2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar- Day 7

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Let’s talk about this IPA from Longslice Brewery . 69 IBU’s and 6.5 percent. It’s a big IPA with notes of honey, papaya, chocolate and rye. Delicious.  But can we really talk about what I love about this beer? It has a sense of humour.  Pick up a can and you will see what I mean.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar- Day 6

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So i’m not someone to stay on trend. For example the last time I had this Revivale by Lost Craft I was sitting at a well known whiskey bar with a friend waiting for a few other friends. A large group of well dressed gen x’ers came up to bar and one gentleman commended me on my choice of beverage. He and his group however had just come from a huge secret whiskey event that is put on every year and were several hours into a heavy hard liquor evening. I saluted him on his stamina and secretly cheered that I would be feeling a hell of a lot better the next morning than he will.

This beautifully branded lagered ale is a quiet surprise at 25 IBU’s  and a mild 4.8 percent.

Cheers to 24 Days of Beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar- Day 5

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So it was a beautiful summer afternoon when my bestest beer drinking friend and I decided would be super healthy and go for a long but leisurely walk down to the lake. Starting right by the Gladstone we headed towards the ex, over the bridge and along the water. We knew the further we walked away from our starting point the longer it would take to get back. But we had a destination in mind and there was nothing turning us back. Amsterdam Brewery. After the most amazing fresh pretzels with a dipping sauce we wanted to bathe in, massive burgers and lot’s of amazing beer we had a stroke of genius. Let’s take transit home.

Boneshaker is my friends favorite there. A strong IPA is packs a wallop at 7.1 percent ABV’s and 80 IBU’s. It was greatly needed fortification that day.

Cheers to 24 days of beer.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar- Day 4

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Wheat beers of any form are my ultimate favourite.  The more it tastes like wheat fields the happier I am. The first time I had this beer was at a weekly event called Triple B’s at Lisa Marie. It’s a Tuesday night of beer (cheap), burgers (massive) and bingo (uber cheesy but super fun). They were offering up a pint for $5 and even though cheap always tastes delicious I have easily paid full price for this beer. 

Grasshopper from Big Rock Brewery is a very drinkable wheat ale with an ABV of 5 and low IBU 16. A “have a lot of” type of beer.

Cheers to 24 days of Beer.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar- Day 3

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One of the things I love about craft beer and the ever changing options out there is that the name game is on point. Some of my favorites include Haters Gonna Hate, Crazy Cat Lady, Bock Me Gently, Midnight Kissed My Cow, Juicy Ass, Hasselhef, Audrey Hopburn, My Bitter Wife…the creativity is endless. I think if I ever made my own beer I’d spend more time coming up with names than actually producing.

Mad Tom from Muskoka Brewery is the milder cousin of Twice As Mad Tom. See another great moniker! This is another one of those big IPA’s with notes of orange, pine and floral elements. It comes in at a 6.4 ABV and 64 IBU’s.

Cheers to 24 Days of Beer!

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 2

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I remember the first time I really started to open my eyes to the joy of beer.

It was on my 21st birthday and I had been working for a landscape company on a job site. Now you see my birthday is in the beginning of July so it was no surprise it was a god awful hot day to be slinging dirt under a blistering sun.  That summer I remember it being so hot that we would usually pack at least 6 bottles of water per person and at least 3 would be frozen so as to still be slightly cool closer to the end of the day. My crew knew it was my birthday, there was plans of going out after work when my boss showed up to the site with a cooler full of beer. Ice cold beer. It was Rickard’s Red, my first taste of beer that wasn’t part of the big three and it was that day I understood what people meant about cracking open a cold beer on a hot day. Up until this point I had been ruining myself on overly sweet umbrella drinks and sexually named shots of liqueur. I don’t remember how I felt about the taste, I just knew it was exactly what I needed that moment.

So lets celebrate those moments with this stellar Ruby Ale from Parallel 49 Brewing Company. I had Gypsy Tears for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it just falshed me right back to younger days so it totally deserves a spot in the calendar. This smooth red ale has smoky undertones and hits at a plesant 6 ABV and 40 IBU.

Cheers to 24 days of beer.

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calendar-Day 1

Mill Street West Coast IPA

I’m going to start my advent calendar the way I start all beer festivals I attend.  With a pull by Mill Street Brewery.  Maybe they get the perfect location (right at the gates) but honestly I just know I’m going to get a great beer from them. They always bring a new release and a few one offs to these festivals (and there are many). I’ve fallen in love with their lemon tea, a green tea cask, Ginger Cat and most recently this West Coast IPA.

An incredibly drinkable IPA that I would introduce to anyone leery of anything “too hoppy”. While intense it’s clean with an ABV of 6.6 and IBU’s of 87. 

Cheers to 24 days of beer!

 

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2016 Craft Beer Advent Calender

BeerI drink a lot of outstanding beers. Which probably explains why the question “what’s your favorite style?” the hardest to answer. I’ve had delicious stouts, porters, lagers, pilsners, ales, IPA’s; you name it I’ve tried it.  There have been a few that have puckered my lips and made me grimace but those are few and far between. That’s what is so great about Ontario Craft Beer. There is so much variety; so many amazing things our brewers are doing.

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That’s why I had to share this virtual advent calendar with you. Over the next 24 days I will be sharing my favorite pours. And man it was hard to narrow it down to just 24. These are not seasonals or one offs, because I’ve had plenty of them. Instead I share with you  a variety of beers that you can readily find in your local store all year round. What good is telling you about a spring saison I absolutely loved when you can’t get it anymore.

I hope you enjoy this calendar because I certainly enjoyed making it.  And I hope you like the little anecdotes I included because for some reason great beer always includes great experiences.

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Taste and Terroir with Canada Beef

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I have been to many tasting events in my short but delicious food writing career. I’ve sampled wines, oils, tequilas, cheeses; I’m even a judge for the Canadian division of the International chocolate awards. As someone who live’s to eat and not just to sustain my life I’ve been fortunate to fine tune my palate; offering it the best the culinary delights to savour. I’ve spoiled it on more than one occasion.  

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When I was invited to Canada Beef’s Taste and Terroir event I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting. I knew since it was in Niagara-on-the-Lake, there was almost a guarantee amazing fine wine would be involved. Housed in the Culinary Food and Wine Institute and curated by Canada’s great Chef Michael Olsen and Chef Marty Carpenter of Canada Beef, outstanding food was also a sure thing. Yet what was all this talk about beef and terroir? 

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I can talk about the outstanding food and wine I drank and the hospitality and gorgeous backdrop to set any food lover’s heart a flame but it’s over and done. The plates have been cleared. What’s left however is better enlightenment to what our local farmers do and a greater appreciation of their craft and ultimately the final product that we serve with love to the people that mean the most in our worlds.

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Terroir may be familiar to wine aficionados and horticulture experts. Where things grow, the soil conditions, the weather, the environment in which growers nurture their crops in all play a part in the taste, scent and the feel of a great sip of wine. Given that logic it is safe to assume all the same conditions should also play a huge part in our beef industry.

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Canada has been in cattle and ranching industry an incredibly long time and it’s with good reason we have some of the best beef in the world. Over 300 years of history has given farmers plenty of time to experiment, test and get things right by discovering the effects of changing terroir on our four legged friends. And as with wine these important factors also affects how our beef tastes. While there is no right or wrong in each individual’s preference every cut of meat can taste, feel and cook differently. One person’s tenderloin is another’s blade steak. It’s how the cow is raised and feed; it’s personal terroir, that we are tasting in each bite.

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With a pride as strong as that from Canada Beef you know that they have the resources to help you discover and learn more about what you are eating, how you are eating it and why it tastes so good. Education on what you put in your mouth goes a long way in helping understand importance of our farmers and growers. Check out their site for recipes, a guide on cuts, as well as stories from the people who make our meals better.

*I was invited to this event as a guest of Canada Beef. All opinions are my own and authentic. Photography provided by Merkato Communications.

Dirty Food Eatery

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Dirty Food Eatery is a name worth explaining. While the connotation around the word “dirty” could conjure up visions of pestilence and filth when paired with “food” it invokes simple, down home, taste first dishes that prefer pretty delicious over pretty looking.

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After a year of getting their feet wet catering weddings and corporate events Leslie Wilks and Jonathan Iskiw have brought their little eatery to the storefront; opening a new brunch and breakfast hot spot in the junction. Bright and simple lines in their decor help relax a bustling crowd enjoying salads, sandwiches and egg-centric offerings.

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Everything that can be made in house is; from the cured meats, pickled vegetables and pillowy pierogis. Typical brunch fare dominates the menu but small touches from Chef Iskiw’s fine dining background brings each dish to a higher level.

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Double brined friend chicken is juicy yet enveloped in a crisp, deep fried batter and highlighted with a jalapeno syrup. Vinegary collards greens on the Egg’s Jenny (named after Wilks’ sister) cuts through the hollandaise like butter.

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With the areas’ neighbourhoods rebuilding and regentrifying a simple yet flavour forward brunch spot is a welcoming site. Both Wilks and Iskiw believe “dirty” is both a good and delicious idea while being uncomplicated and hope their restaurant continues to express those important basics.

Dirty Food Eatery
3070 Dundas Street West
416-855-3393

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

I guess it wouldn’t be October without at least one pumpkin recipe. I have been having fun with different flavours of snickerdoodles during my weekly cookie feature.  It’s helpful in coming up with a different variety each week. Basically all that entails is rolling your dough in a form of spiced sugar.  In this recipe I added the flavours of pumpkin pie to my sugar. I hope you like them!

Start off with a large bowl of your flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

In a second bowl beat together your butter and sugars.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Beat in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Love the bright orange colour.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Roll the dough into 1″ round balls and coat with your pumpkin pie sugar. Place on cookie sheet and press with a fork.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

 

Bake until bottoms just begin to brown.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from The Tasty Gardener

 

Yields 5-6 dozen

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 tsp ginger
  • 3 tsp allspice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In another large bowl beat together butter and sugars.
  4. Beat in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
  6. In a shallow bowl mix together the 1 cup of sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice.
  7. Roll the dough into 1" balls and cover in sugar mixture. Place on prepared pans and press down with a fork.
  8. Bake 6-8 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown. Let cool completely on wire racks.
Recipe Type: Dessert
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Cherry Street BBQ

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The Portlands just got smokier and in a very good way.

For those who don’t know, pit smoking bbq involves cooking meat over a wood burning pit or grill at a constant temperature for a long time. Low and slow. Those familiar with the technique and taste can rejoice in the opening of Cherry St BBQ.

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With the burgeoning Canary District a few blocks away its location among manufacturing plants, circus tents and axe throwing warehouses isn’t really that much of a brow furrower.  In fact with its rather remote-to-suburbia location it allows the patio and it’s live music or DJ to pump long and loud while the constant smoke from its “pits” leaves the teary eyes to its masters and maybe an alley cat or two.

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Walk into the restaurant and order your food from a butcher paper list of meats and sides then wander to the bar for a drink. Beer is a given but cocktails will surprise. Grab one of the many seats in this a bright and woody space or if you come at the right time you may even score a seat on the patio while enjoying the views of the “six”.

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It is not the decor or neighbourhood ambience that brings you back to Cherry Street. Forever learning from BBQ masters around the continent, Pit master Lawrence Lapiante has created a simple yet effective menu in educating the city on proper southern BBQ. Whether it is the salt and pepper brisket,  sweet and sour pulled pork or finger sticky ribs each item on the menu is meticulously smoked at the right temperature for the right amount of time. A technique a lot harder than it looks.

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Sides change up seasonally and can include a gooey Mac and cheese, tart coleslaw and beans that have been brilliantly simmered underneath the fat dripping meat in the smoker. And in true Texas form each brisket is served with a slice of white bread, pickles, onions and jalapenos for the perfect impromptu sandwich.

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Take the time to visit this neighbourhood restaurant.  In an area slowly giving way to more places to eat and hang out Cherry Street BBQ is not only a beacon in a food desolate area but a mainstay for years to come.

Cherry Street BBQ

275 Cherry Street, Toronto

416-461-5111

Apple Tarts Two Ways

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You will sometimes hear me say I live a sitcom life.

Weird things happen to me all the time.  I have either the best luck or the worst luck.  I don’t do things the easy way.

Take two weeks ago. Setting: The Toronto International Film Festival, my favorite time of fall (minus cask days in October).  It’s where a friend and I spend copious amounts of time standing in line, people watching to our heart’s content. “Wow is she really wearing that?” ” Is that someone famous?” “Man, I may have had too much to drink at lunch.” It’s one of those things that you only have one or two friends that truly “get” the experience. “You stand in line for how long?” Yes we stand in line a lot. But we also get to hopefully see a cinematic masterpiece and a bunch of celebrities.

This year the stars (the ones in the sky not on the red carpet) didn’t seem to align for us. One movie we both loathed to attend (sorry Lance) and were lucky we had another friend switch with us. The first and second movie my go-to TIFF buddy couldn’t attend so I was scrambling to find a replacement (again someone who kind of understood the whole line thingy) and it rained! A lot!

So I found a replacement, met her in line (yes 1 1/2 hours early) and clung to my umbrella hoping I wouldn’t need it.  And then my sitcom life began.

I got stung by something. I think it was a wasp.  There was no stinger so google and I decided it was not a bee.

Here’s the thing. I have never, ever been stung before.  By anything. I had no idea how I’d react.  It hurt like hell being that it was the fleshy bit of the palm of hand but I silently waited to see what else I would experience. Silently because I wasn’t going to make a scene and there was no way I was missing my movie (TIFF goers understand this). Lucky no dying in line happened and only mild swelling occured…..

Until the next day where my hand was twice the size it should be and itchy as hell. Being the healthcare worker that I am I thought a lot of gruesome things and even drew a line around the swollen, red part to keep an “eye” on it. The next day? Even worse which sent me to the doctor on call. The verdict? My hand had a full blown infection and I needed antibiotic. Seriously?!

I can’t just get stung. I get stung and an infection. I’m so dramatic. Cue the audience laugh track.

I am cured as of today thank you for asking.  So let’s celebrate with these awesome tarts.  It’s surprisingly drama free.

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Apple Tarts Two Ways

You can use any shape tart pan that you have.

Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • Two pastry shells, rolled into a long rectangle
  • 8-10 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp nutmeg
  • Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp cold butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Glaze Topping
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two long rectangular tart pans.
  2. Place your pastry into each pan and press down to form the shape of your pan.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the apples, white and brown sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Spread the apple mixture evenly between the two pans.
  5. To make the streusel topping, combine all the ingredients into one bowl. Using a pastry cutter cut the butter until everything is mixed and resembles coarse crumbs. Spread evenly over on of the pans.
  6. Place both tarts; streusel topped and the plain apple one into your oven and bake until golden 45-60 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  7. To make the glaze, combine the butter, milk, brown sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mixing lightly add the confectioners sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you get a glaze consistency you prefer. Pour glaze over second apple tart once it is cooled.
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Angelo’s Coal Fired Pizza

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With its first franchise settled comfortably in Boston, Massachusetts,  s brings to Toronto the provinces first coal fired style pizza, nestles in a small but well located plaza a stone throw from tourist heavy St. Lawrence Market.

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While the visitors to the city will enjoy a brief respite over steadfast Italian American cuisine, it’s the locals that will surely benefit from this thin crusted, crispy pie.

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Coal fired pizzas means a cracker like dough with little rise and charcoaled bottom all cooked in a super hot oven reaching temperatures over 900 degrees. Versions include a classic margherita of gooey cheese, pungent basil and drippy sauce and then toppings escalate into adventurous picks like crispy duck and shaved truffles.

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Don’t get hung up on just the pizzas. Starters include a substantial caprese salad, additive polentas fries and gluttonous cheese dripping arancini.

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Pasta choices are also abundant and perfect for sharing. Again classics like spaghetti and meatballs are peppered through a list that includes orecchiette with sausage and chick peas or strozzapreti with veal ragu.

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If you have room for more don’t skip out on dessert. Caramel pear gelato is a refreshing apertif and is just one delectable sweet ending among bombolones and cake.

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Toronto is not short on new and unique pizza styles and creative toppings. Anyone who loves a good quality slice will find exactly that at Angelo’s. Enjoy the full menu experience and you’ll have found so much more.

Angelo’s Coal Fired Pizza

106 Front St. E

647-347-2625

Apple Cinnamon Madeleines

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*tap, tap…..is this thing on? Hello? Anyone still out there?…….

Yes I joke but really it’s been a loooooooonnnnnnnng time since I posted a new recipe on this site. I can give you all the same blah, blah, blah of not enough time etc.etc but honestly I haven’t been cooking much. My life has taken a different direction at the moment and aside from my steadfast favorites nothing creative is happening in my kitchen. It’s okay though. Lots of great food is still eaten and enjoyed.

So what prompted these? Well Ted Bundy did in fact.

*chrip

*chirp

*chirp

Yes I am talking about the serial killer but let me explain.  I joined a true crimes book club and Mr. Bundy was our man of the hour.  And because we are a morbid group we wanted to keep our discussion nibbles authentic. And Ted was known for his love of French food. And why madeleines? Well they are pretty easy and it allowed me to do one other important thing….fight out against #pumpkinabuse . C’mon people we don’t need pumpkin spice in September. It’s apple season!

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I was really excited to join a book club. One cause I love to read and two, cause I love to talk.

I am a voracious reader. Growing up with a sibling three years older than you (and male) meant you had different rules. I always had to go to bed at least 1 hour sooner and I hated it. What if I missed out on something? My dad came up with a solution.  As long as I was in bed I could read by the light of the window until it was too dark to see anymore. No lights, no getting up and most importantly no telling my mom. The summer months meant I would be awake even longer than my brother and during the darker ones at least we were pretty much the same.

Thanks to my dad reading became such an important part of my life that a night doesn’t go by that I’m not engrossed in my book for at least an hour (and usually in the bathtub…..a busy girl has to mutli task).

And thanks to Ted Bundy these Madeleines exist.

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Apple Cinnamon Madeleines
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 apples, cored and peeled, diced
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a food processor puree the apples.
  3. In a bowl beat together the sugar and eggs until thick and pale, about 6 minutes. Baat in the vanilla and apples.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients, 1/3 at a time. Fold in the melt butter.
  5. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare your madeleine pans by coating with butter and dusting with flour.
  7. Drop a tablespoonful of batter into the middle of each mold.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are golden and the centers spring back when pressed.
  9. Remove from oven and place madeleines on wire rack to cool.
  10. In a plastic baggie combine the sugar and cinnamon. While the madeleines are still warm drop a few in the bag and shake gently to coat with sugar. Place back on rack to finish cooling and continue with remaining.
  11. Serve right away or seal in airtight container for a couple of day.
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Beer 101: What’s Your Style? IPA’s

The next post of a series of beer articles breaking down all there is to know about our favorite beverage.  I will now delve deeper into each individual style and over the course of many weeks I will introduce you to each and every one.

As I mentioned before I’m no expert. I don’t have any beer sommelier qualifications. All I know is I like to drink beer and I drink a lot of it and I try lots of different kinds. I’ve listened and learned.

Previously… Beer 101: What’s Your Type? , Beer 101: Is that Code? , Beer 101: Does My Beer Just Look Great in that Glass? and Beer 101: No Spitting in a Bucket Here! Beer Tasting

“Gateway beer to” refers to the style you may want to try if you like this one.

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Next up…..Beer 101: Move Over Pretzels! Beer and Food

Food Truck Friday: Vegan Extremist

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Name of your food truck?

The Vegan Extremist

Owners names?

Jeff Merkel

Why did you start a food truck?

Ambition and opportunity.

What do you serve?

Curry. Vegan curry. Curry is our specialty and our selling point. Our mission is to introduce people to vegan food that is beyond boring veggie burgers.

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Your favorite items on the menu?

We’ve done a lot of cool things this summer, but my favorite has to be the Singapore Rip & Dip. I grew up in Singapore eating Roti Prata, so to recreate it as a vegan dish and introduce it to Canadians was a great experience.

The most popular item on your menu?

Our signature dish is the Indian Chickpea Curry. It’s a crowd favorite, and although we rotate our menu often, we always have this dish on the menu.

Most underrated? Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

The spicy pickle! Although it is just a side to be added to your dish, it adds a whole new dimension to the experience. Salty, sour, and hot – if you haven’t tried it yet, add it to your dish next time.

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Craziest food truck story/experience?

Probably when we just started and were doing curbside in Hamilton, trying to pull into the only legal parking spot, blocking traffic and driving on the wrong side of the road. We definitely had some crazy days back then.

But nowadays, we’re so used to working 50 hour weekends that I’d say the entire food truck experience is a crazy story.

Where can people find you?

All over the Toronto area at festivals and events, and we will soon be rolling up curbside in Toronto!

Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well?

We will soon! Keep your eyes peeled!

Beer 101: What’s Your Style? Stouts

The next post of a series of beer articles breaking down all there is to know about our favorite beverage.  I will now delve deeper into each individual style and over the course of many weeks I will introduce you to each and every one.

As I mentioned before I’m no expert. I don’t have any beer sommelier qualifications. All I know is I like to drink beer and I drink a lot of it and I try lots of different kinds. I’ve listened and learned.

Previously… Beer 101: What’s Your Type? , Beer 101: Is that Code? , Beer 101: Does My Beer Just Look Great in that Glass? and Beer 101: No Spitting in a Bucket Here! Beer Tasting

“Gateway beer to” refers to the style you may want to try if you like this one.

stouts_01

Next up…..Beer 101: What’s Your Style? IPA

Food Truck Friday: Burgatory

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Name of your food truck?

Burgatory

Owners names?

Kristen and Alexei Van Peteghem

When did you start a food truck?

2014

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What do you serve?

Gourmet burgers and fries named for the seven deadly sins.

Your favorite items on the menu?

Our Sloth burger is an amazing cheeseburger. Gooey, run down your arm delicious!

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The most popular item on your menu?

The Greed Burger because of the bacon.

Most underrated? Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

Our hand cut Parmesan Truffle fries are so decadent.

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Craziest food truck story/experience?

One gentleman said our burger saved his marriage.

Where can people find you?

Online at burgatoryfoodtruck.com. On Twitter or Instagram @burgatorycanada.

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Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well?

We have a restaurant located in the heart of Little Italy at 719 College St. Which in includes a broader menu including Original and Mortal Sin Poutines and gourmet salads named for the Virtues of course.

Cutie Pie Cupcakes

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As a seven year veteran on the cupcake scene, Melanie Abdilla is no stranger to peoples love of desserts. With years of special orders, catering events and wedding season madness under her belt it is no surprise that a store front operation would be next on her list.

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Situated on pedestrian heavy Spadina Avenue, Abdilla has expanded her sweet empire to include hot and cold beverages as well as a showcase for her creative flavour combinations.

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Cupcakes come in bite sized cuties or full sized chubby while the whoopie pies (icing sandwiched between cake)mirror their more traditional cousins in flavours and colours.

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Not sure which taste is for you then splurge on a whoopie kebab.

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It’s the addition of hot and cold drinks that have really brought in the Instagram popular crowd. Greek-style, milk heavy espresso beverages and cold brewed teas help beat the heat alongside the photo popular Unicorn Latte.

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Soft Serve ice cream has rounded out the perfect summer crowd menu; unicorn flavour is also available, as well as steamy morning pick me up, the affogato, soft serve drizzled with a shot of espresso.

As the weather cools down expect even wilder things to come from the kitchens of Cutie Pie Cupcakes.

Cutie Pie Cupcakes

235 Spadina Ave, Toronto

416-992-2882

 

Food Truck Friday: Heirloom

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Name of your food truck?

Heirloom Food Truck

Owners names?

Steffen Marin, Ami Dpasquali

Why did you start a food truck?

Our initiative starting the Food truck was to bring a different twist on Toronto street food. We wanted to pursue the challenge of showcasing real Ontario Food and further helping local farmers as we push sustainability within our community.

What do you serve?

We serve a wide variety of dishes. Our menu changes every event/festival we are at, changing the menu based on the type of crowd we are serving, also based on what is in season in Ontario. We have some staples like our Fried Chicken Sandwich, Duck on a Truck, and Pork Belly. These will always be found with different sauces and garnishes as we love to change it up.

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Your favorite items on the menu?

One of our favourite items is our Duck. We are very close to our King Cole family and it has been a very big hit. The Fries Szechuan Chicken Sandwich & Pork Belly Banh Mi Sandwich are both some of the fan favorites.

The most popular item on your menu?

Our most popular menu items would have to be Duck Tacos, it’s something very different from what the regular Food Truck offers. Also a twist with our Fried Chicken Sandwich.

Most underrated? Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

It’s not what I wish people would try more as we usually sell out at all our events, it’s the fact I wish people didn’t just think every food truck sells poutine as they should really understand in trying something new.

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Craziest food truck story/experience?

Wayhome might have to be up there in the craziest experiences we had on the truck. Serving over 6000 people in 2 1/2 days was quite an experience as our line lasted 50 deep for a good 9 hours.

Where can people find you?

We are all over the GTA. The best place to find us would be on www.heirloomtoronto.com as as have our scheduled events laid out. Molson Amp is also one of our regular spots for concerts and also many nights at Evergreen Brickworks.

Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well?

We are looking for the right location now, we should have a brick & mortar by Mid October under Heirloom with a more finer dining twist than just the Food truck scene.

Food Truck Friday: Me.n.u

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Name of your food truck?

Me.n.u Food Truck

Owners names?

Bryan Siu-Chong, Allen Tan, Joe Tillo

Why did you start a food truck?

When we graduated from McMaster University in 2011, we wanted to start a business together, and do something new and exciting. Back then there wasn’t too many food trucks in Toronto, but they were super popular in the US. So we made it our mission to start a food truck and here we are, three years later!

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What do you serve?

We serve Asian Fusion Street Food. Every winter we travel to Asia to eat amazing street food and learn how to cook these authentic flavours. Then we come back to Toronto and fuse these flavours together with North American concepts. Our original menu consists of fried riceballs, roti tacos, Asian poutines, and rice boxes.

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Your favorite items on the menu?

The one that started it all: Fried Riceballs!

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The most popular item on your menu?

PEKING DUCK POUTINE

Most underrated? Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

Our fried riceballs are popular amongst those who follow our business, but they are underrated to people who haven’t heard of them before. “what is it, just rice in a ball?” But once they take the chance to try them, the usual response is “WOW!”

Me n U Photo 5

Craziest food truck story/experience?

Last year when we won the People’s Choice award at the annual AWEStruck event. That makes it two years in a row!

Where can people find you?

Me n U Photo 6

When we are not doing special events or private catering, people can find us at University and College, in front of the Toronto General Hospital. We post our location on our website.

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Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well?

Not yet 😉

Garlicky Dill Pickles

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My Mom was never an exciting cook.  She always had 7 or 8 meals that she cooked for us regularly.  Never one to experiment there were certain smells that would emanate from the kitchen that would either make us really excited (“yay! macaroni and cheese casserole!”) or give us a sense of dread (“boiled potatoes and cabbage again”).  Not to knock her skills, I would say 6 out the 8 were really enjoyable.  Some I make myself today.  But there was one thing my Mom did in the kitchen that blew me away; canning and preserving.

At the end of summer for a week and a half our kitchen became a battle-ground. First it would be dozens and dozens of pies.  Then loaves and loaves of bread; zucchini, carrot, carrot and pineapple, banana.  And then she would heat up the house for days on end. Pickled onions, sweet relish, chili sauce, pickles both garlicky and sweet. Jams and preserves.  Our deep freezer and pantry had rows and rows of jars and baked goods. I never realized how important it was in our household until she stopped doing it.  We grew older and busier as children with activities and play-dates. She went back to work. And finally the last jar was emptied and the bottom of the freezer could be seen. Grocery store trips now included store brands of items I was previously used to seeing my mom’s loopy handwriting on stating dates and times of creation.

I can understand why she stopped.  It was a lot of work. In some cases it was just cheaper to buy it.  Those are the reason that it has taken me 20-plus years to venture into canning for the first time myself.  It’s work. It takes time and space that I don’t necessarily have.  It’s stressful waiting for the lids to pop signalling this jar isn’t going to kill anyone. Trust me I work in Microbiology at the hospital, this stresses me out 100 times more I think than the average person.  But when those little pops begin and weeks later your DH exclaims “those are the best pickles” he has ever had, I can understand why my Mom did all of it; for our smiling faces as she spread home-made jam on our toast.  For knowing my dad has a slice of banana bread as a treat in his lunch over a long day at work.  For seeing the rows and rows of jars knowing she made them with love for her family.

Here’s the recipe I used to make those pickles.  I started out small only making 6 jars.

Garlicky Dill Pickles
Save RecipeSave Recipe

Ingredients

  • pickling cucumbers, 6-8 per jar
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp pickling salt
  • dill seed, 1 heaping tbsp per jar
  • 6-36 garlic cloves, 6 cloves per jar

Instructions

  1. In a large pot or sink fill with cold water and 1 cup pickling salt. Let sit over night.
  2. Drain and cut into slices or wedges.
  3. Wash jars thoroughly in hot, soapy water.
  4. Place jars in canning pot and fill with hot water to a level 3" above top of jars.
  5. Cover and bring to boil over medium high heat, 30-60 minutes. Once boiling reduce heat and simmer until ready to use.
  6. In a small saucepan bring water to a simmer. Add the lids and remove from heat keeping covered.
  7. In a medium saucepan bring salt, water and vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat, keep warm and covered.
  8. Working one jar at a time, remove jar dumping out hot water. Add dill and 3-6 cloves of garlic in bottom.
  9. Pack in as many cucumber wedges as you can, leaving 1" headspace.
  10. Place funnel over jar and carefully ladle in vinegar leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and add more liquid as needed.
  11. Wipe any liquid from rim of jar, remove disk from hot water and place on jar. Screw on band until finger tight.
  12. Repeat with remaining jars.
  13. Place filled jars back in canner and return to a boil. Start your timer as soon as water reaches a boil and process for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  14. Using canning tongs remove jars to counter and let rest at least 24 hours.
  15. Any jars that have not sealed (popping sound) should be refrigerated.
  16. Always label jars with date they were made.
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Food Truck Friday: Urban Smoke

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Name of your food truck? 

Urban Smoke Food Truck

Owners names? 

Scott Danyshyn and Martin Buckingham

Why did you start a food truck?

A few years back, our owners were inspired by the amazing food truck scene on a staff trip to San Diego for the National BBQ Association Tradeshow. That spurred the launch of our Urban Smoke Food Truck later that year. Urban Smoke is an extension of our Gourmet Group and BBQ Gourmet brands. The goal of the truck is to build brand awareness and expand our BBQ offering even further.

What do you serve? 

Southern Style and Fusion BBQ Cuisine

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Your favourite items on the menu?

My personal favourite is our feature on Saturday at this year’s CNE “The Royal Yorkie”. It’s a homemade Yorkshire Pudding wrap stuffed with our Slow Smoked Beef Brisket, Candied Brussel Sprouts and our BBQ Gravy.  It’s amazing!

The most popular item on your menu?

That would likely be a tie between either our Beef Brisket Poutine or our new Pineapple Express which is a sundae with grilled pineapple spears, scoops of pulled pork, crispy bacon mashed potatoes, chopped coleslaw, topped with our homemade BBQ sauce and shaved coconut.

Most underrated?  Which do you wish people would take a chance and try?

Hands down that would be our Eddie Vedder Portobello Mushroom Sandwich.  It’s not just for vegetarians….and it is excellent!

Urban Smoke (3 of 3)

Craziest food truck story/experience? 

Probably our first year at The Ex.  We had a line up from 11am till 11pm each day.  The Food Truck Frenzy was brand new and it was insane. The people of Toronto love food trucks and BBQ!  That’s great for us!  Another amazing experience was being featured on The Food Network’s Eat St. show.  The whole film/production process was intense but so much fun.  The phones wouldn’t stop ringing after our episode debuted.

Where can people find you?

We run concessions at a variety of large scale festivals across the GTA each summer and also cater many private and corporate events.

Do you have a store/restaurant etc. as well? 

No, but Urban Smoke is part of The Gourmet Group of Companies which also includes full service catering with The BBQ Gourmet and The Breakfast Gourmet. Visit us online at www.thegourmetgroup.com.