Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A gathering ...

Alright dear readers, round three of mad snapfest to close the loop. Now ...ummm... these are kind of semi all over the place so don't look for reason. Just ride with. Go with flow. Eeeaasy does it. A visual road trip. You get my drift. There is a health show, a park, a hallway, my kitchen counter and my local tea obsession (bottled soon- the tea, not the obsession... although ...). Also of course, random veg and food shots. This morning's breakfast and one portrait. Here we go ...

The health expo part: Colors here at this cool venue ...
Sprouts at the Montreal health expo that recently celebrated its 15th anniversary! It was my first time and was much more than I had expected. Totally cool.
Veg basket at same expo by these guys. They grow it on a rooftop in Montreal. How cool is that.
And yet again, at said expo, was this place. Which I visit way too often. And have way too many macarons. And sorbets. And ice cream. And that's Julien. Who doesn't sleep. Because he's busy making and selling the greatest ice cream. 'Till 11pm. For those of us who "need" that late night ice cream. Damn him.
The hall part: Hanging cotton and a flower ball in the hall ...
The park part: A teeny pine with sap oozing out...
Names and flowers in the sand ...
The local tea obsession part: Canadian grown, cascading labrador tea. Soon to be in my hands, and jars.
Lemon balm that grew in our garden, dried, picked and jarred. Happy day.
Spruce tea. That's right. Soon to be part of the tree tea obsession...I mean ... collection ... collection!
The random veg part: Grape tomatoes off the vine at Birri Brothers. Yes, they are out now.
The wild card: Cocoa and my all star toe...
The random food pic part: Andrea's apple crumble...hurry up and get a website woman so I can link up to you!

Andrea's salade d'amour ...

This mornings breakfast:  ...
Random portrait: Tristan.

 The end.

And now, for the collection. I call it a collection because it is a gathering ... a gathering of beautiful ingredients, on a beautiful plate, that amounted to an amazingly beautiful meal, made by this amazing lady. Thank you my dear Sandy (and Jean!).

Time to dish.

Sandy and Jean's Calf's liver with grilled red peppers & green beans.

Here is what you need:

  • Two or four (or however many you are) organic veal calf liver's
  • Two large red peppers
  • A bunch of green beans
  • One shallot, finely minced
  • one teaspoon dijon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated garlic
  • Splash of wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Amazing olive oil
  • Sea salt
Here is what to do:
  1. Simply oil your red peppers, add a little sea salt and put them on the barbeque until charred and soft. Be careful not to burn them too much because we are not peeling here...Take off the grill, drizzle with a little more olive oil and set aside. Now do the same for your calf's liver. Liver tends to cook quite quickly so keep an eye on it...about 7-10 minutes total should do, depending on how pink you like it. Once done, take off the heat, wrap in aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile steam your green beans in a double boiler or bamboo steamer until cooked but still crunchy. Once done set aside (no need to blanch if you are steaming). For the green bean dressing, in a jar add olive oil, sea salt, shallots, garlic, white wine vinegar, lemon juice and dijon. Shake shake shake, and then pour all over your green beans.
  3. Then, gather all your lovely darlings onto one plate, eat, enjoy.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

One must start out in herculean fashion ...

Dear readers, round two. Second batch of photos. So I spent the entire day cleaning our backyard and preparing the plants (yey!) for spring (so exciting, do not even ask me what temperature it is right now, I. am. in. denial.). The kind of cleaning that has you sweeping and scrubbing, moving things and sweeping and scrubbing under said moved things, flooding decks with scalding water sole purpose being to assassinate any germ bold enough to hang on after initial mad sweepscrubmovesweepscrub. That has you on your hands and knees cleaning in between cracks with a metal spatula in your hands and a farash ready for any dirt that pops up.  That has you scrubbing your beloved barbeque until your hands are slightly raw. That has you hammering in shelves so that your candles can have a lovely landing space outside (okay so this is more construction less cleaning but whatever). That has you scrubbing white brick walls and then deciding after one wall that this was a job to be finished the next day because after eleven hours of work, it might be a little much. The kind that has Napa curling up at your feet, at the end of the evening because she was outside with you all day inspecting your work (and maybe rolling around in a little dirt). That leaves you with puffy feet, dirty clothes, dirty hair, sore muscles...The kind, that leaves you utterly, completely, content.

A corner in the beginning ...you see that dirt there ...its time is numbered ...
A moment of sunshine ....
Chives! Look at them in their green beautiful beautifulness!
The Idon'trememberwhattheyarecalledrightnow's! The are so perfect. I love them. Ouff. 

The peony plant made it! I gave it a little kiss. 
Swollen, puffy, dirty, happy, tired feet...
A cup of hot, dark cocoa at the end of a hard day's work ...you can spike yours with Barbancourt ...if you wish, of course ...

A little softness and romance ...

A little more ... notice the scrubbed white walls ...
It's been a long day inspecting and rolling ...

Now, to be able to actually survive such a day, one must start out in herculean fashion with a breakfast of ... well ... herculean proportions.

Time to dish.

Hercules porridge, oh yeah.

Here is what you need:
  • 1 cup of oatmeal
  • A tiny handful of cranberries, diced black mission figs, dried apricots also diced, beautiful golden raisins and diced dried prunes
  • A pinch of sea salt (only salt, you don't need sugar because the dried fruits will take care of the sweetness for you)
  • To garnish, if you have it available (I didn't in the moment but it makes an awesome difference) fresh lemon balm, fresh mint

Here is what to do:

  1. Add a cup of water and a pinch of salt to your oatmeal and cook to desired consistency. Depending on the type of oatmeal you have this can be anywhere from 10-45 minutes. Choose your oat and follow the instructions :). When almost done add all of your dried fruits and warm through, stirring, for about 3 or 4 minutes. Plate, add your chopped fresh herbs, have a seat, inhale the amazing aroma and chow down darlings. Then get to work. Or back to bed. Whichever you prefer.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More of a mental stroll ...

Dear readers! Hurrahh! Spring is here in full force! At least for now, anyway. There are those naysayers with spine-chilling weather reports looming in the background claiming frost is lurking and imminent but we choose to ignore them.

This is going to be a visual post dear readers. My senses have simply been overcome by all the little details in the last couple of days and frankly speaking I have been walking around the city nonstop like a lunatic and taking photos, nonstop, like a complete lunatic. The photo taking lunacy was not strictly confined to the strolling part. I completely cleaned our backyard and went snaphappy on the little gems starting to grow. I went to this cool show  for the first time and, well, you know, snap snap snap... And so, I have lots to share. Like lots. So we'll do some now and some later in the week. Considering it's Friday later in the week will be in about two days from now. And more next week. Mmmhmmm, I got lots people. So let's go for a walk you and I. Not a three hour joint hurting but still can't stop kinda' walk, more of a mental stroll ...

Yep, I really do park this way. The horror. The shame.

The sky.

I wanted to take them all home. Then I considered the stabbing Napa could possibly get. And the stabbing I would probably get. Decided against it. Will visit them instead.

Quebec sidewalks...ahhh...spring ...

Spring on St Laurent ...

Lights and breezes ...

Perfection ...

It's you and me.

Hibernation over.

First beautiful day at the Jean Talon Market.

Freshly pressed. Umm...yeah, yes please.

And now, you didn't think I would leave you without a recipe did you?

Time to dish.

Bubbling, amazing Korean Pork Belly Hot Pot
Adapted from Saveur Magazine

At the end of my walk, this awaited. Korean Pork belly hot pot. Here we go yo.

Here is what you need:

  • 1/4 cup solidified lard or boar bacon fat
  • 2 tablespoons of Korean crushed hot red pepper, hot hot hot people!
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and minced
  • 3 ounces pork belly, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 3 cups rich beef broth
  • 1 sheet of nori 
  • Half a block of silken tofu
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • Half a cup of shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh coriander
Here is what to do:
1. Heat a medium stone pot or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add lard or boar bacon fat, crushed red pepper, garlic, and half the scallions, and cook, stirring frequently, until fat melts and garlic and scallions are fragrant, 1–3 minutes. Let me tell you, your kitchen will smell heavenly. Then add pork belly, and fry stirring frequently, until just cooked through without browning, about 3 minutes. Carefully add broth, and boil vigorously until slightly thickened, 20–30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cut several wide strips of the nori and set aside. Drain the silken tofu, and add to pot. Bring broth back to a boil, and cook until tofu has warmed through and breaks into smaller pieces, about 10 minutes. Add your remaining scallions, and salt and pepper. Stir in your sesame oil and then garnish hot pot with your nori.

3. To serve, carefully bring boiling hot pot to the table, break egg into hot pot, and allow to poach for a few minutes before eating, stir through and add coriander. Serve with bowls of hot steamed rice or udon noodles.

Happy spring!
I hope.

Serves 2 – 4

Thursday, March 15, 2012

And curd it was ...

Somehow last Wednesday, I found myself with 24 eggs. I was expecting 12. I had plans for 12. There were only supposed to be 12! Ahem. But then life (aka: Jean-Pierre's wife Debbie) bestowed upon me 24. Those are a lot of eggs, I thought to myself staring blankly at my refrigerator in my puffy slippers and nose.

What is one feverish puffy person to do with such yolky quantity, I said to myself (still staring blankly at my refrigerator in my puffy slippers and nose).

I sent out tweets, im's and other such modern enquiries. I flipped a few pages with listless fingers. Then! I vaguely remembered through the puffy fog, that I had a full bowl of Meyer lemons and key limes that were long (like skin hard as a rock long) in the tooth. And then like a beacon in the fog, it hit me. Curd! When life gives you lemons and eggs...you make curd. Curd people.

And curd it was.

Long in the tooth ... but oh oh oh so juicy ...
Eggs from the farm...each one a different color and texture ...

Totally awesome lemon & lime curd

The golden glorious result ... curd ...
Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 cup ish** of  freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup ish** of  freshly squeezed Key lime juice
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature please
  • 1/4 cup of fine sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature please
  • 2 large eggs , room temperature please
  • a tiny pinch of sea salt
Here is what to do:

  1. In a bowl that you can later put over a pot of simmering water, cream your butter and sugar and honey until they are lovely and light and everything blends together. Then add your yolks, then the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each one. Stir in the salt, then gradually add your ridiculously amazing juice, working the juice in as you go. At this point it may separate but don't worry it will come together when you put it over the simmering water.
  2. Now fill your pot half way with water. Bring to a simmer and put your bowl of curd on top of it. Stir lovingly and constantly, and heat the curd slowly so that the sugar has time to dissolve (usually about ten - twelve minutes). Once the curd is just thick enough to coat your spoon, it's done. Take it off the heat because it will thicken, like a lot, as it cools. Put it in a beautiful jar, let it come to room temperature and then put it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. Or, as in my house, it will be eaten before the end of the day. Straight from the jar. Like pudding.
You can have it with dark chocolate, it's the best.
You can have it on top of mascarpone, it's the best.
You can serve it with fresh fruit, it's the best.
You can serve it on a flaky croissant, it's the best.
And so on, and so forth.

Onward curd!

**It's a forgiving recipe darlings so not to worry, just to enjoy!

***Ccccurd curd curd curd is the word, cccurd curd curd ...yeah...sorry, Peter Griffin, chicken, bird song, bbbbird bird bird, curd, yeah ...you know ...da da da da da da ta ta ta ta ... curd.***