Katelyn Sander

Experimenting with Good Food

Spice of Life

It’s been a long month. We’re kind of glad it’s coming to a close. But before it does, we wanted to share some of the recipes we’ve tried over the last few weeks. (The brownies are unbelievably delicious!!) Plus, some exciting news about our new award, why we think our events business will flourish when we’re able to reopen, and – as always – a feature highlighting some incredible local shops and restaurants.

A HUGE thank you!

Stratus Restaurant is proud to announce that, for the second year in a row, we have been crowned the winner of the Top Choice Best Fine Dining Restaurant in Toronto.

As this award is voted on by the public, we sincerely thank all of you who chose to cast a ballot for us again this year. We truly appreciate the support and love.

We have worked tirelessly to set new standards for quality, service, value, and professionalism. This could not have been done without the dedication of our team and the loyalty of our patrons, which we are very grateful for. Winning this award is very important to us, as we are dedicated to the consistent pursuit of superior customer satisfaction.

It has been a difficult year for our restaurant and the industry as a whole. While we’re unable to serve you in-person now, we hope you are enjoying the Spice of Life newsletter in the meantime. We will be back and better than ever and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.

We at Stratus Restaurant would like to thank you again for voting us your Top Choice of 2021!

Mocktails for Dry January

If you’ve been participating in Dry January this year…you’re almost there! To help you get through your last dry weekend, we thought we’d share another couple of our favourites. Recipes from Town and Country Magazine.

Mango Mule Mocktail

A fresh and fruity mocktail for you to enjoy this weekend.

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 5 slices of cucumber
  • 1 oz honey syrup
  • 1.5 oz mango puree
  • 1.5 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 oz ginger beer
  • Ice

Instructions:

  • Muddle cucumber and honey syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
  • Add the mango puree and lime juice and shake with ice vigorously. Strain into a copper mug.
  • Top with ginger beer and stir.
Virgin Watermelon Margarita

The blast of winter weather this week had us dreaming of warmer days…so we’re sharing one of our favourite summer mocktails!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tsp agave
  • 5 tbsp sparkling water

Instructions:

  • In a blender, puree enough watermelon chunks so that you have 4 cups of watermelon puree.
  • Add lime juice and agave and mix again.
  • Pour into 4 cups. Top with sparkling water.

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken salad – filled with cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado – is the healthy recipe we tend to make again and again and again. If you’re vegetarian, try subbing in hard boiled eggs for the chicken. Recipe from Delish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lbs)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 4 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved

Instructions:

  • Heat grill to medium-high. Season chicken with coriander, oregano, salt, and pepper. Grill, covered, turning halfway through, until golden and no longer pink, 18 – 22 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice.
  • Meanwhile, make dressing. Whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, and parsley in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, feta, and olives among four serving bowls. Top with sliced chicken, then drizzle with dressing.

Canadian Beef & Sweet Potato Winter Stew

Creamy with a zip of ginger, this stew is hearty and perfect on its own, served with a side of freshly baked bread and butter, or generously ladled over rice. Recipe from the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (454 g) Canadian stewing beef, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper, divided
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
  • 2 small or 1 large sweet potato, cubed and peeled (about 1 lb/454 g)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 cups (500 mL) beef broth
  • 1 cup (250 mL) whole Canadian milk (3.25%)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (500 mL) chopped kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain Greek or Balkan-style yogurt
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions:

  • Sprinkle beef with half each of the salt and pepper.
  • In a large, deep saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown beef all over and place on a plate. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and lemongrass, stirring to coat well. Add broth, remaining salt and pepper and return beef and any juices to the saucepan; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to a gentle simmer; cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in sweet potatoes; cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until beef is tender.
  • In a small bowl, whisk milk and flour until smooth. Stir into stew along with kale and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until thickened and kale is wilted. Remove from heat and ladle into serving bowls.
  • In another small bowl, stir together yogurt and cilantro. Dollop on top of stew in each bowl to serve.

Tip:

  • Remove lemongrass pieces before serving.

Coconut Flour Chocolate-Almond Brownies

Coconut flour works for Paleo and gluten-free diets. It’s high in protein and fiber, and low in sugar and carbs. However, it’s not always the easiest flour to work with. But, there’s no better time to give it a try. Test your skills with these scrumptious chocolate-almond brownies! Recipe from the Brit + Co.

Ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup almonds, rough chopped
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 3in baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper so it hangs over the edges of the pan. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a medium bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the butter and sugar and use a hand mixer to blend until combined. Add the eggs and almond extract and blend until combined.
  • A little at a time, add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or blend to combine. Fold in the almonds and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  • Transfer the mixture to the lined baking pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 23 – 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Transfer the pain to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, lift out of the pan using the ends of the aluminum foil. Cut into squares.

Neighbourhood Gems

We miss restaurants. And eating out. And socializing with friends… Until we can return, we’ll continue to support our local favourites. Small businesses supporting small businesses, it’s the only way for us all to come out of this stronger!

Sanagan’s Meat Locker: Voted Toronto’s Best Butcher Shop in 2019 by the readers of Now Magazine & the Toronto Star, Sanagan’s – with two locations in Kensington & Gerrard – is a full-service butcher shop specializing in quality meats, poultry, and foodstuffs sourced exclusively from Ontario family farms.

Real Empanada: Zest up your next meal with Real Empanada’s authentic Colombian empanadas – tasty, wholesome, and gluten-free. Available in free-range chicken, tasty beef, and Beyond Meat varieties, every order includes a complimentary family recipe salsa that comes in three spice levels. They currently offer three options for getting your meal: curbside pick-up, delivery, and UberEats.

La Palette: This beloved Kensington Market hole-in-the-wall French bistro has continued to evolve throughout the pandemic, now having been transformed into a rare wine shop, European bakery, bistro style take-out restaurant. They offer ready-to-eat and heat-at-home food and a selection of wine to go with them that you won’t find anywhere else.

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