Friendly Food Snobs

flank steak with roasted potatoes and onions

I was in New York recently and ate a dish that inspired this one at Epistrophy. I knew I had to recreate it at home. It was my last meal in NY after three days of hanging with my best friend Laura, celebrating her birthday on a Brooklyn rooftop, shopping, working out and eating.

I like flank steak, hanger or striploin and like it cooked medium/medium rare and love how the potatoes soak up the juices. The addition of the caramelized onion and fresh thyme really make the dish.

I used steak from a meat delivery service called truLOCAL. Their meat is local, responsibly sourced and best of all it’s delivered to your door! My order was packed in dry ice and frozen even on a summer day by the time I unpacked it. Use the promo code RACHELBARBARO10 to save $10-$20 on your first order. (Full disclosure I received an influencer box of complimentary meat and it was all delicious. They sponsored this post.)

Okay back to the recipe. It serves two generously.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes chopped into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 approximately 13 ounce steak (I like flank/hanger steak or striploin)
  • 2-3 cooking onions
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh thyme

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash potatoes. Chop into 1-2 inch cubes. No need to peel them. Spread potatoes over parchment lined baking sheets. I used one large baking sheet but feel free to use two sheets. You want the potatoes to crisp up and they won’t if crowded. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and generously salt and pepper. It feels like a lot of oil but trust me. Roast in oven 30 minutes until golden brown and be sure to flip once during cooking so all sides get crispy and brown.

Remove the potatoes from the baking sheets onto two plates lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. I like to add a little sprinkle of salt here too while they are super hot. I taste one first to check if they need it.

Prep the onions by slicing them in half and then into half moons. Heat the 3 TBSP oil and butter in a non stick frying pan and add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook on low to medium heat until the onions start to caramelize and get fragrant. A little tip here I love caramelized onions and have burnt them more times that I care to admit. Low and slow is the best way to get them sweet and delicious.

There are two ways to cook the steak. You can grill it on the BBQ (medium to high heat) about six minutes a side. Or I often cook the steak in my cast iron pan, also medium to high heat about six minutes a side. If you want medium to well done cook for ten minutes a side. The prep for the steak is the same for BBQ or cast iron.

Make sure the steak is room temperature. Drizzle lightly with olive oil on each side and generously salt and pepper each side. Make sure cast iron or BBQ grills are hot. You want to hear that sizzle. After cooking the steak to desired doneness place on a cutting board and let rest for at least five minutes, then slice against the grain.

To plate on a platter place potatoes then top with steak slices, onions and a scattering of fresh thyme and dig in!

blackberry almond cake

It’s early June and the summer lays out full of possibilities. I love this time of year. I have been playing around with the idea of this cake for a few weeks. I finally wrangled all the ingredients including some gorgeous organic blackberries (I ate the extra pint while I baked). Is there anything better than baking with summer fruit?

The blackberries get sort of jammy and even sweeter as they are baked right into this cake. This cake is moist and lower in carbs thanks to the almond flour. It’s perfect all on its own. If you want to dress it up for dessert sift some icing sugar over each slice or add a dollop of whipped cream. I love it with a strong cup of tea in the morning as a treat. Raspberries or blueberries would be lovely too if you don’t have blackberries.

You’ll see in the recipe I used salted butter, and didn’t add any extra salt. Probably a baking purist would critique me for this one – but I always have salted butter in my fridge as my kids love it on good bread as a weekend treat. So if I can do a shortcut – I will. If you do have unsalted butter and prefer to bake with it, I would add 1/2 tsp salt to the recipe. Oh and don’t over mix this batter, stir until just combined. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup superfine almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (salted) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2% dairy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter to grease the pan
  • approx. 15 blackberries (rinsed)
  • small handful slivered almonds

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pan generously with the 1 tbsp butter. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate, however you can also use a round metal cake pan.

Mix the dry ingredients and stir well. Cream the sugar and room temperature butter. Then add in the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into the greased pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkled the almonds over the top. Nestle the berries in between the almonds. Be generous with the berries, really cannot have too many. Push them down a tiny bit into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely (at least an hour or two) before cutting in with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy blueberry buckle.

honey dijon dill salmon

I woke up today to sunshine and birds chirping. After the longest winter ever, spring’s finally here!

This salmon is fresh, light and so yummy. It’s a weeknight favourite in my house. (I try to serve fish to the kids at least once a week.) You can make the rice the day before so when the salmon bakes just saute the veggies and dinner is done in 15 minutes.

The warmer weather has me decluttering (putting away the winter coats in Toronto is the best feeling) and peeling back layers. A season change feels like a good time to think about habits and emotional reactions. And get a little curious about what is maybe not serving me anymore or what could I let go of or shift. I’ve been reading lots of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle and Gabrielle Bernstein. These books sit on my bedside table and I pick them up and read a few pages when I feel the call. I always feel a bit more peaceful and balanced afterwards. Meditation helps me with this too.

Back in my university days (100% not peaceful and balanced days!) I worked in a French Swiss restaurant bartending and serving. This salmon reminds me of the spring menu the chef would write. Dill and fish are the freshest flavours together. Hope you enjoy it! Recipe serves four.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 4 salmon fillets

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Wisk the mustard, honey and dill together in a small bowl using a fork. If it is very thick add a touch of olive oil. My honey is runny so I usually don’t have to do this.

Place salmon skin side down on the parchment lined sheet and pour 1/4 of the honey mustard mixture over each piece. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just cooked. (Be wary of over cooking – dry salmon is the worst.) My oven takes just 11 minutes. Remember the salmon will keep cooking when it comes out of the oven and sits on the sheet.

Need a side? Serve with brown or basmati rice, mushrooms sauteed in butter or baby spinach quickly wilted in a pan with olive oil and salt and pepper. This kale salad or this arugula salad would also be perfect beside the salmon. Happy spring, friends! xo

almond and citrus green salad

It’s a rainy April day here in Toronto. My tulips are peaking out from the soil by our front porch. Dash just turned one (!) Oscar is four years old in June. Life’s full and busy. Gosh I am tired most days and struggling to find just a moment or two for myself.

I am finding that eating well is sort of my superpowers. Lots of veggies/fruit, good protein and fats like nuts and avocados.I am finding my mood is directly linked to my diet. I feel calmer, sleep better and tummy feels better eating this way. I did a ten day Whole30, so um I guess that is a Whole10? And since then I have been feeling good with no white carby food or processed sugar.

My last remaining vices? Do you have any? Mine are cheese and dark chocolate. My love for them will never die. Always the best quality I can afford and just occassionally.

Okay back to this salad. I love to change up my salads to keep it interesting. The citrus and almond flavours are perfect together. I used mâche mixed greens, toasted slivered almonds and sliced kumquats. If you don’t have kumquats you can easily sub in clementine segments or pieces of a peeled and chopped fresh orange. Fun fact about kumquats – their skin is sweet and insides are that citrus-y sour flavour.

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the salad:

  • four handfus baby mixed greens (OR baby spinach)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 5-6 kumquats thinly sliced (OR 2 clementines peeled and segmented OR 1 orange peeled and segmented)

To toast the nuts (which is a must, so flavourful) heat a non stick pan to low-medium heat and toasted for five minutes or until fragrant. Be sure to give the pan a shake every minute or so. Let the nuts cool in a bowl. (They will continue browning if you leave them in the pan.)

Grab your favourite salad bowl and toss all the salad ingredients in there. I like to use a glass measuring cup to make my salad dressing and whisk it well to combine it with a fork.

Pour as much dressing as you like over the salad, toss and serve. Extra salad dressing will keep well in the fridge for three days. Happy spring, friends!

Cauliflower tacos

These Mexican spiced cauliflower tacos are SO delicious. I love them for a weeknight meatless meal. Spring is just about to arrive here in Toronto and I’m craving a little more yoga, sunshine and vegetables.

I roast the cauliflower and stuff it into soft corn tacos and top with avocado, feta cheese, fresh salsa, lime and cilantro. But the cauliflower is amazing on its own too as a side dish, or on a grain bowl. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the oil and spices with the salt and pepper in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and chop the cauliflower. I remove the core and then break apart the florets.

Throw the cauliflower pieces on the baking sheet and drizzle with the spice and oil mixture. Roast for 25 minutes. Flip the cauliflower pieces over and stir it around halfway through the cooking time to get all the pieces equally crispy.

Topping ideas:

  • lime
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • pico do gallo (fresh salsa)
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lettuce or shredded cabbage
  • spicy mayo (mix ratio of 1/2 mayo to 1/2 siracha)

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