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Blueberry Grunt

The hot weather this summer has made it an especially good season for fruit.  The great thing about desserts featuring fresh fruit is that they are so flexible that I have gone an entire summer and made a different dessert almost every weekend.  I have combined blueberries with peaches to make a cobbler that was the first dessert from the pizza oven but wanted to try a recipe that is more traditionally for blueberries so I tracked down a recipe for the blueberry grunt.  This classic preparation was popular with those who settled the Canadian maritime provinces and the New England states.

Desserts often put to the test the axiom that successfully cooking decent food is only about closely following instructions.  Without even considering souffles or custards, pie dough can often confound the beginner.  This recipe is a definite exception.  As easy or easier than blueberry pancakes–a staple of the kitchen-wary bachelor–this recipe has three basic steps: cook fruit with water and sugar; mix batter; drop blobs of batter onto cooking fruit, cover and finish cooking. (more…)

Porky Pop

During our tour of Stratford a few weekends ago we spent some time at Chocolate Barr’s learning to make caramel corn with nuts, or nutty pop.  As well as cajoling us into stirring his cauldron while wearing embarrassing hairnets Derek Barr, one of the shop’s proprietors, demonstrated his recipe for this confection that he describes as caramel corn with a college education.

Derek notes–somewhat accurately–that everyone and his brother is throwing bacon into their recipes.  Well, I submit that food can be delicious without being original.  Unsurprisingly, I have adapted his recipe (that he was kind enough to send each of us home with) to include nuggets of bacon.

There’s a distressing trend that calls for bacon to be crispy (usually meaning over-cooked) and in very small pieces when it is added to baked goods and candy.  I want the opposite.  I want chunks that are still a little chewy with some un-rendered fat. This way when the crunch of the nuts and popcorn and the sweetness of the caramel have faded we’re left to contemplate bacon’s salty, smokey savour. (more…)

FoodieMeet Bakeoff

Top Secret Ingredient #1

Top Secret Ingredient #1

FoodieMeet, I gather, is a series of events for those in Toronto who tend to think with their stomachs.  Events so far have included a wine tour of Prince Edward County and a tasting of the so-called miracle fruit.  This Sunday, the 13th at 6:30 they will be holding their holiday party and charity bake off and I have joined the baking fray.  There are going to be something like twenty-nine bakers, three celebrity and two great dj’s.  But the really important thing to note is that proceeds from tickets–$25 to get in plus four tasting tickets, additional tasting tickets are $2 each–go to benefit The Stop Community Food Centre.  The Stop is ably described on the FoodieMeet website thusly:

The Stop started off as one of Canada’s first food banks but has since grown to offer an fantastic lineup of programs: drop-in meals, community gardens, pre and post-natal nutrition support, farmers markets, sustainable food education, civic engagement and many other valuable initiatives.

At first I was a bit thrown by the theme: Escape from Toronto.  I have never had the odious pleasure of viewing either Escape from New York or the even more horrible (I hear) Escape from L.A.  The de facto suggested take on the theme was that bakers should embrace Toronto’s multi-ethnic patchwork of global cuisine.  I love many of the ethnic flavours that make Toronto culinarily unique but baking with them isn’t really my style.  Thankfully, I believe I have developed a recipe that fits the theme, suits my cooking, and hopefully will wow the judges. (more…)

Apple Beignets: Won’t keep the doctor away

Two apple beignets with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Two apple beignets with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

I would have to say that my favourite fruit is pineapple.  But only in a one-bite Pepsi taste test kind of way.  It’s too sweet to eat every day (though I tried while I lived in residence during my undergrad days) and definitely not convenient enough for midday snacking. So, if I were forced to commit to one fruit for the rest of my life it would have to be apples.  Apples are healthy, come in a variety of delicious flavours, and are extremely convenient.  Consider that my way of explaining this third post about apples in two weeks.