Wednesday 29 February 2012

Evergreen Brick Works Farmer's Market & Pizzeria Libretto

I love the intimacy of farmer's markets. You are so close to the origin of your food. You are shaking the hand of the person whose love and hard work went into the very soil that produced the harvest you are keen to seasonally indulge in and you can taste that love in the food. There is a buzz, a bustle that farmer's markets boast - a festival atmosphere full of live music, free samples, groups of people contentedly browsing the goods on display, and cooks from restaurant and home kitchens alike getting inspired for the evening's menu. I had a rare Saturday morning off, so my camera and I went on a pilgrimage to the Evergreen Farmer's Market at the Brick Works. A converted brick factory that originally opened in 1889, the space is now re-purposed and re-imagined as a community-focused environmental centre.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Fresh Cranberry Scones with Lemon & Candied Ginger

Sometimes I will be eating a baked good and a feeling will come over me like – what is happening here? How can something taste SO GOOD? How can whoever made this (even if it's me) so intimately know the cravings of my heart and mind? Noises will come out of my mouth that try to be words and…there are none that truly describe the transcendent effect of pastry done right. “Mmpf” and “Ergghh” and “Ungh” and other such guttural delicacies escape. If there is someone in the room with me also eating said baked good we will exchange knowing looks through eyelashes lowered in ecstasy. If I am alone, I catch myself still reacting. Out loud. My downstairs neighbours might have thought I was otherwise engaged this morning had I not come down and shared the wealth of what I discovered to be the best scones I have ever made. 

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Rustic Tuscan Soup

This rustic soup is the kind you eat with a loud slurp and a satisfied growl.  My friend T. and I had spent the day taking in a double-feature and thanks to a combination of time crunch, lean wallets and exorbitant movie theatre food prices, our stomachs boasted but a winning combination of Sour Patch Kids and Twizzlers. We felt lightheaded and weak. T. suggested we go to his place and make some soup to bring us back to solid ground. One of the things I love about T. is his ability to cook solely through inspiration. No recipe - just asking the food what it wants to be. Genius. 

Saturday 11 February 2012

Steeped Citrus & an Olive Oil Cake

Citrus is its own exclamation mark, boldly making its presence known punctuating countertops, fruit baskets and baked goods alike with its brilliant colour and fresh flavour. My February certainly got brighter when I spent the afternoon carefully supreming navel oranges, blood oranges, and tangerines to accompany a lemon olive oil cake that filled my kitchen boudoir with a sweet and happy scent. The recipe is one I found in a cookbook I'm rather fond of: Anna & Michael Olson Cook at Home. It sounded rather odd to me at first...olive oil?? a cake?! Perhaps this was because I was reminded of an earlier mini-chef version of Sonja who didn't know that olive oil was more savoury and flavourful than other oils and used it unconsciously in a sweet dessert and as an unconscious acting exercise for those lucky few who tried it and were kind (or cruel, depending on how you see it) enough to tell me it was 'delicious.' But this cake certainly is.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Cake Love in the Afternoon

Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread Cake. This afternoon cake is onomatopoeic in that it sounds exactly like what it is: sticky, cranberry-y, gingerbread-y and cake-y. It happened to also be sunshine-y in my kitchen boudoir the day I made it and can I just say who needs rubies if you've got cranberries soaking up sunlight? This cake not only looks pretty, but tastes delicious in the way an afternoon cake should. Btw, absolutely no judgment on my part if you happen to deem this cake a morning cake as well. Breakfast and I sure did.

Thursday 2 February 2012

The Long & the Short(Rib) of It

Winter - a season of cold, snow, packed earth, things laid to rest and freeze until the thaw of spring. It is a season of long nights, some of which are 'dark' and 'of the soul.' In order to survive the cold both inner and outer, our bodies crave warm, comforting, hearty foods to stoke our inner fires. Comfort food is often full of rich ingredients - indulgences we might otherwise not cater to in the lighter seasons: cream, cheese, cuts of meat made tender by hours of slow cooking in savory sauces. Winter vegetables boast thick skins and fleshy insides that love to luxuriate in a bath of braising liquid, or hold their own in a robust and flavorful stew. Winter is a season made for the long and the slow - and adjusting to this slowing down of life both culinarily and personally is the key to making the most of what winter has to offer. My indulgence this week was short ribs and creamy Dijon Brussels sprouts. Short ribs, funnily enough, take a long time to cook, but like all things in which time is invested, the result is well worth the wait.