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seasonal food

HOME + GARDEN HOME decor

New Uses for Old Things: Wooden Boxes …and Tips for a Rustic Meal

storage made of wooden boxes

storage made of wooden boxes
Photo: Wooden Box Service Stations at Clyde Common via Remodelista

Each fall, I crave for cosy space and comfort food. There is a design lesson to take home from the service stations at Clyde Common, a Portland restaurant located at the Ace Hotel. You could replicate their design to organize your pantry, your linen closet, or to create storage in your craft room or your kids’ playroom.

Laid-Back Food Presentation

serving steaks on a wood cutting boards
all food photos by David Reamer for Clyde Common

After reading their story on Remodelista, I was curious to see how Clyde Common interprets the European style tavern. I wanted to see how it differs from what is happening here in Montreal. This led me to food presentation that you can steal for your next fall or winter dinner party.

family style at the table

Even though I am a stylish girl, I appreciate the laid-back feeling of food being served on cocottes, cast-iron pans and wooden cutting boards. When I host an everyday dinner party at home, I leave the fancy food presentation to the professional chefs and concentrate my energy on cooking delicious food. Through simple tricks, I add flair to my meal.

charcuterie tray
A crowd-pleaser: the charcuterie tray

Finally, a cute way to serve crudités with their vinaigrette. Even if people don’t eat it, they pleasantly decorate your table.

veggies in a mason jar

What is your favorite way to serve food in fall or winter?

ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining

Spooky Forest Halloween Party Food

spooky forest halloween party theme for kids

spooky forest halloween party theme for kids

I started to think about how we will celebrate Halloween. Yesterday, I ordered online my son’s costume. You will notice the influence of my geek husband when I tell you that my son will dress up as an astronaut. He played Darth Vader last year.

Now that his costume is taken care of, I can concentrate on an Halloween party for young kids. I look for a fun twist on the eerie theme. Something that would be unusual but that will not scare the children. I also care about the ingredients. Too much sweet is not good for toddlers. And if I can put a touch of healthy that it is even better. I feel that I compiled a winner mix with this assortment of party food and drink.

For the signature drink, style your favorite kid-friendly sparkling lemonade with a gummy fish, eggs made of coloured tapioca pearls topped with a gummy worm. Get the entire Swamp juice recipe (No. 1) at Family Fun.

For the healthy part, make these cut cheese fingers (No. 3) with mozzarella string cheese. Make the fingertip by glueing a piece of green pepper, a piece of cucumber (skin up), half of a black olive or half a red grape with cream cheese .

The Apple bites (No. 5) are not more complicated to make. To create the mouth, quarter and core an apple. Then, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter. Slivered almonds make realistic teeth. Do not forget to sprinkle some lime juice or orange juice on the apples to keep them from browning.

For treats, you can make the awesome spooky forest sticks and orange candy apples (No. 2) from Stephen Brown of Glitterville. You will find the recipe in his book: Glitterville’s Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting!

These spider cupcakes (No. 4) are super cute! Decorating them is so easy that you can ask your kids to help out.

Add a few candy boxes, decorate the room, plan three or four fun activities and you are all set for a spooky forest Halloween party that the kids will remember.

FAMILY LIVING with kids

What to Do this Fall: Apple Picking

apple picking jerome

Part of my childhood memories is to go apple picking with my parents. I love apples! So for me, that was always a treat to grab it from the tree. I want to continue the tradition with my son. So, yesterday we went with a bunch of friends. We couldn’t had a better weather for an outdoor activity.

zack eats an apple
photo: my son shares my love of apples (and Apple…)

Zack was delighted by his day. He is a typical boy that loves being outside. My son enjoyed the tractor ride to get to the orchards, he was able to run between the trees, he ate apples that he picked himself and he played with the other children.

apple picking zack

We even spent some time at the nice play area for toddlers that is one of the activities for kids at Vergers Petit et Fils, located in Saint-Hilaire. I recommend the place if you have kids because there is a lot of free, fun activities for them to do.

apple tree

I brought home 4 apple varieties. Some to eat fresh, others to cook. Tonight, I plan to bake the apple crumble recipe from Jamie Oliver in ramekins.

I’m looking for more ways to cook with apples. What is you favorite apple recipe?

+ top photo: my husband harvested the apples at the top of the trees

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

In Season: Kale

kale chips by honest fare

baked kale chips :: chickpea sausage and kale pasta recipe

When a leafy green vegetable shows up on food trend lists, there must be something truly wonderful about it. That’s what made me consider kale as a new addition to our fridge’s crisper during a recent weekend grocery shopping trip.

A relative to every vegetable kids (and adults) love to hate – including cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts – it was kale’s pretty, curly-tipped leaves and velvety, rich green color that caught my eye.

Think kale is just a decorative plant for your fall garden? Think again. Loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin K, it’s also rich in iron, beta carotene and calcium. Rosie Schwartz, one of Canada’s best-known nutritionists and a registered dietitian, says these antioxidants protect against heart disease, stroke and guard your eyesight. In short, kale makes spinach seem like it has the nutritional value of candy.

Cooking Tips

kale chips by honest fare

So how does it taste? The longer you store kale, the stronger and more bitter it becomes, so it’s best to use it within a day or two or purchase, as I learned the hard way. To prepare kale, wash it thoroughly to remove dirt or sand, then trim the roots and separate the leaves.

Unlike other greens, the leaves can be tough to eat raw, so cooking them is the best way to introduce your tastebuds to this new flavour. Check out the Sourcing section below for a few recipes to get you started.

Finally, check out this adorable instructional video to learn “How to Make Kale Quiche Your Kids Will Actually Eat” from Canadian food blog award finalist Sweet Potato Chronicles. There are excellent tips for how to cook kale and get your kids in on the kitchen fun.

RECIPES TO TRY:
+ Baked Kale Chips from Honey & Jam (see photo)
Chickpea, Sausage and Kale Pasta from Bitchin’ Camero (see photo)
Pomegranate and Kale Stuffed Portobello from Making Love In The Kitchen
Kale Chips from Honest Fare (see photo)
Kale, Sausage and White Bean Stew from Cooking Books
Sautéed Kale from Best Health Magazine

ENTERTAINING PARTY ideas + decor

Soup Swap

Soup Swap :: soupe au pistou

Soup Swap :: soupe au pistou

If you’ve ever participated in a holiday cookie swap, you’ll love this healthier alternative made for chilly winter months. Mark January 22nd on your calendar: that’s the date of the 5th National Soup Swap.

What began in Seattle in 2006, has since spread through the power of the Internet and social media sites. While others host awards show soirées and Superbowl parties during the month of January, you and your friends can top up each other’s freezers by exchanging containers of homemade soup.

Not only is this an economical way to socialize (especially after the costly holiday season) and share your favorite recipe, it’s an awesome way to escape eating the same leftover soup for multiple meals.

Find tips and how-tos for hosting a soup swap at soupswap.com.

SOURCING:
+ 5th National Soup Swap
+ Soup Swap on Twitter
+ Photo: Soupe au pistou from The Galley Gourmet

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

In Season: Persimmons

Persimmons

Persimmons

Oblong and orange, a persimmon is one of those rare fruits (yes, it’s a fruit) that – unlike apples and oranges – hasn’t made it to top billing in lunchboxes or kitchens. Their bright colour always catches my eye in the produce aisle, but I’ve never been brazen enough to buy one. In season during the late fall and winter, I did a bit of recipe research to learn more about the flavour and uses for this exotic-looking fruit.

green salad with pomegranates and persimmons

Like most fruit, there are several varieties of persimmon, but the most popular are fuyu and hachiya. Versatile persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked, but unless perfectly ripe the flavour can be bitter with a chalky texture. To ensure it’s ripe and sweet, a persimmon should feel like it’s about to burst in your hand – like an overfilled water balloon.

quinoa with persimmon, pomegranate and walnuts

You can bite into a persimmon just like an apple, but check out the recipes below for a few more options to treat your tastebuds.

For inspiring recipes, look at:

Green Salad with Pomegranates and Persimmons from Brooklyn Supper
Persimmon Oat Crumble with Coconut Sorbet from Desserts for Breakfast
Persimmon Martini from Lisa Is Cooking
Persimmon Bread at David Lebovitz
Quinoa with persimmon, pomegranate and walnuts from Kosher Camembert

SOURCING:
+ Photos: Top left and the persimmon oat crumble by Stephanie Shih Photography
+ Photo: Hachiya persimmons from Pham Fatale
+ Photo: Persimmons for breakfast from Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen
FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Reinventing the Latke Recipes

Apple Latke recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Apple Latke recipe from Smitten Kitchen

December 1st marked the first day of Hanukkah. Even if you don’t typically celebrate the eight day Festival of Lights, making potato latkes is an easy way to enjoy this holiday. Latkes are essentially pancakes make of flour, egg and shredded potatoes, fried in hot oil. Since they can be modified with savoury or sweet flavours, they make an incredibly versatile side for brunch, dinner or entertaining.

Here are a few delicious interpretations of this traditional dish.

If your tastebuds favour all things sweet, Smitten Kitchen’s apple latkes won’t disappoint – especially as a brunch buffet option. Top them with her simple apple caramel sauce, and you have dessert.

Butternut squash and leek latkes :: purple potato latkes

Butternut squash and leeks take the place of potatoes in this seasonal latke alternative created by Viviane Bauquet Farre of Food & Style. (Don’t miss her follow-up post with wine pairings!) If you prefer a pure potato latke, consider a colourful twist by using purple potatoes as shown on eCurry.

Do you have a favourite latke recipe?

LIVING URBAN Living

Delightful Mondays | Pictures from the Farmers Market

yellow carrots at the farmers market

yellow carrots at the farmers market

Today for my Delightful Mondays I simply wish to share some pictures I took this weekend at the Farmers market. It is such a treat to eat fresh, local produce. I hope that you are taking the time to visit your Farmers market at least once a week.

radish at the farmers market

Another advantage of the Farmers Market is that you find fruit and vegetable varieties that you cannot find at the grocery store.

french breakfast radish at the farmers market

I discovered the French Breakfast radish, an elongated radish with a white splash at the root end. They are milder than the regular radishes. I like it! You have to eat them quickly since they won’t stay fresh as long as the regular kind. When I arrive home, I cut their ends, put them in a jar of cold water, and store them in the fridge.

tomato varieties at the farmers market

I made a tasty tomato, cucumber, green onion, radish, and buffalo mozzarella salad tonight. The dressing was simply 1.5 tablespoons of white vinegar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. I seasoned the dressing with parsley, fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper. The taste was refreshing. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture.

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Food Presentation by Matt Armendariz

fennel salad and asparagus tarts

fennel salad and asparagus tarts

When you cook at home, you do not have a team of sous-chefs to help you plate an elaborate dish. Therefore, I am always on a hunt for these small details that add a Wow factor. The latest work of Matt Armendariz goes in that direction.

See how cutting a square tart at angles makes all the difference. It could be used on a pizza or a fruit tart. Or you can cut your fennel with a tiny bit of stems and elegantly lay down a fennel and red grapefruit salad on a plate.

vegetables with dip and cucumber appetizers

Take advantage of freshly harvested vegetables to serve light appetizers. Scoop the seeds and drain your cucumber slices for at least 30 minutes if they replace the traditional crostini. When you scoop the seeds, be careful to leave a thin layer at the bottom of the cucumber slices.

+ photos: Matt Armendariz

ENTERTAINING OUTDOOR entertaining

Delightful Mondays: More Summer Food for Entertaining

warm beet salad with goat cheese and fresh herbs by the dog's breakfast

With all those great food photography, I had a hard time deciding which recipes to feature this week for my Delightful Mondays. So, I opted to feature three food blogs instead of two.

 rustic mini blueberry pies and lemon bars by sweetcakes bakeshop

First, I could not resist the rustic Blueberry Pie and Lemon Bars by Sweetcakes Bakeshop from San Francisco. Both recipes would be easy to carry in your picnic basket. I spotted those summer treats on Coco+Kelley.

strawberry mojitos and vietnamese style pickles carrots by white on rice couple

From White on Rice Couple, I suggest their Strawberry Mojitos and Vietnamese Style Pickled Carrots.

warm beet salad with goat cheese and fresh herbs by the dog's breakfast

Then, the Warm Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs by The Dog’s Breakfast.