A Night to Remember

THE 3rd ANNUAL FOOD COURT SOCIAL
Presented by the Slaight Family Foundation

A fractured arm while sailing in Newport, Rhode Island did not stop me from attending this star-studded event last night. Our chefs today are stars! Budding Michelin stars that is. We have to partly thank the Internet for connecting so many ‘foody’ connoisseurs around the world and share some great food! Our blogs open the window to these talented chefs. George Brown College has great culinary courses with the talented Chef John Higgins (Director) at the helm. This evening of extraordinary food made by extraordinary chefs was held in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for education and training new chefs at George Brown Chef’s school!

“Appetite for Change. One bite at a time”

Thursday September 22nd 2016
7:00pm – 11:00pm
George Brown College Waterfront Campus, 51 Dockside Drive, Toronto

The Canadian Chef’s Menu is mouth-watering!
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What’s best at the waterfront is seafood. Chef Anthony Rose, Rose and Sons prepared this feast.
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I eagerly tasted the culinary treats from most of the chefs that night!
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Chef John Higgins (first chef awarded the Toronto Arts Culinary Award) believes in the FORMULA:  Passion + Hard Work = A Very Good Chef! You have to love food. Only a true foody need apply. Otherwise, it is not fun because of the long hours in the kitchen, chopping, simmering and arranging fresh market delights.

Chef John Higgins and Eva, with my broken arm

Chef John Higgins and Eva, with my broken wing

Chef John Higgins and G.B. Chefs in the Making

Chef John Higgins and G.B. Chefs in the Making

The environmentalist Chef Michael Stadtländer was one of the great chefs that night. Chef Stadtländer promotes and believes in farm to table dishes. Take a pilgrimage to his Eigensinn Farm where the freshest dishes are available for your  dining pleasure. An internationally celebrated destination for gourmets.

Chef Michael Stadtländer and Eva

Chef Michael Stadtländer and Eva

Chef Stadtländer made a butternut squash soup just in time for thanksgiving celebrations. The pickled beet garnish was the pièce de résistance that really did it.  Also, the meatball stuffed with cheese which came gushing out was divine .
I have been wined and dined this evening. Now it is time to hobble home.
Bon appetite!

Better Than Swedish Meatballs

Another great comfort food for game day and those cold winter nights!  Everybody loves meat balls!  suomenlippuSwedish meatballs are famous possibly because of IKEA . Better than Swedish meatballs are Finnish meatballs. I make them in quantity, serve them or make ahead and freeze until the big event!  Deeeelicious!
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INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 pound lean ground meat
1/2 pound ground pork
1 onion, minced
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons butter for frying
1 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons flour (optional for sauce)
meat_ingredients
INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Soak the bread crumbs in cream.
2.  Mix together the ground beef, ground pork, minced onions and soaked bread crumbs.
3.  Mix together the beaten eggs, salt, allspice and minced parsley.  Add to the meat mixture and combine well but do not overwork.
4. With about 1 teaspoon of the mixture, form meatballs avoiding “packing” the meat, which makes for tough meatballs.  Melt butter in a frying pan and put in the meatballs a few at a time.  Shake the pan to swirl the meatballs, cooking them on all sides.IMG_1451
5. After all the meatballs are fried return them to the pan and cook another 25 minutes or alternatively place in a 300F oven for 25 minutes.

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jing_yangIt’s all in the  SAUCE!
WHITE SAUCE: You can add a few tablespoons of flour to the drippings in the frying pan, cook and then add a cup of milk to make a white sauce to serve with the Finnish meatballs*.
BROWN SAUCE: is served with Swedish meatballs.
*The single addition of the ground allspice is what really elevates the Finnish meatballs.

These Finnish Meatballs Are Rough Looking Because They Are Soft And Tender As Any Tenderloin Steak!

These Finnish Meatballs Are Rough Looking Because They Are Soft And Tender As Any Tenderloin Steak!

HAT2SERVING SUGGESTIONS ( TIPS ): As a main course, Scandinavian MEATBALLS are classically served with lingonberry preserves, cucumber salad and dilled or mashed potatoes.  For a crowd of people, you can serve these savory meatballs as a snack or an appetizer. You simply leave the meatballs in a slow cooker for hours and let people help themselves. Place shish kabob fine wood skewers in a glass next to the meatballs. Let people help themselves.  Include assorted raw vegetables as finger food; sticks of raw celery, carrots, bell peppers (not ghost peppers), cucumbers and green beans (slightly blanched).  If you make the meatballs ahead of time, they are just as tasty reheated on game day!  These meatballs are high in protein and will keep you going for hours.
VARIATION: Mix chopped spinach into your meatball mixture before constructing  the meatballs. Once I tried it for fun and I got future requests. It’s actually quite good!

YOUR FOODIE TIP
Do you have garlic smell on your fingers when you have finished handling garlic while cooking? Or, onion odour on your fingers after chopping onions?
You can either:
1) Scrub your fingers
2) Purchase a stainless steel bar and wash your fingers gently with this bar.
3) Rub your fingers along the back of your stainless steel knife.

Pick no 3.  Rub your fingers along the back length of the knife! Grasping the knife with all 5 fingers ~ see diagram . You’ve got a knife in your hand anyway. You will save on the cost and having to store the stainless steel bar or won’t be scrubbing your skin until it’s red. Your fingers will be immediately wonderfully odourless! It only take a second.

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Pizza with a Cauliflower Crust ~ Healthy Back to School Snack!

kids32 Your hungry kids need a snack when they come home from school.  Surprise them with gluten free CAULIFLOWER CRUSTED PIZZA!  I tested a few variations for a cauliflower pizza in my foody lab (kitchen).  In one version, I used ground almonds in the crust. It had a  grainy consistency. Perfect for a base as an appetizer or an hors d’oeuvres. Thumbs down for a kid’s pizza.  In another version, I combined eggs and cauliflower plus my magic flavorings. My friend’s kids eyebrows  went up on the first bite. Mikey likes it! A home run!

Here is the healthy,  yummy RECIPE
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pizza456INGREDIENTS
1 cauliflower medium head about 2 lbs.
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup shredded part-skim milk mozzarella
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Wash and cut the cauliflower into florets and place in your food processor along with the garlic cloves. Pulse until fine, like rice.
3. Place cauliflower in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all liquid until very dry.
4. Place the cauliflower in a clean bowl and combine with mozzarella,  Parmesan cheese,  eggs, thyme, oregano, pepper and salt.
5. Place the cauliflower mix on a pizza pan (or baking sheet) lined with parchment and spread evenly with fingers or a rolling pin.
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6. Bake in the oven until the crust is crisp and the edges are golden, about 25-30 minutes.
7. Allow the cauliflower to cool slightly while you assemble the toppings.
8. Add your favourite sauce and toppings. I used my baked tomato sauce  as a topping.

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9. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly; about 15-20 minutes longer.

pizza_hamI left the kitchen and came back to take a picture of a slice and the pizza was all gone!  The kids said the pizza monster was here .  I enlarged part of the whole pizza to show you the added ham -for all you Carnevours. This veggie+(ham) powered pizza needs to make its way into your kitchen. Kids learn about gluten and grains from school. They may look forward to a gluten-free pizza. Today’s food buzz is “cauliflower” crusted pizza. Even though it has been around for a few years, there are still some people that have never heard of it.   What’s neat is that it doesn’t taste like cauliflower.
HAT2FOOD TIP: Place a piece of parchment on top of the cauliflower mix and move a rolling pin over it. This will give you and even crust guided by the edges of the pizza pan. Make this crust in advance and refrigerate (up to 4 days). You can add the sauce and toppings later on.  Use Asiago cheese in place of the mozzarella. Toppings:  Add prosciutto,  crushed red pepper flakes and basil (my favourite). YUM!

How do you fit parchment into a circular pan?                                                                                          First measure the diameter of the pan. Fold the parchment several times like you did when making a snowflake cut out in school and then cut to half the diameter of the pan.  The parchment will now fit your  pizza or cake pan.

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Sun Dried Tomato Dip

HEALTHY  ‘TASTY’ DIP
sun-sdried-tomato_dipNow that you have made your decorated goat cheese, you can make a tasty and healthy dip to serve with it. The dip is very versatile.This dip is great with crudités or crackers, on sandwiches, or with cold meats. It can be made a day or two in advance and served at your chalet, lake house, sailboat or right at home. People always enjoy this combination goat cheese /sun dried tomato spread. This pairing pops with flavour and is a big hit with my friends.  I am often asked where I bought it!  Instead of crackers or I prefer sourdough baguette slices. Crisp and tasty. Although crackers have evolved to gluten free and no preservatives which you can buy at your local supermarket. I find that most of these healthy crackers are very flavourful and will change the taste of my goat cheese / sun dried tomato dip.  Over my years of reading about healthy foods, I would always come across the information that with respect to bread, we should eat rye bread or sour dough. I was puzzled by the sour dough as it was white bread after all. Then one day I came across some information that explained it.

RECIPE
Ingredients
1 package (3 1/2 oz) sun dried tomatoes
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar substitute (optional)
1 green onion coarsely chopped including green tops

Directions                                                                                                                                                                   

sun-dried-tomatoesCombine all ingredients in a food processor.  Use the pulse feature until everything is chopped to a coarse consistency not liquid.  Refrigerate until needed.  The flavour is even better the next day.  Serve at room temperature over goat cheese with toasts or crackers.

This is a tasty dip and will keep in your fridge for 7 to 10 days, limited only by the freshness of the herbs.  You can then make this in advance or use up the left overs as a salad dressing, to toss your vegetables and some more olive before roasting or add to a soup for more flavour.  The addition of mayonnaise or buttermilk will transform any leftover dips into sauces or salad dressings.

EVENING OUT:  I just brought the sun dried dip to a birthday party last night.  I paired it with a goat cheese log rolled in herbs.  There were herb crackers and whole wheat sourdough croutes.  This was a big hit!  People kept going back again and again for more.  They were addictive.  This was more popular than the smoked salmon platter!

didyouknowFOOD FACT: The acid in the sourdough slows down the absorption of the bread. That is how the San Francisco gold miners were able to sustain themselves all day long with just a loaf of sourdough bread. Hence the San Francisco sour dough loafs. The flour/simple carbohydrate  is broken down into sugar which starts even in the mouth with salivary amylase and eating a slice of white bread is not so different than having a piece of pound cake as far as your body is concerned.

Do you want a piece of white bread? Then…eat sour dough bread. It is healthier!

Healthy Snacks and Appetizer

Craving a snack?  Need an appetizer to serve?  Why bother with a cracker? Use nature’s vessel.  Have you been putting your sandwich fixings in a piece of lettuce to avoid carbs and gluten?  Well, now you can substitute a piece of endive for the proverbial cracker. You can use this for tuna salad, egg salad, salmon salad, Caesar salad, beet pomegranate orange salad, beet pomegranate feta salad, the list goes on….. It adds just a little bite to your snack. As much as I am an anchovy hater, I will even add some anchovy paste to my egg salad to give it a bite.  When you bite into your food, you want it to just slightly bite youIMG_3553 back.  Yum! Yum!