Calls for a Haiku.
BREAD AND BUTTER
it would not be bad
to lose skinny human friends
for fat chewy ones
Finish with a pear.
It’s a little bit coleslaw, a little bit art. Maybe it’s for dinner tonight? This recipe is the Sweet Winter Slaw from the cookbook I am obsessed with, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi. I made this for the first time in Omaha when visiting family and then again on Saturday to go with the Black Pepper Tofu (from the same book) which is irrationally loveable. If I figure out where I saved the photos from that preparation I will post them soon too.
But this salad is not only easy (the chopping takes a bit of time but you can do it in advance) but the combo of papaya, mango, mint, cilantro and red cabbage (plus the candied macadamia nuts) is pretty stellar. Your guest’s taste buds will be at your mercy–you can serve charred, dried out chicken breast right after and people will still walk away thinking you are a genius.
When we made this in Omaha we forgot to get macadamia nuts so we used pecans. The nuts are candied and then roughly chopped before being tossed in with the other ingredients. You can use peanuts as well.
The smell of cilantro as you chop it will energize your work as you rush towards dinner hour ( especially if you’re like me and are always one side dish behind in prep because you’ve decided to take extra time arranging the glasses on the dining room table “just so”.)
If you make this in advance, I think you can cut everything a few hours ahead except for the mint and cilantro. If you add the herbs an hour before serving (don’t toss yet, just add on top of the salad and put a damp paper towel on top of the ingredients) I think everything will still be fresh and fine. Realistically, chopping the herbs does not take a lot of time–but you may be space crunched as I am though so anything done if advance helps.
The dressing can be made the day before. You may want to steal this dressing and us it on other greens or salads. Its addictive flavour comes from maple syrup, lime juice, lemon grass, sesame oil and chile flakes in it.
Finally just before serving, toss everything together, pour on the dressing and serve. This will actually still taste pretty good the next day (if you have leftovers) though the herbs and nuts will be a bit moist by that time. When I made it this weekend I reserved some of the salad without dressing for the next day, figuring I could always toss some more if we ran out.
And here it is going on the plate:
This image is from our Omaha dinner, we served it with this tomato and onion Socca. In the book there’s recommendation to serve this with roast chicken. Perfection I think!
Sweet Winter Slaw (adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)
6 1/2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice (3-4 limes)
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces (you can substitute with zest of lemon)
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp chile flakes
4 tbsp light olive oil/sunflower oil
1 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chile flakes
7 inner leaves of Savoy Cabbage, finely shredded ( I used 1 quarter of a green cabbage, could not get savoy)
1/2 small red cabbage, finely shredded
1 ripe mango, cut into thin strips (How to peel and slice a mango)
1 papaya, cut into strips
1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely sliced
1/4 cup mint, leaves roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups cilantro, leaves roughly chopped (How to Chop herbs)
For the dressing: Place all the ingredients except the oil into a small saucepan and reduce over high heat for 5-10 minutes until syrupy and thick. Remove from heat and once cooled strain into a bowl and add the oil. Set aside.
(* ok, I am laughing at how I did not read this instruction and just mixed this all as if making a regular vinaigrette (no heating in pan). I think it will be better reduced but it still worked great! So one more time–ALWAYS READ THE RECIPE ALL THE WAY THROUGH)
For the candied nuts:
Place the nuts in a medium pan over medium heat and roast until lightly browned. Watch these and shake the pan occasionally so they don’t burn.
Add the butter and when melted add the sugar, salt and chile flakes. Stir constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn and when caramelized (the sugar will be melted and gooey) remove from the heat and pour onto parchment to cool. Chop roughly once solid. Set aside.
Put the cabbage and the rest of the salad ingredients into a bowl (including the nuts). Add your dressing and toss. Give it a taste to see if it needs anymore seasoning and serve it up!
For those of us needed a burger fix in the east end (with table service) by Friday we’ll have somewhere new to go. The Works, a Canadian chain which originated in Ottawa and has been winning burger titles in its hometown as well as Kingston and London and is expanding to Toronto. My burger cravings are usually satisfied on one end of the spectrum by Harveys (yep, yumm) or the burger at Allan’s (and of course Burger’s Priest, all hail) but I looked forward to checking out the competition yesterday at their pre-grand opening.
Which is when I got addicted to a mocha-oreo shake.
I ordered the shake first to give me some time to go through the massive list of burger toppings. Even the shake selection was vast–but pretty awesome.
I have a thing with ice cream–I never crave it, never buy it, but when presented with it, can’t get enough. So sipping my 2-CUPS of childhood nostalgia and with help from my server (if the service is as friendly and fun all the time, it may be the main reason to go) made a burger decision–decisions actually.
1. Pick a patty–ground beef, chicken breast, ground turkey, veggie burger, Portebello Mushroom Cap or Domestic Elk Meat (add $3.39 for the upgrade). The meat is sourced locally, hand-pressed and contains no additives. (I choose the Elk, tender and moist it was)
2. Pick a bun–White, Whole Wheat, Gluten Free (white bun always seems logical)
3. Choose your topping: you’ve got 70 options. Some samples:
Leaside Burger– mushrooms, smokey BBQ, cheddar and dbl smoked bacon
Pony Express (my “next time” choice) cream cheese, horseradish, Franks’s Red Hot Sauce, cheddar cheese and ripe tomato
Royal Runner-tomatoes and crinkle-cut pickles with royal supreme sauce
Stanley Cup Burgerapparently has not been available for the last 45 years…sorry
So, the above is my Grid Burger with chipotle ketchup, Havarti cheese, 4 double smoked bacon slices (they had me at FOUR) and caramelized onion.
Other guests were having the La Ultimate FLAMME-grilled burger (below) with gouda, crispy bacon and fresh Avocado…
And here is the Teriyaki burger with the sweet potato strings…
What’s that you say? It’s not burger night without a tower of Onion Rings and a zillion sauce options?
Breaded not battered is apparently the secret to their crunchiness. And though I am not usually an onion ring fan, OK, I admit, they were pretty tasty.
Sauce options that I tried were the Hot as Hell, Dijon-haze, Beechhouse (a creamy veggie dip), Chipotle Mayo, Tzatziki Chill.
The Works franchises work with local charities to raise money and help the less privileged (eating a tower of onion rings means you are privileged) and in honour of their Grand Opening they are serving complimentary food tomorrow THURSDAY, MAY 3, 11am-2pm and 5pm-8pm with a “donate-what-you-want” policy, proceeds going to the Pape Food Bank.
If you head over, make sure you give a salute to Square Boy across the street. I asked CEO Andy O’Brien if he thought they’d pull business away from this Danforth fave (open since the 60s) but he said they talked to the Square Boy folks and they feel they have different food and a different crowd.
All I can say is I woke up thinking about the damn milkshake—though FYI The Works, you need straws with the little scoop at the end of them. Just a little customer feedback.
Slushy wet snow, smokey, wood-burning smells in the air and a warm packed room accented with aromas of cooking, scattered beer cans and people unravelling themselves layer by layer from their outdoor gear. Could have been an afternoon anywhere in Canadian cottage (or cabin) country. Aside from the iPhones filling up with photos of just-foraged plants being sliced, fresh sausages being filled and local trout being smoked.
Plus the fact that the whole feast was being prepared by some of the most talented chefs in Canada (and some outside of Canada). It was a fantasy Thanksgiving-doppelganger afternoon at Mad Maple Inn in Bruce County this past Tuesday, April 24.
The event was part of The Terroir Symposium 2012. The day before had been a full house at the newly renovated Acadian Court, now run by Oliver and Bonacini (more on the symposium in another post). I was fortunate enough to be invited on the following day’s tour of Grey Bruce Simcoe county–complete with bus ride, April flurries and a more moments of awesome than even the Book of Awesome could come up with (lunch featured wood-fired pizzas and was hosted by Michael Stadtländer at his Haisai Bakery and Restaurant.)
Check out Renée Suen’s photos for Toronto Life where she gives a preview of The Singhampton Project, Michael Stadtländer’s upcoming visual and edible feast at Eigensinn Farm.
We were hosted by Miriam Streiman who is opening Mad Maple Country Inn in this summer. Above is the side table which served as the appetizer hang-out (if you weren’t stealing nibbles from the main kitchen.) The yellow wax encased cheese is from Best Baa Dairy and the two cream cheeses came from newish producers Steacy and Scott den Haan of Primeridge Pure Dairy Products.
But let me get to the heart of it–the meal. The formidable menu was posted on the wall after dinner was served and I had to take it in three pictures to get it all, as it reached down to the floor. For more of the chefs and the food, check out Jessica Allen’s piece for Maclean’s.
THE CHEFS, THE FOOD AND THE LOCAL PRODUCERS
BRENT LEITCH, Two Kinds of Beer Bread, Creemore Springs and K2 Milling
CARL HEINRICH, RYAN DONOVAN, JULIA AYEARST, Trout on Kale with Mustard Vinaigrette, Kolapore Springs and The New Farm
CARL HEINRICH, RYAN DONOVAN, JULIA AYEARST, BBQ Pork belly and trotters on baked beans, Blue Haven and The New Farm
CONNIE DESOUSA, Lamb organ Kielbasa with Brassica mustard, Twin Creeks Organic Farm and Forbes Wild Food
CRAIG FLINN, Black chicken soup with Jerusalem artichokes and wild mushrooms, Blue Haven, Creemore Springs and Wylie Mycologicals
JEREMY CHARLES, Wild Newfoundland Rabbit with Red Tail Flour pappardelle, wild mushrooms, speck, wild mustard and fresh herbs, K2 Milling, Forbes Wild Foods, Michael Stadtlander
JEFF CRUMP, Spit-Roasted Lamb with sauce gribiche, Twin Peaks Organic farm
BEN SHEWRY, Grated Potatoes , The New Farm, Tama Mutsuoka Wong
JAMES ROBERTS, Potatoes gratin with wild garlic and shallot confit, The New Farm, Frobes Wild Food, Harmony Organic
PETER BURT, Fire-roasted beers and carrots and (and I can’t read the rest of the list, damn), The New Farm
CONNIE DESOUSA, Fresh Cheese Cheesecake with Rhubarb and almond Crumb, Harmony Organic
And finally my Cinderella…I never find out who she was, but man, was she a beauty!
And if you’re thinking–where was the bar? It was there, in a cozy back room, the wine provided by Georgian Hills Vineyards.
And if you’ve been waiting to see a picture of Ivy Knight, woman-of-all-trades (and a back of the bus fun person–I am a front of the bus read a book person, it makes me sad sometimes) here she is. Check out her awesome new website all about foodstuffs at swallowfood.com and ask for an I SWALLOW sticker for your iPhone.
See the glee, the fun that was had? She’s laughing because she just swore at me. But then, I did cut off most of her face in this picture. Even?
Fun was had, food was had, Tuesday’s will never be the same. Though I might start eating off birch plates (even sturdier than paper and disposable in the wood pile).