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April, 2009:

First Salad of the Season

Lettuce growing beside radishes

Lettuce growing beside radishes

All the way back on Valentine’s Day I started some lettuce seeds on our south-facing windowsill.  For the last few weeks they have really thrived in the backyard greenhouse and did especially well under this weekend’s warm sunshine.

For dinner this week we trimmed off (the lettuce is, apparently, of the cut-and-come-again variety) the first batch of fully-grown leaves and made a very simple salad.  Kat created an excellent dish by dressing the lettuce with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.  It tasted especially good, I think, because the distance from soil to plate was literally less than two feet.

Hamburger Rolls With Legs

Sometimes going to great lengths to create the ultimate version of a common food gets nothing but eye rolls from the people who see me cooking (Kat mainly).  And then they try the food.

Hamburgers are the perfect example.  Other than the annoying incompatibility of packaged quantities (ten frozen patties and only eight buns in a bag–what is one to do?) hamburgers are very easy to make passably with very little effort.  This state-of-affairs is ripe for exploitation by the committed cook.  Few people have a taste memory for what lamb tagine tastes like so when a well-executed one is served they, I think, are more impressed by the exoticness of the recipe rather than by the trouble that went into cooking it well.  But just about every North American can sense by comparison when they are served a really great burger. (more…)

Review: Capocaccia

The menu at Capocaccia

The menu at Capocaccia

To practice spontanaeity (I’m told this is important) we decided, at the last minute, to enjoy Friday’s warm weather by dining on the patio at Capocaccia.  Kat and I both enjoyed ourselves completely and I think I have formulated a new rule for Toronto restaurant hunting:

  • If you seek a casual, neighbourhood Italian restaurant that serves straighforward, delicious food and provides friendly service, find yourself a Terroni and take your business across the street.

Because it has been “internationally successful” we are told that that we should be proud of Terroni.  They do serve a couple of decent pizzas and some of their appetizers are pretty good but I can’t forgive the general attitude that comes with their emphasis on mimicking the wrong characteristics–no substitutions, no Diet Coke, and the kitchen refuses to lay a knife to a pizza before sending it out–in their quest for authenticity.  My views on Terroni might one day make a separate post but for now it’s presence across the street from Capocaccia is important because (on top of providing the overflow business that I bet keeps Capocaccia afloat) it makes for an excellent contrast in style.

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New Home for Foodwithlegs

I have taken the big step of moving my blog from its first home at wordpress.com to the current location at www.foodwithlegs.com.  This change will mean more flexibility in terms of using third-party services like those from Google (see the right sidebar) and more flexibility to control the site’s appearance.

The foodwithlegs blog is still powered by the wordpress software but now is hosted outside of wordpress.com.  Seems like a distinction without a difference?  Here is a good page (produced by wordpress) that goes pretty far toward explaining the difference.  Coincidentally I have also adopted a theme for the blog (PrimePress) that maintains the aesthetic of the old site while allowing more functionality.

Foodwithlegs is growing and changing.  Almost all of the content has been moved over from the old site though some things (such as images) are still works in progress.  Please continue reading, comment on posts and get in touch with me at foodwithlegs@gmail.com.

Cheers!

Apple Cake

Apple cake served with a dollop of whipped cream

Apple cake served with a dollop of whipped cream

Pineapple upside down cake is great (I made one this year) but I think that Easter dessert needs some variation.  By this time of year some varieties of local apples will still be storing well–we’ve all heard that barrels of apples were traditionally sunk into cold rivers for the winter.  For lack of clean rivers (not to mention enough barrels) I imagine this doesn’t happen nearly as much these days.  Apples bought in March or April are almost definitely warehouse stored in controlled conditions (possibly including some sort of piped-in gas) or shipped from much further than is justifiable.  The method of storage is more a fact of economics than nature so, I guess, this recipe should be, at best, considered marginally in-season.

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