28 December, 2011

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day; here's to The Drink

Isn't it easy to not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables?  (Especially vegetables??)  Unless you are my mom, an organic vegetable farmer, or a strict vegan/vegetarian, chances are you (probably) don't prioritize them enough.  It's okay, I know it's not easy.  I learned the hard way and now I try to really eat a lot of FRESH (can't emphasize that enough) vegetables and fruit (but less fruit because it's very high in sugar, which doesn't help the body fight off nasty things like cancer. *cancer loves sugar.  And yes, everybody needs sugar to survive, but too much sugar - I'm talking sweetened drinks, candy, etc. - is not a good idea. Kris Carr's blog writes about what we can do about the sugar-cancer connection here.)

24 December, 2011

A market fresh holiday meal

A.Y. Jackson, Red Barn in winter
Happy Christmas eve!

I'm sipping rum (and eggnog) near my wee xmas tree.  There's a few presents waiting for us to find them, our kitchen is full with market shopping, and the bread is rising.

21 December, 2011

One of the best!

This photo was included in the Globe's 'Share your best photos of food' slideshow (click through to the ninth picture).

20 December, 2011

To start: inspiring women who cook, write and generally do great things

Illustration by Jesse Philips
A round-up of inspiring women (in no particular order), including the recently named 'World's Best Female Chef', cookbook heroes, and your neighbourhood restaurateurs (if you live in Leslieville)...

Heidi Swanson
     (download a free menu sampler from her new book here)

Alice Waters

M.F.K. Fisher

Donna Hay

Clotilde Dusoulier

Ruth Reichl

Elizabeth David

Anne Sophie Pic
      (poke around her gastronomic universe here)

Sally Butcher

Madhur Jaffrey

Diana Henry

Chefs Crawford & Kirk

Christele Albert

Deb Perelman

(and last, but most inspiring) Kris Carr

17 December, 2011

Day trip to Paris

Ok not that Paris, but still worth a report.  The surprise of the day (besides the slight letdown that most shops were shut) was stumbling upon an 'Apple Frittery' (oh, and some cows munching on lunch).    

Apple fritters remind me of my dad, perhaps because we once made cake doughnuts together in our Cape Breton kitchen.  And, classified as a doughnut, they are a food that is on trend for 2012 and pick up on a thread I stumbled upon earlier this month.  

14 December, 2011

Dark Chocolate Bark with roasted almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds and sea salt

Chocolate is my weakness, and often a saving grace. This week I am embarking (pardon the pun) on two very exciting activities: outdoor ice skating and gourmet chocolate making.

08 December, 2011

The excitement of cake (and chocolate pie)

In this picture it's my fifth birthday in a farmhouse in Cape Breton.  I'm seated in front of a cake my dad baked for me.  My beautiful sister is there behind me to the right.  I'm wearing my "smartie" necklace that was made for me by sculptor John Nesbitt. (It was not made of smarties but did it ever look like it - and I proudly wore that piece for days.  An unfortunate accident befell the necklace at a friend's house when she/we - I honestly can't quite remember - pretended to "bite" the smarties and the string broke and the beads went everywhere.  I don't know what happened next.)

07 December, 2011

No-knead Bread

I've made some straightforward bread recipes in my time but nothing like this.  I was very proud to have made this (other than the white flour aspect) and will definitely try it again and play around with the ingredients (different flours, nut or fruit additions).

I watched this video by Mark Bittman of the New York Times to get prepared for baking.  I followed the ingredient amounts in the video but my experience only produced one smallish loaf in a (much) smaller crock pot (they obviously made multiple recipes).  We found the crust was spectacular as he sells it, if a little tough.  Less cooking time perhaps?

06 December, 2011

Coffee and a Doughnut; food trends for 2012

I'm caught waiting at a generic coffee shop in old town Toronto and baby, it's cold outside.  I've been reading about food trends for 2012 (possible dream job - food trendologist) and doughnuts are apparently trending now, along with Canelés (the 'new cupcake') and other interesting things. 

04 December, 2011

Rustic Cookies, and other winter traditions

I'm getting ready for Christmas.  For me the winter season always has a touch of the rustic traditions handed down from our European family.  I'm thinking about wood stoves, home baking, little oranges, and decorating a tree...

03 December, 2011

(Almost) Winter Food Markets

The last outdoor market of the season

In what I like to think is at the heart of my new city, I found a community that focuses on things that I value.  Having to depart from my friends and family in Nova Scotia (who are pretty much all excellent cooks, and living in the province speaks for itself), I miss mingling with food and like-minded folk in a gorgeous landscape.  Oh wait! I think I might have found something...

Evergreen Brickworks is very cool, very Toronto, and very much a food and eco lover's destination.  The same city whose arteries throb with concrete contains real people whose hearts throb for local, organic, artisanal, crafted, homemade food. And repurposed buildings.  


I had my eye on the Toronto Underground Market before I even left Halifax.  I immediately knew this was a group for me.  It had the newness factor (which meant I could get in on the ground floor), the food factor (obvious appeal), and the special event factor (food event = great event).  So it was that I came to volunteer three months later to help set up the third iteration of TUM...

The event space before setup began 

The very popular Mushroom Risotto Arancini and craft beer
(Forgive me for not having more pictures of the food but I was too busy eating and socializing... the next event is in February and I will likely take more time to document.  Jump here for some tasty shots.)

This 'social food' community is exciting and intriguing and will grow exponentially.  Partly because of the quality of the food and the special-happy-feeling people experience at the event, but mostly because it's Toronto and that's how things go down here.

I made a friend too (Sonja, a fellow volunteer who deftly acted as executive-in-charge-of-distributing-plates-forks-and-cups-to-the-vendors).  She also loves food.  For two strangers in a cold room we got along famously and tapped along from food vendor to drink vendor to food vendor.  We consumed modestly (and selectively) and in the following order:

tacos from Las Carnitas (she: fish, me: chorizo)
craft beer (Hogtown Brewers)
smoked haddock chowder
arancini (truffle oil in the sauce!)
a dessert bite (on our hand!) courtesy of Geoff & Guy
  and Proof's hot apple cider (spiked of course) to finish

Oh, I forgot to mention:  after our volunteer shift but before the event officially started, a vendor running a bit behind in the kitchen needed some help.  Yes please!  Sonja and I were the lucky ones shuttled into the kitchen (wash your hands!) to cut samples for a dessert vendor.  I pretty much always get really excited when I see a commercial kitchen and now I know why...

Now picture this:  picnics at riverside with swimming, boating, and tubing...!?  My next volunteer goal:  bring back the Don. For it is a sad, sad thing to keep driving right by it.

02 December, 2011

Breakfast for lunch; an encounter with Lady Marmalade

lady marmalade florentine bennie 10.50   
“blasted” wild pacific salmon sandwich served on “st. john’s” organic white
sourdough w/ avocado, mango salsa, chipotle mayo, scallions & cilantro. 11.95 

Welcome to my first post for the food find Sweet Julienne.  As I sit here writing from my (oh it's so small) Toronto apartment I am nervous to launch this new project because (I suspect) like any chef I want things to be exactly as I imagine (that is, perfect).  And as a writer who usually keeps her writing (mostly) to herself, I am aware that posting here means I am serving up my ideas about food to strangers who may or may not like what I have to say.  However I feel like being especially brave so I'm going to do it anyway...

the food find Sweet Julienne is about discovery and passion. Every meal I eat is an opportunity to be not only nourished but immensely satisfied.  Often it's my own cooking, or co-cooking with good friends or family, but I also really enjoy dining out.  The whole restaurant experience is about a good food experience.  I value the passion infused into the service, what the food looks like on the plate, how it got there, how much I am charged for said food, and of course how it tastes! But the room's ambience or the experience of walking from your table to the restroom matters too.  Simply put, I love to be surprised.

You, the reader/cook/diner, are invited to join me as I explore Toronto (and farther afield) in search of some outstanding food finds.  I hope to inspire you with my discoveries and with my passion for food.