December 22, 2008

Gourmet Emporium - Windsor, ON

If you are in Windsor and are looking for a cozy place to warm up with a drink and a bite to eat, Gourmet Emporium in Olde Walkerville is a great choice. Read my article on the Food Network Canada for more details about this resto/cafe/store.

Cooking Club II - Winter Theme

The membership of our second cooking club has been revamped. Lisa and Jordana had to bail due to work and school. We were sad to see them go, but quite happy to welcome our new member Amarjot!

Jillian hosted our latest meeting and the theme was Winter. It could have been squash with the number of dishes we had that included this lovely veg. Yum.

ridiculously strong, would recommend adding more champs and less vodka
beautifully aromatic
a nice twist on the original, would work well at parties
Suzanne - Butternut Squash Latkes
I love latkes in all their forms.
Yum, this would make a great side dish at any meal
Christine - Zucchini Quiche
A light version that tastes decadent
Mine were a bit heavy because the oil wasn't hot enough. I will make again - molasses was fab!

December 20, 2008

Ugly Sweater Party

Our friends are always looking for a reason to celebrate - read: if there's a party, they will come.
With winter on its way, and Mother Nature once again showing us who's boss with her blows of snow and cold, my husband and I decided that an Ugly Sweater Party would be the theme.
This menu was one of the easiest ones I have ever had to prepare. I spent probably 2 hours in total in the kitchen before and during the party. I wasn't interested in putting in a ridiculous amount of time when we had many other things going on.

The food and drink included:

Spiced Nuts (see recipe below)

A platter of charcuterie, cheeses, toasted breads, crackers and toppings
(More specifically: aged gouda, local chevre, Mexican salami, spiced pork loin, prosciutto, grainy mustard, Polish dill pickles, tapenade and fig jam)

A fruit tray with grapes and pineapple

*Faces have been cut out to protect the innocent.

Spiced Nuts
4 c of assorted nuts
1/2 c roasted pumpkin seeds
3 T butter
4T brown sugar
6 dashes Worcestershire
1 t ground black pepper
1 t sea salt
1 t cayenne

Melt the butter and sugar in a pan on the stove and stir until bubbling. Add the nuts and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to coat the nuts and then place on a baking sheet covered in wax paper. Bake in the oven at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes.

December 14, 2008

Canadian Blog Awards 2008 - The Results

Maple Syrup and Poutine had a great showing at the Canadian Blog Awards this year. Once again I placed 4th in the Activities Blog section. Thank you so much to all that voted. Yarn Harlot won by a landslide (She had 91% of the total votes), mind you I wasn't to far behind the 2nd and 3rd place winners (only 1% separated me from second place). Congrats to the only other food blog in the running, WindsorEats.

I am very proud of this blog and thank all of my supporters!

~ Danielle

Help for the Holidays

Hannukah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and the coming of the New Year - December is filled with reasons to celebrate! Here are some helpful articles for entertaining.

Now there is Festivus (for the rest of us) - CHOW

What food can one make with the givings of a food bank? - CBC

Snowmen treats for all - Hostess with the Mostest

Sweet Potato Kugel Recipe - National Post

Maple Eggnog - this one's for you Nicole! - Seasonal Ontario Food

The Bests...

With 2008 almost wrapped up the "best of" and "top 10" lists are aplenty. Here are some that I find quite interesting:

Best Wines Under $10 - Toronto Life

Top 10 Wines for the Holidays - Toronto Life

Best Cookbooks of 2008 - Epicurious

Dave Lebovitz's Cookbook & Recipe Favourites - Dave Lebovitz

Food in the News

How to make off-season tomatoes edible - CHOW

Why buying halal meat may be the most ethical choice - Toronto Life

The European Commission does not want ugly food - National Post

Some of the cutest aprons ever - Etsy

Foie without the guilt - Globe and Mail
What would you choose for your last meal? - Slashfood

November 30, 2008

Final Round!

Thanks to your votes, I made it to the final round in the Activities Blog section of the Canadian Blog Awards. I am so excited! There were quite a few popular blogs in the first round of this category. I am now up against another food blog, a sewing blog and a few knitting blogs. Yarn Harlot is insanely popular and took the category last year, as well as the Best Blog Award.



November 23, 2008

Jack's Gastropub

I thank the person(s) that came up with the idea of the gastropub. Great quality comfort food is one of my favourite styles of grub. Jack's in Kingsville is an great gastropub in Kingsville, ON. For more details, read my article on the Food Network.

Please Vote!!!!

The Canadian Blog Awards are on again
and Maple Syrup and Poutine has been nominated in 2 categories!
Right now we are in Round 1.
Only those 5 blogs who receive the most votes will move on to Round 2.

I have been nominated for :

Best Activities Blog

Best Blog

Please vote for me!

November 16, 2008

Recipe Review

The Ex-Boyfriend Sandwich - drool! - YumSugar
How to make gin at home (I just may try this) - Gourmet
Gourmet's favourite cookies over the last 67 years - Gourmet

Eat Your Heart Out Letterman!

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love lists. They keep me organised, on track and help me feel as if I've actually accomplished something. Top ten lists are even better. They are simple and to the point. Here are some foodie top ten lists.

I like that they considered more than just Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, well sort of.

Love her! And she's Canadian.

I may use this as inspiration

Cooking Club - Pumpkin Iron Chef Challenge

In the spirit of competition, and I do like to compete - especially in things I have a chance of winning, Jillian decided to make October's theme an Iron Chef one. The ingredient was pumpkin, of course. Imogen, Rose and I were on one team and Jillian, Dana, and Mel on the other. We were all too nice to really judge each other's work. So we all ended up winning. BOOO!

Team 1

(just as an aside, almost every member from my team used an actual pumpkin and not the canned stuff)

Appetizer - Baked Brie with Pumpkin Chutney (Rosemary)
I will definitely make the chutney again, and really, who doesn't like warm gooey cheese?

Main - Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage (Danielle)
A flop. Pumpkin is waterier than the potatoes and therefore I needed to add a tonne more flour. More than I brought, which meant I had to switch to whole wheat flour. I like whole wheat, but not in this recipe. Yuck!

Dessert - Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce (Imogen)
The night's winner in my opinion. I adore bread pudding and this had a great balance of warm spices and sweetness

Team 2

Appetizer - Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque (Melanie)
This had the most pure pumpkin flavour. I might have added some more earthy flavoured herbs.

Main - Pumpkin Seed Crusted Lamb with Chipotle Sauce (Jillian)
Another good one. The sauce was one I will make again.

Dessert - Pumpkin Ice Cream with Pumpkin Seed Brittle (Dana)
A flop as well, though the flavours were quite good. Dana learned that using a candy thermometer when making brittle is a necessity as opposed to a suggestion.

Cooking Class - Save the Children

Recently a friend of our family asked if I would assist her in teaching a cooking class to raise money for Save the Children. "Absolutely!" was my answer and November 1 was decided as the date. I had my trusty friend Dana help me out, and the afternoon went over very well.

There were about 10 participants that chopped and chatted their way to a fabulous lunch.
The menu was as follows:

Cranberry and Vanilla Bean Mimosas
The ever famous Gyoza
I still have never had someone not enjoy these
inspired by a recipe from
A cooking club recipe that was also used at my sister's wedding
Another cooking club recipe - so easy!
Cherry Fudge Ice Cream Sundae
Ice cream made with mascarpone is divine.
Cranberry and Vanilla Bean Mimosa

Combine a few cups of chilled cranberry juice and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla bean into the shaker. Shake well. Strain into champagne glasses, filling only halfway. Top off the drinks with sparkling wine. (Prosecco works well)

Serves 8-10 as an appetizer

1/2 pound ground pork (1 cup)
1 cup coleslaw mix or shredded Napa cabbage
2 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying, or as needed
30 wonton wrappers, or as needed

In a medium frying pan, sautee the ground pork, cabbage, shallot, garlic and minced ginger in 2 T of olive oil. When meat is almost cooked add soy sauce, chili oil and sesame oil. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Lay a gyoza wrapper in front of you. Wet all the edges with water. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the sides up to form a semicircle, and then pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the rest of the gyoza wrappers until the filling is gone.

To cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 12 - 15 of the gyoza and cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover the dumplings and cook until the water is absorbed (5 to 7 minutes). Repeat with the remainder of the gyoza dumplings.

Cherry Fudge Ice Cream
Serves 4-6

8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 c homo milk
¾ c superfine sugar
8 oz. chocolate fudge, cut into chunks
½ c chopped maraschino cherries

Put the mascarpone, milk and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn until almost frozen. Add the fudge pieces and cherries and continue churning. Put the mixture into a freezer proof container and freeze until solid.

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Kahlûa or other coffee-flavored liqueur, or to taste

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water melt the chocolate with the water and the cream, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and stir in the kahlûa. The sauce may be made 1 week in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated. Makes about 1 cup.

October 27, 2008

Paesano's Article

Paesano's is a market/cafe located in Lakeshore, ON. They sell yummy cupcakes.

Take a look at my article on Food Network Canada's blog for more details.

October 25, 2008

Food in the News

A grilled cheese party! Why didn't I think of that?? - CBC Food Bytes Blog

Toronto has a few parks with bake ovens. Why do more cities not do this? - Toronto Star

Other things to order, besides pho, when eating Vietnamese - Toronto Star

What is a sandwich really? - Jumbo Empanadas

Top 10 worst first date foods - not sure if I agree with soup though - Baltimore Sun

Creemore is a lovely town in Ontario, that happens to have a 100 mile store. Seasonal Ontario Food went for a visit - Seasonal Ontario Food

A guy tries to pay for his Big Mac combo with weed and someone calls 911? Puleez! - YumSugar

Recipe Review

For those final local root veggies, Honey Mint Glazed Carrots - Seasonal Ontario Food

Tailgating recipes for the sports fan (or food fan) in you! - Epicurious

Wicked good caramel apples - CHOW

Two More Windsor Restos

Avanti - I think my in-laws have determined that this is "their place". At the moment, anyhow. This small Italian eatery has amazingly friendly and personal service, as well as a great menu. Windsor Eats has written an article about the restaurant and their new menu.

Smoke and Spice - This is the new venture of Ryan Odette, formerly of Mamo (one of my favourite places in Windsor). Hubby and I went in on a Saturday about 10 days after opening and were happy to see that the place was hopping. We wondered how the menu would be since it was in such contrast to the former bistro dishes at Mamo. We were mildy disappointed. Funnily enough, about 6 of our friends had been there that same week and felt the same way. We did compare them to Slows in Detroit and Dinosaur BBQ in New York, lofty goals but that was where our experiences laid. Here's how we felt things played out.
Things that were good: the barbeque sauces, the baby back ribs, the onion rings, the atmosphere, the pecan pie, the service, the chili, waffle fries.
Things that were great: the bbq beans
Things that could be worked on: the pulled pork (very dry!), pork spareribs (super salty), lack of Steamwhistle (keg was empty by 7 pm on Saturday?), the mac and cheese (too watery)
This does not mean that we won't be back. I am willing to give this place quite a few more chances because I believe in Ryan Odette and his team and know that they have the skill to improve.

October 24, 2008


Naysa is a, somewhat, hidden gem on Windsor's west end.
Read more about this on the Food Network Canada's website.

October 4, 2008

Booze in the News

Beer cocktails, a twist on the usual - GlamDish (photo credit goes to them)

The return of sherry. I never knew it left! - Saveur

In a shaky economy $10 - $20 wines give the best bang for your buck - NY Times

Q tonic, some Hendricks and a squeeze of lime, just may be the best drink ever - National Post

Mission Hill Oculus, a gorgeous wine - Vancouver Sun


Maple Syrup and Poutine is now on Facebook!

September 28, 2008

100 Canadian Foods to Eat

Andrew at Very Good Taste, peaked my interest with his list of VGT's Omnivore's Hundred. After responding to this list I looked for more and found the Big List of "Things You Must Eat". I then knew that I must come up with a list that focused on the top 100 Canadian items to consume.

Below is the list. The rules will be along the same lines as Andrew's list:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Post a comment here linking to your results

Maple Syrup & Poutine's 100 Canadian Foods to Consume

1. Arctic Char
2. Ketchup flavoured chips
3. Wild Rice Pilaf
4. Caribou Steak
5. Gourmet Poutine
6. Screech
7. Beaver Tails
8. Maple Baked Beans
9. Bison Burger
10. Bumbleberry pie
11. Nanaimo bar
12. Butter Tarts
13. Cedar Planked B.C. Salmon
14. Wild Blueberries
15. Pure Local Cranberry Juice
16. Chocolate from Ganong or Purdy’s
17. A cup of warm cider from your local orchard
18. Caesar
19. 4 of the following types of apples (Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Spartan, Greensleeves, Liberty, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, Idared, Gala)
20. Freshly foraged mushrooms
21. Dinner cooked by Michael Smith, Susur Lee or Rob Feenie
22. Fondue Chinoise
23. Dish created from a Canadian Living Magazine recipe
24. Peameal Bacon Sandwich from St. Lawrence Market in Toronto
25. Lobster bought directly from a boat in a Maritime harbour
26. Handmade perogies from your local church or market
27. Alberta Beef at an Alberta Steakhouse
28. Leamington Tomatoes
29. Roasted Pheasant
30. Wild Game hunted by someone you know
31. Ice Wine
32. Habitant Pea Soup – entire can
33. Any Canadian Artisinal Cheese
34. Bannock
35. Tourtiere
36. Flapper Pie
37. Jellied Moose Nose
38. Saskatoon Berries
39. Fish and Brewis
40. Screech Pie
41. Fiddleheads
42. Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
43. Flipper Pie
44. Montreal Bagels with Smoked Salmon
45. Toutins
46. Jam Busters
47. Bakeapple Pie
48. Bridge Mixture
49. Canadian Style Pizza (bacon, pepperoni. Mushrooms)
50. Shreddies
51. A cone from Cow’s Ice Cream
52. Lumberjack or Logger’s Breakfast
53. Jigg’s Dinner
54. Rappie Pie
55. Pemmican
56. Lake Erie Sturgeon Caviar
57. Belon Oysters
58. Brome Lake Duck
59. Beer from a stubby bottle.
60. A beer from Unibroue or Phillips Brewery.
61. Salt Spring Island Lamb
62. Fry’s Cocoa
63. A bag of Old Dutch Potato Chips
64. Every Flavour of Laura Secord Suckers
65. Chicken Dinner from St Hubert’s or Swiss Chalet
66. Hickory Sticks
67. An entire box of Kraft Dinner
68. Candy Apples (NOT caramel apples)
69. Corn from a roadside stand
70. A meal at Eigensenn Farm
71. Okanogan Peaches
72. Berkshire Pork
73. PEI Potatoes
74. Something cooked in Canola oil
75. Figgy Duff
76. Blueberry Grunt
77. High Tea at the Empress Hotel
78. Fresh maple syrup hardened on the snow
79. Oreilles de Christ
80. Nova Scotia Beer Warmer
81. A cheese plate containing Bleu Bénédictin, Friulano, St. Maure and Oka.
82. Black or red currant jam
83. Maple glazed Doughnut from Tim Horton’s with a Large “Double Double”
84. A glass of Mission Hill’s “Oculus”
85. Alberta Pure Vodka
86. Chokecherries
87. Canada Day Cake
88. Boulettes
89. Canadian Iced Tea
90. Mead
91. Fricot
92. Grandperes
93. Local honey
94. Creton on toast
95. Glen Breton Rare
96. A whole box of Smarties, where the empty box is then used as a kazoo
97. Grilled cheese made with Canadian Cheddar
98. A meal from Harvey’s
99. Lake Erie Perch
100. Red Rose Tea
If you are unsure of what the item is, look it up! Please pass the list on to your friends and fellow bloggers - whether they are Canadian or not.

September 27, 2008

Cooking Club II - Gourmet Junk Food

This month's meeting was a bit of a bust. Two people had to cancel, two were late and one had to leave early! We did get some cooking done in there.

Here is what the menu looked like:

They are serious when they say only a small amount of water and make sure you wait until the caramel has cooled a bit. Mine were tasty but not so pretty.
Christine - Twinkie Tiramisu

...Gonna Get Ma-a-arried!

My sister was married earlier this summer in a gorgeous ceremony over looking a quiet lake in cottage county. It was a very small fete so she and her partner decided to invite the rest of their friends and family to a celebration of their wedding at their own place in Southern Ontario.

My mother and I were the caterers and spend about 12 hours last week, cooking ourselves silly. The fruits of our labour seemed to be enjoyed by all.

The menu included:

Potato, Beet and Carrot Latkes with Creamy Horseradish or Ginger Applesauce

Asian Sesame Slaw

Grilled Vegetable Anitpasto

4 Cheese Penne

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Thai Dressing

Grilled Flank Steak with Florentine Mayo, Peach Salsa and BBQ Sauce

Fresh Fruit with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate, Vanilla and Coconut Wedding Cupcakes

Cooking Club - Local, Seasonal Food

It is almost every chef's mantra to use the best quality, local and seasonal ingredients in their cooking. Our group of amateur cooking club members decided to join them in this.

Our menu included:

Tomatoes from Essex County are simply the best
and are only enhanced with basil right from the garden.
Danielle - Cumin Scented Beet Latkes with Canadian Horseradish Goat Cheese &
Carrot Latkes with Gingered Michigan Applesauce
Beets and carrots from the backyard, doesn't get more local than that.
The ingredients were very seasonal, maybe not so local.
All of this was served with Walkerville Brewery beer and Pelee Island wines.

September 14, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred

LISTS! Love them! Seriously, a good list where I can cross things off and see my progress is ever so satisfying. I am a list geek and proud of it.

Very Good Taste has come up with a list to determine just how many of 100 items bloggers have consumed. It is an omnivore's challenge, so veg people may feel a bit jilted - doesn't mean you can't come up with your own though.

Here are the instructions:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba Ganoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB & J Sandwich
14. Aloo Gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses - yum! this is on my future list though
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom Tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie Gras
24. Rice and Beans
25. head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - just not worth the pain
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna Cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Saurkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - more often than I'd care to admit
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects - I wouldn't say never, but probably not
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu - not sure I'm interested in taking the chance
47. Chicken Tikka Masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Pickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. poutine - of course!
60. carob chips
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. kaolin - um, no.
64. currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill - yuck!
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three- Michelin-star restaurant - WooHoo! Worth every penny
85. Kobe Beef
86. Hare - if it means rabbit then, yes
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft Shell Crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
100. Snake

In conclusion, there are 9 items I would never eat, 24 items I have not eaten yet, and 67 I have already consumed! Not bad at all...I'll be working on those 24.

Recipe Review

I heart poutine - blog's name kinda cements this. Here are some of Bonnie Stern's latest recipes for the cheesy, gravy covered Canadian concoction - National Post

I am at work every day, which must mean the kids are back in school. Some ideas for fantastic lunches - Epicurious

Recipes for breaking the fast during Ramadan - Epicurious

My mother adores chutney. She uses it as some would ketchup. Here are some recipes to add to her arsenal. - Seasonal Ontario Food

September 5, 2008

We test it, you eat it.

Coney dogs, yum! Check out the latest article on the Food Network Canada site about my adventures in taste testing.

August 31, 2008

Brunch and Birthdays

Over the past week or so I have done quite a bit of cooking for others. I provided brunch for friends and family as well as some fun food for my close friend's birthday.

Here are some of the recipes - enjoy!

Brunch -
Peach, Mango and Blueberry Fruit Salad with Granola
Crispy Bacon
Pomegranate Orange Juice
Birthday Party - (see recipes below)
Lentil and Black Bean Dip
Cherry BBQ Chicken Wings

Lentil and Black Bean Dip

2 cups cooked lentils, drained and cooled
2 cups cooked black beans, drained and cooled
1/2 c green onions, sliced thinly
2 medium tomatoes, diced
S & P, to taste
1 T lemon juice
In a jar, shake together:

1/2 c sugar
2 t celery seed
2 t salt
1 t paprika
1 t dried mustard
1 c ketchup
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Combine bean mixture with dressing. Serve with nacho chips.

Cherry BBQ Chicken Wings
1/4 c butter
1/2 c + 1 c cherry bbq sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3 lb, chicken wings
1 c dry bread crumbs
2 T brown sugar
2 T white vinegar
1/4 c water
1/2 T minced ginger
1 T hot sauce
Melt butter on baking sheet in oven (preheated to 400 F). Stir together 1/2 c bbq sauce and garlic and use to coat wings. Then roll the wings in bread crumbs and place in pan, turning to coat with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes.
Combine 1 c bbq sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, water, ginger and hot sauce. After wings have baked for 30 min. turn them and then pour sauce over top. Bake for 25 minutes longer or until chicken is tender.

Cooking Club II - Hawaiian Food

I have never really pondered Hawaiian food, so when Suzanne decided to use this as her August cooking club theme I was stumped. It seems to include many fruits and veg that are native to the island, obviously, while bringing in American and Asian influences - with a bit of Spam on the side. The menu turned out to be quite flavourful even though we only had four members attending that night.

Suzanne -
Mai Tai
Chi Chi
Macadamia Nut Crusted Coconut "Shrimp"
Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk
(see below)


2 oz. light rum
1 oz. Triple sec orange liquor
1 tbsp. Orgest almond liquor or almond flavored syrup (I used Amaretto)
1 tbsp. Grenadine
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 dash 151prf. rum or dark rum (optional)
(and I added Guava juice)

Shake ingredients (except the dark rum) and strain into a large glass about 1/3 full with crushed ice. Decorate with a maraschino cherry speared to a wedge of fresh pineapple. Top with a dash of dark rum for that reddish color, or for sure inebriation 151 proof rum. Put an orchid in each drink for the full Hawaiian effect.


1 1/2 oz vodka (I used way more than this!)
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz cream of coconut
1 slice pineapple
1 cherry

Blend vodka, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut with one cup of ice in an electric blender at a high speed. Pour into a wineglass, decorate with the slice of pineapple and the cherry, and serve.


1. 3 medium sweet potatoes
2. 3/4 cup "lite" coconut milk
3. 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4. 1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees F until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
2. When cool enough to handle, peel off and discard skin. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a medium microwaveable bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add coconut milk, ginger and salt; stir well. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, or in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: 4 servings

MACADAMIA NUT CRUSTED COCONUT SHRIMP (I made Salmon strips instead of shrimp)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 pound cleaned and deveined shrimp
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup crushed macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a baking dish with olive oil. Place flour in a small bowl. Dredge shrimp in flour, then dip into coconut milk and roll in crushed macadamia nuts. Place in baking dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Serve 3 shrimp on a bed of rice topped with orange lime sauce. Makes 4 servings

August 20, 2008

Food in the News

Besides the Detroit Coney Dog, here are 5 hot dogs that will make you keel over - Al Dente

A debate, should you hide the veggies or just teach your kids healthy eating habits? - Epicurious

What makes a perfect taco, burger, pizza or pad thai? - 7x7 San Francisco

With only 1 weekend left before Labour Day, here is the perfect cottage meal - National Post

Something I want to join in on, an Underground Dinner Party - Globe and Mail

The gourmet comfort food trend is not over - rethinking the corn dog - National Post

August 18, 2008

Food Network Canada Articles

Over the weekend, Food Network Canada's blog posted two of my most recent articles on Essex County Wineries and The Chatham Street Grill. Check them out!

August 11, 2008

My recent culinary adventures...

...and not one of them has to do with me cooking anything!

Over the summer I intended to cook every recipe from a particular cookbook. Sort of like the Julie and Julia Project. It was a romantic notion -- it never happened.

Some things that have occurred - food wise - this summer, besides our trip out West.

1. My husband and I took a day to compare the Coney dogs of four different diners.

Look for my upcoming article about the amazing Detroit Coney Dog on the Food Network Blog. In the meantime check out this article about the competition between the original American and Lafayette Coney places.

2. I ate at friend's and family's houses. They served pear and watercress vichyssoise, seared lamb chops, mango chicken stir fry, barbecues chorizo and one of my favourite indulgences - party potatoes (so gross and SO GOOD!)

3.My husband brought home every local fruit and veggie he could find from stands on his way home from work. What a good boy.

4. I experienced my sister's baking. She is not a cook, just has no interest, yet she concocted these two gorgeous cakes for her step-daughter's birthdays. I am utterly impressed.

August 5, 2008

Mamo Bistro - Windsor. Ontario

Mamo Bistro, an adorable resto right here in Windsor, is closing its doors on Aug. 23, 2008. The intimate eatery is located in the area where I grew up and has been serving fantastic fare for almost four years.

Lucky for Windsor consumers they will be re-opening with a new style of cuisine at the old locale of Bin 151 on Ottawa Street.

For more details about this change, please read the article on Windsor Eats.

(Added Aug. 18, 2008)

Lucky for my husband and I, we will be able to enjoy the culinary concoctions of Ryan Odette twice before he closes. On Aug. 16, we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday there, and will be heading back next Saturday to celebrate mine.

Grilled Quail with Tuscan Bread Salad

Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Cherries, Sweet Potato and Collard Greens

Food in the News

Salt, I have so many varieties but not a clue as how to use them all properly. Chowhound explains - CHOW

If you are one to buy most of your fresh food as organic, here are 12 in which that may not be necessary - Food Network Canada

Foolproof ways to let your guests know when it is time to go! - CHOW

Restos in Toronto are starting to grow their own produce, that's as local as it gets - Toronto Life

Recipe Review

I usually save cauliflower for the fall, but I can't resist this fried recipe - Seasonal Ontario Food
Sliders are the best way to eat ground beef - period. Here's Chowhound's recipe - CHOW
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times - ice cream is my weakness and having an ice cream maker helps not at all. Here 947 recipes from Epicurious - Epicurious
Summer is time for canning all those gorgeous local fruits and veggies. The Globe shows you how - The Globe & Mail

July 30, 2008

It's the politics of food.

Politics and the culinary world are no strangers. In order to live, we must eat and when some get too much or not enough, it causes upset and hopefully, positive political action.

Here are some of the most recent political issues I have come across with regards to food:

1. Most high profile chefs are still men. Surprising? Not to me. We live in a patriarchal society that values the public domain over the private. Once cooking moves from the home into a restaurant kitchen, and earns the title of professional - it becomes a role with power attached to it. Of course this would be something that is dominated by males. See? Feminism and cooking go hand in hand!!!!!!

The Toronto Star took a look at the surface of this issue.

2. Is it better to eat organic or local? I guess the answer would be "both". If you are someone that either has their own garden, or at least some fantastic connections to organic growers in your area, then lucky you. For the rest, we may need to choose.

Though I am not sure that it is the correct answer, I have chosen to stick with local foods as often as possible. This is for a few reasons:

- my carbon footprint will be smaller the more I buy ingredients from my area

- the quality of local ingredients is better, no rubbery tomatoes or half ripe strawberries

- it is important to me to support the local economy

- until recently "organic" foods were not regulated in Canada

Healthzone has written an article to describe some of the labelling in Canada.

Time and CNN have discussed organic vs. local in an amazing article on their website.

3. I try to reflect often on how I have contributed to my family, my friends, my community, the world. People who dedicate themselves to helping others are so inspiring and almost always lead me to think "What the hell am I doing with my life?"

I need to find a way to contribute more; something that will help me make a difference. Using issues that I am passionate about (feminism, food, education), I think will only help me in this endeavour.

Foodshare in Toronto is an amazing organization and is something I am researching. There is no branch in my area, but this may be a catalyst to start something...

Food in the News

Rob Feenie has continued his famed culinary feats at Cactus Club.
The verdict?
Not bad, not bad at all - Globe and Mail

10 helpful cookbooks for the beginner. Great gift ideas! - CHOW
It is always best to go for local ingredients and specialties on a menu.
Calgary impresses with their game meats - Calgary Herald
Fast food is going down the tubes. - Seasonal Ontario Food

July 29, 2008

Go West!

Recently my husband and I ventured out into Western Canada. We have been attempting to take this trip forever and this July we finally did it. We have friends and family in Alberta and British Columbia so it was a visiting vacation as well as a touristy one. We flew into Calgary and then drove to Vancouver, stopping in Banff, Kelowna, Victoria and Ucluelet along the way. It was an amazing trip and reminded me again of why I love Canada so much - of course we made sure to indulge in the local fare while in each different area.

20 oz. Alberta Beef RibEye in Calgary

Bison Burger in Banff

Gorgeous Goat Cheese from Carmelis in Kelowna

Dragon Roll at the Floathouse in Ucluelet

Wine at Salt Tasting Room in Vancouver

July 10, 2008

Food in the News

After the recent salmonella scare, Guelph scientists are working to vaccinate tomatoes - CBC

Vancouver is named one of the world's best "restaurant cities" - National Post

How to take those common kitchen appliances to the next level - CHOW

10 techniques that every cook should know - I may need to brush up - San Francisco Chronicle

Cooking Club II - Spicy Food

This month's meeting was a bit disorganised, we met a little late, we had to cancel and reschedule and - dumbo me - I forgot what the theme was.

Here are our "spicy" recipes - except mine of course.

Who knew I'd enjoy all these soy products? One of the best peanut sauces I've tasted.
Lychee Cocktail
Sweet Ginger Margarita
Ginger Tea (Teh Halia)
* see recipes below
Not on the theme whatsoever, not bad, should have grilled the fennel longer. Used arugula instead of watercress
Suzanne - Jambalaya
Enjoyed the boiled chicken, would be great as a soup as well.
Lisa - Chili Grilled Salmon with Cucumber and Mango Salsa
*see recipe below
Salsa was lovely and a good spice diffuser. Fish was less spicy than I expected.
Jordana - Spicy Potatoes
Holy moley spicy!
Jillian - Spicy Baked Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream
*see recipe below
Yummy! Best dish of the evening - in my opinion.

Lychee Cocktail

The lychee cocktail recipe was created based on my favorite drink at home, which does not contain SOHO lychee liquer (can be found at LCBO).

4 oz canned lychee syrup
2 oz simple syrup
1 oz SOHO lychee liquer

Top with 2 oz of evaporated milk (more if you like it)
Garnish with canned lychees, a sprig of mint

Sweet Ginger Margarita

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- 2 oz white tequila
- 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
- splash of lemon juice
- Garnish: candied ginger (optional)

Heat the fresh ginger slices with the simple syrup in a pan over low heat for about 5 minutes. The syrup should thicken significantly. Combine the ginger syrup, tequila, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for a good 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with candied ginger, if desired.

Teh (tea) Halia (ginger)

This is a very popular drink in Malaysia and Indonesia when we eat spicy food, which aids indigestion problems i.e. stomach upsets.

6 cups water
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I prefer to use palm sugar for authenticity)
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cracked

Combine the water, sugar, and ginger in a pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
Cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes.

Chili Grilled Salmon with Mango Cucumber Salsa


1 lb salmon , skinned
3 T vegetable oil
2T chili powder
2t oregano

Season fish with S & P and then rub all over with the oil. Mix chili and oregano and then rub all over fish to coat evenly. Let stand for up to 6 hours in the fridge. Cook the salmon over high heat in a skillet for 4-5 min on each side or until medium or medium-rare.


2 mangoes, finely diced
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
juice of one orange and lime
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped

Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve salsa with the fish.

Roasted Spicy Pineapple
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (or more) water
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
1 large banana
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 dried chiles de árbol*
1 large (4 1/2-pound) pineapple, trimmed, peeled, sliced and cored

Mix sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla beans. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat; boil until syrup is deep amber color, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add 1 cup water (syrup will bubble vigorously), then rum. Stir over very low heat until caramel bits dissolve. Simmer 2 minutes. Cool syrup 15 minutes. Pour into blender. Add banana, ginger, and chiles de árbol; puree until sauce is smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pineapple in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour sauce over; turn pineapple to coat. Roast until tender, basting often with sauce and adding more water by tablespoonfuls if sauce becomes thick, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)

Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream (from the Ice Cream Bible)

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups milk
2 cups whipping cream

1. in a bowl whisk egg yolks with sugar until thickend and pale yellow

2. Slit vanilla bean lenghtwise and scraped seeds into medium saucepan. Add vanilla pod, mild and cream. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes for vanilla to infuse

3. Discard pod. Bring mixture to a simmer over low heat. simmer for 5 min. Gradually whisk in egg mixture.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. (don't let it boil). Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold.

5. Stir cream mixture. Transfer to ice cream maker and make according to manufacturer's instructions.

July 9, 2008

Recipe Review

Homemade Ice Cream Drumsticks - I'm in! - Baking Bites

Balsamic Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream - sweet + tart = yum - Jumbo Empanadas

A healthy meat- Grilled Tuscan Style Rabbit - Globe & Mail

Adorable mini meatcakes - Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting - Fine Furious Life

Food in the News - The Summer Eats Edition

En garde! Because barbequing can become so tedious - the bbq sword! - Firebox

Gorgeous tastes of summer that we should all indulge in, quickly. - Toronto Life, CHOW

SXSW Musicians take on American Barbeque - tough job, but someone's gotta do it - CHOW

Eeew Gross!

As I may have mentioned before, I despise picky eaters - especially those that show up to another person's house and then expect their host to cook everything to their specifications.
I empathise with those that cannot eat certain foods due to moral, political, religious or health reasons. But those that refuse because they didn't like it when they were 7? Spare me...

AOL recently did a poll of 75,000 of their readers to find the top 20 hated foods among them. Some of the results are quite surprising.

An article presented by The Globe and Mail discusses how to get those picky eaters to chow down on the dishes that you prepare. There is definite truth in that you can train yourself and others to enjoy eating foods that they may have hated in the past. Just ask my husband.

Noteable and Noteworthy Blogs

There are a couple of new blogs around that I have taken an interest in...

My friend Andrew has decided to start a blog titled "What I Eat", which discusses the food he consumes as a vegetarian living in Toronto. What he eats may change now that he has a newborn little boy, I'm anxious to find out. His recipe for Oyster Mushroom Poutine is right up my alley! - What I Eat
From the former sponsors of Tastespotting, comes a new website that shows not food but alcohol porn! It is aptly named Liqurious - which I am seriously thinking of naming my first born. - Liqurious

Food in the News - The Drinking Edition

The best "bang for your buck" is what I look for when buying anything. Though I don't mind splurging on a bottle of wine every now and then, bottles for $10 or less are even better - Toronto Life

I'm not sure why some people just never get into beer. With the variety and quality that many breweries have to offer - there is something out there for everyone.

Canadians make some of the best beer around. -

Cooking Club I - Liquor

June was my hosting month for Cooking Club I. A theme that I had been mulling for a while was that of using alcohol in food. I like the way it enhances flavours and that one can make a drink to go along with the meal as well. The interpretations of the theme that were presented at our meeting were quite interesting to say the least. How did we end up not using wine?

Jillian - Grilled Corn, Shrimp, and Avocado Appetizer - tequila
*recipe below
Very fresh tasting, I liked the smoky crunch of the corn and smoothness of the avocado.
Would be great as a salad as well.
Turned out WAY better than I expected. I subbed in corn bread for olive, pistachios for pumpkin seeds and 4 T kreik + balsamic for the white balsamic.
Rose - Avocado Soup - tequila
Had a surprising spicy after bite. Smooth and velvety.
Melanie - Coconut Chicken Fingers with Spicy Mango Sauce - rum
Kids would love these. A great indulgent snack choice.
Smoky flavours and quite filling. Great for lunch the next day.
Dana - Brownies with Peanut Butter Icing and Chocolate Ganache - Kahlua
VERY dense and sweet. Could put one into insulin shock.
Grilled Shrimp Martinis (from Heart Smart, Bonnie Stern)
1lb shrimp
1T olive oil
1t salt
2 ears corn
1 small onion
1 sweet red pepper
1 jalapeno
1/3 cup cilantro
1 small avocado
3T lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 t chipoltle puree
1/2 cumin
2 T tequila
tortilla chips
(I also added mexican cheese con fresca to make it a little less heart smart).
1. Grill shrimp, corn, onion, and red pepper on BBQ
2. Dice all along with jalapeno, cilantro, and avocado.
3. Mix lime, garlic, chipotle, cumin, and tequilla.
4. Stir it all together. Serve in martini glasses with tortilla chips.