Tuesday, February 22, 2011

mondays are the new black

i have a bizarro week. wednesday & thursday cook like a maniac; friday at the market; saturday cook like a maniac and sunday at the market. monday is my new saturday and i love it! yesterday i went for a hike, cleaned the house, cooked a nice dinner and mostly just relaxed.

this is what it looks like where i go for hikes. my house is to the left but the ocean is the view from my living room and also above the kitchen sink. you'd think the view would inspire me to do the dishes more often, but alas, no...

this is me on top of a rock.

more of my view.

a little exercise to try to burn off those brownies and cupcakes...

i've spent the last 6 years living in ottawa. i went there to go to le cordon bleu after doing my undergrad at mcgill. i arrived with two suitcases with the intent to only stay 9 months. well six years later i had a two storey apartment full of stuff and figured it was time to stop just cooking on the line and put my business degree to use. don't get me wrong i did lots of cool stuff in ottawa - worked at some of the best fine dining restaurants, taught cooking classes at the urban element, and was on a bbq show called 'road grill' that was on the food network - hence the line of bbq sauces i make. ottawa has lots of green space, diverse shopping, restaurants & music and is an overall great city (minus the politicians) but there is no ocean and you can't just walk out the front door and climb rocks, so i moved home.

i'm still building up my list of suppliers and am trying to make connections within the food industry here, but it's fun and i've been able to source some awesome product so far. still need to do a little more exploration in the international stores, although i was very excited to find tandoori masala, cardamom pods and brown mustard seeds the other day. mushrooms though, i need some good mushrooms! suggestions please for maitakes, eryngiis, and honeys...

mondays also give me a little time to take care of some business stuff too. this is the finalized sticker that i'm going to put on all of my products with my business info:

it's time to graduate from the ghetto mailing labels on everything! can you tell i like colour? although if you've seen me at the market you could probably guess that anyway!

so last night i made some pepper crusted steaks, roasted potatoes and veggies for dinner. just wanted to mention a few things about properly searing meat. it drives me bonkers when people mess up meat. a properly seared, crusty steak is so satisfying. i find that loads of people get so freaked out about cooking meat that they fiddle with it and essentially end up steaming the meat instead of searing in all of the flavour and juices. here are some of my rules:

1. don't overcrowd the pan
2. don't touch the meat until you see dark brown caramelization licking up the sides
3. don't slice into the meat immediately - be patient and let it rest
4. preheat your pan - you better hear a nice sear when the meat goes in
5. properly season the meat before cooking

last night i took out my le creuset enamelled, cast-iron skillet (i love you julia child!). if you have cast-iron use it - don't be scared. it has such even heat distribution and holds the heat so well. i heated it up with some veg oil (don't use olive, the smoke point is too low), seasoned the meat liberally with lots of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and seared that puppy to delectable caramelized medium rare. i let it rest while i cooked the veggies and it was fast and easy and delicious and i only dirtied one pan (and a baking sheet for the potatoes...) pretty good. i'm no diva though - i did enjoy that steak with a healthy side of ketchup!

after the chicken extravaganza of last week i thought i'd mix it up a little for this week. i have ordered a whole loin of pork from getaway farm that i am picking up at the market tomorrow. their pork is a berkshire/tamworth cross, two radical heritage breeds. i'll probably brine it and slow roast it with veggies from noggins farm. just a classic roast pork dinner with gravy, mashed potatoes, veggies and rolls. i think i'll make another batch of wild nova scotia blueberry tartlets as well. they didn't sell well at all this week which i though was weird but i ate some last night and dang! i was pretty pleased with myself (and some help from my bro) if i do say so myself.

i also picked up a slow-cooker today (thanks gram) so i'll be serving up some hot soups and stews at the market very soon. trying to decide which flavour to try out first. probably curried butternut squash. the aromas of ginger, curry and cilantro should permeate the market quite nicely and hopefully attract loads of customers...

anyway, i'll post a complete menu with prices and stuff tomorrow night probably but for now just cook your meat well, please.


  1. Hooray hot soup!
    You are lucky to live that close to the ocean. What a great spot to hike. Love your new labels. I like colour too:) See you soon!

  2. Hi Jenna - EVERYTHING is delicious!
    The beet/greens(kale?)/maplesyrup/horseradish salad is particularly eyeopeningly gastronomically amazing! (I liked it cold and will also try it warm, for full effect I guess)
    thank you - cheers - Mary (soup lady)