Tag Archives: Toronto

The G20 Series: Turkey

24 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Usually when you think of Turkey, you think of  Turkish Coffee.

I think the perception is that it is similar to Greek coffee in that it is strong, as well as thick.

Nope, just thick.  Turks get their caffeine from tea, funnily enough.

Here in Toronto, many Turkey dishes are readily available – Doner Kebap, Koftes, Baklava, Borek (flaky pies filled with meat, cheese or potatoes) – but I am fascinated by one of their breads called Pide. It looks like a cross between a french loaf and pita bread.

Here is a Turkish Pide Bread Recipe from Epicurean.com.

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Nigella seeds and/or sesame seeds

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in the flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 30 minutes.

To finish the dough, put the flour in a large bowl, made a well in the center, and put in the sponge, salt, olive oil, and lukewarm water. Gradually work in the flour to make a soft and sticky dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 15 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first, but as you knead, it will gradually cease to stick to your hands. You should have a damp and very springy dough that will offer no resistance to kneading. Put the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1 hour, until well swollen.

You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you are ready to use it. To shape the pide, divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape each into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees, and heat the quarry tiles 30 minutes before baking. Flatten one piece of dough slightly. Wet your hands, press and enlarge the dough outward into a circle. Stretch out the circle, pressing hard, particularly with the sides of your hands.

When the dough is stretched to a 10-inch circle, paint it generously with egg. Using the sides of your hands, mark a border 2 inch wide all around the edge. Dip your fingertip in egg; holding your hands above the circle, 4 fingertips pointing down, mark 4 horizontal rows of indentationsparallel to each other with your fingertips, staying within the border. Rotate the circle halfway (180 degrees) and mark 4 rows of indentations parallel to each other and perpendicular to the previous rows. Let your fingertips go down deep, stopping short of piercing the dough. Sprinkle a wooden paddle with some flour. Lift the pide, holding it at both ends, and stretch it into an oval shape while placing it over the paddle.

How it should measure approximately 9 by 15 inches. Make sure it is well brushed with egg and sprinkle it with some nigella seeds or sesame seeds. Slide it gently onto the hot tiles and bake 6 to 8 minutes. As it comes out of the oven, keep it in the folds of a towel. Repeat with the remaining dough. Pide will be at its best fresh from the oven, but can be reheated in foil if necessary.

Makes two large loaves.

Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook has a recipe for Spinach Pide, which is making me drool all over my keyboard.

Here are some places to discover Turkish cuisine in Toronto:

Anatolia Traditional Turkish Cuisine – 5112 Dundas St. W.

Cafe Istanbul -1440 Bathurst St.

Champion Kokorech – 980 Danforth Ave.

Levante’s Gourmet Kebaps -1406 Yonge St.

Pizza Pide Restaurant -949 Gerard St. E.

Turkish Delights Istanbul -444 Yonge St.

The G20 Series: Japan

10 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Japanese is just about one of the only cuisines I could have every day for the rest of my life.

I like that there are so many aspects to it.  We North Americans are taken with sushi, sashimi and maki, but in Japan there are noodle houses, dumpling houses, tempura delicacies as well as many unusual ingredients from the sea.

You can search for Japanese restaurants outside of Japan to find out where to get authentic Japanese dishes near you and The Japanese Food Report offers lots of pictures and videos.

My favourite Japanese restaurant in Toronto is Daio Sushi (45 Calton St. 416-260-2116 ) which unfortunately doesn’t have a website.  Daio is family-run and really authentic – there are rice paper walls and the servers dress in kimonos.

What it great about Daio is that it is not fancy, so you can go with a group of friends and feel comfortable, and it is not expensive, especially when you consider the ingredients and preparation.

They have items on the menu that many “sushi joints” pass over in favour of cream cheese-filled rolls and other Americanized plates.  Torigarage is deep-fried dark meat chicken served in pieces, Japanese style.  This is the kind of treat you would find in an izakaya in Japan.

Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu are also available.  These are Japanese hot pots that are incredibly delicious and oh-so filling!

Your server brings out not only the homemade broth and all of the fresh, thinly sliced ingredients, but the heavy  cast iron pot and table-top element to cook it all in.  It says that it serves 2, but 3 or 4 could easily tuck into this lovely dinner.

And if you can’t resist getting makimono or sushi and sashimi, choose some of the more interesting selections that Daio offers, such as Burdock (Yamagobou maki) and Sea Urchin (Uni temaki hand roll).

To make authentic Japanese fare at home, try:

Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking: Simple, Elegant Recipes for Contemporary Tastes by Harumi Kurihara

Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook by Mark Robinson and Masashi Kuma

Washoku: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen by Elizabeth Andoh

どうぞめしあがれ or Douzo Meshiagare – “Enjoy your meal!”

The G20 Series: Italy

8 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

In Toronto, we have so many Italian restaurants that I could review one a week and never have to do one twice.

We are also fortunate enough to have our very own Little Italy, located on College Street from Euclid Avenue to Shaw Street.  This area of the city that became a hub for Italians back in the 50’s,  used to house many of the city’s best and most authentic restaurants, which has now become more gentrified, and as a result, offers almost every cuisine you can think of.

But each year, the Taste of Little Italy (happening  June 18-20 2010) festival celebrates foods that Italians make like no one else.

This year, you’ll be able to eat with abandon from one end of the village to the other, with tomato sauce dripping veal sandwiches, prosciutto and arugula-wrapped bread sticks, sausage and peppers on a bun, arancini (rice balls) stuffed with veal and peas, stuffed eggplant paninis, and because it will mostly likely be incredibly hot out, you’ll want to finish it all off an espresso granita.

That is, if you can find the room.

And while there will be plenty of pasta on hand to indulge, there is much more to Italian cuisine than spaghetti and ravioli.

Next time you’re out for an Italian dinner, try:

Grilled Boneless Sardines, Seared Veal Shank, Beet Risotto, Mediterranean Sea Bass, Buratta Mozerlla, Assorted Salumi Tray andRapini with Garlic and Pepperoncino, instead of your usual bowl of ziti.

Friday 5 – A Brief Random Blogroll

26 Sep

By Chris Garbutt

1. Can slow roasted tomatoes take you to heaven? Try it yourself.

3. Who has the best beer in the Canada? Check out the results of the Canadian Beer Awards.

4. Have you had edamame at home? You must. Here are some tips.

5. James Chatto of Toronto Life fame considers the future of cuisine in Toronto.

Friday 5 – Random Links

1 Aug

By Chris Garbutt

1. The world’s most expensive foods, from CNN.

2. Looking for a great dip idea? Try the Baked Garlic with Goat Cheese here.

3. Radishes – one of my favourite vegetables for home growing! Grow them in a tiny spot, and because they grow so fast, you don’t have to wait long to eat them!

4. Taste.To takes a tour of tea in Toronto. You can do a lot more than drink it!

5. Cooking tips from the Onion: the Dream Omelet.