Saturday, July 28, 2012

"Guess the price! Lower...lower...think subterranean"

Everybody loves a good adventure in Toronto's Chinatown. My friend Naomi can attest to the fact that I flipped out more than a dozen times, marvelling at dirt-cheap copper bake-wear, or bamboo steamers, or gargantuan mortar and pestles, or spring-form pans for $5. If you're like me and take pleasure in sighting rare breeds of mushrooms, dried shell-fish and vegetables and fruits whose name you've never heard of, then walk the few blocks where Dundas meets Spadina. After we braved a torrential downpour outside, Naomi and I sought refuge in our favourite dumpling house (also dirt-cheap). Despite the missing sake, greasy noodles and pork & chive dumplings were almost as good as the company. Everybody needs a friend with whom they can enjoy dirty tacos on a 2nd floor "restaurant," sympathize over delicious photos of food and discuss the sanctity of pastrami on rye. But we have our boundaries. She won't do steak tar-tar and I won't listen to more than 10 minutes of her ramblings on Marx's Communist Manifesto. One thing is certain - deliciousness is never lost in translation.

Proper Fuel

Summer is hot. Ice cream is tasty.

While I could theoretically dive into 3 scoops of chocolate-chip-cookie-dough at the general-store in cottage country (okay, not theoretically) at some point, one needs to fuel them self with proper food. Our fridge is flooded with farm produce: zucchini, napa cabbage, green onions, fresh herbs, etc. This was a super-lazy lunch which consisted of throwing everything in a frying pan with an inch of boiling water at the bottom. Simmer. Season with salt, pepper, fresh basil and toss on some grilled sardines. Technique = 2/10. Nutritional Value = 10/10.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Strawberry and Brie Toastie

Stop. Look. Stop.
Oozy, buttery, decadent, sweet, crispy...
This brilliant idea spontaneously came to me upon opening the refrigerator and assessing my options for lunch. I can't even begin to... tell you... how good.... stop. Just make it. Trust me. Local bread, butter, pan, brie cheese and local strawberry jam. Fry it for a few minutes on each side. You won't be disappointed.
Revelations such as this make me proud to have the twisted mind of a ravenous student, craving foie gra one minute and fruit-loops the next. If your mission is to go full throttle on the struggling-student scale, this sammie ought to be made at 2am - a fervent procrastination method, accompanying large quantities of fermented beverages.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Early Summer Salad

When you find yourself taking refuge in air-conditioned rooms, flocking to the nearest beach, or constructing elaborate shade-imparting devices, sweating the curdling-properties of a sabayon in the kitchen is not your first choice.
Our bountiful farm-share - courtesy of Angie Koch - is making my job a lot easier. Salads are a favourite go-to meal for a variety of reasons: easy to prepare, minimal heat involved, they are light, they clear out the fridge and they are delicious!
For this one, I quickly blanched de-stemmed, chopped swiss-chard and garlic scapes, tossed them with thinly sliced hakerai turnips, apples, and cooked beets and marinated everything in a sweet mustard, olive oil and cider vinegar dressing for several hours. The acid in the dressing prevents the fresh fruit and veg from browning and helps soften the tougher ingredients. Don't add salt until right before serving, so as not to draw the water out of the crisp vegetables.
*You might want to add the beets right before serving as well, so as not to turn the whole dish a fluorescent pink. ... Nobody seemed to mind though, as we were too busy discussing the intricacies of  floaty toys.