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semi-formal Afghan restaurants?

Thank you all! I'm no longer feeling bereft and ignored :) Actually I wasn't expecting too much of a response as I didn't have high hopes for such a place existing. It sounds like Afghan Village may be a possibilty, unless they'll be changing operations in their new location. I"ll do some googling and see what I can find out. Thanks again for your input.

semi-formal Afghan restaurants?

Hi there,

Are there any Afghan restaurants in the GTA that are suited for more formal dining? I’m looking for a place where I can sit down and be served. Not fine dining, but something a cut above the tile floors and McDonald's tables that are standard in places like Bamiyan, Pamier, etc. Does something like this exist?

What's your favorite way to present shrimp cocktail?

Thanks everyone! I think I'll go with the punch bowl idea from the link that Lala posted. I did a search before posting but didn't find that thread so thanks for digging it up!

May 09, 2011
zainab13 in Home Cooking

What's your favorite way to present shrimp cocktail?

Hi everyone, I'll be having a party at which I'd like to serve shrimp cocktail. Can you give me your favorite ways to present it? It'll be for a group of about 40 and I won't have time to use individual cups, so platter or bowl-type presentations would be best. Thanks!

May 06, 2011
zainab13 in Home Cooking

What kinds of cheeses do not require refrigeration?

Thanks everyone. No, the basket wont be shipped; I will be delivering it myself. However, it WILL be in a fairly warm place for a few hours. I think I will be pretty safe if I try to keep it as cool as possible.

Jun 10, 2010
zainab13 in Cheese

What kinds of cheeses do not require refrigeration?

On a layover in Amsterdam a few years ago, I toured a Gouda cheese factory. The cheesemaker told us authentic Gouda should not be refrigerated. I bought some to take home with me and never refrigerated it, and it was great.

I am wondering if there other cheeses that don't need to be or shouldn't be refrigerated? I'm trying to make a gift basket and I want to include some cheese, but it cannot be perishable. Aside from Gouda, what are my options?

Jun 10, 2010
zainab13 in Cheese

Help - forced to eat at Spring Rolls! Is there ANYTHING decent there?

Ok - mango salad and appetizers it is! Thanks guys!

Help - forced to eat at Spring Rolls! Is there ANYTHING decent there?

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will be forced to eat at Spring Rolls this weekend (Front St location) . I've only eaten there once (a terrible pad thai) and hadn't ever planned to eat there again. I know how chowhounders feel about this place...but is there anything decent I can eat there? Alternately, are there any suggestions for a decent restaurant close by (or further west), with a similar variety and price range? I MAY be able to convince my party to change locations but only if it fits these criteria. Thanks!!

6 month old baby, single mom, want fast healthy meals

Fried rice is a quick go-to meal for me, and works with just about any vegetables. I dice an onion and fry it with garlic, brocolli, carrots, cauliflower, sweet pepper, whatever...add some soy sauce, black pepper, etc or go with a store bought stir fry seasoning. Once the veggies are cooked, I add the rice to the wok and heat through. Sometimes I add a scrambled egg. The good thing about this is you can use rice that's a couple days old (as long as it's been refrigerated) and it's a good lunch meal as well to take to work.

Also, shepherd's pie. (Ok CHers, please don't shoot me for this. She asked for QUICK!). Brown ground beef with a packet of sloppy joe seasoning and some tomato paste. Layer on bottom of a baking dish, top with a layer of frozen corn and instant mashed potatoes, dot with butter, bake 20 minutes. Not so sure how healthy the instant potatoes are, but the rest of it is decent and very easy.

Good luck...I'm sure it must be hard. Hang in there!!

Oct 19, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

date & almond circles - a Ramadan recipe

I found the recipe! Turns out my mother had asked her for it years back! I am about to make them; I'll post the recipe and results tomorrow :)

Sep 06, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

"Grazing" Food Ideas

Someone already suggested crustless quiche/fritatta - I was going to suggest mini quiche. How about bruschetta? Or (two of my guilty pleasures): homemade rice krispie squares or that sweet Chex mix made with peanut butter and chocolate? (The recipe is on the Chex box).

Also, samosas.

Sep 06, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

date & almond circles - a Ramadan recipe

It's Ramadan! And for Muslims, that means lotsa feasting along with the fasting :) I am in search of a recipe for what I'll call date almond circles (for lack of a better name). It's something I used to have at the house of a family friend. Traditionally, we break our fasts with whole dates but this lady used to make these delicious date circles. They were very simple but sooo tasty. The other ingredients I remember clearly were almonds and crushed Cornflakes, and they were definitely not cookies (no flour, mostly dates). Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Can you help me out? I've searched online but haven't found anything that quite fits the bill.

Sep 04, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Really, Really Easy Indian?

Hmm...I would venture to say that lamb biryani is perhaps a bit ambitious if you don't have a lot of experience with it. Since you have to cook the rice and the lamb both separately and together, it can be tricky to get them both to the right stage. I'd suggest "bhagara rice" which is basically a more aromatic version of regular basmati rice: heat some oil in a deep pot, add a small amount of ginger-garlic paste, a couple cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods, and fry lightly. Add washed basmati rice, stir to coat with oil, add water and cook rice as you normally would. Once cooked, fluff up the rice and turn it onto your serving platter. Garnish with fried onions and cooked peas, and if you like, raisins and fried cashews. If you want to really pretty it up, add saffron: using a mortar & pestle, grind up a small amount of saffron. Add milk (about 2 tbsps). You now have yellowish-orange milk - sprinkle this on top of the rice about 5 minutes before it is fully cooked. Do not stir it up. When you fluff it, you'll end up with some nice yellow grains mixed in with white.

As for the eggplant: many good suggestions here for baigan bharta (steamed or roasted eggplant which is then chopped/mashed and fried with tomatoes, etc). I enjoy this dish. However, the absolute best way to enjoy eggplant is deep fried. Slice the eggplant (do not peel) into sticks (about 1.5-2 inches long) and deep fry until crisp. About 5 minutes before fully cooked, add any brand of curry powder or "sabzi" masala (Shan, etc). No need to add anything else. Drain and serve as a side dish or mix into raita. Simple and delicious!! (Warning: if adding to raita, do not add additional salt to the yogurt).

Good luck and have fun!!

May 13, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Is it okay to freeze cooked lentils?

I do it all the time with many different kinds of lentils. Go for it :)

May 08, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Korean in the northwest end

Somebody? Anybody? Please...sniff :)

Korean in the northwest end

Ok, I know the best Korean is found in Koreatown, but I live in Woodbridge :( I'm desperately searching for a good Korean place within these borders....

North: Major Mac
South: 401
East: Jane St
West: Airport Rd

Can anyone help?

Thai suggestions are also welcome! (But please...no ketchup)

Thanks!!!

Party Favor? I need help tonight/ tomorrow morning

I second biscotti. I also received some as a favor last fall, and it was delicious. Also, what about butter tarts or pecan tarts?

May 06, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Ideas for breakfast that can be made at home and taken to/eaten at work

Does your work kitchen have a toaster and a fridge? I keep a container of margarine and a jar of jam in my work fridge and sometimes bring in two slices of bread. Quick and easy breakfast. As long as you've got a knife and a paper towel, you're good to go.

No one's mentioned banana or zucchini bread - also good options which can be frozen. I like to make banana muffins and keep them in my freezer.

A handful of nuts (you can keep a tin at work) will keep you feeling satisfied for awhile. Smoked almonds are my favourite.

Another fave - an old standy - leftover pizza!

Lastly, if you're a milk person...a glass of milk goes a long way. I bought some tall tumblers from Tupperware which I fill with milk just before I leave for work. Squirt in some chocolate syrup, snap the lid on and throw the tumbler in my purse (yes, my purse! This is why I swear by Tupperware - they are still completely leak-proof after 6 years of constant use). Just before drinking, I give it a good shake. Yum! Frothy chocolate milk. And if you dip some graham crackers in it, so much the better :)

Apr 21, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

frosted grapes

Thanks nemo! I might give them a try this weekend and see what happens. I'm considering making these for my daughter's 5th birthday party. It's a princess theme, and I think they'd be fun and add some sparkle to the table. Not to mention, easy for little hands to eat!

Apr 18, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

frosted grapes

Hi, for anyone who has made frosted grapes (which I never have) -

I see two types of recipes out there. One where the grapes are dipped in egg whites first, and one where only water is used. Some recipes use flavoured gelatin, some use plain powdered sugar. Opinions on what works best? Also, what are the best colour/flavour combinations if using flavoured gelatin? And are these messy to eat?

Sorry, lots of questions :)

Apr 18, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Authentic Indian Homecooking

Hi Lenox, sorry I dropped off this thread for awhile! Are you interested in Indian comfort food or the stuff you'd eat in a restaurant or a dinner party? Because there is a big difference between what Indians will serve at a dinner party and what they'll eat on a daily basis. You would NEVER see khadi dal on the table at my mother's dinner parties, but it was a staple of our regular evening meals. This applies to meat dishes too -- stuff like kabab, tandoori chicken, biryani etc is what ppl are usually exposed to in restaurants but is not usually made on a daily basis at home. I could give you those recipes, or I could give you more "everyday" stuff like kheema, dopyaza, shaami, etc. Or I guess I could give you both :) Let me know what you're leaning more towards - thanks!

Apr 18, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

how to do potato on pizza?

Hey everyone, thanks for your tips and suggestions! Before I came back here and read all the advice, I went ahead and tried it. I used olive oil, a little bit of pizza seasoning, caramelized onions & garlic, then some thin slices of mozzarella cheese (the only cheese I happened to have at home), topped with very thin slices of potato - single layer. Topped that with some rosemary, crushed red pepper and more olive oil. It sounds like overkill and it probably was, but it turned out delicious! I broiled it for the last minute or so...the potatoes did cook through and had a nice texture. I'd like to try it with different cheese and also maybe without cheese, though I did feel the mozzarella added a nice softness to it.

Apr 17, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

how to do potato on pizza?

Hi, I've never put potato on pizza but I'm thinking of trying it - with a garlic & olive oil base, caremelized onions and...not sure what cheese yet (suggestions?). My question is, do I need to cook the potatoes ahead of time or will it cook quickly enough? I'm thinking I would slice it really thin using a mandoline. Thanks!

Apr 17, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

need meatless tortellini salad recipe

Now that is a great idea! I'm not good with presentation so this sounds like an easy way to jazz up my table. But how far in advance can I skewer these? Also, do you marinate the tortellini too?

Apr 15, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

need meatless tortellini salad recipe

Yummy! I love pesto too. However...you don't think it'll be a little too much basil? There's fresh basil in the bruschetta as well. Maybe I could use gordeaux's recipe but sub mayo for some of the olive oil? And add some roasted red peppers.

Apr 15, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

need meatless tortellini salad recipe

Thanks katecm. It sounds delicious and easy. I might not use it this time because the ingredients are a bit too similar to the bruschetta. But I'll definitely keep it on hand for another time! I looove feta :) One question - what do I do with the reserved water? Add with the tomatoes?

Apr 15, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

need meatless tortellini salad recipe

I'm having a small get-together this weekend with a few girlfriends. I'm making the following munchies:

mini cheese & brocolli quiche
cold shrimp with two dips (cocktail sauce and a creamy cilantro dip)
double-tomato bruschetta bread
tortellini salad (cheese tortellini)

However, I don't yet have a good recipe for the salad. I'm looking for a creamy recipe since the bruschetta is a vinaigrette. Also, the recipe should be easy to do ahead. Any suggestions?? Thanks!!!

Also...I'm open to changing the last item to something else, if anyone has a better suggestion. I'm not very good with "balancing" menu items...The only restrictions are it should be meatless and easy to prepare ahead (or very quick on the day of).

Apr 15, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Authentic Indian Homecooking

Well, I am 100% Indian and grew up eating my mom's delicious Hyderabadi cooking so I think I can help you out a little bit. We are Hyderabadi Muslims, so that means our strength is meats/chicken, dals, and "khatta" (sour dishes - a staple in Hyderabadi households). Hindus are the experts when it comes to vegetarian dishes though Muslims do make many of them, some quite well. Here is a VERY simple dal recipe - "Khadi Dal" (literally, "standing" dal as it is not ground or mashed up once cooked). It's one of my favourites and cooks in about 15 minutes. I'll be back to share a couple more recipes but this one should start you off.

¾ cup red lentils (masoor dal)
1 large or 2 small onions
¾ tsp ginger-garlic paste (use fresh garlic you don’t have the paste)
about 6 sticks cilantro, washed & chopped
1 green chili pepper, sliced
salt, cayenne pepper, turmeric
oil
ghee or butter

Wash the lentils in a bowl and set aside. Slice large onion in half. Dice one half and thinly slice the other. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pot and add the diced onion. Add ginger-garlic, cayenne to taste, and ½ tsp turmeric. Brown the onions, then add the daal. Add about 2 cups of water, the cilantro and chili pepper. Stir it all together. The water should come about ¾ inch above the lentils, so add more if you need it. Turn this to medium-low and allow to cook. Check periodically to see if you need more water (mixture should not get too thick).

Meanwhile, heat about 1 tsp of ghee/butter with 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Fry the onions in this until almost crisp (add more oil if necessary). Remove from heat.

Check the daal between your fingers. If it’s soft and the water is mostly absorbed, it’s done. Add some salt to taste, stir well, remove from heat. Pour the onions and oil/ghee over top. Done! Enjoy!

Mar 31, 2008
zainab13 in Home Cooking

Jersey Giant on Front St.

Hey guys, the lunch was today, and we ended up going to Jason George as suggested by a few of you. There were 16 of us in total. I had the veggie burger and fries and really enjoyed it (the fries were especially good). Two at my table had the special of the day, chicken pot pie with homemade mashed potatoes - they loved it. Mixed reviews about the other orders - a cannelloni special, smoked salmon, and burger were so-so (I was surprised about the burger, because my veggie burger was great and I would expect a pub to at least do a burger well). Overall though, the food was generally pretty good - but the service at our table was pretty bad. Our server (we had one server per table, so she was serving 8 of us) was extremely busy, and therefore extremely inattentive. Orders came out late/staggered/incorrect, drinks were never refilled, and a takeout order was brought to the table alongside all the regular orders (as opposed to towards the end of our meal). She never came around to see how we were doing and never managed a smile. I don't necessarily blame her for this, as the restaurant was extremely busy at lunch time, but they should have been properly staffed. We had reservations and they should have an idea of how busy they get on a Friday at lunchtime. Despite that, I'm happy we went. We liked the atmosphere, and the staff didn't rush us out the door after our meal. Thanks for the recommendation! I would give this place another go.

Jersey Giant on Front St.

Thanks for all the feedback! Sounds like there are better options available. Can Jason George support a group of about 15-20? I'm trying to figure out a good middle-of-the-road place for a farewell lunch....