Dehydrated Orange Slices

I have frequent memories of reading Mad Magazines and torn issues of Cracked as a child.  These were cartoony parodies, often cynical and often more cutting than the silly cover portrayed.

Although I have many general memories of these magazines (“What Me Worry?”, Spy Vs. Spy and movie parodies), I only have one specific memory of a particular item in the pages I once poured over.  The Magazine would often take common photos and add their own captions for humour.  They ran a piece on a motorcycle rally and had a photo of a woman driving a motorcycle with the caption “My boyfriend taught me how to drive his bike – I learn how to stop tomorrow!”  (When I read this I missed the obvious sexist undertones as I was young and tender :)).

Dehydrated Orange Slices Preserving Recipes Orange January [Read more...]

Food Porn – a few beautiful sites

It’s early on a Saturday morning.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and flip through some of these sites – they are low on text and high on great photos.  Let your brain wake up slowly – get your hunger going faster:

Food Porn Daily
Food Gawker
Slashfood Flickr Pool
Food Porn Group on Flickr

Happy Saturday!

Fledgling Wine – drinking our way to others literacy

It was way back in May that we posted about Crushpad – a SanFrancisco based company that allowed people to make their own wine – at up to $10,000 a barrel.  Crushpad bills itself as a winery for hire – you buy a wine by the barrel and are involved in every step of the making of the wine, all guided by them.  They will also guide you through the process of selling your wine as well.  The grapes are grown or purchased from the best wineries in California and you are presented many options to create exactly what you want.

A founder of Twitter (Biz Stone), the founder of Crushpad (Michael Brill) and charity Room to Read (founded by John Wood) have teamed up to create Fledgling Wine – a wine company which donates $5 a bottle to Room to Read.  Mr. Brill claims this wine is identical to bottles which sell for $50 by big named wineries and that this project is retailing them (through prepurchase) for $20.

As you’ll see in the accompanying video, Room to Read is trying to reduce poverty through increasing Literacy in the 3rd world.  Their goal is to touch 10 million kids by the year 2020.

The following video introduces Fledling Wine in less than 2 minutes:

You can

Chef Lynn Crawford opening new restaurant in Leslieville (Toronto)

Although many are talking about Lynn Crawford coming to the east end, there doesn’t seem to be a lot written about it yet.  Being that her new restaurant will be closer than the distance we walk for four trips of laundry, we are a tad excited.

The many reasons you may recognize her name:

  • Former Executive Chef, Four Seasons, New York
  • Former Executive Chef, Four Seasons, Toronto
  • The only female executive chef in the four seasons (at the time) – in all of their 70 restaurants worldwide
  • Food Network Canada – Restaurant Makeover
  • Food Network – Iron Chef America (Battle Peanut with Bobby Flay.  She lost by 2 but beat him in the plating category)
  • She has been an executive chef since 1994.

She, along with Cherie Stinson (of Restaurant Makeover and renowned design firm Yabu Pushelberg) and Cherie’s husband Joey Skeir will manage the front of house.

Regular commenter of WellPreserved (and dear friend) Kerry heard an interview with Chef Crawford yesterday where she announced the name for the first time – Ruby Watchco (Watcjko?).  It is expected to open by March.

It’s an exciting prospect for the neighborhood.  It sounds like there will be a focus on local and seasonal – we are waiting with much excitement for more news and will share when we do.

Dehydrated Apple Slices – trying out the dehydrator

The first batch of dehydrating is complete.  I couldn’t resist starting with the simple apple – after all my earliest memories of eating dried food were apple chips.  This was a frequent snack while hiking in Boy Scouts.

Dehydrated Apple Slices   trying out the dehydrator Preserving Recipes January Apple [Read more...]

Cheap Tuesday Gourmet – Liver, Onions, Bacon, Mushrooms and brussel sprouts

First off, I promise a vegetarian option next week.

Liver and Onions was a meal I grew up on – it never excited me a whole lot to hear that it was cooking but my Father always did such an amazing job of it and I found myself loving it when I pushed myself to eat it.  It’s certainly not a daily dish (in fact it’s less than yearly) but it’s something few cook and it’s full of flavor and is actually a tasty, hearty meal.

Even after picking his brain tonight I didn’t live up to his legend but we came close…

Cheap Tuesday Gourmet   Liver, Onions, Bacon, Mushrooms and brussel sprouts Liver January Cooking Recipes Cheap Tuesday Gourmet [Read more...]

Santa brought a food dehydrator…

It was a wonderful holiday season and it’s now time to head back to a more normal life (and diet).  Last night was the pinnacle and an annual tradition – leftover gourmet cheese becomes a killer macaroni and cheese the night before the return to work.  A touch of black truffle oil finished the panko-crusted bowl of cheese and pasta.  We also made a roasted vegetable soup to start the journey to normalcy…

Santa did show up at the Well Preserved house this year.  Dana treated me to a 9-tray industrial food dehydrator (an Excalibur 3900).  She claims it was the ugliest gift she has ever purchased – which is a tough go for a designer!  She had driven to the US and across this city to do her research and came home with an awesome unit – and the start of a new journey for preserving with us.

Santa brought a food dehydrator... January

I have been dreaming about dehydrating for a long time – am excited to start another journey towards more preserving – of course we will maintain our canning as well.  Dehydrating offers some exciting potentials for me – including the option to eat more local food more often, preserve some different things and take my cooking to the next level.  The lack of adding skids of sugar from afar is something that appeals to my bloated

It is not about simply eating “dry, brittle food” ( a friend ame up with that one and I laughed until I peed a little).

I also want to take dehydrating to places it has rarely risen to – including fine cooking.  Dehydrated foods can be re-hydrated – to bring back or alter their flavor.  What would a dehydrated blueberry taste like when it is rehydrated in maple syrup?  What would happen if you make tea of dehydrated blueberries in maple syrup to alter it’s flavor?  Duck jerky could be rehydrated in Grand Marnier and then turned to a confit to make Duck a L’Orange.

Here’s some of the ideas I want to play with and expand on in the coming year:

  • Dehydrated strawberry leaves to make strawberry tea in the winter.  dehydrated lemon rind would be a fun match with this.
  • Dried tomato leaves to add to sauce through the winter to increase the smell and flavor (tomato leaves were previously believed to be poisonous but this has been proven inaccurate in recent years – they do, however, contain the majority of the smell of the tomato).
  • Dry beans and peas for use through the winter – affordably, locally and from farmers we know.
  • Dry our own herbs.  It’s been a pet peeve that food personalities claim you should never keep dried herbs for more than 6 months but no one seems to notice that the dried herbs on our shelves could have been in a warehouse for 2 years.
  • Create non-traditional food ingredients for later use.  We experimented with store-bought dehydrated mushrooms on the holidays,  I ground them to a powder that was awesome to throw into a vegetable soup to add flavor and reduce excess liquid.
  • Moose or deer jerky.
  • Cottage cheese.  Why?  Why not.
  • Dried fruit and veg that can be used later through the year – including slow roasted tomatoes.
  • Fruit roll-ups.  Lunch time snacking that remind me of my youth  – and we control the ingredients.

We’ll share our journey as we experiment and would love any tips or experiences from those of you out there who have tried!

Prepping for the can jam – an intro for newbies Oranges in Cointreau

For those of you who read any amount of preserving sites these days you may have heard of the Tigress Can Jam – there are almost 120 people committing to making 12 batches of preserves over the next 12 months.  We’ll be participating and are glad to answer questions and help people along with the process.  We also look forward to learning as much as we can from the rest of you participating (formally or informally) so grab some jars and join along.

In the weeks leading to registration, we offered to help by sharing a recipe and a walk-through for the first “secret ingredient.”  We’re going to hold on to the details of our preserve of the month (Tigress would like us all to release pictures and posts of the preserves we make for the challenge at the same time and I am most excited for the third week of January) but we’ll post a walk-through of a recipe and the basics of preserving. [Read more...]

Guilty Pleasure at the St. Lawrence Market

I hear so many people rave about peameal on a bun at the St. Lawrence Market.  There is a certain Canadian charm the the sandwich and the market does do a great job of this classic.

My obsession is, however, different:

Guilty Pleasure at the St. Lawrence Market January

Veal and Egglplant on a bun from Mustacio’s in the basement of the market.  A $7 feast complemented with a crunchy crusted bun and a soft interior.  I ask for cheese, onions and hot peppers – adding a bit of sriracha hot sauce at home.

It may be time for a nap!  Soon thereafter we will be trying our first batch of dehydrating using our new dehydrator from Santa.  We’ve come home with 4 types of Ontario apples to give it a try (2 sour, 2 sweet).

What a Wonderful start to the year

I used to really struggle on New Years Eve.  I found it difficult to surround myself with parties of people excited to bring in the New Year – at the time it felt like people were wishing the time away; a difficult concept for someone who adores (adored?) living in the moment.

At any rate, my teen angst is now behind me and we’ve settled into a New Years Eve tradition that brings me great joy over the last 4 or 5 years.  A quiet evening surrounded by food and friends and great beverages.  We had the opportunity to host a group of 6 dear friends last night and feasted like kings and queens.  Dinner was a 5-hour progressive tasting marathon and was a lot of fun.  Great conversation, friendship and revelry were had.

I took the opportunity to try to cook things I’ve never done before – a risky proposition to learn with an audience so I balanced it with some tested favorites.  A dear friend who also helped in the kitchen suggested surf and turf so we played on that theme through the evening.

Menu of the night:

  • Cheese tray to die for – XMas leftovers and more than 12 cheeses from around the world.  Included preserves, 3 types of homemade bread, our own slow roasted tomatoes, charcuterie and preserves to match.  We opened one of the 4 jars of amaretto pears we made this year (my first sampling of them) – pleased to say they turned out awesome!
  • Oysters Rockefeller (panko, pancetta, oregano, parsley, parmesean, beemster) and mussels steamed in white wine and our ’09 tomato sauce.
  • Naked Ravioli poached in butter and a farmers field full of sage leaves.  Matched with homemade focaccia (a no-knead variety which uses a small amount of potato water and yukon gold potatoes).
  • Butterfish sashimi on endive with green onion and citrus.  Our friend P brought this to the table – wonderful amuse bouche.
  • Lobster bisque with whipped cream with Canadian Sherry and Vanilla (we bought when in the Dominican 2 years ago).  I had never made – or eaten lobster bisque and think this may have been the hit of the night.  We stole a trick from Alinea and served the bisque in a bowl – the bowl was served on a plate covered in fresh mint and boiling water to pair the smell of mint with the taste of the bisque.  It’s amazing what flavor you can bring from the shells – the part so many throw out.  It is also a heck of a way to extend your lobster budget.
  • Beef wellington with Lobster Newberg (lobster cream sauce on egg noodles).  This was my first attempt at wellington and though I would change my approach slightly I am thrilled with the results.
  • Homemade local apple sour cream pie.

The best thing served on the table last night?  Great conversation and laughter shared amongst friends.  Leftovers have been stunning so far – including a lobster newberg sandwich.

The night officially ended around 3AM – we skipped a final cheese course due to caloric overload.