Author Archives: ejm

About ejm

I am a freelance musician in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What I really love is good food, books, movies, gardening (even though I have a black thumb) and bicycle travel. My foodblog is at adventures in food and drink, recipes, disasters, triumphs....

Serendipity: Cabbage and Rapini

summary: stir-fried cabbage and rapini is the best; playing the Glad Game;

Whoohoooo! It’s above freezing and the roads are clear!

We went for a glorious bike-ride on Saturday. Before leaving, we chatted with our neighbour across the lane. He was happily chopping ice from the lane, thrilled to be outside in shirtsleeves. And so, as we rode north from the lake (that’s uphill…), we too had to stop to peel off scarves, mittens, extra sweaters, etc. etc. Because even though the gardens are still covered in snow, the sun was shining, and the roads were clear.

What a change from the weekend before when it took me twice the time it usually does to drive on snow-covered roads to get to work! When I got there, someone asked a colleague how her drive had been. Her reply: “Grim.”

cabbage and rapini The night after that dreadful drive, when it was still cold and snowy outside, we were rifling through the vegetable drawer to get the rapini and saw that there was quite as much as we had thought. There was only enough for one person. And there were two for dinner.

If there hadn’t been snow and ice all over the roads, we would have jumped on our bikes to race to the vegetable store. Walking would be equally treacherous and too slow (not everyone in our neighbourhood is diligent about clearing the snow from the sidewalk…). Of course, we could have taken the car. But that wouldn’t be right! (continue reading )

Jachnun and Zhug: trying something new has its rewards (BBB February 2017)

go directly to the recipe

Bread Baking Babes February 2017 summary: recipes for Jachnun and Zhug; stretching; overcoming fears; 9th (!) anniversary for the BBBabes; a Bread Baking Babes project;

jachnun and zhug Bread Baking Babes (BBB) January 2017: Jachnun

jachnun (BBB) Eeeeeeek!!! Now THAT is Bien Cuit

This month’s recipe, jachnun, was chosen by the always intrepid Lien (Notitie von Lien).

Jachnun is one of those dishes that everyone in Israel loves […] to be prepared a day in advance and baked all night long, so that there would be hot food on the sabbath, when lighting fires is prohibited. […] Brought over by Yemenite immigrants from Aden […] Originally, it was baked under the coals in families’ outdoor tabouns, recall immigrants’ children. It’s traditionally served here with grated fresh tomato, skhug (Yemenite hot sauce), and a hard-boiled egg, cooked in the pot along with the dough. You can find it sold at roadside stands, restaurants and rest stops […] Mind you, there are people still making jachnun from scratch. (There are supposedly even people still baking it under coals — though not many.)
– Liz Steinberg, Jachnun — Yemenite breakfast, Cafe Liz
Jachnun, a hearty, heavy, crepe-like Yemenite bread, is most often served with grated tomato and spicy z’hug on Saturdays as part of the Sabbath brunch. Observant Jews who don’t cook on Saturdays place a tightly covered pan of jachnun in a barely warm oven on Friday night (or drop the tin in the embers of the taboon and slow-bake it until they pull it out Saturday and serve it for lunch. Traditionally one egg for each guest is baked on top of the dough within the sealed tin; when they are peeled and quartered the next day, the shell and the white are deeply browned. […] This is hearty, heavy eating at its best — eat one or two pieces and you’re happily satisfied for hours. […] Do remember that it bakes for twelve hours.
– Uri Scheft, Jachnun, Breaking breads: A New World of Israeli Baking, p.149

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Orange You Glad You Baked This? – BBBabes and BBBuddies (January 2017)

summary: January 2017 Bread Baking Buddies; BBB Fouace Nantaise gallery

Fouace Nantaise is January’s BBB project. Considering that oranges are at the height of their season in late December and January (or at least that’s the case in the northern hemisphere), it just seemed fitting to choose a bread made with oranges. Even though not much of the orange is used….

BBBuddies Jan2017Bread Baking Buddies (BBB): Fouace Nantaise

This January, the BBBabes made Fouace Nantaise, based on Jamie Schler’s (Life’s a Feast) recipe. (Here is the recipe I used and here is Jamie’s recipe.)

This January has been a rollercoaster with wild weather fluctuations and bizarre happenings south of the border. Several BBBabes weathered the storms and baked the bread, but just three BBBuddies joined us this time around. Perhaps they got scared off by the looooooong rising time.

As always, BBBuddies come from all over the world; isn’t the internet wonderful? (continue reading )

Dreaming of Orange Blossoms – Fouace Nantaise (BBB January 2017)

go directly to the recipe

BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Fouace Nantaise, based on a recipe by Jamie Schler; orange blossom; yeast in the dead of winter; failure to learn from past mistakes; a Bread Baking Babes (BBB) project; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Brrrrrr… it’s coooooold outside!!

Fouace Nantaise Bread Baking Babes’ Fouace Nantaise, January 2017

Adonc Marquet, grand bastonnier de la confrarie des fouaciers, lui dist : « Vraiment tu es bien acresté à ce matin, tu mangeas hersoir trop de mil. Vien ça, un ça, je te donnerai de ma fouace. »
– François Rabelais, Gargantua, 1534
As I learned in the course of my education in the kitchen, “the recipe is never the recipe.” It might look comprehensive and legally binding, but in fact these recipes should be treated as a set of sketches or notes.
– Michael Pollan, Appendix I: Four Recipes, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, p878

For January’s BBB project, I waffled like crazy about what to choose. Without actually considering waffles…

Savoring Italy Cover Initially, it was going to be Carta da Musica, after reading about them in “Savoring Italy” by photographer Robert Freson:

On the island of Sardinia, eligible men used to choose their wives, not for their beauty or their intelligence, but for their ability to bake bread. […] The reason so much importance is given to bread in Sardinian culture probably stems from the fact that […] sheep or goat herding is the principal profession, and bread, which keeps well, can be carried up into high pastures and needs no further preparation, is the perfect shepherd’s food. […] Sardinian women have developed pane carasau, a flatbread so light and thin that it has been nicknamed carta di musica, or sheet music bread.
– Louis Inturrisi, Sicily/Sardinia, Savoring Italy, p229,230

Then, I saw something about the gluten-free Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread), that is made with cassava flour. (We did make these – remind me to report!)

Of all the foods I fell in love with in Brazil, Pao de Queijo (literally translated to ‘bread of cheese’, how can that not be delicious?) is right up there at the top. […] [T]here are several different methods to making these little balls of heaven.
– Sarah Wells, Our Best Bites: Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls {Pao de Queijo}
[P]ão de queijo is one of my family’s favorites. […] I use [half sweet and half] sour tapioca flour but the real trick is the cheese you use: queijo coalho.
-Danielle L, Brazilian Musician

At exactly the same time as we bought cassava flour, we saw that large bags of reasonably priced oranges were available. And suddenly, I remembered that I wanted to make Jamie’s (Life’s A Feast) Fouace Nantaise again.

So. After asking Jamie and making sure she didn’t mind, Fouace Nantaise is what January’s project is. Considering that oranges are at the height of their season in late December and January (or at least that’s the case in the northern hemisphere), it just seemed fitting to choose a bread made with oranges. Even though not much of the orange is used….

Fouace Nantaise Created in the 19th century by winegrowers in La Haie-Fouassière, a village near Nantes […] This treat in the shape of a six-pointed star consists of a sweet dough made from flour, butter, milk, sugar and sometimes local eau-de-vie. […] It is enjoyed on its own or with jam, for breakfast and tea. | Fouace nantaise

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The Season of Giving and Receiving

summary: Giving and receiving; spice of life; nutmeg;

‘Twas the night before Christmas

Over the years, I find that Christmas Eve arrives more and more suddenly. And this year it seems even more sudden. In spite of the early snowfall, making it very clear to us that it was winter.

nutmeg In a massive flurry over that last couple of days, we have congratulated ourselves for having sent off packages in the mail, made various kinds of bread, cookies and goodies galore, decorated the house, and are in the middle of preparing our Christmas feasts, beginning with tonight.

vinarterta ☑
cherry snowballs ☑
orange thyme shortbread ☑
Clarke’s bread ☑
Chicken Liver pate with green peppercorns ☑
Sandwich bread ☑ (ooops, more like slipper bread…)
Pulla ☑
Ginger shortbread ☑
Scottish shortbread ☑
Caramels ☑
Gingersnaps ☑
Cheese Biscuits ☑
Ragu ☑
Fresh Pasta ☑
Caponata ☑

The house is tidied; the kitchen floor is washed; the table is set; the oh-so-attractive-to-furry-black-fiends beads on the stairs have been doused in lemon oil (it really works to keep the little brat from making mincemeat out of them); it’s time to dress for dinner so I WON’T be wearing a housecoat and slippers to greet our guests…. (Christmas cards? You expect me to write Christmas cards BEFORE Christmas?? {cue hysterical laughter})

I cannot imagine how on earth I used to make an Advent calendar, painstakingly drawing a new image for each day! This year, I haven’t even managed to get a moment to take the time to look at “past year’s Advent calendars….

:hohoho: I hope you have, though. :hohoho:

And silly us. In our flurry in the kitchen, we didn’t even think about what to do with this stunningly beautiful nutmeg, complete with its covering of mace. Obviously, the nutmeg will last through many things – a few gratings are always more than enough. But. What to do, what to do? Please feel free to give us some ideas! For the nutmeg AND for the mace.
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