Thursday, September 27, 2007

Top Ten Food Books for Cooks

So C found a link on the internet today about The Top 10 Food Books Every Chef Should Own

Now these are Food books, not Cookbooks, but I was thrilled to see that I've read a few, have a few more on order at the library and now have a few more to add to my list. The ones I've already read are in green.

Top 10 Food Books (not Cookbooks) That Every Chef Should Own (in random order)

  1. On Food & Cooking -- Harold McGee
  2. The Art of Eating -- MFK Fisher
  3. Kitchen Confidential -- Anthony Bourdain
  4. It Must've Been Something I Ate -- Jeffrey Steingarten
  5. Tender at the Bone -- Ruth Reichl
  6. The Tummy Trilogy -- Calvin Trillin
  7. The Omnivore's Dilemma -- Michael Pollan
  8. Down and Out in Paris and London -- George Orwell
  9. Heat -- Bill Buford
  10. The Physiology of Taste -- Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cinnamon Buns

According to Toronto Life, the best cinnamon buns in Toronto can be found in Leslieville at Sweet Bliss. After two failed attempts, C&I finally got to taste them a few weeks ago and they were pretty damn good. I think, however, that I have found an even better spot- in my very own kitchen.

I've been searching for the recipe that I wanted to try for sometime and last night I found one and decided that I would make them for breakfast. Then, morning came and I decided I would make then as an afternoon snack.

This is the first time I've made a dough with egg and the texture is so satisfying to work with that I think I'll be making these again and experimenting with others.

1 t white sugar
1 (.25oz) package active dry yeast
1/2c warm water

In a small bowl, dissolve 1 t sugar and 1 package active dry yeast in 1/2 c warm water until it's creamy.

1/2 c milk
1/4 c white sugar
1/4c butter
1 t salt

Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat and mix in 1/4c sugar, 1/4c butter and the salt. Stir until it's all melted and let it cool a bit.

2 eggs, beaten
4 c all purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, eggs and 1-1/2c flour, stirring well. Stir in the remaining flour, a bit at a time until the dough comes together. Turn it out and knead gently until smooth and elastic and luxurious.

Let rise in a warm spot for an hour or so.

3/4 c butter
1-1/2c brown sugar
1c chopped pecans

While the dough is raising,melt 3/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 c brown sugar and whisk til smooth. Pour into buttered baking pan and sprinkle with nuts.

Combine remaining sugar and pecans and set aside.

Turn dough out and roll into a rectangle. Brush with 2T melted butter and sprinkle with sugar/nut mixture. Roll up the dough and pinch the seam shut. Cut into 15 pieces and place in prepared pan.

Cover and let rise for an hour or so. Then bake in a preheated oven (375/190) for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.


I didn't cook at all last week. I'm pretty sure C did, otherwise I wouldn't have eaten. I can't remember. It was all a bit of a blur.

So I was really excited to cook Saturday night. Mike was going to come over after film fest and we were going to eat and drink and play games.

C & I spent the day wandering the city's various markets, visiting our butcher in the St Lawrence Market and buying $20 worth of cheese at Global in Kensington - lovely.

Then home to start leisurely cooking.

Except Mike didn't get into the movie.

So he and his friend Natasha came over a full two hours early, hungry and cold.

I didn't expect to eat dinner until 9:00. At the earliest. So, after a mad dash to tidy up a little (for Natasha, she was new. Mike's been around so long he's family and we don't have to tidy up for him!) I was happy that I had made bread sticks to nash on while the rest of dinner was being made.


1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons yeast
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Put 1-1/3 cups of warm water in a small bowl and stir in the yeast and honey. Leave it to froth and foam.

Sift (I actually enjoy doing this) the flour and salt into a bowl, then add the yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix until the dough clumps together.

Form into a ball and knead until smooth and elastic-y. Put the dough on a baking sheet and flatten it out to fill the pan, brush with the remaining oil and let rise for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the dough lengthwise into four portions, then cut each portion into 8 pieces(or 5, or 4, whichever!). Roll, stretch and cajole the pieces into 8 inch long strips and then toss in the hot hot oven for about 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.

C's Commentary: Breadsticks. They were simple, lovely, and fed us during an antipasto, a soup main, and our pre-dessert drunken Uno.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Biscuits & Late Summer Tomatoes

Even though it was hot out today, you can still sense the change. The students are back, apples are appearing at the farmer's market. Fall is sneaking into Toronto.

We got home from the market with hot, luscious tomatoes that taste like the very essence of all that is good in a tomato and a big glorious bunch of basil that perfumed our walk home. And we were hungry.

But, despite our visit to the market, we had virtually no other food- no flour, no sugar, no butter, no bread, no crackers, no cheese- with which to make lunch. So I made biscuits with self-raising flour, margarine (I know! I know! but it was all we had!) and left overs bits of bacon, leeks and cheddar cheese. Sliced open while hot and layered with thick tomato slices and basil ribbons, annointed with sea salt, pepper and olive oil.

I'd have served them to Gordon Ramsay for a light lunch.


1/4 cup shortening
2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup milk (about)

Work the shortening into the flour until it resembles oatmeal.
Pour in milk and stir until just combined.
Turn out dough onto counter and knead in left over bits of flavour stuffs.

Make into biscuits (I made 8 largish ones) and bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

About L

Honestly? Leah is absolutely brilliant. She's brilliant in many different ways, but she excels in the kitchen. She cooks, bakes, butchers, and manages to make delicious dinners out of the absolute nothing in our cupboards (these are quite often frittatas). She's quite possibly the only person I've ever met who relaxes by baking, or trying out a new recipe. Generous, loving, tall, elegant and absolutely gorgeous, she's quite a bit like my very own Nigella Lawson (Though Leah does not have Nigella's hips, something for which she and I are quite thankful. Ahem.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

About C

Chris is so many things that it is nearly impossible to label him for a short blog bio. He designs cool stuff, photographs cool things, draws monkeys for his nieces, eats delicious food, drinks fantastic wine, and reads good books. He is smart, good looking and a fabulous person. If it seems like he'd be a good boyfriend, you're right - he is. But he's mine, so hands off.

He does not play World of Warcraft.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Baking Frenzy

Yesterday I made five batches of mini loaves for my friend Susie and Nathan's housewarming party: Sweet Vanilla, Maple Walnut, Apple Strudel, Strawberry Yoghurt and Chocolate.

At the end of my baking marathon I was so pleased with them- they looked good.

Unfortunately after baking them I couldn't bear to eat any of them so I had tastes here and there. People seemed to like them though, and I was thrilled.