Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Turns out it IS easy bein' green ...

If you listen closely you can hear a few flakes falling on the hills ... snow ... my heart is all a flutter.

What this means, dear reader, is that ski season FAST APPROACHES!  All my good intentions of increased cardio and strength training for the upcoming ski season have fallen by the wayside.  Instead, it's been home renos, long commutes and early mornings in an attempt to bring good marketing and advertising to the world.  Yes, 'real life' has taken over.  Sound the alarm. 

On my most recent 'commute' up to Gods country I was amazed at the amount of snow that had blanketed the hills.  Farmers fields were covered.  Mounds of hay now resembled abominable snowmen.  Cows and horses looked confused, as though they too had woken up and realized that winter was upon them.  The sheep seemed smug in their prefab woollen sweaters ... but that's a separate issue altogether ...

A sense of panic overcame me.  With each passing year I am less able to BOUND from my bed and hit the ski hill without a care in the world.  While still far from 'old age', each year sadly does produce a number of new aches and pains.  And with an intense distaste for structured aerobic fun (exception being yoga of course), I turn to food to bring me increased energy, a reduced waistline and the power to THROW MYSELF OFF MOUNTAIN TOPS!!!! 

Ladies and gentlemen - the months of green smoothies are upon us.  Long gone are the weekly farmers markets brimming with fresh, local produce.  It's time to grab your blenders, magic bullets, vita-whats-its and let's get this annual show on the road ...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fall walks and cozy nights by the fire ... throw in Prince Charming and we've got one heck of a splendid evening ...

The weather has FINALLY started to turn. The mornings are cooler, the evenings cooler still. The leaves crunch beneath our feet and as I type this entry I'm out "in the country" staring out at a forest, the colours of the leaves still clinging to the trees, look like fire. We clap our hands wildly in anticipation of woolly sweaters, scarves, fireside cuddles and mugs of steaming hot soup. Dear readers, grab yourself a blankie, stoke the fire, and cuddle up with your fav. book (dog, cat, better half, whatever or whomever) – this soup was made for sippin’. Embrace the shorter days ... winter fast approaches ... I think it just started to snow!!! 
Pureed Squash and Apple Soup

There is a 'variation' to this recipe ... I call it "Cinderella Soup".  Why Cinderella?  Well, on the most recent go-round of this recipe I had a little pumpkin sitting on the counter.  It stared at me.  I stared back.  I thought, perhaps this pumpkin could join it's cousin the butternut squash in the roasting pan.  And TADA Cinderella Soup was born!  So, if you're running late for the ball, missing a glass slipper, or have a horse-drawn carriage 'honking' outside your front door, please know, dear reader, that this recipe can bubble along quite nicely in a crock pot while you busy yourself trying to score a dance with Prince Charming.  Bibbity-bobbity-BOO!
You will need: sharp knife, cutting board, Y-vegetable peeler (or other peeler … Y is our fav.), food processor or blender- up to you, roasting pan, soup pot, measuring cups n spoons, fireplace, glass of red wine and something JAZZY playing in the background …  

Friday, 28 September 2012

It comes but once a year ... kind of like Christmas ... only better ... and without Santa .... it's actually not like Christmas at all ... it's also a heck of a lot more work, but oh-so worth it!

Monday, October 1st, 2012
one day only
40 pizzas
20lbs of bolognese sauce
will there be any survivors?
only time will tell ...
Bring on ... the 3rd annual
feeding hungry men since 2010


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Fresh Fest at the Ontario Food Terminal

This past Saturday, armed with my trusty vegan-sidekick, we drove into 'the big city' and went where no veggie-nerd had gone before!  A million thank yous to all the vendors who so graciously opened their stalls for us to snoop around in.  For as long as I can remember I've wanted to know "what goes on in there?"  And now I do.  It's about fourth generation produce-guys keeping the family business alive.  It's about getting fresh produce out to local vendors and local markets across the GTA and beyond.  It's about talking to vendors about various kinds avocados, spuds, lemons and fruits I can't even pronounce. It's about a little girl who handed me a bag and said "my dad said to fill up this bag with tomatoes - you can even give us a donation for FoodShare".  My heart melted and I dug deep into my pocket - you just knew that she was the next vendor-in training.  Her father beamed.  There was this overwhelming sense of 'hope' - I know that probably sounds corny (pardon the produce-pun), but the being surrounded by people who loved food ... FRESH FOOD ... well, it made us feel like maybe, just maybe, 'real food' will return to more family tables.  That is of course, if we left any produce behind ... I'm not kidding we couldn't have fit another single solitary carrot in our car :)  What a fab day out - and what a fab cause. So glad we could be part of it ...


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Going under the knife?

What's a ShortStack to do?  On my most recent and terrifying visit to the dentist (yup, I'm a total wimp when it comes to dentistry) I was told I need to see an Endodentist.  A what?  Ya' ... that's Dentist-lingo for "Root Canal Specialist".  Once I woke-up from passing out at the mere thought of such a thing happening to little old me, I booked my appointment and have since resigned myself to the fact that although my teeth are in excellent condition (I floss people!) I should be brave, go and see this guy and MAYBE have him tell me that I need to go UNDER THE KNIFE?!?!? 

(I'm French Canadian and try to be as dramatic as possible when it comes to storytelling ... )

But then TODAY ... I read that for the FIRST TIME EVAHHHHH the Ontario Food Terminal is going to open its doors TO THE PUBLIC!  On the same day, at the same time, as my trip to Mr. Endodentist.  My heart breaks. Violins play in the background ...

This event sounds amazing, and being a foodie-nerd I've ALWAYS wanted to go and wander around that place ... and here's my chance ... http://fresh-fest.ca/

So ... I'm taking a poll ...

All those in favor of cancelling the Endodentist appointment and supporting a good cause (see, doesn't it sound less selfish to say that I'm supporting FoodShare?) ... say AYE!

And all those in favor of me missing this most fantastic event, being brave and sticking with the appointment ... say NAY!  (I promise not to hate you.)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Vampire Slayers - start your engines!

Some people get excited for Christmas.  Their birthday.  A wedding.  Thanksgiving.  And sure, these are all worthy of a little fanfare.  But it should be said, that our holiday calendars should be adjusted to include The Garlic Festival in Stratford, Ontario.  Harness your inner Buffy, make sure your fridge is chock-a-block full of butter, your shelves readied with olive oil and get yourselves to this celebration of the stinking rose!  With relatives like onion, leek and chive, no wonder 'garlic' is being celebrated.
To say that we're excited for this annual event would be an understatement of the greatest proportion.  Having just recently bought 6lbs of garlic from "my organic garlic farmer in Duntroon" it's amazing I have any need for more garlic.  But really, one can never have enough garlic and given how much we use in this house, it's a wonder I don't start growing it myself!  If you're looking for something to do this weekend - look no longer.  If you're a vampire ... maybe just stay in and watch a movie or something ... clean your pantry ... just stay put and don't answer the door.  Happy Allium Weekend One & All!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Wax-bean stew - stew what yer mamma gave you!

With an abundance of produce lately (and an abundance of bacon ... I know, I know, it's a hardship) the ShortStacks have been tinkering with some 'summer stew' recipes.  This one, is by far our most fav ... quite likely because we threw in some leftover roasted chicken at the last minute.  And really, who doesn't love an opportunity to use up leftovers? 

As the weather finally begins to turn a bit cooler, it seems like we're almost ready to start thinking about cooler temps, shorter days ... red wine and fireplaces.  All you non-skiers are currently cursing us aren't you?

Grab yourself a cutting board, a sharp knife, a dutch oven and a whole lotta wax beans ... ready, set ... STEW! 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Summer Harvest, Part 2

I am officially overwhelmed.  Just when I think I've got a handle on my farmers' market addiction ... just when I think I've finally got enough room in my fridge for ONE LAST head of kale, punnet of blackberries or have found an inch of space in the potato bin for one more glorious fingerling ... I get an email from my BFF from Uni ... "BaconFest this weekend - are you in?"  Am I in?  Of course I'm in.  Bacon AND a yet uncharted farmers' market ... my hands tremble as I type this.  Leaving the burbs for the big-city I could almost smell the smoke in the air ... the crackle of the bacon as it sizzled, guiding me thru the streets (well, actually it was my GPS).  Having lived on bacon-inspired dishes for about a 2 week period during Uni, this festival of bacon was about so much more than just salty-meat.  It was about lost loves and term papers.  Bacon, zucchini and brie crepes at 2am after the bars had closed.  Trying to scrape together enough money to buy salmon fillets and baby octopus to grill over a BBQ that launched fireballs into the night sky when we lit it.  Yes, this festival was about who we were ... just now we had more than $10 between us - and oh, how we spent it this past weekend! The Leslieville Farmers' Market is wicked-good.  Farmers from all over, bring with them some of the most gorgeous produce my eyes have ever seen.  Rows upon rows of ruby-red radishes.  Emerald green kale.  Heirloom tomatoes.  Goat cheeses.  Grass raised beef (oh ya' I placed an order for my freezer!!!) Rainbow carrots and fuzzy peaches.  And of course bacon. In particular wild boar bacon, which according to our OFFICIAL bacon tester (and pie connoisseur) is also wicked-good.  (I'm not kidding, this guy knows bacon ... also pie, but that's for another post ...)  Our fav. bacon dish?  It would have to be from the folks at Le Papillon on the Park - buckwheat crepe filled with sauteed apples, white cheddar and bacon, topped with a smattering of maple sugar and fresh berries ... on my list of restaurants to now visit?  Oh he** ya'.  I mean, they have Cretons on the menu <angels sing in the distance> ... I digress ... wanna see more from part 2 of 'the summer harvest'?  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Happy 100th Birthday Julia!

On what would have been her 100th birthday - the ShortStacks would like to take this opportunity to thank her from the bottom of our hearts for being such a strong and amazing woman.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a staple in our kitchen - whenever we're in doubt we cry out "how would Julia do it?"  Happy birthday Julia - we'll raise a glass of beurre blanc for you at dinner tonight.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Sand between our toes ...

The ShortStacks were in Oakville this past Saturday - seashells, sand buckets and spades in hand - to help celebrate a milestone birthday!  On the jukebox (okay, it was an ipod), the Beatles belted song after song.  Even Yoko wouldn't have been able to stop her feet from tapping!  On the menu, Mediterranean fare - from the islands of Greece, to the sunny shores of Southern France.  The kiddies splashed in the pool, and the adults beat the heat with libations from the bar ... and a trip or two to fill their bowls with homemade ice cream.  Many thanks for asking us to join you at the seaside Ron - "Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach."

See photos from the event ...

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Summer Harvest, Part 1

To say that summer is my least fav. time of year would be an understatement. I'm a skier. I love cold weather. I yearn for snow. Lots of snow. This may be down to being born in Quebec ... however. Summer in Ontario DOES mean one very important thing ... it's farmers market season people!!!  I cannot drive past a roadside farmers stand without stopping (which makes getting to and from Collingwood for meetings less than a short drive home). My fridge BURSTS with fresh greens, berries, tomatoes, green and wax beans ... <drool> ... <she wipes off the keyboard> ... where was I?

It's been a busy week for this ShortStack. Wanna see what I've been up to?  How 'bout we start with this - freezing some GORGEOUS Ontario rhubarb.  My winter cobblers wouldn't be complete without this hit of tart.

Monday, 16 July 2012

THIS small business owner is joining the "downtowners" for some farmers' market ACTION!!!

The City of Burlington has been struggling for a few years with bringing the IDEA of a downtown farmers market to life.  There have been requests for proposals that have gone out.  Returned.  Feasibility studies done.  Reviewed.  The time passes ... no market emerges.  Now I'm SURE there's a tonne of reasons (good, bad or otherwise) why this hasn't materialized.  And thankfully there are a number of not-for-profit groups that have for YEARS run farmers' markets in the parking lot of our local mall (thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, you have helped me become the foodie-nerd that I am today!)  But with the growth of the downtown core, and the increasing demand for healthy, local food ... us foodie-nerds shake our heads and wonder WHY!?!?!  WHY can't we make the downtown core more vibrant? WHY is the city stalling?   Our Ward councillor keeps bringing the topic up at meetings and in her newsletters (thank you!) ... *sigh* ...

<pause>  Oh dear ... I'm getting all political now ...

It's taken a downtown small business to bring us "downtowners" a summer farmers market.  This AMAZING local business has brought together some of the areas best farmers together under one roof ... errrr, one parking lot?!?!?  Centro Market has done what City Hall has yet to do - HOORAY SMALL BUSINESS!  DOUBLE HOORAY FOR CENTRO!!!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Britain gave us the spice girls ... we returned the favor with spicy caesars!

Many thanks to our wonderful hostess last night - and to her ab-fab guests from sunny London (well, rainy if the truth be told, according to one of our diners last night!) In honor of their long journey to our land of ice and snow ("and sunshine!" exclaimed another one of our diners!) we wanted to welcome them with open arms, and spicy Caesars.  Always a party pleaser!  And if you happen to have the Queen popping by for a Royal visit , or perhaps Sir Elton John is swimming in your pool and feeling parched or Michael Caine is in town shooting a new movie and looking for something to drink and calls to ask for your advice, well ... here's the top secret recipe ... 

With a wedge of lime, rim an 80z glass (or whatever glass you like really) and then ‘dunk and twirl’ into a plate of celery salt and cracked black pepper.  Toss the lime wedge into the glass.  Add 2 ice cubes.  Possibly 3 if Elton's really feelin' the summer heat.

Then in a cocktail shaker add: 
1.5 ounces of vodka (or 2 ounces if yer’ feeling the need for a little extra ‘party’)
1 t of hot horseradish
1 t Worcestershire
1 t Tabasco (more if you like it hot … we like it hot … we secretly added more)
1 T of lemon juice (not REMON, actual lemon … from a lemon … not a plastic lemon)
~6-6oz of Clamato juice

And in the infamous words of the spice girls ... "Slam it to the left- If you're havin' a good time!  Shake it to the right- If you know that you feel fine!" ... then pour in your rimmed glass, toss in a skewer of shrimp, some olives, celery stick, pickled bean - whatever you fancy.  Oh and don't forget to serve dinner ... unless of course these cocktails ARE your dinner ... in which case ... better make a 2nd one for "dessert".  Cheers, happy cocktail hour. 


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Finding true love ... in Williamsford.

I think good ol' Lord Tennyson said it best ... "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."  *sniff*  A tear forms in the corner or my eye ...

This ... dear friends, summarizes perfectly, how I feel about the lemon buttermilk raspberry pie from The Williamsford Pie Company.  Let me explain ...

My partner comes from a family where there is NO other dessert MORE FANTASTIC ... than pie.  Fruit pie.  The first order of business before any family get-together is "who is bringing the pie?". Then "has the pie arrived?"  Followed by stimulating discussions about "what kind of pies" are available.  And "who will be having what?", "when?" and "how many slices?"

They are, in a way, obsessed.  (As my side of the family is with chips and french fries.  But that is a separate post altogether ...)

After the first few family gatherings I realized that while I always fancied myself rather fond of a good fruit pie, there stirred deep within me, a sudden yearning for fruit pie.  I began to judge (rather harshly) "the bad pies" (TOO JAMMY!  SOGGY CRUST!), "the mediocre pies" (the ones you wouldn't go out of your way to buy, but since they're here, you might as well have 3 or 4 slices), "the good pies" (these got a few ooohs and aaaahhhs) and then ... as though posessed, we began the hunt for "fruit pie nirvana". 

Does it even exist? 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Clawin' yer way to the top ... of a martini glass ... the story of a "Delivery Dinner Party"

So after we tidied up the tornado from the Wizard of Oz party on Thursday night of last week, we set about preparing a "delivery dinner party" that was due to "ship" (?!?!?) on Friday afternoon. 

What's a "delivery dinner party"?

Well, we were asked to prepare a 4-course dinner for "the mom" of a lady we met at a recent cocktail party (oh don't you just LOVE word-of-mouth advertising?)  This lovely lady once gathered friends and family around her dining room table quite frequently; WOWING them with dinners they talked about for years to come.  But what with some recent health 'inconveniences', she really was no longer able to spend all day shopping, prepping and cooking.  The thrill of it all had gone, but she still wanted to host her friends in the comfort of her own home, cook "a little bit" and give them a meal to remember. 

What IS a girl to do?  :)  Well, call up the ShortStack Foodie OF COURSE!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A tornado dropped more than a house on the poor Wicked Witch of the West

It also dropped twenty 6-year old girls!!!  In our most recent adventures in ShortStackFoodie-Land, we were asked to help plan and execute the birthday-party to end all birthday parties ... or at least tide the little ones over 'til next year.  We were responsible for everything from theme development, 'branding', invitation design and production, timelines, budgets, photography, catering, supplier sourcing, and making sure that at the end of the day the Tinman got his heart. 
And while it looked as though a tornado had RIPPED thru the backyard at the end of the party - strewing crayons, cupcake wrappers, glitter and juice cups - we held our heads high, secure in the knowledge that the birthday girl (in her Dorothy inspired braids) would later that evening be curled up in bed, with her "Toto" ... dreaming "of a land she'd heard of ... once in a lullaby". Do get in touch if you would like the ShortStackFoodie to help with your next munchkin-related event ... we'll be waiting ... somewhere over the rainbow.

Monday, 18 June 2012

It really was no miracle. What happened was just this...

The wind began to switch!  The house, to pitch! 
And suddenly the hinges started to unhitch!
Just then the Witch, to satisfy an itch...
Went flying on her broomstick, thumbing for a hitch!

We've been caught up in a tornado of busy-ness this past week - party-planning, an intimate dinner party to cater for ... lions, tigers and bears ... oh my!  We cannot wait to show you all the fun we've been up to ... but first ... we've got to extracate someone from underneath the porch ... are those ruby slippers she's wearing?  Stay tuned, and better yet, head down to the cellar 'til we tell you it's safe to come up ... I think I just saw a gang of munchkins walking down the street carrying giant lollipops ... there also appears to be a tinman hanging out around the corner ... says he's looking for a scarecrow ... strange ... very strange indeed.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

You say Granola ... I say GranOLE!

I guess we should answer "why" we would ever say granOLE when clearly that's incorrect.  Well, we were asked to come up with some (25!) creative Teacher-take-away gifts for a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. The gifts had to be nut-free ... and portable ... and if at all possible, tied into the luncheon-themed-food-offering ... a "Mexican food theme".  If I'm being honest, my knowledge of authentic cuisine from South-South of our Canadian border is limited at best.

So ON went the thinking caps ... the result?

A little morning 'treat' for the Teachers to enjoy - we proudly present our Mexican Breakfast GranOLE!  (Get it?  Get it?)  While clearly not authentic in any way from a cuisine perspective, we did think that a clear 'nod' to the fact that these amazing Teachers can spend a few more leisurely moments enjoying breakfast now that summer-vacation is here and they're not having to DASH out the door to help shape young minds, was important.  So THANK YOU dear Teachers for all your hard work this school year.  Grab yourselves an EXTRA large mug of coffee, the morning paper and a heaping bowl of vanilla yoghurt topped with our GranOLE!  And if you've got a few summer berries in your fridge, throw them in too.  We're not sure about adding a whole green chile or refried beans to your breakfast bowl ... but we'd certainly encourage you to have a cold cerveza around the noon hour.  Enjoy your summer holidays - you deserve it!  (And if you want the secret-recipe, drop us a line!)   

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Pimms Cups and Veggie Cups ...

Eat your veggies!  And by all means, feel free to 'shoot' the green goddess dip that's at the bottom of the cup ... really, nobody was watching :)  A HUGE thank you the wonderful ladies we met last night, and a special 'hello' goes out to some 'faux-big sisters' from my past.  You all look exactly the same ... maybe even cuter than I remember.  I hope you've all recovered from the Pimms cups we prepared ... the total calories consumed ... and from the occasional hot-flash we all felt in the kitchen that night.

Check your in-boxes for the dip recipe ... xo

Not a giant bowl of Gin & Tonic / Veggie Shooters / Grape Tomatoes with Almond Pesto

Chevre & Grape Truffles / Roasted Strawberry, Chocolate and Brie Crostini

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Livin' la vida local ... in Prince Edward County

What was originally intended to be a week long holiday back in New Orleans, got turned upside down when work demands proved unavoidable.  Ah the joys of being self-employed.  I can't complain too much though, as we were able to shuffle a few things around and take two days mid-week to dash off to Prince Edward County.  My hubby's old stomping grounds ... well, not exactly "stomping" as wine-country out that way is relatively new in comparison to say, Niagara on the Lake.  He was also less of a foodie-nerd back in his teenage days (he's come a long way baby!) and sent more time at the auto wreckers looking for spare parts for his cars.  I digress ...

We booked ourselves a room at Huff Estates Inn (near Bloomfield) and breathed a sigh of relief after FINALLY getting across Toronto (is the 401 ever NOT a total nightmare?).  If you're looking for a great home-base for touring "The County" - I would highly recommend Huff.  Beautiful setting, really helpful staff and even though you need a car to get around, you're minutes to great restaurants (Lake on the Mountain Inn & Restaurant), wineries galore and some of the most amazing scenery - the colour of the water  was often  'like Bermuda' and the calm glassy waters of the inland lakes rivalled 'cottage country'. 

What's nice about "The County" is that the terroir is so different from other places we've visited, that the wines have this wonderful mineral-ness (?!?!?!) ... minerality ... to them that we haven't found elsewhere.  We came home with a trunk full of whites from Huff Estates, few cheeky rosés from Waupoos Winery, some easy-drinkin' ciders from The County Cider Company and unfortunately the beer we got from Barley Days Brewery didn't make it home ... 'cause we drank 'em all on our balcony at the Inn :)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

So a vegan walks into a bar ...

After a weekend of pure indulgence (mini-foodie-fueled-vacay to Niagara on the Lake) hubby and I needed a little break from decadence and sheer (over?) indulgence.  My liver also needed a day or so sans-wine, which came as a surprise to me - who knew I could have 'enough wine'?  I think it may have been the 5 hour winery tour followed by the 5 hour 5-course wine-inspired dinner that finally did us in.  (More on THAT amazing dinner to come ...)  "We need CLEAN EATING!" I shouted.  Hubby's face dropped.  Fear.  Followed by panic.  Followed by more fear.  Then finally he agreed. 

I know that he envisioned his dinner being a bowl of water with some lemon bits floating around in it.

So before he could change his mind, I sprang to the pantry - what treasures are buried within?  And the fridge - what do we have on hand?  I'm certainly not leaving the house to go to the grocery store.  Not after a weekend away!  I'm still trying to eek out the last possible hours of 'vacation mindset' before the work week begins ...

A while ago I picked up some brown-rice couscous.  As someone who is wheat-intolerant ("I will NOT tolerate it!") I'm always on the look-out for new grains to try ... so why not 'new' couscous?  And thankfully good old cucumber and tomato were also on hand.  So, armed with my trusty trio of ingredients, I grabbed a tin of lentils and set about making our dinner.

Brown Rice Couscous and Lentil Salad with Tahini Dressing
Harness your inner vegan-goddess!  Vegetarians unite!  We're going meat-free.  We're going WHEAT FREE!  We're going gluten free ... and we're loving it!

You will need:
A bowl, a can opener, a magic bullet (all hail the Magic Bullet)/or a blender would also do the trick, spoon for stirring, knife and cutting board, measuring spoons/cups.  Normally I would say glass of wine, but tonight, dear friends, perhaps a tall glass of water with a wedge of lemon will suffice.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Super moon and the night sky ...

Last night we witnessed the largest moon that will appear this year - a SUPER MOON the media called it.  And with it being only 221,802 miles away from Earth, it begged the question ... are we really alone in the universe? 
In what we thought was a seemingly unrelated event, The Short Stack Foodies (yup, plural!) came across a disturbing video buried deep in the darkest recesses my partner-in-crimes basement yesterday afternoon.  How long the video has been hiding there, we may never know.  We may also never know who brought this video to earth.  What we do know is that we will never look at the night sky in quite the same way again.  Will you? 

Happy star-gazing.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Spring Open House ... put a spring in our step!

The Short-Stack Foodie was on location in  SUNNY Burlington this past Sunday; serving up a spring-time-inspired menu for a group of wonderful women who had gathered to do some shoppping at a local paper-craft-company. 

The "Spring-gria" flowed, the crostini crunched and the lemon-lime squares disappeared before my very eyes. 

Thank you ladies for the laughs, the requests for recipes (check your inboxes over the next couple of days!) and the heartfelt support for this new venture of mine. 

I hope the vanilla-scented caramel corn made it home to your kids and husbands ... actually, who am I kidding, I hope you ate it in the car on the way home! 

Happy spring everyone, I look forward to seeing you all again REALLY soon!  But until then, do give the Herbed Chèvre & Sugar Snap Pea Salad Crostini a try for yourselves ... it's sure to put a 'spring' in your step!

Herbed Chèvre & Sugar Snap Pea Salad Crostini

You will need:  Food processor, cutting board, small/paring knife, bread knife, measuring spoons-n-cups, baking sheet, parchment paper or aluminum foil, squeeze bottle (to help make the plating a little bit easier) and a serving platter. 
NOW throw open your kitchen window ... I did, as the flowers on our crab apple tree are in full bloom ... the smell of spring is in the air ...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Oh the weather outside is frightful ... but the soup-pot is sooooo delightful ...

It's April 23rd.  And it's snowing.  I love Canadian weather!  Perhaps I'm still mourning the end of another ski season, but when the flakes are falling I can't help but crave soups n stews n braises.  Tonight is not a night for salads.  Nor a night for white-wine spritzers.  Not even a night for sushi.  No.  Tonight is a night to embrace the chill in the air!  Harness your inner Canadian-spirit and stoke the fire!

"Bring me my soup-pot and prepare the bowls!" I cried out like a Brigadier General.

I should probably note that I come from a long-line of soup-makers.  My great-grandmother was an army cook and this might explain why I make huge batches of food - I completely embrace "cooking for an army" as one of my kitchen philosophies.  No one will leave my table hungry (and many will leave with leftovers!).  My grandmothers soup is also legendary - and while she rarely worked from any formal written instructions, her 'throw it all in a pot' mentality was always a recipe for success.  And even my mother, despite her claims of "not being able to cook", has cranked out some of the most fantastic soups I've ever tasted.  I hope to find her meatball soup for a future posting ...

So in the spirit of this cold and sleet/snow/rainy day ... grab yourself a spoon, pull up a spot on the sofa and wrap yourself in a blanket ... if we're lucky there'll be some PVR'ed episodes of Coronation Street waiting for us on "the tele ":)  Happy slurping.

Pureed Squash and Apple Soup

You will need:
Cutting board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, roasting pan, blender or food processor, strainer/mesh seive and a soup pot.  (Also a wine glass, but that's for later ...)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Young at Heart ... a buffet lunch for 20

In an attempt to find 'the perfect first recipe' to post, I came across some images from a 90th birthday party I was lucky enough to have been a part of.  My partner in crime and I were in charge of everything from decorations, to activities, to catering.  And all the bits-n-pieces that fell in between.   There were a few late nights, a few recipe disasters (why the chocolate mousse didn't set the first time, we'll never know), a lot of laughs and ... well, this was really the defining moment for both of us ... 'this' ... this 'kind of thing' is what makes us happy.  Seeing someone lick their spoon, clean their plate, and go back for more made the decision to start our own little empire a little more 'real'.  So while this post isn't the recipe-post I was originally thinking of, perhaps it's a better beginning after all.  Happy snacking.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

"No, it's not ready yet ... but yes, you can lick the spoon while we wait."

As the countdown to 'summer market season' begins, I thought ...  if I can make beef stew on an open fire during a rainstorm (true story), then maybe, just maybe I can write a blog too. 

So for everyone who said "oh m'gawd can you email me this recipe" ... happy stirring.

Recipes coming ... well, soon.