Monday, 25 June 2012

And you said there's nothing to do in Orangeville

Small town Ontario-what's left of it with the encroachment of endless housing tracts, strip malls and box stores-is a favourite run.  The mindset changes when you get out of the city.
The plan was Orangeville.  Many questioned the idea.

We found:

~gorgeous century properties and gardens
~live theatre
~clean streets with well maintained buildings
~walking tour of over 50 old trees that had been carved into unique sculptures
~downtown walking tour of the historic buildings
~shops catering to cooks, chocolate lovers, shoe fetishists, home decor enthusiasts, readers and collectors of art
~a good pub lunch
~Island Lake Conservation area-hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming and boardwalked wetland

Contrary to popular belief, you can spend the day in Orangeville.
NB:  bring your hiking shoes and rain gear.  You never know when a storm will blow in from the West!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Pass the tarragon, please.

Day four of take out burgers and subs?
No justification for this.
Instead take ten minutes to poach some chicken and prepare tarragon sauce OR enjoy a tarragon crusted scallop or two.


Boil up 1 cup bouillon from scratch[if time permits], from a box or from a cube. (We've all read the cookbooks, we know scratch is best, but save it for when you have time.)

Add 1/2 cup creme fraiche; simmer 'til thickened. Adjust quantity as needed.
Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon.
Simmer for a couple of minutes.
Season with fresh ground black pepper, if desired. Yes, get yourselves a pepper mill! 

Serve with a simple side- rice, orzo, etc.

Tarragon Crusted Scallops

Saute: 1 tbsp butter, 1 clove garlic.
Add 1/4 cup chopped tarragon.
Add 1/4 cup bread crumbs. (bonus points if you grate the bread yourself)
Saute further 5 minutes.

Can cool for future use.

Sear scallops.
Top with bread crumb mixture.
Finish in a 400C oven for 5 minutes.


Back to Mr. Ivory.
This week took another look at "Remains of the Day" from Merchant/Ivory.
Beautifully done-cast, script, music, sets.
If you're new to Merchant/Ivory try starting with Remains of the Day.
If you are inclined to books-don't forget the movie's source by Kazuo Ishiguro.

See also Toronto International Film Fest-Lightbox building's exhibit curated in part by James Ivory.
Running 'til August 19.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Mr. Ivory Deserved Better

When the host is away we get: quote /unquote

We cannot unquote someone.

We can end quote.
Waited all day for the interview and the guest host butchered it.
Mr. Ivory deserved better .

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Morel of the story is...

The humble take-out pizza box sat empty after a late night working dinner-something must be done.

It is time to give serious consideration to opening up your wallet and indulging in a few ounces of this delightful fungus.

Many of us are a slave to the white button mushroom and even go the length to wash the life out of it.  But what of the other earthly delights on your grocer's shelf?  (And what of the alternatives to your supermarket shelf?)

The morel was a key component in last weekend's dinner.  A sublime creation.
Tarragon crusted scallops, borscht, chicken with brandied morel sauce, finishing with a smooth chocolate pot.

More about the tarragon and chocolate pot later.

The morel can run $15/oz.  One has the choice of dried or fresh. Most reputable farmers markets will carry good sized, fresh product.  Dried mushrooms are perfectly respectable contrary to opinion.  This is not a "pot noodle" but a concentration of flavour.  Soaked dried morels for twenty minutes to half an hour.

Saute butter, garlic, sliced mushroom; add full cream; soy sauce, and brandy-if inclined.  Simmer 'til thickened.

The morel texture is not compromised even after a saute and simmer. Adds a earthiness to any sauce or stew.  Try it in barley risotto.  Yes- try thinking outside the box -substitute the arborio for barley.

Worth every penny-skip the mass market take out coffee for a couple of days.  You won't miss a thing.
Do your research, throw on your apron and experiment. 
The button mushroom is not going away; it will forgive you.