Wednesday, July 20, 2011

summer treats.

We started talking summer treats around February.
Trying to forecast how desserts would shift. I was thinking meringue tarts, fruit pies, custards.
Then we pondered... ice cream?
I didn't feel like buying an ice cream maker, it was heavy and took up precious space. And our freezer was so packed with take home meals, it just did not seem manageable.

Ottawa has an ice cream queen. By no means is she an ice queen, Pascale is the most genuine and friendly and warm and lovely lady there is. She makes kick ass ice cream and we wanted some to make our own ice cream sandwiches.

Sadly, then, we were faced with reality: laws that regulate dairy in both our provinces are different (Ontario and Quebec) and her ice cream could not cross the border for resale. And she could not use our cream (from La Laiterie de l'Outaouais) to make ice cream for us... So we set out to make our own.

I tried gelatos. Sorbets. Ice creams. No eggs. No dairy. Vegan. Canned fruits, jams, purées... and kept three basic recipes that worked best, and modified, adjusted, tweaked. Tasted. Tasted. Tasted.

I don't have a sweet tooth per se. I am guessing this is a result of working with sweets a lots, the smell of chocolate baking, especially in a warm environment, usually makes me a tad nauseous. I never really crave desserts or sweets. BUT, if you leave me with a container of ice cream, I usually manage to finish it. Or I leave just a tiny bit not to feel too guilty... Throw in a sour note like citrus, rhubarb, or dear, dear coconut, and you've lost me for awhile.

I said I would share a recipe soon and here you are.

Now, this picture is upside down. Sorry.
I am a bit absent minded. And can admit to being somewhat ADD. I laugh about it now. I have to, staff point it out daily. Very organized, but all over the place.
Also, the instructions are, well, Marysol-like.
I usually memorize everything, but since I now have staff, I need to leave notes. This is how it came out. And, to make thing *worse*, we sometimes do not note everything (Katie and I), like some kind of secret club... Us girls have to keep our secrets right?

As a side note, some things Katie and I do truly are secrets. Take for example our Mexican style pulled pork - Katie does the rub, and I do the sauce. I am not quite sure of what she does, and she does not know what is in my sauce. Perfect. Our secret is safe.

I can share a little something about cookies as well...

We changed our cookies a few times. testing if they freeze well. If they are soft enough, not overly sweet. I found that adding honey made them softer, easier to bite into. If you freeze them, it is easier to pat down the ice cream to form the sandwiches.

This is our Orangette, yes, a clin-d'oeil to that beautiful blog. Chocolate cookie, fudge and orange gelato.

I try to make a fresh batch of cookies as often as possible and I assemble the sandwiches in the morning, so that they have less 'boogie time' with the freezer.

Juliette: fresh simmered apricots, pureed, with a sweet swirl of raspberries. The cookie is lemon honey.

If you ever want to attempt the ice cream, and need explanations, leave a comment. I will answer the thread.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Photo credit M. Sunderland. He makes awesome jams.

So, it's been quite awhile.
And many of you asked when I would write again.
If I would write again.
Why I didn't write anymore...

But no one asked as kindly as A.
She came in the shop today, and said she missed me. The blog me.
Not the little girl running around and making food. Whisking lemon curd and trying to get things out of the oven at the same time.
Not the one serving you. Foaming your latte. Bringing you water.
Not the one doing dishes. All sweaty, scrubbing, polishing.
Not the one smiling behind the counter. Explaining what today's take home options are.
Because for A, that is not the real me.

The fake or the real me? The tired today me. Smiling at A, no makeup, bad ponytail. Gazpacho stain running down the back of my tshirt, accidents happen.

She asked if I felt there were different Marysols for different people.
Of course, she knew. But she wondered how people who have never read the blog perceive me.
I responded that a majority of the customers don't even think I am the owner.
And I don't mind. I like seeing the surprised look on their face when staff point at me.
I have always been an observer. I tend not to speak much and love to analyze.
I also love to listen, always shy to share.
But I guess that over the years, I have shared much on this blog. And some have gotten used to it, and it seems odd that I am so quiet.

So what is it that people want to know?
How has this blog inspired you?

I hope to have inspired whimsy. Taking yourself too seriously is rarely a good thing. Many people in the industry feel a need to prove themselves and forget to have fun.

We have a nice garden at work. I take silly pictures there too.

I hope to have inspired creativity.

Never stop marveling at the beauty of nature. Take the time to observe.

Gardens and flowerbeds are so full of color and treasure. White poppyseeds are fantastic in salads. We use them for weekend brunch.

We go through a lot of green papaya per week. We Ooooogled at this one for about 10 minutes. Usually the seeds are all white, these were painted perfection. A quiet palette, calm but still so noisy.

How about a few pictures of the past few months...

Zoé putting away the sandwiches... I do admit that we feel quite ordinary doing sandwiches every single day, and we wish we were doing fancier. Owning a restaurant and being so close to customers I now realize that I can't switch it up every single day as I hoped I could. People come back for favorites.
One day, my wish is to have a very small menu that changes daily. Elaborate and tasty evenings. Maybe that will have to be in another location...

For now, given the space we have, the neighborhood we are in, we focus on making the weekend breakfasts as tasty, beautiful and scrumptious as possible. People are ok waiting for these, no weekday lunch rush.

Poached eggs are always a hit.

But so are heart shaped eggs for kids.

People heart french toast and bread puddings.

I especially like picking the strawberries.

And I am really excited about this weekend's breakfast.
Dutch Baby Pancakes. Fluffy, crunchy, airy, sweet, not too sweet, buttery, tart, gooey...

Oh, and life outside of work? And how I am doing? How's it going so far? Because I guess that is what you want to know... Well, I am still a wee bit tired.

But I can now have a bit more of a life because I have extraordinary staff.

My girls are incredible. And so is Phil (ladies, please note that his kitchen skills are prrrretty good.)

Friends are fabulous and it is always a treat to have time to see them. Cheers to all of you.

And I swear I am taking care of myself. I eat my tofu, drink my carrot juice. I try to go swimming as most I can. (So that I can keep eating as much bacon as I want and drink as much cream as I wish thank you. I am not perfect, and I am enjoying this.)
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