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The Stop Community Food Centre Night Market: Night 1

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Where can you get amazing food and drink and support a local food bank at the same time? The annual The Stop CFC Night Market!

The walls into the market were lined with info.

The walls into the market were lined with info.

@WineGuyTO and I went for our first, but definitely not our last, Night Market last night.  The concept is simple: 1 price = all the food and drink = money raised to help them fund their programs.   $80,000 was raised as 900 tickets were sold for the two nights.   This means for their 80,000 meals for the drop-in breakfast and lunch programs.  You can find them at Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market, and they also run community cooking, urban agriculture and food systems education programs plus much more.

Last night there were 44 different vendors.  We managed to taste from a number of them, but not all.

Throwing hot sauce on lamb

Throwing hot sauce on lamb

Owner of the Emerson, had a great chat!

Owner of the Emerson, had a great chat!

Arpège egg (sans potato)

Arpège egg (sans potato)

The yolks poaching at Esé

The yolks poaching at Esé

Two types of chicchetti and tarator, I ate the pesto one.

Two types of chicchetti and tarator, I ate the pesto one.

Carmen: aguachile with white fish cheviche

Carmen: aguachile with white fish ceviche

Crazy booth!

Crazy booth!

From Rose and Sons

From Rose and Sons

Rose and Sons smoked ham and cheese sandwich

Rose and Sons smoked ham and cheese sandwich

Pea shoot and peanut salad from Table 17/Enoteca Ascari

Pea shoot and peanut salad from Table 17/Enoteca Ascari

Chantecler beef tartare on shrimp chip

Chantecler beef tartare on shrimp chip

Chantecler

Chantecler

The Himalyan Sea Salt chips from Neale Brothers

The Himalayan Sea Salt chips from Neale Brothers

Rosewood Wine

Rosewood Wine

Ice cream sandwich from Mad Maple Cottage Inn

Ice cream sandwich from Mad Maple Cottage Inn

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Maizel: Frijoles charros

Maizel: Frijoles charros

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Choux à la crème with caramel from the Tempered Chef

Choux à la crème with caramel from the Tempered Chef

Ontario smoked sturgeon from The Chase

Ontario smoked sturgeon from The Chase

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Rossy Earle of SupiCuCu and Spanish Chorizo Chowder

Rossy Earle of SupiCuCu, her helpers Joel Solish and Joshna Maharaj with Spanish Chorizo Chowder.

Cabbage and apple pierogies with Monforte cheese

Cabbage and apple pierogies with Monforte cheese

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Not pictured, our glass of Tawse Sketches Riesling, Tawse Rosé, Norm Hardie Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Rosewood Long Vines White.

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My New Year’s Food “Resolutions”

El coleccionista de instantes / Foter / CC BY-SA

I do not make resolutions in January.  Being a teacher, I have always felt (and this may sound weird) that my ‘new’ year starts each September.  That is when I make a concentrated effort to shake things up, try new lessons, etc.  In my personal life, I have always felt that you can make changes at any point during the year, but I see the appeal of doing it as of January 1st.

As my blog is approaching its second birthday, I have been inspired by other bloggers posts to push further. Recently I read  What’s On My Plate, and her food resolutions. Gastropost even did it as a challenge and I am excited to see everyone’s posts this Saturday in the paper (New Year, New Menu: This week, your mission is to eat something that embodies how you intend to dine in 2013).  So I have decided to create my own list of new foods I want to try, restaurants to visit and recipes to create.

Foods

This year I want to try (at least once a month) a food I have never had before. I am a bit squeamish about different foods, such as pieces of animals like beef checks, offal and marrow.  And I am still learning to like fish, as I did not eat it other than as fish and chips growing up.  So my goal is to try new (to me) foods, different cuts of meat, different types of fish, and maybe even the tentacles when I order calamari.  

Restaurants

This one will be tough because @WineGuyTO and I agreed to eat in more often.  But I have a list of places in Toronto that I would still like to try.  I really want to explore my new neighbourhood and find great spots no one has really eaten at because they do not have a known chef, but are still great.  I also want to get back to brunching more.

  • Arcadia – our friend’s brother-in-law is the chef and has been telling us great things about it
  • La Carnita – loved them at TUM and really want to see the restaurant
  • Campagnolo – we had meant to go last year and then never made it.
  • Khao San Road – I know the chef and partner just recently left, so am hoping it will still be good.
  • Ceili Cottage – Its in my end of the city now and I have only heard good things

I think I will be adding to this list throughout the year.  Where do you want to eat this year?  Let me know!

Recipes

Mainly I bake and though I enjoy it, I really want to try more meals.  I have a slow cooker and yet never use it, so that is on my list of things to try.  When I got my food processor recently, it came with a massive book of recipes, so I will be perusing it for ideas. As I mentioned above, I want to eat more at home so to that end  I want to try more recipes for actual meals.  This means more dinner parties! One specific thing I want to learn how to make and incorporate more into my cooking is sauces.

I hope you follow along this year as I try to accomplish all these resolutions 🙂

Tuscany Part 2 : Gelato

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I love gelato.  I also love ice cream but the intensity of the flavours  just seem to come out better in gelato.  I am fortunate to live near 3 different gelateria here in Toronto (Hollywood Gelato -Fav!, Il Gelatiere and the Mad Italian).  So it goes without saying that I am going to eat gelato any chance I get!

WineGuyTo at our first gelato spot.

Our first day in Italy, we went into the village and you can see from the picture above what happened 🙂  I found ordering gelato was a great way to practice my beginner Italian, and this place was kind enough to help with pronunciation.  The gelato above was creamy and really flavourful.  I enjoyed trying flavours I wasn’t used to, like stracciatella.  I really fell in love with black cherry with ribbons of a creamy vanilla throughout, making it my default flavour for the rest of the trip.  Our time in Italy was so hot, that gelato became almost a must daily just to provide some cool refreshment.

In San Gimignano there is the Gelateria di Piazza,  the World Champion Gelateria five years running (2005-2009).  We ate here the most and it really lived up to that award.  I had limoncello, pear and a trademarked (!) Champelmo (pink grapefruit with sparkling wine).  There were really too many flavours to choose from, so of course we made sure to come back often to keep trying different ones.

 

Gelataria di Piazza-World Champs!

First night indulgences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We found that the further from Florence, the better the prices.  We did end up getting some gelato at the end of our day in Florence, at the end of the Ponte Vecchio, but it was more money for much less than in Chianti or San Gimmy.

I know there is a debate in Toronto where the best gelato is, but having eaten almost every day for 10 days, hands down its Hollywood Gelato.

Living.Loving.Local – An amazing supper

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My friends keep asking how do I know about stuff happening?  I now always answer: Twitter.  Since I joined Twitter, I have ‘met’ some great people and one in particular I have been able to meet in person.  He is Joel Solish (@foodie411).

About a year ago, Joel decided to eat more locally and I have loved following his tweets about food, sustainability and where to eat in Toronto (and am usually jealous!).  Joel and partner @gilltrish want to create “a food-secure Province, County, and world, where the practices of producers and businesses we choose to support are in line with [their] personal levels of comfort, and desire to affect change”.  In effect, this is about being local and making a real connection to the food and the people who make it.

The inaugural event was an “Olde Hunters Feast” at Beast Restaurant (@beastrestaurant).  7 courses, 7 wines, 6 chefs all to do with wild boar.  Before I tell of the amazing experience, know this: I was still full into the next morning.

Course I: Charcuterie and Reif Estate Chenin Blanc.  Each chef was asked to create an item for the plate.  We had pate in bacon, spreads and overall goodness.  My favourite was from Chef Jason Bangertner (Luma and Canteen, @chefbangertner).  His was dark brown in colour, crunched with pistachio and mustard, while being sweet from beer.

sides dishes: cheese and pate

Course II: Guinea Hen and Wild Boar face Tortière, with Elderberry house ketchup, shaved fennel salad and foie gras from our host chef Scott Vivian (Beast restaurant).  To drink, Fielding Estates 2008 Jack Rabbit Flats Pinot Noir (@fieldingwinery).  The rendered fat was the consistency and sweetness of sugar and WineGuyTO and I shared the pie.  Great consistency in the filling and the pastry was so flaky which it should be considering it was made with fat.

Course III: Chupe de Chorizo by Chef Rossy Earle (@pancancooks).  This dish is a Latin American stew, where she used wild boar chorizo with Yukon Gold potatoes and chick peas immersed in cococut, fire roasted tomatoes and charred red pepper broth.  There was also sofrito criollo, salsa de fuego, wild boar chicharrón and homemade sour cream.  I loved the crunchy bits on top and the subtle spice of the broth.  A 2008 Lailey Vineyard Syrah went nicely with the stew.  Its colour was a beautiful clear raspberry.

Course IV: A hand minced game sausage “en crepenette”, a mouseline guinea hen with smoked boar belly, braised cabbage and grain mustard from Jason Bangertner.  As much as I loved his charcuterie, this was the least favourite of the courses for me.  I wasn’t into the mousse, but the sausage was good.  The 2027 Winery 2008 Riesling was a treat.  Its colour was almost clear, with light notes and not too sweet.  Will have to look for this one at the LCBO.

Course V: Steve Wilson from the Summit Golf and Country Club created Harvest Gold Mead Braised Wild Boar Shoulder “Dirty Hush Puppies” with carmalized onions and thyme infused honey drizzle, with sides of southern greens, smoked boar bits and buttermilk mashed potatoes.  What was great about this was that the honey and mead used from Rosewood Winery (@rosewoodwine), which was also the paired wine, a 2008 Chardonnay Reserve.  I will admit that by this point I wondered why I hadn’t worn sweatpants, because we were getting full!

Course VI: This was creative!  Tom Davis of The Stockyards (@thestockyards) (which has been raved about on Twitter) made carbonara noodles out of the wild boar!  This was topped by crackling crusted deep fried quail egg (which I ate!  Mine was all yolk, yum!) and then on top of a buttermilk biscuit was Southern Fried Quail with wild boar and smoked apple sausage gravy.  I really wanted to eat more it was so good, but I wasn’t sure if I could move.  Our Rosehall Run (@rosehall_run) 2007 Cabernet Franc, with its spicyness, matched perfectly.

Course VII:  Now dessert.  Rachelle Vivian, the Pastry Chef at Beast, made the perfect ‘Timbet’: a doughnut rolled in wild boar bacon and sugar, filled with maple curd.  I could have eaten the entire plate they were soooo sweet and rich.  Unfortunately (for me) the last wine was a port, which I am not particular too.  The Karlo Estates Van Alstine 2008 (port style) made the port drinkers happy and I did try it, it was light and fruity but I just wasn’t into it.

My hats off to Joel and Gill.  The mix of people, the food, the venue were all superb.  I can’t wait for the future events.

You can also find Living.Loving.Local on Facebook.  Joel’s website is communityfoodist

Winterlicious is coming!

Today I can start to make my Winterlicious reservations.  I have been an avid supporter of this endeavour since it began almost 5 years ago.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, the City of Toronto throws a Winter Celebration with lots of events, the main attraction being prix fixe lunches and dinners ($15-$45) at some of the top restaurants in the city.  They repeat the idea in the summer, so Summerlicious!  I find it’s a great opportunity to meet up with friends and try out new restaurants.

I send out a mass email one month before to see who is interested and as of today (the Amex front of the line rsvp date) we have three outings: French, Moroccan and another French (cafe).

I can’t wait to share my thoughts after we eat.

Check out the Winterlicious site here.

Tuscany- part 1

I was fortunate to spend 10 days in Italy this past July.  My husband’s family has a villa in Chianti and love to go when possible. This was my first real trip to Italy (I skied over the French border when I was 16 for the day) and I was excited! Coffee, wine, the food.  My husband shares these passions as well as one for taking pictures of anything and everything.

I want to highlight some of my food memories and restaurants where we ate.  First off is the pizza.  It was World Cup time and piazza’s and café spaces were at a premium.  We smartly booked the nights when a game was on, ordered pizzas and bottles of wine to share.

Our favourite cafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pizza is nothing like I have had in Canada.  Thin, doughy, wet with great fresh toppings.  We usually order ones with Italian meats (prosciutto, parma ham, sausage) and lots of cheese.  I think that our default lunch became pizza because the small would feed both of us with leftovers.  Also they were incredibly cheap.  Definitely a must, even though it seems strange (to me) to eat pizza in Italy when I could have tried other things.  But that is what dinner was for 🙂

The waiter kindly split the pizza up for us.

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