Monthly Archives: May 2012

Toast Post: A Girl’s First Cheese Fridge

Transporting some cheese at 11pm.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.  Last night at 9:45 pm I had to go buy a fridge for my cheese.

My husband had been “suggesting” this idea for months as out fridge space was being taken over by fromage.  With a stack of fresh cheeses for an upcoming Queso Fresco piece,  a dozen leftovers from my “best cheese burger topping” experiment ( The Spread article here if you missed) and gloriously large wedges of raspberry, balsamic, espresso and Merlot BellaVitano to store I knew it was time.

I zipped over to Home Depot and bought myself a little beer fridge (the gentleman helping was equally disappointed –no bevvies?–and fascinated –all cheese?—at its future use).

We set it up, plugged it in and the first item I reached for was:

Mainly to get rid of “new fridge smell” and to aid “new cheese smell” to take over.  (Why isn’t that an air freshener scent?)

And now just a few dangerous steps away, down our creaky stairs with no rail and into the basement you can find stinky treasure.

Sorry–the lighting was not great in the basement residence of the fridge.

Many years ago I wrote a little textbook called “30 Days in the Life of an Animation Producer” (being an animation producer at the time).   At the end of my bio the editors added a line which still makes me laugh and I would never have written, except in a storybook.  It was, “Sometimes I feel like the luckiest girl in the world”.

But today, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

9 Comments

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Uncategorized

When the moon hits your eye like a no knead pizza pie….

No knead pizza dough was a revelation and a roaring success—say I, the only one eating the hot pizza yesterday afternoon at 1pm.  A lone witness to my own spectacular creation.

But it really was amazing, the crust was flavourful (the point of the 18 hour ferment) and chewy on the inside, but crisp on the exterior.  And I didn’t even use a pizza stone, mine cracked a while back and I have yet to replace it, but now I want to replace it ASAP.  So much pizza potential in my future!

For some background, here is a good piece on the no-knead recipe (with a video) created by Jim Lahey.   You must try this pizza dough at least once.  Throwing the dough together takes about 45 seconds (give or take a minute) and after an overnight ferment you can have pizza on the table way sooner than delivery can get to you.  Sooner than you can bake a frozen pizza in fact.  And waaaaaaaaaaay better.

If you can, try and use your scale for the measurements as it will be more accurate than cups/measuring spoons.  (Scales are not expensive, invest when you can, it will change your baking for the better.)

Ina  large bowl mix 500g AP flour (3 3/4 cups), 1 gram active dry yeast (1/4 tsp), 16 grams fine sea salt (2 tsp).  Now add 350g water (1 1/2 cups).

*make sure you have the right yeast–not instant and not pizza yeast.

Mix everything with a spatula til the dough comes together and then use your hands to pick up any excess flour with the still sticky parts of the dough.

I ended up with the above.  And then I threw a tea towel over it (or just use saran wrap) and let it sit in a warm part of the house for 18 hours.

And that part is done.  See?  Easy–I barely had enough instructions to go with the pictures.

18 hours later it should have doubled.  (Mine also kind of “splatted” a bit.  Made itself comfortable in the bowl. )  The “doubling” may go slower in a cooler room and faster in a warmer one.

Once doubled, I dumped the dough onto a well floured counter and using a serrated knife cut it into four pieces.  Then you take each piece individually and pull in the edges towards the center…

It doesn’t matter which corner you start with, just pull it forward like you’re folding a handkerchief….(we all still use handkerchiefs right?)

Until you have something like the above.  Then flip your dough over, seam on the bottom, and using your hands mold the dough into a neat ball.

And you will end up with something very satisfactory, like the above.  The dough will feel loose and silky in your hands, it is less stiff than other pizza dough recipes sometimes are.

Since I was not ready to make my pizza, I saran-wrapped my dough balls and put them in the fridge.  They can sit for up to three days.

You bring the dough out of the fridge a couple hours before you want to use it.  Just to get it to room temperature.  (Yes, I probably could have used a bigger plate.)   Also, my dough was a bit damp under the saran wrap, so I just dusted it with a bit of flour once out of the wrap.  Then covered with a tea towel and let warm up.

Let’s summarize: on your actual pizza making day all you have to 1. take dough out of the fridge and 2. form it into a pizza.

Also preheat the oven to 500°F.

The forming is the fun part.  Handle the dough very gently–you want some of the gas/bubbles to remain.  First stretch it lightly with your hands on the work surface to form a small disk.  Then you can pick it up and “pizza guy” style, use your knuckles to pull it out to about 10-12″.  You should also sing the East Side Mario’s theme song while you do this.

My pizzas were about 10″ average.  Before topping move your dough onto a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet (to avoid the edges) before topping.  Dust the back of the dough well with flour.  (You do not want to try and lift your raw dough once it has toppings on it.  It will be disaster and you will then truly hate pizza making.)

I had some tomato sauce in the fridge, a ball of mozzarella and some prosciutto.  My pizza was born.

Ideally you have a pizza stone in the oven that is heating up and you can slide your pizza off the peel, or off the back of your cookie sheet, onto the stone which will instantly start crisping and cooking the dough.  I just put the pizza in oven on the same cold cookie sheet it started out on–and crossed my fingers.  Bake 6-7 minutes.

Success!  I added some sweet red onion and baby kale leaves and sliced.

Chewy, crispy and delicious.  There will be no crusts left behind when you make this dough.  They may even get eaten first.

(If you love this recipe, you may decide to love Jim Lahey and buy his pizza book My Pizza: The Easy No Knead Way to Make Pizza At Home)

14 Comments

Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Uncategorized

Congrats Emily-you’re going to the fair! The cheese fair I mean.

Hi everyone who entered the draw for the Cheese Festival tickets.  We have a winner–the lovely Emily Fox of Toronto.

Just wanted to thank everyone who put their name in the hat, it was a lot of fun and hopefully I can do some more giveaways soon.

Eventually I want the excitement of winning a giveaway on cheeseandtoast to rival the excitement of being called down on The Price is Right.  Please go buy some tube tops everyone.

And perhaps you’ll still be tempted to go to Prince Edward County next weekend–cheese, wine and gourmet goodies.  Plus antique stores along the way.

Have a great weekend!

Sue

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Art of the Danforth: Feast in the East (and no knead pizza dough)

If you’re already thinking about the weekend (yes, that started Tuesday I know) you might want to check out some of the Art of the Danforth activities.  On Saturday night is an event called Feast in the East which will combine music, art and culinary art.  There are three such events over the course of the festival.  Last week the theme was British/Scottish.  This Saturday, May 26 is Italian and (I am excited about this one) June 9 is Ethiopia.

Meanwhile I am going to finally try the no-knead pizza dough recipe by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery.  It ferments overnight so I will let you know how it goes, but I find pizza is the perfect quick dinner for a Friday night.  Especially if I can whip together the dough today.  I have an easy, favourite recipe but this will apparently “exceed my wildest expectations”.  We shall see.

If you want to do this along with me (in fact, can you do this and I’ll come over and pick up half of the dough tomorrow) here is a link to the recipe from Bon Appetit.

Also, if you make this and then tomorrow on the drive home you’re like, “screw it, I’m ordering Thai” the dough can sit for three days.   A procrastinator’s dream.

Otherwise we can compare notes bright and early Saturday morning.  No, of course not, Saturday is for sleeping in until your spouse does not get up when your toddler is clearly making loud wake-up noises from his bedroom at 7am and someone needs to go get him….

5 Comments

Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Uncategorized

Sauce on the Danforth: Craft Beer, 1920′s Cocktails and Music

I’ve been walking by the old location of Classy Nails wondering why they couldn’t stay classy (oh Ron Burgundy!) and what the little teeny sign above the liquor license application meant, “sauce” it said.

Now it is a a HUGE sign.  Which seems like good progress.  Something to be excited about.  I found the LinkedIn page for “MichelleB” who is supposedly opening the lounge and here is what it described our new east end bar as:

An East-End Toronto Lounge with a Victorian-Goth Bordello-Chic Design.
We offer:
– fresh hand made pasta with your choice of Sauce
– a vast selection of Craft Beer on Tap and in Bottle
– an array of 1920′s inspired cocktail offerings
– Top shelf Tequilas, Bourbons, Scotches & Vodkas
– music, music, music… you never know who you’ll hear

Conveniently located steps from Greenwood Station.

(which it is, it’s between Greenwood and Monarch Park, just east from Bomb Wellness and west of Gerry’s grocery).  For those not in the hood, it is between Greenwood and Coxwell subway.

This comment on Chowhound cracked me up:

“Ha, I think there’s a few places on the Danforth doing the Victorian-Goth-Bordello thing without knowing it! “

Still–craft beer, top-shelf tequila?  1920′s cocktails?  Bring on bordello-chic.  Opening in August.   www.sauceonthedanforth.com

Here are the latest photos!  http://www.sauceondanforth.com/pictures.htm

3 Comments

Filed under Restaurants and Products, Uncategorized

Joanne Kate’s First Column for The Globe- April 22, 1974

Monday, April 22, 1974

If you read the Globe this Saturday you’ll know that Joanne Kates will be retiring from her position and the restaurant critic.  Her final column will run next Saturday May 26.

If you were following the buzz on Twitter you heard the rumours days before.

I thought that if you hadn’t seen the update in Toronto Life you might enjoy reading this scan of her very first piece (or you can download it from the Toronto Life page).

And if you hadn’t heard the news (being sheltered from food critics over the long weekend)  you’d want to look for her last column next Saturday, May 26.

Joanne is passing the critical eating gig to Chris Nuttall-Smith, they will be part of a live on-line chat this coming Monday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Restaurants and Products, Uncategorized

Last chance to enter the draw for Artisanal Cheese and Fine Food Fair

Hi everyone

Happy Victoria Day– sorry to repeat myself–but in case you meant to enter the draw or were suddenly free to head to Prince Edward County June 1-3  I thought I’d send out a quick, “last chance” reminder.

CLICK HERE–for more details, this will take you to the full contest post.

Thanks to everyone who has entered so far and I will draw the winner at some point tomorrow.  I’m getting excited about the festival myself!

Sue

Leave a comment

Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Travel and Food, Uncategorized