Tag Archives: Beef

El Camino

Great news!  A taco restaurant and take-out window opened just around the corner!  I’m talking I don’t even have to cross the street to get my hands on these little beauties.  Have a look at what El Caminowhich opened just a few days ago on Elgin street, passes through the window:

El Camino's Beef and Pork Tacos

El Camino’s Beef and Pork Tacos

My first trip (of which there will be many) I ordered 2 pork tacos and 1 beef, and both were UNREAL.  Chris also gave a thumbs up to the crispy fish taco, and lamb is an option as well.  The tacos all come standard issue with set toppings like avocado, pickled onions, radish, cilantro and fresh lime. The meat is cooked to absolute juicy, shred-y flavour perfection; the beef has a hint of five spice and a nice spicy kick while the pork is tender and sweet.  Did I mention they make their own tortillas? Life is good 🙂  For $4 each, this place is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood!

UPDATE: My second trip to El Camino wasn’t that long after the first.  This time I ate in the restaurant and it only made me love this place more.  What you see below is evidence of this feast:  the creamy guac, perfect margaritas, and tacos of course.  Lamb, pork, beef and 3 crispy fish.  Just scrumptious.

El Camino Feast


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June 5, 2013 · 10:24 PM

Ricardo’s Tourtière

This year Chris and I decided to give some of our Christmas gifts in food form, and settled on traditional, meaty and hearty tourtière.  For many people it’s a Christmas-time comfort food and it’s a great one dish meal that can easily be thrown into the oven some busy winter evening.   I personally think it’s a great gift idea, mostly because I love it whenever people give me food as a gift.  It doesn’t exactly wrap well for under the tree, but I haven’t encountered anyone who will turn away a home cooked item for their freezer!

Get your recipe out and line up some of your ingredients.  I used Ricardo’s recipe for tourtière this time, and it also passed Chris’ french-upbringing-tourtiere-eating test.  This is a legitimately québecois recipe!


Get out a big pot for the filling (which I neglected to photograph for some unknown reason).  A mixture of beef, pork,potatoes, onion, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.  And salt and pepper, of course.  The spices are pretty mellow but add a nice subtle flavour to the filling.  Pretty traditional and highly delicious….this recipe makes enough for six pies!


Cook the onions and garlic in a bit of melted butter until they get soft and golden.


Then throw in the beef and pork, and cook, stirring regularly, until no more pink remains.  Then dump in the rest of the ingredients and let it cook for about 45 minutes.  Not complicated at all!

In the meantime, prepare your dough, using the crust recipe from this pot pie recipe.  Light, flaky and perfect.


There is a serious lack of counter space in my apartment, so Chris McGyvered up a chair-table to fit all the pies!


Scoop the filling out into the crusts, and use whatever dough you have leftover to make fancy patterns on the top!

triple tourtiereAll of these went in the freezer to be used (mostly) as Christmas gifts, so stay tuned for pictures of the cooked, finished product!



The tourtières turned out excellently!  Just like I had hoped they would.  The crust was light, flakey and buttery, 🙂 and the filling was exactly how I remembered it tasting when my french-Canadian babysitter used to make it when I was little. But this time, because we served one of these at our New Year’s Eve dinner party, I decided to fancy it up a little bit by serving it alongside some homemade ketchup. It was the perfect compliment, and I will post the recipe soon!

Here is the one we cooked up on New Year Eve!  Maybe in the oven for slightly too long, but not so long that it ruined it. No complaints from the dinner crowd!



Here it is alongside some homemade ketchup and poutine (also homemade :)).  Did I mention it was a Quebecois themed dinner party?  We also had a variety of beers, including 50.  Très authentic.

Quebecois Dinner Party

Quebecois Dinner Party

And here is another one we pulled out of the freezer a few nights ago.  The ketchup was done, so we served it with a few slices of cheddar cheese instead.  I’m sad there are no more of these left in the freezer, they were such a treat!



Ricardo’s Tourtière Recipe

4 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
1.4 kg (3 lbs) ground pork
1.4 kg (3 lbs) ground veal
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth
180 ml (3/4 cup) breadcrumbs
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Rolled-out pastry dough from this pot pie recipe (x 2), or store-bought crust

  1. In a large saucepan, soften the onions and garlic in the oil. Add the meat and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring to crumble the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes begin to fall apart. Let cool. Adjust the seasoning.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled.
  4. With the rack in the lowest position, preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
  5. Line six 23-cm (9-inch) pie plates with pastry. Cover with the cooled meat mixture, about 1 pound of meat per pie. Cover with a second crust, and make an incision in the center. Or top with crust pattern or shapes of your choice. Press the lip the seal with a fork or your fingers. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

From:  Ricardo


Filed under Comfort Food, Main Courses

Ultimate Burger

There is BACON AND CHEESE built right into this burger…..right there in the patty.  You don’t even have to work to get this goodness, IT’S RIGHT THERE!!  Hope I didn’t oversell that one.  But seriously, this burger is juicy and flavourful.  Because of the bacon fat.  And that’s the delicious kind of fat.

Here they are fresh off the grill, smothered in delicious homemade BBQ sauce:

Ultimate Burger, BBQ’d

Here it is, all dressed up with fried onion strings!

Ultimate Burger topped with Fried Onion Strings

Is this picture inappropriate?

Extreme Close-Up

They also worked out pretty well as part of a big cottage dinner:

Burgers at a dinner party!

Ultimate Burger Recipe

For the burgers:
3 lbs lean ground beef
2 cups aged cheddar cheese
¼ cup onion
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chopped bacon
2 eggs
½ cup bread crumbs
3 tsp salt
3 tsp ground pepper

Optional glaze:
½ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1.    In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, cheddar, herbs, onions, hoisin, garlic, and Worcestershire.
2.    Sauté the bacon over medium heat until cooked through.  Add the warm bacon, including the fat, to the beef mixture.  Stir in the eggs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
3.    Once it’s well combined, form the mixture into eight evenly sized burgers and chill.
4.    Combine the barbecue sauce with the hoisin, honey and cinnamon.
5.    Cook the burgers on a very hot grill, brushing with the glaze each time they are turned.  Warm the buns on the side or top rack.  Once the burgers are cooked through, remove from the grill and brush once more with the glaze.

From:  3 Chefs

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Filed under Burgers & Sandwiches

Crispy Beef with Veggie Lo Mein

The best crispy beef I’ve ever had was at a restaurant called Chung King in Toronto’s China town.  For reasons that are beyond comprehension to me, it closed down.  My stomach cried a little that day.  The flavour perfection of it’s crispy beef is hard to describe, but I think a big part of it likely had to do with being deep fried.  I don’t have a deep fryer so my version will never be as good, but it’ll hold me over until I find a replacement, or the restaurant gods smile on me and Chung King opens up again!

Crispy Beef with Veggie Lo Mein

Crispy Beef Recipe

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tablespoon salt
Pinch black pepper
12 ounces flank steak, thinly sliced
1/4 cup canola oil for frying
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoons granulated sugar/Sweetener
1/2 tablespoon chile paste
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sliced onion (Optional)
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (Optional)

1. Heat oil in Wok.
2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, salt and pepper together. Mix thoroughly. Toss the steak slices in the cornstarch mixture and coat well.
3. Fry the coated steak slices until golden brown. Check to make sure they are cooked through. Remove from oil, and set aside.
4. In another mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine and honey. Add sugar, chili paste, water, and ginger. Mix well and set aside.
5. Heat a wok or deep frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, and quickly saute the onion, garlic and red pepper for 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture, and cook another 30 seconds. Finally, add the strips of fried steak and toss to heat through and coat with sauce.

Veggie Lo Mein Recipe (Vegetarian)

6 ounces vermicelli, uncooked
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups mixed veggies
1 cup veggie broth
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Additional low sodium soy sauce

*Add a tsp of cornstarch to broth mixture if you like your sauce to have a bit of thickness.

1.  Cook pasta according to package. Drain and set aside.
2.  Coat a wok or large nonstick skillet cooking spray and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Heat at medium-high temp. (375 degrees) until hot.
3.  Stir-fry garlic for 2 minutes, or until aromatic and slightly browned.
4.  Add chicken broth, soy sauce and red pepper. Stir fry for 1 minute.
5.  Add veggies. Stir-fry for approximately 2 minutes.
6.  Add cooked pasta; toss gently.
7.  Sprinkle with additional soy sauce over entire mixture; toss more. Serve and enjoy.

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Filed under Main Courses, Vegetarian