Category Archives: Local and Community Toronto

Easter eating and Terroir Symposium 2013

Felix colouring eggs-just before a "pink" spill

Welcome to Easter weekend.  As I was taking pics of my mom and Felix making our traditional Good Friday lunch of Czech “jidaski” (a sweet yeast bread that my mom “ties” into little buns that we eat up with a lot of butter and a lot, a lot of honey.) I realized that the eating part (though delicious and hightly anticipated) is not even as important as the “making of” the jidaski.

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Even in English I can’t read this handwriting (my moms) and my grandmothers never looked like anything more than wavy, snaking squiggles to me.

Because the “making of” makes me happy. It reminds me of being a kid, of our traditions and of the fact that every year my mom seems honestly mystified with something in the age-old recipe that she doesn’t ever remember doing before.  It usually has to do with the yeast and every year we wait anxiously to see if the jidaski will rise to their expected glory.

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We also always have a discussion that goes along the lines of “yeast, it’s not what it used to be”.   And always  looks are passed between Tad and my dad, “please let there be some meat with this lunch”.  Which there is, though yah, the point of the whole jidaski thing is “no meat on Good Friday”.   (But what can God have against thinly shaved, Italian rosemary ham?)

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So the making begins.  Felix starts to add and mix–with assistance from the master.

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There is always a spill–flour or sugar scattering–and my mom makes everyone stand back, as if we are on the edge of a dangerous sinkhole–and cleans up thoroughly,  extending the fault line at least a foot outside the contaminated area. Since my efforts at wiping are haphazard at best, there is always a point where I step beyond the invisible DO NOT CROSS tape and get reprimanded.

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Somehow by the end of the whole baking ritual my mom is ultimately left to finish which probably is a relief.  Or so I tell myself as by this point I have reverted to disinterested teen daughter, flipping through whatever old magazines are around the cottage.  (Did you know Kate Middleton is pregnant?)

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But we’re all back for the reveal.  Golden, aromatic and tender jidaski.  Ready for lunch.  Guaranteed I will eat one or five too many.

What a festive whip!

What a festive whip!

And here is an Easter transition that only my mom and dad adhere to (kidding!), Shades of Shades of Grey…

“In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a tradition of spanking or whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, men spank women with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka (in Czech) or korbáč (in Slovak), or, in eastern Moravia and Slovakia, throw cold water on them.”  (WIKIPEDIA)

Which brings me to the Terroir Symposium this year  (aside from the whipping as far as I know) whose themes are surely rooted in family food traditions including hashing out the same disagreements each year as you sit around the table eating far too much of a good thing.  Which is a good thing in itself.

For the Love of Food: Stories, Memories & Culture

Everything we eat has a story. Food is the basis of our existence, but we can also craft narratives around it: stories of hunger and sharing, of bounty and blessing. The dishes we prepare embody the traditions and heritage of our cultures; the memories we create through the food we eat, help define us. Food reminds us where we come from and encourages us to go somewhere new.

For this edition of Terroir, our presenters will share stories of their most compelling food experiences, memories and inspirations.

05 Pictures of mushrooms

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Filed under Local and Community Toronto, Ruminations on the Edible, Uncategorized

Cheese Appreciation 1 Starting April 29 at Culinarium Toronto

Food-slice off the wheel-Tad Seaborn

photo by Tad Seaborn

Cheese Education Guild is the first cheese school dedicated to cheese appreciation in Canada. It
is patterned after international wine education programs and is a registered Canadian
education institution.

Cheese Appreciation 1
Results: certificate of achievement
Prerequiste: none
This thorough introduction on the topic of cheese provides the base for future study, discussion
and tasting in Cheese Appreciation 2 & 3.

Through the study program you will learn to:
 Taste, compare, discover, and explore the world of cheese.
 Gain understanding and deepened appreciation for cheeses from every category,
country and type of milk.
 Obtain knowledge to speak confidently about cheese with customers, patrons, and
associates.
 Build a network with other experts in cheese.
 Achieve a certificate of achievement for each level you complete from your
participation, research, reading and final testing during the course.

Venue and time for Cheese Appreciation 1
Venue: Culinarium, 705 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto, Ontario (east side of Mt. Pleasant Rd,
south of Eglinton Ave.)
Next class starts: Monday April 29, 2013 and runs every Monday to June 24, 2013. ( no class
on Monday May 20, 2013)
Time: 6-9pm.
Cost: $575 +HST (Includes: cheese, course material, testing & certificate.)
CA1 is a total of 24 hours, 3 hours per week for 8 weeks.
Visit us for more information and registration
www.artisancheesemarketing.com
www.cheeseeducationguild.com

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Filed under Cheese/Cheese Related, Local and Community Toronto, Uncategorized

Scrambling for Valentine’s gifts Toronto? Relax, have some chocolate…cheese..and a saucy cookbook or two.

XocoCava will have you swooning before you even take a bite.

Swoon before you even take a bite.  Xococava’s milk chocolate with espresso bean, candied lemon and fleur de sel.

Remember that old Blondie song “Rapture”?  Well, I think it was written about the above hand-made chocolates from Xoxocava.  (Also, my friend Rina and I won a lip-sync contest in high school singing that song–my hair was big and that was pre-perm.)

Usually when I buy some good chocolate to keep squirreled away in the cupboard I buy a bar of something delicious like the salted dark chocolate from Stubbe (when I can get a west-end friend to pick it up).  Somehow buying individual pieces like this for myself never occurred to me until I was knocking these back……like the lady I am.

And if that wasn't enough to make you drool...

Drool! Dark chocolate with sour cherries, pistachio and candied rose petal. (xococava)

Beautiful, individual chocolates have been fortuitously dropping into my lap lately.  A friend of mine gave us a box of nine caramel-themed chocolates from Soma (Distillery District) which contained morsels such as Fleur de Sel, Caramel Kiss and Pecan Butter Crunch.

Honestly, you cannot ever eat a Smartie again after that kind of delicious.  Now that Xococava and Soma have spoiled me and made me a xoco-snob  I may head to the Belgian Chocolate Shop on Queen East to check out chocolate making in my hood.  (anyone been there?)

chocolate xoxocava bag

The above gorgeous chocolates come delivered in this cute, witty package ($14.75/bag and there are over a dozen pieces)

I think an easy but spectacular finale to a romantic dinner (for those non-bakers) would be a plate of the above chocolates served with a beautiful, creamy cheese.

Neufchatel with red pepper jelly

Neufchatel with red pepper jelly

And if you want to be thematic with your Valentine cheeseboard you’ll grab this heart-shaped Neufchatel from France’s Normandy region.  It’s a Camembert style cheese that’s creamy, decadent and perfect for sharing.

La Sauvagine, QC

La Sauvagine, QC

And there’s the triple cream, La Sauvagine.  (If it rhymes it’s poetry right?)  I just wrote about this guy for The Wedge so here’s the cheat sheet.

Sauvagine and friends...

Sauvagine and friends…

Or you can get a few petit fours to accompany your cheese fetish.

cheese markers knives

If you would like to bring a gift to your cheese lover, I adore my stainless steel cheese markers (you stick them into your cheese to identify them–sometimes I just write “back off” on my favourites).   This set from Lee Valley comes with a set of 6 cheese knives and a cool case.

Cheese Tiles

Cheese Tiles-write on, wipe off

I was also sent an email about this cute little guys.  Same function as the stainless steel markers but they’re called cheese tiles.

Cheese tiles

Cheese tiles

They come in a variety of styles such as Fleur-di-Lis, Shell, Vine and more. Retails for $29.95 for a set of 4, they can be purchased online at www.placetile.com

And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, give the ultimate in S&M themed foodie gifts….

Fifty Shades of Chicken

I mean, it’s pretty hilarious right?

I got in touch with Toronto’s Cookbook Store and asked what they would recommend and apparently this 50 Shades of Chicken was a hot stocking stuffer for 2012, but if you didn’t grab it then, now is your chance.  (I took this picture from amazon.ca where you can also order it).

Fork me, Spoon Me

And they also recommended these two options……(it’s going to be a long winter right?)

Intercourses

So, I think you’re set for gifts and food for this coming February 14th.  (FYI, the xoco cava chocolates are great bites while you wait for toast to brown in the morning, just sayin’)

 How is that lady pigging out at the fridge so skinny?

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Filed under Local and Community Toronto, Restaurants and Products, Uncategorized

Work Off the Foodie at Bomb Wellness-free classes this weekend on the Danforth

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(You can scroll to the bottom of this post for the BOMB free schedule and skip my yapping or CLICK HERE. They also have child-minding, a kids class and I often set up Felix with the iPad while I work out.)

Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.” – Earl of Derby

Wow–that Earl was a bit of a downer.  But he’s right and it’s New Year’s Resolution time and also let’s face it exercise makes us feel good  (I imagine the eye rolls…).  But really, when I’m busy and stressed and have the least time to work out is when  I could use it the most.

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And Bomb Wellness (Danforth and Greenwood) where I’ve been a member for  a year is my favourite gym in my gym-member experience (and I have been joining gyms since I was 16–really–I suck at team sports but can regale you with stories of mix tapes and that new step/spin/core workout trend)

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There is a real community at BOMB and just like at Cheers (remember that show you oldies?) everybody knows your name.  Well, Victoria and Kevin the owners do and they use it just when you think they’re not looking and you’re push ups are not quite a push-up anymore—don’t worry you can take a break holding plank.  (Gee thanks).

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But that’s what you want in a gym-enthusiasm, motivation and great classes and teachers……

So drop in today they have free classes all weekend–it is their 1 year Anniversary.  And then pop by Red Rocket just down the block for a latte and muffin.

TIMETABLE
Although there is no need to book ahead of time, all classes have limited space, so arrive early! Timetable is subject to change. Fit Kids (3-6yrs) starts at 12:00pm both days.


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