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June, 2012:

Rhubarb Syrup

Straining the syrup from the rhubarb solids.

Another project I’m working on was the original impetus for making this rhubarb syrup. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been experimenting with trying to make homemade campari and anyone who is familiar with that greatest of bitter aperitifs knows that it needs to be red. You can order cochineal (ground beetles that were used to dye various foodstuffs including Campari before the vegans threw a fit) online but that would have tilted the price comparison even more in favour of just buying a bottle from the LCBO. (more…)

Julia Child’s Vichyssoise for JC100

Potatoes and leeks for vichyssoise.

The idea that people would sit in their family rooms and watch someone cook food on television must have seemed very peculiar at one point. News, sports, and serialised drama all make sense on TV as the continuation of content from previous media but no one ever huddled around the ticker tape in a late 19th-century pub to learn whether a souffle had fallen or a cheesecake cracked. There were other trailblazers but no one is more responsible for making (the now dying art of) educational cooking shows popular than Julia Child. (more…)

Ruffino Vertical Tasting

Setting up for the Ruffino vertical tasting at Biaggio.

Cellar age and the control exerted by a designated wine region’s authority are supposed to be two of the most important factors that affect how a wine tastes.  I think it’s easy to wonder about the magnitude of the change because we so rarely get to submit wines to any sort of objective comparison. Earlier this month I had the great pleasure of joining others as interested (and more knowledgeable) in wine for a tasting of some of the Ruffino portfolio led by Adolfo Folonari. (more…)

Lil’ Baci Taverna Opens

Staff at the uptown Lil' Baci Taverna

This week I joined a group of fellow Toronto food writers for a first taste of the menu at Lil’ Baci Taverna that will open tonight. With this uptown location the owners of Leslieville’s popular Lil’ Baci Restaurant hope to repeat their success creating a neighbourhood Italian joint.

Funghi pizza heavily-laden with mushrooms.

Funghi pizza heavily-laden with mushrooms.

Like the Queen East original this kitchen (led by Chef Larry Santos) will be focused on casual Italian fare. Salads, veg, and full meat dishes sit in the middle of the menu but I’ll bet most diners will be looking to the edges at the charcuterie and small plates to start and seven pasta and eight pizza options to complete their meal. The housemade pasta we tried was quite good and the pizza leans strongly to the very thin, almost cracker-like style. (more…)