Archive | October, 2009

EATING WORDS – The Art of Food Writing

29 Oct

garlic

And in case you still don’t think Toronto is the best city in the world, check this out!

– Stephanie Dickison

Saturday, November 14th 2pm
EATING WORDS – The Art of Food Writing
A Highlight of the Stratford Chef School Gastronomic Writer in Residence Program

A Roundtable Discussion and Q & A
So you want to write about food. Start here with some of the best in the business. Blogs, essays, twitter, websites and oh, yes, books, where to begin! This is a unique opportunity to hear award winning writers from around the world, and here at home, discuss the art of food writing and the future of the craft. Bring your questions and see where the discussion leads us.

Panelists:
* Corby Kummer, 2008-2009 Writer in Residence, senior editor at The Atlantic, author of The Pleasures of Slow Food
* Michael Symons from Australia and the 2009-2010 Writer in Residence, author of the books One Continuous Picnic: A History of Australian Eating and A History of Cooks and Cooking,
* Margaret Webb, author of Apples to Oysters, short listed for Cuisine Canada Book Award
* Ian Brown, Globe and Mail writer, award winning journalist and author of The Boy in the Moon.

Authors books will be available on the day for purchase.
Location: Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave
Tickets $25/15 students. Available at The Cookbook Store

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Review: Fresh From the Farmer’s Market

27 Oct

Fresh from the farmer's market book cover

Fresh From the Farmer’s Market

By Janet Fletcher

Reviewed by Chris Garbutt

It’s been a slow year for farmer’s markets for me, which is sad, because I’m as crazy about farmer’s markets as any downtown foodie. (Hey, I grew up in rural Southern Ontario, a town which had its own stockyards and vegetable stands  every Saturday, so I come by this love of markets honestly.) But for some reason, I just didn’t incorporate the markets into my routine.

Maybe it was the fact that the one on my way home was located next to an outdoor rink that doubled as a garbage dump during the municipal strike. Still, I was pretty loyal to my favourite grocery store, called Fresh From the Farm, which is just as good.

Janet Fletcher’s Fresh From the Farmer’s Market is all about how to make those markets a regular part of your life. It’s divided seasonally, with recipes based on the ingredients of the moment. Of course, since it’s an American book, you can’t always translate those seasons up here: the winter farmer’s market in most of Canada won’t have much fresh that didn’t grow in a barn or a greenhouse. Citrus and cabbage in winter? Yeah, that’s gonna be coming from south of the border.

It being autumn and all, we tried a seasonal dish – butternut squash risotto with white truffle oil. The squash came from Fresh from the Farm, but I got the arborio rice from Organic Abundance around the corner and the truffle oil* at a nearby Italian shop that sells olive oil, balsamic vinegar and premade pasta dishes. Not exactly a farmer’s market extravaganza, but still a seasonal delight.

And a delight it was. Though I overcooked the squash a little, and the constant stirring gave me cramps in my upper arm, the  final product was worth it. Next stop: winter. Something with citrus and cabbage, I’m sure.

* The first place I went to offered a truffle oil bottle for $51. A little out of my price range. The bottle I settled on was a mere $18.

 

 

UPDATE: Here’s a similar recipe with less stirring and actual truffles!

What’s Your Foodie Profile?

14 Oct

pan

Take Saveur’s quiz to see what kind of foodie you really are.  Then tell us if you agree with the findings!

– Stephanie

Chew On This – If You Had $100, How Would You Spend It On Food?

4 Oct

groceries

Opinion # 1 By Stephanie Dickison

This depends on whether I was going to use it to splurge or not.  Would I treat myself and get more extravagant, expensive things that I’m used to or would I try and get the most for my money?

Let’s go with extravagant, just for fun.  Now the question is would I use it for a nice dinner out with my fella or for fantastic luxe grocery items to keep in the kitchen cupboard for little bursts of luxury?

I think I’d go with the dinner, because getting the stuff for at home is a wee bit more practical and this isn’t about being practical for once.

As for where we’d go and what we’d have, that’s a tough one as we’re both food hounds and other than reading, writing, walking and spending time together, going out to eat is one of very favourite things to do.  Also, I’m a restaurant critic so there are certain restaurants that make not make the list over others.

I’d venture to say that we would probably either go for Ethiopian, Brazilian or Portuguese – the thinking being that we can get Italian, Japanese or Vietnamese any ol’ time, but these places are fewer and farther between.

Scott loves Ethiopian a little more than I do because he can’t get enough injera – the airy bread that you pull away with your fingers and acts as a utensil to scoop out other items.  I find it too goopy, but I love the other dishes, so I do just fine with my fingers.

Brazilian is awfully sexy and I love the heartiness and spiciness of it all, but I’m in the mood for Portuguese these days, so that’s what I going with for this experiment.

There are three things that I think are superb standouts in Portuguese cooking – churassco chicken, piri piri sauce, and the way they prepare fish.

I love that somehow the food is infused with intense flavours, but never overpowers the meat, fish or vegetables.  How do they do that?

I would go to a place on College Street that I’ve been only once, but the memories and flavours have remained ever since.

I would start with the Lobster, Octopus & Shrimp in a citrus, tarragon aioli ($20) and then move on to Grilled and Gently roasted Filet of Salted Cod with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic ($38), while I’m sure Scott would get the Nova Scotia Lobster on risotto of saffron ($45).

I know I went over budget there a little, but I’d be happy to kick in the extra.  When you have food this good, it’s worth it.

Of course, Scott and I don’t eat dinners like this often.  Let’s face it – 2 freelance writers in one household does not an expense account make.   On a regular weeknight, I’m making  chicken and pasta and lots of veg, just like you

But it is nice to dream like this every once in awhile.  Especially while I’m off to make soup and sandwiches for dinner.

Opinion # 2 By Chris Garbutt

Every time I go to the grocery store, I wonder where we get the idea that inflation is low. Food prices have been climbing for longer than I can remember now. A hundred bucks almost doesn’t cover a week’s groceries for the two of us.*

But I think I’ll take another approach here. If I had $100 for one meal for two, then I could have a little fun. And the truth is, what I write today could change tomorrow. So with that in mind, here’s what I would do with that money today.

Now that barbecue season has begun, I think I would get grilling. I’m thinking maybe I would get some large scallops from my local fish market – Avenue Seafood on Avenue Road north of Lawrence. Then I would pick up some produce from Organic Abundance on Yonge Street. Perhaps some asparagus, potatoes, onions. Something in season for a salad – spinach, radishes? I would then walk down the street to The Friendly Butcher to pick up some locally raised bacon.

I would keep it simple:

–    Fry up some bacon for crumbling
–    Make a potato pouch with garlic and onions, and put it on the grill
–    Put some salt, pepper and olive oil on the asparagus, and grill that, too
–    Make up the spinach salad, maybe make a dressing with orange juice, shallots and olive oil
–    Sprinkle salt and pepper on the scallops, drizzle some olive oil and grill them
–    Use some of the salad dressing to create an orange sauce for the scallops
–    Crumble the bacon over both the salad and the scallops
–    Put it all on a plate and serve it with my sweetie

Now, that’s how I feel right at this moment. Give me a few seconds and I’ll start again. I’m starting to think that a lobster on that grill might be nice…

I think I’ve come well under a hundred here, so with whatever’s left, I’d buy the best sauvignon blanc I can find. What would you do?

* Well, I eat a lot of organic.