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.