01 December, 2010

22 November, 2010

The French Pantry



I've gone and done it. I've opened a second shop.



You can see some of my goods at the Willingdon Craft Fair, Dec. 10 and 11.

21 August, 2010

i scream

Actually my hips scream.

For a couple of years I have been coveting the ice cream attachment by Kitchen Aid. But I found it difficult to find in Canada and every time I went to the US I forgot about it. But this year on our way back from our holiday I finally bought my ice cream maker. I knew it was a mistake to stop at Williams-Sonoma (WS) on our way back from Boston. But we were hungry by the time we hit Burlington, VT and we had to eat lunch, and I knew there was a WS there. And I knew they carried the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment I've been coveting. And I knew I would buy it and I did.

I'm addicted.

Last summer some friends bought ice cream makers, but after the initial thrill wore off they put them away in the cupboard. They said that it made such a small amount of ice cream for so much work. And it is expensive.

I don't find that at all. Well, the expensive part yes. If you use the best ingredients you can find, it can be quite expensive. And I've been trying to use only organic ingredients (when a bottle of cream hits $7.00 it's starting to get a little expensive). But the taste is so worth it. My KA makes 2 quarts instead of the typical 1 so it makes a decent amount of ice cream. And so far I am making flavors that are difficult to find here.

I started off with organic lemon ice cream. It lasted about an hour. Really it was amazing. Then I made orange creamsicle ice cream. Amazing. Then the boys insisted I make 2 more batches of lemon. I should also say that I bought a Microplane zester and I don't know how I ever zested a lemon or an orange before. It doubles the amount of zest you get off of a piece of fruit. I also made mango sorbet. While it was delicious, it was a little gritty. I think the next time I will strain the mango.

I also bought The Perfect Scoop, which is the ice cream bible. It reads like a novel (or at least it does for someone obsessed with ice cream). The only disappointment so far was the roasted banana recipe. And I knew that it would be from the outset. I knew that we wouldn't like the flavor imparted by roasting the bananas. But I won't give up. I have searched for other banana recipes that I am going to try.

First thing though I am off to the Atwater Market to find some good quality chocolate because today I try my hand at making chocolate ice cream. I'm a little nervous. So far everything has been fruit based and not custard based.I think it will work out if I take my time.

Next up is to try out my new martini shaker.

Shel on a cow in Burlington.

08 August, 2010

Shark week

The day after returning from our holiday 
I came down with a terrible summer cold.
Summer colds have to be the worst, 
but it gave me an excuse to lay around the 
house watching Shark Week on Discovery.
I know sharks don't excite everybody, but
in our house sharks rule.
We're all totally obsessed with sharks.
While we were in the Boston area on holiday
there were at least 4 great white sightings
off the Cape. 
And truth be told when we went out for 
our boat ride to see whales, we were all
secretly hoping to to see the great whites.
Unfortunately, we didn't so next year we
will try a shark tour.

06 August, 2010

I'm back

Finally.
In more ways than one.
I really needed to take a break and refocus.
It was helpful. I made some decisions about my 
online shop. Or I thought I did.
And some about my new shop. But enough about all
of that for now.
This is a catch up of what we've been up to this summer
for those of you I haven't been emailing or calling.
We just returned from a holiday to the coast (NE not NS)
and have returned well fed and well rested.
It was fantastic. Martin and I used to go to Boston's 
north shore every summer and then stopped when 
we had Shel. I can't believe that we haven't been back
in over 10 years.
Due to our tardiness in booking our trip
we couldn't find anything close to
Plum Island where we usually stay, but
we stayed closer to Salem and that turned out to 
be great. We found a new beach that has become
a family favorite (Crane Beach near Ipswich), 
we did the touristy
witch stuff in Salem, went looking for whales
(and saw over 20), ate loads of fantastic seafood.
We stopped in Burlington, VT on the way
back for lunch and I bought an ice cream maker.
I've made 2 batches of lemon ice cream and
I think there is no going back to 
commercial ice cream.
I had also forgotten how much I really
like Burlington. It is a very funky little
town.
Now we're back and I have a summer cold.
I'm taking a few days to recover and then
I will have more news about my new shop.

14 July, 2010

Popsicles

It's been so hot here lately, I decided to make some healthy popsicles with yogurt and fresh raspberries rather than eating the sugar-filled ones we buy at the depanneur.

I bought this popsicle mold a couple of years ago and can't believe that I haven't used it yet. But that's the way I am. It all gets used eventually.

I was reading Orangette and she made popsicles from David Lebovitz's book The Perfect Scoop. If you haven't discovered David Lebovitz yet you really must read his food blog.

So today I decided to get off my duff and make some popsicles for the wee man as a surprise when he gets home from day camp later on.

I know that he will be coming up with his own recipes once he realizes how incredibly easy they are to make.

Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles Adapted from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz

Use whole-milk yogurt, not low-fat or nonfat. It tastes better, and it makes for a better tasting popsicle.

Recipe

  • 2 cups (480 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 cups (240 grams) fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in the jar of a blender, and process until smooth. Set a strainer over a bowl (or other vessel) with a pour spout. Press the mixture through the strainer to remove seeds. Divide mixture among popsicle molds of your choosing and freeze for 4-5 hours. If using something other than real popsicle molds, freeze for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture begins to set; then insert popsicle sticks. Freeze until very hard.

02 July, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Bit late posting this, but I was sooo tired when I got home last night.



We had a great time in Montreal West with friends. Fireworks were short but beautiful.

29 June, 2010

Summer plans

Usually, we have our summer plans all mapped out already, but this year we are late and it shows. We have been discussing where to go and what to do. I found this lovely lighthouse in my search and wish I had found it earlier. They are already booking for next year or the year after.

09 June, 2010

Homemade Lemonade



This recipe is used at most US State fairs.

A pitcher of it never lasts very long and
is a little on the tart side.
Homemade Lemonade

1 c. sugar
5 c. water
1 c. lemon juice (about 6 organic lemons)

Instructions:

Simple syrup:
Cut into chunks the rinds of 2 lemons (skins washed).
Put in saucepan.
Cover with sugar and 1 cup of water.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until sugar is dissolved 
(about 5-6 minutes)
Let cool.

In a pitcher, mix 1 cup of lemon juice with 4 cups of water.
(I usually strain the lemon juice to get rid of the pulp)
Once the simply syrup is cool, strain into pitcher with
lemon juice and water.

Refrigerate. Enjoy!

29 April, 2010

I heart Chicago

I've been in the Chicago area for the last week. The days have been busy, but followed by very enjoyable evenings at some fantastic restaurants. Last night we ate at a Spanish tapas restaurant that was so good I was tempted to go back again tonight. The restaurant is in a Victorian home that was converted. It is absolutely beautiful and I had the most fantastic passion fruit martini.
Looking forward to going back home tomorrow.

19 March, 2010

blank pages

we love good food at our house
but i realized that we are always
cooking the same things
i spend so much time reading
and clipping
recipes out of newspapers
and magazines
i have a huge collection that
i always meant to get around to trying
but never did
until recently
i've started cooking and baking 
my way through the pile
a few years ago i bought this lovely blank
leather bound book in Italy
and never filled it
so now as i try recipes
if they are a success
they are included in my blank book
i have entered a few of my favorites already
such as joe beef's lobster spaghetti
my special carrot cake
poulet chasseur
my mom's oatmeal cookies
and lemon cloud pudding
hopefully soon it won't
be blank for much longer

17 March, 2010

happy birthday

so many birthdays in March
lots to celebrate
happy birthday to the husband
and all our friends born in this
springy month

05 March, 2010

what to do today?



today was the last day of the school break.
what to do with
the day in front of us.
we had a lazy morning
did a little shopping
a late lunch at a favorite Mexican place on the Plateau


chicken quesadillas
salad
nachos
salsa
Corona
a little more shopping
Alice in Wonderland
and a little wine to top off the day

22 February, 2010

liquid gold

There are many opinions as to what defines liquid gold.
  • oil
  • gas
  • water
  • wine
  • whiskey

But I think that I am now going to define liquid gold as this $41(CAD - tax included) bottle of organic Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract.

I recently visited the kitchen store Wilfrid and Adrienne in Westmount and was talked into buying this outrageously expensive bottle of vanilla.

Granted it didn't take too much to talk me into it as I LOVE LOVE LOVE vanilla and have gradually been buying better and better quality.

And I could have bought the non-organic version for $10 less, but if you are going to go all out, just go for gold. Right?

Once I brought it home and opened it, then opened a $12 dollar bottle, and an $18 bottle to compare.

It definitely smelled smoother. But the real taste test is not necessarily how it tastes in the next batch of chocolate oatmeal cookies, but in steamed milk with a little vanilla stirred in.

I rushed off to school to pick up the wee man as he is my main test taster (and a fine one to boot). I knew that whether I liked the result or not he would be brutally honest as to how good it tastes.

Not to tarnish the results, I didn't tell him that it was a new (aka expensive) bottle of vanilla and waited with bated breath as he took the first sip.

He first said it smells great. Then tasted it. As I had only put about a teaspoon in the taste was very subtle, but he loved it.

If the wee man loves it, then that's good enough for me.