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.

July 7, 2008

Remark Farms

Windsor has a variety of markets throughout the city. Some focus on fresh produce or foods from specific ethnic backgrounds, Remark Farms is a place that tries to serve its customers through great customer service and good quality products. Please read my article on the
Food Network's Website for more details.

July 4, 2008

This is the life...

My in-laws adore France. I can't remember how many regions they have visited or times that they have taken vacations there, but they continue to return and enjoy their experiences. This year they ventured out into the Bordeaux Region and had some amazing food and wine adventures. Above are some of their pictures.

A Walk On Erie

Each year, on a Monday in June, Family Respite Services holds their fundraiser titled "A Walk on Erie". Participants get the chance to walk down Erie Street (which is an amazing Italian neighbourhood in Windsor, ON) and enjoy delicious dishes from three different restos. They are also treated to appetizers and dessert at a local church hall, before and after diving in at the restaurants.

I have participated in this event for the past three years and have never been disappointed. This year we tasted:

* lemony green beans, pork, and a tower of risotto in the colours of the Italian flag

*whitefish, short ribs, and agnolotti with rose, peas and prosciutto

from Nico

* spring rolls, calamari, and salad with cranberries and pistachios

from Mezzo

An event with great food that assists a fabulous organization, what's not to like?