Today’s Sunday Supper is all about Reflections and Resolutions. For me 2013 is going down as a whirlwind of a year. I have learned so much along the way and hopefully it has made me stronger for an even better 2014. In May of this year I stared my business, California Taco. It was a small catering and events business and I started serving hot Mexican street food at events and in my local market. But business hasn’t been as good as we would like and right before Christmas I had to make the decision to pull out of our local market. It felt emotional about it as I saw it as my business failing. But not everything has been bad, when I do larger events like beer festivals my business is thriving, but I had wanted to build my business more locally in my adopted home town. But I have had to learn the hard way that business doesn’t always go the way you would want, but if you are willing to adapt your business doesn’t have to be a total failure when you hit hard times. Pulling out of a failing market was a good decision and I know that building more catering clients and finding big events will be a healthier thing for my business. I have also decided to build an online store so that I can sell my homemade salsas and other Mexican delights to customers who have been requesting online sales. So 2013 ended with my shutting down shop but I know 2014 will be a year of new investments and discoveries of where my business will take me. No matter what I will always be able to look back and see that I put aside my fears and stepped out to pursue my dreams. I can’t wait share more about where life takes me with it.
Here’s to a new year where we all put aside our fears and step out into the unknown, because taking chances is the only way we will ever knew if there is any substance to our dreams.
So I couldn’t decide at first if I would participate in this weeks Sunday Supper event, even though the theme was Holiday Music/Movie/TV Inspired dishes, which is such a fun theme. Why did I hesitate? Well today is a special day, it is my 5 year anniversary. But our recent trip to New York inspired me so I decided to honour my husband’s favourite Christmas movie, Die Hard, with this post. Every time we go to New York my husband says we need to try a authentic NY hot dog from one of the hundreds of hot dog stalls around the city. But every time we go I chicken out. I am not a hot dog fan, I don’t eat meat that isn’t at least 80% meat and even then the other 20% needs to be whole ingredients so hot dogs aren’t something I would normally eat. But I do know that for things like this a sausage doesn’t quite provide the same taste and texture. So I did some research and was happy to find there is a company here in the UK that makes a hot dog with 82% pork and the rest of the ingredients aren’t too horrific as I know what they are, when you can’t pronounce an ingredient and you have no idea it is that is when I run. So I decided to finally eat a hot dog for the first time in 10 years and I have to say it was pretty good. What made it was this incredible onion sauce that from what I understand is a staple condiment on most of the NY hot dog cards. I picture it being just the thing a tough guy like John McClane would eat.
NY Hot Dog with Sabrett-style Onion Sauce
125mL (1/2 c.) water
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp inexpensive balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce (I used Franks RedHot sauce)
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large red onions, sliced thin (The recipe called for red onions but I didn’t have any on hand)
1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Recipe from Amazing Ribs
This Sunday Supper we are talking about what we are thankful for. For me this could be a very long post because there are so many things in my life that I am grateful for. But I decided to dedicate this post to my very special father-in-law and mother-in-law both for whom I owe so much to. They have blessed my life in so many ways, of course first of all by raising such an incredible man whom I fell in love with and am blessed to be spending my life with. I am also very thankful they have so welcomed me into their family. I know not everyone gets on with their in-laws and so I am thankful I have a family I married into that I get on so well with.
But while all those things are very special and I am grateful for I want to talk about something more specific. You see I always dreamed that one day I would be able to show case my cooking abilities in a way that I would also provide an income for my family. But fear has always prevented me from doing anything about it. When I moved to the UK I was in the middle of a career crisis. I was doing freelance video editing work but I wasn’t happy with it and the constant hunt for new clients was getting me down. I knew I wanted to do something different but not sure what. Chris mentioned to me that I should open a restaurant, and since Mexican food isn’t commonly found here he thought that would be a good thing to serve. Now I was 7 months pregnant when he suggested this and while it sounded so exciting I couldn’t see how it would work. But time went on and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I eventually came to the idea of starting off small in a market stall. I have an incredibly supportive husband and he has been so helpful in setting this up but I think he would agree with me when I say this would NOT be possible without my in-laws. They have and continue to do so much for me and my business. From watching my daughter when we are busy, to running to a store that is 30 minutes away to pick up something I forgot the night before an event. They are even allowing us to borrow their large vehicle until I can afford to buy one for my business. My business is slowly growing and I am really starting to see that there is a future in store for it even if the growth is slow. My dream is coming true and all I can say is thank you John and Sue for your unwavering support and love. I am beyond blessed to call you mum and dad.
Okay now to wipe the tears from my eyes and talk about food. I decided to feature this fun recipe because it is a perfect quick recipe for Thanksgiving. On my stall I serve tortilla chips with my meals as well as a way to sample my salsas. I am always left with crumbs at the bottom of the bag that I can’t use and sometimes portions will go stale before I can serve it. I hate waste and so I was trying to come up with an idea to use it. One thing that I do is crush up the chips until it is as small as breadcrumbs. I then use it as a substitute in any dish that calls for breadcrumbs, like breaded chicken or in meatballs. But one night while I was laying in bed I thought, “could it be used as a base for stuffing?” I did some research and found I was not alone with my idea. So I decided to give this recipe from Gluten Free Easily. I tweaked it a little to fit our taste and added mushrooms. Any of your favourite stuffing ingredients could be added. This recipe is so easy that it could easily be whipped up if you discovered a guest was gluten-intolerant and didn’t have much time to prepare. Even if you don’t need to eat gluten-free this is such a tasty stuffing I dare you to not eat seconds.
Gluten-Free Corn “Bread” Stuffing
400g (14 oz) Tortilla Chips
1 medium onion, finely chopped
960mL (4 c.) vegetable stock
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp sage
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
*Additional ingredients if desired, like sausage, mushrooms, chestnuts
recipe adapted from Gluten Free Easily
Well winter is finally coming, temperatures have finally gotten low enough to want to light a fire and sit cuddled up in front of it. Until I moved to the UK I had never lived anywhere with seasons and I have discovered what I never knew and that is that I love it. I love the feeling of the Autumn cold air with the warm sun. I love having to actually pack away my summer clothes and unpack woolly hats and scarves. I love that I live somewhere where scarves aren’t just something I buy because it is fashionable. Who would have thought. And with my new love for seasons comes a new appreciation for eating seasonally. So as the weather turned cold I found myself stocking up on one of my favourite winter food, squash. So I was excited when I read that the Sunday Supper theme was going to be able squash and I knew it was the right event to come back to blogging for. This dish not only features my favourite squash but also my new obsession, chorizo. This could be served as a side dish but we found it was hearty and filling enough as a main. And other then the cook time for the squash before hand it was also really quick to put together, which is always a plus.
Tasty Bites contacted me about doing a review on some of their vegetarian products. Now while I do love vegetarian food and knew I could give a review myself I thought this would mean more coming from someone who is a vegetarian. So I contacted my sister and asked her if she would like to give them a try. Bless her heart I couldn’t have asked her at a busier time in her life. She is in the middle of getting her Master’s Degree as well as working full time as a Lead teacher at a center for Autism in Nashville. But she is amazing and said yes of course she would love to.
Both my sister and I love Indian food so the idea of tasty vegetarian food is a win for us. But I knew that with her busy schedule that the convenience of Tasty Bites would be a big bonus for her. So thank you to my fantastic sister who took time out of her busy schedule to write up a review for me.
I was given the opportunity to try a variety of Tasty Bite ready to eat meals. I have been a vegetarian for over seven years now and therefore appreciate any company that creates products that are veggie friendly and convenient. These meals are ready prepared and convenient for the workplace lunch or a quick meal when you are on the go. While I was able to use the microwave to heat up a meal at work, I do not own nor plan on owning a microwave for my apartment. This is usually a challenge for ready-made meals, but in this case the company made it even more accessible for me. I was able to re-heat the food by merely placing the bag in a small pot of boiling water. The rice meals were very flavorful; I was impressed with the unique layers of flavor. The noodle meals were also flavorful, I would admit that they were not my favorite; I felt the flavors were better suited for a rice noodle. There were two curries included in my package and they both were very nice. I paired the channa masala with the thai lime rice, which was a very unusual pairing, it was a great success. Overall I felt that the ready-made meals were filled with unique flavor and very convenient.