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  1. Just want to say it is fun to see the insides of people's cold space and pantry cupboards! I've been on a mission to whittle down the freezer, cause ours is pretty small and will tackle the pantry cupboard as well. In addition, I'm into this in the following way, yesterday took some of my homemade chutney that I didn't like, and doctored it up with some of my homemade jam I didn't like and a fresh apple plus a few other tidbits and voila, great chutney result. I'm going to pull out all the things that are getting old in my pantry and see if we can use at least one per day. Any idea how to make whole millet taste good? I have tons of onions and can make any onion based dish and still have tons! Happily we were shopping yesterday (as I hadn't seen this or planned to participate, so we had a delicious breakfast of bacon, fried eggs, toast and my best apricot jam. We will try to have some use up ingredients for dinner.
  2. Parkside, as usual, does it up right. I have become one to avoid dine-out but there are days one needs or wants to eat out and when a good restaurant does dine-out right, and reservations are available, one has to jump at the chance. Last night I found myself at Parkside with several dining companions. We had a relaxed and wonderful meal with excellent food and service to match. I could go on and on, but the thing to note is that if an event like Dine-Out is to be successful, part of the success is to attract customers who will then want to come back to your establishment. Well, that is how it is for me - I am looking for food that I would not normally cook at home, and when I go out, I want to be made to feel comfortable so that I can enjoy myself. Thanks to the team at Parkside who show professionalism in doing it right, and for making another enjoyable evening for me and the clan I had in tow! Note to self, put dining dollars towards Parkside!
  3. Ah what an interesting read. I'm about to do my stint of cooking for a crowd, I do it once every three years and it is always of a similar vein ... many people, vegans and special diets, hot heat with high humidity (like how do you keep the food-safe?), many children who are picky etc. Everyone is always very appreciative of my home cooked food and goes on and on about how good it is, like they all eat from packages all the time (which I know is not true). This year I want to change up lunches and have pre-made sandwiches, as usually we put out every fixin' avail. and let people do their thing. Randi, any idea how long it took to make sandwiches (e.g. minute per concept) and how many sandwiches got eaten along side the salads etc. ? In the past we have used much more deli meat / cheese than I can ever imagine. This makes me guess that people would eat three or four sandwich halves, but maybe if the sandwiches are made it is different. Great job you did! Hope you are having fun in the sun! S the cat ...
  4. SushiCat

    The Clover

    just happened upon this thread ... the Clover makes a damn fine coffee, but yes it is key to have good beans that are well roasted! I think it may be slightly less critical to have well trained staff on this machine, but am not really sure as I haven't worked with one. Here in Vancouver several cafes have Clover's the first (I believe) was the Elysian Room where it is always fun to go in and try some interesting coffee via this brew method. It is a method that truly brings out the flavors within the coffee beans and allows you to taste the difference between coffees. It is a far better approach than then 'tall drip, I'll take the stronger one' that you get at *$. To all who are talking about not liking drip coffee, nor do I. The Clover is more like a French press and should really showcase the coffee. oh and FYI, each individual coffee shop sets their prices, but we have many options for getting a coffee brewed via Clover for a decent price e.g. not more than $3.00 ... and yes of course if you are trying some high end beans then it could be more. Who cares how much Howard Schultz paid for his coffee in NY, the guys has made the most money out of coffee than anyone else and deserves a lot of credit for today's crew of coffee snobs who are able to indulge in lots of great coffees, albeit not at *$!
  5. Just checking in as I plan my eating for my three days in Montreal - actually four. I haven't been to town for a while, need to hit up Joe Beef (personal reasons) and am staying right downtown with no transport except le Metro. I want good European food and I'm on a budget (budgets are for breaking, right?). I've had the pleasure of La Chronique, and would love to go there again but don't think my schedule or budget will allow. Nor will I be affording a meal at Toque. So I'm not looking for Asian as I'm based in Vancouver ... but I did notice on Chowhound a lot of people talking about Bankok (sp?) ... is this some special Thai place? Also, what about Au Petit Extra ? Also, any recommendations for good lunch spots near Place Bonaventure as I'll be dining and dashing in the middle of the day?
  6. Finally found a reference on RLB's website. My buttercream was too cold - a little hairdryer heat worked miracles. bliss.
  7. Help, I just made my standard recipe for buttercream and as I added the last bits of butter it separated. Should I warm it a bit and whisk or use my paddle ? Other suggestions? Clearly I should not have answered the phone! ETA: egg white/sugar warmed then whipped, with butter added a bit at a time.
  8. You know it is ok to have two thanksgiving dinners. Actually if my budget allowed, I would go for three this year, taking Chef Fowke up on his offer
  9. Congratulations to chef Hawksworth! Exciting days to come for us Vancouver diners...
  10. sugarseattle, all your measurements are by weight, correct? Just checking as eggs could be liquid oz etc. Thanks this looks like an amazing recipe and I'm wanting a little something ~ something oat-y.
  11. perusing menus as a distraction ... Aurora has the 5 spice donuts on their dessert offerings for city-dine
  12. SushiCat


    She is a great addition to Rare, we are very pleased to have her onboard. ← Good for Colleen! After going through the ringer with Ken Bogas, Cafe de Paris and I can only imagine at Feenies this looks like a good fit for her. ← After eating at Rare on Saturday night this past weekend, I wanted to check this thread to see what others have been saying ... clearly Ms McClean is a good fit as predicted by eatrustic. Our out of town guests had just been to a number of Vancouver spots, also some island eats including Fairburn Farms and spots on Saltspring - this was their end the vacation with a blast meal and it was that for me too - a BLAST! Excellent cooking, clean flavours and totally inventive dishes. Go for the chef's menu! Or try that cumin crusted tuna with the caper raisin sauce or have the duck - they do duck right! An element that really sets them apart are things like a blueberry shooter to cleanse your palate, a pre-dessert that incorporates Swiss Chard, and is delicious, plates that are comprised of all elements of food, e.g. all the food groups on one plate. Rare is truly a gem! Our thanks to the team for making our evening so memorable !
  13. In the last two weeks I have had more high end dining than one should be allowed ... first Vij's, then Parkside and to top it off an AMAZING meal at Rare on Saturday night. We know Vij's doesn't need a plug as they are too busy as it is, but the food there is very very tasty. Guests always want to go there because they have heard of it - nice job Vij on marketing as well as consistent excellent food prep. They also have the wait for the table drinking mapped out pretty well - nice touch with the plates of finger food that roam around every so often. My favourite item from this trip, the tomato chutney, my love of tomatoes only deepens and this condiment is something I can eat up by the spoonful anytime. Parkside, not only a winter favourite, but a summer one as well. Where else can you get the most professional service coupled with creative cooking and still feel as comfortable as if you were dining at home! We drank, we ate, we laughed - a special appy was stuffed zucchini flowers with crab and halibut - OH MY! The Cornish hen was a standout on mains for me and as usual pasta courses were to die for, this includes the risotto which I happily had in front of me. Rare - what can one say after a meal like the one we had, well only that we should not leave dining are Rare to such rare occasions! I was smart and had the chef's tasting menu, six courses, each one showing off the chef's inventive use of food combinations and skill in creating a taste sensation! My favourites were (in random order) Tuna tartare, the duck - we had two duck dishes at the table, one from my tasting menu and one from the main menu. They were both excellent and different. One comes with an almond risotto that had the four of us at the table discussing our own risotto skills and how lacking they are! Each duck had fruit sauce - dang my memory is failing me! Polenta and mushroom terrine with chevre butter, each bite a burst of flavour intense with mushrooms, smooth with chevre and the polenta was both totally smooth and allowed individual grains to shine through. Tuna crusted with cumin and served this an incredible raisin and caper sauce - how'd they do that????? Crab two ways - bisque and cake - sounds so unassuming - tastes so great! A fois gras terrine served with a slice of onion crusted french toast and fruit sauce ... sorry this is where the confusion is, was this the cherry sauce or was that with the duck ? ... notes, must take notes next time! Just amazing! Ok, so my message is, go to Rare - don't make it a rare occasion, just go check it out!
  14. SushiCat

    Preserving Summer

    I have developed general rules of thumb. The only fruit that needs a lot of sugar and pectin is Strawberry, otherwise I have various methods more and less cooking, usually less sugar and sometimes pectin. I taste, but I often taste cold - e.g. test the gelling and let a little bit of my mix cool enough to really taste. Occasionally I made mistakes but usually they are well received! My latest too sweet item is a concoction of peaches and cherries - a little too sweet, but oh so fine! My apricot and plum (both of which I'm known for) are much less sweet, usually made without pectin and yes I taste. They are both much closer to 8:1 (cups of fruit to sugar). If I want gelling action without too much cooking time, e.g. a fresh fruit tasting jam, then I do either or both of adding low methoxyl pectin (Pomona's most readily avail) and/or adding some fruit close to the end of cooking. I also sometimes remove the fruit solids after first boil, reduce down all the liquids, and add solids back in before jarring. All this while cooking away ... have fun and feel free to PM me with specifics if needed.
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