A few weeks ago I decided that I need an escape from Evanston.

Between the cold, grey winter, seemingly never-ending storylines and a mountain(ish) of work, an escape from “the bubble” was more than necessary to attempt to reset and refocus before gearing up for my last quarter in business school. While a tropical getaway wasn’t in the cards, I knew what I needed was a quick jaunt to my second home/ favourite city in the world: New York.  An expiring JetBlue credit made the flights cheaper and having a place to crash in the city helped keep costs down.

Here’s a glimpse at my weekend.

IMG_3591

Abandoned water bottle on the F train.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

lentils with broiled eggplant

Okay, I know I’ve waxed poetic about my love of the Ottolenghi cookbooks.  Basically, I’m pretty obsessed with both Jerusalem and Plenty right now.  It’s basically been a hit parade whenever I cook something from these two books.  The hype is definitely worth it.

Those who know me know that I don’t spend too much time obsessing over what I eat.  Sure, I spend time planning out what I’m going to eat in any given week, but I don’t really think about balancing carbs vs. meat vs. vegetarian meals.  My theory is that I just listen to what my body wants and assume it will all balance itself out.  I think it usually does.  Sometimes my body wants steak and sometimes it wants veggies.  As long as I listen it tends to work itself out.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

molten chocolate lava cake | What's On My Plate

Yes, there’s a heart on that there plate.  Albeit a somewhat crooked heart, but it’s there.  That’s my attempt at signalling Valentine’s Day! Yes, a seasonal post.  I never do that ish. At all.  But there’s something about these little molten chocolate cakes that inspired me to be a little gushy about things.

For those who know me, know that I’m wholly unfazed by Valentine’s Day.  Like entirely unfazed.  I’m never that booed up girl who is excited for the day and I’m definitely not part of the anti-Valentine’s Day  camp either.  I’m definitely a part of the camp that will head to CVS on Saturday to buy half-priced candy though!  Holllleeeerrrr. Even as a kid I thought it was a bit silly to spend money on these cheap little cards that you had to give to EVERY kid in the class (even if you didn’t like certain kids) so that it was “fair”.   Yes, faking friendship is fair.  But I digress…

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

IMG_3472

Another school break… another set of travels.  I had three weeks off between quarters at school and was fortunate enough to spend the first week on the annual Kellogg ski trip in Breckenridge and the bulk of the last two weeks in… Accra, Ghana!  Given that the weather in the Midwest is so crappy, I would love to be back in Ghana! (and also because Ghana is awesome).

I was beyond excited to visit Ghana.  I had never been to Africa before, so that was huge.  Plus, being Jamaican, I’ve always had close connections to many Ghanaians as there are a lot of connections between the two cultures.  Finally I was excited for the food!  Before coming to Kellogg I had never had Ghanaian food, but thanks to my friends here, I’ve been fortunate enough to try it a few times.  Usually from Grace’s African Restaurant and enjoyed it every time.  Needless to say, I was excited to visit Ghana and learn a lot more about Ghanaian food.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

best homemade steak dinner

The alternate title to this post is: Treat Yo Self.

I woke up the other day and realized that January was out and it was officially February.  I don’t know how things have been for you, but over here January was a beast.  Perhaps I should’ve known given that I rang in the New Year on the other side of the world in Ghana on a bizarro but oh so fun night, that Janaury was going to be a doozy.  And a doozy it was.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

dhalpuri roti

While I love Chicago (to a degree) and have committed to working here for the next few years, there are some things that really irk me about the place.  For example, the lack of diversity in the food scene.  Sure Chicago is known as a restaurant town but I challenge you to find a Portuguese or more than one Trinidadian restaurant.  I’m sure there are tons of other countries that aren’t represented but having grown up in Toronto, those two stood out.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

DIY lowel ego light

Man oh man does time fly!  I knew that my blogiversary was in October but didn’t really realize that I’ve been blogging here for 6 years at this point.  And when I say “here” I’m not including the fact that I’ve had blogs for like 9 or 10 years before the 6 years that I’ve mentioned.  Just call me an early adopter. I started What’s On My Plate as a space to chronicle what I’ve been cooking.  Over the past few years it has evolved in to much more.  Now I use it as a way to not only share what I’ve been cooking with others, but also to chronicle my food travels, try new techniques and occasionally share some of my fave restaurants… not to mention some of the great friends I’ve made in the process.

Every year I try and set goals around food and blogging.  I usually forget about them shortly after posting but somehow manage to internalize them and usually end up accomplishing the goals in some capacity.  With this year being so crazy between school, recruiting, traveling and well… life, I actually forgot that I even set goals until I searched my blog to see the last set of goals that I had posted.  Go figure.

My goals for 2013 were pretty modest and achievable apparently as I ended up checking off everything on my list.  Including rebuilding my “home studio”.  For the past few years I had been coveting these Lowel Ego lights so that I could take better photos with artificial light.  At $125 a pop these were not the most practical purchase so a few months ago I bought all of the supplies to get my DIY on and make my own light setup!  After moving the project from my weekly to do list every week for the past few months, I finally bit the bullet and built the setup a few days ago… not realizing this was one of my goals for the year!  Check this link and this link for the DIY instructions that I used.

So what am I looking forward to working towards this year?  I don’t like calling them New Years Resolutions but here it goes…

Capturing my own food – I’ve had this on my list before, but I really want to learn how to fish and/or hunt.  I’ve already done a bit of butchering and I think catching my own food is the next logical step.

Hosting more rando dinner gatherings – As much as I’ve never liked to admit it, I love cooking for people that I care about.  I can’t help it.  This year I also discovered my love of the small dinner with good friends or potentially good friends.  I limit these dinners to 4 people (including myself) since a) that’s how big my table is and b) that’s how many place settings I have.   I try to invite a good mix of people and so far it has worked out famously.  More of those please!

Traveling more in search of great food and food stories – There are so many great food stories to be told while on the road.  While I do blog a bit about what I eat when I travel, I’d like to spend more time really planning out the food portion when I travel and finding great stories.  I would love to go to Jamaica or Mexico although I do have plans to go to at least Korea, Japan and Ghana this year.  Stay tuned!

Developing more recipes – I generally just adapt existing recipes but don’t completely freestyle that much.  This year I want to create more recipes and spend time testing them.  I actually have some cool partnerships in the works… stay tuned!

Being a bit more luxurious – Those who know me, know that I’m a pretty thrifty grocery shopper.  I grew up reading the weekly supermarket flyers with my mom and growing up with not a lot of money meant hitting up multiple supermarkets to get the best deals or being willing to traveling a bit further away to get good prices (No Frills… holla!).  Granted I’m still a “poor student” so I can get away with this, I want to be better about splurging on meals.  A little less so when I go out but being better about buying that really good steak or doing surf and turf at home (with lobster tails) for no good reason other than that I deserve it.

Stepping up my cocktail game – so I’m pretty confident with my food skills.  I like to drink.  The next frontier is obviously to start stocking a bar and making some kick ass cocktails.  We’re talking making syrups from scratch and all of that.

Baking more bread – I’m pretty obsessed with bread making.  I even have a starter going.  This might be the year of bread.

Happy New Year to all!  Eat well!

xoxo

Tonya

Tagged with:
 

Ottolenghi's Roast Chicken With Saffron, Hazelnuts, and Honey

So, one of the cardinal rules of having a dinner party is to make foods that you’ve made before.  For some reason I pretty much never adhere to this rule.  In fact, when I have people coming over I usually use it as a reason to experiment.  And the idea never stresses me out.  I’ve been lucky enough to have had very few kitchen disasters along the way, so I feel pretty comfortable and confident that I can try new things and know that it will be ok.  It also helps that I’m a pretty great picker when it comes to meals at restaurants and recipes to make at home (Toot! Toot! That is the sound of me tooting my own horn).  Seriously though, people always have meal envy when we go to restaurants because I often pick the best things.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

traditional challah | what's on my plate

As I sat down to write this post, I realized how quickly time flies by.  The opening line of this post was going to be “A few years ago I made my first loaf of challah”.  I then went to look at my original post and discovered that my first challah attempt dated back to 2008.  Yes, 5 years ago.  It honestly feels like it was last year.  A lot can happen in five years.  Five years ago I had decided to stop working in the television industry and transitioned to work at a marketing agency in Toronto.  I was living at home and was still getting settled into life in Toronto after 6 years in NYC.   I also realized that it has been 6 years since I’ve started this blog. SIX YEARS. Crazy.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

preserved lemons | what's on my plate

You all know that I love me some preserving.  Let me turn some fruits into jam or pickle some vegetables and I’m a happy camper.  I’m particularly happy when I get to crack open a jar of preserved peaches in February.

A few (ok, many) months ago the folks at Thomas Allen gave me a copy of Mourad Lahlou’s cookbook, New Moroccan. The recipes looked delicious but many of them required preserved lemons.  Now living in Toronto (at the time), finding preserved lemons should be a breeze but I’m always worried about what people put in products to preserve them.  Luckily Lahlou’s cookbook has a dead simple recipe for preserved lemons.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.

Switch to our mobile site