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Preview: Jumbo Empanadas

Jumbo Empanadas

Go big or go home.

Updated: 2017-10-13T04:47:47.804-04:00


You may or may not have noticed the extreme silence around here. I'm posting on a slightly more regularly basis, (emphasis on slightly) over at

It's less cooking by me and more of my photos and videos of the Toronto food scene. If you feel like catching up on what I've been up to, have a look over there.


Street Food Block Party... the video


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The photos were just the beginning, here's a video recap of the biggest food party in Toronto this year! It was the best of both worlds, Toronto Underground Market and Food Trucks Eats, together in one place. 

And a reminder that the next Toronto Underground Market, (TUM) is happening June 9th, but tickets go on sale THIS Friday, (May 18th). They will sell out, so get yours early. 

Street Food Block Party


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Street. Food. Block. Party.

Hell yeah Toronto! Photo highlights from one of the biggest food parties of the year.  3000 people at the Brickworks eating food, drinking craft beer and local wines and having a great time.

A huge thank you to Hassel Aviles and Suresh Doss, (and all the volunteers) for their tireless efforts in promoting street food, food trucks and budding entrepreneurs in Toronto. You guys are amazing, (and inspiring) this nights proves that.

Video recap coming soon!

Terroir 2012


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I had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Terroir Symposium, a hospitality industry event held at Arcadian Court in Toronto. Terroir brings together industry experts, chefs, restaurateurs, marketers and food writers alike to discuss current trends in the culinary world and what the innovators are doing.

Of course, the discussion was interesting and the speakers were engaging but when you host such a large selection of hospitality industry professionals for an all day event, one of the big questions that everyone wants answered is: What did they eat?

I put together a little highlight reel of the day's eats to show you. Bon appetit.

Love for the Toronto Underground Market


Rock Lobster Food, Sullivan & Bleeker Bakery Co. and Uber Toronto have teamed up to offer 5 lucky people, (and a guest) the chance to win a Toronto Underground Market preview lunch this Thursday. All you have to do to enter is tell them your favourite thing about TUM, (more details here).

I ended up with the day off work after a water tank exploded and soaked everything in the office. So with some unexpected free time on my hands, I put together a little highlight video of some of the reasons why I love TUM. The next event is a combo underground market and food truck event, being called Street Food Block Party. This is one party you don't want to miss.

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The Secret Pickle Documentary


For the past 8 months I've been immersed in a New Media Journalism postgrad program at Sheridan College. For my final project, I created a documentary about the Secret Pickle Supper Club. The name alone should intrigue you enough to spend 10 minutes watching my video. It was enough to make me want to do a documentary on it. Enjoy!

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The West Side Beef Co. Story


Ryan Donovan of West Side Beef Co. See more photos here.It all started because Kurt Krumme was hungry. He was hungry for traditionally raised, high quality, affordable beef and it was surprisingly hard to find in Toronto. After his search yielded little in the way of results, he got some friends together, contacted a butcher and ordered a whole side of beef to divide amongst the group. What he ended up with was mislabeled beef, poor butchery and a large bill. Kurt believed beef should not be this confusing or difficult.“I’d been doing some reading about where food comes from and I didn’t really like the answers. So I actually tried to order an entire side of beef.”-Kurt KrummeShortly after this experience, Kurt ran into an old friend of his, Ryan Donovan, and relayed his tale of woe. Ryan responded immediately by saying he was now a butcher, he knew farmers and he could make this work. And he did. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="283" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" style="text-align: -webkit-auto;" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500">Ryan got a side of beef from farmer Dennis Harrison at Dingo Farms. He butchered it himself, got in his car and drove it over to Kurt’s house where he was hosting a barbecue. Everyone was so impressed with the quality of the beef that they demanded Kurt and Ryan get them more. When other friends found out about it, they wanted some too. It soon became evident that there was a hole in the market that needed to be filled.“It seemed like a good idea, you know? It was good for the farmer, if we buy another side of beef off the farmer he’s really happy.”-Ryan DonovanA business partnership was thus formed and West Side Beef Co. has been quietly growing ever since.  From humble beginnings, Kurt and Ryan now have over 500 subscribers to their program and bring beef into the city every few weeks. The side of beef is hand delivered by Dennis, to Cowbell restaurant which has space for butchery. Ryan breaks up the beef and Kurt helps with vacuum packing and labeling. It is then divided into 20lbs boxes which they sell for $8 per pound. West Side Beef Co. doesn’t deliver yet, so customers come by the restaurant to pick up their goods. This gives Kurt and Ryan a chance to meet their customers and chat about the contents of the box which could include some unusual cuts of beef as well as sausages and stock.Over the past two years, without much effort on their part and primarily through word of mouth, their business has continued to expand. As they grow, they’ve also gotten help from their friends. Chef Carl Heinrich, (currently participating in Season 2 of Top Chef Canada) has been lending a hand to help Ryan with the butchery. As both a chef and a customer of West Side Beef Co., Carl appreciates the value of high quality beef and really believes it makes a difference when it comes to creating memorable meals.“The difference between West Side Beef and the beef you get in a grocery store, the biggest difference would be that when you buy West Side Beef and you come and you pick it up, I can tell you exactly where the cow is from and exactly who the farmer is and probably even exactly what the cow ate, exactly when he was killed, exactly how old he was, it answers all of those questions. And then there’s just the quality of the beef itself.”-Carl HeinrichTogether, they’re helping Torontonians eat better by providing the option of purchasing sustainable, healthy beef at an affordable price. West Side Beef Co. is also a proud supporter of local farmers who make all of it possible. So where do they go from here? As Kurt put it, in the long term they want to change the way people eat. They’re starting with beef, but that’s only the beginning.For those who like everything in infographic form, this is how it works:[...]

Food Truck Infographic


Everything's better in infographic form, right?

More Food Trucks!


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I'm becoming a food truck chaser. It's like a storm chaser, but tastier.

In what was the second event put on by UeaT, 11 food trucks took over two of the University of Toronto campuses. Where was this when I was at U of T??? Check out the video above for highlights of the trucks at the St. George campus.

If you want to see more food trucks in Toronto, you can help! Tweet your councillor, tweet the mayor, email them both and don't give me any excuses about not knowing how to find their info, it's all right here  at the Toronto Street Food Project.

If you're looking to see where the trucks will be next, you can follow them on Twitter or find out about events at Ontario Food Trucks. You could also probably just ask me, odds are, I'll be there...

Food Trucks Roll Into Liberty Village


After spending the morning in a dark classroom without windows, I was more than ready to get outside for some lunch. By the time I got to the food trucks in Liberty Village, just past 12:30pm, the sun was out and so were the crowds. Lines were already formed at the three trucks that came out to play: El Gastronomo Vagabundo, Caplansky’s and Blue Donkey Streatery.I spotted Suresh, (he of Food Truck Eats and Spotlight Toronto who is leading the fight for food trucks in Toronto) and he told me to get in line fast if I wanted to get some food. I hurried over to El Gastronomo Vagabundo just in time to see them cross the Biltong Pork Belly Tacos off the chalkboard menu. Damnit, that was my first choice!So I went with Plan B and set my sights on the Senor Ghandi Ceviche- smoked albacore tuna and scallop ceviche with salsa verde, madras curry paste, cherry tomatoes and corn chips. And then I waited.As I stood in line, I struck up a conversation with the guy behind me. You never know who you’re going to meet at a Food Truck event but at least you know they’ve got good taste in food. Turns out, Martin’s an illustrator and has done designs for Threadless, one of my favourite companies! He also just happens to have completed a food truck t-shirt design, check it out, it’s awesome! As I approached the El Gastronomo window to place my order, co-owner Tamara Jensen smiled apologetically as she told me they’d just sold out of Aussie Ocker and all they had left was Senor Ghandi Ceviche and Home Brewed Iced Tea. I said I’d take one of each.I got my order and, as I do, promptly prepared to take a picture just as I was greeted by someone else carrying a similar camera. Michael Kolberg from Toronto Standard had been sent to check out the food trucks. He wasn’t quite sure what he was getting into, so Martin and I tried to set him straight. Martin even went so far as to share his ceviche with him. Michael wrote about his experience here, on Toronto Standard.  Chef Adam Hynam-SmithShortly after I got my food, El Gastronomo was completely sold out of everything. I talked to Tamara after they finished service. I told her my ceviche was excellent, (it really was!) but that I’d been hoping to get one of the Biltong tacos.Tamara says the pork belly tacos are always a hit, no matter what flavour profile Chef Adam, (co-owner and partner) decides to use. Today’s coriander heavy biltong seasoning is all part of Adam’s master plan to get everyone to like coriander. If today’s sales are any indication, he’s succeeding.The next Toronto stop for El Gastronomo Vagabundo is the Food Truck Eats U of T Edition, happening on March 29th, beginning at 11am on St. George and Scarborough campuses. Tamara and Chef Adam will be there along with Gorilla Cheese, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Blue Donkey Streatery, Portobello Burger and Tiny Tom Donuts. This time around El Gastronomo is promising to bring lots of food and lots of extra people in the truck in the hopes of serving their gourmet fare to everyone who comes out to support them.I will be there early. For anyone else attending, I’ll be easy to spot as the one happily stuffing her face with pork belly tacos and standing beside a rather large video camera. Come say hi!***As some added incentive, rumour has it there will also be beef cheek tacos and an Israeli couscous salad on the menu… Come hungry.[...]

Fresh Pasta in 1 Minute


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Want to learn how to make fresh pasta in 1 minute while simultaneously watching me make a fool of myself? Of course you do! Click the video...

Fresh Pasta
2 cups flour
4 eggs
Glug of olive oil
Pinch of salt

Mix flour and salt together on the counter. Form a well. Break eggs into the well. Add olive oil. Stir together with a fork, gradually incorporating all the flour. When the dough has started coming together, knead with your hands until it's smooth. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Roll through pasta maker a few times, (more if you didn't knead it enough) and then procede to roll it thinner and thinner until desired thickness is reached. You will need to continuously flour your machine so that the pasta doesn't stick. Cut into whatever shape you want!
Cook fresh pasta the same as dry, in a large pot of boiling salted water. Fresh pasta will cook much fast than dry and will be done in only a few minutes.

The Secret Pickle Supper Club


Good news for the Toronto food community, 2012’s first Secret Pickle Supper Club has just been announced. It will be taking place on March 31st at the mezzanine kitchen in the St Lawrence market.

This month’s Secret Pickle Supper Club will mark the dinner party’s 2nd year anniversary and will appropriately revisit the Spanish theme that began it all. Since the first dinner in 2010, the Pickle has been creating unique dining experiences around Toronto. Every dinner party has a theme, limited seating and a specially designed menu.

Spanish Plate from the 1st Secret Pickle
This time around, the menu will be heavily influenced by host Alexa Clark’s and Chef Matt Kantor’s  recent trip to Spain, where they attended an olive oil conference and tasted their way around the country. Tickets are on sale now!

I have a special interest in this particular Pickle as I'll be there filming to create a documentary on the supper club! It's going to be a really good time. The venue is amazing- the mezzanine kitchen overlooks the entire St. Lawrence Market and Chef Matt Kantor is plotting a modern Spanish menu which will certainly include some surprises.

I can't wait!

Come and Get It


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Come and Get It is Toronto's latest pop-up restaurant, for a limited time only, at Queen and Spadina. I recently had the chance to chat with Chef/Owner Jon Polubiec about what he's up to and how long the pop up shop might last. Watch the video for the inside scoop and then head over to Come and Get It for an amazing lunch, a game of MarioKart on N64 and the pinkest walls you've ever seen in a restaurant.

Allow me to recommend the Chipotle Braised Beef Short Rib or the Hawaiian Pork Belly sandwich. And for the vegetarians, there's more than just salad! Come and Get It makes vegetarian gravy to satisfy your poutine cravings. It's all served in biodegradable take out containers and if you're eating in, you'll find condiments and napkins waiting on your table in retro lunchboxes.

You shouldn't need any more convincing to go check this place out, but if you do- Jon and the cooks at Come and Get It are pretty cute and always friendly! Say hi to them for me! ;)

Twitter @ComeAndGetIt416

Arancini and Memories of New Zealand


Too often, leftovers go into the fridge after dinner, only to emerge weeks later, in a state that's barely recognizable. But the one food that will never go to waste as leftovers is often the one that there's never leftovers of to begin with. I'm talking about risotto. Every time I make it, I attempt to make more than I think is necessary in the hopes that there will be leftovers. Leftover risotto means arancini. Arancini is delicious.

When I was in New Zealand and staying with the most wonderful family ever at Sublime Wine, we used to start our day by planning what we were going to make for dinner. We were a house full of food lovers and cooks. Pasta was made fresh. Scones with morning tea were warm from the oven. Chicken came from the backyard instead of a package. Wine flowed nearly as easily as water. And risotto was always made with the intention of having enough leftover for arancini the next day.

When I make arancini these days, I always think fondly back to my time in New Zealand. We often cooked without a recipe and that included arancini. Simply take leftover risotto, shape into balls, (arancini means little oranges) stuff it with a cube of cheese, bread and then deepfry till golden. Enjoy!

Khao San Road, Toronto


Amazing and addictive Squash Fritters with SinghaBecause I had a Thai craving that needed to be satisfied, we arrived at 5:45pm on a Saturday night. The line up was already out the door. There are a very limited number of reservations at Khao San Road and the rest is walk-in only. This is both a blessing and a curse. It means you will get dinner eventually, but you will most likely have to wait. We were there for an hour before being seated.Tables are often communal, depending on the size of your group and we were dining beside a lovely birthday girl and her two friends. So long as you’re not socially inept, communal dining shouldn’t be a problem. Service was fast and extremely friendly. Considering they have to deal with a line out the door of cranky, hungry guests eager for a table, the Khao San Road staff does a great job of keeping smiles on their faces and being pleasant to everyone. They were even letting people order drinks in line, which was probably a nightmare to keep track of. Once seated, we started with Singha beer and Squash Fritters, (Gra Bong). The fritters were mixed with ginger, lemongrass and red curry and I could eat those by the bucketful. They’re hot, crispy, seasoned just right and totally addictive. My only quibble is over the dipping sauce they’re served with, it’s on the sweet side and I’d like a little heat.Green CurryOur choice for mains was Khoa Soi and Green Curry, (Gaeng Kaew Wan). The Khao Soi consisted of egg noodles in a coconut milk curry with crispy noodles on top. For me, this is a little like the best of both worlds. I could eat noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner but when I go for Thai food, I’m always conflicted over whether I want curry with rice or a noodle dish like Pad Thai. Khao Soi is a little of both.As for the Green Curry, it brought back memories of Thailand.  This was the best green curry I’ve had in Canada. It still can’t beat the ones I had in Thailand but that’s only because I associate the green curries of Thailand with sitting on a deck overlooking the water, with a warm breeze, cold beer and three of my best friends. That’s a tough combination to beat.By the time dessert rolled around I was stuffed, but I’m stubborn and wanted to try it, so I ordered Sa Koo Ma Prao to go. Sa Koo Ma Prao is the only dessert on the menu and to be honest I had a bit of a craving for coconut sticky rice with mango. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I may like this even better. It was a cup of tapioca pearls in coconut milk with young coconut strips and a hint of vanilla flavour from pandan. Sometimes after a meal that consists of rice and curry, a dessert of more rice isn’t the most appealing thing so the tapioca pearls were a nice change of pace. It would have been perfect if it came with a few strips of ripe, juicy mango on top.Khao Soi One thing that baffled me at Khao San Road, and my dining companion commented on it too, was the musical selection. Over the course of the evening we heard a mix that included Nelly’s Hot in Here and Goo Goo Dolls’ Iris. For a place with such good food, their taste in music is surprisingly bad.Also, a word of warning to anyone who likes their food spicy, Khao San Road seems to cater to a Western palate that fears a good kick of chili. I ordered my food medium spicy and could easily have handled hot. It was by no means bland, but I found the medium to be more in line with my thoughts of what mild would have been.Final verdict? Go to Khao San Road but go for lunch. The wait time isn’t as long, the portions won’t leave you totally stuffed, you’ll still get delicious Thai food and your wallet will thank yo[...]

Beer! Hogtown Brewers Launches in TO


One of my favourite things to ask people is to tell me a story. So when I heard that five rugby playing buddies had started making their own craft beer, I wanted to know more. Hogtown Brewers, has recently entered the market as one of Toronto’s newest brewers, and it all stemmed from a desire to make a local beer that they wanted to drink.For cute rugby boys, they’re pretty smart too. All of them kept their full time jobs, they’re renting brewing space, (instead of dropping serious money on their own right off the bat) and most importantly, they’re listening to customer feedback. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="219" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="398">(A little tease of Hogtown Brewers at the Toronto Underground Market)I first met some of the Hogtown Brewers crew at the TorontoUnderground Market back in November. They were proudly, (if not slightly shyly) pouring pints of their Hogtown Ale and genuinely inquiring what people thought of it.  They welcomed comments and suggestions via an online form as well so that people who were too nice to criticize in person, could still give their opinion. Then, their master brewer took what they had learned from the public and actually made changes. The goal was to create a craft beer that was flavourful but wouldn’t alienate people.  At the Toronto Underground Market, enough tasters commented that the beer was a bit too bitter that they decided to rejig the formula.At the official Hogtown Brewers launch party at The Duke ofDevon they had made the necessary adjustments and the response from the public was overwhelmingly favourable. The beer was great, servers were decked out in Hogtown t-shirts and even the hors d’oeuvres paid homage to Hogtown with little pastry pigs on top of meat pies.For now you can find Hogtown Ale on tap at The Duke of Devon, but keep your eyes open as they’re looking to expand to other restaurants and pubs in the city soon.  Cheers boys![...]

Fancy Valentine's Day Breakfast


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A gorgeous setting, gourmet food and a panel of talented experts are worth getting up early for on Valentine’s Day. Where did I find all of these things in one place? At the “Steak Your Claim as a Foodie” breakfast held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

Toronto is one of many cities taking part in Social Media Week around the world between February 13th and 17th.   The week features lectures, panel discussions, events and tweet ups all focused on emerging trends in social and mobile media across major industries.

On Valentine’s Day I got up extra early for 7:30am breakfast in the opulent setting of the Ballroom at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.  Chefs manned cooking stations at one end of the Ballroom and served a wonderful breakfast to hungry attendees. At one station, eggs were poached on demand to create lobster eggs benedict, at another a rich and spicy hot chocolate was served with Hawaiian malasadas for dipping. And who could resist the multi-tiered chocolate fountain?

While I noshed, we were treated to a panel discussion and question and answer session with three of Toronto’s big culinary influences; Suresh Doss, Andrea LeHeup and Jamie Drummond.  Doss is the publisher of Spotlight Toronto, LeHeup is the executive director of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and Drummond is director of programs and senior editor of Good Food Revolution.

Together the trio discussed issues such as how they use Twitter, (each differently) why they don’t check in to FourSquare, (stalkers) and the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, (Drummond declared his to be rather inappropriate for early morning discussion).

The event wrapped up at 9am and I waddled out with a full belly and much food for thought.  I’m rather cynical about the whole Valentine’s Day thing, but that was a lovely way to start the day.

There's Still Hope, Toronto


allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" seamless="seamless" src="" width="600">Despite the issue with food trucks that I wrote about a couple days ago, Toronto really is a great city for culinary activities.  There’s hope for Toronto because there are food loving people working to find creative ways to bring fresh, local food to the hungry public.The Social Feed, is just one example of the recent trend of pop up dinners and supper clubs.  Held at a unique and locally focused restaurant each time, The Social Feed gives diners a chance to get out and meet new people on a week night.  Meals are served family style, with everyone helping themselves to the platters of food that are brought out  Diners are encouraged to relax and share like they would in their own homes.  No need for glassware with your beer, the bottle will be just fine, thanks.  Most recently, The Social Feed was held at Marben, (a personal favourite of mine) a downtown Toronto restaurant whose menu features housemade charcuterie and individual  cooks names attached to their signature dishes.Upon arrival at Marben last Wednesday, diners were taken downstairs to a private room, set up with two long tables, each set with 20 places.  Servers offered up complimentary Cream Ales from Muskoka Brewery.   Many of The Social Feed dinners are partnered with a local brewery or winemaker.  Liquid courage is a good way to get conversation going. As the room started to fill, the vibe was laid back and chatty.  It was hard to tell that most of these people had been strangers when the night began.  Some arrived alone, some came with friends, all were excited about the food and about meeting new people.  One table entertained themselves by playing a guessing game, attempting to figure out the profession of each guest.  “You look like you’re in sports marketing, am I close?”“I’m a librarian.”Some people were better at the game than others.  Half way through the night, musical chairs  provided an opportunity to meet someone new.  Switches were made and conversations began again.  All the while, servers wove their way in out, picking up empty plates and putting down full platters.As the night wound down, (it was a Wednesday after all) there was talk of when the next Social Feed would be.  It’s at Czehoski tonight, but the smaller, 20 seat communal table is already sold out.  For other pop up dinners and food events, check out Charlie’s Burgers, The Secret Pickle Supper Club,  Fidel Gastro’s, or Foodies on Foot. Keep the faith, Toronto, there are good things brewing here![...]

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things Toronto


Torontonians are hungry for food trucks.  Literally.  In one of the most multicultural cities in the world, full of talented food producers, it should not be this hard to find good street food.  Hot dogs and French fries don’t count.Yet, Toronto insists on stubbornly refusing to update by-laws which make it difficult to create change.  The current by-laws restrict food trucks from operating on public property in the downtown core, an area bordered by Bathurst Street to the west, Eglinton Avenue to the north and the Don River to the east.  Food Trucks @ The Distillery DistrictBut wait?  What about the fry trucks that park in front of Nathan Philips Square? Those have been there since before the dawn of time and have special permits with the City.  That is the only place they can operate.  There has since been a moratorium on new street vending permits for public property in the downtown core.  New food trucks don’t stand a chance, at least not in Toronto.It’s a different story in Alberta, where Calgarians petitioned the City to eliminate outdated and misguided laws.  The mayor of Calgary was even on board with the movement and actively encouraged it.  As a result, the city loosened up on some of their old restrictions and Calgary’s food scene is now thriving.  In comparison, Toronto’s by-laws are antiquated and embarrassing.  But what is perhaps most embarrassing is an unwillingness to make changes. Some innovative Torontonians, however, are thinking up creative ways to get around the city by-laws, like partnering with property owners who have private space available.  This past summer, the city’s first Food Truck Eats event was held at the Distillery District.  Five food trucks, all selling high quality, gourmet food for $5 or less per serving, were present.  Organizer Suresh Doss, (@spotlightcity) predicted a turnout of 500 people.  Over 3000 foodies showed up and stood in line to get a taste of innovative food truck offerings such as wood fired pizza, Vietnamese sandwiches and Indian ice cream.  The vendors sold out in three hours. With the popularity of TV shows like Eat St., Torontonians have caught a glimpse of  the wide variety of food trucks that exist elsewhere in North America and they want more of it closer to home.  In a survey conducted by The Street Food Vendors Association, respondents complained that Toronto didn’t have enough variety of street food, needed more food trucks and needed to allow the food trucks to be mobile.  For a mayor who clearly likes to eat, it’s surprising that Rob Ford and the Toronto City Council haven’t stepped in to help remove the barriers for new food trucks. That small change would make one of the world’s greatest cities, even better.  Or at least on par with Calgary.A wonderful info graphic from Toronto Food Trucks, explaining why it's so hard...Created by Toronto Food Trucks[...]

Superbowl Wings


Sweet Thai Chili WingsI'm going to be honest with you, I don't really care about football.  That's not to say I dislike it though.  I'm a fan of anything that brings people together to eat and drink.  If that means I have to watch a football game to make it happen, I'm cool with that.  Superbowl could happen every month and I'd be happy.As much as I love to eat deep fried wings, I don't like making them at home.  It's messy and the smell lingers for the next 3 days.  Not to mention the ever present possibility of burning the house down when I forget to turn off the oil or something like that.  To save you from that fate, I've adapted Bon Appetit's recipe for fried chicken into an oven baked chicken wing recipe.And while I usually groan at the thought of people taking perfectly good foods and ruining them by making them "more healthy", I promise you, this isn't like that.  The chicken wings come out of the oven with enough crispiness that you'd be hard pressed to say they weren't deep friend.  Besides, with the amount of butter in the sauce, there's no need to worry abou these being healthy :) Superbowl Wings (Adapted from Bon Appetit)2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper1 1/2 teaspoons paprika3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/2 teaspoon onion powder2lbs chicken wings1 cup buttermilk1 large egg2 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon cornstarchWhisk 1 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. black pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl. Season chicken with spices. Place chicken in a medium bowl, cover, and chill overnight.Let chicken stand covered at room temperature for 1 hour. Whisk buttermilk, egg, and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl. Whisk flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 Tbsp. salt, and remaining 1 Tbsp. pepper in a 9x13x2" baking dish.Preheat oven to 425F.Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet.Working with 1 piece at a time (use 1 hand for wet ingredients and the other for dry ingredients), dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge in flour mixture; tap against bowl to shake off excess.Place chicken on wire rack and bake for approx. 45min, depending on how crisp you want them and the size of the wings.Sauce- I never measure this but the sauce is a mixture of butter, sweet thai chili sauce and Frank’s RedHot sauce.  I just heat it up in a little pot and pour it over the wings when they come out of the oven.  Feel free to use any sauce you want.  They'll be gone before you know it...[...]

My New Resume...


Does anyone need a social media savvy, culinarily inclined, New Media Journalism student for an intern?  See the above cookies :)

Interview with Chocolate & Zucchini


allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="264" mozallowfullscreen="" src="" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="398">Back in November, (ugh, where has the time gone?) I was fortunate enough to meet Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate & Zucchinifame.  She was in Canada to be the writer in residence at the Stratford Chef School. While she was here she also managed to make her way over to Toronto and give a talk at George Brown College, (where I did my Chef Training) and sign books at The Cookbook Store.  Clotilde was nice enough to answer some questions I had for her about the changing role of the chef and her experience with the students at the Stratford Chef School and I'm finally getting around to sharing those answers with you.In other exciting news, today is the first day I’m doing a video post! I’m back in school taking a post grad in New Media Journalism and one of the things that I’ve found myself surprisingly drawn to is video editing.  I’m having a lot of fun with it and I hope you enjoy the video of Clotilde! Inspired by my meeting with Clotilde, I made some yogurt scones with a recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini.  To make it a little more fitting, I opted to make them Chocolate Chip Yogurt Scones, but feel free to use whatever mix ins you’d like.Yogurt Scones, (from Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini)215 grams (1 2/3 cup) flour
30 grams (2 rounded tablespoons) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
a good pinch salt
30 grams (2 tablespoons) butter, chilled
125 ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt
2 tablespoons milk
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped nuts or dried fruits, or 1 teaspoon citrus zest, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 2 teaspoons orange flower water, or the flavoring of your choice (optional)(Yields 8 small scones)Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Dice the butter and blend it into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter, until no visible lump of butter remains. Add the yogurt, milk, and whatever flavoring ingredient you want to use, and blend them in until the dough forms a ball. Handle the dough as lightly as you can. Avoid overmixing, or the scones won't be as tender.Pat the dough into a flattish round, about 3 cm (a little over an inch) in thickness, and cut into eight wedges with a knife or a pastry cutter (alternatively, use a cookie cutter to make eight neat rounds). Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little space to expand. Bake for 15 minutes, until the top of the scones is set and lightly golden.Serve warm, with an assortment of spreads, such as clotted cream, butter, jam, honey, nut butter, apple butter, maple syrup...[...]

Welcome to 2012!


New Years Eve is generally a disappointing night for me.  I rarely have big plans.  This may stem from the fact that as a child I used to always get sick right before New Years and end up spending it with a fever, on the couch, watching Blues Brothers.  I think that tainted my NYE experience early on and I just never recovered from it.Instead of going out and doing fancy things, I've frequently settled for making a nice dinner at home and drinking large amounts of wine until everything seems ok :) This year I went to my parents house where I shared dinner with them and some of their friends.  To finish off a wonderful meal of lobster, I made these Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse with Frangelico Soaked Cherries, topped with a Ferrero Rocher.NYE may not have been an extravagant night out, but it was a decadent night in.  Here's to 2012 being a fabulous year for everyone!(No recipe for the cherries, I just cooked some pitted bing cherries, with a little sugar, a little cornstarch and finished it with frangelico).Chocolate Mousse, (Adapted from What Megan's Cooking)8 oz of hazelnut chocolate bar, (I used Ritter Sport dark hazelnut chocolate bar) coarsely chopped1/2 cup water, divided2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)3 egg yolks3 tablespoons sugar1 1/4 cups whipping cream; whipped with 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract until stiff peaks formIn a microwave or double boiler, heat chocolate, 1/4 cup water and butter until the chocolate and butter are melted. Cool for 10 minutes.In a small heavy saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar and remaining water. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F, about 1-2 minutes. (*It took me closer to 10 minutes). Remove from the heat; whisk in chocolate mixture.Set saucepan in ice and stir until cooled, about 5-10 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into dessert dishes and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.from My Baking Addiction[...]

Let Her Eat Cake


When my nephew Alex was little, my brother used to think it was funny to play a game called “What do you like more?” The game basically consisted of him asking my nephew what he liked more, between his Auntie Bri, (me!) and something else.  In the past, I’ve lost to things like ice cream, dragonflies and dump trucks as things he likes more than me.  I’ve never liked that game.  Fast forward four years and Alex is now far too smart to be fooled by his Papa into saying things are better than his Auntie Bri who gives him cookies and takes him to play mini golf.  His younger sister, Julie, on the other hand, is just getting to the age where my brother once again thinks this is a hilarious game to play.I have no doubt that Julie would happily tell you that chocolate cake is better than Auntie Bri, even if Auntie Bri was the one who made the cake…  Just let her eat cake!If you’re looking to please a demanding, (but adorable) 2 year old, this cake will certainly do the trick.  The only change I made to the recipe below was to make add a sour cherry layer instead of just straight ganache.Chocolate Ganache Cake (from Gourmet, 2001) For cake layers            3/4 cup boiling water            1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)            1 teaspoon instant-espresso powder            1/2 cup whole milk            1 teaspoon vanilla            2 cups all-purpose flour            1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda            1/4 teaspoon salt            2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened            2 cups packed dark brown sugar            4 large eggsFor ganache filling and glaze            2 1/2 cups heavy cream            20 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped in a food processorMake cake layers:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 3 (7- or 8-inch, 2-inch-deep) round cake pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax or parchment paper. Butter paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess.Whisk together water, cocoa, and espresso powder until smooth, then whisk in milk and vanilla.Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and cocoa mixture in batches, beginning and ending with flour and mixing at low speed until just combined.Divide batter among pans (about 2 1/3 cups per pan), smoothing tops. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for 7-inch pans or 20 to 25 minutes for 8-inch. Cool in pans on a rack 30 minutes, then invert onto racks, remove paper, and cool complete[...]

Winner! Gagnant!


For one lucky reader, Christmas has arrived a month early... Congrats Lynne! Hope you enjoy your brand new KitchenAid Food Processor.Now you can make all the hummus your heart desires.  Or what about pie crust? It's super easy to make in a food processor and then you can turn out cute little chocolate ganache tarts like these ones.  As if there was every any doubt, I recommend a recipe by the lovely Dorie Greenspan.Dorie Greenspan's Good for Everything Pie Crust1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour2 T sugar3/4 tsp salt1 1/4 sticks (10 T) very cold (frozen is fine) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces2 1/2 T very cold (frozen is even better) vegetable shortening, cut into 2 piecesAbout 1/4 cup ice waterPut the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse just to combine the ingredients. Drop in the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening care cut into the flour. Don’t overdo the mixing — what you’re aiming for is to have some pieces the size of fat green peas and others the size of barley. Pulsing the machine on and off, gradually add about 3 tablespoons of the water — add a little water and pulse once, add some more water, pulse again and keep going that way. then use a few long pulses to get the water into the flour. If, after a dozen or so pulses, the dough doesn’t look evenly moistened or form soft curds, pulse in as much of the remaining water as necessary, or even a few drops more, to get a dough that will stick together when pinched. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before rolling. (If your ingredients were very cold and you worked quickly, though, you might be able to roll the dough immediately: the dough should be as cold as if it had just come out of the fridge.)To roll out the dough: Have a buttered 9-inch pie plate at hand.You can roll the dough out on a floured surface or between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap or in a rolling slipcover. (I usually roll this dough out on the floured counter.) If you’re working on a counter, turn the dough over frequently and keep the counter floured. If you are rolling between paper, plastic or in a slipcover, make sure to turn the dough over often and to life the paper, plastic or cover frequently so that it doesn’t roll into the dough and form creases.If you’ve got time, slide the rolled-out dough into the fridge for about 20 mins to rest and firm up.Fit the dough into the pie plate and, using a pair of scissors, cut the excess dough to a 1/4- to 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the dough under itself, so that it hangs over the edge just a tad, and flute or pinch the crust to make a decorative edge. Alternatively, you can finish the crust by pressing it with the tines of a fork.To partially or fully bake: Refrigerate the crust while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Better the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil, fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust and fill with dried beans or rice or pie weights. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for 25 mins. Carefully remove the foil and weights and, if the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, return the pie plate to the oven and bake for about 8 minutes more, or until t[...]