Monday, May 28, 2012

Yukon 'ho!

I didn't post as usual on Sunday (yesterday) as I spent most of the day winging my way to Canada's glorious Yukon Territory. I'll be too busy this week to do a proper blog post, what with hot springs to visit, hikes to take, caribou sausage to eat and local beer to drink -- oh yeah, and a conference to attend -- so consider this post a potholder until next weekend.
Until then, enjoy your week, and think about this photo: Not the most gorgeous pic to be sure (I was walking through an industrial park at the tail end of town), but it's the first one I snapped last night, after emerging from a dimly lit (uber delish) sushi restaurant into the blazing Whitehorse sunshine -- at 10pm!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like summer

This weekend marks the unofficial kick-off of summer, and here in Toronto we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Let me put it this way; I was in Vegas last weekend and it feels just as hot today.
The first cottage guests have already come and gone, the barbecue worked its magic on a dozen summertime skewers, and the Pinot Grigio was flowing freely. 
With people dropping by each weekend, I’m usually on kitchen duty, yet I don’t mind at all because:
1)    I enjoy the prep and cooking that goes into making meals for large groups. Plus, I got the moves like Jagger. (Maybe not. But I’m fast, and that’s what counts here.)
2)    I especially love the challenge of drop-in guests and middling fridge ingredients. (Top Chef Cottage: Quick Fire Challenge. Make a vegan feast for 10 in 15 minutes!)
3)    Most importantly, if I do the cooking, I don’t do the cleaning. (Cottage rules.)
What’s more, summertime cooking is easy cooking. Compared to Christmas’s competitive feasts, during the summer nobody wants intricate hors d’oeuvres, a big turkey and sides, layered cakes and cookies, mulled cider and gobs of chocolate. Instead, it’s all about sparking up the barbecue (or smoker), and throwing on some burgers and steaks, whipping up big bowls of fresh salads, or even a simple platter of juicy tomatoes with basil and olive oil.
During summer we let the fresh foods speak for themselves, asparagus, corn and beans becoming the snap, crackle and pop of the vegetable world. Meats sizzle, tofu does its own thing, and ice cream is ever-present. If you think about it, it’s actually the longest and busiest entertaining stretch of the year. 
In other words, it’s the perfect time to reciprocate a long put-off dinner invite. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vegas is delicious

Boo me. No blog post this week because I just got back from an incredible couple of days in Vegas for Bon Appetit's sold out Vegas UnCork'd event. I'm writing a story about it so I don't want to spill the beans here, except to say that basically every top chef in the world was there, I spoke to most of them, one kissed my hand, and I ate very, very well. This red carpet shot I took is but a taste of the calibre on hand. For instance, in this first round of chefs (they came out in groups based on the hotel in which their restaurants are housed), you've got Gordon Ramsay (you can see the top of his head behind Michel Richard), Guy Savoy, Nobu Matsuhisa is coming around the bend, Bradley Ogden, Francois Payard, and so on. Also, it was 35 C every day, which was awesome.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A day of cake and kindness

Today has been a great day. Not only is the sun shining strong as if it were the middle of summer, but what started off as a darn it! moment quickly turned into the starting point of a domino effect of kindness.
Here's what happened. I was running late to get to Mississauga to judge a cake competition at the Good Food Festival , but when I put the pedal to the metal my car felt funny. As in, flat tire funny. (Not so funny.) That said, it was a little exciting because it was my first-ever flat tire, and all from the comfort of my front door. The only problem was, I had cakes to eat in Mississauga!
I called my nearby sister-in-law Deborah to see if she'd drive me to Airport Road on such a gorgeous day, and she said yes. How nice is that? She just earned herself five nights of free babysitting for my wee niece Lily!
Okay, so I get to the show and the competition is already underway, and I guess the MC had explained to the crowd at the KitchenAid event stage the reason for my delay, because when I sheepishly show up, Chef Lynn Crawford, who was also judging, shouts, "Oh my god, Amy Rosen knows how to change a flat tire!" Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, and then I announce to the audience that I have the nicest sister-in-law ever, but I seriously have no way of getting home. And then I start to slice and eat cake. (Delicious!) It was totally fun, Lynn is a complete riot, and then we picked a winner and I started checking out the rest of the show.
A few minutes later, while I was standing at the a British bakery booth, about to buy a steak and kidney pie, a man comes up to me and asks if I really need a lift home, because he and his family were heading "into Toronto". I totally needed a lift home. And you know what? They totally gave me a lift home.
So it's been a Sunday full of cake, sunshine and nice people, and I really don't think you can do better than that. Except for maybe, if you made some cake. Or torte. Or pie.
Now I'm off to call CAA to get this tire changed. (And I'll bet they're nice too.)