Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cozy, Comfy Pesto - A Kitchen Maturing

There is no picture of the pesto penne dinner tonight because it was that good. Gone before the idea of a camera entered our heads.

I am at stage in my life where I want less, not more. Less clutter, less issues, less to-do's, less noise, less stuff. I have a few boxes of keepsakes and trinkets from my past down in the basement. The volume is not embarrassing. I have boxes of half started projects, put on hold for more important uses of my time. Again, the volume is not embarrassing. I have a box of clippings of recipes and food stories that someday I might try. Still, the volume is not embarrassing. And tucked in that box of recipe clippings is part of my historical collection of recipes actually written out on 4" x 6" recipe cards.

Some 15+ years ago I decided to launch into the digital age and I keyed most of the favourite recipes collected to-date into a product called Foodware, a software product by Telemedia Publishing of Toronto's Canadian Living magazine. It soon saw obsolescence and when MasterCook became a more compelling recipe management tool, I switched. It involved a data conversion of about 100 recipes which I knitted my way through thanks to an IT bent from my university and work days.

I am now at a point that the 409 recipes I do have in MasterCook are the keepers. Every once in a while I cull the database. I realize a potentially loved recipe just isn't holding it's own compared to newer ones that have captured my palate. I also now know that I won't keep a recipe just because I tried it. A habit from the past. It really does need to be one that I can say I want to make again.

That lingering box of magazine clippings and recipe cards were ones I had never keyed in. Just not the top priority favourites I guess. Now the time has come where I need to ask myself, will I ever try this recipe any time over this second half of my life. And if it is one I have made, will I ever make it again. Really, will I? If it is a vague answer, out it goes. I want less clutter more than I want to risk losing the recipe that got away.

I am sure you are wondering, what does any of this have to do with cozy, comfy pesto. You might have an inkling as to 'a kitchen maturing', but the pesto? Hang in there, it is coming.

In the stash of recipes cards is a collection that potentially represents the greatest of pesto recipes. I am sure I never made a one of them but they are all written out so neatly. And probably because I never made a one of them, they were never keyed into Foodware, let alone MasterCook.

There were seven pesto recipes. Seven! Now that is getting a little possessive about wanting perfection.
  • Summer Pesto - Canadian Living August 1993 (pg 13 no less - was that important?)
  • Pesto - Select Homes & Food March 1990 (pg 51 - still not important)
  • Basil Pesto - Select Homes & Food May/June 1991 (pg 50 - psychologists unite)
  • Pesto (Basil Sauce) - Canadian Living Cookbook (page 148)
  • Pesto dressing - Canadian Living Magazine 1984 (CL8-845)
  • Pesto Sauce - The Harrowsmith Pasta Cookbook (page 97)
  • Basil Parsley Pesto - Canadian Living Magazine 1985 (CLS -855)
I am not really sure why we never made pesto ourselves over the years. I guess it just seemed to be a treat we had always left for eating out. With my Roots and Shoots Farm CSA food, I have had a good size bunch of basil twice now. And for whatever reason I decided pesto would be the best choice for using it up. So although the anthropological dig has recently uncovered these well archived and cataloged recipes, I just couldn't be bothered with them.

Everybody knows, don't they, that basil pesto consists of basil, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. So out came the food processor and in went the ingredients, and by instinct, I knew just how much of each. An instinct that comes with a maturity in the kitchen, a cozy relationship with food and it's science. A sense of what order to put things together and then how to tinker. Checking for taste and texture and looks and viscosity. It isn't something that has been memorized. It is about being one with the food. Definitely an 'ah ha' moment.

Our pesto met with the penne and dinner arrived. Filling the hunger and giving the satisfaction that only comes from homemade.

For those of you wanting more than just hand waving about how to make basil pesto, I think it went something like this:


2 cups fresh basil, packed
4 cloves garlic minced (start with 2 and then taste and add a bit at a time - size matters!)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (you may add more once you see the consistency)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (again your preference if you want to add more)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pulse gently in food processor. I prefer it to not be too liquid smooth. I like it with a bit of texture.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roots and Shoots Farm - 5th week of CSA Food

Oh how we have been enjoying our food from Roots and Shoots Farm. Since we are signed up for a half share, we receive food every other week, instead of every week. Although this is the 5th week of the program, it is our 3rd food package.

We have never participated in a CSA program before and so we are trying to find our way with it all. Here are some of our feelings about it so far.

  • We are receiving very fresh seasonal produce that is locally and naturally grown.
  • We are being 'forced' to try foods we might not otherwise consider.
  • We are trying new recipes to incorporate food we have never used before.
  • We are consuming more vegetables into our diet.
  • We are having a more adventurous approach to menu planning. The mystery can be fun!
  • We are putting more effort into using vegetables at breakfast and lunch time as well.

  • It is harder to menu plan when we do not know what we will be receiving in our food basket.
  • The arrival of food on the set day every other week does not always coincide with our plans. If we are not around then we arrange for a friend to pick up the food at the drop location.
  • Our busy summer schedule of socializing out with others or being away does not allow us to use the produce in a timely way that best shows off the produce at its most fresh.
  • We are used to setting a menu and then buying the food in a 'just in time' style of shopping. Our process is now in reverse. We are creating a menu based on what we have on hand. It may not be our 'ideal' menu.
  • We have become a 'slave' to the food basket, wanting to optimize the use of all items to maximize their freshness. Where before, our social plans and work schedule would drive the food plans.
The verdict so far is still in favour of being a part of the CSA program. We are pleased that Roots and Shoots Farm is so dedicated to their product and also wants to be an active and contributing member of the community. This certainly lines up with the values in our kitchen.

Enjoy the photo anthology! We have an exciting week ahead in the kitchen.

BIN #1: A yellow and green zucchini.

BIN #2: A pint of potatoes.

BIN #3: 1.5 pounds of carrots.

BIN #4: Three green peppers and one purple pepper.

BIN #5: Onions.

BIN #6: Swiss chard.

BIN #7: Mizuna (mustard greens).

BIN #8: Lettuce.

BIN #9: A choice of curly parsley, cilantro or basil. I picked basil!

If you want to learn more about the farm, the contact information for Roots and Shoots Farm is:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hintonburger - The Perfect 'Last Supper' Before The Barron River Canyon

Last Friday evening, we had a chef in our home preparing a many course meal for 3 couples celebrating the same number of years of wedded bliss. You know, fancy dishes with words on the menu like lobster and nage and minus 8 gastrique and fennel pollen. That wonderful evening seems like a life time ago already as we are being whisked along at top speed on the magic carpet ride called life. Since then it has been special evening leftovers and not a whole lot of new fancy foods happening here. I still feel stuffed. I still feel tipsy!

The mister and the teenager are now in the throws of packing up for a multi-day canoe trip through the Barron River Canyon in Algonquin Park. Male bonding. No room for me. The kitchen and table have been taken over by piles of meal planning, camping style. No lobster. No nage. No minus 8 gastrique. No fennel pollen. I didn't really see anywhere for me to create their 'last supper' in that jungle. Their internal dinner bells clanged off around 6:45 pm and the response needed to be instant. The teenager suggested sushi. That just seemed way too urban for pre-camping. Time to set the mood for it all. I suggested the Hintonburger.

The buzz going on about the Hintonburger has been remarkable. A buzz that seems almost on par with the newly opened Taylor's Genuine Food & Wine Bar in Old Ottawa South. How does that happen? When you see this place it is a cross between Jean Burger's near Wakefield and the chip truck at Sunnyside and Bank. You are not going to the Hintonburger for the decor.

It seems everyone has been writing about it and two particular write-ups have done a great job of capturing the history behind its inception and aspects of the business that are particularly important to its identity - organic meat from O'Brien's farm, fresh ingredients from the local Parkdale Market, home-cut fries. Must reads if you want to get the true sense of the Hintonburger. I draw your attention to Ottawa blogger Apartment613's July 12, 2010 entry called Restaurant Watch: The Hintonburger, and also an Ottawa Citizen article by Nicki Thomas called A Burger Joint Blooms in Hintonburg.

Could this be the new Webers that found burger fame near Orillia? Time will tell.

Their smallest burger at 4 ounces, the Armstrong, was all I could muster tonight. ($4.50 taxes in.) I added a small fry for $2.50. Having seen a number of pictures posted on blogs and also Ottawa Foodies, I was thrilled to see that my fries were actually a lot darker. I love them well cooked. Most chip trucks have a small fry at $3.00 or even $3.50, so the Hintonburger's small fry is a deal. I am sure it will help to draw in business and keep them coming back. Next time I will go for the value fry at $1.75. A better size for my appetite. The teenager is very interested in trying their poutine. Tonight his side was a small onion ring at $3.00 and he was very pleased. The small is still a handsome size. He did not finish. Both males went all out with the 6 ounce Hintonburger which came loaded with cheese, bacon and their signature BBQ sauce. They too went for all available toppings (lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles, banana peppers, ketchup, mustard, mayo, relish) All 3 hamburgers were baby wipes messy and super gooey yummy.

I considered taking pictures as it always seems to help a blog entry to have many pictures. But I have seen pictures of Hintonburger burgers and they are downright messy and don't seem to exude a 'come hither' about them. Though I have to say Lord of the Wings' methodical and academic labeling of said burger specimen was most thorough. I just couldn't see the Queen chowing down on one though.

So with belly's full of the signature Hintonburger hamburger, some fries and rings, the canoers have upped their food game to such fare as filet mignon and egg-a-muffins as they make their way through the Barron River Canyon. I just hope the bears are looking for a lesser menu.

The Hintonburger
991 Wellington Street West
Ottawa, Ontario
Facebook Fan Page
Twitter: @Hintonburger

Summer Hours:
Sun to Thurs: 11 am - 9pm
Fri and Sat: 11 am - 11 pm

Winter Hours:
Sun: 12 pm - 7 pm
Mon to Thurs: 12 pm - 8 pm
Fri and Sat: 12 pm - 9 pm

Hintonburger on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Red Russian Kale Chips - A Roots and Shoots Farm CSA Treat

My first foray into kale was as beautiful purple cabbages ornamenting my garden. But my view of kale is changing. Yesterday's happy hour snacks consisted of kale chips plus hummus and pita. The idea for kale chips came about thanks to fellow Ottawa food blogger she eats bears.

Her early mention of them was this past autumn in her piece entitled comforting curry. She shares with us that her inspiration for the kale chips actually came from her work associate, Candice. (So you can see where this has become a bit of a 'pay it forward'.) And again a week later, kale chips are still on Marysol's mind in roast chicken and ginger and lemongrass chicken soup. Marysol is true to her love of kale throughout the winter, but in a roasted form. However, the idea and obsession for kale chips does not leave her. She is back talking about them again this May, along with the sister chip, Swiss chard in Grilling Swiss Chard. And at the end of June in Garden Talk - kale, radishes and slugs. And she knows she is not the only one out there doing the kale chip thing. She reveals that Kirsten of Kirsten's Kitchen in Halifax, Nova Scotia has it bad too as we hear in her tale Eat your greens...chip style. Kirsten says she was inspired by Selfish Vegan, who shares her recipe in Computer Chips. And then I find out days ago that Marysol has kicked things to a new level and now those kale chips are being incorporated with other flavours. Read more. Halloumi with Beets and Kale. Marysol, you now really have my attention.

So what's up with kale chips? When I google, I get 357,000 hits. Do we have a kale chip revolution? How could I have been so out of touch?

Let's not forget the rich nutritional content of kale as we rush to make snack of it. This vegetable has high levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, beta carotene and lutein and is quite high on calcium levels too says The World's Healthiest Foods.

When I received red Russian kale in my latest Roots and Shoots Farm CSA food basket, thanks to Marysol, I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.

You can read many recipes that prepare the kale in the oven, instead of my barbecue grill method. I am sure that the oven works very well too and this would be a neat thing to sneak in behind some other baking item to maximize your oven heat.

Next time I would like to try a 'salt and vinegar' version. Maybe also experiment with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. You can now add me to the happy kale chippers. And Google search goes to 357,001.

Have you ever made kale chips? What is your most favourite flavour?


bunch of kale, washed and stems removed
olive oil
garlic powder
lemon juice

Wash and remove the main stem for the kale.

Lay the kale leaves out on a tray and lightly sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon juice.

Place kale leaves directly on barbecue grill and watch carefully as they will 'dry out' and crisp up in minutes. You will see the edges start to go a light brown and the dark, moist colour go out of the leaf.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Lemon As Its Own Food Group

Oh, if I were in charge of the Canada's Food Guide I think I might make special perfect foods like lemon and cilantro their own food groups. I may be very attracted to these two particular foods because they are so similar. So similar you ask? One is a fruit and the other a leafy plant. One yellow, one green. One 'sturdy', the other more delicate. How could they possibly be similar. Well, for me, I often find that when I use lemons or cilantro is a dish, I tend to use describing words like: 'bright, uplifting, packs big flavour'. They are both 'happy' foods. They make their dishes 'happy'. Not moody like chili or earthy like beets. So for this reason, whenever I am considering making a dessert, I more often than not tend to thing lemon.

Although we don't have dessert often, the other night I had 4 egg whites to 'move along'. They had become the off-spring of the weekend's eggs benedict's hollandaise sauce. Despite the muggy weather, I did the risky thing and converted the egg whites into meringue. We were having special company for dinner and so I constructed 6 well sized nests. My inspiration for the dish came from a Lucy Waverman recipe in the LCBO's Food & Drink Holiday 2007 edition called Lemon Meringue Mousse Cake.

My modifications:
  • Instead of one big meringue, I made 6, one for each for each of my guests.
  • I divided the lemon mousse in half and folded about a half cup of whipped cream into one of the halves.
  • I layered lemon mousse with a lemon mousse whipped cream combo and topped with whipped cream.
  • In general, I used less whipped cream in total than what was called for (1 1/2 cup).
  • I used dark chocolate instead of white for the garnish.
  • And I skipped the lemon dust since I had run out of lemons, but is a really nice touch. A bold, bright taste! :) But I did have a lot of blueberries, so everyone received a few of these.
What types of foods make you think happy?

Author: Lucy Waverman
Source: LCBO Food & Drink Magazine - Holiday 2007
Servings: 8
This is an easy meringue to make. The filling is very lemony. If you are an experienced cook then do the Lemon Dust for the tart, otherwise just omit. To shave white chocolate, use a vegetable peeler - otherwise, grate it.

4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup shaved white chocolate
2 tbsp Lemon Dust (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 250°F (120°C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until frothy. Slowly beat in sugar. Continue to beat until egg whites are thick and glossy and stand straight up when beaters are lifted out. Beat in lemon juice.

Draw a 10-inch (25-cm) round on the parchment-lined baking sheet and scoop mixture into round, spreading meringue mixture to the sides to make a shell. The sides will be about 2-inches (5-cm) high. It should look like a pie shell.

Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until lightly browned and dry. Turn oven off and leave for about 4 hours to cool.

Whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice and rind together in a pot to make filling. Combine cornstarch and water in another bowl then stir into lemon mixture.

Bring to boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. If lumpy, pour through a strainer into a separate bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap into the surface of the lemon filling to prevent a film from forming, and refrigerate until needed.

Spoon lemon filling into meringue shell. Whip cream until it holds its shape and spoon onto top of lemon filling. Scatter with white chocolate shavings and Lemon Dust, if using.

LEMON DUST: Remove the zest from 2 lemons. Use a zester if possible for uniformly thin strips. Place zest in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, drain and return zest to pot. Cover with water and repeat twice more (this helps the zest dry evenly). Pat dry zest with paper towels. Place zest on a sheet of parchment paper and microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes, or until zest is dry and crisp but not brown. Grind to a powder in a coffee or spice grinder. Makes about 2 tablespoons of Lemon Dust.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sometimes Brunch Isn't About The Food

Sometimes brunch isn't about the food.

Not about the prosecco, nor the latte with thick crema. Not about the buttermilk pancakes brimming with blueberries, nor the pure maple syrup drowning the plate. Not about the crisp hickory smoked bacon, nor the fruit salad and yogurt.

Sometimes brunch is about the beautiful weather. The relaxing lounge on the deck. The music of water dancing splashes from the fountain. The umbrella'd table that seats more than two.

Sometimes brunch is about the wonderful friends that came over to visit and the beautiful hydrangeas that walked in the door with them.

Sometimes brunch is not about the food.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Citrus Salad and Cajun Chicken Thighs

Servings: 4

1 head lettuce, preferably Boston leaf
2 large oranges, segmented and juiced
1/4 onion, preferably red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup blue cheese cheese
4 tablespoons orange juice
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cut the rind off the orange and cut out each segment. Squeeze juice from the remains. The juice is used in the dressing. Depending on the number of segments, you may need another orange.

Wash lettuce leaves and spin. Leave whole. Arrange on open plates. Decorate each salad with 5 to 8 orange segments. Arrange thin slices of onion and sprinkle with blue chees and toasted pine nuts.

Dressing: Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake vigorously.

Drizzle each salad with dressing when you are ready to serve.


Source: Weber's Big Book of Grilling
Servings: 8

Rich dark meat coated with a peppery rub, then roasted on the grill...a good excuse for an impromptu barbecue!

1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
16 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless

To make the rub: In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients.

Rinse the chicken thighs under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Coat with the rub, then brush or spray with olive oil.

Grill the thighs over direct medium heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Serve warm.

Wild Sockeye Salmon Bites - Happy Hour Appetizer

Our happy hour appetizers today were wild sockeye salmon bites. We started with slices from a fresh, fresh, fresh Ace Bakery baguette. Then spread the slices with cream cheese (Philadelphia Light Spreadable) On top of this we placed a slice of wild sockeye salmon that we grilled on a cedar plank for a prior dinner. A dollop of red pepper jelly crowned the salmon. Simple, yummy and a great way to use leftovers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Showcasing Michael Smith's Caramel Sauce on Grilled Pineapple

We have gone a bit fruit crazy of late. It must be a mid-summer harvest thing. Not that I actually harvested pineapple but I was attracted to it when I saw it earlier this week. Once I 'skinned' it, it was clear that it was plenty ripe and needed a party. With company over last night, we decided to grill it on the barbecue.

Now how to finish it. The strawberries had a wee soak in Grand Marnier and the blueberries were getting a dollop of whipped cream. So the naked grilled pineapple signed up for caramel sauce. I have sauced grilled pineapple before and it had a rummy flavour to it. This time I wanted plain and classic. Michael Smith did not let me down. I have never made a classic caramel sauce before. Who would have thought. I will be doing it again. So easy. I think next time I will try a little less cream and see if it comes out even thicker.

Author: Michael Smith
Source: Food Network

1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup 35% whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

Pour the water into a saucepan then pour the sugar in a pile in the middle of the water. Turn the heat to medium-high heat and begin cooking without stirring. The sugar will dissolve in the water and begin to boil. The water will evaporate, leaving behind a pure sugar syrup that will then begin to rise in temperature, past the boiling point of water, and into the flavour zone.

When the sugar begins to lightly brown here and there, gently swirl the pan until all of the sugar is a deep golden brown. Carefully pour in the cream and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Cool until thickened or serve hot!

Boris Bistro in Montreal

The setting for Boris Bistro in Old Montreal at 465 Rue McGill is a bit unconventional in that their terrace is between two office buildings, with the façade of the building still in place for a store front look. Behind the façade the terrace is open to the sky! A large awning and a number of umbrellas provide protection to the tables and planters arranged across the paving stones.

On Tuesday evening it was stinking hot. Although we had a 3 day old reservation, we still didn't get placed on the terrace. Our table was however just inside the restaurant looking out over the open space as they use only a collapsible wall to divide inside from out. I have seen one review refer to Boris Bistro as spare, chic and trendy. I am not too sure I would have found better words myself. So as the night humidity permeated us as we sat on the outer edge of inside, we still felt like we were part of a scene.

The menu provided appetizers and mains. Two of us did a tapas approach and took two appetizers and then dessert as our dinner plan. I didn't manage to catch pictures of all the dishes but I will try to talk to them anyway. The cozy mood lighting did nothing for my picture taking.

Endives, beets, walnuts and blue cheese salad $8.00. This was one of my dishes. It was bursting with the strong flavours of the beets, blue cheese and walnuts (really, really fresh walnuts). They didn't say what the dressing was but it had zing. Raspberry? Something citrus?

Chilled yellow and red beet soup $6.75. I didn't sneak a taste but I did marvel at the steady hand that delivered this dish with the yellow beet soup still in a nice circle.

Two other appetizers ordered were: Tapenade trio (olives, red peppers, artichokes) $9 and Mushroom cappuccino topped with rosemary cream $6.75. I did have a good taste of the tapenade trio as there were ample portions of the 3. When the toasts ran out, people used the excellent french baguettes as tapenade 'vessels'. The artichoke was a particular standout. And who doesn't love the saltiness of olives.

Caponata on mild goat cheese with tomato coulis and virgin oil $11. I decided to try a dish I had never had before. And I was feeling on the vegetarian side this night. For those of you who have never had caponata before, here are few things you might like to know about this Sicilian inspired aubergine dish. It is a cooked vegetable salad with eggplant, celery, pine nuts, tomatoes and onions seasoned with a sweetened vinegar. The pickled taste was pretty puckery! I felt so righteous eating this dish but who really knows what calories may have been lurking in each bite.

Creamy sage ravioli with pine nut emulsion $8.50. I did manage to do a 'neighbour tax' when this dish landed on the spot beside me. This is the appetizer portion and is a pretty rich but 'oh so good' dish. I couldn't imagine eating it as a main, considering that creamy richness.

Everyone else had mains: Duck risotto with oyster mushrooms, sage and orange cream sauce $20 or the Grilled salmon and caramelized walnuts on baby spinach salad $17.75. The diner having the risotto felt that the rice was undercooked. I like to think I know my risotto so I went in for a dive. I do like an 'al dente' but I would say I would agree that there were too many pockets of 'crunchy' in this particular preparation. The waiter said that this was how they made it. The diner ate her way around the rice (if there is such a technique!) and went after just the duck and mushroom morsels.

French fries (in duck fat) with Boris’ mayonnaise $4.50. I ordered a serving of the famous fries for the table to taste. Kudos all around. It was a big serving so I am glad it was a team effort.

Chocolate marquise, salted butter, caramel $3 for taster; $8 for regular. I went for the taster. The chocolate marquise was wanting for nothing. I had plenty of caramel to enjoy drowning my chocolate nugget in each bite.

Maple crème brûlée $8. More 'neighbour taxing' took place here. In fact the whole table got into the spirit. Although I like to see a more evenly broiled top, it was tasty and cracked as it should. The custard had a velvety cream to it.

Our server treated us well. And whenever I am in a group of more than 4, I know patience needs to rank high. We seemed a bit flitty but he took it all in stride. And we went a bit crazy on the bread. He would have done us a favour if he had said 'stop'. I know, I for one, had too much of a good thing.

Other than the disappointment with the risotto, the evening flowed seamlessly. I know there is nothing they could do about the 99% humidity. Our skin never looked so supple. I would consider going back to Boris Bistro on a future trip to Montreal. I would love to enjoy the terrace on a sunny day in the mid-afternoon. Being in Old Montreal is a plus and I appreciated that it didn't feel touristy. The problem with Montreal though is that there is just too many good food establishments to try. But I will figure all that out next time.

Boris Bistro
465 Rue McGill
Montréal, QC


Summer hours:
Mon to Fri: 11:30 am - 11 pm
Sat to Sun: Noon - 11 pm

Autumn/Winter hours:
Mon: 11:30 am - 2 pm
Tues to Fri: 11:30 am - 2 pm; 5 - 9 pm
Sat: 6 pm - 9 pm

Boris Bistro on Urbanspoon

Pâtisserie de Gascogne in Montreal

Two times in the past few years our book club group has ventured to Montreal for a day of culture, shopping and eating. Tuesday was such an outing day and for me, I didn't know I was actually going until 10 hours before departure. So I had no expectations and no requirements of what I needed to 'accomplish'. I showed up at the pick-up point in Alta Vista at 8:00 am with camera, umbrella and appetite in hand.

There was a stop at the Centre Rockland first for a Montreal mall shopping experience. I sat with the purses and offered lots of fashion advice. Then onto the popular shopping strip on Avenue Laurier Ouest between Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine and Rue Saint Urbain. Tucked away on Laurier at Rue Jeanne Mance is Pâtisserie de Gascogne. One of their 5 locations.

Here is a little excerpt on the history of the pâtisserie found on their website.

Founded in 1957 by Francis and Lucie Cabanes, Pâtisserie de Gascogne has widely contributed to the evolution of culinary habits established in Quebec. Its know-how paved the way for the development of gourmet cuisine in Montreal.

We owe to Pâtisserie de Gascogne the introduction of certain fine delicacies in North America, such as the Canelé, a specialty from the southwestern region of France.

Jean-Michel and Anne-Marie Cabanes then took over and developed the Pâtisserie de Gascogne we know today. In 2007, it was up to Martin Cabanes, the grandson of Francis, to carry the torch and consolidate the company by sharing his vision of the Savoir Plaire, while preserving its original vocation and values. Of course, the Cabanes family is still very much involved in mind and spirit to make sure Pâtisserie de Gascogne continues to offer the best.

This is the second time we have made this our lunch destination. The reason, it is good and it is quick. You line up to place your order and then take it to your table, either inside or out on the patio. Walking by the many linear feet of display coolers with their many finely prepared cakes, pastries, salads and eats guarantees them that you will have a hearty lunch of some sort.

They also sell specialty foods. Something that I didn't get to check out in detail. Temptations abound.

For their luncheon they offer a handsome special for $12.95. That day, you could have a choice of: tourtière, tarte provençale, sandwich jambon fromage, or bagel saumon fumé. I chose the tarte provençale. You could match that with potage du jour or salade du jour. I chose the potage du jour which was a cream of tomato soup. The soup came with baguette française. And you then round your meal out with a cup of coffee or cold beverage and a dessert du jour. I chose to go chic with my perrier which came at a 50 cent premium. And my sweet treat was a hazelnut torte.

FYI, a tarte provençale is typically made with cheese, zucchini, tomatoes, onion and garlic and then seasoned with herbes de Provence.

It is going to be hard to break this habit of Pâtisserie de Gascogne for lunch whenever in Montreal. Everything was just so tasty. No complaints here!

Pâtisserie de Gascogne - Laurier location
237 av. Laurier O.
Montréal, Qc

Mon to Thurs: 8 am - 7 pm
Sat: 8 am - 6 pm
Sun: 8 am - 5:30 pm

Pâtisserie de Gascogne on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Roots and Shoots Farm - 3rd week of CSA Food

Tonight was our pickup night again for the Roots and Shoots Farm's CSA food. This was their week #3. We participate with a half share every other week so this was just our second food offering. The colours alone get me. We have an exciting week ahead of trying new things. I welcome any and all suggestions on what to do with the bounty.

If you want to understand more about CSA's, the Ottawa Citizen did an article in today's paper.

Bin #1 and #2: beans, zucchini, pepper, basil and mustard greens (mizuna)


Beans, zucchini, pattypan squash and pepper. (We actually received more beans but this is what I pulled out for dinner.)

Mustard greens (mizuna)

Bin #3 and #4: Easter egg radishes and head of lettuce

Easter egg radishes

Head of lettuce

Bin #5 and #6: onions and carrots



Bin #7 and #8: Red Russian kale and bok choy

Red Russian kale

Bok choy

Bin #9: Endive


If you want to learn more about the farm, the contact information for Roots and Shoots is:
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