Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cook, Eat and be Merry

Recently the boy and I had a date night at the highly recommended restaurant Zen Kitchen in Ottawa's Chinatown.  Ottawa does not have very many romantic veggie restaurants, most are cafeteria style pay by weight joints.  So when we entered this cozy and esthetically pleasing space, I knew that I had found our special place.  And that was before the food even touched my stomach.  Not one for the unknown, I let the boy talk me into ordering the chef's surprise- a four course meal paired with wine.  Little did I know that I was about to experience the best culinary orgasm of my life!  The food was so delicious, that I recorded the names of each course and its perfectly paired wine.  I even ordered the chenin blanc from Vineland Estates as a Christmas gift for the boy.  If you're in Ottawa than this is a food lover's dream that you can't afford to miss.  And if I can get the boy who is a self-professed meatatarian, to not only eat but love the food, than you are in for a treat!

Dress- Dynamite; Necklace- Swarovski

The first course-raw lasagna (with zucchini, tomatoes, fermented nut cheese, pesto and balsamic vinaigrette) paired with a sparking wine from Niagara on the Lake

The second course- vegetarian gumbo soup (with fermented nut cheese and pesto) and chenin blanc 2008 from Vineland Estates

The third course- pank encrusted pita (with marinated vegetables and blueberry sauce) with red sauvignon from Angel's Vinery

The fourth course- bourbon soaked apples and strawberries (in a phyllo pastry with homemade whipped cream) paired with Stratus ice wine

Now on to my cooking... I decided to whip up a four course meal of my own (make that five) to test out my culinary abilities.  They paled in compairison to the Zen Kitchen but for a novice, not bad not bad at all! I made the boy's favourite meals and added a quinoa salad in there for protein.
Chinese broccoli- recipe here

Vietnamese Hot & Sour Tofu Soup- recipe here (eliminated the pineapple)

Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon for the boy- recipe here

Moroccan Quinoa Salad (from a veggie cooking class)- similar recipe here (I used dried apricots and a spicy yogourt dressing)

Deep Fried Bananas with brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream - similar recipe here

How can something so delicious be so unhealthy? (the copious amounts of oil that's how!)

And this is why I generally avoid the kitchen- mess galore (I always manage to get something food related on the walls and floors)

Plus I tend to break things- like this X-Mas gift from my Dad (sorry!)

I hope you're not salvitating all over your keyboard now! Bon appetite!


  1. Mmm!! I love good veggie food! If I ever visit your town, we'll have to go there.

    The pictures of your kitchen make me laugh!

  2. Sounds wonderful :-)

    Happy Monday, cheers: Evi

  3. I've heard wonderful things about Zen kitchen... since it's close to my work, I will have to find an excuse to go sometime in the near future. You're kitchen made me laugh... Usually it's a fight between Chris and I who cleans up. Apparently the whoever cooks doesn't clean rule, doesn't apply in our home. (grr)

  4. Shybiker- if you are ever up in Ottawa I will personally take you to the Zen Kitchen and Ashelle it is so delicious you have to try it! And my kitchen- well I am a hurricane of destruction when it comes to cooking!

  5. The dishes from the Zen look fantastic, as do yours! Well done! I think the hurricane of destruction might be a genetic thing...I used to be the same, but with the passage of time and constant self-control, I am now a small whirlwind of destruction (in the kitchen, that is!). Fill the sink with hot, soapy water and fling dishes in as you dirty them. When sink is full, make yourself sort them out...that should help!


One of my daily joys is reading the lovely comments you leave. It may take a day or two (or three, depending on how hectic life gets!) but I will stop by your slice of the blogosphere soon! xo Emily