Friday, May 28, 2010

One highlight of the St.Lawrence Market was finding this mustard. Naturally flavoured, it exhibits a heat that passes through your nose similar to horseradish or wasabi. Anton Kozlik's mustard comes in a variety of flavours that range from hot, mild to sweet. When passing by feel free to dip a pretzel into the XXX hot, honey garlic, orange and ginger, or hot Russian. I opted for the sweet and smokey; I decided it would work well in salad dressings, marinades and on top of a roast beef sandwich (displayed above). Cost is $6 per jar but it disappears quickly. Check out the website for more information on the brand, locations and recipes:

Monday, May 17, 2010

What would your last meal be?

This question was first proposed to me while I watched At the Table with Anthony Bourdain. The talk show aired on the Discovery channel as an extension to No Reservations. Unfortunately it never took off, probably because of the panel including Bill Buford, Amy Sacco, Ted Allen and Chris Wilson. The conversation topics were intriguing but the panel pushed too hard to be controversial and appeared snobbish. The highlight was Wylie Dufresne's menu from his restaurant wd-50 in New York. As always Anthony was shameless and charismatic. I love everything about this man - his book Medium Raw just came out on June 8th. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an autographed copy.

Your going to be in the electric chair tomorrow, what are you hungry for?
Most of the panel chose a nostalgic meal their mother made or something that reminded them of home, i.e., spaghetti and meatballs, bacon and brussel sprouts and cornbread. Some other choices included pork ribs, marrow, shake and bake pork, bolognese pasta and KFC.

My last meal:
1.Breaded and fried pork
Mashed potatoes sprinkled with dill and a dollop of mayo on top
Cucumber salad on the side(Eastern European style, marinated in sour cream, sugar, pepper and dill).

2.White sausage soup with hard boiled eggs
- this meal is a speciality, traditionally served for Easter breakfast, I can never get enough

I prefer a home cooked meal as my last supper over anything commercial. My picks stem surprisingly from my Polish background. Perhaps after I eat the foods off my wish list (foie gras and truffles) I will change my mind.

A whole book devoted to the topic:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yesterday morning I decided to take a trip to the Village Market in Thornhill, which is open year round on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. I was excited to find fresh ingredients from nearby Ontario farms including venison, organic chicken and grains, shitake and oyster mushrooms along with a variety of herbs. Many vendors sold health products such as Macca from Peru that balances hormones and is usually added to shakes. I chose to focus on local products that I could cook with. I came home with organic cornmeal, blue oyster mushrooms from an Orangeville farm, sweet pea sprouts, an oregano plant for the garden and some dark chocolate sprinkled with hemp seeds. This inspired a tasty brunch that I served the next afternoon.

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup each of milk and cream)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
3 tbs. sugar
3 tbs. butter (melted)or oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Heavily grease a square baking dish and heat it up while the oven preheats
In one bowl mix your dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt)
In another bowl mix your wet ingredients (milk, eggs, and butter or oil)
Then mix your dry ingredients into the wet
Place into the pan and bake for 15-20 min

Butter: mix together
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. honey
1 clove garlic (small) minced
pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
finally chop any fresh herbs from your garden and combine

Scrambled Saute:
5 eggs
1/2 cup blue oyster mushrooms torn
1/4 cup sweet pea sprouts chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
dash of cream
salt and pepper

Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat
Toss in the mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper
Saute for 3 min until lightly brown
Add a splash of water, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for another 2 min. or until the water evaporates
Add the sweet pea sprouts and cook for 1 min.
Put in a bowl and set aside

Beat the eggs, cream, salt and pepper until light in color
Add oil to the frying pan and heat at a medium-high temperature
Pour the egg mixture into the pan and scrape the sides to the centre while moving the pan in a circular motion for 1min. - this makes the eggs light and fluffy
Add the veggies and continue to cook - leaving the eggs slightly runny well ensure that they are not dry and overcooked (eggs will continue to cook with residual heat)

Bacon: fry until crispy

Butter the cornbread, top with the scrambled eggs and crumble the bacon on top
The mushrooms and pea sprouts can be replaced with your favourite vegetables including broccoli, spinach, rapini, peppers, etc.

Yields: 5-6

The Village Market is located in the Waldorff School at 9100 Bathurst st. near Rutherford rd. For market locations near you visit:

Every time I arrive at my boyfriends house there are always a bunch of overripe bananas waiting for me. His whole family loves this dessert, especially his stepdad who likes to eat it dangerously hot from the oven. Banana bread is the ideal comfort food, which I prefer when mixed with chocolate chunks and walnuts. This recipe is my favourite, producing a moist interior and crusty exterior.

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
4-5 well ripened bananas
2 eggs
2 tbs. cream (or milk)
1 tbs. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup dark (70%)or semi-sweet chocolate roughly chopped
1/3 cup walnuts roughly chopped

Heat your oven to 350 degrees

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl
Add the eggs, cream and vanilla and whisk until everything is fully incorporated

In a separate bowl mash up the bananas using a fork or potatoe masher leaving them slightly chunky
Add the bananas to the wet ingredients

In another bowl sift your dry ingredients (flour, sugar,baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt)

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones in three parts while folding the batter (this will keep your bread light and fluffy)
Make sure not to over mix the ingredients
Before folding the last amount add your chocolate and walnuts
Fold until everything is mixed together

Take a knob of butter and coat your pan fully (you can also use cooking spray, parchment paper or vegetable oil to keep your bread from sticking to the pan)
Fill the pan with your batter
Place at the centre of your oven for 45-50 minutes
It is done when the house smells of bananas or when your skewer comes out clean
Take out of the oven and cool for 30 minutes
Serve with a cool glass of milk

Yields: 6-8