Paramount Fine Foods – Hamilton

So there’s this great restaurant on the Hamilton mountain that ha- WAIT, STOP. What? You thought all the good restaurants were downtown? WRONG. There’s a growing number of fantastic restaurants on the Hamilton mountain. Welcome to a whole new world my friend. I’d like to introduce you to Paramount Fine Foods on Upper James Street, although I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you already know about this place since they’ve been popping up new locations across the GTA over the last four years.

I was lucky enough to be invited to their Hamilton location to try out a few new items on their menu, along with a bunch of other local food bloggers. Sura and her attentive staff were wonderfully accommodating and knowledgable. To warm up our tummies, they brought us multiple baskets of their new Saj bread. This hot out of the clay oven, thin crust bread is prepared by hand and served piping hot – with steam still coming out of its airy insides. The dough is absolutely delicious and fills the air with that familiar warm bread smell as it hits the table.

FullSizeRender (2) FullSizeRender (3)

So, naturally this bread pairs perfectly with a bowl full of hummus. I really enjoyed this appetizer as it wasn’t consumed by copious amounts of garlic, like some hummus I’ve tried in the past. It was perfectly creamy and had just the right amount of olive oil. I also appreciated the chickpeas ontop as it added another layer of texture to the dish.

FullSizeRender (4)We were brought a wonderfully fragrant and equally delicious Fattoush salad. The vinaigrette dressing was light and tangy, paired well with the fresh veggies and my favourite part of the salad, the crispy fried pita bits. This salad is a great way to start your meal on a healty and satisfying note.

FullSizeRender (7) FullSizeRender (5) FullSizeRender (6) IMG_1540

Up next was the main event. MEAT! Pictured on the left is their new Sujuk Shawarma which is a grilled, spiced minced beef sausage wrapped up tightly in a pita and stuffed with pickles. On the right we have my pick, the all new Saj Sandwich – roasted chicken wrapped in their fresh Saj bread, stuffed with pickles and seasoned with all sorts of wonderful Middle Eastern spices. This was my favourite because the jucy chicken really allowed the flavours of the spices to shine. On the side are some fresh tomatoes, pickles and a delicious garlic sauce for your dipping pleasure.

Moving on, I gave my tummy a pep-talk and prepared myself for the dessert round. The dessert in the picture below really intrigued me. While looking at their selection of desserts and carefully choosing what I wanted, I was informed that the orange bits ontop of this ooey-gooey plate of cheese were infact Vermicelli noodles! They utilize these noodles on many of their desserts and Baklawa as well. I was unsure of this dish at first and was expecting a strong cheese flavour however, that was far from the case. This delightful dish is called Kinafe; cheese drizzled with sugar syrup, topped with vermicelli and crushed pistachio. The cheese is very mild and not overpowering which plays well with the sweetness of the syrup.

FullSizeRender (15)

FullSizeRender (13)

Because I’m a small child at heart, these cookies were singing my name. Sprinkles? Yeah, totally doing that. These bad boys were filled with a vanilla cream and dipped in dark chocolate, then as you can see, dipped in a sea of fun, colourful sprinkles. These were super tasty!

I present to you, the star of the evening: IMG_1570FullSizeRender (11) FullSizeRender (10) FullSizeRender (9) BAKLAWA! (I originally thought this was spelt with a “v” and not a “w”) Shout-out to my boyfriend for telling me its spelt with a “w” and not a “v” and being a trooper when I didn’t believe him. OOPS. Sorry babes – you’re right. But really tho, can someone explain to me the difference in spelling? More importantly, the Baklawa here is incredible. One might even say as addicting as Cocaine! I’m looking at you Paul from Hamilton Gastronomy. We agreed there must be some secret cocaine ingredient baked into these golden nuggets. I know I’ll be back to buy a full tray and take it home to share with no one. NOT SORRY.

There’s just something about layered phyllo, melted butter, pistachios and sweet rose syrup that warms the heart and makes me a believer that there is still good in the world.

I urge you to climb/bike/drive/walk up the mountain to Paramount Fine Foods and give this place a try. The menu is huge, full of fresh dishes with farm to table ingredients and produce. It’s a feast for the eyes and stomach.

Hamilton’s Paramount Fine Foods is located at 1441 Upper James Street.

Have a sweet Holiday everyone 🙂

-Rach FullSizeRender (14)

Paramount Fine Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Advertisements

Recipe: Easy, Cheesy Bacon Chicken Bake

This is my first time creating a recipe from only what I had available in the kitchen. This chicken bake is refreshing, delicious and indulgent. With 5 simple ingredients, it’s easy to make and in no time, you’ve got a satisfying dinner. You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 (796ml) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1tbsp of Italian seasoning
  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 2 large)
  • 1 package of bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dried parsley flakes for garnish

IMAG2943_1

IMAG2955_1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 9×12 baking dish, combine the diced tomatoes (with juice), rice and half of the Italian seasoning. Place chicken breasts on top of tomato mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remaining Italian seasoning. Cover with tinfoil and place in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, based on size of chicken breasts.

IMAG2959_1

Check the chicken once or twice to be sure that it is fully cooked. Also check to see that the rice is fully cooked from the tomato juice. If not, add a 1/4 cup of water and cook for another 5 minutes.

IMAG2962_1

IMAG2966_1

Once fully cooked, sprinkle shredded cheese and chopped bacon on top and return to the oven until the cheese has melted and started to lightly brown. Approximately 5 minutes.

IMAG2970_1 IMAG2976_1

Garnish with dried parsley flakes. Serve immediately.

I served this dish on its own as it was pretty filling but a fresh salad or grilled vegetable would be a great addition. The tomatoes bring a juicy freshness, combined with the gooey cheese and crunchy, salty bacon, it’s to die for!

Try this out and give me your feedback in the comments below!

Happy eating!

-Rach

Recipe: Totchos

Who ever came up with the idea to cover Tater Tots in nacho toppings deserves a medal…an award of some sort. Or just someone to bake them a plate of cookies and say “congratulations, you’re a genius”.

I know this isn’t a post about some wonderful little find in Hamilton but its such a great recipe that I had to share! If it makes you feel better, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll make it for you here at Chef Hungrys’ 😉

I found this ‘dream turned into reality’ recipe on someones Facebook wall and couldn’t wait to make it in my kitchen. I don’t remember who posted it so I can’t even give credit where its due. But thank you, whoever you are.

The recipe called for a charred tomato salsa, of which I opted out of. When it came down to it, I just didn’t want to be bothered putting in the time when I could make a perfectly delicious salsa from the ingredients I had – it still turned out amazing.

IMAG0994_1

I combined the onion, garlic, diced tomato, cilantro, jalapenos, lime juice and salt and pepper to create a seriously flavourful salsa. ( I have a lot of left overs which is awesome, so I plan to eat this with some nacho chips over the course of the next week!) If you are short for time, this substitute will do just fine.

After I prepped the salsa I moved onto the cheese sauce that the recipe calls for. This was so simple to make, and tasted great. All you need is a can of evaporated milk, tablespoon of corn starch, hot sauce to taste and shredded cheddar and/or pepper jack cheese. Mix in the corn starch and cheese, add the evaporated milk and hot sauce, and cook over low heat – constantly stirring for approximately 15 minutes until thickened.

IMAG0992 IMAG0995_1

The recipe calls for 8 ounces (1 cup) of cheese but it definitely needed more in the end so I would recommend 2 cups. I mean, you’re obviously not counting calories with this one, so just put in 2 cups of cheese and call it a day.

I used a whole bag of tater tots for this recipe as I was feeding two people (one of which could eat for two with no hesitation) and we had left overs. The only critique I got was that the tots needed to be cooked longer so they were crispier and could hold the toppings better.

IMAG0993_1

So give ’em a bit more cooking time in the oven, maybe 5-10 minutes more than the bag recommends (if you’re using the whole bag) to brown them well. This will make them nice and strong to support all those delicious nacho toppings!

While the cheese sauce and tots were cooking I chopped up the chorizo and gave it a quick fry in the pan (about 10 minutes) until they darkened in colour and became crispy along the edges.

IMAG0997

Place them onto paper towel to dry as you get ready to assemble your Totchos!

After the tots were ready to go I put one layer on the plate, added the chorizo, salsa, and cheese sauce. After adding a second layer of tots I scooped on some more chorizo, salsa and cheese sauce, finishing it off with some chopped green onion.

IMAG1000_1 IMAG0999_1

This is a serious dinner. It means business. We had to lay down for a nap after this one to recuperate and digest, no joke – my critic is still asleep on the couch. Mission successful? Yeah.

You can get the full list of ingredients and recipe here.

Here is the link to the cheese sauce recipe which is also included on the Totchos recipe page.

Anyway, if you decide to make this at home, its an easy, simple meal to throw together – and is so much fun to eat!

Happy eating!

-Rach