road trip!

Tomorrow Joe and I are embarking on a little road trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I’m excited to scour flea markets and antique stores, eat copious amount of Pennsylvania-Dutch comfort food, and take drives down unfamiliar back roads in Amish Country. I think it’s going to be a pretty rad. Joe’s calling it our geriatric road trip...what?! All the cool kids are going to quilt shows and on covered bridge tours these days. 
* all images from www.padutchcountry.com


bits of my weekend

My weekend was spent: 
Transplanting the succulents that have been growing like mad on my windowsill.
Enjoying a hunk of the Pied-De-Vent I picked up in Montreal.
Roasting a whole chicken and root vegetables for Sunday night dinner.


montreal: poutine

My final meal in Montreal. Lots of curds, perfectly salty gravy.
Montreal Poutine
161 St-Paul Est


montreal: atwater market

Montreal's Atwater Market is one of my favourite places to kill some time—mostly spent ogling cheese, terrines and baked goods.
It was clear that autumn had arrived at the market. The outside section was literally overflowing with pumpkins, squash and gourds.
Even for October, the produce looked amazing. I was drawn to the mini eggplants and ground cherries. 
There were cranberries galore. Both fresh and dried.
The great thing about Quebec markets is the vast selection of artisanal charcuterie and local cheese. I picked up some stinky, raw milk Pied-De-Vent from the Magdalen Islands.
Atwater Market
138 Atwater


montreal: in pictures

The fam and I were in  Montreal over the weekend celebrating my mom's bday. It poured rain the entire time, but we sucked it up and still ventured out.
We stayed in Vieux Montreal, not far from Notre-Dame Basilica.
The good thing about the rain was that the streets weren't too busy.


pho and more pho

We go out for pho a lot over here. It’s cheap, convenient to find in the neighbourhood and mighty tasty. 
Of all the variations on pho, I usually go for some combination of tendon, rare beef, shoulder and brisket. Sometimes it's just noodles and beef balls. Oh, and no tripe for me please (blasphemy, I know). 
My top three pho joints in the city: Pho Pasteur, Pho Linh and Pho Tien Thanh.
Pho Pasteur
525 Dundas St. W

Pho Linh
1156 College St.

Pho Tien Thanh
57 Ossington Ave.


odd bits

Jennifer McLagan's cookbooks are some of the most-loved (and most-used) cookbooks on my shelf. Bones, Fat and now Odd Bits, all celebrate the parts of an animal that often get neglected—the innards, organs and leftover cuts.
I’m actually a fan of those parts. It's the odd bits that offer such great textures and tastes. Saute me up some gizzards (just a splash of soy, lots of green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil). Trotters and tails? Yes, please (they do wonders for soups). And don’t get me started on my love for pig face (sisig is one of my all-time favourite Filipino dishes and consists of a sizzling plate of sliced pig ears, jowls and other random head pieces).
But then there's tripe. My arch nemesis. I can't stand it. But I'm willing to give it another try. I might even try McLagan's minted tripe and pea salad. 


petit profiteroles

Pâte a choux is a type of pastry dough that can be intimidating to make. If you don’t treat the dough properly it will puff while baking, then deflate once taken out of the oven. But prepared the right way, you’ll end up with a light yet rich pastry that can be made into éclairs, cream puffs and gougères. 
These profiteroles (a fancy name for cream puffs) are filled with silky milk chocolate custard and dipped into a dark chocolate ganache. So fancy!
choux pastry (makes 15 profiteroles)
1/4 C water
1/4 C whole milk
1/2 stick salted butter, cubed
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 C flour
2 eggs, room temperature

1. In a pot, combine everything except flour and eggs. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for a 3 minutes. Take off the heat and transfer to a bowl.

2. Add one egg at a time and beat to incorporate (the dough may look like it's splitting, but will come back together as you beat). At the end, the dough should be smooth, thick and shiny.

3. Pipe small "puffs" while still warm onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. I used a ziplock bag with the corner snipped. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon and bake for another 10 minutes. The dough should be puffed and dry. Let cool completely before filling.

milk chocolate filling
1 C whole milk
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch, sifted
100g milk chocolate, melted (I use Lindt)

1. In a pot, bring the milk to a boil. In another pot, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and yolks.

2. When the milk is boiling, add a couple of tablespoons to the yolk mixture to temper. Continue adding milk until all of it is incorporated. Strain the mixture and return it to the stove over medium heat. Whisk for about 2 minutes until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the melted chocolate. Strain again and let cool completely. 

chocolate ganache
1/3 C whipping cream
3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Valrhona)

1. Bring cream to a boil and pour over chopped chocolate. Let sit for three minutes then stir until smooth.


red velvet cheesecake (sort of)

Sandwiching a layer of cheesecake between two layers of red velvet cake may seem a bit crazy, but really, it's genius.
The cheesecake component of the cake is rich and decadent, but it's also a bit tangy, so it balances out the sweeter red velvet portion.
The recipe has been floating around for a while and I'm surprised it took me so long to cave and finally make it. The problem I'm now faced with is that I have a huge cake sitting in my fridge calling my name.


chicken and waffles

The combination of fried chicken and waffles has always made sense to me. Sweet, salty, savoury and sinful. Perfect for a Sunday night dinner, no?
I used this waffle recipe, but added about three tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. The fried chicken is Thomas Keller's recipe. Maple syrup and hot sauce are both necessary.