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Recipe for Change

February 27th was cold. That deep down, ‘why am I outside’ cold.  Regardless I ventured out to attend the Recipe for Change event in support of FoodShare Toronto, held at the North Market (St. Lawrence Market).  I was excited to go since I had enjoyed The Stop Night Market last year and find helping to support the community while eating yummy food to be a no-brainer.

Inside the warmth of the North Market, I found 30 Toronto chefs, 20 Ontario wines and 6 local beers who had collaborated to bring fresh, local food to a few hundreds guests to help promote food literacy education in schools.  In fact, Bendale Technical Institute  and Eastdale Collegiate Institute culinary students, who are apart of the program,  were on hand with plates for guests to try.

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Bendale and Eastdale students

Bendale and Eastdale students

FoodShare Toronto was created in 1985 to address the need for healthy, affordable and sustainable food access in Toronto communities. They reach over 155, 000 children and adults per month through community based programs.  Currently they run multiple school programs that focus on a “from field to table” approach, including: student nutrition programs, fresh produce programs, school grown market gardens, good food cafés and field to table schools.  At the core is advocating for public policies that will ensure that everyone has access to sustainably produced, healthy food.

The evening's host, Adam Stiles from Citytv

The evening’s host, Adam Stiles from Citytv

I tried to sample as many dishes as possible, even trying tongue for the first time!  Each dish was delicious, with great local wine and beer pairings. I especially liked the maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Company.  It was the perfect temperature (for me) and the bacon added an interesting saltiness to the coffee.  I immediately texted @WineGuyTO to tell him we would be checking them out on our next coffee outing. My other favourite drink was from Carol Marks, tea sommelier.  It was a cold tea, set in dry ice making for a captivating display that drew many people over.  It was refreshing end to my evening.  There was not one dish that I sampled that I did not like!

Cucumber Cup filled with Zucchini Hummus and topped with a Raw Pumpkin Seed Falafel

Cucumber Cup filled with Zucchini Hummus and topped with a Raw Pumpkin Seed Falafel

Annona Restaurant at the Hyatt - Pulled Buschbeck braised lamb slider with spiced mustard glaze, crunch slaw sesame tooney

Annona Restaurant at the Hyatt – Pulled Buschbeck braised lamb slider with spiced mustard glaze, crunch slaw sesame tooney

Tacos de pescado en salsa verde from Frida Restaurant

Tacos de pescado en salsa verde from Frida Restaurant

Vegetarian paella from Carmen Restaurant.

Vegetarian paella from Carmen Restaurant.

Le Select Bistro's Sweet potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu.

Le Select Bistro’s Sweet potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu.

The Beverley Hotel's Rueben caraway rye gnocci, pastrami lamb's tongue, dill pickled mushrooms with red cabbage and apple mostarda

The Beverley Hotel’s Reuben caraway rye gnocchi, pastrami lamb’s tongue, dill pickled mushrooms with red cabbage and apple mostarda

Foodshare Toronto's free-range buffalo chili on a pan de bono and sweet roasted corn and herbs, chipotle in adobo salasa, traditional mole and white mother sauce reduction

Foodshare Toronto’s free-range buffalo chili on a pan de bono and sweet roasted corn and herbs, chipotle in adobo salsa, traditional mole and white mother sauce reduction

Mixed ceviche from TO Ceviche Bar

Mixed ceviche from TO Ceviche Bar

Whole wheat scone with goat cheese and The Chef's house peserves from George Brown Cafe School.

Whole wheat scone with goat cheese and The Chef’s house preserves from George Brown Cafe School.

Gulab Jamun from 416 Snack Bar

Gulab Jamun from 416 Snack Bar

The Love of Tea's Foggy Sunburst Morning Earl Grey Mocktail (earl grey tea, lime, leongrass, orange juice, orange bitters, grenadine, club soda and bergamot citrus.

The Love of Tea’s Foggy Sunburst Morning Earl Grey Mocktail (earl grey tea, lime, lemongrass, orange juice, orange bitters, grenadine, club soda and bergamot citrus.

Duck tamalies from Valdez

Duck tamales from Valdez

Chicken chilaquiles Mexico City style from Santo Pecado

Chicken chilaquiles Mexico City style from Santo Pecado

The maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Co

The maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Co

Click here to see all the food offerings that night.

**Please excuse the photos, it was my first time using my new DSLR. I am still learning 🙂

Thank you to Mary Luz Mejia of Sizzling Communications for the invitation to attend and cover this event.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Tasty Tours of Toronto

Looking for a gift for that hard to buy friend? Well if they like sweets or chocolate, consider a Tasty Tour.  I participated in two different tours last year, both of which I bought for myself and two friends as Christmas presents (it actually took us all year to coordinate and book a date!).

First up was the Trinity Bellwoods Chocolate Tour in the spring.  I don’t want to give away all the locations we visited, but I was happy to start my tour at Le Dolci! As always, Lisa was a gracious host.  My friend and I had actually gotten there early and enjoyed a lemonade on the patio.

Other stops included a patisserie, an Asian grocery and a chocolatier.  At each stop, the owner would give us some explanation of their product and then we would taste a specific item.  At our last stop, we even got to see and taste a cacao bean.

You may recognize this spot.

You may recognize this spot.

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Cacao bean

Cacao bean

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The second tour was of Kensington Market Sweets Tour.  We actually started in Chinatown and learned the changing history of Kensington Market. Again, I don’t want to give away any of the stops specifically, but the sweets we tasted were very international.

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Chinese egg tart

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Pastries in the Chinese bakery.

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Churros!

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mmm, marshmallows

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Lebanese sweet

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The tours are between $30 and $35 a tour per adult (children are $10 and $15, under 7 free!) plus HST.  Each tour has a guide who not only knows the history of the area but also of the individual shops.  It is not a lot of walking either, even though you do meander through the neighbourhoods.  Our guide each time had much historical information, of the neighbourhood and what we were eating, and I learned many new bits of information.  I enjoyed both my tours though I found that our “tastes” were small in some shops. It actually inspired me to create our Beer Tour of Montreal!

**I was not asked to write this review or was compensated for the tours.  The tours of my two friends were bought by me as presents, and I paid for my own tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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.

Nella Cucina: Picnic Cooking Class

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Last year, I bought @WineGuyTO and I some Living Social deals for a cooking class at Nella Cucina.  You may remember it was where I took part in the John Plasko and Eat Rice USA demo.  It took us a while to choose which class we wanted to take, because they sell out fast!  We went with the hands-on Picnic Class (range of $95-$125), just in time for the start of Spring.  @WineGuyTO unfortunately fell ill, but my good friend @munchkinkaty was able to step in at the last moment.

The hands-on classes are great because the instructor goes over the steps for each dish and then the 4 people at the your table make each of the recipes.  I love that there are lots of instructors who walk around, giving tips and helping overall.  We were also sent copies of the recipes via email after the class, as well as taking home leftovers.

On the menu:

  • Cold spring pea soup
  • Muffuleta sandwich
  • napa slaw
  • Spaghetti fritatta
  • Kitchen sink cookies

We had a great time in the class and I will definitely be signing up for other classes in the future.

Spring Pea Soup

Spring Pea Soup

Muffuleta sandwich

Muffuleta sandwich

Napa slaw

Napa slaw

 

The making of our frittata

The making of our frittata

The frittata

The frittata

What we could throw into the cookies!

What we could throw into the cookies!

Our cookies fresh out of the oven

Our cookies fresh out of the oven

Nella Cucina
876 Bathurst St, Toronto
416-922-9055
http://www.nellacucina.ca/
@nellacucina
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

Courvoisier Collective 2012: Culinary Masterpieces

You may remember this post from last year.  The Courvoisier Collective is back again this year, this time with the theme of food.  Both amateur and professional chefs are invited to participate by creating a recipe that involves the famous cognac, which will then be voted on by a chef judging panel.  Allowed recipes include soups, salads, hors d’oeuvres and entrées. 3 student chef and 3 at-home chefs will be selected to come to Toronto and possibly win $1000 and have their recipe featured at an exclusive tasting event.

The dates for participation are as follows:

July 3rd to August 24th – Users can submit recipes and vote for their favourites.

August 24th – September 7th: The chef judging panel (you can learn more about them on the site) review each recipe.

 September 7th: Six finalists are contacted and invited to attend an exclusive tasting event in October where their dish will be recreated and sampled.

Alas, though I wanted to create a recipe, the summer of moving has gotten away from me.  Looking at the recipes already posted, I can’t wait to see which are chosen, as they are all mouth-watering.  Follow them with the hashtag #CVCollective on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I was invited to participate by Matchstick Inc.  I was given a kit that included a spatula and a cognac glass.  All opinions are my own.

My first year! A review

Wow! I can’t believe that I have been blogging for a little over a year now!  I decided to start blogging because I wanted to share with people.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading, and I promise to post more in my second year, now that I have gotten the hang of it 🙂

I just want to do an overview of the past year, thematically.  So here is the round-up of Food, Travel and Fun!

Food:

Travel:

Fun:

Did I miss anything? Can’t believe I did all this!

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