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?