Month: August 2015

The best thing I ate this month – August 2015

Recently, a lunch was had at Allium Restaurant to honour my birthday. It instead turned into an occasion to celebrate the birth of a most wondrous creation—a Fried Chicken Sandwich. Picture it. Crunchy and fantastically moist chicken topped with crispy bacon, a savoury cheddar spread, a slathering of hot honey, crunchy parmesan-kale salad, all held together by two warm and chewy waffles. Choruses of “Oohs,” “Aahs” and “Mmms” were heard, my birthday was almost forgotten and more napkins were requested.

After having left the restaurant and struggling to unlock the secrets to this delicious wonder, I reached out to the restaurant as well as to the Chef who produced this masterpiece. What I received in return was stone-cold silence. Rude? Annoying? Smart? It seems that Allium was hell-bent on keeping the secret to their mystical sandwich on the down-low. And, who can blame them? The sandwich is innovative, dramatic and tummy pleasing.  And, it was the best thing I ate this month.

Allium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Book Review: Cooking Up a Storm 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Cooking up a storm cover

After Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans in 2005, Cooking Up a Storm was published to tell the story—recipe by recipe—of one of the great food cities of the world and the determination of its citizens to preserve and safeguard their culinary legacy.

In a town obsessed with food, that meant discovering years of collected recipes—many ripped from the newspaper and tucked into cookbooks—were gone. As residents started to rebuild their lives in the aftermath, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans became a post-hurricane swapping place for old recipes that were washed away in the storm.

Marcelle Bienvenu and Judy Walker have compiled 250 of these delicious, authentic recipes along with the stories of how they came to be and what they mean to those who have searched so hard to find them again. (more…)

The 2015 Rogers Cup in Montreal

Filip Peliwo

Filip Peliwo

The highlight of my trip to Montreal, this year, was an eye-opening study in contrast; two worlds colliding. A symphony of athletic prowess juxtaposed next to an opus to excess. The pursuit of glory and the pursuit of gluttony. Pure discipline vs. pure gourmandize.

Let’s begin with the good. Playing professional tennis requires hours of devotion and years of sacrifice. I marveled at the players’ talent and physicality. Seeing them up close is a wonder. In what was very lucky break for me, I got to see, meet and shake the hand of my favourite player, Filip Peliwo. I caught him after a lengthy practice and he couldn’t have been kinder or more polite. This man is a terrific player with fiery determination, cocky swagger and a never-say-die-go-after-every-shot resoluteness. His play can be electrifying and goose-bump inducing. He’s still trying to find his way on the tour and, I believe that he will one day be amongst the world’s best. Did I tell you that I got to shake his hand? 🙂

Of course, Filip fanboying aside, I got to be in the presence of many top players. I stood about a foot away from eventual champ, Andy Murray, watched Stan Wawrinka and Grigor Dimitrov dutifully practice, and I witnessed the return of the bespectacled one, Janko Tipsarevic.

This year’s Open had some pretty decent concession fare, as well. A chicken sandwich that included an honest to goodness chicken breast, and a combo platter made up of a ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette was served alongside a tomato salad and chocolate cake. It was very civilized given the occasion and milieu.

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Happy Birthday Julia Child

Credit: WGBH Media Library & Archives

Credit: WGBH Media Library & Archives

Today would have been Julia Child’s 103rd birthday. In my eyes, she is the greatest chef that ever lived. She taught me that cooking could be easy and fun and that is was quite acceptable to make mistakes. I watched The French Chef—her TV show on PBS—as a wee lad. It was my first foray into the world of cooking. She masterfully eschewed the extravagant trappings of French cuisine and made it accessible to the novice.  Once a week I was let into her kitchen and instructed with great spirit how to properly trust a chicken, or how to select the right lobster or on the proper techniques to make a perfect omelette. She ushered in a style of cooking that was unfussy. Things burned, got stuck or were dropped on the floor. No matter. It made her real and this resonated with me. It may sound glib but she has had a profound effect on my life. She taught me to let go of my fears, to experiment and to most of all, have fun. Julia noted that “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” I have steadfastly applied this motto to my cooking and it has served me well. Happy Birthday Julia Child. Thank you for everything that you have given me.

Did you know . . .

  • Julia had several nicknames as a child, including “Juke,” “Juju” and “Jukies.”
  • Julia’s first job after college (she graduated from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts) was in the advertising department of the New York home furnishings company W&J Sloane. Julia transferred to the store’s Los Angeles branch but was soon fired for “gross insubordination.”
  • When she found out that she was too tall to join the military (she was 6’2″), Julia volunteered her services to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where she helped develop shark repellent used on underwater explosives during WWII.
  • Julia’s husband Paul, whom she met while working with the OSS, took her to La Couronne restaurant that started her love affair with French food when they moved to Paris for his work.
  • “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was rejected by publishers several times before being published in 1961 by Alfred Knopf, 10 years after Julia and her French collaborators Simca Beck and Louisette Bertholle began working on the book.
  • When Julia and Paul moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Paris, they designed their home kitchen around Julia’s requirements as a cook, installing taller-than-average counter-tops to suit her stature.
  • Julia’s first television appearance was on a show called “I’ve Been Reading,” on a public television station in Boston. Twenty-seven viewers wrote to the station wanting to see more, and the station obliged. By the end of 1965, her show The French Chef was carried by 96 PBS stations.
  • In 1993, Julia became the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.
  • Julia has a rose named after her that she chose herself. The color? Warm butter gold.

 Source:  CookingChannelTV.com