Sunday, October 31, 2010

And we opened...

The little FERMÉ sign, we survived our first weekend.

... The past few days have been hectic and no doubt are we tired.
But this has been unreal and wonderful.

I still can't believe that this will be my job
(I received a card that read: congratulations on your new job, ha ha, funny)
It is not really sinking in.
I was there early again this morning, making brioche, making muffins, scones - I realized that this will not be 'for a second day in a row' but rather 'for quite awhile.'

Friends and family came yesterday and today was a fabulous mix of people from the neighborhood and more friends... The response from the people living close by is heartwarming. Smiling and chatting and laughing strangers, in my little shop.

We still have a lot ahead of us. We have to do the website soon. I have to get on top on my production - frozen soups and lasagnas are disappearing faster than I imagined. Working out the little things, buying the missing tidbits to make my life easier (Nicole, I am not talking about the dishwasher...but maybe should I consider) and, the thing that scares me most: getting the cappucino froth just right. Simon has been doing it for me the past two days, I will be alone soon and will need to face the foam monster.

Simon's perfect foam... not mine!
(Photo credit Nadia Caron)

Friends have been more than wonderful. More than fantastic. More than anyone could ever ask for, or dream of. I thank you all, you know who you are.

Let me share with you some pictures from Nadia, a good friend of mine, and Don, a fellow blogger (of Foodie Prints)

And I will chat some more with you later this week. For now, sleep.

Photo Credit Don Chow

Photo Credit Don Chow
Homemade granola and spiced pita chips

Photo credit Don Chow

Photo credit Don Chow

Photo credit Don Chow
Lynne, cutting the perfect pieces of the Edgar bars.

Photo credit Don Chow
Little apple cranberry tarts and the bacon/date/orange brioche hiding in the back

Photo credit Nadia Caron
Beautiful beautiful flowers from Bel Fiore

Photo credit Nadia Caron
Les barres Edgar.

Photo credit Nadia Caron

Photo credit Nadia Caron

Photo credit Nadia Caron
(She doesn't have a sweet tooth, but she seemed to really have a thing for the sticky apple pecan muffins!)

Photo credit Nadia Caron
(a view of the shop as you come in)

Photo credit Nadia Caron

Photo credit Nadia Caron

Friday, October 29, 2010

More quick notes...

Here is the news of the day.

*I brought the cabbage from my house, isn't it pretty?

*Thank you all so much for your kind words on the blog, I read them all throughout the day and they keep me smiling. I am so touched and can't believe how many people actually take the time to read this blog.

*I have a coffee-grinder-savior. Many thanks to Eric for loaning me this great machine until I can buy one myself... I will be using his fair-trade organic coffee.

*Two fantastic people came by and brought flowers. G&A, you are beyond. BEYOND.
This reminds me that I need to say that I am so so lucky to be surrounded by incredible people. Really. I can't believe how generous people have been with their time and words and resources.

*I made 3 soups during today's crazystorm: chipotle chicken with black beans and corn. broccoli and cheddar. sweet potato, lemongrass and coconut.

*My neighbors saw me (sitting on the grass), early morning, trying to get my tall grass out of the planters, pulling with my hands, pushing with my feet, huffing and puffing. Man, what a sight.

*Gas stove = Charred green peppers = burrito love.

*Apparently, I have the same flooring as Play. Some people from the neighborhood came in and told us. And they also told us that we need a liquor license, asap.

*I need a double. Any of you read Calvin and Hobbes? I want a cardboard box that duplicates me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quick notes.

It is late, but someone commented on how she was so grateful/happy that I updated even though I am losing my mind, so here it is...

*I decided on my tea, a cute little business not far from my own. Go see their website, and if you live around here, stop by their breathtakingly beautiful shop. If you are a business owner, consider their teas, outstanding quality. I had a very hard time choosing today, luckily I had a great sidekick to help me out.

*I made the largest chicken stock of my life.

*The shop is a mess and I can't believe it will be all nice in two days.

*'People' showed up at the door tonight as Simon and I were packaging (a ton) of lasagnas... He said: I think they are here for you... A big gift with a big bow. I guess they are. Carole, the bears found a home. Mike, again, you have no idea how much those cutting boards are appreciated!!!

*We have our coffee. And maybe a coffee grinder. Yay!!!!!!

*Yeah, lasagnas. I will dream of that. So many.

*The sign is up! The sign is up and I love it!

*We also have a cute Edgar stamp. Maybe I should stamp your hands as you come in...

*I filled a car again today. Boxes and boxes of... boxes. Wow, packaging, that takes up a lot of space...

*Lynne and Rachelle are my helpers for Saturday - who is curious to meet them? And are they curious to meet one another?

*Can I swear on this blog? MERDE. C'est intense.

Opening Saturday...

So, the whirlwind is full force.
Hardly did I believe that this week would be so intense. Little things take up so much time, but then, some others larger tasks get done quicker than I thought.

I am making a fair amount of food, but still not up to agenda. I will try to push it today.
Luckily, the past two evenings I have had the help of my dear friend Chloe. It had been awhile since we had last seen one another, so we have lots to talk about (as we make spaghetti sauce and debone/portion a whole box of chicken)

In the past two days, I have done:
*A lot of running around... plus*
Tons of veg stock
Spicy butternut squash soup
Apple, squash and cashew soup
Tons of apple sauce
Apple buttah. (well not quite there yet, just needs a bit more lovin')
Cranberry, orange & vanilla sauce
Spaghetti sauce (for lasagnas today I hope)
Chloe roasted a ton of red peppers (one huge box and more) and made some foccacia dough

I plan to do many many goodies for the weekend, hoping to make macaroons, brownies, muffins, scones, buns, peanut/oat/chocolate squares, little tarts, cookies, more bars... And a few lunch items. So far, I am aiming for the vietnamese sandwich, a panini, chicken chipotle soup and a veggie soup (not sure, making a few more today...) And, it time permits, some fun take home items like spiced pitas and dips.

I finally found my bar chairs and paid more than I wanted to, but they are pretty. Almost had a meltdown at the store when the lady said the ones I wanted were discontinued. I am a bit tired I guess. We drove back with a car so full that you only saw my head pop out, I had to laugh.

Reality is, plans change, I have to adapt. I find it hard to coordinate the little things (having the phone/debit company come in, make holes, run wires... make more holes in counter for my debit machine, the phone), deliveries (dear milkman, I cannot meet you this morning at 6h30 and yes, I need butter even if you don't carry it normally for the convenience store next door. Ditto for cream. And sour cream. Yes, I want it all.) and shopping (driving me mad!), ensuring all the last details are in place (Ummmm, take out coffee cups! Writing the menus on the blackboard, checking power outlets - panini grill+cappucino machine+big percolator+soup warmers+fridges =worries - and getting all my crazy paper work together not to forget to pay anyone...)

Thank goodness Simon's parents are there. His mom is driving me around, his father is figuring out my cash register, debit, fixing fridges. My mom sends me little emails with hugs and kisses (and I wish she was retired as well!! ) - I need those.

My sign should go up today, and I am getting my little stamp that Simon made - that makes me smile. My man is the best, and he is tired as well, and doing all he can to do his job and help me...I feel like letting him sleep in this morning, bringing him coffee in bed, a nice smoothie, but work calls us both. Maybe in another life now?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Before the Whirlwind...

...we went away for a few days. To be just the two of us. No computers. No phones.
I watched birds and deer.
The frost in the morning. The world warming up to a whole new set of colors.
We went for a long hike up a ski hill. The view was magnificent.
I marveled at moss. Rocks. Leaves. Lakes.
Sat in front of the fire.
Ate chips.

I still stayed productive.
Made lists. Reviewed menu. Without distraction.
I made a very cute apron with polka-dots.
I also sewed some thingies to hold back my hair (In Quebec, they want you to be dorky and we have to wear a hair net... I want to hide it as best I can!) as well as curtains for the washroom at Edgar.

I will make an official post, but just so that I don't send 15 personal emails per day (and I do return them all!!!!) - I will open this Saturday. More details tomorrow.

And the address:
60 rue bégin, Gatineau (Hull sector)

thank you all for following me in this adventure.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hall's apples

I got two nice bags of apples today (From Halls Apple Market in Brockville, you can order online!!!)

This made a few (!!!) containers of applesauce, the base for my muffins.

I also made a bit (!!!) of veg stock.

Quite a few people dropped in today, again, this lifts my spirits and make me think that maybe, just maybe, people will make the trip to my little shop. (Candice, Barbara, Kim, Agathe, Aurélie, Marc, Carley - thank you.)

The official opening should be Tuesday November 2nd, although I think I will do a friends and family (and whoever in the hood is curious) day on Saturday. I will get some help manning the cash, coffee machine and we will sell sweets + maybe a panini or two. Not the full display quite yet...

I will soon address all comments, give me a few seconds/minutes/days... My inbox got flooded today. I am still answering emails at this late hour.

Testing Done - 1 week to go.

My cinnamon brioche bun with raisins, bacon and orange glaze.

So, a lot of you had questions about Edgar.
I am fully conscious that I did not answer.
I had a lot of thinking to do myself.

You see, I had a vision of a restaurant. Opening for dinner, maybe lunch, maybe brunch.
What I ended up buying is a really tiny place, tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood, near the water and cyclepaths. There are 11 seats, all high stools. Some facing the window outside, some, well, pretty much next to me in the kitchen!

I had to rethink.
I will be alone, so I need to be quite efficient. Take your order, make it, and manage the cash.
For a few weeks at least so that I have enough money to hire someone.
So food choices are key. I can't scramble. I can't make people wait.

So on top of all the craziness of starting a business, I had to think menu-logic.
Breakfast will be a lot of pastries, 2 hot sandwiches (apple, bacon, maple, cheddar and raisin bread + breakfast burrito omelet type thing), smoothies, granola and yoghurt.

Lunch. Lunch is where it is tricky. Big salads to go. Sandwiches. Stews. Curries. I have to be able, once again, to assemble the food and serve people. I wanted original items as well as crowd pleasers: what is around is a grade school, a university, passing traffic from the government and the hood folks.

The sandwich I am most looking forward to is the banh mi. So fresh, crunchy, comforting.

A mix of sweet and spicy pork, pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, jalapeno, spicy mayo, cucumber - hold the paté.

I plan to open in a week. I am still debating on which day to open: a Saturday so that friends and family can come, or start an official work week and open on Tuesday... I don't like fancy openings, so one day a little open sign will appear.

The inside is almost all done. I had a few set backs yesterday... The chemicals from the hood vent cleaning 'melted' the paint on my floor, I will have to redo this weekend. It sucks. It was a long process, I had to have it dry between coats. Redo. And it seems that the cleaning was never really well done: it lifted years and years of paint colors from the vent - I had to scrape all of those away yesterday. It was so disgusting, in a way, I am happy this happened, now all is so clean.

Today I start cooking and filling the freezers. I have some visit that will make me smile and lift my worries. Don't get me wrong, I am really happy - but it seems like it is still not registering. I am still in a whirlwind of shopping, cleaning, thinking heavily, lining up my contacts for meat, milk, nuts, pantry... and it goes on and on.

I remember reading an article about Orangette, and how she was saying that the restaurant business is not for everyone, and how it was not for her... Cooking at home + food blogging is quite different. I can see how this could be overwhelming for someone who has never done it, how it all looks like fun and games from the outside.

But I like challenges. And I am not one to back down.
Like the brioche bun. How many times have I started over? I have my recipe now.
The picture on top is cinnamon, raisin, bacon. It will be transformed yet again though... Dates, maple, cinnamon, bacon. Deliciousness, I loved it.

...I even had a supreme taste-tester, and he preferred my apple-cranberry pie - I have to be confident and think that different people have different tastes and I will stand behind my bun, as I will stand behind all my food.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pies

This is food porn.

The cranberries are fresh picked from Vallée des Canneberges in Venosta.

Cranberry Apple Pies
6 mini pies

5 large apples, cored, sliced
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
Zest of one large orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp butter
fresh grated nutmeg

1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter (adjust, it needs to just come together, you may need more)

Mix together the first set of ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix second set of ingredients. Arrange apple mixture in unbaked pie shells and put in 375 oven for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven, sprinkle the crumble on top of pies. Bake for another 20 minutes at least until crumble topping is golden and cranberries are bubbling away.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


First, you have to forgive me.
I don't even know how I did this.
I erased the pictures of our dinner - our salad was lovely.

I drove up to La Vallée des Canneberges in Venosta today. It is about 30 minutes from my house, and it was a pleasant drive - I had baked goodies from Lynne who dropped in at Edgar, to satisfy her curiosity, and give me a boost of positive energy! Merci Lynne!!!

Today was the harvest. I loved seeing the berries on the conveyor belt, a cascade of red dots... I also had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the cranberry farm (another Lyne, no matter how you spell it, they are sweet!) and will go back for more ... After I finish the 35 lbs that I bought! How long will that take, anyone want to start bets?

We had this salad with fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh salmon from La Boucanerie in Chelsea. Delicious. Crispy. Salmon. Skin. yummmmmmm.

(Cranberries by the crate, yes please!)

Cranberry, apple & walnut salad
(that is the simple version... tonight was candied apple and chili walnuts! You can omit the candied bits, but the texture is a really welcomed addition)

Nice greens (about 5 cups)
1 crisp apple, chopped
1/2 cup cranberries, chopped fine

1 caramelized apple (sauté in buttah until golden and yummy)
1 cup walnuts (halves, but pieces will do as well)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp butter
Chili pepper flakes

1/3 cup oil (I used walnut, but canola would do)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 French shallot, finely chopped
Lots of pepper

Caramelize your apples. Set aside.
Prepare a sheet of parchment paper for the candied nuts.
In a non-stick skillet, on high heat, add 1/4 cup sugar, let caramelize. Swirl from time to time to catch all the little white sugar bits. When caramel turn medium brown, have your butter ready. Take skillet away from heat, add butter and swirl. Add nuts, chili flakes and caramelized apple pieces. Stir well to coat, drop on parchment paper. Let cool, the caramel will harden. Chop roughly.

Prepare your dressing. Whisk the vinegar and mustard, add the oil. Add the maple syrup, Dijon, shallot and salt + pepper.

Toss all ingredients and serve immediately.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today was all about water.

Edgar is coming along great.
(Thanks for asking Marc!)

In the past two days, we did much.
I had this very long list and I am checking off almost all of it.
Replaced some parts, scrubbed off yuckiness, covered more with paint, finishing some areas.

Simon's father built a third table, I can now seat 11 people.
I am still praying for cheap stools to appear in an unexpected shop. I have a week to find them.

My new freezer was delivered and I can't wait to fill it.
The first thing to go in will be a big big bag of cranberries that I hope to pick up in Venosta this Sunday.

The water you ask?
Our water pleasure started with a drain for the espresso machine - we were hoping to plug directly into the pipes (so that I don't have to empty a bucket...) Well, that didn't work. (we had proof all over the floor...) Minutes later, the nice Morala Man comes in to see if I found a coffee grinder and confirms that our plan for the drain will not work. Shucks.

As I was very gracefully caulking the outside of the toilet bowl, I saw a little water... I shut off the valve. Oups, that was also the water for the dish. I turned it back on, no drips. We made no issue, kept on going with our business. Later on, it still leaks a bit. Looking closer into it, we discover, oh joy, that the toilet is cracked. Great. The previous tenants just patched it up with caulking over and over it seems. Faaaantastic. We just redid the washroom floor, and tomorrow, this means we might have to redo some of it to fit a new toilet. (Mr Morala, there goes part of my budget for the coffee grinder, oh, and the hood vent guy takes some of it too)

We started some fridges. Condensation. Maybe because the fridges have not been used for awhile. Little puddles of water on my painted floor again. I will dream of water. And soon, I will laugh about all of this.

I will also dream of bacon. Bacon is my friend. I want bacon everywhere.
I cooked some tonight to test the breakfast wraps. And I think, i think, that I may include bacon in my cinnamon rolls. Heaven.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Being Stubborn Makes You Eat Too Much Sugar...

For some reason, I absolutely want a cinnamon bun/brioche for breakfast at Edgar.
This is test number 2 and I am still not happy with it. I did a second variation of the dough and will do a third soon... Maybe I feel 5 again and I want to see that in a cloche and it being so marvelous and yummy and gooooey.

Cinnamon Bun I will conquer you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bursts of Color

I guess I have always been one to favour black and white. See? My Kitchenaid mixer is black...
I dressed in black for many years. Then added a bit of grey. Simon likes me most in bright colors, so color slowly made its way into my wardrobe.

It seems that many people have the same concern for Edgar.
Are you adding any color? Is this it?
Well, I think white looks so bright and clean...

Mathieu and I scrubbed the floors and when he rolled the white super-primer on, I felt a sense of calm and cleanliness. No more dust bunnies hiding under my oven.

Saturday, I added a touch of color. A nice retro blue.

Another source of color will be pots and pans.

The first one to brighten up the space: an incredible gift from Candice. I will miss working with Candice every day, and not that this cocotte will replace her, but I will feel that she is with me still. Inspiring me to cook better (most likely to add a bit more spice everywhere...)

Yesterday I felt under the weather, like something was attacking my head (drink water drink water drink water) - so I skipped renovations. I helped my mum in the morning, then cooked, baked, spent some time in my home kitchen. I made a double batch of pizza dough, will this be the final recipe? Double checking that it freezes and thaws well for people to buy and prepare at home.

I remember when my forearms were muscular from making dough and baking every day... Not so much anymore!

I also made cinnamon bun dough and am baking it off today for Marc-André and Pierre-Luc to taste (and all the rest for Simon, he needs his share of the baking!)

Again, thank you dear helpers. Saturday Mark earned a gold star for cleaning out my freezer (OH DEAR SWEET JESUS THE SMELL!!!), Nicole gave a final coat to the washroom and Candice was a scrubbing queen, all fridge/display case racks now sparkle and shine. You can't buy friends like this... Couldn't afford them, they are gold.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Sticky Muffin

Hard at work still with a new crew yesterday.

My feet for the last time on the sad tiled floor. We scrubbed and scrubbed.

Mathieu gave it a fresh coat of white. And today it will get a bit of color...

Speaking of color: could someone ever be more fashionable than Chloé for cleaning? Coordinating rubber gloves with apron? Check! This ever-so-passionate-about-food friend gave a new life to my panini grill and retro stools. I was saying that a lot of items/parts in the restaurant will have names (so now, the Chloé-grill)

Mathieu and Roseline soaked up a bit of sun on the small patio and worked as a team. I think they have a crush on one another...

Me? I did little odd jobs. Was a total type-A with the caulking.
No pictures, a tad boring no?


Introducing the Sticky Muffin! Ta-da!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Edgar, almost a week now...

It has been almost a week since I've gotten the keys to the restaurant.
A lot of running around for permits. Figuring out what papers are needed first. Then go to next step. I think I did the last one today. I think.

I have also been trying to eat well at home, that is a challenge when you are tired and it is late... We have nice striploin + mashed potatoes + veggies the night before and fish + risotto last night, not bad!

We have been working so hard. Painting the space is almost done, walls, ceilings, little nooks. The 'sortie' sign has even been repainted, all the ceiling fixtures and panels, all the small things that could eventually drive me nuts.

Lights almost entirely installed. I love these.

New lights for the blackboards as well.

And, drumroll... new floors.

Edgar Day 5&6 + More Sticky Testing

Things are moving along...

Isabel painted the outside patio and finished our tables right before the rain.
Simon and I redid the top part where our sign will be, oh that sticky metal paint...
Jean-Seb installed another ac (apparently, everyone thought I could not live without)

Inside, every little change seems to make such an impact.
We repainted and reinstalled some blackboards - one was used to hide the dish area.

The boys also moved back the counter to create more space for clients (less for me, but I am small!) Jean-Seb was very happy to use another power tool to cut the tile.

I bought lights (Michel installed a few yesterday, they make me so happy! I will picture them today.) and found my flooring as well. We should start this morning.

I did some more sticky bun testing (I had four testers) and although they all liked them, I am still doubting. Doubting that they might be too messy, sticky, sugary for people to have them for breakfast. I think I might do cinnamon buns. Anyone have a preference? Sticky buns or cinnamon bun?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Edgar - Day 3

I have such wonderful friends.
Edgar is coming along so well, and so fast.

Cappucino and painting mix well.

Cutting/sanding metal, no problem.

My. Beloved. New. Fan.
It even has a remote control.

Dear Sunday crew, thank you.
Régine (Crushworthy part owner of the fabulous Victoire), Marie-Camille (simply fabulous), Isabel (Wonderwoman), David (the brains and the muscle), GW (all around handyman, master fan installer) and Jean-Sébastien (I will destroy/move anything you want me to)
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