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November, 2011:

Halloween Candy Bars

Leftover Hallowe’en candy presents a problem for which I have a solution more inventive than foisting it on coworkers and more elegant than eating it all yourself. Inspired by this Serious Eats post from a couple years ago I melted two pounds of fun-size chocolate bars onto an adapted version of the crust from Martha Stewart’s lemon squares.

Two pounds of unused Halloween candy.

Two pounds of unused Halloween candy.

It’s an abomination and looks like a dog’s breakfast–if the dog were about to risk some serious heart palpitations from all that chocolate–but I’m telling you it’s addictive. Like dessert-crack addictive. (more…)

What to Eat and Drink at the Royal

The 2011 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair continues on a strong tradition of bringing local food and wine to Toronto. The Royal, which runs from November 4 to 13 (9 AM to 9 PM every day) at the CNE’s Direct Energy Centre, has a wide variety of eating and drinking options to fill the spaces between show jumping and pig auctions.

Since the mixed experience I had at the Delicious Food Show–some very good shortbread and a couple of other delicious bites but mostly mind-numbing lineups, an antiseptic environment, and a bunch of non-food food–I’ve wondered when and how food shows have jumped so far off the rails.

Best cheese in show.

Best cheese in show.

And there is no doubt that the current crop of massive food events are a point on the same continuum as fall fairs; thousands of consumers are invited to sample (and buy) what hundreds of producers have to offer. The Royal makes it obvious that it’s not the size or indoor venue that hobbles modern additions. So, then what is it? (more…)

Preserving Journal 2011

Here in Southern Ontario the window of availability for most produce worth preserving is just a few weeks long. That makes it difficult to refine recipes unless you keep a good journal that gets updated every year. What’s a blog for if not that sort of thing? So, here is my 2011 preserving round up post. (My instalment from 2009 can be found here.)

Wild Grape-Wild Apple, Hawthorn, and Wild Grape jelly.

Wild Grape-Wild Apple, Hawthorn, and Wild Grape jelly.

The Jellies: I was sceptical about whether these were worth the input in time and ingredients but they really are cool to look at and taste delicious. Also, the apple jelly (which I neglected to photograph) took home a ribbon from the Beaverton Fall Fair. For texture and taste the wild apple-wild grape was best. Small jars are key. Next year: Concentrate on recipes containing apple. (more…)