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Archive for March, 2010

LCBO and Dufflets Chocolate Orange Bavarian Chocolate Cake

This past Saturday we were invited to Leanne and Stefan’s place up in North York. I made dessert – I have been dying to try this recipe and now I did. It is from the LCBO’s recent “Find your flavour” brochure. It is not calorie reduced, nor is it for the light baker — this cake took about 4 hours to make in total, but you can divide up the components and do them on separate days, which makes the time more managable!

The dome shape is made of a flourless chocolate cake, great for gluten allergies! It is very spongy and very chocolaty!

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tsp instant espresso coffee
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Pre heat oven to 375°F. Line a 12″ x 17″ jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, set over simmering water, melt the chcolate with the instant espresso powder.
  3. Lightly beat the egg yolks with a fork and temper with the melted chocolate. Add the remainder, stir well and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar slowly and beat until firm peaks form.
  5. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and then folder the remainder in two smaller batches.
  6. Pour cake batter into the jelly roll pan and spread out evenly.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to separate the parchment. Turn out onto a cocoa dusted piece of parchment.

LCBO and Dufflets Chocolate Orange Bavarian Chocolate Cake

Truffle Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups 35% cream
  • 6 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier
  1. Bring cream to a boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the Grand Marnier.
  2. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours.
  3. (note that my truffle cream did not set, have no idea why, so to fix it, I simply melted another packette of gelatin and folded it into the ganache – it worked out perfectly!)

Orange Cream

  • 1 packette unflavoured gelatin powder
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup homo milk
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  1. In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the water and allow to sit until disolved.
  2. Bring milk and orange zest to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour through a strainer and re heat.
  4. Beat egg yolks with an electric beater, add sugar and beat until pale and thick.
  5. Temper the yolks with the milk, add remaining to pan and cook until thick, coating the back of a wooden spoon (do not allow to boil, you will get scrambled eggs!)
  6. Remove from heat and strain into a large bowl.
  7. Add Grand Marnier and vanilla extract to dissolved gelatin, mix well.
  8. Whisk in the gelatin mixture into the egg yolks and milk. Set over ice water, stirring frequently. Cool until thickened.
  9. In another bowl, whip cream until firm peaks form. Fold cream into gelatin egg yolk mixture.

Assembly:

  1. Line a 4 quart bowl with plastic wrap. Carefully line the bowl with 2/3rds of the cake, you can do this in pieces as the cake is rather pliable.
  2. Beat truffle cream with an electric mixer at medium speed, but be careful, over beating will cause the cream to separate.
  3. Pour truffle cream into the cake lined bowl and spread evenly. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the cream to set.
  4. Pour the orange cream evenly on the truffle cream.
  5. Take remaining cake and cover the bottom well. Refrigerate overnight or 4 hours.
  6. Serve inverted onto a serving platter.
  7. Enjoy!

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We went to Chef Roger Mooking’s Nyood Restaurant on Queen Street West in Toronto last night. We’ve been trying to go for some time, but they usually have two seatings 6:30pm and 9:30pm – way too early and way too late! But yesterday morning JT was able to book a spot on Open Table at 8:00! I was rather excited because I’ve seen Chef Mooking on Food Network and I liked his cooking, or at least I thought I did! Also, recall I won his New Year’s Eve photo in a nutshell contest in January.

The place was hopping when we arrived, about 80% full. It was very noisy (my throat is sore this morning from having to yell). The area on Queen West (just west of Dufferin) is still a bit grunge, and they have chosen a very low key signage (in fact, I would have missed it, but JT Google Street viewed it so he knew what to look for!) I find that NYC-like anonymous signage a bit pompous. (The signage turned out to be a clear acrylic cutout on the window just to the right of the door, obviously in-obvious!)

Google Map: Nyood Restaurant

Tightly clad young ladies greeted us (don’t get too excited, a couple of them reminded me of a sausage!) We were sat near the back along the prep kitchen half-wall (the entire kitchen is open and rather brightly lit). Our waiter was very nice — he seemed to know the food, but then again I only heard every second word because of the noise! About 30 minutes into our experience, someone turned the music up — oh goody!

Nyood Restaurant Interior from their website (see link above)

The décor is contemporary with some very eclectic touches. For example, white shelves with white bound books, the unusual chandelier made from vintage construction lights and the tables which look kinda-sorta like cement but I think they are a photograph of cement laminated to wood (maybe). Overall, I liked it, JT did not.

The evening started out right, they brought our wine and the waiter allowed us to enjoy it for a bit before taking our order; we figured it would be $100+ meal so we didn’t want to rush! They are ‘sharing’ plates we were told — 3-5 per person (we should have got the hint). We were not starving and are both trying to reduce our intake, so we decided on three plates to start. Our first course was the Tuna Nicoise Tartar with a hard boiled quail’s egg. Now I like small portions, but this? There was maybe 1 oz of tuna on the plate. Tuna Nicoise tartar to me is a combination of the traditional Nicoise in the tartar, not so much, in fact, hardly any taste to the tuna at all, other than too salty! My first dislike was the texture of the tartar, they seemed to have made a ‘paste’ of it, instead of chopping the tuna into beautiful 2mm cubes – the very subtle taste was overwhelmed by the pasty texture. And there was a drizzle of Balsamic reduction, not exactly my pick for tuna, but interesting, non-the-less. Course number two was supposed to be Mozarrella Di Bufala Compana but they had changed the menu so the waiter suggested the Vegetable Antipasto because it too had Bufala Mozzarrella. This was a scant representation of grilled vegetables laid over a toasted piece of bread (not great bread) spread with chick pea purée and Buffalo Mozzarella. The Buffalo Mozzarella turned out to be a purée or a chopped version, quite weird in fact. To me, the cheese lost the subtle flavour to the texture again. Our final pick was the Malta Braised Short Ribs which they brought WAY TOO SOON (we hadn’t even finished the Vegetable Antipasto, and we’re not slow eaters!). The short ribs were cooked very well, they were very tender and literally fell apart on the fork. There was about 3 oz in the bowl. For me, it was way too sweet, I could barely eat it. The three courses impressed us so little, we decided to cut our losses and end the meal.

I was very disappointed!

Nyood: Overall rating (in my opinion): Decor 3/5, service 2.5/5, food 2/5, Value 2/5, Noise: 2/5 (Noise is a new category: 1 being very noisy, and 5 being very quiet)

Update August 2011: Congratulations to Chef Mooking and Everyday Exotic for the nominations for the Gemini Awards.

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We made this soup for a dinner party about a month or so ago, and tonight we pulled out the left overs and enhanced the already amazing soup!

I call it my kitchen sink soup as you can use any vegetables you have in the refrigerator!

Original recipe has been modified from Recipe Zaar (soup Nazi version!)

Enhanced Mulligatawny Soup

  • 8 cups water
  • 6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium potato, peeled &, diced (all vegetables should be diced the same size)
  • 1 carrot, peeled & diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 large eggplant, peeled & diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2/3 cup roasted red pepper, diced
  • 796 mL low sodium stewed tomatoes (I use PC blue menu)
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (I will often omit this to mitigate calories)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala (this is an indian spice mix which I have modified from an old cookbook – here is a link, but use spices that you like to make it your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 dash marjoram
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 1 dash of cayenne (or to taste)
  1. Heat oil in a very large pot. Add onion and cook until golden brown.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 hours or until soup has reduced by more than half.
  3. Stir occasionally for the first few hours, but stir often in the last hour to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. The edges of the potatoes should become more rounded, and the nuts will soften.

This will freeze very well. To enhance the soup, just before serving, add:

  • 3 shrimps per serving
  • 1 cup sliced smoked chorizo sausage
  • 1 cup cooked diced chicken
  1. Defrost and reheat.
  2. Add Shrimp and Chorizo and cook for about 4 minutes.

Note: You may also purée this soup (without the chicken, sausage or shrimp) to make it a creamed version, but always run it through a fine sieve, it is worth the extra effort and makes an amazingly smooth and silky soup!

  1. Add cooked chicken and stir until reheated.
  2. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt! Enjoy!

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I recently found out about an underground restaurant in Toronto – yes I am a bit behind (apparently the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star wrote about it about a year ago!). It’s all very cloak and dagger. Even their website is vague charlieburger.com. You enter your email on their website and they send you a questionnaire. You have to apply to be invited. Sounds interesting, so I applied. I had to wait about a day and half to be invited. My application was rather foodie-ish, so we wondered if they allow anyone in, so JT applied (using his Dad’s email) with rather ordinary answers – it’s been three weeks and still no response. Sorry JT, they do review the applications. The first menu will be served tomorrow, at an unknown location, of course. It’s a bit pricier than anticipated, so I passed ($180pp, but it’s Jamie Kennedy who is cooking, and he’s had a bit of bad luck lately!).

CB March Menu

This is the application email:

The Anti-Restaurant is about the food experience first. It is
not-for-profit, so the costs involved resume their proper place as
something simply incidental to the event.

WHEN? At random intervals.

WHERE? At random locations.

WHO?S COOKING? A Chef who CAN and still loves to someone whose love of a kickass meal
has not been dulled by soul-crushing food and beverage managers and
bean counters someone creative, innovative and fun. We’ve got along
list here in Toronto but more suggestions are welcome.

HOW MUCH? Total cost of food divided by number of attendees our goal is to keep
it around $75 – $150 per person.

WINE? Paired appropriately.

DRESS CODE? No, but we don’t want your chest hair in the salad, got it?

WHO? FOOD LOVERS. No screwing around. If you can’t/won’?t eat certain
things, this is probably not for you. Chef rules. This isn’t Fear
Factor but there will be meat, seafood, raw stuff, and occasionally
something from outside the mainstream experience. Duh, that’s the
point of the Anti-Restaurant.

HOW DO I GET IN? Pay attention.

Email us back with your answers to the questions below. If you are for
real, we put you on the potential invitee’s list

If you get in, one day you will receive an e-vite notifying you that
Charlie is having dinner. This e-vite will indicate the chef’s name,
cost, and menu. Those who RSVP first get in, another small group will
get stand-by status. Either way you will get an email confirming your
status.
You will be able to RSVP for you +1. If you want to get 15 of your
friends in, you can’t- they’ll have to go through the process; Just
like you are doing now?

If you can’t make it please do not email saying just that. If we don’t
hear from you we will assume you are busy. Please don’t worry, you
will NOT be removed from the list unless you want to be.

Please make sure that you can actually attend when you
RSVP!!!!!!!!RSVP-ing before checking your schedule and then canceling
is frowned upon.

IMPORTANT! NO-SHOWS will NOT be tolerated. If you can’t make it,
contact us in advance so we can give it to a stand-by. Failure to show
this sort of basic decency gets you on the blacklist seriously, no
more burgers for you.

Name (first and last) & email (again)& best number to reach you to
reconfirm the day of the event

What is your occupation?

Where did you hear about us?

What are your 3 favourite restaurants in Toronto?

What would your last meal on earth be?

Anything else you want to tell us about yourself? Please don’t tell us
you like food and cooking. Get creative and don’t be shy

If you know anyone who loves food and eating well please refer them to
http://www.charliesburgers.ca

NOTE: Please check your junk mail folder as sometimes our
correspondences get filtered out.

CB Team

JT found this article – I will NOT be RSVPing to Bug Meals!
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/waiter-theres-a-bug-in-my-soup/article1445207/Show up. Eat, drink, pay your share, go home and dream about the next one.

Some more appealing dinners: http://www.tasteto.com/2009/03/31/can-you-keep-a-secret/

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Savoury Chorizo, Cheddar Shortbread (adapted from a grocery store cheese pamphlet, long ago lost!)
Makes about 72 cookies

Tonight, we’ve been invited to our good friends Gordon and Angela’s in Oakville so I thought I would make something as a hostess gift. Here are the very tasty little morsels!

Savory Chorizo Cheddar Shortbread

  • 8 oz    Old Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp    Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp    Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp    Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups    Flour
  • 8 oz    Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup    Finely Chopped Smoked Chorizo Sausage (optional)
  1. Sift together paprika, cayenne, salt and flour; set aside.  Using cookie paddles of an electric mixer, cream together cheese, and butter until well blended.
  2. Gradually add dry ingredients: if dough becomes too thick, use a wooden spoon to stir.  Add choizo.  Divide dough in half and shape into logs approximately 1 ½ inches in diameter and 9 inches long.  Wrap well in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour or freeze for about 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a knife (sharp) cut logs into ¼ inch slices and place slices on baking sheet.
  4. Bake just until slightly colored, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from baking sheets, and cool on wire racks.  Store in air tight container.

Prep time:  35 minutes per batch
Total time:  1hr 15minutes

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