new book, pretty tart

As I carried the tart, all safely wrapped in aluminum foil, towards the house of some very hungry friends, I felt positively neighbourly in a really old timey way. Granted, this baking adventure was a pretty selfish one. I’d bought a new baking book, penned by the perennial uppity bitch Martha Stewart and wanted to make something beautiful out of it. Out of all of the titillating recipes in Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts, I settled on the milk chocolate and pistachio tart.

I made it. It was beautiful as evidenced by my dear friend Megan Verhey’s photograph of it, it was delicious and it was rich. It was too much tart for me. So I brought it to the aforementioned house full of hungry friends where it promptly disappeared. Nice work Martha.

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gastronomic goal no. 35: learn to like cooked tomato

I have been working long and hard to try to rid myself of my terrible dislike of cooked tomatoes. I think this might be the granddaddy of all of my food aversions. Don’t get me wrong. I love raw tomatoes. Love. But there’s something about the weird watery texture, the added sweetness that rears its head when they’re cooked.

Today was yet another attempt to learn to like cooked tomatoes and while I still prefer my pasta sauce to be cream rather than tomato based, with a lovely lunch I may have made the cooked fruit tolerable. Even likable.

I wanted a lunch that was almost entirely roasted tomatoes with only a little to distract from it (the ultimate test) and that’s what I got. I got the idea from this recipe in this month’s Saveur Magazine.

It was a lot of tomato to handle but I honestly enjoyed it. The bread and garlic helped a whole lot though.

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eating in victoria day 3

Though as I write this I am back at work in Ontario eating grocery store sushi at my computer, my mouth is still watering from thinking of the last meal I had in Victoria. It wasn’t in a restaurant but it was incredible.

The day before, my boyfriend and I went to a little microbrewery called Swans Buckerfield’s Brewery and each selected a beer that we thought sounded interesting for dinner the following day.

I picked the Pandora Pale Ale

and my boyfriend got the oatmeal stout (which I liked best surprisingly)

But long before we could sit down and sip our beers over dinner, we had a date with some kayaks and Brentwood Bay. I always get stressed out before kayaking because there’s so much to think about. Making sure the kayaks are properly on the roof racks, that you have the whole myriad of equipment necessary for the venture, that you know where you’re going to launch from, that there’s a place to unload near where you’re launching, that kayaks are heavy and difficult to unload, that you have to wear Crocs in order to keep your sneakers from getting wet when you launch and so on and so forth. But as soon as I was down on the shore, about to be launched and in my kayak, I was won over by the wonderful smell of the Pacific ocean and by how calm the water was in the bay.

And we saw a seal…

looking away but a seal up close none the less

Being on the water and smelling that ocean smell made me crave crab something fierce. But none of this imitation crab business. Crab bought alive and killed right before cooking. Steamed until it turned bright red and then smothered in garlicy butter and served alongside french bread to mop up the juices left behind. It would be an event.

And that’s exactly what we had for dinner (plus some brussel sprouts for good measure).

A wonderful simple supper eaten with reckless abandon for how messy it is. I can’t wait to go back to Victoria next month.

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eating in Victoria day 2

While day two in Victoria included just as much food as the one before, I had a major fail when it came to remembering to photograph the food before diving in. The day involved a good amount of walking around, some coffee, big filling bowls of pho at Pho Vy, and…

cupcakes from Pink Sugar Cupcakery

mine was the Elvis (banana cake topped with peanut butter frosting and peanuts)

Not to mention the lychees that were eaten while watching the new BBC Earth Life dvds. It was my boyfriends first lychees and the experience went over as swimmingly as it had with me just days earlier.

No restaurants the next day but good food to be had none the less…

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eating in Victoria day 1

So as planned, after caching up on a little lost sleep, I hit the ground in Victoria eating. The boy I happen to be visiting here had to work much of the day yesterday so I struck out on my own, running some errands, visiting old Victoria haunts and grabbing a few bites along the way.

The first thing I did upon arriving in downtown Victoria was to deal with the lunch situation. I wanted something that wouldn’t loose anything if I took it to go and so, I selected Pig to be my lunch destination. Pig is a barbecue joint I had been to once before and was very impressed. They were also a stone’s throw from a nice park that  I thought would be a great place to eat all by myself.

pulled pork sandwich and black cherry cola from Pig

After lunch (which btw doesn’t look like much but was incredible) I did some running around and gave myself a walking tour of Victoria. I started to feel a little sleepy and in need of a sit down which was the perfect opportunity to reunite myself with a hot cup of Salt Spring Coffee.

cup of Salt Spring Coffee

And then, because I just wasn’t awake enough yet, I went down the street to my favourite bakery in Victoria. I watched them load wood into their giant ovens while I quietly enjoyed a cookie and another coffee.

dark chocolate dipped shortbread and americano at Wild Fire Bakery

And finally, my gentleman companion got off work and with just a few hours until the movie we were seeing was set to start, we decided to grab a gourmet burger and a microbrew at The Pink Bicycle.

lamb and blue cheese burger with truffle fries at The Pink Bicycle

More eating to come tomorrow…

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what to eat on an airplane

Very shortly I will be on an airplane on my way to Victoria to visit a boy. Even though there are delicious things to eat on the other side of this plane voyage, I still think it’s tremendously important to bring actually good food to eat on the plane. There is nothing quite as depressing as being hungry, starving even, and having hours ahead of you to be spent sitting in a tiny little seat and the only food to be had are the free packets if Bits and Bites they offer you every so often.

I thought long and hard about the food I would bring for my plane voyage and have finally settled on:

my very first quart of beautiful Ontario strawberries

a baguette with sweet butter and prosciutto on it

and just for good measure,a bar of dark chocolate with chili for a little heat

So with the food part of the journey taken care of, I’m all set. Stay tuned for delicious Victoria food adventures.

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eating lychees on the curb in the afternoon

I have a confession to make. I had never tasted a lychee until yesterday afternoon. I had always assumed that I eventually would and most likely would very much enjoy the experience but it wasn’t until yesterday that I took the plunge. Yesterday, I found myself desperately in need of some iron in the form of a nice, thick steak and so I accompanied a friend to the grocery store. There I was prompted to try a lychee for the very first time and try I did. It was not what I expected, better, but also quite different. The rough outer layer peeled away easily to reveal a light, juicy inside with a delicate but distinctive flavour. And so it was that I found myself sitting on a filthy curb in the parking lot of a supermarket, sucking every last bit of lychee left around the long dark pit.

I fully intend to repeat the experience.

It reminded me of another aspect of my imaginary adult kitchen which will be a lovely three-tiered hanging fruit basket, the top of which I may have to devote entirely to lychee.

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