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Two weekends ago Ottawa held it’s first ever Ottawa Underground Food Market thanks to Privé Food Thought. For more info on the group click here.

My awesome friend Sondra was able to attend and here is a guest post from her all about that very awesome night!

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It`s All About the Food Baby: A Night at The Ottawa Underground Food Market
Sondra Rogers

The various smells and sounds hit me as my friend and I made our way up the escalator. Trendy looking men and women from their late 20’s and up, were coming and going, excitedly chatting away, sipping on glasses of wine and happily noshing on plates of food. My mouth began to water. I think this is going to be a good thing, I thought to myself.

On Saturday, November 30th, my friend Christina and I decided to check out Ottawa’s first Underground Food Market, which was held at The Ottawa Convention Centre, and organized by Privé Food Thought. Based on the idea of bringing local chefs and street vendors together to share and show off their culinary skills, it offers an affordable and fun way for people to sample combination of foods never tried before and a way to get various, small, local businesses known.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when walking into the main area, but once there, I felt like a kid in a candy store or better yet, an adult at Sugar Mountain. A dj was spinning some electronic beats in one corner, crowds of people were either lined up everywhere, waiting to get a taste of something, sitting down or walking around with plates on hand, looking at other local vendors selling jewellery and art. I was so overwhelmed at first, where do I go? Which food to try? Churros! There are churros here! Oooh look at that? What’s does he have? Let me tell you, my friend and I quickly learned at this event, it’s not rude to stare outright at what people are eating, and there’s a strange sense of being overjoyed when someone asks you what that delicious concoction you have on your plate. No paranoid, self-consciousness here!

Pupusa by Flickr user roboppy

After agonizing for what seemed forever, we decided to plant ourselves in one of the longest lines of the night. Most people had no idea what they were lining up for, just that it was food and it looked good. It was the Pupusa line. Pupusas are a Latin American or more specific food originated in El Salvador, a thick corn tortilla that looks like flatbread, filled with either cheese and refried beans or pork and served with cabbage slaw, kind of like sauerkraut, and salsa. Made by Liyana Hospitality, it was one of the hits of the night. A couple of times they had to stop serving as they sold out of the pork pupusas, and only had one outlet to work with as the demand for it was growing. About 30 minutes in, we finally took our first bite of pupusa de queso (cheese and beans). Pure heaven. Plus we were starving; waiting in line gets you hungry. That was pretty much how we spent the night, moving from vendor to vendor, waiting in line and trying out the yummy samples. We ended up going to about four. Rare beef sandwich, with fried oysters and topped off with sauce bourguignonne, Korean wontons, “fake” jerk chicken sandwich made by Lovefoods (Another hit, I had 5 different people in a row ask me what it was and where I got it) and finally dessert, pure deliciousness of hot mini doughnuts sprinkled with whatever you choose, vanilla ice cream jammed between them, topped off with a cherry on top and appropriately named Hot Cream Holes.

Overall, a great and fairly inexpensive night, most items ranged in price from about $2.00 to $10.00. Aside from the incredibly long lineups and not enough chairs or tables to sit at (there’s only so much time you can spend walking around eating, until your feet start hurting) I would say that The Ottawa Food Market was quite a success. I’m already looking forward to Ottawa Privé’s next event, Sip n’Slurp, Ottawa’s Noodle Fest. Yup, my mouth is watering already, can`t wait! For more info, check out, http://privefoodthought.ca/ and https://www.facebook.com/Privefoodthought

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Thank you so much to my friend Kylie for writing this post for me!! I’m eternally jealous that she got to attend such an amazing event and am currently on the hunt for a sugar daddy who would like to take me to such fine foodie evenings in exchange for being completely embarrassed at my behaviour as I flirt with the guy pouring my wine. But enough about me and my wine… to Kylie for her account of Gold Medal Plates 2012!

I Can’t Believe I Didn’t Eat The Yak!

This past Monday I was given the amazing opportunity to attend the Gold Medal Plates event held at the NAC.   The event raises money for the Canadian Olympic Foundation while highlighting Ottawa’s best chefs.  Many cities across the country host a similar event.  The winning chef from each city meet later in 2013 to determine Canada’s best chef. Last year the winner was Ottawa’s own Marc Lepine from Atelier.

 Eight local restaurants showed off their talents and it was impressive.   Eight mini plates paired with Canadian wine and beer.  The evening finished with dessert provided by the NAC.

There was no description provided for the dessert but I would call it lemony ball of goodness with chocolate gold pebbles and hazelnut crumbs. Divine!

Unfortunately, I drove so I only sampled a few wines. The wines (and beers!) were all Canadian. The ones I tried were amazing and paired well.

The food was unbelievable, I was proud of our Ottawa restaurants and believe they are as good or better as restaurants in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal.  

The winners?

3rd place and my favourite –

Jonathan Korecki – Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen and Bar

Wild Turkey, kabocha and YOW curry

 

2nd place and so good my colleague went back for seconds

Jason Duffy – Arc Lounge.Dining

B.C. Ling cod, smokey “porchetta”, mushroom cake, green tomato chutney, pickled cherry-fennel pollen earth, basil

 

The winner? And the kicker?  I didn’t try this dish. I was so full and I thought to myself there is no way yak is going to win. I was wrong.  And to be honest I was a bit hesitant, I had never eaten yak. Biggest disappointment ever. 

Jamie Stunt – OZ Kafe

Pan seared Tiraislin Farms yak, prawn pickle, crispy tomatillo, smoked boar vinaigrette, herbs, citrus, and spice

 

The evening ended with performances by some of Canada’s great musical talents – Sam Roberts, Ed Robertson, Barney Bentall and Alan Doyle.  

What a memorable evening – if you ever get a chance to attend, do! You won’t regret it! And remember to try the yak!

 

 

Every now and then I get a pitch from a company asking me to participate in this, or promote that. Sometimes the offer sucks and sometimes it’s kinda neat. This is one of those kinda neat times. Would have been a lot neater if they had paid me… perhaps with actual Caesars, for this post. But hell, I’m going to share it with you anyway.

It seems that, in prep for Canada Day, Motts Clamato has gotten together with their official Caesar Mixing Officer (I know right, how cool must his business cards be??), Clint Pattemore, to come up with a signature Caesar for every province and one for the territories. Sorry Territories – you always get the short end of the stick with stuff like this. Tell you what, pay for me to come up and visit you all and I will make you a Caesar recipe just for you. Deal? Deal.

That said, I like this. I really only know the original so I’m interested in seeing the twists on a classic. And of course sharing them with you! So here they are.

Newfoundland

Rim – Celery Salt
1 oz. Screech Rum
1/2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (some seeds in)
2 grinds Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish – Sardine on a Skewer

1. Muddle pepper in the rum in a mixing glass.

2. Add all other ingredients with ice and stir.

3. Rim the serving glass and fill with fresh ice.

4. Fine strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

PEI

Rim – Fresh Cracked Celery Salt and Pepper
1 oz. Prince Edward Potato Vodka
2 dashes Hot Sauce
½ bar spoon Fish Sauce
4 grinds Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
4 oz. Clamato
Garnish – P.E.I. Mussel

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.

2. Roll three times with another glass.

3. Rim serving glass and fill with ice.

4. Strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Nova Scotia

Rim – Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
1 oz. Gin
1 oz. Lobster Broth
1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
3 dashes Hot Sauce
3 sprigs Dill
3 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish – Lobster Claw/Dill Sprig

1. Muddle dill in the gin in a mixing glass.

2. Add all other ingredients with ice and stir.

3. Rim the serving glass and fill with fresh ice.

4. Fine strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

New Brunswick

Rim – Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
1 oz. Brandy
3 dashes Louisiana Hot Sauce
4 grinds Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
6 leaves Arugula/Rocket
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish – Seared Scallop

1. Muddle arugula in the brandy in a mixing glass.

2. Add all other ingredients with ice and stir.

3. Rim the serving glass and fill with fresh ice.

4. Fine strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Quebec

Rim – Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
1 oz. Grand Marnier
Blueberries
3 drops Maple Bitters
½ oz. Lemon Juice
6 grinds Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish – Blueberries Dipped in Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper

1. Muddle blueberries in the Grand Marnier in a mixing glass.

2. Add all other ingredients with ice and stir.

3. Rim the serving glass and fill with fresh ice.

4. Fine strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Ontario

Rim – Celery Salt
1 oz. Pisco Brandy
1 bar spoon Grated Ginger
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
3 dashes Peri-Peri Sauce
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish Matt & Steve’s Extreme Bean

1. Muddle ginger in the pisco in a mixing glass.

2. Add all other ingredients with ice and stir.

3. Rim the serving glass and fill with fresh ice.

4. Fine strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Manitoba

Rim – Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
1 oz. Crown Royal
1 oz. Bison Broth
2 dashes Garlic Hot Sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
3 grinds Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
3 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish – Buffalo Mozzarella Balls and a Cherry Tomato on a Skewer

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.

2. Roll three times with another glass.

3. Rim serving glass and fill with ice.

4. Strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Saskatchewan

Rim – Celery Salt
1 oz. Wiser’s Special Blend Whisky
1 fork full Sauerkraut
3 dashes Hot Sauce
5 grinds Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish Pickled Baby Corn

1. Muddle sauerkraut in the whisky in a mixing glass.

2. Add all other ingredients with ice and stir.

3. Rim the serving glass and fill with fresh ice.

4. Fine strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Alberta

Rim – Steak Spice
1 oz. Alberta Premium Rye Whisky
1 oz. Beef Stock
1 pinch Steak Spice
2 dashes Hot Sauce
3 grinds Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish – Grilled Flank Steak on a Skewer

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.

2. Roll three times with another glass.

3. Rim serving glass and fill with ice.

4. Strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

British Columbia

Rim – Chinese Five-Spice / Fresh Cracked Salt and Pepper
1 oz. Victoria Gin
½ bar spoon Siracha Hot Sauce
½ bar spoon Oyster Sauce
3 grinds Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
5 dashes Worcestershire
4 oz. Mott’s Clamato
Garnish Salmon Jerky

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.

2. Roll three times with another glass.

3. Rim serving glass and fill with ice.

4. Strain the Caesar into the serving glass, garnish.

Canada’s North

4 oz Mr and Mrs T Margarita mix
1 oz Polar Ice Vodka
4 oz Mott’s Clamato Extra Spicy Cocktail
1 oz Polar Ice Vodka
4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
Garnish – Lime Slice

Make Margarita Slush:

1. In a blender, combine 4 oz of Mr and Mrs T’s Margarita Mix with 1 oz

of vodka and 3 cups ice. Blend until smooth.

2. In a separate glass, mix Mott’s Clamato Extra Spicy Cocktail, vodka,

Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper over ice.

3. Scoop margarita slush into center of margarita glass.

4. Gently pour Clamato mixture around margarita slush.

5. Garnish with a lime slice

Ontario Craft Breweries are brewing some delicious beers these days and beer drinkers are taking notice. The LCBO’s sales of Ontario Craft Beer have increased by almost 53% over last year.  That’s pretty amazing considering the sale of Ontario wine only increased a still very respectable 15% over last year.
Now that fall is here and many local breweries are launching fall seasonal beers I thought I’d recommend some Ontario brewed beers that are perfectly suited to sipping this pre-winter.

What makes a good fall beer?
As an avid beer drinker and lover of all things brew my idea of a good autumn beer are typically:
– Amber, copper or brown coloured beers which usually impart a sweeter or more malty flavour
– Ales as opposed to Lagers are typically a better fit to our chilly fall weather for their
– Slightly higher in alcohol content than a lighter coloured summer beer or lager

All the beers mentioned below are beers that I have personally tasted on several occasions. These are tried and tested brews I believe will match up perfectly with your thanksgiving dinner, watching hockey or just watching the leaves fall.

Mill Street Tankhouse Ale – This is one of my favourite everyday brews but this copper ale is perfectly suited to the fall season. Tankhouse Ale is quite a hoppy or bitter beer but it’s perfectly balanced by sweet malts. This is definitely a great session beer where one is just not enough.

Beau’s Night Marzen – This Oktoberfest beer from Beau’s is a beautiful amber/almost ruby colour.  It has a really nice sweet biscuit like flavour up front and then ends with some dried fruit flavour and a nice slightly floral hoppy finish. This is a very drinkable beer.

Kichesippi 1855 – Ottawa’s own Kichessippi has been brewing this dark ale since this summer but this is a fantastic autumn ale.  Visually it’s a more of a brown when compared to the Beau’s Night Marzen’s ruby hue. The flavour is sweet with a hint of roasted malt up front and more of a dry finish and less fruity notes when compared to the Beau’s.

Special Mention:
St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale  – While this beer is from Quebec I still felt compelled to mention it as it’s a perfect fall beer and might be a revelation to some less experienced beer drinkers. This light amber ale is brewed with pumpkin and spices (nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon) and is a wonderful beer to enjoy with Thanksgiving dinner.

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Thanks to my friend Shaun Desjardins for this wonderful post! Shaun is an an avid beer drinker and lover of all things brew. Cheers!

My friend Katie sent this to me the other day and I thought it was such a cute idea that I had to share it! I’m often not at much of a loss for what to make for dinner… but if I ever am I’m going to be using this! To see a bigger version, just click on the image.

What else have I been up to this week?

A review of Everyday Flexitarian on My Friend in Food
Easter Scalloped Potatoes on Bunchland
Raspberry Turnovers for The Test Kitchen on Best Tools For Schools

Busy busy busy…

Don’t forget! If you want to get in on my latest contest and win a copy of Mad Hungry all you need to do is click here and ‘like’ my facebook page!

Here’s another list of posts I wrote that didn’t end up on this site!

A review of Ace Your Health by Theresa Albert FOR Theresa Albert on My Friend in Food

Decadent Brown Sugar Hot Chocolate on A Little Bit of Foodsense

Twice Baked Potatoes on Best Tools For Schools Test Kitchen

Holiday Spice Cookies on Bunchland

The other day I decided it was probably a good idea to start writing up a post with links to all the guest posts I write… or at least those I remember writing. I’ll toss in a few older posts too just until I’m caught up. Ahhh catching up, the story of my life! Just for fun I’ll top it off with a random photo of one of the ways I waste the rest of my free time.

Poached Pears at the Test Kitchen  on Best Tools for Schools
Tuna Casserole on Best Tools for Schools

Maple Lemonade on A Little Bit of Foodsense
Sweet Potato Curry on A Little Bit of Foodsense

Leprechaun Milkshakes on Bunchland (see I told you I was behind!)

I Say Random Things On Twitter…

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Instagram Photo Oddness...

Ah crap... Just a smidge too long under the broiler. Summoning up my inner Julia Child for the umpteen time today. .
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#turkey #sesoning #pastry #quiche #wfd #wfl #brunch #juliachild #wwjcd #whatwouldjuliachilddo Turkey Sesoning spiced savoury pie pastry!

Half is being frozen for chicken pot pie later in the week and half is being turned into a smoked cheddar, ham quiche. Knowing me...it will look "rustic". ;) #spice #spiceshop #fresh #organic #handblended #ottawaeats #brunch #wfl #wfd #dayinthekitchen This is an accurate representation of my day. The cherry on an invigorating and simultaneously exhausting week. 
Equal parts good and bad, high and low, home and work. #momboss needs a #coffee lol

Past Foodie Adventures…