I was visiting a friend in Toronto a few short weeks ago and needless to say I fell in love with the big city. The city’s heartbeat is inspiring and its pulse is electric. There is a world of diversity to loose yourself in and endless potential for those from all walks of life.
A walk through the Chinatown and Kensington Market truly sold me on Toronto. Not only was there a world of culinary inspiration at every corner, it was reminiscent of a very inspiring time in my life spent overseas in South East Asia. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Eventually, a side alley stand of red peppers became my inspiration for dinner.
To walk by them would have been an insult in my mind! They were just too perfect not to pick up for dinner, especially with the left over arborio rice calling out in the fridge from the night before. The simple solution: mexican inspired stuffed peppers.
- 3 halves red bell pepper
- 1 cup cooked arborio rice
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tsp chili powder
- pinch cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- pinch chili flakes
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- oil for cooking
- Turn oven to 375°F.
- Heat up a healthy glug of oil in a pan. Add minced onion and sweat until see-through. Once cooked add garlic and all spices; saute for 1 minute.
- Add ground pork to pan and cook thoroughly.
- Add rice and 1/4 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and add ketchup
- De-seed peppers and place in oven proof casserole dish. Fill each half with the pork-rice mixture and top liberally with cheese. Pour remaining chicken stock into the casserole dish.
- Bake for 15-20 min.
- Serve with your favorite salad. Enjoy!
Honestly, they’re just scallops! Many people have unresolved qualms when it comes to this agile shellfish, most of which simply arise from consuming a scallop that fell victim to over-cooking. If the scallops you have tried in the past had the texture of a rubber tire or the appeal of an old marshmallow then please give them another chance. They really do deserve it and they can be made to taste fantastic. As for the Brussels sprouts, the right combination of butter, brown sugar, chili flake and cinnamon make these healthy cabbage buds taste sinfully delicious.
For the Scallops
- 14 small scallops
- 3 Tbsp butter
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp orange rind
- juice of 1/2 an orange
- juice of 1/4 lime
- 1/8 tsp chili flake
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- splash of water + splash of white wine vinegar
- Turn pan on to med-hi heat and add 1 Tbsp butter
- Pat dry your scallops and season with salt and pepper. This allows for better searing which translates to more flavor.
- Zest your orange and set aside 1 tsp worth.
- Place scallops in hot pan and allow to sear for 4 minutes. Flip when a golden crust has formed. Allow other side to sear until a crust forms. Remove and plate scallops and make a quick pan sauce.
- Turn heat down and deglaze the pan with the water-vinegar mixture. Make sure to scrape all the lovely bits off the bottom, this is where your flavor comes from. Add in the remaining ingredients and reduce down to your desired thickness (the longer it cooks the stronger the flavor becomes!).
- Drizzle scallops with sauce. Try not to eat too fast.
For the Brussels sprouts
- 10 Brussels sprouts
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- pinch of chili flakes
- pinch of salt
- Trim the stem end off of the Brussels sprout and make two small cuts into the base (a + sign cut that simply allows them to be steamed faster).
- Put 2 cups of water in a steamer pot and salt the water. Add in your Brussels sprouts and allow to come to a boil. Let cook for 15 – 18 minutes (from the time you turn your water on) or until they reach your desired doneness.
- Mix butter with cinnamon, brown sugar, chili flakes and salt.
- Remove cooked Brussels sprouts from the steamer. Add the flavored butter and mix well.
- Plate and enjoy!
- Start the Brussels sprouts before the scallops. This will allow you to focus your time and attention on the scallops as they require the extra love.
- Experiment with different flavors for the sauce! Substitute pomegranate juice for orange juice or white wine for the vinegar.
- Always have fun in the kitchen!
If you enjoyed this recipe, didn’t enjoy this recipe or have a variation you tried that you fancied, I welcome your thoughts and ideas.