Monday, September 27, 2010

Almost Caponata

I am always so worried about naming a dish.
How can one know if it is really the authentic version? Does it need to be?

I know this caponata is not authentic, but it is the way I like it.
I try to do big batches as it freezes so well. It is a go-to dish for us on busy weekday nights, it can be hot or warm, on pasta. As you serve, add good olive oil, fresh herbs, parmesan plus toasted pine nuts and this is heaven.

This will most probably be the base for my take home vegetarian lasagnas at Edgar!


1 large eggplant, cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
1 yellow pepper, cubed
2 zucchini (I had 2 small yellow ones), cubed
3 pints baby tomatoes (the last of the yellow ones in the garden!), halved
1 1/2 pound small onions (I had pearl onions from the market and they smelled of earth, nothing better!!), halved
2 large branches of celery
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 handfuls of capers
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp crushed pepper flakes
1/2 cup oil
Pepper and Salt

Combine all ingredients and put in a warm oven (300) for 2 hours. Stir with a wooden spoon every half hour.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pear and Turnip Velouté

This soup comforts me like a soft fuzzy blanket.
Just the smell of it calms me.

I had a busy weekend.
I had to go to work unexpectedly.
I cooked, tested what will be the Edgar Sandwiche, and cooked some more.
I also spent a long while at Rona with a very nice man who filled my basket with all I needed to paint, fix holes, redo melamine & tiles and gave me much confidence, this will be easy he said. *Reminder to find this man in November and bring brownies*

Pear and Turnip Velouté

1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 turnips, peeled, chopped
2 pears, ripe, peeled, chopped
2 L stock (I used chicken, veg is good also)
1 cup 15% cream ( I had thick cooking style)

In a small stock pot, cook the onions in the butter until transparent. Add the carrots, cook for 5 minutes more, stirring from time to time. Add the turnips and pear. Cook for 5-7 minutes until caramelized. Add the stock and cook until vegetables are soft. Pass through a strainer and add cream, a good pinch of nutmeg and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh thyme leaves.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Testing Testing 1-2

Well, I guess this is when I officially start talking about Edgar.
I feel exactly like those little rabbits on the plate: I run and I run and I run and I wish I could only focus on my restaurant. But there are little bushes in the way, rabbit holes, traps I try not to get stuck in too long. I have to take some detours, but soon the road will be straight - I am just so anxious to get on with this. Someone recently told me that a restaurant is a monster that eats your life. Thanks Howie, I am looking forward to this.

There is a lot of paperwork involved. Phone calls. Emails. All of which I have to do before or after work... Then I fall asleep on the living room carpet. I do.

I started testing food last night.
As I am writing this, I am experiencing a sugar overload.
It is sticky bun test morning. With lemon zest? Butterscotch sauce? Vanilla? Cooked in cupcake tins or one big baking dish?

(the lemony sauce is winning, baking dish, needs more cinnamon, will incorporate pecans, no raisins...)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can You Keep a Secret?

Do you know where I am in this picture?

It's a really tiny place, cozy.
It's in a lovely neighborhood.
And it's mine.

I will be opening my own little place. Simple. Nothing flashy. Just good food.
I have been working hard putting together all the paper stuff and soon I will be able to start the reno. With tears in my eyes, I quit my job and will embark on this crazy venture.

The blog will undergo a transformation for sure.
For one, my french blog will be more active - I want the people in my community to know me more, to see what is happening in my shop. I will be so happy to speak French again during the day, I have been speaking a second language for about 6 years now at my jobs.

I guess you will see pictures of me and the family hard at work with paint, you might even see Simon, if he lets me put pictures of him here. This will eat up his life too.

The food you ask? I will be doing a lot of testing in the next weeks. I might not put all recipes on here, but you can email me - I put my email in the about me section. In two weeks I should be able to photograph in daylight - right now I am working long long hours to tie all loose ends at work before my departure.

My friend Rachelle will be following me around when she can - you will be able to read her point of view... The two sides of this story, interesting.

So. End of October, hopefully, I should be able to welcome you to Edgar.

Here I am, early morning, in front of future Edgar, no make-up, white hairs. Happy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Food News Journal

I am on their main page for the week.

Food News Journal

I am super insanely busy and will share some delicious news soon.

For those of you who wanted the macaroon recipe, just email me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Meeting People Is Easy

If I had to name one sweet that I could eat for comfort it would have to be coconut macaroons.
I have trouble stopping. And you can't exactly make just 3 or 4...

I brought these over for dinner at a friend's house.
The friend in question has done something marvelous for the food blogging community - he has put together a site called TheFood. Because of it, I have met many wonderful food bloggers. Read so many great stories about food that make me smile daily. Been inspired by many beautiful pictures. Thanks to you Marc-André, meeting people is easy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Curried Carrot Soup

I pulled out all the carrots in the garden.
Oh my.
I made about 8 litres of soup. 16 carrot muffins. froze some grated carrots for more muffins. and even had carrots to snack on... and more to give out.

Most of the carrots left were 'purple haze'.
If you blitz purple carrots, they make brown soup. Not pretty. Tasty though.

ps. so tired.
pps. so so very tired. sooooo no real recipe.

In This Soup: carrots, shallots, onion, garlic, ginger, squash, peach, veg stock, cinnamon stick, cumin, coriander seed, chili, fresh green chili, curry powder, coconut milk, lime leaf, yoghurt. And probably more. oh gosh i am so tired.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cauliflower Pavé

This post could also be named: Cauliflower Ode to Kyle.
I used to work with Kyle, and he did this incredible cauliflower-layery-thingie that I always craved.

My version of the Cauliflower-Layery-Thingie

1 whole cauliflower, sliced (as shown in top picture, keep all the florets and try to make it work!)
4 shallots, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup Noilly Prat (or other vermouth, or white wine)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup stock
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup parmesan

200g of blue cheese (I had creamy cambozola, use less if you have a dry, stronger blue)
2 green onions

3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup butter
Pinch of black pepper (or chili flakes!)

Start by making your sauce. Cook the diced shallots in 2 Tbsp butter. When translucent, ass the flour, cook for about 4 minutes, stirring so that it does not stick or burn. Deglaze with the
Vermouth (or wine), cook down for 2 minutes. Add milk + stock and cook for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. Take off the heat and add the cream & parmesan.

With your fingers, mix the breadcrumbs with the butter and pepper. In a square 9 inch baking pan, layer the cauliflower, blue cheese and green onions (I had enough to do 3 layers). Pour the sauce over and finish with the bread crumbs.

Put in the oven at 375 and cook for about 30 minutes (or until golden and cauliflower is soft)

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Simple Things.

Simple things make me happy.
Picking tomatoes and herbs from my garden.
Going for a bike ride to the see the waves at sunset.
Listening to my man play the piano, deconstructing Beatles songs.

And sometimes, more time consuming things make me happy.
Like sanding ceramic tiles in my kitchen.
Oh good golly, what a great way to spend a Monday afternoon.
3 hours of dust, intense noise and arms that ache.

Oh, and leftover pie dough makes me really happy.
Filled with tomatoes, triple cream brie, black olives, fried shallots, basil leaves, oregano oil, a touch of cream.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Peaches and Cream

Simon has a little bell in his brain that goes off each September: Peaches and Cream. I am required to do this.

This is based on a recipe passed on to me by an ex-boss.
His grandmother did a pie similar to this with apples. I first did it when I was probably 19 years old, maybe not even one year of desserts under my wings - and I found it so odd that he suggested sour cream as the unctuous base.

I have played around with the recipe over the years. Pears. Peaches. Apples. Almond paste. Almond extract. Small dice. Big slices. Nuts in the crumble topping, dried fruit. This was the first time I tried vanilla bean - and I put a bit too much. (Use what I put in the instructions! I actually did double, and it was a tad over what it usually tastes like with extract)

My heart breaks at the thought of peach season ending.

For the base
(enough for two large pies or 8 mini)

7 peaches, sliced (I left the skin on)
Pie dough (I find the best is a very neutral/basic Tenderflake-style hand made dough. Flaky. Yum. No butter. Not made by a machine.)

1 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/4 vanilla pod (seeds)
3 Tbsp flour

For the crumble topping

1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup oats ( I used old fashioned rolled oats, organic, because I have the luxury of an awesone natural food shop close to my house...)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sliced natural almonds

Set your oven to 375F. Sliced your peaches and set aside in a large bowl.

Mix together the second set of ingredients and blend in with the peaches. Transfer to prepared pie pans, put in oven for 20 minutes.

(The peaches before going in the oven, if you see this many dots of vanilla, it is too much!)

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble. Mix all of the remaining ingredients with fingers.
Crumble on top of pies that are in oven after the initial 20 minutes of baking. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I enjoy this pie cold. Be patient, try to resist eating it on the spot...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beet It

Thank goodness I love beets because I still have so many in the garden and no matter how hard I try giving some away, no one seems to want them.
My neighbor yesterday said something along the lines of: I don't do beets.
ok. well. more for me. (But yes, you can have some tomatoes, my pleasure)
My mum takes one at a time. Just one.

Up next on the beet schedule, spicy beet soup.

On my plate: chiogga beets, goat cheese, arugula, dill, lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper..

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Tomato Soup

I like to consider myself as a young lady with manners.
But sometimes, they just get lost.

Yesterday, at work, in a meeting, I was reminded of this.
'what are you drinking there?'
'my soup.'
'in a jar of jam?'

Yes, in a jar of jam. Chomping on the bits of corn.

Roasted Red Pepper and Smoked Tomato Soup
with corn niblets and oregano drizzle

8 red peppers, charred on the grill, skin & seed removed
3 smoked tomatoes, skin & seed removed
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 carrots (or 2 handfuls small garden carrots)
1 cup tomato juice
5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
Salt and pepper

Roast your sweet peppers, set aside. Smoke the tomatoes, set aside.

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion until translucent. Add garlic, carrots, saute for a few more minutes. Add the peppers and tomatoes, simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomato juice and stock. Simmer until all veggies are cooked through. Add spices, puree in a blender and check seasoning.

If you do not have time or don't feel like smoking tomatoes, add smoked paprika. Not the same, but gives it a little something special.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Creamy Crunchy Delicious Polenta

This was so delicious and satisfying.
The day was cold. We were having ribs for dinner.

Crispy Corn and Aged Cheddar Polenta

3 1/2 cups stock (I used veggie, chicken would be great too)
1 1/4 cups polenta
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 vidalia onion, chopped
1 1/2 ears of corn (one just did not seem enough...)
2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped
1/4 of a red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups aged cheddar
Chili flakes, espelette or aleppo pepper
Butter to pan sear and sauté

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in butter (or oil) until translucent. Add the corn, sauté for a minute more, add garlic, jalapeno and red bell pepper, cook for a minute. Add wine and deglaze pan. Add the polenta and stock, stir to ensure that no lumps form. Take off the heat, taste, check doneness, then add cheese + spices.

Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours until firm. Cut into squares and pan sear until golden brown and crunchy.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Italian Plums in Syrup

Remember that I got plums as a gift?
I always get really excited when I see Italian plums for the first time of the season at outdoor markets. They are in a very close battle for my favorite with the Pluot plum (a bit harder to find here)

I wanted to do something different.
I normally would have snacked on these at my desk at work. Hunched over my computer. Stressing out and rewarding myself with food.
But no, they were worthy of more.

Can you believe the gorgeous color of this syrup?
These plums, when ripe, are a dark blue color. The syrup was a beautiful red/magenta.
We ate them as dessert. Watching a TEDtalk about empathy.
Thank you Shari.

Italian Plums in Syrup

2 handful of Italian Plums, pits removed, skin on (they will become very soft)
2 cups of wine (we had leftover Gewürtraminer, thank you Anne!)
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 thin slice of fresh ginger
1 long piece of lemon rind, white pith removed (that white part is bitter!)

Gather all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 45 minutes. Cool, enjoy on its own or with desserts, ice cream.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wine in the Afternoon

I don't usually post about wine, probably for the same reasons I never post about restaurants - I don't feel confident enough 'to judge'.

I have taken some wine courses here and there. I think my first one was when I was 19: I worked in a restaurant with a fantastic wine list (it is still great!) and the owner was about to open a second restaurant, a bit more upscale (the bistro is no more, sadly, and it was the most beautiful kitchen I had ever worked in)- he wanted staff to be able to speak about the selection with confidence. Even though I was with pots and pans and so so many cakes, I still had to know about pairings. I focused, I tasted, closed my eyes and imagined ingredients, preparations, mouthfeels. Then I went home, and tried remembering the taste of a certain wine. Or that wine. Or would this wine go better with what we were eating? I was obsessed with pairing the right wine with the right food. One week we spoke about a grape variety, one week it was all about a region - I always just focused on taste, association and memory - everything technical and geographical was forgotten.

That was almost 15 years ago. Ouch.
What is fabulous as time goes by is that your palate develops, both for food and wine.
I've tasted more, I've cooked more, I've read up more.

Some wines I know I am less fond of - I would probably never order a Gewürztraminer nor a Cabernet Franc without food - I don't like them enough to simply sip on them. I always make an effort to try them at tastings, they are given a fair chance... Riesling & Grüner I have learned to appreciate in the past years. Sauvignon Blanc I couldn't live without. Ditto for Cabernet Sauvignon.

Today we drove up to Navan, Ontario, for a quick winery tour. Inspired by Holly, I convinced my mum (plus Lola the dachshund) and Simon to put on a 'petite laine' and walk through the vineyards of Domaine Perrault.

I had their wines a few summers ago and remembered enjoying the rosé, not too sweet, perfect for my liking. We were so warmly greeted by the owner (I think! She spoke of her dog just up the alley...) and she offered us a sample of all the wines (we passed on Chardonnay, not anyone's fave). I have to admit that whites in general have grown on me in the past 5 years... and I was a bit disappointed that none of the 4 available today wowed me. I was though pleasantly surprised by a red, Rosalie, it had delicate floral and peppery notes. We bought some, as well as a few bottles of the rosé, Marilys.

We strolled down the vineyard in the cloudy afternoon. Some vines were covered: the owner told us that they lost about 20% of their crop last year to birds.

It was pleasant to taste the grapes, to guess which were which. We saw no indications about type - I would love to go back as a group and ask for a more informative tour. Maybe next year? I would certainly volunteer to cut the grapes along with some wine-loving friends.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hits and Misses

I bought beautiful kohlrabi from the lady who sells veggies on the front porch of our neighborhood bakery. I would like to grow some next year.

I did mention before that kohlrabi make great fries...
I simply mixed with sesame oil, panko and salt. In the oven, 375, 15-20 minutes.

Another hit this week was a batter for fish (and chips), no pictures, so sorry. I have been a bit lazy about picturing everything we ate this week. I did a simple club soda batter and added sour cream (Jenna says it is normal because sour cream and buttermilk make everything better) So: 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 heaping Tbsp sour cream, grainy mustard - mixy-mix, add club soda to desired consistency. I also added fresh dill and chives to the batter, delicious!

Last night was a definite hit for me: mac and cheese. I was tired, congested (dang allergies) and somewhat grumpy. The bonus? I made too much, we have an extra in the freezer now.

This week's miss: two loaves of bread I made with my new Cuisinart Food Processor (thank you Air Miles!). A little booklet and cd were included. No bread in sight? Let's make it! Got a brand new kitchen gadget? Let's use it! It rose up beautifully, the texture of the dough was perfect...but it was so dry. It is now cut up into cubes and those will be heavily dressed to make (hopefully yummy) croutons.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beet, Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Salad

In our bowl: Perfectly Crisp Lettuce from the Farmer's Market, Chiogga Beets+Yellow Tomatoes from out garden, Red Onion, Roasted Hazelnuts, Bleu Bénédictine, Forelle Pear and a herb vinaigrette.

I have so many beets in the garden. Soooo many.
(and so many tomatoes, swiss chard, radishes, kale, carrots, cucumbers, jalapenos...)
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