Brew yourself a Chai

“Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.”
Henry Fielding, 18th century novelist

With the colder weather coming on, I like to curl up in the afternoon with a cup of spiced chai. In our house the morning is for coffee without question, but tea has it’s place in the afternoon. Noah is napping and I have some catch-up time to myself to call a friend, read the paper or browse the latest Gourmet. My friendAmber in Guatemala brought me some green cardamom on her last visit to Montreal and this is her recipe for homemade chai. I like to make a big batch and keep it in the fridge for a few days. Then I just heat and foam up a cup whenever I feel the urge, which is fairly often! INGREDIENTS: 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin rounds 2 cinnamon sticks 1 tsp black peppercorn 10 whole cloves 6 cardamom pods 6 cups cold water 6 bags black tea 2 cups whole milk ½ cup brown sugar
Combine the first five ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Using a mallet or back of a large spoon, lightly crush or bruise the spices. Add 6 cups water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan and simmer gently 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add milk and sugar. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Strain chai into teapot and serve hot. Enjoy! You deserve it! (Check out Amber’s blog at www.ambercita.blogspot.com)

A Wedding Cocktail

Kevin and Melanie…October 14, 2006


Last weekend we helped my husband’s brother, Kevin, and the beautiful Melanie celebrate the wonderful event of their wedding. At a golf resort near Mont Tremblant, we rented a chalet and joined the rest of their immediate family in a beautiful setting for the two day celebration. It was a weekend of great food, fine wine, and happiness from beginning to end. To me it felt like we ate the whole time, which I had absolutely no problem with! If this wasn’t a food blog, I would detail the event, but you’ll have to ask me later for the juicies! I won’t go into detail over every meal, but just highlight the first cocktail, which I catered. Melanie called it a “meet ‘n greet” as it was the first time both sides of the family would be all together. Everyone arrived at the resort around six PM and by 7:30, with Noah ensconced away in his bed upstairs, I was puttering happily away in the kitchen. Melanie comes from a family of good cooks and they contributed lots of yummies, too. My menu was simple: 12 canapés and a few desserts. I wanted to create no-fuss, easy-to-understand food that had an emphasis on vegetables. The bride ( and a few family members) doesn’t eat red meat, so I decided on mostly veggie canapés, with a few chicken, shrimp and smoked salmon thrown in to mix it up. And because I couldn’t resist, I did melon and proscuitto also. Here is the menu:
Vegetarian Sushi; Cantaloup and Canadian Proscuitto
Sesame Asparagus Spring Rolls
Proscuitto and Melon, Sesame Asparagus Spring Rolls, Shrimp with Fennel, Endive with Smoked Salmon and Dill Cream Cheese
Grilled Chicken with Maple-ChardonnayVinegar Reduction
Trio of Pastry: Spinach and Feta Spanikopita(phyllo); Roasted Tomato Hearts (puff pastry); Tarragon Chicken Salad Puffs(choux pastry)
Raspberry, Strawberry and Fig Tartelettes with Orange Scented Mascarpone
Palmiers, Gingersnaps and Baklava (Mahrousé)
Kahlua and Dark Chocolate Truffles

Not photographed was:
Basil and Tomato Bruschetta on Crostini
Herb marinated baby Bocconcini with Crackers
Pictured at top of blog:
Crudité and Dill Dip

Foodie Facebook:Josh


Name: Josh
Location: Smithers, BC
Occupation: VP/CEO His Electric

1. What is your earliest childhood food memory?
Nothing sticks out in my mind earlier than some wild game that I ate at a friend’s place in grade five. His dad was a hunter/trapper. I remember roasting a beaver tail on a stick over a fire and eating at least a bite. ( true story) We also ate portions of moose tongue and other organs…

2. What did you eat today?
Coffee, two fresh scones with strawerries inside.
Roast pork sandwich, lime pelegrino. Coffee.
Dinner was a Carlsburg beer, turkey soup, and leftover pumpkin pie.

3. What will your kids never be allowed to eat?
The word never is a bit strong, but processed foods and
soft drinks will not be encouraged.

4. What do you always have on hand in your fridge?
Oh, lots! Staples, wholegrain mustard, Kalamata
olives, fresh veggies

5. What is your beverage of choice?
How about three? Water, beer, and juice

6. If you could have dinner with anyone in the history of man, who would it be?
My grandfather.

7. Ok, it’s your last meal ever, what do you have?
Homemade soup and a coffee

Ed Note: Thanks Josh! Foodie Facebook is a regular feature on this blog. Stay tuned, it could be you!

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!