Another Adventure in Tofino, BC

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We recently flew off to Vancouver Island to seek refuge from the freezing winter temperatures in Toronto. We were also traveling to welcome a new addition to my friend’s family, Liam, who was a little over a week old.

In true BC style, we were only there a day or two when we set out on an adventure with the baby in tow. We drove to Tofino on the other side of the island so that my friend Joseph and his son-in-law, Wade, could set off in search of a crashed 1945 plane. The RCAF Canso Flight 11007 took off from the RCAF Air Station in Tofino on February 8, 1945 but crashed in the woods not far south of the airport. Miraculously, the 12 crew members survived and made it out to safety but the plane remains at the crash site deep in the woods south of town.

For the past 70 years, hikers have braved the deep woods, unmarked trails and muddy marshland to find the plane just so that they can say they made it. It is a tough 3 hour hike through mud and marshland best made wearing rubber boots. That said, our fellows decided to try it without waterproof gear. Close to the crash site Joseph slipped off a fallen wet tree trunk, while traversing it across a gully, falling 4 feet  and hitting it on his way down. They made it back to the road hobbling and covered in mud, Wade’s pants showing wear and tear of the journey.

Photo by J.S.Swider

Photo by J.S.Swider

Photo by J.S.Swider

Photo by J.S.Swider

While the guys were hiking Mom, and Baby and I relaxed over a deliciious lunch at Sobo Restaurant and shopped around town. I love the atmosphere in Tofino where locals enjoy life with a true sense of adventure.

We waited for a call that they had made it back the highway and drove down to pick them up. I was surprised to see Joseph walking with a tall walking stick, since he is quite an athlete, but both had smiles of accomplishment on their faces.  I surmised that the hike was much more difficult than they had expected.

Wolf in the Fog

We ended our day over a relaxing dinner at The Wolf in the Fog. We were excited to experience this wonderful place after it was named Canada’s Best New Restaurant 2014 by Air Canada’s Enroute magazine. We wanted to know what the fuss was about.

When we arrived Joseph was still muddy up to one knee and a little worse for wear. Nevertheless; the staff welcomed us and found us a spot in the cafe where we could snuggle up for dinner.

 

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Chef Nicholas Nutting prepared wonderful West Coast comfort food from local ingredients. We decided to order 2 plates to share. The first was the French Bombshell consisting of scallops, shellfish “Bourguignon”, black cod, baguette and endive salad. Our second choice was the Mighty Duck featuring whole BC duck, beetroot and Gorgonzola lasagna with blood orange. The flavour combinations on these platters were amazing!

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I love that the plates and the serving platters were vintage china, making it all feel very like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s place. I loved the casual ambience and the feeling that we could just relax and enjoy the wonderful food with friends and family. It had been a long day and we were ready for a feeling of comfort and some great food.

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In spite of its more modern decor, Wolf in the Fog has a retro feel to it. The staff were attentive and the service was good. I enjoyed the full size LPs playing classic rock music in the ground floor cafe. It reminded us of simpler times.The evening was filled with stories of the day, laughter and memories.

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The restaurant deserves it’s great reviews. The staff were welcoming and the food was amazing. I cannot wait until our next trip to Tofino so we can go back.

Loving the Windy City and Cantaloupe, Peach and Strawberry Smoothies

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The other weekend my best friend and I went to Chicago for the first time. We had heard so much about the architecture, the food and the lively music scene. Since Chicago is only a one and a half hour flight from Toronto, it is an easy place to visit for a long weekend.

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We took in the architecture by taking a boat cruise offered by the Architectural Society. I strongly suggest one of these cruises since the tour runs through the city along the river and features evidence of the historic transformation of Chicago from its rebirth after a major fire burned it to the ground in 1871. The city planners have done a wonderful job of protecting the river front by ensuring that all new buildings and renovations feature a river walk area that meets their standards.

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A visit to The Art Institute of Chicago was a great way to spend the afternoon taking in the contemporary art and photography exhibits.

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When not touring the river front area, we found great places to eat that could accommodate my friend’s gluten-free, vegan diet and still provide a great variety for my tastes. One place that I really loved was Eataly, a gourmet Italian food experience that was like Disneyland for food lovers. The large space is filled with a variety of delicacies from Italy from wines to pasta and wood fired pizzas. There are 9 mini restaurants nestled in between each department of this store. Since they were able to accommodate my friend’s diet, we had lunch there twice. I understand that there is also and Eataly in New York City and that they might be opening one in Toronto. I cannot wait.

Another thing that is well worth doing is taking in some of the local music scene. We went to a local club called Kingston Mines to hear blues bands one night. This low-key, earthy bar hosts 2 acts per night and rotates sets between two different rooms until 5 AM. It is really worth the short drive from downtown to see these talented blues artists.

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We also saw Motown the Musical as part of the Broadway in Chicago line up. The musical revue acts out the history of the Motown music scene from the beginning to the 25th anniversary. It was a great evening filled with the music made famous by groups like the Temptations, the Supremes and the Jackson 5.

We tried to see as much of Chicago as we could fit into a long weekend so like most tourists, we made sure that we visited the famous Bean in Millenium Park. It is difficult to really see a city in four days, but my first impression was that I would like to go back and see more of this lively place.

After a weekend of food and wine and fun I though I should get back to my healthy diet at home. A great way to help get back on track is to drink smoothies for breakfast or lunch. This smoothie recipe is really light and fresh while also being very healthy.

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Cantaloupe, Peach and Strawberry Smoothie

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup cantaloupe, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, without stems
2 cups chopped peaches, peeled
1 cup coconut water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 tbsp. honey, to your taste

Directions:
Blend the cantaloupe into a juice.
Add the strawberries, peaches, coconut water and lime juice.
Blend again until smooth and frothy.
Add honey to sweeten to your desired level of sweetness.

Recipe modified from Superfood Smoothies by Julie Morris

A Day of Food, Fun, and Facing my Fears, in Beautiful Vancouver

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During a recent visit to Vancouver Island, we took a 2 hour ferry ride from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. We set out at the crack of dawn to make the early ferry so we would have lots of time for adventures and sight-seeing.

Once on the mainland, we headed for the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. None of us had been there before, so we were ready to explore.

Now, I have a confession to make; I am terrified of heights!

The Capilano Suspension bridge runs 450 feet across the Capilano River, suspended 230 feet in the air. Crossing the bridge was a personal challenge for me that I was thrilled to meet. Once you are across, the only way back is to walk the other way back across the bridge. Walking over the first time was the most frightening because another visitor decided to run across the bridge sending it into a sway that felt like we were walking across a moving floor.

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The bridge is not the most challenging activity in the park. There is also a Cliff Walk that is a narrow walkway that runs along the side of the cliff facing, which has been described as “not for the faint of heart”. I know what you are thinking; and yes, I did the cliff walk as well. I moved slowly across the walkway, stopping every so often to take a photo of the magnificent view. By the time I got to the end I was shaking. It was difficult to tell if it was from fear or the excitement of completing the crossing.

Sometimes, facing your fears can be liberating.

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After some time at the park and some shopping downtown we headed for Vancouver’s Granville Island. I love the rows of shops selling unique artisanal work, gourmet treats and wonderful treasures. I think to do Granville Island justice you need to really make a day of it. You could visit the public farmer’s market and wander the stores for hours without getting bored.

We wandered around until it was almost dark and then decided to try an interesting looking bistro.

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Edible Canada at the Market offers a prixe fix dinner menu for $28 that is a wonderful selection of local BC and Canadian cuisine. The restaurant has an upscale bistro look, with a relaxed atmosphere. There is a long, open kitchen facing the dining area so you can watch the chefs as they work their magic.

We were greeted by a pleasant group of staff and seated by the window. It was decided that we would each order something different for each of the 3 courses so we could share and taste more of what was offered.

The first appetizer was a rich and flavourful Celeriac and Apple soup with a hint of garam masala. The second was Fried BC Mountain Scallops that were served with brown sugar, bacon, baked beans and cornbread. They were not as I expected, due to the name, but the complex flavours were very interesting. Finally, we tried the Yarrow Meadows Duck Rillette, a Rougie fois gras served with Saskatoon berries, mustard, pickled onions and crostini. It was more rustic that any fois gras that I have experienced in Provence but the combination with the berries was perfect.

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For the main course we tried three more dishes. The first, a Butternut squash and Cheese Ravioli served in brown sage butter with toasted walnuts. This is a dish that I often make at home but their version also included slices of roasted winter vegetables that added enough interest to make it seem like a whole new dish.

The second main was a Sear Lois Lake Steelhead fish from the Fraser Valley. It was accompanied by winter kale, wild boar bacon and roasted sunchokes from a local farm. Another hit!

The last main that we tried was the Head to Tail Lamb and Barley Stew. This rich and delightful stew included carrots and parsnips and was served with slices of local baguette.

All of the mains were enjoyed with a glass of Market Red 2012 wine that was blended specifically for the restaurant from a variety of reds from the Okanagan Valley. It was such a wonderful blend filled with notes of black cherry and plums. We had hoped that it was not a private blend as we wanted the take a bottle home.

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The last course consisted of a Canadian butter tart and a Bacon Ice Cream Sundae. Need I say more?

The staff were attentive without making us feel rushed. They were knowledgable about the ingredients and very engaging in conversation. It felt as though they were as proud of the food as the owners must have been.

I don’t usually write restaurant reviews but Edible Canada was the kind of place that you want people to try when visiting Vancouver. They also offer culinary tours and a lovely food shop for those who want to take home some local cuisine.

We ended our visit to Vancouver with a late ferry ride back to the island. It was a great day filled with adventure, new experiences and great food. I cannot wait to go back.

Hiding from Old Man Winter at the Beach House

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We decided that we had had enough of the winter weather in Toronto. This year has been particularly bad for snow, freezing rain and below freezing temperatures, so we made our escape to our favourite beach house on Vancouver Island. We had spent a week there last summer and could not forget how much fun we had, while staying there. We knew that the weather would be much milder than in Toronto and we needed a break. The island days were much warmer so I did not need to wear boots, hats or scarves for the entire week.

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The beach house is nestled in a quiet strip of land on the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. We have relatives and friends living a few minutes away, in Courtenay, so we visit with them during our stay.

There is something remarkable about waking up to the view of the ocean right outside your door. Even in winter, it can be good for your soul. We did; however; have a couple of days where the fog set in and we could not see the water that was only across the street. We walked over and watched the ducks and gulls floating softly on the water. It was almost as if they had also come to the beach for refuge.

I love spending my vacation days sourcing out new and interesting places to eat. One of those days we tried a little spot for breakfast in Courtenay that turned out to be a real treasure. The Ohhh So Yummy Cafe at 1190 Cliffe Ave. sits in front of the Comox Valley Inn, but is independently run.

It is one of those truly special breakfast places that serve up memories on a plate. You may have to line up to get in but it would be worth the wait. I had a special Eggs Benedict that was served with roasted yams, feta and grilled mushrooms. The owner talked me into trying the hollandaise sauce with a hint of curry. The combination of the yams and the curry was extraordinary!

Yummy-eggs

Another day we decided to explore Qualicum Beach which is father south on the coast. We spent a leisurely afternoon exploring shops and antique stores then decided to head north on the Old Island Highway. We found a rather unique spot just outside of town called the Shady Waterfront Restaurant, Pub, and Liquor Store.

It was time for dinner and we were intrigued by the combination of pub, liquor store and restaurant so we stopped to check it out. The place, built in 1924, was run by 3 generations of the Kinkade family over a 61 year period. In 1985 Wane Duncan, a restaurateur from Victoria bought the business and has run it ever since. It is a favourite of the locals for its casual, welcoming atmosphere and breathtaking views.

The rustic pub sits at the water’s edge with a bank of windows facing the spectacular beach that runs the full length of the dining room. The menu looked like a list of every comfort food you could imagine from fresh oysters and pot roast to schnitzel and ribs. Many of the dishes were made with local fish, oysters, meat and produce from the area. The striploin sandwich served on a garlic focaccia with tomato confit and a mound of beer battered onion rings was like a marriage of comfort food and modern bistro cuisine.

We left with that warm feeling you get after a wonderful family dinner. I will definitely go back on my next trip to the island.
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After wandering around downtown Courtenay we stopped in at the Cardero Coffee and Tea Company on 5th St. for a latte and a snack. We tried the signature Cardero Latte flavoured with hazelnuts along with a strawberry tart. The latte was rich and creamy and nutty, all at once. If you ever find yourself in Courtenay on a Saturday I suggest you have breakfast at Ohhh So Yummy, followed by a trip to the local farmer’s market and a latte at Cardero’s.

Latte-Courtenay

No trip to the island would be complete without a drive to Campbell River. There are wonderful water walks and parks along the sea wall that go on for miles and the views are spectacular. We were lucky to hit it on a clear and beautiful day.

I loved walking along the waterfront while soaking up the sun. I cannot wait to return to Vancouver Island for another adventure.

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Saying so long to Seattle

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Well here I am, back in my daily routine and only a few days since the IFBC 2013 conference in Seattle has ended. Many of my friends have asked what the conference was like so I will give you soem highlights. First of all, I really enjoyed meeting such a diverse group of bloggers, speakers and corporate sponsors.

Some highlights of the trip for me were:

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Going to Chateau Ste. Michelle for a wine tour and tasting:

A group of us signed up for this pre-conference tour. We were taking by bus to Woodinville, WA to see the Chateau Ste. Michelle wine operation. Although the Chateau was not in the same location as the vineyards, we were able get an appreciation of the size and scope of the wine making process. After touring the bottling plant we were provided with a tasting of 5 Chateau St. Michele wines accompanied by some light appetizers for pairing. Culinary Director, John Sarich walked us through each of the vintages and which dish would pair well with each. I had no idea that Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest producer of Reisling wine in the world. It was a great way to spend the afternoon and a good way to meet people.

Touring around Seattle:

I love to travel and see new places.  I decided to take an unconventional route so I took the Victoria Clipper ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Seattle. The ferry travelled down through Puget Sound and docked close to the downtown core.  It took 2 ½ hours to make the crossing but it was a very relaxing trip and the views were amazing.

When I was not in the conference, I spent most of my free time exploring the city. As I mentioned earlier I loved Pike’s Place market. I also explored the downtown area. Seattle is a small city compared to Toronto with a population of approximately 650,000 in its downtown core. The people were friendly and getting around was easy.

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One morning I got up very early to visit the Space Needle and Seattle Center. The Warwick Hotel, where I stayed was central to all of the sights so I was able to walk around quite easily. I did; however; take the Monorail from Seattle Center to the Westlake Center in the downtown core just to have the experience. It only took less than 5 minutes for the trip on this very cool train.

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The Seattle Central Library was also a great place to visit if you love great architecture. The library is decieving from the outside. I climbed up to the 10th floor via escalators before taking the elevator back down to level 1.

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Dinner at Purple on our last night in Seattle:

Urbanspoon hosted dinner parties at 25 different restaurants across Seattle. We were each given a card indicating the neighbourhood that we would be going to but no other information until the Staturday evening when it was time to go. Then we were given directions to our surprise destinations.

My group had the good fortune to be hosted by Purple on 4th Avenue. The restaurant had prepared a wonderful 7 course tasting menu complete with wine parings from their massive wine cellar. The food was spectacular and the pairings were delicious.

Our hosts were very gracious. It was an evening that I will not soon forget.

Food Photography sessions with Andrew Scrivani:

As you can imagine, I was really excited about meeting the renowned NY Times food photographer, Andrew Scrivani. I did not expect that he would be such a personable guy. In spite of his great success as a food photographer, he did not present as someone with a huge ego. He presented twice at the conference. First was a session of food preparation and food photography with Chef John Mitzewich of Food Wishes. The chef and his assistants prepared a few plates of sushi and Andrew explained the process of photographing them. I enjoyed Andrew’s discussion of his work and how he sees the photos.

The second session was about his workflow and the business of food photography. Needless to say I took many pages of notes from this session and came home with a huge to do list.

Meeting Dorie Greenspan:

As I mentioned in my previous post, Dorie is my favourite cookbook author so meeting and chatting with her was an enormous thrill! She is so very charming and quite modest.

All in all; I think this conference was well worth the trip to Seattle. It was informative, fun and I met some great people from all over the U.S. and Canada.

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Checking out Seattle at Pike’s Place Market

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I am so excited! I arrived in Seattle on Wednesday for the International Food Bloggers Conference IFBC2013. My plan was to get here a couple of days early so I would have time to explore Seattle.

Yesterday I got up extra early so I could have breakfast at the famous Pike’s Place Market. It was definitely worth getting up early for. I arrived at the market by 8 AM, bought a croissant and latte and watched the place come to life.

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One of the things that you must see at the market is the floor show put on by the fish mongers at Pike’s Place Fish Company. They call out to each other every time someone buys a fish and throw the fish to the cashier for packing. I have never seen such a variety of fresh fish or in such large sizes. I don’t think there is a fish lover in the world who would not love to check this part of the market out.

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The market also offers a great variety of produce from local growers and beautiful flowers from the region. There are also craft vendors and spice shops and across from the market is a row of cafes and specialty shops and bakeries.

It was a great way to spend a morning while passing time in Seattle.

Today the conference starts. I am up and ready to go. I am really looking forward to spending time with other food bloggers from all over the world.

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Lazy Summer Days and Peach Lemonade

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here”

Songwriters: C. TOBIAS, H. CARSTE

That song brings back memories of my childhood when my mother played Nat King Cole at summer BarBQs. Life was free and easy and summers were filled with fun in the sun.

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We just got back from a fun-filled vacation on Vancouver Island. We rented a charming beach house in the middle of the island that had views of the Comox Harbour and the ghost ships of Royston.

Our vacation was so amazing. I was really ready for a break from the city so when we arrived and I saw the breathtaking views of this island, I was in heaven. Every place we visited had wonderful views of the ocean and the mountains. I knew instantly that I was going to love this place.

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We filled our days with touring, kayaking, photography, hiking and surfing. Our evenings were spent dining out or cooking for family and just relaxing under the stars.

Cape-Mudge-Lighthouse

One day we took a drive to Campbell River and took the ferry to Quadra Island. That is where I found this amazing lighthouse at Cape Mudge. I love lighthouses. There is something nostalgic and mysterious about them.

We spent another day checking out the farmers markets in the area. Summer is a great time to experiment with fresh ingredients from the market.

Vancouver Island is filled with treasures. I know I am going to need more time there to find them all.

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This Peach Lemonade makes a cool, refreshing drink for a day at the beach or a picnic. The adults may wish to add Rum or Bourbon or just drink it as it is. Either way it is delicious.

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Peach Lemonade

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 cups water

2 cups coarsely chopped peaches

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

4 cups ice

1 peach, pitted and cut into 8 wedges

Directions:

Combine the water, peaches and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.

Place peach mixture in a blender; let stand for 20 minutes. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Press peach mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids. Stir in lemon juice.

Place 1/2 cup ice in each of 8 glasses. Pour about 2/3 cup lemonade into each glass; garnish each glass with 1 peach wedge.

(For the adults only-Can be served with an ounce of Rum or Bourbon )

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Remembering Nice with Nicoise Salad with Haricots Vert and Yukon Gold Potatoes

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Salad Nicoise is one of my all-time favourite salads. Named after the wonderful french city of Nice, this salad embodies the best of their regional cuisine.

Whenever I am in Nice I love to go exploring. When walking along the Promenade des Anglais I find it a little odd to see such breathtaking sea views only a few steps away from this cosmopolitan city. I think that is one the things that make Nice so special.

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Walking around the city once cannot help but notice the juxtaposition of the traditional architecture with the ultra-modern transportation.

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You can walk to the historic old town where you can experience Nice’s world-renowned flower market or the farmer’s market. There are also some lovely antique shops and bakeries hidden around the old town.

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I love to spend my time wandering the streets to find interesting sights, sample local delicacies and enjoy outdoor cafes. Every time I have this salad I remember my visits to Nice. I remember dinners in lovely open-air restaurants after dark and I remember sipping a glass of wine in a bar on the beach while watching the waves crash on the rocks.

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While recalling trips from years past, I often recall the wonderful meals that we ate along the way.

I decided to pair this salad with an Ontario wine from Hidden Bench winery in the Niagara Escarpment. This wonderful Bistro Rose 2012 has a nose of strawberries, ripe cherries and white flowers. It was a perfect complement to a Mediterranean salad due to its rich, full bodied flavour.

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Nicoise Salad with Haricots Vert and Yukon Gold Potatoes

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 lbs. baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
Kosher salt
1 lb. haricots vert, trimmed
3 tbsp. red-wine vinegar
1 tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can white tuna, drained well and flaked
2 tsp. capers, rinsed and drained
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 cup pitted Niçoise or Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Set the potatoes in a large (6-quart) pot, cover them with cold water by a couple of inches, stir in 2 tbsp. salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the haricots vert and cook until they turn bright green and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain well and cool under running water.

In a blender or food processor, blend the vinegar with the mustard. With the machine still running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream so the mixture comes together into a thick emulsion. Add the shallot, 2 tsp. thyme, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper, and purée until incorporated. Taste and season the dressing with more salt and pepper if needed.

Add 1 or 2 tbsp. water if needed to thin the dressing to a pourable consistency.

To plate individually, lightly toss the potatoes, beans, tomatoes, and olives with half the vinaigrette and plate; top with the tuna, capers, and the remaining thyme; and serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Wine Pairing: I paired this salad with a bottle of Hidden Bench Bistro Rose 2012

http://www.hiddenbench.com

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking Fresh and Quick Magazine

A Little Taste of Paris and Warm Apple Quinoa Crepes

Elora Mill

Elora reflections

A few weeks ago we were in an area north of Toronto for a family wedding. On the way home that Sunday we decided that since we were already in the area, why not go exploring some of the places that we never get to see. One place that came to mind was Elora, Ontario.

Elora is a historic village  1 1/2 hours north-west of Toronto that is nestled along the Grand River. It is well-known for the Elora Gorge Park and Quarrie, The Elora Festival and The Elora Mill Country Inn and Restaurant.  The village has become home to numerous artisans and performers and is a favourite spot for a weekend getaway.

The Elora Mill, at the head of the Elora Gorge, was constructed in 1833. It is considered one of Ontario’s finest historic mills and was made famous in the 1930s by a painting by Canadian Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson. When the mill ceased operating in 1974 it was turned into a lovely country inn and fine dining establishment.

Our original intent was to have lunch at the Inn while looking out over the river, but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. Still hungry, we started to wander along the shops that back onto the Grand River on Mills St. and came upon a quaint little spot called Cafe Creperie.

After choosing a cozy window seat we were greeted by a charming French gentleman who inquired as to whether we had tried their crepes before. We said that we had not and he just smiled and told us we were in for treat. As we waited I glanced around the room at the warm, rustic decor and small intimate tables. There was a collection of photographic portraits on the walls that showcased Elora’s talented artistic community.

The menu offered a variety of sweet and savoury crepes with wonderful fillings like goat cheese, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, etc. I ended up choosing the Provencal and my friend ordered the Tuscan crepe. Minutes later we were served the most delightful lunch. Let me start by saying I am a crepe lover from way back and I have tasted crepes in Canada and France many times. The crepes that we had this day were the best I have ever had!

The batter was exactly the right consistency and each crepe was topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper. It was light and flavourful and so very French. It was a little taste of Paris in Elora, Ontario.

As it turns out; our charming server was actually the chef, Jacques Dion. His warm demeanor, delightful smile and culinary prowess are a treasure to find in this little village. The restaurant often hosts artists works and musical events and contributes regularly to other village events. It is worth the drive next time you are in the area.

Crepe chef Elora

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Although I was not able to get the recipe from Jacques for his wonderful crepes, I was able to find this one from one of my favourite cookbooks. These Quinoa Crepes with Warm Apples are a healthy option served with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and are vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Warm Apple Quinoa Crepes

Apple Topping

Makes 6 crepes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. (30 ml) non hydrogenated margarine

4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar, packed

½ tsp. (2 ml) ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg

1 ½ cups (125 ml) low-fat vanilla yogurt

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Prepare Quinoa Crepes (see recipe below).

Add the margarine to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they are translucent.

Add the brown sugar, stirring to coat the fruit, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble.

Add the spices and continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the apple slices are tender but not mushy. (Recipe can be made in advance to this point. Cool, refrigerate and then reheat before serving.)

To serve, fold the crepes in quarters and place on a plate. Add a few tablespoons of the apple mixture and a dollop of yogurt on each. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add a sprig of mint to each plate.

Serve.

Basic Quinoa Crepes

Makes 6 crepes

Ingredients:

¾ cup (185 ml) quinoa flour

3 large eggs

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil

1 cup (250 ml) organic vanilla soy beverage

Directions:

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the flour, eggs, oil and soy beverage for 10-15 seconds, until smooth and lump free. Refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Lightly grease a small 7-8 inch crepe pan with canola oil. Spoon 3 tbsp. of the batter into the pan and rotate the pan around so that there is an even coating on the bottom of the pan.

Turn the crepe after 30 seconds. Crepe will be lightly browned and will be flexible for folding.

Place cooled crepes on a plate lined with parchment pepper to cool. They can either be used in crepe recipes or frozen for later use. Freeze in small amounts, placing a small piece of parchment paper between the crepes and wrapping them in clear plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Recipe from The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook edited by Marilyn Smith, PHEc from the Ontario Home Economics Association.