggest it!

With love,
Caitlin

Meal #19: High School Brunch

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I was moving some things around the other day and found a picture of me and my six close girlfriends my high school at our prom. High school seemed like the most important part of our lives at that moment, and even though I’ve grown a lot since those days I remain thankful for the memories I made with those girls. I have lost touch with most of them, but realized they were a perfect group for a meal! It was lovely to have JessJodie, Sarah, Alex and Laura in my apartment, although sadly Hannah in the end couldn’t make it. I was struck by how happy each of them seemed, and how confident they are in their selves and their unfolding paths. Plus, they’re all just really good looking! I’d say we’ve all done well post graduation🙂.

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There was lots of delicious food brought by the girls (bagels, smoked salmon, fruit salad and mimosas!) and I made brunch casserole. It was an iteration of what my mom makes at Christmas and Easter for brunch. I was rather proud of it, and it was pretty easy. I’d make it again for sure!

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Brunch Casserole
(serves 3, I doubled the recipe)

  • 3 red potatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/3 cup baby tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup soft, strong cheese (I used goat feta from Montforte Dairy)
  • 1 tpsb of pureed cilantro
  • Oil, salt, pepper and oregano

Cube the red potatoes and boil until slightly soft, but not overcooked. In the meantime, dice the red onions, mince the garlic, halve the baby tomatoes and cube the cheese. Mix everything into a bowl, drizzling with oil  and add the cilantro and other spices. Add the potatoes to the bowl once cooked. Place the contents into a baking pan, leaving three “wells” that the eggs will eventually go into. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. Crack the egg into their own well and put back into the oven. Continue to bake until the yokes are hard. Serve and enjoy!

With love,
Caitlin

Meal #18: Slides & Settlers

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When my roommate Brooke and I realized that our two friends from undergrad (Queens and McMaster respectively) were also roommates, we realized that a night of burgers, booze and board games was the best way to reunite. Cary and Louis came over for two riveting games of Settlers of Catan, intermingling with nostalgia for our alma mater days. It was an intelligent bunch around the table – with two law degrees (almost) and an in-the-works MBA, the conversation was quick! Although it wasn’t all high brow, there were certainly a lot of inappropriate jokes about the wood resource. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

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We made portobello mushroom slidersspinach dipblack bean humous and crunchy quinoa kale bowl. The one recipe is below, taken from Amy Height’s fantastic blog From the Ground Up Wellness (I went to high school with this inspiring lady). The other recipes are pending!

Portobello Mushroom Sliders (from Brooke!)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 4-oz package goat cheese
  • 4 Portobello mushroom caps (10 cm)
  • Olive oil
  • 8 small dinner rolls
  • Green lettuce leaves

Caramelize onions in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat for 15 – 20 minutes and set aside. Mix chives, walnuts, salt and pepper and place mixture on flat surface. Remove goat cheese from package and roll over the mixture, evenly coating the cheese. Cut cheese vertically into 8 equal slices. Remove stems from mushrooms and using a spoon, gently remove gills from each. Brush both sides with olive oil. Grill over medium heat, gill side down for 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for 4 minutes. Remove from the grill, cool for 3 minutes and cut in half. Place mushroom on bottom half of each dinner roll. Place a slice of goat cheese mixture on top of the mushroom. Top goat cheese with caramelized onion and a piece of lettuce. Sprinkle rosemary for garnish.

 
Crunchy Quinoa Kale Bowl (adapted from the original post)
  • Cooked quinoa (I cooked in vegetable stock)
  • A bunch of kale
  • coconut oil
  • garlic
  • hemp hards
  • flax seed
  • salt

Lightly saute the kale and garlic with the oil. Toss with quinoa, seeds and salt. Voila!

With love,

Caitlin

 

Meal #17: Little Sib/Big Sib Dinner!

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I got to spend my Saturday night in Hamilton with my dearest “Lil Ko”, who has been my little sib (again, through Artsci) for the past 6 years – although I was a the “big sib”, Mary has  been one of my important mentors since we’ve met. Mary is a motivator and an engager, an optimist and an educator. I especially appreciate Mary because of her commitment to feminism. Spending time with her reminds me to strive to lead by example by being a strong, genuine woman in everything I do. Mary recently shared this video entitled “We Should All Be Feminists” with me, and I think that in the context of our dinner conversation it is worth also sharing on this blog.

ImageWe made another meal from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooksoba noodles with aubergine and mango. I got all the ingredients from Hamilton’s Mustard Seed Co-op, a fantastic new co-operative enterprise that sources food as locally as they can, in the most healthy and affordable way possible. Another great perk about my favourite Steel City. I loved getting to explore it and was happy to be able to buy food from this great space.

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Soba noodles with aubergine and mango (see page 112 of the cookbook)

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 aubergines, cut into 2 cm dollars
  • 250g soba noodles
  • cilantro
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 large ripe mango, diced
  • firm tofu

Make the dressing in a saucepan: warm the vinegar, sugar and salt for 1 minute. Remove the heat and add the garlic and sesame oil. Fry the aubergine dollars in the oil in a pan and sprinkle with salt. Set in a colander. Cook the noodles for about 5 to 8 minutes and shake off the excess water. Slice and fry the tofu, adding extra sesame oil as necessary. Mix the noodles with the dressing, aubergine, mango, tofu and herbs. You’re meant to eat it cold by leaving it in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours, but we ate it at room temperature and it was delicious. Enjoy!

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Don’t I have the loveliest little sib?

With love,

Caitlin

Meal #16: Friendship Chemistry

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The thing I love about Toronto in your 20s is that everyone converges on the city, and perhaps it’s our transience, or perhaps our independence, or maybe simply our youth, but people seem wonderfully willing to invest time connecting with people they don’t know that well. Leanna, Joy and Atara are the perfect example of incredibly busy women (I broke bread with a future lawyer, naturopath and doctor!) who generously shared their ideas, emotions and time over a slow Friday night dinner. I felt lucky to discover more about each of these intelligent, interesting girls. One of our conversation topics related to how and why we are attracted to people, both romantically and platonically. Needless to say, there was good “friendship chemistry” between the four of us, highlighting the chemistry I find between so many Artscis. We had four graduating classes of Artsci represented, a reminder that this community is becoming only increasingly important in my life. And as so many of us congregate in Toronto for (at least) this chapter of life, I’m grateful I can have such people around my table.

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We had very yummy food inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Plenty: a sweet winter slaw, aubergine with yogurt, and Brussels sprouts with tofu. The sprout dish was my favourite, it actually made me like tofu whereas I often don’t!

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Sweet Winter Slaw (adapted from recipe on pg. 102 of cookbook)

  • 7 Inner leaves of Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/2 red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 grapefruit, diced
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 5 leaves mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Mix the cabbage, grapefruit, blueberries, red chilli, coriander and mint in a bowl. Make the dressing with the lime juice, maple syrup, sesame oil, soy sauce and olive oil. Toss and serve.

Aubergine with yogurt sauce (adapted from recipe on page 110 of cookbook)

  • 2 large and long aubergines
  • olive oil
  • thyme leaves
  • 1 cup of diced cucumber
  • 4 tsp hemp hearts
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves

Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise, place the halves, cut-side up, on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for approximately 40 minutes, until the flesh is soft. Remove from oven and let cool. Mix the garlic and cucumber into the yogurt. Spread approximately 2 spoonfuls of the yogurt sauce onto the aubergines. Sprinkle hemp hearts onto each aubergine. Serve cold.

Brussels sprouts and tofu (adapted from recipe on pg. 105 of cookbook)

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 150g firm tofu (sliced)
  • 500g Brussels sprouts
  • olive oil
  • 4 spring onions
  • small fresh chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, halved
  • 1/4 cub cilantro
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • salt

Marinate the tofu in the soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar and maple syrup. Trim the sprouts and cut each from top to bottom into three. Fry in a pan (with oil and salt) for about 2 minutes each, transfer to a bowl once soft (but still a bit crunchy). Once all the sprouts are done, also sauté the spring onions, chilli and mushrooms and add to the sprout bowl. Transfer tofu pieces into pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until they are browned. Transfer to the sprout bowl when complete, and repeat for the remaining slices. Add the cilantro, extra sesame oil, pepper and salt, toss and serve!

With love,
Caitlin