8 Girls, a Birthday and Toqué!

My little sister turned 21 last week. It’s amazing how she’s catching up to me! We celebrated with friends at the infamous Restaurant Toqué! where I once worked for three years, as most of you know. I hadn’t been back to eat in two years and was pleasantly suprised by my warm reception, but not so pleased with the food. Sure it was still good, but, it lacked the ‘wow’ factor that I remembered. We arrived at 10 PM for dessert and drinks, which was no suprise for the staff, as they know well my love of sweets! Unfortunately, the amazing pastry chefs of yesteryear are long gone and what we get now is just some ho-hum desserts. (miss you Liz, Dana and Hans)
Of course, we still had a blast as only a bunch of girls can. Above is Miranda looking lovely on her birthday.

Bourbon vanilla creme brulé with orange and almond tuile
Rhubarb jelly and poached rhubarb with whipped cream, basil syrup, and strawberry sorbet
Molten Manjari cake with red wine reduction, raspberries

Caramel Apples

Dessert of the Month: Caramel Apples

We made these the same afternoon we went apple picking and I think this is my new favorite dessert this year. Oh, so good. We were sitting around munching on them and everyone was chattering and carrying on, but not I. I was silently eating, enjoying every bite and suprised that I was getting into it so much. Maybe it was PMS and I was craving sugar, or maybe I was reverting back to some childhood memory, but my mother never allowed us to have sugar so it couldn’t have been that-they were just that good.
I’m no Willie Wonka and didn’t make the caramel, but they turned out just fine with store-bought candies. Such a simple thing, and yet so yummy! The apples were amazing and the caramel still soft. To make: 1 bag individually wrapped caramels 1-3 Tablespoons butter Apples Popsicle sticks Prepare apples by wedging a popsicle stick or a fork into the center to create a handle. Unwrap the bag of caramels and microwave them on low with a little bit of butter until runny. Mix well and dip apples in. Allow to harden and enjoy!


Happiness is… a Chinese wedding


Some people say that the Italians blow all the stops when it comes to a wedding, but having been to both, I have to say that a Chinese wedding takes the cake. (pardon the weak pun)
Danny and I helped good friends, Angela and Tim, celebrate their wedding last Saturday and the food was very memorable. This was by far the largest wedding I have been to (400 guests), and probably served the most food also! We were offered steaming platters of Imperial rolls, dumplings and shrimp wontons upon arrival. Following that was a 12 course meal-the menu is shown below. It was very traditional food, and it was fun to see what Chinses party food is like! Pictured above is a roasted sucking pig. Absolutely gorgeous.

My favorite course: Lobster with Ginger and Shallots
The happy couple. Congratulations Tim and Ange!
Our menu. About 5 hours of eating! And a good time was had by all.

Comfort me with apples

“Comfort me with apples:for I am sick of love.” Song of Solomon 2:5


Danny and I have a tradition of visiting the orchard where we were married at least once a year and this time a group of us convened there for an annual apple picking outing. A few people hung back at the house because of the cool, grey weather, but the rest of us bundled up and tromped out into the glistening orchard. We were well rewarded with cold, crisp apples that dripped with afternoon rain.

I think the nippy air made everyone’s pulse quicken a bit and brought out a slightly mischievous spirit, because it wasn’t long before the windfalls whistled around the ears, wet branches shook down people’s necks and rotten apples smeared via an innocent handshake.Richard and Konrad even had a full-on tussle in the wet grass.
It was a magical time as we climbed ladders for those hard to reach apples, took pictures, and let our laughter ring out among the trees.

The apples were sensational and if you’ve never tasted a ripe apple straight off of the tree, you’ve never had a real apple! It’s a complete dessert in itself. Absolutly delicious.
Even Noah was smitten, using his razor sharp teeth to puncture holes in the skin and then suck out the sweet juices. He looked so adorable with his rosy cheeks and nose and juice running down his chin.
We were picking Macintosh and a few Golden Delicious. Watch this blog for some more apple recipes coming your way!

Top Ten: Foodie Movies


If I can’t always be cooking in my kitchen, the next best thing is watching a foodie flick where culinary delights are being woven into a storyline, seeing a different culture and cuisine portrayed, and the observing the dynamics around a dinner table.
It was hard to narrow is down to just ten choices as there are so many films out there with moving and memorable food scenes. A few off the top of my head would be My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Godfather, Monsoon Wedding, Moonstruck, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…the list goes on. Food in movies is an expression of passion and can convey a subtle sensuality that rivals any average love scene. That scene in Godfather III where Vincent and Mary are making gnocchi is smokin’!

Here is my selection for my top ten favorite food movies in no particular order.

Also included is a suggestion of what to eat when you watch the film…I don’t know about you but I always get hungry during foodie movies.

Top Ten Foodie Movies:

1. Like Water For Chocolate (Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon)
2. Babette’s Feast (stuffed quail)
3. Big Night (timpani)
4. Mostly Martha (steak)
5. Dinner Rush (pasta)
6. Spanglish (World’s Best Sandwich, recipe below)
7. Eat Drink Man Woman (wonton soup)
8. Addicted to Love (strawberries)
9. Chocolat (truffles)
10. Vatel (wine and cheese)

World’s Best Sandwich
(from the movie, Spanglish, invented by chef Thomas Keller)

3-4 slices of bacon
2 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
2 slices of toasted rustic country loaf (pain de campagne)
1 tbsp of mayo
4 tomato slices
2 leaves of butter lettuce (yes, it’s called butter lettuce)
1 teaspoon butter
1 egg

Preparation:

Cook the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.

Place slices of cheese on one side of toasted bread. Place in toaster oven or under broiler to melt.

Spread mayo on other slice of bread top with bacon, sliced tomato, and lettuce.

On non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Fry egg, turning over briefly when the bottom is set (keep yolk runny).

Slide finished egg on top of lettuce, top with other slice of bread.

Place sandwich on plate and slice in half, letting yolk run down sandwich.