Archives for April 2017

Restaurant Review: The Captain’s Boil

Are you a seafood lover or an adventurous person who enjoys trying out new experiences?! If so, prepare yourself ‘cause Ottawa is welcoming a new seafood joint known as The Captain’s Boil. It’s a seafood boil chain-restaurant that has already opened locations in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and now Ottawa and promises to become your favourite seafood restaurant while having you feast like a pirate and dine like a captain.

The Captain’s Boil

The Captain’s Boil is located on 354 Elgin St., right at the corner of Frank and Elgin. It’s a two-level restaurant, but we were restricted to the floor-level given it was a soft opening event. As soon as you’re seated, you’ll notice a subtle sea theme throughout the restaurant. The theme is present with pops of blue, a wooden wall engraved with sea creatures, wooden accents and thick twisted ropes reminiscent of boat lines. Necessary tools such as plastic bibs and plastic gloves (instead of cutlery) will be provided to eat with because pirates didn’t use cutlery Arrr!! They also provide crab crackers and scissors when ordering crab legs.

A waiter who quickly explained how the menu works and what was available given some seafood items are seasonal took our order. The seafood boil is the main feature and consists of selecting your choice of seafood, then selecting the flavour mix, followed by choosing the heat level. The choice of seafood available was baby clams, mussels, king crab legs and shrimp however they also have crawfish, Dungeness crab, and Snow crab legs on their menu.

The seafood is boiled or steamed and then thoroughly mixed with a flavour of your choice in a plastic bag. There are 4 flavours to choose from including Cajun, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Sauce and Captain’s Boil, which is a combination of the three flavours. There are many side options to choose from such as potatoes, corn, okra, lotus root, Cajun fries, and seafood fried rice to name a few. They are also several chicken options available for those who may not want seafood.

The Food

We ordered mussels and king crab legs with the Captain’s Boil flavour, as well as Cajun seafood fried rice and Cajun fries. The mussels arrived quickly, steaming and tasted fresh and plump. The Captain’s Boil flavour was delightful and complemented the freshness of the mussels and king crab legs really well. The Cajun Seafood Fried Rice, although tasty, should be renamed Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice because it only consisted of shrimp and no other seafood. The Cajun fries were spicy and crispy but be careful if you don’t like spicy food.

Mussels with Captain’s Boil Flavour Mix
Mussels with Captain’s Boil Flavour Mix

The Cajun Seafood Fried Rice, although tasty, should be renamed Cajun Shrimp Fried Rice because it only consisted of shrimp and no other seafood. The Cajun fries were spicy and crispy but be careful if you don’t like spicy food.

Cajun Seafood Fried Rice
Cajun Fries

Final Take

I liked the interactive experience of this restaurant, where you’re using your hands (covered in gloves) to eat, open the seafood shells, and scoop out extra sauce.

I enjoyed the interactive experience of this restaurant where you’re using your hands (covered in gloves) to eat, open the seafood shells, and scoop out extra sauce. It gets you really involved with your food even though it could get messy. After all, it is saucy seafood served in a plastic bag. I’m happy to know that the plastic they use is BPA free and biodegradable. I’ve always wanted to try a southern seafood boil à la New Orleans, although I have yet to do it I am glad Ottawa has welcomed The Captain Boil, which gave me an idea of what it could be like.

Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

I can’t believe it’s already April! It feels as though the month of March went by way faster than February. It’s still snowing sporadically on this side of the world so although it’s Spring, it’s mostly been a grey and cold one so far. One of my favourite things to do when it’s cold and depressing is to bake. Not only does it heat up my apartment but it’s also therapeutical for me. It makes me feel warm and positive, especially when I bake successfully lol. This recipe for buttery chocolate chip cookies is something I’ve been working on for a while now but I’m glad it has resulted in obtaining my perfect recipe for homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Notice I said “my perfect recipe for homemade chocolate chips” because I know that people like their cookies differently. Some like them chewy or cakey, some like them thin and crispy, while others may prefer a crispy edge and chewy centre. How do you like your cookies? I like mine rich and buttery so real butter is used. The butter in this recipe is actually browned to golden perfection, which adds layers of flavour. I also like mine super chocolatey but not Overly chocolatey; like all you’re chewing on is mainly chocolate chips and a little bit of cookie dough. Nah man, I like mine balanced with the use of at least two types of chocolate, bittersweet dark chocolate and milk-chocolate. However you like your cookies, give these a try and I know you’ll love them!

I always use organic whole spelt flour instead of regular flour because it’s packed with nutrients, it’s alkaline, low in gluten, and doesn’t alter the final taste. It’s an ancient grain that is naturally high in protein and complex carbohydrates (the best kind). Spelt also contains significant amounts of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and folic acid. For more information on the great benefits of Spelt, check out this link.

It can easily be substituted in any recipe that calls for flour with a 1:1 ratio! The only difference you’ll notice using Spelt flour is the slightly darker brown colour and a very slight nutty taste. Otherwise the benefits far outweigh those of regular flour or even whole wheat flour. I discovered spelt flour while trying to include foods from Dr. Sebi’s recommended Alkaline foods. I still eat food-products containing wheat regularly but I always prefer to use Spelt flour when cooking or baking at home.

Spelt flour, milk powder & baking soda

Have you ever heard of/eaten cookies made with milk powder? I never even heard of it until I watched a Vice Munchies video years ago on cookies and this cookie connoisseur shared her secrets for baking the perfect cookies. Growing up in a Francophone country like Senegal with a heavy French patisserie influence, chocolate chip cookies weren’t really something I grew up eating to actually know how to make them. It was when we moved to Kenya and went to an International School that followed an American Curriculum that I was introduced to American foods such as chocolate chip cookies, fudge brownies, lemon bars, jolly ranchers, fruit roll-up, etc.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

This recipe is truly rich and scrumptious. It yields about  24 beautiful and delicious cookies but be careful if you’re like me and can’t stop yourself once you start eating something delicious. I bake 9 cookies at a time to try and portion control… doesn’t always work. I’ve noticed that letting the dough sit overnight in the fridge allows the vanilla essence and browned butter flavours to be more pronounced. I usually make the dough, bake a few cookies and let the rest of the dough chill overnight. The next day, I roll them into balls the size of golf balls and place them in Ziploc bags to freeze until need be. I bake them directly (from frozen) and increase the cooking time by 2-3 minutes while keeping an eye on it for the last 2 minutes. Either way it can be enjoyed right away or later while tasting better.

Yields 24

Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

17 minPrep Time

13 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
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Ingredients

  • 1+3/4 Cup Organic Whole Spelt Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 TBSP Milk Powder (nonfat milk aka buttermilk powder)
  • 14 TBSP Butter, divided and at room temperature
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2.5 TBSP Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2.5 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg + 1 yolk
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips & chunk mix***

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets (or 1) with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Set 4 TBSP of butter aside in a large mixing bowl that will be used later.
  3. Add 10 TBSP of butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan that's medium size and melt the butter over medium heat. Heat until melted (about 2-3mins) then whisk constantly until the butter starts sizzling and then foaming. The butter will become slightly golden brown with a nutty aroma. PLEASE DON'T LET IT BURN. Remove from heat and pour over the butter set aside in the large mixing bowl. Stir until butter is completely melted.
  4. Add sugars, salt and vanilla, whisk for 3 minutes until well combined. Let it sit for 1 minute before adding the egg and egg-yolk and whisk again for 2 minutes and set aside for a couple of minutes.
  5. Meanwhile use a small bowl to combine the flour, milk powder and baking soda.
  6. Whisk the butter sugar mixture for 30 secs and set aside again.
  7. Meanwhile chop the bittersweet chocolate into chunks
  8. Whisk the butter sugar mixture for 30 secs and it should be smoother, lighter in colour and glossier, almost like toffee. If it's not there yet then just let it sit for 2 more minutes and whisk again before checking consistency.
  9. Add flour mixture to the butter-sugar-egg golden mixture and use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and chunks.
  10. Create balls of dough that are the size of golf or ping-pong balls. Place 8-9 balls of dough on each sheet and bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet halfway through.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Type: Desserts & Snacks

Notes

***For the 1 Cup of Chocolate Chip Mix, I used semisweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips and 3.5oz of bittersweet (aka dark) chocolate that I cut into chunks.

NB: You can prepare the dough balls and freeze them for future use, just bake them 2-3 minutes longer than the suggested time.

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(Recipe adapted from: http://lifemadesimplebakes.com/2017/02/xl-browned-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/)

I’m sorry (not really) that it isn’t vegan because I have yet to come across anything “vegan” that tastes as delicious as real butter, especially when it’s called for in certain recipes. If anyone has any suggestions then please let me know because I love discovering new things especially if it’s also healthier. But honestly these buttery chocolate chip cookies are a real treat that you’ll truly enjoy.

It’s a recipe that kids and grown folks will love and ask for more. It can be enjoyed as a snack, with tea or coffee, anytime of the day or night.  If you decide to give the recipe a try please let me know how it turns out by commenting below and/or snapping a pic of your batch and sharing it on the gram #purenaturalist.

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