Healthier Binge Eating

Pizza and Burritos.

Right off the bat those two might sound like unhealthy options. They are if you’re ordering in pizza and stuffing yourself or packing a burrito from Burrito Boys to its limit, but if you make them yourself you can control how healthy (or unhealthy) they are. These aren’t the healthiest possible options of course, but they may help remedy some of your unhealthy binging habits.

I’m going to be honest with you, like many other students whenever I order pizza I tend to eat the whole thing in one night, and its usually after a night of drinking. So rather than gorge myself on pizza I’ve found making my own in advance works wonders. I find making it in advance is better because drunk people + hot things = bad.

Here’s what you do:
1) Buy a pre-cooked pizza base (naan bread works well for this), pizza sauce, some cheese, and some toppings (maximize on green veggies if you want to be healthy)
2) Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF
3) Spread some pizza sauce on the base, then grate some cheese overtop
4) Put on additional toppings
5) Put it in the oven on a baking sheet for 4-6 minutes
6) Enjoy your pizza without having to wait 30 minutes+ for delivery

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Sure you could eat quinoa instead, which I’m sure takes no time at all, or lentils, but I found after eating those for a few weeks I got really bored. If you really like those things then by all means attempt to replace your pizza cravings with those. But if not, surrender yourself to a healthier version of pizza binging.

I’m not qualified to speak for the masses, but I know when I go to a burrito place, I get a ton of stuff in it just because its there, and what started off as a best-intentions burrito ends off being a “I’m going to stuff my face” burrito.

Here’s a simple remedy to this “situation”:
1) Buy whole wheat/grain tortilla, bell peppers, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, and maybe some ground beef if you’re up for that
2) Cook the ground beef in a pan (add oil then cook until no longer pink in the centre)
3) Chop the veggies, grate the cheese
4) Make the burrito to your desires
5) Eat the burrito
6) Reminisce about the burrito and don’t feel (too) bad about it

I hope this helps make your binging sessions a bit healthier!

Cheers,

FP

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Nomé Izakaya (Toronto, ON)

ONE DOLLAR OYSTERS!

If you like oysters, this is absolutely the place to come! If you like Japanese tapas as well, this is even more the place to come!

On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings you can come here to get dollar a piece oysters. The best options are the Malpeque Oysters (from PEI), which have a sweeter taste, and the Fanny Bay Oysters (10 for $12, Vancouver), which are much larger and have a bit of a briny taste. My personal favourite are the Fanny Bays- although you only get 10 they are big enough to split the difference, and they taste great!

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Fanny Bay Oysters

I highly recommend making a reservation a day in advance (Call 647-347-7937) and going with a friend. Split a dozen or two oysters then try some of their tapas dishes to share. For example, the tiger shrimp is spectacular- they are coated in a very unique sweet tangy sauce that will make you want to order tons more! (although I’d recommend against that unless you want to lighten you wallet)

To go with your copious amounts of dollar oysters and few tapas dishes I suggest getting either an XL Sopporo, which comes in a freezing cold glass, or try one of their cocktails. Last time I was there I had the Jade Fox (Kiwi Mojito), Sumo Sour (Lime and Orange Sour), and Cunning Kimono (Lychee Martini). If you were to try just one of the three I suggest getting the Cunning Kimono- it’s a lychee martini that is heavy on the lychee with a hint of cranberry.

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Cunning Kimono

Cheap but great oysters, excellent Japanese tapas dishes, and amazing drinks makes this one of my favourites in Toronto.

5/5

Try Nomé Izakaya for yourself!:
4848 Yonge Street
http://www.nomeizakaya.com/#!/home
(647)-347-7937

The Hunt for Guanciale

Ever since my good friend told me about it, I’ve been very interested in trying out Spaghetti Carbonara. I initially looked up a video that had an authentic Carbonara recipe, and about a week later I made the recipe for the first time.

Anyone in North America (and possibly elsewhere outside of Italy) who has tried pasta with a Carbonara sauce, has most likely experienced a white creamy sauce with bits of bacon and small slices of chicken, which came together into a brilliant, filling dish. That is not authentic Carbonara.

While it is certainly the way most restaurants in North America seem to produce it, this is simply the Western version of the sauce. A real Spaghetti Carbonara does not contain milk and cream, nor cut up strips of bacon. It is the result of a medley of parmesan and egg yolks cooked to creamy perfection in a hot pan that has been used to release the succulent juices of guanciale (cured pork jowl). Sometimes the dish includes chicken as well (I happen to prefer it that way personally), but not always.

I have now made authentic Spaghetti Carbonara on several occasions (although I try to limit myself to twice a month due to its unhealthiness). Although it has been missing one key ingredient- the guanciale. A common replacement thereof is pancetta, which in my opinion tastes far better than cooking it with regular bacon strips, and adds a lot to the dish when cooked.

Don’t get me wrong, authentic Carbonara with the replacement of pancetta is still amazing, but I have been inclined for quite a while to produce a truly authentic serving of Carbonara (minus the Italian background and formally trained culinary art skills). So for the past two months anytime I’ve been at a new grocery store I’ve asked for guanciale, and every time I was at a butcher (admittedly not that often) I looked for it, but to no avail.

Today I happened upon The Friendly Butcher on Yonge Street, and the butcher therein kindly informed me that guanciale is a very small part of the pig, which does not result in much to sell, and is therefore not very profitable for butchers to carry on stock. I could, if I truly wanted to, order it into the butcher in advance, but I was essentially told it wasn’t the best use of my money.

For now I think it would be wise to improve my cooking ability with the pancetta and once I’ve perfected it so to speak I will order some guanciale and see if it was truly worth the effort I’ve been putting into hunting it down.

Cheers,

FP

P.S. Here is the Recipe.

And here is my more detailed version of the recipe:

Serving Size: 2

Ingredients:
Table Salt
Spaghetti
Pancetta
Olive Oil
3 Eggs
1/3cup Parmesan Cheese Finely Grated
Parmesan Cheese
Pepper

Carbonara:

Spaghetti:
1) Bring a large pot of water to boil
2) Add ~10g salt
3) Add Spaghetti
4) Let boil with occasional stirring for ~10mins

In the Frying Pan: (Medium/High heat)
1) Cut ~100g-125g pancetta into thin chunks
2) Add some good olive oil to the pan to coat it
3) Add the pancetta to the pan

In a bowl:
1) Add 2 eggs
2) Add 1 yolk
3) Beat eggs
4) Add roughly 1/3cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
5) Add a bit of pepper (~15-20g)

Back to the Frying Pan:
1) Once the pancetta is cooked, remove from heat
2) Add cooked spaghetti
3) Stir
4) Add egg sauce
5) Stir
6) Transfer to a plate

On a Plate:
1) Grate parmensan onto spaghetti (light layer overtop)
2) Add a pinch of pepper

P.P.S. I know this isn’t my usual type of post, unfortunately I haven’t been able to cook for the past few days due to an issue in my kitchen. When I finally do make the Carbonara with the guanicale, there will definitely be a post about it.

STACK (Toronto, ON)

Located on Yonge Street just north of Lawrence, this is a gem in the burger joint packed area of North York. Go to STACK if you want a really good bang for your buck!

I went here yesterday with a friend of mine and got The Big Stack burger ($17) and a S’mores milkshake ($7).

The burger patties were pretty good tasting, not the best in Toronto per se, but definitely up there when it comes to burger joints. The garlic aioli added a nice touch and the bun tasted great. The downside is the difficulty of fitting the burger in your mouth to take a bite out of it, and the relatively thin bun quickly becomes soggy- you will definitely be making good use of your napkin! I used a fork and a knife for the last third or so of the burger. At $17 it is the most expensive burger on the menu and extremely filling. My friend got the Avocado Bacon Burger ($13) and was satisfied with the amount of food.

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The milkshake was amazing. I highly recommend getting one. Truly tasted like s’mores: sweet, well blended, graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate. Plus the presentation is great!

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The service was lightning fast. The server apologized for taking a short amount of time to get to us and was very attentive and helpful. No complaints in this area!

I’d say the only area where the restaurant could improve is to have a greater and more varied selection of burgers.

4.5/5

If you want to try STACK for yourself go to:
3265 Yonge St.
http://stackrestaurant.ca/home