Archive for September, 2009

The Penultimate

Autopsy Shot

If you were to ask the Everyman, he’d probably tell you that the way I won his heart was through his stomach.

Of course, if you asked our friend Tara, the erstwhile “matchmaker” who nudged the chronically man-hating me towards him after we’d met at a Christmas party, she’d tell you he’d been smitten with me long before I ever set eyes on him.

Either way, I’m pretty certain I cemented myself into “awesome girlfriend” status after the first time I invited him over for dinner.  If you were wondering, dinner that night was a roasted pork tenderloin in a sundried tomato prosciutto cream sauce.  Who’d have known that the dish I’d randomly picked while looking for something new (I never subscribed to that whole ‘do what you’re comfortable with’ crap – where’s the fun in that???) would be the perfect choice for the porcine loving Everyman?  Not I.

Since then, almost 4 years later, the Everyman’s still singing the praises of just about everything I prepare.  Smart man, after all.  But, among the many dishes that he loves, one such invention of mine still gets him drooling every single time I make it; the baked good I’ve become known for… the s’more cookie.

There have been many iterations of the s’more cookie floating around the internet over the years, but I’m still convinced mine are best. (more…)

Winding Down

Garden In Transition

The slightest chill has been in the air when I leave the house in the morning lately, which is an indicator of one thing in particular;

The Most Beautiful Tomatoes

Summer is coming to a close.

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Breakfast Of Champions

Figs, Honey And Blue Benedictin

For a girl who despised blue cheese in any form for 27 years, this might seem like an odd breakfast option.

However, my love affair with blue cheese began to blossom around my birthday this year, when we went to Frank for dinner.

The combination of a poached pear, pancetta and some Blue Benedictin was all the convincing I needed to know that blue cheese has at least some merits.  Then, when I was working on that chicken wing story, I absolutely fell in love with the blue cheese dip at Allen’s, to the point that I was dipping anything I could into it.  As the Everyman is wont to remind me, once I find a new ingredient that I enjoy, I tend to want to add it to everything.

So, when I recently found myself in a grocery store (a rare occasion) and happened upon a chunk of Blue Benedictin whilst searching for bocconcini, I decided to grab a small slab, just in case.

This week, that “in case” happens to be a medley of chopped figs, a drizzle of honey, and a small crumble of blue cheese.

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Ne Plus Ultra

Sammie

Here, my friends, is one of the real reasons I go to the lengths that I do to take care of my unruly rooftop garden.

What would from the outside appear to be a rather pedestrian sandwich, is actually the pinnacle of summer indulgences for me; the toasted tomato sandwich.

Components

The bread?  Baked fresh Sunday morning.  The tomatoes?  A handful of sun-warmed San Marzanos from the roof.  And the bacon?  That would be a meaty plank sawed from the slab I cured and smoked recently.

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Diversity Is Beauty

Decathalon

Picked these from my garden last night.

Amazingly, even though this has been a pitiful year for tomatoes, mine have come through with a minimum of complication, aside from the fucking aphids.

There are a few other varieties that haven’t quite ripened yet, but these 10 provide a pretty good snapshot of what I’ve been nurturing for the last few months.

All varieties were chosen for their superiority over bland, supermarket cardboard tomatoes.

In case you were wondering, from left to right, we have;

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Garbage Pail Garden

Taters

For those who doubted my ability to produce a decent harvest from my garbage can garden, I give you proof of the potatoes and sunchokes I unearthed yesterday.

Chokes

Two chitted potatoes blossomed into over 4 pounds of decently sized spuds, though the sunchokes clearly needed to stay underground longer.

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That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

I have a lot on my mind and my plate right now, so I hope you’ll understand when I say that I need to take some time to myself to weigh my options, decisions, priorities, etc.

Until I sort a few things out, Foodie and the Everyman will be on an indefinite hiatus.

Thank you so much for your continued support and willingness to stop by and check out my tiny corner of the internest.  Your comments and interest have always been greatly appreciated.

Until next time…

Anticipating Harvest

Third Jane Doe

At this time last year, I was up to my eyeballs in lusciously imperfect tomatoes.

But, like almost everyone else this year, my garden’s been slow to blossom.  About 2 or 3 weeks ago I was finally able to start harvesting close to a handful of mixed cherry tomatoes per day.  Even though we’re now a couple of days into September, I still haven’t tasted the first full size fruit yet.

Unknown

As with the red ones above, I’m not sure what varietals these (and the one below) are.  I don’t recall planting any white varieties, but these tomatoes seem awfully pale to me.  Perhaps they might be garden peaches…
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An Interesting Use For Bacon

Corn. Figs. Lamb.

Right now the Everyman and I are touring around Quebec City, but I leave you with this novel idea I had while preparing dinner the other night…

As I mentioned earlier this week, our house has been blessed with a glut of figs left over from my jam-making endeavours.  Most mornings I’ve just chopped a couple of them into quarters with a banana and some strawberries and called it breakfast, but even at that rate I didn’t think we’d get through them all before the delicate, honeyed orbs went bad.

I immediately recalled an appetizer we’d once been after at Czehoski that was right up the Everyman’s alley; satan on horseback.  Now, everyone knows devils on horseback, which are usually made with prunes or figs stuffed with blue cheese, chutney and bacon.  Then there are angels on horseback which replace fig with an oyster or scallop.  But satan on horseback was a piece of pork belly wrapped in bacon and served with chutney.  The Everyman had seen it on the menu, gotten himself all worked into a lather about it, and then found himself exponentially disappointed when we arrived and it was no longer being offered.  What they did have on the menu at the time was a variation of the aforementioned devils on horseback (which he also enjoyed), so I decided to grill a few figs in that style.  I split the figs in quarters, stuffed them with a tiny spoonful of ricotta and slid a few shards of my newly made bacon inside.  Secured with toothpicks and cushioned by foil, the packet was ready to pop on the grill.

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A Figgy Trifecta

Spread

A few days ago, I kindly coerced the Everyman into taking me over to Fiesta Farms after work.

Aside from being a really beautiful, locally-focused grocery store, it’s invariably the place I turn to when I’m in need of large quantities of foods that Italians tend to be passionate about.  For instance, a few of the bushels of tomatoes that I canned and sauced last year were procured from their garden centre.

Plump, Fresh Kadotas

On this particular visit, I was in search of a flat of figs.  You see, this past weekend I was standing in front of my shelf full of canned edibles in the sunroom, admiring my handiwork when I realized I was down to my last two 4 ounce jars of fig jam.  Horrors!  I’ve been making fig jam for several years now, but the Everyman’s relatives are such fans of it (being the lovers of cheese that they are) that inevitably I end up gifting at least half a batch to them each time it’s made.

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A Stroke Of Luck

Textured Jam

Just when I’d all but given up on ever finding a real live elderberry in the flesh, wouldn’t you know my favourite stand at the farmer’s market started selling them by the tubful?

Of course, since I intentionally go to the farmer’s market each Saturday with only a specified amount of cash on hand, (usually $40-$50) thus ensuring I don’t purchase more than we can possibly eat in a week, I would have to slightly alter my plans if I wanted those berries.

I couldn’t possibly forgo the succulent yellow watermelons ($4) we’ve become so accustomed to eating for breakfast, nor could I deny myself the joys of heirloom cherry tomatoes ($10).  The melon lady suckered me into buying some of her corn ($4), but the Everyman had told me he didn’t care for the mixed greens ($7) and sunflower sprouts ($5) from the the salad ladies, so they were cut out.  With the tomatoes came a basket of beans ($4), which left me with exactly $21.  2 litres of elderberries ($11) and one pint of strawberries ($6) later, my carry bag and purse were filled to the brim and I only had $4 left.  I knew I didn’t have quite enough strawberries to round out my breakfasts for the week, but it did not occur to me until I was on the way home to trade up to the 2 for $10 berry baskets rather than taking the one for $6.

Crushed Berries

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Culinary Recycling

2nd Gen Pickles

A while back I read about an interesting idea over on Grant’s blog, Charcuterie Sundays.

It had to do with the potential inherent in re-using a pickling liquid over and over again so that it would end up resembling a complex melange of flavours, similar to a 100 year old sourdough starter.  I’ve pretty much bastardized the retelling of his intent, so if you’d like, you can check it out word for word here.  I didn’t realize exactly how long ago it had been until I went to look for it…

This is an idea I’ve toyed with before, particularly last year after I’d made a batch of gherkins and had a fair bit of brine left over.  I threw together a bunch of mixed veg (carrots, cauliflower and broccoli) and started poured over the steaming hot brine.  I probably would’ve had something really awesome if I weren’t for the white, wriggly caterpillars that took that opportunity to disengage from wherever they were hiding in the nooks and crannies of my CSA share cauliflower.  Being somewhat squeamish about bugs, I tossed out the whole batch without even getting the chance to test drive the recycled brine idea, but I swore that the next time I made pickles, I would do just that.

Harvested Celery

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