Thursday, October 25, 2007
Here are some newspaper clips from various highlights in my career. And there are many more coming I might add! I have been fortunate enough to work with some great people throughout the years, and lucky for me, I have gotten spoiled with attention. I have to admit though...I sure do like it!
I wrote a cookbook, "Contemporary Brewhouse Cooking" which landed me a few other writing gigs in various newspapers, magazines and trade publications. It was incredible fun, and writing about food is a passion of mine so it was easy.
Please enjoy the clips and follow this link to "Contemporary Brewhouse Cooking."
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Okay. Sometimes you just have to take your hat off to someone who does something so well that it demands attention. Here is one such occasion for me.
Candy apples are sort of...run of the mill I'd say. But Amy's Candy Kitchen kicks butt when it comes to putting a coating of candy over an apple. I mean...just look at how highly developed their product is. These apples are beautiful!
I have to pay tribute to a job so well done that a new standard is set. Halloween is just around the corner and these apples would be the absolute perfect gift for anyone who you want to impress.
Here's a link: http://www.amyscandykitchen.com/page.cfm/164
Amy......you go girl!!
Here is a fast little dish I had for dinner last night! This is a Cornish Hen with roasted Autumn vegetables and tricolored baby potatoes. I roasted the hen off in a small pan surrounded with a gang of root vegetables and potatoes. What could be easier than that?
I seasoned the hen and then seared it in a hot pan turning it several times until evenly browned. I added some carrot (red, white, yellow and orange), parsnip, butternut squash, shallots, fresh herbs, a cube or two of butter, salt and pepper and ...boom...in the oven it went! Thirty five minutes at 375 degrees and all was well!
I removed the little hen from the oven and glazed it with some organic honey. I returned it to the oven for about 10 minutes until she was glistening and golden! Ooh-la-la!
Once the roasting was done, I removed the hen and vegetables from the pan and made a quick pan sauce. I left the natural juices in the pan, added some stock, Gewurtztraminer and a splash of organic apple cider vinegar. I whisked in the smallest amount of organic pumpkin butter for a kiss of spice and to help thicken the sauce; there would be no flour or corn starch for this little baby!
When the sauce had reduced enough, I gave it a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and some seasoning.
It was a simple, rustic, tasty dish that was very comforting. A glass of Gewurtztraminer made it an event!! It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it, really.
There is no recipe on this one. The photos tell it all. Add as much or as little veggies as you wish, and remember, "Autumn." Pick up whatever is fresh and local! Add some sliced apples if you wish....or pear! The bottom line is, have fun and make it personal!
1 Cornish hen
1/2 cup Each of orange carrots, yellow carrots, white carrots, red carrots, baby potatoes,
shallots, butternut squash. Clean and cut into bite sized pieces.
Fresh thyme, sage and rosemary
1/2 cup Chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup White wine
2 tbsp Cider vinegar
Monday, October 22, 2007
LEMON AND DILL BEURRE BLANC
1/2 cup white wine
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sliced leek
1 small clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 small bunch parsley
1/3 lb whole butter, chilled.
1/2 bunch dill weed
Salt & white pepper to taste
1. Combine the white wine, white wine vinegar, leek, garlic, parsley, dill, and peppercorns in a
small saucepan. Reduce the mixture until approximately 4 tbsps of the liquid remains.
2. Cut the butter into cubes approximately 1 oz in weight. Strain reduction through sieve into
3. Over very low heat, whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time. Use the chilled butter to keep the sauce between 100ºF and 120ºF. What that means is that you just have to keep it warm enough to melt the butter. Once all the butter has been added, remove the saucepan from the heat.
4. Heat 2 tbsp of lemon juice and whisk it into the beurre blanc. Stir in 2 tbsps chopped fresh dill and enjoy with fish or poultry.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy salmon is with a tasty garnish and a crust of phyllo pastry. Although not truly a "Wellington," salmon prepared this way is elevated to a more impressive level and adds a pleasing textural element that poaching, searing or grilling cannot deliver. Regardless of the garnish being used, the nice thing about it is that it's held neatly in place by the pastry and imparts flavor to the salmon as it is baked. This is sort of like baking salmon en paupiette, but instead you get to eat the pouch!
Here, I have done the salmon in a Mediterranean theme with sweet sundried tomatoes and salty giant green olives. Baby dill weed rounds out the flavors and marries well with the salmon. A kiss of lemon, some salt and fresh pepper is all that is needed before wrapping this little fishy up in a blanket and putting her to bed in a nice warm oven.
I chose to serve this salmon with a dill beurre blanc and a baby spinach and blonde frisee salad lightly dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.
Slam dunk it, baby!!
SALMON BAKED IN PHYLLO
2 6 ounce pieces of salmon fillet, skin off
4 sheets of phyllo pastry
1/4 lb unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, softened in hot water and cut julienne
10 large green olives, fruit removed from stone and diced roughly
4 thin slices Asiago cheese roughly the same length as the salmon fillets.
2 small bunches of fresh dill, picked into small sprigs
1/2 fresh lemon
T.T. salt and cracked black pepper
melted butter. Lay a second sheet of phyllo over top of buttered sheet being sure to pull out
2. Spread 1/4 of the picked dill over the center of the buttered pastry covering an area roughly
the same size as the salmon fillet. Place one piece of salmon in the center of the pastry on top
of the dill.
3. Spread another 1/4 of the picked dill over the top of the salmon. Season the salmon lightly
with salt and pepper. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the salmon. Lay i/2 of the Asiago
cheese over the top of the salmon. Spread out 1/2 each of the sundried tomatoes and the
4. Gently fold one side of the pastry over the salmon. Actually, fold one end over! The
sequence of folds must end where you complete the last fold from the long side (or the long
edge) of the salmon for a nice presentation. Once the end is folded, butter the now exposed
bottom of the pastry. Fold the opposite end of the pastry repeating the same steps for the
first fold. Now fold one side over completely and repeat the buttering as before. Finally,
fold the last side over and brush the entire outside of the bundle with melted butter.
5. Pepeat steps 1 through 4 for the second portion of salmon.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place salmon bundles on a baking sheet and bake for 20
minutes. Cool 5 minutes before slicing.
7. Serve with dill beurre blanc and a light salad.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Walking through the streets of downtown Toronto is always interesting. The sights, sounds and smells bombard the senses with a constant barrage of information. If you are selective, and if you are of a mind to take the time to live in the moment, you can sift out some very engaging experiences. Stopping to watch, listen, smell or taste can definitely give you a sense of the cultural richness and diversity the city has to offer.
There is no lack of entertainment on the streets of Toronto. Musicians, painters, crafters and performers of every sort busk for money and seek out the opportunity to entertain at every turn. Young and Dundas - just outside the Eaton's Centre - is rife with street entertainers at all times. There is always something going on there, and quite often it is the place where entertainers gather during Toronto festivals throughout the year
Here, a crowd gathers around a Columbian band playing Latin music and a couple takes the opportunity to show off their Salsa skills. Since I am so fond of Latin music, I had to stop for a while to listen. I also like Latin dance, so I had to see this couple crank out a few steps. If there had been a few Margaritas within reach, I'm sure a party would have broken out with very little effort!
And speaking of Margaritas, I was on my way to have a couple of them when I passed this band playing on the street! Hemingway's Restaurant & Bar is where I found the best Margarita during this trip to Toronto. I told the bartender exactly how I liked my Margs mixed and she did a brilliant job of spinning them up! I like them with lots of fresh lime juice for a good snap, and a floater of Grand Marnier to take them way beyond ordinary. I also like them on the rocks without salt. These Hemingway Margaritas were perfect! Don't they look great? Here's a link to this cool rooftop hangout: http://www.hemingways.to/
After my Margs, I ventured into a few art galleries to look at some paintings. That's a nice way to spend time when you are relaxed and have nothing important to do other than satisfy your lust for visual stimulation. It's also an interesting way to see how artists view and interpret life around them and share it in new perspectives. And being somewhat of an artist myself, I appreciate checking out the work of kindred spirits who express themselves through other mediums than I do.
During my day's journey I crossed paths with a few of Toronto's finest - the boys in blue! Metropolitan Toronto Police have a long, proud history in the city and they have a tough job keeping the city as one of the safest in North America. Here are some Toronto cops traveling on wheel and hoof in the downtown core.
3 ounces Rosa's Margarita mix
1 ounce Cuervo Gold Tequilla
1 ounce Cuervo Silver Tequilla
1 lime, juiced
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
Combine Margarita mix, gold tequilla, silver tequilla and lime juice in bar shaker. Add a handful of crushed ice and shake. Strain into a glass of crushed ice. Pour Grand Marnier over top of Margarita off the back of a spoon. Garnish with a lime wedge.