Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Soupalicious Toronto

We went to Toronto for the weekend, braved the Gardiner Expressway weekend maintenance closure and attended Soupalicious Toronto.  Their slogan is "Sip, Slurp, Savour" and that's exactly what we did.  Admission was $15 in advance, $22 at the door, with the admission you get 10 free soup tastings.

There were about 30 participating restaurants and Chefs.  We decided to walk around whole area and see which soups we wanted to sample.  There were so many, you had to pick and choose.  There were vegetarian, gluten free, & vegan options.  We asked questions as to whether the soups we wanted to try were gluten free.  Then the sampling began.

Here were our favourites. (in no particular order)
  • Clam Chowder
    • Culinary Adventure Company - www.culinaryadventureco.com
    •  We were told to get to this one early as they run out regularly.  We tried this one first, we can definitely see why they run out
  • Citrus Spice Roasted Pears and Ginger Soup with Tropical Foam and Coconut Bacon
  •  Power Soup
    • Magic Oven - www.magicoven.com
    • Vegetarian soup
    • This soup was a thinner vegetable soup that could be eaten at any time of year.  Topped with kale
  •  Mulligatawny Soup
    • Morgans on the Danforth - www.morgansonthedanforth.com
    • This soup was like 'Chicken Curry in a Cup'.  Nice and thick with basmati rice.  Wow!! this one was excellent.
  • Smokey Tomato Soup with Green Tomato Croutons
    • Morgans on the Danforth - www.morgansonthedanforth.com
    • Vegetarian
    • This one the soup was gluten free but the croutons were not.  We had this one without the croutons and it was still very good.  Very smoky flavour. 
  •  Harvest Veggie Medley
    • One Love Vegetarian - www.oneloveveg.com
    • Vegan soup
    • Another thinner anytime of the year soup.  Very good
  • Halloween Harvest
    • Pamela Hamel - www.pamelahamel.ca
    • Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free Soup
    • This one was very different.  It was made with a roasted Jack 'o' Lantern.  Now that is no waste!  Excellent
  • Soup Joumou, Acorn Squash Soup with Coconut and Piklis
    • Urban Acorn Catering - www.urbanacorn.ca
    • Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free Soup
    • Very spicy and very good.
  • Mushroom Soup
    • Aria Ristorante - www.ariaristorante.ca
    • This one we wanted to sample but did not get there early enough and the line up for this soup was horrendous.  We decided not to wait.  It was getting time to think about leaving Toronto for the drive home.
There was one other soup we wanted to try but sadly it was not gluten free.  This was from Southern Accent - www.southernaccent.com.  Their soup was 'Mock Turtle Soup'  The meat in it was ground beef.  One of the ingredients was Worcestershire sauce, so it was not gluten free.

Thoroughly enjoyed Soupalicious Toronto.  Would go back again next year. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Put em Up! Fruit - Book Review

Put em Up! Fruit by Sherri Brooks Vinton

This book follows in the footsteps of her previous book 'Put em Up!' but what I really like in this one is beside each recipe that you are putting up, there is a recipe to 'Use It Up!  How to use what you are making.  eg.  Quick Apricot Jam - Use It Up! Sticky Chicken Legs.

I made 'Quick Peach Jam' pg 180 the other day with peaches I had picked and something needed to be done with them.   This recipe for the peach jam is made with Pomona's Universal Pectin which I really like due the fact it uses much less sugar than conventional pectin.  The 'Use It Up!' recipe for the Quick Peach Jam is 'Sweet and Sour Chicken' which will definitely be on our dinner list. 

The other recipe I really want to try is 'Meyer Lemon Gastrique'. (definition from Wikipedia)  This recipe looks really easy to make and will spice up any meal.  I absolutely LOVE Meyer lemons but just need to find a store where I can purchase them.  Any variety of lemons will work but the sweetness of Meyers will make it unique I am sure!

A definite addition to your library

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Put em Up! - Book Review

Put em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton

In food preparation section their equipment and step by step instructions with illustrations

Then it goes into 'Food Preservation Methods, Equipment, Key ingredients, Process & Storage with step by step illustrations

There is also a chapter "Things That Will Surely Get You Into Trouble'  That's the rules to follow! &
"Things That Look Bad but Aren't Dangerous"  Good chapters to read for the rules to follow.

Then you get into the recipes.  The recipes are grouped together by the produce you want to so something with.  If you have berries, look for the berry section, asparagus - asparagus section.

I used the recipe 'Peach Leather' pg 229 for making leather in the oven.  It turned out absolutely wonderful.  Did take a bit longer to dry than stated but then I had my leather a little thicker than recommended.

This book also has recipes for making jam with Pomona's Universal Pectin which I really like as you use way less sugar than the conventional pectin.

I definitely want to try 'Any Berry Coulis' (pronounced Koo-Lee) for all those berries we don't get to eat.  This will probably be next year.

For those of you that like things HOT they have a section of Chilies & the first recipe is 'Red Hot Vodka' - This infused vodka is firewater indeed - Try it if you dare - Not me thanks!

The Chinese Plum Sauce brags "Be prepared for this condiment to become your new ketchup"

Roasted Pepper Ketchup - Dollop it on a burger or dunk fries into it & set a new standard for BBQ's

Definitely a book for my cookbook library!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Peaches and Other Juicy Fruits - Book Review

Peaches and Other Juicy Fruits From Sweet to Savoury -- 150 Recipes for Peaches, Plums Nectarines, and Apricots by Olwen Woodier

I have 'Peach and Apricot Bars' from pg 136 cooling on a wire cookie rack.  My family is gluten free so I did substitute the 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour for 1 cup gluten free flour with xanthan gum all ready added.  I have all ready cut a piece to try and wow!! is it wonderful.  Very moist.  These will not last long in our house.

'Peaches and Other Juicy Fruits' contents are comprised of recipes in each section:  Breakfasts and Breads, Preserves, Salads, Sandwiches, and Sours, Sides, Sauces, and Salsas, Entrees, Shakes, Smoothies, and Beverages, & last but not least Desserts.

This book is definitely for the adventurous cook with recipes like Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Nectarine-Blueberry Salsa & Roasted Peaches Stuffed with Dried Fruits.  How about Any-Fruit Ketchup, or Barbecue Sauce made from 1 pound plumcots, plums, peaches, apricots, or other stone fruit?

I will definitely be looking at more of the recipes to try in Peaches and Other Juicy Fruits.

Peach and Apricot Bars
Peach and Apricot Bars

Monday, September 8, 2014

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin - Book Review

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin.

This book was a Christmas gift from the girls. 

Pomona's Pectin boasts being able to make jams / jellies without the humungous amounts of sugar usually required by the other pectins.  I did find the Pomona's Pectin at Goodness Me, 2300 Fairview Street in Burlington.

I am slowly cutting down on our sugar intake especially since Bruce as a VERY sweet tooth.

We had a 1/4 bushel of Concord grapes so I decided to make the recipe "Simple Classic: Grape Jelly" featured on page 86.  Very easy to follow instructions even though directions were a little different as you use a combination of  pectin and calcium water.  The calcium water has to be mixed up a head of time but can be stored in the fridge between batches.

Made and processed 2 batches of the grape jelly.  That was a total of 9.5 - 250 ml jars.  The contents of the jars look wonderful but it is how it tastes that is key.  Opened the 1/2 jar after it had cooled and set.  Did not take long at all.  The grape jelly was put to the taste test.  Zebrina loved it, she doesn't like anything too sweet.  Calluna does not like jam or jelly, her verdict - she loves it!  I don't eat a lot of jam because of the sweetness but really liked this grape jelly.  Bruce he is the hardest to please as he has a very sweet tooth.  He tried some and was pleasantly surprised.  He loves it!  He was having peanut butter on crackers so I dropped a dollop on the peanut butter.  He absolutely loves it with peanut butter.

The "Simple Classic: Grape Jelly" definitely passes the taste test in our family.  Now to peruse the rest of the book and decide what to make next.  Jams / jellies were lacking in our house as the sugar content is way too high.  With Pomona's Pectin the jams / jellies will be making a comeback in our house.

At the beginning of each chapter there are "Simple Classics" like the grape jelly I made.  This is a great way to start if you are unfamiliar with Pomona's Pectin.  The are also some fairly complex recipes as well for the more adventurous. eg.  Holiday Spiced-Plum Jam, Blueberry-Vanilla Jelly Cranberry-Grapefruit Marmalade, Brandied Cinnamon-Apple Conserve & Jalapeno-Confetti Jelly to name a few. 

Preserving with Pomona's Pectin is definitely a book to have in your library.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Podcast: Mark Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas - Book Review

  • Book Reviews
    • The Hosta Handbook
    • Hostapedia
    • Mark R Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas

The Hosta Handbook
Mark R Zilis
Published by Q&Z Nurseries

Mark Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas
Mark R. Zilis
Published by Q&Z Nurseries
ISBN: 978-0-9679440-2-9

 The Hostapedia
An Encyclopedia of Hostas
Mark R. Zilis
Published by Q&Z Nurseries
ISBN:  978-0-9679440-1-2

All books received a 5/5 star rating