Tag Archives: Globe and Mail

So that was an unplanned 4 month hiatus…but back with SALADS!

Ally's Thai Noodle Salad Recipe in bowls brought home from Thailand

Ally’s Thai Noodle Salad Recipe in bowls brought home from Thailand

So the last post on this blog was October 9, 2013 and had I realized it would remain so until the new year I probably would have posted a “GONE FISHING” sign or something.   Which is all to say had I been realistic I would have scratched Cheese and Toast off the TO DO list for a bit and sent it on holiday to the south of France instead of letting it languish, unrefreshed for so many months.  We have made up– and the blog has accepted, grudgingly, my apology.  (Though has threatened to  crash without saving my content over the next little while as payback….)

Setting up to shoot Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

Setting up to shoot Pancetta and Fingerling Potato Salad with Horseradish Creme Fraiche

In a nutshell; we were reno’ing our bathroom and the kitchen ceiling (yes just the kitchen ceiling) and that was going swimmingly until a house up the street popped onto the market–and we loved the house–and then we thought maybe we should just put in an offer…and then we had this new house and needed to sell old house which still had hole in kitchen ceiling….and my job situation changed and everything was topsy-turvy.  Including my kitchen as we did a few upgrades for the sale–so no cooking for a while.

Shredded Brussel Sprout, Kle and Green Apple with Lemon-Agave Dressing

Shredded Brussel Sprout, Kale and Green Apple with Lemon-Agave Dressing

Anyway–we moved, I was teary saying good-bye to the old home but the people that bought it seem to love it just as much (and they don’t have the mauve bathroom we had for 11 years!) and we have a great new house that has a great backyard that tad has already built a luge track in this winter (you know a sled-luge track).  AND……..

Putting counter space to excellent use during the salad shoot day

Putting counter space to excellent use during the salad shoot day

Counter Space! My kitchen feels humongous compared to the 1.5 feet of counter space I had before.  It’s like a dream, really.  Plus it came with a dishwasher (I’ve never had one since I left home for university, I was addicted after the first time I pressed SMART CYCLE)….and an old stove that broke and we had no choice but to replace–so now I have a new gas stove and went with the double oven (GE).  Just starting to experiment but think I will love it.

Trying to make your mouth water--steak for the steak salad (rember Chevy Chase ordering that in Fletch?)

MMMMMMMM! Sirloin.  (Remember Chevy Chase ordering the Steak Sandwich(es) in Fletch?)

But that is way too much about me.  Let me start with a few salad recipes from the “Month of Salads” project that Tad and I have been shooting and creating for the Globe.  Each weekday is February we have teamed up with the Life section to create a salad (he shoots them).  The link for last week’s five is here….and you can even photograph and submit your own faves…

Ally--co-salad conspirator and partner in cheese

Ally–co-salad conspirator and partner in cheese

I could not have done the project without my friend Ally–truthfully a full month of salads after last Fall/Winter’s shenanigans was an amazing opportunity but was somewhat overwhelming– but Ally came over and helped me prep (and offered a couple great recipes) like Asian Noodle Salad and Fennel Pomegranate Salad  (coming up for Valentine’s Day!)

Pasta with Browned Butter and Sage- Quick Fix in the Globe Feb 10

Pasta with Browned Butter and Sage- Quick Fix in the Globe Feb 10

And I owe a huge THANK YOU and apology to my friends and contributors Kelsie Parsons (Curds and Eh!) and Joahnne DuRocher (who was also moving yet managed to keep blogging and working full-time!) who have each written an amazing post for me (Kelsie on Grilled Cheese and Johanne sharing her spaghetti sauce recipe) and gave them to me in the fall and so I will FINALLY be posting them still in the midst of winter when we need comfort food.  Thank you guys for being so understanding (I think they were understanding, I would be understanding if they were not).

Arugula and Sirloin with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil

Arugula and Sirloin with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil

And congrats to Kelsie who has been chose to be one of the two cheesemongers for the American Cheese Society Competition taking place in Sacremento this year.  Huge honour.

So in other news, Ally and I have a brand new website in the works for The Cheese Table and we love our new logo–it is pretty exciting–let me know what you think!

Our new Cheese Table Logo-- LOVE--guess what it is!

Our new Cheese Table Logo in three colours– LOVE–guess what it is!

We are also testing out a first run at a monthly cheese club, if you would like some more info you can shoot us an email.  We have about two spaces left.

Otherwise we are continuing our series of Cheese Talks at McEwans and doing some private events.

And last but not least I’d like to start sharing some articles about food that I find interesting and maybe you would too.  Here are a couple pieces from WIRED magazine to get you thinking—first is about PEAK UMAMI

The first piece is on UMAMI

The first piece is on UMAMI

And the second– well— read and see what you think about Monsanto Perfect veggies— and don’t judge yet–its quite interesting  read.

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So, hopefully we’re kind of caught up–thanks to everyone who emailed to kick my butt into blogging again.  It is a pleasure to be back!

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Pan Con Tomate– it just SOUNDS good

photo by Tad Seaborn

photo by Tad Seaborn

It’s getting close to Friday which at our house means we’re running out of food, and I’m running out of ideas and energy.

Enter tomatoes on toast–which sounds much nicer being called Pan Con Tomate.  Thanks to the Spanish for this recipe–you literally toast some buns, rub with a garlic cloves and add some tomato pulp.  But the sum of the parts…….oh boy!!

Recipe details here at the Globe and Mail, Quick Fix.

YUM!  (and with Manchego– even more so)

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Go East for Cheese! Meet Adam Blanchard, Newfoundland’s one-man cheese stop

Adam Blanchard with his smoke Cheddar

Adam Blanchard with his smoked Cheddar- photo by Tad Seaborn

In 2011 Adam Blanchard bought a two-pound cheese press online and taught himself cheese making, initially for friends and family but he eventually set up a stall at the St. John’s Farmers Market in 2011. He sold out in two weeks.

Five Brothers Smoked Cheddar

Five Brothers Smoked Cheddar

The response from customers was enthusiasm mixed with a bit of shock.  “The look on some people’s faces, I’ll never forget. ‘Cheese?’ they would say. And I would say, ‘Absolutely.’ ”   No one had ever come across hand-made cheese in Newfoundland before- until Five Brother’s Cheese came along.

I was lucky enough to meet Adam and catch up with my friend Julia Bannister (Five Brother’s retail manager) at the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton.  He was sampling his smoked cheddar, queso fresco and fresh mozzarella but he also makes a Monterey Jack and looking to make some chevre in the future (maybe in his new space??).

You can read more about Adam in my Globe piece (get that thing tweeting for the East Coast!)  and also get Kelsie Parson’s perspective on cheese and the food scene from his visit to Newfoundland last year.

Canadian Cheese Festival Wide

A packed house Saturday AM–can you find Felix and I?

I’d also like to share some pics from the amazing Great Canadian Cheese Festival this year, 4000 people and 3 dozen cheese makers from across Canada.  It was so much fun, there was so much great food–cheese, sausages, condiments, wine, cider and beer that I just kept running out of sampling tickets!  This is such an amazing event–there are  tutored tastings run through the weekend and I always learn so much while eating amazing cheese (thanks Julia Rogers and Cheese Culture).

I also got out to do some wine tasting at Clossen Chase (love their chardonnay) and Hinterland (love all their sparkling wine-amazing).  But sounds like Norman Hardie’s was the place to party that weekend.  He was hosting a bunch of people including the whole Five Brothers crew.

Albert Borgo of Quality Cheese Holds his Grand Prix Winning Ricotta

Albert Borgo of Quality Cheese Holds his Grand Prix Winning Ricotta

One of the amazing things about the festival is that it is a place you can meet all the people who make the amazing products we all salivate over during the year.  For instance, here I am with Albert of Quality cheese and below…

Felix riding Yvette

…  is Felix riding Yvette, the water buffalo who lives on one of the two water buffalo farms in Ontario.  She supplies milk for our fabulous, local buffalo mozzarella.

Sampling wine and cheese

And this could be you next year, sipping wine, eating cheese, wandering around the county….( hopefully not aimlessly wandering, its good to have a destination–even if it’s just bed).

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar

One of my all-time favourites.  The Avonlea clothbound cheddar, gorgeous as always.

Samples at the Cheese Fest

Or perhaps you prefer a bloomy rind?

Tania

Or tasting the “new aged”- like the latest cheese from Finica (makers of the Lindsay Clothbound Cheddar) called Tania.

Days end at the Picton harbour Inn

And finally back to kick back on a patio chair outside the Picton Harbour Inn–where are the cool people stayed.  Unless you were staying at Norman Hardie’s–then that was cooler.

But best breakfast in town right here, or so they say…..

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Asparagus Season–make pesto with your spring veggies

photo by Tad Seaborn

photo by Tad Seaborn/ click to enlarge  (not to enrage)

Here’s a recent favourite for the Globe “Quick Fix” column.  The recipe is with the article HERE.

It’s so hard not eat a whole lot of pine nuts when making pesto–almost mindlessly–and then I keep reminding myself that they’re a kazillion dollars for a handful–probably worth more than Jack’s beanstalk seeds.  But so yummy.

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And a little reminder if anyone is thinking about attending the Great Canadian Cheese Festival in Picton June 1-2, you can get a discount through the blog.  Hope to see you there!

SR

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Gourmet Jelly Shots-French Martini Style

Quivering delights of drunkenness

photos by Tad Seaborn

I was dubious.  Gourmet jelly shots.  I even skipped these in university in lieu of the much cooler and more sanitary mixing of a garbage can of Purple Jesus  (Go Gaels!).

But when we decided to try them for The Lazy Gourmet I was pleasantly surprised.  They were kind of fun.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 10.13.27 PM

There are many sites dedicated to beautiful versions of these like the Jelly Shot Test Kitchen or this pretty cool Jello Shot Pinterest page.  So I did a bit of research based on other people’s trial and error  (oh happy day when I can call a jelly shot recipe “research”).  I tried to make sure I added enough gelatine so they held together but were not gummy bear in chewy-ness.  I also wanted to initially try a clear jelly shot (very cool) but found the alcohol a bit overwhelming so came up with this take on the French Martini which includes fresh pineapple juice.

And I am not kidding when I say be careful how many sips you take to taste and adjust flavours when you mix them, they pack a wallop.  (It’s inconvenient to pass out mid-research.)

CHAMBORD AND PINEAPPLE JELLY SHOTS

Ingredients

1 cup raspberry vodka

1/4 cup Chambord

1 1/2 cups pineapple juice, divided

Fresh lemon.

1/3 cup simple syrup (bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil until the sugar dissolves; cool before using)

3 packs (15 millilitres each) gelatin

1/2 cup hot water

16 raspberries

Method

In a medium bowl combine raspberry vodka, Chambord, 1 cup pineapple juice and a squeeze of fresh lemon. Add simple syrup and take a sip to see if you like the balance of sweetness and tang from the lemon. Set aside.

In another bowl, pour 1/2 cup pineapple juice and sprinkle 3 gelatin on top. Add hot water (from the kettle) and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add to the vodka mixture and whisk to combine. Pour into an 8-inch-by-8-inch glass dish. Chill in the fridge until the mixture starts to thicken (about 10 minutes) and then add 16 raspberries, spacing them out so it will be easy to divide 1 raspberry per jelly shot. Refrigerate overnight.

To serve, prepare a glass of hot water. Dip a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter into the hot water before cutting around each raspberry. Twist the circle cutter around the jelly for a clean cut, and push gently side to side to peel it from the bottom of the dish before removing. You should get about 16 one-ounce pieces.

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Toast Post: Vicky’s FlatBread and 14 Arpents Cheese

14 Arpents cheese from Fromagerie Médard in Quebec

***NOTE:  I am retweeting this as the 14 Arpent article was not yet out when first posted.  Enjoy.  La Fromagerie on College also now carries the cheese.

The creamy and luxurious 14 Arpents cheese from Fromagerie Médard  is the subject of The Wedge today (with recent changes to the Globe Arts and Life section, The Spread is now The Wedge). Other than promoting this lovely cheese all over the place the blog allows me to give a shout-out to a great new artisinal product I recently tried,Vicky’s Flatbreads.

Made in Toronto, the flat breads are named after the wife of creator Richard Bedford.  They come in two flavours: Original and Rosemary.

Quite addictive, you first experience the crisp CRUNCH followed by great flavour– I can taste the sesame seeds, poppy seeds and olive oil that go into them.

Yet, the flavour is not so pronounced that they wouldn’t make an excellent showcase for cheese, dips, or pates.

And considering they’re healthy (low in salt, no sugar, no preservatives or trans fats AND Kosher) you can eat as many as you want!  Or so I tell myself.

Look for them at small retailers in Toronto such as Alex Farm Products on Bayview Ave., Culinarium, Harvest Wagon, Summerhill Market and Pusateri’s, Olympic Cheese and Scheffler’s Delicatessen in St. Lawrence Market.  You’ll also find them at The Village Grocer in Markham and Vincenzo’s in Waterloo.

Here is a link to a short piece with a little more background on Richard and Vicky’s Flatbreads.

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Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups: Bring ’em to yoga and feel virtuous (but also humble)

How awesome are these blueberry fruit rolls? Made by ME–at home!

There are some foods (?) like gummi bears and M&Ms that one cannot imagine as “home-made”.  The Fruit Roll Ups of my youth were one such item.  Weren’t they meant to come in a colourful cardboard box and in crazy colours like bright blue?   Sure, there were the natural “fruit leathers” out there but we never had those in my house.

I realize there are a million recipes for fruit rolls on the internet but I never paid attention until I watched one of the recent Dessert Basic videos on the Globe and Mail site.  It looked so easy.  I had to attempt it.  I will tell you upfront that I failed and I succeeded, there were highs and there were lows….so perhaps the lessons in my fruit roll journey will help you in yours.

In the video, Pastry chef Yasmin Johaadien uses raspberries but says that you can use almost any fruit (there are exceptions which she mentions at the end of her instructions). I decided to do a blue berry batch as well.

blueberries

The first step is to start with three cups raspberries (and I assumed 3 cups of any fruit you are using, I used three cups blueberries as well).

Once you’ve liquified the berries you strain them through a sieve.

Easy peasy so far, right?  I did the same thing with the blueberries.

The raspberry puree, once strained, came to 1 cup final product and the blueberries yielded 1 1/2 cups.  Seems that this can vary per batch, Yasmin was working with a 1 1/2 cup yield for her raspberries.

I put both purees in pots on the stove, added 1 tablespoon lemon juice to each and then reduced them by half.  Now I’ve never been very good at assessing when something has reduced by half so I actually measured the raspberry puree at one point and still had to reduce further.  The blueberry thickened up faster even though there was more puree.

Once reduced you add a 1/2 cup sugar to the puree and stir until just dissolved.

Then I poured both purees onto (individual) parchment-lined sheets and spread them with my off-set.   The raspberry was less viscous than the blueberry.

Then I put them into the oven at 225°F for 3 hours (Yasmin says to you’ll need about 2.5-3 hours in the video).  When I took them out they were (as instructed) sticky to the touch but did not seem to cling to the back of a spoon.  The point being that you need some moisture in them or they will dry and crack (not roll).  I allowed them to cool.  And then instead of using a knife or pizza cuter to portion them, I just cut them with scissors.

And then PRESTO I peeled away the parchment!

Laying them on new parchment, I rolled them individually.

And I had a whole batch of my very own roll ups!

And now for the sad finale of the raspberry misadventure….

The above crsipy bacon-like rolls were a result of me putting the raspberry strips back in the oven because they would not peel off the parchment, and they were still too sticky and tearing, even after cooling.  I think I should have reduced the puree more at the beginning and I also think that putting them back in the oven might have worked but I left them too long.  And they dried up.  DO NOT OVER DRY THEM.

But no one needs to know about those.  I’ll just give them another whirl (and report back).  Or stick with the blueberry.  Everyone needs a signature “roll up”.

Has anyone made these before?  Any tips are welcome!  I think I might blend the berries next time.  And we really did take them to Felix’s yoga for kids class.  I rocked the hippie mom vibe.

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