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Miscellaneous

Ultimayo 500: The Ultimate Homemade Mayo

I’m a regular reader of Kenji Alt’s Food Lab column on Serious Eats. With this great recipe for homemade mayonnaise from a post in early October Kenji continues to deliver the goods.

None of the usual bs of slow drips of oil while balancing a giant metal bowl on your lap and whisking with the other hand or trying to manage the barest, steady stream through the feed tube of a food processor. All the ingredients go into a container at once, they settle for a few moments and then an immersion blender is put to work magically turning them into mayo. Every time.

Anyone who publishes or posts a recipe for homemade mayo that uses the food processor (or even worse the bowl-and-whisk) method deserves a stiff dose of public shame and a life of sandwiches made with the foul-tasting Miracle Whip. (more…)

Peach Prices

Peaches are my favourite seasonal Ontario fruit. Lifetime, I’ve probably downed about 500 Ontario peaches for every one I’ve had from elsewhere. Luckily, the season lasts a relatively long six weeks between mid-August and the last days of summer in September.

I can understand not paying much attention to the price of a basket of peaches if you buy a few of them a couple weeks apart. This year, I bought a bushel and a half  of peaches for a group of us who canned them, so my radar for a good peach deal is, I think, more finely tuned than usual.

A flat of peaches from Longo's.

A flat of peaches from Longo's.

But let’s deal with quantities before we talk prices. The most recognisable container for peaches is the 3 L basket. At one time they were all made of cardboard and had the green handles with the Foodland Ontario logo but now also come in an annoying clear plastic version. Depending on a bunch of variables the peaches in each 3 L basket have a total weight between 3 lbs 8 oz and 4 lbs 8 oz, so we’ll call it an even four pounds. Major grocery stores like to pretend that it is a special, sale price but $4 a basket seems standard at Metro, Loblaws, and Longo’s. That’s $1 per pound. (more…)

PEI Picnic

Okay, so it’s not the Northumberland Straight but Lake Simcoe was a great setting for a very enjoyable, on-the-water, PEI-themed picnic. The weather was perfect on the Saturday of Victoria Day weekend for eating on the boat. There is an apropos connection between the date and the island because the latter is named after Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn who was Queen Victoria’s father.

We enjoyed some Cows Creamery Extra Old Cheddar, potato focaccia from Fred’s Bread, mortadella, and, of course, oysters. What does mortadella have to do with PEI? I have no idea but I like it and it has been a while since I’ve had any.

Admittedly the meal was missing an acidic, pickled element. Something along the lines of the ploughman’s (the purest picnic) branston pickle. (more…)

Spotlight in November

Just a quick post today to draw your attention to some of the great material over at the other site I write for, Spotlight Toronto.  As always wine coverage is top notch as shown by pieces like Mike Di Caro’s post about the Winemaker’s Boots experience at Flat Rock Rock Cellars and of course there is tons of great photography from Suresh Doss–my favourite this month was his story about a fund-raising dinner at Edgewater Manor.  For a brief diversion from culture that can be consumed orally I liked Jason Poynton’s look at the Canadian Opera Company’s Aida.

I think I also had some interesting stories on Spotlight Toronto this month.  The Ocean Wise Chowder Chow Down was one of my favourite events to date this year.  Also, I’m particularly proud of the first installment in what I hope will be a long-running series of stories about Toronto’s ultimate food.  First up was peameal bacon, from Carousel Bakery at St. Lawrence Market to my home-cured version.

Border Food

Some of the best food is created where cultures meet: French and Spanish in Basque country; Italian and Arab in Sicily; or French and German in Alsace.  I submit that the same level of excellence applies to the points where seasons meet.  Most especially right now where summer meets autumn.  Our markets and tables are full of the bounty of summer but the cooler weather helps to reinvigorate dormant appetites that phone it in during the hottest days of August.

I prepared an impromptu lunch for myself that without thinking about it straddled this border.  A sort of open-faced sandwich of pork sausage with sawmill gravy, tomatoes and homemade ketchup on toast.  Here it is from bottom up.

The toast was made with the bread that happened to be at hand.  It claims to have multiple grains, is visibly seedy, but comes pre-sliced in a plastic bag and I don’t care because it’s pretty tasty. (more…)