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February, 2012:

Oscars Party Food

Bacon Caramel Corn cooling.

It’s Oscars time and I don’t always do seasonal posts but this time (for whatever reason) I felt the inspiration. I considered doing a list of recipes that are each shoe-horned into representing one of the nominees for the Best Picture Academy Awards.

After I finished chuckling at the thought of the outrage at War Horse Tartare I put this idea aside. If that’s your thing though see the Serious Eats Punny Oscars Menu for 2012 (it’s horsemeat free).

Instead I’ve compiled some ideas from previous posts for what you should bring to the Oscars party you’re going to tonight.

  • Buffalo Chicken Dip: I made this one originally for a Super Bowl party but I think it would stand up just as well in the hoitier toitier gatherings.
  • Deep-Fried Pickles with Cheese and Bacon: Along the same lines, these will be at home at all but black tie affairs.
  • Beer Cooler Chili: The timing is running tight on this one for tonight but any food table for a large gathering is well-served when anchored with chili. My recipe cooks the meat in a beer cooler (naturally).
  • Punch: Is the first and the last word on party drinks. This recipe is stiff enough that no one will be tempted to spike it.
  • Bacon Blondies: A Food With Legs classic these will definitely cover the dessert category.

All great ideas I’d say but this year I’m slightly working another old FWL recipe. With some minor adjustments I’m making Porky Pop, or bacon caramel corn, this time with peanuts and walnut pieces. (more…)

Banana Bread Sandwiches with Nutella Dip

Dipping banana bread sandwich into melted Nutella.

As a kid I don’t think I had particularly weak ears but I downed my share of amoxicillin and developed the usual distaste for artificial banana flavour. That’s why I have some trepidation about offering two posts in a row that feature the flavour of childhood ear infections.

This is a short and simple (and I submit delicious) use for the leftover banana bread and banana cream from yesterday’s post.

There are recipes out there –including the one from Food & Wine that I used–for the Nutella dip but really this is something so elemental that measuring doesn’t make sense. (more…)

Banana Bread with Banana Cream

Banana bread with custard-like banana cream for breakfast.

February 23 is my Personal I Haven’t Had Banana Bread in a While Day. I’m not sure exactly why, but banana bread seems to be a summer thing for me. That doesn’t make much sense given that there are so many other fruits that are in season and lend themselves well to things like peach cobbler, cherry pan dowdy,  or blueberry grunt.

It seems more appropriate that banana bread is a winter recipe given that bananas seem to be equally available all year. (Do they still have a season or has the global banana conglomerate managed to plant them widely enough for that not to matter?)

Wanting to make my unique contribution to the science of banana bread I considered how I could improve on the standard classic. To reduce the number of concerned notes I get from my parents I’m trying to avoid filling everything with bacon so I skipped over that idea. Banana bread can always use a little insurance against being too dry so a pudding like sauce seems in order. (more…)

Hopgood’s Foodliner Opens

The very subtle sign on the front door of Hopgood's Foodliner.

After he left the Black Hoof Café it has only been on rare occasions that we’ve had the chance to taste chef Geoff Hopgood’s cooking. Now Hopgood’s Foodliner on Roncesvalles has opened the days of limiting ourselves to the occasional Sweet Slippery Bobkin* are over.

The menu at Hopgood’s Foodliner is a comfortable mix of Canadian East Coast favourites like donairs with sweet sauce joined to modern, inventive dishes like the crispy pork shoulder with scallops. Given the propensity of Maritimers for living in places other than the Maritimes a restaurant like this seems like it was a long time coming. And when you combine Torontonians who established an East Coast appetite while at Dal with those Atlantic transplants it’s not hard to imagine a line-up forming before the doors open at six.

The Hopgoods Foodliner menu

The Hopgoods Foodliner menu, click for a larger version.


Pancakes with Kentucky Fried Chicken

Bits of fried chicken skin in a stack of pancakes.

Fried chicken and waffles, like they do it at The Stockyards, are a classic duo that I wanted to see if I could improve upon. It’s pancake Tuesday this week and waffles would be a fine stand-in–whether as a last indulgence before the deprivation of Lent or just for the breakfast-for-dinner thrill–but I’m not sure they’re an ideal pair. Perhaps weekly eaters of fried chicken and waffles have developed some especially delicate approach. I haven’t and halfway through the meal it looks like a toddler has had an especially vigorous food tantrum.

Also waffles are light and crisp and need to be eaten quickly. Fried chicken has bones and is a finger food and that doesn’t match well with waffle’s buddy syrup.

Not only do I think pancakes would be a better match but I wanted to find a way to make fried chicken (of all things) more indulgent. Why not take the work out of it and focus on the best part by crusting and frying only the skin? A gluttonous version of popcorn chicken. (more…)