Tuesday, January 26, 2010

mmmmm ...mac and cheese

we're half way through the winter season and these dark dreary days definitely speak to our mood with warming, savoury comfort foods. i definitely feel a shift in my own food cravings - as if its nature's way of saying "time to hibernate"... its no doubt than that our attention shifts to soul-satisfying dishes such as mac n'cheese, fried chicken, and roasts. ooey gooey desserts like rich chocolate cake and caramel sauce... not always the best foods to eat in quantity but they definitely have their place this time of year! chef jenna durling from whalesbone was up to the task of re-creating some of the classics this month and has put a modern day twist on the favourites. i stopped in to see how things were progressing and peeked in the oven- check out this cast-iron skillet bubbling away with all its cheesy goodness... don't you wish you came home to a sight like this after a long day at work?

(for those comfort food die-hard's who missed out on the first class last week, we still have two seats left in tomorrow's comfort food class part 2 - on the menu....lemon thyme roasted chicken with pan-gravy, gnocchi with mushroom and gorgonzola sauce, classic beef bolognese on homemade pasta, irish lamb stew with fluffy dumplings) mmmm!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mast Brothers Chocolate

Mast Brothers Chocolate: beautiful photographs of chocolate bars in the making.

I am soon off to New York and will try to get some of these treats.
Being the little girl at heart that I am, I will most probably stare at the precious packaging for a few minutes and be filled with remorse at the mere thought of tearing it apart. In fact, it may take me months to open it - I better give some as gifts so that other people may tell me how scrumptious it is...

Check out The Selby: it is a fun website to peek into people's homes and businesses, have a look at Il Buco, an cozy restaurant in NYC. (part 2, part 3)


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bistro Fare

Scott Adams from Benny's Bistro dropped in yesterday to teach a thing or two about Bistro Fare...

As always, it was a delightful evening. It started off with a duck tartare prepared with uber fresh magret from Mariposa Farm, c'est bon goat cheese and a touch of truffle oil (and tons of other delicious ingredients, but that's a secret!)

Then followed the appetizer:

A braised pork belly, topped with a gorgeous scallop + white bean & bacon puree + kale.

The pièce de résistance were delicious, boneless, shortribs.

These were served on silky polenta, with a ratatouille topping.

The evening ended on a sweet note... Some crispy bannock, with a mascarpone cream and stewed plums. No photograph for that one, we were all busy eating.

-marysol (and Scott, and Olivier, and...)

pork fundamentals

This Tuesday was the first part of our Pork Fundamentals with Chef Candice Butler.
Stepping into the kitchen, you were surrounded by rosy cuts of pork: pork belly, more pork belly ready to be bacon-ized, shoulder of pork, pork tenderloin, pork ribs, pork hocks...

Many tests were done in the past week too (Candice does not want to eat pork for awhile):
Pressure cooker vs slow cooking in the oven, brining liquid, brining times, spices rubs for ribs, basting liquids, baking and frying cracklings... This was just like Saveur magazine's test kitchen.

Candice's original recipe for Asian meatballs was turned into a dumpling to show the class another option for entertaining.

Click on the pictures for extra yumminess!
A delicious mix of shitake mushroom, water chestnuts, ginger, 5 spice, coriander roots, chili...are you salivating yet?

This is what caught my attention:

Pork belly!!! One belly was done in a pressure cooker, the other in the oven, pan roasted, oven roasted, brined, not brined. Endless possibilities, always yummy.

This was such a fun class and the second part is coming soon. Making bacon from scratch, I'm up for it!


Monday, January 11, 2010

bistro fare to warm your belly

following in the footsteps of marysol's book list the other week, i wanted to share a little gem i happened upon over the holidays - "fresh canadian bistro" by craig flinn is a collection of bistro recipes from canadian chefs coast to coast. what intrigued me most was that there were significant contributions from some of our well-known and well-loved ottawa chefs - steve mitton of murrray street, the fraser brothers from fraser cafe, john taylor of domus, charles part of les fougeres, steve vardy of the black cat and michael moffat of beckta. i love to support canadian content and so this book was right up my alley. and, as i have a mild obsession with collecting cookbooks, this one needed to make it to my own bookshelf. believe me, although the recipes are categorized into spring, summer, fall and winter (as it follows a local and seasonal theme), this book is definitely going to be dog-eared before the winter is over!