Friday, October 30, 2009

Olive oil....Which One to Get?


"Karine and I had such a great day touring the city. We checked into our hostel, did our usual tour and went on our way. It's beautiful here and so different than Australia. It reminds me of Ireland to some extent with it's rolling hills and countryside. We were looking at our guide book and found that New Zealand has their own olive groves so we will be checking those out. It seems that New Zealand has more then just sheep! Guess the Aussie's were wrong! lol.

Auckland is really charming but it's a bit too small for my taste. Great to visit though, and I can't wait to see the rest of the North Island.
We are going to see geysers and hot springs which are all naturally heated. Sounds awesome and relaxing! I love vacation!!!!!!!''


Olive oil is one of those ingredients that people love to talk about. Extra-virgin, virgin, once pressed, twice pressed... The discussion goes on and on and on. People are concerned with its taste level and flavor, what country it came from, and how dark or light it is. These are all important concerns when you are fine dining and cooking for the passion of cooking, but let's be honest: when you are backpacking, these things don't matter to you.

The number one reason that I suggest you to use olive oil is because it is a healthy choice and an important part of a nutritious diet. It will add flavor and be the smartest option when it comes to using fat. In my opinion, I would reach for the virgin olive oil. There is still some flavor but it is less expensive and more appropriate to cook with. If you were to buy extra-virign olive oil - and cook with it - all the extra flavor you paid for would disapear once it is heated so don't waste your money!

Here are some links about olive oil:

1. Food Network Canada

2. TLC - How Olive Oil Works

3. Fine Cooking

Keep me posted on all your cooking adventures. If you have any suggestions for recipes you'd like to see in the future, please let me know. You can twitter me, email me, or facebook me at any time. Have a blast traveling for all of us wishing we were there with you!

The Hostel Chef

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recipe 4: Hostel Frittata


"WOW! I just finished breakfast, came down to the computer room and saw your last email. I can't believe that you guys are coming to visit me! That is fantastic and I can't wait. What an amazing surprise.

We definitely need to talk tonight before I leave for New Zealand to discuss where we will meet. I have my train ticket to Alice Springs to see Ayer's Rock and then we head north to Darwin. From there, Karine and I will be flying to Cairns (top east c
oast) to see the Great Barrier Reef. Our plan is to do a three day tour of Cape Tribulation (rain forest) and then begin our trek down the coast.

I know that you guys fly into Sydney so maybe after a few days there, you can meet us up the coast in Rockhampton... the beef capital of Australia... lol. From there we can go visit Great Keppel Island and Fraser Island. They are supposed to be breathtaking! Can't wait to see you!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk to you soon : )"

(serves 2 - 4)

photo: Ryan Szulc
Food Stylist: Noah Witenoff - the Hostel Chef

What you need:
  • 6 eggs or 4 eggs and 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, cut in half moons
  • 1/2 a coffee cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled, and grated (if you don't have a grater, cut into small cubes)
  • 12 small cleaned shrimps
  • 1/2 coffee cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp of salt and pepper for egg mix

What you need to do:
  • Preheat oven to 375°F or gas mark 5.
  • Beat the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat.
  • Sautée the shrimp for a minute until they turn pink and set aside on a plate.
  • Add the onion and potatoes to the pan and sautée for a few minutes turning the potatoes often so they don't burn.
  • Add the shrimp back in the pan with the tomatoes and cook for another minute.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and top with the cheddar cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven using a glove, and slide the frittata onto a plate.
  • Serve with salad greens and toast.

Do I have to use shrimp?

I just made this frittata the other day with onions and zucchini and it was awesome. Try it with sautéed mushrooms or bacon. It's a great way to eat eggs and potatoes and it is just filling enough to get you through till lunch.


**Here is a side note. When Ryan and I shot this picture I had come up with a corriander sour cream to garnish the frittata. This was a basic mix of sour cream with fresh, chopped corriander. After remaking the frittata the other day, I decided to try it with salsa.....WOW! It was amazing! You have to try it!

The Hostel Chef

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recipe 3: Hostel Grilled Cheese


"Well this is it, on Friday I bid adieu to beautiful Sydney! Can you believe that I have already been away from home for four months?! It has gone by so fast. I have had an amazing time so far and I am so excited for the trip ahead.

We are heading to New Zealand on Monday for two week
s, and we begin in Auckland. We are doing a two week tour using Kiwi Experience. It is a bus service that allows you to get on and off at different stops along the way. The bus takes you to places that the city busses would never bring you like national parks, geysers, and mud baths. It sounds like an amazing trip and I can't wait for it to begin.

After New Zealand, we are returning to Australia for another 8 months! First stop will be Adelaide and then we will be trekking all the way up the center to Ayer's Rock and Darwin. I have to save my money for all this so it looks like grilled cheese will be on the menu for the next little!"

(serves 1)

photo: Ryan Szulc
Food Stylist: Noah Witenoff - the Hostel Chef

What you need:
  • 1 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 slices of bread of your choice
  • 2 pieces of bacon or 1 piece of Canadian bacon (peameal)
  • 1 slice cheddar - buy this in a brick or pre-sliced at the deli counter
  • 1 tablespoon of fig jam or fresh figs

What you need to do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees or gas mark 4.
  • Cook the bacon in a pan, lay on paper towel and set aside.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a large pan on med-low heat.
  • Brown the bread on each side and set aside.
  • Rinse your pan and lightly grease it with a paper towel that has a small amount of olive oil on it.
  • On a plate, build your sandwich: bread, figs or fig jam, bacon, cheese, bread.
  • Put your pan in the oven, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Other grilled cheese ideas:

  • Try swiss cheese, sautéed onions with a bit of honey, and some fresh thyme
  • Try goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, sauteéd red onions.

This is one of those recipes that you can do whatever you feel. Have a great idea for a grilled cheese? Leave me your comments and let's have a discussion about it. Looking forward to trying some of your ideas!

The Hostel Chef